What is Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a food additive derived from starch, and is found in a variety of packaged and processed foods. It can also be in vitamins and sugar substitutes. It is one of many food additives derived from natural or organic sources that undergoes significant processing to reach its usable form. Because of how it is made, it is impossible to find in a naturally occurring state. It is almost always added to processed foods for various reasons.

What Is Maltodextrin?

Maltodextrin comes in the form of a white powder or a concentrate. It is typically derived from starches such as rice, corn and potato in the USA, and wheat or barley in Europe. The starch is cooked with acid or enzymes to replicate the way that digestion breaks down starch. It is considered a simple sugar and described as “not sweet” by the FDA. However, the flavor is reported as anywhere from slightly sweet to completely devoid of flavor. Maltodextrin is sometimes confused with maltose because of the similar names, however, it does not contain maltose.

Where Is Maltodextrin Found?

Maltodextrin is often found just like sugar in a variety of packaged and processed foods. Common places to find the additive includes cereals, packaged cookies, potato chips, powdered drink mixes, sodas, instant soup mixes, sports drinks and vitamins. It also commonly appears in sugar substitutes such as Splenda. Using the Splenda example, this sweetener is almost completely maltodextrin because it uses sucralose, which is much sweeter than sugar. Because maltodextrin is essentially a sugar, sweeteners such as Splenda are not actually sugar free.

Maltodextrin Uses

Maltodextrin is used as a binder, a filler and a sweetener, depending on the food or product it is used in. In the case of savory foods such as potato chips, it is used to impart a slightly sweet taste, which can help the food be more addictive. It can also be used as a filler or thickener because it is more or less flavorless and will not alter the flavor of most foods. The binder use is mostly in vitamins and drugs, both powdered and solid.

Maltodextrin Side Effects

Despite the fact that this compound is essentially organic, it is still artificially processed and separated from its natural location. It is also a carbohydrate and possesses a high glycemic index, making it unsuitable for those struggling with diabetes or high blood sugar. Similar health side effects to other sugars have been observed. This includes weight gain, high blood sugar and metabolic syndrome. Side effects related to consumption are also similar to general carbohydrate intolerance. These may include stomach upset, vomiting, asthma, rashes, hives and bowel issues.

Is Maltodextrin Gluten Free?

Because it is highly processed food additive, the source of this compound does not factor into its relationship with gluten. It is essentially gluten free, however, many people have reported similar reactions to gluten allergies. According to FDA labeling procedures, it is considered gluten free.

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What is Phenylalanine?

Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in three forms; D-phenylalanine, L-phenylalanine, and a mixture DL-phenylalanine. It is a common ingredient in various medical drugs and food items. It is important to understand where it is found, it’s common uses, and it’s side effects.

The Uses of Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine may be used to treat the skin condition vitiligo. It is also used to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity or pain. Although no scientific evidence exists to prove its effectiveness, this amino acid has been used to treat arthritis, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. It is often a common ingredient used to sweeten low calorie foods and beverages as well.

Where is Phenylalanine Found?

Phenylalanine naturally occurs in the breast milk of mammals. Also, it is found in most foods rich in protein, dairy products, nuts, and seeds. It is a common ingredient in aspartame, a synthetic diet sweetener marketed in brands like Equal and Nutrasweet. There have been numerous questions concerning the safety of phenylalanine, especially when it is present in foods and beverages. However, in moderate amounts, the FDA has deemed it safe for human consumption.

Phenylalanine Side Effects

Although considered safe for most people, there are possible side effects associated with the substance. For example, pregnant women are advised against consuming too much. It is believed to increase the likelihood of developing birth defects in unborn babies. It will also cause bad reactions in people with Phenylketonuria.

What is Phenylketonurics?

Phenylketonurics is the word that refers to people with the metabolic disorder Phenylketonuria. This is often called PKU. PKU occurs in people with a deficiency of the enzyme that metabolizes phenylalanine. Individuals with PKU must follow a low protein diet and be wary of products that contain artificial sweeteners. When a person with PKU does not avoid phenylalanine, mental retardation, loss of skin pigmentation, seizures, and muscle aches may occur.

Although some forms of phenylalanine occur naturally, it can be dangerous to people who suffer from Phenylketonuria. For others who do not react, it is wise to consume it in moderate amounts. Surely, the future will bring more research to test its safety.



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What Is Meditation

Meditation has a place in nearly every religious tradition, though it is mostly associated with eastern religions such as Buddhism. Meditation has also been found to have a range of benefits, including stress relief, lowering blood pressure and easing depression and anxiety. There are many different traditions of meditation with many different methods of reaching a meditative state.

What Is Meditation

Before understanding what meditation is, it is important to understand what meditation is not. Meditation is not simply concentration, nor is it a loss of control resulting in hearing voices, seeing colors or involuntary movements. Exercises such as yoga are also not meditation and meditation does not result from mental effort. Meditation is the opposite of mental effort. It is a state of awareness where the mind is blank, without thoughts. It is a point when the mind is silent, completely calm, yet also completely alert and aware.

How To Meditate Properly

Begin by concentrating on your breathing. Listen to your normal breathing patterns. Simply listen though, do not focus so hard on your breathing that it gets in the way of relaxing. Think about why you are meditating. Choose a comfortable position and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale and repeat. Your thoughts may begin to wander. Let them go as meditation is very much about letting go. Some people find it helpful to focus on a metaphor at this point. Think of an elevator descending from a high tower. Pick a number and watch each light illuminate as the elevator descends. Once you reach the ground floor, your mind should be relatively blank. At this point, relax each muscle group in succession. Return to the elevator and go up to a floor of your choice. Get out and open your eyes into tranquility.

How To Meditate Deeply

Meditating deeply involves taking at least 20 undisturbed minutes. It is very important to find a place where you can remain undisturbed for at least this time. Deep meditation is simply an extension of meditating properly. In order to go deeper, you can try some techniques such as picking a routine time and place to meditate, so the habit itself becomes calming. You can listen to meditation music or try guided meditation. When you first start meditating, it might take awhile to reach the actual stage of meditation because of the mental chatter that everyone experiences. To meditate deeply, you should be able to quiet the chatter quickly and get to the calm state.

Meditation and Nutrition

Meditation and nutrition are complimentary. Eating proper foods and cleansing foods can help your mind and sense of peace. Eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods is a great start to finding complimentary nutrition. Eat foods that help circulation and mental clarity. Some of the foods that help circulation include oranges, hot peppers, ginger, sunflower seeds, garlic, avocados and salmon. Improved circulation helps you feel more relaxed and can improve meditation sessions. Foods that improve mental clarity include many of the same foods that improve circulation, as well as walnuts, berries, sardines, coffee, spinach and plenty of water. Improved mental clarity can help you focus and remove cluttered thoughts in meditation.

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What Does Being Healthy Mean?

Being healthy means taking care of your body by eating well and exercising regularly. Though being and staying healthy may seem like a challenge, it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. There are three factors that contribute to being healthy.

Healthy Livestyle

The first factor is that living healthy is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice. Diets usually restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight. Even though being healthy can result in losing weight, the concept is much more than that. The only way to truly stay and be healthy is to change the way you live your life. You need to change the way you eat and start engaging in physical activity.

Healthy Eating

The second factor is eating clean, well balanced meals. Cutting out fast food, refined sugars, enriched bread, greasy and fatty foods is the first thing to do. Eating all of those bad, unhealthy things greatly affect your health. This is because those “foods” aren’t really foods. The only way to fix this is to eat less CRAP:

C – carbonated drinks
R – refined sugar
A – artificial sweeteners and colors
P – processed foods

Also, to eat more real FOOD:

F – fruits and veggies
O – organic lean proteins
O – omega 3 fatty acids
D – drink water

People don’t realize that by eating real food, a lot of health risks go down. When people eat unhealthy foods and meals, they are at risk for diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. On the bright side, if someone does suffer from a disease from eating bad, eating right can reverse or help with that.
healthy eatingHealthy eating includes a variety of foods that gives your body the right amount of nutrients you need to maintain your health, give you energy and make you feel good. It’s important to eat three meals and three snacks a day. Another way to approach it is to eat six small meals a day.

Some may be clueless on how to start picking out the foods that will benefit them the most and will help steer them to eating healthier. The best healthiest foods that are great for your health are as follows:

  • apples
  • almonds
  • broccoli
  • blueberries
  • salmon
  • leafy green vegetables
  • sweet potatoes
  • avocados
  • oatmeal

Though these are the top healthiest foods, some other important things to include are lean protein and meats, quinoa, eggs, and lots of water.

Healthy Activities

The third factor is getting and staying active. The body is made for being physical and also responds positively to it as well. The results of being active are as follows:being healthy

  • better overall health
  • improved fitness
  • positive self-esteem
  • better posture and balance
  • increased energy
  • improves your mood
  • healthy weight and weight control
  • combats health conditions and diseases

Being physically active doesn’t mean working out everyday for hours on end. In fact, 30-60 minutes 4/7 days a week is great. Even if someone is aware of the benefits of regular exercise, they may be unmotivated to stick with it. However, there are tips for staying active.

  • choose activities that you enjoy doing because it helps you maintain that healthy lifestyle
  • walk whenever you can
  • stretch everyday
  • have a friend join you
  • congratulate yourself when you reach a personal goal

As you can see, being healthy includes eating the right foods and being physically active. If you feel like giving up on a healthy life, there are ways on how to stay healthy. Some motivating and inspirational facts about being healthy include:

  • there are over 300,000 deaths per year caused by poor nutrition and a lack of physical activity
  • there is no quick fix
  • the results are priceless
  • you look and feel better all the time

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What is Leptin

The discovery of the leptin hormone by Dr. Jeffrey Friedman and his collegues at Rockefeller University offered a physiological cause for obesity and a promise of possible treatments. Friedman’s research, published in the December 1994 issue of Nature, studied obese mice found to have a leptin deficiency. These mice lacked the gene that codes leptin, and they weighed three-times as much as their siblings that did not have this genetic defect. When injected with a synthetic form of the hormone, the obese mice increased their activity and lost weight.

What is Leptin?

Leptin, named for the Greek word leptos, meaning thin, is a protein hormone that Friedman’s research found is produced by fat cells and sends signals the brain that regulate energy expenditures and food intake. During periods of fasting or famine, the body’s leptin levels decrease with the loss of fat; this both increases the appetite and signals the body to conserve energy in an effort to increase fat stores and leptin levels. The level of leptin required to satisfy appetite and signal the body that it has energy to expend varies among individuals and may be genetically determined. Several factors influence the amount of leptin released by fat tissue. Increased body mass, food and glucose intake all increase leptin levels. Exercise and increasing age lower these levels.

Low levels of leptin also affect fertility in women, protecting an undernourished body from the strain of pregnancy. This phenomenon, hypothalamic amenorrhea, is often associated with long-distance runners and ballet dancers.

Can Leptin Supplements Aid Weight Loss?

Leptin therapy has been effective as a weight loss treatment for individuals with leptin deficiency, but for the majority of obese patients, deficiency is not the problem. Most overweight people have adequate amounts of the hormone in their blood stream, but the leptin is not signaling the brain to suppress appetite or increase physical activity. This leptin resistance is similar to the insulin resistance suffered by type 2 diabetics; the hormone is plentiful, but it is not signaling the brain as it should. Researchers theorize that sustained periods of overeating causes the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates hormones, to become less sensitive to leptin, requiring increased amounts to signal the body that it has taken in enough food. Another possible cause of leptin resistance is a defective system of delivery from the blood to the brain.

Products marketed as leptin supplements do not actually contain leptin. As a digestible protein, the hormone cannot be taken in supplement form. These supplements are generally designed to promote overall wellness, which supports the body’s system of regulating appetite and energy expenditures. Many of these supplements contain fiber to promote a sense of fullness and suppress the appetite. While no synthetically engineered leptin has yet been developed to overcome leptin resistance, a diet low in sugars may help improve the transport of leptin to the brain.

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