These products should ideally be refrigerated and kept out of humidity. I'll share methods to control the condition Despite their lack of effectiveness for While many diets promise that you'll quickly shed pounds in the beginning, the truth is that reining in your eating will almost always result in quick, initial weight loss regardless of what program you decide to try. If you find something you like, you can help support us by clicking through and buying the products we pick. Experts say that people who make diets a lifestyle rather than just a "diet," while setting a goal of losing a pound or so a week, are more apt to keep the weight off over the long term.
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The point-based system is easy to follow, and the basic program is relatively affordable. Experts say "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off," is your best guide to losing weight, maintaining long-term weight loss, and learning to eat nutritious food.
Based upon research showing that low-density food will keep you fuller longer, it mitigates one of the biggest enemies of any diet: Volumetrics is the science upon which many other popular weight loss programs are based -- including Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
However, it requires you to know your way around the kitchen. If planning for and preparing healthy foods is the biggest obstacle to your weight loss, look no further than Jenny Craig. The program delivers prepackaged food to your home; you just heat or open and eat, and experts and users say the food tastes good, too. There's no counting calories, no forbidden foods, and little planning required.
Reviewers say Jenny Craig is an ideal program for someone who wants a no-hassle diet. It's pricey, though, and, there's very little room for eating out or home-cooked meals. Following the SlimFast diet plan couldn't be simpler, reviewers say, using the meal replacement bars and shakes for breakfast, lunch and snacks, while eating a balanced, low calorie meal for dinner. The bars and shakes are very affordable and widely available, and the diet has been proven to help people lose weight if they follow it closely.
However, the restrictive nature of the Slim Fast diet can be tough to stick to for the long term, and many experts say 1, calories per day are not enough for most. You have to sign up, and they come at a cost -- some higher than others depending upon the program -- but commercial diet programs offer a lot of tools for the dieter.
These may include in-person and online support, smartphone and tablet apps, journaling and record-keeping programs specific to the diet, pre-calculated calorie counts, guides for eating out and plenty of proven recipes for any cooking skill level. They also provide the most support, both in person and online.
Books to help you lose weight or change your eating habits are a dime a dozen -- and that's a very good thing. A good diet book can be an affordable approach to starting and maintaining a healthy eating plan.
Many even have free online support forums or extensive websites that can be accessed for free or a small fee. The best diet books not only give you an overview of how their program works, but also offer menu plans, recipes and exercise guidance. Best of all, you can usually try before you buy by checking out the book at your local library.
These are very convenient if you don't have the time, energy or ability to plan for and prepare meals. A prepackaged food program gives you a no-hassle, no-brainer approach to dieting, but the best come at a cost. Even the least expensive prepackaged plans cost more than just buying your own food, and it can be difficult to find out the true cost until you actually commit.
Still, if you can afford it, you get a nutritionally balanced, calorie-controlled eating plan with lots of support and no additional tools needed -- except a microwave oven, which are covered in a separate report.
Practically everyone decides at some point in time that they want or need to lose weight. For some, it may be a few pounds they've put on over the holidays, for others it's a serious issue and their weight may be leading to obesity-related health problems. The good news is that if you're struggling with your size, reducing your calorie intake and increasing your activity level have been clinically shown to help you lose weight. The bad news is that there are no shortcuts and no short-term fixes.
Fad diets, herbal supplements, "fat-burning" pills, and highly restrictive diets don't work for long, if at all, and some may cause more harm than good. The most important consideration of any diet is finding one that you can stick with for the long haul. While many diets promise that you'll quickly shed pounds in the beginning, the truth is that reining in your eating will almost always result in quick, initial weight loss regardless of what program you decide to try.
The trick is to find a program that -- after that first couple of weeks -- you can adhere to as your weight loss slows to more realistic levels.
Experts say that people who make diets a lifestyle rather than just a "diet," while setting a goal of losing a pound or so a week, are more apt to keep the weight off over the long term. The best diets incorporate or encourage exercise and allow you to ingest more calories as your reward. Some programs have even more specific exercise guidelines, suggesting the best foods to eat both before and after you exercise for maximum energy and recovery. If you don't know what's the best exercise for you, head on over to our reports on treadmills , elliptical trainers , exercise bikes and stair climbers for some ideas to help in your efforts to improve your fitness.
A fitness tracker can also give you the motivation to get up and get moving. Support, either in-person or online, is another key to successful dieting. The best diets offer support from both trained counselors and fellow dieters. In addition, studies show that those who keep track of their food and activity are ultimately more successful at losing weight.
This personal accountability can help you shed pounds whether you follow a commercial diet program or choose a self-directed diet. Many of our best-rated weight loss programs have tracking software available online, as well as mobile apps, or even paper-tracking programs for those who prefer hard-copy journaling.
Other programs or diets may not have dedicated websites, but there are a wealth of free calorie and activity tracking websites that offer community support, recipes and even free exercise videos. There is always a lot of controversy when it comes to evaluating diets. Many people are firmly in one camp or another over the "right" way to eat. Studies are often contradictory in their findings, and many critics charge that government recommendations are influenced by the food industry.
We present the controversies and cross-opinions, when relevant, but we do not take sides; in our opinion the best diet is the one you feel best on and can stick with. Instead, we've evaluated expert reviews, most notably those published annually at U. News and World Report. That publication consults medical professionals who, in turn, consult clinical studies as well as utilizing their own experience and expertise to make their recommendations. We then work our way down to dieter opinions posted on survey sites -- to identify the most nutritionally sound and sustainable weight loss programs.
That includes diets, meal-delivery plans, diet books and free, online resources that will help you lose weight and keep it off over the long-term. No weight loss program rivals Weight Watchers' Est. There are no off-limit foods, and the program can be customized for any dietary need, making it a good choice for vegetarians, vegans and anyone who has a specific food allergy or intolerance. It emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables by making them "free" foods -- in other words, foods that don't have to be portioned or tracked.
Weight Watchers has been around for more than 50 years, and has always been a point-based system -- currently known as SmartPoints. Those points are calculated from a formula that takes into account the food's fat, sugar, protein and carbohydrate count. You're given a specific number of points each day that you track and log, as well as weekly bonus points for snacks or additional food items. Fitness is also a bigger component, and you're encouraged to set fitness goals when you set up your profile, then track them and, if you wish, exchange FitPoints for food.
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet. Becoming a flexitarian means you can eat meat and still get the health rewards of a vegetarian lifestyle. By Rachel Meltzer Warren. Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email. Send We respect your privacy. Oops, we messed up.
Are you eating less meat? Share your plant-based diet tips by leaving a comment below. Plant-Based Diet Perks How much meat can you eat and still get the benefits of a veggie diet?
How to Make the Switch Any step you take will help, but the more plants and fewer animal foods, the better. Up your vegetable and fruit intake. Fill at least half of your plate with produce , grains, or beans, and downsize your meat serving. Think of a stir-fry heavy on the veggies and grains with thinly sliced strips of beef rather than a big steak with a spear of broccoli.
Or try veggie-based dishes like burritos. Pick the healthiest meats. You might want to focus first on decreasing the amount of processed meat you eat—bacon, deli meats, hot dogs, and sausage. A Harvard study linked a daily serving equal to one hot dog or two slices of bacon to an increased risk of early death from heart disease and cancer.
The "milk test" described on websites will not reliably tell you if a probiotic supplement contains viable organisms or not. The "test" is often described as checking for the formation of curds or clumps a day or two after putting the contents of a probiotic supplement into a small amount of milk and leaving it at room temperature.
It is true that certain probiotic bacteria can cause milk to clump, but not all probiotic bacteria will do this in the "milk test. Certain probiotic bacteria can make milk more acidic by fermenting lactose milk sugar into lactic acid — the process used to create yogurt, kefir, and cheese. A significant amount of lactic acid has to be produced to make the milk acidic enough for it to curdle.
Probiotic bacteria which can convert lactose to lactic acid include those of the genus Lactobacillus such as L. However, another common genus of probiotic, Bifidobacterium such as B. The enzyme, chymosin also known as rennin can also cause milk to curdle by acting directly on proteins.
It is commonly used in making cheese. The "milk test" has been misleadingly used to promote probiotic products in which chymosin has been added as an ingredient because the "test" will show the product to curdle milk relatively quickly.
This, of course, does not prove that the probiotic organisms are present and active. The milk test is also not valid when using tablets which have not been crushed they are only expected to properly break apart when subjected to heat and agitation, as in the stomach , particularly chewable tablets, or those with enteric coatings which would first need to have their coatings removed. If the probiotic organisms cannot be released and exposed to the milk, they won't be active.
The products are purchased off the shelf and are tested in expert microbiology laboratories by plating their contents on culture media which is then incubated. The quantity of viable organisms is determined by the resulting growth of bacterial colonies.
The products are also tested for possible contamination with mold, yeast, and pathogenic disease-causing bacteria, such as E. Which supplements can help lower or control my blood sugar? Many different supplements may help lower or control blood sugar in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who experience hyperglycemia when blood glucose rises higher than normal.
These supplements are discussed below. More details about each, including dosage, drug interactions, potential side effects, and ConsumerLab. Due to the seriousness of hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your physician regarding use of these supplements.
Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled with medication. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. Curcumin from turmeric may improve blood sugar levels, according to preliminary studies, and one study found curcumin to dramatically lower the chances of prediabetes in middle-aged, slightly overweight men and women with somewhat higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, although it may only slightly reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. Chromium picolinate may help some people with type 2 diabetes decrease fasting blood glucose levels as well as levels of insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. However, be aware that high doses may worsen insulin sensitivity in healthy people who are not obese or diabetic.
Having adequate blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of insulin resistance in people who are obese. There is some evidence that a certain blood level of vitamin D is needed for normal glucose metabolism in women who are overweight and obese but not diabetic , but it is not clear whether any further benefit is gained with higher blood levels.
In healthy people, consuming a moderate amount of olive oil with a meal has been shown to reduce increases in blood sugar after the meal compared to the same meal consumed with corn oil. In people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, olive oil may improve glucose metabolism.
Increasing dietary fiber , especially insoluble fiber from cereal and grains, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and modestly lower HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes Martin, J Nutr ; Post,J Am Board Fam Med In people with type 1 diabetes, 50 grams of dietary fiber per day has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce hypoglycemic events Giacco, Diabetes Care The American Dietetic Association states that "diets providing 30 to 50 g fiber per day from whole food sources consistently produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a low-fiber diet.
Ginseng , both American and Korean Red ginseng from Panax ginseng , may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to preliminary research. Drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal may help to lessen increases in blood sugar after the meal in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Silymarin, a component of milk thistle , may decrease blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes, and reduce insulin resistance in people with coexisting diabetes and alcoholic cirrhosis.
Inulin, a type of prebiotic , may improve measures of blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes, although it did not improve blood sugar levels or insulin resistance in a study of prediabetic men and women. Berberine a compound found in plants such as barberry , Oregon grape and goldenseal may reduce blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, according to a few small studies.
Fenugreek may help to lower blood sugar, according to preliminary studies, and one study found fenugreek extract to significantly improve some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes. D-ribose , often promoted for energy or sports performance, may also lower blood sugar levels Fenstad, Internet J Nutr Wellness White mulberry Moruns alba or Morus indica has been traditionally used in Asia to help treat type 2 diabetes, and there is some preliminary evidence to support this use.
Mulberry leaf extract species not given may lessen increases in blood sugar after ingestion of table sugar in healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes Mudra, Diabetes Care There is mixed evidence as to whether CoQ10 may lower blood sugar.
To be safe, people with diabetes or who take medication to lower blood sugar should consult a physician before using.
Preliminary evidence suggests certain other supplements, including aloe , ashwagandha , ginkgo , green coffee bean extract , glucosamine , black cohosh , rhodiola , reishi mushroom and tart cherry juice may lower blood sugar.
While there is not enough clinical research to support the use of these supplements for this purpose, it's important to keep this in mind, as they could enhance the blood sugar lowering effect of other supplements or medications you may be taking. CLA conjugated linoleic acid , a popular supplement for slimming, may worsen blood sugar control in diabetics and in obese people without diabetes.
Also note that high doses of vitamin C may increase blood sugar or interfere with certain blood sugar tests. With probiotics, how many CFUs should I look for as the dose?
Is more necessarily better? As a general rule, a probiotic should provide at least 1 billion CFUs colony forming units, i. There are some exceptions to this: The specific dose will depend on the probiotic strain and the purpose for which it is taken.
Be aware that probiotic supplements may contain a single type of organism or a combination of many types. Combinations have been more effective in some situations, but single strain products have also been effective, so it is not clear that one is better than the other. Details about the clinical studies are found in the " What It Does " section of the Review.
What is the difference between the "Best By" date and the "Date of Manufacture" on a supplement label? How do I know how long my supplement will last before it "goes bad"? As explained by ConsumerLab. Although the FDA does not require supplement labels to provide an expiration date, companies which include these dates are required to have stability data to support their claims.
The expiration date refers to the shelf life of the unopened container stored under the conditions specified on the label. A "Date of Manufacture" simply indicates when the supplement was made, not how long the ingredients remain stable and potent. Typically, supplements are stable and potent if properly maintained for two to three years, but this depends on the product. Be sure to take extra care when looking at the date listed on probiotics supplements.
Some may list the number of cells in a product as the amount "at the time of manufacture" — a practice which is misleading and violates FDA regulations.
You can learn more about this in the "ConsumerTips" section of ConsumerLab. Tod Cooperman on Reuter's Health. Is it true that yogurt and kefir can trigger migraines? Fermented dairy products such as kefir and yogurt may contain substances which some evidence suggests may trigger migraine headache. In fact, a leading organization suggests that migraine sufferers limit their consumption of fermented foods. Do any supplements help for ulcerative colitis?
These include curcumin , a form of glucosamine called N-acetyl-glucosamine NAG , Boswellia , and phosphatidylcholine. You can use these links for more details, including dosage.
Although there is some evidence that a specific probiotic formula may be helpful, overall, there doesn't appear to be strong evidence to support the use of probiotics for ulcerative colitis.
There is some very preliminary evidence that supplementation with aloe vera gel or bromelain may be helpful. Reducing or eliminating carrageenan a substance used to thicken and improve the texture of certain foods and supplements from the diet may also helpful. For information about other proposed treatments, including fish oil, evening primrose oil, andrographis and wheat grass, see the Encyclopedia article about Ulcerative Colitis.
I read that aging lowers the body's capacity to produce vitamin D. Even regular sun exposure will not suffice and one may have to take a vitamin D3 supplement during old age to meet our body's regular requirements. Please comment on this. This is not entirely correct. Is it possible to get too much vitamin D? Which supplements help with depression and anxiety?
Fish oil has been found to be helpful for both depression and anxiety. Supplementing with fish oil with a high percentage of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA has been shown to improve symptoms in moderate and major depression although not in mild depression and may help to improve the effectiveness of various antidepressant medications.
Similarly, fish oil high in EPA has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety. Certain strains of probiotics have been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in short term studies, and one pre biotic product has been shown to lower levels of the "stress" hormone cortisol, as well as improve responses in a test associated with anxiety and depression.
A small clinical study in people already taking prescription medication for major depression found daily supplementation with curcumin significantly reduced depressive symptoms after four weeks and the effect was greater in those with atypical depression.
The study found that anxiety was also reduced in those taking curcumin, although this reduction did not reach statistical significance. One study found 5-HTP to be as effective as fluvoxamine Luvox for depression, with fewer side-effects; it was also found to be effective in people suffering from anxiety disorders, although not as effective as the prescription medication clomipramine.
There is evidence for a number of other supplements that may be helpful specifically for depression, including St. In women, daily supplementation with folic acid has been shown to increase the effectiveness of the antidepressant SSRI drug fluoxetine Prozac and increase the rate of recovery from depression compared to treatment with Prozac alone.
Some, but not all research suggests that L-theanine , an amino acid found in black and green tea also sold in tablet and capsule form may reduce stress and anxiety without causing drowsiness.
Having low blood levels of vitamin D is associated with a higher risk and severity of depression. One study found that supplementation with high-dose vitamin D significantly improved mood in women with type 2 diabetes who had serious depressive symptoms. Having low blood levels of magnesium , and having a low intake of magnesium from foods are also each associated with an increased risk of depression. One small clinical study suggests magnesium supplementation may help reduce symptoms of depression.
In one clinical study, taking ashwagandha daily, in addition to a multivitamin, was shown to significantly reduce anxiety compared to treatment with a weekly psychotherapy session and a placebo. It has also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety mixed with depression and panic disorder. NAC has been shown to significantly reduce the anxiety-related compulsion to pull hair, known as trichotillomania.
The herbs passionflower and lemon balm may also be helpful for anxiety. Although melatonin and valerian are sometimes promoted for anxiety, there is not enough evidence to support their use for this purpose.
There is weak evidence, however, that valerian may produce calming effects in stressful situations. A number of studies suggest kava may reduce symptoms of anxiety; however, be aware there are potential safety issues and drug interactions. See the Encyclopedia article about Kava for more information. In addition to their potential as stand-alone agents, a review of clinical studies investigating the use of supplements along with antidepressant medications including SSRI drugs such as fluoxetine and sertraline and tricyclic drugs such as amitriptyline found that SAMe, EPA from fish oil, methylfolate and vitamin D may increase the benefits of these drugs Sarris, Am J Psychiatry However, if you are taking a prescription medication to treat depression or anxiety, consult your physician before taking any of the supplements mentioned above as there could be a risk of drug interactions.
For more about this, see the extensive Drug Interactions section of our website. Consult with a qualified health professional for any serious symptoms of anxiety or depression. Are "medical foods" such as VSL 3, proven to work? Does the FDA approve them? Although medical foods were once classified as drugs, they were reclassified as foods in As such, they do not require a prescription. In fact, medical foods do not get registered with the FDA nor reviewed or approved by the FDA — much like herbal and vitamin dietary supplements — although they are intended to be used under medical supervision.
So what is a medical food? Legally, a medical food is a food intended to meet distinctive nutritional requirements of a disease or condition that can't be met by a normal diet. Like other foods, medical foods are required to be made in registered food facilities under good manufacturing practices. However, unlike foods and supplements, they are exempt from labeling requirements for nutrient content, although the label must identify the ingredients in order of predominance and total quantity of contents.
A concern we at ConsumerLab have with medical foods is that consumers, as well as medical professionals, may believe that a medical food has been objectively reviewed by a government agency or other authority and proven to be safe and effective, when this may not be the case.
In fact, the medical food Limbrel , marketed for patients with osteoarthritis, was recalled in after the FDA urged consumers not to take it in light of reports of adverse events including liver injury. It is also possible that a medical food that can help manage a real but relatively rare medical condition becomes promoted for conditions for which the product is not known to be necessary or helpful. Are liquid vitamins better than pills?
There are pros and cons to liquid vitamins. A benefit of a liquid is that you avoid the risk that an improperly made pill will not break apart and fully release its ingredients.