Weight Loss Patch

It sounds too good to be true, a transdermal patch that will provide a continuous stream of appetite suppressing, metabolism boosting medicine into your blood stream allowing you to shed those extra pounds with minimal effort. Those who have long battled to control their weight are all too familiar with outrageous claims and may wish to immediately dismiss the slimming patch as just one of many weight-loss scams. However, patches have been successfully used to administer pain medications, pharmaceutical-grade nicotine, and other therapeutic medications. Perhaps these patches deserve a second look. How do weight loss patches work, and have they proven to be effective?

There are several different brands of weight loss patches on the market. Most are infused with a combination of guarana, chromium and garcinia cambogia. Guarana is a derivative of seeds from a tree grown in the Amazon region of South American. It is commonly used as a flavoring in Brazilian soft drinks. These seeds are noted for their high concentration of caffeine, which, by weight, is two- to three-times greater than that of coffee. Taken as a food supplement, guarana may promote weight-loss when combined with polyphenol compounds such as those found in green tea, chocolate and red wine. The side effects are the same as those experienced with coffee or other caffeinated foods and beverages, upset stomach, anxiety, sleep disorders and increased heart rate.

Chromium is a mineral required by the body for proper digestion. It is found naturally in potato skins, whole grains, meats, molasses and yeast. It works to move sugar from the blood stream into the cells to provide them with energy. Chromium supplements may help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Excessive amounts of chromium have been linked to kidney failure, lung cancer and skin inflammation.

Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia. Its active ingredient, hydroxycitric acid, is touted, most famously by television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, as having the ability to block the absorption of carbohydrates thereby promoting weight loss. Clinical trials have failed to support this claim, although some people have reported successfully losing weight using garcinia cambogia. Although this plant-based supplement is generally considered safe for consumption, some users have reported headaches, digestive disorders and nausea with its use.

The ingredients used in weight loss patches are classified as supplements, and they are not subjected to the rigorous testing the Food and Drug Administration requires for medicines. Consumers need to take caution, and consult with a physician, before using these products. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees advertising, has successfully sued several manufacturers of the weight loss patch for false advertising.

Reviews of the slimming patch provide anecdotal information about the patch’s effectiveness. Many users claim they have successfully lost weight with the patch. It is possible these users were experiencing a placebo effect, as weight control is often more of a behavioral issue than a physiological one. Further study is needed to definitively conclude if weight loss patches are a safe and effective tool in the weight control battle.

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Prasouda Diet

From Prasouda, Greece comes the healthful Mediterranean Prasouda diet filled with high-fiber fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish and healthy oils. More than a way of eating, Prasouda can be characterized as a way of life that embraces fresh air, joyful living and clean eating in the Old World style of the Mediterranean region.

Whole grains, fresh produce, legumes and generous amounts of olive oil lay the foundation for this eating style. Breads, pastas, rice and other grains make up the first level of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. The emphasis is on flavor, freshness and simple preparation. This is in sharp contrast to the processed, pre-packaged foods and tasteless fruits and vegetables, often picked before fully ripened, that dominate the American diet. Cheese, yogurt, fresh fish, some poultry and eggs, add additional nutrients to the diet, but are not the main feature of a Mediterranean menu. Red meat, found at the apex of the Mediterranean diet pyramid, is consumed in limited amounts, only a portion once or twice a month. This style of eating allows for a moderate amount of sweets, and red wine, with its anti-oxidant properties, fits in to the Prasouda diet lifestyle.

Vegetables are most nutrient-rich immediately after harvest, hence the emphasis on fresh, locally grown produce. This often means planning Mediterranean menus around seasonal availability, something common before the age of freezers, refrigerators and commercial canneries. Spring might see meals filled with early greens such as spinach and arugula. Summer brings a bounty of tomatoes, summer squashes, green beans, cucumbers and melons. The winter Mediterranean menu relies on root vegetables, potatoes and carrots, winter squash and cabbages that can withstand the cooler temperatures.

Olive oil provides the necessary fat in this style of eating. Unlike butter and lard, olive oil adds no cholesterol to the diet, and is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for health, and have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables in the Prasouda diet are full of anti-oxidants, which help the body fend off disease and infections. A study of post-menopausal women by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that a Mediterranean-style diet reduced women’s risk of developing breast cancer. This high-fiber diet prevents insulin spikes by slowing the release of sugars into the blood. Insulin spikes are a contributing factor to the development of Type 2 diabetes. The Prasouda diet has also been shown to be effective in weight control and stress relief.

Rather than a restrictive diet, the Prasouda diet is one of abundance. Full plates of lightly cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, fish, olive oil and whole grains satisfy the appetite without subjecting the body to unhealthy fats, overly processed foods and refined grains. This healthy style of eating maintains a balanced metabolism and reduces the risk of disease and obesity.

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Fruit and Vegetable Supplements

The healthful, disease fighting properties of fruits and vegetables are well documented. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables form the basis of diets such as the Mediterranean diet and the Paleo diet, styles of eating that have been shown to help individuals maintain a healthy weight, fight disease and increase longevity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 dietary guidelines recommend you eat at least two and a half cups of fruits and vegetables each day, combining dark green vegetables and leafy greens with orange and red colored produce, such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes and carrots. The different colors of fruit and vegetables indicate the presence of different antioxidants; each is necessary to counter the damaging effect of free radicals, molecules that damage and age the cells of a body.

Meeting these dietary goals can be difficult. Fresh produce has a limited shelf life, and keeping it on hand for meals often requires several shopping trips a week. Even for those that do have the time to shop for and prepare fruits and vegetables, the availability of fresh produce varies by geographic location and season. Many consumers live in what is termed ‘Food Deserts.” These parts of the country lack grocery stores and farmers markets that provide healthy foods. Readily available Fruit and vegetable supplements offer consumers a convenient way to get the health benefits of fresh produce.

Fruit Supplements

Fruit supplements contain the potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid found in bananas, prunes, oranges, melons and many other fruits. Potassium helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure; fiber is essential for regulating the digestive system and it helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Vitamin C is necessary for repairing damaged tissue, and folic acid is essential for building red blood cells. Folic acid, when taken by pregnant women, can prevent some birth defects. Fruit supplements combine many different fruits in one dose, providing a complete nutritional package. They are available in capsule form and as powders that can be blended into water or juice.

Vegetable Supplements

Vegetable supplements are made from dried or dehydrated vegetables combined with juice concentrates. Unlike vitamin pills, vegetable supplements contain the whole vegetable, making them more readily absorbed by the body. They provide nutrition that is more complete then that of vitamin pills. They generally combine vegetables from across the color spectrum, ensuring a good mix of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Essential nutrients found in vegetable supplements include vitamin C, carotenes, necessary for strong bones and eye health, lutein and zeaxanthin, which also protect vision, and lycopene, a nutrient found in tomatoes that is associated with reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Fruit and vegetable supplements are available in health food stores and online. Bulk supplements are a convenient and cost-efficient way to keep a supply on hand for regular inclusion in your diet. While these supplements have long shelf lives, they are best used by the “use by” date stamped on the packaging for maximum nutrition. It is safe to use older products, but the nutrition levels are not at their maximum as the supplements begin to break down.

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What is Spirulina

Spirulina is vitamin-rich blue – green algae that is used as a nutritional supplement. Spirulina, Latin for little spiral, grows in warm, alkaline waters and is believed to have been one of the earliest forms of life on Earth, growing for 3.5 billon years. The ancient Aztecs reaped the nutritional benefits of these algae, which grew abundantly in waters surrounding the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan, by gathering it in fine netting, drying it and forming small green cakes. Historians report that the Aztecs considered this organic spirulina a “power-food” that provided quick energy and stamina.

In modern times, the microscopic organism was rediscovered by Jean Leonard, a Belgium botanist. Subsequent research proved it an abundant source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including beta-carotene, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, zinc, and manganese. It is also a rich source of easily digestible vegetable protein. Spirulina powder is, by weight, 60 percent protein, leading the United Nations to declare it an alternative food source of the future at its 1974 World Food Conference.

Sources of Spirulina

Spirulina is commercially grown in the United States, Thailand, China and India. In the U.S., to be certified as organic spirulina, it must be grown without the use of chemicals, bioengineering or radiation, and it must be 95-percent free of synthetic ingredients. The algae may be raised in open lakebeds, which create the possibility of contamination. Consumers should research sources to determine if they are purchasing from a safe source. Much of the spirulina currently on the market is grown in a laboratory setting.

Spirulina Benefits

Laboratory studies suggest that spirulina boosts the body’s ability to fight infections by increasing the production of antibodies. Unlike antibiotic medications, which kill the good bacteria along with the harmful bacteria, spirulina appears to boost production of probiotics, thereby preventing the diarrhea and yeast infections that often accompany a round of antibiotic treatment. Other studies indicate spirulina may be effective as an antihistamine, may protect against liver damage in hepatitis patients, and has the ability to reduce precancerous lesions suffered by oral cancer patients. Further research is needed to verify these findings.

Adding Spirulina to the Diet

Spirulina powder, readily available in health food stores, may be added to smoothies, sprinkled over cut fruit or incorporated into soups, dips and salad dressings. The supplement is also available in flake and tablet form.


While no harmful side effects have been reported with spirulina use, there has been no research on its effects with children, and women that are pregnant or breast-feeding should seek a doctor’s advice before adding it to their diet. Individuals suffering from autoimmune disease, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, should not take spirulina as it could aggravate these conditions. Additionally, individuals taking immune system suppression drugs should consult with their doctor about possible negative interactions with their medications. Individuals unable to metabolize phenylalanine amino acids should avoid spirulina.

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History of Nutrition

Nutrition is essential to every life form. Specifically, nutrition is defined as “the sum of all processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances”. The intake and use of food has been studied since the beginning of civilization. Famous nutritionists in history have been compelled to understand the impact of food on the body. Even as the science of nutrition has advanced, it remains very important today. As the population of the world continues to increase and nutrients in the land are depleted due to chemicals and pollution, it is becoming more difficult to ensure people are getting proper nutrition. Additionally, there are epidemics of obesity and life-style related diseases that are growing at an alarming rate, which greatly impact quality of life and healthcare costs.

Father of Western Medicine

In ancient Greece, studies of the human sciences were flourishing. Anaxagoras noted that food was absorbed by the body and hypothesized that food contained “homoeomerics”, or basic nutrients. Hippocrates, who taught and practiced medicine throughout his life, believed that all diseases had a natural source, rather than being caused by the gods. Known as the father of western medicine, he famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”. Food was often used for both cosmetics and medicines at that time. Writings have described squeezing the juice of a liver, which is rich in Vitamin A, into the eye to treat a certain eye disease, now known to be due to Vitamin A deficiency.

Leonardo da Vinci

The 16th century marked the beginnings of modern science and extraordinary change in the understanding of the world. Leonardo da Vinci, while best known as an artist and inventor, also had a keen understanding of the human body. He compared the process of metabolism in the human body to the burning of a candle.

Dr. James Lind

The 18th century was host to a series of important nutrition discoveries. In 1747, Dr. James Lind performed the first scientific nutrition experiment. A British physician in the Navy, he recognized the deadly, painful bleeding disorder known as scurvy that sailors developed after years at sea. He noted this disease could be cured with the ingestion of the juice of limes; however, his findings were largely ignored for over forty years. It wasn’t until 1930 when the essential Vitamin C was isolated from lime juice.

Chemical Revolution

Many theories had been published by scientists about how ingested food is used by the body, but it wasn’t until the late 18th century that this process was described with methods of chemical analysis and scientific testing. This boom of chemical knowledge became known as the “chemical revolution” in France. Most famous of these “chemical revolution” scientists was Antoine Lavoisier. Known as the father of nutrition and chemistry, he described the chemical process by which food is metabolized in the body. He created an equation demonstrating that the combination of food and oxygen in the body gives off water and heat, explaining the origin of heat given off by the body.

Justin Liebig

Studies continued to focus on the content of food and what nutrients were essential to the body. In the early 1800s, food was found to be comprised of four primary elements: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. Later, Justin Liebig, a German scientist, identified the chemical structure of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In the early 1900s Carl Von Voit and Max Rubner were able to measure the expenditure of caloric energy in animals.

Christiaan Eijkman

Disease can be caused by a deficiency in vitamins or nutrients. In 1897, Christiaan Eijkman was working with natives of Java who had developed the disease beriberi. Beriberi is a severe disease that causes heart disease and even paralysis. Through his deduction, Eijkman discovered that changing the natives’ diet from white rice to brown rice cured the beriberi. It was later discovered that the husk of the unprocessed brown rice contained thiamine, or Vitamin B1.

Dr. Casmir Funk

The first use of the term “vitamin” was by Dr. Casmir Funk, when he coined the term to describe these substances that were found in food and could cure diseases such as beriberi and scurvy. The term “vitamin” was formed from the combination of “vital” and “amine” because it was originally thought these substances were derived from ammonia. The first vitamins discovered were Vitamin A and Vitamin B in 1912. The discovery of vitamins culminated with the finding of Vitamin B12 in 1948.

Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winning chemist, pioneered the idea of Orthomolecular Nutrition. Orthomolecular means “pertaining to the right molecule”. Pauling believed that the correct molecules in the correct concentrations lead to optimum nutrition, enabling people to lead healthier and longer lives. In 1941, the first Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) were established by the National Research Council to help guide people on healthy eating. The RDAs are revised every ten years and outline recommended daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, sugars, proteins and carbohydrates.

As epidemics of obesity and lifestyle-related diseases continue to grow around the world, understanding the impact of food on the body will be more important than ever. Nutrition awards in the future may go to those people who find methods of nutrition that can prevent disease and prolong life. Consumers are faced with choosing foods that are healthful at the grocery store, often between highly-processed cheaper foods and minimally-processed more expensive foods. While scientists help to improve the knowledge we have about foods, day to day food choices are made by the consumers, making the role of the nutritionist irreplaceable. The study of nutrition continues to be an important field that will impact the daily lives of people around the world.

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