Don’t skip out on the Easter Egg hunt this year, because those babies are an essential part of a healthy diet. In the past, eggs got a bit of a raw deal—and we’re not talking about getting whipped or cracked. Eggs were at one time thought to raise LDL cholesterol levels, but research has in fact proven their incredible health benefits instead. Our weight loss physician gives them a thumbs-up as a part of a healthy, low-carb diet.
Read on for five reasons why eggs truly rock.
1. They satiate our appetites. Eggs contain high levels of protein, which helps fill us up for longer periods of time than other foods and staves off those diet-busting cravings. Their whites are a low-fat, low-calorie source of protein and considered one of the best due to their high levels of amino acids. Research finds that eggs are more satisfying than carbs, which according to our weight loss physician, make them an ideal food for weight loss.
2. The nutrients in eggs promote healthy nails, shiny hair and glowing skin. Eggs are loaded with sulfur, which boosts our system with everything from vitamin B absorption and liver function to collagen and keratin production, which results in healthier hair, skin and nails.
3. Eating eggs make us feel happier. Eggs are rich in the B-complex vitamin choline, found in the yoplk, which transforms into bethane in our bodies to help produce hormones that elevate our moods, such as serotonin, norephinephrine and dopamine.
4. They promote healthy peepers. Eggs are packed with two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, that promote eye health, stave off macular degeneration and help prevent the loss of eyesight.
5. Eggs may reduce your risk of cancer. Studied have found that choline, the B-complex vitamin mentioned above, may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
This week, we tested the “Original” Klondike bar. Of course, this is not a low carb or sugar-free food, but I wanted to see how the two varieties of Klondike bar compared. Let me start by saying I would commit any number of crimes for a Klondike bar. It was a taste sensation like no other. There’s a noticeable difference between the No Sugar Added variety and the Original. The ice cream was creamier and the chocolate shell was thicker and more durable. That being said, I still liked the No Sugar Added bar.
I think the food companies have really perfected the taste of the Klondike bar. You hear and read stories about these food companies using flavor scientists to enhance the flavor of their foods, in hopes of selling more products. I have no doubt there was some food voodoo-ism going on with this bar. It really pushed all the right buttons in my brain. I’m sure my reaction to the bar had something to do with the strange list of ingredients found on the box.
For a very simple looking treat (ice cream in a hard chocolate shell), the list of ingredients is a who’s who of polysyllabic compounds. Do I really want propylene glycol monoesters in my ice cream? (This ingredient sounds like a gasoline additive). It’s also reassuring to know that one of the ingredients is “NOT IN REGULAR ICE CREAM.”
Getting back to the original point of food testing. You can see that the blood sugar rise for this ice cream bar was more dramatic than the no sugar added bar. The average blood sugar rose 46mg/dL. It appears that the rise in blood sugar may also have been slower to come down, thus adding to the area under the curve.
You can also see the drop in my ketone levels was much more dramatic. Just out of curiosity, I extended my ketone testing for an additional half hour and the number rebounded to 0.9. I think when you’re in nutritional ketosism it’s fairly easy to rebound after one nutritional “insult.” But if you are much lower on the scale, I’m sure the rebound would take much longer.
Next week, we’ll test the Atkins Chocolate Shake.
Our weight loss physician recommends increasing consumption of vegetables, especially the green leafy type, when you’re trying to lose weight. Spinach is an ideal choice because it has more nutrients per calorie than any other food. It’s loaded with vitamins A, K, D and E, as well as a bevy of trace minerals including calcium and magnesium, which are essential for healthy bones. It’s an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which helps satiate hunger, and more than a dozen flavonoid compounds that have significant anti-inflammatory properties—in fact, research shows spinach boasts anti-cancer agents. The carotenoids in spinach promote eyesight health, protecting against cataracts and macular degeneration.
This recipe for spinach casserole is an excellent way to incorporate this green leafy nutritional powerhouse into your diet. It’s easy to prepare and packed with flavor. Our weight loss physician recommends including your favorite spices to season it to your liking and to boost the dish’s antioxidant content. Enjoy!
1 10 oz. box of frozen chopped spinach
¼ chopped onion
1 tpsp extra virgin olive oil
4-oz package of low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
½ tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt or other spice mixture to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Defrost the spinach and preheat oven to 350° F. Saute the onions in the extra virgin olive oil until they softens slightly. Mix all the other ingredients with the spinach, except for the Parmesan cheese, in a 2-quart casserole dish. Add spices of your choice—some good ones to try are red pepper flakes, thyme, marjoram, sage or oregano.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cheese on top browns slightly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the entire casserole. Makes approximately four servings.
Spring is officially here, which means we can start wearing less clothing and preparing for a fun, active summer. If you’re currently working with our weight loss center and have a spring trip coming up, it doesn’t have to mean the end to your diet. While it’s okay to have a treat every so often on your vacation, you don’t have to throw caution to the wind and overeat. Spring break doesn’t mean spring binge!
An ideal snack contains a combo of nutrients, including protein and fiber, to stave off hunger and provide energy. Below are some great healthy snack ideas for when you’re on the go or on the road that are favorites of members of our weight loss center.
Veggies and dip. When you have that craving for chips and dips, instead try some of your favorite veggies with guacamole or a low-fat Greek yogurt dip. The avocados used in guacamole are packed with hunger satiating omega-3 fatty acids and an array of vitamins and minerals, and Greek yogurt is packed with protein. Choose a wide-range of colorful veggies to pack a serious antioxidant punch—try tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, carrots, jicama, broccoli and any other of your favorites.
A protein bar. Here’s the catch—don’t just choose any protein bar as many of them contain a ton of sugar, which defeats the purpose of having a healthy snack. Look for those that help regulate your blood sugar, such as the ones sold at our weight loss center, so that you avoid those dangerous sugar spikes and crashes that ultimately lead to overeating.
Frozen Greek Yogurt. If you have a craving for ice cream or something cold, opt for frozen Greek yogurt. Your best choice would be to pop a container into your freezer for a couple of hours, though you can buy containers of frozen Greek yogurt at the grocery store. Greek yogurt contains high levels of hunger-satisfying protein, as well as calcium, probiotics, vitamins and minerals.
This week, both of my medical assistants, Chris and Lili, offered to join in with the glucose monitoring. I decided to start the process of food testing with an easy one—a No Sugar Added Klondike bar (I do it all for the sake of science).
There are a number of different ice cream products on the market, but none as iconic as the Klondike bar. I have to admit, I was a bit giddy about testing this food. My favorite dessert has always been ice cream and since going low carb years ago, I’ve only had it on rare occasions. The great thing about eating something you love so infrequently is that it tastes like the best thing in the world. I appreciate those moments all the more.
This No Sugar Added Klondike bar was no exception. At 8 in the morning, it was amazing! I’m sure if I tasted it right next to a “real” Klondike bar, it would be a noticeable disappointment, but by itself, it was fantastic.
As you can see, the No Sugar Added Klondike bar did cause a noticeable rise in our respective blood sugar levels. The average blood sugar rise after the initial fasting measurement was 32 mg/dL, which I believe is fairly sizable. I was, however, able to maintain my state of nutritional ketosis.
Next week: Stay tuned as we compare the No Sugar Added Klondike bar to the Original Klondike bar.
I began the food testing process with two controls; two situations where no blood sugar deviations should occur. This is, of course, to make sure that both man and machine are operating as expected. So first, I did fasting measurements of both blood sugar and ketone. As you can see, there was no rise in blood sugar during the two hours. There were some fluctuations in ketones, but on average, the ketone levels stayed fairly stable throughout the two hours.
The second control demonstrates what happens with eating just protein and fat. The two eggs and two slices of bacon were consumed in the morning soon after awakening. As a rule of performing these tests, I did not consume any beverages with this meal. This was a tough thing to do as the eggs were a bit difficult to swallow without something to drink. But as you can see from the blood sugar measurements, there was no hint of a rise in blood sugar levels. Although there was a small dip in ketone levels, this promptly returned back to starting levels. A possible explanation for why this dip might have happened could be related to the fact that protein does trigger the release of insulin. You can read about this phenomenon in An insulin index of foods: the insulin demand generated by portions of common foods. Higher insulin levels can cause fluctuations in ketone levels; at first causing lowering of ketone levels, followed by rising ketone levels. We’ll have to keep this phenomenon in mind when we test other protein rich foods. The total protein content of this meal was 17.2 gm of protein (5 bacon + 3.6 egg).
Glucose Fasting and Ketone Fasting
Glucose Bacon and Eggs / Ketone Bacon and Eggs
Low-carb recipes are ideal for successful diets and weight management programs—but it’s important to make sure they’re packed with the nutrients your body needs to function properly. The healthy ingredients in this recipe make it a favorite of both our weight loss doctor and our members. Try it out and let us know what you think!
Salmon is an excellent source of lean protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids—these nutrients are essential to diets and weight management programs, as they help you feel fuller longer and help you build the lean muscle you need to burn more calories overall. In addition, salmon contains good levels of vitamins A, B and D, and minerals including iron, calcium, phosphorus and selenium.
Our weight loss doctor recommends a diet that is rich in leafy green vegetables—and spinach is a perfect food when you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthy. It’s rich in immunity-boosting vitamin C, as well as important phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. White beans are another excellent source of hunger-satiating protein and fiber, as well as iron, folate, potassium, magnesium and manganese.
4 six-ounce salmon filets
1 lb fresh spinach
1 can of white beans, drained
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 lemon, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
½ sliced onion
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp champagne vinegar
¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil on medium in a non-stick skillet. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add beans and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Season with Himalayan sea salt and pepper.
Heat the grapeseed oil on medium high and then add the filets. Sear on each side between three and five minutes. Don’t try to lift the filet too soon—the skin may stick if it’s not seared enough. Season with Himalayan sea salt and pepper.
To make the sauce, simply mix the ingredients together and drizzle over the salmon, leaving some to serve on the side. Serve together with the bean and spinach mixture.
When it comes to dieting and weight loss management, physical activity plays a major role—the more movement and exercise that you do, the more calories you burn. Yet what many forget is that regular exercise also boosts your overall health in addition to losing weight and maintenance. You should always check with your weight loss physician before starting a workout program, but once you get the go ahead, the benefits you reap will be well worth the effort.
Many experts recommend at least a half hour of physical activity almost every day. It’s very important for weight loss management, as it helps you use the calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Everything we do burns calories, from sleeping, walking, running errands, cleaning, driving and even eating, but exercise burns more in a shorter amount of time while giving us energy, boosting our mood and helping us stave off chronic illnesses and diseases.
When you’re dieting and trying to lose weight, doing an hour to 90 minutes of moderate to intense exercise is a great way to expedite the process and increase your lean muscle mass. The greater our muscle mass, the more calories our body burns, so performing a significant amount of exercise can really up that overall burn. In addition, exercise can be very critical to overcoming a weight loss plateau and helping to reset your metabolism.
Everyone’s requirement for physical activity can vary, which is why it’s extremely helpful to meet with a fitness specialist or weight loss physician to help you determine the amount that is right for you. However, keep in mind that it can be helpful to vary the duration, amount and intensity of your workouts from day to day. Make sure to switch up the type of exercise you do, with a balanced focus on the three pillars of fitness: strength, cardiovascular and flexibility training, such as yoga, Pilates or gymnastics classes.
At our weight loss clinic, we promote a low carb, high protein diet for a variety of reasons, mostly because it’s the safest, most effective way to go. Today, we’re going to talk about why protein is so important for weight loss management, building muscle and getting adequate nutrients so that our body functions properly.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, which slows down our metabolism and results in weight gain—and for some, obesity. In combination with exercise, protein helps us increase our lean muscle mass and hold onto the muscle we already have. Our lean muscle mass becomes exponentially more important as we age—much research shows that when the elderly do not take in an adequate amount of protein, this leads to a more rapid health decline and chronic illnesses.
The reason protein is so essential to weight loss management is that it ensures that we don’t feel hungry too soon after a meal. It staves off cravings and takes longer to digest. Many studies show that those who eat a high-protein breakfast feel less hungry during the day and eat less calories overall. Since it helps us increase our lean muscle mass when combined with exercise, increasing protein consumption can boost our caloric burn throughout the day.
In addition to its weight loss benefits, protein is extremely crucial to our overall health. It’s a building block of every single cell in our body and is used to build and repair tissues, as well as to produce enzymes, hormones and other important chemicals.
A general guideline we give members of our weight loss clinic is to aim to get 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal. While most people struggle to eat protein during breakfast, try to get it in, because it will make a huge difference in your day.
Since we promote a low carb diet at our nutrition counseling center, our members are always trying to find delicious recipes that can help them achieve success with their diets and weight management programs. When you’re trying to lose weight and attain better health through nutrition, it’s important to eat meals that are rich in lean protein—and chicken is an excellent source. It’s lower in fat, carbs and sodium than most other types of meat, and is packed with nutrients, such as vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin and selenium.
Always be sure to select recipes that call for skinless chicken, as the fat content in the skin can be detrimental to most diets and weight management programs.
The garlic in this recipe is an excellent choice for those trying to lose weight and achieve better health through nutrition—and not just because it adds flavor. Spices such as garlic help boost our metabolism, which increases our calorie burn throughout the day. Garlic is touted for its antibacterial and antiviral properties as well as its ability to help reduce our levels of bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure. It helps our bodies metabolize iron, increases insulin release and regulates blood sugar levels in those suffering from diabetes. In addition, much research shows that garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties may help to regulate the formation of fat cells in our body that lead to obesity.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup low-fat, grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of Himalayan sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and Himalayan sea salt in a bowl. Lightly heat the extra virgin olive oil and garlic in a pan. Dip the chicken breasts in the oil mixture, followed by the bread crumbs. Place in a shallow baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.