The Dangers of Diet Pills

diet pillsAmerica has been plagued by an obesity crisis for decades, and many people find that the traditional methods of weight loss (healthy eating and exercise) are too demanding or too difficult. Many individuals turned to medical methods for weight loss, including weight loss surgical procedures and prescription medication for metabolic management. There’s also a huge market for over-the-counter weight loss medication and dietary supplements. Many of these are dangerous diet pills for your overall health. Here are some of the most dangerous diet pills and why you should avoid them.


Meridia was voluntarily removed from the market in 2010 at the urging of the FDA. Meridia, also known as sibutramine, has the potential to increase heart rate and blood pressure and carries a host of dangerous side effects. The FDA and other international regulatory bodies cited sibutramine as capable of causing:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Suicidal Thoughts


Also known as Clen and previously marketed under the names Ventipulmin and Spiropent, Clenbuterol is illegal for human consumption in the United States. The International Olympic Committee banned Clenbuterol after discovering that athletes used it as a performance enhancer. Clenbuterol is used to treat horses in the United States with respiratory issues. Clen’s side effects include arrhythmia, chest pain, diarrhea, nausea, nervousness, hyperthyroidism, muscle tremors, dangerous blood pressure extremes in both highs and lows, and headaches.


This compound was originally used in ancient China to treat respiratory problems such as asthma and also functions as an appetite suppressant and stimulant. In 2005, the FDA banned ephedrine alkaloids marketed as weight loss supplements, and several professional sports organizations also banned ephedrine after it became widely known as a performance-enhancing drug. Combining ephedrine with other stimulants (such as caffeine) is sometimes fatal, and the side effects of the drug include a heightened risk of:

  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac Arrhythmia
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia


Named for its two main active ingredients, Fenfluramine and Phentermine, Fen-Phen became incredibly popular in the 1990s. The FDA banned the drug in 1997 after linking it to valvular heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, and increased pulmonary artery pressure.

Japan Rapid Weight Loss Diet Pill

This imported supplement was sold in three colors, offering three degrees of intensity. The FDA issued a statement in 2012 warning consumers of the dangers of these supplements, which contained phenolphthalein (a suspected carcinogen) and sibutramine—also known as Meridia.

The Brazilian Diet Pill

The FDA warned against these nutritional supplements in 2006 based on the combination of stimulants and depressants present in these pills. Sold under the brand names Herbaslim and Emagrece Sim, these Brazilian diet pills are a cocktail of Librium, Prozac, and Fenproporex. The supplements cause severe mood swings and extreme personality shifts. Another side effect is hypersensitivity to touch, similar to the effects of the illicit drugs MDMA and Ecstasy.


Contrave is a combination of existing drugs that have already gained FDA approval, such as naltrexone (a drug used to treat opiate addiction) and bupropion (an antidepressant used as a smoking-cessation treatment). Although this compound or one of its several successors may eventually gain approval and hit the market, it’s important to be wary of the dangerous side effects, including potential heart valve damage and alteration in user metabolism and mood.


Qnexa (aka Qsymia) is a combination of immediate-release phentermine hydorchloride and extended-release topiramate. This drug was orginially rejected by the FDA, but finally approved in 2012. It is not recommended to take this pill right before going to sleep, as it could give you insomnia. Other potential side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Heart Fluttering
  • Numbness and Tingling
  • Blurred Vision
  • Headaches
  • Birth Defects (if taken while pregnant)
  • Kidney Stones
  • Depression, Anxiety or Suicidal Thoughts

Construct a Healthy Weight Loss Plan

Our society is incredibly fast-paced, and instant gratification is the norm. However, never sacrifice your personal health and safety for the sake of looking better faster. For more information and support, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session to learn how you can benefit from individual nutrition counseling with a functional approach. Click Here to Schedule Your Strategy Session.

5 Ways Cleansing Supports Weight Loss

small-lemonIf you’re new to the concept of cleansing, you might wonder why we need to cleanse in the first place. It’s true that our bodies have sophisticated detoxification systems, through the colon, kidneys, lungs, skin, and liver. But these systems are getting overwhelmed.


We live in a toxic world. Toxins are present in our food, water, air, and environment. Over the past hundred years, our world very quickly became filled with unnatural chemicals. Here are some examples:

Food – our food supply is filled with many chemicals that are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and oxidants. Food lining the shelves of grocery stores contain preservatives, artificial dyes and flavors, flavor enhancers, fake fats and sugars, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, preservatives, and even plastics from packaging. Processed food has unfortunately been designed to become addictive.

Pollution – outside and in. Indoors, we have constant out-gassing of our paint, construction materials, mattresses, and furniture. Often times the air inside our homes is more polluted than the air outside!

Body Care Products – the lotions, shampoos, makeup, and dyes that we use on our bodies also contain an astonishing amount of chemicals that are absorbed by our skin. These chemicals disrupt our hormones and cause cancer.

Cleaning Products – also known to have harmful chemicals that we breathe in or absorb into our skin.

Pharmaceuticals – overload our livers, and are accompanied by a very long list of side effects.

How Our Body Responds

These substances don’t appear in nature, and our bodies don’t yet know how to handle them. We simply can’t keep up with the onslaught, and the body needs to resort to stuffing them into fat cells to buffer them from your organs. Cancer and other chronic diseases can also be a result of our toxic food and environment.

5 Ways Cleansing/Detoxing Supports Weight Loss

  1. Helps to Heal the Liver and it’s Ability to Burn Fat
    Your liver is the main detoxifying organ and when it’s blocked it becomes difficult to lose weight.  A detox can help cleanse your liver, which improves your body’s ability to burn fat.
  2. Activates Your Fat Burning Hormones
    Cleansing, done correctly, leaves you in an amazing place hormonally. Your body becomes more sensitive to hormones like leptin and insulin—so you naturally crave less food and burn fat more efficiently.
  3. Helps Your Body to Burn Fat by Reducing Inflammation
    This is important because inflammatory hormones cause weight gain and prevent your body from burning fat.
  4. Stops Junk Food Cravings by Killing Unfriendly Bacteria
    The most cutting edge research shows that unfriendly bacteria in our intestines causes sugar cravings and weight gain. A detox can help kill the bad bacteria and give your intestines a chance to repopulate with friendly bacteria so you no longer have junk food cravings.
  5. Reduces Hunger by Repairing Leaky Gut
    When we give our digestion a rest the damage in our intestines can be repaired so toxins no longer leak into the bloodstream. It also improves nutrient absorption so we are better nourished and less hungry.

Are you ready to lose weight and increase energy? Click here to sign up for our Fall Cleanse Class!


How To Lose Weight With Time Restricted Feeding

woman eatingThe Salk Institute Study

The Salk Institute published a study in May of 2015, subsequently providing an intriguing new aspect to consider amid the world’s obesity and metabolic syndrome pandemic. The study showed mice limited to eating during an 8-hour period (called “time-restricted feeding” or TRF) to be healthier than mice eating freely throughout the day. After 100 days, the mice who ate frequently gained weight, developed high cholesterol and high blood glucose, showed evidence of liver damage and reduced motor control. The mice who ate in TRF fashion weighed 28% less, showed reduced levels of low-grade inflammation and showed no adverse health effects, despite consuming the same amount and type of food.

Lifestyle modifications such as a nutrient-dense diet and daily physical activity are first-line interventions in the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Much of the research to date has focused on nutrition optimization, as well as small, frequent meals throughout the day for blood sugar stabilization. However, the Salk study suggests that spreading food intake throughout the day may disturb metabolic pathways governed by the circadian clock, just as artificial lighting has been shown to disrupt sleep-wake cycles.

The University of California San Diego Study

Human studies have shown similar outcomes to Salk’s 2015 study. The University of California San Diego studied over 2,000 overweight women to find that TRF (a modified version of intermittent fasting) had positive effects on both blood sugar levels and immune markers. The data revealed each 3-hour increase in nighttime fasting was associated with a 4% decrease in postprandial glucose levels, regardless of how much women ate. Moreover, there was also a reduction in breast cancer risk.

Intermittent Fasting

As stated above, “time restricted feeding” or TRF is a modified version of intermittent fasting. If you’re new to this concept, it is a shift in lifestyle and eating patterns where you simply focus on extending the duration of time between eating. The idea is to clear the metabolic pathways governed by the circadian clock. Besides helping to reduce body fat, here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • has a dramatic impact on human growth hormone levels, resulting in greater endurance with faster muscle repair and growth
  • may help slow the aging process
  • can help regulate insulin levels, which is key for those who are diabetic or obese

Action Steps to an Intermittent Fasting Program

  1. Start by restricting your feeding time to a 12 or even 10 hour period. For example, eat only between the hours of 7am and 7pm or even 7am and 5pm.
  2. If you’re comfortable, move back to an 8 hour feeding time and monitor your progress.
  3. Limit all artificial lighting after dark. Dim lights, consider replacing your lights with red or amber lighting, use blue blocker glasses when viewing screens and monitors.

Need professional help implementing your own intermittent fasting program? Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.


The Insulin – Weight Gain Connection

scaleWe are now learning from science that the calorie model for weight loss is not the answer for long term success. Dieters have been finding out for decades that just because they eat less and burn more, it doesn’t always equate to pounds off, especially in the long run. The majority of people gain the weight back that they have worked so hard to lose.

If monitoring calories isn’t the answer for weight loss, then what is? While calories do matter to some degree, hormones matter more.

Why Hormones, Not Calories

To provide just one example about why hormones – not calories – are the key players in weight loss, let’s briefly look at insulin. When you eat sugar of any kind, your pancreas produces this master metabolism hormone.

Insulin’s job is to help sugar get into your cells. Once sugar is in the cells, it can be turned into energy by your mitochondria (the energy-burning factories in your cells). So insulin is designed to help you use the sugar you eat, or, if you eat more than you need, store it for later use.

At its best, the interaction between your insulin level and the sugar in your blood is a finely tuned machine. You eat some sugar, and your body produces just enough insulin to metabolize it. Later you eat a little more sugar, and the same thing happens again. It is a smooth, harmonious cycle that the healthy body carries out every day without your slightest awareness.

Insulin Resistance and It’s Effects

However, problems can occur when there is too much sugar in your diet. When you regularly eat a lot of sugar, especially sugars that are quickly absorbed, the insulin levels in your blood become elevated. Over time, you can become resistant to the effects of insulin and thus need more and more of it to do the same job. This insulin resistance has some very serious health implications as well as a direct impact on your appetite.

Insulin resistance is very much like a drug addiction. When you are addicted to a drug, you develop a tolerance to it and hence need more and more of it to produce the same effect. When you consistently have a high level of insulin in your blood, you develop a tolerance to it. As a consequence, your body’s tissues no longer respond normally to the hormone. Hence, your pancreas produces more of it, elevating your insulin levels even more in your body’s attempt to overcome this resistance.

This turns into a vicious cycle very quickly. When you have more insulin in your blood than you do sugar, your body tells you to eat some sugar to even out the balance. But every time you eat the sugar you cause your insulin levels to go up even more, causing you to want more sugar, and on and on the cycle goes.

In the meantime, you are storing all the excess sugar as fat, slowing down your metabolism, and promoting heart disease, dementia, and cancer. This is a condition known as pre-diabetes. It is also called metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and syndrome X.

Focus On Foods That Normalize Blood Sugar

The key to weight loss, then, becomes focusing on foods that normalize blood sugar and lower insulin levels. If you eat the same amount of calories from broccoli rather than cookies, you will lose weight.

Food is information that controls your gene expression, hormones, and metabolism. The source of the calories (and the information carried along with the calories) makes a gigantic difference in how your genes, hormones, enzymes, and metabolism respond.

If you eat food that spikes your insulin level, you will gain weight. If you eat food that reduces your insulin level, you will lose weight. This is true even if the food contains exactly the same number of calories or grams of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber.

The Only Diet That Science Shows Works

Low-glycemic-load diets are the only diets that have been proven to work— these diets don’t spike blood sugar and insulin.

In a landmark large-scale study, only one diet showed the capacity for maintaining the most weight loss over time. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the easiest diet to maintain, and the one that had the biggest impact on preventing weight gain after people had lost weight, was the low-glycemic-load, higher-protein diet.

When you focus on real, whole, unprocessed foods, you will automatically create a meal that has a low glycemic load. The glycemic load of a meal tells us how much of and how quickly a fixed quantity of a specific food will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. The slower these levels rise, and the lower they are, the better.

Controlling the glycemic load of your meals isn’t very hard.You need to combine protein, fats, and whole-food, fiber-rich, low-starch carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and a limited amount of whole grains and low-sugar fruit.

If you would like a personalized approach to the low glycemic diet and a better understanding of how insulin effects you individually, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.

5 Key Strategies to Lose Belly Fat

belly fat imageWhile your primary reason for wanting to learn how to lose belly fat may be due to vanity, there are also loads of convincing health reasons for wanting to trim down your waistline as well.

Dangerous visceral fat — the type of deep fat that tends to accumulate near your belly, surrounding your vital organs — raises the risk for serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and many others.

Visceral fat is also called “organ fat” or “intra-abdominal fat”. This fat lies in close proximity to the vital organs of the body, including the liver, kidneys and other digestive organs. Fat is actually similar to an organ, in that it releases compounds in the blood and alters hormone levels.

When fat is stored close to the vital organs, it’s easier for this fat to get into the bloodstream and circulate through the entire body. This leads to problems such as clogged arteries, hypertension and even problems with metabolic functions in the body. Several hormones are involved in accumulation of belly fat, including insulin, ghrelin, leptin and cortisol. Here are some of the ways that the “modern lifestyle” can cause belly fat to start increasing:

  • Insulin is the hormone that’s released when we consume carbohydrates. It helps take glucose (sugar) out of the bloodstream and brings it into cells to be used for energy. However, when too much glucose remains in the blood, it’s stored away for later use as body fat.
  • Appetite hormones, including ghrelin and leptin, control how hungry or satisfied we feel before, after and between eating. Eating chemically altered foods (which spike cravings), repeat yo-yo dieting, crash dieting, genetic factors and stress can all interfere with appetite regulation.
  • Cortisol is often called “the stress hormone” because we release more of it when we’re emotionally or physically stressed. Although we need cortisol for some essential functions, too much can contribute to fat accumulation around the midsection, increase appetite in some people, interfere with sleep quality and have other negative effects.

5 Ways to Start Trimming Your Midsection

1. Eat More Fat-Burning Foods

Focus on eating vegetables, fruits, seeds, clean meats and fish, legumes, and others grown in healthy, rich soils without any chemicals added when you’re trying to lose belly fat. This will help not only get rid of the unwanted visceral fat but also give your body the vital nutrients it needs to function properly.

Eating real foods will also result in you eating more of a high-fiber diet, beneficial for controlling appetite, digestion, heart health and more.

2. Eat Mindfully

Slow down while you eat so you’re less likely to scarf down too much, too quickly. Become aware of how much food it takes to make you feel satisfied when eating without becoming overly stuffed.

Face emotional or comfort eating head on by figuring out better ways to handle stressors in your life and eat in a healthy manner first and foremost in order to support your health long-term, rather than just to lose weight quickly.

3. Intermittent Fasting

Best approached as a shift in lifestyle and eating patterns, there’s no need to count calories or measure grams. Simply focus on extending the duration of time between eating the healthy foods you already eat, with a particular emphasis on healthy fats and proteins.

There are several ways to practice fasting, including: skipping breakfast, severely limiting calories on some days or even not eating anything at all some days, or limiting your eating hours to only 8 hours a day. Besides helping to reduce body fat, here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • has a dramatic impact on human growth hormone levels, resulting in greater endurance with faster muscle repair and growth
  • may help slow the aging process
  • can help regulate insulin levels, which is key for those who are diabetic or obese

4. HIIT Workouts

High-intensity interval training–style has been shown to be an excellent way to burn fat in a short period of time and help improve the physical performance of athletes of all kinds. HIIT workouts combines short, high-intensity bursts of exercise, with slow, recovery phases repeated throughout one short 15–20 minute session. It’s done at 85–100 percent of one’s maximum heart rate rather than 50–70 percent in moderate endurance activity.

5. Get Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep is often one of the most overlooked factors contributing to belly fat, and experts call getting good sleep an “important part of a obesity prevention approach.”  Getting enough sleep helps regulate your stress hormones, controls your appetite better, gives you more energy for physical exercise, may help reduce cravings for sweets and tends to decrease emotional eating.

Effective long-term weight loss that results in decreased visceral/belly fat depends on permanent changes in dietary quality, calorie (energy) intake, lifestyle habits and also physical activity.

Need help with your weight loss goals? Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start losing weight fast.

How a Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Makes You Fat

lose-weight-1911605_1280How a Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Makes You Fat

While most people are aware about diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss, few really understand the impact of a disrupted circadian rhythm and how it causes poor body composition. Circadian rhythm is not just about trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, it’s also about timing of meals, exposure to light in the am and minimizing exposure to artificial blue light at night coming from tablets, phones, etc. The modern world we live in and the technological advances have disrupted our circadian rhythm a great deal.

The main way a disrupted circadian rhythm makes you fat is that it disrupts the appetite regulation center in the brain causing you to unconsciously eat more and seek out highly processed foods dense in sugars and fats. There is a growing body of research showing this is why many cannot stick to the healthier foods they know they should be eating.

Leptin and Grhelinleptin and grhelin are hormones that regulate appetite. High leptin levels mean we don’t feel hungry and low levels do make us hungry. Leptin is the main hormone that regulates body fat set point in the brain. Grehlin also play a role with hunger and appetite control and when you’re circadian rhythm is off, both leptin and grehlin are thrown off. The body doesn’t know how to regulate metabolism, appetite and hunger, as well as energy balance. Studies in rats show their metabolism goes haywire in as little as 1 day of disrupted circadian rhythm. Even if you’re eating a clean diet and working out regularly, a disrupted circadian rhythm will still push your physiology toward fat storage.

Day Length and Body Composition- day length also impacts circadian rhythm and body composition. Researchers studied 3 groups of rats with 3 different daily light conditions to test day length on fat mass. The caloric intake was the same with all 3 groups. Rats were exposed to either 12 hr, 16 hr, or 24 hrs of light each day. Rats exposed to 16 and 24 hrs of light had a dramatic increase in fat mass. Their metabolism slowed down and deposited calories as fat, instead of burning off. This study shows that artificial light exposure from tablets, phones, etc extends our day length and has a very negative impact. Think of a normal day with 11 hours of sunlight. You stay up and use 4 hours of artificial blue light from tv, computers, etc and your day length is now 15 hours. Remember the rats had the same calorie intake, all that changed was light exposure.

If you want to lose weight your Circadian Rhythm is just as important as your food intake and activity level.

It’s a sad fact that there are more overweight/obese people than ever and studies show fewer people are trying to lose weight. If you’re reading this and have not had success with past approaches, don’t give up. Schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start learning a comprehensive individualized approach to weight loss.

The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working

time weight loss trapOn May 25, 2017, TIME Health ran a cover story on the difficulties of losing weight and keeping it off. The article tells the story of Kevin Hall, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who, like many of us, thought that the solution for obesity was simple, just eat less and exercise more. He decided to study 14 contestants of The Biggest Loser for a scientific paper to see how their enormous weight loss was achieved. Over the course of the season, the contestants lost an average of 127 lb. each and about 64% of their body fat. However, over time, 13 of the 14 contestants Hall studied gained, on average, 66% of the weight they’d lost on the show, and four were heavier than they were before the competition.

Finding answers to the weight-loss puzzle has never been more critical. The vast majority of American adults are overweight and nearly 40% are clinically obese. Last year the NIH provided an estimated $931 million in funding for obesity research, including Hall’s, and that research is giving scientists a new understanding of why dieting is so hard, why keeping the weight off over time is even harder and why the prevailing wisdom about weight loss seems to work only sometimes–for some people.

What scientists are uncovering should bring fresh hope to the 155 million Americans who are overweight, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading researchers finally agree, for instance, that exercise, while critical to good health, is not an especially reliable way to keep off body fat over the long term. And the overly simplistic equation of calories in vs. calories out has given way to the more intricate understanding that it’s what makes up a person’s diet–rather than how much of it they can burn off working out–that sustains weight loss.

The low-fat craze, for example, that kicked off in the late 1970s was based on the notion that eating fat will make you fat and depended on the calorie-counting model of weight loss. That’s not what happened when people went low fat, though. The diet trend coincided with weight gain. In 1990, adults with obesity made up less than 15% of the U.S. population. By 2010, most states were reporting obesity in 25% or more of their populations. Today that has swelled to 40% of the adult population. For kids and teens, it’s 17%.

They also know that the best diet for you is very likely not the best diet for your next-door neighbor. Individual responses to different diets–from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo–vary enormously.

The Personalized Approach

Scientists are showing that the key to weight loss appears to be highly personalized rather than trendy diets. And while weight loss will never be easy for anyone, the evidence is mounting that it’s possible for anyone to reach a healthy weight–people just need to find their best way there.

Weight-loss science experts are getting closer to understanding what it is about a given diet that works for a given person . The one commonality is that they had to make changes in their everyday behaviors. In a group of 10,000 real-life biggest losers, no two people lost the weight in quite the same way but they are encouraged to diverge from the program, with the help of a physician, whenever they want, in order to figure out what works best for them. The program takes a whole-person approach to weight loss, which means that behavior, psychology and budget–not just biology–inform each person’s plan.

Learning what variables are most important for each person–be they psychological, logistical, food-based–matters more than identifying one diet that works for everyone.

Another important factor of the obesity epidemic is chemical exposures. Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at New York University’s School of Medicine says, “Chemicals can disrupt hormones and metabolism, which can contribute to disease and disability.”

In addition, scientists are exploring how the microbiome–the trillions of bacteria that live inside and on the surface of the human body–may be influencing how the body metabolizes certain foods. Dr. Eran Elinav and Eran Segal, researchers for the Personalized Nutrition Project at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, believe the variation in diet success may lie in the way people’s microbiomes react to different foods.

In conclusion, the key to understanding individuals and their relationship with weight gain/weight loss is personalization. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity expert and the medical director of The Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa says, “so long as we continue to pigeonhole people into certain diets without considering the individuals, the more likely we are to run into problems. The amount of effort needed to understand your patients is more than many doctors put in.”

 If you’d like an individualized approach to weight loss that considers your own personal situation and makeup, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.

How a Low Fat Diet Can Harm your Weight and Overall Health

Fats are an essential nutrient and one of the primary energy sources for the body. They also play a big role in weight management, absorbing nutrients, maintaining healthy skin and hair, supporting immune function, and hormonal balance.

While a balanced diet that includes plenty of plant foods is key for long-term health, fats are actually needed to properly absorb the fat-soluble vitamins found in many plants — including vitamin A, D, E and K.

Most healthy sources of fat are also fat-burning foods. Their ability to make our food taste good, turn off hunger and stop overeating by making us feel satisfied, has a lot to do with zerofatweight management.

Fats Get a Bad Rap

For decades, we’ve been told to avoid fatty foods like coconuts, eggs, fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy. Since the government’s 1980 Dietary Guidelines were established over 30 years ago, dietary policy has focused on reducing total fat in the American diet to no more than 30 percent of a person’s daily calories. And many of the most popular “diet plans” over the years have reduced fat to much lower levels than this.

Not all fats are created equally and not all affect the body in the same way. While processed and refined fats found in boxed foods and most restaurant fare can be harmful, other types of natural fats have beneficial, life-extending properties. When we miss out on fats in our diets, we can quickly find ourselves feeling tired, moody, constantly hungry, unable to kick cravings and resentful over our restrictive diets.

Low Fat Diet Risks That May Surprise You

We hear much more about healthy fats in the mainstream media today but low-fat, diet and light products of all sorts continue to pack grocery store shelves — what are the real risks of consuming these foods over the full-fat varieties?

1. Poor Brain Function

The brain is largely made up of fat and requires a steady stream of fatty acids to perform optimally. Cholesterol has an important role as a critical brain nutrient, so despite what most people think, low cholesterol levels can be worse than high. This means that a major low-fat diet risk includes poor job performance, low energy, changes in your mood, “brain fog” and so on.

2. Compromised Heart Health

While we’ve been led to believe the opposite for many years, research continues to confirm that heart disease (including coronary artery disease, the leading cause of heart attacks) likely has much more do with inflammation — which is at the root of most diseases — than from high fat or cholesterol intake. This means that an inflammatory diet including lots of sugar, refined carbs, low-quality proteins and processed vegetable oils is actually more threatening to your heart that a diet high in fat — even saturated fat.

3. Weight Gain and Overeating

Recent research involving weight gain (or loss) and fat intake points to an established relationship between fat intake, your hormones and weight fluctuations. We know that many people who go on “diets” tend to gain back all of the weight shortly after. Why does this happen?

One explanation is that weight loss elicits biological adaptations that result in a decline in energy expenditure (adaptive thermogenesis) and an increase in hunger, both of which promote weight regain. But certain studies have found that a higher-fat diet with lower carbs can help prevent this from happening. In addition, most people find that diets higher in fat are more satiating and turn off hunger signals and appetite much more so than lower-fat diets do. This is because fats turn on your fat-burning switch by impacting ghrelin hormone levels.

4. Higher Risk of Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

Clinical studies have shown us that excess weight gain and insulin (or blood sugar control) are highly connected.  Lower-fat, higher-carb diets might pose a higher risk for insulin resistance (and weight gain). But we know that eating plenty of healthy fats is one of the keys to controlling insulin. We also know that diets that are higher in fat tend to be lower in carbohydrates and sugar, which is beneficial for diabetes prevention.

5. Hormone Imbalances (Including Sex Hormones Testosterone and Estrogen)

Eating enough fats is one of the most important things you can do to balance hormones naturally. Cholesterol and other fats play a fundamental part in building cellular membranes and hormones. Certain kinds of fats, including cholesterol, also act like antioxidants and precursors to some important brain-supporting molecules and neurotransmitters. These include vitamin D (which actually acts more like a hormone in the body more so than a vitamin) along with other hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

One low-fat diet risk is an increased risk for infertility and other hormonal issues in women. Some studies have found that low-fat diets raise the risk of menstrual problems and difficulty getting pregnant. For example, a 2007 study conducted by the Department of Nutrition and Harvard School of Public Health found that high intake of low-fat dairy foods may increase the risk of infertility whereas intake of high-fat dairy foods may decrease this risk.


If you’d like to incorporate healthy fats and nutrition into your weight loss plan, schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight loss goals now.


Is Your Sunscreen Toxic?

woman sunscreenIt’s that time of year when we all start enjoying the weather outside, but did you know that 4 different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen!

According to research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 75% of the sunscreens tested contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The findings from the EWG research conclude that some sunscreen ingredients may:

  • Absorb into the blood
  • Release free radicals in sunlight
  • Act like estrogen
  • Disrupt hormones
  • Cause allergic reactions
  • Cause skin irritation
  • Have no rigorous safety standards

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA to be estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer.

Beware of non-mineral, conventional sunscreens

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

What to Buy?

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium.  These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed (so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals.  These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

When buying sunscreen, you can check the EWG database. Two top recommendations are, Kiss My Face SPF 30 and Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin. These healthier sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as a more natural form of sunblock.

The Benefits of the Sun
In truth, the sun is essential for your health. Getting a moderate amount of sunshine daily can actually help decrease your risk of certain types of cancers. When you get approximately 20 minutes of direct sunlight, your body naturally generates enough Vitamin D3 (Calciferol), and your body also knows the right amount to generate without overdose. Be sure to cover up with light clothing before you get burnt when getting direct sunlight.

Vitamin D3 has been one of the most researched nutrients over the past 5 years and it has been shown to naturally help boost the immune system, help fight cancer and improve mood.


The Fatigue Weight Gain Connection

If you’re dealing wfatigue personith an energy crisis and trying to lose weight you know how hard it is. There’s nothing more important that will have a direct impact on your ability to lose weight than your energy. Sub par energy shows up in many ways but they can all be summed in this way: one takes shortcuts because of the lack of energy. Shortcuts mean you take the easy way, the convenient way instead of putting the time in that it takes. This affects many aspects needed to lose weight such as putting the time in to plan and cook a good meal and taking the time to have a productive workout. When one is lacking in energy they conserve to get through the day, instead of taking on more. You know the feeling when you’re dragging through the day or need another cup of coffee, the last thing you want to do is exercise. That’s why it’s crucial to bolster sagging energy first before trying to lose weight.

Where to Look if You Need More Energy

  • Sleep-are you getting 7-8 hours a night?
  • Check bloodwork and rule out anemia, underactive thyroid and possible infections
  • Look at stress levels and consider doing a saliva cortisol panel to assess adrenal function
  • Look at nutrient deficiencies-common deficiencies include magnesium, b-complex vitamins and vitamin C
  • Assess blood sugar levels-are you steady throughout the day or do you have swings, are you craving sweets which is a sign of imbalanced blood sugar
  • Consider doing functional testing to uncover the root of poor energy. Organic acids is an excellent test which gives great information. To learn more about this test click here
  • Look at what you are eating-how much processed food vs whole food, are you getting enough protein which can also impact energy levels

Natural Energy Boosters

  • B-complex vitamins-B vitamins help convert the food you eat into energy. Especially important is B-5 pantothenic acid which helps make adrenal hormones. B12 and B6 are also crucial and will impact energy if deficient.
  • Vitamin C-the adrenal glands use up 97% of vitamin C and those with high stress levels are using it right up. Vitamin C is also an important co-factor for those with low adrenaline levels (epinephrine)
  • Adaptogenic herbs-adaptogens have been used for many years to help improve stress adaptation and increase energy. Examples of adaptogens include ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha, licorice and more. These herbs support cortisol balance which is very important for those trying to lose weight
  • Magnesium-magnesium supports the nervous system and is often used for those with high stress and tight/ tense muscles. Magnesium also plays a role with energy and is often deficient as it’s estimated up to 70-80% of the population is considered low in this mineral.

Losing weight is difficult enough but when one has fatigue it is nearly impossible to see steady progress. If you’re struggling and need help schedule a free 20 minute strategy session and start working on your weight and energy goals.