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Weight Loss and the DASH Diet – What You Need to Know

Weight Loss and the DASH Diet – What You Need to Know

Obesity has become an epidemic not just in the United States, but around the world. Many diet plans have been developed as a result, with varying rates of success. One diet program that is proving to be effective is DASH – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. DASH was named as the best diet plan for the last eight years by U.S. News & World Report. Apart from hypertension (commonly known as high blood pressure), DASH is also known to fight diabetes, maintain heart health and help lower cholesterol levels.

Formulated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the DASH diet was initially developed for people who want to take control of their hypertension. But, the diet soon gained traction among dieters, who found it helped them lose weight more effectively. As is known to most who want to lose weight, several nutritional factors that affect blood pressure also influence weight – such as sugar, trans fats and processed foods in general.

What is the DASH diet and how does it work?

The DASH diet works on the principle of cutting down on sodium consumption. You are advised to primarily focus on eating vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods. As far as dairy is concerned, you should choose low-fat options because they have less added salt. You also need to have some fish, poultry, whole grains, and nuts.

The amount of salt you should have depends on the type of DASH diet you are on:

The standard DASH diet – allowed to have up to 2,300 mg of sodium daily.

The low-sodium DASH diet – allowed to have 1,500 mg of sodium daily.

Unlike many other high-profile diet plans, DASH does not squarely focus on eliminating starches. When it comes to losing weight, sustainability is the key. Therefore, for best results, you need to follow a diet plan and continue it for a long time. But the problem when you select a low-carb diet plan is that it becomes hard for you to keep carbs at bay over the long term. However, the DASH diet is more palatable, making compliance easier.

The only restrictions in case of the DASH diet are to avoid sugar, fats, processed foods and sodium. Saying no to processed foods can solve most of your sugar, fat, and sodium problem. The ultra-processed foods an average American consumes in a day contributes 58% of the total calories, 90% of added sugars and 75% of sodium.

There is no doubt that processed foods contain excess salt, which increases the risk of diseases like hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. Cutting down the intake of salt can substantially lower these risks. But, it is not just these diseases that are linked to a high sodium diet – there is a distinct connection between high blood pressure and weight that cannot be overlooked.

What can I eat?! What does a typical DASH diet include?

One of the first questions people ask before starting a diet, is… what can I eat?!  The Dairy Alliance and Registered dietitian Sarah-Jane Bedwell combined efforts on a video detailing some menu items that qualify for the DASH Diet.

For moderately active people ages 19 to 51, DASH requires a 2,000 calorie diet per day. This is what the DASH diet menu would read like:

Grains – The ideal scenario is to consume 6-8 servings of grains every day. You should have more of whole grains because they contain nutrients and fiber in abundance. Choose products that display 100% whole grain labels.

Vegetables – Followers of the DASH diet should have 4-5 servings of vegetables every day. Add vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and other leafy veggies to your diet, as they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Fruits – You should have a minimum of 4-5 servings of fruit, as it raises your energy levels and increases the fiber content in your body. You can have fruits such as apples, pears and grapefruit because these are a rich source of fiber and antioxidants.

Meat, fish, and poultry – It is always good to have meat in moderation, and that is what the DASH diet recommends. Meat contains iron, protein, B-complex vitamins and zinc. Have 4-6 servings of lean, skinless meat daily.

Dairy products – Milk and other dairy products contain protein, calcium, and vitamin D in sufficient quantity. However, select low-fat/fat-free products. You should have a minimum of 2-3 servings of dairy daily. Substitute with lactose-free dairy products if you are allergic to milk.

Oils and fats – Fats are essential for the body, as they help absorb vitamins, which helps keep the immune system in balance. Limit your fats and oil intake to 2-3 servings daily. The DASH diet recommends limiting your daily consumption of fat to under 27% and saturated fats to 7% or less.

Nuts, seeds, peas and dry beans – You should have 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds and beans every week. Nuts don’t have a good reputation because they are high in fat, but if consumed as recommended in the DASH diet, they are beneficial, as nuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. You can have cashews, almonds, peas, sunflower seeds, pistachio, beans, and lentils, which are rich in fiber, potassium, and magnesium.

Sweets –You can have sweets, but in moderation – keeping it to five servings a week. If you consider low-fat treats – such as jelly beans, fruit ices, granola bars and low-fat cookies – be sure to read the label for their sugar content, which can be high.

A balanced diet like DASH is planned to keep you feeling full. You have sufficient fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber and enough lean protein that makes you feel full most of the time. DASH also reduces calorie intake, which helps you lose weight quickly. When you feel satisfied with your food intake, instead of constantly hungry, you are more likely to increase your physical activity, which also helps weight loss.

As everyone is different, it is always advisable to follow a customized diet plan. Solutions Weight Loss offers effective, proven medically supervised weight loss programs that are tailored to each individual. Dr. Newsome and our entire team provide comprehensive support to every client in reaching their goal. Contact us today to learn more.

Obesity and Heart Disease – How to Lose Weight and Keep Your Heart Healthy

Obesity and Heart Disease – How to Lose Weight and Keep Your Heart Healthy

Obesity is a global epidemic in both adults and children. It is a major health problem in the United States, as one out of every three Americans is considered obese. Obesity is known to be a risk factor for many life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease (also referred to as cardiovascular or coronary artery disease). It is also known to increase the chances of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, and some forms of cancer.

Obesity in America: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 36.5% (one third) of U.S. adults are obese. The percentage of children and adolescents ages 2-19 is about around 17%, representing a number of 12.7 million!

With the increase in the obesity levels among American adults, heart disease is on the rise. The CDC reports that heart disease is the cause of one out of every four deaths in America, claiming about 610,000 lives annually.

What is obesity?

According to the CDC, weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity.

BMI

BMI is a formula that takes into account your height and weight. BMI indicating a healthy weight is between 18.5-24.9. A BMI between 25-29.9 is considered overweight, with obesity starting at a BMI over 30.

Waist circumference

Abdominal, or belly fat, is known to increase the risk of heart disease. Waist circumference is the width of your waist slightly above the naval area. For men, if your waist is more than 40 inches, the risk of heart disease increases significantly. For women, the risk increases if your waist size is more than 35 inches.

Obesity and heart disease

Also, obesity can increase your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Obesity can also reduce your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can increase your blood pressure level, and might induce diabetes, which in some cases can worsen your risk factor for heart disease. Obesity is also known to enlarge the left ventricle (called left ventricular hypertrophy), which increases the risk of heart failure.

How to Lose Weight and Avoid Heart Disease

Those about to undergo a significant weight reduction program should do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure that safe, medically sound steps are followed. Core to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, however, are healthy eating habits and an overall wellness-oriented lifestyle.

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Here are the basic guidelines

Meal prep! Plan your meals ahead of time to avoid unhealthy fast food lunches and takeout dinners.

Cut down on sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages – High amounts of sugar increases your overall weight and – more specifically – belly fat. Also, read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods for high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, and avoid when possible.

Add soluble fiber to your diet – Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a type of gel in your gut, which slows sugar absorption into your bloodstream, which helps your body store less fat.

Include protein in your diet – A high-protein diet can help in weight loss. Standard protein requirements are at least 50 grams a day for women; about 60 grams per day for men. Again, get advice from a healthcare professional before starting a weight-loss program to confirm if a high-protein diet would be beneficial for your individual health concerns and target goals.

Cut down on alcohol Alcoholic drinks contain many more calories than most people think. A 20-ounce serving of beer can pack 250 calories, a 6-ounce glass of wine contains 120, and a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor contains about 100. And that’s without any sugary mixers.

Pay attention to carbohydrates – You don’t need to start on a zero-carb diet (which is taking the other, also unhealthy, extreme), but switch from refined carbohydrates to unprocessed carbs. This will not just decrease your weight; it can also improve your metabolic health.

Increase physical activity – You can start slowly, increasing your workout time to at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking, every week. Or, a high-intensity aerobic exercise like jogging for 75 minutes every week (or a combination of both), as well as muscle-strengthening exercises. Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Get enough sleep – Sound sleep is not just important for your overall good health, it is also essential for your weight loss goal. If you are not able to sleep properly, you tend to gain more weight. This is because people tend to eat more when they don’t get adequate sleep.

Managing stress efficiently – Stress is part of daily life, and you need to find ways to manage it well. You can opt for meditation, exercise, or hobbies to alleviate your stress. Also, some people tend to overeat when they are under stress. It is important that you manage your stress so that you keep your focus firmly on your weight loss goal.

If you are ready to change your life and your health – for the better, our experienced physicians at Solutions Weight Loss are here to provide you with an individual, medically supervised plan to help you meet your goals. We also apply advanced weight loss treatments and protocols that are not available over the counter. We welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.

9 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying To Lose Weight

9 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying To Lose Weight

For many individuals losing weight is a tough nut to crack. It is a battle that tests your willpower to the limit.

But, keeping your body in shape is an incentive very few can resist. People want to lose weight, and get rid of body fat, not just for the sake of beauty, but also because it helps you stay healthy.

The growing awareness about health issues related to weight gain provides the required thrust to scores of people around the world to fight this deadly menace called obesity. After all, obesity increases the risk of several diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer.

Losing weight might seem a difficult task to accomplish, but it certainly is not impossible. In fact, there is nothing in this world that you can’t do, all it requires is a bit of determination, some hard work, and the right kind of advice.

You must be aware of the basic mantra of losing weight – eat less and exercise more. But, when it comes to losing weight there is more to it than just move more and eat less. And, it is quite possible that the advice you are following is flawed or outdated.

No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. A mature person is one who learns from his or mistake and moves on in life.

In this blog, we will take you through some common mistakes individuals commit when trying to lose weight.

As mentioned earlier, nothing is impossible, all it requires is a bit of application, self-control, and determination.

There are methods you can adopt to lose weight, and do it effectively. For starters, eating a balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis are two things that is sure to keep your weight in check.

But, losing weight is a task which requires perfection. If you are not getting the desired result despite the best of your efforts, then it is quite possible that something is amiss.

Trying to Lose Weight? Don’t Make These Common Diet Mistakes!

1- Focusing only on the scale weight – The scale reading does not always give you the correct picture. You are not alone if you feel that you are not shedding weight quickly enough, despite adhering to a strict diet and exercise regimen.

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There are various ways to measure whether you are losing weight or not, and scale weight is just one of them. Several things can affect your weight, including water retention (or fluid fluctuations) and the food that remains in your system. Depending on what you have eaten and the amount of liquid you consume, your weight can vary as much as 4 pounds during a day.

If the reading on the scale is stagnant, you might well be shedding fat mass, but retaining water. There are a lot many things that you can do to lose water weight. Also, with a strict exercise regimen in place, it is quite possible that you are adding muscle mass to your body while losing fat.

Hence, even when the scale shows no positive movement, you might notice that your waistline has reduced (your clothes become loose, especially around your waist).

Don’t concentrate too much on the scale weight, instead take a tape measure and start keeping a tab on your waistline. Alternatively, you can click your pictures on a monthly basis and see the difference.

2- Also, focusing too much on what you can’t have – Losing weight is as much a psychological battle as it is a physical one. You should not just concentrate on things you can’t have, instead focus on foods that you can eat.

You can get into depression if you keep thinking that you can’t have dessert, alcohol, sugar, cheese and/ or bread. Instead, focus on the superfoods you are allowed to eat, which is not just good for your weight loss program, but is also excellent for your overall health.

Moreover, if you can have foods that you like the most in moderation, then you can have everything. But, the key here is “moderation’.

The main aim when embarking on a weight loss program is to keep negative thoughts at bay and focus on the positives.

3- Not keeping a check on calorie intake – You need to burn more calories than you consume if you want to lose weight. A calorie deficit is the need of the hour if you have plans to shed those extra pounds. Earlier, it was thought that bringing down the calorie intake by 3,500 per week would result in a one-pound loss of fat. But, recent studies show that calorie deficit needs are different for every individual.

Many people think that they are not consuming too many calories. But, the fact of the matter is that we tend to miscalculate and underreport when it comes to what we eat. You could have switched to healthy foods like cheese and nuts, but don’t forget that they are high in calories. Hence, you have to control the amount you eat – portion size is the key here.

On the contrary, you should not decrease your calorie intake drastically. Unless you are strictly following the 800 calorie diet, if your calorie intake is less than 1, 000 per day, then it can slow down your metabolism and also cause muscle loss.

4- Not drinking adequate amount of water – We tend to concentrate too much on the food we can eat and those

that we can’t, but forget the importance of water. More than seventy percent of our body is made of water. Drinking less water during your weight loss schedule can hamper your efforts, hence, always keep yourself hydrated.

Water also keeps helps keep your skin looking youthful so drink up! If you’re not a fan of water and think you can’t get your recommended 8 glasses per day in, try “infused water” and flavor it with lemons, limes, or cucumbers.

Research suggests that drinking water, soup, or having a water rich salad before the start of your meal can lower the amount of food you eat. Water decreases your appetite and you tend to eat less during your meal. Also, when you stay hydrated, it can ward off headaches, and headaches are known to trigger stress eating.

 

5- Exercising more or not exercising at all – Exercising is essential not just for weight loss, but also for keeping your health in good shape. And, when you cut down on your calories without doing any exercise, you are likely to lose more muscle mass, and it would also slow down your metabolic rate.

Exercising help you lose more fat, it decreases the loss of lean mass and keeps your metabolic rate in check.

But, exercising helps you if you don’t overdo it. If you start over-exercising, even this can lead to a lot of problems. Excessive exercising is not manageable for many in the long run, and it also increases your stress levels. Too much exercise is not advisable if you are planning to lose weight and it is also not good for your health.’

Add cardio and weight lifting exercises to your schedule (several times a week) to keep your metabolic rate in check and lose weight.

6- Meal skipping – This is a mistake many people commit without realizing that it never helps the cause of weight loss. When you deprive your body of food, it hits your metabolism hard, which certainly does not help the cause of weight loss.

When you eat after a long gap, you tend to eat more than usual. This overeating can only increase your weight, instead of helping you lose any. You should not go hungry for more than 4 – 5 hours at a stretch. Always eat a healthy something during the meals.

Never skip a meal because it can only hamper your weight loss efforts.

7- Relying too much on “Diet” or low fat foods – Processed diet or low foods are not good for anybody’s health, and it certainly is not recommended if you are on a weight loss program.

Many diet products need sugar to enhance their taste. For example, one cup of low fat or diet yogurt (fruit flavored) can have as much as 47 grams of sugar, (which is equal to 12 teaspoons of sugar).

Low fat or diet foods don’t make you feel full; they can only make you hungrier. And, this is the reason that you end up eating more food.

Hence, try to have less of processed foods, and select a diet that is high in nutrition.

8- Not eating sufficient protein – If you want to lose weight, then you should eat protein in

abundance. Protein reduces your appetite, it increases your metabolic rate and it also decreases the intake of calories. Also, protein keeps your muscle mass intact during the process of weight loss and it makes you feel full.

A diet that is high in protein helps control appetite and also improves body composition.

You can get protein from a variety of sources, one of the most popular ways is in powder form like Primal Protein Powder from Julian Bakery. We like this brand because it only has 2 ingredients, both being organic, and it is free of GMOs, soy, gluten, hormones, and rGBH, and you can use it and stay in ketosis.

 

9- Not having sufficient amount of fiber – A diet that is low in fiber is not good for your weight loss regimen. Fiber is known to make you feel full and reduces your appetite. A diet rich in fiber can also help you decrease calorie absorption from other foods.

A rich fiber diet is not just good for weight loss; it is also excellent for your health because it keeps your gut in perfect condition.

If you are planning to lose weight, then you need to have a structured plan in place to maximize your efforts. There would be many questions in your mind like what you should eat, things that you must avoid, how much should you exercise and how to optimize your efforts.

Each person is different and so are their needs. To chalk out a workable weight loss strategy just get in touch with Solutions Weight Loss and speak to Dr. Newsome. The expert guidance will help you formulate a concrete plan that would allow you to lose weight effectively and quickly.

At Solutions Weight Loss, we make sure that you follow the correct path and reach your goal well in time.

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