9 Reasons Why Obesity is Not Only Choice

In 2012, up to 35% of US adults and 17% of teens were obese (1).
over weight woman on scale

Many people blame obesity on poor dietary choices and inactivity, but it’s not always that simple.

Other factors can have powerful effects on body weight and obesity, some of which are outside of the person’s control.

These include genetics, environmental factors, certain medical conditions and more.

This article lists 9 compelling reasons why obesity is not just a choice.

1. Genetics and Prenatal Factors

Health is especially important during early life, as this affects health later on. In fact, a lot can be determined while the fetus is still in the womb (2).

The mother’s diet and lifestyle choices matter a great deal, and may influence the baby’s future behaviors and body composition.

Do Multivitamins Really Work? The Surprising Truth

questioning brunette holding vitamins on plate
Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplements in the world.

Their popularity has increased rapidly in the past few decades (1, 2).

Some people believe that multivitamins can improve health, make up for poor eating habits or even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

But what does the science say about multivitamins? Do they actually work?

This article takes an evidence-based look.

What Are Multivitamins?

Multivitamins are supplemented that contain many different vitamins and minerals, sometimes along with other ingredients (3).

How Probiotics Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

woman pondering yogurtProbiotics are live microorganisms that have health benefits when eaten (1).

They are found in both supplements and fermented foods.

Probiotics may improve digestive health, heart health and immune function, to name a few (2,3, 4, 5).

Several studies also suggest that probiotics can help you lose weight and belly fat.

Gut Bacteria May Affect Body Weight Regulation

There are hundreds of different microorganisms in your digestive system.

11 Probiotic Foods That Are Super Healthy

Probiotics are live microorganisms that have health benefits when consumed (1).
man holding kefir drink

These are usually beneficial bacteria that serve some function in the body.

Probiotics have all sorts of powerful benefits for your body and brain.

They may improve digestive health, reduce depression and promote heart health (2, 3, 4).

Some evidence even suggests that they may give you better looking skin (5).

Getting probiotics from supplements is popular, but you can also get them from foods that are prepared by bacterial fermentation (fermented foods).

Here is a list of 11 super healthy fermented foods that contain live probiotics.

Eggs are Killer Weight loss Food

Eggs are among the healthiest foods you can eat.
woman with basket of eggs

They are rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and many essential vitamins and minerals.

Eggs also have a few unique properties that make them egg-exceptionally weight loss friendly.

This article explains why whole eggs are a killer weight loss food.

Eggs Are Low in Calories

The simplest way to lose weight is to reduce your daily calorie intake.

One large egg contains only about 78 calories, yet is very high in nutrients. Egg yolks are especially nutritious (1).

19 Clever Ways to Eat Healthy on Low Budget

Healthy food can be expensive.
Women with groceries and money
Therefore, it can be difficult to eat well when you’re on a tight budget.
However, there are many ways to save money and still eat whole, single-ingredient foods.
Here are 19 clever tips that can help you eat healthy on a budget.

1. Plan Your Meals

When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning is essential.
Use one day each week to plan your meals for the upcoming week. Then, make a grocery list of what you need.

Top 12 Crazy Myths About Weight Loss

There is a lot of bad weight loss advice on the internet.
Young woman holding a scale

Most of it is either unproven or literally proven not to work.

Here are the top 12 biggest lies, myths and misconceptions about weight loss.

1. All “Calories” Are Equal

The calorie is a measure of energy. All “calories” have the same energy content.

However, this does NOT mean that all calorie sources have the same effects on your weight.

Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and can have vastly different effects on hunger and the hormones that regulate body weight.

20 Important Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

When you lose weight, your body fights back.
You may be able to lose quite a lot of weight at first, without much effort.
However, weight loss may slow down or stop altogether after a while.
This article lists 20 common reasons why you’re not losing weight.
It also contains actionable tips on how to break through the plateau and get things moving again.

1. Maybe You Are Losing Without Realizing it

Can You Find 8 Best Weight Loss Tips in 26's?

Young Brunette Holding ScaleThe weight loss "industry" is full of myths.

People are being advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them.

Over the years, however, scientists have found a number of strategies that seem to be effective.

Here are 26 weight loss tips that are actually "evidence-based".

How To Lose Weight With Help of Green Tea

Female with Hat Holding a cup of Green TeaGreen tea is the healthiest beverage on the Planet.

It is loaded with antioxidants and Various substances that are beneficial for health.

Many studies have shown that green tea can increase fat burning and help you lose weight fast.

Let me explain how that works .. . . 

Green Tea Contains Substances That can Help You Lose Fat

Green tea is more than just hot, flavored water.

The bioactive substances in the tea leaves dissolve in the water and make it into the final drink.

When you drink a cup of quality tea, you're actually getting a lot of beneficial substances with potent biological effects (1).

How to Lose Weight Fast in 3 Simple Steps!

There are many ways for weight loss fast.
Fit Woman Holding a Scale and an Apple

However, most of them will make you hungry and unsatisfied.

If you don't have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up
on these plans quickly.

The 3-step plan outlined here will:

  • Reduce your appetite significantly.
  • Make you lose weight fast, without being hungry.
  • Improve your metabolic health at the same time.
All of this is supported by scientific studies.

Insulin and Insulin Resistence - Guide

Insulin is an important hormone that controls many processes in the body.
Asian Feamle Doctor Teaching In White Coat
However, problems with this hormone are at the heart of many modern health conditions.
Sometimes our cells stop responding to insulin-like they are supposed to.
This condition is termed insulin resistance and is incredibly common.
In fact, a 2002 study showed that 32.2% of the US population may be insulin resistant.
This number may rise to 70% in obese adult women and over 80% in some patient groups. About a third of obese children and teenagers may also have insulin resistance.

A1 vs A2 Milk – Does it Matter?

Woman Drinking Milk With A StrawThe health effects of milk may depend on the breed of cow it came from.
Currently, A2 milk is being marketed as a healthier choice than regular milk.
It is claimed to have several health benefits, and to be easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant.
However, not all scientists agree that A2 milk is better for health.
This article takes an objective look at the science behind A1 and A2 milk.

13 Foods That Cause Bloating (and What to Eat Instead)

Woman With Stomach Ache After Eating GlutenBloating is when your belly feels swollen or enlarged after eating.
It is usually caused by gas or other digestive issues.
Bloating is very common. About 16–30% of people say they experience it regularly.
Although bloating may be a symptom of a serious medical condition, it is usually caused by something in the diet.
Here are 13 foods that can cause bloating, along with suggestions on what to eat instead.

11 Proven Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Bloating

Bloating is the condition of your belly feeling swollen after eating.
Woman with a Bloated Belly
It is usually caused by excess gas production, and/or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system.
This can cause increased pressure and discomfort, and can sometimes make the stomach look bigger.
The effect can be quite extreme in certain cases, and some have even used the term “food baby.”
Put simply, bloating involves excessive amounts of solids, liquids or gas in your digestive system.
However, in some people, bloating is caused mostly by increased sensitivity. It justfeels as if there is increased pressure in the abdomen, even though there isn’t.

Sugar Alcohols: Good or Bad?

Woman Putting Chewing Gum in MouthFor many decades, sugar alcohols have been popular alternatives to sugar.
They look and taste like sugar, but have fewer calories and fewer negative health effects.
In fact, many studies show that sugar alcohols can actually lead to health improvements.
This article takes a detailed look at sugar alcohols and their health effects.

What Are Sugar Alcohols?

Sugar alcohols (or “polyols”) are types of sweet carbohydrates.

11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic (No. 1 is My Favorite)

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
Female Doctor Holding Garlic

Those are famous words from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often called the father of Western medicine.
He actually used to prescribe garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions.
Well… modern science has recently confirmed many of these beneficial health effects.
Here are 11 health benefits of garlic that are supported by human research studies.

1. Garlic Contains a Compound Called Allicin, Which Has Potent Medicinal Properties

Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family.
It is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks.
It grows in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste.
However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties.
Its use was well documented by all the major civilizations… including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese.
This is what garlic looks like:
Garlic Bulbs and Cloves
The entire “head” is called a garlic bulb, while each segment is called a clove. There are about 10-20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take.
We now know that most of the health effects are caused by one of the sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed.
This compound is known as allicin, and is also responsible for the distinct garlic smell.
Allicin enters the body from the digestive tract and travels all over the body, where it exerts its potent biological effects (which we’ll get to in a bit).
Bottom Line: Garlic is a plant in the onion family, grown for its cooking properties and health effects. It is high in a sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring most of the health benefits.

2. Garlic Is Highly Nutritious, But Has Very Few Calories

Blonde With Onions, Garlic and Pepperoni
Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious.
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of garlic contains:
  • Manganese: 23% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA.
  • Selenium: 6% of the RDA.
  • Fiber: 1 gram.
  • Decent amounts of Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Vitamin B1.
Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little bit of almost everything we need.
This is coming with 42 calories, with 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs.
Bottom Line: Garlic is low in calories and very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese. It also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients.

3. Garlic Can Combat Sickness, Including the Common Cold

Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system.
One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo.
The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.
Another study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61%.
If you often get colds, then adding garlic to your diet could be incredibly helpful.
Bottom Line: Garlic supplementation helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold.

4. The Active Compounds in Garlic Can Reduce Blood Pressure

Elderly Woman Choosing Between Pills and Garlic
Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes are the world’s biggest killers.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important drivers of these diseases.
Human studies have found garlic supplementation to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
In one study, aged garlic extract at doses of 600-1,500 mg was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure over a 24 week period.
Supplement doses must be fairly high to have these desired effects. The amount of allicin needed is equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day.
Bottom Line: High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medications.

5. Garlic Improves Cholesterol Levels, Which May Lower The Risk of Heart Disease

Heart and Stethoscope
Garlic can lower Total and LDL cholesterol.
For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15%.
Looking at LDL (the “bad”) and HDL (the “good”) cholesterol specifically, garlic appears to lower LDL but has no reliable effect on HDL.
Garlic does not appear to lower triglyceride levels, another known risk factor for heart disease.
Bottom Line: Garlic supplementation seems to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol. HDL cholesterol and triglycerides do not seem to be affected.

6. Garlic Contains Antioxidants That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Garlic on Blue Wooden Board
Oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the ageing process.
Garlic contains antioxidants that support the body’s protective mechanisms against oxidative damage .
High doses of garlic supplementation have been shown to increase antioxidant enzymes in humans, as well as significantly reduce oxidative stress in those with high blood pressure.
The combined effects on reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as the antioxidant properties, may help prevent common brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Bottom Line: Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

7. Garlic May Help You Live Longer

Purple Garlic
Effects on longevity are basically impossible to prove in humans.
But given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer.
The fact that it can fight infectious disease is also an important factor, because these are common causes of death, especially in the elderly or people with dysfunctional immune systems.
Bottom Line: Garlic has known beneficial effects on common causes of chronic disease, so it makes perfect sense that it could help you live longer.

8. Athletic Performance Can be Improved With Garlic Supplementation

Garlic was one of the earliest “performance enhancing” substances.
It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of labourers.
Most notably, it was administered to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
Rodent studies have shown that garlic helps with exercise performance, but very few human studies have been done.
Subjects with heart disease that took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a reduction in peak heart rate of 12% and improved their exercise capacity.
However, a study on nine competitive cyclists found no performance benefits.
Other studies suggest that exercise-induced fatigue may be reduced with garlic.
Bottom Line: Garlic can improve physical performance in lab animals and people with heart disease. Benefits in healthy people are not yet conclusive.

9. Eating Garlic Can Help Detoxify Heavy Metals in the Body

Garlic With Parsley Leaves
At high doses, the sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity.
A four week study in employees of a car battery plant (excessive exposure to lead) found that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19%. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and blood pressure.
Three doses of garlic each day even outperformed the drug D-penicillamine in symptom reduction.
Bottom Line: Garlic was shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related symptoms in one study.

10. Garlic May Improve Bone Health

Garlic Bulbs
No human trials have measured the effects of garlic on bone loss.
However, rodent studies have shown that it can minimise bone loss by increasing estrogen in females.
One study in menopausal women found that a daily dose of dry garlic extract (equal to 2 grams of raw garlic) significantly decreased a marker of estrogen deficiency.
This suggests that this garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health in women.
Foods like garlic and onions have also been shown to have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis.
Bottom Line: Garlic appears to have some benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females, but more human studies are needed.

11. Garlic Is Easy to Include In Your Diet and Tastes Absolutely Delicious

Housewife Cooking
The last one is not a health benefit, but still important.
It is the fact that it is very easy (and delicious) to include garlic in your current diet.
It complements most savory dishes, particularly soups and sauces. The strong taste of garlic can also add a punch to otherwise bland recipes.
Garlic comes in several forms, from whole cloves and smooth pastes to powders and supplements like garlic extract and garlic oil.
The minimum effective dose for therapeutic effects is one clove eaten with meals, two or three times a day.
However, keep in mind that there are some downsides to garlic, such as bad breath. There are also some people who are allergic to it.
If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinning medications, then talk to your doctor before increasing your garlic consumption.
The active compound allicin only forms when garlic is crushed or cleaved when it is raw. If you cook it before crushing it, then it won’t have the same health effects.
Therefore, the best way to consume garlic is raw, or to crush and cut it and leave it out for a while before you add it to your recipes.
My favorite way to use garlic is to press a few cloves of fresh garlic with a garlic press, then mix with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt. This a healthy and super satisfying dressing.

12. Anything Else?

For thousands of years, garlic was believed to have medicinal properties. We now have the science to confirm it.
If you have any questions or comments, click "Comments” below.
By Joe Leech, Dietitian

10 Proven Benefits of Blueberries (No. 3 is Very Impressive)

Smiling Brunette with Bowl of BlueberriesBlueberries are sweet, nutritious and wildly popular.
Often labeled a “superfood,” they are low in calories and incredibly good for you.
They are so tasty and convenient that many people consider them to be their favorite fruit.
Here are 10 health benefits of blueberries that are supported by research.

1. Blueberries are Low in Calories, But High in Nutrients

The blueberry is a flowering shrub that produces berries that are colored blue to purple, also known as blueberries.
It is strongly related to similar shrubs, such as those that produce cranberries and huckleberries.
Blueberries are small, around 5-16 millimeters (0.2-0.6 inches) in diameter, and have a flared crown at the end.
They are green in color at first, then change to blue-purple as they ripen.
These are the two most common types:
  1. Highbush blueberries are the most commonly grown species in the US.
  2. Lowbush blueberries are often referred to as “wild” blueberries. They are typically smaller and richer in some antioxidants.
This is what typical blueberries look like:
Handful of Blueberries
Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries. A 1 cup serving (148 grams) of blueberries contains:
  • Fiber: 4 grams.
  • Vitamin C: 24% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 25% of the RDA.
  • Then it contains small amounts of various other nutrients.
They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates.
Calorie for calorie, this makes them an excellent source of several important nutrients.

Bottom Line: The blueberry is a very popular berry. It is low in calories, but high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K.

2. Blueberries are the King of Antioxidant Foods

Three Blueberries
Antioxidants are important.
They protect our bodies from damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cellular structures and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of ALL commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.
The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a large family of polyphenols, called flavonoids.
One group of flavonoids in particular, anthocyanins, is thought to be responsible for much of the beneficial health effects.
They have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels inside the body.

Bottom Line: Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids appear to be the major antioxidant compounds.

3. Blueberries Reduce DNA Damage, Which May Help Protect Against Ageing and Cancer

Oxidative DNA damage is part of everyday life.
It is said to occur tens of thousands of times per day, in every single cell in the body.
DNA damage is part of the reason we grow older, and it also plays an important role in the development of diseases like cancer.
Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they can help neutralize some of the free radicals that cause damage to our DNA.
In one 4-week study, 168 participants were instructed to drink 1 liter (34 ounces) of a mixture of blueberry and apple juice, every day.
At the end of the study, oxidative DNA damage due to free radicals was reduced by 20%.
These findings have also been supported by smaller studies using either fresh or powdered blueberries.

Bottom Line: Several studies have shown that blueberries and blueberry juice can protect against DNA damage, a leading driver of aging and cancer.

4. Blueberries Protect Cholesterol in The Blood From Becoming Damaged

Heart and Stethoscope
Oxidative damage is not limited to our cells and DNA.
It is also problematic when our circulating LDLlipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) are oxidized.
In fact, oxidation of LDL is a crucial step in the heart disease process.
Fortunately for us, the antioxidants in blueberries are strongly linked to reduced levels of oxidized LDL.
A daily 50 gram serving of blueberries lowered LDL oxidation by 27% in obese participants, after a period of eight weeks.
Another study showed that 75 grams of blueberries with a main meal significantly reduced the oxidation of LDL lipoproteins.

Bottom Line: The antioxidants in blueberries have been shown to protect LDL lipoproteins (the “bad” cholesterol) from oxidative damage, a crucial step in the pathway towards heart disease.

5. Blueberries May Lower Blood Pressure

Blueberries appear to have significant benefits for people with high blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for some of the world’s leading killers.
Woman Making Heart With Blueberries
In one study, obese individuals at a high risk for heart disease noted a 4-6% reduction in blood pressure, after consuming 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of blueberries per day, for eight weeks.
Other studies have found similar effects, especially when looking at post-menopausal women.
Given that high blood pressure is one of the leading drivers of heart attacks and strokes, the implications of this are potentially massive.

Bottom Line: Regular blueberry intake has been shown to lower blood pressure in numerous studies.

6. Blueberries May Help Prevent Heart Disease

A Single Blueberry
Again, eating blueberries may lower blood pressure and oxidized LDL.
However, it’s important to realize that these are risk factors, not actual diseases.
What we really want to know is whether blueberries help prevent hard endpoints like heart attacks, which are the world’s biggest killer.
In a 2013 study on 93,600 nurses, eating plenty of anthocyanins (the main antioxidants in blueberries) was linked to a 32% lower risk of heart attacks.
This was an observational study, so it can not prove that the blueberries caused the reduction in risk, but it seems likely given the known beneficial effects on risk factors.

Bottom Line: There is some evidence that regular blueberry consumption can help prevent heart attacks.

7. Blueberries Can Help Maintain Brain Function and Improve Memory

Redhead With Blueberries
Oxidative stress can accelerate the brain’s aging process, having negative effects on brain function.
According to animal studies, the antioxidants in blueberries tend to accumulate in areas of the brain that are essential for intelligence.
They appear to directly interact with aging neurons, leading to improvements in cell signaling.
Human studies have also shown promising results.
In one of these studies, 9 elderly participants with mild cognitive impairment consumed blueberry juice every day. After 12 weeks, they had seen improvements in several markers of brain function.
A six-year study of 16,010 elderly participants found that blueberries and strawberries were linked to delays in cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.

Bottom Line: The antioxidants in blueberries seem to have benefits for the brain, helping to improve brain function and delaying age-related decline.

8. Anthocyanins in Blueberries Can Have Anti-Diabetic Effects

Blueberries are moderate in sugar when compared to other fruits.
One cup contains 15 grams, which is equivalent to a small apple or large orange.
Asian Woman With Blueberry on Tongue
However, the bioactive compounds in blueberries appear to outweigh any negative impact of the sugar when it comes to blood sugar control.
Research suggests that anthocyanins in blueberries can have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. These anti-diabetic effects have been shown with both blueberry juice and extract.
In a study of 32 obese subjects with insulin resistance, a blueberry smoothie caused major improvements in insulin sensitivity.
Improved insulin sensitivity should lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, which are currently some of the world’s biggest health problems.

Bottom Line: Several studies have shown that blueberries have anti-diabetic effects, helping to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.

9. Substances in Them May Help Fight Urinary Tract Infections

Blueberries in a White Bowl
Urinary tract infections are a common problem in women.
It is well known that cranberry juice can help prevent these types of infections.
Blueberries are highly related to cranberries, and contain many of the same active substances as cranberry juice.
These substances are called anti-adhesives, and help prevent bacteria like E. coliform binding to the wall of the bladder.
Blueberries haven’t been studied much for this purpose, but the chances are that they have similar effects as cranberries.

Bottom Line: Like cranberries, blueberries contain substances that can prevent certain bacteria from binding to the wall of the urinary bladder. This may be useful in preventing urinary tract infections.

10. Blueberries May Help Reduce Muscle Damage After Strenuous Exercise

Bucket Full of Blueberries
Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue.
This is driven, in part, by local inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscle tissue.
Blueberry supplementation may reduce the damage that occurs at the molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduction in muscle performance.
In a small study of 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises.

Take Home Message

It is clear that blueberries are incredibly healthy and nutritious.
The fact that they are sweet, colorful, and can be enjoyed both fresh and frozen, is just a tasty bonus.