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Weight Loss

  • Is eating saturated fat making us fat?

    Saturated fat and trans fat have been publicly demonised as the "bad fats", which have turned many of us away from consuming traditional foods containing high levels saturated fat such as butter and bacon and opting for low-fat alternatives. While most people on the street would have trouble telling saturated fat and trans fat apart, they are actually very different. Saturated fat occurs naturally and is generally found in animal products such as red meat and full cream milk. Trans fat on the other hand, is mostly made by partial dehydrogenation of oils, a process that makes the fat easier to cook and harder to spoil than naturally occurring oils. Trans fat has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, increase unhealthy cholesterol and can cause abdominal obesity. Saturated fat on the other hand, despite all the bad publicity from marketers, healthcare professionals and even government agencies, is not all that bad compared to many of the so called healthier alternatives.

    While saturated fat can increase both HDL and LDL cholesterols levels in the body, there is currently no concrete evidence associating saturated fat consumption with increased risk cardiovascular diseases (Siri-Tarino et al 2010, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Mente et al 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine). On the other hand, despite the findings in scientific studies showed that consuming saturated fat can make you gain weight, historic population figures painted a very different picture. In 1960, 45% of the calories came from fats and oils in an average American's diet, with 13% of the population considered obese and only fewer than 1% of the people had type 2 diabetes. Remember, that was before the invention of most of the low-fat alternatives so people were actually consuming a healthy dose of saturated fat each day. Today, Americans are eating a lot less fat, 12% less to be precise, however, 34% of the population is obese, that's 21% more than that of in 1960 and 11% of the people have diabetes. Correlation does not equal to causation, but these figures are staggering considering pretty much everyone blames the obesity epidemic on fat consumption.

    In my previous articles I mentioned that the current obesity epidemic is mainly caused by a lack of physical activities and a lack of sleep. Here may I add the third item to that list: too much carbs and sugar. That's right, many low fat alternatives contain high levels of carbohydrates and/or sugar. The increased consumption of carbohydrates and sugar will increase the risk of weight gain.

    I believe that if we all revert back to the fatty diet of the old days and perform regular exercise the current obesity epidemic would go away. The content of saturated fat in the food we eat is irrelevant as long as we eat natural, whole foods and have a good lifestyle. Replacing saturated fat with low-fat alternatives high in carbohydrates will probably make you fatter. Saturated fat consumption is not to blame for the ever-increasing waistline of the society.

  • Water drinking may assist weight loss

    Water is one of the most mundane yet important substances on earth. Over 50% of our body is made up of water, with the average water content slightly higher in men than in women. Most of us probably have heard the slogan that tells us to drink 8 glasses (or 2 litres) of water a day and yet, it was reported that around 75% of the population in America (Australian data not available) may be suffering from chronic dehydration due to a lack of water intake or/and an excessive amount of dehydrating beverage intake. We don't drink enough water. While drinking water has obvious benefits such as thirst quenching and life sustaining, it is the weight loss effect of water drinking that motivated me to write this article and to share this unusual information with you.

    Drinking room temperature water (22°C) can induce a thermogenic response, partly due to the fact that the body has to warm up the water to 37°C after ingestion. How much energy does it take for the body process water? Boschmann et al found in 2 independent studies using healthy male and female subjects that drinking 500mL of room temperature water can increase metabolic rate by up to 30% over the course of 60 minutes after ingestion. This energy-burn generally begins from 10 minutes after water ingestion and reaches maximum at around 30-40 minutes after ingestion. It's estimated that 100kj of extra energy is spent by the body to process 500mL of water. That is 400kj of extra energy expenditure per day if you drink the recommended 2 litres of water, which is equivalent to roughly 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. This may not seem much to some, but for those who want to lose weight, every calorie counts, especially when you can burn them by just drinking the recommended amount of water. The catch however, is that researchers found drinking a small amount of water (50mL) does not induce a thermogenic response, you have to do it in relatively large quantities, i.e. 500mL portions (Boschmann et al 2003 and 2007, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism). So the recommendation of 8 glasses of water 8 times a day should be modified into 8 glasses of water, 4 times a day, 2 glasses each time, if you want to take advantage of the thermogenic effect of water for weight loss.

    The timing of water consumption may also help with weight loss. It was found that premeal water consumption (again in 500mL portion) could significantly reduce energy intake during a meal. A 44% greater reduction in weight was also observed in middle-aged and older adults with BMI of 24 - 40 after 12 weeks of premeal water treatment while on a low calorie diet compared to those on a low calorie diet alone without the water (Dennis et al 2010, Obesity). Other studies have also confirmed the energy intake reduction property of consuming 375 - 500mL of water before a meal in healthy and obese adults aged 55 and above (Van Walleghen et al 2007, Obesity; Davy et al 2008, Journal of American Dietetic Association). However, this energy intake reducing effect was not observed in young health adults aged between 21 - 35 (Van Walleghen et al 2007). No studies that examined the effect of premeal water consumption on energy intake reduction in obese young adults were found during my literature research while writing this article. Therefore, while drinking 500mL of water before a meal may help you to lose weight by reducing energy intake if you are over 55, I cannot comment on the effectiveness of this strategy if you are under the age of 35.

    Drinking enough water can ensure good health and increase energy expenditure, which could help with weight loss. I hope this article gives you enough incentive to follow the doctor's recommendations on water drinking. Go fill up your glasses and drink up.

  • Protein consumption, calorie intake and weight loss

    We have discussed in the past the effect of high carbohydrate intake on weight gain. Although high carbohydrate intake is considered as one of the main culprits for promoting weight gain and having a low-carb diet is one of the most effective ways for weight loss, it is unhealthy and unsustainable to live on a low-carb diet for a prolonged period of time. Rather than deliberately trying to avoid eating carbohydrates, incorporating extra protein into your diet can really help to reduce appetite and calorie intake, hence to achieve a similar outcome as having a low carbohydrate diet. Losing weight from eating more rather than eating less certainly makes dieting a lot simpler and much more entertaining. So what can incorporating extra protein into your diet actually do?

    Increasing protein intake can increase diet-induced thermogenesis by up to 2 fold compared to having a high carbohydrate diet, which can in turn increase energy expenditure and satiety (feeling full and satisfied). A high protein diet can create a negative fat-balance and a positive protein balance, and can increase fat oxidation, at least in the short term (Westerterp-Plantenga 2008, Regulatory Peptides). A high protein diet that makes up 30% of daily energy intake can significantly reduce appetite and hence reduces daily calorie intake by around 441kcal per day and decreases fat mass by 3.7kg over a 12-week period compared to that of people on a weight maintaining diet with 15% of the daily energy intake from protein (Weigle et al 2005, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

    Eating less carbohydrate will help to maintain body weight and assists weight loss. However, it is unhealthy to have no carb and on top of that, it's difficult to know the exact carbohydrate content of the food we eat, which makes carbohydrate reduction from our diet a real challenge. Eating more protein can reduce one's appetite for other food, increases energy expenditure and subsequently promotes weight loss. It's much easier to eat more than to eat less. Make protein at least 25 - 30% of your daily energy intake and the extra weight around your belly will go.

  • Fitness-Branded Foods Can Lead to Eating More

    Fitness-branded foods can actually make people eat more. Attractive packaging can induce the idea that these foods are better. People tend to eat more of them and reduce the actual focus on physical exercises. Those looking to lose weight can be doing more harm by actually eating extra food, which takes them in the opposite direction of controlled caloric intake.

    Fitness foods and what researchers say about branding

    Those looking to lose weight are often targeted by fitness branding. Protein bars and weight loss supplements are just a few of the products consumed by those looking to lose weight. Made with attractive branding, they can sometimes be detrimental as people associate them with healthy foods and simply eat them in larger quantities.

    Research shows that this is not the sole problem of branding, as consumers tend to overlook physical activity. These foods can often be mistaken as a substitute for actual workouts.

    The methods of the research included observing a group of subjects told to act normally, as in everyday life, when it comes to snacking. In a controlled environment, the group was given a healthy snack which also had images of running shoes to imply the idea of health and fitness. After consuming one such product, they had the option to go train on a stationary bike or consume the snack. Unless they were strictly prohibited by their diets, the subjects of the study chose to consume another snack.

    Made with the purpose to investigate the effects of fitness branding, the study concluded that these healthy snacks can be a problem for those trying to keep their weight under control and that attractive branding had a major impact on this problem.

    Recommended alternatives

    The researchers also made a few recommendations. While the products were actually beneficial, they suggested that manufacturers would need to use other ways to promote a healthier way to lose weight, instead of implying it through pictures and branding. Gym vouchers or exercise tips were recommended as an alternative. These alternatives would be a more realistic solution which would not diminish the importance of physical training for those trying to manage body weight.

    Simply put, fitness branding can discourage physical activity, despite the fact that it promotes consuming more calories. This is counter-productive for those trying to lose weight. The research made by the American Marketing Association raises awareness of the issue of branding in the health and fitness space. Many products use different imagery to suggest the idea of exercising, without directly recommending physical activity.

    Researchers recommend an increased attention on marketing techniques in the fitness space. Of course, a healthy snack can be a better alternative when a quick caloric intake is needed. But it is often the misleading branding which makes people eat multiple snacks. However, those which have been on strict diets where they knew which foods were allowed and which foods were not recommended for consumption, made it clear they did not want to consume another healthy snack.

  • Top 5 Ingredients to Boost a Ketogenic Diet

    The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular dietary trends for a successful weight loss. It can also be helpful in boosting your overall health, allowing you to avoid carbohydrate crashes while maintaining high energy levels.


    If you've been considering beginning a ketogenic diet, supplementation can play a key role in helping you achieve ketosis while avoiding the dreaded 'keto flu.'


    Let's take a look at the top 5 ingredients that can help you maximize the benefits of a ketogenic diet.


    MCT Powder

    The ketogenic diet is all about increasing your fat intake while eliminating most carbohydrates. Your protein consumption will be moderate. One of the best ways to push your body into a ketogenic state is with medium chain triglyceride powder.


    Medium chain triglycerides are fatty acids that promote ketosis. Aside from being helpful for the ketogenic diet, MCT powder may also boost weight loss and decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease. (1-2)



    Next up is beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate, more commonly known as HMB.


    This metabolite of the essential amino acid, Leucine, may not push your body into a state of ketosis; however, it is necessary to protect lean muscle tissue.


    When you make the dietary changes to dramatically lower carbohydrate stores, you need to ensure that your body is able to do so without jeopardizing muscle tissue. Too much dietary protein can be used to make glucose and this is what you want to avoid. The solution is HMB.


    HMB can help to trigger protein synthesis while protecting and promoting lean muscle tissue without the need for high levels of dietary protein. (3-4)


    Ready to make your own ketogenic booster?

    Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder!

    Mix HMB and MCT Powder along with several other ketogenic ingredients for keto success!


    Coconut Water Powder

    Once you begin a ketogenic diet, your body will need a period of adjustment. One of the first things that the body will do upon the dramatic drop in carbohydrate intake is flush out electrolytes and important vitamins. This is the central reason for people experiencing the keto flu.


    The way to avoid the keto flu and successfully enter ketosis is to ensure you keep up your electrolyte and vitamin levels. One of the best ways to do this is with coconut water powder.


    Capturing all of the nutritional benefits of coconut water, this supplement is packed with the electrolytes and vitamins that your body needs. (5-6)


    Magnesium Oxide

    Continuing with the idea above, when your body starts to flush out electrolytes, it also kicks out vitamins and a key mineral: magnesium.


    Magnesium is an extremely important mineral for the body as it plays a key role in literally dozens of bodily processes. For example, magnesium may protect bone health, promote muscle maintenance, and ensure proper sleep cycles. (7-8)


    Magnesium deficiency only adds to the keto flu, which is why you want to make sure you're supplementing with magnesium during your journey into ketosis.


    Acetyl L Carnitine

    Last but not least we have Acetyl L Carnitine.


    Acetyl L Carnitine is not the same as L Carnitine. One of the key differences is that Acetyl L Carnitine can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, making it extremely absorbable and effective.


    Acetyl L Carnitine can help to promote a higher metabolic rate while promoting fat burning. In essence, it may help your body use up all of the stored carbohydrates, allowing you to enter a ketogenic state faster.


    It's also useful for overall weight loss and cognitive benefits. (9-11)



    Supporting your nutritional intake is important, especially when you are trying to enter a state of ketosis. One of the best ways to ensure you're getting the right nutrition is with your very own customized supplement.


    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can mix together all of the ingredients mentioned above at the dosages you need for success. You can even make your very own keto supplement! Give it a try today!



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    1. Mercola, Dr. Joseph. 'The Anti-Cancer, Fat-Burning Ingredient That's Even More Powerful than Coconut Oil.' Mercola.com. 22 Aug. 2016.
    1. Slater GJ, Jenkins D. Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation and the promotion of muscle growth and strength. Sports Med. 2000 Aug;30(2):105-16.
    1. Wilson, Gabriel J, Jacob M Wilson, and Anssi H Manninen. 'Effects of Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB) on Exercise Performance and Body Composition across Varying Levels of Age, Sex, and Training Experience: A Review.' Nutrition & Metabolism 5 (2008): 1. PMC. Web. 2 Aug. 2017.
    1. Ismail I, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG. Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2007 Jul;38(4):769-85.
    1. Voller J, Zatloukal M, Lenobel R, Dolezal K, Béres T, Krystof V, Spíchal L, Niemann P, Dzubák P, Hajdúch M, Strnad M. Anticancer activity of natural cytokinins: a structure-activity relationship study. Phytochemistry. 2010 Aug;71(11-12):1350-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2010.04.018. Epub 2010 Jun 1.
    1. Abraham GE, Grewal H. A total dietary program emphasizing magnesium instead of calcium. Effect on the mineral density of calcaneous bone in postmenopausal women on hormonal therapy. J Reprod Med. 1990 May;35(5):503-7.
    1. Nichols, Helen. '15 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Magnesium' Well-Being Secrets. 24 Jan. 2017.
    1. Brandsch C, Eder K. Effect of L-carnitine on weight loss and body composition of rats fed a hypocaloric diet. Ann Nutr Metab. 2002;46(5):205-10.
    1. Malek Mahdavi A, Mahdavi R, Kolahi S. Effects of l-Carnitine Supplementation on Serum Inflammatory Factors and Matrix Metalloproteinase Enzymes in Females with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Sep-Oct;35(7):597-603. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

    11. Smeland OB, Meisingset TW, Borges K, Sonnewald U. Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice. Neurochem Int. 2012 Jul;61(1):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.04.008. Epub 2012.

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