Kate Middleton weight loss and the Dukan Diet

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 20:12
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There is a lot of buzz lately about Kate Middleton and how she managed to lose weight before the big wedding. The royal wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince Williams is without a doubt one of the biggest moments of 2011, but one aspect of this great event that opened a lot of discussions has to do with Kate’s weight loss methods. It’s no secret that she managed to get slimmer and reached the ideal weight so as to look bright and beautiful in the white dress. But how did she do it?

A lot of people made up a number of stories about her weight loss methods. Some journalist’s even suggested that she is suffering from a form of anorexia nervosa for the brides named ‘Brideorexia’. They reported that she became a size 2 from size 6 in just 2 months. The rapid weight loss was for them a sign that she became anorexic and they even gave advice to their readers on how to identify if someone is suffering from this disorder. The truth is far from that. Although Kate is a fit and energetic person and this alone makes it easier to lose or gain weight almost at wish, what really created results for her is the Dukan Diet.

What is the Dukan Diet?

The Dukan Diet is a very famous diet in Europe, created by Pierre Dukan in 2000. Pierre is an experienced doctor who specializes in weight loss diets. The Dukan diet is similar to the also famous Atkins diet and besides Kate Middleton a number of celebrities have also used this diet program to lose weight. The Dukan Method as it is called, is based on the principle of high protein,low fat, low carb diet. In other words the foods suggested to be part of this diet create servings that are high in proteins, low in trans fats and low in carbohydrates. This is a deviation from what we call a balanced diet which includes all three food categories in almost same quantities. The main idea behind this composition of meals is to concentrate more on the quality of foods you eat rather than quantity. In fact quantity is not a factor for the Dukan Diet as you are allowed to ‘eat as much as you like’ but the right foods.

The Dukan Diet Phases

The Dukan Diet program is separated into 4 distinct phases. This is how Dr Pierre decided to approach weight loss and he believes that these 4 phases can guarantee fast and permanent weight loss results. The first phase is the Preparation or Attack phase as he calls it and basically during this phase you are allowed to eat only protein foods. The plan has about 80 items which are pure protein foods and you can select which ones to consume daily. The second phase is a combination of pure protein plus vegetables and the duration of this phase depend on how much weight you want to lose. The third phase is something like a protective phase where you gradually start to eat foods from other food items as well so as to protect you from gaining all the weight you lost back. Finally the fourth phase is actually the end of the diet where you are given instructions how to maintain your weight by eating healthy and fat friendly food items together with advice on how to be more physically active during the day.

You can read more about the Dukan Diet in the Dukan Diet Book which is one of the International Best Sellers.

As a final word, remember that there are no miracles when it comes to diet and fitness. If you want to lose weight you need to combine 2 things: 1st willingness and hard work and 2nd a good diet program that really works. The Dukan diet worked for many people but this does not necessarily mean that it will work for you unless you are willing to try hard and be committed to it until you get the results you want.

Diet Tips: The role of proteins in weight loss

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:09
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By Hara Hagikalfa, Reviewed by Dr A.Slee

Many people are confused about the use of protein in weight loss. What is the role of protein in losing weight? What are proteins, why they are important and how they can affect our weight loss efforts?

In one of our previous articles we talked about carbohydrates and weight loss and provided 4 diet tips for the role of carbs in any diet. In this article we will focus more on protein and try to explain why protein is necessary for a healthy weight loss.

What are proteins?

Proteins are usually known to be found in animal products such as meat, fish, cheese, eggs, yogurt etc. They are also found in tofu and soya products, and in smaller amounts in legumes. Proteins can be divided into essentials (can only get them from food) and non-essentials (can make them in our body). The quality of the protein we eat is very important as regardless of the amount of protein we consume if it lacks of essential proteins it could have negative effects to health.

Why are proteins important?

Proteins are essential for our body in all levels. We need them to build muscle, hormones, and enzymes, used for the immune system, bone tissue, organs and the list goes on and on. Protein is the last resort the body will use as fuel as it is very important for the body and will try to preserve it as much as it can. Protein is not stored as such as all protein in the body is active and in working component.

Protein and diet

Protein and weight loss

It was very much believed that high consumption of protein could lead to kidney disease and liver disease. However, some recent studies indicate that although high protein intake makes the kidneys work harder, it does not necessarily lead to kidney disease in healthy humans. In general, research has not clearly shown that too much protein has adverse effects for health whereas too little protein can have fatal effects.

Protein has the effect to make you feel fuller for longer, which in effect can help curb the snacks and have one more benefit in weight loss.

4 Essential Diet Tips

1. Quality can be vital. Quality of protein is determined by how easy can it be digested and how many of the essential amino acids (they make proteins up) they have. Some plant proteins are hard to digest and are incomplete. Combinations of foods provide the best solution. Diet should include a large variety of foods both from animal and plant sources.

2. Balance nutrients. Very high protein diets are usually recommended for athletes but not for everybody. Balanced diets in which protein, carbohydrates and fat are in equal or near equal amounts are usually the most recommended.

3. If you have any health problems, especially related to kidney dysfunctions and high cholesterol consult a medical professional before taking on any diet.

4. Increase water intake. Increasing the protein intake can lead to dehydration. Increasing water intake will help both the kidneys and avoid dehydration.

Diet Tips: Carbohydrates and Weight loss

Sunday, May 1, 2011 20:20
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By Hara Hagikalfa, Reviewed by Dr A.Slee

Carbohydrates (carbs) have been the subject in a number of debates in the world of healthy nutrition and weight loss. A lot of people may have heard or read on food labels about ‘low/high glycemic index’ (GI) or ‘glycemic load (GL)’ or may have read about ‘refined carbs’. What do all these terms mean and how do you find your way when making healthy nutrition choices?

This article will look into carbohydrates and how they are processed in the body. It will provide tips and suggestions on how to optimise what to eat in achieving weight loss and optimizing health.

What are carbohydrates?

As with fats and protein, carbohydrates belong in the category of the macronutrients. In their chemical structure (in simple terms) they are sugars, some more complex and some simple (based on their chemical structure). So when people refer to carbohydrates they refer to foods such as bread, pasta, vegetables, potatoes, cereal and grains and obviously sweets and sugar. Some carbohydrate based foods such as bread, chocolate and potatoes are high energy density foods (contain a lot of calories) and others such as vegetable are low density foods, but also contain a smaller amount of carbohydrates.

How do they work in the body?

Carbohydrates and Weight loss

When we have a meal which contains high amount of carbs, the sugar levels in the blood increase. In response to increased blood sugar the pancreas (organ of the body) secretes a hormone called insulin which main role is to facilitate the taking up of sugars from the blood and storing it in the body. Carbohydrates are often described according to their GL and/or GI.

Glycemic Index: Is a measure of the blood glucose response to the carbohydrate.

Glycemic Load: Is a measure which includes both the amount of the portion and the GI of the carbohydrates. It combines both quantity and quality of the carbohydrates.

Carbs and health

With diets high in carbs the insulin levels increase accordingly. When the cells are chronically stimulated by high levels of insulin they can become less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can lead to what is known as insulin resistance and has been linked the onset of diabetes (explained in simple terms).

It must be said though that carbs as with everything else are needed for the body. Again the word to say here is in moderation. Some studies suggest that women may need them more than men. Women who are in very low carbohydrate diet appear to be more susceptible to developing mental health problems such as depression. Men are quite the opposite, and they seem to do better in very low carbohydrate diets.

Carbs and exercise

Carbohydrates are quite essential for exercise especially for aerobic exercise. Things like running, swimming, cycling are examples of aerobic exercise. The body does need some crabs as fuel during this type of exercise so it is important if you are following exercise regimes to make sure you are consuming an appropriate amount. What consists of an appropriate amount will depend on the kind, the duration and the intensity of exercise.

A few diet tips to keep in mind for carbohydrates and weight loss:

1. The body will use sugars as its preferred fuel for energy, because it is easy to use. Therefore, in diets high in carbs the body will use the carbs over the fat.

2. Some of the excess calories consumed in the form of carbs, will be stored as fat.

3. Carbohydrates can make you feel hungry. How does this work? Well as mentioned above when eating carbs the blood sugar levels increase and so the insulin levels. Once the blood sugar levels fall after they have been stored in the body for later, and insulin decreases again, the body picks that up and signals that it needs more sugar. If we do not eat, the system will slowly mobilise its reserves for use. However, in the process we feel hungry again as our body tells us that we need more energy.

4. The yo-yo style sugar and insulin levels can affect mood and make you feel irritable. A lot of people will say that ‘if I don’t eat I feel I will drop’. Such an effect is not very good for wellbeing but also it will make it hard to stick to a diet regime at it can make you feel desperate for food. A common trend in dieting is that we should eat a lot of small meals. That does make sense when the diet is high in carbs for the reasons mentioned above. However, some researchers have argued that we need periods of fasting and periods of eating.

Vegetarian Diets Reduce Cataract Risk

Saturday, April 30, 2011 10:16
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Cutting meat and eating more vegetables may help cut the risk of developing cataracts, says a new study.

According to the Mayo Clinic, cataracts develop during aging (or injury) as the eye tissue changes and becomes cloudy, causing blurred or dimmed vision, difficulty seeing at night, sensitivity to light, double vision, and other symptoms.

When compared to meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans had up to 40% lower risk of developing cataracts.

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BMI on Children’s Report Cards

Friday, April 29, 2011 10:01
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Most parents believe their child is at a healthy weight, but more than likely the child is overweight.

Arkansas has been giving kids a BMI score since 2004 and now some other US States have recently begun to consider following suit. They may be adding a BMI score to student’s report cards along with diet and exercise tips. After all, obesity rates continue to soar in America.

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How can I lose the weight I have gained quickly?

Thursday, April 28, 2011 16:41
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Hi My name is Kaila,

I am from the U.S. and am currently living in Spain for 10 months on an exchange program.

I am 17 years old and weight 56 kg, 5 foot 1.

Before leaving I weighted 48 kg 5 foot 1.

I don’t want to come back being like 20 pounds heavier. I don’t know if it’s normal or not to gain that much weight and not grow.

How can I lose that weight that I have gained quickly? I am self-cautious of returning and having my friends see me because I feel i look really heavy and am not happy with how much I weigh now. What can I do to lose it QUICKLY? I only have 2 months left.

I never gained weight so fast before and here I have put it on so quickly. It’s really weird for me. I am eating normal and not terribly. I am not sure what the problem is.

Thank you for your help


Answer: (by our weight loss expert, Hara Hagikalfa – View Author Bio)

Dear Kaila thank you for your question.

Firstly I will answer your question about putting on weight so fast. There can be many absolutely normal reasons why that happened. Change of environment and climate could be one of them, you said you have been in Spain for about 10 months, and it may sound like a long time, however, our body can take time to acclimatised completely and go back to its usual rhythms. I would assume that also a lot of daily habits may have changed that could influence your metabolism or your eating habits. Sometimes accumulation of a lot of small changes can make a big difference. An average of 8 kilos gained in 10months is not a massive amount and it could have happened easily.  I must note that your BMI (body mass index)  is within normal range and you wouldn’t be considered overweight. I understand that it is important to feel comfortable in yourself; however, I would suggest that 5 to 8 kilos max weight loss should be enough and I would not suggest any more as you would be running the risk of becoming underweight.

Before you start any kind of diet I would suggest that you keep a diary of the food you eat for a couple of days. A week would be best as it can give you a fuller picture but I sense that you are eager to start losing weight as soon as you can.  The diary will give a picture of what you eat, what time, how much etc. From that you can compare what you used to eat before you went to Spain and also find things which you may not realised were there. You can see my article Weight loss: An introduction to a healthier life style for more information about it.

In addition, you may want to make a note of when did you start to put on weight. Was it gradually through the 10 months, was it sudden, was it after a specific time, i.e. exams and so on. By finding the route it will help you to deal with the problem easier. For example things such as stress, feeling low, increasing alcohol intake, and starting oral contraception, not sleeping well can all affect weight gain. It could well be having too much fun with your friends and sleeping late or studying too much and being stressed that have increased your weight gain. Think of your everyday habits as well and what may be different now. Could it be that you used to walk 30min to school every day, or that you were more active and had higher energy expenditure?  If you have any concerns at any point about putting on too much weight unexplained always consult a medical professional. You should also consult a medical professional if you have any medical conditions, before taking on any diet or exercise.

In terms of losing weight I can suggest the following tips:

1. Have a delayed protein breakfast. Carbohydrates can make you feel hungry and tend to lead to snacking in between meals or a large meal for lunch. See also some tips I have provided in What should I eat to get rid of love handles?

2. Lower your carbohydrate intake through the day. If you want to lose weight quite fast it may mean that you may be strict with your diet in some respects. You can still have balanced meals which contain all the nutrients and you don’t feel hungry. For example try to limit the sugar in coffees, and teas, avoid sugary drinks such as juices, milkshakes, coke etc. Have a large salad with chicken, fish, tuna (protein) and only one slice of bread. In general have loads of vegetables and salads with meats which are grilled instead of fried. Have some carbohydrates in the form of bread or potatoes but limit the amounts.

3. Avoid takeaways, fast food, fried foods, and rich sandwiches with sauces such as mayonnaise (avoid sandwiches all together if possible). Alcohol can also add to calories.

4. Exercise will increase energy expenditure (calorie burning in simple terms) so if you can take on some exercise or even just being more active such as walk instead of taking a bus, swim or cycle, whatever is best suited for you. Even just 30min a day can help in increasing weight loss. It is best to combine resistance with aerobic exercise (resistance –i.e. weights, aerobic – i.e. running). Also for aerobic exercise you will need to make sure that you are eating enough carbs which is the main fuel during aerobic exercise.

5. Keep well hydrated. At the beginning what is lost is mainly water so make sure you keep hydrated. Especially if the Spanish weather is hot.

View all questions and expert weight loss advice


Red Pepper Helps Cut Appetite

Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:20
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Eating red pepper may help curb your appetite, claims a new study, especially if you don’t normally eat it.

Researchers tested the effects of ordinary dried (ground) cayenne red pepper. Cayenne red pepper is a chili pepper and is one of the most commonly used spices in the world.

Previous studies have shown that capsaicin, the active component that gives hot peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and help burn calories.

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5 Weight loss tips to boost your metabolism

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 16:05
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Metabolism is a term used very often in weight loss and many people fail to understand what is metabolism and the role it plays in losing weight. In plain English metabolism is a term used to describe the rate at which your body burns calories. Young people and those who are not overweight turn to have a faster metabolism which simply means that they can burn calories faster. By burning calories faster they are able to maintain their current weight or if they accelerate their metabolism to lose weight faster. Many factors affect metabolism and these include the age, sex, weight and activity levels. Despite that there are many ways to improve your metabolism which will result in a more efficient weight loss and we have gathered the 5 best ways to boost your metabolism.

1. Keep your stomach busy and the calorie burning process active

One of the most efficient ways to boost your metabolism is to keep the process that burns calories active. You can do that by proving your body with small but frequent meals spread throughout the day. This is one of the most common weight loss tips and is suggested by all diet plans and programs. Instead of eating three large meals you can instead go for smaller meals every 2-3 hours. By doing so you give enough time to your body to break down the calories consumed into energy. On the other hand if you consume a lot of calories at once your body cannot process them and as a result energy is transferred to the reserves, commonly known as fat.

2. Eat foods that increase the metabolic rate

Boost Metabolism

Boost Metabolism

Some foods have special characteristics that are said to increase metabolism. Such foods and drinks are: Green tea, soup, Spicy food, grapefruits, apples, pears, broccoli and black chocolate. In general green fruits and vegetables can help the body burn more calories while spicy foods can increase body temperature which in turn increases the amount of calories your body can burn. In addition several scientific studies identified that low-fat dairy products, lean meat and generally foods that are high in protein can give metabolism a boost.

3. Cardio exercises and Resistance training exercises

If you ask a fitness trainer what is the best reason to do cardio exercises such as aerobics, the most common answer you will get is: “It can boost your metabolism”. This is true because such activities increase the heart beat rate which in turn makes the calorie burning process faster. While this is true it is also true that the metabolic boost can be temporary and will slow down as your heart returns to the normal beat rates. This is where strength training exercises (for example weight lifting) come into place. With weight lifting and strength training exercises you can replace your fat tissues with more muscles. Having more muscles in the body will enable you to lose calories while at rest. Muscles are the only tissues in the whole body that can burn calories. This is also the reason why athletes and people who exercise regularly have a faster metabolic rate than people who live a sedentary life.

4. Never skip breakfast

Many experts suggest that you should never skip breakfast and there is a pretty good reason for that. Breakfast is important for many reasons and one of them is it can kick-start your metabolism. While sleeping your body is at rest and the metabolism slows down. If you skip breakfast your metabolism will stay slow until your first launch but will not be able to cope with the large amount of calories consumed and as a result a lot of calories will not be burned. On the other hand by eating a good breakfast you wake up your metabolism and accelerate the calorie burning process. In addition you will end up consuming fewer calories during your main meals.

5. Last but not least, iced water

Water is vital for the normal functioning of the body; there is no doubt about that. The body is more than 60% water and it needs water to replace the liquids flushed daily from the body through urine and sweating. Apart from that water and especially iced water can also serve as a metabolism booster. When drinking iced cold water the body needs more energy to warm up the body and thus more calories are burned. Additionally water can keep your stomach happy for longer periods, can help you detox the organism by removing bad toxins and can help you understand when you are really hungry.

Boosting your metabolism through these tips can generate only one outcome and this is faster weight loss.

Poll: Dr. Sears’ or Gary Taubes’ Obesity Theory?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:28
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I think Dr. Barry Sears was feeling a little bit left out of the diet wars lately.

With all the press, Dr. Oz, Gary Taubes, and now Pierre Dukan are getting, it’s only fair that Sears, founder of The Zone Diet, would want a piece of the action.

He recently did an interview for NBC’s Daytime and said the nation’s obesity problem is due to omega-6 rich fats in the diet.

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5 Strategies to Cut Healthy Food Costs

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:28
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Have you noticed prices have jumped up since last year?

Not only is how milk and bread gas more expensive, but food prices are steadily on the rise. Instead of paying $2 or $3 for a gallon of milk, expect to pay up to $5 for some brands.

There are ways to still eat healthy while on a budget. Here are my top 5 ways to outsmart the rising cost of food.

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