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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Go Nuts to Lower Cholesterol

New research in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that despite being high in fat, eating hazelnuts actually helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels in men.
The small study included 15 men who all had high blood cholesterol. For the first four weeks of the study, the men followed a low-fat, low-cholesterol and high-carb diet, where 25 to 30% of calories came from fat. Then for the next four weeks, they followed the same diet but also included 40g of hazelnuts every day so that 35 to 40% of calories came from fat, with most of these coming from monounsaturated fats. Due to the addition of hazelnuts, the calorie content of the diet also increased, on average, from 2,033 calories to 2,284 calories a day – an extra 251 calories.
Blood tests were taken at the start and after each four-week period to identify levels of the different types of fat in the blood.
Interestingly, there were no changes in the weight, Body Mass Index or waist-to-hip ratio of the men throughout the study. However, after including the hazelnuts in their diet, HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol rose by almost 13 percent and several ‘bad’ fats significantly dropped.
The researchers conclude that a diet high in total fat due to the inclusion of hazelnuts – a rich source of monounsaturates – is better than a low-fat diet in terms of lowering the risk of heart disease.

WLR says:

Many studies have shown that frequently eating nuts is associated with improved cholesterol levels and as a result, a reduced risk of heart disease.
This is mainly because nuts are a good source of monounsaturates but also possibly because they contain other heart-healthy ingredients like soluble fibre and vitamin E.
In July 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America approved a health claim regarding the relationship between eating nuts and the reduced risk of heart disease. The claim states, “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1½oz of most nuts, such as peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
While many studies have looked at nut consumption and heart disease, this is one of only a handful of studies that has looked specifically at the role hazelnuts may play in improving heart health.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this was only a small study with just 15 men. However, in light of all the other evidence that’s available, it would seem that hazelnuts – like most other nuts – have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels.
One of the surprising findings from this study is that despite consuming considerably more calories – on average, an extra 251 calories daily – the men didn’t gain weight. Indeed, their percentage of body fat actually decreased from 26.3% to 23.5% after eating the hazelnuts for four weeks. The authors offer no explanation for this but it’s something that’s certainly worth investigating further.
Certainly, studies have found that people often find it easier to lose weight on a moderate-fat diet rather than a low-fat diet because it’s easier to stick to. But these moderate-fat diets have also usually included a moderate calorie restriction, too.
Until more research is carried out, WLR believes if you want to eat more nuts, you should remember to include them as part of your daily calorie allowance – rather than having them in addition. And of course, for good health, opt for unsalted nuts to keep salt intakes down.

How to Get Rid of Man Boobs

According to the latest available data from NHS Choices, nearly a quarter of adults (over 16 years of age) in England were obese (had a BMI over 30). Just under a third of women, 32%, were overweight (a BMI of 25-30), and 42% of men were overweight.
These are the sort of figures that us guys will look at and say, “well, yeah, and your point is? … Sure I’m carrying a few extra pounds, but that’s all muscle and men don’t need to go on a diet” (cue choking noises and jokes about how many calories in a pea).
Well unfortunately there is an embarrassing problem that is becoming more and more prevalent for many men.  It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee fellas: it’s the dreaded Man Boobs!

What are man boobs?

Whatever you call them, enlargement of male breasts is technically known as gynecomastia.  Large breasts in men are often a result of obesity, and are more commonly known as man breasts, manboobs or moobs.

Other causes can include:

  • excessive alcohol intake
  • use of certain drugs, particularly anabolic steroids
  • a side effect of certain diseases
  • congenital abnormality (a problem you were born with)
  • dramatic weight loss, which can cause the skin to sag
For the majority of cases, excess body fat is likely to be the cause.  Not only does the fat alter the shape of the chest, but it may also elevate levels of oestrogen, something that no full blooded man wants, oh no sir!

How do I get rid of man boobs?

Unless you have an underlying medical condition, then poor eating habits are likely to be to blame, and it will simply be a case of adopting a healthier lifestyle, (and not just short term – it needs to be long term  or the moobs will just come back).
What exercises can I do to reduce man boobs?
Don’t think that a few press-ups or a couple of minutes on the pec-deck will sort the problem.  Like any other area of fat, manboobs cannot be spot trained – you need to adopt an overall fitness plan and combine aerobic exercises with toning exercises.  By toning your upper body you will automatically stand straighter and reduce the appearance of your breasts.
What should I eat to help get rid of them?
A good balanced diet is important to restore overall health.  Fruit and veg are great as a starting point, plus reducing your intake of alcohol, saturated fat and refined, processed foods (that’s the Friday night kebab to me and you).  Basically we men have got to look at what the NHS has been telling us for ages – eat less and move more. 
If you really don’t want to count calories, or just do not have the time, then a simple reduction in portion size will go a long way to helping you banish those man boobs.  If you want a more scientific approach where you can set clearly defined goals, then our food and exercise diaries could be just what you are looking for – us men do like our gadgets after all.
What if I’m not overweight?
If you think your man boobs are not due to excess weight, make sure you see your doctor – yes and make sure you go, don’t ask your partner to make an appointment and then fail to turn up – after all the girls have got it right with regular examinations....
WLR says
Ultimately, for most people, banishing the moobs will only be successful if you adopt a permanent healthy eating and exercise plan. 

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Is surgery an option to get rid of man boobs?

The numbers of men having breast reduction surgery is increasing, according to theBritish Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). In 2010, the number of reduction operations increased by 28% on 2009.
Man boob reduction is now the second most popular cosmetic operation for men (nose jobs are still the most popular). There were 741 operations to reduce man breasts last year, up from 581 procedures in the previous year.
The increase in surgery has meant an increase in options, for example Laser Lipo suction.
In a statement from BAAPS, the President elect said that the increase in surgery was likely to be due to an increased awareness of 'manboobs'. He also added that around 30% of men who enquire about surgery were sent away to improve their diet and exercise more.
What does the removal procedure entail?
Male breast reduction surgery usually takes about an hour. The surgeon will make a cut into the chest area and liposuction may be used to suck out excess fatty tissue. If there is a lot of tissue to remove, cuts may extend down the chest from the areola, and the nipples may need to be repositioned.
You may have to stay in hospital overnight, take a few days off work and avoid strenuous physical exercise for one month after the op. A compression garment also needs to be worn for one to four weeks after the operation to encourage smooth results (that’s a body stocking in case you were wondering).
Are there any risks?
All surgery comes with risks and these risks are even greater for people who are obese, so any procedure should be given plenty of thought and not be undertaken lightly.   Before undergoing surgery you should be properly prepared and understand both the risks and the benefits, both in the short and long term.
Surgery can leave red and lumpy scars. These may last for several months but should eventually fade to your natural skin colour. Other risks include uneven results and loss of sensation in the nipples.
Will my moobs come back?
Results are permanent but weight gain, hormonal imbalances and the use of certain drugs can cause the breast area to enlarge again.  So once you are well enough, make sure you adopt those lifestyle changes, or you will be back on the table again.
A big part of the success of any of the treatments will depend upon your willingness to change your eating and lifestyle habits. Don’t be fooled into thinking that having a weight loss operation means you won’t ever need to stick to healthy eating or exercise again.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Keeping A Food Diary

Try this trick if you're watching your waistline​

Trying to shift some weight? Perhaps it's time to have a closer look at what you're eating and more importantly, why you're eating itHave you ever reached for the Ben & Jerry's after a break up or a hard week? We often reach for food when we are under stress or feeling down, even though we aren't actually hungry. Sleep deprivation is another common food-trap and often sees people overeating unnecessarily.  

So how do you get back in control? Try writing a food diary. Make a note of what you eat, when you eat and how you're feeling at the time. Be honest with yourself and you'll soon start to see patterns in your eating habits. Maybe you'll notice that at 2pm you get a real energy slump and rely on sugary treats to perk you up. Then, you can plan to take healthy, low-sugar snacks to work the following week to help you through the afternoon whilst avoiding a roller coaster ride of your blood sugar levels spiking and crashing. 

You could also try an app such as myfitnesspal which helps you track how much you're eating. It works the same was as a traditional food diary, but it is easier and more discrete than carrying around a pen and paper, plus you can search the huge database of foods to save you obsessively reading labels before you bin your lunch! 

Now that we know hunger can be a trick of the mind, we're feeling a bit bamboozled! Nutritionist Lowri Turner explains how to tell when it's the real deal and not an emotional response: 

Real hunger is recognisable by physical symptoms. You may hear growling in your tummy, or feel lightheaded or even a bit sick. Identify whether you're genuinely hungry by paying attention to these signs, then grade yourself on the Hunger Scale below. You should aim to eat at 3-4 and stop and 6-7.  

1. Physically faint 

2. Ravenous 

3. Fairly hungry 

4. Slightly hungry 

5. Neutral 

6. Pleasantly satisfied 

7. Full 

8. Stuffed 

9. Bloated  

10. Nauseous 

Start your food diary today and fast track those weight loss results!


How To Slim Down The Stomach

Saturday, 28 March 2015

10 Ways To Lose Your Love Handles

Are love handles a problem area? Not anymore...
10 ways to lose your love handles

1 Keep a food diary

Aside from helping you stay on track with a healthy diet, keeping a diary allows you to pick up patterns in your eating habits. If you notice that you’re eating the same things regularly, aim to get more daring with your palate to keep your body guessing and your digestive system cranking.

2 Lift weights

If cardio is your exercise tipple and you’re neglecting weight training, you need to get to grips with the barbell. Big, heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts will build lean muscle mass to rev up your metabolism, as well as mix up your workout.

3 Change speed

A good way to shock your body into a fat-blasting reaction is to vary the tempo at which you perform resistance exercises. For example, try taking four seconds to control the lowering phase of a move, while sticking to one second or as fast as you can on the upwards phase.

4 Take time out

If your body is stressed, your cortisol levels will be high. Although this stress hormone is essential to your body, an elevated amount may cause you to store fat on your tummy. Find time to meditate, have a relaxing bath or just take it easy and have some ‘me’ time.

5 Load up on vitamin D

Us Brits aren’t often given the sunshine treatment, and unfortunately, sun exposure is the best way to get a dose of the crucial vitamin D. Top up levels with a high-quality supplement like BetterYou DLUX 3000 to keep cravings at bay and improve your body’s absorption of fat-fighting nutrients like calcium.

6 Eat more fat

Are you cutting fat from your diet thinking that it’s hampering your fat-loss quest? Actually, good fats from oily fish, nuts and avocado will give you energy and nutrients – without making you fat. Don’t try to force your body to run on empty while trying to boost your calorie burn.

7 Dial it down

You need full rest days every now and then, but every four to six weeks, try to dedicate a whole week to ‘de-loading’. This means performing your regular routine at a much lower volume and intensity. It’ll force you to recover while you stay moving, which means you’ll come back stronger, making a bigger impact on your results.

8 Treat yourself

Some experts swear by ‘cheat’ meals. They reckon that treating yourself to a blow-out feast once a week can actually help you achieve your hot-body goals by stopping you from caving in to cravings during the rest of the week, and preventing your metabolism from losing steam. So, go on, treat yourself to a big juicy burger with
a side of crispy fries once in a while!

9 Get some shut-eye

Sleep to slim down? Sounds too good to be true! Actually, it’s vital to get a proper night’s kip – you’ll need more than most if you regularly exercise. Sleep plays a huge role in weight loss because it triggers the appetite-controlling hormone leptin. If you skimp on sleep, you’re more likely to eat extra cals during your waking hours.

10 Do cardio sprints

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a cardio queen, make sure you’re incorporating interval training into your routine as well. It has a much greater after-burn effect, which means you’ll be torching fat at rest, too. It’s also wise to start sprints if all you’re doing in the gym is lifting weights.

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Running Tips For Women

Ace your next race with these top tips

Going for a run is probably one of the most popular ways to get your workout on, whether it's hitting the roads or jumping on a treadmill when the weather's gross outside. If you sometimes find running a little tedious, why not challenge yourself to go faster or further?

Here are our top tips to smash your run.

To the gym

Weight training could make you a better runner. A Norwegian study found that resistance training three times a week for eight weeks significantly improved running efficiency and endurance in well-trained, long-distance runners.

Uphill battle

Want to conquer the hills? To race uphill, run with a short stride while pushing off the balls of your feet and pumping your arms. Then relax your arms and use a longer stride to go downhill.

Ready, set, splash!

Getting wet could make you a better runner. Swimming increases your upper body strength, making your runs more efficient, while aqua jogging mimics your usual movement sans impact –reducing the risk of injury.

Bright idea

‘Watch your stance when running,’ tips Fitness First trainer Andy Hall. ‘Leaping forward and striding too far will drain your energy fast. Instead, make sure you stand tall and lean slightly forward, so when you feel like you’re going to fall, you step forward just enough to catch yourself. This should be the length of your stride.’

Take five

Listen to your body! If you’re feeling under the weather or if your body is sore and ready for a rest, take a recovery day. Only you know if those aches and pains are from a good run or the sign you need to rest.

Sand storm

Here’s a good excuse to book a beach getaway – running on sand can improve your speed and muscle tone. A study from St Luke’s University Clinic in Belgium found that pounding the sand requires 1.6 times more energy than running on pavements as your body has to work harder to deal with the soft, unstable surface. That adds up to more defined muscles and a swifter run when you get back to solid ground. Neat!

Drink up

Hydration is key for runners, but plain old water is best if you’re only doing short runs. Upgrade to a sports drink if you’re running for longer than an hour to help shuttle glucose to your muscles and combat fatigue.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Boost Motivation

Top tips from the experts to keep your motivation sky high!

Change begins at the end of your comfort zone: challenge your body in a new and different way and you will achieve something you didn’t believe you could before.

You never know what life is going to throw at you – whether it’s having to bend further or reach higher, so use your time exercising to prepare yourself for those ‘what-if’ moments.

Don’t look back in a year’s time and wish you’d started earlier – the time is now; there is no time like the present.

If you’re exercising and feel like giving up, focus your attention on continuing rather than stopping. Remember that you’re still there and you’re still going – so focus on getting the most out of your move and you’ll hopefully do even more reps!


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Tone Your Body With This Simple Exercise

This one simple exercise can tone the whole body 

Stop! How fast are you eating?

Want to slim down? Slow down! Aoife Stuart-Madge reveals how eating on the hop is sabotaging your weight and health

‘One of the first stages of digestion involves simply thinking about food which, literally, gets your digestive juices flowing’

Whether it’s grabbing a bite at your desk in between meetings or shovelling breakfast down before work, we’re all guilty of not making enough time for a meal at some point in our busy lives. But while most of us know that eating on the run isn’t exactly the healthiest way to refuel, the true extent of the damage speed-eating can do to your body is shocking.

According to a study from Osaka University in Japan, women double their chances of becoming fat by eating too quickly, while men who speed eat are 84 per cent more likely to become obese. The study, which monitored the eating habits of 3,000 people, found that eating too quickly overrides the mechanisms in the brain that tell us we’re full. It’s estimated that it takes 20 minutes after you start eating for the message to stop eating to reach your brain, so if you finish a meal in less time, you risk over-stuffing your stomach. ‘Rapid, “mindless” eating means that the food goes down so quickly that by the time the stomach signals to the brain that it has had enough, we have, in fact, overeaten,’ explains Dr David Lewis from Mindlab, who led scientific research into the UK’s lunchtime eating habits. ‘The consequence is that we add unnecessary calories and put on weight.’

As well as weight gain – and the obvious discomfort that comes from over-filling your stomach (hello, gas, bloating and indigestion) –you’re also at risk of serious health complications. Research from the Medical University of South Carolina found that gulping down food can raise your risk of acid reflux, which can lead to a number of health complications including gastroesophageal reflux disease, a narrowing of the oesophagus, bleeding, or the pre-cancerous condition Barrett’s oesophagus. The study showed that eating a 690-calorie meal in five minutes rather than 30 minutes resulted in up to 50 per cent more acid reflux episodes.

So how can you begin to unlearn fast-eating habits, which are often developed in childhood? Here, our experts reveal their top tips for slowing down.

Switch off the TV

In order for your brain to register when you’ve had enough to eat, you’ve got to be paying attention to what’s going in to your mouth. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition categorised eaters into ‘attentive’ and ‘distracted’ groups, and found the distracted eaters tend to eat more in a sitting. ‘One of the first stages of digestion involves simply thinking about food which, literally, gets your digestive juices flowing,’ says Nina Omotoso, a nutritional therapist at Revital ( ‘Rushing meals means you miss out on this, which is why bad habits like eating on the run or bolting your food down in 20 seconds flat in front of the TV can really affect your digestive health, leading to indigestion, poor nutrient absorption, stomach pain and bloating.’

Make a meal of it

Forget stuffing a sandwich down in five minutes as you check emails at your desk, in order to properly digest your food, Dr Lewis recommends setting aside 15 minutes for a snack, and at least 30 minutes to enjoy a full meal. ‘Relax when you are eating. Do not keep glancing at your watch or thinking about all you have to do after the meal,’ advises Dr Lewis. ‘Eat with your eyes as much as your mouth. By enjoying the experience of eating you will not only enhance the pleasure you derive from your food but also encourage a greater sense of overall wellbeing. That old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is not quite true. More accurately you are what you ingest and digest. Both these processes work best when they are allowed to work slowly.’

Don’t drink with your meal

Research has shown that drinking too much water during a meal can mess with the natural levels of bile and acid in the stomach, slowing digestion. ‘Avoid drinking too much while eating. Fluid not only distends the stomach but also dilutes the digestive enzyme in the mouth and essential acid in the stomach,’ explains Dr Lewis. Try this trick: hydrate yourself 30 minutes before a meal with cucumber water – a natural diuretic that can aid movement through your digestive tract.

Put obstacles in your way

The faster you eat, the more air you let into your body, which bloats you and gives you that uncomfortably full feeling. Consciously slow your pace down by adopting this habit: putting your knife and fork down between bites, or, if you’re eating a hand-held food like pizza or a sandwich, consciously set it down between bites. Also incorporating foods that are tougher to eat, such a grapefruit, in your diet, naturally slows you down.

Taste your food

Recent research commissioned by food company Glorious found that 60 per cent of the UK population admitted to ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ tasting what they ate. Research leader Dr Lewis said, ‘Researchers found that, on average, 79 per cent of people were unable to detect when basic flavours had been swapped, this rose to 88 per cent when people ate while distracted, increasing to 93 per cent for people eating under time pressure.’ The research indicated that office workers in particular consume food simply to refuel the body and most never, or rarely, taste what they’re eating. ‘Mastication, the process in which the food in our mouth is broken into smaller fragments and thoroughly mixed with saliva, represents the first stage of digestion,’ explains Dr Lewis. ‘Poor mastication means that we fail to savour and appreciate the true taste and texture of the meal. It can also result in a range of problems, from indigestion and heartburn to an inadequate uptake of essential nutrients from the food.’

Chew properly

Without chewing your food properly, your body can’t digest it. ‘Chew your food carefully,’ advises Dr Lewis. ‘Take smaller mouthfuls so that the enzyme in saliva is breaking down smaller food morsels,aiding quicker digestion. The larger the portion of food in your mouth, the less effectively it is chewed and savoured.’ Chatterbox? It might be an idea to schedule a catch-up over coffee rather than lunch or dinner. ‘Not only does talking prevent you paying full attention to your food, it also causes you to swallow air, leading to a greater risk of discomfort,’ Dr Lewis says.

Plan your meals

When pushed for time, it’s easy to make poor food choices (who hasn’t grabbed an unhealthy snack during a last-minute trip to the vending machine?) but the more hurried your food choices, the more unhealthy the choice you’re likely to make. ‘Being overscheduled, stressed and pressed for time seems to be a common complaint amongst my clients,’ says Nina, ‘so it’s not surprising that “quick and convenient” is a deciding factor in many of our food choices. The main problem is that leaving it to the last minute limits your options. And if you’re already starving you’re more likely to make poor food choices. Eating like this usually means more sugar, salt and saturated fat in your diet, fewer nutrients, and more expensive, pre-packaged foods – not great for the figure or the bank balance.’ The answer, Nina says, is to adopt a mindful attitude. ‘It’s not just about diet but lifestyle as well. This way people feel more capable, more relaxed and in control. If you’ve got a hectic week coming up, try to plan ahead – stick an apple, a small bag of unsalted nuts or even a high-protein energy bar in your bag. That way you can relax a little and spend the time you do have eating slowly and listening to your body’s hunger signals, rather than running about and eating frantically.’

Don’t reward yourself with food

It’s in our make-up to crave reward for hard work, so when you are under pressure it’s natural to reach for a sugar fix as an instant reward. Nutritionists say many women subconsciously start to associate feeling stressed with speed-eating through the office vending machine. What’s more, when you’re stressed, you’re less likely to savour taste of food or respond to feelings of fullness. Try chewing on a piece of gum next time you feel like stress-eating, and reward your hard work with a lunchtime manicure or blow-dry instead.

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