complex carbohydrates

Depending on a person’s specific glycemic index (the rate at which blood glucose is raised), complex carbohydrates can have different effects. Consumption of specific sugars has been associated with rapid obesity.

When attempting to lose weight, one group of foods that a person can monitor in particular is that of complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes, sweets, etc.). However, many who follow a predominantly vegetarian diet that includes a high proportion of complex carbohydrates generally have an easier time trying to stay thin.

The World Health Organization recommends that 55% of total dietary calories should come from carbohydrates.

Complex Carbohydrates are Important for the Metabolism of Fat and Other Material
A sufficient quantity of complex carbohydrates is important for a person’s diet, since they are a major source of energy. Whether someone becomes overweight or not depends on, among other things, the speed with which he digests, absorbs and raises blood glucose, which is the end product of the digestion process of complex carbohydrates.

This factor is called the glycemic index (GIs). The more quickly someone can raise his or her blood glucose, the higher the glycemic index of a specific food.

Blood glucose values should remain within limits. When the blood glucose increases, the pancreas secretes insulin to facilitate its transport to cells. If insulin secretion increases sharply, due to the consumption of foods with a high glycemic index, the cells become glucose abundant.
This causes a surge of energy. However, if they exceed cellular needs, the excess complex carbohydrates simply end up becoming fat reserves in the long run. Subsequently, there can also be a significant lowering of blood glucose, that is, an uncomfortable feeling of hunger and fatigue. This creates a desire for quick sugar, creating an unhealthy dietary circle.

Complex carbohydrates, by contrast, do not cause these ups and downs. Due to its slow digestion, glucose is absorbed in a more gradual manner, and insulin secretion is also more reserved.

In individuals predisposed to obesity, these fluctuations may contribute, over the years, to creating a disorder of insulin resistance, which in its extreme form is adult diabetes, a type of diabetes that is not due to a lack of insulin secretion from the pancreas, but rather, from a loss of insulin receptors on the cell walls.

This has been linked to obesity in ways complex carbohydrates haven’t.

How to Get Complex Carbohydrates from Food

Complex carbohydrates can be obtained from honey, sugar, fruit juice. Consumption of flours rich in complex carbohydrates, as well as their derivatives, such as sweets, bread, etc.

Complex carbohydrates can also be obtained from fresh fruit, which also happens to contain a large amount of fiber. Ingestion of grains, legumes and vegetables also help to provide complex carbohydrates.

The more refined a food is, the higher its glycemic index. Refined cereal and white rice, for example, have a glycemic index that is higher than that of brown rice. If the grains are removed from the seeds and peel, your digestion is faster.

Moreover, flour increases the surface exposure of molecules to the digestive enzymes, increasing the speed with which they are digested, and this impacts the glycemic index also.

In the case of foods made with flour (bread, pasta, and breakfast cereals) the type of grinding involved with the production of the grain also affects the glycemic index. The more fine the grinding, the higher the glycemic index will be.

Breads abundant in complex carbohydrates made with coarsely ground flour, especially those containing whole grains or seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower), have a very low glycemic index.

This rule applies to pasta as well; the more soft and fine grained it is, the more elevated the glycemic index will be, so it may be better to cook the pasta similar to what Italians like to call "al dente."

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teen obesity

Kathlyn Gay takes a serious look at these issues in her book, Am I fat? The Obesity Issue for Teens. She explores the common factor in obese teens, how dieting effects teens, if Bariatric surgery is a valid option for teens needing to lose weight and how we can prevent teen obesity.

Factors of Teen Obesity

  • Genes that store more fat
  • The body’s natural instinct to protect itself against starvation
  • Eating more calories than you burn throughout the day
  • Emotional makeup
  • Economic status
  • Lack of sleep affecting hormones
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Changes in products to make them taste better (often with more sugar)
  • Living in a fast food world
  • Unhealthy school lunches and vending machine choices

Teens on a Diet

Teens are more likely to follow a fad diet because of the bombarding advertisements on the subject on TV, the radio, the Internet and in magazines they read. Without the experience of knowing how to determine if a diet is an opportunistic fad diet or a real way to lose weight, teens may fall for the deceptive advertisements. The appeal is usually to lose weight quickly without much effort.

Teens need to educate themselves on how to spot a fad diet and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle to promote weight loss. Experimenting with different diets from no carb and calorie restrictive diets to detox plans and miracle weight loss drugs often leave teens weighing more than when they started and feeling worse about themselves over their diet failures.

Bariatric Surgery and Teens

Should teens consider weight loss surgery? Morbidly obese teens with a BMI of 40 or more may be considered for Bariatric surgery as a last resort. Weight loss surgery carries a lot of health risks for teens and most surgeons will not perform the operation on a teen unless they are fully grown and have developed life-threatening health problems. Bariatric surgery is a big step and it is a personal decision that needs to be made between the teen and their parents, along with a knowledgeable surgeon.

How to Prevent Teen Obesity

TV commercials, Web sites and even Sesame Street characters are spreading the word about making small lifestyle changes to prevent teen obesity.
Some schools have taken an active role in educating teens about healthy food choices and providing healthier meal options at school.

But the most important factor in teen weight loss is their family. Parents who support their teen, act as a role model and get active with their teen are more successful at preventing teen obesity than those who don’t.

Am I fat? takes an honest look at the obesity issues teens face. The book offers practical advice for teens and their parents on preventing obesity, losing weight, and developing healthy habits for life.

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body composition testing

The following methods of defining body fat percentage offer an accurate and scientific reading, as well as being a bit more convenient, accessible, and affordable than other methods.

Bioelectrical Impedance

Electrical signals are measured as they pass through fat, lean mass, and water when using the BIA test, according to the new-fitness.com article "Body Fat Analyzing - Comparing Methods for Measuring Body Fat." Lean body mass, because of its high water content, is very conductive. The current between two electrodes is measured and then the resistance reading, in ohms, is applied to formulas to acquire the body composition measurement. This type of test is now available as a scale from several companies for convenient, affordable, and accurate testing at home. These scales use handgrip electrodes and feet electrodes to complete the measurements required for an accurate body composition profile.

Calipers

Skin fold testing is based on the body fat stored directly beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat). The amount of subcutaneous fat is measured by pinching folds of skin and fat at several locations. The skin fold test is performed with a hand-held vice-like instrument called a skin fold caliper. The caliper jaws pinch a fold of skin and fat, measuring the fat fold thickness in millimeters. The sum of the measurements is used in a calculation to derive a body fat percentage.
Specifically designed for self-testing is the skin fold caliper called the Accu-Measure. This caliper is found to be just as accurate as the sum of three skin folds taken by an experienced tester, according to Tom Venuto in Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (2004). This caliper is convenient and affordable and accurate for home testing.

Underwater Weighing

Although this method is not nearly as convenient and affordable as the two mentioned above, it is considered the "gold standard" of body composition testing, according to Venuto and has been around for a long time. With this test, a person is weighed outside of a water tank, then immersed in water and weighed again. Fat floats and muscle sinks. Someone with more bone and muscle density weighs more in the water, indicating a higher body density and a lower percentage of fat than a person with less bone and muscle density. Factors to consider to assure test accuracy include people with denser bones (athletes, young people) may appear to have lower body fat percentages when measured this way, according to Venuto. Another factor, according to Venuto, is residual volume which is the amount of air left in the lungs after a complete exhale. Before being submerged, a person must exhale as much air as possible. If every bit of air isn't exhaled (which isn't possible), a person can appear to have a higher body fat percentage than he really does. Although this method is one of the most accurate, people find it cumbersome, uncomfortable, and may fear the total submersion required.

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obesogenic society

We live in a time when the environmental conditions are such that they create an obesity problem. Consider that 65% of American adults are overweight and more than one third are obese. Our lifestyles support these statistics. Our environment causes us to gain excess fat and makes weight loss difficult at best.

Social Features that Contribute to Obesogenics and Excess Fat Storage

There are many factors in our environment that cause us to gain weight and make losing weight a real challenge.
• People eat too many prepackaged foods.
• People get less exercise due to busy lifestyles (and sometimes due to the safety issues of being outdoors.)
• The market is flooded with cheap, energy-dense foods.
• Portion sizes continue to increase.
• Climate changes prevent us from getting enough natural sunlight and having a safe walking environment.
• Overweight people drink too much soda and other sugary drinks.
• People are glued to their TV and computer screens far too many hours per day.
• People rely on the technological advances that generally make their lives easier and require less movement.
• There is an over-reliance on fast foods.
Until recently, researchers have focused on many different aspects of weight loss. They have studied diets, genetics, hormones, exercise patterns, metabolism, behavioral therapy and ways to increase energy to burn more fat. It is a constant struggle to find the answer to long and lasting weight loss. Take a closer look at obesogenics and how environmental factors that affect our weight loss and weight gain is the missing piece.

Changing the Environment to Lose Weight

If our environment is to blame for our obesity problem like obesogenics suggests, weight loss is possible through environmental changes.
• Stop buying into the fast food craze.
• Stop purchasing prepackaged foods at the grocery store.
• Take a back-to-basics approach to life.
• Make exercise a priority in your daily life.
• Limit TV and computer time.
• Carefully watch your portion sizes.
• Increase the number of fruits and veggies you eat each day.
• Eat foods in their most natural form.
• Take note of the shortcuts you've grown accustomed to and stop taking the easy way out. Use a push lawnmower and stand up to change the channel on the TV, for example.

The bottom line is that making simple changes within your environment will give you the opportunity to eat smarter and exercise more, which is the magic combination for weight loss. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the only way to lose weight and permanently manage a healthy weight.

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The benefits of the acai berry are very well known because they have been featured in news headlines and on popular talk shows. But how beneficial is the acai berry for weight loss?

acai berry for weight loss

There are many health benefits of acai berry. It is very high in antioxidants, omega fatty acids, fiber, nutrients, and vitamins. These health benefits are reason enough for its popularity and why many people incorporate it into their diets. It is the reason for it being labeled a "superfood." However, the jury is still out on whether or not it is an effective weight loss supplement.

The reason for the uncertainty is that acai berry has not been significantly tested as a weight loss supplement. Scientists, nutritionists, and researchers haven't performed the necessary studies and tests. However, the test of the ingredients have be performed. The weight loss benefits of antioxidants, fiber, and the various other nutrients have been researched. Knowing this and knowing that acai berry has a high concentration of these ingredients provides insights to the weight loss benefits of acai berry.

How does the acai berry really help with weight loss?

Better Nutrition

Acai berry is very beneficial to overall health. If a pure acai berry is being used, the supplement can be used to ensure that the diet is healthier and more nutritious. Since losing weight requires consuming less calories, it is often the case that nutrition and vitamins are also reduced in the process. Acai berry can be used to supplement any nutrition that is lost during a diet.

Suppressing the Appetite

Acai berry is nearly 42% fiber, and contains a high level of Omega 3,6, and 9 fats. These are both very effective in suppressing the appetite and in preventing snacking between meals. In addition, fiber and the omega fatty acids can help make the digestive tract more efficient.

Increase Metabolism and Have More Energy

The omega fatty acids, fiber, amino acids and vitamins in acai can also help to boost metabolism. And a boost in metabolism can help burn more calories — even at rest. In addition, with more energy it becomes easier to exercise longer and harder, and then to recover faster.
Though acai berry is touted by many manufacturers for weight loss, the jury is still out. It is most famous for its high antioxidant levels, which is often the main reason many people use this supplement. It is also very important to know that supplements, including those with acai berry, are not going to provide weight loss without a proper diet and exercise. Though acai berry does have ingredients known to assist in weight loss, the main benefits of acai berry are its health benefis.

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ball exercises

Almost everyone would like to lose some fat around their middle and gain more defined abdominal muscles. The secret to success is simple enough: eat healthily and get more exercise.

However, there are some exercise routines that will help remove that stubborn belly fat faster than others. One option is the large gym ball, which is a fun and effective piece of equipment in the fight against the flab. Here are just some of the ball exercises that will help shift abdominal fat.

Lose Belly Fat with the Ball Lift

The ball lift is a simple exercise, which is a great workout for the abdominal muscles. To perform this exercise, simply lay face-up with the ball between the ankles. Next, squeeze the ball between the ankles and lift until the feet are pointing towards the ceiling. Slowly, bring the feet and ball back down to the ground.

When first trying this exercise, it is recommended that 10-12 reps are performed twice a week. Obviously, over time, as the abdominal muscles get stronger the reps and frequency of the exercise can be increased.

Get Defined Abs with Exercise Ball Crunches

Crunches are a well-worn abdominal exercise and the exercise ball crunches are widely thought to be the best workout for the abs. Moreover, it is an incredibly simple routine, which can be done while watching television. Simply, sit on the ball (crossing the arms over the chest or behind the head) and perform approximately 20-25 crunches. First, try completing these reps at least three times per week.

Like any abdominal exercise, it is best to increase the frequency of the workout over weeks and months. However, it is important to not overdo the workout in the early stages, especially for those who are unused to frequent and regular exercise.

Fight Stomach Fat with the Ball Curl

The ball curl is similar to the ball lift, in that it is performed in a lying position. Position the feet on top of the ball and then lift the hips as high as possible. Next, try to pull the ball under the buttocks using the heels. This is a tricky manoeuvre that requires patience and good balance.

However, once mastered, it will effectively work both the hamstrings and the abs, so it is worth persisting with. Try to perform at least 10-12 reps per session, but if it is particularly difficult, aim for fewer.

Of course, these are just three of the ball exercises that will help reduce stomach fat. However, they are among the best workouts for the abdominal muscles. By including these exercises in a weekly workout regime and combining them with a good diet, dramatic fat loss and definition can be achieved.

Remember, if any of the above exercises become painful, it is advisable to discontinue it immediately.

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