Archive for » March 9th, 2012«

The Moment I Knew I Had To Lose Weight (SUBMIT YOUR VIDEO)

At HuffPost, we’re kicking off an exciting new project and we’d love you to participate! It’s called “The Moment I Knew,” and is a user-submitted video series where readers tell the stories of life-changing moments they have experienced. Each section of HuffPost has chosen a different theme — whether it was the moment you knew you wanted to marry your spouse, the moment you knew your marriage was over, the moment you knew you loved college, or the moment you knew you were broke. You can also tell us about any other life-defining moment you’d like to share. The possibilities are endless!

Here on HuffPost Healthy Living, we’ve suggested that you tell us about “The Moment I Knew I Had To Lose Weight.” For many, losing weight is a lifelong struggle, but we find these moments of realization particularly motivating and inspiring for anyone looking to slim down.

It’s really easy to contribute! You can create your video using YouTube or Vimeo and send the link/URL of the video to If you create your video using your laptop or mobile phone and have a video file, please attach the file in an email to

Your video submission is subject to our User Terms. Please make sure to include your full name with your video submission. Each video should be 30-60 seconds long, and should feature only you, speaking right into the camera telling your story. Please start your story with the words “The moment I knew…”

We can’t wait to hear from you! And if you have any questions, please email

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Study of the Day: Eating Chocolate for Breakfast Is Good for Your Diet

New research from Tel Aviv shows that starting the day with a full meal that includes a sweet dessert contributes to weight loss success.

PROBLEM: Though restrictive diets often result in weight loss, most obese dieters fail to keep the pounds off as soon as their cravings start to overpower their discipline. Can a more forgiving breakfast topped off with sweets help prevent this all-too-common obesity relapse?


METHODOLOGY: To determine if and how the timing and composition of meals affect short- and long-term weight loss, researchers led by Tel Aviv University’s Daniela Jakubowicz randomly assigned 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults, ages 20 to 65, to one of two diet groups with identical daily caloric intake — 1,600 for men, 1,400 for women. Those in the first group ate a low-carbohydrate diet that included a small 300-calorie breakfast while members of the second cluster were given a 600-calorie breakfast high in protein and carbs that always included dessert.

RESULTS: Halfway through the 32-week trial, participants in both groups had lost an average of 33 pounds per person. Things changed drastically soon after, however. While participants in the large-breakfast group lost another 15 pounds each, those in the low-carb group regained an average of 22 pounds each. At the end of the program, those who had less restrictive breakfasts had lost an average of 40 pounds more per person than their peers.

CONCLUSION: Starting the day with a full meal that includes a sweet dessert can bolster and maintain a dieter’s weight-loss progress.

IMPLICATION: Curbing cravings is better than deprivation for dieting success, says Jakubowicz in a statement, since avoiding sweets altogether can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term.

SOURCE: The full study, “Meal Timing and Composition Influence Ghrelin Levels, Appetite Scores and Weight Loss Maintenance in Overweight and Obese Adults,” is published in the journal Steroids.

Image: Shutterstock.

Diet review: The belly melt diet

Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Eat certain foods and let the belly fat melt. But, this is a reality. A reality of The Belly Melt Diet.

All you have to do is eat a 1,600 calorie Mediterranean-style diet with a focus on certain food items, such as whole grains, nuts, beans, lean protein and most importantly MUFA foods (shorthand for monounsaturated fat, a good fat that aids in reducing the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol in the body). With expert inputs from Dr. Simran Saini, Weight Loss Management Consultant at Fortis Hospital, we take a closer look at this diet and bring you its essentials in this diet review of the belly melt diet.

Main points of consideration for The Belly Melt Diet. The Belly Melt Diet is considered to be a 1,600 calorie-a day diet that focuses on eating small portions of monounsaturated fatty acids with every meal. Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, are plant-based fats found in olives, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate. The diet advocates that meals rich in MUFAs can actually help in reduction of belly fat.

How does The Belly Melt Diet work? The Belly Melt Diet works in a combination of two parts. The first phase of the diet is called the “Anti-Bloat Jumpstart”. It is a four-day fast-track diet designed to diminish belly bloating which is caused by development of gas or acidity due to inclusion of heavy solids and excess fluids in the diet. In this portion of the diet, you are required to follow an exact menu, which consists of four meals per day totaling 1,200 calories.

The second phase is called the “Four-Week Eating Plan”. During this part of the diet the menu is flexible but again you eat four meals which is a total of 1600 Calories per day. Every meal must contain a MUFA, such as olive oil on a salad or a handful of almonds.

Food items one can eat in this diet: What one can have in this diet matters most. This is a MUFA rich diet. Food items one can eat are oils including canola, safflower, sesame, soybean, walnut, flaxseed, peanut, sunflower and olive oil. One can also eat seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts and other nuts and seeds.

A special kind of water termed as ‘Sassy Water’ is consumed in this diet. This water contains freshly grated ginger root, cucumber, lemon and mint leaves. It purportedly helps calm and soothe your GI tract. One can also eat avocados, dark chocolates, seafoods, chicken, eggs, most of the vegetables and most of the fruits. However, the quantity should always be in moderation.

Food items one cannot eat in this diet: Emphasis is given on eating MUFAS in your meals in different oils, seeds and nuts. Thus, the not-allowed list is not so specific. But the diet does not advocate use of many saturated fats in the diet like ghee, butter and so on.

A sample diet plan for the Belly Melt Diet.

For Breakfast. To start with a MUFA option breakfast you can cook your scrambled eggs in olive oil, with a handful of spinach and mushrooms. With this have avocado slices.

For Lunch. You may have chicken breast or well cooked omega-rich fish. You may include salad garnished with slices of avocado and almonds for extra MUFAs.

For Dinner. Here you can have either tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, zucchini or a combination of all, along with fish, seafood, poultry or meat and a MUFA fat like sunflower oil as the cooking medium.

Advantages of the diet:

– The main advantage of the diet is that high consumption of MUFAS can increase your chances of balancing your cholesterol levels, improving your lipid profile and prevent chances of atherosclerosis.

– Also having a diet high in MUFA is an added benefit for women as omega 3 fatty acids from flaxseeds and olive oil help in balancing hormones and relieving women of premenopausal and pre menstrual syndromes.

– This diet, if taken in balanced portions, will help a person lose overall weight.

Disadvantages of the diet are:

– The first disadvantage of the diet is that a MUFA diet can have adverse effects if you consume too much of the foods mentioned with oil inclusions due to their high calorie content. All fats provide 9 calories per gram and if portions are not watched you may be eating 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day and may end up putting on weight rather than losing it.

– Most importantly, since this diet does not advocate any need for any exercise, the weight loss or belly trimming effect will not be sustainable for a long time and the toning required with weight loss will not be effective.

Our verdict on the Belly Melt Diet. The belly melt diet can help with weight loss and promote heart health, but there are no super foods for spot reduction at the belly alone. Do not mistake the diet’s name for any declarations of promise for quick belly fat loss.

The effect of weight loss or body trimming is overall and may not just target your belly. We also believe, and quite strongly, that the effect of any good diet is complete only in combination with a good workout program. Also, apart from weight loss, look to the belly melt diet as a healthy diet for improving your lipid profile.

Bottom-line: If you combine this diet with smart and strict portion control, exercise everyday, and don’t look for spot reduction or quick weight loss, then this diet will work for you.

Read more Personal Health, Diet Fitness stories on

Would you put a tube up your nose to diet?

Web screenshot

London – This could be the most shocking, controversial diet ever to reach Britain. It is a regime so extreme, so drastic, it makes LighterLife’s shakes-only system look like a daily five-course banquet. The KEN, or Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition diet, involves eating absolutely nothing at all.

Instead, for ten days at a time, a patented, 130-calorie a day liquid formula made up of protein and nutrients is dripped directly into the stomach via a plastic tube that goes up the patient’s nose and is taped on to their face.

At the other end of the tube is an electric pump, which works day and night to deliver two litres of the formula over 24 hours.

While on the KEN, dieters can go about their lives as normal but must carry the pump and liquid in a bag or backpack and hang it by their bed at night. They are allowed to unhook themselves from the pump for one hour a day – for bathing – and can drink water, tea, coffee (with no milk, sugar or sweeteners) or sugar-free herb teas with the tube in.

Patients could still eat or drink the wrong things if they wanted to, but they don’t feel hungry after a couple of days and, of course, they’ve chosen to be on the diet.

KEN works by sending the body into controlled starvation, forcing it to use its own fat for energy. And it works fast. Each cycle of KEN strips up to 10 percent of body weight in just ten days, without, apparently, causing any loss of muscle, and without causing hunger.

The no-food diet originated in Italy and has taken the country by storm. It was invented by Gianfranco Cappello, associate professor of general surgery at the University of Rome’s La Sapienza Hospital. Cappello is a world expert in artificial feeding, and has successfully treated 40,000 patients with the KEN diet.

Now KEN has arrived in Britain, and it’s not being promoted by some fly-by-night quack. Instead, it has been introduced by Dr Ray Shidrawi, a highly respected consultant gastroenterologist at the NHS Homerton University Hospital in London, who believes it could be the future for weight loss in the UK.

It was working with severely obese patients that sparked Dr Shidrawi’s interest in the diet. “Without carbohydrates, two things happen,” he says. “First, you don’t feel hungry. Second, your body starts to burn fat stores at a huge rate. When the diet is administered steadily over 24 hours, the body remains in a fat-burning mode.

“The heavier you are, the more weight you lose, so patients shed, on average, between four to nine percent of total body weight in ten days.”

This means someone of 14 stone (about 90kg) will lose between eight and 18lb (3.6 to 8kg)). And, after ten days off the tube, when the person must stick to a healthy eating regime, the cycle is repeated.

So far, the UK clinic has treated about 60 patients, who between them have completed 150 ten-day cycles of KEN.

Last year, 45-year-old Helen Jones (not her real name), from London, weighed 15½st – which, at 5ft 8in, made her clinically obese. She says: “I’d tried to lose weight but I have a stressful job in the City and had got into a spiral of feeling bad, then treating myself with food.”

Her sister-in-law suggested Dr Shidrawi and Helen signed up. ‘I felt fine during the treatment – I had no hunger at all.

“I lost 15lb the first time and then booked a course of three more cycles. I had ten days off in between each one, during which I ate a healthy diet as recommended by the clinic.

“Not eating for ten days gives you a break from thinking about food – which, for me, was associated with stress and guilt. Socialising was difficult though – it’s hard to nurse a black coffee while everyone else is eating.” Helen finished her fifth KEN cycle last month and has lost a total of 50lb, bringing her weight down to 11st.

But is it safe to lose weight like this?

Helen Bond, state registered dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: ‘It simply strikes me as the latest in a whole series of faddy weight-loss diets.

“It shocks me that people are willing to have naso-gastric (NG) tubes inserted in order to lose weight. Can you imagine walking into a meeting with an NG tube in your nose?

“You will, of course, lose weight rapidly on such restricted calories – but no one should slim that quickly. We recommend losing 1lb to 2lb per week, over a long period, during which time you learn how to manage your food and drink intake. The psychological and emotional reasons for over-eating also need to be addressed, which this plan fails to do.”

But Dr Shidrawi is adamant that it is safe. He says: “Before we take on a patient, we take a fully detailed medical history.

“We also check their body composition – how much is fat, how much is muscle etc, both before and after the treatment. Sixty-six percent of the weight patients lose is fat, 30 percent is water, and they don’t lose muscle at all.”

Dr Shidrawi argues that his diet is more natural than our current carb-heavy way of eating. “Early humans all lived on a ketogenic (fat burning) diet of meat and fat. Of course, we couldn’t put someone on a diet like this for weeks on end, but for ten days it is safe and improves health.”

Almost anyone can go on the KEN diet, though it’s not suitable for people with kidney failure or an allergy to milk proteins.

And unlike the high-protein Atkins Diet, it is recommended for people with heart problems. The KEN diet formula “isn’t a super high-protein diet, which can strain the kidneys,” says Dr Shidrawi.

The main side-effect, he adds, is constipation, caused by a total lack of fibre. But all patients are given laxatives and are also asked to test their urine every day. Ketones (created when your body burns its own fat) are expelled via the urine and breath, so another side-effect is bad breath.

Dr Shidrawi agrees that being on the diet can be difficult.

“You don’t feel hungry, but you can feel very tired. My wife did it, and lost 11 lb in ten days, but she felt terrible – exhausted. But then she didn’t have much weight to lose.”

Isn’t the process of putting in the tube horribly unpleasant? Again, Dr Shidrawi insists not. “I know the concept is worrying and scary, but we use a superfine tube designed for children. There is no sensation of the liquid passing down the throat at all.”

Conventional wisdom has it that weight lost this fast will be regained with equal speed. Again Dr Shidrawi says this is not a problem.

“Cappello has data on 1,800 patients and it shows that, a year on, 85 percent of the weight has stayed off. KEN won’t stop you gaining weight as we all tend to, year on year, but it resets the clock – in ten days you can lose a year’s worth of creeping weight gain.”

As for the inconvenience of lugging the pump everywhere, and the social stigma of having a plastic tube hanging out of your nose, Dr Shidrawi shrugs. “The pump is very light and extremely quiet,” he says.

“And my patients report people helping them with their bags – they often think they have cancer and are under medical treatment.”

In his newly established private clinic in London, Dr Shidrawi has set the price for treatment, including ten days of nutrition, supplements and loan of the £1,000 pump, at £375 for the initial cycle and £350 for subsequent ones.

“It’s important to me that ordinary people can afford this treatment,” he says. “I see the difference it makes. They have often tried and failed, and lost all hope of losing weight. This gives them hope back. And for some of them, it gives them their life back.”

Other experts, though, are sceptical. Independent nutritionist Ian Marber says: “This is probably the most extreme diet I’ve ever encountered. I’m gobsmacked this is being offered to people who aren’t ill, or at the very least morbidly obese. It’s a terrible indictment of the times we live in that food is such an enemy that people want to do this.”

But Dr Shidrawi is unrepentant. ‘If diets worked, if healthy food worked, we wouldn’t have obesity.

“People try and fail, so what do we do, look at obesity and just let that happen? I will not do that.” – Daily Mail

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Dietitians spread the word on healthy diets – Meriden Record

WALLINGFORD — Since Maryann Meade started working as a registered dietitian in the late 1970s she has noticed that many people don’t know how to put a meal together.

“A lot of people say that they don’t know what to eat,” said Meade, a Wallingford resident. “They don’t know how to create a meal. I remind them that if they’re having a plate of pasta it’s the same thing as having a slice of bread. There has to be a vegetable or a fruit that goes with it.”

To help raise awareness of nutrition and encourage people to eat balanced diets, Meade is planning a free question-and-answer session at the Wall ing ford Public Library. She and another dietitian, Colleen Thompson, who is a professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut, will host the informational event on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to noon.

“This raises the issue to a conscious level,” said Beth Devlin, community services librarian. “If you have questions regarding your diet this is your opportunity to ask. I hope people take advantage of it.”

Preparing for the session, Devlin has collected books on nutrition and healthy living to put together a display. In just a few days, Devlin noticed that more than half of the books had been checked out.

“That tells me there’s a huge interest in nutrition, so I expect a big turnout,” she said.

The informational drop-in session is taking place during what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has designated “National Nutrition Month.” The national nutrition campaign, started in 1973, was originally a week, but the academy extended the effort to raise further interest in nutrition.

“It gives more time to bring awareness to people,” Meade said. “There are different things that are going on. The hospitals always have some type of program and there are programs that people will do in school systems. This is a must of making people aware. Sometimes these are the things that get people ready to make a change.”

After years of working as a dietitian Meade noticed that much of the lack of knowledge about healthy meals is a result of families’ not cooking and eating meals together.

“That happened as the demands on the family became greater as both parents had to work,” Meade said. “Nobody gets a formal education on nutrition. You usually learn what you can do from someone else.”

Many people are turning to the Internet to get information on healthy diets, Meade said, but it can be hard to determine what is fact and what is fiction.

To begin keeping a healthy diet, Meade recommends planning meals ahead of time, shopping with a grocery list, and completing a meal with fruits, vegetables and starches.

“People don’t take the time to take care of themselves, but they should,” Meade said.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers nutrition information on its website, at

(203) 317-2234