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Meal Replacement Diets - What Are They And Are They Right For You?

Thinking about trying one of the latest meal replacement diets? Wondering if they're right for you? This article will lay out what you need to know about these popular weight loss plans to help you decide.

First of all, what is a meal replacement diet?

Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. You "replace" a meal (or two or three) for the day with a lower calorie option like a shake or a protein bar.

More sophisticated plans may give you more appetizing alternatives like puddings, brownies, chilis, soups, omelettes, oatmeals, etc. I've even seen some diets offering replacements like chocolate cake and cheesecake.

How does it work?

You usually eat several times a day (from 4 - 7 times a day) so you don't get hungry. (Note: stay away from meal replacement programs that don't require you to eat at least 4 times a day as this can be dangerous.)

Eating several times a day also helps to keep your metabolism from slowing down, as can often happen with strict diets. The replacement meals are often high in protein - which also helps you to stay full, keeps your blood sugar steady and keeps your metabolism high.

Sometimes you may also add in your own meal like a 'lean and green' meal of, for example, a salad and grilled chicken or something similar.

What are the advantages?

There are several benefits to these diets - the main one being that you lose weight very fast. Some people lose up to 5 pounds a week on these diets (depending on the diet, how much they have to lose, their general activity level, etc.)

In fact, many doctors recommend a quality meal replacement diet to their patients that need to lose weight very fast, to diabetics, etc.

Another reason you lose weight quickly is because you are eating several times a day - which keeps your metabolism high.

Another advantage besides fast weight loss is that some replacement meal diets now give you a lot of delicious alternatives. So you can a lot of variety. For example for breakfast you can have a chocolate shake or cinnamon oatmeal or scrambled eggs or a veggie omelette. With more variety you don't feel deprived and you don't get bored eating the same things over and over again.

Note however that not all diets offer these alternatives. There are some poor weight loss plans out there that just have you eating the same bars or cookies every day. This can give you fast weight loss - but you're more likely to break your diet since you will get bored eating the same things every day.

One final advantage to these plans is that they can be much more affordable than standard diets. For example, I've seen full meal replacement diets starting at around $9 a day. That's a lot less than many people normally spend on food - even "diet" food. So you can also save money in the long run.

So those are some advantages that some of the best meal replacement diets give you. However be aware that not all of these diets are created equal.

As mentioned above, some plans just use bars or shakes - and that can get boring. You also may not get as many nutrients from eating the same foods every day, which isn't best for health. So it's important to choose a plan that gives you a lot of variety and has a good track record for helping people lose weight.

So if you are going to choose a meal replacement plan, look for a diet that has you eating several times a day, with a proven history, and lots of variety. And whatever you choose to do, make sure to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or fitness routine.


How to Get the Most Flavor From Your Spanish Olive Oil

Available in a variety of diverse, distinctive and subtle flavors, Spanish olive oil heightens the flavor of your favorite meals. It provides health benefits that contribute to a longer life.

As with wine, the region, climate and variety all help determine the flavor of Spanish olive oil. The most significant influence on taste, however, centers on the harvesting season and processing procedures.

How the Harvesting Season Determines Flavor

Although olive trees may produce crops for several months, the time of harvest significantly affects the overall flavor of the oil. In the earliest months, olives produce oils with a bitter, stronger flavor. Later harvests tend to be milder and buttery.

Mature green olives harvested in the fall produce a sharp flavor many refer to as peppery, grassy or woody. Those harvested in early winter are ripe, purple or black, and produce a smoother, fruitier gold-colored product.

How Processing Affects Flavor

How olives are handled post-harvest dramatically affects the final taste of the product. Freshly picked fruits are crushed whole at the processing mill. They are packed into a mash and centrifuged or pressed to free the oil from the fibrous fruit.

Pressed olives are left to sit until the oil separates and floats to the top away from the heavier impurities. Centrifuged fruit is processed twice to ensure that no impurities remain in the final product.

The separated olive oil is left to age between three to six months. The longer the aging process, the less bitter the taste.

Ways to Protect the Flavor of Spanish Olive Oil

When you first purchase olive oil, it's likely to be at its most flavorful state. Unfortunately, as time goes by, the taste tends to diminish or change.

To preserve the flavor, store the product in a dry, dark, and cool place; such as a cupboard or pantry. Light and heat will degrade the oil and refrigerators create condensation that may dilute the oil and hasten spoilage.

Make Your Oil Last

When purchasing Spanish olive oil, you truly do get what you pay for. If you've spent a pretty penny on a particular import, make it last by stocking an inexpensive brand as well.

Use the less quality product for cooking and save the high quality stuff for salads and uncooked dishes. This will allow you to savor the taste of fine imported products without having to constantly reorder or make trip after trip to your local market.


Dealing With The Worldwide Epidemic Of Child Obesity

Many parts of the world are experiencing problems with child obesity. Children are becoming overweight at very young ages. Here is more about this worldwide concern and possible solutions.

An adult is considered to be obese if their body mass index or BMI exceeds 30. This number is achieved by calculating one's weight in relationship to their height. However, this number is considerably lower for children as they are supposed to have less body fat than adults and older children. A 10 year old boy could have the same body mass of a 15 year old (23). The younger boy is considered obese while the teenager is normal.

Child obesity is becoming a worldwide problem. However, it is greatest in developing countries like the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Children are becoming less active than just a few years ago. Part of this is due to the many activities that do not require physical exertion. For example, many kids spend hours in front of a television playing video games.

The popularity of the World Wide Web has brought many good things into the world. However, it also contributes to the problems of many children that are not getting enough exercise. Many kids are spending hours online as they talk to friends and classmates in chat programs. Exercise is no longer important.

Most kids consume too many calories because of the availability of foods high in fat and sugar. Junk foods are becoming cheaper as they are mass produced. Fast foods are very convenient for many families with working parents. Many people simply do not have time to prepare meals and sit and eat as a family. In fact, it may be cheaper to have a fast food meal than to cook a nutritious meal.

It is important for obesity to be treated as early in life as possible. Being overweight contributes to many health risk factors like diabetes and heart disease. Many young people face higher health risks for disease than their parents. In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that over 40 million children in the world are obese, and it can be prevented.

If parents wish to do something about child obesity they should start with limiting sedentary activities and providing kids with healthier foods. Kids need more outdoor time to enjoy the weather and play. Parents cannot simply order their kids to have more exercise. They should lead by example. Children are more apt to follow directions if their parents are proper role models.


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