Valentine’s Day Treats That Won’t Bust Your Diet

Photo Credit: KitzOOO

Are you looking for the perfect sweet Valentine’s Day gift for yourself or a loved one, but don’t want to add too many extra calories? Sugar-free and low-sugar candies and sweets are a good option for those counting calories.

Chocolate should not make you feel guilty and may even help you get some nutrients you might be lacking. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which improve your blood pressure, lower your bad cholesterol and improves blood flow. The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains. Chocolates that consist of 70 percent cocoa are richest in flavonoids and usually less than 150 calories per serving. You can indulge in dark chocolate without the guilt. Unfortunately, milk chocolate does not offer the same guilt-free benefits and contains more calories.

Dried fruits are naturally sweet and contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. Nuts covered in dark chocolate are another good Valentine’s Day treat that won’t add a lot of calories to your diet. Some nuts can be high in fat, so check the label for calorie and fat information. Sugar-free jelly beans give you all the flavor your sweet tooth demands without the extra calories. Fresh fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries and pineapple are sweet and loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Safe Weight Loss

You can see television commercials for the next best weight loss pill every day on most every channel. The truth is there is no magic weight-loss pill. Some diet pills may even be dangerous to your health. Forget the fad diets. Don’t even think about starving yourself. Diet pills often have harmful side-effects. Most diet pills cause you to lose weight because they are a diuretic or have a laxative effect on your body, which can cause you to lose water weight. You will re-gain water weight as soon as you rehydrate your body. Dehydration can be dangerous, too. Other diet aids contain stimulants, such as caffeine, that speed up your heart and can increase your blood pressure. The safest way to lose weight is to see your doctor and ask her to help you design a weight loss program that includes sensible, healthy nutrition and exercise.

In order to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. That is, you must burn more calories than you consume so that your body burns fat for energy. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an eating plan that contains between 1,000 and 1,200 calories per day can help women lose weight safely. Cut back on simple carbohydrates and fats and replace those sugary fat foods with complex carbohydrates and fiber. Take cake, candy, cookies and white flour out of your diet. Replace those  calorie-laden foods with whole grains, such as bran, wheat, oats and brown rice. Eat more raw vegetables and drink water instead of soda. Eat a balanced diet with foods from all the food groups and keep track of your caloric intake if you want to safely lose weight.

Exercise is an essential part of any weight loss plan. As you use more fat for energy and start to lose weight, it’s important that you build muscle. Building muscle will also help you burn more calories since muscle tissue burns more calories than other tissues in your body. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn. Your basal, or resting, metabolism will also increase when you build more muscles. This means you will burn more calories sitting on the sofa in front of your television if you increase your muscle mass.

Fat-Fighting Foods

You’ve probably heard about green tea. Claims about the benefits of green tea range from helping you to sleep to increasing metabolism to helping improve your mood. There is a basis for the metabolism claim — catechins. Catechins is a plant chemical that boosts your metabolism. To enjoy the fat-fighting benefits of green tea, drink several cups of hot tea each day. Replace your regular soda or coffee with cream and sugar with a cup of hot green tea. You will enjoy the benefits of catechins metabolism boost while cutting out extra calories from sodas and coffee additives. Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which briefly boosts your metabolism and curbs your appetite. You might eat less when you eat spicy foods.

Grapefruit does not have a magic ingredient despite the fad diet claims from a few years ago. Grapefruit does contain plenty of soluble fiber, which takes longer to digest and may help you feel fuller longer. Raw fruits and vegetables of all kinds help you feel fuller longer and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetables and fruits are generally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with nutrients your body needs. Trade potato chips and other calorie loaded snack foods for a plate of raw vegetables.

Use spices in your foods to boost flavor without added calories. Cinnamon helps to curb your appetite and may stabilize your blood sugar. Stir some cinnamon into coffee, tea, yogurt and milk drinks.

Does The Grapefruit Fat Burning Diet Work?

Photo Credit: Aleph CC-BY-SA-2.5
Grapefruit is often claimed to be a negative calorie food, meaning your body will expend more energy digesting the food than the number of calories the food contains. Citrus fruits should be a part of a healthy, nutritious diet. However, there are no scientific studies to support the claim that grapefruit has magical weight-loss ingredients. The grapefruit diet is merely another fad diet in a long list of fad diets that might work initially but are ineffective over the long term. Grapefruit contains numerous vitamins, such as vitamin C, micro-nutrients, including potassium, and is a low-calorie, high-fiber food. Pink grapefruit is rich in beta-carotene and has a less sour flavor. People who claim to have lost weight eating the grapefruit diet probably did so due to the low-calorie menu. The typical grapefruit menu plan provides less than 1,200 calories per day. Most diets provide between 800 to 1,000 calories. The grapefruit diet is typically low-carbohydrate, moderate fiber diet, which may not provide all the nutrients your body needs. Many people who lost weight on the grapefruit diet regained the weight once they returned to a more normal diet. Avoid any diet that restricts your food choices to one category of food, or one type of food from that category. Don’t believe any claim that you will lose 10 pounds in a few days either. Rapid weight loss may not be safe. 
The best way to lose weight safely and keep it off is to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet, drink plenty of water and stay physically active. Cut out sodium, fats and sugar usually found in processed foods and fast food. Walking is a great way to get plenty of exercise without the cost of equipment or gym fees. Doing housework, mowing the lawn and gardening also burn calories and exercise your muscles. Eat sensibly. Choose foods that are nutritious and naturally low in calories. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and exercise regularly to lose weight, burn fat and stay healthy.