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spinachProfessor Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson and a team of researchers at Lund University in Sweden recently identified a natural component known as thylakoids in spinach leaves and other similar greens that may help with weight loss and healthy weight management.

The study involved two groups of participants, the first of which received a shot of spinach extract each morning while the second received what amounted to a placebo. Not only did the first group feel more satisfied throughout the day and less prone to snacking, but their blood sugar levels remained more stable. They also had higher levels of “satiety hormones” in their blood, which signal the brain that we’re full and don’t need to eat anymore.

According to Erlanson-Albertsson, thylakoids are made up of “…hundreds of substances—galactolipids, proteins, vitamin A, E, K, antioxidants, beta-carotene, lutein, and so on…” that delay fat digestion and help us feel full longer between meals. So what’s the catch?

In order to reap the benefits of thylakoids, says Erlanson-Albertsson, the spinach has to be crushed, filtrated and centrifuged so the thylakoids can be released. In other words, it needs to be in raw juice form. Here’s to a healthy shot of spinach every morning!

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Recently the FDA announced plans to update the current Nutrition Facts label, and one of the things health experts hope to see is more clarification about the amount of total and added sugars in our food. Now, the World Health Organization says our daily sugar intake should amount to only 5 percent of our total calories—half of what they recommended previously. It seems the sweet stuff’s bad reputation is finally catching up to it.

According to WHO officials, the exorbitant amount of sugar consumed in the United States is contributing to poor nutrition, weight gain, obesity (and obesity-related health problems), and the development of dental diseases—treatment for which soaks up a large portion of the national health budget.

“I applaud the WHO for tightening up their recommendations on added sugar intake,” says ReNew Life founder and natural digestive care expert Brenda Watson, C.N.C. “A reduction of sugar intake is a step in the right direction. But honestly, I believe added sugar has no place in a healthy diet. Overconsumption of sugary foods, along with foods high in refined and starchy carbohydrates, is a major—if not the major—contributor to chronic disease. And if you have ever experienced sugar cravings (who hasn’t?), you know that there is a fine line between ‘just one bite’ and ‘just ate the whole cake/pint of ice cream/box of cookies.’”

The new draft guideline, currently online and available for public comment until the end of the month, recommends a reduction to below 5% of our total energy intake per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI)—equal to about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar daily. However, that means our average sugar intake would have to drop by two-thirds, according to a recent FOX News article.

The WHO’s last attempt to revise its sugar guidelines came in 2002, when the proposal to cut sugar consumption to less than 10% of our daily calories evoked a less-than-sweet reaction from the U.S. sugar industry. However, the more we learn about sugar and its harmful effects on the body, the more health experts are taking steps to increase awareness and encourage healthier eating habits.

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