Making Chocolate Work For You, Not Against You

Daily chocolate consumption may actually help you with your weight-loss goals.

Eating a little chocolate daily may actually help with weight-loss goals.

Did you know that chocolate is the most craved food in North America? Chocolate is so popular that 40 percent of women list it as their favorite food (1-2). But what some people may not realize is that chocolate can be a valuable weight-loss tool.

According to a 2011 study performed by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, it may be more advantageous to try to work chocolate into your weight-loss reigmen instead of cutting it out altogether.

The study randomly assigned 26 overweight, premenopausal women to eat either a reduced-calorie diet with a daily dark chocolate snack or a non-chocolate snack. They found that both groups lost weight, but that the daily, portion-controlled chocolate snack didn’t hinder any weight loss (3).

From the results of the study, the authors suggested that those trying to lose weight should consider the incorporation of portion-controlled snacks with respect to overall daily calorie intake to assist with meeting their goals (3).

“When prescribing a dietary plan for weight loss, an individual’s food preferences and usual intake pattern, which also includes snacks, should be considered,” the authors concluded. “Education about the importance of controlling sweet snack portion size and its contribution to overall daily energy intake is critical.”

The research suggests that moderate, daily chocolate consumption can be a useful weight-loss tool for many, as it often helps curb cravings when eaten periodically throughout the day.

Quality, Portion-Controlled Chocolate

IsaDelight® chocolates, which are available in Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Mint Flavor, and Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and Caramel, are an ideal product that allows people on weight-loss regimens to get their chocolate fix without packing on tons of extra calories.

At 60 calories per square, IsaDelights stand out among other kinds of chocolate because they include amino acids and B vitamins and are infused with green tea. They contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

Daily Intake and Timing

Regardless of the quality, it’s still possible to have too much. It’s generally suggested that consumers limit chocolate to no more than four 10-gram pieces (or 1.5 oz.) of quality chocolate per day to stay on track with health or weight-loss goals.

Not overindulging can come down to timing. Saving one’s chocolate allowance for the end of the day may seem like a good way to unwind and reward oneself at the end of a long day. However, with so many food temptations throughout the day, some may also find it helpful to always have quality chocolate on hand, allowing them to easily avoid those more unhealthy options.

In the Penn State study described earlier, subjects spread their chocolate consumption throughout the day (totaling about 150 calories) to help them curb cravings, leading to the consumption of fewer calories and eventual weight loss (3).

Small amounts of chocolate can combat cravings and provide a little pick-me-up during the day. IsaDelights are also a wonderful companion on Cleanse and Shake Days and can even be a sweet treat for loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

References:

  1. Asarian L, Geary N. Sex differences in the physiology of eating. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2013 Dec;305(11):R1215-67.
  2. Macdiarmid JI, Vail A, Cade JE, Blundell JE. The sugar-fat relationship revisited: differences in consumption between men and women of varying BMI. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 22: 1053–1061, 1998
  3. Piehowski KE, Preston AG, Miller DL, Nickols-Richardson SM. A reduced-calorie dietary pattern including a daily sweet snack promotes body weight reduction and body composition improvements in premenopausal women who are overweight and obese: a pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc 2011;111:1198-203.

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How Vitamin C and Citrus Bioflavonoids Protect Healthy Blood Vessels

Citrus bioflavonoids support healthy blood vessels.

Citrus bioflavonoids support healthy blood vessels.

Healthy blood vessels are critically important to a healthy heart because blood vessels do much more than provide plumbing for blood to circulate throughout the body.

Blood vessels are an active component of the circulatory system that have the ability to open up to deliver more blood flow where needed, or squeeze down to reduce the flow when necessary. The cells that make up the inner lining of blood vessels, called endothelial cells, are in charge of this activity and help your heart respond effectively to many types of stress.

Researchers measure the health of blood vessels by determining how well endothelial cells can respond to stress, or how effectively blood vessels can open up to increase blood flow when it is needed. Nutrition has a big impact on the endothelial cells lining your blood vessels. Consider that everything you eat or drink is digested, absorbed, and then transported throughout your body in your blood.

Because endothelial cells are continuously exposed to the bloodstream, they are especially vulnerable to damage from oxidative stress. Imagine how these cells might respond following an especially unbalanced meal.

However, continuous exposure to what you eat enables these endothelial cells to respond quickly to beneficial changes in your diet, such as an increase in antioxidants from citrus fruits (1). While vitamin C is often the first thing that people think of as the main benefit from eating citrus fruits, they are a source of many other beneficial phytonutrients including compounds called bioflavonoids. Both vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids are antioxidants that support healthy blood vessel function.

Study Finds Citrus Improves Women’s Heart Health

In one recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition, a team of Harvard University researchers examined the diets and blood vessel function of over 30,000 women. The scientists found that women who regularly consumed sources of bioflavonoids had improved markers of healthy blood vessel function compared to those who did not. In particular, women who consumed at least two servings of citrus fruits a day showed 20 percent lower levels of endothelial stress-linked biomarkers and a significant improvement in markers of blood vessel function compared to those who did not regularly eat citrus fruits (2).

In this study, women who consumed types of foods that were good sources of bioflavonoids, such as other types of fruit, also showed improvements in the same markers of blood vessel function. But the improvement was much smaller—in the range of 4 to 11 percent better than those with the lowest dietary intake of bioflavonoids. Citrus fruits provide a potent combination of both vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids, which work together to provide powerful benefits for supporting healthy blood vessels.

Why Supplement with C-Lyte

When Isagenix C-Lyte® was formulated, it was with consumers’ hearts in mind. The product contains a synergistic blend of citrus bioflavonoids and three forms of mineral-buffered vitamin C. It’s important to mention that C-Lyte does not contain the compound naringin, commonly found in grapefruit, due to its potential to interfere with certain medications.

Scientists have identified a number of ways that vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids work together to benefit heart health, but their role in supporting healthy blood vessels are important reasons why your blood vessels could benefit from the use of C-Lyte.

While overall diet and exercise top the list for supporting heart health, nutrition scientists now consider the protection of flexible, healthy blood vessels as critically important (3). Clearly no dietary supplement can replace regular exercise and healthy eating—which would include a diet rich in fruits like citrus. However, C-Lyte can be a great complement to healthy habits by providing powerful support for blood vessels with a blend of citrus bioflavonoids and vitamin C.

References

  1. Ashor AW, Lara J, Mathers JC, Siervo M. Effect of vitamin C on endothelial function in health and disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Atherosclerosis. 2014 Jul;235(1):9-20. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.04.004.
  2. Landberg R, Sun Q, Rimm EB, Cassidy A, Scalbert A, Mantzoros CS, Hu FB, van Dam RM. Selected dietary flavonoids are associated with markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in U.S. women. J Nutr. 2011 Apr 1;141(4):618-25. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.133843.
  3. Matsuzawa Y, Kwon TG, Lennon RJ, Lerman LO, Lerman A. Prognostic Value of Flow-Mediated Vasodilation in Brachial Artery and Fingertip Artery for Cardiovascular Events: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Am Heart Assoc. 2015 Nov 13;4(11). doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002270.

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Nutritional Cleansing With Cleanse for Life

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Cleanse with confidence using clinically backed Isagenix products.

Confused about all the different types of cleanses out there? The concept of cleansing in general can be completely foreign to many people. Add on conflicting information on the Internet and so many options to choose from and it’s no surprise that there can be misunderstandings about cleansing, how cleansing works, or how to complete a successful cleanse. For health-informed consumers, Isagenix offers a different approach to nutritional cleansing that is supported by clinical studies. A key difference in cleansing with Isagenix is intermittent fasting. The scientifically supported system incorporates intermittent fasting on Cleanse Days and calorie restriction on Shake Days.

The combination of Cleanse and Shake Days is shown to be more effective than traditional dieting for initial weight loss and weight maintenance (1). When used as directed in our system guidelines, Isagenix products including Cleanse for Life® as part of Cleanse Days and IsaLean® Shake as part of Shake Days have demonstrated excellent results.

Cleanse for Life 101

Intermittent fasting is the term used for an eating pattern that involves the regular abstinence from normal foods and meals. Fasting normally is performed for a period of one or two days per week or month.

While weight loss or weight maintenance is seen as a primary benefit from intermittent fasting, the practice has demonstrated efficacy for reducing abdominal fat (visceral fat) and, as a result, an improvement in insulin sensitivity and overall cardiovascular health (1-3).

Additionally, research has found that fasting initiates the recycling of old and dysfunctional components of cells through enzymatic pathways termed “autophagy” (4). Autophagy is thought of as a cellular self-cleaning mechanism that is suggested to have benefits for overall health.

Cleanse for Life is the nutritional support that is considered a key distinction of intermittent fasting with Isagenix. Its inclusion is what defines Cleanse Days and separates them from normal fasting completed only with water. The inclusion of the drink as a Cleanse Day companion provides nutrient-packed benefits along with a greater chance for a successful cleanse. Cleanse for Life contains a mixture of botanical extracts and nutrients to support detoxification. This proprietary blend is especially designed for use in conjunction with intermittent fasting. With its addition of turmeric and ashwagandha, Cleanse for Life is shown to be effective in studies for influencing antioxidant and detoxification pathways in cells (5). The support for the body’s own antioxidant and detoxification systems offers a complete cleanse experience and better overall health.

How to Use Cleanse for Life

Cleanse for Life is available in both a liquid concentrate and powder form. It’s consumed either as a concentrated shot or diluted with water. Additionally, it can be served chilled, poured over ice, or mixed with hot (but not boiling) water to be enjoyed as a hot tea.

The product can be taken every day for daily antioxidant and detoxification support or on Cleanse Days.

Daily Cleansing – As a daily supplement, directions for taking Cleanse for Life are to consume one to two fluid ounces or one scoop up to twice daily. There’s no wrong time to take Cleanse for Life. However, while it’s not so important when the product is taken, some report better results when taking a daily dose before they go to bed.

Deep Cleansing – Double the daily serving (four liquid ounces or two scoops) and take four times spread throughout the day. The four servings of Cleanse for Life on a Cleanse Day are designed to be accompanied by up to six Isagenix Snacks™ per day and plenty of water. Other optional Cleanse Day support products include taking one Natural Accelerator™ capsule twice daily, one to two IsaFlush® capsules, up to two IsaDelight® chocolates, up to two e+™ shots, Ionix® Supreme, t+ Chai, or up to four cups of black Isagenix Coffee.

Cleanse Day routines can vary among different participants, depending on individual goals. Some cleansers may also need to modify dietary intake on a Cleanse Day so that it includes more than suggested guidelines call for to support blood sugar control depending on their situation.

Those seeking weight loss can often find Cleanse Days intimidating or requiring quite a lot of effort. New cleansers are encouraged to take it easy—not immediately jumping into performing full Cleanse Days or two consecutive days of Deep Cleansing. Starting out with Shake Days allows for a more gradual reduction in calorie intake. Some may wish to attempt half a Cleanse Day before working up to a full Cleanse Day.

No Juices, Laxatives, or Diuretics

A common concern about cleansing is the involvement of either drastic starvation plans, use of sugary juices, or use of dangerous ingredients that act as laxatives and diuretics. There are no laxatives or diuretics in Cleanse for Life. Unlike other cleanses, the Isagenix System includes cleansing that is clinically shown to be effective and safe.

With the right preparation and a little self-motivation, participants are often pleasantly surprised at how effortless Cleanse Days can be. After seeing and feeling the results in the form of consistent weight loss and improved health, they may also find that Cleanse Days become the favorite part of their week.

 

References

  1. Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Bhutani S, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutr J. 2012 Nov 21;11:98.
  2. Harvie MN, Pegington M, Mattson MP et al. The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: a randomized trial in young overweight women. Int J Obes (Lond) 2011;35:714-27.
  3. Heilbronn LK1, Smith SR, Martin CK, Anton SD, Ravussin E. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):69-73.
  4. Bergamini E, Cavallini G, Donati A, Gori Z. The role of autophagy in aging: its essential part in the anti-aging mechanism of caloric restriction. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2007 Oct;1114:69-78.
  5. Gumpricht E, Kumar R, Hussain A, Sabarwal A, Ramteke A, Cho S, Deep G.  A Natural Herbal Beverage Exhibits Significant Cytoprotection and Promotes Nrf-2 Activation in Cells April 2015 FASEB J 2015;29 (Supplement) Abstract # 607.1.

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Hit the Weights to Lose the Stubborn Weight

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Studies show successful weight loss is best paired with resistance training.

As far as you know, you’re doing everything right to keep losing weight. You’re hitting your calorie and activity targets. You’re on the treadmill every day. You’ve got Shake Days and Cleanse Days down to an art form, and you’re eating balanced meals and controlling your portions while also getting plenty of fruits and veggies daily.

Are you still having trouble losing those last few pounds? If so, you’ve reached the dreaded weight-loss plateau. For some, it feels as if their bodies have suddenly slammed on the brakes and that fat burning has slowed to a crawl.

The Solution!

Though diet is still regarded as the most important step for any weight-management plan, resistance training is crucial in achieving not only fat loss, but also total-body, long-term transformation.

In combination with fewer calories, resistance training accelerates fat loss, improvements in body composition, and better heart health. Lifting weights is one of the most effective forms of exercise, particularly when using whole-body and free-weight exercises to shed body fat. Researchers also found that when it comes to weight training, the higher the intensity, the better the chances for fat loss and muscle retention.

When combined with diet, resistance exercises are more effective at inducing responses in body compositional changes than either aerobic exercise or diet alone. For example, choosing free weights over resistance bands or running over walking provided greater fat-loss benefits to subjects.

In addition, cardio exercises are quite effective, if not more effective, than resistance training for burning fat—especially in the form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). But cardio won’t help you retain or boost muscle as you lose weight, which is essential for maintaining or improving metabolism.

For long-lasting improvements of body composition, there’s no better way than weights. It takes just a few days a week of resistance training, combined with a nutritious weight-loss system, to start revving up fat burning once again.

References

Clark JE. Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2015; 14: 31.

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