woman drinking milk

Best Alternatives To Cow’s Milk

Pourquoi La Vache Qui Rit fit? Why is the Laughing Cow laughing: the question long asked by the French to explain the jovial expression of the earring -wearing cow on the Laughing Cow cheese wedges that bear her name. Perhaps she was laughing at all the unknowing lactose intolerant people who were-were suffering digestive problems from eating her product. Well, it seems like the laugh may finally be on the Laughing Cow herself. With the increasing awareness of lactose intolerance, alternatives to cows milk are becoming more widely available and popular, with even the lactose tolerant making the switch, in many cases. Has the Laughing Cow laughed her last laugh? Let’s take a look at some of the competition.

Dairy Milk
Is this the reason the cow is laughing? Maybe not. Many of us grew up on plain old milk from the cows and didn’t seem to fare too badly. Cow’s milk has a respectable 8g of protein in one cup, which is still more than any nondairy option. Nonfat or low fat is a good choice for those who drink more than one cup of dairy milk a day to keep saturated fat intake to a minimum.

Soy Milk
When it comes to subbing for dairy milk, soy milk is a pretty healthy choice. With 45% DV of calcium and 6 g of protein per cup, the soybean and water concoction make for a slightly thicker consistency than cow’s milk, which lends itself well to smoothies and coffee. It can be used in place of milk in most recipes cup for cup.

Rice Milk
When put side by side with dairy and soy milk, rice milk, pales in comparison.The brown rice mixture offering up only 2% DV calcium and one gram of protein, falls short of the competition in nutrient content, and many find its texture too watery to work in recipes which use milk as a thickener.

Almond Milk
A fan favorite, almond milk, made with ground almonds and water, can be found in a variety of flavors and options, including chocolate, vanilla, original, and unsweetened. It’s a lower calorie alternative to skim milk, save for the chocolate flavor and has a higher mineral content than dairy milk. However, if its protein you seek, you may not find what you’re looking for in almond milk. With only 1 gram of protein, almond milk’s protein content is decidedly on the low side. If protein is your concern, check out soy milk with added protein, or supplement with other high protein choices.

Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is the latest item to hit the superfood charts, taking the health food world by storm. Although it is slightly higher in fat than other milk, the calorie count is a reasonably low 80 per serving, and it beats out cow’s milk in both protein and calcium content. However, if you are not a fan of the coconut flavor, you may want to leave this one off the shopping list; the coconut taste is hard to miss, If you want the experience with less emphasis on the coconut flavor, try an almond coconut blend, which will give you a more subtle hint of coconut with the 45% CV calcium of almond milk.

What is your choice when it comes to milk, and more importantly, why do you think the Laughing Cow is laughing? Let us know!

woman baking cupcakes

Vitafiber Is The Latest Health Craze

So much for not eating anything you can’t pronounce. Vitafiber is the newest producer of a nondigestible, sugar-free, gut friendly fiber/ solution for those with a sweet tooth who can’t stomach the gluten or the sugar. While we have been exposed to power bars and candy bars which seem to fall short of the real thing in taste, and are reputedly not even much better for us, the real question here may not be how vital fiber stacks up, but rather, can you say isomaltooligosaccharide? More mercifully known as IMO, this short chain carbohydrate is the secret weapon behind via fiber, and may be the answer to healthy baked goods. Let’s take a closer look at the latest craze in health foods.

What is Vitafiber?
Vitafiber IMO is a low-calorie natural sweetener which provides probiotics ( the good bacteria) and non-GMO dietary fiber for better digestive health. It has all sweetness of sugar, is minimally processed. and is so versatile, it can meet almost all of your baking and cooking needs. Dietary too, Virafibert is free of dairy, gluten, sugar, allergens, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and also meets vegan, halal, and kosher food standards. It is available in syrup and powder forms, making a great bulking agent for your baking creations.

As an addition to your food, you’ll find that Vitafiber has no bitter aftertaste and the 98% fiber content makes it great for keeping full, baking with a nice crispy outer texture and inner gooeyness. Plus, it saves time and money, acting as a sweetener and a binder without the addition of sugar, flour, starch and preservatives and great for your vegan, pale, and diabetic friends.

Vitafiber Recipes

Hemp Seed Microwave Cake
Ingredients (4 servings)

1/4 cup hemp seeds
2 eggs
1/4 cup Vitafiber powder
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients using a hand blender, cook in the microwave for three minutes.
134 cal., 7 g fat, 6.7 g protein, 0 g sugar, 14.8 g carbs, 9.4 g fiber

Simple Mini Cakes (4 cakes)
I egg
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup Vitafiber powder
2 tbsp pea protein
1 tsp baking powder

Bake in cake or muffin pan for 20 minutes at 200-220 degrees. Flip over, cakes should maintain their shape and come out in one piece.
62 cal., 1.6 g fat, 5.5 g protein, 0.8 g sugar, 10.8 g carbs, 9.3 g fiber

Yogurt Flans (4 servings)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 egg
1 tbsp melted ghee (optional for buttery taste- warning: this tbsp is 112 cal, 13 g fat)
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1/3 cup Vitafiber powder
Put these in individual cups add water, turn over, removing from cups, the mixture should maintain its flat shape. Drizzle with water, bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
92 cal, 12.5 g fat, 2.7 g protein, 1.2 g sugar,2.7 g carbs, 5.2 g fiber

Have you tried Vitafiber? What do you think? Got any good recipes for us? Let us know!

woman refusing cupcakes

Living A Sugar-Free Lifestyle

If you’re planning to give up sugar, the first thing you need to realize is, it’s going to be tough. You may have seen articles about how you can, “Give up Sugar In Ten Easy Steps.” Well, you can omit the easy part. These articles will probably tell you that if you realized how much sugar was in your favorite candy bar, you wouldn’t eat it. The truth is, once you realize what the sugarless version of the candy bar tastes like, you’ll be running back to the original. The second thing you need to realize about giving up sugar is, it may be worth it. Here are some of the facts on living a sugar-free lifestyle.

Why Is Sugar Bad?

Worsens Cholesterol
Scientists have found a definite link between sugar and high levels of blood fats. Studies show that eating sugar can more than triple the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels, which are strongly associated with heart disease.

Sugar and Diabetes
Although eating sugar does not cause diabetes, higher sugar intakes have been linked to the disease. According to Rachel K. Johnson, RD, it may be that the sugar contributes to obesity, which, in turn, raises the risk for diabetes. She says, “It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes.”

woman eating salad

Living Sugar-Free
It has been said that withdrawing from sugar may cause the same neurological symptoms as quitting morphine, nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol. If you think you’re up to the challenge, here are a few pieces of advice.

Don’t Use Artificial Sugar Substitutes
Most scientists agree that replacing sugar with artificial substitutes is just trading one bad habit for the other. By still fulfilling your craving for sweetness, you are leaving yourself open to sugar temptations. The real trick is to trade the sweet stuff for the savory, or as Kristine Kirkpatrick MD recommends, trading “licorice for salmon.”

Don’t Go Fat-Free
Fat-free doesn’t mean sugar fee. In fact, many fat-free products have higher sugar levels to compensate for the lack of fat. Fat-free angel cake has 20 more grams of sugar per slice than the sugary version. A better solution is to keep monosaturated fat-containing products, like salad dressing and peanut butter to the full-fat variety and avoid saturated fats, found typically in cookies, cakes, and muffins.

woman drinking milk

Exercise and Drink Milk
One thing that makes sugar hard to kick is the feel good factor. Sugar has been shown to stimulate reward mechanisms within the brain. One study shows that consuming whey protein ( a major component of milk) has a similar effect. Milk increases serotonin levels in the brain known to cause mood elevation and therefore may make a good replacement for the “sugar high.” Exercise has been proven to have similar effects.

Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Keeping healthy, sugar-free food options close by are a good way of avoiding the temptation to grab the occasional ice cream or candy from the vending machine. Nuts, raisins, fruit, and cheese are all options for replacing sugar loaded snacks. Try to keep them within reach, glove compartments, purses, and desk drawers are all handy places for a healthy stash.

If you’re quitting, or have quit sugar, let us know how you’re handling the challenge. Let us know what you’re doing to keep sugar free.

woman drinking OJ

Try Vitamins To Stave Off Surgery

Plastic surgery. It seems more and more as if “Wow, how does she/he do it?” has given way to, “Where do you get your work done? However, even with the most unlikely suspects are taking the,” If you can’t beat ’em join ’em” attitude to going under the knife,” there are still a few downsides to plastic surgery: the expense, the permanent looks of surprise, the difficulty emoting, the batches- it seems safe to say there may still be a few reasons to hesitate. However, fortunately, there are some less drastic alternatives. If you’re one of the few determined to keep it real, here are some vitamins that may help you stave off aging naturally.

Vitamin C
That morning glass of OJ may be doing more than helping your immune system. Vitamin C is also great for collagen production and protection against sun damage. You can find it primarily in bell peppers, strawberries, guava, broccoli and citrus fruits. Try to get 100mgs of vitamin C daily, and if you’re looking for the fastest way to do that, Bell peppers are your best bets. The veggies contain 280 mg of the stuff, while oranges only contain 90.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is well known for its skin friendliness. A faithful guardian of the skin’s barrier, vitamin E protects the cell membrane, keeping harmful elements out while preventing helpful ones from leaving. It also works well with vitamin C. The two together make an excellent team for preventing UV damage. Vitamin E can be found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

woman with healthy food in the kitchen

Omega -3
Omega -3 is the vitamin that redefined the word “fat” This healthy fat keeps the skin hydrated and helps strengthen the cell membrane, keeping toxins out and protecting against sun damage. Omega-3 can be found in ground flax seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts. The best way to get your Omega -3 is by eating 3 to 5 ounces of fish 3 to 5 times weekly, or if fish isn’t your thing, you can get it in a fish oil supplement, but check with your doctor first, as these supplements have been known to cause the blood to thin.

Selenium
Selenium is a vitamin that maintains skin’s integrity and elasticity while protecting it from the sun. You can get selenium is seafood, wheat germ, and eggs. While you don’t really need a set amount each day, it’s a good idea to try and get some of this food into your diet.

Polyphenols
Drink a cup of green tea a day to get your polyphenols in. They have anti-aging benefits and have been shown in studies to exhibit properties which reduce the risk of sun-related cancers.

Beta Carotene
You might know beta carotene as that stuff that makes fruit orange. It does, and it’s also found in a lot of dark green produce. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is crucial for cell repair and growth. In case you’re colorblind, or otherwise incapable of recognizing orange and green fruits and veggies, here are a few for you; carrots, cantaloupe, swiss chard, pumpkins, kale, and spinach are all teeming with beta carotene. Try and get two servings a day of one of these.

What vitamins are you taking to keep your skin healthy the natural way? Let us know!

healthy eating

Lifestyle Changes For Digestive Health

Let’s face it. Eating is one of the great pleasures of life. In fact, it may be safe to say that if most of us died in front of the television with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, we’d probably die happy. That’s why digestive problems stink. There are few enough pleasures in life; we need to make sure to completely enjoy each and every one without interference. If you are suffering from digestive problems, that means you’re not getting the full benefits of one of the life’s greatest pleasures, and that needs to be remedied. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to bring the fun back to your food.

Beat Stress
Butterflies in your tummy? Stress and anxiety can upset digestion and cause the stomach to become unsettled. While in some people, stress slows digestion, leading to pain, bloating and constipation, in others, stress causes metabolism to speed up, resulting in diarrhea and increased trips to the bathroom. Others completely lose their appetite. In addition, IBS and digestive conditions like stomach ulcers can become exacerbated in stressful situations.

What should you do? Try to avoid eating while you’re stressed and try to avoid getting stressed while you’re eating. Arguing over dinner is never good for digestion.

Stop Smoking
Smoking can weaken the muscles which control the lower part of the esophagus, allowing acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction. More commonly known as reflux, this condition can cause heartburn, and bring on or worsen inflammatory conditions and stomach ulcers. Smoking is also a big risk factor for stomach cancer.

healthy family

Eat Properly
High paced lifestyles often cause us to eat on the run, which can wreak havoc on our digestion. To avoid this:

  • Don’t eat too quickly. Concentrate on putting your fork down between bites and chewing each mouthful completely.
  • Don’t eat too much. Adjust your portions at mealtimes, or try to eat small meals frequently, rather than large ones occasionally.
  • Avoid eating a big meal before bedtime. Try to give your body at least two or three hours to digest before hitting the hay.
  • Eat on a regular basis, don’t skip meals, and get plenty to drink.

Lose Weight
Excess stomach weight puts pressure on your middle, which can cause heartburn. Weight loss may help to relieve digestive symptoms like heartburn and other stomach problems.

Binge Drinking
While drinking in moderation should not harm digestion, binge drinking can increase the production of acid in your stomach and cause digestive complaints. Binge drinking means drinking eight to more units of alcohol in a session for men, and six for women.

Are you suffering from digestive issues? Let us know what lifestyle changes you made to help you. We want to know.

Woman drinking milk

Full Fat Dairy Products May Not Be All That Bad

Move over skinny cows! It’s great news for the extra cheese and “no such thing as too much butter” crowd; scientists have found that full fat dairy food does not increase your risk of heart attack. What, you may ask? Does this mean I can stop eating this strange excuse for ice cream I have in my freezer? Depends on your motivation, but one thing’s for sure, this is something that your stomach and heart will both approve of. Recent studies have shown that those who consume full fat dairy may actually be healthier than their low fat dairy eating (cow)nterparts. Read on for more.

The Evidence, Or Lack Thereof
What tastes good can’t possibly be good for you, right? Well, maybe it can. Recently, dairy researchers have found that, contrary to popular beliefs about saturated fats leading to heart attacks, there may be nutrients in dairy products that actually prevent them. According to researcher Stella Aslibekyan of Brown University, “Things like milk and cheese are very complex substances. We looked at heart attacks risk dairy products in their entirety and then looked at separate components of those dairy products, and it turns out that the results are null. Perhaps the evidence is not there.”

Benefits of Dairy
While Aslibekyan’s team is far from suggesting that the presence of saturated fats in dairy products is harmless, she does believe that other nutrients found in dairy, such as vitamin D, calcium, and potassium may offer protection from heart disease. According to a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases journal a study of 3,630 Costa Rican men found that dairy intake in heart attack sufferers was no different than that of those who did not get heart attacks, even when consumption was as high as 593 grams a day. Researcher, Dr. Anna Baylin says, ” The message is that it is important to look at the net effect of whole foods and dietary patterns and not only isolated nutrients.

Pouring milk

Full Fat Dairy May Be Healthy
Additional research corroborates the Brown University study. There is evidence that full fat dairy key reduce the risk of:

  • Diabetes
    Palmitoeic acid, occurring naturally in meat and full fat dairy food, can protect against diabetes and insulin resistance. One study showed that individuals who consumed a diet including whole fat dairy had higher blood levels of trans-palmitoleate, decreasing their risk of developing type -2 diabetes by two thirds, as compared to those with lower levels.
  • Cancer
    Conjugated linoleum acid, a.k.a. CLA, is a type of fat found naturally in cow’s milk that can significantly lower the risk of cancer. A study found that those who ate a minimum of four serving of high fat dairy per day had a 41 % lower risk of bowel cancer than people who ate less than one.
  • Heart Disease
    A sixteen year study of Australian adults found an indirect relationship between full fat dairy consumption and the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.

Full Fat Dairy and Weight-Loss
Females who indulged in one serving of full fat dairy were found to gain 30% less weight over a nine year span than their low fat eating counterparts.

What do you think of the info? Willing to scrap your 1 and 2% milk for the pure stuff? Let us know!

Your Diet May Help Regulate Your Mood

Normally, eating when stressed is ill advised. The term usually brings to mind the image of someone who has just had some shocking news running frantically to their freezer in search of the curative pint of ice cream. He/she gorges greedily, only to awaken the next day not only to find their troubles still very much present, but an additional five pounds added to their body weight.

However, what if you learned that eating actually can relieve stress? You just need to make sure that when you open that freezer, you reach for the frozen grapes instead of the vanilla swirl.

The Anti-Stress Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
You may know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but did you know that they might also help to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent study examined diet of 60,000 Australians aged 45 and up, only to reveal that those who had 3-4 servings of fruits and begins a day had 12% less psychological stress than those who had just one. Those who got five to seven servings had an even bigger reduction in stress, showing a 14% reduction as compared to the single serving percentage.

Ladies Only?
However, the researchers found that in a study based on a 10 question comparative survey focusing on anxiety and depression between the years of 2006 -2008 and 2010, males subjects did not show the same results. Says study co-author and University of Sidney PhD student, Binh Nguyen, “We found the fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables.” The questionnaire revealed that women who consumed 5 to 7 portions of vegetables and fruits experienced a 23% reaction in stress levels in comparison to ladies who only ate 0-1 portion. Two portions produced a reduction in stress of 16%.

Happy woman

More Work To Be Done
While you may not want to wait to start consuming more fruits and veggies, the authors of the studies do stipulate that there is more work to be done before any definite conclusions can be reached. They state that while the intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the stress levels in middle-aged and older adults, the link between the diet and psychological distress requires further investigation.

Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
But while we wait for the final verdict, keep eating those veggies and fruits. The mental health charity “Mind” says, “Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. Eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients-several portions of the same type of food won’t be so good for you.”

As for choosing the best fruits and veggies: tomatoes, bananas and mushrooms top the list for their high potassium levels which are “essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain. they also advise keeping fruits and veggies raw for the highest number of nutrients.

What do you think? Do fruits and veggies make you feel a little less stressed? Let us know the results of your private research.

Pump Up the Fiber In Your Diet

Fiber is necessary for a person’s well being. It increases the immune system in the gut, keeps the digestive lining healthy, supports the good probiotic bacteria, and absorbs excess cholesterol, fat, and toxins from our bodies. Here are some ways of increasing the fiber in your diet.

Cereal
Eating whole grain, unsweetened cereal with 4 grams of fiber is the ideal, but some studies show that just any old cereal might do the trick. According to research done by the University of California, cereal eaters eat less fat and more fiber than those who make other breakfast choices.

Two Apples A Day
Keep two doctors away? Apples are a source of pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that digests slowly and helps to keep you full. One study showed that just 5 grams of the stuff left people feeling satisfied for four hours.

yogurt parfait

Yogurt Parfait
Here’s a great breakfast idea that’s packed with fiber. Mix one small container of yogurt with 1/3 cup all-bran cereal, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and 5 diced strawberries. Not only will you get a delicious breakfast, you’ll also get 12.2 grams of fiber, which is almost half your daily allowance.

Carrots and Broccoli in Low -Fat Ranch
Each cup of veggies will give you five grams of fiber. Snack on this three times a week.

Oatmeal
If a bowl of the stuff is not your style, you can use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs on your meatballs and meatloaf, sprinkle it on your ice cream, or bake it into cookies and muffins.

Trail mix
Mix raisins, peanuts, chocolate-covered soy nuts, and high fiber cereal for a great munchie mix. One handful makes for great high fiber between- meals snack.

whole grain crackers

Whole Grain Crackers
A little cracker can go a long way. One whole wheat cracker has 1/2 gram of fiber; do the math and that translates to 5 grams in ten crackers. Next time your looking for something to spread your peanut butter on, look for some whole grain crackers instead of bread.

Kidney Beans and Chickpeas
Lisa Andrews, RD, and nutritionist at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati, says that you can get an additional 5 grams of fiber by adding a quarter cup of chickpeas and kidney beans to your next salad.

Switch From White to a Brown Foods
Rice is a great example. You can also switch regular pasta to whole wheat along with your corn burritos, white bread and cous cous. Working these into your diet gradually can increase your daily fiber intake by an easy ten grams without making a radical change to your diet.

What are you doing to pump up the fiber in your diet? Let us know!

Woman cooking

Why It's Important To Manage Your Salt Intake

It needs a little salt. How often have amateur cooks heard this expression? And, for sure, what failed recipe can’t be fixed by some good old table salt? Everyone loves salt! Even the most irredeemable of culinary sins can be redeemed with salt! What dish can’t be made palatable, what omitted ingredient can’t be compensated for by the magic crystal? We should be singing the praises of salt! Right? Apparently not.

Sure, salt can enhance the taste of food, and hide a multitude of transgressions, it may not be the best thing for your health. Read on to find out how cutting down on salt may help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of a plethora of health difficulties.

Health Benefits of Salt
While too much salt should be avoided, a reasonable amount is vital to the human body. It helps to regulate water levels, transmit nerve signals, and maintain normal pH levels in the blood. Because the mineral is not produced by our body, but is excreted, there is a daily need for salt intake.

Recommendations
The American Heart Association advises that most people keep their sodium intake under 2,500 milligrams, or per day. However, if you have high blood pressure or if you are at risk for high blood pressure, the recommendation is to reduce that intake to 1,500 mg per day. Groups at high risk for high blood pressure include African Americans, those with hypertension, kidney disease, or diabetes. If one of those groups includes you, that translates to less than half a teaspoon for all your snacks and meals.

High blood pressure has been linked to tripling the risk of heart disease and stroke, and is known to increase the risk of microvascular complications like kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve damage.

The World Cancer Research Fund found a connection between high salt diets and stomach cancer, with 14% of all stomach cancer cases in the UK attributed to diets high in salt.

Mother and daughter

Tips
If you are having trouble ending your love affair with salt, here are a few helpful hints:

  1. Stop reaching for the salt shaker. Most food has a high enough salt content already, so chances are, you’re just putting salt on your salt. The American Heart Association says table salt consists of about 40% sodium, so no more shaking!
  2. Read food labels. If foods say how much sodium is in food, rather than how much salt, you can find out the salt level by multiplying the amount of sodium by 2.5. Look for low sodium labels at the grocery store. You’ll find reduced sodium options of several brands of cereal, pasta sauces, canned vegetables, and crackers.
  3. Eat fewer processed food. Salt is a very effective preservative, which is why it is so often included in packaged and processed food. In fact, processed foods account for most of the sodium in people’s diets. Try to buy fresh food, or prepare your own, so you know what’s going in it.
  4. Find out if the restaurants you frequent will skip or cut down on the salt in your dish. Many chefs will make an allowance, if you ask.
  5. If your restaurant posts nutrition facts on its menu, take special note of how much sodium is in a serving. Try to order lower sodium options.

Table Salt Vs. Sea Salt
You may have seen a lot of food labels mentioning the use of sea salt in their products. If you thought all salt came from the sea, this may clear up a little confusion.

Table salt has the advantage because of its finer consistency, it is free flowing and is usually cheaper. Sea salt, on the other hand, is less processed an may not include anti-caking agents (check the packaging to verify.)

Sodium Ferrocyanide is an anti-caking agent in table salts. Research on rats has revealed slink to kidney damage, although the dosage was considerably higher than that found in most human diets.

What are you doing to lower your salt intake? Let us know what changes you’re making.

Woman snacking

The Science Behind Your Snack Attacks

When you get a snack attack, most probably the only science you’re thinking about is how you can most efficiently get a bag of chips into your stomach. However, when it comes to cravings, there really is a good amount of science behind them, and it doesn’t just concern the rate of food traveling to your tummy. The fact is, certain foods, especially those high in sugar, salt, and fat, trigger a release of dopamine, which means they are hitting the pleasure center in your brain at the same time they are hitting the hunger center in your belly and the reaction is an unfailing, “Give me more!” Here are some of the most addictive foods and how they work their magic.

Cheese
Besides being high in fat and cholesterol, cheeses also contain a high level of casomorphin, which binds to the feel-good receptors in the brain. According to Neal Barnard, MD, mice aren’t the only ones susceptible to the lure of a good cheddar. “Casmorphins attach to neurotransmitter in our brain and release dopamine, feel-good chemicals that often lead us to wanting more.” Apparently, Americans are getting cheesier as time goes on. The doctor notes that the average American consumes 30 pounds more cheese per year than he or she did 100 years ago.

Woman eating chips

Carbs
It’s the quick glucose release of carbohydrates like potato chips and pretzels which keep our hands going back to the bag to reach for another. Celina Jean, nutritionist, says, ” Simple carbohydrates are seen as an addictive because they cause a quick glucose release, and this quickly increases a person’s energy. The energy will quickly be used up, and the then you’ll be forced to eat more simple carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar raised.”

Sugary Drinks
Not only do sweet sodas, lemonades, and iced tea provide us with empty calories, a 12 ounce can of the stuff can contain up to 35 grams of sugar. Sodas also trigger dopamine release. That, along with the caffeine jolt can provide a quite a hit of energy. Ashvini Mashru, registered dietician warns, “Once you’re hooked on caffeine, you can suffer symptoms of withdrawal if you try to stop, including sluggishness, headaches, and emotional distress.

French fries

French Fries
Crisp, hot, and salty, french fries have all the classic ingredients of addictive food. Mashru tells us that the fat content in the fries sends signals to our gut and brain telling us to eat more. He says, “Those little potato sticks are also a comfort food. Therefore, every time you go through a line in a restaurant and see them on the menu, you may find the urge to order them as a side to your entree irresistible.”

Chocolate
Chocolate gives you kick because it binds to the same pleasure centers in your brain as drugs and alcohol. A study conducted by Drexel University found chocolate often provides a nice “mouth feel” which triggers the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dan Defigio, author of Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies, explains, “Over time, our brains start looking for that dopamine hit, and every time we eat chocolate, it reinforces that wiring.”

What foods are you addicted to? Tell us your shocking stories of how your battles with food addictions. We want to know!

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