Weight loss: does when you eat matter?

open lateWhen it comes to losing weight, many people believe that what matters isn’t the time of day you eat, but rather the total number of calories you eat throughout the day.

However, recent evidence shows that this may not necessarily be true. Two studies published in 2013 found that eating the majority of calories earlier in the day may actually help to improve weight loss results.

Study 1:

Researchers divided 74 overweight and obese women into two weight loss groups, each consuming 1400 calories per day: a breakfast group and a dinner group. The breakfast group ate a larger breakfast, consuming 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at dinner. The dinner group consumed 200 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 700 calories at dinner.

The results: after 12 weeks, the breakfast group lost more weight (2.5 times more) and had a greater reduction in waist circumference than the dinner group. Interestingly, the breakfast group also had greater feelings of fullness than the dinner group.

Study 2:

The second study was performed in Spain, where people eat their main meal at lunch. In this study, the researchers studied 420 obese women on a weight loss program. Participants were grouped into early eaters or late eaters, depending on when they ate their main meal. The early eaters ate lunch before 1 PM and late eaters ate lunch after 1 PM.

The results: after 20 weeks, the early eaters lost more weight and lost it quicker than the late eaters, even though energy intake and expenditure were similar between the two groups.

Why is this happening?

The reasons behind why this phenomenon occurs are still unknown, however researchers have found that gene expression in adipose tissue (fat storage tissue) may follow a circadian rhythm. This means that the storage and mobilization of fat may occur at different rates depending on the time of day.

 

References:

Jakubowicz, D., Barnea, M., Wainstean, J. & Froy, D. (2013). High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women. Obesity, 21(12), 204-2512.

Garaulet, M. Gomez-Abellan, P., Alburquerque-Bejar, J., Lee, Y., Ordovas, J. & Scheer, F. (2013). Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. International Journal of Obesity, 37, 604-611.

Vegan kale caesar salad

IMAG0225This recipe was my attempt to replicate the kale salad found at my local whole foods market. It isn’t exactly the same, but it is pretty good! I find that the salad is best if allowed to sit refrigerated overnight.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (about 8 cups)

2 tbsp tahini

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)

1-3 cloves garlic, crushed

enough water to reach desired consistency

Directions:

For the dressing, stir together all ingredients, except the kale and water. Add water to the dressing until the desired consistency is reached (about the thickness of a creamy dressing). Coat the kale with the dressing. Enjoy!

Nutrition (per 1/8 of the recipe or 1 cup):

  • Calories: 92
  • Protein: 4.5 g
  • Fat: 5.3 g
  • Carbs: 10 g
  • Fibre: 2.7 g

 

Quinoa chocolate cake

Quinoa chocolate cake

This cake was baked (and photographed) by a good friend and talented baker, Iris, in Seattle Washington.  The recipe was adapted from morestomach.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (about 1/3 cup dried quinoa; for cooking instructions click here)
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (200 mL)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

quinoa chocolate cake2

Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients then add wet to dry slowly and mix until blended. Pour the batter into a small pan and bake for 45 minutes at 375 F or until a fork comes out clean when pierced through the middle of the cake.

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving or 1/8th of the recipe):

  • Calories: 158
  • Carbs: 21 g
  • Protein: 3.9 g
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.6 g

Infographic: why coffee and tea are amazing for you

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Guest post: healthy maple granola

Healthy Maple Granola

Written by Dr. Scarlett Cooper, ND (www.drscarlettcooper.com)

As a guest writer on the blog of Dinutrition, I’m happy to share with you today my favourite homemade granola recipe. There are two parts to the reason I love this particular granola and what makes it so unique.  While I was a student at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, my roommate and I created this recipe, and it made for a memorable study break.  We were inspired by the Paleo diet, as we found ‘Paleo-nola’ recipes to be a little too rich for our tastebuds and yet we wanted to create a recipe that was lighter in grains, sugar, and oil than most store-bought granolas.

Staying true to the philosophy of naturopathic medicine, we aimed for balance in our recipe.  Rather than using rolled oats as the primary ingredient, or eliminating grains completely, we complemented them with a wide variety of nuts, seeds, spices, and the natural sweetness of real maple syrup (honey is a great alternative!).

We also used almond cashew butter along with coconut oil and a generous amount of pure vanilla extract to mix with the dry ingredients.  Cashews have a buttery, somewhat sweet flavour, and while using plain almond butter is a fine substitute, the flavour won’t be quite the same.  I recommend trying ‘Nuts to You’ almond cashew butter!

Since this recipe uses a higher proportion of nuts & seeds to grains, it is richer in fat than most granolas, making it more filling and satisfying.  Nuts especially are known for their heart-healthy fats and protective effects against cardiovascular disease, as well as lowering the risk of weight gain and development of gallstones.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.  To good health and good eats!

Healthy Maple Granola

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 3/4 cups hazelnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup cashews, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 3/8 cup almond cashew butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients except cranberries in a large mixing bowl.  Melt coconut oil over low heat in a small pot and mix in rest of wet ingredients.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Spread on a large baking sheet and bake in the oven at 300-325 F (depending how hot your oven is) for 15 minutes; remove and stir, then bake at 250 F another 10-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  If adding cranberries, add them in toward the end and allow to bake for only 5 minutes.

Sprinkle generously on a bowl of fresh fruit and serve with almond milk or yogurt.  Store leftovers in an airtight glass jar and enjoy as a snack anytime!

Dr. Scarlett Cooper is a licensed naturopathic doctor and trained nutritionist in the province of British Columbia.  She works with patients to build a foundation for health, complementing dietary and lifestyle approaches with additional naturopathic treatments, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and supplements. Dr. Scarlett enjoys working with all patients interested in improving their health; she has a general family practice with particular interest in pediatrics, digestive and skin conditions, stress management, and mood disorders. Dr. Scarlett sees patients at Fourth & Alma Naturopathic Medical Centre in Vancouver, BC.  Please call 604.222.2433 or email info@naturopathicdocs.com to make an appointment today!  For more information, visit www.drscarlettcooper.com.

Trying to be healthier this year? 5 tips to get started

low_carb_comic1-300x215Since the beginning of January I have heard many people talking about how they are trying to eat better and are on a specific diet or cleanse. If weight loss is your goal, dieting (severely restricting calories) may not be the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, they do work–in the short term. However, statistics show that 97% of people who lose weight on a restrictive diet regain the weight they have lost (and sometimes even more) within three years.

In addition, weight loss without exercise can cause one to lose lean tissue (muscle).  When the weight is gained back, it is gained back as fat. The result is a change is body composition leaning towards a higher percentage of body fat.

So what is the best way to lose weight permanently? The answer is simple– to make permanent lifestyle changes. These changes include making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your routine and making smarter choices with the food that you eat.

Here are 5 ways to get started on your journey to health:

1. Get moving

If you are new to exercise, start slowly. A great way to start exercising is by walking. Set some time aside in your day to go for a walk, or find some time to incorporate more walking into your day. For example, if you drive to work, park about a 10 minute walk away. The 10 minute walk to work and the 10 minute walk back to your car five days per week adds up to 100 extra minutes of exercise per week.

2. Eat whole grains

Whole grains are much more nutritious than refined grains. In addition, because they are higher in fiber they help you to feel more full, which means that you will eat less. Start by trying out whole or sprouted grain breads, replacing white rice with brown rice, or trying out a new grain such as quinoa, whole wheat couscous or barley.

3. Eat protein at breakfast

Your body is better able to make use of protein if it is eaten throughout the day, rather than in large amounts at dinner or lunch. This is especially important for those trying to gain muscle.  Eating protein in the morning also helps you to feel more satisfied, which means you will likely eat less unhealthy snacks later in the day. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, soy, dairy, nuts and legumes.

4. Have an apple a day

Everyone has heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, science shows that there is a lot of truth to that statement. Eating more apples (as well as other fruit and vegetables) can improve cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of disease, including breast cancer.

5. Eat your greens

Dark green vegetables are low in calories and  rich in nutrients. They contain many vitamins including A, C, E and K as well as B vitamins. They are also rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. These are all nutrients that many Canadians do not get enough of.  To further convince you on the importance of eating greens, check out this article.

The Six Secrets to Weight Loss

dinutrition:

This is a great infographic outlining the principles of sustainable weight loss. A fad diet may work in the short term, but lifestyle changes are the key to long term success.

Originally posted on Strong-Fit-Beautiful:

Infographic-official

View original

What is the best diet?

carb511The question I probably get the most about nutrition is: “What type of diet do you recommend?” When people ask this question they are expecting a simple answer such as Paleo, gluten-free, or vegan.

The truth is that there is no one best diet for everyone.

Here are some of the factors that contribute to my definition of a healthy diet:

1. Adequacy

Your diet should provide adequate nutrients to meet your individual needs. Quite often a diet that eliminates an entire food group will put a person at risk of nutrient deficiency. For example, the Paleo diet eliminates dairy products. If other calcium-rich foods are not included to replace dairy, it puts one at risk of a calcium deficiency. Remember, osteoporosis is an old age disease. Cave men didn’t live long enough have to worry about it.

2. Variety

The diet should include a variety of choices. Not only does this prevent boredom, but it also limits the chance of over- or under-consuming nutrients.

3. Moderation

No food should be eaten in excess and no food needs to be completely eliminated (except in the case of allergies, religion, or ethics). Nutrient excess can be as dangerous as nutrient inadequacy.

4. Calorie control

A diet should provide the appropriate number of calories to meet your individual needs. Diets higher in calories are required to fuel physical activity and growth. If weight loss is the goal, calories should be low enough to promote fat loss, but high enough to provide adequate energy and to prevent metabolism disruption.

5. Enjoyable

The food you are eating should be enjoyable to eat and enjoyable to prepare. Quite simply, if you don’t like the food you are eating it will not be sustainable long-term.

6. Affordable

Your grocery bill should fit within you budget. For example, a diet that calls for multiple servings of meat or expensive powders and supplements is likely not financially sustainable.

The bottom line:

There are many factors involved in the makeup of a healthy diet. Eating healthy should not be viewed as a temporary fix, but as a long-term solution.

Creamy buttercup squash pasta

squash pastaThis dish is rich in beta carotene, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. I made it with buttercup squash, but it would work well with any dense winter squash.

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed buttercup squash (kabocha or butternut works as well)

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

1/4 cup half and half (optional)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 tsp ground cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

4 servings of cooked whole grain pasta (8 cups cooked)

Directions:

Place the cubed squash in a saucepan over medium heat and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the squash is tender.  Drain the water and mash the squash.  Over low heat, add butter or olive oil to the mashed squash and stir. Whisk in the cream, parmesan, cinnamon and sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the sauce to your cooked pasta and stir to coat. Serve as a main course with a side of salad or greens, or as a side dish.

Nutrition (per serving or 1/4 recipe of sauce plus 2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta):

  • Calories: 450
  • Carbs: 83 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Fibre: 9.2 g

Food spotlight: winter squash

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You may have noticed varieties of squash appearing in your local grocery store or market. Here is a short guide for choosing, storing, and cooking this versatile vegetable.

Nutrition:

Winter squash is a very nutrient dense food. It is a good to excellent source of beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamin C (depending on the variety), and also contains folate and iron. It is low in calories and is fat free. For example, 1/2 cup of cooked butternut squash provides 40 calories, 225% of your daily recommended  intake of vitamin A and 26% of vitamin C.

Purchasing:

Look for a squash with a hard skin free of cuts or soft spots and a stem that is still attached. A squash that is heavy for it’s size means that there is plenty of edible flesh.

Varieties:

There are many varieties of winter squash available at the market. Here are a few examples:

Spaghetti: This unique squash is oval-shaped and yellow (and sometimes orange). The flesh is light yellow and stringy, like its namesake. Because of its mild flavour, spaghetti squash can easily be integrated into a variety of dishes. However, it tastes delicious simply tossed with butter or olive oil and salt and pepper, or topped with spaghetti sauce. Unlike other winter squash varieties, spaghetti squash is best if cooked al dente.

Acorn: This dark green, acorn-shaped squash has an orange, fibrous flesh. Popular for its small size, acorn squash is best for roasting with butter or oil and maybe a little brown sugar or real maple syrup for the sweet tooth.

Butternut: This tan-coloured, peanut-shaped squash is mild, solid, contains few seeds and is my favourite for soups.

 

Buttercup: A dark green squash with a rich orange flesh, buttercup squash has a bold sweet flavour and is excellent for roasting, mashing, and in soups.

Storage:

Raw squash (whole): Winter squash can be stored up to three months in a cool dry place. Leave part of the stem attached to help retain moisture.

Raw squash (cut open): Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container and store in the fridge up to five days.

Cooked squash: Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to five days or in the freezer for up to a year.

Cooking:

There is a very simple method for cooking winter squash that can be applied to all varieties.

  1. Carefully cut the squash in half vertically with a large knife (you will be cutting the stem in half). If it is a very large squash, you may need to cut it into smaller pieces.
  2. Scoop out the seeds (you can save the seeds for roasting).
  3. Spread the exposed flesh with olive or vegetable oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for about 30-45 minutes (depending on the size and variety) until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
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