Entirely Free – and Effective – Weight Loss Aid

One of the things I have found most aggravating about getting older is how often my mother has been proved right. It was never used as a weight loss aid in our house for as we were on a very low income indeed it was used to fill us up and make us less hungry. What is this magical weight loss ingredient that costs you nothing and has absolutely no side-effects?

Something that I hope you already have plenty of every day in your diet — plain, simple, water. It’s something that’s been around for a long time and suggested as a way of losing weight that you drink a large glass of water before each meal and now scientists have documented that it really is true. There has been a clinical trial of this amazing weight loss-promoting liquid and the results were reported at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston.

Previous studies had already shown that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water immediately before eating a meal consumed between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In this recent 12 week study, dieters aged between 55 and 75 who drank water before every meal lost about 5 pounds more than those who did not increase their water intake.

You have to love scientists as they are incapable of taking anything at face value and so here we now have the scientific proof from a randomized, controlled clinical trial that drinking water before you eat will make you feel fuller, so you will eat less. Also research from Columbia University School of Public Health and the Harvard School of Public Health had previously found that when overweight teenagers substituted water for sweetened drinks such as squashes and colas they could eliminate an average of 235 excess calories per day.

The trick here of course is to actually get teenagers to switch from their favourite caffeine and sweetener laden soft drinks to plain water but the free report mentioned below might just help.

Free Reports

For a useful free factsheet on weight loss please cut and paste this link into your browser: http://www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk/content/cmsGoAssets/Documents/Stored/30/Water%20and%20Weight%20Management%20factsheet.pdf

And if you want to do more to help children and their water consumption there is also an excellent free downloadable factsheet ‘Hydration for Children – Back to School’ which explains the importance of adequate hydration for children both from a health perspective and from an educational perspective in terms of maximizing cognitive performance in the classroom.

It contains many helpful facts, tips, and information that will be very helpful for anyone wanting to improve the health and alertness of children. You can download it from this website www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk and then click on the link to Hydration for Children – Back to School.

Weight Loss and Help For Diabetes – the Fibre Solution

August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

Simply increasing the amount of fermentable carbohydrates found in foods such as asparagus, garlic, chicory and Jerusalem artichokes could be used to aid weight loss and prevent Type 2 diabetes according to new research currently being funded by leading health charity Diabetes UK.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 per cent of all those diagnosed with diabetes and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation. It’s also estimated that there are up to half a million people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes in the UK, which can remain undetected for 10 years or more. This means that around half of the population who are diagnosed and begin treatment for Type 2 diabetes may already have diabetes-related complications.

Sustained weight loss can delay and even prevent Type 2 diabetes and research in recent years has suggested that certain foods are particularly good at stabilizing blood glucose levels. Fermentable carbohydrates are one such example and, unlike most of our dietary carbohydrates, are fermented by bacteria in the colon rather than absorbed in the small intestine. As a result these carbohydrates cause the release of gut hormones that could reduce appetite and enhance insulin sensitivity, which could lead to improved blood glucose control and weight loss.

The research is being carried out by the Nutrition and Research Group at Imperial College, London, where dietitian Nicola Guess has been awarded a three-year Fellowship to investigate the role fermentable carbohydrates could play in Type 2 diabetes prevention. The carbohydrate will be given to participants as a daily supplement during three periods of investigation, each examining different mechanisms involved in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Risk Factors for Type 2 diabetes

The risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, more than 40 years old, being of Black or South Asian origin and having a family history of the condition. It is also increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities. There is also a more specific risk for women who contract diabetes as adults as research has shown that they are more vulnerable to both ovarian and bowel cancer.

If any of those risk factors apply to you, then some simple dietary adjustments could make all the difference and if you would like more help with diabetes information the Diabetes UK Careline (0845 120 2960) offers information and support on any aspect of managing the condition. The line is a low cost number and opens Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or visit www.diabetes.org.uk

Summer Weight Loss Needed or Help For A Healthy Prostate?

July 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Health

As this unprecedented summer weather continues, even I have been forced into shorts but warmer weather means that fewer layers provide less opportunity to disguise those extra pounds around the stomach and thighs.

CLA is a handy abbreviation for a not very snappy substance otherwise known as Conjugated Linolenic Acid. This is a fatty acid not produced by our bodies, but found in our food – in fact it is present in some of the very foods we should be avoiding when trying to lose weight; such as cream, and red meat, both of which are high in saturated fat.

CLA is so beneficial for effective weight loss because research has shown this fatty acid is extremely effective at helping our bodies maintain a healthy lean-to-fat ratio. What it does is to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down fat, which usually allows our body to absorb it, and then also increases the enzyme that breaks down stored fat; both of which result in a reduction in body fat.

Supplementing with CLA on a daily basis – and as part of a calorie controlled diet – helps reduce body fat, maintain a healthy lean-to-fat ratio, improve muscle tone, and maintain weight loss. Increasing evidence supports the extensive health benefits of Conjugated Linolenic Acid (CLA), including its ability to lower cholesterol levels, and maintain a healthy heart, and immune system. Specifically it can help those who are overweight, as it reduces hunger pangs, and increases feelings of fullness’ which can help to control appetite.

As an added benefit for non–dieters, research also proves that CLA also plays a role in preventing certain cancers, and for men, helps maintain a healthy prostate.

No supplement on its own will help you lose weight, but if you combine it with a good diet and exercise it can certainly support and speed up the process. to reach for that delicious, but fattening, ice cream. A good source is Lifeplan’s CLA which is derived from safflower oils, which are very similar to sunflower oils, as the 500mg capsules contain no refined sugar, salt, starch, lactose, gluten, or yeast. They also use CLA Tonalin®, the highest quality and leading brand of CLA available, which is supported by extensive research and clinical studies.

You should find it in independent health food stores, and if not then you can get it online at www.lifeplan.co.uk.

Mindfulness and weight loss

September 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Lifestyle


Still on the weight loss front, it is probably the sight of myself in a bikini in the holiday snaps that has made this so much in the forefront of my mind, but here’s another good reason to take up yoga. A study done at a cancer centre has shown that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, and people who eat mindfully are less likely to be overweight.

If you are concerned about middle-age spread, then it seems that regular yoga practice may help prevent it. An earlier study found that middle-age people who practice yoga gained less weight over a 10-year period than those who did not. This was independent of physical activity and dietary patterns and the researchers suspected that the weight-loss effect had more to do with increased body awareness, specifically a sensitivity to hunger and satiety than the physical activity of yoga practice itself.

Mindfulness is a skill learned either directly or indirectly through yoga and it does seem to affect eating behaviour according to the Head of a Cancer Prevention Program.

What does it mean?

Eating mindfully means being aware of why you eat, and stopping eating when full. Non mindful eating occurs when we eat when we are not hungry or in response to anxiety or depression. The way that eating a chocolate from a box is fine, but looking at the box and not remembering you ate them all definitely fits into the concept of mindless eating.

Yoga cultivates mindfulness in a number of ways, such as being able to hold a challenging physical pose by observing the discomfort in a non-judgmental way, with an accepting, calm mind and focus on the breath. This ability to be calm and observant during physical discomfort teaches you how to maintain calm in other challenging situations, such as not eating more even when the food tastes good and not eating when you’re not hungry.


If you want to practice mindfulness around food, try looking at these points when eating:

** awareness – look at your food and observe how it looks, tastes and smells

** emotional response – are you hungry, or eating in response to sadness or stress

** disinhibition – are you continuing to eat even though you are full?

** external cues – have you chosen the food in response to advertising or peer pressure

** distraction – are you just focusing on your food, or on other things like making or taking a phone call or watching TV

The only thing you need to know about losing weight


There are a million diets out there, but if you want to lose weight the only thing you need to focus on is eating less. Obvious but true, and now Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, has published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that confirms what – if you have any sense – you already know. No one diet is better than any other, just find one you like and take in fewer calories than you are currently consuming. You just need to get the ratio right between the calories you burn up, and the calories you take in and the ideal diet plan would be to have 750 fewer calories each day than you are expending.

The Professor tested out various heart-healthy diets and asked the participants to also exercise 90 minutes a week. They all lost on average around 13 lbs.after six months of dieting, or about 7% of their starting weight, regardless of which diet plan they followed. As ever I am astounded that anyone would pay good money to prove something we all know – and may not like, but that’s another issue – but the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute handed over the funds for the study and they were delighted with the findings. However, most of the participants couldn’t sustain that 750 calorie mark and most by the end of the trial consuming only 225 calories less than they expended.

The researchers concluded that this target was too high, and a gradual reduction is better, and I entirely agree with them. A small reduction in calorie intake that is gradual and sustained will see the best results and a weight loss of just 5 percent can make a substantial difference to your health. So whatever diet you choose just eat less, and exercise more = boring, but effective.

More vitamin C = More weight loss

Poor old vitamin C, it must be a totally schizophrenic soul because one week it’s the villain as it reportedly can make chemotherapy less effective – though not everyone agrees with that – and this week it’s the hero if you are trying to lose weight. A new study from Arizona State University has found that if you have low vitamin C levels it means your body burns fat more slowly and that holds up weight loss. You can take a supplement, or stock up on Vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, strawberries,kiwis and tomatoes.

Write away the weight – double your weight loss

August 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Diets, featured, Food & Nutrition, Lifestyle

Those of you who have ever been to one of my talks know how important I think it is to have a daily writing habit. Statistically, those who keep a daily journal have better emotional and mental health and it has become a favourite tool for self-help in hospitals and support groups. Now it seems it can also help you to almost double your weight loss.

A recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported on a 20 week study of 1,700 overweight or obese men and women who went through a comprehensive regime weekly group meetings, recommended daily reduction of 500 calories, 30 or more minutes of daily moderate intensity exercise, following the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and daily journal entries of how much they ate and how long they exercised. Generally, their average weight loss was just under a stone, but the more that they wrote in their journals, the more weight they lost – about twice as much as those who did not maintain records.

The idea is a simple one: by keeping a simple food diary, you realistically become more aware of how much you are eating and that helps you take control of your diet. It doesn’t matter whether you record in a book, or a computer – just make sure you enter every mouthful from the one chocolate biscuit to the sensible salad you had for lunch. Personally, I also think it helps to write a ‘mood’ section as well to show how your feel after particular foods or whether a specific mood or habit jogs you towards unhealthy eating. Whatever method you choose, just be consistent with it and you will soon see results.

Protein diets, hormones and weight loss

January 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Diets

Despite much of the adverse publicity the Atkins’ Diet has received over the last year, for many people the proof is in the pudding – or in this case lack of it. One thing about Atkins that people consistently say is that they definitely lose weight and now there may be some scientific proof of why that is the case.

Atkins is based on a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet and now a study at the University of Washington, reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, explains why protein is so effective for weight loss.

It seems that proteins are better at suppressing the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin than carbohydrates and lipids, and this means you feel more satisfied with less food. Ghrelin is thought to influence hunger around mealtime, the researchers said, because levels increase before meals and are suppressed once you start eating. The study also showed that although carbohydrate intake also initially suppressed ghrelin levels, it did not last and ghrelin levels quickly returned to above their baseline values.

This bears out what many Atkins fans claim, that they get hungrier quicker if they switch to more carbohydrate than protein in their diets. However, whatever diet you follow please ensure it contains all the essential nutrients and if in doubt check with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist.