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Healthy Eating

5 Plant-Based Meat Alternatives a Week Can Boost Gut Health



Attention all flexitarians or fans of vegetable meat. Maybe you are on the right track. A new study shows that consuming plant-based meat five times a week is enough to improve intestinal health and switch the bacterial balance in your body from “unhealthy” to “healthy”, which in turn helps prevent disease.

If you’re a hardcore whole food herbivore who prides itself on making homemade, colorful meals using vegetables and whole grains or legumes – and never touching those store-bought meatless alternatives – you’ll likely turn up your noses at the fake meat out there . But before you dismiss the value of pea-based patties, it turns out they can have some powerful health benefits for people who would otherwise eat red meat.

These plant-based meat brands like Beyond, Impossible, and others often get a bad rap from both meat eaters (who point out the long list of ingredients added) and health conscious vegans (who say they’d rather eat whole foods, thank you), because it’s ultra-processed, just as rich in saturated fat as the original, or uses genetically modified ingredients to recreate the taste and texture of meat. If “real food” is your mantra, you are likely avoiding it.

Study shows plant-based meat alternatives can help shift the microbiome

A new study found that swapping just five meat-centric meals a week for plant-based alternatives has the surprising effect of boosting your gut bacteria – in just four weeks. This is encouraging news for anyone who considers themselves flexitarians or who are gradually trying to move to a more plant-based approach for health, environmental, or ethical reasons.

The researchers, who conducted the study, published in the journal Foods, observed positive changes in the microbiome that, according to previous health research, may contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease, among other conditions related to inflammation and bowel health impede.

The study sheds new light on the health profile of plant-based meat alternatives and whether we should view them as highly processed foods or as a better choice than real meat.

The PBMA [plant-based meat alternatives] increased butyrate production pathways, which research has shown is beneficial for reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and CVD [Cardiovascular Disease]and obesity, concluded the study’s lead author, Miguel Toribio-Mateas, a clinical neuroscientist with a background in nutrition, gut microbiome and brain health in the School of Applied Sciences at London South Bank University.

The meat alternatives are designed to help people get off meat consumption

When asked for advice for anyone considering a flexitarian diet or trying to eat less meat but enjoying the plant-based meat alternatives on the market, Toribio-Mateas replied, “I would say that there is a whole health condition or that it lacks many products. “

“The PBMAs included in the study were convenience products that could make people’s lives easier,” he told The Beet in an exclusive email interview. “I wouldn’t recommend that people eat them at every meal every day, but I hope those who read the study understand that even foods considered by many to be highly processed can be fine for your microbiome . “

“On that basis, Toribio-Mateas added,” I hope these people relax a bit because we are very concerned about food and we need to focus on enjoying it rather than over analyzing it. “

He adds that the best diet is full of plant-based foods, but these popular meat alternatives can be a step in that direction and lead to better gut health. “We all start from a different point of view, and that has a huge impact on the ability of microbes to colonize a person’s intestines.”

19 grams of extra fiber per week increased short-chain fatty acids

The study was a relatively small randomized controlled trial of 40 participants with no underlying health conditions. Half of the participants were given plant-based meat alternatives (PBMA) in a flexitarian “real world” scenario in which they can choose how many meals they want to swap. The scientists analyzed stool samples before and after the four-week intervention to see if their microbiome had changed.

On average, participants ate five PBMAs per week, which increased their fiber intake by 18.98 grams. Compared to the control group who ate their usual diet, the 20 participants who ate PBMAs had an increase in the ways that produce a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) called butyrate.

Butyrate regulates body weight, prevents diabetes and strengthens the immune system

Our gut microbes ferment fiber in foods to produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These are fatty acids with fewer than 6 carbon atoms that are formed when the “good” intestinal bacteria ferment dietary fiber in the large intestine. One particular SCFA, butyrate, plays a vital role in promoting health and fighting disease.

Butyrate is the main source of energy for the cells in the colon, keeps the intestinal lining and intestines healthy and prevents inflammation. In addition, research shows that adequate production of butyrate regulates body weight and energy, prevents obesity, diabetes and fatty liver, and strengthens the immune system.

A plant-based diet high in legumes, vegetables, and whole grains provides the soluble and insoluble fiber that gut bacteria need to make this hugely beneficial SCFA. The PBMA products in the study provided contained a range of soluble and insoluble fiber from chicory root, carrot, pea, and potato. In addition, the phytonutrients in pea protein and pea flour, which are the basic components of PBMAs, modulate the gut microbiome and help in the production of short-chain fatty acids, according to the authors.

Is Vegetable Meat Ultra-Processed Or Healthy?

As a nation, we eat too many highly processed foods, and they add a shocking two-thirds of children’s diets. Health experts like the American College of Cardiology warn us that every extra serving of highly processed food increases the risk of cardiovascular mortality by nine percent.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s NOVA classification defines ultra-processed foods as formulations of ingredients made by a number of industrial techniques and processes. This usually means using cheap, high-yielding ingredients like corn and wheat, adding sugars, fats, additives and colorings, and shaping and pre-frying them into personable and addicting products.

Although some manufacturers use these processes to produce plant-based meat alternatives, the authors of the new study argue that the mere industrial processing of ingredients of plant origin does not make the resulting plant-based meat alternative fall into the “ultra-processed” category, “foods that are high in sugar or otherwise Contain ingredients that harm gut health.

What about saturated fats in artificial meat?

The ingredients in counterfeit meat products vary widely by brand, and some contain higher amounts of saturated fat, salt, and added sugar than others or meat products. The plant-based burgers, sausages, meatballs, and ground beef the scientists used in the new study were made mostly of pea protein, but some products contained rice and soy protein, and their saturated fat (from coconut oil) ranged from 11.9 grams to 14, 8 grams of grams per 100 grams.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to no more than 13 grams per day, based on a diet of 2,000 calories. However, if you swap a regular burger for a plant-based alternative, you are likely reducing your total saturated fat, and some experts suggest that while coconut oil increases LDL (called “bad”) cholesterol, it also increases beneficial HDL (good cholesterol) and can protect the heart if it is part of a balanced diet.

Toribio-Mateas cautioned against extrapolating more from the study other than saying, “Science points to the benefits of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. This could be because we lack long studies that involve participants over many months or even for years instead of weeks and compare the omnivores with vegan cohorts, with the same gender, age, BMI, etc. “

Toribio-Mateas pledges that the Bowels & Brains Lab, which he co-founded with Senior Food Scientist Adri Bester, Academic Director of the London Agri-Food Innovation Clinic (LAFIC), will provide further research.

Conclusion: Vegetable meat alternatives seem to promote intestinal health

Replacing meat products with plant-based meat alternatives five times a week could boost your gut bacteria, help you maintain a healthy weight, and lower your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

If you’re switching to a flexitarian plant-based approach, add fiber-rich vegetables to every meal and don’t be afraid to use some healthy plant-based burgers and sausages!

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Healthy Eating

Craving food vs. choosing food – FIT Talk With Tania



Photo: Contributed

When we use food to create hormonal balance instead of dieting, amazing things happen to our health.

When it comes to food, here in North America and in all of the First World countries we have choices – an overwhelming variety.

Aside from the rush for toilet paper over the past year, how many times have you gone to the grocery store and seen empty shelves? It never happens.

Some call it a blessing, some blame it on their poor food choices.

Regardless of where you sit on this food spectrum, we know for sure that we should be one of the healthiest nations on earth. But we are not. As a wealthy First World country, we have an abundance of food, but the vast majority of the population is nutritionally starved. One wonders how that can happen. It all depends on the choice.

Many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, digestive problems and leaky gut are all referred to as lifestyle diseases today. Why? Because the lifestyle that the individual has chosen over time is what caused the disease.

It would therefore seem logical that if our decisions could have a negative outcome, it would seem reasonable that they could elicit a positive response as well. And there is science to back it up.

A study published on the NCBI website by the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, shows how diet and lifestyle changes are key to reversing these lifestyle ailments and restoring general health.

“But Tania,” you say, “there is heart disease in my family, so sooner or later I’ll get it.”

So why not do it as late as possible?

And to address the genetic elephant in the room, our DNA only controls about 20 percent of the result of our health. Some scientists are now saying that it is even less. This means that we have about 80 percent control over the outcome of our health. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

So why do most of our population continue to make poor food choices?

There are two aspects that play a role in how and what we eat – physiological and psychological.

The way our bodies are made up, our physiology requires us to ingest food. When we deprive our body of what it needs – restricting calories, removing food groups, forgetting to eat, skipping meals, eating junk food – blood sugar crashes and appetite hormones like leptin and grehlin are out of whack. .

However, the brain – the psychological component – still needs nourishment.

When we withdraw the energy it needs from our body, Grehlin goes into full swing and causes the brain to tell the body that it needs food quickly. Leptin, which normally tells us when we are full, is switched off.

Hello cravings and overeating. And then people are most likely to resort to packaged, processed, and / or sugary foods rather than healthy, healthy foods. It is a good thing to ignore cravings for bad food, but if you don’t refuel with good food on a regular basis throughout the day (for whatever reason – time, working late, dieting), your body will get its own Muscles take it away to form glucose and send it to the brain. Oh, and for your information, in case you’re wondering, it won’t take away from your stored fat.

It is quite difficult to make good food choices when hormones and “hangry” feelings are working against you when you demand to be fed as soon as possible. The thing is, you can get these hormones to work in your favor, to work with your body and brain to get rid of cravings, overeating, and spontaneous snacking. Believe it or not, you do it with food. The thing is, when food is used to restore hormonal balance, health happens.

Hormones are balanced when blood sugar levels are stabilized. And the way to stabilize blood sugar is to eat small, macro-balanced meals every three to four hours throughout the day.

I call this all three PFCs. Simply put, it’s a balanced mix of high-quality protein, healthy fat, and colorful carbohydrates combined within an hour of waking up and then every three to four hours throughout the day until about an hour and a half before bed.

It’s a simple concept that requires a little organization and preparation to get started, but the benefits are well worth it.

Blood sugar levels become normal, hormones are balanced, menopausal symptoms are minimized or eliminated, inflammation is reduced, joint pain is relieved, digestion is improved, cholesterol and blood pressure are normalized, the immune system is improved, it could help reverse some diseases, the Metabolism will turn on and stay on and the body will release stored fat and burn it for energy.

Just a little trivia for you – Did you know that for every pound of fat, there are 3,500 calories of stored energy waiting to be consumed? And as soon as the stored fat is broken down, will the excess weight that you possibly carry also be released?

It’s a wonderful side benefit that occurs when you stop dieting and focus on creating health.

Do you want to create health in your body? Join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes Facebook group today.

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Healthy Eating

The Surprising Snack You Should Avoid Because It Causes Bloating And Fatigue Throughout The Day



Snacking is a normal and healthy part of any diet, as long as you choose the right snacks. When deciding which foods to include in your diet to bridge the gap between meals, it is important to choose nutrient-rich ingredients that can help boost your energy levels and support an increased feeling of satiety to help you achieve the Avoid consuming excess calories throughout the day.

However, not all high macronutrient density snacks are actually ideal for weight loss, and some can make sweeping claims while they may get in the way of your weight loss success or even cause weight gain, inflammation, and discomfort. If you are struggling with a tight and bloated stomach after snacking, there comes a point where nutritionists agree that you should consider eliminating it from your diet.

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Protein is hands down one of the most important nutrients to include in any balanced diet, but the way you consume your protein is important to consider. While protein bars are a simple snack, they are generally not well suited to promoting weight loss and wellness, and are often full of preservatives, excess carbohydrates, and added sugars, but they can make inflammation in your body worse.

“Unfortunately, the quality of most bars on the market is very poor and should not be considered healthy,” warns registered dietitian Trista Best. “The vast majority are made up of refined carbohydrates, sugar and gluten, all of which can lead to gas and fatigue . “

If you’re snacking on a protein bar, chances are you’re looking for a quick protein boost and enough energy to get you through to your next meal. However, opting for a bar over a naturally occurring source of protein can come with a number of side effects, many of which are uncomfortable for the body. “As the body works to process these ingredients, it becomes inflamed, especially the intestines, and this inflammation leads to gas and fatigue, among other things,” says Best.

Although gas isn’t directly related to weight gain, it can make your body feel uncomfortable and negatively affect your mental health. If you feel that your clothes are tighter you may be inclined to ditch your healthy eating plan, but it is better to identify the foods that are causing these problems rather than assuming your weight loss plan will fail.


Since protein bars are often filled with additives and excess sugar, they can also have an inverse effect on your metabolism, making it difficult to burn fat at rest and consequently, weight gain over time. This snack may go well with your healthy diet as it provides one of the most important macronutrients you need to streamline your diet, but at the end of the day, getting your protein from more natural sources like chickpeas will serve you better Salad, lean meat, or even Greek yogurt.

These foods are more likely to keep your body energized while also being low in calories, sugar, and unhealthy preservatives, making them better at limiting inflammation, fatigue, and weight gain.

If you’ve just finished a difficult workout or are severely low in calories for the day, a low-sugar, high-protein bar may not be the worst option for getting a quick burst of energy. However, make sure that you don’t rely on this highly processed snack in your daily diet to banish gas, unnecessary fatigue, and discomfort and try to find more natural alternatives to give your body the energy it needs needed to make it between meals.

As with any food, you can enjoy protein bars in moderation and still see success with your healthy diet, but contrary to popular belief, in order to feel optimal about your body, they shouldn’t be a part of your diet. A good rule of thumb is to eat as many natural, whole foods as possible, and there are a variety of different sources that will benefit your body in the long run.

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Healthy Eating

1 in 5 Parents Too Busy to Cook During Pandemic: Fast, Healthy Options



Share on PinterestA new study found that many parents say their children were more likely to eat fast food during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, health experts say there are alternatives to eating that are quick, easy, and nutritious. mixetto / Getty Images

  • According to a new survey, one in five parents said they were feeding their children more fast food than before the pandemic.
  • Parents of overweight children reported eating out at least twice a week.
  • The reasons given were being too busy or too stressed.
  • However, experts say that having a healthy meal at home doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.
  • They suggest that working on healthy behaviors rather than dieting is the best approach for children.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families found options for healthier diets and more physical activity.

For others, however, it meant more stress and less exercise as the home shifted to school and work.

This has also made it difficult for parents to find the time or energy to prepare always nutritious meals at home.

According to the University of Michigan Health’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital national child health survey, roughly one in five parents said their children had started eating fast food more often than before the pandemic.

The survey, which included responses from 2,019 parents of children aged 3 to 18, found that roughly one in six parents said their child eats fast food at least twice a week.

Parents who reported their children were overweight also reported their children ate fast food twice a week, compared to parents who reported their child was a healthy weight for their age and height.

When asked why they couldn’t prepare meals at home, around 40 percent of parents said they were just too busy.

About a fifth of parents said they felt too stressed.

These barriers to eating healthy have been most commonly reported by families with overweight children.

However, nutritionists say putting together a healthy meal at home doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. It doesn’t necessarily have to be cooked once.

Dr. Mary-Jon Ludy, Chair of the Department of Public Health and Associated Health at Bowling Green State University’s College of Health and Human Services and Associate Professor of Food and Nutrition, suggests using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a starting point for planning your meals.

“In summary, half of our plates should be filled with fruits and vegetables, half of our grains should be whole, proteins should be lean, dairy products should be low in fat, and variety is encouraged,” said Ludy.

Some of the simple meal suggestions Ludy offered included:

  • For breakfast, low-fat natural yogurt with fresh or frozen fruits, chopped nuts and whole grain muesli.
  • For lunch, a nut butter sandwich on wholemeal bread filled with sliced ​​apples or bananas, with baby carrots or cucumber as a side dish and a low-fat milk to drink.
  • For dinner, whole grain tortillas with black beans or shredded chicken, brown rice, avocado puree, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and grated cheese.
  • As a snack between meals, hummus with sliced ​​peppers or whole grain crackers.

“These are great options,” said Ludy, “because they require minimal prep time, healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins are balanced, have a variety of fillings / additives, and are simple enough to involve children in prep.”

Therese S. Waterhous, PhD, RDN, CEDRD-S, an in-house eating disorders expert in Corvallis, Oregon, said the best way to lose weight, especially in children, is to take a nutrition-free approach. Diets don’t work, she explained, and most people put back any weight they lose.

“Instead of dieting, it’s good to choose healthy behaviors and work on them,” she said.

She said food shouldn’t be taboo when eating, but rather focus on optimizing health so that children can grow and reach their potential.

She suggested that making young children or teenagers feel bad about their bodies was “critical”. This leads to stress and, in some cases, eating disorders.

“Weight stigma is very harmful to children and is prevalent in our society,” said Waterhous. “Instead of focusing on weight, it is best to focus on these health behaviors.”

Instead of demonizing certain foods, focus on getting enough fuel, enough protein, enough vitamins and minerals, she said.

In particular, she said, most young people are not getting enough products that provide essential nutrients and fiber. She suggests adding two to three servings of vegetables or fruit to each meal. One serving is about 1/2 cup or a medium-sized piece of fruit, she added.

However, even with the best of intentions, there can be times when a quick meal at a restaurant is the option that best fits your busy schedule.

Ludy offers the following tips to help you make the best choices when eating out:

  • Add vegetables whenever you can. For example, ask for lettuce and tomatoes on sandwiches, peppers and onions on burritos, or mushrooms and olives on pizza.
  • Choose beverages like water, 100 percent fruit juice, or simple low-fat milk instead of sodas or sweet tea.
  • Opt for side dishes like apple slices or carrot sticks instead of french fries or fries.
  • Order small or child-sized portions.
  • Try to make fast food only occasionally.
  • Model healthy eating for your children by making healthy choices for yourself.

Waterhou also suggests that you can get a sandwich or fried chicken from the grocery store as a base for your meal. Then add simple options like a fruit salad, a mixed salad, or vegetables at home to complete your meal.

To add some starch to your chicken, you could have rice, mashed potatoes, or a slice of bread, she said. You can even prepare your side dishes in advance and reheat them for dinner.

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