How Salt Might Affect Your Weight Loss

How Salt Might Affect Your Weight Loss

If your resolution is to lose weight, think twice about grabbing that salt shaker at every meal. It can affect your goal of weight loss. Most people realize that consuming too much salt can cause water retention, which makes you weigh more. Salt’s chemical composition is sodium and chloride—NaCl.  Sodium regulates the balance of water in the body. If you are dehydrated, it causes the water/sodium content to be out of balance. You need more water to regain that balance and dilute the sodium content. Your body hoards the fluid, causing edema, bloating and weight gain. That’s temporary, but there’s another way that too much salt can cause weight gain that is more permanent.

Salt is one spice that doesn’t make you feel fuller.

Some spices add flavor and can add to that full feeling you get after a meal. Salt isn’t one of them. Salt not only can potentially cause your blood pressure to rise, but it can also cause a more permanent type of problem. Scientific studies show that people who eat more salt on their food actually drink less water, but they did one more thing. They ate more. The more salt the people used, the higher their intake of food, which led to permanent weight gain.

Preparing for space travel brings research in other areas.

Many discoveries were made during the space race. Scratch-resistant lenses, artificial limbs, the insulin pump, LASIK surgery, solar cells, water filtration, invisible braces, freeze-dried food, phones with cameras, CAT scans, memory foam, portable computers, LEDs, the computer mouse and many other things we take for granted came from the space race. Testing dietary theories we use today was also part of the preparation. One study focused on how salt affected the body. The Russian cosmonauts-in-training ate a consistent diet, but then the diet was changed. The only change that was made was the amount of salt, doubling the recommended amount to 12 grams. After weeks on the high salt diet, the salt was reduced to 9 grams, then finally to the normal 6 grams a day.

The results of the experiment were very telling.

The Russian study also followed levels of hunger, while adjusting the levels of salt. When the salt level was high, the cosmonauts-in-training were constantly hungry. As the amount of salt was reduced, so was the hunger level. Other studies back that hypothesis. One Australian study linked childhood obesity to a high salt diet. Their conclusion was that the body mistook thirst for hunger or, the children satisfied the thirst with higher calorie soft drinks.

  • Another Australian study found that people who ate a high salt diet tended to increase their caloric intake by approximately 11%. Was thirst mistaken for hunger or did salt make them hungrier?
  • Consumption of high amounts of salt requires the body to create urea, which is important to maintain the water/sodium balance. That requires more calories, which may be why people eating salt were hungrier.
  • Even if salt doesn’t cause you to feel hungrier, consuming too much salt isn’t healthy for a number of reasons. It’s associated with stomach cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • The sodium and chloride in salt play an important role in the body. It helps regulate nerve function, muscle contraction, blood pressure and fluid balance. A sensitivity to salt may cause a higher potential for blood pressure problems.

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What To Know About Keto

What To Know About Keto

While we don’t necessarily recommend a keto diet at Body Sculptors in Louisville, KY, but instead provide an easier route that’s personalized and doesn’t require calorie or carb counting, there are a lot of questions about the keto diet. The keto diet puts the body into a state of ketosis. That’s where is burns fat for energy, rather than glucose. This type of diet has been around for many years and was originally used to help control seizures in the 1920s. By the 1980s, bodybuilders discovered it and made it a popular weight loss option.

Keto diets are good for more than just preventing seizures caused by epilepsy and weight loss.

There are many benefits to the keto diet. The first is that it reduces the amount of food you eat with added sugar and processed food, just by its lower carbohydrate nature. Reducing sugar is a huge benefit for the body. However, it was also noted for its ability to improve mental focus. Even though it burns body fat, it also helps preserve lean muscle mass.

A keto diet manages the balance of macronutrients.

When you cut the amount of glucose that comes from eating carbs and supplement fat and protein, it causes the body to switch to burning fat for energy. How much do you have to change your diet? The average diet has far too high of carbohydrate count. Even worse, those carbs come primarily from added sugar. A keto diet reduces the percentage of calories from well over 60% from carbs to a diet that has a ratio of 10-20% from protein, 5-10% from carbs and the rest from fat.

It becomes about the type of carbs you eat.

Vegetables and fruits have carbs, so do quinoa, dairy and nuts. You need those in your diet. They’re also lower in carbs and calories. However, not all vegetables, fruit or dairy are low in carbs, but there’s also net carbs to consider. There are three categories of dietary carbohydrates, sugar, starches and fiber. Fiber isn’t digested by humans, even though the microbiome in the gut uses them as food. Even though many vegetables have carbs, not all the carbs are available for the body, since they are fiber. Cutting out foods high in sugar, low in fiber or higher in starch are the ones the carbs that need to be lowered in the diet.

  • Cutting out food with added sugar and refined carbs is the first step to a healthy diet and also to a keto diet. Choosing vegetables that are high in fiber produce a much lower net carb gain, since the carbs can’t be used.
  • There are some dangers to the keto diet. The keto diet can cause constipation, bone damage, heart disease, kidney stones, nutritional deficiencies, and low blood pressure. People with gallbladder, pancreas or thyroid problems should avoid a keto diet.
  • You need to choose your fat source wisely on a keto diet. While bacon is a source of fat, avocados are better, since they have many other nutrients. Choosing meat from grass fed beef is better than choosing meat from traditionally raised beef.
  • One problem with a keto diet is constipation. Many people cut back on vegetables and grain products that are high in fiber, which slows digestion and makes you feel out of sorts, often called the keto flu.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Will Hormones Make You Gain Weight?

Will Hormones Make You Gain Weight?

Many times when you hear people complain that they can’t lose weight, it’s because they aren’t following the program. Either they ignore the calories they consume either at meals or in soft drinks and snacks or fail to exercise regularly. However, there are cases when your hormones are out of balance, which makes it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. It’s one reason I tell people to keep a food and exercise diary, so we can find precisely where the problem is.

You have a lot of different types of hormones.

When people think of hormones, their mind immediately goes to estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, the sex hormones, but the body has far more than just those three. Hormones are the messengers of the body. They trigger different responses, including emotional responses. Those feel good hormones that provide a runner’s high are examples. Hormones can determine when you get hungry or feel full—ghrelin, the hunger hormone and leptin, the satiety hormone. Lack of sleep causes you to produce too much ghrelin. Too much insulin or excess cortisol may be the culprits behind belly fat.

If belly fat is a problem, maybe it’s stress that’s the underlying cause.

As noted before, both insulin and cortisol are linked to belly fat. You can help control both with exercise and proper diet. Cortisol occurs when you’re under stress. Learning methods to control stress or exercising to burn off the hormone helps. The fight or flight response to stress triggers cortisol production. Exercise mimics running or fighting, burning it off. As for insulin resistance, exercise improves glucose uptake and helps reduce belly fat, which is associated with insulin resistance. The best exercise to do is HIIT—high intensity interval training, weight lifting, sprinting and even increasing the amount you walk.

Look for other signs of thyroid hormonal imbalances.

I hear people complain of an inactive thyroid all the time. Besides weight gain, there are other signals this is the problem. Frequent constipation, sensitivity to heat or cold, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss and irregular heartbeat can also occur. Your thyroid regulates metabolism and can make a difference whether you lose weight or gain it. Sometimes, you can avoid problems by eating a healthy diet and avoiding stress. Start by cutting out sugar and highly processed food. Always consult with your doctor first.

  • No hormone is good or bad. You need them all, but you need them in balance. There are hormones to speed heart rate and ones to slow it. Balancing glucagon and insulin can make the difference between healthy and diabetic or hypoglycemic.
  • Most women find sex hormones out of balance during menopause, causing weight gain. Cutting out coffee, exercising more, eating more fruits, vegetables and phytoestrogenic foods consuming healthy fats and cutting back on sugar and salt can help,
  • Cutting out foods with added sugar can be a big help, regardless of the type of hormonal imbalance. Sugar causes inflammation, which leads to other problems, like insulin resistance, weight gain and oxidative stress.
  • Find ways to relax and reduce stress levels that work quickly. While exercise does that, you can’t always do jumping jacks when you need to relax, but you may be able to use breathing techniques or meditation.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Table Salt Vs Sea Salt

Table Salt Vs Sea Salt

If you’ve spent much time comparing grocery prices in Louisville, KY, you probably notice there’s a big difference in price between table salt and specialty salt like pink Himalayan Sea salt. There are also two other types of salt, regular sea salt and Kosher salt. What’s the difference? Is one more beneficial to your health than another? You’ll notice the difference in texture and appearance almost immediately, but there’s also a difference in flavor and nutrition.

Salt was considered as valuable as gold at one time.

During the 6th century, there were times that a pound of salt sold for almost the same amount as a pound of gold. Soldiers were even paid in salt. Even the word salary is derived from the Latin for salt. Salt was an important preservative and in the hot climate, fish and meat spoiled quickly. But salt plays an important role in good health. Salt is sodium chloride, both of which are necessary for good brain health. Since it came originally from sea water evaporation, it contained other minerals, too.

What’s the difference between sea salt and Himalayan Sea salt?

Sea salt is derived by evaporating sea water. It may contain other minerals found in the sea, considered by some as impurities and by others as benefits. It has a different color, taste and texture because of those elements. Some believe it has anti-inflammatory properties and can improve digestion. Himalayan salt is sea salt, but it comes from seas that existed in Pakistan millions of years ago. The sea evaporated and left behind huge deposits of salt that are pink, primarily due to the iron oxide impurities. It also has calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s known for respiratory health benefits, balancing pH, improved sleep, regulating blood sugar and improved sleep.

Everyone knows what table salt is, but how many have used kosher salt.

Table salt is refined salt. All the impurities are removed and it’s extremely refined. It’s ground fine and anti-caking agents are added to prevent clumping. Iodine is often added to some types for those prone to iodine deficiency. Like all salt, it’s a source of sodium that improves muscle functioning, regulates cell functions, improves pH levels and strengthens nerves. Kosher salt just has larger flakes and isn’t ground as fine. It normally doesn’t have anti-caking additives or iodine.

  • Sea salt provides traces of minerals, traditional table salt may be the best if iodine isn’t part of your diet. Only table salt has iodine added. A deficiency of iodine causes goiters, hypothyroidism and neurological abnormalities in children.
  • Even though all salt may have some health benefits, you can get too much of a good thing, since too much sodium can cause a rise in blood pressure.
  • Because the crystals are larger in most sea salt, they contain less sodium by volume, but not by weight. Fewer crystals sea salt can fit in the same space, like a teaspoon, as the finer grained table salt.
  • There are trace minerals in sea salt, but it’s not healthier than table salt. You’d have to eat a shaker full of salt to make a difference and that would be extremely unhealthy.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Can Garlic Help Lower My Blood Pressure?

Can Garlic Help Lower My Blood Pressure?

Eating garlic is widely known as a way to help control blood pressure, but is that fact or fiction? If it lowers blood pressure is the change significant and worth the potential of smelling garlic? Are the benefits as good as medication and do they have the same bad side effects or any others? The controversy has pretty much been decided via a wealth of conclusive studies that show garlic really can lower blood pressure and without the side effects of most medication, but is it enough?

Garlic has been used for a long time to help lower blood pressure naturally.

In ancient times, garlic was used to treat a number of conditions. It was even prescribed by Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. It contains allicin, which not only gives it a distinctive smell, but also gives it beneficial blood pressure lowering properties. It’s known to boost the immune system. It also protects cells, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and improves cholesterol levels by reducing bad cholesterol.

What is allicin?

Allicin is a sulfur compound that encourages the dilation of the blood vessels, just as nitric oxide that occurs in the body when you exercise. When blood vessels are dilated, the blood flows more easily and there’s less pressure necessary. Allicin also inhibits another protein, angiotensin II, which causes blood vessels to constrict. If they’re not constricted, blood pressure is lower.

Can you eat enough garlic to make a difference?

While studies show that garlic does have a substantial effect on lowering blood pressure, is it enough to say goodbye to medication? The answer varies by the severity of the high blood pressure and other factors, like your activity level and the rest of your diet. Studies show it may lower both the systolic and diastolic numbers by as much as 10%. Other studies show it may lower the top—systolic—number by almost 7 mmHg and the bottom or diastolic number by almost 5 mmHg.

  • Garlic also contains manganese, vitamin B6, B1, C, selenium, fiber, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus and iron. While it’s an exceptional seasoning with health benefits, it has almost no calories.
  • To maximize the benefits of garlic, you have to use it properly. Use the natural garlic bulb, removing cloves for use. Crush a clove of garlic on a cutting by with the flat side of a knife, remove the skin and let the crushed garlic sit for 10 minutes before use.
  • Garlic can help protect brain cells and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s the antioxidants in garlic that reduce oxidative stress to protect the brain.
  • You can even keep the common cold at bay by including garlic in your diet. Other foods that lower blood pressure include salmon, citrus fruits, beans, pumpkin seeds, berries, celery and broccoli.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

The Best Foods For Anti-Aging

The Best Foods For Anti-Aging

Who wouldn’t want to look their best and for some people, that also means looking younger. You can improve your appearance in a lot of ways, but doing it naturally by eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and following a program of regular exercise is the best way. It not only makes you look younger, but it also makes you feel younger, too. So, what are the foods that are anti-aging and how do they improve your appearance?

It’s all about your skin and keeping it more youthful.

When people mention fat, most people believe it will add excess pounds that nobody wants. However, not all fat is unhealthy. In fact, you actually need healthy fat to burn fat. Healthy fat helps supply energy and promotes cell growth. They are necessary for the production of hormones and protecting organs. Healthy fat also benefits the skin and protects it from sun damage. Anti-aging high fat foods include avocado, extra virgin olive oil and fatty fish. It’s the omega 3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties.

Potent antioxidants can protect the skin and keep you looking younger.

As you age, cells are damaged to the point they don’t replicate. That’s what causes disease and ultimately death. Foods high in antioxidants help prevent that from occurring. Examples of phytonutrients that protect the body are those in plants. For instance, lycopene is in grapefruit, tomatoes, and papayas. It helps protect the skin. Antioxidants in pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots contain beta-carotene, which protects the skin from the sun. Any food with high vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, which keeps the skin firm and appealing.

It’s not always what you should eat, but sometimes what you shouldn’t.

You probably already know food with sugar is bad for you, but did you know it could cause you to age? Sugar is the culprit that can speed the aging process. There’s a link to a diet high in sugar and high amounts of AGEs—advanced glycation end products. Those are what causes the skin to lose elastin and collagen that make it wrinkle and droop. Substituting healthy fruits for the sweet flavor will help both your waistline and keep you younger looking.

  • Besides the long chain omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin improves skin hydration and its elasticity. It also protects the DNA so you age slower.
  • If you want to look more youthful, you have to feel more youthful and energetic. That means taking off excess pounds that can slow you down and eating healthier. Exercising can add to a youthful appearance.
  • Spicy foods can improve your appearance and even help you lose weight without adding extra calories. Capsaicin in chili peppers can reduce age related skin changes, while ginger can prevent age spots.
  • Snack on nuts. Nuts provide the nutrition necessary for boosting collagen production. Walnuts, for instance, contains omega 3, while most nuts, almonds particularly, contain vitamin E to repair skin.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?

How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?

A lot of the newer diets focus on bumping up the protein intake. It’s true that if you’re trying to lose weight, protein will fill you up and cutting back on simple carbs will reduce your caloric intake. But how much protein do you really need and when do you cross over to the land of too much? The answer isn’t all that simple, since protein requirements vary based on many factors, such as age, physical activity and gender.

What is protein and how does your body use it?

Protein is made of amino acids, which are necessary for many functions, including building muscle tissue. However, they also play a role in almost every function in the body, from maintaining the nervous system and increasing memory to boosting the immune system and creating enzymes and hormones. There are 20 amino acids in the standard genetic code and the past 30 years, two additional amino acids not in the code were added, selenocysteine and pyrrolysine. Of those 22, nine are essential amino acids, meaning the body can’t make them, and they must come from food.

The requirement for protein is based on the nine essential amino acids.

If you’re active, you need more protein than a sedentary person does, to repair tissue and perform all the functions of the body. A sedentary person requires about one gram for every 2.2 pounds of weight, while an active person requires 1.3 grams for every 2.2 pounds and those involved in high levels of activity increase their need to 1.6 grams per 2.2 pounds. An inactive person weighing 110 pounds would need 50 grams, which would increase to 80 grams a day.

The older you are, the more protein you need.

The very old don’t process protein as well as their younger counterparts, so an 80-year old with the same activity level as a 50-year old would need more. The very young also need more protein, since they’re growing rapidly. Men tend to have more muscle mass, so they need more protein than women do, unless that woman is pregnant or lactating, then they need extra protein for the baby’s needs.

  • You can eat too much protein but would have to eat double the recommended amount for a long time. Too much protein can cause digestive issues, nausea, exhaustion diarrhea, dehydration and headache.
  • While it’s difficult to get too much protein, even if you’re sedentary, it can occur if you consume too much over a long period. It can cause kidney, cardiovascular and liver disease, blood vessel disorders and even death.
  • You need protein for all cells of the body. It’s the building block for cartilage, blood, bones and skin. Lack of protein can cause edema, low immunity, mood changes and fatigue. However, the average American diet has adequate amounts.
  • One side effect of eating more protein than the body needs is halitosis. It’s the type that doesn’t go away no matter how much your floss or brush your teeth.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Are Multivitamins Useful?

Are Multivitamins Useful?

There’s a lot of variety of multivitamins on the shelves of pharmacies, so you might think they’re the most useful health benefit available. That isn’t exactly true. If you’re in the grocery pharmacy, the produce section is actually more beneficial for your health. Madison Avenue has done a good job convincing America that they need to take vitamins daily, but so did the covid-19 scare. In 2020, the multivitamin market in America grew dramatically with children’s vitamin’s increasing 37.2% for $306 million in sales, men’s up 33.7% for $229 million in sales and women’s vitamins up 19.6% for $474 million.

Recent studies have changed old beliefs.

A widespread recent study of 450,000 people showed that multivitamins didn’t reduce the risk of cancer or heart disease. Another study of almost 6,000 men that lasted 12 years showed it didn’t reduce the risk of mental decline in seniors, contrary to an earlier study that said it did. While there are some benefits for taking specific supplements, that’s not necessarily true for multivitamins. One study, however, did find that multivitamins may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

More isn’t necessarily better.

More recent studies also found that taking high doses of vitamin E and beta-carotene at high doses may be harmful. If you’re taking water-soluble vitamins, your body flushes excess out in the urine and feces. The biggest problem from consuming too much of a water-soluble vitamin is digestive issues. However, fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D and E, are stored in the body, which can lead to overdoses.

There’s a better way to get your vitamins than taking a multivitamin.

Taking a specific vitamin and mineral supplements is quite different from taking a multivitamin. For instance, women that are considering pregnancy or who are in early pregnancy should supplement with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. People in northern areas in the winter would do well to supplement with vitamin D if their diet doesn’t contain enough. Also, supplemental iron can be beneficial. If a person is deficient in a specific vitamin or has problems with absorption, it also is a good idea to take it. Most of all, eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure adequate dietary needs are met.

  • Too much vitamin A can cause liver damage, interrupt calcium storage and cause calcium to build in the kidneys, damaging them. It also can contribute to lung cancer in smokers, but ironically may help those with COPD.
  • In order to get the benefits of multivitamins, they need to be absorbed and the right form of the nutrient. The binders used and type of nutrient needs to be natural and not in tablet form, which normally means they’re very expensive.
  • The most common problem, even for the far more expensive multivitamins, is an insufficient dose to make a difference or an excess dose that can cause problems. Most problems come from an insufficient dose.
  • Many multivitamins contain filler or are made from non-organic materials, such as ascorbic acid—vitamin C—which is made from GM corn. There are artificial flavors and colors added, plus heavy metals and chemicals.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training

Healthy Eating In Real Life

Healthy Eating In Real Life

Are you always on the run and don’t have time for healthy eating? That’s how a lot of people in Louisville, KY, feel. Real life doesn’t look like a segment from a sit com out of the 1950s where mom stayed home and cooked all the meals from scratch, families seldom ate at restaurants and there weren’t even TV dinners, let alone the variety of microwave options available today. To eat healthy today, you have to plan ahead and choose food wisely, even if it’s restaurant food.

If you have time to cook at home, make it easy and create a colorful plate.

Not everyone has a chance to cook at home, but if you do, make it nutritious. One simple way to ensure that is by making your plate colorful. If your collection of food isn’t eye pleasing, with a wide range of color, it’s probably not well-balanced. Think about a plate that only contains meat, potatoes and white bread. You only have two colors, with butter melting, possibly three. When you make your plate more colorful, by adding green, red, yellow and purple fruits and vegetables, it’s far more pleasing to the eye and healthy. Artificial coloring, like those used in Skittles or M&Ms don’t count.

Plan your meals ahead.

If you prefer not to study and learn all there is to learn about nutrition, or simply don’t have the time, don’t worry. You don’t have to know all that information. Our nutritionists can do it for you and create meal plans specifically for your needs. All you have to do is buy the food and assemble it. You can make a week’s worth of meals over the weekend and even freeze some for later if you double the recipes. After work, all you have to do is heat and eat. It’s faster than a drive through.

Expect to eat out occasionally.

Even the best laid plans can go astray, so why not plan for contingencies. If you’re going to eat at a fast food place, make it one that offers healthier options and choose those foods from the menu. Panera has a poppyseed salad with chicken that’s healthy. Chick-Fil-A offers grilled chicken options. Starbucks offers sous vide egg bites. Even KFC offers grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes and green beans as an option.

  • It’s also about what you drink. If you’re drinking soft drinks, including diet soft drinks, you aren’t doing your body a favor. While diet soda doesn’t have calories, studies show it can cause your waistline to grow.
  • Have healthy food in the fridge that you can eat on the run. Cut up fresh fruit and vegetables and have those ready for snacks and mini meals. Individual serving packs of nuts are also good options.
  • Learn to make smarter choices when you eat. Use Greek yogurt or even pureed cottage cheese in place of sour cream for potatoes and substitute brown rice for white rice as a healthier option.
  • Avoid frying food and instead opt for other techniques that are healthier, whether it’s roasting, steaming or even air frying, you can save calories and improve the health benefits of your food.

For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training