Sunday, September 24, 2006

Diets, Diets, DietsDo They Work?

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Diets, Diets, DietsDo They Work?

Almost everyone has attempted to follow diets and weight loss programs at some time in their lives. The trouble with so many diets and low fat diets is that they are hard to follow. Some diets leave you hungry and craving food all the time. A healthy diet is one that you feel good about following and encourages you to eat in a healthy way while at the same time reducing the overall calorie content.

When choosing from among the many diets available, keep in mind what your reason is for altering your eating and exercise habits.

Do you want to feel better and have some more energy?

Are you tired of not fitting into your clothes and that has caused you to consider one of the weight loss diets?

Experts agree that its not good to try and loose excess weight in a quick manner. Its better to take your time and incorporate a package of exercise, proper nutrition and, in general, balance.

As with all new diets, weight loss and exercise plans, its always best to consult with your physician and have a complete physical examination before starting.

There are many different diets products to choose from. Choose from only the best providers of coral calcium products that offer great prices. That way youll be guaranteed quality and they can even be shipped right to your door.

About The Author

Mike Yeager, Publisher

Related Links:

You Are What You Eat

Why Many Fat Free Diets Do Not Work

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Diet and Exercise Tips

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Diet and Exercise Tips

The formula for weight loss is unique to the individual, but the path may begin with something as simple as a tasty low-calorie recipe and a 15-minute ab routine. The below mini-guide explains body mass index, popular diets and offers simple recipe modifications.

Working the Abs

The most popular area of the body people want to improve upon is their abs. If you feel trapped in the world of the mundane sit-up, there are many different ways to work your abs without killing yourself or needing to buy convoluted machinery.

Try doing scissor crunches:

First, lay down flat on your back with your legs straight.

Next, cross your arms across your chest and sit up until your elbows contact your legs.

Start off doing 3 sets of 25 or so repetitions.

If you have an exercise partner, or desire an exercise you can do with a partner, try doing sit-ups with a ball.

Get in a sit up position and on your way up, have a friend throw you an exercise ball (5-12 pounds ideally).

Go back down with the ball, and on your way up, toss your friend the ball back.

Continue this process until your friend tells you to stop. Just kidding! Try 3 sets of 25 reps again.

Body Mass Index explained

Your weight isnt always indicative of your health and fitness level. In fact, it can be a very arbitrary number. Many experts suggest your body mass index (BMI) is a much more telling statistic because it considers your weight, height, and body type to calculate your body fat. In so doing, your BMI calculation gauges when extra pounds begin to be a health risk.

The BMI Formula: weight X (height X height) X 704.55

To calculate your body index, you divide your weight by the product of your height squared. Then you multiply by 704.55. According to BMI medical guidelines, if the number you come up with is 25 or less, you are of normal weight (if it is 18 or less, you are underweight). Body Mass Index calculators, such as the one found at can perform these calculations for you. The only information you need to enter is your sex, height, weight, and waist size.

Popular fad diets explained

There have been many diets introduced in recent years preaching that they can help you lose tons of weight in minimal time. There is weight loss success for some while others struggle to stay committed long term. The premise behind almost all of these diets (i.e. the Atkins diet, the grapefruit diet, vegan diets, etc.) is that an entire food group is being scantily used, if not, altogether cut out from a dieters list of allotted foods. Such drastic alterations in your diet could give you the short-term results youre looking for, but actually may hurt your health in the long run. For this reason, it is important to know the ins and outs of a potential diet before you decide to jump on the bandwagon.

The Atkins diet pioneered the idea of the evil carbohydrate

Vegan and vegetarian diets are often scorned for lacking protein (despite steps taken to incorporate non-carnal proteins into such diets)

Low-fat diets are faulted with providing too little fat, and consequently the body has nothing to absorb nutrients with

Weight Watchers and other such diets often require too much portion control for the casual dieter, and as a result seem destined for failure

The grapefruit diet a rather extreme example of abandoning core food groups and nutrients

Food Label Meanings

Knowing what certain words on your food label actually mean is important. Common ingredients such as flour and high fructose corn syrup actually mean refined, sugar-filled carbohydrates, or bad carbohydrates. According to health author Lee Dobbins, carbohydrates that come from fruit, vegetable, and whole grain sources often get a bad rap. However, if these foods are actually put under the microscope, there is no reason to scrutinize their nutritional value they fuel and cleanse your body.

Good-for-you Recipes

Dieting does not require cutting all of your favorite foods. If you make a few lifestyle decisions substitute low-fat or low-calorie ingredients for those ingredients that contain higher levels you can consistently eat well and not even notice. Recipe connoisseurs Kim Beardsmore and Jeff Rosales have a number of good-tasting as well as good-for-you recipes.

Spicy chicken cacciatore can be prepared and contain less than 250 calories with a recipe that naturally calls for lean chicken breast and a tomato based sauce as opposed to fatty cream sauces.

If youre looking for a breakfast suggestion, try banana toast. If you alter the traditional French toast recipe by substituting whole eggs with egg whites and by using skim milk, you have a much healthier meal.

*About the Source: The complete ArcaMax Publishing Diet and Exercise guide can be found at Other news and special sections available at include vacation planning, gardening, parenting tips for the new school year, and much more.

Related Links:

You Are What You Eat

Why Many Fat Free Diets Do Not Work

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Coconut Oil Diets

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Coconut Oil Diets

Have you heard about coconut oil diets yet? People are adding coconut oil to their diets and are getting incredible results. They are losing weight, getting more energy, and getting healthier.

Coconut oil is safe to use, and does not turn to fat in your body. It raises the metabolism, so you burn more fat and have more energy. It does not increase your cholesterol, but actually helps lower it. Coconut oil is wonderful diet addition for just about everyone.

Alexis says, Let me tell you how it has been working for me. The first thing I noticed is that I had a lot more energy. Then I started noticing that the regular exercises I had been doing suddenly started working. The fat was beginning to turn to muscle. I didn't lose weight the first week or two, but I am losing weight now! And I now have enough energy to start increasing my exercise workout times, when before it was a struggle to exercise at all. I love this diet!

"What Coconut Oil DOES NOT Do:

* Does not increase blood cholesterol level.

* Does not promote platelet stickiness or blood clot formation.

* Does not contribute to atherosclerosis or heart disease.

* Does not contribute to weight problems."

What Coconut Oil DOES Do:

* Reduces risk of atherosclerosis and related illnesses.

* Reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions.

* Helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal (including yeast) infections.

* Supports immune system function.

* Helps control diabetes.

* Provides an immediate source of energy.

* Supports healthy metabolic function.

* Improves digestion and nutrient absorption.

* Supplies important nutrients necessary for good health.

* Supplies fewer calories than other fats.

* Promotes weight loss.

* Helps prevent osteoporosis.

* Has a mild delicate flavor.

* Is highly resistant to spoilage (long shelf life).

* Is heat resistant (the healthiest oil for cooking).

* Helps keep skin soft and smooth.

* Helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.

* Helps protect against skin cancer and other blemishes.

* Functions as a protective antioxidant."

From Bruce Fife's Book, "The Coconut Oil Miracle".

If you would like more information on coconut oil dieting, check out the Coconut Oil Diet Secrets site at:

By Dianne Ronnow, 2005 Mohave Publishing. All rights reserved.

Dianne Ronnow is an Internet marketer, author, publisher, and business professor. She has worked in the real estate and the health care industry and is particularly interested in diet and nutrition.

Her best selling book reveals how thousands of people are losing weight and getting healthier with coconut oil diets. To find out what the secrets of coconut oil dieting are, Check out her site at: Get the book now and start losing weight today!

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Diet and Exercise Tips

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Carb Crazed

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Carb Crazed

Low Carb diets have become as popular as apple pie (although apple pie wouldnt be allowed!). Everywhere you go the message is low carb, decrease your carbs, or no carbs. Unfortunately this message oversimplifies many of the healthy eating habits that nutrition experts have been teaching. The truth is, there are no quick fixes or easy answers when it comes to healthy eating, and one size never fits all.

The idea that carbohydrates are bad or unhealthy is a misunderstood message that has taken over our thoughts on good nutrition. Low carbohydrate promoters push the theory that carbohydrates are to blame for the nations obesity problems. The truth is overeating and general lack of exercise are mostly to blame for the obesity epidemic. Think about it this way, if the theory was true that carbohydrates cause weight gain then every person including famous athletes who eat carbs regularly would be obese. It just doesnt add up.

The Truth About Carbs:

Proponents of low carb diets claim that when carbs raise blood sugar and insulin levels, the process can make our bodies store fat more readily. This is true, but did you know that all carbs are not created equal?

There are different kinds of carbohydrates: simple and complex as well as low glycemic and high glycemic. This is where most people fail to understand better carbohydrate choices. There are no bad food choices just those foods that should be eaten daily and those that should be eaten once in awhile.

Fruits and Vegetables:

While it is true that fruits and vegetables are made up primarily of carbohydrates, the majority of them have a low glycemic index (glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly a food increases the blood sugar). This is because fruits and vegetables contain fiber which naturally keeps blood sugars level. Fruits and vegetables are also the most important food groups in our fight against chronic diseases. They are loaded in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals which act like our own personal arsenal against chronic diseases. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research has compiled over 4000 studies and has concluded that eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day can decrease our cancer risk by 20%. Eliminating fruits and vegetables from your diet can lead to potentially serious health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

Whole Grains- The Important Difference:

Both whole grains and refined grains (sugar, white bread, pasta, etc) are high in carbohydrate but whole grains, found in foods like oats, barley, brown rice and whole wheat breads and cereals, contain all parts of the plant kernel thus keeping their important fiber content intact. Refined grains are stripped of these nutritious components during the milling process. Yes, it is true that eating large amounts of refined carbohydrates on a daily basis can drive sugar levels up quickly. However, the fiber in whole grains slows the rise in blood sugar and therefore the insulin response.

In fact, eating small amounts of whole, complex carbohydrates throughout the day can keep blood sugars at a more even level preventing insulin rises and weight gain. Research shows that people whose diets are high in whole grains and fiber decrease their risk of diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.

Portion Control:

The flip side of the coin is that most people consume extremely large portion sizes of carbohydrates, eating more refined carbohydrates than the healthy complex carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. The answer, however, is not to give up all carbohydrates. It is not all or nothing as we learned from the low fat craze. We need to learn how to balance our diets to provide enough energy and nutrients that we get from all of our food groups throughout the day. By removing all carbohydrates from your diet you are setting yourself up for potential health problems not to mention bad breath (side effect of ketosis), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and low energy levels.

Very low carbohydrate diets would not be of concern to health professionals and nutrition experts if they werent so significantly low in important nutrients and so high in saturated fats. Recent studies have found that low carbohydrate diets are deficient in as many as 19 vitamins and minerals and as many as 11 micronutrients. According to Dr. Bruce Ames, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkley; vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as these can lead to DNA damage that can cause you to age prematurely and could lead to cancer and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons. There is further evidence that these diets can lead to other diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. It is important to remember that these diets were developed for weight loss and not healthy eating guidelines.

Bottom Line:

Choose small amounts ( cup to 1 cup) of whole grains with each meal. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day and you will be able to manage your weight and your health at the same time! People who have achieved lifelong weight loss have done so by making lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet and increasing their daily activity, not by following fad diets.

Most importantly, dont depend on fad diets to give you nutrition advice. They generally look at a small piece of the puzzle instead of looking at the whole picture. There is no need to increase your health risk to lose weight. Choose to eat a balanced diet and increase your activity so you can lose weight and maintain optimal health at the same time.

Meri Raffetto, 2004

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian and a recognized professional in the area of nutrition and wellness. She has developed online weight management programs to help people get off of diets and get into way of life. For more information or to sign up for her free newsletter, visit

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Can a Fad Diet Ever Be Useful?

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Can a Fad Diet Ever Be Useful?

What is a fad diet? Walking the less resistant way seems to be a part of our nature. Of course most over-weight people want to get rid of their excessive pounds yesterday, if possible. Many more or less serious weight loss e-diet or online diet makers know this and try to take advantage of a person's various diet needs. The weight loss diet industry is so big and competitive that dietary sensations can seem necessary to stand out from the crowd. This is what we call fad diets.

Fad-diets often promise to bring instant weight loss. Most fad-diets are not diets for life. They are normally short time diets, not balanced at all and are not designed for obtaining a sustainable weight loss. What a crash diet might do for you however, is get you started with your dieting. A fad crash diet might be the flying start of the weight loss proccess that you need. If you only use fad diets as starters, like a catapult for changing your eating and exercise habits permanently, it shouldn't do you any harm. If you decide to start up a fad or any diet for that matter always consult your physician first. I take no responsibility whatsoever for any health damages it may cause you.

Don't over-exert yourself whether it be exercise, working and other things that may require an effort.This might be too stressful on your system even if you're feeling fine during the diet. If you get an acute attack of hunger during the dieting, drink a glass or two of water. It will fill up your stomach and remove the worst hunger feeling. Another tip is to suck on ice when you're dieting.

If you haven't yet built up your will power, stay away from social activities like going out dining with friends, birthday or wedding parties with lots of food and alcohol when dieting. Since the duration of most fad diets are very short, it should be possible to avoid such situations. Try to limit the period of dieting to maximum 7 days at a time. Most of these fad diets are not meant to be kept for longer periods of time. Non balanced diets will not supply you with the nutrition your body need to function normally.

When the diet period is over, don't run to the closest MacDonald and eat 3 Big Macs with triple servings of french fries and a gallon of Coke or sit in front of your TV eating Pizza and Beer. Celebrate the end of your dieting, but not with food.

Now you can start up with a balanced diet. This crash diet hopefully gives you a flying start of a sustainable and healthy weight reduction.

Terje Brooks Ellingsen is a writer and internet marketer. He runs the website Terje enjoys to give advice and help people with fad diets for fast weight loss like negative calorie food as a starter for severe over-weight people.

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Best Fad Diets

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Diet Articles

Best Fad Diets

What are the best fad diets? It's a question I'm often asked. Unfortunately, I'm not really in favour of fad diets, so it's a difficult one to answer.

It's not that I'm against all fad diets on principle. But if there's one message I'd like you to take away from my website, Obesity, it's that there's no silver bullet. No one shot cure ... no best fad diets.

That's the message I hope you take away from this article.

Your ideal weight loss solution should comprise a basket of cures, each chosen to suit your specific needs. A diet, fad or not, may be one ingredient of that basket. But one size does not fit all.

However, if you are going to choose a fad diet as part of your weightloss basket, you should at least be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

In this article, I'll outline some of the main categories of fad diets and some of the pros and cons of each.

High-Fat, Low-Carbohydrate Diets

Millions of Americans have joined the low-carb craze and started high-fat, low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet and the Zone Diet. They are made up of about 60% fat, 10% carbohydrate, and 30% protein. These fad diets say you can eat high amounts of fat and protein while getting very low amounts of carbohydrates in the form of vegetables.

The main premise of the low-carb diet is that a diet low in carbohydrates leads to a reduction in bodys production of insulin.

The end result is that fat and protein stores will be used for energy. So you stuff yourself full of unlimited amounts of meat, cheese, and butter, and only eat a small portion of carbohydrates.

But here's the catch...

People who start the diet usually lose a great amount of weight, but its not permanent weight loss. Instead of burning fat, they lose water and precious muscle tissue.

Furthermore, these diets are low in several nutrients and contain excess amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats, substances that increase the risk of heart disease.

Plus, regardless of what they claim, the enormous amounts of protein put a strain on your kidneys.

Not exactly a promising contender for the best fad diets title!

Moderate Fat Diets

Next, there are the moderate fat diets. Moderate fat diets include diets like Weight Watchers, the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, Herbalife and Jenny Craig.

These diets are made up of about 25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, and 15% protein. They encourage the intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and essential fatty acids found in foods like olive oil and salmon.

These diets are usually nutritionally balanced if the dieter eats a variety of foods from all categories. For example, Weight Watchers operates on a point system where foods get a number of points based on calorie, fiber, and fat content.

Dieters get a specific number of points they can use for the day. While its not encouraged, they may choose to spend most of their points on carbohydrates instead of balancing it out. This could lead to deficiencies in nutrients such as calcium, iron, and zinc.

Herbalife counters this shortcoming with a range of nutritional shakes and vitamin products.

If followed properly (and backed by judicious supplementation), these diets are probably the most successful for losing weight and keeping it off... A possible contender for the best fad diets title.

Low and Very Low-Fat Diets

Finally, you have your low-fat and very low-fat diets. Fad diets in this category include the Dr. Dean Ornishs Diet and the Pritkin Plan, among others. They are made up of about 13% fat, 70% carbohydrates, and 16% protein.

These diets are mostly vegetarian diets and dont recommend eating a lot of meat. Like the low-carb diets, you can eat unlimited amounts of certain foods. Because you cant eat a lot of meat, these diets are deficient in zinc, vitamin B12, and essential fatty acids.

Also, it is so restrictive that people find a hard time staying on it for life and end up gaining their weight back.

So, that's a brief outline of some of the main fad diet categories. And, yes, you're right I haven't told you definitively what I think are the best fad diets. But read the above carefully and you'll see I've nudged you in a certain direction.

That's as far as I'm prepared to go without knowing more a bout your specific circumstances.

This is really something you need to decide for yourself. Your needs will be different from others.

While rapid weightloss diets are generaly inadvisible, perhaps you have valid reasons for needing to lose weight fast. In which case, maybe a low-carb diet, despite its many disadvantages, is what you need right now. You can always switch to a different program later.

The choice is yours...

But don't decide right now.

To help you make a better informed choice, I've devoted a page on my website to fad diets with links to summaries of the more popular ones -

And be sure to browse the rest of the site while you're at it. You might well find something else that suits your needs better than even the best fad diets.

Alan Cooper is a journalist with 20 year's experience and the publisher of, a site with the ambitious aim of being a "one-stop-shop" for impartial information on obesity and weight loss solutions - including fad diets, prescription weightloss pills and natural weight loss aids.

Related Links:

Fruit Diets: Facts For Fitness

Low Carbohydrate Diet Revolution -- A History

Fad Diet Popularity

Learning How to Become a Good Loser

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Avoid These Five Common Weight Loss Mistakes

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Avoid These Five Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Mistake 1: Not changing your calorie plan as you lose weight. The fallacy of the "1200 calorie diet" plans and the like.

Most people set their calorie intake at a given number and expect to keep losing weight at the same constant rate over a period of weeks. Therefore dieters look for 1000 calorie or 1800 calorie diet plans on web.

Simply put, fixed calorie diet plans don't work. If you burn 3000 calories a day at the start of your diet, after losing weight for a week or two, you are no longer burning 3000 calories. Now you might be burning just 2800 calories.

If you maintain a constant calorie intake in the face of a decreasing calorie expenditure, your weight loss will continuously slow down as you lose weight.

If you really want to lose weight at a constant rate, you repeatedly have to:

- lower your calorie intake to accommodate the calorie expenditure drop
- exercise more to increase your calorie output
- do both

It's also important to understand that you have to set realistic and slow weight loss goals. If you opt for fast weight loss, you won't be able to sustain it for a long period unless you go to an extreme in your calorie reduction and exercise plans.

For people who want to lose 20 pounds or more, the goal should be a loss of no more than 2 pounds per week. Those who need to lose just a small amount of weight should try for weight loss of 1 pound per week.

Why does our calorie expenditure drop as we lose weight? The most important factors are:

- You weigh less! A smaller, lighter body burns fewer calories both while active and at rest

- You may involuntarily burn fewer calories than you did before. Many dieters lack energy and move around less

- Calorie restriction lowers the metabolic rate

- You have less body fat, which may further suppress your metabolic rate

These important factors contribute to an ever-decreasing calorie expenditure as we lose weight. The more we cut calories, the larger our calorie expenditure drop. Also, the leaner the dieter, the greater the calorie expenditure drop.

Now you need to understand that if you want to succeed in losing weight, you first have to make changes in your nutrition plan. I recommend burning more calories because it facilitates smaller calorie restriction and a milder calorie expenditure drop.

It's extremely difficult to estimate the rate of the metabolic drop, but as a general rule, the bigger you are, the smaller the rate of the metabolic drop. The more weight you lose, the more you must cut your calorie intake or increase your level of exercise.

If you're overweight, you might need to cut 10 more calories for every pound that you lose. If you're lean on the other hand, you might need to cut 60 calories for every pound you lose. (I chose these numbers just as an example.)

Mistake 2: Overreporting the "extra" calorie expenditure of exercise

Most people prefer to count the calories they burn while exercising as "extra" calories, but there is a difference between calories burned while exercising and "extra" calories burned while exercising!

Consider this example: you burn 300 calories by walking on the treadmill instead of your usual activity (watching TV). In reality, you need to subtract the calories you would have spent watching TV from these 300 calories in order to calculate how many additional calories you have burned.

Let's say that if you watched TV you burned 80 calories. In this specific case, you have expended 300 calories while exercising, along with 220 "extra" calories.

Calorie counters often add the calories burned exercising as "extra", and in some cases this practice can significantly influence the calorie calculations. Thus, calorie software usually counts the part of your usual activities that overlaps with the extra activities twice.

How do you estimate the "extra" calories burned while exercising?

In order to increase the accuracy of the calculations, I must first introduce the concept of MET values. MET values are a convenient way to calculate the calorie expenditure of activities.

MET values are multiples of one's resting energy expenditure per time period. In plain English, MET = 3 means burning 3 times more calories than resting. MET = 1 denotes the number of calories you burn at rest (your Resting Metabolic Rate or Basal Metabolic Rate).

No matter what you do, you burn calories at a rate of at least MET = 1, except for sleeping which has MET = 0.9. During the day, most activities include sitting and walking which have MET values between 1.2 and 3. Your total daily energy expenditure is calculated simply by multiplying your Resting Metabolic Rate by the average MET of all your activities. Is your head spinning yet?

Let's look at a real world example: Consider a female person with a Resting Metabolic Rate of 1200 calories per day. One day consists of 1440 minutes. Our example lady is burning 1200/1440 = 0.84 calories per minute at rest, which signifies a MET = 1.

Let's say our example lady just returned from an aerobics class, where she exercised for 30 minutes. General aerobic class training has a MET = 6. Our example lady has just burned 30 (minutes) x 6 (MET) * 0.84 (calories per minute) = 151 calories while exercising.

Now suppose this woman would have chatted on the internet instead of exercising (MET = 1.5). In this example, the woman substituted chatting on the internet with aerobic exercising. Keep in mind that every time you do something you substitute one activity for another, so in order to get the extra calories, we have to subtract 1.5 (chatting) from 6 (exercising). Now let's calculate the extra calories: 30 (minutes) * (6 - 1.5) (MET value) * 0.84 = 113 calories.

Let's discuss what a standard calorie counter would have done in this example: First, it will assume an average calorie burn rate of 1 calorie per minute. Then the counter will find that exercising for 30 minutes will yield 30 (minutes) * 6 (MET) * 1 (calories per minute) = 180 calories. The calorie counter will add these 180 calories to your daily calorie expenditure without considering that a part of these 180 calories is already accounted for by your regular activities.

Now do you see the difference between 113 calories and 180 calories? If that same lady spends 5 hours per week in the aerobics class, the standard calorie counters will over-report her calorie expenditure by: (180-113) * 10 = 670 calories a week.

She will thus be fooled into thinking that her metabolic rate has dropped while she just overestimated her calorie expenditure. Enter a typical weight loss plateau, wasted time, and effort. Do you have time to spend on trial and error calorie estimations?

Remember these two rules:

- Report only your extra activities to your calorie counter. If you walk to the office each day, don't log "walking to office for 30 minutes" as an extra activity. You must consider only unusual activities that actually contribute to expending extra calories!

- Always subtract the calories that you would have burned instead of exercising. As a general rule, you should subtract from 1.2 to 1.5 from the MET values. In some cases, you'll need to subtract a higher MET. If you substitute 30 minutes of bodybuilding (MET = 6) for 30 minutes of slow rope jumping (MET = 8) then the additional MET would be 8 - 6 = 2.

How do we determine the MET values of activities based on standard tables?

In order to perform the above calculations, you have to know the MET values of your activities. Standard tables provide name of activity, duration and calories. These tables assume an average calorie expenditure of one calorie per minute. To get the MET you simply divide the calories by the duration.

Example: "Bicycling, stationary, general", "20 minutes", "140 calories" MET of "Bicycling, stationary, general" = 140 / 20 = 7

I know these calculations are a bit tedious, and in many cases the standard calorie calculations are close to correct. But in some cases they can significantly over or under-calculate the calorie expenditure of activities and compromise your weight loss plan with daily miscalculations.

Mistake 3: Training with light weights and performing lots of repetitions

I have seen numerous women come to the gym, grab the lightest dumbbells possible, crank out hundreds of reps, and go home. These women usually do not achieve the results they want.

The problem with this type of weight training is that it doesn't burn many "extra" calories unless you spend a lot of time in the gym. Lifting Ken and Barbie size weights has a MET value of 3, which means that it burns just 3 times more calories than resting in bed.

By contrast, virtually anything you do during the day has a MET value of at least 1.2 to 2. Even browsing the web on your computer has a MET value of 1.5!

You have to realize that almost anything you do during the day (average MET = 1.5) has about 50% overlap in calorie expenditure with training with very light weights (MET = 3). If you work out using super light dumbbells, only about half of the calories burned are "extra".

Of course, it is possible to burn a considerable amount of extra calories training with light weights, but you'll have to extend the duration of this type of training by a wide margin. Curling 5 pound dumbbells for 4 sets of 20 reps and talking for 20 minutes in the gym isn't going to burn many extra calories.

Remember this rule: The less intensive the activity, the greater the calorie expenditure overlap with normal activities. The less intensive the activity, the more time you have to devote to it in order to expend a lot of extra calories. Always subtract a MET of 1 to 1.5 to arrive at the additional expended calories.

Mistake 4: Using "average person" calorie estimations

There are all kinds of calorie tables on the Internet showing the calorie expenditure of different physical activities. But these tables don't show your calorie expenditure! They really give you the calorie expenditure for an "average person".

These tables assume that you're an average person who burns one calorie per minute while at rest. Yes, we covered this in the first part of the article but it deserves repeating: Most men burn more than one calorie per minute and most smaller women burn less than one calorie per minute while at rest.

In reality, these standard calorie tables overestimate the calories burned by smaller people and underestimate the calories expended by bigger than average people. Combine this error with the common mistake of counting all burned calories as "extra calories" and you have a wide range of possible miscalculations.

Mistake 5: Going on a very low calorie diet (VLCD)

Research has found little or no difference in the weight loss rate of 1200 calorie diets and 800 calorie diets. The 1200 calorie threshold is the point where further calorie restriction simply doesn't yield faster results.

Diets in the range of 800 to 1200 calories per day suppress the resting metabolic rate starting on the very first day. And after several weeks on these diets, the metabolic rate drops by up to 20%. This reduction in the metabolic rate is just a consequence of the calorie restriction factor. Other factors, including the level of leanness may further lower the rate of calorie expenditure.

A large percentage of the quick initial weight loss on a VLCD consists of nothing but water. VLCDs create an illusion of rapid fat loss, but in reality most of the weight loss is due to water loss.

It's very hard to continue a very low calorie diet for a long time because the severe calorie restriction makes you feel hungrier than ever. People on VLCDs usually lack energy and move around very little. Worse still, when you stop the diet, you're prone to instant overeating. Eating a very low calorie diet is the ticket to yo-yo dieting.

Instead of going on very low calorie diets, I recommend diets with just a small calorie reduction and an emphasis on exercise. People who are overweight and know and what they are doing can stay on VLCDs for a limited time.

It is essential to get enough vitamins and minerals from supplements, because such low calorie diets are woefully inadequate in nutrients. Your water intake level should be high.

Athletes, bodybuilders, and powerlifters, must stay away from very low calorie diets because the huge calorie restriction causes a greater proportion of the weight loss to be a result of muscle loss.

Hristo Hristov owns X3MSoftware, a company specializing in developing diet and fitness tracking software. Hristo has a degree in Computer Science and passion for strength training. Hristo has designed and written Fitness Assistant, X3MSoftware's leading software product. Download your demo at Download Diet Software and Fitness Software by X3MSoftware

Related Links:

Protein - The Denominator Customary to All Diets

Healthy Eating Habits

Foods and Diets Litigations

Exercise and Low Carb Diets Make Poor Partners

Atkins Diet -- The Final Verdict

Diet Resource Site

Diet Articles

Atkins Diet -- The Final Verdict

Supporters of the Atkins Diet claim that a low carbohydrate diet is a safe and effective method for losing weight. This article evaluates the low carbohydrate diet and specifically the claims made about ketosis.

The Low Carb-Ketosis Link

By severely limiting carbohydrates in your diet, the main energy source used by your body, glucose, drops to low levels. In return, insulin levels also drop. With low glucose and low insulin levels, the body turns to alternative sources of energy.

Because of a significant change in your body's chemistry when on the Atkins Diet, certain metabolic pathways are turned "on" that are normally not "on" or run at very low levels. One such pathway involves the breakdown of fat, called Beta-Oxidation of Fats.

Now, normally fats are broken down to produce energy when your body senses a need. But in the context of a low Carb diet, the normal breakdown pathway of fats is altered and an alternative pathway kicks in. This alternative pathway produces what are called ketone bodies.

Ketosis is the term used to describe when ketone bodies are circulating in your bloodstream. The ketone bodies can be used as alternative sources of energy by, most importantly, your brain.

In case you might be curious, the three ketone bodies produced by this alternative pathway for breaking down fat are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. These ketone bodies are formed in your liver and then are transported to other tissues, mainly the brain. In your brain, they are converted back to a form that can provide direct energy during times of starvation.

Here is the whole process...

1. Atkins Diet lowers glucose and insulin (the body's main energy source)
2. Alternative pathways are turned "on" to provide energy
3. One alternative pathway breaks down fat and produces ketone bodies
4. Ketone bodies represent the state called ketosis
5. The brain uses ketone bodies as an alternative source of energy

So, the Atkins Diet (and any low Carb diet) produces a low energy state (low glucose) that causes the breakdown fat using an alternative pathway that leads to the development of ketosis.

So far it sounds pretty good. By limiting Carbs in your diet, you can essentially force your body into breaking down stored fat, the very thing you need to get rid of to lose weight.

But there are problems...

Atkins Diet and Toxicity

Ketone bodies are toxic. Many supporters of low Carb diets claim that ketosis is safe. They state that they are natural byproducts of fat breakdown and even babies have high levels of circulating ketone bodies.

First, they are not natural by-products of fat metabolism. The normal beta-oxidation of fats does produce ketone bodies but these are incorporated into the normal cycle of energy production, called the Krebs cycle. When ketone bodies are circulating in your bloodstream, it signals an abnormal physiologic state, called starvation. They are not incorporated into the normal energy cycle, the Krebs cycle, and spill into the bloodstream.

Just because your body has the ability to transport ketone bodies to certain tissues and then use them for energy, does not make it a normal process. It is an alternative pathway that turns "on" only when your body is faced with depleted levels of the main energy source, glucose.

Secondly, babies are not small adults. A baby's liver and brain tissue are made up of different chemicals and pathways, specifically geared to handle the high fat diet coming from mother's milk. These pathways change as a baby grows and starts to eat other foods. Eventually, the normal adult pathways are set up and the infantile chemistry used as evidence to support the safety of ketosis, stop working.

But this is not even related to the fact that ketone bodies are toxic. In medicine, the three ketone bodies mentioned above are classified as toxic acidic chemicals. At high levels, they can cause your blood to become too acidic, a disease state called ketoacidosis.

Granted, this is rare because most of the ketone bodies will be used by the brain as an energy source. Ketoacidosis is usually seen in type 1 diabetics. It is a medical emergency.

So, is ketosis dangerous to your body? Yes and no. Yes, ketosis represents a state of starvation. Losing weight when the body thinks you're starving is the best way to guarantee weight regain. The weight will come back and come back as fat. No, ketosis will not cause ketoacidosis in non-diabetics. And as long as you have a large storage of fat, your brain will not starve for energy.

The Final Verdict

1. As an alternative physiologic state, ketosis is not dangerous, assuming the levels of ketone bodies do not increase to acidic levels.

2. As a diet plan, ketogenic diets are not recommended because of the state of starvation they create. Your metabolism will eventually slow down setting you up for weight regain in the near the future.

3. Ketogenic diets, like the Atkins Diet, may also be dangerous not because they cause ketosis, but because they promote high protein and fat intake. High protein diets, unless you're body building, increases urea production and can damage the kidneys. Supporters claim that this just doesn't happen, reporting that no kidney damage has occurred to the millions of dieters on Atkins Diet or other ketogenic diets.

However, it is well known that microscopic damage can occur to the kidneys effecting their ability to filter the blood. But clinical signs of this damage may take several years to manifest. Chronic renal insufficiency is a concern for ketogenic dieters, which may cause problems in the years to come.


Atkins Diet and other ketogenic diets (low Carb) can be safe and effective in causing weight loss. However, I recommend keeping ketosis to a minimum and keep your carbohydrate intake above 50 grams a day. Don't follow the suggestions for reaching an "induction" phase. It's not necessary to turn "on" the alternative pathways described above and burn fat.

Remember, healthy weight loss is to burn fat and fat only. But it also involves keeping your rate of weight loss around 2-3 pounds/week. The induction phase promoted by the Atkins Diet can result in a rate of weight loss far greater than 2-3 pounds/week. It may sound good to you now, but how does gaining it all back as fat sound? Because that will happen if you lose weight too fast.

For more information on ways to experience healthy weight loss, visit

Diet Basics.

To Healthy Living!

Dr. Michael A. Smith
Chief Medical Consultant
Diet Basics Website

Dr. Smith is the Chief Medical Consultant to Diet Basics, a content rich weight loss site dedicated to all dieters fighting to lose weight. Please visit his site at...Diet Basics

One visit and you'll be convinced that Dr. Smith and Diet Basics is your on-line resource for healthy weight loss!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why Most Diets Dont Work

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Why Most Diets Dont Work

Ever thought of, known someone, or gone on a diet? You probably have. The word diet seems like a common word for someone who is unsatisfied with their current physical condition. The problem is that most diets usually end up failingin the long run. Going on a diet usually refers to eating alot less food, in the hope that it will make us lose those unwanted pounds of fat. Although there are different types of diets, 90% of them stress a strong reduction in calories one way or another.

Everyone has a certain amount of calories that they require per day to keep themselves alive and to perform bodily processes. This requirement of calories is known as Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR for short. For the purpose of this article, we will use my body as an example. My RMR is about 2500 calories/day. I will eat about 2500 calories to just keep myself alive. Note: You can calculate your RMR at

On another note, our bodies adapt to the stimuli that they are exposed to. For instance, when one lifts weights their body adapts by growing muscle, when one runs long distances their bodies adapt by building more capillaries to enhance blood flow, when one is exposed to cold temperatures their body begins to shiver in an attempt to create heat through muscle contractions, etc. The point is our bodies adapt to essentially everything that they are exposed to, including how many calories we eat per day.

So, when our bodies are exposed to a calorie deficit (a lower number of calories than our RMR) they must adapt. Lets say that I want to go on a diet and I begin to eat 1000 calories a day instead of the normal 2500 (Actually, I eat more than 2500 calories because I exercise and perform daily activities. 2500 only accounts for the calories needed to keep my body alive. Although for the sake of simplicity, we are only using the RMR. If the message within these parentheses confused you, simply ignore it.) One of the first ways my body is going to adapt is by using up my fat stores to make up for the lack of calories. This is why most diets seem to work in the beginning. The thing is, the body does not want to keep using its precious fat stores for energy. The human body does not see fat as a bad thing; it is a backup mechanism for when a calorie deficit is introduced.

Now heres the kicker. Since my body is not going to want to keep using up its fat stores, it is going to adapt by lowering how many calories my body needs per day to keep itself running (RMR). One of the main ways it accomplishes this is by eating away at its own muscle. Instead of requiring 2500 calories a day to keep my body running, my body will eventually adapt over a period of time and only require 1000 calories to keep running. Back when our ancestors lived they needed this calorie adaptation to survive when food was short and they were starving. The trouble is, the body cannot tell the difference between starvation and dieting.

Now that my bodys RMR has adjusted to the new number of calories that Im are eating, it no longer needs to use its emergency fat stores to keep itself alive. This is when your fat loss stops from a diet. In addition to this, if I decide that I want to go off of my 1000 calories a day diet and begin to eat 2500 calories a day again then there is a calorie surplus. The body does not need these extra calories so it will store them as fat. The exception to storing them as fat is when the body needs to build muscle because it has been exposed to some type of exercise or weight lifting, and even then all of the calories are not used for muscle growth.

Now that I have changed my RMR to 1000 calories per day, I have really wrecked my metabolism and its going to be harder to get to my goal of actually losing fat. That is, unless of course If I want to stay on my diet forever.

So what is the best way to lose fat without messing up my metabolism (RMR)?

A calorie deficit is required to lose weight, but eating less is not the only way to create a calorie deficit. Another safer way is to exercise. More detail can be found on this in Tom Venutos book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, which is located at You can also calculate your RMR at

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice from youre a physician or your health care provider.

Nathan Latvitis: An avid fitness researcher - helping other people realize their goals through knowledge. Nathan runs a fitness website at where you can find more fitness tips, articles, calculators, reviews, a message board, and more.

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Low Carb Recipes Actually Taste Great!

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Low-carb Diets: Fad, Fallacy, or Fact?

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Low-Carb Diets - An Introduction

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