That notion is at once relatable and tragic, in that diet is inextricable from the amount of healthy time we spend on Earth. Improvements in diet are clearly associated with significant lengthening of lifespan and dramatic decreases in risk of most chronic diseases. Combining disease and longevity into the concept of healthspan, the number of healthy years of life—fundamentally more important but less readily quantifiable than lifespan—the data in favor of optimizing our diets are even more compelling. No one is arguing that diet is less than extremely important to health and well-being, but seemingly everyone is arguing as to what constitutes the best diet.
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“If you are looking to speed up weight loss, adding 30 minutes of cardio three times per week will certainly help burn calories and body fat,” says Amie Hoff, Certified Fitness Professional in New York City. Short on time? Hoff suggests a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. “The idea is to push your body hard for a short burst with a period of recovery. I like to have people start with a 10 to 15 second sprint (run, bike, jump rope, run stairs or anything that gets your heart rate up) and then back off for 30 seconds to recover. As you get stronger, you will increase the sprint time and decrease the recovery period. A 15 minute HIIT session can be equivalent to a regular 30 minute cardio workout.”
Whether you’re addicted to your local juice bar or pick up a bottle or two at the grocery store, you should know that even the most natural juices are loaded with sugar. A glass of 100 percent grape juice has nine teaspoons of sugar, a glass of 100 percent orange juice has six teaspoons, and a glass of 100 percent apple juice has seven teaspoons. (Actually, sugar can crop up in a lot of unexpected places. Check out the 10 kid’s meals that have more sugar than a can of Pepsi.)
A daring dieting infusion comes to life with this benevolent blueberry detox drink. The masterful concoction features a delicious core of mandarin oranges. The wedges permeate moisture with ample healing properties, and the slight sourness is decadently delightful. At the same time, a stash of ripened blueberries brings extra antioxidants. These superfoods are notoriously packed with vitamin C and fiber. Each berry gains its navy coloration through the presence of detoxifying pigments. These compounds are known as anthocyanins, and their inclusion in a health regimen can prevent the presence of free radicals and ulcers. To intensify taste, simply squish berries and twist oranges.
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Sodas, as most of the MyFitnessPal community knows, are liquid sugar. They do little to satiate hunger. But that’s also true of many other beverages, including energy drinks, iced lattes, bottled green teas, smoothies, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, sweetened teas and, yes, even those fresh-pressed organic juices from your local juice bar. Most of these contain a lot of sugar and very little fiber to help keep you full. A few hundred calories per day can add up quickly, as many people fail to factor liquid calories into their daily intake.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
"What I don't like about any commercial diet is that the focus is not on your actual food choices," Hogan said. "It's about calories or points or numbers, and that really takes away from your ability to be in tune with your hunger cues and your fullness cues and what you're really craving. If we become more in tune with those things, we naturally consume how much the body needs. Paying too much attention to numbers takes away from that."
So, in the midst of this unexpected positivity, I got an email from Pamela Peeke, M.D. She wanted to have a call and give me some advice. In a very unlike-me move, I did not get to the email. I'm very good about responding to email, which has to be one of the lamest brags of all time, but in a world full of ghosting, I'm proud of my prompt replies. But I messed up, and a week and a half later, I got another email. Dr. Peeke wanted to make sure I got her message.