Kool-Aid For The Environment; Kool-Aid For Health

For many Americans the word “Kool-aid” brings to mind pleasant memories of long, hot summer days and fun backyard barbecues. A pitcher, a packet, and some sugar yields a satisfying beverage treat for a whole patio full of people. The drink mix originated during the Depression years of the 1930s and today’s consumers have rediscovered it for its value and its benefits to the ecology and general health.

Kool-aid is an Economical Soft Drink choice

The packets of Kool-aid come in a wide array of flavors and generally sell three for a dollar. Each packet yields two quarts of beverage. In contrast, a two-liter bottle of store brand soda checks in at well above a dollar, with an added return value in many states. The cost of sugar to sweeten Kool-aid adds a nickel to the price per envelope cost.

Find interesting facts about Kool-aid history and its inventor Edwin Perkins in the Hastings Museum.

Beyond the obvious costs at the checkout register, there is the cost of refrigeration for soda bottles. True, they can be stored warm in a cabinet and then served in glasses with ice cubes, but they still take up much more space than the small, thin packets.

The True Costs of Plastic bottled and Aluminum Canned Beverages

The production of a bottled or canned soft drink is a resource-intensive process. Energy and raw materials are needed for the PET plastic used for the bottles and the aluminum for the cans. These mountains of beverage pallets must be warehoused and then loaded onto gasoline guzzling trucks for retail delivery. For the plastic bottles the oil needed to produce them packs a double whammy.

A single plastic bottle or aluminum can added to the waste stream may not seem like such a burden but over the past few decades, billions and billions of them have brought dire consequences. They clog landfills and contribute to a massive garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (Good Morning America featured the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch in a recent video feature).

Healthwise, Kool-aid Makes Sense

Beyond hydration, the typical can/bottle of soda or sport drink offers virtually no health benefits. Many contain forty-two grams of sugar in a twelve ounce serving. This is equal to fourteen packets of restaurant style sugar. And no, the sugar in sodas and other drinks does not come from a cane. Since the late 1970s beverages have been sweetened with a compound known as high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. This chemical derives from processed and distilled corn husks, and as study after study has shown, plays havoc with glucose levels and metabolic rates.

With Kool-aid, the consumer can control both the type and the amount of sweetener. The package directions call for one cup of sugar to yield two quarts of beverage but of course this can be lessened. Even the lowest-priced, bargain aisle package of white cane sugar is better than HFCS, but raw cane sugar offers an even more natural sweetener. Finally, Kool-aid as produced does provide the ten percent recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. Clever consumers have even added other vitamins to their preparations.

You may check: Genetic Markers For Heart Disease: Why Genetic Factors May Increase Heart Attack Risk.

Kool-aid: Now more than Ever

Edwin Perkins originally named his creation “Fruit Smack” and shipped the product in small glass bottles.

Problems with breakage led him to dehydrate the mixture and ship it in the packet form which has lasted for seventy-five years. Kool-aid makes fun beverage consumption a process of reuse and renewal since washable pitchers and glasses are used. As green consciousness and health concerns escalate, Mr. Perkins’ relatives have seen his humble product enjoy a renaissance.

Genetic Markers For Heart Disease: Why Genetic Factors May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Heart disease is caused by a variety of factors. The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity also increase the risk of heart disease. There are also some genetic factors that may predispose individuals towards heart disease.

LDL Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Varying factors associated with cholesterol, including the presence of lipoprotein(a), (a specialized form of LDL), low LDL (levels below 30 mg/dl) and small LDL (smaller particles of LDL that can more easily penetrate arterial walls) are all genetically-influenced factors that can contribute to heart disease. LDL stands for low density lipoprotein and is a protein responsible for transporting substances to cells. It can build up in the walls of blood vessels and eventually block arteries.

Read More: Simple Diet Changes For Greater Weight Loss Results.

HDL Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Variations in a gene called PON1 may be responsible for either high or low levels of HDL, or “good cholesterol.” HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. High levels of HDL can help protect against heart disease. Genetic factors may predetermine an individual’s levels of PON1 and therefore may be indicative of heart disease risk or conversely, of a more protective level of PON1.

Genes and Heart Disease

Scientists have discovered gene sites that appear to affect the likelihood of heart disease. According to the journal Nature Genetics, nine specific genes are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. While more research is needed regarding how these specific genes influence heart disease, individuals who carry these genetic markers may wish to work closely with their doctors. Speak with a doctor regarding any questions.

Considerations About Traditional Markers for Heart Disease

According to a January 2010 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Association Between a Literature-Based Genetic Risk Score and Cardiovascular Events in Women,” traditional methods of determining heart disease risk, including lifestyle and family history, were more accurate at predicting heart disease than genetic markers. Patients with genetic markers should continue to work with their doctors to create a health plan but knowledge of genetic influences is not enough to predict heart disease risk or rule out the possibility of future heart disease.

Heart Disease and Genetic Factors

Scientists have recently discovered nine specific genetic markers that may predispose certain individuals towards a higher risk of heart disease. These factors, in combination with other factors such as family history, lifestyle and body weight, may make it more likely that some individuals will develop heart disease. To find out if you possess these genetic markers, speak with your doctor about testing.

Simple Diet Changes For Greater Weight Loss Results

Sometimes making drastic changes overnight to your diet can seem somewhat daunting, which is why maybe you should make simple diet changes for weight loss results. Not only does this include making changes to exactly what you eat but also how you prepare your food. A healthy weight loss eating plan is easier to follow than you may first think, but for those who are resistant to changes, do these in small increments and over time your whole diet will be much more healthy and lower in calories.

And sometimes you and your family may not even be able to tell the difference between the higher fat meals as compared to the more healthy meals. Plus, even if you can, over time your palate will adjust. Trust Me. And you will wonder why you ever ate the other high fat, low nutrition stuff in the first place.

So here is my list of Simple Diet Changes for Greater Weight Loss Results:

Choose leaner cuts of meat.

Most everyone knows that chicken, turkey, and pork are leaner meats than the red meat variety. But do you know which red meats are okay to eat in moderation without blowing your diet? According to the government guidelines, a serving qualifies as “extra lean” if it has less than 5g total fat, 2g or less saturated fat and less than 95mg cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving. A serving qualifies as “lean” if it has less than 10g total fat, 4.5g or less saturated fat and less than 95mg cholesterol per 3.5 oz. serving. Use this guide to help you choose lean cuts of beef.

Craving something fried?

You don’t have to submerge your food into a vat of fat to get the crunchy fried effect. Just use some nonstick cooking spray instead. By now I am sure you know that the skin on chicken and turkey is high in saturated fat. So just remove it before eating. You can still cook the meat with the skin to help keep in the moisture and flavor, but once it is done, take off that skin and throw it away. No matter how hard that may be Use 95/5 ground turkey in place of ground beef in your recipes. I changed out our old hamburger for leaner ground turkey in my family’s spaghetti, chili, tacos, and meatloaf and they did not bat an eye.

You may read: The 5 Best Fruits For Weight Loss.

Got a craving for muffins?

Well omit half a cup of the fat and substitute one cup of applesauce or three very ripe mashed bananas instead.

Everyone knows that salads are a healthy meal choice.

However, when you drown it in dressing, this healthy meal turns unhealthy real quick. Instead of pouring dressing all over your salad, dip your fork in the dressing before spearing your salad. Another alternative is to use red wine vinegar and grated Parmesan cheese in place of the dressing all together.

Want a healthy, high fiber snack?

How about some air-popped popcorn? You can also pop your own corn in the microwave in a paper lunch bag. Then just spray with spray butter and add some pepper or garlic for a tasty and satisfying snack.

Instead of using a whole egg in recipes, use two egg whites instead.

An egg yolk has about 5 grams of fat and 200 mg of cholesterol (although cholesterol from eggs is not the same as cholesterol from other foods).

Eat fish at least twice a week.

Unlike beef, you want to choose a fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids boost heart health by lowering triglycerides and blood pressure, thus reducing your risk of a heart attack. Plus it has been shown that these fatty acids also help the eyes by providing the oily substance needed to keep our eyes moist. But even if you don’t like fish, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from flax seeds, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and soy nuts.

Love the taste of butter but not the calories?

If you like to put butter on your veggies, use spray butter instead. You can also use it for making grilled cheese sandwiches and flavoring popcorn.

So there are simple diet changes for greater weight loss results. Remember, making small changes over time can really add up.

Slim Fast Diet – My Final Verdict

The Comme J’Aime Diet and its associated meal replacement products are among the most popular diet-related merchandise on the market today, as has remained so since its conception in 1977.  Part of the key to its success may be the fact that, compared to diets like Atkins and South Beach, Slim Fast is extremely conventional, and easily endorsed by doctors and nutrition experts across the country.

Slim Fast emphasizes the four components of healthy weight loss that are most widely accepted nutrition, specifically reducing portion sizes, eating a sensible variety of foods, exercise, and readily available live support for those with flagging willpower.

In order to help with portion control and limiting calorie intake, Slim Fast introduced a proprietary line of milkshakes and meal bars. These are designed to be used twice a day to replace meals in the initial weight loss phase of the diet, and once a day after that during maintenance.

These specially formulated products contain a balance of all the required food groups, ensuring that the dieter maintains a healthy nutritional status at all times. The program is also designed to provide a caloric intake that will produce a corresponding weight loss of one to two pounds a week, exactly what most doctors recommend.

For these reasons, experts are usually able to recommend Slim Fast for long-term use without much hesitation. As an added bonus, the meal replacement products contain a special blend of ingredients that decrease hunger pangs and enable followers to get through to the next meal.

The precepts of the diet are so sound that they have not changed much over the years, though some concessions were made to the low-carb craze of the early millennium when Slim Fast introduced their Optima line of products, which contain about forty-five percent less sugar than the regular shakes and bars.

While Slim Fast is indeed one of the soundest weight loss products around, there are some caveats. To begin with, the diet adds to the weekly grocery users must drink two shakes and eat two bars per day, in addition to spending money on ingredients to make their own dinner. If you aren’t able to buy the products in bulk, these purchases can really add up over the time it takes to lose a significant amount of weight.

The convenience of not having to prepare ones own food and be careful with what to prepare also requires a tradeoff. Slim Fast has, over the years, introduced a variety of flavors and lines of products. However, for the person who is trying to lose more than fifty pounds and who expects to be on the program for twenty-five or more weeks, eating a rotation of these items four times a day every day will most likely evolve into torture.

Most people complain that even if they manage to stomach the same thing day in and day out, the tiny meal replacement bars and even the shakes are not very filling at all, despite Slim Fasts claims of their special blend of appetite reducing ingredients.

Read More: The Difference Between Starvation And Healthy Diet Plans.

This brings us to our final points. The ingredients listed on the back of a Slim Fast Optima chocolate shake are as follows: Fat Free Milk, Water, Sugar, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Vitamins & Minerals Blend (See Product Details), Canola Oil, Fructose, Gum Arabic, Calcium Caseinate, Cellulose Gel, Potassium Phosphate, Soybean Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Monodiglycerides, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin, Artificial Flavor, Sucralose (A Nonnutritive Sweetener), Dextrose, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate.

First, it must be pointed out that Slim-Fast products contain dairy and soy, and are not at all suitable for people with sensitivities to these foods. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners are used to reduce the number of calories in the products.

The jury is still out on whether or not these substances are actually safe. And finally, who really wants to eat things like cellulose gel and sodium citrate anyway, when they can simply and cost effectively prepare sensible portions of natural foods in their own homes anyway.

The Difference Between Starvation And Healthy Diet Plans

If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’ve tried any number of diet plans before and not a single one worked. Or maybe one worked for a while, but then you gained it all back.

There are too many options out there that simply don’t work, or won’t work over the long haul. And there is a difference between starvation and healthy diet plans. One of the biggest problems with most diet programs is simply their refusal to work with the patient rather than enforcing their ludicrous demands on them. You don’t necessarily have to reduce the amount of food you are eating when you diet.

In fact, sometimes you supplement your diet with more nutritious items, like fruits and veggies. One of the benefits to this style of dieting is that you’re not depriving yourself. If you eat chocolate ice cream a couple times a week, you’re far less likely to wind up in the kitchen at 2:30 in the morning chowing down on an entire box of ice cream.

Read Also: The 5 Best Fruits For Weight Loss.

By denying yourself, you’re building up an appetite in yourself that will eventually blow up and end up back in the kitchen, eating way more crap than you should be. Most often, what you do with a diet is not so much losing quantities of food as it is making sure to include more quantities of healthy foods. You like cheese cake? By all means, have a slice. Don’t do it every single day after every single meal, but there is no reason you can’t enjoy your favorite dessert on a regular basis.

There are many extreme diets out there. There is one school of thought that for whatever reason believes that if you eat nothing but carrots you will somehow magically become healthier. While it is true that eating carrots is indeed healthy for you, too much of any one thing can cause serious problems. Carrots are no different – you can actually overdose on the vitamin content.

There are so many theories about quick fix forms of dieting, but how many of them stick around for a long time? Not many, if any. If a diet sounds extreme, if it sounds like it would wreak havoc on your taste buds because it’s serving you a bowl of rice with some pineapples on it three times a day, then just walk away.

Don’t bother with diets that will cause you mental anguish – stick with healthy diet plans that will perform for you over the long haul.

The 5 Best Fruits For Weight Loss

A balanced diet is an essential part of any effective weight loss plan, and fruit is just as essential as vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. In fact, men and women who added fruit to their daily diet lost nearly half a pound over a four year period. That may not sound like much, but the right intake of the right fruits can really help to support healthy weight loss. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a serving of fruit with every meal, but knowing which fruits provide the most fat-burning and appetite-suppressing potential can be tricky.

Here’s a look at five of the fruits that best promote weight loss.

1. Grape fruit

Perhaps the fruit most commonly identified with weight loss is the grapefruit. This super food contains just 36 calories per half-grapefruit serving, along with zero grams of fat. And not only does it barely weigh in on a daily calorie count, it is also full of Vitamin C. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, grapefruit contains 78 percent of your daily Vitamin C requirement and may even be associated with fat loss.

Grapefruit also helps regulate insulin function, as evidenced in a 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Individuals that ate half a grapefruit before each meal showed healthier insulin levels than those in a placebo group, and also lost more weight—by nearly one kilogram. The best time to eat half a grapefruit is in the morning. Breakfast is already vital to weight loss, and filling that mealtime with a grapefruit is a great way to kick off the day and start up the metabolism.

2. Watermelon

The symbol of summer, watermelon may also have potential as a symbol of weight loss. Watermelon is aptly named as it is full of water and can keep the body hydrated on a hot summer’s day. And with more water comes more weight loss. According to the American Dietetic Association, drinking just one or two glasses of water before every meal will decrease your caloric intake for that day by 13 percent. Watermelon is also only 30 calories per 100 grams, making it a great snacking option. Its electrolyte properties also make it a natural choice for supporting energy levels that may become depleted during exercise.

3. Papaya

Exotic fruits like the papaya are another great choice in aiding in weight loss. Papaya skin contains an enzyme called papain, which improves digestion and therefore quickens the metabolism. And, like grapefruit, papayas contain a high concentration of Vitamin C. They also provide high quantities of folate, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. These vitamins regulate everything from digestion to muscle building, which is an important part of becoming slimmer. Papayas are high in fiber, as well, and can be a filling snack on a hot day.

4. Apples

Apples not only keep the doctor away—they also provide a high source of fiber. In fact, a single apple provides about 15 percent of your daily recommended intake. Fiber is vital in filling the stomach and keeping it satisfied. By expanding in the stomach, it pushes against the lining and sends signals to the brain that the body no longer needs food. And, because it takes more time to break down than other food substances, it increases the metabolism and gives off more energy.The best way to eat apples is as a snack replacement. With just 81 calories per average-sized apple, that’s a pretty good deal.

5. Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are fruits that are also high in fiber. And, because they’re sweeter than most other healthy foods, they satisfy cravings for sugary things. And with about 83 calories per cup, there’s a big benefit in terms of keeping caloric intake under control. Like apples, the high fiber content of berries keeps the stomach satisfied and overeating at bay.

You may like: Mind-Blowing Weight Loss Tips For Men.

And because they contain a high amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients, they also keep the body healthy. Antioxidants don’t play a direct role in fat burning like other natural substances, but they do operate as damage control when the body is losing weight. That’s because as fat breaks down, free radicals and other harmful toxins are released into the body, which could compromise the immune system. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals and keep the body operating normally. Berries too make a great snack, and if they are out of season, frozen quantities are always available.

Ways to Incorporate Fruit Into Your Diet

Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to incorporate fruit into every meal of the day—especially for people living the corporate lifestyle who have little or no time for meal preparation. Luckily, there are a few ways to get the proper intake of fruit without the sacrifice of too much time.

The first is to purchase dried fruit.

Dried fruit has a much longer lifespan than fresh fruit and can be packed in a lunch very easily. It also has four times the energy density of fresh fruit, which means the body will have an extra boost it wouldn’t otherwise receive.

The second—and perhaps even simpler—way to support a weight loss plan with fruit is through a fruit-based diet pill.

There are plenty on the market, promising a natural route to weight loss through dried fruit extracts. One of the most popular is the Lichi Super Fruit Diet Pill.

Make sure to read an unbiased Lichi Super Fruit Diet Pill review before purchasing it, however. Beyond that, paying attention to which fruits are in season and taking advantage of discounts at the local supermarket will give any diet an extra boost.

Mind-Blowing Weight Loss Tips For Men

There are countless online websites, magazines, and self-help books on losing weight and keep it off, but unfortunately, most of these programs and pointers are geared toward women not men. Statistics have shown that nearly 50% of American women are currently on a diet, as opposed to only 25% of American men.

It’s simply good business to aim toward a larger market. Additionally, a good portion of men’s weight loss programs are geared toward bodybuilders, athletes, and serious lifters – which leaves the regular guy out of luck.

Fortunately, we haven’t forgotten you, and we’ve asked experts to give us additional insight on weight loss tips for men, so you can start shedding those extra pounds.

Ditch the Keg, Get a Six-Pack

Stereotypically speaking, when men start packing on the pounds, they store it in the upper body, particularly in the abdominal area resulting in the ever famous “beer belly” (whereas women tend to store the fat in the hips and thighs).This fat is known as “intra-abdominal” or “visceral” fat, and research has shown that visceral fat is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat (fat stored underneath the skin) – meaning that you’ll lose weight from this area faster than any other part on your body.

While this may provide good motivation for following through your new diet, having that extra fat clinging to your waistline is more hazardous to your health than subcutaneous fat. According to C.T. Montague, there is a definite link between “visceral adiposity [and] degenerative metabolic and vascular disease.” — So the sooner you ditch the beer belly, the better.

Read More: Lemonade Diet Examined.

More Protein Does Not Mean More Muscle

You may have seen plenty of bodybuilders chugging down protein shakes and eating raw meat like it was going out of style, but eating more protein does not guarantee that you’ll get bigger, stronger muscles unless you’re performing physical exercise alone with it. Protein is essential for repairing and rebuilding your muscles after exercise, but Mayo Clinic researchers suggest that only 10-35% of your daily calories should be from protein, or 200-700 calories if you’re on a 2000 calorie diet.

Even individuals who participate in strenuous physical activity and training do not need more than the recommended amount, though they’ll probably want to stay closer to the higher end of the scale, so don’t believe those weight loss tips you’ve been hearing in the locker room. The real muscle building secret is to work with what you got and exercise, exercise, exercise. Find a balance between strength training exercises (to build muscle) and cardio exercises (to reveal it).

Don’t Cut Your Calories Too Far

Far too many weight loss sites recommend that dieters cut their calories to about 1200 calories if they want to lose weight, what they don’t tell you is that this recommended calorie intake is for women, who tend to visit these sites more than men. 1,200 calories a day, for most men, is too low, triggering a defense mechanism in the body to prevent starvation, resulting in a slower metabolism and a difficult time losing weight.

Men have more testosterone than women, which also means that they tend to have more muscle mass and a higher metabolic rate. On average, men should probably aim for a minimum of 1500 calories (or more if accompanied by extensive exercise.)

Additional Weight Loss Tips for Men

  • Weigh Yourself Daily.
  • Drink Plenty of Water.
  • Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry.
  • Know the Difference Between Hunger and Boredom.
  • Add a Weight Loss Supplement To Your Diet.

Lemonade Diet – Is It Worth To Try?

The Lemonade Diet is part of the Master Cleanse Detoxification Program conceptualized by a naturopath called Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s. Surprisingly, the diet continues to be popular today, with claims that celebrities like Beyonce and Denzel Washington use it for rapid weight loss and detoxification. In theory, the diet is supposed to dissolve and rid the body of toxins that accumulate due to improper eating and exercise habits, stress, and negative attitudes.

It claims to result in weight loss of two pounds a day, which in itself is interesting on a number of levels. To being with, we have discussed many times already how such rapid weight loss is, without a doubt, too demanding to be healthy for the body.

Since this diet is marketed as being a health booster more so than a fat reducer, one would think that it would try to promote a healthy weight loss rate. Secondly, research shows that the bulk of such rapid weight loss would be water and tissue loss, rather than fat.

The diet is essentially a fast. Dieters are allowed sixty ounces of spring water a day, spread over six to eight glasses. To this, twelve tablespoons of maple syrup, twelve tablespoons of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper are added. Needless to say, the diet is only recommended for a few days at a time, and one must ease back into eating solid food very gently after partaking of the diet. People who rushed this phase have complained of considerable stomach upset and general malaise.

The diet phase itself puts very little in the way of nutrition into the body, and is very difficult to stick to since hunger and low blood sugar cause a number of distressing symptoms, such as headache, nausea, irritability and depression. One is also depriving oneself of protein, fats and just about every essential vitamin and mineral for an extended period of time, making the diet a dangerous one.

It is not suitable for anyone with special nutritional needs, such as women who are pregnant or nursing, or people with chronic diseases. Exercising would also be a dangerous move while on a liquid fast, so it is hard to see why the diet would claim to address the needs of people who have poor exercising habits.

Another caveat of the diet is that there is really no medical proof that fasts of this kind rid the body of toxins, if that is your main aim in following it. Perhaps the tissue destruction associated with starving oneself does release stored toxins into the bloodstream for elimination, but would this not be a rather dangerous tradeoff?

Simply speaking, this diet is not recommended for anyone who is looking for a long-term solution to their weight loss problems. It is not even safe in the short-term, nor is it very effective. The book itself acknowledges that once the dieter resumes eating, at least half of the weight lost will be regained since it was only water loss in the first place. The Lemonade Diet is not really much of a diet at all.