Tag Archives: snacks

Exercise? I don’t wanna!

Excellent post on getting your butt in gear, and getting healthy. Enjoy!

You’ll Never “Feel” Like It

I was waiting for an appointment yesterday and the woman noticed I was wearing a Mohr Results Boot Camp jacket.  She asked about it and said “wow, that sounds fun … we did a Biggest Loser program here at work, but IT didn’t work.”

I came back and asked what didn’t work about it.

She said — OK, well I guess I didn’t try.  I really didn’t feel like working to change.

Now I didn’t quite say this, but in my head I thought…

“You’re NEVER going to feel like it!”

While she was talking about losing weight, this is really in reference to anything in life … any change you want to make.

Yes In “our” world, that’s losing weight.  Improving your diet.  Exercising daily.

I recently made a confession how I had been slacking with my daily routine.

Although I’ve since been back at it in full force, mixing some variety into my workouts with more TRX, kettlebells, hill sprints (and loving the unseasonably warm weather in Louisville so I’m not out there in 20 degrees), etc … I too finally said in my head that “NOW is the time because I would never feel like it.”

In fact we also heard a recent interview with author and radio personality Mel Robbins where she quotes some research saying it takes just 5 seconds for a thought to leave you.  In other words, if you’re sitting on the couch and thinking “I should get up and go exercise,” within 5 seconds if you don’t act, it’s gone.

Interesting.

So here’s how you need to take this to the next level.

First, decide WHY you want to make change.  The outcome you’re after.

Getting healthy is NOT a good reason.

‘Health’ is like a moving target without a solid definition because it’s different for everyone.

So scratch “I want to get healthy” off the list.  Of course that’s an outcome that will result from changing behaviors.

What’s the REAL reason?

It might be 100% focused on your appearance.  That’s fine.

It may very well seem selfish.  Even better.

Why?

Because when YOU personally want to make change, it needs to be about YOU and what’s in it for you.  Not your spouse, kids, girlfriend, boyfriend or whoever else.

Now here’s step #2.  You’ve figure out your REAL why.

Make it very specific.

Fit better in your clothes isn’t specific enough.

Do you want to drop a pants size?  Two pants sizes?

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Finally and most importantly, what behaviors are necessary to achieve this outcome?

A goal that’s focused on the behaviors to achieve the desired outcome is the one that will get you the results you want.

Focus on the behaviors, not the outcome, if you want to achieve permanent success.

And this all goes back to the line from the interview we listened to the other day “You’re never going to feel like it.”

You’re never going to feel like taking the necessary steps to make change permanent, but as soon as you do have that previously fleeting thought that you want to make change, TAKE ACTION.

Your action may not be perfect, but taking action is exactly what’s needed to get the ball rolling!

Source: http://blogs.menshealth.com/bellyoff-nutritionist/youll-never-feel-like-it/2012/02/29/?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-MensHealth-_-Content-Blogs-_-HowToChange


Balancing Your Plate

Unfortunately I can’t find the original source of this article- it was torn out of a magazine some time ago. All I can tell you is; it’s written by Sharon Liao and is pretty interesting. Enjoy this short piece on what should be on your plate!

The Ultimate Balanced Diet

What should really be on your plate? New research has some fascinating answers to an age-old question.

Quick, what’s the best way to lose weight and stay healthy? Drastically cut carbs, go very lowfat, become a vegan, or simply count calories? With all the conflicting advice these days about what you should be eating, it’s hard not to have diet whiplash. A recent avalanche of news, however, is finally all pointing in the same direction- toward a moderate, eminently doable regime that dividesyour daily intake evenly among three food groups: carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

One recent student from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that when people who had been eating a higher-carb, lower-protein diet were put on a balanced-ration plan, they showed positive changes in their DNA that may translate into less inflammation in the body- which can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.

At the same time, a growing body of research suggests that eating this way might also be a simple shortcut to losing pounds faster- and that getting enough protein in particular is key. “Protein, fat, and carbs work with each other to promote a greater sensation of satisfaction,” explains New York City- based nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author of Read It Before You Eat It. “When you skimp on one group like protein, you tend to compensate by overeating something else you don’t need any more of, like additional carbs or fat.” A recent study in the journal PLoS ONE confirmed that pattern. When people lowered their daily intake of protein by as little as 5 percent and made up the difference with carbohydrate-rich foods, they consumed an additional 260 calories a day. They told researchers they felt hungrier, especially in the morning, and ended up snacking more frequently throughout the day.

To get the right mix of foods in your meal, Taub-Dix advises concentrating on the quality of the foods, rather than stressing over the exact quantities.  “When you fill your plate with a balanced medley of nutrient-rich foods, you’ll end up feeling physically and emotionally satisfied,” she says. Opt for complex carbs (quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, veggies), lean meats and legumes (chicken, turkey, almond butter, beans), and sources of healthy fats rich in omega3s (salmon, avocados, walnuts, olive oil), and you’ll find yourself naturally striking the right symmetry.

 


You’ve Lost the Weight- Now What?

I found an excellent article I had stashed away since 2008! This article, written by Camille Noe Pagan and published in Fitness Magazine,  is all about keeping your goal weight, once you’ve finally hit it. There are a lot of great mental health tips in here as well- if you have lost weight and are feeling bad habits creep back in, or if you’ve just begun your journey to a healthy body, you must read this article. Enjoy!

Life After Weight Loss (the truth no one tells you)

You finally lost the extra pounds; good for you! You’ve achieved what more than half of all Americans are still struggling to do. But here’s something few trainers, dieticians or magazine will tell you; After you reach your goal, you’re not done. Complete your success story using these 7 easy steps.

When Heather Radi traded fast food for a high-protein diet and regular exercise last year, she earned a slimmer figure, more energy and lower blood pressure in return. She also wound up with a “stomach that looked like a deflated balloon”, says the 27-year-old publicist from Miami. “Don’t get me wrong, my life is much better now that I’m 80 pounds lighter. But I wish I’d known that losing it wasn’t the final step.”

The truth is, weight loss is a journey that continues well past the day your goal number registers on the scale. “Whether you lose 30 pounds or 200, you need to be mentally prepared for what happens next,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management Center at the university of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The more ready you are, thebetter you’ll be able to cope and keep the pounds off.” Find out what really happens after you shed the pounds- and what steps you can take to get the figure and mind-set you want, for good.

Step One: Learn to love the limelight

“After I lost 120 pounds, I struggled with the comments I received,” says Pamela Monfredo, 32, a teacher in Melville, New York. “Guys who had never glanced my way were flirting with me; people held doors open; strangers complimented me. After years of feeling invisible, I was overwhelmed.”

Being heavy- with the social pressures and the self-blame tat can go along with it- can do a number on a person’s self-esteem, explains Martin Binks, Ph.D., director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. And that doesn’t magically disappear when the weight is gone. The result: “Newly thin people may feel unworthy of the fuss others make over their success,” says Binks. The best way to coax yourself into feeling worthy? Say thank you the next time you get a compliment, even if you’re dying to tell the person she’s wrong. “If you give credibility to the negative voice inside, then you’ll never fully accept your achievement,” he says.

Consider seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist, who can help you shift your feelings and behaviors with an action plan, if you’re still struggling after several months. Monfredo did: “My therapist helped me stop worrying about how to respond to compliments. If I reacted awkwardly, it was a learning experience; I’d try to be more graceful next time. It was a bumpy road, but today I’m finally comfortable.”

Step Two: Tone and tighten

“Based on the number of women who seek surgery to correct loose skin after weight loss [about 66,000 in 2006], it’s a prevalent issue,” says Richard D’Amico, M.D., president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Although sagginess is more common in women 30 years old and up (elasticity decreases with age) and in those who lose 70 pounds or more, younger women who drop as little as 20 pounds may be left with extra skin, says Dr. D’Amico.

The safest (and cheapest) way to tighten your skin is through strength training, says Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. “Building muscles in virtually nay area of the body can ‘fill out’ the skin and give you a firmer appearance.”

“If you work your major muscle groups three of four times a week for 60-90 minutes, you’ll likely see an improvement within two months,” says Nicole Glor, a certified personal trainer in New York City. To help women reach their goals, she makes sure her clients lift the right weights. An Ohio State University study found that nearly everyone without a trainer or experience underestimates the amount of weight they should be lifting, usually by 50 percent. Glor suggests gradually increasing the heft of the dumbbells: Started with 8 pounds? Move to 10, then 15 after about a month.

If you remain unsatisfied with the firmness of your skin after about nine months of regular, targeted strength training at your goal weight, and you lost 100 pounds or more, you may want to mull over body-contouring surgery, which removes and tightens excess skin. The latest numbers show that 63 percent of thigh and upper-arm body-contouring surgeries in 2006 were performed on patients following drastic weight loss; that’s an increase of about 30 percent in three years according to the American Soceity of Plastic Surgeons. A recent survey from the National Women’s Health Resource Center found that weight loss is one of the leading reasons women choose to have breast lifts, reductions and/or implants. After breast surgery, abdominoplasty (aka a tummy tuck) is most popular, followed by body lifts, which tighten skin all over the body.

The downside: Surgery is a risk, it can take weeks to recover, and some scarring is inevitable. Plus, it’s pricey.  The average cost of a tummy tuck, for instance, is $5,000- and insurance most likely won’t cover the cost.

Step Three: Put the sizzle back in sex

People who lost an average of 13 percent body fat over the course of two years felt more attractive and enjoyed sex more post-slim-sown, according to a report from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. But while your libido may be sky-high after weight loss, if you lose more than 40 pounds, estrogen levels may plummet, lowering lubrication and making intercourse uncomfortable. If it happens, don’t panic. “It’s usually temporary, especially if you’re not in menopause,” says Rosemarie Schulman, R.N., coauthor of Tipping the Scales. Use an over-the-counter lube until your natural lubrication returns after three to six months.

Step Four: Strengthen your bonds

“The vast majority of women emerge from weight loss with at least one altered relationship,” says Binks. “Some friends may fear you’ll become different after losing weight; others may feel threatened by your success or upset that you no longer want to do unhealthy things, like skip the gym to hang out.”

LEslie Engel, 39, a marketing manager from Chicago, learned that firsthand. “When I decided to lose weight five years ago, one of my closest friends was clearly threatened,” she says. “She criticized my diet plan and tried to upstage me when people complimented my figure. It really hurt, and eventually I let the relationship fade away. I realized she just wanted me to be her fat friend.”

If this happens to you, “say something like, ‘I know my weight loss is a big change, but I need your support. Do you think that’s possible?’,” says Brinks. If her attitude persists, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. “As we grow and change, people fall in and out of our lives- and after weight loss is no exception. That doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good friendship. It just means that its time has passed.”

Step Five: Rev your metabolism

Your metabolism will temporarily slow after you lose weight. “Your body is used to running on more calories,” explains Cheskin. “So when you’re eating less for weight loss, your body begins to act as is it’s being short-changed. Your metabolism slows in an attempt to conserve fuel.” Offset the lull by eating healthy snacks, like an apple with peanut butter, or mini-meals every three or four hours. “You’ll ward off hunger, an becasue your body burns calories when digesting food, your metabolism will be more consistently revved,” Cheskin says. Son’t leave exercise out of the equation; it’s key for burning more calories.

Step Six: Revamp your medicine cabinet

When you lose weight, you may also ease or reverse conditions like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. If you used to take medication for them, you may not need to now, says Cheskin. (To know for sure, consult your physician throughout your weight-loss progress.) And because you weigh less, you likely need lower doses for other drugs, too. For example, a woman who weighs 200 pounds may take two extra-strength Motrin to cope with knee pain- but once she drops to 130 pounds, just one regular-strength pill may do the trick. “While overdosing is rare, you still want to be careful,” says Cheskin, “particularly if you take meds that can affect the liver, heart or other organs, such as diabetes or cholesterol drugs.”

Step Seven: Embrace imperfection

“I always assumed the world would roll out the red carpet for me if only I were thin. So when I finally shed those 40 extra pounds I’d been carrying, I was truly surprised that my problems didn’t disappear,” says Nicole Corey, 29, an office manager in Chandler, Arizona. “Most people who are overweight think being thin will drastically improve their lives,” says Ed Abramson, Ph.D., author of Body Intelligence. “And it does in many ways as far as better health and less social stigma.” But it’s important to be realistic about what weight loss can’t do- like fix a bad marriage or bolster a less-than-exciting career. “If your reality and your expectations don’t mesh, it’s easy to feel disillusioned and return to bad habits, like overeating, to make yourself feel better,” Abramson says.

To avoid that setback, give yourself regular reminders- verbally or in a journal- that you have the ability to change aspects of your life that you dislike, no matter what you weigh. “If there’s something you’re not happy about, such as your job, start putting the effort in to fixing it,” Abramson says. “Taking concrete action will boost your self-worth.” It’s also a good idea to take stock of why you decided to lose weight in the first place, like Corey did: “After a few months of stewing, it finally occurred to me that I slimmed down for my health, not to get a better job or more friends. Life may not be perfect now, but I’ve never felt better.”


Want an ‘A’ in Class? Lose Some Weight

This article absolutely makes my blood boil. “The plan calls for high school students to be allowed to take a so-called “ideal weight” option in their final year exams, the “baccalaureat”, under which they would earn extra points if they kept a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25″ Yea, that sounds like a perfect plan to start a fantastic outbreak of disordered eating on the opposite side of the spectrum. Unbelievable!

Give slim kids higher marks, says French diet guru

By Vicky Buffery

PARIS— Pierre Dukan, the nutritionist behind the popular but controversial Dukan diet, has suggested that France tackle child obesity by giving extra exam marks for slimness.

Dukan, who has sold 8 million copies of his diet book worldwide, made the proposal in a 250-page book called “An Open Letter to the Future President,” which he sent out on Tuesday to 16 candidates for France’s presidential election.

The plan calls for high school students to be allowed to take a so-called “ideal weight” option in their final year exams, the “baccalaureat”, under which they would earn extra points if they kept a body mass index (BMI) of between 18 and 25.

Those already overweight at the start of the two-year course would score double points if they managed to slim down over a period of two years.

“It’s a fantastic motivator,” Dukan told Reuters.

“The baccalaureat is really important in France. Kids want to get it, their parents want them to even more, so why not get them to work together on nutrition?”

Weight gain is becoming an increasing problem in France and experts say sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition are to blame.

World Health Organisation (WHO) figures show 50.7 percent of the population were overweight in 2010, including 18.2 percent classed as obese.

“There’s a real problem. Since the 1960s the number of overweight people in France has risen from 500,000 to 22 million and it’s going up every year,” Dukan said.

“When you reach those levels, it’s no longer a health problem, it becomes a political problem, and the leaders of the nation need to worry about it.”

As well as the suggestion for students, Dukan’s book, which will hit French bookshops on Thursday, contains a further 119 suggestions for the future president on ways to fight obesity.

One idea is the creation of a French fast-food restaurant serving more nutritional versions of the ubiquitous burgers and fries.

Dukan has earned an international reputation as diet guru to the stars, although his methods have drawn criticism from some health experts and weightwatchers who say his high-protein meal plan causes fatigue, bad breath and dizziness. But he is also a committed campaigner for the promotion of healthier lifestyles.

He recently met executives from McDonald’s France with a suggestion for a healthy “McDukan” burger, made with low-fat meat and with oatmeal bread instead of the usual white bun. The giant food chain turned him down.

“They were interested, but they said the public wasn’t quite ready for it yet,” he said.

The BMI, obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height, is used as an indicator of the proportion of body fat. The WHO defines a BMI of 18.5 to 25 as normal, 25 to 30 as overweight, and over 30 as obese.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45860717/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/#.TwPajPKwX0Q


More Bad News for HCG Dreamers

As I have previously discussed in the article titled, HCG: Only Your Wallet Gets Thinner, HCG is not your best option when looking for a new lifestyle and eating plan- in fact, HCG can be downright dangerous. Though the USA does not currently list HCG as a controlled substance, according to the FDA, Human chorionic gonadotropin is illegal. Read on:

HCG Products Are Illegal

The level of popularity of most weight loss programs/products seems to be strongly correlated with the advertised amount of pounds that people can lose, usually in the shortest possible timeframe. The quicker the weight loss the more popular the diet program seems to be. Although the weight loss obtained with the most popular diets products can be simply explained with the energy balance equation, companies tend to make the consumer believe that there is a magic component in the product that is doing the work for them. The Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) weight-loss products are over the counter products identified as “homeopathic” and recommend users to follow a severe restrictive diet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently released their recommendation regarding “homeopathic” HCG weight-loss products in their latest Consumer Health Information issue, December 2011. The FDA recommends consumers to stay away from these products due to the unsupported claims. In addition, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning about selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by the FDA. This collaborative action between the FDA and FTC is the first step in preventing these products from being marketed online and in retail stores where they are commonly sold as oral drops, pellets and spray forms.

The HCG claims
The products that claim to contain HCG are typically attached to very low calorie diets; approximately 500 calories/day. Companies use statements like “reset you metabolism” and “shave 20-30 pounds in 30 days”. Although the HCG story began in the 50s, no evidence currently exists that shows HCG promotes weight loss by itself without creating a negative caloric balance. Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA’s division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud said that “these products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they are losing weight, HCG must be working. But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from HCG.”

The HCG Legality
The HCG is a hormone that is produced in the human placenta during pregnancy but it is not approved for weight loss or for over-the-counter sale for any purpose. Moreover, a pharmacist at the FDA pointed that HCG is not listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, which lists the active ingredients that may be legally included in homeopathic drug products. For this reason, homeopathic HCG cannot legally be sold as a homeopathic medication for any purpose. In addition, David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stated that “deceptive advertising about weight loss products is one of the most prevalent types of fraud. Any advertiser who makes health claims about a product is required by federal law to back them up with competent and reliable scientific evidence, so consumers have the accurate information they need to make good decisions.”

HCG a Potentially Dangerous Diet
Living on a very low calorie diet is considerably well documented to promote side effects such as gallstone formation, potential electrolyte imbalance, heartbeat irregularities, and various nutrient deficiencies (vitamins, minerals and protein). The HCG diet plan suggests individuals consume 500 calories/day, which is significantly less than the average 2,000 calorie recommended diet. The safe, general recommendation for healthy weight loss is a reduction of approximately 500 calories/day, only a third of the 1,500 calories/day recommended when following the diet plan. “These HCG products marketed over-the-counter are unproven to help with weight loss and are potentially dangerous even if taken as directed,” said Ilisa Bernstein, acting director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “And a very low calorie diet should only be used under proper medical supervision.” This very low calorie diet should only be prescribed under medical supervision for specific conditions such as extremely obese patients with health conditions. Health care professionals should provide credible information to their clients/patients so that they may be able to make appropriate decisions and avoid unrealistic weight loss expectations. (FDA Consumers Health information, December 2011)

Source: Source: http://www.ncsf.org/NewsArticles/0-185/HCGProductsAreIllegal.aspx?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

As the article notes, even after the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission both have issued SEVEN letters to companies warning about selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs, sales still continue! Why? Because losing weight is hard; and taking a pill, or a drop that tells you ‘you don’t have to work hard’ is easy. This diet is not safe; and what’s more insulting, the pills and drops you’re taking (and paying good money for) are a placebo- that’s right, FAKE.

Want to read more? Check out this article from ABC news: FDA, FTC Crack Down on Illegal HCG Weight Loss Products


Where Does Your Honey Come From?

Not quite about fitness, BUT this article touches on something very important- food safety.  This piece by Andrew Schneider, published in foodsafetynews.com uncovers some scary truths about the honey we keep in our kitchen cabinets.

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”

The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.

The food safety divisions of the  World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigationfound U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.

Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:

•  76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

•  100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

•  77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

•  100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.

•  Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.
And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.

The National Honey Board, a federal research and promotion organization under USDA oversight, says the bulk of foreign honey (at least 60 percent or more) is sold to the food industry for use in baked goods, beverages, sauces and processed foods.  Food Safety News did not examine these products for this story.

Some U.S. honey packers didn’t want to talk about how they process their merchandise.

One who did was Bob Olney, of Honey Tree Inc., in Michigan, who sells its Winnie the Pooh honey in Walmart stores.  Bryant’s analysis of the contents of the container made in Winnie’s image found that the pollen had been removed.

Olney says that his honey came from suppliers in Montana, North Dakota and Alberta. “It was filtered in processing because North American shoppers want their honey crystal clear,” he said.

The packers of Silverbow Honey added: “The grocery stores want processed honey as it lasts longer on the shelves.”

However, most beekeepers say traditional filtering used by most will catch bee parts, wax, debris from the hives and other visible contaminants but will leave the pollen in place.

Ernie Groeb, the president and CEO of Groeb Farms Inc., which calls itself “the world’s largest packer of honey,” says he makes no specific requirement to the pollen content of the 85 million pounds of honey his company buys.

Groeb sells retail under the Miller’s brand and says he buys 100 percent pure honey, but does not “specify nor do we require that the pollen be left in or be removed.”

He says that there are many different filtering methods used by beekeepers and honey packers.

“We buy basically what’s considered raw honey. We trust good suppliers. That’s what we rely on,” said Groeb, whose headquarters is in Onstead, Mich.

 

Why Remove the Pollen?

Removal of all pollen from honey “makes no sense” and is completely contrary to marketing the highest quality product possible, Mark Jensen, president of the American Honey Producers Association, told Food Safety News.

“I don’t know of any U.S. producer that would want to do that. Elimination of all pollen can only be achieved by ultra-filtering and this filtration process does nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey,” Jensen said.

“In my judgment, it is pretty safe to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it’s even safer to assume that it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law,” he added.

Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year, told Food Safety News that “honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”

“There is only one reason to ultra-filter honey and there’s nothing good about it,” he says.

“It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China,” Adee added.

The Sioux Honey Association, who says it’s America’s largest supplier, declined repeated requests for comments on ultra-filtration, what Sue Bee does with its foreign honey and whether it’s ultra-filtered when they buy it. The co-op markets retail under Sue Bee, Clover Maid, Aunt Sue, Natural Pure and many store brands.

Eric Wenger, director of quality services for Golden Heritage Foods, the nation’s third largest packer, said his company takes every precaution not to buy laundered Chinese honey.

“We are well aware of the tricks being used by some brokers to sell honey that originated in China and laundering it in a second country by filtering out the pollen and other adulterants,” said Wenger, whose firm markets 55 million pounds of honey annually under its Busy Bee brand, store brands, club stores and food service.

“The brokers know that if there’s an absence of all pollen in the raw honey we won’t buy it, we won’t touch it, because without pollen we have no way to verify its origin.”

He said his company uses “extreme care” including pollen analysis when purchasing foreign honey, especially from countries like India, Vietnam and others that have or have had “business arrangements” with Chinese honey producers.
Golden Heritage, Wenger said, then carefully removes all pollen from the raw honey when it’s processed to extend shelf life, but says, “as we see it, that is not ultra-filtration.

“There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey, and ultra-filtration, which is a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.”

Some of the foreign and state standards that are being instituted can be read to mean different things, Wenger said “but the confusion can be eliminated and we can all be held to the same appropriate standards for quality if FDA finally establishes the standards we’ve all wanted for so long.”

Groeb says he has urged FDA to take action as he also “totally supports a standard of Identity for honey. It will help everyone have common ground as to what pure honey truly is!”

 

What’s Wrong With Chinese Honey?

Chinese honey has long had a poor reputation in the U.S., where – in 2001 – the Federal Trade Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.

To avoid the dumping tariffs, the Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free country of origin for the honey.

Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost honey, and little was said.

The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.

Mostly, the adulteration went undetected. Sometimes FDA caught it.

In one instance 10 years ago, contaminated Chinese honey was shipped to Canada and then on to a warehouse in Houston where it was sold to jelly maker J.M. Smuckers and the national baker Sara Lee.

By the time the FDA said it realized the Chinese honey was tainted, Smuckers had sold 12,040 cases of individually packed honey to Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Sara Lee said it may have been used in a half-million loaves of bread that were on store shelves.

Eventually, some honey packers became worried about what they were pumping into the plastic bears and jars they were selling. They began using in-house or private labs to test for honey diluted with inexpensive high fructose corn syrup or 13 other illegal sweeteners or for the presence of illegal antibiotics. But even the most sophisticated of these tests would not pinpoint the geographic source of the honey.

Food scientists and honey specialists say pollen is the only foolproof fingerprint to a honey’s source.

Federal investigators working on criminal indictments and a very few conscientious packers were willing to pay stiff fees to have the pollen in their honey analyzed for country of origin. That complex, multi-step analysis is done by fewer than five commercial laboratories in the world.

But, Customs and Justice Department investigators told Food Safety News that whenever U.S. food safety or criminal experts verify a method to identify potentially illegal honey – such as analyzing the pollen – the laundering operators find a way to thwart it, such as ultra-filtration.

The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.

And websites still openly offer brokers who will illegally transship honey and scores of other tariff-protected goods from China to the U.S.

 

FDA’s Lack of Action

The Food and Drug Administration weighed into the filtration issue years ago.

“The FDA has sent a letter to industry stating that the FDA does not consider ‘ultra-filtered’ honey to be honey,” agency press officer Tamara Ward told Food Safety News.

She went on to explain: “We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey. If we do detect ‘ultra-filtered’ honey we will refuse entry.”

Many in the honey industry and some in FDA’s import office say they doubt that FDA checks more than 5 percent of all foreign honey shipments.

For three months, the FDA promised Food Safety News to make its “honey expert” available to explain what that statement meant.  It never happened. Further, the federal food safety authorities refused offers to examine Bryant’s analysis and explain what it plans to do about the selling of honey it says is adulterated because of the removal of pollen, a key ingredient.

Major food safety standard-setting organizations such as the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, the European Union and the European Food Safety Authority say the intentional removal of pollen is dangerous because it eliminates the ability of consumers and law enforcement to determine the actual origin of the honey.

“The removal of pollen will make the determination of botanical and geographic origin of honey impossible and circumvents the ability to trace and identify the actual source of the honey,” says the European Union Directive on Honey.

The Codex commission’s Standard for Honey, which sets principles for the international trade in food, has ruled that “No pollen or constituent particular to honey may be removed except where this is unavoidable in the removal of foreign matter. . .”  It even suggested what size mesh to use (not smaller than 0.2mm or 200 micron) to filter out unwanted debris — bits of wax and wood from the frames, and parts of bees — but retain 95 percent of all the pollen.

Food Safety News asked Bryant to analyze foreign honey packaged in Italy, Hungary, Greece, Tasmania and New Zealand to try to get a feeling for whether the Codex standards for pollen were being heeded overseas.  The samples from every country but Greece were loaded with various types and amounts of pollen. Honey from Greece had none.

 

You’ll Never Know

In many cases, consumers would have an easier time deciphering state secrets than pinning down where the honey they’re buying in groceries actually came from.

The majority of the honey that Bryant’s analysis found to have no pollen was packaged as store brands by outside companies but carried a label unique to the food chain. For example, Giant Eagle has a ValuTime label on some of its honey. In Target it’s called Market Pantry, Naturally Preferred  and others. Walmart uses Great Value and Safeway just says Safeway. Wegmans also uses its own name.

Who actually bottled these store brands is often a mystery.

A noteworthy exception is Golden Heritage of Hillsboro, Kan. The company either puts its name or decipherable initials on the back of store brands it fills.

“We’re never bashful about discussing the products we put out” said Wenger, the company’s quality director. “We want people to know who to contact if they have questions.”

The big grocery chains were no help in identifying the sources of the honey they package in their store brands.

For example, when Food Safety News was hunting the source of nine samples that came back as ultra-filtered from QFC, Fred Myer and King Sooper, the various customer service numbers all led to representatives of Kroger, which owns them all. The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”

One of the customer service representatives said the contact address on two of the honeys being questioned was in Sioux City, Iowa, which is where Sioux Bee’s corporate office is located.

Jessica Carlson, a public relations person for Target, waved the proprietary banner and also refused to say whether it was Target management or the honey suppliers that wanted the source of the honey kept from the public.

Similar non-answers came from representatives of Safeway, Walmart and Giant Eagle.

The drugstores weren’t any more open with the sources of their house brands of honey. A Rite Aid representative said “if it’s not marked made in China, than it’s made in the United States.” She didn’t know who made it but said “I’ll ask someone.”

Rite Aid, Walgreen and CVS have yet to supply the information.

Only two smaller Pacific Northwest grocery chains – Haggen and Metropolitan Market – both selling honey without pollen, weren’t bashful about the source of their honey. Haggen said right off that its brand comes from Golden Heritage. Metropolitan Market said its honey – Western Family – is packed by Bee Maid Honey, a co-op of beekeepers from the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

 

Pollen? Who Cares?

Why should consumers care if their honey has had its pollen removed?

“Raw honey is thought to have many medicinal properties,” says Kathy Egan, dietitian at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.  “Stomach ailments, anemia and allergies are just a few of the conditions that may be improved by consumption of unprocessed honey.”

But beyond pollen’s reported enzymes, antioxidants and well documented anti-allergenic benefits, a growing population of natural food advocates just don’t want their honey messed with.

There is enormous variety among honeys. They range in color from glass-clear to a dark mahogany and in consistency from watery to chunky to a crystallized solid. It’s the plants and flowers where the bees forage for nectar that will determine the significant difference in the taste, aroma and color of what the bees produce. It is the processing that controls the texture.

Food historians say that in the 1950s the typical grocery might have offered three or four different brands of honey.  Today, a fair-sized store will offer 40 to 50 different types, flavors and sources of honey out of the estimated 300 different honeys made in the U.S.. And with the attractiveness of natural food and the locavore movement, honey’s popularity is burgeoning. Unfortunately, with it comes the potential for fraud.

Concocting a sweet-tasting syrup out of cane, corn or beet sugar, rice syrup or any of more than a dozen sweetening agents is a great deal easier, quicker and far less expensive than dealing with the natural brew of bees.

However, even the most dedicated beekeeper can unknowingly put incorrect information on a honey jar’s label.

Bryant has examined nearly 2,000 samples of honey sent in by beekeepers, honey importers, and ag officials checking commercial brands off store shelves. Types include premium honey such as “buckwheat, tupelo, sage, orange blossom, and sourwood” produced in Florida, North Carolina, California, New York and Virginia and “fireweed” from Alaska.

“Almost all were incorrectly labeled based on their pollen and nectar contents,” he said.

Out of the 60 plus samples that Bryant tested for Food Safety News, the absolute most flavorful said “blackberry” on the label. When Bryant concluded his examination of the pollen in this sample he found clover and wildflowers clearly outnumbering a smattering of grains of blackberry pollen.

For the most part we are not talking about intentional fraud here. Contrary to their most fervent wishes, beekeepers can’t control where their bees actually forage any more than they can keep the tides from changing. They offer their best guess on the predominant foliage within flying distance of the hives.

“I think we need a truth in labeling law in the U.S. as they have in other countries,” Bryant added.

FDA Ignores Pleas

No one can say for sure why the FDA has ignored repeated pleas from Congress, beekeepers and the honey industry to develop a U.S. standard for identification for honey.

Nancy Gentry owns the small Cross Creek Honey Company in Interlachen, Fla., and she isn’t worried about the quality of the honey she sells.

“I harvest my own honey. We put the frames in an extractor, spin it out, strain it, and it goes into a jar. It’s honey the way bees intended,” Gentry said.

But the negative stories on the discovery of tainted and bogus honey raised her fears for the public’s perception of honey.

She spent months of studying what the rest of the world was doing to protect consumers from tainted honey and questioning beekeepers and industry on what was needed here. Gentry became the leading force in crafting language for Florida to develop the nation’s first standard for identification for honey.

In July 2009, Florida adopted the standard and placed its Division of Food Safety in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in charge of enforcing it.  It’s since been followed by California, Wisconsin and North Carolina and is somewhere in the state legislative or regulatory maze in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Texas, Kansas, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and others.

John Ambrose’s battle for a national definition goes back 36 years. He said the issue is of great importance to North Carolina because it has more beekeepers than any other state in the country.

He and others tried to convince FDA that a single national standard for honey to help prevent adulterated honey from being sold was needed. The agency promised him it would be on the books within two years.

“But that never happened,” said Ambrose, a professor and entomologist at North Carolina State University and apiculturist, or bee expert. North Carolina followed Florida’s lead and passed its own identification standards last year.

Ambrose, who was co-chair of the team that drafted the state beekeeper association’s honey standards says the language is very simple, “Our standard says that nothing can be added or removed from the honey. So in other words, if somebody removes the pollen, or adds moisture or corn syrup or table sugar, that’s adulteration,” Ambrose told Food Safety News.

But still, he says he’s asked all the time how to ensure that you’re buying quality honey.  “The fact is, unless you’re buying from a beekeeper, you’re at risk,” was his uncomfortably blunt reply.

Eric Silva, counsel for the American Honey Producers Association said the standard is a simple but essential tool in ensuring the quality and safety of honey consumed by millions of Americans each year.

“Without it, the FDA and their trade enforcement counterparts are severely limited in their ability to combat the flow of illicit and potentially dangerous honey into this country,” Silva told Food Safety News.

It’s not just beekeepers, consumers and the industry that FDA officials either ignore or slough off with comments that they’re too busy.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer is one of more than 20 U.S. senators and members of Congress of both parties who have asked the FDA repeatedly to create a federal “pure honey” standard, similar to what the rest of the world has established.

They get the same answer that Ambrose got in 1975:  “Any day now.”

Want to find a quality honey that you can trust? Buy local- here’s a fabulous site to locate honey in your area: http://www.honeylocator.com

Source: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey


HCG:Only Your Wallet Gets Thinner

Considering a more radical approach to weight loss? Like maybe taking a hormone injection or diluted hormone drops? Don’t.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) for Fat Loss: “Fallacy and Hazard”

One of the great things about this site is that people often bring products or research to our attention that we otherwise might have missed. This occurred yesterday in the comments section of Peter’s recent post on Acai Berry scams, when one of our readers brought up the use of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity. The website that we were provided smacks of weight loss gimmickry – notably the promise of an obesity “cure” and “near 100% success rate”, but we thought it best to review the evidence before making a judgement one way or the other.

The use of HCG to treat obesity was first suggested by ATW Simeons in a 1954 Lancet paper. He reported that injection of HCG resulted in rapid mobilization of body fat stores and induced feelings of well-being. He also claimed that HCG reduced weakness and hunger during very low calorie diets (500kcal/day) and that HCG treatment could be used to prevent the protein and vitamin deficiencies which are a frequent side-effect of such low caloric intake. Finally, he suggested that HCG could be used to successfully treat a range of ailments ranging from diabetes and gout to ulcers and skin diseases. However, it is important to note that no actual study was performed – these were just subjective observations. Naturally, Simeons’ observations spurred actual research into HCG.

Unfortunately for Simeons’ pet theory, the vast preponderance of studies examining the effectiveness of HCG in the treatment of obesity found absolutely no effect. For example, a 1976 paperin the Journal of the American Medical Association performed a rigorously controlled, double-blind crossover study examining the effects of HCG on weight loss in obese individuals undergoing very low calorie diets. In a double-blind study, neither the patient, nor the physician, knows whether the patient is receiving HCG or a placebo. What were their results? Both groups lost a significant amount of weight (not surprising given subjects were only consuming 500 kcal/day), however there was no difference in weight loss between the HCG and placebo treatments.

However, sites which promote HCG such as the HCG Diet Info Blogclaim that it doesn’t matter if there was no difference in weight loss – HCG promotes fat loss, and preserves muscle mass. So both groups might have lost the same weight, but the HCG group might have lost more fat, and preserved more muscle than the other group. Luckily, the above paper examined this possibility as well, and report that there was no difference in fat loss between the HCG and placebo treatments. So, this study strongly suggests that HCG does not enhance fat loss, nor does it preserve muscle mass.

Ok, that’s only one study, and to be fair there is one study by Asher and Harperwhich suggests that HCG might have some effect on weight loss. However, that is the only well designed study to show such a link, while numerous other studies have shown conclusive evidence that HCG does not enhance weight loss, reduce hunger, or increase the sense of well-being. For example, a meta-analysis in the British Journal of Pharmacology examining all of the research on HCG concluded that:

there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight loss or fat redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being.

Interestingly, they report that most of the studies were of poor methodological quality, and of the 12 studies with the strongest methodologies and proper controls, 11 showed HCG to be utterly useless in inducing weight or fat loss. Additionally, they point out that the use of HCG is also unethical, given that “HCG is obtained from the urine of pregnant women who donate their urine idealistically in the belief that it will be used to treat… infertility”. That’s right – it comes from the urine of pregnant women!

That’s not all. An editorial by John Ballin and Philp White in the Journal of the American Medical Associationtitled “Fallacy and Hazard” claims that “no rational basis exists for [HCG] use in weight reduction, except as placebo“. Further “Weight loss under the Simeons regimen can be attributed solely to the semistarvation diet that is required”, a diet which is so restricted as to raise safety concerns. Finally, they claim that way that Simeons weight clinics are run “pose serious questions for physicians who participate in them”.

But if the evidence clearly suggests that HCG is completely useless in the treatment of obesity, why is HCG so popular? Well, it may have something to do with its inclusion in Kevin Trudeau’s book “The Weight Loss Cure”, which has been dissected by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff and others in the past.

Interestingly, the best argument against the use of HCG therapy actually comes from the companies which peddle the product. For example, the disclaimer on the website of Trim You, a company that certifies and promotes weight loss clinics adhering to the original Dr Simeons Diet Protocol reads thusly:

” The FDA has not approved HCG Therapy to lose weight. “HCG HAS NOT BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO BE EFFECTIVE ADJUNCTIVE THERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF OBESITY. THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT IT INCREASES WEIGHT LOSS BEYOND THAT RESULTING FROM CALORIC RESTRICTION, THAT IT CAUSES A MORE ATTRACTIVE OR “NORMAL” DISTRIBUTION OF FAT, OR THAT IT DECREASES THE HUNGER AND DISCOMFORT ASSOCIATED WITH CALORIE-RESTRICTED DIETS.””

Enough said.

Travis Saunders

Want to hear an internist’s point of view on HCG for weight loss? You’re in luck! Peter Lipson, M.D., (a board certified internist and clinical assistant professor of medicine in the Midwest) wrote an excellent little piece on the issue:

hCG diet: Weight loss is hard, and human pregnancy hormone won’t change that

Is injecting yourself with human pregnancy hormone a good idea? Certainly not! But unfortunately we need to look a little more closely.

hCG Diet is Too Good to be True

Here’s a little tip for you: if a diet sounds too good to be true, then it is. Weight loss is very hard, unless you are very sick. In fact, a colleague of mine ran into a friend who had lost a lot of weight and said, “You’re OK, aren’t you?” As an internist, when I see dramatic weight loss, my first thought is cancer, not a wildly successful new diet. But all of us overweight types wish there were an easy way.

There isn’t. A friend of mine heard about a diet that involves extreme calorie restriction along with injections of human chorionic gonadotrophic hormone(hCG). My first thought was if you restrict yourself to 500-800 calories per day, it doesn’t matter what you inject — you’re going to lose weight. But as is the usual pattern with psuedo-scientific woo, each time you try to rebut it, there is a new claim.

For example, when you point out that starvation diets will always make you lose weight, they say that this onemakes you not hungry. When you say that it sounds dubious, they say that it not only makes you not hungry, it causes you to somehow lose weight where you want it, and keep it where you like it.

hCG Diet Promoter was Accused by the FTC of Deceptive Advertising

So what experts are behind this revolutionary diet? Well, the biggest proponent appears to be Kevin Trudeau, the infomercial guy who went to jail for fraud. The company that marketed his book has also had an injunction levied against it by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive advertising. What kind of claims is he making?

Now, for the first time in fifty years, this revolutionary breakthrough discovery, which permanently cures the condition of obesity, is being released to the public.

Richard Dawkins has a great statement about claims like this one:

If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can’t do it. You are a fake.

As fate would have it, scientists have actually investigated this “miracle cure for obesity.”

Not only is the diet no more effectivethan calorie restriction alone, the hCG also doesn’t affect hunger or other more subjective factors of dieting.

Look, no one likes being obese, and despite what fake experts like Sandy Szwarcsay, it’s bad for you. But there is no magic. To lose weight, energy in has to be less than energy out, and when you do that, you will feel hungry. It sucks, it’s hard, but at this point, it’s all we’ve got.

SOURCES:

http://scienceblogs.com/obesitypanacea/2010/03/human_chorionic_gonadotropin_h.php

http://calorielab.com/news/2008/04/27/news-flash-weight-loss-is-hard/


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