Improving mothers’ nutrition before and during pregnancy is pivotal to reducing child stunting in developing countries, researchers said on Tuesday, as a new study showed poor child growth often starts in the womb.
Defined as low height-for-age, stunting affects one in three children in the developing world and carries severe, irreversible consequences for both physical health and cognitive function.
An analysis of data from 137 developing nations by a team of Harvard scientists found the leading cause of stunting is fetal growth restriction (FGR) – poor fetal growth in the womb resulting in a baby being abnormally small at birth.
Almost a quarter of a total of 44.1 million estimated cases among two-year-olds in 2010 were attributable to FGR, according to the study published on Tuesday.
Researchers said the findings called for “paradigm shift” from interventions focussed solely on children to those also targeting mothers and mothers-to-be.
“It highlights the importance of developing a comprehensive intervention programme to target moms and their families even they get pregnant in order to help their children’s growth in the future,” study co-author Kathryn Andrews told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview.Greater emphasis should be placed on ensuring that mothers have enough to eat and improving their diet with nutrient supplements, Andrews said.
FGR was already known to be one of numerous causes of stunting but the study was the first to rank each cause’s relative contribution to the total number of cases, the authors said.
Poor sanitation and childhood diarrhoea had the second and third largest impact after FGR, counting for 16.4 and 13.2 percent of cases respectively, according to the research, funded by the Canadian government through Grand Challenges Canada’s “Saving Brains” programme.
Other causes include infections, poor child nutrition and discontinued breastfeeding.
Last year the United Nations adopted an ambitious set of global development goals to end hunger and poverty by 2030.
Stunting affect both areas, as children who have poor growth in their first years of life tend to perform worse at school, which usually leads to poorer earning power later on.
“Knowing the major risk factors for stunting, the global cost of poor child growth, and the number of children missing developmental milestones are key pieces of information in ensuring children not only survive, but thrive,” said Grand Challenges Canada’s CEO, Peter Singer.
1. Health benefits of eating yellow moong dal with basmati rice
Moong daal and rice is a perfect combination that offers a myriad list of health benefits. This combination is widely eaten in India and the Middle East. Consumption of these two together provides high levels of nutrition to your body and makes for a low-fat, high-fibre protein rich meal. Read to know more about it:
2. Nutritional value of basmati rice
Basmati rice comes in two varieties – white and brown. One cup of cooked brown rice provides 218 calories, while white rice provides 242 calories, 8.1 g of protein, 77.1 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of fat, and 2.2 g of fiber per cup.
3. Nutritional value of yellow moong dal
One cup of cooked moong dal has 147 calories, 1.2 g of total fat, 28 mg of sodium, 12 g of dietary fiber, 3 g of sugar and 25 g of protein per serving. It is a good source of protein and is in low in carbohydrates.
4. Builds muscles
Moong dal contains amino acids and rice contains sulfur-based amino acids, both of which are required by the body for synthesis of proteins. Combination of dal and rice aids in protein synthesis, which helps build and strengthen muscles.
5. Strengthen the immune system
Moong dal is known to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help in fighting harmful bacteria, viruses and colds. Rice has fibre called resistant starch which helps in promoting healthy bacteria in the bowel, thus boosting the immune system.
6. Provides benefits to hair and skin
Moong dal is a good source of protein and rice has good fiber content which cleanses the body and thus promotes healthy hair and skin. The best time to eat moong dal and rice is in the afternoon as it can easily digest at this time.
7. Prevents anemia
Moong dal contains a good amount of iron which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Therefore, consuming moong dal meets the iron deficiency in your body and reduces the risk of anemia.
8. Boosts metabolism
Spices like turmeric, cumin, or coriander powder are used while preparing dal which helps in boosting the metabolic process in the body. On the other hand, basmati rice contains thiamin and niacin which also help in boosting your metabolism.
This is why the nutritionists are gushing over oat milk
Nov 28, 2018, 04.12PM IST
1. Health benefits of oat milk
Oat milk is a specialized form of milk, prepared with steel-cut oats and then soaked in water and blended. It is quite delicious and a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk and a perfect option for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan or just watching their weight. It is brimming with other essential nutrients such as vitamin B, iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. One cup of oat milk has 130 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams protein and about 35 percent of recommended daily allowance for calcium. If you are thinking to switch to oat milk, here is why it is an ideal choice. Have a look at the health benefits this homemade milk.
2. Treats chronic diseases
According to various researches, consuming oats milk regularly can lower overall oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Thus, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Increases bone strength
Oat milk is an excellent source of calcium, iron and other important minerals. These minerals are very important for maintaining bone density. It will also keep your bones healthy and strong.
4. Improves vision
Vitamin A found in oat milk protects the eyes from various eye diseases like macular degeneration and oxidative stress in the retina.
5. Boosts the immune system
Oat milk helps in boosting the immune system and helps optimize the digestive process due to the presence of high level of soluble fiber in it.
6. Protects cardiovascular health
Oat milk has low levels of fat as compared to cow’s milk. It has no cholesterol and hence good for the heart.
7. Promotes weight loss
Oat milk has minisule fat content, which makes it a perfect drink for people who are trying to shed those extra kilos. Due to the presence of soluble fibre in oat milk, it will help you in keeping your stomach full for a longer period of time.
8. Cleanses the body
Drinking oat milk regularly helps in getting rid of the toxins from the body and stops abdominal bloating. It is also known for regulating your digestive system.
9. Prevents ageing
Oat milk is loaded with antioxidants that helps in protecting the body from the ill effects of free radicals, thus preventing deadly diseases like cancer and also premature aging.
1 litre of water
100 grams of oats
1 pinch of salt
Step 1: Soak steel cut oats in water overnight. After soaking, drain and rinse the oats well.
Step 2: Now, add the soaked and rinsed oats in a blender with three cups of water. Blend it for about one to two minutes or until it has an even consistency.
Step 3: Strain the milk through cheesecloth or nut milk bag.
Step 4: Store the milk in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within three to five days.
Bodybuilding is centered around building your body’s muscles through weightlifting and nutrition.
Whether recreational or competitive, bodybuilding is often referred to as a lifestyle, as it involves both the time you spend in and outside the gym.
In order to maximize your results from the gym, you must focus on your diet, as eating the wrong foods can be detrimental to your bodybuilding goals.
This article explains what to eat and avoid on a bodybuilding diet and provides a one-week sample menu.
Bodybuilding differs from powerlifting or Olympic lifting in that it’s judged on a competitor’s physical appearance rather than physical strength.
As such, bodybuilders aspire to develop and maintain a well-balanced, lean and muscular physique.
To do this, many bodybuilders start with an off-season followed by an in-season way of eating — referred to as a bulking and cutting phase, respectively.
During the bulking phase, which can last months to years, bodybuilders eat a high-calorie, protein-rich diet and lift weights intensely with the goal of building as much muscle as possible (1).
The following cutting phase focuses on losing as much fat as possible while maintaining muscle mass developed during the bulking phase. This is achieved through specific changes in diet and exercise over a period of 12–26 weeks (1).
SUMMARYBodybuilding training and dieting is typically divided into two phases: bulking and cutting. The goal of the bulking phase is to build muscle, whereas the cutting phase is dedicated to preserving muscle while losing body fat.
Benefits of Bodybuilding
There are several health benefits associated with bodybuilding.
In order to maintain and build muscles, bodybuilders exercise frequently, performing both resistance and aerobic training.
Resistance training increases muscle strength and size. Muscle strength is highly correlated with a lower risk of dying from cancer, heart and kidney disease, as well as several other critical illnesses (2).
Aerobic exercise, which bodybuilders regularly implement to reduce body fat, improves heart health and significantly lowers your risk of developing or dying from heart disease — the number one killer in America (3, 4).
In addition to exercise, bodybuilders also focus on their nutrition.
With careful planning, bodybuilders can eat in a way that not only supports their efforts in the gym but keeps them healthy too.
Following a healthy eating pattern, including nutrient-dense foods from all food groups in appropriate amounts, can significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases (5).
SUMMARYBodybuilders exercise regularly and may eat well-planned and nutrient-dense diets, both of which offer many health benefits.
Calorie Needs and Macronutrients
The goal for competitive bodybuilders is to increase muscle mass in the bulking phase and reduce body fat in the cutting phase. Hence, you consume more calories in the bulking phase than in the cutting phase.
How Many Calories Do You Need?
The easiest way to determine how many calories you need is to weigh yourself at least three times a week and record what you eat using a calorie tracking app.
If your weight stays the same, the daily number of calories you eat is your maintenance calories — in other words, you’re not losing or gaining weight, but maintaining it.
During your bulking phase, it’s recommended to increase your calorie intake by 15%. For example, if your maintenance calories are 3,000 per day, you should eat 3,450 calories per day (3,000 x 0.15 = 450) during your bulking phase (6).
When transitioning from a bulking to a cutting phase, you would instead decrease your maintenance calories by 15%, meaning you would eat 2,550 calories per day instead of 3,450.
As you gain weight in the bulking phase or lose weight in the cutting phase, you will need to adjust your calorie intake at least monthly to account for changes in your weight.
Increase your calories as you gain weight in the bulking phase and decrease your calories as you lose weight in the cutting phase for continued progression.
During either phase, it’s recommended not to lose or gain more than 0.5–1% of your body weight per week. This ensures that you don’t lose too much muscle during the cutting phase or gain too much body fat during the bulking phase (7).
Once you establish the number of calories you need, you can determine your macronutrient ratio, which is the ratio between your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake.
Unlike the difference in your calorie needs between the bulking and cutting phase, your macronutrient ratio does not change.
Protein and carbs contain four calories per gram, and fat contains nine.
It’s recommended that you get (6, 7):
30–35% of your calories from protein
55–60% of your calories from carbs
15–20% of your calories from fat
Here’s an example of the ratio for both a bulking and cutting phase:
These are general guidelines, so its best to consult with a registered dietitian to determine your individual needs based on your goals to make sure your diet is nutritionally adequate.
SUMMARYRecommended calorie intake, but not your macronutrient ratio, differ between the bulking and cutting phase. To account for weight changes, adjust your calorie intake each month.
Bodybuilding Nutrition: Foods to Eat and Avoid
Like training, diet is a vital part of bodybuilding.
Eating the right foods in the appropriate amounts provides your muscles with the nutrients they need to recover from workouts and grow bigger and stronger.
Conversely, consuming the wrong foods or not consuming enough of the right ones will leave you with subpar results.
Here are foods you should focus on and foods to limit or avoid:
Foods to Focus On
The foods you eat don’t need to differ between the bulking and cutting phase — usually, it’s the amounts that do.
Foods to eat include (7):
Meats, poultry and fish: Sirloin steak, ground beef, pork tenderloin, venison, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia and cod.
Dairy: Yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat milk and cheese.
Grains: Bread, cereal, crackers, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn and rice.
Fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, watermelon and berries.
Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, corn, green peas, green lima beans and cassava.
Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, leafy salad greens, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, peppers and mushrooms.
Seeds and nuts: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Beans and legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans.
Oils: Canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil.
Foods to Limit
While you should include a variety of foods in your diet, there are some you should limit.
Alcohol: Alcohol can negatively affect your ability to build muscle and lose fat, especially if you consume it in excess (8).
Added sugars: These offer plenty of calories but few nutrients. Foods high in added sugars include candy, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, cake and sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks(5).
Deep-fried foods: These may promote inflammation and — when consumed in excess — disease. Examples include fried fish, french fries, onion rings, chicken strips and cheese curds (9).
In addition to limiting these, you may also want to avoid certain foods before going to the gym that can slow digestion and cause stomach upset during your workout.
High-fat foods: High-fat meats, buttery foods and heavy sauces or creams.
High-fiber foods: Beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
Carbonated beverages: Sparkling water or diet soda.
Many bodybuilders take dietary supplements, some of which are useful while others are not (10, 11).
The best bodybuilding supplements include:
Whey protein: Consuming whey protein powder is an easy and convenient way to increase your protein intake.
Creatine: Creatine provides your muscles with the energy needed to perform an additional rep or two. While there are many brands of creatine, look for creatine monohydrate as it’s the most effective (12).
Caffeine: Caffeine decreases fatigue and allows you to work harder. It’s found in pre-workout supplements, coffee or tea (13).
A multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may be helpful if you’re limiting your calorie intake in an effort to reduce body fat during your cutting phase.
SUMMARYInclude a variety of nutrient-rich foods across and within all the food groups in your diet. Avoid or limit alcohol, foods with added sugars and deep-fried foods. In addition to your diet, whey protein, creatine and caffeine can be useful supplements.
One-Week Sample Menu
The diets of bodybuilders are commonly described as restrictive, repetitive and boring.
Traditional bodybuilding diets typically contain limited food selections and little variety among and within food groups, which can lead to an inadequate intake of essential minerals and vitamins (14).
For this reason, it’s important to incorporate variety into your diet to ensure your nutritional needs are being met — especially during a cutting phase when you eat limited calories.
Each meal and snack should contain 20–30 grams of protein to optimally support muscle building (15).
When you’re in a bulking phase, your food intake will be much higher than when you’re in a cutting phase.
You can enjoy the same foods in the cutting phase that you would when bulking — just in smaller portions.
Here is a sample one-week bodybuilding menu:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and oatmeal.
Snack: Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries.
Lunch: Venison burger, white rice and broccoli.
Snack: Protein shake and a banana.
Dinner: Salmon, quinoa and asparagus.
Breakfast: Protein pancakes with light-syrup, peanut butter and raspberries.
Snack: Hard-boiled eggs and an apple.
Lunch: Sirloin steak, sweet potato and spinach salad with vinaigrette.
Snack: Protein shake and walnuts.
Dinner: Ground turkey and marinara sauce over pasta.
Breakfast: Chicken sausage with egg and roasted potatoes.
Snack: Greek yogurt and almonds.
Lunch: Turkey breast, basmati rice and mushrooms.
Snack: Protein shake and grapes.
Dinner: Mackerel, brown rice and salad leaves with vinaigrette.
Breakfast: Ground turkey, egg, cheese and salsa in a whole-grain tortilla.
Snack: Yogurt with granola.
Lunch: Chicken breast, baked potato, sour cream and broccoli.
Snack: Protein shake and mixed berries.
Dinner: Stir-fry with chicken, egg, brown rice, broccoli, peas and carrots.
Breakfast: Blueberries, strawberries and vanilla Greek yogurt on overnight oats.
Snack: Jerky and mixed nuts.
Lunch: Tilapia fillets with lime juice, black and pinto beans and seasonal veggies.
Snack: Protein shake and watermelon.
Dinner: Ground beef with corn, brown rice, green peas and green beans.
Breakfast: Ground turkey and egg with corn, bell peppers, cheese and salsa.
Snack: Can of tuna with crackers.
Lunch: Tilapia fillet, potato wedges and bell peppers.
Snack: Protein shake and pear.
Dinner: Diced beef with rice, black beans, bell peppers, cheese and pico de gallo.
Breakfast: Eggs sunny-side up and avocado toast.
Snack: Protein balls and almond butter.
Lunch: Pork tenderloin slices with roasted garlic potatoes and green beans.
Snack: Protein shake and strawberries.
Dinner: Turkey meatballs, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese over pasta.
SUMMARYVary the types of foods in your diet and consume 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and snack.
Things to Keep in Mind
For the most part, bodybuilding is a lifestyle associated with several health benefits, but there are some things to know before doing bodybuilding.
Low Levels of Body Fat Can Negatively Affect Sleep and Mood
To prepare for a bodybuilding competition, competitors achieve extremely low levels of body fat, with men and women typically reaching body fat levels of 5–10% and 10–15%, respectively (14, 16).
This low level of body fat, combined with the low calorie intake, has been shown to decrease sleep quality, negatively affect mood and weaken the immune system in the weeks leading up to a competition and even several weeks after (1, 17, 18, 19).
Consequently, this can decrease your ability to function each day, negatively affect those around you and leave you more susceptible to illness.
Risks of Anabolic Steroid Use
Many, but not all, muscle-building supplements are advertised by bodybuilders who use performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids.
This misleads many bodybuilders into believing that they can achieve the same muscular look by taking the advertised supplement.
In turn, many bodybuilders, especially those at the beginning of their journey, develop unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished naturally, which may lead to body dissatisfaction and eventually the urge to try anabolic steroids (20, 21).
However, anabolic steroids are very unhealthy and linked to several risks and side effects.
In addition to being illegal to possess in the US without a prescription, using anabolic steroids can increase your risk of heart disease, decrease fertility and result in psychiatric and behavioral disorders like depression (22, 23, 24, 25)
SUMMARYWhen preparing for a competition, make sure you’re aware of the possible side effects. Also, understand that the physiques you see in supplement ads may not be realistically achieved without the use of anabolic steroids, which are very unhealthy.
The Bottom Line
Bodybuilding is judged on muscularity and leanness rather than athletic performance.
Achieving the desired bodybuilder look requires regular exercise and special attention to your diet.
Bodybuilding dieting is typically divided into bulking and cutting phases, during which your calorie intake will change while your macronutrient ratio remains the same.
Your diet should include nutrient-dense foods, 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and snack, and you should restrict alcohol and deep-fried or high-sugar foods.
This ensures you get all the important nutrients your body needs for building muscle and overall health.
Coffee is one of the world’s most beloved beverages. In fact, people across the globe consume close to 19 billion pounds (8.6 billion kg) annually (1).
If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re probably well acquainted with the “coffee buzz” that arrives not long after those first few sips. Even the aroma alone can begin to perk you up.
However, there has been some debate as to whether regular coffee consumption is really good for you — especially in light of its impact on blood pressure and heart health.
This article tells you whether coffee affects your blood pressure — and whether you should consider dialing back your daily java fix.
May Increase Blood Pressure Temporarily
Science suggests that the physiological effects of drinking coffee can extend beyond a small dose of wakefulness. Research indicates that it may increase blood pressure for a short time after consumption.
A review of 34 studies showed that 200–300 mg of caffeine from coffee — approximately the amount you’d consume in 1.5–2 cups — resulted in an average increase of 8 mmHg and 6 mmHg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively (2).
This effect was observed for up to three hours after consumption, and results were similar in people with normal blood pressure at baseline and those with pre-existing high blood pressure.
Interestingly, regular coffee consumption is not associated with the same impact on blood pressure — which may be due to the caffeine tolerance that develops when you habitually drink it (2).
Based on this data, a small to moderate increase in your blood pressure may occur after drinking a cup of coffee — especially if you drink it infrequently.
Potential Long-Term Effects
Though coffee may increase your blood pressure temporarily right after drinking it, this effect doesn’t seem to extend far beyond the short term.
For people with high blood pressure, current research suggests that daily coffee consumption is unlikely to have a significant impact on blood pressure or overall risk of heart disease (2).
In fact, coffee may provide some health benefits.
For otherwise healthy people, research indicates that drinking 3–5 cups of coffee daily is linked to a 15% reduction in heart disease risk and a lower risk of premature death (3).
Coffee contains multiple bioactive compounds that are known to have strong antioxidant effects and may reduce oxidative stress in your body (4, 5).
Some researchers theorize that coffee’s health benefits may outweigh any potential negative effects that the caffeine could have on those who drink it regularly (2).
Still, more research is needed to better understand how coffee affects human health in the long term. For now, it appears to be perfectly safe and may even be a useful habit to have.
Should You Avoid Coffee If You Have High Blood Pressure?
For most people, moderate coffee consumption is unlikely to have a significant effect on blood pressure or heart disease risk — even if you have been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure.
In fact, the opposite may be true.
Some of the bioactive compounds present in coffee may offer health benefits, including reduced oxidative stress and inflammation (2, 4, 5).
Of course, excessive exposure to caffeine is ill-advised, especially if you already have high blood pressure.
If you don’t already drink coffee regularly, you may want to wait until your blood pressure is under control before adding this beverage to your routine, as it may increase your blood pressure in the short term.
Keep in mind that eating or drinking too much of anything can lead to negative health effects — coffee is no exception. It’s always important to maintain balance in your lifestyle and dietary habits.
Regular physical activity paired with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains remain among some of the best ways to promote healthy blood pressure and heart health (6).
Focusing on these kinds of healthy behaviors is likely a better use of your energy than being overly concerned about your coffee intake.
The Bottom Line
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages, but it has been blamed for causing high blood pressure.
Research indicates that coffee may lead to short-term increases in blood pressure.
However, no long-term associations with increases in blood pressure or risk of heart disease have been found in people who drink it regularly.
Rather, coffee may promote heart health due to its high antioxidant content.
Although more research is needed, drinking coffee in moderation is likely a safe habit for most people.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet used by many people to lose weight and improve health.
It typically requires careful planning so that you stick within your daily carb allotment and keep your body in ketosis. This may mean giving up sweets, snacks and other high-carb indulgences like soft drinks and alcohol.
However, there are plenty of low-carb alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy in moderation — even on a keto diet.
This article gives you the best and worst alcoholic drinks to choose on the keto diet.
Many low-carb alcohol options are available if you follow a keto diet.
For instance, pure forms of alcohol like whiskey, gin, tequila, rum and vodka are all completely free of carbs.
These beverages can be drunk straight or combined with low-carb mixers for more flavor.
Wine and light varieties of beer are also relatively low in carbs — usually 3–4 grams per serving.
Here is how the top keto-friendly drinks stack up (1):
Type of alcohol
1.5 ounces (44 ml)
1.5 ounces (44 ml)
1.5 ounces (44 ml)
1.5 ounces (44 ml)
1.5 ounces (44 ml)
5 ounces (148 ml)
5 ounces (148 ml)
12 ounces (355 ml)
SUMMARYPure alcohol products like rum, vodka, gin, tequila and whiskey all contain no carbs. In addition, light beer and wine can be relatively low in carbs.
Keto-friendly mixers are just as important as the alcohol itself.
Watch out for common mixers like juice, soda, sweeteners and energy drinks — they can quickly turn a carb-free drink into a high-calorie carb bomb.
Instead, opt for low-carb mixers like diet soda, sugar-free tonic water, seltzer or powdered flavor packets.
These mixers can keep your carb intake low while boosting your beverage’s taste.
Here is the carb content for a few keto-friendly drink mixers (1):
Type of mixer
1 cup (240 ml)
Sugar-free tonic water
1 cup (240 ml)
12-ounce (355-ml) can
Crystal Light drink mix
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams)
SUMMARYLow-carb mixers like seltzer, sugar-free tonic water, diet soda and powdered flavor packets can keep your drink’s carb content minimal.
Drinks to Avoid
Many alcoholic beverages are loaded with carbs, some varieties packing over 30 grams in a single serving.
For example, cocktails and mixed drinks usually rely on high-carb, sugary ingredients like juice, soda, sweeteners or syrups.
Meanwhile, regular beer is produced from starch and can contain upwards of 12 grams of carbs in just one can.
Here is a comparison of the carb content of several popular alcoholic beverages — which you should avoid if you’re on a keto diet (1):
Type of alcohol
1 cup (240 ml)
1 cup (240 ml)
3.5 ounces (105 ml)
1 cup (240 ml)
4.5 ounces (133 ml)
3.5 ounces (105 ml)
12-ounce (355-ml) can
SUMMARYRegular beer, cocktails and mixed drinks are often high in carbs, loading 10–32 grams per serving. These are best avoided if you’re on a keto diet.
Moderation Is Key
Although there are plenty of low-carb, keto-friendly alcoholic beverages available, that doesn’t mean that they should become a regular part of your routine.
Even low-carb varieties of alcohol are still rich in empty calories, meaning that they supply many calories with little to no essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals.
Not only can overindulging in booze increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies over time, but it may also contribute to gradual weight gain.
In fact, in one eight-year study in 49,324 women, consuming at least two drinks per day was associated with an increased risk of significant weight gain, compared to light or moderate drinking (2).
Alcohol can also suppress fat burning and increase body fat by storing extra calories as fat tissue in your body (3).
Excessive drinking may also contribute to other serious health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, liver problems and cancer (4).
For this reason, it’s best to keep alcohol intake moderate — defined as one drink per day for women and two per day for men (5).
The Bottom Line
Even on a keto diet, there are plenty of low-carb alcoholic beverages to choose from.
Wine, light beer and pure forms of alcohol — such as whiskey, rum and gin — offer few or zero carbs per serving and are easily paired with low-carb mixers like seltzer, diet soda or sugar-free tonic water.
However, regardless of your diet, it’s best to keep alcohol consumption in check to avoid adverse health effects.
As a rule of thumb, women should stick to a maximum of one drink per day, while men should stick to two or fewer.
It has been suggested that the acidity of the diet may be related to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. To investigate this hypothesis, we tested if the acidity of the diet, measured as the Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) score, was associated with incident diabetes and diabetes-related intermediary traits.
A total of 54,651 individuals from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health (DCH) cohort were included in the prospective cox regression analyses of incident diabetes over a 15 years follow-up period. Moreover, 5724 Danish individuals with baseline data from the Inter99 cohort were included in the cross sectional, multivariate and logistic regression analyses of measures of insulin sensitivity, insulin release and glucose tolerance status derived from an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
In the DCH cohort a trend analysis showed that quintiles of PRAL score were, after multifactorial adjustment, associated with a higher incidence of diabetes (ptrend = 6 × 10− 7). HR for incident diabetes was 1.24 (1.14; 1.35) (p = 7 × 10− 7) between first and fifth PRAL score quintile.
In Inter99 higher PRAL score associated with insulin resistance as estimated by lower BIGTT-Si (an OGTT-derived index of insulin sensitivity) (p = 4 × 10− 7) and Matsuda index of insulin sensitivity (p = 2 × 10− 5) as well as higher HOMA-IR (p = 0.001). No association was observed for measures of insulin release, but higher PRAL score was associated with lower OGTT-based disposition index.
A high dietary acidity load is associated with a higher risk of diabetes among middle-aged Danes. Although adjustment for BMI attenuated the effect sizes the association remained significant. The increased risk of diabetes may be related to our finding that a high dietary acidity load associates with impaired insulin sensitivity.
Drinking a daily glass of wine for health reasons may not be so healthy after all, suggests a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Analyzing data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85, the researchers found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week — an amount deemed healthy by current guidelines — increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent, compared with drinking three times a week or less. The increased risk of death was consistent across age groups.
The study is published online Oct. 3 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
“It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health,” said first author Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk.”
Although some earlier studies have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, Hartz said the new study shows that those potential gains are outweighed by other risks. Her team evaluated heart disease risk and cancer risk and found that although in some cases, drinking alcohol may reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking increased cancer risk and, as a result, mortality risk.
“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” she said. “With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”
The new study comes on the heels of research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world and concluded that the safest level of drinking is none. But that study looked at all types of drinking — from light alcohol consumption to binge drinking. The Washington University team analysis focused on light drinkers: those who consumed only one or two drinks a day.
The Washington University study focused on two large groups of people in the United States: 340,668 participants, ages 18-85, in the National Health Interview Survey, and another 93,653 individuals, ages 40-60 who were treated as outpatients at Veterans Administration clinics.
“A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk,” Hartz explained. “Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant. As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25.”
She predicted that as medicine becomes more personalized, some doctors may recommend that people with family histories of heart problems have a drink from time to time, but in families with a history of cancer, physicians may recommend abstinence.
“If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful,” she said. “But overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy.”
The promise of a weight loss solution that actually works intrigues us daily. And with the rise of social media, it’s easy to be digitally surrounded by photos of enticing dishes, extreme before-and-afters shots, and motivational mantras.
Scrolling online, you’ll find thousands of diet-related posts daily under hashtags for keto diet, Weight Watchers, and other weight loss regimens.
One of the latest diets making the rounds is based on the 2016 book, “The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss,” by Dr. Jason Fung.
The gist of the diet is that long-term weight loss can be achieved by balancing hormones like insulin in the body, and this balancing can happen through intermittent fasting and eating whole, unprocessed foods.
Under the Instagram hashtag Obesity Code, the same kinds of promising images spark the hope of a healthier future. So is this the real deal — a diet that can help maintain true weight loss, or is it another fad?
Here’s what the experts think
Dr. Peter LePort, bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in California, said that generally speaking the theory behind the diet makes sense, but he’s unsure how practical it is.
He said while hormonal imbalance can be a problem in patients and it’s important to correct the imbalance, the book’s solutions are debatable.
For example, the program recommends eating when hungry instead of at a set mealtime, he said. But this decision to eat at a certain time is a practical one that works for the modern lifestyle, he added.
“When people ate whenever they were hungry… which means you go way back to being cavemen or living in the wild… their average lifespan was 25 to 35 years of age,” he said.
But now, he said, despite our processed foods and fixed mealtimes, we are living into our 70s.
He does agree with the recommended foods, including vegetables that grow above ground, legumes, some fruits including apples and berries, animal proteins, and olive oil and butter.
“What it comes down to is eating a balanced diet,” he said.
Registered dietitian Heidi J. Silver, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Diet, Body Composition, and Human Metabolism Core in Tennessee, expressed some concerns about Fung’s book.
“A key question is whether intermittent fasting as a strategy for weight control is sustainable over the long-term,” said Silver.
Silver pointed out that many diet studies looking at fasting have been with animal, not human, subjects.
“Studies in humans show weight regain in the months following the end of fasting periods and one study in humans, published in the journal Obesity, showed no difference in weight loss, body fat, blood lipids or insulin sensitivity index between adults who did alternated day fasting compared to those who reduced their daily intake by 400 calories,” she said.
Silver said one of the concerns related to short-term periods of rapid weight loss is that what is lost is mostly made up of water and glycogen rather than fat.
“What is not known is how the human body’s metabolism adapts over time to repeated intermittent or alternate-day fasting and it is also not known what the effects are on long-term health,” said Silver.
Registered dietitian Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections in Florida said the diet doesn’t take into account people’s different lifestyles or metabolisms.
“‘The Obesity Code diet completely ignores the individual,” she said. “[It] ignores so many facets of information that need to be considered and are vital to success and sustainable behavior change, such as what food means to people.”
Aguirre said that for most of the population, food choices reflect their culture, religion, ethical and moral beliefs, income level, political beliefs and emotional state, along with other factors.
“Essentially, someone’s food choice is their identity. It reflects them,” she said. “If someone comes in and tells you to change every aspect of your dietary patterns, one may be able to maintain that for a week, maybe a month, but at some point, you will abandon that diet or meal plan because you can’t recognize who you are anymore, making the extreme diet methods even more unsustainable and damaging.”
Aguirre said that though fasting for a few days probably won’t hurt healthy individuals as long as they don’t get dehydrated, fasting for more than a month isn’t good. She doesn’t recommend fasting at all for pregnant or nursing women, children, and those with diabetes should be very careful.
“You need vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food to stay healthy. If you don’t get enough, you can have symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, constipation, and dehydration,” she said. “Fasting too long can be life-threatening.”
Registered dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, outpatient clinical dietitian at University Hospitals in Ohio, said that though the idea of managing food intake and insulin levels sounds reasonable, additional factors must be considered.
“I think the jury on intermittent fasting is still out,” said Jamieson-Petonic. “There has been some preliminary research that supports the benefits, while others have not. I think more research needs to be done for a more definitive answer. … Caloric restriction may improve health and longevity, but we are just not sure yet.”
The bottom line
Experts are skeptical about the “Obesity Code” diet and that intermittent fasting can result in long-term weight loss. Studies on the topic are new and often involve animal, not human, subjects.
While some basics of the diet, including eating whole foods, are supported by nutritionists, they caution against a diet that’s one-size-fits-all.
Because she has one of the best-known faces in the world, you might think Taylor Swift would be all about the trendy diets and obscure eating habits that seem to consume the rest of Hollywood.
But that’s not the case. The 28-year-old, who consistently packs stadiums around the world, takes a sensible, balanced approach to eating.
“Taylor seems to have a very healthy approach to food — her diet is varied, she enjoys her food, and she pays attention to her body’s hunger and satiety cues,” says Allison Childress, PhD, RDN, an assistant professor in the department of nutritional sciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Here are 10 things to know about the pop megastar’s eating habits.
1. She’s All About Balance When It Comes to Eating
According to PopSugar, Swift sticks to salads, healthy sandwiches, and yogurt during the week. She’ll cut herself some slack on the weekends by indulging with some of her favorite foods, which include cheeseburgers and dessert.
2. She Drinks Water Regularly — and a Lot of It
“I have so much water in my dressing room — because I drink, like, 10 bottles of water a day,” she told Bon Appétit in 2012.
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3. She Starts Her Day With a Glass of Orange Juice
Also according to Bon Appétit, Swift has a glass of OJ every morning with breakfast. But Dr. Childress says to think twice before adopting this habit. “Juice contains a lot of sugar,” she says. “The sugar-to-nutrient ratio is high, meaning there are a lot of calories for relatively few nutrients.” Childress suggests reaching for a whole orange instead so you don’t miss out on fiber, which is lost during the juicing process.
4. Hummus Is One of Her Favorite Snacks
Another food Swift can’t live without? Hummus. She told Vogue that the fiber-and-protein-packed dip is stocked in her fridge at all times. Childress says that’s a great choice. “It’s high in protein and [also contains] several vitamins and minerals, such as manganese, folate, magnesium, and iron,” she says. But she warns not to go overboard. “Hummus still contains calories, and so do the foods we eat hummus with,” Childress says. “If we aren’t careful, our hummus snack can pack a meal-size calorie punch.” To keep things on the lighter side, choose carrots, slices of bell pepper, or celery instead of crackers, pretzels, and chips.
5. Swift Is a Starbucks Fanatic
One of Swift’s favorite accessories? A Starbucks cup. (Exhibits A, B, and C.) She reportedly told Lucky magazine in 2014: “Coffee’s a big part of my life. Skinny caramel lattes are a daily thing that I get excited about and I never stop being excited about.”
Coffee offers a jolt of energy, of course, but there’s more to it: The buzzy beverage has been shown to possibly reduce the risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. That said, flavored and sweetened coffees tend to be packed with tons of calories and sugar. A study published in Preventing Chronic Disease found that more than 60 percent of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts customers involved in their study purchased a drink that accounted for more than 10 percent of their daily calories, which the researchers note can lead to weight gain over time.
6. The “Bad Blood” Singer Definitely Has a Sweet Tooth
And many of the treats she eats are homemade. “I bake pumpkin bread for everyone I know, and make ginger molasses cookies and hot chocolate and chai,” she told Bon Appétit. Among her favorite things to make are Chai Sugar Cookies With Eggnog Ice Cream. She told Bon Appétit she also keeps cookie dough or a tub of cinnamon rolls on hand, just in case there aren’t any fresh baked goods available when a sweets craving strikes.
7. She’s Turned to Chia Seeds to Help With Weight Loss
According to Business Insider, Swift has used the gray seeds to stay slim. Childress says chia seeds have a reputation for being one of the healthiest foods on the planet. “They pack a powerful nutrient punch without containing a lot of calories,” she says, adding that they’re high in fiber, protein, healthy fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, and contain only 107 calories per 2 tablespoon serving, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Radar Online reported in 2015 that Swift adds chia seeds to her smoothies. Childress says you can also sprinkle them on top of yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, and even savory foods like rice and veggies.
8. She Loves Protein-Packed Eggs
Swift’s go-to breakfast is “buckwheat crepes with ham, Parmesan cheese, and a fried egg on top,” the “Delicate” singer told BonAppétit. Childress says this meal offers a great start to the day. “It’s high in protein, which will help keep her fuller longer, and it contains some carbs for a quick morning pick-me-up,” she says, though she suggests adding a serving of fruit to round out the meal.
9. Firing Up the Grill Is One of Her Favorite Cooking Methods
What’s on the menu? “I love to make burgers, grilled chicken with different marinades, garlic green beans, carrots and broccoli,” she told Bon Appétit. Childress recommends stealing Swift’s love of herbs and spices as they’re “a great very low calorie way to flavor foods,” Childress says.
10. One of Her Favorite Foods Is Chicken Tenders
She admitted in a Vogue video that if calories didn’t count, she’d eat chicken and fried food every day. Clearly, Swift is mindful enough of nutrition and calories to hold back. Have similar cravings? Try baking chicken with panko breadcrumbs for a lower-calorie, lower-fat alternative, Childress suggests.
Here are my top ten favorite tips for healthy eating all year long, with lots of amazing links to more helpful information from Reboot. This is by no means a complete list of guidelines but a few key things to get you started or keep you moving forward on the path toward healthy eating as a lifestyle.
1.) Drink plenty of water. Our bodies are about 60% water – with muscle mass carrying much more than fat tissue! We need to drink water to keep our body systems running smoothly, optimize metabolism, boost energy levels, and promote good digestion, just to name a few. Besides water, electrolytes are important especially if you exercise.
2.) Eat plenty of plants. These colorful gems provide essential phytonutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes – all of which are just as important for your health as the macronutrients we often hear about (think carbs, proteins and fats).
3.) Eat and drink often throughout the day. The jury is still out on whether 6 small meals or 3 meals is best so try to figure out what feels right for you. But overall, having high quality small snacks, “mini meals” or fresh juice during the day can help to boost energy and prevent over-eating.
4.) Eat mindfully.
Limit distractions and take time to experience eating and engage your senses. Up to 30-40% of nutrients may not be properly absorbed if you are distracted while eating. Like walking, watching TV, typing, working – all very common eating activities these days. Digestion begins in the brain so by looking at, thinking about and smelling your food, you can help your body benefit from the wonderful nutrients locked away in that meal while enjoying the experience even more!
5.) Limit processed foods.
Read labels carefully. Make natural, homemade versions of store-bought foods. Like hummus or granola bars, yum!
6.) Seek local foods often and organic foods sometimes.
Local eating not only has more nutrients it can also save you money. You don’t have to get everything organic if that isn’t feasible, for some items it matters more (like apples and strawberries).
7.) Include healthy fats in your diet.
Eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat! Many immune supportive vitamins, like Vitamin E or beta-carotene and hormones, like Vitamin D require some fat in the diet for absorption. Pass the avocado, please!
8.) Include healthy protein rich foods, including plant-based choices.
Protein rich foods can help to reduce reflux and keep blood sugar levels stable while supporting healthy muscles and your immune system. If you want to add more protein to your juices, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina or the Reboot with Joe Protein Powder are great choices.
9.) For weight management focus more on inclusion of healthy foods and less on restriction of portions.