Monday, October 02, 2006

Do Jet Lag Diets Work?

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Do Jet Lag Diets Work?

Anti jet lag diets have been around for some time now, but do they work?

Perhaps the best know anti jet lag diet is the Argonne Diet, developed at the Argonne National Laboratory in 1982. Over the years thousands of people have downloaded copies of this diet online and it is reputed to have been used by an impressive list of people including the late President Ronald Regan, the US Secret Service, the CIA and the US Army and Navy. In addition, it is purported to have been used by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian swim team.

However, when you realize that the only evidence to support the effectiveness of this diet is a study conducted by the US military, this list of 'supporters' doesn't perhaps seem quite so impressive.

On the surface the US military study does appear to support the effectiveness of the diet, although the report (published in 2002) pointed out a number of problems with the study and stated that "larger and better controlled studies need to be used to verify the usefulness of the Argonne diet".

Perhaps the biggest problem with this study however lies in the reasoning behind the study and in the group of people used for the study.

The US military deploy hundreds of thousands of troops around the world every year and jet lag has a significant effect upon their operations. Preventing jet lag is thus something of a priority issue. However, curing jet lag on this scale can also be a very expensive business and so looking for a simple, inexpensive, convenient and readily available solution, with few if any side-effects was essential. It is not perhaps surprising therefore that they focused their attention of the possibility of using a diet as nothing could be simpler, or cheaper, to implement. It also represented a natural solution, without any of the emotional or medical problems so often associated with the usual pills or injections.

Perhaps more significant though was the group chosen for the study. Volunteers were taken from 186 National Guard personnel being deployed to Korea. Of these, 95 used the diet on the outbound leg of the journey and 39 used the diet coming home.

Two questions seem to arise here.

The first question is whether or not results seen in a group of National Guard personnel could reasonably be expected to appear in the general traveling population. I think most people would agree that this can hardly be said to be a representative sample.

The second question is why only 39 people volunteered to try the diet on the return home when 95 people had used the diet on the outbound journey. Surely, if those using it for the deployment had found it effective then you would expect more than 41 percent of them to have wanted to use it again coming home.

These questions are of course important but perhaps the real question that we should be asking is why a diet should be effective at all as a jet lag cure.

Jet lag results from the inability of your body to adjust its own internal clock fast enough to bring it into line with local time when traveling. For example, when you arrive at your destination and the clock says it nine oclock in the morning and time to start the days work, your internal body clock may still be reading two oclock in the morning (the time back home) and telling you that you should be in bed.

So just how is a diet supposed to help solve this little problem?

Well, the simple answer of course is that it cant. Yes, what you eat and drink can play a part in helping your body to overcome the effects of jet lag and can assist in reducing jet lag symptoms. Diet, however, is only one small element in the equation for solving the problems of jet lag and simply making some adjustment to what you eat and drink before, during and after your journey, along with other preventative measures, is all that is required.

Curing jet lag through the use of so-called anti jet lag diets is a nice idea, but, unfortunately, it's myth rather than reality.

Copyright 2005 Donald Saunders -

Donald Saunders is the author of a number of health related publications including "Jet Lag A Natural Approach". Learn more about jet lag and pick up your free copy of "How To Get A Good Nights Sleep" to discover the secret to curing insomnia.

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Diets - Why Drastic Does Not Work

How was it for you? Did you get through the Christmas Season eating sensibly, taking exercise and avoiding the usual seasonal excesses? Or, are you sitting at your desk reading this and wondering why all of your waistbands are tight?

In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter and Christmas time are traditional periods of social excess and comfort eating. The short days curtail the amount of exercise we would naturally take and the pounds have a horrible habit of piling on.

We make New Year Resolutions to diet and these fall by the wayside, usually within hours. We get on to the wonderful diet merry-go-rounddo you remember the one? The one with horses which go up and down, just like our weight.

Our bodies and their functions are governed by a wonderfully balanced mechanism called the endocrine system which is made up of glands and hormones various. It is this system which governs our metabolic rate and it is this rate which plays a huge role in determining how efficiently we can process the calories we eat.

The balance of the endocrine system can be disrupted by many things - pollutants, artificial hormones, stress and illness. Yo-Yo dieting plays havoc with this system as the famine/feast experience is not tolerated well. During famine (diet) days our metabolic rate is reduced to conserve fuel stores and energy. Unfortunately, this rate does not then immediately increase on the feast days, causing us to put on more weight than ever.

Sometimes glands of the endocrine system cease to function as they were designed. A classic example is the thyroid gland. An underactive thyroid will cause all sorts of problems including weight gain. The ovaries can malfunction, again causing weight gain amongst other symptoms. It is worth getting any unexplained weight gain investigated by your Doctor. If you know you eat sensibly (keep a food diary to check this) and that you take regular exercise but the weight is still increasing I urge you to seek medical advice.

Experience has shown that the conventional schools of medicine are sometimes not as up to date with current thinking on endocrine problems, particularly of the thyroid, as patients would both like and expect them to be. If you suspect you have a problem but find your Doctor unsympathetic there are several excellent complementary practitioners who specialise in this field. Ask around for recommendations; look for books on the subject; do some self-initiated research on the web; do whatever you can to ensure that your knowledge is up to date and that you are in a position to make an informed choice about your medical care.

If you are carrying more than 14lbs of surplus weight it is advisable to have a routine medical check up before embarking on any weight loss programme. This will include checks for diabetes and blood pressure levels.

We know we need to weigh an appropriate amount for our height and age if we are to be healthy and active. The question is, how to achieve such an ideal?

The first thing to consider is not setting up a panic response in any of the automatic systems of your body. By introducing small changes, slowly and carefully, the body will adapt without shutting down. It is important not to make too many radical changes in one go, for two main reasons:

1. Psychologically you are going to feel deprived and will then struggle to maintain the new way of being.

2. Physiologically, if it perceives a threat, your body will alter its systems to protect itself and this will mean converting more of the calories you swallow into fat.

Once you are ready to make a start, implement just one or two changes to your diet each week. Depending on your current lifestyle you may decide on any of the following:

- Cut out all fried food

- Eat a healthy breakfast

- Eat 5 portions of fruit each day

- Incorporate appropriate exercise into your day

- Cut out the take away and ready prepared meals

- Increase the number of grown above the surface vegetables you eat

- Increase fibre levels by choosing wholemeal bread and pasta rather than white

- Determine the amount of chocolate it is OK for you to eat each day and have just that amount

-Drink one litre of water each day

Dont be tempted to radically change your diet overnight. It is like stretching an elastic band - as soon as you relax, even for a minute, you will snap back into old ways of being. Be gentle with yourself and your body, incorporate one new thing each week and wait until that has become comfortable before introducing anything else. Take it one step at a time and improve your chances of achieving and maintaining that perfect weight and enjoying the associated health benefits.

Know that the extra weight you carry did not appear overnight so it stands to reason that it is not going to disappear in a hurry. Be kind to yourself and your body. Take it one step at a time.

Donnie Harrison is a UK Based Coach and Business Mentor. Donnie works with clients who are facing a life transition and who do not want to face it on their own. She describes herself as a companion on the journey of change.

In addition, Donnie specialises in working with individuals who are setting up or building a Professional Private Practice, particularly in the healthcare sector - be it traditional, alternative or complementary. More information is available at

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Diets Dont Work

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Diets Dont Work

Any doctor worth their salt will tell you diets don't work. Plain and simple. Surprised?

Well you might be. You can't get away from all the talk about South Beach, Atkins, Low Carb, Zone ... you name it, they're talking about it. It's on TV, in magazines... everywhere you look.

And of course there are the pills, drugs and other expensive methods to lose weight. While they may be appropriate in certain cases, by and large they aren't necessary. Some can actually be dangerous to your health.

What does work, what's been proven to work time and time again is something very simple... a lifestyle change. You may not want to hear it, but it's true.

You can't eat thousands of calories, rich desserts, sugary snacks, excess fat and tons of carbs, get little or no activity and expect to lose weight with a pill!

You'll be surprised to know that you don't need to stop eating or have to exercise for hours every day to lose weight. Just a few simple lifestyle changes added daily can turn your life around quickly. You will start to lose weight within days and feel better as well.

Here are 4 tips you can use to get started today:

- Drink water.

Drinking lots of water is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health. Water delivers nutrients throughout your body, flushes toxins out of your system and aids in digestion. When you get up in the morning, start with a full glass of water before you start your day (add a little lemon if you like). Then get at least 10-12 additional glasses of water in throughout the day.

- Eat slowly.

Chew your food 10-12 times before swallowing. Your saliva starts the digestion process, and if you don't chew enough, your stomach has to work twice as hard and many times you don't get much out of the foods you eat -- except maybe some indigestion :).

- Split your entree.

When eating out, split your entree with your dining companion. Most restaurants now serve portions that are up to 8 times the recommended serving size. Supplement with a salad, soup or vegetable to complete your meal.

- Avoid sodas.

Did you know that an average soda has 14 teaspoons of sugar? Not only are these empty calories and carbs that take you on a blood sugar roller coaster and adds pounds, the sugar also can also cripple your immune system for up to 5 hours leaving your body working overtime and open to infections, viruses and the effects of stress.

Drinking one soda a day alone can pack on 16 lbs of unwanted weight! Skip that soda and watch the weight go away.

Additionally, recent studies have linked increased soda consumption with certain cancers and a loss of essential minerals from our bodies.

Mark Idzik is a health coach with a national clientele who helps his clients lose weight and make better health choices. His new report, Permanent Weight Loss Now, offers a proven way to lose weight naturally, safely and effectively. You can get more information at: Receive 37 Free Weight Loss Tips by sending email to:

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