5 Components of Fitness

5 Components of Fitness: Test Yourself!

Use the 5 Components of Fitness to test your level of fitness. Calorie is King, but it is still important to aim for fitness as well as a healthy body weight. The 5 Components of Physical Fitness are:

  • Cardiorespiratory (or Cardiovascular) Endurance
  • Muscular Strength
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Body Composition

According to organisations like the US Department of Health, you can declare yourself fit if able to pass all 5 fitness component tests. Here’s how to use each component to discover your fitness level:

First component of fitness cardio

Heart and Lung Endurance Component

More officially known as Cardiorespiratory Endurance, this component of fitness is about how well you can do high intensity exercise. Its the type of activity which causes you to breathe a lot and get hot under the skin. Your heart pumps furiously and your lungs fill and empty quickly. We’re talking about running, pedaling a bike up a hill, doing an aerobics class, and other such vigorous intensity exercise.

Fit adults can exercise with vigorous intensity for ten minutes per day, or 75 minutes per week.

A more specific test of the cardiorespiratory, or cardiovascular, endurance component of fitness is the Step Test. First, step onto a raised platform such as a stair. Then, place both feet on the higher surface. Finally, step back down without turning your body. Alternate feet and repeat the process as fast as you can, non-stop. Last 5 minutes to declare yourself fit!

From age 65, you are fit if you can exercise at moderate intensity for 150 minutes or more per week. This means brisk walking, leisurely bike rides, or gentle calisthenics. Basically, anything that gets the heart pumping fast enough to cause breaths to get faster.

Strength Component

Muscle Strength Component

The second component of fitness is about how strong your muscles are. Muscular strength is not about how long or how fast you can go. Instead, it is about how much weight you can lift, push, or pull. We have several different muscle groups, and there are many different types of strength exercises. The exercises which work multiple muscle groups at the same time are best for strength training.

Perhaps the most convenient and universally available muscle strength exercise is the push-up. This is where you lie face-down on the ground with your hands placed palm-flat alongside your shoulders. Raise your body up by straightening your arms, whilst keeping your back and knees rigidly straight. Without pausing, return to the start position by bending the elbows and repeat the straightening and bending movement until failure.

If you are an adult male aged 18 to 65, call yourself fit if you can do at least 20 push ups in one go.

If you are a female in the same age group, call yourself fit if you can do 15 push ups.

Older adults aged 65 and above are not usually tested with the push up method. Instead, various grip-strength and weight-lifting techniques are used.

Endurance fitness component

Muscular Endurance Component

The third component of fitness is Muscle Endurance, or how long your muscles can strain for. How far you can walk or run. How long you can hold your shopping bag in one hand. The laps can backstroke in the pool. Like the muscle strength measure, this muscular endurance component can be a challenge to define.

A good place to start is the exercise known as the plank.

Do a plank by resting on your elbows (90 degree angle between arm and floor) and the balls of your feet whilst keeping your legs and back as straight as possible.

Imagine that, from the top of your head to your heels, your body has become a straight plank of unbending timber.

Adult males are considered fit if their muscles can endure a plank for 30 seconds at a time. Females are fit if they can plank for 15 seconds per go.

Both men and women are considered strong when able to plank for 60 seconds or more. The world record plank is over 5 hours!

Flexibility

Flexibility Fitness Component

Number 4 out of the 5 Components of Fitness is Flexibility. Flexibility is the ability for your limbs and torso to be able to bend through a wide range of motion at the joints. Flexible joints are those not held back by stiff muscles and connective tissue, poor cartilage and joint fluid, and pain.

There are several important tests for flexibility, based on age, gender and medical history. However, one simple, age-old method arguably trumps them all: the toe-touch.

To perform the toe-touch, stand up straight, feet together, then gently bend your back whilst keeping your knees unbent, reach down and touch your toes with your fingertips. Alternatively, stand with your feet apart and touch the floor in-between them.

Adults aged 65 and under are classed as being fit if they can touch their toes without bending their knees. Older adults use more specialised range of motion tests to assess their flexibility as a component of overall fitness.

Body Fat percentage

Body Composition

The fifth, final, and most visibly obvious Component of Fitness is Body Composition. Simply and crudely put, it is the amount of fat you have, relative to muscle, bone and other body tissues. Body composition is not the same as body weight, since a fit, muscular person may weigh the same as an unfit person of the same height.

An adult male is considered fit if he has less than 17% body fat, whilst an adult female is fit with less than 24% body fat.

In other words, men are fit if they carry less than one fifth of their body weight as fat, whereas fit women may have up to about one quarter of their weight as fat.

Measuring body fat percentage accurately without specialised hydrostatic testing equipment is difficult. However, several more convenient, if less accurate, methods such as skin-fold (with callipers), bioelectrical impedance, abdomen vs neck ratios, and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry tests can be used.

For most people, body composition can easily be measured with a simple BMI reading. Find out what your BMI is and learn all about it with the calcount BMI Calculator right now!

5 Components of Fitness Activities

To summarise, the activities related to each of the five components of fitness are:

  1. Cardiorespiratory Endurance Component: The 5 Minute Step Test
  2. Muscular Strength Component: 20 push-ups for men, 15 push-ups for women
  3. Muscular Endurance Component: 30 second plank for men, 15 second plank for women
  4. Flexibility Component: Touch your toes!
  5. Body Composition Component: Less that 17% body fat for men, less than 24% body fat for women

Whilst broadly accepted, understand that different health professionals are likely to have more specific activities and definitions for individual people.

Lose Weight Fast in 2 Weeks

7 Actual Ways to Lose Weight Fast in 2 Weeks

How is it possible to lose weight fast in 2 weeks at home, whilst doing things that come somewhat naturally? Believe it or not, there are real ways to achieve surprisingly fast weight loss without resorting to fad diets or outright starvation!

Many people want to get rid of fat fast, and a two week period seems intuitively long enough to achieve real results, yet short enough to withstand the discomfort of calorie restriction. The good news is that most people will lose between 500 grams and one kilo per week (rapid weight loss) by cutting their normal daily calories by a third. For most people, doing the things on this list will do just that.

Here are 7 things you can do to Lose Weight Fast:

  1. Call it a diet or a quiet adjustment, but you will need to eat less. No amount of extra exercise will make you lose weight fast in two weeks. Only calorie restriction is going to work. This is because two weeks is not nearly enough time for your body to adjust its BMR meaningfully.
  2. Reduce, or better yet, banish sugar from tea and coffee. In fact, get rid of all types of obvious sources of sugar. Don’t drink sugary soft drinks. Avoid confectionery and “sugar-frosted” breakfast cereals. Skip things like Nutella and glazed doughnuts.
  3. For fast weight loss, you are going to have to cut carbs. Aim for a reduction of at least one third of your normal carbohydrate intake. This means actually putting your usual portion of, say, spaghetti on your plate, then scooping a third of it out again. Used to a two-slices of bread sandwich every day? Change that to a one-slice open sandwich. Usually enjoy a large baked potato with butter? Swap it for a small baked potato with butter instead.
  4. Two weeks is a reasonable period to avoid alcohol altogether, so try to skip your usual libation for the full 14 days. Choosing not to drink your weekend or weekday tipple will make a significant difference to your calorie count.
  5. Fat is a high calorie foodstuff, so reduce your intake. You should not avoid it altogether because it is part of a balanced diet, but you can opt for low-fat variants of your favourite foods. For example, swapping skim or lite for normal milk will help you to reach that 30% calorie reduction over two weeks.
  6. Increase your water intake by about 30% over the two week period. Besides all of the health benefits which will flow from becoming better hydrated, you will feel less hungry. Regular sips from a bottle of water or cup of green tea throughout the day in between meals will keep you digestive system occupied.
  7. By far the fastest way to lose weight fast is to get rid of excess body water. You can reduce your own natural water retention in two weeks by eating less salt. The sodium in salt affects the amount of water which your body keeps in your tissues. Each litre of water in your body weighs one full kilogram, so a natural, healthy reduction in fluid retention is an excellent way to lose weight fast.

And that’s how to lose weight fast in 2 weeks. Yes, there is nothing unexpected in the above list. Everything here is probably something you have heard before. Guess why that is? Because at the end of the day, weight management comes down to some pretty basic principles. Whether you knuckle down to a 1500 calorie diet plan or get yourself a specific calorie calculation, the only way to lose weight is to achieve your calorie deficit.

You can do it! Good Luck!



lose weight naturally

Lose Weight Naturally, do this 1 Thing

This is a short (very short) post about how to lose weight naturally by doing just one thing.

Do one thing to lose weight

And no, it is not one of those gotchas where the “one thing” is following our set of 47 recommendations or starting a meal replacement system.

If you do this one thing you will surely lose weight naturally, painlessly, and gradually.

Here’s the thing: eat a bit less.

Eat a bit less every time. A tiny little bit less each time. So that you don’t miss the lost bite, but you do get into the mental state of eating less.

One less forkful of pasta. One biscuit at 3 o’clock rather than two. The medium sized latte rather than the big one. Swap the double burger for a single.

one bite less to lose weight naturally

When you do this, you will naturally cut your calorie intake without really feeling the pinch.

True, your weight loss will be slow, but it will surely happen. If you look each meal in the eye and choose to eat just a bit less than you otherwise would.

It will take months or years, but it will work. You could speed things up with proper calorie counting, but you don’t have to. You do have to do this one thing though, no matter what else.

Eat less.

Eat less to lose weight naturally
Does Sweating Burn Fat?

Does Sweating Burn Fat?

No, sweating does not burn fat. In fact, sweat (perspiration) might not even be an indication that you are burning extra calories! We sweat during a tough workout because our muscles are generating too much body heat to disperse by normal circulation. The sweat droplets that form on your skin whilst exercising have no body fat dissolved in them. Here’s why:

Sweat Glands

The average person has about 200 sweat glands opening onto the surface of ever square centimetre of skin covering their body. That makes for between 2 and 4 million sweat glands per person. There are two main types of sweat glands. One makes the oily type of sweat (think everyday armpits), and the other makes the watery type. Even though these glands are surrounded by fat cells, they do not function by drawing fat out in any way. Instead, sweat is taken from body fluids found in between cells (extracellular fluid).

Purpose of Sweat

Sweat is excreted for many different reasons, but the type we are talking about here is specifically made for cooling purposes. It is mostly water, which spreads out on the skin surface and evaporates into the air. In so doing, it cools the body down in the same way that a water-soaked T-shirt does on a hot day. Fat stores would be useless for this purpose because fat does not evaporate easily!

Saunas don't burn fat

Saunas don’t burn Fat

Think about it, if sweating really did burn fat, then saunas would be way more popular than they are right now. So would habanero chilli peppers, night sweats, and hot flushes. The average adult can perspire 12 litres of sweat in a day, so imagine the weight loss possibilities if, say, 10% of that was body fat! Sweating does cause temporary weight loss (water weight), but it does nothing special to burn fat.

Cold Workouts are Effective

Whilst exercising in cold temperatures can be associated with elevated injury risk, it is just as effective (if not more so) at burning calories than other workouts. Climbing Mt. Everest in a blizzard will cause much less sweat than running on a hot Gold Coast beach, but both workouts will burn calories effectively. Sweating during a workout is a sign of a hot body, but it is not necessarily an indication of fat burn.

Cold Workouts burn fat

Some People just Sweat More

There is a truly massive difference in the number of sweat glands each person has. Some people have twice as many sweat glands as others, thus they tend to sweat almost twice as much. If sweating really caused fat burn, then sweaty people would have a huge advantage in the weight loss department. Think about all the heavy sweaters you know – are they generally skinny?

Sweat has Fat in it

The Surprise Twist

So, we’ve just written a page explaining that sweat does not cause fat burn, but here’s the twist: sweat can have “pieces” of “used up” body fat in it! Perspiration, along with urination and defecation, is one of the body’s excretion mechanisms. Excretion is the process of removing unwanted and excess products from the body. Fat metabolism produces water, some of which ends up being evaporated away as sweat. There may in fact be burned fat in your gym headband!

Lose Weight Fast

47 Easiest Ways to Lose Your Toxic Weight Fast!

We need to know how to lose weight fast, because sometimes the urge rushes over us and we must suddenly just do something about excess fat. Too much body fat is bad for your health, you know it! This list is for times like now, when we want fast, sensible, evidence-based action tips we can follow right now, this minute! Still reading the intro? Stop reading the intro! Get onto it!

Get Real to Lose Weight Fast

1. Get Real

Real weight loss demands real commitment and real action. You cannot score when you are sitting on the bench or relegated to the sin bin. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You’ve heard all the tropes before, but hard truths are cliché for a reason. The first way to lose weight fast is to want to lose weight so badly, that you act. The initial fire and determination won’t last but solid planned and prepared action will. Do Number One and Number Two and any five others from this list to lose weight fast*.

Record Your Meals

2. Record What you Eat to Lose Weight Fast

Whether or not you go on a diet, or actively count calories with our tracker, or consciously make food calorie choices, you should record your meals. Write everything you eat in a personal food diary. It is not hard to do and you don’t need to use it for the rest of your life. Keeping a food diary is just about the only uncontested, incontrovertible, rock-solid, proven way to sustainably lose weight fast. After a few days of diligently recording yourself, you will lead yourself to lower calories. No celebrity lifestyle coach required.

Eat Spicy Food

3. Feel the Burn! Eat Capsaicin Often

Spicy food which contains capsaicin (the spicy thing in chili peppers) will help you to lose weight faster than otherwise. As with many of the other tips on this list, there is scientific evidence both for and against the weight-loss effect of capsaicin. Even if spicy food does not chemically “burn fat” or speed your metabolism if it is spicy enough you will naturally eat less food. This is because you are likely to eat slower and sip water in between mouthfuls, so you will feel fuller faster.

Do Not Eat Cheese

4. Cut the Cheese

Cheese is high calorie concentrated milk which adds big-time calories to everyday food like sandwiches, pizza, and pasta. Cut cheese out fast to lose weight fast. It is an entirely avoidable food. Get your macros and calcium elsewhere. Cheese is not your friend when you are trying to cut the kilos.

Eat Dietary Fiber

5. Fibre is Your Friend

The defining feature of dietary fibre is its toughness. It is tough to chew, tough to break down in the stomach, and tough to digest in the intestines. It is so tough, that we need help from friendly gut bacteria, which symbiotically live inside of us, munching on the tough fibre we eat. That fibre soaks up water and takes a long time and a lot of energy to digest. For all the while it lingers inside, it occupies space that might otherwise be filled with pies and cheesecake. For this reason alone, replace soft food with fibre-rich food to lose weight fast.



6. Want to Lose Weight Fast? Then Drink up!

Water and water-based drinks are an obvious solution for the incessant consumer of small snacks. There is a good reason that study after study reveals that people who constantly sip water throughout the day lose weight faster than people who do not. Yes, water is essential for life and will promote health in a myriad of ways, but its most important function from a weight-loss perspective is the space it takes up. When you start sloshing around with a bellyful of water, you are less likely to reach for the bikkies. One ham sandwich seems to fill the gap where before two did the job. That sneaky second serve of risotto becomes less desirable. Drink water to trick your stomach and fool your lizard brain.

Change your Routine

7. Break your Routine

First, look at your excess weight, then come to a logical understanding: the choices you have made have led to this situation. So, make different choices to end the situation and create a new, better one. Different choices mean doing different things, and doing different things means breaking old routines and leaving timeworn comfort zones. Wake up earlier and go to bed earlier. Stop ordering delivery food and start cooking more. Stop eating high calorie snacks and start eating low calorie snacks.

Get some sun to lose weight FAST

8. Feel the Morning Sun on your Skin

There is good evidence that people who get some sun in the morning lose weight faster than those who do not. Maybe it is because of more Vitamin D, or maybe the sun has an effect of making a healthier circadian rhythm, or maybe morning sunbathers are just more active. For whatever the reason, it works. A quick walk around the block on a sunny morning can only do you good.

Do Not Eat Dessert

9. Ditch Desserts

Unless you are a medieval king or queen entertaining errant knights at a round royal banquet table, dessert should not be a thing you do. The whole concept of a meal being comprised of more than one “course” should be scrubbed from your worldview. Desserts are a cruel sweet trap for people who want to lose weight fast. Black coffee or lemon water does the job of rounding out the palate just as well as any sickly-sweet treat. Eradicate the nasty anachronistic dessert custom without mercy. If some unsavvy person offers one, decline with a cold stare and perhaps an under-breath mutter “I don’t do desserts”.

Use smaller plates

10. Use Smaller Plates

Perhaps amazingly, this simple trick works to fool your brain into thinking that you have had enough. Without over-thinking it, serve your normal everyday food on smaller plates and bowls. You don’t need to try hard to put less food on the smaller plate. In fact, for the first few days, make a conscious effort to heap it up higher than you would with your normal plate. After a while, you will naturally and painlessly start eating less. Combined with other strategies, using a smaller plate is a sure-fire way to lose weight fast.



11. Not Hungry? Then Don’t Eat

If, for whatever reason, you do not feel hungry when you usually eat a meal or snack, don’t eat. Sometimes, skipping a regular snack or extending the time between meals has a powerful positive effect on your body’s metabolism. There is usually a good physical reason why you do not feel hungry: you don’t need food right now. When you don’t need food in the moment, your body finds a way to store it for when you need it later. When that later needed moment does not come, you get fat. We humans are not battery-driven machines which require a set amount of charge over a specific period to function at optimal capacity. Instead, “listen” to what your body is telling you and don’t eat when you are not hungry.

Lose Weight Fast eat Salad first

12. Eat Salad or Fruit before your Main Meal

Low-calorie, fibre-rich food like leafy salads, steamed greens, and peel-on apples are a good addition to your main meal. Thoughtfully chew the lightly dressed salad or the raw fruit to get the digestion juices flowing and your satiety signals firing up before you tuck into your meat and potatoes. You will find it much easier to stick to whatever pre-planned meal portion has been laid out in front of you. If, afterwards you still feel hungry, eat more salad with no dressing before you leave the table.

Take the Stairs

13. Take the Stairs

Climbing stairs is a wonderful exercise which strengthens leg and back muscles whilst giving you a good cardio workout. It is just the type of quick, exertion activity that gives the metabolism a jolt like a high intensity workout. One of the fundamentals of losing weight fast is to somehow increase one’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Climbing stairs regularly will force your body to prepare for future climbs by increasing BMR. Best of all, if you work or live in a multi-story building you can gradually integrate regular stair climbing into your lifestyle. No special kit required!

Drink Black Coffee to Lose Weight

14. Drink Coffee

Several credible studies have shown that coffee drinkers lose weight faster than people who abstain from the roasted bean. (Note that milky coffee will have the opposite effect, we are talking about the pure stuff here!) In addition to the filling effect of any low-calorie drink, the caffeine in coffee causes an elevated heart rate and thus greater energy burn. It is also possible that other chemical constituents of coffee serve to stimulate the metabolism. To top it off, coffee has a diuretic effect, making it easier to lose water weight.

Wear Casual Clothes

15. Wear Casual Clothes

Yes, its true, people who look as though they are dressed for exercise tend to exercise more. It is a simple truth that you will be less inclined to take the stairs, trot down to the corner shop, or run for the bus when you are dressed in your formal best. If you make a habit of wearing comfortable, flexible clothing you will find yourself being more active than otherwise. If possible, opt for T shirt and jeans rather than a business suit, and keep Casual Fridays sacred.



16. Spray your Oil, don’t Pour it

 For something that does not show up as a mouthful in your meal, cooking oil packs a serious calorie punch. When pan-frying or barbecuing, try to use as little oil as you can get away with. The aerosol spray-can oil is a better choice than using a basting brush or pouring a big glug from the bottle. Use cooking oil sparingly and consider using substitutes whenever possible.  

Do Not Drink Cocktails

17. Drink Straight instead of Cocktails

Light beer, neat spirits, and alcohol served on the rocks or with plain water are much less calorific than mixed drinks. The problem with cocktails is that they invariably involve sugar in large quantities. Sweet fizzy drinks mixed with alcohol combine the fast-burn calories of sugar with the powerful “hidden” calories in alcohol. Stick with a slow-sip hard liquor on the rocks instead of a large Pina Colada to lose weight fast.

Wear a Belt to Lose Weight Fast

18. Wear a Belt

 Wearing a non-stretchy belt as part of your daily ensemble is a good idea when you are trying to lose weight. You will feel the belt biting in slightly when your abdomen expands with food and drink. Sometimes, we need a little reminder that we don’t have to finish the lunch box if we have already eaten enough. Belts with buckle-holes are the best choice, because few things are as motivational as pondering an old belt with exposed well-worn holes.

Gut Bacteria

19. Eat Probiotics and Prebiotics

There is evidence to show that a flourishing gut biome promotes weight loss. What does this mean? It seems that in some cases, simply improving your gut health directly causes you to lose weight. Yes, it might also be true that the lifestyle and diet changes you make to acquire a healthy gut are the main cause of the weight loss. In either case, eating helpful live bacteria (probiotics) and food to feed said bacteria (prebiotics) will help you to lose weight fast. The best probiotics are natural yoghurts, fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, and the occasional sourdough slice. Good prebiotics for weight loss are everyday low-calorie vegetables like onions, kale and cabbage with two or three serves of beans per week.

Open Sandwich to Lose Weight Fast

 20. Make Open Sandwiches

If you are in the habit of eating sandwiches, get into the habit of eating them open. This means that you forget the top slice and instead add a low-calorie garnish to the filling to make it pretty enough to savour. Not only will you cut the bread calories in half, but you will eat more carefully, slowing down to balance your now-delicate sandwich. You might be surprised to find that an open sandwich can be just as satisfying as a double-decker. Open sandwiches (single slice) are the real secret behind all those healthy low-calorie Instagram pics.



21. Sleep Well to Lose Weight Fast

Good, long sleep is essential when you want to lose weight fast. There is no way for your body to find a natural circadian rhythm and metabolic/hormonal balance when you are sleep-deprived and “out of sync”. Research into sleep and the endocrine system shows that people who sleep well can lose weight faster than those who get poor-quality sleep. You can get better sleep by not eating anything at least an hour before bedtime.

Early Dinners are Best

22. Have an Early Dinner

Having an early dinner will allow your digestion system to settle down well before bed, promoting a better night’s sleep. Early dinners also allow for an easier, snack-free period after lunch. Best of all, eating your dinner early will increase your fast time before breakfast. Growing research into intermittent fasting suggests that going without food for a 10+hour stretch triggers beneficial hormones which help you to lose weight fast.

Morning Run Exercise

23. Exercise in the Morning

Morning exercise beats evening exercise because you get to extend the benefit of your workout into the other active parts of your day. If you are going to work up a sweat and get the blood flowing, why not use that momentum to keep going with an active mindset, rather get ready for bed? Remember that the best weight loss effect of exercise is not the calories you burn during your workout, but how the exercise raises your BMR over time. Staying active after a good workout will signal to your body’s systems: “We need to upgrade this thing! Ratchet up that BMR!”

Half a Loaf of Bread

24. Cut your Starch in Half

If you are serious about losing weight fast, cut your starch portion in half when eating regular main meals. Whatever the starch source (rice, bread, pasta, potato, etc.), just cut the portion in half. Even if you make up the space difference on your plate with your protein source, you will end up eating far fewer calories per meal over time. For best results, replace the lost starch half-portion with an equal half-portion of fibre-rich vegetables or lean protein.

Be Stress Free

25. Don’t Stress

One of the body’s responses to stress is to release cortisol (a stress hormone) into the bloodstream. Cortisol slows your metabolism down. Slower metabolisms burn energy at a lower rate than healthy, stress-free ones, so it becomes harder to lose weight. If you want to lose weight fast, try to avoid stress. Take walks, spend quality time with friends and family, or try meditation.



26. Picture your Food

Literally taking pictures of your food will help with your weight loss goals. You don’t have to post the pictures on social media, but it could reinforce your motivation. The pictures work the same way that a food diary does, by making you more accountable to yourself. This practice works even better when you try to plate your food in an attractive arrangement. Being thoughtful when it comes to meals is a big step towards taking control of one’s calorie intake.

Drink Green Tea to Lose Weight Fast

27. Sip Green Tea

There are scientific studies which show that the catechins (a type of antioxidant) in tea have the effect of speeding human metabolism. In addition to catechins, tea also contains caffeine, a well-known stimulant which has a positive impact on the rate of metabolism. These combined effects, together with green tea’s impressive hydration qualities, make it a great choice to sip throughout the day. Sugarless, milk-free green tea makes a zero-calorie drink which can be drunk in large quantities without bad side-effects. Have fun finding your perfect taste blend and make it a habit!

Artificial Sweetener

28. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

This one is tricky, because artificial sweeteners have practically zero calories so why would you avoid them when you want to lose weight fast? Because chemistry. Artificial sweeteners are many thousands of times sweeter than natural sugar on a weight for weight basis. Your tastebuds instantly recognise this fact and respond positively, so that after a few days of using the intense artificial sweeteners, you develop a taste for incredible sweetness. Without thinking about it, you will find yourself gravitating towards all the real sugar-laden food options in front of you. You end up dodging a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, only to get hit with a triple-glazed chocolate cronut. In case you’re wondering, yes, there are studies to support this sugar taste compensation effect.

Skip Breakfast

29. Skip a Breakfast

Like all the tips on this list, this one should be followed carefully, after receiving proper medical advice. The idea behind skipping a breakfast or two per week is that your body will have gone more than ten hours between meals (assuming you don’t sleep-eat) if you can manage the skip. This time gap between meals is the aim of what is now being called “intermittent fasting”. It has been found that your body will become more efficient at burning its excess fat reserves when in a state of fast. Research seems to show that periodic fasters lose weight faster than non-fasters even when they eat the same number of calories per week.

Brush your Teeth soon after dinner to lose weight fast

30. Brush your Teeth Soon after Dinner

Brushing your teeth soon after dinner, rather than just before you go to bed, can nudge you towards having a snack-free evening. Late night snacks are often an easy, lazy option for when you are feeling low-energy and relaxed. Use the mood to your advantage, because who wants to have to re-brush their teeth after eating a bag of microwaved butter popcorn? Brushing your teeth early might also signal an earlier bedtime. Besides, the toothpaste’s minty aftertaste disincentivises sneaky snacking.



31. Drink Water before you Eat

The idea behind drinking a glass of water before you eat is a simple one. The water rushes into your stomach and takes up real estate and starts to stretch things out. There are stretch receptors in the stomach which signal “fullness” to the brain. These receptors cannot tell the difference between water and pancakes, so you might just feel sated enough to stop after the first syrupy hotcake.

Kitten Sleeping in a Warm Room

32. Don’t Sleep in a Warm Room

The “average” person burns the equivalent of a slice of toast in calories when they sleep each night. You can turn that slice into a slice and a quarter or more if you force your body to work a little harder when you sleep. You can do this by sleeping in a cooler room than you’re used to. Your body will work harder to maintain its temperature, and over time you will use more calories and lose weight faster.

Eat 25g protein to lose weight fast

33. Eat 25 grams of Protein with Each Meal

Multiple studies demonstrate that protein makes you feel fuller than carbohydrates. This is the basis for many of the current wave of high-protein diets. You can easily take advantage of protein’s powers of satiation by simply eating more of it in comparison to your usual intake. For best results, aim for 25g of protein per meal whilst keeping to an overall calorie target. Over a couple of days, you will feel more satisfied with your meals so you will find it easier to control your calories and lose weight fast.

Second Helping of Quiche

34. No Second Helpings

Serving yourself the right portion of food in the first place is a much better strategy than under-serving the first time around. It is a mistake to dish out a tiny portion in the hope that you will suddenly develop superhuman willpower and be satisfied with a couple of mouthfuls. Unfortunately, all you’re doing is pre-empting a justified second helping which will overcompensate and dwarf the correct food portion. Then, you will be demotivated and track back to the comfort zone of overeating. Think twice, serve once, don’t think once, and serve twice.

Cow Chewing Slowly

35. Chew. Food. Slowly. Lose Weight Fast.

Being mindful of every mouthful of food is a powerful way to control calories and lose weigh fast. Savour each bite and chew until the food seems to swallow itself. If you are in the habit of eating too quickly, try counting your chews for a couple of days. There is no right number of chews, but you will become more conscious and slower if you count each full jaw movement. The point of chewing slowly is that your digestive system will have more time to send satiety signals to your brain before you finish your meal. Slow chewers feel fuller than gulpers, so they naturally eat less and lose weight faster.

Eating Popcorn Watching a Movie

36. Don’t Eat Whilst Entertained

Eating whilst under the influence of music, television, movies, and other entertainment has been studied. The results are just about unanimous: people eat more when they are entertained. One of the main reasons seems to be that the brain works hard to process the entertainment, so it is less able to manage portion control. The feeling of having had enough to eat is drowned out by the excitement of the entertainment. Anyone who has made it to the other side of a Netflix binge and wondered where all the lollies went can relate. If you feel like snacking in front of the screen, hit the pause button.



37. Cut Sodium to Lose Water Weight

By far the fastest way to drop a kilo is to lose some water weight. “Water weight” is the weight of excess water stored in between your body tissues. Ideally, the water should be processed by the kidneys and released out of the body, but it becomes “trapped” by extra sodium and glycogen. Reducing the amount of sodium in your body, by simply eating less of it, will allow the water to flush out. It is possible to lose up to two kilograms in water weight within a week of starting a low sodium diet. A simple way to eat less sodium is to purposefully avoid processed foods. Most of the excess sodium in our modern diets comes from “hidden” sodium in processed food – read our sodium converter post to learn more.

Lift Weights to Lose Weight Fast

38. Lift Heavy Weights

Remember that BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the underlying rate at which your body burns energy, and thus the ultimate driver of calorie burn. Your body needs certain types of cells to put food energy to work. Perhaps the most important type of energy burning cell is the muscle cell. Simply put, the more, bigger, and stronger muscle cells you have, the more energy you can burn. Growing muscle will also grow your BMR. One of the fastest ways to grow muscle is to do weight training. Lift heavy weights to increase BMR!

Eat a Rainbow

39. Five Colours per Day

Beginning each day with the intention of eating at least five different naturally coloured foods is a good way to bolster your weight loss effort. Thinking about and finding five different colours to eat will invariably make one more careful about what to eat. High-fibre, low-calorie fruit and vegetables are likely to feature prominently in a five-colour food day. “Eating the rainbow” is just another arrow in this quiver of healthy eating habits which will allow you to lose weight fast.

Do Not Eat after dinner

40. No Food After Dinner

Unlike a simple machine, the human body works in a series of biocycles, one of which is the circadian rhythm. Body cycles enable certain processes to occur at optimal times when specific internal conditions are present. For example, the brain “cleanses” and resets when we are asleep rather than when we are driving on the interstate. It would be horribly inefficient and dangerous if our brains decided to start dreaming at any given time, on a whim. New research is indicating that processing food, storing calories, and burning fat are optimised in cycles too. It seems that eating in the late hours, soon before bed, is a bad idea from a weight loss perspective. Get all your daily calories in by the end of dinner if you are serious about losing weight fast.

Dip Do Not Pour

 41. Dip into Dressing and Sauce

The condiments, sauces, gravies, and dressings of any meal are usually the most calorific components by weight. Oily dressings and sauce like mayonnaise and vinaigrette can easily turn a low-calorie meal into something like this monster Caesar Salad. The best way to enjoy sauces and dressings is to order them “on the side”, then dip judiciously. When you are done with the meal, you can look at the remaining uneaten dip and give yourself a pat on the back for dodging those calories.

Eat Protein when Hungry

42. Eat Protein when you are Hungry

Hunger is a basic, animal feeling that by nature is one of the most uncomfortable feelings possible. At a primal level, we want to satisfy our hunger as fast as possible with as much food as possible. That is why it is important to eat the type of food which sates the fastest: protein. Studies show that fewer protein calories are required to satisfy hunger compared to carbs and fat. You feel “fuller” after eating 300 calories worth of roast beef compared to downing 300 calories of cupcake. Simply put, you are less likely to overcompensate your hunger if you satisfy it with protein rather than carbohydrates.

43. Swap Dinner Starch for Vegetable

Replacing your dinner starch with vegetable could be a game-changer. Examples of ways to do this: substitute rice for cauliflower rice, noodles with konjac noodles, and mashed potato with mashed turnip. The vegetables will provide a sense of fullness which will tide you over to bedtime. The calorie shortfall will hit whilst you are asleep and less likely to snack. If you try this trick at lunch or breakfast, it will be too easy to snack a couple of hours afterwards.

Get off your chair to Lose Weight Fast

44. Get Up Off that Chair

If your occupation demands that you spend hours at a time sitting down, it will be harder to lose weight fast. Even if you exercise vigorously during other parts of the day, sitting in one spot for extended time periods negatively affects your metabolism. Without getting into the details of cellular chemistry, suffice to say that your overall metabolic rate slows down if you don’t move your limbs every waking minute. In our prehistoric past, even our rest periods were dominated by movement and activity. Our bodies are designed to move constantly, so when we don’t the internal calorie burn rate slows down and muscle health deteriorates. Don’t spend more than 20 minutes sitting, even if you just stand up then sit back down, your waistline will thank you for the activity.



45. Read Every Food Label

Food labels exist to inform, so make full use of them! If you get into the habit of reading every food label before you buy and before you eat a product, you will naturally start to lose weight. Why? Because you will become more aware of your food energy and nutrition, then eat accordingly. Being informed is the basis of making food choices which suit your desired nutrition outcome. If you want to lose weight fast, you need to know what you are eating. It may seem obvious, but many people don’t appreciate that food is different, that Brand X has more calories than Brand Y, or Brand A contains twice as much sodium as Brand B. Use our Food Search Box to plan your shopping list if you prefer not to spend too much time in the supermarket.

Plan to Lose Weight Fast

46. Plan to Lose Weight Fast

To lose weight fast, you must plan. Planning your calorie intake is the crucial part of any diet, because as the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. A plan sets out your goal and the actions you must take to achieve said goal. Whether you call it a meal plan, a diet, a battle plan, a weekly menu, or whatever suits your fancy, make one. You can make a structured plan based on generally accepted formulae (like our Calorie Tracker does), or you can devise your own plan on the back of an envelope. At its most basic level, your plan should include your target body weight and your daily calorie limit. Whatever plan you come up with, dig deep, and try to execute it.

Never Give Up

47. Don’t Give Up

Here’s a newsflash: diets usually don’t work. That does not mean that you should give up. It means that you should mix things up and keep trying. If you don’t give up, the best-case scenario is that you lose weight fast, make sustainable lifestyle changes, and your health blossoms forever. If you do give up and make no changes, the only scenario is that your weight today is the best it will ever be.

Now, get yourself a free Calorie Tracker account if you don’t have one yet!

*Always consult your medical professional before making drastic lifestyle changes which may affect your health.



Waist to Hip Ratio

Waist to Hip Ratio: Your Ideal Number

Your waist to hip ratio (WHR) could be a better indicator of healthy body weight than body mass index (BMI). Find you current and ideal waist to hip ratio with this handy calcount WHR Calculator, then read on to learn more about this valuable health metric.

Simply enter the circumference measurements of your waist and hips in centimeters (cm) to calculate your waist-to-hip ratio.



Waist to Hip Ratio

Waist to to hip ratio is a measure of how much fat there is in the middle of your body, an area covering the waist, buttocks, and hips. It is an important measure because an increasing body of research supports the view that fatty mid-sections are particularly bad for health. Multiple studies find that people with central obesity (fat middle sections) suffer health risks even when they have normal BMIs. This is because fat which attaches to internal organs in the midriff is sensitive to hormones such as cortisol (a stress hormone). The fat disrupts healthy endocrine system function to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Calculate Waist to Hip Ratio (Formula)

To calculate waist to hip ratio, you need just two measurements: circumference of the waist (W), and the circumference of the hips (H). Divide W by H to get the ratio (R). Thus,

W / H = WHR

This calculation shows why it is not correct to use the phrase Waist To Hip Ratio interchangeably with the phrase Hip To Waist Ratio. The concept is to compare waist to hip, not hip to waist.

WHR Formula

Concept of Waist to Hip Comparison

Why compare the size of your waist to the size of your hips? Is it in any way more informative than comparing height to weight (BMI), or waist to chest (WCR), or wrist to shoulders? According to health scientists, the waist to hips comparison is especially useful for measuring abdominal visceral fat. This is the fat which grows around the vital organs in the space between the chest cavity and the hip bones. A person who grows belly fat a rate faster than hip fat is at a higher risk of weight-related disease. WHR is basically a measure of “belly fat”, so can be more accurate at diagnosing harmful obesity than other measures.

Normal WHR

Normal, or healthy waist-to-hip ratio is an indication that there is not a lot of fat clinging to vital internal organs in the abdominal section. The World health Organisation (WHO) defines normal WHR as being in the range of 0.85 to 0.90 or less, but the definitions are different for men and women.

Ideal Waist to Hip Ratio for Males

The ideal waist to hip ratio for men is 0.95 or lower. This means that your waist should be smaller than your hips by at least 5%. A ratio of between 0.96 and 1 is considered borderline unhealthy, with an increased risk of weight-related health problems. A WHR of 1 and up is unhealthy, because a middle which is larger than the hips is likely to be carrying a high load of abdominal fat. The ideal waist size for men is 102cm or less.

Ideal Waist Size for Females

Women have an ideal waist to hip ratio of 0.80 or lower. This ideal WHR is much lower than it is for men, because women have proportionally larger hips in nature. Women with waist to hip ratios between 0.81 to 0.85 are at moderate risk of weight-related health problems. A WHR of 0.86 and above is considered unhealthy, with a high risk of adverse health effects. The actual ideal waist size for women depends on the size of their hips – it is all about proportion. That said, a general rule of thumb for women is to have a waist measurement of less than 89cm.

Ideal Waist to Hips Ratio Men Women

Beauty and WHR

Waist to hip ratio is a major determinant of generally perceived attractiveness, especially for women. Whilst the waist to chest ratio (WCR) is more important for men, the waist to hip ratio (WHR) is regarded as the single most important factor in body attractiveness for women, according to several scientific studies. A typical study asks large, diverse groups of people to rate a series of digitally altered photographs of models with different WHRs. The results indicate that the “perfect” waist to hips ratio for women is 0.7, and 0.8 for men.

Measure Hips and Waist

It is easy to take a measurement of you hips and waist in the comfort of your home. Standing with back straight and heels on the ground, use a flexible tape to measure around your belly, just above the navel. That is your waist measurement. For the hips, wind the tape around the broadest section of your buttocks to get your hip measurement.

Why use Waist to Hip Ratio?

Although it is a useful health indicator for everyone, waist to hip ratio is especially important for older people. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, WHR is better at predicting premature death in the elderly than BMI (body mass index). This is probably because BMI, as we note here, does not take the body’s proportion of muscle mass into account. Elder people tend to lose muscle mass through age-related sarcopenia, so the proportion of fat to muscle changes in fat’s favour. An old person can balance muscle loss with fat gain, becoming unhealthier even whilst maintaining a supposedly healthy weight. WHR picks up on this trend as the waist grows in proportion to the hips.

Older people and waist to hips ratio

When is WHR not useful?

Waist to hip ratio is not always a better choice than BMI or simple waist measurements. The main problem is that hip measurements can be subjective and misleading. People who exercise their hips, for example by cycling, tend to grow significant muscle mass around the buttocks/glutes and upper thighs. This muscle mass contributes to the hip measurement to skew the WHR, “hiding” the true amount of abdominal fat. The same problem applies to people with large core muscles around the front abdominal area (abs) and the bottom of the back (lats) which can throw out the waist measurement. To further complicate matters, some people have proportionally wide hips or stout girth due to bone structure, obviating the “normal” waist to hips ratio.

Conclusion

It is easy to measure waist to hip ratio, and it can be a more useful indicator of a healthy body weight than BMI. However, WHR can be misleading in some situations, so it should be used in conjunction with simple waist measurement, fat percentage, body mass index, and other metrics to get a balanced indication of healthy weight.

Calculate your BMI right now!
Calories in Carrot

Calories & Carbs in Carrot

Does the humble carrot live up to its reputation as being super-low in calories and carbs? The average person crunches through 5 kilograms of carrots every year, so it is possibly the world’s most popular vegetable. Let’s take a close look at carrot nutrition to find out why!

About the Carrot

The carrot is a “true root” vegetable, like radishes, parsnips, and beetroot. It is called a true root vegetable because what we call a carrot is the main taproot of the carrot plant, it is not a tuber like potato. Historically, carrots were primarily grown for their leaves and seeds, but over time selective breeding led to the root becoming the main food object.

There are two main cultivar groups, or varieties, of carrot but this post features just the most popular type: the Western Carrot. This is the unbranched orange coloured carrot you usually find at your local supermarket.

Baby Carrots and pre-processed Carrot Sticks

               A quick note on “baby carrots” usually sold at a premium in supermarkets. Two things: first, there is no such thing as a “baby” carrot. Carrots are roots and roots don’t have babies. There are small carrots and big carrots and bigger carrots. Secondly, about three-quarters of all packaged “baby carrots” are normal big carrots which have been washed and chlorinated, cut in two or three, then shaped to look like small carrots.

Nutrition in Carrots

Raw carrots are mostly water and plant fibre (cellulose), in fact only 9% of a raw carrot is not made from water and fibre. That remaining 9% is made up of sugar (about 5%) and the final 4% is comprised of more complex carbohydrates.  There are useful micronutrients in carrots, including vitamins like Vitamin A, B, C, and K, as well as minerals Potassium, Calcium, and Manganese. Whilst the Vitamin A levels are abundant, the other micronutrient levels are comparatively low.

The stand-out micronutrient is Vitamin A which is made in our bodies from Carotene. Carotene is the family of chemicals which give carrots (and other orange/yellow plants) their distinctive colour. There is a lot of carotene in carrots. How much? A lot. Consider that just 100g of carrot provides more than 100% of the average person’s recommended daily intake level.

Vitamin A is important for eye-health, hence the myth that eating carrots helps you to see in the dark.

Carrots are not Low Carb

Carrots, with about 4-5 grams of carbohydrates per 100g, are not particularly low in carbohydrates. In terms of carbs, raw carrots are comparable to milk, beef sausages, chicken kebabs, and steamed mussels. Foods like capsicum, scrambled egg, and lamb casserole have less than half the carbs of carrot. Truly low-carb foods like meat, eggs, broccoli, and mushroom have zero to 1 gram of carbohydrate per 100g. Carrots are low-calorie, but they are not low-carbohydrate!

Raw VS Cooked Carrots

When carrots are cooked, for example by boiling or steaming, they become much easier to digest. Does this mean that their nutritional value increases? Yes! Some studies show that about twice the amount of Vitamin A (via Carotene) becomes available after carrots have been cooked. This is because the cooking process breaks down the carrot’s cellular structure to release the nutrients within. However, there is not much of a change in the calorie value between cooked and uncooked carrots.

Calories in Carrot

With just 32 calories per 100 grams in raw carrot, it is safe to call carrots a low-calorie food. A medium carrot weighs about 60g, which makes one typical carrot worth about 20 calories. One cup of chopped carrots weighs about 120g, so factor in 38 calories if you are adding this to your stew. For comparison, this is about the same calorie value as onions, pumpkin, and cabbage. Peas, potatoes, and grapes have about double the calories (by weight) of carrot.

Calories in Carrot Juice

Eat Carrots Everyday Carotenemia

Carrots make a refreshing juice which is sweet enough to be pleasant. In fact, carrot juice is arguably the most popular vegetable juice on the planet. There are 31 calories in 100ml of carrot juice, so a typical cup of carrot juice (250ml) contains 78 calories. It might seem like a good idea to down a couple of cups of carrot juice everyday but beware of Carotenemia. Carotenemia is a condition caused by eating too many carrots. The carotene in the carrots (specifically, beta-carotene) infiltrates the skin, resulting in yellowish-orange discolouration which lasts for months. Whilst it is hard to eat cupsful of raw carrot every day, it is much easier to drink them as juice!

Calories in Carrot Soup

Carrot soup is a great choice for people who are being careful with their calories. When carrots are the main ingredient in a soup, the other ingredients should be bland enough so as not to overpower the carrot flavour. Alternatively, a spice which complements the carrot flavour can be used (think coriander and cinnamon). A typical carrot soup contains about 40 calories per 100ml, if the carrots play the starring role, and the other ingredients are not bacon and/or cream.  

Calories in Carrot Chips

Grab a handful of raw carrots, cut them into square strips, season with salt and pepper, then fry or bake with a spray of oil or brush of butter. That is the basic recipe for carrot chips which can be a substitute for regular potato chips. The jury is out on the flavour comparison, but with just 79 calories per 100g, they have a 136 calorie advantage over homemade potato chips!

Calories in Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Calories

Of course, not everything with the word “carrot” in its name is low-calorie. Carrots have been a popular ingredient in desserts and cakes for hundreds of years, probably because of their high sugar content and crispy/chewy texture. In fact, one of the oldest recipes for carrot cake comes from an ancient tome written in England circa 1590! A typical carrot cake bought from your local bakery has about 359 calories per 100g (107 calories for a 30g slice).

Are Carrots good for Weight Loss?

Low calorie: check. High fibre: check. Good nutrition: check. In theory, carrots are good for weight loss, but they do come with disadvantages: they are not low-carb; they can cause carotenemia; raw carrots can be hard to digest. However, for us, the biggest disadvantage is a cultural one. There is a persistent meme or trope which involves overweight losers crunching on celery and carrot sticks whilst looking on as “normal” people tuck into “normal” food. It is hard to stay motivated when the memes say LOSER.

As we have written in other posts, we do not believe in “food halos” and carrots happen to be a health-halo-prone food. We think you should enjoy carrots as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but do not single them out as a “weight-loss” food.

What causes a Hot Flash after Eating

What causes a Hot Flush after Eating?

One of our members asked us what causes a hot flush, or flash, after eating? The question came through our contact form, where we invite readers to send in any topics they’d like to see us research. So, we spent a few hours to learn the causes of hot flushes that are not menopause, here is a summary of what we found:

What is a Hot Flush?

Hypothalamus causes hot flashes

For those who have not experienced one, it can be hard to explain. Basically, it feels the way it is named: a rush of hotness that crashes through the body like a wave of boiling water. It is a sudden uncomfortable sensation of body heat, usually resulting in quick sweats and accompanied by heart palpitations and flushed skin. Hot Flashes are usually caused by hormonal changes in both women and men which affect the brain part (hypothalamus) which controls body temperature. Body temperature rises, blood vessels quickly dilate, and stress responses are stimulated.

Not Menopause, not Andropause

Hot flushes are usually associated with menopause or andropause when hormonal changes in ageing people trigger the hypothalamus to misbehave. However, the hot flashes we are writing about today are caused by neither menopause nor andropause.

Here’s an extract from the question we received:

“… my face, neck, chest and upper arms are suddenly hot and sweat pops out uncontrollably. It does not happen every time I eat but it only happens after I eat and it does not seem to be related to what I eat because sometimes its dairy meat or salad or bread. I am a bit concerned it might be hot flushes but I am still young and definitely not near menopause and besides being a bit overweight I am generally very healthy. Is there a particular food I should be concerned about?”

Now before we go any further, remember that the calcount team is not in any way shape or form medically qualified to offer health advice. We’re just sharing the results of our personal research so please consult your doctor before you take any action because of this post.

5 Triggers can Cause a Hot Flash after Eating

Unfortunately, the exact cause of a hot flush experienced after eating is unknown. The problem is that the phenomenon is hard to study because experiments and measurements would need to be made at exactly the moment of the hot flush in a controlled environment. This is difficult to do for an individual, let alone a controlled scientifically determined cohort. At this stage, the best we can do is narrow causes down to 6 triggers which have been somewhat determined:

Gustatory Sweating

Gustatory sweating, also known as Frey’s Syndrome is a distressing condition caused by nerve damage which affects people who have a malfunctioning parotid gland. The parotid gland is supposed to produce saliva when the nervous system signals that food is about to be chewed. However, for people suffering from Gustatory Sweating, the nerve signals go to sweat glands instead, so that sweat is produced rather than saliva. For some people, this sudden sweating is distressing and feels like a hot flush. Even thinking about food can trigger sudden sweats on the face, neck, and head.

The cause of Gustatory Sweating is usually nerve damage, which in turn is usually caused by diabetes mellitus, facial injuries (for example, through surgery), tumour growth, or a viral infection like shingles.

Unfortunately, nothing can be done to repair this nerve damage at this stage of medical advancement. The best that doctors can do is inject a type of Botox to stop the sweat glands from working temporarily.

Food Allergy and Intolerance

Whilst it is not yet well understood, there is evidence that food allergies and intolerances can cause hot flushes for some people.  The hypothesis is that the body releases a stress hormone (cortisol) when undergoing an allergic reaction. This creates a hormonal imbalance which, similarly to menopause and andropause, interferes with the hypothalamus to cause a hot flash. The frustrating aspect of this hot flush trigger is that it is difficult to pinpoint because it does not happen every time the allergen is eaten. Even if the sufferer knows what they are allergic to, their internal hormonal balance influences whether a hot flush will occur.

Common avoidable food ingredients which are known to set off hot flushes in some people are: caffeine, sulphites, monosodium glutamate, and alcohol.

Hypoglycaemia

We mentioned earlier on in this article that diabetes can cause nerve damage which leads to Gustatory Sweating, but the disease has another aspect which can trigger hot flashes. Sometimes, after eating a sugary meal, the body releases a large amount of insulin into the blood. Insulin is a hormone which works to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. The insulin spike causes low blood sugar, which in turn pushes the stress hormone button, which leads to a hot flush. This low blood sugar condition is known as hypoglycemia and is most associated with diabetes.

As you might expect, treatments to control diabetes can alleviate hot flushes after eating.

Vasodilating Foods

Some foods contain chemicals which cause blood vessels to open wide to allow blood to flow through quickly. This opening of blood vessels is known as vasodilation and chemicals which cause vasodilation are called vasodilators. When blood rushes through widened blood vessels near the skin, flushing occurs. The vasodilators can also stimulate temperature sensory cells in the skin, causing a sensation of heat. This hot flushing sensation can then trigger stress hormones and a full-blown hot flash might occur.

Normally, vasodilating foods are a good choice because they help circulation, but if they are triggering hot flushes you might want to reduce them from your diet. Common vasodilator containing foods are chilli peppers, capsicums, alcohol, chocolate, and garlic. You can read our in-depth article on garlic here.

Hot Food and Drink

Hot Food causes Hot Flush

Unfortunately, some people are overly sensitive to food temperature. A hot mug of tea might be just what you feel like having after coming in from a cold day outdoors, but it could trigger a hot flush. In the same way that vasodilating chemicals widen blood vessels, so does heat from any source. Hot weather, a hot bath, the sauna, or a bowl of steaming noodle soup, all cause vasodilation. As we wrote in the previous paragraph, vasodilation can start a hormonal chain reaction which results in the dreaded hot flash.

This cause of hot flushes after eating is the easiest to avoid; simply let your food and drink cool to a manageable temperature before you eat.

Conclusion – What Causes a Hot Flush after Eating

There are at least 5 possible causes of a hot flush after eating, most related to how the hypothalamus controls body temperature. Whilst there is not much that can be done about Gustatory Sweating, the other causes like Food Allergies, Hypoglycemia, and Vasodilating Foods can be addressed somewhat effectively. Remember that hormonal balance is key to the proper function of the hypothalamus, so try to reduce stress and avoid foods which irritate.

Special Announcement

We are proud to announce that our blog has just made the cut to be included in Feedspot’s Top Ten Australian Nutrition Blogs and Websites!

4 Ways Garlic Benefits Men

4 Ways Garlic Benefits Men (with Infographic)

People have known about the general health benefits of garlic for thousands of years, but did you know that garlic helps men particularly, in specific ways? Read on to find out what we learned when we researched this fascinating topic.

Garlic is in the onion family and has been eaten as a condiment and medicine by humans for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians believed in garlic’s medicinal properties, as evidenced by the cloves they bricked up in the pyramids. Modern scientific research has supported this ancient and ongoing belief by analysing the chemistry of garlic and its effect on the human body. After decades of study, it seems that we now have a clue as to why so many people swear by it. The main reason for garlic’s health benefits are the same reason that it tastes and smells so very pungent: sulphur compounds.

Garlic’s Special Sulfurous Smell

Garlic is not the only member of the onion family to produce a strong smell, but it is by far the most potent. The distinctive smell is caused by a concentration of about 100 different sulfurous chemicals within its cells, including allicin. Sulphur compounds in rotten eggs and natural hot springs give both their unforgettable smell, just as the sulphur in garlic gives it that special smell. Besides their smell, certain sulphur compounds are well-known for having antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

It is interesting to think about why any plant would evolve to contain high concentrations of sulphur compounds. When garlic is damaged, a natural defense mechanism acts to quickly produce a group of strong-smelling and “hot” tasting chemicals. These unpleasant (to animals and vampires) chemicals repel the invaders and allow the garlic to continue living and growing. Once released, these unstable chemicals continue to react with the environment and each other until much of their original potency is diminished. That is why freshly crushed or chewed garlic smells much stronger than unbroken bulbs or preserved, processed garlic.

In addition to scaring would-be “predators” with their strong smell, the sulphur compounds kill harmful microorganisms that might otherwise take advantage of the damage to enter exposed cells. These potent defensive chemicals are the secret behind garlic’s beneficial effects, for both men and women, but men especially.

Garlic benefits men infographic
Garlic Benefits Men Infographic

Man’s Libido is Increased with Garlic

The sulphur compounds in garlic have the effect of increasing blood flow and circulation to all body organs. A man’s body typically has a certain organ which depends on rapid and sustained blood flow to perform optimally. The optimal performance of this particular organ has a critical effect on men’s libido and well-being. The sulphur compound chemicals found in garlic, such as allicin, are found to widen blood vessels and enlarge flow volume in response to hormonal activity.



Garlic Benefits Men’s Heart Health

Multiple statistics show than men have a much higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than women. Therefore, it is especially important for men to do everything they can to prevent heart disease. Eating garlic is something men can do to treat almost every aspect of heart health, just read this extract from an excellent review of many different studies related to garlic’s effect on heart health:

“The wealth of scientific literature supports the proposal that garlic consumption have significant effects on lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of serum cholesterol and triglyceride, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increasing fibrinolytic activity…”

Leyla Bayan et al.

Basically, the review finds that garlic has a significant positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, softening arteries, reducing harmful cholesterol, and even preventing and breaking up potential blood clots!

Prostate Health is Supported with Garlic

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a common health problem for men that usually occurs with ageing. The prostate is a golf-ball sized gland which encircles the tube through which men urinate. BPH is a condition where the prostate grows bigger and bigger until it squeezes the tube, restricting the flow of urine and pressing against the bladder. According to several studies like this one, garlic has the effect of preventing and reducing BPH. Why and how? It must be something to do with those amazing sulphur compounds!

Garlic Enhances Men’s Body Odor

No, seriously, garlic really does improve the body odour of men, it has been studied! Men who eat garlic regularly are perceived to be more pleasant-smelling by women. Note: this is not the “garlic breath” effect, which is caused when sulphur compounds are processed by the liver and excreted through exhalation and sweat. Instead, it seems that the beneficial health effects of garlic cause “positive signal” chemical cues to appear in the man’s immune system, which are picked up by the olfactory sensors of potential mates. Put simply, men who eat garlic smell healthier than men who do not eat garlic, probably because they are.

Garlic is Food and Medicine

There are 124 calories in 100 grams of garlic, and since each clove usually weighs about 5 grams, the caloric value of garlic as typically eaten is insignificant. Aside from the sulphur compounds, garlic is packed with B vitamins, minerals including selenium, and antioxidants.

Garlic used in combination with ginger produces an unmistakably rich flavour which forms the backbone of many Indian and South-East Asian dishes. Garlic mayo is practically indispensable in many Middle Eastern cuisines.

Chopped parsley can be added to garlic to reduce the strength of “garlic breath”.

To get the most benefit from garlic, chew on a couple of raw cloves every day before breakfast, followed by a glass of warm water.

This probably goes without saying, but whilst garlic benefits men, it also benefits women too!

foods to boost your immune system

4 Foods to Boost your Immune System

Yes, its true, some foods can boost your immune system!

Eating certain foods to boost the immune system

Besides practising good hygiene and avoiding obvious sources of infection, the best thing you can do to fight infection is to keep a healthy immune system. You can give your immune system a boost every day with these 4 common foods:

Mushrooms

mushrooms to boost your immune system

When thinking about foods to boost your immune system, mushrooms are not always top of mind. However, research shows that mushrooms boost your immune system by promoting the growth and efficiency of T cells in the blood. T cells are a type of white blood cell which actively hunt and “eat” viruses and bacteria. Do your T cells a favour by adding a cup of chopped mushrooms to whatever meat or vegetable dish you are planning to eat tonight! Calories per 100G: 20

Garlic and Onions

garlic

You probably knew that garlic would take a spot on this list, because it has been used as a home remedy for generations. Perhaps the key ingredient of garlic which boosts the immune system is a chemical called Allicin. Some studies show that Allicin has a beneficial effect against common colds and other infections. Some studies show that onions have similar properties. Calories per 100g: 124

Oranges and Lemons

oranges

Basically, all the citrus fruits and other high Vitamin C foods like kiwifruit will give your immune system a leg-up. Why? No one really knows exactly why and how Vitamin C increases infection resistance, but it seems to promote the growth of white blood cells. Your body cannot make or store Vitamin C, so make sure to include a good helping in your diet. Calories per 100g: 42

Yoghurt and other Fermented Foods

yoghurt

Fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kefir contain high amounts of probiotics which, in addition to helping with gut health, reduce upper-respiratory tract infections. Existing problems with your upper-respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, throat and upper bronchial tubes) can quickly exacerbate virus infections, so look after yours with a bowl of yoghurt! Calories per 100g: 105

There’s an old saying which goes: “let food be your medicine” and another which says: “prevention is better than a cure”. We think that there is a lot of wisdom in these two distilled nuggets, so why not add some citrus, mushrooms, yoghurt and garlic to your meal plan this week for some extra peace of mind? You eat food every day, so eat foods to boost your immune system and stay healthy!