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By Martha Jette

What you should Know

When it comes to dieting, it is a proven fact. Your body needs a variety of vitamin and mineral rich food to function properly. If you starve your body, you do it irreparable harm.

There are a multitude of diets out there, so choosing just the right one for you will likely be difficult. There’s the Grapefruit Diet, Atkins Diet , Mediterranean Diet, NutriSystem Diet, Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution, the Fruit Flush Diet, the Skinny Vegan Diet and countless more. How can you decide?

Forget fad diets that make big promises and when you don’t get the results, you become discouraged and quit. Your best route is to ignore those systems and get back to basics. Learn which foods benefit your body and which don’t with the understanding that most healthy women should only consume between 1,000 and 1,200 calories per day, while men can have up to 1,600.

A certain number of calories are needed by your body to keep it functioning properly by providing much-needed energy. However, if you eat more calories each day than you can burn off, you gain weight.

In order to lose one pound of fat per week, you need to eat about 500 calories less each day. Over a week, that equals 3,500 calories less and that equals about one pound of fat. The idea is to eat fewer calories and burn off more, which can only be accomplished with regular exercise.

However, before you begin any diet regime talk with your doctor, particularly if you have any health issues that might be affected.

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By Martha Jette

Losing weight is never easy but there are some tips and tricks you can use to help ensure success.

1) The first step is to shop the outside aisles of the grocery story first. This is where you will find the fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products essential to good health.

2) Don’t keep checking the scale to see if you’ve lost weight yet. Some people who do this get discouraged and give up too easily. Once a week is more than enough.

3) Don’t switch to an alternative diet plan all at once, especially if the diet involves eliminating specific foods. Make the change gradually for a better chance at success.

4) Whether at home or dining out, choose smaller portion sizes. People are often full but continue to eat simply because there is more food on their plates.

5) Slow down and chew your food. If you rush through your meal, you will not enjoy it and are more likely to snack later.

6) When you begin to feel full, stop eating. Your brain is telling you that you’ve had enough.

7) Rather than stuffing yourself on three meals a day, eat smaller meals more often. This way, your body’s metabolism will keep on working and give you energy throughout the day.

8) Re-write your recipes to use low-calorie alternatives to fat and sugar. For low sugar recipes, visit Meals for You.com

9) Substitute sugary fruit drinks with low-calorie alternatives or water. Be careful of the many chemical sweeteners like Aspartame and Saccharin. Aspartame has undergone more than 200 tests and was found to be safe. However, Saccharin was evaluated by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and it was found that long-term use in animals produced a carcinogenic hazard. For more on this study go HERE. It might be wise to try a natural sugar substitute like Stevia instead.

10) Processed foods that might contain potentially harmful additives. Processed foods are those that are canned, frozen, refrigerated, dehydrated or asceptically processed. Additives include but are not limited to preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, texturizers, synthetic vitamins and even bleach that most often are listed as items you cannot even pronounce.

11) Do not entirely eliminate certain foods because they’re not as good for you. Sooner or later, you will cave in and likely eat much more of it at one time.

12) Cut down on salt. The recommended daily intake is about one teaspoon. Too much sodium in the diet not only cause congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease but also causes water retention.

Tip for Seniors

One of the primary health concerns of seniors is arthritis related illness that cause pain and swelling of joints and connective tissue. Something that might help them is an anti-inflammatory diet, in which certain foods are eaten that decrease inflammation that can in turn lead to other health problems including inflammatory disease and even Alzheimer’s.

The diet includes oily fish, fruit and vegetables, legumes and spices. Participants also reduce inflammation causing foods like trans fats, saturated fats, processed foods and refined carbohydrates.

Dr. Christopher Cannon, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School co-authored The Complete Idiots Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet, which includes recipes to avoid inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. And it appears that he might be on to something.

Researchers at Columbia University recently discovered that a diet high in fish oil and vegetables prevent those with mild memory loss from getting full-blown dementia.

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