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Yo-Yo Dieting and Cancer

The suspicion that yo-yo dieting – repeated weight loss and regaining, also termed “weight cycling” – could be linked to cancer comes from a number of studies in both animals and humans. The results of those studies suggested that weight cycling might negatively affect key biological processes that protect and repair cells, which could lead to cancer. Now dieters concerned about this potential effect may be able to rest a bit easier. A newly published report has found no association between weight cycling and any type of cancer in men or women. A team of American Cancer Society researchers examined this issue by reviewing data from an investigation that lasted 17 years. They accumulated detailed dietary information on more than 132,000 men and women ages 50 to 74 who were participating in the Cancer Prevention Study II, which was focused on the effect of nutrition on cancer incidence and deaths. The researchers reviewed weight cycling and the incidence of cancer in general and for 15 individual cancers. Over the 17 years of the Cancer Prevention Study more than 25,000 participants did develop cancer, but based on the investigation’s findings lead researcher Victoria Stevens, Ph.D. said that the last thing people struggling to lose weight need worry about is that regaining might lead to cancer. Yo-yo dieting may not be the threat we thought it was.

4 Snacks To Avoid

Snacking isn’t necessarily bad, but these four snacks in particular won’t move you closer to your health goals.

If you want to snack better, it's not difficult - choosing fresh, whole fruits and vegetables is a good start, as is following my Anti-Inflammatory Diet suggestions. When you do want a snack, avoid these four nutritional black holes:

  1. Doughnuts. High in sugar, trans fats, calories and refined flour, doughnuts are not only bad for your waistline, but bad for your energy levels as well. The high sugar content is likely to end in a midday crash. If you crave a doughnut, try a piece of whole-grain bread with some jam and nut butter instead.
  2. Soft Drinks. There just isn't anything nutritious about soda, whether it's diet or regular. Instead of a soda, try some sparkling water with a bit of fruit juice - you'll get the carbonation without all the insulin spikes or metabolic disruption of soda.
  3. French Fries. Actually anything deep-fried - from chicken to potatoes to onions to cheese - should be avoided. Deep-fried foods contain altered fats that are detrimental to the body. If you want finger foods, opt for carrot and celery sticks with a tasty dip or bake your own cut sweet potatoes.
  4. Instant Soup. Very high in sodium, instant soup generally offers little health benefit in proportion to its sodium count. Total daily intake of sodium should not exceed 2,300 mg (individuals with hypertension, of African-American descent, and middle-aged and older adults should limit intake to 1,500 mg of sodium per day) and one serving of instant soup contains around 500 mg; some kinds of Ramen-style soup are even worse, offering up to 800 mg. A better option is low-sodium vegetable broth with whole wheat- and buckwheat-based noodles such as Japanese soba or udon.

Treat Yourself to Chocolate!

Many treat chocolate as a guilty pleasure and a diversion from health eating. It doesn’t have to be! Go ahead and treat yourself and enjoy the benefits that some types can provide. Find out what is the healthiest chocolate choice!

By now we've all heard the good news about dark chocolate: the antioxidants - phenols and flavonoids - found in dark chocolate may offer protection against heart disease. In addition, cocoa butter - a saturated fat - may have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. A number of chemically active compounds in dark chocolate can improve mood and pleasure by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. And consuming dark chocolate may slow the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

Milk chocolate, however, is not as heart-healthy as dark chocolate: it contains more fat and sugar and less cocoa and antioxidants. White chocolate, which contains no cocoa solids, is generally no more than a mix of fat, milk and sugar with a minimal amount of cocoa butter added. Enjoy either as an occasional, special treat.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, can and should be eaten more often. Eat an ounce of dark chocolate with at least 70 percent-pure cocoa a few times a week. When you're indulging, savor the flavor and texture, and try to note the effects it has on your body. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!


8 Reasons the French Are Slim

There is a reason the French tend to be slim: eight reasons actually! Find out what many French citizens do to keep their weight down – and consider adopting the healthy and easy-to-implement habits into your lifestyle.

For years, scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to unravel the "French paradox" - the finding that despite a high-fat diet, the French appear to have a lower rate of heart attacks (as well as a lower rate of obesity) than other Western countries, particularly the United States. One major reason: nutrition researchers now feel that sugar, flour and oxidized vegetable oil (such as soybean oil used in processed foods and for deep-frying), and not natural saturated fats such as butter that the French enjoy, are the major drivers of obesity and heart disease in the U.S.

There may also be other reasons for this paradox. These eight tactics are the norm in the typical French diet - consider changing your approach toward eating by adopting these strategies and see if it makes a difference in your life:

  1. Eat smaller portions.
  2. Avoid snacking, and eat only at mealtimes.
  3. Eat a wide variety of food.
  4. Don't skip meals.
  5. Enjoy your food and focus on dishes made from fresh, locally grown, quality ingredients.
  6. Stick to your internal cues. When you no longer feel hungry, stop eating.
  7. Eat less sugar. The French eat less than half as much added sugar as do Americans.
  8. Eat meals with family and friends so that eating becomes a pleasurable experience as opposed to something to "fit into" a schedule or feel guilty about.