Millions of people are now following the Paleo diet, a diet that is based on the foods our ancestors ate. However, if you’re starting with the diet, there are a few things you should know to be successful.Continue reading
Many people have issues when it comes to nutrition and trying to eat healthy.Continue reading
Scientific research continues to demonstrate the health benefits when added sugar and processed food are restricted in a typical diet. Many of us eat healthy during meal time. The issue seems to arise when it comes to snack time, grazing or late night eating. It is during these times that we jump ship eating more highly processed foods and added sugar.
The New York Times and Dr. Robert Lustig, MD teamed up recently offering an educational hour-long discussion on the “perils of sugar and processed foods” that can now be viewed on Youtube.
If you think snacking during the pandemic has taken its toll on your waistline, you’re probably right! Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, has a long history of trying to help prove this.
Dr. Lustig is a best-selling author of “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease.” One of his lectures on the health risks of added sugar has more than 10 million views currently on YouTube. Earlier his month he joined Tara Parker-Pope, founding editor of the New York Times Well column. They looked to answer questions and share advice on how we can improve our overall health by simply cutting back on sugar and processed foods. You can listen to his latest lecture here.
Interesting Facts Regarding Sugar and Processed Food
One of the more interesting take aways from his talk was his definition of processed food from a nutrition standpoint. He stated that in order for something to be considered a processed food, it has too little of three and too much of eight of the following items.
Too little of
Too much of
- branch-chain amino acids
- omega-6 fatty acids
- food dyes
- food additives
- added sugar
It can be a daunting task to get this under control when someone is focusing on trying to eat better. The packaged foods in a typical grocery store contain 74 percent added sugar. This is one reason why a nutritionist always says to shop only the outside or periphery of the store, do not go down the middle isles.
Americans Eat Too Much Sugar and Processed Food
The average American consumes too much added sugar on a daily basis. Americans currently eat about 76 pounds of different forms of sugars every year. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, the typical person still eats about 94 grams (or 375 calories) on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture).
This is How Much Sugar You Should be Eating
Some publications have reported added sugar should make up less than 10 percent of our total daily caloric intake while other reports say that’s wrong and it should be more like 5 percent – which I tend to agree with. In that line of thinking, there may be value in putting ourselves on what I like to call an added sugar budget. An average meal can easily turn into dessert. A good, healthy goal for men is to consume no more than 150 calories a day (38 grams) of added sugar. Women should have a goal of 100 calories a day (25 grams). To clarify, you should limit your added sugars not natural sugars.
What Types of Food Contain Added Sugar?
Added sugar is hidden in more than 60 different forms and it’s in just about everything we eat, from tomato paste, to fruit-based yogurt to (sadly) sports drinks like Gatorade (i.e. HFCS). According Dr. Lustig, “approximately 80 percent of the 6,000,000 consumer packaged foods in the United States have added caloric sweeteners.”Your best bet is to avoid it altogether if it comes in a bag, a box, out of a can, or from a carton.
The first step is start reading all food labels. Natural sugars, like those that come from fruit, contain fructose, but are packed with plenty of fiber, have an abundance of nutrients and contain lots of water and as a result gets released slowly into the bloodstream. In turn, blood sugar levels do not spike as they would with high sugar content foods. The net result, your body avoids a big release of insulin from the pancreas. When this happens multiple times throughout the day and over time, the body becomes more sensitive to storing body fat.
What the Research Shows
There is an abundance of scientific research published each year showing too much added sugar in our diet can be toxic to our health.
One study showed subjects who got 17-21 percent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 percent risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar. The risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar.(D’Adamo, 2015)
Two large European studies published by the British Medical Journal found positive associations between consumption of highly processed foods and risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Results showed that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (more than 4 servings per day) was associated with a 62 percent increased risk of all cause mortality compared with lower consumption (less than 2 servings per day). For each additional daily serving of ultra-processed food, mortality risk relatively increased by 18 percent.(BMJ, 2019)
Adopt a Healthy Eating Game Plan
To see big gains in the gym, it’s important that you train smart, eat healthy by decreasing sugar and processed food, and get plenty of sleep. Most people understand this intuitively but never develop a game plan to eat healthy. Try to follow these four easy steps to make the process easier and hopefully in turn build a healthy habit.
- Eat more fiber in your diet
- Decrease added sugar
- Eat fewer unhealthy fats
- Reduce salt intake
Try the Award-Winning Jefit App
Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.
Srour, B et al., Ultra-processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2019; 365:1451. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1451
No one needs to tell us that we’re currently living in unprecedented times. The health of everyone in this country, and worldwide for that matter, is at the forefront of all our minds. It is more important than ever to try and follow a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. How do you know if you’re living a healthy lifestyle in the first place? Harvard Health reports you’re considered healthy if you can answer “yes” to all the following criteria. (1) healthy diet, (2) healthy body weight, (3) never smoked, (4) consume moderate amounts of alcohol and (5) exercise regularly.
What’s Considered a Healthy Lifestyle?
According to Harvard Health, one important component to this type of lifestyle is a healthy diet. Meaning, an “intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids”. In addition, avoid unhealthy foods like “processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.” No smoking in a no-brainer. A healthy body weight according to the site, is a body mass index (BMI), between 18.5 and 24.9. But to be honest, this is not the best metric to monitor, instead focus on your percent body fat. The reason why BMI may not be great is because it doesn’t take into account the amount of muscle mass you have. On the alcohol side, no more than one drink/day/women and two drinks/day/men. A healthy physical activity level means roughly 30-minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week.
Does Living a Healthy Lifestyle Actually Add Years to Your Life?
The research does in fact demonstrate that living a healthy lifestyle can add years to your life. Individuals who met the criteria for all five habits (listed above) enjoyed living longer lives than those who had none: 14 additional years for women and 12 years for men to be exact. People who had none of these habits “were far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.” There is also additional research that reports similar findings to this in the Journal of American Medical Association.
You probably have the exercise piece down already, especially if you’re using the Jefit app to help record and track your workouts. Here are some additional ways to move towards a healthy lifestyle, in addition to the five criteria mentioned in the research studies above.
10 Ways to Help You Live Better and Longer
- Burn 1,100 Calories a Week. Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of calories expended from exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (fat). This type of belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Are you falling short of this number? Try joining a sports a league. One study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average weekly calorie burn by 500 a week.
- Hit the Weights. University of Michigan scientists found that people who completed three strength workouts/week for two months lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40% and heart attack by 15%.
- Find the Time to Exercise. People who exercise for 2 hours/week are less likely to feel stressed than their sedentary counterparts, say researchers from Denmark.
- Get on Those Daily Chores. Doing 150 calories’ worth of chores a day can lower blood pressure by 13 points, according to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The reduction lasts only 8 hours, but make it a daily habit and you can lower your blood pressure in the long term.
Diet & Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle
- Drink Five 8-Ounce Glasses of Water a Day. Those drinking this amount of H2O were 54% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack compared to people who drank two glasses a day.
- Try a Natural Remedy. Israeli scientists found eating one grapefruit a day lowers cholesterol by 20% even in people who don’t respond to statins.
- Cut Down on Sweets. Tufts University researchers found low-sugar diets had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who consumed all types of carbohydrates. The happier people also limited their total carbohydrate intake to 40% of their daily total calories.
- Enjoy Your Joe. Brooklyn College researchers discovered drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53%.
- Indulge Your Chocolate Craving. A 15-year study by Dutch scientists found men who ate 4 grams of cocoa/day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That’s the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey Kisses – an amount that can fit into any diet.
Stress Free Lifestyle
- Try to Laugh More. A 15-minute funny video improves blood flow to your heart by 50%, reported by the University of Maryland. “This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation,” says study author Michael Miller, MD.
Hopefully this article has offered you a little more insight on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. If so, maybe you feel like you’re more equipped now to live a more healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Continue to focus on improving your mind body & spirit a bit more each day.
Use the Jefit App to Help You Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.
If you’re going to achieve anything in life, you first have to be informed on the topic. This means learning everything you can about your craft, your hobbies, your passions. Fitness can fall into all three of these categories. To begin with, it usually develops out of a hobby. You might start out via an obligation to reduce your waistline, to improve your health, or for a more direct medical reason. Perhaps you just want to get stronger or live a healthy, fitness lifestyle. Sounds as good as any. When you start becoming familiar with the routine and feel as though you could do more, it can then develop into a passion.
This means you do it for the sake of doing it, as a regular fixture; becoming part of your lifestyle. Then, over time, it will become a craft. Not in the kind of profitable manner or artistic manner in which we think of it, but rather something we wish to improve, a basic lifestyle habit that we wish to continue and enjoy.
But to move from hobby to passion, from passion to craft, you have to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. This includes dispelling myths. For that reason, let us help you get started with three such myths.
Rest is Not an Option
When we think of an active, healthy fit lifestyle, it’s easy to conceptualize someone walking around a city all day, like New York. Perhaps we imagine them working as a courier, or in a job that requires the person to be outdoors. But often, that’s not the case. While jobs like these can be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle, they aren’t the only way you can live one.
In fact, the assumption that you need to be continually active is a false one. A healthy fitness lifestyle is nothing if you cannot rest on certain days during the week. What matters is how you use your available time in the day to improve your overall conditioning. For example, many have experienced the benefits of HIIT, which is high Intensity Interval training. This might include sprinting for one minute on a treadmill, followed by walking for two minutes to recover and then repeat. Because of the intensity of exercise, you needn’t commit to low-impact activity.
On top of that, it’s not the case that going to the gym means you will need to go each week for the rest of your life or lose all of your gains. Active recovery periods, drop-off weeks for weightlifting, and the ability to rest and get more high-quality sleep, is essential if you hope to improve the current version of yourself.
Of course, you shouldn’t pursue a fitness lifestyle motivated only by how and when you might justify your rest. Thinking that this is an impossible task that could never be achieved should you choose to get healthy is not the case. In fact, when you’re in shape, rest becomes much more satisfying, and much more restorative. So the art of getting fit is also the art of feeling your best self. Proper recovery is a key component in the mix. That sounds like a win-win.
Do You Really Need Specific Equipment to Help Your Journey?
For some reason, the primal nature of exercise or weightlifting convinces some people that the most raw means of getting in shape are always the best. Never mind that ergonomically designed piece of exercise equipment, lifting heavy things outside all day is the real way to build muscle! Never mind the treadmill’s convenience and ease of use, running outside will always be superior in the minds of some runners.
This somewhat-sprinkling of truth and myth can lead some people to think they need to go without the bare essentials should they actually be completing the work well. To some extent, this can be healthy. For example, wearing a “squat suit” to perform a power lift is not for everyone. It is needed by some, but might be overkill for a novice trying to learn correct squatting technique. For the exercise newbie, sweat pants, sturdy shoes and a t-shirt will suffice. Keep it simple. Consider your needs. When you do this, you might find a simple workout was all that you needed to keep yourself in check.
Women & Weight Training
One of the more tragic things about the fitness community is how easily incorrect information can be pushed and accepted. One of the largest myths routinely asked about is how women can fair if deciding to embark on a weight training program. There is only one answer – well. While there are bodybuilders who happen to be women, many just starting out might not have the desire to get to that level. In fact, even if you had a masculine body, lifting weights as a novice will never accidentally grant you a hugely muscular frame such as that. Your testosterone levels are much less than that of a man, and even if they were the same, accidentally becoming that muscular does not happen. It takes years and years of effort and clean eating.
If you are a woman and would like to get involved in weight lifting, be sure to check out a strength program with dedicated compound lifts and proportional work, such as the Jefit app. The benefits you stand to gain are a slender, stronger, leaner body type. To that extent, weightlifting can be a tremendous gift.
With this advice, we hope to have dispelled three common myths regarding a healthy fitness lifestyle.
Try the Jefit App
Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.