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Why Many People Who Start an Exercise Program Do Not Lose Weight

If you want to use exercise to help you lose weight, you have to spend a large amount of time exercising or you have to eat less food. Researchers reviewed the scientific literature and found that most people who start an exercise program to help them lose weight do not lose much weight because they do not burn enough calories during exercise, and they often eat even more food after they start exercising (Obes Rev, published online June 11, 2012). Furthermore, you cannot increase metabolism significantly to burn more calories after you finish exercising unless you do a huge amount of exercise or exercise very intensely.

USING EXERCISE TO LOSE WEIGHT: If you are overweight and want to lose weight, pick a sport that you enjoy doing and try to do your sport with other people. Most middle-aged people who start an exercise program drop out within the first few weeks. The people most likely to continue exercising are those who exercise in classes, with a personal trainer or with a spouse or partner.

A major advantage of exercise classes is that most experienced exercise leaders understand that you have to:
• alternate the pace of your hard workouts (pick up the pace for a few seconds, slow down, and then pick up the pace again), and
• follow a very hard day with a slower, more relaxed recovery workout day.
For example, your hard days may be an aerobic dance or spinning class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For the rest of the week, do easy recovery days of cycling, walking, swimming or dancing slowly.

USING DIET TO LOSE WEIGHT: Do not think that you will lose weight just because you are starting an exercise program. You need to eat less food also. Eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables. Try to restrict the calorie dense foods:
• meat, poultry and dairy products
• fried foods
• all refined carbohydrates: (foods made from flour, sugared drinks and sugared-added foods).

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Eating Red Meat Associated with Premature Death

Eating meat from mammals is associated with increased risk of heart attacks, cancers and premature death. Researchers followed 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2008) and 83,644 women from the Nurses' Health Study (1980- 2008) who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer and found that substituting one serving per day of meat with one serving per day of other sources of protein from fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy, and whole grains is associated with a seven to 19 percent reduced risk of premature death (Archives of Internal Medicine, July 2012;172(7):555-563). The authors estimate that 9.3 percent of deaths in men and 7.6 percent in women could be prevented if North Americans consumed fewer than 0.5 servings of red meat per day (approximately 42 g/d).

WHAT TO SUBSTITUTE FOR RED MEAT? Instead of eating meat from mammals or dairy products, I recommend that you increase intake of nuts, fish, soy products, and non-hydrogenated vegetable oils. This will improve the mix of fatty acids in your body and help prevent heart attacks (Journal of Internal Medicine, July 6, 2012).

If you replace red meat with REFINED CARBOHYDRATES (sugared drinks and foods made from flour), you increase risk for heart attacks and diabetes. Instead, you should reduce your intake of the unhealthful fats:
• TRANS FATTY ACIDS from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and
• SATURATED FATS IN RED MEAT.
In place of these fats, eat the healthful mono- and polyunsaturated fats that are found IN fruits and vegetables.

A HEALTHFUL DIET includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, WHOLE grains (not ground into flour), beans, nuts and other seeds. You may also choose to eat seafood, some poultry and low fat dairy products. Restrict red meat and refined carbohydrates (sugared drinks, sugar-added foods and foods made from flour or milled grains).

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Avoiding Sugar Lowers Cholesterol

Researchers found 28 studies that compared low- and high-Glycemic Index (GI) diets over at least four weeks. (GI measures how high blood sugar rises after you eat a certain food). They found that low-GI diets significantly reduced total cholesterol and the bad LDL cholesterol, whether the people lost weight or not (Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, July 30, 2012). The low-GI diets did not affect the good HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels. The more fiber a person ate, the greater the drop in bad LDL cholesterol.

When your blood sugar rises, it is used for energy. If it cannot be used for energy, it goes into muscles and liver to be stored as glycogen. It takes very little sugar to fill the liver and muscles, and once they are filled, all extra sugar is converted to fat called triglycerides. Then your liver takes 1500 triglyceride molecules and a lesser number of cholesterol molecules and makes a lipoprotein that is eventually converted to the bad LDL cholesterol that forms plaques in arteries. This is why eating too much sugar raises cholesterol.

More on Glycemic Index

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Recipe of the Week:

Sweet Potato Bisque

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE

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August 5th, 2012
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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