Healthy Weight

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I love green tea. Really, any kind of tea is alright in my book but when it comes to simplicity and pure health benefits, especially when trying to get rid of a few extra pounds, it’s hard to beat. Plus, it’s a very inexpensive way to kick up your metabolism and lose weight fairly quickly.

Since I’d imagine you don’t want to read a science report, I’ll skip over exactly how green tea (or more specifically EGCG, a polyphenol found in green tea) promotes weight loss, but it simply blocks an enzyme from breaking down noradrenaline in the brain which ramps up the part of your nervous system which controls muscle tension and the release of energy from fat. So when your metabolism is increased, you burn more calories while you go about your day.

Good stuff, right? According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2005, people who consumed 270mg of EGCG daily burned an average of 180 extra calories per day when compared to a placebo. That breaks down to losing approximately 22 pounds per year by simply sipping on green tea!

The study went on to say that the 270mg was the “optimal concentration” of EGCG since the results showed that higher doses didn’t burn any additional fat or calories. What that means is you only need to drink about 3 cups of green tea (or take 270mg of green tea extract) per day to help kick up your metabolism. It’s super easy to do especially if you make it a gallon at a time to ensure that it’s always available. Worst case, Starbucks has really good iced green tea as well.

Exercise + Green Tea Extract = Knockout Punch For Fat

At least if you’re a mouse, that is. There was another weight loss study where the researchers fed 3 groups of mice a high fat diet. Next, they put the 3 groups of mice on a weight loss regiment consisting of either pure exercise, green tea extract, and a combination of the two. What happened?

  • The exercising mice lost 24 percent of the added weight.
  • The mice taking just the EGCG (green tea extract) lost 47 percent.
  • The group of mice who got both lost 89 percent of the weight they gained.

The key is these results were achieved over a fairly short period of time, so I guess that means you should pop some green tea extract, jump in one of those big balls and go for a run! Maybe not, but it’s good to know that there’s something natural and inexpensive you can do to step up the fat-burning effectiveness of your workouts.

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Evidently fatter pockets equals a slimmer waistline, or at least that seems to be the case based on a recent study conducted by Adam Drewnowski (a good Polish name if I’ve ever heard one), a University of Washington epidemiology professor who studies obesity and social class.

Between December 2008 and March 2009, his research team studied approximately 2,000 shoppers in the Seattle area by tracking their choice of supermarkets and comparing it with their income, education, and obesity rates. Obesity was measured by asking consumers to report their height and weight, then calculating body mass index (BMI). People with a BMI higher than 30 were identified as obese.

During the study, they noted that approximately 40% of shoppers at the low-priced supermarket chain, Albertsons, were classified as obese as compared with only 4% of shoppers at Whole Foods Market. For the mathematically challenged, that’s 10X more shoppers!

“That’s likely because people willing to pay $6 for a pound of radicchio are more able to afford healthy diets than people stocking up on $1.88 packs of pizza rolls to feed their kids”, the study’s lead author suggested.

Drewnowski also pointed out that the study focused only on Seattle, which at 20 percent has an obesity rate much lower than the U.S. average of about 34 percent. He doesn’t claim that the same rates would bear out in other cities, though I would imagine the results would be in the same ballpark.

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Lower Costs Foods Are Usually Calorie Dense

To me, the findings of the research make complete sense, partially due to personal experience. There was a time where I was having some financial difficulties, so I was looking to cut expenses anywhere I could. One area where I stupidly made some sacrifices was substituting low cost, unhealthy, calorie-dense foods like condensed soups, refined pastas, and TV dinners. Not surprisingly, my energy went down while my waist size went up. A big thumbs down to that one!

“If you have $3 to feed yourself, your choices gravitate toward foods which give you the most calories per dollar,” Drewnowski said.

Unfortunately I agree, my friend.

My experience did teach me a couple of valuable lessons:

  • It’s important to keep your priorities straight. I’m all for capitalism, but instead of spending money because we believe that we have to drive a certain type of car or have a huge TV with all the channels, I feel that it makes more sense to invest in your health by eating well. How often to you see someone who has a bunch of toys but claims that they can’t afford to eat healthy, organic food? Misaligned priorities, in my opinion.
  • It’s infinitely easier to make more money than to try and survive on less. I can literally think of a dozen different ways to make an extra $100-$300 a month which would more than cover any increased costs of eating good quality food (or to save for retirement, take a vacation, etc.), yet most people opt to save a few pennies by forgoing one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Anyways, what do you guys think?

Do you think the results of this study would hold up in different areas of the country, or is it limited to health-conscious areas like Seattle, WA or Austin, TX?

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The Food and Drug Administration announced on Wednesday that the days of lipodissolve injections, a popular non-surgical alternative to liposuction offered by many health spas and other practitioners, may be coming to an end due to the fact that these injections have not been proven effective or even safe to use. D’oh!

According to a statement issued by the FDA, they are “not aware of any credible scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of any of these substances for fat elimination.”

They went on to say that they’ve received complaints from former patients citing adverse reactions to the injections such as:

  • Permanent Scarring
  • Dark Spots On The Skin
  • Hard Lumps

This is exactly why when it comes to healthy fat loss I always look to safe, natural methods over pharmaceuticals. I understand the appeal of something as simple as getting a few shots to lose weight over making changes to diet and exercise, but in my opinion the risks (dangerous side effects) far outweigh the rewards. Maintaining a healthy weight is a life-long process and the benefits are truly amazing, and not just from a outward appearance standpoint either.

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