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Best bread for weight loss?

 

Trying to lose weight? You can still eat bread – just make sure you choose the healthiest type.

Whole grain

Choose whole grain bread if you are on a weight loss plan. The fibre will keep you fuller for longer, leaving less room for hunger spikes and excess calories.

Rye bread

Rye bread is another good option as it’s dense, meaning you’re less likely to overeat it, fibre-rich and easy to digest, which can reduce constipation.

The sugar is released nice and slowly, keeping blood sugar levels steady.

WH&F is celebrating the summer countdown with NatureFirst Organic Pumpernickel Bread in Rye with Sunflowers, and Rye with Flaxseed ($4.99, kadac.com.au).

Words: Lucinda Zammit

NEXT: 5-day mindful eating plan>>

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5 hormones that cause weight gain

 

Did you know that regulating hormones can help control weight gain, even without reducing the intake of food? Yes, really! Angela Tufvesson finds out more.

Hormones that affect weight loss - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Melatonin

What is it?

The hormone of darkness, melatonin maintains the body’s circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is an internal 24-hour clock that regulates when we fall asleep and wake up. The body produces melatonin when it is dark to encourage rest.

Is it out of whack?

Bright light in the evening or not enough light during the day can disrupt melatonin levels, which can result in weight gain. This is a common symptom of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a winter ailment where too much melatonin is produced.

Quick fix: Regulating melatonin levels can help control weight gain, even without reducing the intake of food. Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain believe melatonin might help prevent heart disease associated with obesity, increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. Small quantities of melatonin can be found in goji berries, almonds, sunflower seeds, cardamom, fennel, coriander and cherries. Melatonin also has strong antioxidant effects and can be taken in supplement form. If you prefer au naturale, be sure to sleep in a pitch-black room.


Insulin can cause weight gain - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Insulin

What is it?

Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and used to digest the carbohydrates in food. The pancreas secretes insulin in response to carbohydrates being consumed. It then transports glucose – a simple sugar made from the digested carbohydrates – from the food to the muscles to be used for energy.

Is it out of whack?

If you have trouble losing weight, despite eating well and training hard, you may have a condition called insulin resistance, says Buntic. “In insulin resistance, the hormone insulin does not function as it should. The muscle cells build up a resistance to insulin, so the body produces more and more in an attempt to maintain the transport of glucose to the cells for energy.

“As insulin works to prevent fat being burnt to preserve muscle and fat mass, high levels of insulin can result in a situation where fat is stored rather than burnt, leading to difficulty in losing and maintaining weight.” If left unmanaged, this condition is likely to result in type 2 diabetes.

Quick fix: Insulin resistance can be managed with a low-GI eating plan and exercise including cardio and resistance training.


Lack os sleep can cause your appetite to increase- IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Ghrelin and leptin

What is it?

Ghrelin and leptin are a double act that together regulate appetite. Leptin is secreted by fatty tissue and regulates energy by sending a signal to the brain that you are full, while ghrelin, a shorter-acting hormone secreted by the gut, stimulates appetite.

Is it out of whack?

Research suggests that when you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels dive, so you don’t feel full after a meal, and ghrelin levels rise, which overstimulates your appetite. A study published in the journal Sleep Medicine found that leptin levels decreased by 18 per cent and ghrelin levels increased by 28 per cent when sleep was restricted to four hours per night over two nights. Essentially, when we don’t get enough sleep, we feel hungry, even though we’ve eaten enough.

Quick fix: Keep your ghrelin and leptin levels healthy with good sleep hygiene. Go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get the requisite seven to eight hours of shut-eye.


Stress hormones cortisol can cause weight gain - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Cortisol

What is it?

When you’re in danger or on high alert – before a big presentation or hot date – the body releases stress hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. It feeds your brain extra oxygen and releases energy from your fat and glucose stores to help you avert the threat or make a good impression on that date.

Is it out of whack?

Frequent, chronic stress means more cortisol is released into the bloodstream than the body can use. This puts you at increased risk of heart disease, sleep disturbances, depression and obesity.

“If cortisol is elevated for long periods of time, it can promote weight gain,” says dietitian Angela Buntic. “Stress hormones trigger the fight or flight response, making the body’s fuel sources, such as glucose, ready and available for use. However, if you don’t actually use this energy for a physical response, the body stores the released energy as fat, usually around the abdomen, ready for the next threat.”

Quick fix: Take steps to manage the stress in your life, says Sally Symonds, author of 50 Steps To Lose 50kg…and Keep It Off. Eat a healthy diet of fresh fruit and veg, lean meat and wholegrains; practise relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga; enjoy regular exercise; and spend time relaxing with friends away from your stressors.


Oestrogen can cause weight gain - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

Oestrogen

What is it?

The constant see-sawing of oestrogen and progesterone production keeps the reproductive system running. Oestrogen plays an important role in the menstrual cycle (high levels induce PMS) and pregnancy. It also helps maintain strong bones and may help prevent heart disease.

Is it out of whack?

Studies suggest oestrogen fluctuations across the female lifespan may help explain our higher prevalence of obesity compared to men. Low oestrogen is a significant contributor to weight gain in our older years, particularly approaching menopause. In younger women, spiked oestrogen levels can lead to irritability, migraines, depression and a raft of reproductive disorders.

“Oestrogen is the culprit for many of our problems, from breast cancer to endometriosis, PMS and cancer of the uterus,” says GP Dr Maura McGill. “Progesterone can ameliorate the effects of oestrogen gone wild, but if we are chronically short of one hormone, we need to reintroduce the missing hormone in the most natural way possible.”

Quick fix: Avoid oestrogen-induced weight gain in your premenopausal years by eating a wholefood diet and limiting your intake of processed foods. Dr McGill recommends steering clear of high oestrogen foods like chicken and soy products at PMS time.

NEXT: 20 ways to stay diet strong>>

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Weight loss protein powders – what to look out for

Weight-loss is one of the most popular uses of protein powder, even being used as total meal replacement shakes. So what should you look out for?

How do they work?

Proteins have a ‘thermic’ effect, meaning that they create heat in the body through the process of digestion. Since proteins take a lot of energy to digest, you burn more calories after eating a meal high in protein,” says nutritionist Rosie Mansfield.

What to look for

Accredited practising dietitian Duncan Hunter, has the following advice:

  • If the protein powder doubles as a meal is to check for a greater proportion of protein than carbs and minimise sugars.

  • Many popular meal replacement-style ‘shakes’ can contain up to 50 per cent sugar! Compare labels’ 100 g column for an easy reference.

  • If you’re buying a VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diets), seek out added fibre. 

  • Also check whether the product is part of a program with online or face-to-face support.

How much and when

Any time you’d normally eat a meal.

Kilojoules

A meal replacement should provide slightly more energy than a snack – think 1,000 to 1,200 kJ compared to 400 to 600 kJ.

NEXT: Is fasting the key to weight loss?

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Eat-fasting 2.0

 

Eat-fasting 2.0 sanctions eating two meals within a 12-hour period. So does this diet plan work?

The whole fasting and eating at the same time thing has become so ubiquitous, we’re inured to the fact that it’s the stupidest oxymoron since skinny-fat.

But suspending logic and intellect for the sake of being able to buy lunch and stovepipe jeans, we’re digging scientific backing for a pro-grub upgrade to the 5:2 fad.

How does it work

Eat-fasting 2.0 sanctions eating two meals within a 12-hour period, which is – knock us down with a catwalk model’s thigh – almost normal.

According to Salk Institute researchers, the program can help the body to burn fat rather than store it, despite no weird food or kJ rules and occasional cheat meals.

They also put the kibosh on the six-meals-a-day boosting metabolism theory.

Who does it: Fitness model Dr Sara Solomon.

Browse more diet plans or connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest!

 

 

Fat burning supplements: do they REALLY work?

Fat burners are the supplement industry’s fave buzz word, but do they work and are they safe?

Supplements in the stimulants category may enhance fat oxidisation depending on the goals of the exerciser (and who you’re talking to).

According to personal trainer David Bayens (primalpt.com.au), “The benefits of caffeine are well known for fat oxidation and training drive. Green tea extract is also excellent as well as anything that supports the thyroid such as iodine.”

Consider your overall health

If you do choose to use supplements, consider what they’re doing for your overall health, not merely your fat-burning capacity.

According to Mark Ottobre, owner and director of Melbourne’s Enterprise Fitness, supplements should be viewed within the context of optimising body systems that domino into fat burning.

“You improve someone’s health; you improve their ability to burn fat. You’re balancing a deficiency in something that is required for so many functions in the body. Why would the body worry about burning fat if you’re not healthy?” Bayens says carnitine can help to ferry fatty acids into muscle tissue to be used as energy during training.

Be wary of excess calories & sugar

Maston, on the other hand, does not recommend supplements. “…The increase of fat oxidation is minimal and negated by the fact it makes people hungrier and anxious,” she says.

Supplements nested in shakes and gels can also counteract a fat loss goal.

“Some of the supplements have calories in them adding to the total intake for the day. Supplements like this also often consist of sugar or artificially sweetened ingredients that also contribute to fat mass,” Maston warns.

Pre- and post-workout protein shakes

According to nutritionist Rosie Mansfield, fat burning can be manipulated with a strategically chosen pre- and post-workout protein shake.

The optimal shake to prime the body to burn maximum fat is “a low-protein blend of soy isolate and whey protein”.

Dietitian Duncan Hunter says intake timing also affects how much fat gets burned.

“The best time to have a protein drink is within 30 minutes of finishing exercise (for example, a full body workout or weights). If it is an easy walk, it is best just to go for a whole food snack or just eat your next scheduled meal if it is within the next hour or so.”

To ensure you’re not cancelling out your workout with calories, 
keep each shake to 
around 480kJ.

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1,500 calorie diet review (editor road test)

If you’ve ever logged your intake in MyFitnessPal, you’ll have faced the cruel fact I recently did: you don’t get much food for 1,500 calories.

 

A couple of globs of nut butter and a protein shake and you’re down to 1,000. So when I was asked to road test Dietlicious’ 1,500 calorie seven-day plan, my head convo went something like this.

Voice 1: But I hate being hungry.

Voice 2: You could always cheat.

Voice 1: Good point. It’s not like they’re bugging the house. From this cynical vantage, the weekly delivery – seven days’ meals and snacks arrive at your door on Monday morning – made me slightly suspicious.

Voice 1: Do they call it five-seed porridge because you only get five seeds? What’s in the protein balls – sawdust?

Voice 2: There’s raisin toast in the cupboard, remember?

Here’s how it went.

Day 1: Breakfast frittata, nuts and seeds, vegetable and lentil burger, banana smoothie, Arabian beef with almond and tahini, lemon and herb quinoa and green vegies.

Voice 1: Okay, full to pussy’s bow, but they would make the first day good. Indoctrination 101.

Voice 2: You know what’s really good on raisin toast?

 

Day 2: Honey, vanilla and five-seed porridge, protein ball, chicken cacciatore with quinoa, coconut protein ball, Malaysian lamb fillet with nonya marinade, sweet potato mash and broccoli with garlic oil.

Voice 1: You do realise they’re maximising satiety by balancing protein and complex carbs? Unfair advantage.

Voice 2: You’ve still got some of that whole fruit jam.

 

Day 4: Rye toast with hummus and tomato, nuts and seeds, spinach chana dhal with chilli and basmati rice, mixed berry smoothie with LSA, lamb ratatouille with Italian vegies, lemon and herb quinoa and green veg.

Voice 1: Toast is the oldest trick in the book.

Voice 2: Don’t be seduced.

By day five’s yum cha-esque san choy bau with rice (lunch), I had to concede that this was looking like the real deal. I couldn’t imagine fitting in the optional extra salad and fruit (which fit within the 1,500 quota) and reckoned that the MyFitnessPal thing said more about my cooking than physics.

Complaints? I’d swap the smoothies for more protein balls (ay-mazing) and order from the bespoke 1,500 calorie menu.

Voice 1: They have organic fruit toast with raspberry jam.

Voice 2: Great. Mine’s gone mouldy.

 

Seven-day plan including meals and snacks $285 (excluding delivery). Visit dietlicious.com.au for menus including gluten free, low-GI, low-carb and dairy free options.

 

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Chocolate lover’s mug cake

300x600-VenusFactor-1066This chocolate mug cake is made from protein powder, cacao and stevia. Best of all, it’s ready in 65 seconds!

Ingredients: (serves 1)

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp cacao
  • 1 tsp stevia sweetener
  • 1 egg white
  • 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp skim milk

Method:

Mix all ingredients well in a mug. When a well-mixed batter is formed, microwave for 45 to 65 seconds depending on microwave power.

If mug cake rises above the edge of mug, stop to check to see if it is cooked; if there is still batter at base of mug, microwave for another five to 10 seconds.

Invert cooked cake onto plate, serve with low-fat Greek yoghurt and strawberries.

Recipe from our January BodyBlitz winner Leah Raynsford.

NEXT: 6 homemade chocolate treats>>

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Chocolate lover’s mug cake

This chocolate mug cake is made from protein powder, cacao and stevia. Best of all, it’s ready in 65 seconds!

Ingredients: (serves 1)

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tsp cacao
  • 1 tsp stevia sweetener
  • 1 egg white
  • 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp skim milk

Method:

Mix all ingredients well in a mug. When a well-mixed batter is formed, microwave for 45 to 65 seconds depending on microwave power.

If mug cake rises above the edge of mug, stop to check to see if it is cooked; if there is still batter at base of mug, microwave for another five to 10 seconds.

Invert cooked cake onto plate, serve with low-fat Greek yoghurt and strawberries.

Recipe from our January BodyBlitz winner Leah Raynsford.

NEXT: 6 homemade chocolate treats>>

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