Weight Loss That Really Works!

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 23-10-2015

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no bread

We have been talking about dieting for several weeks now, and I bet you’re wondering whether there are any diets that actually work, since we have, for the most part, been talking about diet supplements, drugs, and more, that don’t really work. Last week we discussed the two most common forms of weight loss surgery (there are other more minor forms, but I will not get into them now, since they are practically useless). But, not everyone is at a weight heavy enough for weight loss surgery, and some people simply don’t want to take a step that drastic. So, you are certain to be wondering if there is any other way to diet that actually works and doesn’t cost a fortune. Well, there are ways, although, a certain method might work for someone, but not for you. So, you really have to take every case on its own merit, and if you are the one dieting, you have to ask yourself what will work for you personally. If you aren’t sure, then try different things until you get it right, but in the meantime, there are statistics available about what does and doesn’t work for the majority. So, take some advice from others.

One recent study showed that of the only 1 out of 4 dieters actually stuck to whatever diet they had started for a year or more, but if they did they would be more likely to keep off the weight that was lost. The bottom line of this particular study is that no matter what your diet choice is, if you are in it for the long term, you will inevitably be successful.

The problem is that there are so many different diets out there that you probably don’t know where to begin. There are also several private weight loss clinics here in Kuwait, and they are fine and help their patients to a limit. But, after that, the patient is again at a loss. There is no real support system set up to encourage and inspire. Another important factor in successful dieting seems to be the buddy system, or having a friend along for the ride with you. So, it is almost inevitable that, if you are on a diet, being part of a group is going to help you a great deal, if not be totally responsible for the success.

Another important factor is exercise. I know that hardly anyone who needs to be on a diet wants to exercise (I know I don’t). The fact is that it is downright difficult, tiring, and time consuming. But, the fact of the matter is that if you don’t get moving, every ounce of weight that you have to get rid of will not be going very far, and is more likely to reappear on your hips very quickly again even if you do lose it. The idea is to find the type of exercises that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy doing them, there is no point, because how are you going to be able to continue long term with something that you can’t stand? There are so many choices out there you should be able to find one or two types of exercise that suit you.

Then, how will you decide which type of diet you will choose. For starters, if you see the words “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” run in the other direction. Not only will you NOT lose that much weight in that very short period of time, but you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. Choose a diet that is well balanced and had a long track record. There are so many different diets out there you will not be at a loss for choice. I will mention a few good ones here, but you really have to choose the one that works for you. You are an individual, and just because the “heart disease diet” worked for your aunt Mary doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for you too. Some of the good, balanced, healthy diets that I have seen around are The Atkins Diet (my personal favorite, but it must be followed correctly, so you really have to buy the book, sign up for information on their website or e-diets, and follow the rules), South Beach, Healthy Heart, Low Glycemic Index Diet, The Mediterranean Diet, The Mayo Clinic Diet, and there are many more. The idea is that you should be getting enough vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from a wide variety of foods. Those one food diets that you hear about all the time are generally not a really good idea. Your health will suffer and most people get so bored with that type of diet that they end up binging when they are done and gaining back all the weight they lost and more! What a waste (literally and figuratively)!

low-carb-pyramid

Statistics show that dieting with a buddy will give you more of a chance to succeed, so join a diet group if you have the opportunity to do so. If you don’t have a group in your area, join an online group. There are literally hundreds out there. Some of them are free, for example: http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/ is one, and also the Atkins site: http://www.atkins.com/, which is a great and informative site (and I mentioned that I’m particular to the success of this diet, as long as it is followed correctly). The Atkins site has several advantages over others, and one of the best of all is that it is FREE!!! I am also a big fan of e-diets: http://www.ediets.com/. On that site, you have to pay to join, but it is not expensive and worth every penny. You become a part of a group, there are physical challenges, and they work out a diet program for you based on your own personal preferences. This is great because it gives you the support system that you need to be able to continue long term. This site has had a lot of success, and people are very positive about their experiences with it. They offer a high amount of support in whichever area you feel need. I highly recommend it. Weight Watchers is another of my highly recommended sites. Here again you do have to pay a small fee, but you are given so many tools that encourage you to stay on track with your diet that it is worth it: http://www.weightwatchers.com/index.aspx. Still, though the Atkins site is my own personal favorite because it is chock full of information, has support groups, chat groups, recipes, diet advice, and more, and, best of all, it’s free!

My other favorite low carb site is actually a paleo site: Mark’s Daily Apple. 

And, of course, there are many more… if you know any good ones, share them below!

So, the bottom line is, if you want to lose weight, there are literally thousands of options out there for you, but be sure that you choose the one that is right for you. Stay away from fads and diets that cost a great deal of money. Pick a diet that is going to work for you, and give you your desired results, without turning you into a zombie. Now, get out there and shed those pounds!!!

To help you get started… here are some good books that you can get from Amazon~

New Atkins   primal blueprint   primal blueprint total transformation   primal blueprint quick and easy meals   primal blueprint complete set

 

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

 

How Dangerous are Surgical Weight Loss Options?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 11-10-2015

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weight loss surgery 1
For the past several weeks we have been talking about many of the diet products on the market these days. There are so many different types of weight loss products out there that we really can’t go over everything, but I think we have introduced enough that our readers are much more aware about them than they were before.

So this week we are going to begin our discussion on the various forms of weight loss surgery that are available to people nowadays. Weight loss surgery has become so widespread all over the world that you are certain to know someone who has done it or someone who knows someone who has. There is some ethical discussion about whether or not this type of surgery is done out of vanity or whether it is done for dire health purposes. Naturally, every different person who is considering doing such surgery has their own reasons, and every person must be assessed separately, but probably most people do it for health AND vanity reasons, which are both valid. Having said this, we must always remember that all forms of surgery are dangerous, can result in death, and before anyone makes the decision to do weight loss surgery (or any other type of surgery, for that matter), all the details, dangers, and potential long term drawbacks of the proposed type of surgery should be well researched, well understood, and well thought out. Any overweight person who is considering doing any of the various forms of weight loss surgeries that we will discuss, must be well aware of all of the risks, as well as what the benefits are.

While many of these types of surgeries seem quite drastic, the fact is that, statistically, it has been proven that overweight (obese) people actually live longer after having done one of the various forms of weight loss surgery. So, drastic or not, some people simply can’t diet their miseries away and need a stronger push. The fact is that obese people are dying every day of the various complications of being obese. According to the American Medical Association in the year 2000 around 400,000 people died from obesity attributed complications (such as diabetes, heart problems, etc). This is where weight loss (also called bariatric) surgery comes into the picture. It doesn’t only make people look better, but it saves lives.

There are several different types of weight loss surgery, some being more drastic than others. Some methods are reversible and some aren’t, so, if you are one of the people considering weight loss surgery, think a thousand times over before you make a decision that you might regret later on.

One of the oldest forms of weight loss surgery is what is called the gastric bypass (also known as stomach stapling, although there is really much more to it than that). This procedure is performed as an in-patient procedure with a stay in the hospital because it is quite drastic. Basically what happens here is that you are opened up surgically, and rearranged. This method is actually made up of several different methods, including a simple bypass, which combines a reduction of the size of the stomach (either through stapling or banding) to the size of a small pouch (but leaves the rest of the stomach intact), combined with a change in the location of the intestine, which prevents people from eating too much and also acts to prevent absorption in certain cases as well, and a more serious version, where the entire stomach is cut off and made into a tiny pouch, the last portion of the small intestine is reattached to this small pouch stomach while bypassing the duodenum and the jejunum completely, thus preventing absorption of food. While the weight loss (as you can well imagine) is great with this, since it is so drastic the side effects are almost always increased.

Naturally, as you would imagine, with such a change in the body you are going to have several possible side effects. These side effects include vomiting (particularly when an episode of overeating occurs), dumping (which is when the food that is eaten passes directly through the bowel without being absorbed, and causes weakness, diarrhea, nausea, etc.), vitamin deficiency, and more.

The other newer type of weight loss surgery is called the laparoscopic gastric band. Basically, this type of surgery consists of tiny laparoscopic incisions that enable placement of a plastic “band” around the low end of the esophagus (at the very top of the stomach), which creates a tiny pouch. The idea behind this is that once the band is filled (which is done with a needle through a port under the skin) it causes the person to feel full after eating only tiny amounts of food, thus the weight loss. This procedure must also be done in the hospital, but it requires a much shorter stay. Also, since the procedure is done laparoscopically, and is much less invasive than the gastric bypass, the recovery time is much shorter. The LAP band is also a reversible procedure, so that if, for any reason (but why would you want to?) you wish to remove the band, you can.

With this type of weight loss surgery there are several advantages, including the fact that it is adjustable, so that if you need to eat (for example, if you become pregnant) you can simply deflate it. It has much fewer complications than the gastric bypass surgery, although there are always going to be a minute amount of people who suffer certain complications, and these can include erosion of the area of the stomach where the band is touching, band slippage, etc., although the percentage of people that these complications occur with are extremely low, and with proper diet and care, all of these complications should be easily averted.

One of the drawbacks with this type of operation, as compared to the gastric bypass is that sometimes the weight takes longer to come off, but that could also be considered an advantage, since the longer it takes, the better the skin tone could come out (who wants horrible saggy skin?). Also, apparently, according to long term studies, the weight that is taken off with the LAP band surgery is more permanent, because often with gastric bypass, the weight is regained after several years, because the people can eventually stretch their pouch with long term overeating (for those who don’t change their eating habits and make a commitment to it). Logic will also tell you (as well as statistics) that the less invasive the procedure is the less complications you will have, so the LAP band is the least invasive, the normal gastric bypass is more invasive, and the drastic version of the gastric bypass is the most invasive of all, and carries with it the most complications and drawbacks.

These types of operations are definitely not for the faint of heart. They are for seriously obese people who have a long history of dieting and exercise without success. These are for people who desperately need to lose weight, usually for medical reasons. Usually the minimum Body Mass Index (BMI) for even being considered for this operation would be 40 or more, or are 100 pounds or more overweight (here in Kuwait, being 100 kilos or over is often a standard for doctors). The other problem is that this type of procedure is expensive, so it is still not an option for everyone, but prices are going down, and for those who desperately need it, the government hospitals offer cut rate prices (because you only have to pay for the band itself, for example in the LAP band procedure).

So, while these operations are not a standard weight loss solution, and are quite severe when compared to the dieting and exercise traditionally employed for weight loss, they are extremely effective, and statistically have shown better results than simple diet and exercise in both the short and long term. So, if you are suffering from severe obesity combined with serious (or potentially serious) medical problems, you might want to consider some form of weight loss surgery, but do your own investigations, and do see a highly qualified doctor.

(For people who are interested in finding out more, you can contact me through email: miaponzo@yahoo.com, for more information and names of doctors).

Are Your Diet Pills Going to Kill You?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 09-10-2015

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deadly diet pills

 

There is a weight loss drug on the market that is only available through prescription, which is called Reductil (here in Kuwait), and is known as Meridia in the USA. (It is also known as sibutramine hydrochloride monohydrate, scientifically.) We are going to discuss this drug because it is getting popular with many people, and since it is available here, we ought to know about it, although we aren’t going to get into too much depth, since there is tons of information on this drug on the Internet.

The drug works to suppress the appetite, which is thought to happen by giving you a sense of well being, happiness, and euphoria, basically. But, while this is all well and good (and I’m not trying to be a spoiled sport, I swear), but the clinical trials have only been going on for a short time, and beyond 2 years no one really knows what this drug may or may not cause. (Please keep in mind here the “Fen-phen” fiasco that only occurred due to a lack of long term testing). That alone should really be a factor in your decision not to take it. The problem is that when people are desperate to lose weight they will do practically anything. But, taking drugs should most definitely not be high on your list of ways to lose weight. This drug, particularly, should be off of your list, if not only for the super, duper long list of side effects and observed reactions, which include: headaches, constipation, insomnia, sore throat, impotence, depression, seizures, high blood pressure, and much more.

While this drug is being touted as the new, safe miracle diet medication, my own personal advice is this: The more you know the better you are, and in this case it could never be truer. So, don’t jump into this diet drug. Because when things sound too good to be true, then usually are!

Also still available on the market is Phentermine (which goes by many trade names, including Adipex-P, Obinex, Oby-Trim, and others), which is one of the offending drugs in the Fen-phen duo. When Fenfluramine was taken off the market in the middle of the hoopla of deaths, Phentermine stayed around. It is still available around the world. Phentermine acts as an appetite suppressant and stimulant, and as such is almost as addictive as almost any amphetamine which directly affects the nervous system. It, like Reductil, is considered dangerous (a controlled substance), and is distributed by prescription only in most countries. While it is not as dangerous as Reductil, it does have many side effects, including nervousness, tremor, insomnia, headache, dizziness, impotence, diarrhea, constipation, and even hallucinations! This drug is certainly not recommended, primary because of its addictiveness and serious side effects. But, people are still taking it.

Any drug that claims addictive properties should be taken immediately off of your list of medications you need or want to take. I am of the opinion that ALL medications, unless of dire necessity, should be left on the shelves, and this is particularly true with this type of medication. While the idea is that only the most dangerously obese people are supposed to have these medications prescribed, the fact is that people who are not in desperate need are taking them too. That is where tragedies can occur. And, while a morbidly obese person does desperately need to reduce their weight, for a variety of health reasons, they do not really need to become addicted to yet another thing. (Many, if not most, obese people are already addictive personalities and already addicted to food, so why add on another addiction?)

The bottom line is that these drugs are addictive and dangerous. The benefits of taking them are few when compared to the detriments, and why bother when there are other safer, more permanent alternatives? These drugs can only be taken for a fairly short period of time anyway, and those taking them are subject to psychological evaluations, along with other complicated issues, so why bother? These are just temporary solutions that can end up in lifelong addictions. Is it worth it? I think not!

It is true that there are so many diet aids and nutritional supplements out there on the market today that we ca hardly keep track of them. Manufacturers are becoming more and more creative in getting away with murder (so to speak), and are coming up with products that haven’t been regulated yet, marketing products similar to dangerous products and worse. While many of these products really are safe, certainly many more aren’t. So you have to be a savvy consumer, and learn about what you are buying. In this day and age of super fast Internet, this shouldn’t be difficult. Always remember that the less artificial material you metabolize the better. Your liver and other bodily organs will thank you.

If you are one of those people who are suffering from long term obesity, there are many other (drugless) solutions out there, ranging from the old standard, dieting, to different surgical interventions (some safer and some less so). Next week we are going to discuss the various surgical options available out there in the world today for weight loss, and then you will be able to make your own informed decisions!
Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Mad Cow-Like / Alzheimer’s-Like Diseases Caused by Weight Loss Pills?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 08-10-2015

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couch potato

This is the third installment of our quest into weight loss products that are out on the market these days waiting to accost desperate consumers. There are literally millions of people out there in the world who want to lose weight, and they seem to be willing to do or pay almost anything in order to have a “quick fix” for their problem. Unfortunately, there is no real “quick fix” per se. Although there are plenty of claims being made out there by the companies that make these products, the fact is that many, if not most of these products are not only useless when it comes to weight loss, but also dangerous, with some of them even being linked to the deaths of those who use them.

Today we are going to continue with the world of the chemical and natural choices:

Xenical

When the chemical diet drug “Orlistat” (which goes by the trade name of Xenical) came onto the market people were flocking to the pharmacies to get it. This was even though it had an exorbitant price tag attached. It was touted as the new “miracle” weight loss aid. It works by blocking the fat absorption in the intestine. The problem is that it has serious side effects, some of which are merely uncomfortable, and some of which are downright dangerous. It is important to understand that the US FDA was skeptical and not very keen on approving this drug. Initial clinical trials apparently were disturbing and showed some unusual results, for example a seeming connection with using the drug and getting breast cancer. But, as usual the show must go on and big money talks.

Some of the side effects of Xenical are as follows:
• severe gassiness
• spontaneous excretion of oil from the anus
• oily diarrhea or defecation (sometimes uncontrollable)
• complete or partial fecal incontinence (this is fairly common)
• flu-like general malaise
• certain vitamin deficiencies, including: A, D, E, Beta-carotene, and K, which are all fat soluble vitamins
• putrid odor with bowel movements and gas

You may think that the side effects would be worth it, but think before you act! I will tell you a little story of something that happened to a friend of mine. She had been taking Xenical for a while and she was driving along in her car when she had one of the “accidents” that it is so famous for (she had a spontaneous bout of putrid diarrhea) and then her car broke down. She could move, because she was sitting on a putrid, oily, orange colored mess! Well, finally someone stopped to help her, and she had to get out of the car, because there was no way to start it, but she wasn’t prepared for what happened next. The man in the crispy white dishdasha, who had been so kind to stop and help her sat right smack in the middle of the putrid, oily, orange mess! He got out of the car without realizing what had happened, and since her car had started, but she raced off at the speed of light out of embarrassment, and that helpful man will probably think 100 times before he helps anyone else!

Perhaps all this would be acceptable to some for the benefit of a huge weight loss in a short time, but in actuality, the weight loss with this drug is often quite low, and sometimes people even gain weight. This is partly because people tend to think that taking this drug gives them free license to eat as much oil as they want. Also, there are several situations where you wouldn’t be able to take this drug, and since practically anyone can buy it here in Kuwait, many people are going to be taking it that aren’t supposed to. For example, people who suffer from eating disorders (hmmm, aren’t these exactly those who this drug is targeting?), pregnant women, diabetics, people with any kind of digestive disorder, people with kidney stones, gall bladder problems, and people who take certain kinds of drugs, including some blood thinners, and drug to reduce cholesterol. This is one of the reasons that it is imperative that you check with your medical professional before embarking on any new diet program, particularly if it includes drugs.

The moral of the story here is to think before you buy! Don’t just jump on any band wagon of diet “therapy” without thoroughly investigating what you are getting yourself into. While some of the products do work to some degree or the other, many of them don’t work, or work very little. While there are many people who claim that Xenical helped them lose weight, there are many more people who not only didn’t lose weight with it, but actually gained, and while this isn’t exactly the fault of the producers of the drug, it still is a fact worth knowing.

The bottom line when dealing with Xenical is “buyer beware”. This drug isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and the side effects are, frankly, atrocious! My advice on this one is when in doubt, don’t!

(Later note…. several years after I originally wrote this article, I was called to a new patient who was basically in a vegetative state.

The doctors really couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her…she was exhibiting signs of mad cow disease, which would pretty much be impossible for her, being a Muslim, who doesn’t eat meat with residual blood, etc, like most people who contract the disease.

So, while I was collecting her medical history, I asked about whether she had been on a weight loss diet prior to her illness.

Her daughter’s eye widened, and she said yes (this was no surprise to me, and sadly, this was not the first person I had seen with detrimental side effects due to extreme “low fat” dieting.

She told me that her mother was on a strict low fat diet and that she had been popping Xenical like candy.

Obviously, her illness can not be blamed on Xenical at face value, because she wasn’t following the proper dosing of the drug.

It was entirely her own fault.

But, what it seemed was that (and this is entirely speculation on my part, but it is hoped that more research will be done on this issue, because it is urgently needed) the low fat diet, combined with fat sucking pills, basically caused her brain to be eaten away (after all, brains are made of mostly fat, and if the body doesn’t have any more, it makes logical sense that the fat has to come from somewhere, and it came from her brain).  Scary, huh???

Let this be an extreme warning!

So, here are two great books for keeping your brain safe while dieting 🙂

grain brain

brain maker 2

(Next week we will continue with our exploration into the wild world of diet aids).

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Are You Using the Wrong Weight Loss Products?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 01-10-2015

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Diet-Pills

The other day on Dr. Phil there were some young ladies on the show who were suffering from a variety of diet disorders, including addiction to diet pills. That is exactly why I began this series, and if you have seen the program, you would know how dangerous this problem is. Many, if not all, of these pills are extremely dangerous, and it so happens that the ones that this particular young lady was taking contained ephedrine, but there are so many out there on the market that it is difficult to keep track of them!

The following are some more of the choices out there on the market today. Good or bad, they are widely available and generally easy to get.
Fat Blockers (Chitosan)

This supplement, also known as D-Glucosamine, has also been touted “the fat magnet”, but is it really safe and effective? This supplement is made from the skeletons of crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Some studies have shown that it can help lower cholesterol levels slightly, so the idea is that it will help prevent fat digestion by binding to it. This has never been tested or shown, so the jury is still out with this one. While this product isn’t usually very dangerous, there is a lot of doubt out there as to whether or not it lives up to its claim. So, let the buyer beware, unless you like throwing your money out.

Guar Gum

This supplement is derived from the “cluster bean”. While guar gum has conventionally been used as a thickening agent in many packaged foods, it is now being marketed as a diet aid. It, like chitosan, is supposed to block the absorption of dietary fats. It is also supposed to help to make you feel fuller (this is from the fact that this is a fiber). While guar gum is considered a fairly safe supplement, in general, it does come with certain side effects, including fluctuations in blood sugar levels (hence not safe for diabetics), bloating, cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, and more. Since this is a bulking agent, we must also remind you of the chance of this supplement causing an obstruction either in the esophagus or another place in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the cases where this has occurred have led to death. In fact it seems that the US has banned the inclusion of this supplement for this very reason. While guar gum is still approved for use in foods (in small amounts), it is considered an unsafe diet supplement. So, guar gum is not a very good choice in your quest for weight loss, even if it is still available in various forms.

Chromium

This dietary supplement comes in many forms, including GTF Chromium and Chromium picolinate, which are basically minerals found in every day foods. The claims on this supplement are that it can help to increase weight loss, increase muscle mass, increase insulin efficiency, regulates fat production, gives more energy, etc. Several studies have been done on this supplement, and it seems not to live up to any of the claims that have been made for it. There were no beneficial differences found between experimental groups and control groups. On the contrary with some obese patients, it has even been shown to be counter-effective, in fact increasing the body weight. Some studies have even found it to be cell mutating, which is really scary. It has also been noted in some isolated situations that this supplement has caused side effects including disorientation, disruption of motor abilities, and irregular heartbeat. So spending a lot of money on chromium supplements is not your most consumer conscious way to go. All those claims of fat burning and exercise-free dieting seem to be bosh, and people would be better off steering clear.

Herbal Laxatives/Diuretics

These are the variety of herbal tea blends that are being marketed all over the world (including Kuwait) as diet teas. These blends contain herbs that act as either a laxative (moving the bowels) or a diuretic (causing increased urine output). When people diet it is not normal, nor is it recommended for them to flush out the food, fat or fluid from their bodies with artificial means like these teas. You need your fluids and your nutrients, and flushing them out quickly is not a good idea. So, the next time you see a diet tea on the shelf read the ingredients. If it contains herbs like senna, cascara, aloe, cassia angustofolia, locust plant or any of the stimulants that we mentioned last week, such as guarana, kola nut, ephedra, etc., leave it there on the shelf. This type of diet aid can be dangerous and addictive. These teas can cause severe cramping, bloating, diarrhea, nervousness, vomiting, nausea, sleeping problems, and even breathing problems and death!

Aristolochic Acid

This is a plant substance that is found in many so-called “natural” diet pills. These products are often herbal products, particularly Chinese blends. The herbs themselves are probably safe, but this ingredient can cause renal failure, and has caused many people to need kidney transplants. It is also carcinogenic. Unfortunately, even with all these problems, it is still being used and marketed as a weight loss supplement, so, again, let the buyer beware!

Carb Blockers

One of the newest products to hit the diet and weight loss market are “carb blockers”, that are supposed to block carbohydrate metabolism. This is supposed to mean that you can eat a high carbohydrate meal without any of the backlash and weight gain. The important ingredient in these products is a constituent of white beans, which is called “phaseolamin”. The idea is that it binds the carbohydrates in order to prevent absorption. There are some studies that seem to show some metabolic inhibition when ingesting carbohydrates, but there are no long term studies in this regard. The problem with this product is the side effects, which can include severe bloating, digestive upset, abdominal pain or cramping, diarrhea, and more. Is discomfort worth the benefit though? In any case, so far the jury is still out with regard to the safety of this supplement, but it looks clear at this point. The good thing is that they are not very expensive, so you won’t be putting your pocketbook out much if you decide to try them.

If you really want to lose weight safely, try these…

The New Atkins   Practical Paleo   Against all Grain

Just click on the books to buy from Amazon.

(To be continued)

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Weight Loss Products: Their Dangers and Benefits

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 25-09-2015

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weight loss

Since practically everyone is concerned with their weight these days we need to be aware of what is going on in the world of weight loss products. Your awareness is imperative so that you don’t get caught in the scams that are out there, and it is important that you have as much information on the various products that are available in the market, with some of the products being safe and useful, and others being useless or downright dangerous.

Considering the vast amount of weight loss products out on the market today, we will not be able to touch on all of them, but over the next few weeks we will certainly delve into many of them, and attempt to be as thorough as possible, so that you will be able to make your own informed choice, either to use or not to use the particular weight loss product that you were pondering.

I am going to begin with the so-called “natural” products that are being marketed as “safe”, “natural”, “healthy”, and more.

Caffeine Products

There are many products on the market now that contain caffeine. The idea is that caffeine is supposed to help people to lose weight. One of the ideas is that it should help people to be more active, pick the heart rate up, gets the metabolism going, suppresses the appetite, and often acts as a diuretic (increases urinary output). In reality though, caffeine actually slows weight loss down in many (if not all) cases. There is evidence that it makes people crave high carbohydrate foods, and raises certain hormones in the blood that make weight loss more difficult. While many of the concoctions being sold for weight loss contain chemical caffeine, many of the caffeine containing weight loss products are actually herbal, either in part or in whole. Herbal dietary aids such as Yerba Mate, Guarana, black tea, green tea, and coffee (of all types) contain fair amounts of caffeine, and while caffeine isn’t considered a seriously dangerous ingredient, nonetheless, it is probably not ideal. After all, anything that artificially speeds up the systems in your body isn’t the best choice. If you want to speed up your metabolism in a safer way, just exercise!

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Ephedra Products

Ephedra is the herb that has been in the news lately. It seems like people everywhere are talking about it. Some say it’s very dangerous, and others say it’s very safe. The bottom line is that, even though it’s an herb, it is a strong herb, and must be taken with extreme care. This means that products containing ephedra should definitely NOT be sold over the counter. This is not to say that ephedra doesn’t have plenty of benefits, because it does, and is a very valuable medicinal herb. But this herb should be taken under professional medical guidance only. Ephedra also goes under the Chinese herbal name “Ma Huang”. It is extremely great for dealing with asthma, or other allergic manifestations, but as beneficial as it is for some, likewise, its misuse could cause problems, even death. For this reason, using ephedra as a stimulant (as is done with dieters) is really not a good idea at all. Some people use it to make them feel more energetic, stronger, and it speeds up the metabolism to some degree. It speeds up everything in the body though, and thus, people who are suffering from high blood pressure and several other medical problems shouldn’t take it at all.

It used to be quite simple to buy ephedra-containing products over the counter, but due to a few deaths, ephedra is becoming more and more controlled. This is actually a good thing, as ephedra use was getting out of hand. But, I will repeat that ephedra use, when it is extremely moderate is a natural medicament and has been used for centuries, and as such is safe. It’s just the indiscriminate use as a weight loss panacea that made ephedra get its bad name as a dangerous supplement. Indeed, when used in that way, it is certainly a perilous endeavor.

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Hoodia

This is one of the most up and coming new weight loss gimmicks around. It is advertised practically everywhere. It usually comes in an all natural form, and is generally considered safe (so far). What it is said to do is to stave off hunger pangs. Apparently it was discovered by the Kalahari tribesmen, who used to chew it in order to help them to avoid feeling hungry on their long desert treks. Since it has been used for thousands of years it seems to be safe, although the quantity that these tribal men use is much different than the daily usage of some dieters, so beware. It is probably best to use it sparingly, and to try and fend off hunger by eating healthy, filling choices. It is important to buy from a reputable company though, because apparently there have been some hoodia scams out there in the market, where people were selling something similar to hoodia instead of the real thing.

curb bites

With the above-mentioned natural weight loss aids less is more. That is what I always say, and that is the best policy to keep, particularly when it comes to natural things like herbs. So, even with things like caffeine-containing drinks, don’t overdo. Take it easy, and remember to check out what you are talking for weight loss. Don’t just walk into a store or a person’s house and let them pressure you into taking something that may or may not make you feel comfortable. But, in moderation, and for the right purpose, the above-mentioned items are safe, particularly when taken under supervision. Consult a medical practitioner before beginning any questionable product.

(To be continued….)

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

 

Dangerous Artificial Sweeteners

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 06-09-2015

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Deadly-artificial-sweeteners1

There are so many sugar substitutes out in the market today that it’s difficult to choose one, or even to decide if we want to risk the use of any of them at all! It’s certainly not easy to decipher all the hype that the various companies bombard us with all the time in the media. So, what do we do? Well, the best way to protect ourselves is with knowledge.

Right now, here in Kuwait, you can buy three well-known brands of artificial sweeteners off the shelf in almost any of the local supermarkets. Also, since diabetic and weight-loss products have become so popular here in Kuwait, there are other sweeteners that can be found in the ingredients lists of many prepared foods. For better or for worse, these sweeteners can be both helpful and detrimental to our health, so the better we understand them, the more informed choices we can make. And, information is almost never a bad thing!

Saccharin

This artificial sweetener has been around for ages, more than 100 years, to be exact. It has had bad hype and good hype, but how safe is it really? While it went through a ban several years ago, due to studies that seemed to show that it was a carcinogen (caused cancer) in animals, its reputation has been vindicated since, with multitude studies that seem to show that saccharin is safe after all. In fact, saccharin is the most tested additive in the world and probably the most widely used around the world right now. Although, there are some researchers who still claim that scientific studies have shown saccharin to be dangerous even in humans, so it looks like the jury is still out in the matter of the safety of saccharin.

Saccharin is mostly known around the world as “Sweet and Low” and “Sugar Twin”. It is a non-caloric, non-carbohydrate sugar substitute. It was discovered by scientists while working with “toluene”, which is a coal tar derivative. It is basically a sodium salt, and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Nowadays, though, it is synthesized from other bases mostly. One of the drawbacks of saccharin is its bitter aftertaste. But, the benefits of saccharin are that it doesn’t get digested in the body at all, and has no impact whatsoever on the blood sugar of human beings. It is inexpensive, and has a long shelf life (unlike many other artificial sweeteners). It doesn’t degrade when heated. Thus, diabetics and others who cannot take sugar can eat foods sweetened with saccharin and have no side effects, keeping their diets and health in good stead.

Aspartame

Another of the most popular artificial sweeteners is aspartame, which also goes by the names of “Nutrasweet”, “Spoonful”, and “Equal”, as well as being marketed in many “sugar-free” products. Since I have recently done an entire article on this sweetener, we will not drag on about it here (if you want a copy of the article email me and I will send it to you). But basically, what you need to know is that aspartame is a chemical sweetener made of 10% methanol (Yes, can you believe it? That is wood alcohol and deadly!) It also contains 40% aspartic acid (which basically induces your brain cells to die, “excites them to death”), and 50% phenylalanine (which is particularly dangerous to people who are suffering from PKU, which is a genetic disorder causing the inability of the body to process phenylalanine). It is 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. One of the differences between saccharin and this sweetener is that aspartame is digested by the body, and thus, there is more of a chance that it can have a detrimental effect on it. And on the downside, aspartame has an extremely short shelf life. It also cannot be heated safely in cooking, so even if you choose to use aspartame to artificially sweeten your food, you must be very careful to use to prudently.

While the FDA gives aspartame a thoroughly clean bill, and states that aspartame is totally safe, based on studies that they have done, there are literally thousands of complaints that have been lodged with them about this sweetener. There are a host of side effects that are caused by aspartame ingestions, and these effects can be brought out even at fairly low doses. Thousands of people have connected side effects to the use of aspartame. Things like allergic reactions, certain types of brain damage, learning problems, vision problems, hearing problems, memory loss, bodily pain, headaches, dizziness, depression, birth defects, and more. It also has been linked to the mimicking or triggering of many other very dangerous diseases, such as MS, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, ADD, and more! In fact, there are over 92 documented symptoms that seem to be directly related to aspartame use!

There are others who even claim that the use of aspartame as a diet product is counter productive, actually causing people to crave food, fat, carbohydrates, and more sweetness. This problem is, apparently, even more pronounced for people suffering from diabetes (often exactly those who need artificial sweeteners the most), with aspartame seeming to be related to retinopathy, and uncontrolled blood sugar levels, which are problems with diabetics anyway, with extreme cases of aspartame use even causing coma and death!

Again here the jury is out. There are tens of thousands of reports of problems with people who use aspartame, yet there are over 100 scientific studies that seem to show that aspartame doesn’t cause any problems at all, with a few, more recent, studies showing that it does. Keep yourself posted, but better yet, just don’t use it!

 

Part 2

To continue with our discourse on sugar and sweeteners, today we will talk about two types of sugar substitutes, sucralose and sugar alcohols. Both of these types of sweeteners are widely used in diet foods as of late, and although they are touted as being safe and wonderful, they are not always all they are cracked up to be. Again, though, there are pros and cons about both types of sweeteners, the choice is in your hands as to whether or not you will use one or more of these in your food. But, once you are aware of the scientific information about these, you will be able to make an intelligent choice, and be less influenced by advertising and media hype.

Sucralose

Sucralose is one of the newest products to hit the stores. It is normally marketed under the name of Splenda, but also appears in many dietary food items as sucralose, and in Europe goes by the name of E955 (food additive). Sucralose is actually a sugar derivative, and one of the selling points that the company that makes it is always touting is that it tastes so good and natural because it is really sugar. Well, not exactly. Actually, sucralose is a chemical compound derived from sugar but replaces the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in sugar with chlorine atoms consisting of: 4-chloro-4-deoxy-galactose (4CG) and 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxyfructose (1,6 DCF). (This basically makes sucralose similar to pesticides!) It is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It can apparently be used in cooking and baking as well, and has a longer shelf life than many other artificial sweeteners.

Sucralose is marketed as a sweetener that is totally non-caloric and doesn’t affect the blood glucose levels, thereby making it safe for diabetics to use and also people on diets. It is claimed that it isn’t absorbed by the body at all. This is unfortunately incorrect information, as it is indeed metabolized by the body. In some studies it has been shown that as much as 20, 30, and even 40% of it can be metabolized by the body, although there are also studies that show that sucralose is excreted from the body almost entirely in its original state, meaning that it is not metabolized much or at all. What is worse is what it breaks down into, 1,6-dichlorofructose, the side effects of which are totally unknown. There is also evidence that the use of sucralose actually causes people to gain weight instead of lose it, because it increases the cravings for carbohydrates and sweets. There is also known evidence that many of the chemicals found in sucralose have been found to be carcinogens.

Studies have found that the use of sucralose causes the thymus gland to shrink (don’t forget that this gland is of importance when it comes to our immune systems). It has also been shown in certain other animal studies to increase the size of the kidneys and liver, among other things. There are also many other symptoms that seem to be related to sucralose use including: digestive problems, headaches, heart palpitations, depression, dizziness, joint pain, weakness, tingling sensation in mouth and surrounding areas, as well as the hands and fingers, facial swelling, redness and allergic-type reactions, blurred vision, and much more.

The fact is that there are absolutely NO human studies that have been done with sucralose, and that is probably one of the reasons that its use has not been approved in many countries, even though the FDA approved its use in the USA. Keep in mind also that sucralose has been associated with many problems, including those mentioned above and more, and the full story isn’t even close to being divulged, so think more than twice before using Splenda or sucralose containing products in your diet.

Sugar Alcohols

There are several different types of sugar alcohols (also known as polyols), including Xylitol (which is from straw, corncobs, cereal, mushrooms, etc), Sorbitol (which comes from fruit and vegetables, including corn), Mannitol (occurring in seaweed, carrots, pineapple, sweet potatoes, and olives), and Maltitol, to name a few. (Others include: Galactitol, Erythritol, Inositol, Ribitol, Dithioerythritol, Dithiothreitol, and Glycerol). Technically, they are reduced hydroxel group carbohydrates that have been hydrogenated. They are less sweet than table sugar, and are often used with other artificial sweeteners in order to improve the flavor of foods. They are not absorbed by the body, contribute extremely low calories, and thus are useful for people who need to be on a low carbohydrate diet, including diabetics. But, again, there is the danger of overeating when using these products on a daily basis, so care must be taken. Also, there is the danger of higher blood sugar levels when sugar alcohols are overeaten.

Sugar alcohols (yes, they are called “alcohols”, but don’t contain ethanol, as in alcoholic drinks, it is just a name that was given due to their similarity to sugar and alcohol from a chemical point of view) have been around for a fairly long time, and have been found to be generally safe. The problem with sugar alcohols is that they cause digestive disturbances to many people (if not all). These problems include bloating, flatulence, intestinal cramping and diarrhea. Most foods that contain sugar alcohols carry a warning to this effect. This is why sugar alcohols should be consumed in very small amounts, if at all. They do have many beneficial effects as well though, including the inhibition of the growth of bacteria, which is particularly beneficial when it comes to preventing cavities in the teeth. This is one of the reasons that there are the sweeteners used in artificially sweetened gum.

While these sweeteners seem to be safer than most, you can see that even these have unpleasant side effects that you would probably not like to experience, and would better avoid. So, here as before, you have an informed choice to make. Often regular old sugar in moderation might be better than these artificial sweeteners.

Check out this video…

Email me: mia@yournaturalhealthonline.com