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below you will find science backed facts regarding general topics that relate to improving your physical health. these topics have been selected based on fact based data that states when implemented into your daily routine they will provide immediate and long lasting favorable health relatedresults..
dieting (the truth behind all diets)
Apple cider vinegar for weight loss
Dairy products are controversial these days.
While dairy is cherished by health organizations as essential for your bones, some people argue that it’s harmful and should be avoided.
Of course, not all dairy products are the same.
They vary greatly in quality and health effects depending on how the milk-giving animals were raised and how the dairy was processed.
This article gives an in-depth look at dairy and determines whether it’s good or bad for your health.
Is It Natural to Consume?
One common argument against dairy products is that it is unnatural to consume them.
Not only are humans the only species that consumes milk in adulthood, but they are also the only one to drink the milk of other animals.
Biologically, cow's milk is meant to feed a rapidly growing calf. Humans aren't calves — and adults usually don't need to grow.
Before the agricultural revolution, humans only drank mother's milk as infants. They didn't consume dairy as adults — which is one of the reasons why dairy is excluded from a strict paleo diet.
From an evolutionary perspective, dairy isn’t necessary for optimal health.
That said, certain cultures have been consuming dairy regularly for thousands of years. Many studies document how their genes have changed to accommodate dairy products in the diet
The fact that some people are genetically adapted to eating dairy is a convincing argument that it’s natural for them to consume.
Most of the World Is Lactose Intolerant
The main carbohydrate in dairy is lactose, a milk sugar composed of the two simple sugars glucose and galactose.
As an infant, your body produced a digestive enzyme called lactase, which broke down lactose from your mother's milk. However, many people lose the ability to break down lactose in adulthood
In fact, about 75% of the world's adult population is unable to break down lactose — a phenomenon called lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is very common in Africa, Asia and South America, but is less prevalent in North America, Europe and Australia.
People who are lactose intolerant have digestive symptoms when they consume dairy products. This includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and related symptoms.
However, keep in mind that lactose-intolerant people can sometimes consume fermented dairy (like yogurt) or high-fat dairy products like butter
You can also be allergic to other components in milk, such as the proteins. While this is fairly common in children, it’s rare in adults.
Dairy products are very nutritious.
A single cup (237 ml) of milk
Calcium: 276 mg — 28% of the RDI
Vitamin D: 24% of the RDI
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 26% of the RDI
Vitamin B12: 18% of the RDI
Potassium: 10% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 22% of the RDI
It also boasts decent amounts of vitamin A, vitamins B1 and B6, selenium, zinc and magnesium, alongside 146 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbs.
Calorie for calorie, whole milk is quite healthy. It offers a little bit of almost everything your body needs.
Keep in mind that fatty products like cheese and butter have a vastly different nutrient composition than milk.
Nutrient composition — especially the fatty components — also depends on the animals’ diet and treatment. Dairy fat is very complex, consisting of hundreds of different fatty acids. Many are bioactive and can strongly impact your health
Cows raised on pasture and fed grass have more omega-3 fatty acids and up to 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Grass-fed dairy is also much higher in fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin K2, an incredibly important nutrient for regulating calcium metabolism and supporting bone and heart health.
Keep in mind that these healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins are not present in low-fat or skim dairy products, which are often loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of flavor caused by removing the fat.
Supports Your Bones
Calcium is the main mineral in your bones — and dairy is the best source of calcium in the human diet.
Therefore, dairy has many benefits for bone health.
In fact, most health organizations recommend that you consume 2–3 servings of dairy per day in order to get enough calcium for your bones.
Despite certain claims you may hear, there is no conclusive evidence that dairy intake has adverse effects on bone health.
Additionally, dairy provides more than just calcium. Its bone-boosting nutrients include protein, phosphorus and — in the case of grass-fed, full-fat dairy — vitamin K2.
Lower Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
Full-fat dairy has some benefits for metabolic health.
Despite being high in calories, full-fat dairy is linked to a reduced risk of obesity.
A review of 16 studies noted that most linked full-fat dairy to reduced obesity — but none identified such an effect for low-fat dairy.
There is also some evidence that dairy fat can reduce your risk of diabetes.
In one observational study, those who consumed the most full-fat dairy had less belly fat, less inflammation, lower triglycerides, improved insulin sensitivity and a 62% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Several other studies associate full-fat dairy with a reduced risk of diabetes, though a number of studies found no association
Impact on Heart Disease
Conventional wisdom dictates that dairy should raise your risk of heart disease because it is high in saturated fat.
However, scientists have started to question the role of dairy fat in the development of heart disease
Some even claim there is no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease — at least for the majority of people.
The effects of dairy on heart disease risk may also vary between countries, likely depending on how the cows are raised and fed.
In one major study in the US, dairy fat was linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
However, many other studies suggest that full-fat dairy has a protective effect on both heart disease and stroke.
In one review of 10 studies — most of which used full-fat dairy — milk was linked to a reduced risk of stroke and cardiac events. Though there was also a reduced risk of heart disease, it wasn't statistically significant.
In countries where cows are largely grass-fed, full-fat dairy is associated with major reductions in heart disease and stroke risk.
For example, one study in Australia noted that people who consumed the most full-fat dairy had a whopping 69% lower risk of heart disease.
This is likely related to the high content of heart-healthy vitamin K2 in grass-fed dairy products, though dairy can improve other risk factors for heart disease as well, such as blood pressure and inflammation.
Speculation aside, there is no consistent evidence on whether dairy fat helps or hinders heart health.
While the scientific community is divided in its opinion, public health guidelines advise people to minimize their intake of saturated fat — including high-fat dairy products.
Skin Health and Cancer
Dairy is known to stimulate the release of insulin and the protein IGF-1.
This may be the reason that dairy consumption is linked to increased acne.
High levels of insulin and IGF-1 are also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.
Keep in mind that there are many different types of cancer, and the relationship between dairy and cancer is quite complex.
Some studies suggest that dairy may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer but increase your risk of prostate cancer.
That said, the association with prostate cancer is weak and inconsistent. While some studies reveal up to a 34% increased risk, others find no effect. The effects of increased insulin and IGF-1 aren't all bad. If you're trying to gain muscle and strength, then these hormones can provide clear benefits.
Best Types for Your Health
The healthiest dairy products come from cows that are grass-fed and/or raised on pasture.
Their milk has a much better nutrient profile, including more beneficial fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins — particularly K2.
Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir may be even better. They contain probiotic bacteria that can have numerous health benefits.
It’s also worth noting that people who can’t tolerate dairy from cows may be able to easily digest dairy from goats.
The Bottom Line
Dairy isn’t easily categorized as healthy or unhealthy because its effects may vary greatly between individuals.
If you tolerate dairy products and enjoy them, you should feel comfortable eating dairy. There is no compelling evidence that people should avoid it — and plenty of evidence of benefits.
If you can afford it, choose high-quality dairy — preferably without any added sugar, and from grass-fed and/or pasture-raised animals. We at One Rep Max believe the best way to get more calcium is from your diet i.e. the foods you eat.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
Some fish, like sardines, salmon, perch, and rainbow trout
Foods that are calcium-fortified, such as some orange juice, oatmeal, and breakfast cereal
Foods that provide vitamin D include:
Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
To get vitamin D from food, fish is a good option. Three ounces of cooked salmon has more than 450 international units (IU) of vitamin D.
Between Atkins, carb-busters and all the other quick-fix fad diets penetrating the media in recent years, the general public has been left with a love-hate relationship toward carbohydrates. Essential to good nutrition is an understanding of what carbohydrates (carbs) are, and what the body does with them. Basically, carbs are digested by the body into glucose, or sugar, for use as energy. Breads, potatoes, cereals, crackers and pasta are the obvious ones, but fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates as well. Any carb that is not a fruit or vegetable is placed in the broad category: grains.
There are simple and complex carbohydrates. The difference between these two is how hard the body has to work to convert the food into glucose. The more whole, or complex, the grain, the more energy the body has to expend during the digestive process. When the body works on digesting these grains, glucose is released at a slower rate into the system, permitting the body to use some of the produced energy during digestion. Simple carbs, on the other hand, are essentially already digested. The body does less work for this energy, and glucose levels spike quickly. The more complex the grain, the more it will improve the body’s metabolism, increasing fat-burning potential and prolonging hunger.
Complex carbs: Whole wheat pasta, oats, sprouted grain breads and bran cereals
Simple carbs: White potatoes, white bread, most wheat bread, crackers and rice cakes
Upon the absorption of glucose, the pancreas is stimulated to secrete insulin, a storage hormone. The insulin circulates through the body, informing the muscles and organs it’s time to go into storage mode. They stop breaking down stored sugar (glycogen) and fat in order to take up the glucose and store it, as more glycogen and fat. Because the body is now in storage mode, hunger is stimulated in order to consume more carbohydrates for storage. The simpler the carb, the higher the glucose load, and therefore, the higher the insulin response.
Symptoms associated with excessive insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) include weight gain, sugar cravings, intense hunger, weakness, poor concentration, emotional instability, memory loss, lack of focus and fatigue.
By improving carbohydrate intake, you can stay out of storage mode, increasing the metabolism and keeping the body in breakdown, or burning mode. Forcing the body to use up the fat that it has been storing over the years is one component of improved nutrition and weight loss. To achieve this, you don’t necessarily need to go crazy with carb counting. Simply focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, and less grains. Vegetables, which contain less sugar, are especially beneficial. An overall limit to grain intake is essential, especially the simple, processed varieties. As mentioned above, the body will have to work harder to get glucose from these sources. Strive for whole grains. The result is a blunted insulin response and prolonged hunger.
On Monitoring Carbohydrate Intake
The most dangerous carbohydrate is the food additive, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Toxic to the body, it destroys metabolism, working against everything well-balanced nutrition attempts to accomplish. Unfortunately, it is everywhere. Born of the food industry’s desire to generate a cheap sweetener, HFCS takes this country’s overabundance of corn and turns it into a sugary flavoring agent. What makes it so toxic to the metabolism is that the body seems to work even less to absorb HFCS than it does for plain sugar. The body goes into storage mode immediately, and expends minimal energy in doing so. It may also fail to turn off hunger in the body, allowing more consumption and increased insulin response. For overall health and nutrition, and certainly weight loss, check food labels and eliminate HFCS from the diet. Consider this detrimental ingredient in relation to the American obesity epidemic. In the 1970’s, the average American consumed approximately 1.5 pounds of HFCS per year. Today, the average is 60 pounds per year.
In a well-balanced nutrition plan, all grains should be whole and organic. Organic cereals and breads use natural sugar, or variations of sugar (for example, cane juice) as a sweetener. These products can be a little more expensive with the use of whole grains, and the absence of the very inexpensive HFCS, but the increased expense will be offset by a decreased total intake. In addition, eating properly will stimulate less hunger. The financial savings of minimizing the risk of, and controlling existing, cases of chronic disease certainly justify the expense.
Remember To :
Primarily consume carbohydrates in the form of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Decrease overall grain intake.
Avoid high fructose corn syrup.
Eat only organic whole grain cereals, breads and snacks.
What kind of bread should I eat? If you look at the ingredients of nearly all grocery store breads, they contain high fructose corn syrup. Organic breads do not. For people with diabetes, obesity and others sensitive to the calories from carbohydrates, all breads should be avoided, even organic. The best breads are sprouted grain varieties. These are usually found frozen in grocery stores and should be stored in the refrigerator at home. Sprouted grains are truly whole grains, making the digestive system work for its glucose. Whole grain wraps or tortillas are a great bread substitute for sandwiches. They are lower in overall calories and are less filling.
What about artificial sweeteners?
For the long answer, see the article on Artificial Sweeteners. The short answer is that, despite having no calories, the body thinks these sweeteners are sugar and starts the insulin process, sending the body into storage mode.
Afterlives for artificial sugars include:
Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One) Type: Artificial sweetener
Agave nectar. Type: Natural sweetener
Monk Fruit extracts (Nectresse, Monk Fruit in the Raw, PureLo)
Stevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia, Rebiana)
13 Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages.
Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, it also seems to be quite healthy.
Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases.
Here are the top 13 health benefits of coffee.
1. Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter
Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels.
That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine — the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it travels to your brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
When this happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons. Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function — including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function
2. Can Help You Burn Fat
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement — and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning.
Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3–11%.
Other studies indicate that caffeine can specifically increase fat burning by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people
However, it’s possible that these effects diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.
3. Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance
Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, signaling fat cells to break down body fat.
But it also increases epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in your blood.
This is the fight-or-flight hormone, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion.
Caffeine breaks down body fat, making free fatty acids available as fuel.
Given these effects, it’s unsurprising that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11–12%, on average. Therefore, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.
4. Contains Essential Nutrients
Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee.
A single cup of coffee contains (21):
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI.
Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI.
Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.
Though this may not seem like a big deal, most people enjoy several cups per day — allowing these amounts to quickly add up.
Coffee contains several important nutrients, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin.
5. May Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem, currently affecting millions of people worldwide.
It’s characterized by elevated blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance or a reduced ability to secrete insulin.
For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Studies observe that people who drink the most coffee have a 23–50% lower risk of getting this disease. One study showed a reduction as high as 67%. According to a large review of 18 studies in a total of 457,922 people, each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. May Protect You from Alzheimer's disease and Dementia
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide. This condition usually affects people over 65, and there is no known cure.
However, there are several things you can do to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.
This includes the usual suspects like eating healthy and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.
Several studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
7. May Lower Your Risk of Parkinson's
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition, right behind Alzheimer's.
It’s caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in your brain.
As with Alzheimer's, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of Parkinson's disease, with a risk reduction ranging from 32–60%. In this case, the caffeine itself appears to be beneficial, as people who drink decaf don't have a lower risk of Parkinson's.
8. May Protect Your Liver
Your liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions.
Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and many others. Many of these conditions can lead to cirrhosis, in which your liver is largely replaced by scar tissue. Interestingly, coffee may protect against cirrhosis — people who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower.
9. Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life.
It’s very common, as about 4.1% of people in the US currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.
In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Another study in 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die by suicide.
10. May Lower Risk of Certain Types of Cancer
Cancer is one of the world's leading causes of death. It is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in your body. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer: liver and colorectal cancer.
Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth.
Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer.
Similarly, one study in 489,706 people found that those who drank 4–5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
11. Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease and May Lower Stroke Risk
It’s often claimed that caffeine can increase your blood pressure.
This is true, but with a rise of only 3–4 mm/Hg, the effect is small and usually dissipates if you drink coffee regularly. However, it may persist in some people, so keep that in mind if you have elevated blood pressure. That being said, studies don’t support the idea that coffee raises your risk of heart disease. On the contrary, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk.
Some studies also show that coffee drinkers have a 20% lower risk of stroke.
12. May Help You Live Longer
Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer. Several observational studies indicate that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.
In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% reduced risk of death in men and a 26% decreased risk of death in women, over 18–24 years. This effect appears particularly strong in people with type 2 diabetes. In one 20-year study, individuals with diabetes who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death.
13. The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet.
That's because coffee is quite high in antioxidants. Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined. In fact, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
The Bottom Line
Coffee is a highly popular beverage around the globe that boasts a number of impressive health benefits. Not only can your daily cup of joe help you feel more energized, burn fat and improve physical performance, it may also lower your risk of several conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, coffee may even boost longevity.
If you enjoy its taste and tolerate its caffeine content, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup or more throughout the day.
Dieting (Understanding the Truth)
Say the word “diet” and you’ll have most people running in the opposite direction. Let’s face it, “diet” is one of the worst “D” words, and it’s no surprise why. The word “diet” has such a negative stigma around it, thanks to society shaping it as such.
But when you look at the actual definition of “diet,” it paints a different picture. Merriam-Webster defines “diet” as food and drink regularly provided or consumed; habitual nourishment. Therefore, our diet is the food we typically eat.
That said our use of the word diet is also subconsciously, referring to a temporary way of eating. The typical association of the word “diet” implies several different things: restriction of one or more macronutrients or food groups, eating a large amount of one or more macronutrient or food group and/or feeling frustrated and deprived. Thinking of dieting immediately creates mental pictures of having to stay at home while your friends go out on Friday night cause drinks “aren’t on your diet,” or skipping out on a family meal at your favorite restaurant.
Going on a diet is OK in certain situations. When people are working towards a very short-term goal, say, an upcoming wedding or some other occasion such as vacation, diets can produce temporary results. Note the word temporary. The extreme measures that often accompany dieting rarely, if ever, result in long-term healthy weight loss. They instead serve as a temporary means of dropping weight (usually mostly water weight), typically in an unsustainable fashion. Picture this: You go on a diet that consists of eating three-fourths of your meals from a particular source (say lean protein and nuts, for example). At some point, your body is going to experience lethargy and other symptoms as a result of a nutrient imbalance.
So what’s the alternative to going on a diet? Weight loss is a very popular goal among fitness goers and non-fitness goers alike. Although exercise is a necessary component of the healthy lifestyle equation, eating healthy is a big (if not bigger) factor as well. But you can eat healthy without being on a diet. This is where practicing a well-balanced diet comes into play. What exactly is a well-balanced diet? The word “balanced” in itself should be a breath of fresh air, as balance in life is a necessity. Whether it’s balancing life, work, school, kids, family, relationships or whatever it may be, balance is a good thing!
A well-balanced diet is labeled as such when the things you consume consist of a combination of foods that provide you with optimal energy and nutrition. While dietary needs vary from person to person, a well-balanced diet generally consists of the following components:
Foods from each food group at each meal
At least 3 meals each day
It’s important to meet nutritional needs with the foods you consume, without overdoing it. Too much of a good thing does exist.
The goal of a well-balanced diet is to create something that is sustainable, to partake in foods that help you experience optimal health and quality of life. A well-balanced diet is not a means to an end, it is a lifetime journey. If looking good and feeling great on a permanent scale is what you’re looking for, a well-balanced diet is your answer.
Why we are against any kind of diet? So many reasons, so little space:
1. As weight loss programs, diets don't work! Yes, you lose weight, but about 95% of people who lose weight by dieting will regain it in 1-5 years. Since dieting, by definition, is a temporary food plan, it won't work in the long run. Moreover, the deprivation of restrictive diets may lead to a diet-overeat or diet-binge cycle. And since your body doesn't want you to starve, it responds to overly-restrictive diets by slowing your metabolism which of course makes it harder to lose weight.
2. Fad diets can be harmful. They may lack essential nutrients, for example. Moreover, they teach you nothing about healthy eating. Thus, when you've "completed" your fad diet, you simply boomerang back to the unhealthy eating patterns that caused your weight gain in the first place! This is the beginning of "yo-yo dieting," which can bring its own health problems in its wake.
3. Overly restrictive diets can take all the pleasure out of eating! There's no reason to be a sacrificial lamb, so to speak, to lose weight.
4. Dieting, along with the frequent and compulsive weighing that accompanies it, can lead to eating disorders. According to one source, people who diet are 8 times as likely to develop an eating disorder as people who don't.
5. Unscrupulous people can peddle "magic weight-loss potions," such as "special" powders and pills, to desperate people, costing them their money and time at best, and fatal health consequences at worse (think "fen-phen," the diet drug that caused often fatal heart valve problems). And have you ever noticed that every diet product claims it will be wondrously effective "if used simultaneously with a healthy diet and regular exercise program?" Skip the magic potions--it's the healthy eating and exercise that are actually the effective ingredients.
Finally, there is this reason:
6. Obesity and overweight can be conditions that are caused by early life trauma. Although I had known this for some time, I was amazed to discover recently all the well-documented research on the obesity-trauma connection. In one early study of 286 obese people, half had been sexually abused as children. In these cases, "...overeating and obesity weren't the central problems, but attempted solutions." For these people, therapy might be a prerequisite to healthy weight loss--it could help clients identify the feelings and situations behind emotional over-eating and replace it with healthier self-care patterns. (A much larger study of over 17,000 people provided further documentation of the links between "adverse childhood experiences;" unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking, and overeating; and mental, emotional, and even medical disorders later in life.)
Okay, okay. You want to lose weight before you attend your class reunion. It's perfectly fine to control portions and skip desserts so you can resemble your old high school self. In fact, keep going with that plan--it's healthy eating. But skipping meals or starving yourself is not.
So the first step towards permanent healthy weight loss is, somewhat ironically, to lose the diet and the diet mindset. Instead think about a Healthy Eating Plan (a HEP) that you could live with and enjoy for life. The best answer is to dieting, then, is: A lifelong program of everyday healthy, pleasurable eating coupled with regular exercise. To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. How boring! How prosaic! Yet how true.
How much water should you drink a day? You probably know that it's important to drink plenty of fluids when the temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is a daily necessity, no matter what the thermometer says. Unfortunately, many of us aren't getting enough to drink, especially older adults. "Older people don't sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they're on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic," says Dr. Julian Seifter, a kidney specialist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Benefits of drinking water
Water keeps every system in the body functioning properly. The Harvard Medical School Special Health Report 6-Week Plan for Health Eating notes that water has many important jobs, such as:
carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
flushing bacteria from your bladder
normalizing blood pressure
stabilizing the heartbeat
protecting organs and tissues
regulating body temperature
maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.
Giving your body enough fluids to carry out those tasks means that you're staying hydrated.
If you don't drink enough water each day, you risk becoming dehydrated. Warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or urine that's dark in color.
So how much water should you drink? Most people need about four to six cups of water each day.
How much water should you drink a day?
The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people. It's possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems; or if you're taking medications that make you retain water, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications, and some antidepressants.
How much water a day should you drink if you fit into that category? There's no one-size-fits-all answer. Dr. Seifter says water intake must be individualized, and you should check with your doctor to be sure you're getting the right amount.
But even a healthy person's water needs will vary, especially if you're losing water through sweat because you're exercising, or because you're outside on a hot day. If you're wondering how much water you should drink on those occasions, speak with your doctor, but a general rule of thumb for healthy people is to drink two to three cups of water per hour, or more if you're sweating heavily.
Tips for avoiding dehydration
It's not just water that keeps you hydrated. All beverages containing water contribute toward your daily needs. And it's a myth that caffeinated beverages or those containing alcohol are dehydrating because they make you urinate. They do, but over the course of the day, the water from these beverages still leads to a net positive contribution to total fluid consumption, according to an article in the 2015 Harvard Men's Health Watch.
Of course, there are many reasons why water is still the better choice. Remember, sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and inflammation, which can increase your risk for developing diseases such as diabetes. Too much caffeine can give you the jitters or keep you from sleeping. And, alcohol intake should be limited to one drink per day for women, and 1-2 drinks per day for men.
To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually, throughout the day. An easy way to do this is to have a drink at each meal, as well as socially, or with medicine.
And know that you also get fluids from water-rich foods, such as salads, fruit, and applesauce.
Daily Water Intake Tools
How much water should you drink based on your weight?
If you want to determine the exact amount you should drink according to your body weight, you can follow these steps:
Take your weight (in pounds) and divide that by 2.2.
Multiply that number depending on your age: If you're younger than 30, multiply by 40. If you're between 30-55, multiply by 35. If you're older than 55, multiply by 30.
Divide that sum by 28.3.
Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink each day. Divide that number by 8 to see your result in cups.
How to Drink More Water
Drinking enough water may sound like a challenge, but making a few small changes can help you up your count. Try adopting these tips, as adapted from London's book Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked):
Wake Up and Drink: Start your day with 16 ounces of water — right away. Keep a glass on your nightstand as a visual cue.
Add Caffeinated Drinks: Unsweetened beverages such as coffee and tea "count" toward your goal. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends getting 300–400 mg per day — about 3–4 cups of coffee.
Choose Sparkling Water: Seltzer and club soda will help you hydrate, too! Choose flavored or plain options, but skip brands with higher amounts of sodium, acesulfame-K, stevia, or sucralose. They can exacerbate bloating.
Eat More Produce: Just one apple, for example, can pack up to 1⁄2 cup of H2O. Snack on extra veggies with salsa, add extra tomatoes to a salad, and get generous with your serving sizes of berries, citrus, melon, grapes, and other fruits.
Put Fruit in Your Water: Frozen fruit works for this, too! It’ll supply flavor and deliver an extra hit of fiber. Drink up, and get ready to feel better than ever with your brand-new, properly hydrated body.
Apple Cider vinegar for weight loss
Apple cider vinegar has been used in cooking and natural medicine for thousands of years.
Many claim it has health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar levels, relief from indigestion and a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
With its many potential uses, it can be difficult to know how much apple cider vinegar to take each day.
This article outlines how much apple cider vinegar you should drink for different health benefits, as well as the best ways to avoid side effects.
For Blood Sugar Management
Apple cider vinegar is often recommended as a natural way to control blood sugar levels, especially for people with insulin resistance. When taken before a high-carb meal, vinegar slows the rate of stomach emptying and prevents large blood sugar spikes
It also improves insulin sensitivity, which helps your body move more glucose out of the bloodstream and into your cells, thus lowering blood sugar levels interestingly, only a small amount of apple cider vinegar is needed to have these effects.
Four teaspoons (20 ml) of apple cider vinegar before meals have been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels after eating of water and consumed right before a high-carb meal (2
Apple cider vinegar does not significantly lower blood sugar when taken before a low-carb or high-fiber meal
For Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition associated with abnormal menstrual cycles, high levels of androgen hormones, ovarian cysts and insulin resistance
One three-month study found that women with PCOS who drank one tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar with 100 ml or about 7 ounces of water immediately after dinner had improved hormone levels and experienced more regular periods.
While further research is needed to confirm these results, one tablespoon (15 ml) each day appears to be an effective dose for improving PCOS symptoms.
For Weight Loss
Vinegar may help people lose weight by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing the amount of food eaten throughout the day.
In one study, one or two tablespoons (15 or 30 ml) of apple cider vinegar daily for three months helped overweight adults lose an average of 2.6 and 3.7 pounds (1.2 and 1.7 kg), respectively.
Two tablespoons each day have also been found to help dieters lose nearly twice as much weight in three months compared to people who didn’t consume apple cider vinegar (11).
You can stir it into a glass of water and drink it before meals or mix it with oil to make a salad dressing.
Apple cider vinegar is more likely to aid weight loss when combined with other diet and lifestyle changes.
Drinking 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of apple cider vinegar each day for several months may increase weight loss in people who are overweight.
For Improved Digestion
Many people take apple cider vinegar before protein-heavy meals to improve digestion.
The theory is that apple cider vinegar increases the acidity of your stomach, which helps your body create more pepsin, the enzyme that breaks down protein.
While there is no research to support the use of vinegar for digestion, other acidic supplements, such as betaine HCL, can significantly increase the acidity of the stomach.
Acidic foods like apple cider vinegar may have similar effects, but more research is needed.
Those who take apple cider vinegar for digestion typically drink one to two tablespoons (15–30 ml) with a glass of water immediately before meals, but there is currently no evidence to support this dose.
For General Wellness
Other popular reasons for taking apple cider vinegar include protecting against heart disease, reducing the risk of cancer and fighting infection.
There is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, and no recommended dosages for humans are available.
Animal and test-tube studies suggest that vinegar may reduce the risk of heart disease, fight cancer and slow the growth of bacteria, but no studies have been performed in humans.
Several studies have found that people who regularly eat salads with vinegar-based dressings tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and less belly fat, but this could be due to other.
More human research is needed to understand the best dose of apple cider vinegar for general health and wellness.
Best Practices to Avoid Side Effects
Apple cider vinegar is relatively safe to consume but can cause side effects in some people.
Since apple cider vinegar’s acidity is responsible for many of its health benefits, be sure not to mix it with anything that could neutralize the acid and reduce its positive.
Keep in mind that vinegar’s acidity may also damage tooth enamel with regular use. Drinking through a straw and rinsing your mouth with water afterward can help prevent this.
While drinking apple cider vinegar is associated with health benefits, consuming large amounts (8 ounces or 237 ml) every day for many years can be dangerous and has been linked to low blood potassium levels and osteoporosis.
If you experience uncomfortable side effects after taking apple cider vinegar, such as nausea, burping or reflux, stop taking it and discuss these symptoms with your doctor.
Apple cider vinegar is relatively safe in small quantities but may erode tooth enamel or cause stomach upset in some people. Large amounts may be unsafe to consume over long periods of time.
The Bottom Line
Apple cider vinegar can help manage blood sugar, improve symptoms of PCOS and promote weight loss.
A typical dose is 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) mixed with water and taken before or after meals.
Research doesn't support claims that it can improve digestion and prevent heart disease, cancer or infection.
Apple cider vinegar is a relatively safe supplement to consume in moderation but has not been extensively researched.
The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting
I have been intermittent fasting for over one year.
I skip breakfast each day and eat two meals, the first around 1pm and the second around 8pm. Then, I fast for 16 hours until I start eating again the next day at 1pm.
Surprisingly, since I've started intermittent fasting I've increased muscle mass , and decreased my overall body fat percentage, increased explosiveness (set a personal best with a clean and jerk of 253 pounds a few months back). I'm stronger, leaner, and more explosive even though I go to the gym less and eat less.
You may be wondering…
How is this possible? Isn't skipping breakfast bad for you? Why would anyone fast for 16 hours every day? What are the benefits? Is there any science behind this or are you just crazy? Is it dangerous?
Slow down, friend. I've been known to do some crazy things, but this is totally legit. It's easy to implement into your lifestyle and there are tons of health benefits. In this post, I'm going to break down intermittent fasting and everything that goes with it.
What is Intermittent Fasting and Why Would You Do It?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it's a pattern of eating. It's a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
Why is it worthwhile to change when you’re eating?
Well, most notably, it’s a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you'll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. (Most people eat bigger meals during a shorter time frame.) Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.
With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We'll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.
Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of “simple enough that you'll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.”
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it's very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
When you're in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.
Because we don't enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it's rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is great, but it isn't the only benefit of fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I'm big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don't worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don't mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When you’re starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
There’s just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesn’t sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. (Here's the study.) More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
3. Intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cancer.
This one is up for debate because there hasn’t been a lot of research and experimentation done on the relationship between cancer and fasting. Early reports, however, look positive.
This study of 10 cancer patients suggests that the side effects of chemotherapy may be diminished by fasting before treatment. This finding is also supported by another study which used alternate day fasting with cancer patients and concluded that fasting before chemotherapy would result in better cure rates and fewer deaths.
Finally, this comprehensive analysis of many studies on fasting and disease has concluded that fasting appears to not only reduce the risk of cancer, but also cardiovascular disease.
4. Intermittent fasting is much easier than dieting.
The reason most diets fail isn’t because we switch to the wrong foods, it’s because we don’t actually follow the diet over the long term. It's not a nutrition problem, it's a behavior change problem.
This is where intermittent fasting shines because it's remarkably easy to implement once you get over the idea that you need to eat all the time. For example, this study found that intermittent fasting was an effective strategy for weight loss in obese adults and concluded that “subjects quickly adapt” to an intermittent fasting routine.
I like the quote below from Dr. Michael Eades, who has tried intermittent fasting himself, on the difference between trying a diet and trying intermittent fasting.
“Diets are easy in the contemplation, difficult in the execution. Intermittent fasting is just the opposite — it’s difficult in the contemplation but easy in the execution.
Most of us have contemplated going on a diet. When we find a diet that appeals to us, it seems as if it will be a breeze to do. But when we get into the nitty gritty of it, it becomes tough. For example, I stay on a low–carb diet almost all the time. But if I think about going on a low–fat diet, it looks easy. I think about bagels, whole wheat bread and jelly, mashed potatoes, corn, bananas by the dozen, etc. — all of which sound appealing. But were I to embark on such a low–fat diet I would soon tire of it and wish I could have meat and eggs. So a diet is easy in contemplation, but not so easy in the long–term execution.
Intermittent fasting is hard in the contemplation, of that there is no doubt. “You go without food for 24 hours?” people would ask, incredulously when we explained what we were doing. “I could never do that.” But once started, it’s a snap. No worries about what and where to eat for one or two out of the three meals per day. It’s a great liberation. Your food expenditures plummet. And you’re not particularly hungry. … Although it’s tough to overcome the idea of going without food, once you begin the regimen, nothing could be easier.”
— Dr. Michael Eades
In my opinion, the ease of intermittent fasting is best reason to give it a try. It provides a wide range of health benefits without requiring a massive lifestyle change.
Examples of Different Intermittent Fasting Schedules
If you’re considering giving fasting a shot, there are a few different options for working it into your lifestyle.
Daily Intermittent Fasting
Most of the time, I follow the Leangains model of intermittent fasting, which uses a 16–hour fast followed by an 8–hour eating period. This model of daily intermittent fasting was popularized by Martin Berkhan of Leangains.com, which is where the name originated.
It doesn't matter when you start your 8–hour eating period. You can start at 8am and stop at 4pm. Or you start at 2pm and stop at 10pm. Do whatever works for you. I tend to find that eating around 1pm and 8pm works well because those times allow me to eat lunch and dinner with friends and family. Breakfast is typically a meal that I eat on my own, so skipping it isn't a big deal.
Because daily intermittent fasting is done every day it becomes very easy to get into the habit of eating on this schedule. Right now, you're probably eating around the same time every day without thinking about it. Well, with daily intermittent fasting it's the same thing, you just learn to not eat at certain times, which is remarkably easy.
One potential disadvantage of this schedule is that because you typically cut out a meal or two out of your day, it becomes more difficult to get the same number of calories in during the week. Put simply, it's tough to teach yourself to eat bigger meals on a consistent basis. The result is that many people who try this style of intermittent fasting end up losing weight. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your goals.
This is probably a good time to mention that while I have practiced intermittent fasting consistently for the last year, I'm not fanatical about my diet. I work on building healthy habits that guide my behavior 90% of the time, so that I can do whatever I feel like during the other 10%. If I come over to your house to watch the football game and we order pizza at 11pm, guess what? I don't care that it's outside my feeding period, I'm eating it.
Weekly Intermittent Fasting
One of the best ways to get started with intermittent fasting is to do it once per week or once per month. The occasional fast has been shown to lead to many of the benefits of fasting we've already talked about, so even if you don't use it to cut down on calories consistently there are still many other health benefits of fasting.
The graphic below shows one example of how a weekly intermittent fast might play out.
In this example, lunch on Monday is your last meal of the day. You then fast until lunch on Tuesday. This schedule has the advantage of allowing you to eat every day of the week while still reaping the benefits of fasting for 24 hours. It's also less likely that you'll lose weight because you are only cutting out two meals per week. So, if you're looking to bulk up or keep weight on, then this is a great option.
I've done 24–hour fasts in the past (I just did one last month) and there are a wide range of variations and options for making it work into your schedule. For example, a long day of travel or the day after a big holiday feast are often great times to throw in a 24–hour fast.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of doing a 24–hour fast is getting over the mental barrier of fasting. If you've never fasted before, successfully completing your first one helps you realize that you won't die if you don't eat for a day.
Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting
Alternate day intermittent fasting incorporates longer fasting periods on alternating days throughout the week.
For example, in the graphic below you would eat dinner on Monday night and then not eat again until Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, however, you would eat all day and then start the 24–hour fasting cycle again after dinner on Wednesday evening. This allows you to get long fast periods on a consistent basis while also eating at least one meal every day of the week.
This style of intermittent fasting seems to be used often in research studies, but from what I have seen it isn't very popular in the real world. I've never tried alternate day fasting myself and I don't plan to do so.
The benefit of alternate day intermittent fasting is that it gives you longer time in the fasted state than the Leangains style of fasting. Hypothetically, this would increase the benefits of fasting.
In practice, however, I would be concerned with eating enough. Based on my experience, teaching yourself to consistently eat more is one of the harder parts of intermittent fasting. You might be able to feast for a meal, but learning to do so every day of the week takes a little bit of planning, a lot of cooking, and consistent eating. The end result is that most people who try intermittent fasting end up losing some weight because the size of their meals remains similar even though a few meals are being cut out each week.
If you're looking to lose weight, this isn't a problem. And even if you're happy with your weight, this won't prove to be too much of an issue if you follow the daily fasting or weekly fasting schedules. However, if you're fasting for 24 hours per day on multiple days per week, then it's going to be very difficult to eat enough of your feast days to make up for that.
As a result, I think it's a better idea to try daily intermittent fasting or a single 24–hour fast once per week or once per month.
Frequently Asked Questions, Concerns, and Complaints
I’m a woman. Should I do anything differently?
I haven’t worked with women on implementing an intermittent fasting schedule, so I can’t speak from experience on this one.
That said, I have heard that women may find a wider window of eating to be more favorable when doing daily intermittent fasting. While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals. Follow what your body responds favorably to.
Also, if you’re a female, there is an all‐female page on Facebook that discusses intermittent fasting. I’m sure you could find a ton of great answers and support there.
I could never skip breakfast. How do you do it?
I don’t. Breakfast foods are my favorite, so I just eat them at 1pm each day.
Also, if you eat a big dinner the night before, I think you’ll be surprised by how much energy you have in the morning. Most of the worries or concerns that people have about intermittent fasting are due to the fact that they have had it pounded into them by companies that they need to eat breakfast or they need to eat every three hours and so on. The science doesn’t support it and neither do my personal experiences.
I thought you were supposed to eat every 3 hours?
You may have heard people say that you should have six meals per day or eat every 3 hours or something like that.
Here's why this was a popular idea for a brief period of time:
Your body burns calories when it's processing food. So the thought behind the more meals strategy was that if you ate more frequently, you would also burn more calories throughout the day. Thus, eating more meals should help you lose weight.
Here's the problem:
The amount of calories you burn is proportional to the size of the meal your body is processing. So, digesting six smaller meals that add up to 2000 calories burns the same amount of energy as processing two large meals of 1000 calories each.
It doesn't matter if you get your calories in 10 meals or in 1 meal, you'll end up in the same place.
This is crazy. If I didn't eat for 24 hours, I'd die.
Honestly, I think the mental barrier is the biggest thing that prevents people from fasting because it's really not that hard to do in practice.
Here are a few reasons why intermittent fasting isn't as crazy as you think it is.
First, fasting has been practiced by various religious groups for centuries. Medical practitioners have also noted the health benefits of fasting for thousands of years. In other words, fasting isn't some new fad or crazy marketing ploy. It's been around for a long time and it actually works.
Second, fasting seems foreign to many of us simply because nobody talks about it that much. The reason for this is that nobody stands to make much money by telling you to not eat their products, not take their supplements, or not buy their goods. In other words, fasting isn't a very marketable topic and so you're not exposed to advertising and marketing on it very often. The result is that it seems somewhat extreme or strange, even though it’s really not.
Third, you've probably already fasted many times, even though you don't know it. Have you ever slept in late on the weekends and then had a late brunch? Some people do this every weekend. In situations like these, we often eat dinner the night before and then don't eat until 11am or noon or even later. There's your 16–hour fast and you didn't even think about it.
Finally, I would suggest doing one 24–hour fast even if you don't plan on doing intermittent fasting frequently. It's good to teach yourself that you'll survive just fine without food for a day. Plus, as I've outlined with multiple research studies throughout this article, there are a lot of health benefits of fasting.
What are some good resources on intermittent fasting?
You can learn a lot about intermittent fasting by reading articles like this one and the resources below, but the best way to learn about what actually works for you is to experiment. That said, I'd recommend the following resources.
Martin Berkhan's site on the Leangains version of intermittent fasting is great. You can find it here. If you're looking for a few articles to start with, I'd recommend this one, this one, and this one.
Andy Morgan has also created an excellent site that covers the Leangains model of intermittent fasting, which you can find here. I particularly like his method of counting macros instead of counting calories, which you can read about here. (That said, I don't count anything. I just eat.)
There is a very active forum on Reddit where people post their own progress with the Leangains style of intermittent fasting. You can check that out here.
Brad Pilon wrote a good book on intermittent fasting called Eat Stop Eat, which you can buy here.
And finally, John Berardi's report on intermittent fasting is a great example of testing the ideas in practice. You can download it here.
That's intermittent fasting in a nutshell.
Free Bonus: I created an Intermittent Fasting Quick Start Guide with a summary of the benefits of intermittent fasting and 3 fasting schedules you can use depending on your goals. It's a quick 5 page PDF you can save and reference later as you try this yourself. Click here to get the guide, free.
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