Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Five Absolute Worst Things You Can Add To Your Coffee

Our love affair with coffee certainly isn’t a bad thing. The stuff’s been shown to boost memory, mood, and heart health and even lower risk of diabetes. The problem is all the sugary, artificial, toxic crap you—or your obedient barista—use to make your morning mud taste “good.” (Ironically, I wanted to barf after reading the back of a powdered nondairy creamer packet last week). Not sure if your go-to coffee order’s just a cesspool of unhealthy stuff? We’ve rounded up five of the worst add-ins, plus cleaner alternatives that enhance coffee’s natural awesomeness. Because let’s face it: We’re not all badass enough to drink it black.
 Nondairy Creamers
These guys (think Coffee Mate) might just be the worst of the worst. Topping ingredient lists are often corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which mimic the mouthfeel of cream, but are way sketchier. Corn syrup essentially equates to sugar and empty calories, while partially hydrogenated oils are just a fancy way of saying trans fats—manmade, artery-clogging, industrially produced fats that have been strongly linked to heart disease and diabetes. If you have to go the nondairy route, go with something like So Delicious Coconut Milk “Creamer”—its first ingredient is organic coconut milk.
 Flavor Shots
Indulging in coffee drinks doctored up with squirts of vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, or pumpkin spice (yep, we went there) is pretty much like shooting up pure cane sugar and artificial colors. One ounce (or about four pumps, the amount in a Grande Starbucks drink) of many Torani brand flavored syrups contains 19 g of sugar. For a flavor boost without the blood glucose spike, try adding a few drops of vanilla, peppermint, or various nut extracts (e.g. hazelnut or almond). They’re naturally sugar free, and chances are you’ve got some in your pantry already.
 Splenda, Sweet'n Low, And Equal
Sure, these zero-calorie sweeteners don’t cause an immediate blood sugar spike and crash like sugar, but more and more studies are linking lab-made sugar substitutes to things like impaired glucose metabolism, which may lead to cravings and up your risk of diabetes. They may also mess up our gut bacteria, which mounting research shows plays a big role in all sorts of bodily functions. Some experts believe stevia leaf extract is likely a safer alternative.
A bit of regular sugar won’t hurt you, but if you’re drinking several coffees per day, those empty calories pile up fast. Adding just 2 tsp of sugar to each of your three daily cups equates to about 48 g total, or more than what’s in a can of Coke. For a squeaky clean alternative, add a few dashes of cinnamon—it has a natural sweetness despite being sugar free. Bonus: Studies show cinnamon can actually help reduce blood sugar spikes, keeping your cravings in check. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try adding cardamom. This spice is commonly added to coffee in the Middle East and lends a more exotic flavor.
 Skim Milk
Hear us out on this one. Skim milk might not necessarily be “bad,” but mounting research suggests that the full-fat stuff might be better. One recent study found that people who regularly consumed whole-fat dairy ate fewer carbs over the course of 4 years, while those who loaded up on mostly low- and nonfat dairy ate significantly more carbs. And if those carbs are coming from less-than-ideal places (hello, sugary cereal), that may lead to weight gain. In the second study, regularly eating whole-fat dairy was associated with a 23% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, while consuming low- and nonfat was not, possibly because specific fatty acids in dairy help prevent the disease. So go ahead, consider this permission to drink a (gasp!) regular latte.

New Studies Affirm Guidelines for Wider Use of Statins

New guidelines for prescribing cholesterol-lowering medications are efficient and cost-effective, according to two new studies.The new research, published in JAMA, examines the 2013 recommendation that people ages 40 to 75 with at least a 7.5 percent risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years receive statin drugs.“We decide to look at this, because we felt it would be great to provide some information on how the guidelines actually work when you look at the (previous) guidelines,” said Dr. Udo Hoffmann, the senior author of one study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.In addition to people with a 7.5 percent risk for heart attacks or strokes, the 2013 guidelines — issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association — advise statins for people with cardiovascular disease, for diabetics between ages 40 and 75, and for adults with high levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Hoffmann and his colleagues say the new guidelines would result in 12.8 million more Americans being treated with statins, which include, for example, Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin).The researchers looked at 10 years of data on nearly 2,500 people who were not taking statins. Under the new guidelines, 39 percent would have been eligible for statin therapy, compared to 14 percent under the old guidelines.During the course of the study, 74 patients, or 3 percent, had cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes.When the researchers looked more closely, they found that cardiovascular events had occurred significantly more often in patients who would have been advised to take statins under the new guidelines.Specifically, the rate of heart attacks and strokes was 6.3 percent in the group that would have been candidates for statin treatment, compared to 1 percent among patients who wouldn’t be statin candidates under the new guidelines.
The researchers say their findings show the new guidelines were more accurate and efficient at identifying people with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.Applying their results to the U.S. population, the researchers estimate that between 41,000 and 63,000 cardiovascular events would be prevented over 10 years if the new guidelines were followed.In a second study, also published in JAMA, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston also found the new guidelines were cost effective.Using a computer simulation, Ankur Pandya and colleagues found the 7.5 percent risk threshold over 10 years would cost about $37,000 per quality-adjusted-life-year (QALY) gained.A QALY is a standard measure of how much a treatment or intervention costs to earn one year of healthy life. In general, policymakers historically view interventions costing less than $50,000 per QALY as cost effective.The researchers said risk thresholds lower than 7.5 percent would be acceptable if interventions costing $100,000 or $150,000 were considered cost effective.
“We found that 7.5 percent number is actually pretty good when it comes to value and you can actually push it a little further on cost effectiveness grounds,” lead author Pandya told Reuters Health.
Based on existing evidence and the new reports, Dr. Phillip Greenland of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and Dr. Michael Lauerof National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, call the 7.5 percent threshold justified and possibly too conservative.“There is no longer any question as to whether to offer treatment with statins for patients for primary prevention, and there should now be fewer questions about how to treat and in whom,” they write in an editorial.Statins come with the potential for side effects, including muscle and stomach discomfort. But research suggests those can be overcome without lasting problems.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

7 Grilling Tips for a Healthier Summer BBQ

We’re likely all on the same page here: Burgers, steak, chicken, vegetables, and even some fruits simply taste better fresh off the grill. And it can be a healthy option — especially if you’re watching portion sizes and throwing on a few veggie skewers, too. But there are some serious health hazards associated with our beloved outdoor cooking method. Check out the cookout tips below for a safer, healthier barbecue.

1. Make time for marinades.
Often made with spices and juices full of polyphenolic compounds (an antioxidant), marinades can act as a barrier against dangerous grilling byproducts. Studies show marinating meat, poultry and fish for at least 10 minutes can reduce the formation ofheterocyclic amines (HCAs), a cancer-causing compound formed when meat cooks at high temperatures.So which one do you grab? One study suggests certain marinades are more effective than others. A Caribbean mixture decreased HCA content by 88 percent, an herb marinade cut 72 percent and Southwest reduced 57 percent. Another recent study found marinating meat in beer reduces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) — the carcinogenic byproduct of grilling meats over an open flame. Black beer varieties, aka dark lagers, were found to reduce PAH formation the most (though pilsners were a close second).Anything that coats the meat and protects it from burning — like oil for instance — is key to keep away the carcinogens that can form when meat burns, says Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, and author of “I always recommend making your own, to avoid additives you don’t need,” she says. Whip up marinades with fresh herbs, healthy oils and citrus juices. “If homemade isn’t an option for you, be sure to read the ingredient list and choose a marinade that doesn’t have a lot of simple sugars, salts and artificial food ingredients in it,” Lanford says.
2. Preheat for longer than you’d think.
Heat up that grill for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking to kill off bacteria and other pathogens leftover from past grill sessions to reduce the chances of foodborne illness. Though it’s easy to believe a little cook time on the almighty grill will destroy any scary stuff, a British study found the average grill contained twice as many germs as a toilet seat (yikes!). Better safe than sorry.
3. Use two cook methods.
Though the grill is supposed to do all the work, there’s yet another quick, simple way to cut back on those grill-induced chemical compounds (like the ones mentioned above). Food purists might cringe, but researchers have found that proteins cooked briefly in a microwave before heading to the grill can reduce levels of HCAs. The quick zap (shoot for one to three minutes) reduces the time it takes to cook meat over an open flame, but you’ll still get that desirable grill flavor.
4. Fight BBQ flare-ups.
To reduce flare-ups, which can expose the air and your food to those carcinogens, start by cutting down on fat. An easy way to decrease the amount of fat making it’s way on the grill is to choose leaner cuts of meat, such as loin, round, flank or boneless and skinless, and trim off any visible fat. Ditch any extra marinade, too. Pouring it over meat may cause spillover, resulting in a flare-up. If flames do reach meat and create charred portions, trim and discard those bits before eating.
5. Measure your temps.
It’s tempting to think grilling over an open flame will have dinner ready in no time. But while grilling is in fact a relatively quick cooking method, it’s important to judge a steak not just by its grill-marked outside, but by the temperature inside. The color of meat isn’t a reliable indicator of doneness, but a thermometer is just about foolproof.The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking pork, beef, veal and lamb to 145 degrees, then allowing the meat to rest three minutes before cutting or eating. (The rest time allows the internal temperature of the meat to continue to rise slightly to destroy any remaining harmful bacteria). Poultry should reach at least 165 degrees and fish should come to 145 degrees at minimum. “When checking the temperature, it’s important to check at the thickest part of the meat,” Lanford says. Remember, it’s always safer to rely on a thermometer rather than eyeball it. 
6. Cut cross contamination.
Tongs, check. Spatula, check. Though a grill set generally includes only one of each utensil, there are two easy and important ways to cut down on cross contamination, or when juices from raw meats make contact with ready-to-eat foods. When placing uncooked meat on the grill, either wash utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water before using them again to remove the cooked meat, or have a second set of clean utensils on hand.
By the same token, use two separate plates — one for raw food, one for cooked — to prevent foodborne illness. And if you have leftover marinade, make sure to boil it if you plan on reusing it after it made contact with raw meat. Even easier — make extra marinade to douse on cooked food rather than save the initial liquid. 
7. Clean it like you mean it.
“Cleaning a grill before and after use can help to ensure the safest food environment,” Lanford says. It’s important to scrape down grill grates to clear off potentially harmful residue that builds up over time and reduce exposure to bacteria growth. Coffee, because it’s acidic, can help cut cooked-on grease in a snap. Plus, since it’s something many of us ingest anyway, it’s a healthy alternative to other common grill cleaning products, such as ammonia.Two other tried-and-true non-chemical cleaning tools are a stiff wire grill brush and tongs. Carefully brush down the grates while they’re still hot — and the grease and any food particles are loose. Then, wad up a piece of paper towel dampened with a little vegetable oil (that’ll keep it from burning). Use tongs to rub the towel along the grill grates to pick up any remaining particles. If you’re in need of a good de-gunking before cooking (and maybe you forgot to clean the grill after the last use) preheat for 15 minutes, then scrape and employ the paper towel method.

Try the Computer Game That Says It Can Help You Lose 1.5 Pounds in a Week

Hey Candy Crush addicts, those super-fast reflexes you’ve been developing can finally be put to use — with a game that research shows can actually help you lose weight. 
Scientists from the University of Exeter and Cardiff University in the UK have created an  online computer game that they say can help train people to resist unhealthy foods. Here’s how it works: You have to repeatedly avoid pressing images of certain items (like cookies) while responding to other images (like fruit and clothes). The end result, researchers say, is that you’re trained to associate unhealthy foods with “stopping” — consequently avoiding them more in real life. 
It may sound too good to be true, but their research has found it actually works on some people. The study, published in the journal Appetite , included more than 80 adults. Those who played the game lost an average of 1.5 pounds a week and ate 220 fewer calories a day. Study participants also reported that they didn’t like the foods that they were trained to associate with “stopping” as much as they did before playing the game.
 Cognitive neuroscientist and lead study researcher Natalia Lawrence, PhD, has been researching the concept for five years and tells Yahoo Health she’s happy it so easily translated from the lab into real life. “I was surprised that people lost weight in such a short period of time — some colleagues suggested this wouldn’t happen,” she explains. 
While most people aren’t exactly clamoring to go on a weight-loss plan, 88 percent of study participants said they would be happy to keep playing the game and would even recommend it to a friend.
But how can pressing keys on a keyboard (or not, for that matter) have such an impact on what we eat? According to Lawrence, the regions of our brain that are associated with reward are also linked to movement. Therefore, training yourself to avoid pressing a key when you see certain foods can make you feel less of a reward with regard to that food. 
Worth noting: The study only included people who said they were regular snackers and had some issues with controlling how much they ate, so more research is needed to determine whether it works for everyone.
Lawrence also points out that the study was conducted over a short period of time, so researchers currently aren’t sure what impact the game may have on a person’s overall eating habits.
Orlando-based psychologist Alan D. Keck, PsyD, says that given what we know about human behavior, the findings make sense. “There are two common behavior-change processes going on at the same time in this game, and both have been found to be effective,” he tells Yahoo Health.
The first — having people choose healthy foods — is typically the most effective for changing someone’s behavior, he says, because it focuses more on what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do. When we’re told not to do something (like don’t eat a bag of cookies), we typically do it anyway, he says. 
The second — repeated exposure to bad foods and resisting them — is a tactic that is often used with people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Keck says: “Every time you avoid the behavior, the impulse to have your usual response to it gets a little bit weaker.”
Lawrence is hopeful that with more research and tweaking, the game could eventually be a new way to help people lose weight. “I think this approach is one promising tool that could help to control cravings,” she says.

Your Quick (4 Minutes!) Total-Body HIIT Circuit

If you’re short on time (and motivation), this is the fast routine that still delivers results
 Summer is in full swing, so we totally get that you’d rather be enjoying drinks on a rooftop while watching the sunset with your pals instead of heading to the gym after work. Our solution: a fast and furious, no-equipment-requiredhigh-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. When your schedule is packed, HIIT workouts are ideal because training at a higher intensity leads to the afterburn effect (where your body keeps burning calories even after you stopped exercising—read more about that here). “Ask yourself, ‘When do I have the most amount of energy?’ and try to schedule your workout around that time,” suggests Ashley Borden, celebrity trainer and spokeswoman Motrin’s Make It Happen Weekends campaign.
To get started, warm-up for a couple minutes with jumping jacks and high knees. Then, perform each exercise below for 40 seconds, aiming to complete as many reps as possible. Rest for 20 seconds then move on to the next exercise. The circuit only takes four minutes, but for the best results, repeat the entire set a total of five times.
 1. Reverse Lunges
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands resting behind head, keeping elbows wide. Step right leg back two to three feet and bend both knees, lowering so left thigh is parallel to floor. Push through left heel to stand and return right leg to start. Reverse the movement, stepping back with left foot. Continue alternating sides.
 2. Squat Thrusts
Begin in a standing position. Place hands on floor in front of you and jump legs back into a plank position. Hop feet forward, landing just outside hands. Jump up, reaching arms towards ceiling and immediately lower into the next rep.
 3. Speed Skaters
Stand on right foot with right knee slightly bent and left leg lifted off floor. Take a wide jump to left, landing on left foot and swinging right leg behind left. Reverse the movement, landing on right foot. Continue alternating sides.
 4. Bicycle Crunches
Lie faceup and place hands behind head. Raise legs to tabletop position. Lift head and shoulders off floor and twist torso to right, bringing left elbow to meet right knee, and extend left leg out at a 45-degree angle. Return through center and repeat on the opposite leg. Continue alternating sides.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

10 Reasons You Feel Cold All The Time

If you’re always wondering why you’re cold all the time, you might want to get down to the bottom of the issue.
Feeling chilly when the AC is blasting is one thing. But if you’re always shivering, or your hands and feet feel like blocks of ice while everyone else nearby says the temperature feels toasty, then it’s time to investigate. It’s common for women to report feeling cold, partly as a result of physiology and also a greater susceptibility to conditions that can contribute to coldness, says Holly Phillips, MD, medical contributor for CBS2 News and author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough. This checklist of 10 reasons your internal thermostat is out of whack can help you get a handle on why you’re chronically freezing your butt off.
You’re too thin
Low body weight—defined as a BMI hovering around 18.5 or under—can chill you out for a couple of reasons. First, when you’re underweight, you lack an adequate level of body fat to insulate you from cold temperatures, explains Maggie Moon, RD, a Los Angeles–based nutritionist. The other thing is, to maintain that low BMI, you have to reduce your food intake so you likely aren’t eating very much at all. Skimping on calories puts the brakes on your metabolism, so you don’t create enough body heat. Consider putting on a few pounds by loading up on whole, healthy foods that contain lots of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.
Your thyroid is out of whack
Add cold intolerance to the long list of health issues you can blame on the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. “Always being cold is a telltale sign of hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone,” says Dr. Phillips. Without the right level of this hormone, your metabolism slows, preventing your body’s engine from producing adequate heat. Other signs of hypothyroidism are thinning hair, dry skin, and fatigue.
Approximately 4.5% of Americans have this condition, and rates are higher in women who have recently been pregnant or are over age 60. If you suspect a thyroid problem, see your doctor, who can confirm the diagnosis with a blood test and get your thyroid out of the slow lane with prescription meds.
You don’t get enough iron
Low iron levels are one of the most common reasons for chronic coldness. Here’s why: Iron is a key mineral that helps your red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, bringing heat and other nutrients to every cell in your system, explains Dr. Phillips. Without enough iron, red blood cells can’t effectively do their job, and you shiver.
Iron is also crucial because a deficiency can make your thyroid lethargic, leading to hypothyroidism, which further leaves you freezing, says Moon. Iron supplements can help, but the best way to boost your iron intake is through healthy food: meat, eggs, leafy greens like spinach, and seafood are the best options, says Moon.
You have poor circulation
If your hands and feet are always like ice but the rest of your body feels comfortable, then a circulation problem that keeps blood from flowing to your extremities might be to blame. Cardiovascular disease can be one cause; it’s a sign that your heart is not pumping blood effectively, or a blockage of the arteries prevents blood from getting to your fingers and toes, explains Margarita Rohr, MD, internist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Smoking can also bring on circulation issues, since lighting up constricts blood vessels, says Dr. Phillips.
Another possibility is a condition called Raynaud’s disease, which prompts blood vessels in your hands and feet to temporarily narrow when your body senses cold, says Rohr. Reynaud’s disease can be treated with meds, but you need to check in with your doctor for a diagnosis first.
You don’t get enough sleep
"Sleep deprivation can wreck havoc on your nervous system, throwing off regulatory mechanisms in the brain that affect body temperature,” says Dr. Phillips. It’s not clear why this happens; studies suggest that in response to the stress of not getting quality snooze time, there’s a reduction in activity in the hypothalamus, the control panel of the brain where body temperature is regulated. A study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology appears to back this up: researchers documented a drop in body temperature in 20 sleep-deprived young adults. Metabolism may be a culprit here as well. When you’re fatigued from a restless night, your metabolism works at a more sluggish pace, says Dr. Phillips, producing less heat and slower circulation.
You’re dehydrated
"Up to 60% of the adult human body is water, and water helps regulate body temperature,” says Moon. "If you’re adequately hydrated, water will trap heat and release it slowly, keeping your body temperature in a comfortable zone. With less water, your body is more sensitive to extreme temperatures.” Water warms you up another way as well. It helps power your metabolism, and a sluggish metabolism translates into less overall body heat. Aim for the requisite eight glasses a day at a minimum, recommends Moon, but always drink more before and after workouts.
You don’t consume enough vitamin B12
This nutrient found only in animal products plays big role in preventing big chills. "The body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through your system,” says Moon. "Not having enough can lead to B12-deficiency anemia, or a low red blood cell count, resulting in chronic coldness.” Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by a poor diet, so aim to get more lean meat, fish, and dairy into your meals. But sometimes low levels are triggered by an absorption issue. If your diet is high in B12 but you shiver all the time, check in with your doctor for a vitamin B12 test.
You’re a woman
Find yourself in a constant battle with your spouse or male officemates for control of the thermostat? Turns out that feeling cold really is a gendered condition. "In general, women are better at conserving heat than men,” says Dr. Rohr. "In order to do this, women’s bodies are programmed to maintain blood flow to vital organs such as the brain and heart.” This directs blood flow toward these organs and away from less vital organs like hands and feet, says Dr. Rohr, which leaves these body parts chronically cold. Science bears this out: a University of Utah study found that though women had a slightly higher core body temperature than men, their hands came in at an average of 2.8 degrees cooler.
You have diabetes
Diabetes that’s not kept in check can lead to a condition called peripheral nephropathy, a constant attack on the nerves that provide sensation to your hands and feet, says Dr. Rohr. "When this develops, you experience numbness and sometimes pain in the hands and feet, and since these nerves are also responsible for sending message to the brain regarding temperature sensation, your hands and feet may feel cold,” she says. Diabetic nephropathy develops gradually, so you may not realize you have it. But if you are diabetic or have symptoms of the disease (frequent urination, feeling tired, and having increased thirst are three classic signs) see your doctor.
You need to bulk up your muscle mass
Muscle helps maintain body temperature by producing heat, says Dr. Rohr, so not having enough muscle tone contributes to feeling frosty. Also, having more muscle mass fires up your metabolism, which fights the perma-freeze feeling. Hitting the weight room at the gym or investing in free weights will help build the muscle that powers your furnace and functions like an internal blanket so you can throw off that wool one wrapped around your shivering shoulders.

Eat THIS at Panera Bread to Lose Weight

With its cozy couches, free WIFI and fresh-baked smells, Panera Bread has always felt a little like your mom’s living room, a place where you can relax with a cup of soup, a turkey sandwich, and nice helping of high-fructose corn syrup.
Okay, Mom might not have used industrial corn sweetener in her recipes. But here’s the good news: Pretty soon, Panera won’t, either. Panera’s head chef, Dan Kish, recently told the New York Times that Panera was removing all HFCS from its foods and beverages — even if that means banning Pepsi. Panera recently told its soda provider, “With you or without you, we are getting high-fructose corn syrup off our menu,” according to Kish.
And while that’s good news for those of us who love to loaf on the bread company’s couches, navigating the chain’s menu still takes a little caution. Although Panera offers a great selection of soups, many of its sandwiches still top the 600-calorie mark, and even some salads can carry up to half of the daily recommended amount of sodium and a day’s worth of fat. (Avocado Chicken Cobb with Ranch, we’re looking at you!) Eat This, Not That! magazine asked a group of nutrition and weight loss experts what they order from the popular fast-casual chain. Next time you’re there, pick up one of the fat-blasting, muscle-building orders below. And keep your waistline toned and tight—in record time—with these essential 7 Best Foods for Rapid Weight Loss!
Avocado, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich
“This 400-calorie meal is a great way to kick off your day,” says Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. “The Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat sandwich is 100 percent whole wheat, which provides long-lasting energy to help fuel your workouts. Plus, you get 12 grams of protein from the egg whites, which will help with lean muscle growth. To top it all off, the avocado is brimming with health-boosting monounsaturated fat and the spinach serves up vitamins A and C.”
Ham, Egg & Cheese on Whole Grain
“When I’m at Panera for breakfast, I like to order the Ham, Egg & Cheese on Whole Grain bread,” says Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. “It only has 340 calories and is packed with protein and four grams of fiber, which helps fill you up. I typically eat it with a piece of fruit for a complete, well-balanced meal.” And start losing weight even before breakfast, with these essential 14 Ways to Wake Up With Zero Belly!
Greek Salad with Chicken
“When it comes to mealtime, I am a sucker for anything Mediterranean, so I would almost immediately go for the voluminous, heart-healthy Greek Salad with Chicken,” says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group. “It’s chock-full of high-fiber veggies, serves up some anti-inflammatory olives and provides staying power thanks to the chicken’s lean protein. With the dressing on the side, this 500 calorie salad goes down to about 300 calories, so I’d take a couple small spoonfuls of the high-calorie, oil-based dressing and leave the rest aside so I don’t go over my 400-calorie meal limit.”
Small Superfruit Power Smoothie + Half Chicken Kale Caesar
“This is Panera’s lowest sugar smoothie, so when I want something on the sweet side, this drink satisfies my craving without overdoing it,” says Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN, a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist based in New York City, who admires its low 210 calorie count, and 34 grams of total carbs. “I pair it with a small Chicken Kale Caesar salad to make sure I’m getting adequate protein that helps prevent a blood sugar spike—and subsequent crash. I ask for the dressing on the side and then mix in about half of it myself.” Speaking of smoothies, melt fat with each sip by making the The Best Weight-Loss Smoothie Ever!
Garden Vegetable Soup + Half Roasted Turkey Avocado BLT
Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, says go for the “pick two” menu option. “It gives you a great variety and cuts the portion sizes—and calories—in half. For 393 calories, you can get a small Low-Fat Vegetarian and Garden Vegetable Soup, Half a Roasted Turkey Avocado BLT on wheat and an apple.”
Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup + Classic Salad
“I typically order a Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup”—which has 230 calories and 17 grams of protein—“with a side salad or an apple,” says Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD. “The soup alone has nine grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein, which keeps me full for hours. Plus, the beans are rich in energy-boosting iron.” Soups, smoothies and teas can lead to major weight loss—we love green tea so much, we made it part of our brand new weight-loss plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Diet and Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in just one week!
Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Chicken
If Lisa Moskovitz, R.D. found herself in a Panera for lunch, a broth bowl would be her top pick. “For only 390 calories, the Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Chicken has everything I need for a filling and nutritious meal. The chicken provides a lean source of protein and the quinoa and vegetables serve up a ton of fiber and protein, too. The combination of nutrients is enough to keep my energy levels stable and my tummy happy for several hours,” she says.
Loow-Fat Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup + Power Kale Chicken Caesar Salad
“Regardless of whether I go to Panera for lunch or dinner, I usually order a cup of a broth-based soup,” says Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, a Chicago area registered dietitian. “Two of my favorites are the Low-Fat Lemon Chicken Orzo (which has 120 calories) and the Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto (at only 90 calories). I typically pair the soup with a half-sized Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken,” which has 260 calories. She also customizes the order. “I request that they mix the salad with just half the dressing and then I add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Since the sodium can be a bit on the higher side at Panera, I typically only eat there on days that I’ve had a good sweaty workout!” To blast even more fat and reduce bloat instantly, don’t miss these essential 8 Secret Superfoods for Weight Loss!
Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread with Chicken
“When I eat at Panera, I like to order the Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread,” which has 340 calories, says Elisa Zied, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Younger Next Week. “To boost the staying power of my meal, I typically ask them to add on some chicken or roasted turkey. The extra protein, along with the fresh fiber-rich veggies that are already on the flatbread, is filling without being high in calories. And the mozzarella provides some protein and calcium.”
Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad
“I like this salad because it’s satiating without being high in calories,” says Elisa Zied, RDN, of the 350 calorie treat, which packs 29 grams of protein. “The fruits and veggies are loaded with belly-filling water and fiber and the pecans provide a mix of healthy fats, fiber and protein — along with a satisfying crunch. This is a great pick for those who regularly eat out because it provides a nice dose of fruits and vegetables that many of us tend to fall short on when we’re not preparing our own meals. I ask for dressing on the side and then use about two or three tablespoons worth to keep calories in check.” Speaking of calorie-saving tricks, try the super-effective, ab-defining “75/25” rule and learn How Maria Menounos Dropped 40 Pounds!
Classic Salad with Chicken
“The Classic Salad with Chicken is filled with wonderful leafy greens and cucumbers that provide vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, fiber and additional phytonutrients and antioxidants that prevent chronic disease,” says Dana Kofsky, a licensed nutritionist. “The cucumbers in the salad are 95 percent water, which keeps the body hydrated and eliminates toxins, and the protein in the chicken aids muscle growth.” And it’s under 400 calories. “I know that I’m getting nutrients from the vegetables and lasting energy from the protein,” seconds Shapiro, who also orders this dish. “Sometimes romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and grilled chicken are all I need.”

The Healthiest New Fast-Food Restaurants in America

Settling for McNuggets because “there’s nothing else to eat” won’t cut it anymore. Here, a healthy, low-cal sampling Roti Mediterranean Grill.
Elegant dining has its perks, but sometimes all you want is to get food off of your mind and into your belly, quick—and that’s when fast-food temptation comes knocking.
The problem is, the faster the food, the less nutritious it tends to be. But that’s starting to change. Although burger joints and mall foods still reign (taco) supreme, a new breed of healthy, fast-casual restaurants are sprouting up around the country. In fact, these nutrition-packed options are growing at 10 times the rate of traditional fast-food joints like McDonald’s and Wendy’s—Americans spent more than $21 billion at fast food restaurants like Chipotle in 2014 alone.
With smart choices like salmon, guacamole and cold-pressed juices available for grab-and-go, settling for McNuggets because “there’s nothing else to eat” won’t cut it anymore. So skip the old-school drive-thrus like McDonald’s and Burger King. These seven Eat This, Not That!-approved restaurants will whip you up something better—and healthier—in no time.
Dig Inn
It’s like: A bizarro world Cracker Barrell, where everything is healthy
Picture a deluxe Sunday family dinner spread, with all your favorite fixin’s—minus all the unhealthy casseroles and pies—and you’ve got Dig Inn. It’s a seasonal market-style eatery that offers delicious, locally-sourced and reasonably-priced meals. You can make your own plate by picking a base (salad or whole grain), a protein (lean meat, tofu, or salmon), and then a few sides, and that’s when things get interesting. On a recent visit, we saw roasted sweet potatoes, pan-sauteed cauliflower, crunchy summer couscous and kale and rhubarb salad. You can get an entire plate of healthy, filling food for around eight to ten bucks—even more reason to dig in.
It’s like: A McFarmers Market
How sweet it is. The menu here is made from all-organic ingredients and sourced from farmers—franchisees form relationships with local providers. As a result, Sweetgreen features a wide variety of salad options and whole grain-filled bowls filled with nutrient-dense foods like quinoa, farro, avocado, shredded cabbage, beets and leafy greens. Or, mix your own superfood salad. Grab a base of shredded kale and organic wild rice and toss them with fresh add-ins like spicy broccoli, snap peas, roasted vegetables or any of these other 8 Secret Superfoods That Help You Lose Weight and Burn Fat!
Roti Mediterranean Grill
It’s like: Your favorite Mediterranean grill, but quick enough for a to-go lunch
Roti Grill’s entire menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, recognized for its heart-healthy benefits—as well as its ability to boost brain health and power up weight loss. Their “Best Plate Ever” dish may live up to its name: A rice plate with chicken kabob, hummus, tomato and cucumber, fresh veggies, roasted red pepper sauce and a house-baked pita. Overall, the meals offer a perfectly-calibrated combination of protein, healthy fats and fiber to fuel your day. A quick visit can have you melting fat fast—along with these essential 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days!
It’s like: A Chipotle where quinoa and spinach replace the Mexican food
This chain made headlines challenging the CEO of McDonald’s to include Freshii’s food inside their locations. Are the meals as good as the marketing? Yes—most are made of lean protein, fiber, healthy fats and slow-burning carbs. You can choose from a wide range of made-to-order green wraps, salads, quinoa bowls, soups, and also fresh-pressed juices and smoothies—or build your own salad, wrap, grain bowl or soup from their long list of healthy bases and toppings. Speaking of smoothies, melt fat with each sip by making the The Best Weight-Loss Smoothie Ever from Zero Belly Diet—it helped many fans lose up to 14 pounds in 16 days!
It’s like: Someone opened an artisanal Five Guys
We at Eat This, Not That! love comparing the nutritional information of one fast food restaurant to another. B. good—a rapidly-growing chain focused on local ingredients—does that also, right on their packaging. And why not brag? Their fries, for example, have 9 grams of fat, compared to 21 grams at McDonald’s and 22 at Burger King—and 95% of the menu is gluten-free. At every location, the menu differs, with the Boston location featuring milkshakes from Cambridge-favorite Toscanini’s, and the N.C. spot serving craft beer from Raleigh.
LYFE Kitchen
It’s like: A celeb-friendly L.A. health food restaurant—in your town
Who better than someone from McDonald’s to out-McDonald’s McDonald’s? LYFE Kitchen—already a huge hit in California—was founded by two former execs from the Golden Arches, who prefer to talk about “taste” and “feeling good,” rather than “health food.” But healthy it is: Every dish is fewer than 600 calories, made with sustainable ingredients, never fried and additive-free. Art Smith, Oprah’s one-time personal chef, created the menu with chef Tal Ronnen. The result is the only fast food place we know that serves wild Mahi Mahi in their fish tacos, and “unfried” chicken strips (breaded but baked), an Oprah favorite.
Fresh & Co
It’s like: A nutritionist made over your local deli
Sensing a theme here? Fresh & Co sources their fruits and veggies from organic, local farms, like Sweetgreen. One difference here is the extensive breakfast menu, which includes a make-your-own omelette option, protein-packed breakfast wraps and even quinoa pancakes. They’ve also got a variety of quinoa bowls—many Mediterranean to Asian inspired—and sweet treats like vanilla chia seed pudding, hemp brownies and a raw vegan goji berry protein bar that puts McDonald’s Apple Pie to shame.

Treadmill Injuries: One Woman’s Story Underscores Importance of Simple Safety Tips

“My nose and face were cut to pieces and my arms were throbbing from burns.”
As was her regular routine, 57-year-old sales exec Yvonne Myers stepped on the treadmill at her local gym for a run. She did not expect, however, for the machine to throw her to the ground the moment she stepped on.
The treadmill’s previous user had not turned the machine off, and the belt was spinning at such a fast clip that it looked motionless. When Myers hit the surface, she tried to get up, but was tossed from the exercise machine instead.
“My nose and face were cut to pieces and my arms were throbbing from burns,” the South Manchester, UK mother-of-four told The Daily Mail. “I also had a gash on my forehead. I looked as though I’d been in a fight."Even regular gym-goers like Myers, who was an avid treadmill user, are not immune to the dangers of this piece of exercise equipment.
This also isn’t the first time treadmill accidents have made news in recent months.
SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died this year in a tragic treadmill accident. On May 1, he fell off a machine while on vacation in Mexico, potentially due to heart complications, and sustained a head injury, according to a report in The New York Times.
We don’t often think of danger when we head to the gym, but stepping on a treadmill always poses risks. In 2014, around 24,400 injuries occurred as the direct result of treadmill use — almost 40 percent of the 62,600 injuries from exercise equipment, making these machines the most dangerous you’ll find in your gym.
Deaths from treadmill use, on the other hand, are much rarer, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data. Only 30 fatalities from treadmills were reported between 2003 and 2012, for an average of just three per yearHere are some checks to make before you start exercising, or while you’re in the middle of a workout, from Michael Jonesco, MD, a sports medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center:
Enter with a clean bill of health.Your top priority before you hit the gym is to make sure you know your health status. “A lot of times we’ll see, if you’re running, why did he collapse?”Jonesco tells Yahoo Health. “The most common cause of falling is a vascular event, like a heart attack. I don’t know this case, but before you start a workout, always make sure you have a clean bill of health. Continue to be screened for coronary issues, even if you feel healthy – especially if you have risk factors like age, being male, or a high-stress job.”
Beware of strange symptoms.If you’re on the treadmill and you feel any chest pain, any shortness of breath beyond what you’re used to in a given workout, or any lightheadedness, you need to step off. “Lightheadedness is one most people don’t think of,”says Jonesco. “But it can show you’re not getting enough blood supply to the brain, and be a preceding factor for passing out.”
Don’t add distractions (until you’re comfortable).Besides coronary issues, other reasons for treadmill falls can usually be pinned to distraction. “Usually you have a comfort zone if you’re on a machine you’re used to, but if you’re on vacation or using an unfamiliar machine, you want to take time to get used to it,”Jonesco says. Start your workout at a slower pace, be aware of the width of the band, and ditch the headphones or TV until you find your rhythm.
Use the safety tabs. You know the attachments on the treadmill, that are meant to immediately stop the machine if you step out of line? They might be annoying, but use ‘em, says Jonesco. “A lot of people overlook the safety tabs because they’re clunky, but they’re there for a reason.”Those attachments could prevent a fall, and are especially important if your treadmill is close to the wall in an unfamiliar area. “I like to move the machine away from the wall if at all possible,”Jonesco says. “If you fall and it doesn’t turn off, you can get pushed up against the wall, the band will keep moving and can give you some pretty bad abrasions.”
Keep help nearby. According to the report, Goldberg wasn’t found by his brother until 7 p.m., although he left for the gym at 4 p.m. Although the gym seems pretty safe, still tell someone you’re going — or preferably, take them along. “Have a workout buddy, or at least familiarize yourself with the people around you at the gym or the staff if something were to happen,”says Jonesco. “Keep your cell phone nearby you in case of an emergency.”
Nevertheless, exercise is essential. Just, like anything, don’t take safety as a given. Always be smart about using equipment, says Jonesco. “It’s very sad, and could have been a freak thing,”he explains. “The benefits of exercise far, far exceed the risks.”