Tag Archives: weight loss

  • 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.

  • Dark Side of Stimulants

    THE DARK SIDE OF STIMULANTS

    -By Greg Haglund

    We are a stimulant addicted planet. In fact, two of the top three beverages consumed worldwide contain stimulants (coffee and tea) but are they helpful or harmful? Truth is they are both!!

    There are many studies supporting the health benefits of both tea and coffee. A number of these benefits come from the anti-oxidants found in both and not necessarily from the stimulants directly. So why do we continue to consume stimulants?

    • INCREASE ENERGY: It is true, stimulants (otherwise known as catecholamines) boost hormones and neurotransmitters that increase energy or reduce the perception of effort. They allow us to feel energized or mentally alert when we would otherwise be tired due to lifestyle, dietary or stress factors.
    • ENHANCED MOOD: Not only do stimulants boost norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) but they may also increase dopamine (mood enhancing neurotransmitter). This surge of dopamine helps us feel motivated, determined and happier.
    • APPETITE CONTROL: By boosting neurotransmitters you may also experience a suppression in appetite. This reduction in calories and the increase in movement from extra energy may result in body fat loss. However, is it permanent?

    It all sounds pretty good so far. We get increased energy, elevated mood and a reduced appetite that when combined may help us lose body fat. The problem is the results may not be maintainable.

    What is the underlying reason for this? Is there something in the stimulants that causes weight gain or do we simply become immune to their benefits?

    Stimulants release adrenal hormones like nor-epinephrine and epinephrine but at the same time they release another adrenal hormone called cortisol. When we have excess cortisol, we tend to be more stressed, store more body fat and breakdown more muscle.

    The big question is how do you know if you have too much cortisol or if your cortisol rhythm is performing correctly (high in the morning and lower at night). There are many telling symptoms…

    • FATIGUE OR POOR SLEEP: One of the most obvious symptoms of cortisol dysfunction is a wired and tired effect. You often wake up tired and when you want to get to sleep you are wired or can't switch off.
    • WEIGHT GAIN: Often around the mid-section / stomach.
    • ANXIETY: Often with an increase in cortisol comes and increase in anxiety and stress then the cycle repeats by producing more cortisol in response to the anxiety and stress. You can begin to feel like a mouse on a wheel.
    • LOWERED SEX HORMONES: When cortisol and other stress hormones demand the supply of pregnenolone then less of this master hormone to available to assist with our sex hormone production. This is called 'the pregnenolone steal'. It may result in further muscle loss and body fat gain along with lowered libido and mood.

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    Note: Not all these stress related symptoms are associated exclusively with stimulants but if we are not careful they may make the problems worse and not better.

    How do we get the benefits of stimulants without the side effects or negatives? Is this possible?

    Turns out there is hope!!

    Here are the top 7 steps to minimizing cortisol dysfunction and maintaining the fat burning, energy boosting and mood enhancing benefits of your stimulants.

    • IMPROVE YOUR GUT HEALTH: Your gut is responsible for close to 95% of the production of your serotonin. Serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter and is released when you do fun stuff or are happy. More serotonin means less stress and anxiety so your gut health can help break the cycle.
    • MEDITATE: Is a wonderful way to calm your mind and body so you are not over producing excitatory neurotransmitters. If you are constantly producing stress hormones your body can become less sensitive to them. It's like type II diabetes where one becomes insulin resistant from over producing insulin. You can become adrenaline resistant from over producing due to a combination of stress and stimulants.
    • CYCLE YOUR STIMULANTS: For the same reason, as above. You can become desensitized to the stimulants you use so they no longer provide the benefits in energy, focus and fat loss they once did. Having 2 days off a week or 2 on and 1 off is a great way to maintain the benefits without overwhelming your body.
    • HAVE MORE FUN: This is a sure-fire way to calm the mind and reduce the over production of cortisol. It's hard to be stressed and having fun at the same time.
    • USE ADAPTOGENS: Adaptogens are a class of compounds that help reset your sensitivity to stimulants and reduce the over production of cortisol. The most popular options are Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ginseng and Holy Basil. One Study done on Ahwagandha saw a 32% decrease in cortisol and a 52% increase in strength. Ashwagandha is used in Adrenal Switch™ (http://www.aminoz.com.au/switch-nutrition-adrenal-switch-30-serves.htmlfor this reason. Schisandra is found in Amino Switch™ which also contains a concentrated blend on Amino Acids (Protein).
    • CONSUME SUFFICIENT PROTEIN / AMINOS: Aiming for 2g/kg (target bodyweight)/day is the ideal amount of daily protein. Often this is difficult to achieve from food alone. If you are exercising regularly then cortisol may be increased to breakdown muscle tissue and provide energy. Amino Switch™ (http://www.aminoz.com.au/switch-nutrition-amino-switch-30-serves.html) as mentioned above has a concentrated Master Amino Acid Profile that provides the equivalent to 35g WPI but with only 0.2cal per serve. It is vegan friendly and gluten, soy and dairy free with added vitamins and minerals to support recovery.
    • CONSUME SUFFICIENT FATS: Fats are essential for life and a healthy body. They are certainly essential for a healthy hormonal balance since cholesterol is the starting molecule for almost all hormones. If you don't eat the right fats or you are on statins you may not have sufficient starting material to make enough sex hormones. We recommend organic coconut oil, MCT oil and olive oil as great sources of fat.

    SUMMARY:

    Stimulants can be helpful. They can assist in weight loss, hunger control, energy metabolism and focus. However, chronic use without some sort of adrenal support.

    SOLUTION:

    Instead of becoming dependant on stimulants before your workout perhaps take a break and try Ketones (Keto Switch™ (http://www.aminoz.com.au/switch-nutrition-keto-switch-20-serves.html).) which have been shown to increase focus, alertness and energy. You won't get the same kick as caffeine or other stimulants but you may feel better long term as ketones help lower inflammation and improve mitochondrial function. Ketones may also improve GABA signalling, which may lead to a better state of relaxation when you are ready to sleep.

    Adrenal Switch™ will help reduce the side effects of chronic stimulant use or abuse. It can help manage the symptoms of chronic cortisol production from physical, emotional or psychological stress. We all have stress and it is possibly the most toxic thing our body has to deal with so give it a little support.

    We have had amazing feedback regarding improved recovery and sleep using Adrenal Switch™ and Amino Switch™ together after a workout and before bed.

    Time to get the best results in the shortest amount of time.

    Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified health care provider.

  • Top 3 Ingredients You Must Use for Fat Burning

    Next to building muscle mass, the quest to lose weight and burn fat is the most popular fitness goal. Shedding excess weight and extra adipose tissue doesn't just help you look good, it's also been shown to be great for your health. Excess adipose tissue has been associated with higher levels of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

     

    If weight loss is at the top of your fitness goals, supplementation, as a part of a healthy diet and exercise program, may be able to promote a higher level of fat burning. Let's take a look at the top 3 supplement ingredients that you need to use to burn more fat and achieve your weight loss goals.

     

    1. L-Carnitine

    Hands down, one of the most popular fat burning ingredients, L-Carnitine has been proven time and time again to be effective at supporting weight loss.

     

    L-Carnitine encourages the use of fat as energy by helping it into the mitochondria of a cell. Once inside, the mitochondria will burn the fat as a fuel source.

     

    L-Carnitine has also been suggested to be an effective anti-inflammatory. Not only can it promote fat burning but it may also alleviate inflammation in joints, especially if you often feel stiff or sore post-workout. (1-3)

     

    • Suggested dosage: 4 grams per day

     

    1. CLA

    Is your goal to burn extra calories?
    Want to also build muscle?

    Need to protect your current level of muscle while losing weight?

    CLA may be the perfect supplement for you.

     

    Conjugated Linoleic Acid, more commonly known as CLA, has been shown in a number of studies to support fat loss AND muscle building.

     

    CLA is suggested to support fat burning and long-term weight loss. While it is promoting weight loss, it can also be a powerful ally to muscle tissue. It does so by helping with protein synthesis in the body. This, in turn, will help prevent protein catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle tissue. Protein synthesis can also be helpful when trying to increase muscular size. (4-6)

     

    • Suggested dosage: 5 grams per day

     

    1. Guarana

    Last but certainly not least, we have guarana. This is a potent herbal remedy that has been used in the Amazonian jungles for hundreds of years as a communal drink that promotes overall health. Science has finally shed light on the benefits of guarana with the most popular being energy boosting and weight loss support.

     

    Guarana has been shown in several studies to be as effective as caffeine when it comes to energy levels. For those who are caffeine sensitive, guarana may be the next best thing as it doesn't include the characteristic anxiety that comes with caffeine use.

     

    On top of more energy, guarana has been suggested to improve cognitive ability by boosting focus and alertness.

     

    Finally, guarana may be able to promote an elevated metabolic response that support overall weight loss. (7-8)

     

    • Suggested dosage: 700 milligrams per day

     

    Conclusion

    Taken as a part of a healthy diet and exercise program, L-Carnitine, CLA, and Guarana may be the powerful trio you need to see better weight loss results. Want to save money and find all three of these ingredients in one place? Make your own supplement!

     

    With the Amino Z Supplement Builder, you can create your own supplement with the ideal dosages suggested above. Check out the Amino Z Supplement Builder now to get started on your perfect fat burning supplement.

     

    References

    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.
    1. 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.
    1. Whigham LD, Watras AC, Schoeller DA. Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1203-11.
    1. Vaughan RA, Garcia-Smith R, Bisoffi M, Conn CA, Trujillo KA. Conjugated linoleic acid or omega 3 fatty acids increase mitochondrial biosynthesis and metabolism in skeletal muscle cells. Lipids Health Dis. 2012;11:142.
    1. DeLany, James P., et al. (1999). Conjugated linoleic acid rapidly reduces body fat content in mice without affecting energy intake. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology276, 4, R1172-R1179.
    1. Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11.
    1. Moustakas D, Mezzio M, Rodriguez BR, Constable MA, Mulligan ME, Voura EB. Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model. Holscher C, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0123310. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123310.
  • 5 Reasons Why You Need to Use Guarana

    How long have you been trying to lose weight?

    Have you been chasing after those last 5 kilos for weeks or months?

    Do you feel like you could use some extra help outside of your diet and exercise program?

     

    While diet and exercise are the key to a successful weight loss, there are certain supplement ingredients at your disposal that may be able to help you achieve your ideal body faster.

     

    Guarana, an herbal remedy used in tribal ceremonies in the Amazon, has recently become a worldwide sensation thanks to the studies affirming it as an effective ingredient for weight loss support.

     

    Let's take a look at the top 5 reasons you need to use guarana.

     

    1. Weight Loss

    Let's kick off the list with the reason that most people buy this supplement ingredient: enhanced weight loss.

     

    Studies show that when used as a part of a healthy diet and exercise program, guarana may be able to support your weight loss goals.

     

    One study in particular was published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders and it showed that subjects who supplemented with guarana showed a significant reduction in bodyweight over the course of 8 weeks. (1)

     

    1. Energy Levels

    Now to some of the lesser known benefits of guarana. Looking for a way to naturally boost your energy levels without over doing it on caffeine? Guarana may be the answer.

     

    A study published in PLOS One put guarana up against caffeine and it demonstrated that guarana provides an effect similar to caffeine. The stimulant effect was twice as powerful when guarana was paired up with caffeine. (2)

     

    1. Exercise Performance

    Riding the stimulant effect of guarana may help to boost your exercise performance during a workout. Instead of opting for your usual caffeine-based drink before a workout, consider a guarana supplement. Guarana has been shown to boost energy levels along with your mental focus. (2-3)

     

    1. Focus and Alertness

    Speaking of mental focus, guarana is useful outside of the fitness scene. A study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior showed how guarana can be effective in boosting focus and alertness. Subjects showed improvement across tasks after supplementing with guarana including speed and completion time. (3-4)

     

    1. Memory and Learning

    Lastly, another benefit of guarana that can be helpful inside and outside of the gym is its ability to support memory and learning.

     

    In the study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, subjects didn't just demonstrate an improvement in task completion, they also showed an enhanced learning ability. Subjects were able to complete the task with greater retention of the information at faster speeds. (3-4)

     

    Conclusion

    Looking for a pharmaceutical grade form of guarana?

    Want to combine guarana with other powerful performance boosters like caffeine?

    Why not design your own custom energy and weight loss supplement?

     

    Now you can with the Amino Z Supplement Builder!

     

    Amino Z understands that it's tough to find a supplement that meets your needs. That's why we created the Amino Z Supplement Builder, which allows you to control the ingredients and dosage that is perfect for YOU.

     

    Check out the Amino Z Supplement Builder now to get started!

     

     

    References

    1. Boozer CN, Nasser JA, Heymsfield SB, Wang V, Chen G, Solomon JL. An herbal supplement containing Ma Huang-Guarana for weight loss: a randomized, double-blind trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Mar;25(3):316-24.
    1. Moustakas D, Mezzio M, Rodriguez BR, Constable MA, Mulligan ME, Voura EB. Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model. Holscher C, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0123310. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123310.
    1. Pomportes L, Brisswalter J, Casini L, Hays A, Davranche K. Cognitive Performance Enhancement Induced by Caffeine, Carbohydrate and Guarana Mouth Rinsing during Submaximal Exercise. Nutrients. 2017 Jun 9;9(6). pii: E589. doi: 10.3390/nu9060589.
    1. Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with Panax ginseng. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Nov;79(3):401-11.
  • Sleep and weight loss

    Sleep is an important modulator of neuroendocrine function and glucose metabolism. It has been reported that the worldwide prevalence of obesity has doubled since 1980, with women more likely to be obese than men. This obesity epidemic has been paralleled by a trend of increasing prevalence of sleep loss in both children and adults in the modern society. We are sleeping a lot less than we were a few decades ago and are paying the price for it. Significant amount scientific evidence has indicated that poor sleep quality and sleep loss can cause endocrine alterations, including decreased insulin tolerance and sensitivity, increased level of cortisol in the body in evenings, increased level of ghrelin, decreased level of leptin, and increased hunger and appetite. There is a direct association between increased BMI and sleep loss. Children and adults who are short sleepers are at a higher risk for weight gain and obesity. In addition, the dysregulation of the neuroendocrine control of appetite and the alteration of glucose tolerance in people who are not getting enough sleep exposed them to an increased risk of getting diabetes later in life.

     

    So, how much sleep is enough? Well, it really depends on the individual and your age group. One may feel properly rested after 6 and half hours of sleep while others may need 9 hours of sleep to feel rejuvenated. The average basal sleep need for a healthy adult is around 7-8 hours per night. This is discounting all the sleep debt that one accumulates due to previous sleep loss, which may make you feel tired even after a few nights of good sleep unless the debt is paid.

     

    Many of us work very hard to keep our weights down but sometimes we forgot that basic routines in life such as sleep could have a far greater impact on our body and health than the extra 2km you run on the treadmill the other day. Getting enough sleep is probably the easiest, cheapest and most productive way of setting yourself up a good foundation to a healthy and lean life.

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