8 Ways Avocados Can Help You Be Healthier and Lose Weight

Avocados are by far the fattiest fruit you’ll find in your grocery’s produce section – each contains about 29 grams – 10 to 20 times more fat than any other fruit.

But researches say it’s the avocado’s high mono-unsaturated fat content that actually makes it a weight loss superstar.

Avocados can help lower cholesterol, reduce hunger pangs and even reduce belly fat – making avocados a must-have fruit on your plate if you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight.

Here are 8 tasty reasons why you should add avocados to your diet…

1. Avocados fight “bad” cholesterol

In a study found in the Journal of the American Heart Association, 45 overweight people were put on one of three different diets to lower cholesterol over a 5 week period. One diet was low in fat, the second diet included moderate fat, and the third diet also provided moderate fat, but included one Hass avocado per day. The winner? The group lowest in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels was the one that enjoyed an avocado each day.

2. Avocados shrink belly fat

Researchers say it’s a good idea to swap out your traditional cooking and finishing oils for those that are richer in monounsaturated and oleic fatty acids like avocado oil.  In a Penn State study, participants who consumed 40 grams (about 3 tablespoons) of high-oleic oils on a daily basis for 4 weeks reduced their belly fat by 1.6 percent compared to those who consumed a flax/safflower oil blend. A second study in the Diabetes Care journal produced similar results: A diet rich in monounsaturated fat may prevent body fat from settling around the belly by changing the expression of specific fat genes. Avocado oil is very close nutritionally to olive oil, but with a higher smoke point making it idea for higher-temperature cooking.

3. Avocados give you a nutrition boost

As you probably know, healthy salads are a dieter’s friend — but researchers say the leafy greens and veggies won’t help you much without adding the kind of fat found in avocados.

In a study found in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, participants fed salads topped with saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat-based dressings. Then the researchers tested the participants’ blood for absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids — compounds linked to improved weight and fat loss.

They found that salads topped with monounsaturated-fat (the kind in avocados) required the least amount of fat. It only took 3 grams to get the most carotenoid absorption, while much higher amounts of saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat dressings were needed to get the same benefit.

The bottom line: give your greens a healthy dollop of guacamole, slices of fresh avocado, or a tablespoon of avocado oil-based vinaigrette for a healthy and flavorful boost

4. Avocados are free radical fighters

There’s always a war inside your body between free radicals and your mitochondria – and as a result your metabolism is the biggest losers! Free radicals are oxygen molecules gone wild — a natural byproduct of metabolism — that can destroy cells and DNA, causing all kinds of health problems.

The antioxidants in fruits and veggies can help neutralize some rogue free radicals, but they can’t reach the mitochondria where the majority of free radicals live. When your mitochondria is under attack, your metabolism can’t function efficiently.

In a research project conducted in Mexico, it was found monounsaturated-rich oil pressed from ripe avocados can help mitochondria survive free radical attacks. Researchers say similar results have been proven with olive oil. Since avocados are nutritionally very similar to olives, there’s yet another reason to include more avocados in your diet.

5. Avocados keep the munchies away

A scoop of guacamole may be one of the most effective hunger-pang eliminators around. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, participants who ate just half of a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40% decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. A two-tablespoon serving of guacamole on healthy foods such as eggs, salads, or grilled meats can keep you satisfied longer, and as a bonus, adds a little extra fatty flavor to your meal.

6. Avocados are a good start to a healthier diet

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) published in Nutrition Journal, eating just half a medium-sized avocado every day can greatly improve your overall diet quality and reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome by up to 50%.

In fact, avocado eaters reported a lower body mass index and smaller waist when they also included significantly more fruits and vegetables in the diets which added up to increased fiber consumption and more vitamin K — a powerful combo of nutrients beneficial for weight loss.

7. Avocados help stabilize blood sugar

In addition to healthy fats, avocados provide nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are essential for healthy weight management. These include 14 grams of satiating fiber and 66% of the daily requirement for Vitamin K – a nutrient that also helps with metabolizing sugar and managing insulin sensitivity.

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found both men and women with a high vitamin K intake had a 19% less risk of developing diabetes over the course of a decade. Leafy greens are even richer in Vitamin K, so a combination of creamy avocado with your side salad will give you a good dose of Vitamin K for healthier blood sugar levels.

8. Avocados are great for workouts and higher metabolism

Research suggests eating avocados can provide the same energy boost as pre-workout supplements.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a 3-week study that compared a high palmitic acid (saturated fat) to a high oleic-acid (monounsaturated fats such as avocados). Each diet had the same amount of calories – the two types of fats were the only difference. Researchers then looked at the subjects’ performance in physical activity and metabolic rate after eating to determine what kind of fats were the most beneficial for energy and metabolism.

The study found both physical activity and metabolic rates were significantly better in the group that consumed the high oleic-acid (as in avocados) diet. The bottom line here is to swap fried foods, baked goods and butter for healthier snacks and oils that are higher in monounsaturated fat (as in fresh avocados or avocado oil) if you want a greater energy boost and increased metabolism – that continues to work even after you’ve left the gym.


 

Read “8 Reasons Avocado is a Perfect Weight Loss Food” via EveryDayHealth.com for more.

 

What Do Food Additives Look Like?

We all know packaged foods that roll off the assembly line are loaded with many mysterious additives.

But have you ever wondered what these factory formulations actually look like and exactly how they’re made?

In this upcoming new book, Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products (to be released September 29 and available for preorder now on Amazon), macro photographer Dwight Eschliman focuses on some of most common ingredients in processed foods while science writer Steve Ettlinger probes the exact makeup of each.

Azodicarbonamide is a food additive to strengthen dough and is also used as a foaming agent to make rubber products such as yoga mats.

Azodicarbonamide is a food additive to strengthen dough and is also used as a foaming agent to make rubber products such as yoga mats. Dwight Eschliman/Regan Arts

The book provides a fascinating glimpse into the often complicated compounds that go into those bags, boxes and cans that line grocery store shelves.

It’s estimated there are more than 5,000 different food additives used in the U.S – apparently know one, including the FDA, knows for sure. (The government doesn’t regulate or approve food additives.)

And considering 70% of the average American’s diet is made up of processed foods, what exactly all those multi-syllable food additives might be up to inside our bodies would be good to know.

Artificial dyes Red No. 40 and Yellow No. 5 They start out as grey and white powders that include nitric acid and tartaric acid. Then they're mixed with petroleum byproducts, neutralized with lye, and sprayed as a mist onto hot walls to instantly dry the mixture into these brightly-colored powders. Dwight Eschliman/Regan Arts

Artificial dyes Red No. 40 and Yellow No. 5 They start out as grey and white powders that include nitric acid and tartaric acid. Then they’re mixed with petroleum byproducts, neutralized with lye, and sprayed as a mist onto hot walls to instantly dry the mixture into these brightly-colored powders. Dwight Eschliman/Regan Arts

Recent consumer demand for more “natural” foods have made many processed food conglomerates take a second look at the artificial colorings, preservatives, emulsifiers, flavor-enhancers and other ingredients they’ve routinely dumped into their packaged goods for years.

Manufacturers say food additives are perfectly safe, while many health advocates – including paleo followers – are highly skeptical of those claims.

paleo-newbie-Shellac-food-additive-932x524

Shellac is also called confectioner’s resin or candy glaze. It’s a colorant and preservative made out of the resinous excretion from the Laccifer lacca insect. It’s harvested and processed for use as a natural plastic coating for candy and other foods. Dwight Eschliman/Regan Arts

If you’d like to learn more about food additives from a new perspective, Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products looks like a good place to start.

All photos © Dwight Eschliman/Regan Arts

Main Photo at top of post: Chlorophyll extracted from plants with harsh solvents, and typically treated with copper to prevent oxidation.

Here’s a link if you’d like to check out the upcoming book on Amazon.com: Ingredients: A Visual Exploration of 75 Additives & 25 Food Products


Read “What Do Food Additives Look Like Before They End Up In Your Food” via Wired.com for more.

 

10 Popular Restaurant Salads You Shouldn’t Order

What do you do when you’re stuck on the road, getting hungry, and far away from your paleo home?

Your first thought might be pulling into a fast food joint or chain restaurant and ordering up a nice crispy salad.

But not so fast…you may want to put the brakes on that idea when you learn many popular restaurant salads are loaded with unhealthy ingredients that add up to too many questionable calories.

Eatclean.com picked 10 well-known food establishments and took a closer look at their top-selling salads. (Click the link below for the original article with more detailed descriptions.)

Here’s a quick summary of the the worst eatclean.com found:

1. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad

Wendy’s Spicy Chicken version of a Caesar salad weighs in at 780 calories, 51 grams of fat, and nearly a day’s worth of sodium.

2. Cheesecake Factory Grilled Chicken Tostada Salad

This grilled chicken salad adds up to almost 1,200 calories, 15 g fat, and more than a day’s worth of sodium.

3. Taco Bell Fiesta Taco Salad with Beef

Seasoned beef, white rice, cheese, beans, and a some lettuce and a few tomatoes are the ingredients inTaco Bell’s salad that adds up to 770 calories and 41 grams of fat stuck in a big fried shell.

4. Burger King Chicken Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad

BK’s salad is loaded up with breaded chicken fingers adds up to a 680-calorie meal with 42 grams of fat and 7 teaspoons of sugar.

5. TGI Friday’s Strawberry Fields Salad with Chicken

Fruit, chicken, goat cheese, pecans, and greens can’t be all that bad for you right? Well at 860 calories and 58 grams of fat, apparently it is.

6. Subway Chicken & Bacon Ranch Melt Salad

At 510 calories with a dose of trans fat for good measure and too much sodium, this Subway salad goes off the rails if you ask me.

7. California Pizza Kitchen Thai Crunch

Made with more fried noodle sticks than vegetables and packing a whopping 1,460 calories with 97 grams of fat. Now some of that is healthy fat from an avocado, but still way off the charts for a salad.

8. Applebee’s Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad

This one sounds good, but at 1,340 calories, 80 grams of fat, and more than a day’s ideal limit of sodium it’s not so healthy. Add in the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar and this is definitely one to skip.

9. Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad

I’m not sure this one even qualifies as a salad because the greens, chicken and creamy dressing is served on a bed of cheese and quesadillas…all adding up to 1,430 calories with 96 grams of fat.

10. Hardee’s Chicken Taco Salad

A crispy tortilla shell, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and a few veggies brings this one up to 900 calories and 48 grams of fat – you might be better off ordering a burger and fries instead.

Read “The 10 Unhealthiest Salads You Can Order” via Eatclean.com for more.

Let’s Not Get Physical: America’s Inactivity Level At All-Time High

The U.S. is certainly no slouch when it comes to consuming calories. The average American takes in 3,770 every day – more calories than any other nation in last year’s United Nations’ survey.

So it’s probably not a big surprise that that 83 million American’s (about 28% of the total population) recently reported they are “totally sedentary” – never once participating in any of over 100 physical activities ranging from basketball to bowling in all of 2014.

The 2015 Participation Report released this April was conducted by the Physical Activity Council (PAC) and based on more than 10,700 individuals and households that responded to questions about their physical activity in 2014.

An “inactive” person was defined as anyone who did not participate in the over 100 sports and activities listed in the PAC survey that included walking, camping, hiking, yoga, bicycling and dozens more. The survey used to include extremely low exertion sports such as darts and billiards, but eliminated those in 2007. Since then, the level of the nation’s inactivity has increased 18% in just six years.

Tom Cove, chief executive of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association and a member of the PAC noted the number of inactive Americans is the highest he has witnessed during the 24 years he’s been involved with the PAC survey.

“While we can look at this number in a negative light, I would like to use it as a wakeup call…it’s time we put our time and resources into industry initiatives and national campaigns to increase physical activity,” Mr. Cove added.

Further, PAC has found that physical education in the nation’s schools directly correlates to the fitness levels of individulals throughout life. A lessening emphasis on gym time for school kids over the years may be the main contributor to the rising inactivity level seen in adults today.

READ MORE ABOUT THE PAC INACTIVITY SURVEY  HERE

The Ugly Truth About Some Beauty Products

If you’re a regular visitor to Paleo Newbie, I know you’re someone who cares a lot about the quality of the food you choose for you and your family.

So when you hit the grocery store you may be looking for fruit that’s organically grown, or shopping for hamburger meat that’s grass-fed, or scanning product labels to check for things like chemical preservatives, food dyes and artificial flavorings.

Many of us go to great lengths to make sure what we’re eating is healthy, nutritious, and safe – and that’s great.

But…when it comes to the cosmetics and other personal care products we buy, most of us don’t give a second thought about what’s actually inside those tubes and bottles.

We figure if it’s a brand name we know, trust, and have used for years, it must be okay. And besides, it’s not like we’re going to eat our hair shampoo – so what’s the big deal?

Well according to a recent article posted on Chris Kresser’s web site, we should all be paying far more attention to the personal care products we buy because chances are they’re loaded with potentially harmful chemicals our bodies are drinking up like a sponge.

As the site’s excellent article “Are your skincare products toxic?” points out, your greatest risk to toxic exposure isn’t in the food you eat – the real danger may be what you’re rubbing into your hair and skin every day.

The article provides a great introduction to why your body’s largest organ is more efficient at absorbing whatever it comes into contact with than you might think.

And then it goes into more detail about the damage just a handful of the hundreds of unregulated chemicals commonly found in personal care products here in the U.S. may be causing. (The article specifically mentions a few of the worst offenders including triclosan, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, propylene glycols, and some of the chemicals found in fragrances – you’ll want to check your products labels after reading about these!)

This is a great article everyone should take a look at to learn what’s really inside the personal care products we buy – and how making smarter choices now can help protect you and your family’s health in the future.

READ “ARE YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS TOXIC?” ON CHRIS KRESSER’S WEBSITE HERE