Brown Fat

Fat, usually associated with white or yellow globules that stick to your body in unwanted areas, may not be as bad as previously thought. Some fat, primarily brown fat, or baby fat, may actually help in the battle of obesity. Unlike its white counterpart that stores energy, brown fat burns calories to generate body heat.

Until recently, brown fat was thought to exist only in infants. But researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts, found that not only do adults have brown fat, but those who are thinner have more than those who are not.

Who has Brown Fat?

Researchers believe that most adults have brown fat located primarily in the neck, above the collarbone and in the upper chest area. But the amount each person has depends on specific factors. Mainly, younger adults have more than older, thinner adults with normal blood glucose levels have more than those who are obese, women are more likely to have it than men, and patients who use heart drugs known as beta blockers have less brown fat deposits.

Help in the Fight Against Obesity and Diabetes
All three studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 8, 2009, examined tissue sample from over 2000 patients. Scientists used a high-tech imaging positron-emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) scan to determine how many calories were used and how much fat was burned.

The results suggest that brown fat plays an important role in regulating blood glucose levels and burning excess calories. It also shows that brown fat is more active in colder weather.
According to the article by Linda A. Johnson, “Watching Your Waistline? Fat May Be Your Friend,” published by the Associated Press on April 9, 2009 scientists are excited about the potential this research has for the ability to control obesity and diabetes treatment as well.

In the CNN article, “Brown Fat Burns Calories—May Lead to New Obesity Treatments, by Anne Harding on April 10, 2009, Dr. Aaron Cypress of the Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that these preliminary results may lead to the creation of drugs that help increase brown fat activity and burn extra calories. As of right now, the drugs on the market to fend obesity primarily try to decrease calorie intake.

Healthy Diet and Exercise Still Important

But Cypress also warns that brown fat alone will not contribute to dramatic weight loss. Even those who had high levels of brown fat only burned an additional 500 calories. Healthy eating habits as well as exercise is still the best way to lose weight.

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Tighten Loose Skin

Losing weight takes time, dedication, commitment and a lot of effort. Losing a lot of weight and maintaining the weight loss requires a complete lifestyle change. Unfortunately, many people are unhappy with their bodies after they lose a significant amount of weight because they have excess loose skin.

How Loose Skin Develops

Loose skin can occur if you lose weight too quickly, have carried the weight for many years, are getting older and have less elasticity to your skin or if you fail to exercise while you lose the weight. Diet alone isn't enough to reduce hanging skin. Even dieters who feel they have done everything correctly find themselves with excess loose skin.

Building Muscle to Tighten Loose Skin

There are some things you can do to tighten loose skin after losing weight, however. It's not a magic trick or an overnight fix, but it can be done over time with a commitment to exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

Eat the right foods. Eating the right proportion of protein and carbs at every meal helps build muscle that tightens hanging skin. For best results include nuts, lean protein, poultry, oats, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

The muscle you build under your skin helps to fill out the hanging skin left by fat loss. Your body takes on a tighter, firmer appearance over time with the help of resistance training.
Muscle revs up your metabolism. As a side effect of exercising regularly, building additional muscle mass fires up your body's metabolism. This allows you to burn calories faster, burning off the hidden layers of fat and giving your body a toned look.

Tips for Building Muscle to Reduce Hanging Skin

  • Focus on working the major muscles of the body. Though it may be tempting to spot train certain problems areas, it is less effective overall. Sagging skin under the arm will tighten up over time with a combination of resistance training and cardio. It isn't necessary to do endless repetitions of bicep curls or triceps kickbacks to see results.
  • Take time between workouts to rest your muscles. Your muscles grow when they are resting. The ideal workout schedule is to either do resistance training every other day or divide your upper and lower body workouts and alternate them.
  • Drink extra water and green tea to help kick your metabolism into overdrive.
  • Gradually increase the amount of weights you lift and the number of reps per set. Don't let your body adjust to a workout routine. Switch up your resistance training schedule often to throw your body off guard and allow it to keep burning calories and fat at a higher rate.
  • Use interval training as part of your resistance training. Alternate heavy and light session to produce better fat loss results and tighten loose skin.
  • Change your BMI to tighten loose skin. Changing your body composition can drastically change how your body looks.
Though other options exist, such as body creams and surgery, the best way to remove loose hanging skin is to follow a healthy lifestyle, eat right and commit to weight training in order to build muscle and burn more fat.

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herbs and spices

Of the many herbs and spices available, the best fat burners include those with high levels of spiciness. Cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne peppers, ginger, cloves and curry spices all boost fat burning and contribute to weight loss.

Cinnamon in the Diet Boosts Fat Burning

Adding cinnamon to food and drinks can give a healthy and festive flavor to meals, but it also may be one of the best spices for everyone from dieters to diabetics. The beneficial properties of cinnamon come from its proven ability to modulate blood sugar and help the body process carbohydrates.

According to a 2004 report from the USDA, as little as a half to one teaspoon a day can affect blood sugar levels, and similar amounts have also been shown to lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, levels. Oatmeal, hot cocoa, tea and fruit can all be flavored with cinnamon. Diet foods have never tasted so good.

Cardamom as a Thermogenic Herb

The Indian spice cardamom is known as a thermogenic herb, one that increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. In Ayurveda, the Indian system of regulating dietary health, cardamom is considered one of the best digestive aids and is believed to soothe the digestive system and help the body process other foods more efficiently. The spice is popular in Indian and Scandinavian food, but can also be added to tea and coffee to add a quick and easy fat burning boost.

Cayenne Pepper Spices Up the Fat Burn

As anyone who has taken a bite of hot pepper can attest, cayenne is a distinctly hot spice. But the heating effect doesn't end at the tongue. Cayenne pepper actually increases body temperature and speeds up metabolism, making it one of the best fat burning spices available. The active ingredient is capsaicin, which is also present in other spicy peppers. Add cayenne to Mexican, Cajun and other foods to spice up weight loss.

Cloves Help Burn Body Fat

Cloves are pungent spices commonly used in baking and to flavor meat dishes, but they also provide the added benefit of boosting metabolism and increasing weight loss. Like cinnamon, this herb lowers blood glucose, improving the body's ability to regulate insulin levels and prevent diabetes, according to Dr. Alam Khan of the Agricultural University in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Curry as the Secret to an Asian Weight Loss Diet

Curry, actually made up of a variety of spices including turmeric and cumin, is a powerful herbal blend that works best when the spices are used in combination with each other. Popular in Asian foods, including Indian and Thai cuisines, curry provides weight loss effects that could be the secret that keeps people in Asian cultures so thin in comparison to people following a typical western diet.

Ginger Boosts Metabolism and Burns Fat

A study by Australian scientists found that ginger increases metabolism, making it one of the best herbs for weight loss around. Ginger is also considered a thermogenic food and is commonly used in Asian cooking. Home cooks can toss some ginger into a soup or stir fry to gain the fat burning boost.

One of the best things about using herbs and spices to help with weight loss is that it takes so little, often no more than a teaspoon a day, to gain the beneficial effects. Using spices to burn body fat may be one of the easiest, and tastiest, ways to lose weight ever discovered. For the best fat burning diet, home cooks can mix spices with other foods that burn fat, increasing the beneficial effects and bringing their weight loss to a new level.

Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8. 2003.
Dr. Alam Khan, Presentation: Experimental Biology 2006 conference, San Francisco, CA. April, 2006
Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga , et al. Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine. Physiology & Behavior Volume 89, Issue 1, 30 August 2006
Bordia A, et al. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.) on blood lipids, blood sugar and platelet aggregation in patients with coronary artery disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1997 May;56(5):379-84.

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cellulite thighs

Cellulite is nothing more than fat under the skin which tends to look like cottage cheese primarily on the thighs and butt. There is no other substance feared and hated more by women. The desire to get rid of it is so strong that women will go to great financial and risk-taking lengths to be free of it. Billions are spent on products and treatment methods promising to make it disappear. Some of these products sound logical and others are down-right silly, but none of these get rid of cellulite. That's the sad truth.

Since there is so much money to be made from products promising to get rid of cellulite, Americans will continue to be bombarded by advertisements pushing ineffective products and treatments. It's up to the consumer to educate herself and not be vulnerable to such scams. The good news, however, is that by becoming an educated consumer there will no longer be wasted time trying things that don't work. The time will be spent using effective methods of controlling the appearance of cellulite.

If Cellulite is Just Fat Why Does It Look Lumpy in Some Places and Not in Others?

Areas of the body where more fat tends to be deposited and where skin is thinner are where the fat will take on the appearance of cottage cheese. That is why it tends to appear mainly on thighs, butt, and stomach.

There are several factors that influence whether you will get cellulite or not. They are:
  • Gender-More women than men get cellulite.
  • Genetics-It tends to run in families.
  • Fat-The more fat on the body overall, the more likely cellulite will show.
  • Skin Thickness-The thinner the skin the more cellulite will show. Women and certain ethnic groups, in general, have thinner skin than others and are more prone to showing cellulite.
  • Age-The older you get the more likely that cellulite will appear. This has to do with changes in the thickness of the skin as we age.

What are Some Ineffective Products and Treatments for Cellulite?

The numbers of products that are sold as cellulite treatments are numerous but here are a few:
  • Massage-the argument is that cellulite is caused by poor circulation and massage will improve circulation.
  • Topical creams-meant to "dissolve" cellulite.
  • Vitamins, minerals and herbs
  • Body wraps
  • Spa treatments

Some products may give a temporary appearance of improvement due to plumping of the skin rather than an actual decrease in cellulite.

Are Liposuction or SmartLipo the answers to Cellulite?

Neither liposuction nor Smartlipo is approved by the FDA for getting rid of cellulite. Despite any advertising or anecdotal claims to the contrary, there is no good science demonstrating that these expensive procedures are effective with getting rid of cellulite. To date, most doctors (including plastic surgeons) still recommend getting fit as the most effective way to control cellulite.

What are the Most Effective Ways to Control Cellulite?

Get fit. Gradually reduce overall fat, increase muscle mass through strength training, drink plenty of water, and eat healthily. It's an inexpensive method and it doesn't waste your time. There's no magical cure for cellulite but by doing what works, you'll also achieve other health and appearance benefits.

The Psychological Approach to Dealing with Cellulite

  • Accept that cellulite is just fat.
  • Think about the factors such as age, gender, and heredity that may be involved in your problem with cellulite.
  • Learn how to best lose overall fat and tone muscles so that you can reduce cellulite in a direct way.
  • When you've done all you can do sensibly, move on with life. Keep working on getting fit and have fun. Don't let cellulite get in your way.

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There are several reasons as to why a person cannot lose weight using the traditional methods of calorie reduction and increased activity. One of the main causes is Candidiasis, an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract.

Yeast is a normal part of our digestive tract which produces B vitamins that support the liver. However, since 90% of immunity is in the gut, it is important to keep the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in check.

Carolyn J. Dean a Wellness Consultant and Sports Nutritionist writes in her article, "Why Can’t I Lose Weight? -The Hidden Factor" :

"If you have symptoms of Candida, it is very difficult to lose weight and many will actually gain weight on diets. Why is this? Candida takes hold and gets out of control when our immune system becomes compromised. What compromises our immune system? So many things! Antibiotics (even a single dose), birth control pills, cortisone and prednisone types of medications and a stressful lifestyle."

When a candida sufferer diets, the body will go into survivor mode and won’t budge an ounce. Unfortunately, medical science does not recognize this as a condition unless the yeast infection becomes systemic. But there is hope for the candida sufferer.

Rethinking the Rules of Dieting

For the Candida sufferer, it is not as simple as cutting out a few extra calories. Because the yeast thrives on complex sugar, even a calorie restrictive diet will not take off the pounds. It will usually take herbal supplements to kill off the candida while following a yeast free diet.

Following the yeast free method is very strict, consisting mostly of protein and green vegetables. Many recipes can be found on the internet that can flavor the monotony of the diet, which may be very difficult to follow.

There are many natural herbs that will kill yeast. Some herbal supplements will prevent the yeast from growing and some destroy it completely. Most can be found in any health food store and even the local grocery. Such as Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, garlic and Olive Leaf.

Because the fungus is able to grow resistant, it is important to rotate supplements every few days. If rotation of herbs is not followed, the yeast will begin to propagate and it will stall the weight loss.

Probiotics Fight Yeast
Since beneficial bacteria and yeast vie for the same place in our digestive tract, it is important to take a probiotic every day. Good bacteria help fight off and push out yeast, creating a better balance to our inner ecology, aiding in the battle of the bulge. Probiotics such as Align, may be found in just about any grocery or health food store.

Yeast and sugar can be hidden ingredients in any food. It is important to read labels on packages and use yeast free vitamins. The smallest amount of sugar will derail the diet, causing a stall. But following these steps could lead to a happy, healthier lifestyle.

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lose fat while you sleep

America’s waistline is expanding. According to the National Institutes of Health, 2/3 of us—and nearly 20% of our children—are overweight or frankly obese. Obesity has become big business in the United States, and everyone—from the pharmaceutical companies to the fitness guru at the local gym—wants a piece of the adiposity pie. Health risks and economic impacts associated with the “obesity epidemic” are now frequent topics for news broadcasts, magazine articles, and even workplace discussions.

Obese people know they’re overweight. The majority of them have tried to shed those extra pounds, but they rarely seem to succeed, at least for the long haul. They’ve heard the same litany over and over: fast foods, overindulgence, sedentary living, and a lack of self-control are the underpinnings of their condition. They’re aching for something more helpful than the oft repeated eat-less-and-exercise-more advice; most of them have dabbled with unorthodox methods to lose weight. And a lot of them have heard commercials (and hoped they were true) for products that “burn calories while you sleep.” Alas, such advertisements are only designed to sell products with unproven benefits.

Oddly enough, though, there may be a nugget of truth to the sleep-obesity connection.
Recent studies have revealed that two hormones, leptin and grehlin, operate in a classic feedback loop to help control the human appetite. Leptin, which is produced by fat cells and released into the circulation, suppresses the appetite by influencing certain centers in the brain (specifically, the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus). Grehlin is secreted by specialized cells in the stomach, pancreas, and elsewhere; when it stimulates hypothalamic receptors, we become hungry. Normally, as one hormone rises, the other falls; this maintains a homeostatic balance between gluttony and starvation.

Interestingly, new research shows that insufficient sleep causes grehlin levels to increase, and likely suppresses leptin production. These hormonal shifts lead to an increase in appetite and a tendency to store fat. Furthermore, lack of sleep has been shown to inhibit the effects of insulin (a pancreatic hormone) on cellular membranes, thus decreasing cells’ abilities to metabolize fuels. In short, getting too little sleep can establish a hormonal pattern that contributes to weight gain.

Now, consider the following data from the National Sleep Foundation and a 2006 National Health Interview Survey: between 1985 and 2006, the percentage of adult Americans getting less than six hours of sleep each day increased significantly in all age groups (the NSF recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults). Surveys in adolescents show a similar pattern of sleep deprivation, particularly during those months when school is in session. Many Americans feel that insufficient sleep is part of their routine.

So, while it appears that certain overweight individuals—and anyone hoping to avoid obesity—can possibly benefit from lifestyle changes that ensure adequate sleep, intriguing questions surface in regards to the global issue of obesity in the United States:
  • Have the demands of our culture—in conjunction with the ease with which we can all reach for our next meal—created a trap that is snaring more and more victims?
  • Could we better address the problem of obesity in our society by imposing fundamental changes on all citizens’ lifestyles?
  • Would shorter workdays, nap breaks, telecommuting, or later school schedules have measurable effects on America’s obesity problem?
The answers are conjectural. But, rather than complain about the unfairness of being squeezed beside an obese individual the next time we’re on a plane or bus, it might be better to just sleep on it.

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