What Are Phytoceramides?

Phytoceramides


Phytoceramides might be one of the best anti-aging products for your money. If you’ve never heard of them, that may change soon if for no other reason than this: ceramides make up close to 40% of your skin’s structure.

And you lose them with age, which explains much of the wrinkles, sun damage and visible skin aging that people experience as they grow older.

Ceramides are lipids. They’re fats that occur naturally throughout the body, including the scalp, bones and skin. For an analogy, think of a brick wall. The bricks are held together by mortar. Ceramides are like the ‘mortar’ that holds your skin together, but they’re lost with age.

Phytoceramides are plant-derived molecules that allow you to replace lost ceramides, from the inside out, giving structure back to skin, which lets you fill in wrinkles and fine lines.

Benefits of Phytoceramides

Products like Phyto350 absorb into the bloodstream. This is very effective, because it stimulates change at the cellular level. Skin is strengthened, starting from molecules in the blood, which absorb into and buffer your inner and outer layers. This permits:

Fewer wrinkles and fine lines – You’re essentially ‘filling in’ wrinkles with phytoceramides.

Less hyperpigmentation – Complexion becomes smooth with phytoceramides because it heals damaged skin.

Better moisture retention – Phytoceramides allow skin to absorb and hold moisture, which gives skin a thick, more youthful appearance.

Stronger skin barrier – With stronger skin, it becomes less susceptible to sun damage – the leading cause of wrinkles.

There are the intangibles with phytoceramides too. Clients look younger without surgery or procedures like Botox. That increases confidence – even a little sex appeal – which helps make life more enjoyable.

The convenience of phytoceramides is great as well. They help customers fill in wrinkles and take years, sometimes decades, off their appearance with an all-natural capsule that is safe for clients with no specific health concerns or conditions.

Dr. Oz and The FDA

You’ve no doubt heard that Dr. Oz likes phytoceramides. In his words, they’re like “faking a facelift” because you take them orally. They’re powerful little molecules that go to work the moment you ingest them, and repair, restore and moisturize damaged skin.

They’re very well-tolerated. Japanese consumers have used phytoceramides for over a decade. The FDA approves of them too – with a 25 page analysis of phytoceramides in 2004, in which it concludes they are safe for most consumers because they occur in foods and are found naturally in human skin.

Of course, these combine for a marketer’s dream. So bear in mind that neither the FDA nor does Dr. Oz endorse any particular phytoceramide product. You need a place to start, however, so let’s review how to choose the best phytoceramides supplement for your needs.

How to Choose the Best Phytoceramide Supplement

A few things to look for when choosing a phytoceramide supplement

Dosage – As Dr. Oz says, phytoceramides at roughly 350mg per serving should be enough to produce soft, smooth skin in about 4 weeks.

Skin-Friendly Vitamins – Some phytoceramide products are formulated with skin-friendly vitamins like vitamins A and C. These are good to have, because you may see even better results.

A Quality Name – Yes, there are bandwagon jumpers with phytoceramides. Look for a product offered by a label that’s been around for at least 5 years and that has a good reputation.

A 60 Day Guarantee – If the company offers phytoceramides with a guarantee, that’s a sign they stand by the product and it offers peace of mind.

Note that many consumers report Phyto350 shows good results. The product works quickly and appears to actually live up to the hype of truly ‘faking a facelift’. If you’re looking for the best antiaging products, you might start there.

Sugar Cravings

Why We Crave Sweets and How to Stop It

This article first appeared on Sweetdefeat.

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The human body emits a lot of signals, and sometimes we can pick up on these signals to improve our health. However, sometimes the body gives off subtle, yet challenging signals that we tend to ignore or push aside.

In world of health and wellness, sugar cravings are one of the most subtle and challenging. Generally speaking, people get sugar cravings, act on it, and feel some guilt afterwards, only to repeat the whole cycle all over again. Sugar cravings have a way of getting to people at just the right time of the day, and while some people can make quick changes and overcome them, others need a bit more help.

Listed below is a detailed guide on what sugar cravings are, why you could be craving sugar, and how to potentially fix the issue with simple tips.

Why Do I Crave Sugar?

The human body craves sugar for various reasons, and generally each craving is different for each person. Your brain may experience an intense craving because it needs sugar for energy and to function properly.  But beyond meeting a need, sugar cravings for adults tend to be habitual, rewarding, or even just physiologic. Let’s take a look at this with some of the reasons on why you crave sugar when you do.

Habitual

Your daily habits are formed deep within your brain, and while some sources may say that it takes 21 days to form a habit, the truth is any habit can form as long as the brain is satisfied with the end result. Certain neurochemicals in the brain can cause addiction to sugar, similar to that of illicit drugs, opioids, and alcohol. In addition, changes in dopamine receptors in the brain appear to have an impact on addiction to sugar, as described by a recent study on food addiction. Dopamine gets released by when you experience some sort of happiness and results in a feeling of euphoria. As a result of this hormone response, your brain will habitually desire sugar the way it does other harmful compounds like drugs and alcohol.

Reward Systems

Too often, adults looking to stay fit, get fit, or maintain any fitness at all use a reward system for motivation. Actually, a reward system is a great way to motivate a workout and push you to the next level. However, in the case of using sugar as a reward, this may not be the best idea. There is a lot of talk about how sugar addiction is similar to that of illicit drug addiction, and the following research findings may shock you. A 2007 study comparing a  cocaine reward system and a sugar reward system showed that sugar can be a stronger draw than cocaine, even for cocaine addicts. The implication of this is that using sugary treats in a reward system is a bad idea. While a sugary reward system at the gym may seem harmless, the results are anything but.

Pathologic

The brain needs glucose to properly function, so it makes sense that the brain will crave sugar in order to get it. Though the body breaks down all carbohydrates into simple sugars, so you don’t literally need to eat sugar to feed your brain glucose, physiologically speaking, the brain could be craving this nutrient as a way to get what it wants, even if it doesn’t need it. Perhaps your blood sugar is low and your brain is asking for sugar? Your mind could be tricking you into thinking you need sugar when you really don’t.

What Causes Sugar Cravings?

It seems that sugar cravings are becoming more and more common in today’s world. Sometimes people call these episodes as being “hangry.” Rather than accepting that you are hangry, there is a chance that you could be having a sugar craving instead. What are some of the factors that are causing a sugar craving? Listed here are some potential reasons you could be craving sugar.

You Finished a Hard Workout

Working out does quite a bit to your mind and body, and for the most part you gain valuable rewards for your hard efforts. Many people are likely to experience a sugar craving following a workout, and often this may be after you had a personal best in a run, lifted heavy weights, or tried a new high intensity interval training workout. Whatever your reason, as long as you depleted the glycogen stores in your body, you are likely to be craving sugar to replenish this. This would be considered a pathologic or physiologic reason as to why you are having a craving, and it serves a valuable need for the brain and cells.

Your Diet is Not Right

There is no right or wrong when it comes to your diet, but if you are having sugar cravings then it could be due to a diet that is not optimal. If your diet already includes donuts, bagels, candy bars, and soda then chances are your sugar cravings are because of how you have been eating. The more you eat these simple sugars, the more  your brain will want them, which can continue the vicious cycle of sugar cravings.

You Use Artificial Sweeteners

The artificial sweetener debate is starting to become clearer in recent years. The use of these alternatives to sugar may save on calories, but they trick the mind into thinking you ate something that is extremely sweet—far sweeter than sugar. For this reason, your brain will crave foods or beverages that are as sweet as what you just had.

It Has Become a Habit

Again with the habitual part. Consider the scenario where you grab a sugary coffee every morning before work at your favorite coffee shop at the same time of day. Now, your body adjusts to these cues. Every weekday morning, your mind will automatically write this into your daily routine. This is the quickest way to start a habitual sugar craving, and chances are if you were to stop going to get coffee, your brain would crave the sugar that you would normally have at that time of the day.

Common Reasons for Craving Sweets

Now that you have some information on what causes your cravings and why you are having them, now is the time to jump into some common reasons for craving sweets.

Poor Sleep Quality

A common reason for a sugar craving is when you have poor sleep quality at night. Typically, the body needs a certain amount of REM and deep sleep as a way to replenish the mind and body, but when you have inadequate amounts, your body is susceptible to craving sweets the following day.

High Stress

Another reason for craving sweets could include high levels of stress throughout the day. Typically, a little bit of stress in your day is considered healthy and necessary; however, chronic levels of high stress could lead to your sugar cravings increasing in intensity following your stressful event or day.

Meal Skipping

The last common reason on this list involves a common practice among people trying to lose weight. As a way to conserve calories for a future meal or to make up for being “bad” on a prior meal, some adults skip meals. While this seems logical as a way to prevent weight gain, skipping meals can cause you to have sugar cravings as a result. Generally, this is caused by reduced blood sugar levels.

What Your Body Could Be Telling You

Now that you have some information on what could be causing your cravings and why you may be having them, you should take the time to understand what your body could be trying to tell you. Here are a few examples of what your body could be trying to tell you about your sugar cravings.

Lack of Nourishment

Your body could be telling you that you need to get more nourishment for your brain and the cells in your body. If you take notice of this sign, there is a chance that your blood sugar levels could be low to the point that it is harming your health.

Sugar Addiction

Another signal your body could be sending is that it is in full-blown sugar addiction mode, and the cravings you are having are a result of sugar addiction. If this is a signal you pick up on, it could indicate that perhaps you do not need sugar, but rather your brain is demanding you  to satisfy its yearning for euphoria.

Boredom

There is a chance that you could be having a sugar craving simply because you are bored. Are the kids out of the house today and you have no idea what to do with yourself? Well, if your sugar cravings are setting in when this happens then it could mean you are bored and having a craving.

How to Stop Sugar Cravings

Fighting and putting a stop to sugar cravings can be a challenge at start. Initially, you may notice that your cravings are in a vicious cycle that only causes you to crave sugar more often. However, there are some things  you can do to set your body up for success. Generally speaking, making a modification to your diet is necessary to succeed. Consider reading our article on what to eat when you are craving sugar for even more suggestions. Here  are some tips to help you to succeed in putting a stop to sugar cravings.

1. Eat More Fiber

Fiber is an underestimated ally that serves a valuable role in your health and wellness. High fiber intake tends to be associated with better colon and cardiovascular health, as well as a reduced risk of cancer and obesity. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is lacking in fiber. The average fiber intake for all Americans over the age of two is 16 grams a day, with women consuming about 18 grams daily and men 15 grams on average. Current guidelines recommend that adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of fiber every day. Fiber is a starchy substance that passes through the digestive system untouched, meaning that fiber is not processed at all in the stomach or intestine. Fiber helps to slow the absorption of the foods you eat and it can also help to curb cravings you have by keeping you full for longer. Consider eating foods that are naturally high in fiber—like vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains —to help curb cravings.

2. Consume Lean Protein

Lean protein options are beneficial for health for a variety of reasons. Eating lean proteins such as salmon, halibut, and chicken can help to fill you up at a meal and keep you feeling full for longer. This means that your blood sugar levels are better managed, which means a possible reduced risk for a sugar craving before the next meal. Include lean protein options as much as you can to help fight off your sugar cravings.

3. Drink Enough Water

Your body is mostly made up of water; it is the most abundant substance in your body  by far, which means you need to replenish your water stores as much as possible each day. Many of the body’s processes are associated with your overall hydration status. In addition, the more dehydrated you are, the greater the chances that you will have some hormonal imbalance. Your sugar cravings may occur as a result of being thirsty, so replenishing the water in your body is often a quick fix. Consider drinking about six to eight glasses each day to stay hydrated and avoid sweetened drinks as much as possible with.

4. Make Healthy Substitutions

Another way to stop sugar cravings from affecting you throughout the day is to  swap healthy foods for unhealthy ones. This is perhaps the most challenging of all these options, but it is one of the most effective ways to cut out cravings. By switching out your chocolate or candies for some fresh fruit or vegetables, you are telling your brain that you no longer want to load up on sugar and you’ll avoid setting off  sugar cravings as well. Consider cut up fruit or vegetables as a snack, nuts to curb appetite, or even hot tea (unsweetened of course) to turn your midday treats healthier.

5. Cut Out Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are becoming quite common in today’s world, and now it seems more people are consuming more of the artificial product rather than sugar. Many of these users are attempting to cut sugar out of the diet to lose weight (by saving calories) and improve wellness. However, studies have shown that the use of artificial sweeteners in foods and beverages can lead to weight gain, as well as strengthen and encourage sugar dependence and cravings. With this in mind, it seems that one of the best ways to cut out sugar cravings from your life once and for all is to stop eating both sugar and artificial sweeteners. While this lifestyle change may take some time to completely master, the rewards will be worth it when successful.

Bottom Line

Sugar cravings can be a challenging part of your everyday life and when they set in, they can take over your mind in a hurry. Some of the most common causes of sugar cravings include a poor diet and the use of artificial sweeteners, both of which can lead to fluctuations in your blood sugar levels as well as cause you to crave sugar. While a sugar craving can happen to anyone at any time, there are some simple things that you can do to help stop them from occurring in the first place. Making small adjustments to your diet can be effective. Typically, adding more fiber and protein in your diet can cause you to feel full throughout the day while maintaining stable blood sugar levels. In addition, ensuring that you keep hydrated every day is essential for regulating your hormone balance, particularly your hunger hormones. Making these small changes can go a long way, and they will hopefully help you to win the battle against your cravings.

 

Weight – Maintain it, Don’t Gain ! — Let’s Do It Together

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for health. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers. Move more, eat less. Turning off the television and skipping the sugary drinks are two ways to get started. Your weight, your […]

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Sugar and Weight Loss: How Sugar Affects Your Weight Loss Goals

This article first appeared on Sweetdefeat.

Perhaps the biggest topic in health and wellness these days is sugar and how to cut back on consuming it. For ages, the average adult would add a spoonful of sugar here and there to food— it never seemed like a big deal. But over time, food manufacturers started adding sugar to just about everything in the grocery store, even foods that you don’t think of as sweet, like crackers and spaghetti sauce.

Today it’s clear that  sugar is linked to various illnesses and conditions, and it is likely a major culprit connected to the rise in obesity and weight gain in this country. The information below will  give some background on the sugar debate and suggest ways in which you can cut it out for good.

Does Sugar Make You Fat?

Obesity has been a hot topic in recent years, and with good reason. Roughly 38 percent of adults over the age of 19 in the U.S. are obese. What’s more staggering is that more than 70 percent of adults over the age of 19 are overweight or obese, suggesting that most people in this country have weight problems.

Just think about these statistics a bit: seven out of every 10 adults are overweight or obese. From a public health standpoint, effective weight loss programs are important, and it seems that sugar may play a role. Let’s take a look at how sugar is associated with weight gain.

Sugar’s Calorie Content

One of the first things with any body weight management program is to consider how much you eat and to cut out whatever is unnecessary. Sugar is a major culprit in weight gain since it contains calories, but not much else in the way of vitamins, minerals, or anything else that’s good for you. You can find a detailed description of the amount of calories in our calories in sugar guide, but overall, if you eat more than what you need, you will store the extra energy as fat. Some weight loss programs suggest that eating fat is the path to gaining fat, but in reality, it does not matter what nutrient you over consume; the more you eat, the more you gain.

Excess Sugar May Lead to Obesity

Considering the difference between how much sugar we should be eating  and how much we’re actually eating, that excess sugar consumption might be one of the key factors in the rise in obesity levels in this country. If the recommended amount of sugar is at most 150 calories each day and the average adult is consuming more than double this value, perhaps the increase in overweight or obese adults is caused by this excess.

If a pound of fat equates to roughly 3,500 calories, and men consume 180 calories (at least) in excess and women consume 230 calories (at least) in excess, this could add up over the years. If you do the math on the extra amount men eat, 180 calories of sugar in excess from what is recommended each day, for a total of 365 days over an entire year, and this amounts to about 19 pounds of fat per year. Do the same math for women and this equates to 24 pounds of fat added each year. Doing the math, it seems clear  how sugar can contribute to obesity across the nation.

Cutting Sugar to Lose Weight

One of the first rules in any weight loss program is to burn more calories than what you eat. This method suggests that for every 3,500 calorie deficit, you lose roughly one pound of fat. This is not an exact science, but it is a good way to estimate weight loss. In contrast, if you eat more than what your body needs, then you will gain weight. Figuring out the balance between the energy in and the  energy out can be a challenge, but cutting sugar may be one of the best ways to reduce your excessive caloric intake.

If you use the figure of 82 grams of sugar consumed by the average adult each day, it should be no surprise that you could lose some serious weight from sugar alone. Consider this: if you eat a standard 2,000 calorie diet (men or women) each day and you immediately cut all sources of sugar from your usual food and drink, you would reduce your caloric load by 330 calories each day, assuming you eat the average of 82 grams of sugar each day. Reducing your caloric load by 330 calories in sugar each day would translate to about 34 pounds of fat loss each year, or close to three pounds per month.

If you are like many adults out there and you feel your diet is impeccable and that sugar is not an issue, consider this: one medium apple contains about 19 grams of sugar, a banana has 12 grams, one orange has 17 grams, and 1 cup of grapes has 15 grams. You can see that sugar is everywhere, even if you have a healthy diet. It is easy to hit the average 82 grams of sugar each day from fruits alone, but considering a plethora of other foods have sugar in them, it would be easy to consume this much without even touching a candy bar.

Cutting out Sugar Completely Can Be Challenging

One of the biggest issues in any weight loss plan is avoiding things that your brain wants. This is where many adults have issues when it comes to cutting sugar from the diet. The brain has a strong desire to obtain sugar as a way to boost dopamine (known as the happiness hormone), which can be a major sign of sugar addiction. Sugar also provides a quick burst of energy that also floods the brain with compounds that make you feel euphoric. This craving for euphoria is hard to defeat, and it is one of the biggest challenges people have when they’re trying to cut out sugar for good.

9 Effective Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Diet

Now that you have some information on how sugar impacts your weight management, some of the names that it goes by, and the difference between natural and added sugars, you will want to learn about some effective ways to cut sugar out for good. Consider the following tips to aid in your journey to successfully avoid sugar in your daily eating habits.

1.  Substitute sugary beverages for water.

It may taste  boring when you first make this switch, but beverages are the primary source of added sugars in the adult diet. Consider drinking your coffee black without sweetener or sugars and avoid all forms of soda, including ones with artificial sweeteners.

2.  Be mindful of sugar substitutes.

Avoiding sugar is something that adults on diets aim to do,  and many switch to artificial sweeteners as an alternative. While they may be calorie-free, artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes can be up to 600 times sweeter than regular sugar, which means your brain thinks you are consuming enormous amounts of sugar at one time. This strategy often leads to you having intense sugar cravings throughout the day.

3.  Avoid fruit juices.

An orange has plenty of sugar, and a cup of orange juice has the juice of five oranges in there—so it has five times the amount of sugar.  And that’s if you make the juice yourself. Orange juice found in cartons in the grocery store—even the ones that say they’re not from concentrate— are highly processed, and many brands have added sugar.

4.  Limit fruit.

If you are serious about cutting sugar from your diet, you should pay attention to how much sugar is in the fruit you’re eating. Fruit can be healthy for you, but you need to limit your intake to 2-3 pieces at most a day—and count that as part of your sugar consumption.

5.  Avoid jams, jellies, honey, or other preserves.

American breakfasts are often sweet, and jams, jellies, and other options are a source of sugar  that you may not think about.

6.  Eat plain Greek yogurt.

You may be surprised that yogurt is a common source of added sugar—sometimes up to 30 or 40 grams in a serving! Choose plain Greek yogurt, which only has the natural sugars in dairy and no added sugars.  Make sure to read the food label to double-check.

7.  Consider products that help lessen sugar cravings.

One amazing way to cut back on sugar and to fight some of the associated sugar cravings is to consider getting a little help. There are products such as lozenges that help fight sugar cravings so that you can effectively eliminate it from your diet.

  1. Get used to reading grocery labels.

Even if the ingredient list on your favorite food items doesn’t specifically list “sugar” as an ingredient, there’s still a chance that it could have a high sugar content under the veil of a different name. There are at least 60 other names for sugar out there, with the most common being high fructose corn syrup.

9. Know the difference between natural and added sugar.

Not all sugar is created equal and it’s important to know the difference between natural vs added sugar. While it may be difficult to avoid all forms of natural sugar, avoiding added sugars that are refined or processed can be a realistic goal to strive for.

Helpful Weight Loss Tips

If you have ever been on a diet plan only to see it work briefly and then go south from there, then you should consider a lifestyle change to make your plan more effective. Consider the tips below as some of the most effective ways to boost your weight loss journey so that your previous frustrations turn into successes.

Adjust your exercise routine.

One way to boost your weight loss success is to adjust your exercise routine. Many adults hit the gym, perform endless amount of cardio exercise day after day, only to see minimal results. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, your cardio intensity may not be high enough. Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for better results. Second, add a resistance training program—lifting weights, for example—which will help build muscle. Muscle burns more energy than fat, so this will help with weight loss. Changing your workouts to include high intensity interval training as well as resistance training is a great way to boost your metabolism and add lean muscle mass.

Avoid long periods of sitting.

One of the biggest issues with weight loss is that adults go all-out at the gym, only to lose all of the benefits directly afterwards. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to weight gain, suggesting that changing this  habit may help with n your weight loss goals. Avoid sitting for longer than 30-60 minutes at a time throughout the day for best results. Taking standing breaks can help to circulate your blood, and it increases your heart rate and metabolism just enough to where your body is not in continuous fat storage mode.

Be mindful of alcohol.

Another factor that adults should watch when attempting to lose weight is alcohol consumption. Alcohol may have some health benefits, but consuming it often can lead to increased fat production as well as inflammation. Consider cutting alcohol from your diet any time you are looking to lose weight and only drink amounts that current health guidelines suggest you consume.

Make a Habit of Walking.

One effective way to control your body weight is to take a brisk walk after each meal. Research has shown that brisk walking after a meal for about 15-45 minutes can lead to an improvement in overall glycemic control in older adults. An improvement in glycemic control could cause better usage of insulin, which could lead to a reduction of fat in your body. Consider making a brisk walk a habit after each meal and you may see great benefits in both weight and in mood.

Bottom Line

Sugar consumption is linked to a number of health concerns. Perhaps the most concerning one is obesity. Obesity is a highly prevalent issue in the U.S.: seven out of every 10 adults are overweight or obese. And  sugar plays a major role in this statistic.

The average American consumes twice as much sugar as what’s recommended. That excess sugar adds up to about 330 calories each day, which means the average adult could be gaining close to 20 pounds a year simply from eating too much sugar. Sugar consumption is likely a major element contributing to obesity levels in this country.

Consider finding healthy ways to cut sugar from your life to help you lose weight.

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