Claims about using coconut oil for weight loss are making their rounds once again through social media – or perhaps they never stopped. Though there was a sip in the trend after a Harvard scientist discounted many of the health claims made about this natural ingredient, it appears to have rebuilt itself and is going strong once again.
Let’s take a closer look at the idea of using coconut oil for weight loss and what science has to say about it.
At the very basic level of the claims regarding coconut oil for weight loss are medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils. Coconut oil contains a number of different types of fats but is a good source of MCTs. The majority of the claims linking the oil with body fat reduction have to do with MCTs instead of coconut oil itself.
The MCTs found in coconut oil may indeed help to support weight loss and body fat management. However, the idea of using coconut oil for weight loss remains highly controversial.
Many people feel that by eating coconut oil as a part of their regular diet, they will improve their weight loss results. However, as mentioned earlier, the science behind such claims is based on MCT and MCT oil studies. They make the leap that coconut oil for weight loss is the same as using MCT oil, despite the fact that it is not the same thing.
Although Coconut oil is considered to be a good natural source of MCTs, it still contains only small quantities of them, such as caprylic acid and capric acid. That said, about half of coconut oil’s fat content is lauric acid. Here is another area of controversy.
While some would label lauric acid as an MCT, others feel that it is actually closer to a long chain triglyceride (LCT) or that it falls somewhere between MCTs and LCTs but is neither. There are 12 carbon atoms in lauric acid, while MCT oil usually has only 6 to 10 carbon atoms.
If you can use coconut oil for weight loss, it would be because of the MCTs present. Research shows that they help to boost the metabolism and raise satiety from food. That said, it is unlikely that adding a bit of the oil to your daily diet will make enough of a difference on its own that you will see it on the bathroom scale.
Sleep has a great deal to do with your ability to lose weight faster. A lack of sleep can lead to a spectrum of problems that can make it much tougher for you to drop the pounds but much easier for you to build them on. Therefore, if you want to be able to more naturally control your calorie intake and prime your body to prevent unnecessarily packing on the pounds, changes to your sleep routine may be necessary.
Instead of eating a tiny breakfast, a moderate sized lunch and a massive dinner – possibly with snacks in between and afterward – spread out your calories. Eating a similar-sized meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and having a light snack when you feel hungry can help to keep your metabolism running. It will also make sure you have energy throughout the day as opposed to giving yourself the best dose of calorie-based energy right before you’re supposed to start winding down for bed.
Just as going to bed with too much food in your stomach isn’t recommended, you can also lose weight faster by avoiding being too hungry. Too little food can interrupt your sleep. Have a light snack before bed if you feel hungry. This will help you to feel more content, comfortable and restful.
Taking a quick shower can refresh your body after a long day. It can release muscular aches and pains and the warm temperature is relaxing overall. The steam can make it easier to breathe, and as you build a calming routine of showering before bed, it will help to naturally wind you down for improved sleep to lose weight faster.
Many people confuse this step to lose weight faster because it does make you tired. However, just as alcohol makes you sleepy, it also reduces the quality of your sleep. When you drink it, you’re more likely to be restless and wakeful during the night, even if you originally fell asleep quickly.
An hour before bedtime, dim the lights in the room and stop using devices with screens such as a TV, phone, tablet or computer. This light reduces melatonin production, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep on a regular schedule. Dimming the lights therefore helps you lose weight faster.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use something to support your weight loss and make your food and drinks taste better, too? See where this is going? Of course, you do. You read the title. There are lots of herbs that don’t just taste delicious but that can also help to give your weight control efforts an added advantage.
That said, there are some herbs that are truly top performers to support your weight loss when compared to others. Consider the following herbs the next time you write your grocery list.
Ginseng is a top herb to support your weight loss. It has been popular in certain traditional medicines in specific parts of the world for centuries. However, over recent years this herb has become considerably more popular. It has become commonplace to drink ginseng tea for a range of benefits, such as helping with weight loss through mild appetite suppressing effects.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that an herb on its own won’t be enough to lead to pounds lost on the bathroom scale. Instead, use this to support your weight loss by using this ingredient to help you as you control your calorie intake and exercise regularly. Of course, if ginseng isn’t your cup of tea, considering using fresh or dried ginseng root as an ingredient in your soup.
Peppermint may be commonly associated with gum or toothpaste flavors, but the fresh herb is great to support your weight loss. Like with ginseng, peppermint doesn’t help with weight control directly as much as by providing extra help to the efforts you’re already making.
Drinking peppermint as a tea, you can settle an upset stomach, control your appetite and beat unwanted food cravings. This ingredient can have a fast and powerful effect. It is highly refreshing which can make it feel easier to face your workouts and be prepared for the active side of your weight management strategy.
Oregano is practically synonymous with Italian food. It’s in spaghetti sauce and pizza, but fresh oregano is also a top herb to support your weight loss. It boosts the flavor of your food but also acts as an appetite suppressant and mild diuretic. It also contains carvacrol, a naturally occurring active substance that may help the body to burn visceral fat. Naturally the effect is not powerful enough to simply eat oregano and see results on the scale, but every little bit counts in boosting the impact of the efforts you’re already making.
Unless you’ve been going through a digital detox for the last decade, then you’ve likely seen dozens upon dozens of diet challenge posts online and especially on your social media. Everyone from celebrities to your friends and family are trying these temporary strategies meant to get fast results, jumpstart a healthier lifestyle or otherwise benefit your health or weight loss.
That said, as much as a diet challenge often seems like a great idea, they’re not without their downsides. In fact, many of them can actually be harmful as opposed to being helpful.
Just because some types of diet challenge can be risky, it doesn’t mean they should all be avoided. The key is to be very cautious and talk to a health care provider before doing anything that involves a significant change from your current lifestyle.
For instance, if you plan to significantly cut carbs, cut out all sugar, substantially reduce fat intake, go meatless, or even amp up your workouts while you change what you eat, these can all create notable changes in your body. For some people, these changes may be safe. Make sure you’re in that group of people before you make the changes. Unless you’re a nutrition expert, you may not even realize how much impact certain simple and healthy-sounding changes can have.
The very nature of a diet challenge is to do something over the short term. Unfortunately, most research shows that anything that doesn’t have the long-term in mind comes with risks of harm. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will place your life in danger, but the harm can still be very frustrating.
For instance, if you take on a diet challenge that greatly reduces your caloric intake or that changes your usual macronutrient balance, you may see impressive results while you’re doing it. However, after the 10 days or 30 days of your challenge, returning to a regular healthy lifestyle can cause your weight to balloon back on again.
Sending your body these types of mixed messages can work against your ability to lose weight or maintain your weight loss. When you shift the way your body burns fat, how much energy you provide it through food, or the nature of the food you’re eating, your metabolism changes in order to respond to it. Over the short term, that can mean great news. However, afterward you may end up seeing not only the weight you lost, but some additional pounds as well.
Be extremely selective about the diet challenge you take on and inform yourself before you begin.
Being able to stick to your diet is nearly as important as the weight loss strategy you choose in the first place. In fact, many doctors are now recommending that dieters consider their predicted capacity to keep up with the components of a diet as a main factor for choosing it in the first place.
After all, if you can’t stick to your diet, it won’t provide you with much benefit, no matter what the studies show about its potential. If you slip back into the habits that caused you to gain the weight in the first place, it’s very unlikely that the pounds will come off on the bathroom scale.(more…)
Have you noticed how many diets have been making headlines promising healthy weight control over the past few years? As each month goes by, there is another option added to the top of the pile, promising that it will give the best results. They promise long term, fast and easy management of those excess pounds.
However, very few of them actually provide the healthy weight control they promise. Alternately, many of them offer great results over the short-term but without any possibility to maintain them over the long-term. To help you keep up with the latest, we’ve compiled this list of the best and the worst according to recent research (or lack thereof).(more…)
This month has seen a lot of before and after pictures as a part of people’s plans for self improvement. As weight loss diets, healthy lifestyles and fitness routines were adopted at the start of the year, many people documented their progress.
That said, with all these before and after pictures, are people really benefiting? Alternately, could this practice be harmful to a person’s results or to their mental health? New research has started examining the practice of documenting progress in this way since it has become as commonplace as it is.(more…)
Do you have enough fiber in your diet? Before answering that question, do you know how much you’re supposed to have? If you’re like most people, you’re not actually getting enough. Here’s why you should change that habit.
The fiber in your diet is well known for keeping you regular. That said, there are far more health benefits than that well-known advantage. To understand the benefits, you need to understand fiber.
The fiber in your diet is a kind of carbohydrate that your body is not able to digest. Though most other kinds of carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) and absorbed into your body as energy. Fiber, on the other hand, cannot be broken down into glucose. Instead, it makes its way through the entire digestive system undigested.
When you have enough fiber in your diet, it helps to regulate the way your body uses sugar. This keeps your blood sugar levels and hunger levels under control. When you have the right amount of fiber on a regular basis, you can decrease your risk of many chronic diseases.
Eating a diet rich in fiber helps to keep cholesterol levels low, enhances gut health, and helps improve the efficiency of your weight management. It also helps to decrease the risk of chronic disease and shrink the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or kidney stones.
There are two types of dietary fiber: insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is the form that helps to keep you regular. It makes it easier for waste to make its way through your digestive system and out. This form does not dissolve in water. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, dissolves in water. It is the type of fiber that helps to keep cholesterol levels down and helps to eliminate fat.
Now that you know more about the fiber in your diet and the benefits it can provide, it’s time to make sure you’re getting enough. If you’re wondering what foods can help you to get all the fiber you need in a day, it’s easier than you think. The following foods are fantastic sources of fiber: potatoes (including skins), apples (including skins), berries, legumes and beans, carrots, flax seeds, chia seeds, chickpeas, peas, quinoa, avocado, oranges, nuts, bananas and whole grains.
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Keeping up a dry January has become quite the trend this year. After a holiday season of high calorie foods and too much alcohol, it can feel good to head in the opposite direction for a while. That said, can you expect any improvements to your weight loss efforts for choosing not to drink any alcohol for a month?
Dry January has taken off as a popular idea partly because it offers a very clear and direct way to make a healthy choice. At a time after lots of overindulgence and when many of us start resolutions to make ourselves better, a dry month can seem very appealing. It can also seem like an easy way to clean up a lifestyle.
Moreover, since alcohol doesn’t have positive benefits for your weight loss, cutting it can give you a substantial advantage. Alcohol is notoriously high in empty calories and natural sugars. Therefore, by cutting them for a month, you’ll automatically slash your unnecessary calories and carbs. One large glass of wine, for example, contains around 200 calories. Cutting that glass of wine saves you all those calories without having to go without a drink. If you have water with a lemon wedge in it, you’ll still have a beverage but without the negative impact on your diet.
Many people love how easy dry January is when it comes to making a positive choice. After all, when you want to lose weight, much of the challenge is in being able to cut calories without being hungry. That said, if many of your calories are coming from alcohol, then swapping out those drinks for herbal tea, black coffee, and water, slashing them is a breeze.
A dry January doesn’t require hunger pangs, feelings of deprivation, or a struggle to be social with your friends. You can still eat out, you can visit friends and family and can have them over. The only thing you’ll be cutting is calories and the cost of your drinks. After all, whether you’re drinking alcohol at home or at a restaurant, a water or a tea is far less expensive than a drink with alcohol – even if you choose a fancy bottled water!
Aside from supporting your weight loss and leaving more money in your pocket, cutting alcohol can have some additional potential benefits, too. For instance, if you find you suffer from the blues over the holidays – or immediately afterward – a dry January can make it easier for you to return to a more positive emotional state. Alcohol is a depressant. Cutting it can not only help you to maintain a better and more balanced mood on the day you would have had it to drink, but also on the day afterward!
Ready to kick start weight loss for 2019? Regardless of whether you held it together through the holiday season or overindulged the whole time, the New Year offers a fresh start. This is your opportunity to tell yourself that you’re worth the effort to get healthy this year. You can look and feel great and reduce your risk of health problems at the same time.
That said, your next step is to know how to begin. While you fine tune your weight management strategy for 2019, there are still several things you can do to kick start weight loss. Use the following list to make sure you get to where you want to be this year and make it the best one yet.(more…)