Tag Archives: Weight Gain

Effects of Drug and Alcohol Use on Weight Change

Comprehensive, Evidence-based Guide to Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Weight Gain or Loss

According to the American Psychiatric Association, substance abuse is the excessive use of substances, including alcohol and drugs, that cause an individual to suffer from clinical impairments as well as the dramatic loss of academic, professional, and social skills [1].

Substance abuse also dramatically alters the diet and in most cases, it leads to irregular eating patterns and poor nutrition. As a result, previously healthy adolescents and adults may begin to experience significant health problems shortly after the substance abuse begins.

This guide will describe the negative effects that substance abuse can have on weight and how fluctuations in weight can lead to serious health problems.

Substance abuse affects metabolism

Metabolism refers to the way the body breaks down food and uses it for nutrients and energy. Cells throughout the body must receive adequate amounts of nutrients, including sugar in the form of glucose to use for energy, growth, and repair from damage. Poor diet and nutrition, which often occurs secondarily to substance abuse, can lead to brain damage, organ damage, and different types of diseases [2, 3].

The body cannot store alcohol, so once it is consumed it is quickly broken down to facilitate excretion from the body. Alcohol does not contain any nutrients, but it does contain ‘empty’ calories that often make people feel as if they are full, especially if they consume large quantities of it. Large amounts of alcohol damage the intestinal tract, which then decreases the body’s ability to absorb and utilize vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food that is eaten [4].

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Fluoride in drinking water may trigger depression and weight gain, warn scientists

Fluoride could be causing depression and weight gain and councils should stop adding it to drinking water to prevent tooth decay, scientists have warned.

A study of 98 per cent of GP practices in England found that high rates of underactive thyroid were 30 per cent more likely in areas of the greatest fluoridation.

It could mean that up to 15,000 people are suffering needlessly from thyroid problems which can cause depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles.

Last year Public Health England released a report saying fluoride was a ‘safe and effective’ way of improving dental health.

But new research from the University of Kent suggests that there is a spike in the number of cases of underactive thyroid in high fluoride areas such as the West Midlands and the North East of England.

Lead author Professor Stephen Peckham, Centre for Health Service Studies, said: “I think it is concerning for people living in those areas.

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Cereals That Destroy Your Hormones, Kill Your Energy and Cause Weight Gain

If you care at all about your body and health, I’m sure you already know to avoid the obvious sugary cereals like the flakes with sugar frosting, the fruity sugar cereals with artificial colors, the frosted wheat bisquits, or the marshmallow cereals that so many parents are poisoning their kids with these days. (If they only knew the damage they were causing their kids internally)

However, even most breakfast cereals that aren’t frosted in sugar are marketed heavily as “heart healthy”, “rich in fiber”, and “a good source vitamins & minerals”, like those beloved bran flakes… Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth!

According to our guest Nutritionist that’s studied the biochemistry of nutrition for over 25 years, and how certain foods affect the cells of your body, there are at least 10 important reasons to be extremely concerned about what cereals are doing inside your body. Today’s short article will touch on a few of the important warnings about cereal…

> These cereals destroy your hormones, cause weight gain & kill your energy levels (they may even contribute to Diabetes)

And yes, this even includes those so-called “healthy bran flakes”. Today’s article also shows you 2 incredibly healthy and FAST breakfast alternatives that are MUCH better for your health, your blood sugar and your waistline!

To your health…

Read entire article here…

8 Bad Eating Habits That Contribute To Weight Gain

Have you always struggled with weight? Are you gaining weight? Is your brain swimming from looking into the hundreds of diets, eating plans and weight loss schemes on the market?
You are not alone. More than 2/3 of adult Americans are either overweight or obese.

As we get older weight problems become more common because the metabolism slows down naturally. Also, many do not burn the food they eat because they lack healthy exercise habits. And, many of us have bad eating habits that have been around for some time, and those are sometimes the biggest culprits in weight gain and being overweight.

8 Bad Eating Habits To Avoid

#1 Eating Too Fast And On The Run

Eating too fast is a sure fire way to eat too much.


The reason for this is that the brain takes about 20 minutes to register satiety, so, if you gobble down your meal in 10 minutes the brain does not have time to realize that you are full, so you tend to over eat.

Several brain receptors communicate through the release of hormones when the body begins to receive nutrients and this communication process takes time to complete and register that you are satisfied, full and have in essence eaten enough food.

The key is to take small bites, chew slowly and pay attention to your food. Distractions, eating on the run, or while doing activities, such as, driving and watching TV are culprits in eating more than your body needs.

Paying attention to what you eat and how much is better achieved when you focus on your meal, not on making the next right turn or your favorite TV show.

On top of the physiology of the brain registering satiety, there is also the psychological fact that when you eat on the run you are paying less attention to what you are eating and so you are more likely to overeat.

#2 Eating 3 Big Meals Daily

Many eat more food than their body needs in one sitting. This is a typical culprit in obesity and overweight conditions among kids and adults.

The traditional 3 big meals per day with snacks in between is not the best option for those that want to maintain a healthy weight and definitely not for those that want to lose weight.

Do you know that bodybuilders, whose main goal is to maintain the ideal level of body fat, eat several small meals per day?

They do.

Eating every 3 hours, or 5 to 6 very small meals per day that consist of a lean protein, whole grain (brown rice) and vegetables or most with just a lean protein and vegetables is the most effective way to keep a healthy body weight and to lose body fat as well.

Benefits Of Eating Several Small Meals Versus 3 Large Ones:

• Increases and boosts metabolism.
• Keeps the blood sugars balanced.
• Eliminates ravenous hunger, another culprit in over eating.
• Eliminates crazy cravings because blood sugars are in control.

#3 Using Large Plates

To control portions use a 6” or smaller plate for all your meals. You would be surprised how such a small portion will satisfy you, while controlling calories and the amount of food you eat. Plus, on such a small plate a little bit of food looks like a lot more to the mind.

#4 Eating Snacks Out Of The Bag

This is one of the worst eating habits and it almost always ensures that you will eat too much of that cookie or those chips. Limit intake by serving yourself on a plate or in a bowl a limited portion and take it with you where you plan to eat it, but, leave the package behind.

#5 Eating To Relieve Emotions

Emotional eating, or overeating plagues many. People eat when they are sad, stressed, angry or bored. This results in the intake of food as more of a drug than for its intended purposes, which is for nutrition.

Find healthy outlets for those emotions, such as, exercise, Yoga, therapy, a bath, talking to a friend or mediation, just to name a few, and leave the tub of ice cream for an occasional treat.

#6 Skipping Meals/Starvation

Skipping meals and starvation is something to avoid at all costs. When you skip meals your blood sugars drop and so when you do eat, you will be ravenous and will likely eat way more food than your body needs.
Eating breakfast is most important, and studies have shown that those who regularly eat a meal in the morning weigh less than those who don’t.

#7 Eating Late At Night

One of the most common bad eating habits is eating late at night right before bed. This is because metabolism is at its lowest while you sleep. So, filling up on food right before sleep will not give the body the opportunity to burn it off as it does throughout the day.

And, since most people tend to eat junk, as is typical with late night cravings, it’s important to eat a balanced dinner and then avoid eating at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. If you must have a snack make it healthy, for example, a half a piece of fruit with a large glass of water.

#8 Eating More Than You Burn Each Day

Lastly, one of the worst eating habits people have is eating more calories than they burn each day. While this is more of a lifestyle, than a habit, it is a deeply ingrained habit that becomes one’s lifestyle.
Many are unaware just how many calories there are in the food they eat, nor do they know how many calories they burn per day.

It is important to use an online calorie calculator that takes into consideration your weight, age, height and daily physical activity to figure out how many calories you can eat per day to maintain or lose weight.

Those who are sedentary all day, for example, work at an office and don’t exercise at all, can have a lot less calories and still maintain or lose versus those that have active jobs or do an hour of cardio every day.


The Facts about Carbonated Beverages and the Effects They Have On Your Health

Carbonated beverages have been around for centuries. In fact, the first soda water was invented by an English clergyman named Joseph Priestly. He created the process of adding carbon dioxide to water in 1767. Soda water is of course the foundation for all soft drinks today. Flavors weren’t added to soda water until the 19th century when people began adding birch bark and fruit flavors.

Pharmacists added herbs and other ingredients and billed the carbonated water as healthy. There are many myths and rumors about the impact of soda and carbonated beverages on health. Sometimes these rumors appear to be good. Most times, however, they’re not.

Let’s take a look at the myths and facts surrounding soft drinks, diet soft drinks and other carbonated beverages. It just may change the way you look at soda and what you put into your body. We’ll wrap it up with a few tips to quit the habit and replace carbonated drinks with beverages that are actually good for you.

The Health Effects of Soda and Soft Drinks

Soft drinks contain a handful of ingredients. Among these ingredients you’ll find artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, water, sugar and caffeine.

Weight Gain, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes

While America’s consumption of soda seems to be decreasing, between 1977 and 2002 it doubled and along with it doubled the obesity rate. True, this is a correlation and soda may not necessarily be the cause of the obesity epidemic, but it certainly makes you pay attention to the possibility.

One soda a day adds about 150 calories to your daily diet. That’s 54750 calories annually which adds up to a whopping 15.64 pounds. Think about how quickly the weight can add on if you have more than an average of one soda a day.

Couple the weight gain with the fact that the sugar in soda causes a spike in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels spike, your body receives a signal from your pancreas to release insulin and stimulate your cells to take in glucose. Your cells take it in and then you have a dramatic drop in energy and blood sugar levels. So you crave something sugary, something that your body can break down quickly to provide you with a fast energy source.

You eat something sweet or starchy like potato chips and the process repeats itself. If you’re not burning the sugars as fast as your cells are taking them in, they start to ignore the signals from your pancreas. You start to become insulin resistant. Your body instead, stores the sugar as fat and you develop diabetes.

The good news about this process is that it’s reversible. Stop consuming sugary sodas and starchy treats and eat whole foods instead, and your body begins to respond. Your blood sugar levels even out, your cells take up the energy they’re supposed to and you feel better and lose weight.

Keep in mind that the FDA recommends no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar each day. One can of soda contains all the sugar you should have in a day. If you eat anything else with sugar in a day where you drink a soda, you’re going over the recommended daily allowance and let’s be clear that there is added sugar in everything from soup to ketchup to things that are supposed to be healthy for you like yogurt and milk.

In a single day without drinking a soda, most Americans exceed this RDA. And sugar has been linked to a number of diseases beyond Type 2 Diabetes including cancer, heart disease, mental decline and more.

You’ll hear some people say that a calorie is a calorie and that your body needs sugar. Your body does need sugar but here’s the thing, it breaks down everything you eat into simple sugars. Consuming processed sugar in the place of fruits or vegetables isn’t the same. Some calories are better for you than others.

What About Bone Density?

The second biggest risk to drinking soda is the risk of losing bone density. In fact, there’s a very strong correlation between soda drinkers and the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects both men and women, though due to testosterone’s impact on bone development it affects men less than women. Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to significant bone loss and fragile bones. The spine and hips appear to be particularly fragile which can cause debilitating breaks.

Why does soda cause bone loss? The answer isn’t particularly clear. It used to be believed that the carbonation somehow depleted the bone tissue. However, studies with carbonated water haven’t shown bone loss. It’s when men and women drink soft drinks like coke and Pepsi that they experience significant bone loss.

The average woman after the age of about 40 loses between two and five percent of their bone density each year. Drink soda and you add another four percent onto that number which means that women can lose up to nine percent of their bone density each year. It’s a fast track to a wheelchair and fractures of the hip and spine and can be deadly.

Doctors and scientists aren’t exactly sure why bone loss occurs with soda. There are a few theories. They believe that people who drink soda are replacing other healthy beverages with soft drinks so instead of drinking milk, which has calcium and vitamin D – both bone building nutrients, they drink a soda.

Caffeine seems to play a role in bone depletion as does phosphorus which is found in many sodas. Both caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages do cause bone loss but the ones with caffeine seem to cause more damage.

Tooth Decay, Kidney Stones, Benzene Poisoning and More

There is also significant research to connect drinking sugary sodas with tooth decay. Not only is soda acidic which strips the enamel from the teeth, the sugar from a soda hangs out in your mouth and attracts bacteria and decay. People who drink soda have a higher incidence of cavities.

In 2013 the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology conducted a study that concluded that consumption of soft drinks was associated with a 23% higher risk of developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are more than a painful occurrence that requires surgery. They can cause chronic bladder infections.

When the FDA took samples of 26 sodas they found that the majority of them contained benzene levels that were higher than what the FDA recommends. Benzene is a known carcinogen, it causes cancer. Despite the high levels, the FDA deemed the soft drinks to be safe. (Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20080223130439/http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/benzqa.html)

Finally, drinking soda may cause stroke which can lead to dementia. As you may be aware, the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s are at an all-time high which may correlate with the dramatic increase of soda drinking prior to 2002. It’s also worth noting that dementia rates seem to be declining and that also correlates with a reduction in the consumption of sugary drinks.

What about Diet Soda?

Occasionally, you hear that it’s healthier to drink diet soda than to drink regular soda. That’s debatable. There are so many added chemicals in diet soda that you may be doing more harm than good. So let’s take a look at why diet soda may be so bad for you.

Kidney Problems

According to a decade long study at Harvard Medical School, diet soda causes kidney decline. They studied more than 3000 women and found that women that drank two or more sodas a day had double the risk of kidney decline. They also studied women who drank sugary sodas and while sugary sodas can cause kidney stones, they don’t have the same detrimental impact on the kidneys themselves. Scientists suspect it’s the artificial sweeteners that damage the kidney tissue.

Weight Gain

Studies go back and forth on whether diet soda helps weight loss or causes weight gain. It has been shown to increase a craving for sweets and sugary snacks like potato chips, cookies, candy and crackers. These are high in sugar and can cause weight gain. Additionally, diet soda has been linked to metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is the name given for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Scientists aren’t sure if diet soda alone is to blame for the increased risk or if it’s the lifestyle habits of people who drink diet soda that is to blame. Most people would likely agree that diet soda doesn’t taste good enough to be worth the risk of developing heart disease, having a stroke, or getting type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, according to studies at Purdue University and the University of Texas, the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda disrupt your body’s ability to regulate calorie intake. You eat more when you drink diet soda.

Finally, diet soda has more benzene in it than sugary sodas. We’ve already talked about this carcinogen and the damage it can cause to your cells.

What About Other Carbonated Beverages?

Today you can find carbonated juices and fruit flavored drinks. You can also find an abundance of carbonated water including some that are flavored. Carbonation alone hasn’t been shown to cause bone density loss.

Unflavored and unsweetened carbonated water appears to be a relatively healthy drink. Any carbonated water that has added flavors or sweeteners can be classified as a soda or soft drink and those risks and health problems have been discussed.

There are Some Risks to Drinking Sparkling Water

While sparkling water alone seems to be healthy and safe for most, it can cause problems for some. The biggest problem that some people may experience is digestive upset. We’re not talking about the gas that can be caused from drinking carbonated beverages.

Some people who are sensitive to foods and digestive upset can experience stomach upset from plain old sparkling water. The mineral content can also cause stomach upset and bloating if you drink carbonated mineral water.

How to Conquer Your Soda Habit

For millions of Americans, drinking soda and carbonated beverages is a way of life. A Coke in the morning is often a substitute for someone who doesn’t like coffee. A diet coke goes naturally with your afternoon lunch. And let’s not forget that if you don’t drink alcohol there’s not much to drink when you go to a restaurant.

The truth is that most people believe that they don’t like water. What actually happens is that your taste buds become sensitized to sugar. Humans love sugar. It’s in our DNA to prefer sweet because glucose is our primary source of fuel.

Changing your soda habit can be tricky. There are a few different approaches you can consider taking. The first is to wean yourself from soda.

A Gradual Approach to Quitting Soda

How much soda do you consume on a daily basis? One, two, five? Keep track of the soda that you drink daily and set a goal to quit. Let’s look at an example of someone who drinks three sodas a day.

Week One: Cut back by one soda. If you normally drink three sodas each day, cut back to two sodas this week. Replace one soda with carbonated, unflavored and unsweetened, water or plain water, unsweetened coffee or unsweetened tea. Do not replace the soda with a different diet or sweetened beverage. The goal is to get your taste buds to welcome water.

Week Two: Cut back by another soda. This week you’re only drinking one soda a day. You may feel a bit of withdrawal as your body adapts to less sugar and caffeine. Again, replace the soda with an unsweetened and unflavored beverage. Coffee or tea may help with the caffeine withdrawal.

Week Three: Yep, cut back again. If the prior two weeks have been a struggle, you can cut back to a half soda a day. This means six ounces each day. Or you can eliminate soda all together. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water, carbonated or plain.

Week Four and On: No more soda. Once you eliminate soda from your life, when you taste it again it will taste strange to you. Keep in mind that the occasional soda as a treat is okay as long as it doesn’t happen very often.

Quitting Cold Turkey

Another option is to quit drinking soda all together starting today. No more soda sweetened or diet. This will undoubtedly cause you a few days of headaches and lethargy. If soda has been a part of your daily life for some time, then you’ll experience a bit of withdrawal.

Caffeine withdrawal can be managed with coffee. Sugar withdrawal may cause you to crave other sweets. Don’t give into it. It will pass and you’ll come out the other side much healthier. You’ll have more energy and you’ll experience the satisfaction of cutting your dependence on sugar.

If the bubbles and carbonation are difficult to get over, sparkling water is a great substitute for soda. You can get the satisfaction of opening a can or a bottle, hearing the fizz, and feeling the bubbles in your throat. It’s an effective way for some people to manage the loss of soda as part of their eating and drinking experience.

The Bottom Line

Drinking carbonated beverages that are sweetened or flavored with artificial flavorings and sweeteners is bad for your long term health. Both diet and sugary sodas cause weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and can lead to cancer, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and more.

When there are so many other things you can drink, it just makes sense to cut soda and sugary drinks out of your life. Your health and well-being are too important.