Author Archives: By Jake Weathers

Tips to Beat Insomnia without Causing Brain Damage

insomnia

Thousands of Americans have trouble sleeping, with many suffering from chronic issues resulting in fatigue, anxiety and potential health problems. Numerous people rely on sleep aids to help them fall asleep; however, recent studies suggest that most of these drugs could cause cognitive problems when used for long periods. If you’re having trouble sleeping, our health and fitness expert has some tips to beat insomnia without compromising your health.

Scary Sleep Aids

A recent 6-year study published in the journal Neurology found that over-the-counter sleep aids, such as Tylenol PM, Sominex, Nytrol, Exedrin PM, Dramamine and Benadryl, caused a noticeable and potentially permanent cognitive decline when patients used them for extended periods of time to beat insomnia. Other research has found similar results when looking at prescription drugs; however, this is the first study showing potential brain damage associated with OTC medicines.

Tips to Sleep Safer

According to health and fitness expert, Paul A. Achoa, too many people rely on sleep aids, when they should be making lifestyle changes instead.

“If you want to go to sleep and stay asleep, you have to be serious about what you’re doing,” he said. “If you want to lose weight, get fit and stay healthy; you have to adopt a disciplined lifestyle. The same goes with getting enough sleep.”

Achoa says insomniacs need to adopt smart strategies to help their brains wind down.

“Most experts agree that people should avoid computers, iPads and televisions for about two hours before bed,” he said. “You should also refrain from drinking alcohol; as this tends to promote shallow, restless sleep.”

Ultimately, Achoa’s preferred tip to beat insomnia centers on having respect for the bedroom itself.

“I tell people the number one thing they can do to promote better sleep is to stay out of their bedrooms unless they plan to go to bed,” he said. “This means not eating, watching television or reading in bed. You want your brain to equate the bedroom with sleep and not recreational activity.”

Lose Weight Eating Whatever? Study Clouds Issue

obese-man

A clinical trial conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health seems to have confused the issue regarding the proper way to lose weight. According to the study, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you eat fewer carbs, less fat or consume more protein; as long as you are taking in fewer calories, you are going to get a trimmer waistline.

While this information may seem like common sense to some; it’s being seen as somewhat controversial in certain circles. Most dietitians and fitness experts have argued that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets tend to encourage the most weight loss; however, this study appears to suggest that it really doesn’t matter what dieters eat.

What They Found

In conducting their study, researchers gave three groups of overweight people three separate diets: one high in fat, low in protein and carbohydrates; one high in protein and low in fats and carbs; and one high in carbs and low in protein and fat. Because each diet contained the same amount of calories, every participant saw about the same degree of weight loss, prompting the researchers to surmise that food choices mattered less than numerical caloric value.

What They Missed

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that cutting calories will result in weight loss; after all, it’s simple math. On the other hand, just because all of the study’s participants lost weight doesn’t mean their bodies looked the same.

Most experts agree that certain diets encourage the body to burn unwanted fat instead of muscle; while other diets do the opposite. If you consume a low-calorie diet consisting of low protein and lots of carbohydrates; you can expect a lot of your weight loss to come from muscle wasting. What’s more, if you are getting your carbohydrates from the wrong sources, your body is apt to look loose and jiggly and not lean and firm.

Invariably, dieters gain leaner, more attractive bodies when they eat more protein and get their carbohydrates from high-fiber vegetables and nutritious whole grains. Instead of adopting a typical low calorie diet, dieters would be well-served to adopt the Dukan Diet plan or the Ryan Reynolds diet, which consist of healthy fats and fibrous foods that enhance the body’s metabolism and boost its natural ability to burn fat, while protecting muscle tissue.

Weight Loss at Night? Study Yields Amazing Results

night

For years, many dietitians have recommended specific eating strategies to encourage weight loss at night. Now a recent study indicates that taking these measures even further could result in astounding results.

A study published in the journal, Cell Metabolism suggests that extended nighttime fasting may be the key to maintaining a lean, healthy body weight. According to the study’s lead author, Satchidananda Panda, his team fed two groups of mice a high calorie, fatty diet over a period of several weeks. Although the mice ate the exact same amount of food, one group became fat while the other grew incredibly lean.

What was the difference? One group was allowed to eat whenever it wanted to throughout the day; while the other was limited to an eight hour window. During the other 16 hours, the mice were deprived of food, providing a fasting period that seemed to positively affect their metabolisms, resulting in substantial weight loss at night.

Will it Work in Humans?

Although the new study has gained considerable attention in the scientific community; many question whether a similar study would yield comparable results in humans. Other studies have shown that people tend to enjoy healthier weights when they eat small, regular meals several times throughout the day.

Still, whether you are looking to lose love handles, that spare tire, arm fat or just maintain a health BMI; you can bet that late night eating will harm your cause. Experts agree that the body’s metabolism slows down at night; and, since you’re not moving very much, anything you eat before bedtime is apt to turn into fat.

Generally, it’s a good idea not to eat anything after 8 p.m. unless you are trying to gain weight. You may not experience much weight loss at night, but you won’t gain any extra fat either. Additionally, if you are trying to shed unwanted fat, make sure your last meal of the day is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

Until more studies are conducted on humans, you’ll probably be best served to avoid long periods of fasting. That said, most experts agree that dieters will see better results when they cut late night calories and go to bed with an empty stomach.

Study: Testosterone Significantly Aids Weight-Loss

testosterone

A recent study suggests that many overweight males may suffer from low testosterone, which could potentially be the root cause of their weight problems. Presented at European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France, the research demonstrated that test subjects who received testosterone injections were able to successfully reduce their body mass indexes much more effectively than men who received no treatment at all.

According to researcher Farid Saad, DVM, the study wasn’t intended to investigate the relationship between testosterone and weight loss; however, ultimately, the link was too obvious to ignore.

In conducting their study, researchers closely followed a group of overweight, older men who were receiving hormone therapy over a 5-year period to treat erectile dysfunction and other problems linked to low testosterone. After 5 years, researchers noted that patients lost an average of 35 pounds each, with a 38- to 42-inch average reduction in waist circumference. Patients also showed improvements in LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

What Dieters Should Know

According to researchers, the weight-loss reported in this particular study far exceeds that found in other studies. This has excited many experts who note that other studies have demonstrated that overweight men commonly suffer from low testosterone.

That said, before you consider hormone supplementation as a way to lose your love handles, use caution; although hormone therapy may ultimately prove to be an effective strategy to encourage faster fat loss, it can have drawbacks. Experts warn that testosterone supplementation can have negative side-effects in some people, including depression, acne, hair-loss and more. Some health professionals also worry that prolonged testosterone therapy could increase the risk of prostate cancer and/or enlargement.

Additionally, overweight men should not attempt to boost their testosterone by using over-the-counter supplements found at health food stores unless they’ve met with their doctors to discuss the potential benefits and risks.

If you are an overweight male, it may be a good idea to meet with your general physician to have your testosterone levels checked.

My Flat Stomach: Fat Belly Solution for Weight-loss

fat-belly-solution

As a health and fitness expert, I pride myself on my ability to maintain a healthy, lean body; however, many people are surprised to learn I wasn’t always this way. These days, I have a trim waistline. Unfortunately, years ago I was like many Americans who struggle with love handles and spare tires. Most experts agree that fatty tissue around the midsection is related to insulin spikes; however, recent studies have confused the issue. Before you head to the supermarket this week, learn the fat belly solution that gave me my flat stomach.

Confusing Studies

Recently, a pair of weight-loss studies yielded some interesting results that have some dieters scratching their heads. While most people believe sugary foods tend to encourage weight gain; each of these studies founds the opposite to be true. One, which looked at the effect of sugar on body mass, found that people who consume more sugar aren’t actually any fatter than those who don’t. Instead, it found that total calories worked to determine results, regardless of whether those calories came from whole grains, vegetables or sugar cane. If you’ve asked yourself, why am I not losing weight? You should check out their findings.

Another study sought to find the answer to a common question: does chocolate make you fat? According to the results, the answer is no. Instead, researchers found that dieters who consume more chocolate actually maintain lower body mass indexes than people who don’t.

What’s Going On?

Most fitness experts agree that the fundamental flat belly solution is aerobic exercise combined with cutting calories; however, many people have trouble with certain problem areas, such as the midsection and thighs. This is typically owed to genetics that can cause the body to store fatty tissue in these specific areas. I had such troubles; however, ultimately, I got my flat stomach when I cut out sugar completely. It was that easy. As soon as I did it, I saw very rapid changes. Why? Because sugar leads to big insulin spikes that cause the body to make fat and store it around the midsection.

So why the confusing studies? Well, with the sugar study, the researchers only tested total BMI and not how fat was distributed. So just because sugar-eaters had the same BMI as sugar-avoiders doesn’t mean they didn’t have more fatty tissue around their midsections. In the second study, the researchers found that people who ate dark chocolate maintained better weights. It’s important to note that dark chocolate has far less sugar than milk chocolate, which is also much higher in calories.

Ultimately, if you want a fat belly solution, choose the one that gave me my flat stomach: avoid sugar and start running. Forget the ab workouts which tend to strengthen muscles without encouraging much weight-loss.

5 Foods that Suppress Appetite: Weight-Loss

foods-that-suppress-appetite

Everyone knows sugary foods promote fat accumulation; however, many people are surprised to learn they can also increase hunger by causing big insulin spikes. On the other hand, there are also foods that suppress appetite and aid weight-loss by affecting the brain and gut in positive ways. Before you head to the grocery store, learn how to stock your shelves with healthy, delicious snacks that will support your dieting efforts.

Sunflower seeds

Packed with nutrition, sunflower seeds help regulate the muscles and nerves. They also help prevent insulin spikes that can cause the body to store fat. Unfortunately, seeds are also high in calories. Don’t eat more than about one-quarter cup per serving, or you may end up gaining weight.

Whole-wheat pretzels

The best foods that suppress appetite have one thing in common: they are crunchy. Studies have shown that the act of chewing tends to curb cravings by making the brain feel more satisfied. Whole-wheat pretzels are crunchy and packed with fiber, which also helps to reduce cravings by promoting fullness. Just be sure to avoid white flour pretzels, which can cause insulin levels to spike.

Yogurt

Recent studies indicate that healthy gut flora may help people lose belly fat. Yogurt contains health bacteria that may enhance the body’s immune system and speed its metabolism. On the downside, many types of yogurt are sweetened with high amounts of sugar. For best results, eat low-sugar yogurt sweetened with fresh fruit.

Dark chocolate

You may have heard that chocolate makes you fat; however, a recent study showed that people who eat more dark chocolate actually have lower body mass indexes than people who don’t. Bear in mind that all chocolate isn’t the same. Milk chocolate is typically sweetened with lots of sugar, which makes it high in calories.

Smelly foods

Another recent study suggests that people who eat foods that have a rich aroma tend to have more success losing belly fat. Researchers believe that strong aromas may lead the brain to feel satisfied faster, which can reduce cravings and promote fullness. That said, not all smelly foods suppress appetite. To curb your appetite, avoid foods that have a high glycemic index and consider adding things, such as garlic and onions to everyday, healthy meals. Also, be sure to stop and take the time to smell your food instead of unconsciously wolfing it down.

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