The obesity epidemic facing the world today is almost entirely due to a single factor – excessive calorie intake through food. A sedentary lifestyle further contributes to weight gain. Carbohydrates constitute the largest part of our diet and naturally it is the predominant source of calories. The problem lies with refined carbohydrates which deliver more calories ounce for ounce than unrefined carbohydrates. Processed foods are often laden with these refined carbohydrates and often we are unknowingly consuming large quantities of calories in small morsels of food.
Nutrition's Articles Archives
Eating more than we should is a problem in the modern world. It is not only the size that is the problem but the total calorie intake in a day. Often it is much more than what our body needs which explains the obesity epidemic that is seen across the developed world. The problem has reached epidemic proportions and is a concern for health authorities across the globe. However, the fundamental issue lies in the fact that people are eating more than they should and this excess is stored as fat.
We constantly hear about the negative health effects of drinking sodas. Too much sugar, too much gas, excessive caffeine and there is even talk about some sodas being as corrosive as drain cleaners. But the fact is that hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people drink soda on a daily basis across the globe. There is some truth in the claims made against sodas by health organizations but the bigger problem is for people with certain medical conditions. Drinking soda can worsen the symptoms, hamper treatment and even lead to complications.
Dehydration is a common complication of overexposure to heat, strenuous physical activity with profuse perspiration, vomiting and diarrhea. Many of us experience dehydration several times in life, often not realizing that we are dehydrated. In mild cases it can pass relatively easily with oral rehydration solutions but severe cases may usually require IV administration of fluids and even hospitalization. Dehydration is the killer complication of acute infectious diseases that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It contributes to large numbers of fatalities across the globe yet it is easy to treat at home in the early stages.
Your concentration levels are only one aspect of your mental functioning. It is our ability to focus on a task in front of us and works hand in hand with memory, reasoning, comprehending and decision-making. All of these functions of the brain also work in conjunction with our energy levels, general health status and other specific functions of different systems in the body. The brain does not function in isolation and it is therefore not surprising that what benefits our body and health in general, will also be beneficial for the brain. Exercise is one such beneficial activity – for both mind and body. But so is nutrition.
High blood cholesterol is a common problem throughout the world, often affecting people from their mid-30s onwards. However, with the rise in obesity and a diet abundant in fat and refined carbohydrates, high blood cholesterol levels are now being seen in younger adults even in their 20s. Diet is of course a factor, but so is genetics and other lifestyle aspects. Controlling what you eat and avoiding certain foods can therefore be helpful. But some foods even have the ability to help lower your cholesterol levels and should be consumed in larger amounts.
When you hear vitamin D, you think of strong healthy bones. Most people do, and rightfully so. Vitamin D plays a central role in bone health that calcium alone cannot manage. But the benefits of vitamin D does not start, nor end in your bones. The importance of this micronutrient is understated but medical science is constantly discovering new benefits of vitamin D outside of your bones. In fact, vitamin D has now found to be so crucial in your health that it could play a role in preventing heart disease, diabetes, depression, dementia and cancers.
Coffee drinking is a norm across the globe, even among nations that are seen as traditionally being tea drinkers. Over 50% of American adults drink coffee daily despite the fact that coffee had been considered to be bad for your health for many decades. The fact is that coffee actually has health benefits and according to experts, these benefits outweigh the health risks. Many of the health risks associated with coffee are unfounded. However, as with any food or drink, too much of coffee can definitely have an adverse impact on your health. A cup or two of coffee daily is well within the safe limits and likely to offer you some of the health benefits associated with this popular drink.
Many infectious diseases are spread through contaminated food and water. But it is not only contracted in restaurants and from street food vendors. Transmission of viruses, bacteria and its toxins as well as other parasites through food and water can occur in the home just as much as in commercial kitchens. The risk is significantly greater when traveling to countries where the hygiene standards are not the same as most developed countries. However, even in the most developed nation the risk of foodborne and waterborne illnesses are always present although to a significantly lesser degree.
So what can you do to ensure that you minimize the chances of feeding your family and yourself contaminated food and water? Just a few simple measures can make a big difference in the home and even prove to be lifesaving when traveling abroad.
Eating like a diabetic is often said to be the way that every person should eat, even non-diabetics. Certain foods affect glucose levels in different ways. But the body of a non-diabetic is able to intervene to prevent sudden spikes (sharp increases) in blood glucose levels. Diabetics cannot do so as efficiently. Therefore foods that can rapidly increase blood glucose levels have to be avoided. But these problem foods are not always as obvious as one would think. Refined sugar is a problem in diabetes but so are many other foods that may not have a sweet taste. Simply going by foods which taste sweeter than others is a careless way to control your diet if you are a diabetic.
Most of us just worry about the taste of the food we are eating. Is it well spiced? Does it have enough salt? But for people with allergies, every meal is a potential obstacle course of what to eat, not eat or sample with caution. Food allergies are not uncommon. It is often seen in children, many of whom outgrow it. But allergies can be just as much of a problem for adults and the dietary and even lifestyle changes that follow can be a bother. Remember that allergens are not only in foods. More commonly allergens are in the environment and when airborne, it can be inhaled and trigger an allergic reaction. However, food allergies are more likely to trigger a severe allergic reaction than airborne allergens.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is one of the many micronutrients that our body needs to stay healthy. In fact, vitamin C has a host of benefits that can also keep you living for longer. It is not just about taking mega doses of vitamin C when you have a cold or flu. Your body needs a constant supply of vitamin C on a daily basis. While vitamin C is abundant in a number of foods, the modern diet is at times lacking in vitamin C. But just how important is vitamin C? Does it really serve such an important function in the body? Or is vitamin C supplementation another hype on the part of the health product industry.
Every few months there is a new diet making waves in the media. For many people trying to lose weight, fad diets appear to offer new hope in achieving their weight loss goals. And for those who want to keep off the pounds and stay healthy, these diets may offer a better option than their current eating plan. But certain diets are not without its dangers and it may take several months before the medical experts clarify the potentially harmful effects of adopting these eating habits. Due to the diversity of diet plans, it is difficult to know differentiate those that are dangerous from those that are not. But there are some types of diets that can be a problem.
Remember that the main way to lose weight, should you not have any contributing medical condition(s), is to balance your calorie intake. In other words you should not be consuming more calories that you need. And you should try to increase your calorie output through physical activity if you are trying to lose weight. There are a host of other aspects in weight loss but the fundamentals still revolves around calorie input and output. Radical changes in diet may yield quick weight loss in some instance but it is often not lasting and can be dangerous. Some people may even gain more weight than they initially lost.
You may have heard it time and again, from your doctor, health organizations and the media – eat more fiber. But why is fiber so important these days? Actually fiber has always been an important component of the human diet. The only problem is that the modern diet, which is made up of heavily processed foods, is lower in fiber than that of our ancestors. Furthermore advances in medical science and a better understanding of the importance of good nutrition has highlighted the importance of fiber in disease prevention and management.
Celiac disease is a condition that is receiving much more attention these days. Up until 2003, there was still uncertainty as to whether it should be classified as a condition on its own. However, a better understanding about the condition and public awareness means that celiac disease is now getting the recognition particularly in the media. But celiac disease is more than just gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy. The range of foods that can be a problem to a person suffering with celiac disease can extend well beyond what is thought to be a trigger.
Ideally every person with celiac disease should consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist for a comprehensive eating plan that is individually tailored to the patient’s personal and cultural taste preferences. Unfortunately this is not always possible and many patients are misled into believing that they can safely consume many foods that are actually not suitable.
Losing weight should be a priority for every person who is overweight or obese irrespective of their age. Similarly maintaining a healthy body weight is a constant undertaking. Both weight loss and weight management are due to the balance of calories – the calories consumed in foods and the calories burned through physical activity. There are various other factors that contribute to weight gain but in the end, being overweight or obese is primarily due to consuming more calories than required by the body on a daily basis.
There are new weight loss fads and slimming diets that are constantly emerging. Some are based on sound scientific principles while others are not. Similarly, some are very effective in assisting a person to lose weight. All too often though, there are fad diets that utilize extreme practices and may only help a person shed a few pounds for a short while but thereafter the pounds return and sometimes even a little more than the original weight. Poor decisions in terms of weight loss programs largely stems from misconceptions, myths and mistakes.
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