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Leptin Hormone Guide

What is Leptin?

Leptin is a hormone that has many purposes, but primarily it is responsible for the full sensation that we get after the body decides that we've had enough to eat. It is frequently referred to as the “satiety hormone.” Leptin is released by fat cells in an effort to control the way that our body stores fat. In addition to suppressing hunger, leptin also alters the way that our body uses energy.

The fat cells release leptin when they have stored a certain level of fat converted from the calories from the food that we eat. When leptin is released, it enters the blood stream and passes through the body. Leptin travels through the cardiovascular system to the hypothalamus, where it activates special receptors in the arcuate nucleus.

When leptin receptors are activated, it causes the body to increase metabolism, while also reducing signals for hunger. Although this is primarily affected through the brain, there are targets throughout the body which are also responsible for increasing metabolism.

The two hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, have opposite, component effects upon the body. Whereas leptin controls the feeling of satiation, Ghrelin controls the sensation of hunger. Leptin and Ghrelin receptors are actually located on the same cells, and are two vital hormones responsible for the way that our body both stores and expends energy.

Leptin has a number of different purposes in the body, but the most important of these is considered the regulation of the way that the body stores fat. Our knowledge of how Leptin works is far from complete, but leptin is produced not only by fat cells, but by other organs as well.

Where is Leptin Produced?

The majority of leptin is secreted by white adipose fat tissue by organelles known as adipocytes. Leptin is also secreted from other locations, including the liver, pituitary, bone marrow, epithelial cells, stomach, skeletal muscle, ovaries, placenta, and brown adipose fat tissue.

What Causes Leptin Levels to Fluctuate?

Like other hormones such as Testosterone, Leptin flows through the blood stream both locked into a carrier protein and freely. Because body fat produces leptin, the more body fat that a person carries, the more leptin that they will produce. Perhaps surprisingly, the amount of leptin produced by body fat increases exponentially with the volume of body fat that a person carries.

Leptin concentrations also follow the circadian rhythm under normal circumstances. From around 12am to some point in the early morning, leptin levels remain quite high, which is believed to prevent hunger and promote sleep. Although this is the normal pattern of leptin release and circulation, if a person eats at odd times, such as in the middle of the night, this alters the rhythm of leptin release.

There are many ways that Leptin production is unrelated to body fat as well:

  • Fasting for one to three days leads to a drop in Leptin production, even if body fat remains the same. Related to this, Leptin levels also drop as a response to starvation, encouraging hunger even when the body still has a large amount of body fat. This is actually one reason why crash diets don't work effectively. Starving yourself will eventually cause you to lose weight, but once you lose the weight, your body will not be able to effectively send signals for satiation, causing you to eat more than your body needs and experience hunger even though you are eating a healthy diet.

  • Psychological stress increases Leptin Production.

  • Leptin is affected significantly by sex hormone concentrations in the body. Testosterone is associated with reduced leptin, whereas estrogen is associated with increased leptin. Some hormones released in response to stress, including dexamethasone, also increase leptin secretion.

  • Physical training will cause leptin levels to drop for the duration of time that a person engages in a healthy exercise routine. This makes sense, because physical exercise stimulates metabolism and increases the need for calories to maintain a certain weight.

  • The more insulin that your body produces, the more leptin that your body will produce.

  • For complex reasons, obesity actually leads to an increase in Leptin production.

  • Overweight individuals with obstructive sleep apnea experience increased leptin levels, but CPAP treatment can bring leptin production back to more normalized levels. Short-term sleep deprivation can lead to a reduction in Leptin production, but long term issues with sleep deprivation, such as sleep apnea, can increase leptin concentrations.

Effects of Leptin

After Leptin is released by body fat and other cells, it suppresses hunger primarily through three mechanisms:

  • Encourages the production of α-MSH, which suppresses hunger.

  • Blocks the activity of anandamide, a hormone which encourages hunger via the same mechanism as THC present in marijuana.

  • Blocks the activity of Neuropeptide Y, a molecule released by the hypothalamus and the stomach which encourages hunger.

In spite of the fact that leptin is the hormone that we most associate with hunger, it is actually only responsible for long-term appetite control. Other hormones are responsible for short term and intermediate hunger:

  • PYY3-36 is the reason why we don't feel hungry between meals. This hormone encourages us to eat our meals during single sittings.

  • Cholecystokinin is the hormone which is produced as we eat which inhibits hunger signals. This hormone helps us know when we are full at a particular meal.

Of course, leptin does play a role in the way that these hormones function. Animal research involving leptin clearly shows how the hormone contributes to diet control, as animals which have their ability to produce leptin removed gain weight uncontrollably as a result of a loss of their ability to become full.

Caloric restriction and fasting both have an inhibitive effect upon the production of Leptin. In addition to this, the body is more reactive to the absence of food, rather than its overabundance, so Leptin production will change faster and more dramatically when the body is not getting enough food. This also means that once food access is restored, hunger response won't return to normal as quickly as it was first altered.

Changes in leptin production resulting from abrupt changes in food access appear to be correlated with changes in food intake and diet rather than the energy available that is locked in body fat. This means that leptin suppression due to hunger is not mitigated by existing body fat.

How Does Leptin Control Diet?

Leptin encourages eating and changes in metabolism by triggering receptors in the mediobasal hypothalamus. It used to be believed that blood sugar directly controlled metabolism and eating patterns, but it is clear today that leptin is the mediator of this process.

As we mentioned earlier, Neuropeptide Y activity encourages hunger. There are neurons which produce this hormone in the arcuate nucleus, and as leptin passes through the body, it binds to these neurons, preventing the release of this potent hunger hormone, promoting a disinterest in food. There is also evidence that when Leptin levels are in balance, this makes it easier to eat a healthy diet and not be tempted by the allure of calorie-dense foods.

Prior research has shown that Neuropeptide Y plays an important role in the way that animals eat, including humans. When Neuropeptide Y is artificially introduced to the brain, it automatically triggers the animal to seek out food. The opposite is also true. If the neurons which produce Neuropeptide Y are destroyed, the mice ill become disinterested in eating and become drastically underweight.

Leptin also encourages the release of a peptide known as α-MSH which promotes the feeling of satiety, and genetic abnormalities which limit α-MSH have been shown to increase hunger response and increase the risk of obesity considerably.

Melatonin Affects Leptin Production

In a vacuum, elevated melatonin leads directly to reduced production of leptin. On the other hand, if insulin is in circulation, melatonin leads to an increase in leptin production. This interaction is important because it prevents us from becoming hungry while we are asleep, which can disturb sleeping patterns.

This is why it is generally encouraged to eat a healthy dinner a few hours before bed. This way, your stomach isn't full while you are asleep, but your digestive system is still somewhat active, which means that you have insulin and melatonin in your blood stream, which encourages healthy sleep.

By the end of the night, when insulin levels drop, Leptin levels start to fall as well, as melatonin levels are still elevated. This, in combination with an increase in cortisol and other factors, helps set the stage for you to wake up refreshed and hungry.

Leptin and Diabetes

Preliminary animal research shows that combining leptin with insulin improves metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar more effectively. This combination also helped promote healthier body composition while also balancing cholesterol.

Leptin and the Cardiovascular System

Leptin has an impact on the activity of T-Cells in the immune system. Leptin promotes the health of the heart tissue and healthy leptin levels reduce the inflammatory activity which promotes atherosclerosis. There is also evidence that elevated Leptin levels can help control blood pressure if prescribed medically.

Leptin and the Reproductive System

Leptin does not play any predominant role in human fertility, but it is important and necessary to create the conditions which promote fertility. The regularity of the menstrual cycle depends upon proper metabolism, and is dependent upon the normalized flow of energy through the body, which leptin plays a part in regulating.

If a woman frequently enters a state of starvation, whether purposefully or unintentionally, the menstrual cycle will go into dormancy. Also, if a woman engages in heavy exercise, they also risk entering this state, even if they consume enough calories to meet the demands of their body. On the other hand, menstruation is only affected by low body mass in extreme cases.

In both sexes, Leptin encourages the hypothalamus to produce Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone, the precursor to Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone necessary to encourage both sex hormone production as well as sperm production.

Leptin and Pregnancy

During pregnancy, leptin is produced by the placenta, and it continues to be produced in greater concentration throughout pregnancy before returning to baseline after the child is born. This is because leptin has an inhibitory effect upon contractions, allowing the child to develop within the womb. When leptin levels fall, this encourages contractions and helps to stimulate childbirth. Elevated leptin levels also contribute to the condition of morning sickness that commonly takes place during pregnancy.

Leptin and Puberty

There are two hormones which determine when an individual enters puberty: kisspeptin and leptin. In the period just before puberty, leptin levels start to rise, and once they reach a certain point, puberty is triggered. Childhood obesity can lead to early puberty, because adipose fat cells produce leptin, and cause leptin levels to reach the triggering point much faster than in children with normal levels of body fat. There is also evidence that girls that enter puberty early don't grow as tall as their peers, because the increase in estrogen production promotes the closure of the growth plates.

Leptin and Bone Mineral Density

Leptin also appears to help promote healthy bone mineral density. When the brain receives sufficient satiation signals, it then signals the bones to undergo metabolic changes which promote cortical bone growth and inhibit cancellous bone. Cancellous bone is the softer tissue in the core of the bone, and cortical bone is the hard casing which covers the cancellous bone. Thus, leptin plays a role in bone maturation during puberty because the bones become thicker and harder, allowing them to carry more weight.

After puberty, leptin still plays a role in bone metabolism, because once it activates at its receptor sites on the hypothalamus, is alters the production of a number of other hormones and peptides associated with the regulation of bone mineral density. There is also some evidence that Leptin directly contributes to increased bone mineral density by playing an intermediary role between metabolism and the release and activation of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-One. As a result of this connection, there may be treatments in the future which utilize leptin in order to enhance the natural healing processes of bone tissue after breaks and fractures.

Leptin and the Brain

Although the primary trigger point for leptin is the hypothalamus, there are also receptors for the hormone at other locations within the brain. One of the largest receptor sites outside of the hypothalamus is the hippocampus.

Research has clearly shown that Leptin Deficiency has a negative impact on the normal function of neurons as well as brain proteins. In animal studies, normal neurological function in this instance can be restored by providing injections of leptin.

In humans, Leptin Deficiency is associated with neurological and cognitive changes that are associated with HIV, depression, and anorexia. There is even evidence in rats that leptin deficiency may play a role in Alzheimer's, and that providing leptin therapy may be able to increase cognitive ability and reduce the negative effects of the disease by limiting the concentrations of hyperphosphorylated tau and b-amyloid, which are two of the main factors which make Alzheimer's such a devastating neurological disorder.

Leptin and the Immune System

Leptin is intricately related to the immune system response of inflammation, and leptin has a regulatory effect upon a number of factors which affect immune health, including body fat, caloric restriction, stress, sleep, and Testosterone levels. It is hypothesized that the primary mechanism which links Leptin to immune health is that Leptin helps control the activity of cytokines released by adipose tissue.

Leptin is actually structurally similar to cytokines both in function and its molecular composition. There is evidence that Leptin plays an active role in the way that the body handles and manages stress, but the direct mechanisms are not completely understood. There is also a positive correlation between white blood cell count and leptin levels.

Diseases Associated with High Leptin Levels

There are a number of medical conditions which are associated with abnormally high leptin levels, especially those associated with inflammation. Among these are cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, and hypertension.

Elevated levels of leptin are correlated with overeating, the mass of adipose fat cells, and overall body composition, but leptin is not connected in any way to physical activity. Exercise does not stimulate or suppress the production of leptin directly. For this reason, it is hypothesized that leptin is designed to activate only with regard to inflammation related to adipose fat. Leptin promotes the formation of new blood vessels, promotes inflammation, and encourages cellular metabolism.

Based on these factors, it is believed that the elevation of leptin levels due to overeating is a mechanism designed to limit the stress on fat cells caused by abrupt changes related to increased caloric intake. When the fat cells no longer have enough room to absorb all the calories being delivered, this causes the body to begin to store fat in the muscles, arteries, and organs, which is dangerous.

So in this sense, leptin triggers satiation in order to prevent the body from eating so much that the fat cells can no longer make room for it all, but obesity causes the body to produce too much of the hormone, which can have negative effects. Like other inflammatory/stress hormones, the body needs leptin, but there are serious issues which can result when the hormone is allowed to remain at abnormally high levels for too long.

References:

The Facts on Leptin: FAQ - The Truth about the Hormone Leptin and Obesity

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-facts-on-leptin-faq

Serum Leptin Levels in Males with Delayed Puberty during Short-Term Pulsatile GnRH Administration.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10090130

Wikipedia: Leptin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptin


Enclomiphene Citrate May Treat Andropause More Effectively than Bio-Identical Testosterone

Bio-Identical Testosterone has been used for decades in order to treat Low-T caused by Hypogonadism and Andropause. There is a drug currently undergoing Clinical Evaluation which is likely to reach the open market in just a matter of years, known as Enclomiphene Citrate.

Medications similar to Enclomiphene Citrate have long been used as fertility treatments for women, but studies indicate that the treatment can also provide men with a potent boost of Testosterone without a risk of overdose.

Enclomiphene Citrate Affects Men and Women Differently

In women, Enclomiphene Citrate encourages the process of ovulation, but in men, it encourages the release of precursor hormones which stimulate the production of both natural, endogenous Testosterone and sperm.

In fact, these trials provide evidence that Enclomiphene Citrate is even better than Testosterone Injections and Creams at restoring natural Testosterone Levels, all the while promoting healthier hormone balance and circulation in other ways.

How Does Testosterone Replacement Treat Low-T?

Bio-Identical Testosterone Therapy simply replaces the Testosterone that the body no longer produces at sufficient concentrations to sustain male health. Testosterone Therapy can bring Testosterone Levels back to normal, but it comes with side-effects, both inherent in the treatment and related to accidental overdose. Because Testosterone Therapy provides an outside source of Testosterone, the treatment suppresses the body's production of Testosterone Precursors that are responsible for healthy testicles, which leads to fertility issues as well as Testicular shrinkage.

Enclomiphene Citrate is Cheaper than Testosterone

Enclomiphene Citrate is also cheaper than Testosterone, meaning that, if the treatment is found to be effective and gains FDA Approval, and it appears likely that this will be the case, countless men will flock from Bio-Identical Testosterone to Enclomiphene Citrate in order to get more cost effective care that is easier to administer. Unlike Testosterone, which is generally delivered via injection or topical formulation, Enclomiphene Citrate is a simple pill.

Enclomiphene Citrate Clinical Research Study

At this point, Enclomiphene Citrate for Men is in the second stage of its clinical trial, after showing incredible promise in the initial stage of research. The details regarding this second phase will be published in the academic publication Fertility and Sterility.

Of course, the process for FDA Approval is a four stage process, but, based on off-label usage of similar medications, and the effectiveness of the treatment in the first two stages, it seems clear that Enclomiphene Citrate for Andropause and Male Infertility will almost certainly obtain FDA Approval.

Testosterone Deficiency Prevalent in American Society

Low-T, also known as Andropause or Age-Related Hypogonadism, is a prevalent condition among men in the United States. Millions of American males suffer from the condition, and studies suggest that the condition is still under-diagnosed, due to a number of different factors.

Testosterone Deficiency is most well-known for its impact on sexual health, but Low-T affects male health and longevity in a number of different ways. Aside from Low Libido, Infertility, and Erectile Dysfunction, other symptoms of Andropause include depression, anxiety, changes in body composition, loss of Bone Mineral Density, muscle atrophy, and lack of energy.

Low-T is a natural aspect of the process of aging, but not everything that is natural is healthy. Study after study shows that men with naturally high Testosterone tend to be both healthier and more well-adjusted than their peers that have lower levels of Testosterone.

When Does Testosterone Production Peak?

Biologically, our Testosterone Levels peak while we are in our teens and twenties, and start to fall off beginning in the thirties. Every man is impacted by Low-T in their own way, and some experience symptoms more quickly and more severely than others. Testosterone Deficiency is associated with a number of chronic medical conditions, from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to obesity.

The State of Modern Testosterone Therapy

One issue with Testosterone Deficiency as it is treated today is that there are no definite thresholds regarding how low Testosterone Concentrations must fall before a patient is ultimately diagnosed. This is partially because there is still ongoing research regarding Testosterone for Andropause, but also because each patient has his own personal genetic profile as well as their own set of unique lifestyle choices.

This means that part of diagnosing Low-T is up to the discretion of the prescribing physician, because it is up to his or her expertise to determine if the severity of the symptoms and the underlying hormone levels warrant therapy.

This also means that Testosterone Therapy is prescribed to meet our standards for what healthy Testosterone Levels should be, rather than the body's natural processes to provide youthful Testosterone. This is where Enclomiphene Citrate can be both useful and perhaps even superior to Testosterone Therapy for many patients.

Enclomiphene Citrate and Andropause

Andropause is a form of Secondary Hypogonadism, meaning that the testes are still fully capable of producing their own Testosterone, they just aren't receiving the same signals that they did when the patient was younger. Enclomiphene Citrate restores this youthful signaling, allowing the body to make just as much Testosterone as it needs to meet the needs of the body. Enclomiphene Citrate encourages youthful production of Testosterone, without the risk of overdose (or under-dose) that is sometimes associated with Testosterone Treatment.

Why is Enclomiphene Citrate Superior to Testosterone?

Bio-Identical Low-T Treatments restore Testosterone quite capably, but they do so without taking into account the other hormones and processes of the male body which depend upon Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, and Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone to take place.

When Bio-Identical Testosterone is administered, the body fully absorbs and utilizes the Testosterone, but the three precursors listed above, LH, FSH, and GnRH, no longer get produced in sufficient quantities. This condition does not have a significant impact on health and wellness, but it has a tremendous impact on both male fertility and the condition of the testes themselves.

Doctors Often Prescribe Testosterone to Men that Want Children

Many men take Testosterone without realizing the fertility risk associated with Standard Testosterone Therapy. This is because many general practitioners prescribe Testosterone for Low-T without fully recognizing the downsides associated with the treatment, and thus, they don't relay that information effectively to their patients.

Often, we think of Testosterone Treatment as a therapy for men in the latter stages of their life, but Age-Related Low-T can affect male health even as soon as the early thirties, and many men start taking Testosterone while they are still interested in having children, without recognizing the suppressive effect that the treatment has on a man's ability to produce sufficient sperm for conception.

This lack of knowledge on the part of many physicians is not anecdote, there are studies to back it up. A recent poll by the American Urological Association discovered that fully a quarter of urological specialists were not aware that Testosterone inhibited fertility, and would prescribe Bio-Identical Testosterone Treatments like Axiron to men that were vocally interested in having children in the near future.

Fertility Suppression Due to Low-T Treatment Temporary

Luckily, the fertility risks associated with Bio-Identical Testosterone are short-term, and fertility returns to pre-treatment levels after therapy is suspended, but this still means that many men that would greatly benefit from Testosterone Therapy don't get the opportunity for treatment because of their desire for children.

Clomid vs. Enclomiphene Citrate

In the very near future, there will be a new option available for these men, so they can protect their health and their sexual function while also promoting the healthy production of sperm. Enclomiphene Citrate is a component of a medical treatment that has long been on the market in generic form known as Clomiphene Citrate.

This treatment is also available under the brand name Clomid. The treatment was originally designed to improve fertility in women, but also shows some effectiveness at restoring Testosterone Levels in males. In women, Clomid and Enclomiphene encourage the production of female sex hormones, but in men, the medical treatments encourage the production of Testosterone and sperm.

Clomid is a combination of two active compounds, Enclomiphene Citrate and Zuclomiphene. The benefits of Clomid on Male Sexual Health are primarily the result of the Enclomiphene component of the medication.

The issue with Off-Label prescription of Clomid is that Zuclomiphene does increase the level of Estrogen in the body by a slight amount, meaning that the ideal form of the medication would omit Zuclomiphene entirely. Because of the Estrogenic effects of Zuclomiphene, Clomid is often prescribed in combination with Arimadex in order to counteract those effects and optimize treatment.

Enclomiphene Shown to Be Effective in Stage-2 FDA Trial

In the second stage of clinical research for Enclomiphene Citrate, medical specialists from the Houston campus of the Baylor College of Medicine and Repros Therapeutrics provided 73 male patients with Enclomiphene Citrate for the treatment of Low-T caused by inhibited stimulation of the testes. This is most commonly the result of natural aging, but there are other factors which can impede the release of precursors from the pituitary and hypothalamus as well.

The study went according to the hypotheses supported by Off-Label use of the medication. The researchers found that Enclomiphene Citrate was incredibly effective at increasing Free and Total Testosterone to youthful levels, as well as LH and FSH Levels, which are necessary for proper sexual function.

As a result, Enclomiphene Citrate had no inhibitive effect upon the production of sperm, and perhaps even improved fertility among patients, though this is unclear.

Enclomiphene Works Better Than Clomid for Men

The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Ron Wiehle, explains that Enclomiphene Citrate works via the same mechanism as Clomid, which is prescribed Off-Label, but appears to do so with improved consistency. Further research could prove or disprove that notion, but because Clomid is no longer under patent, there is no financial incentive to study its effects.

On the other hand, Enclomiphene Citrate is still under patent, and is potentially effective for a greater subset of the male population, which provides the motivation for funding and research by private pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Repros Therapeutrics.

Enclomiphene Slightly Reduces IGF-1 Levels

Prior research shows that Enclomiphene Citrate does have a slight suppressive effect upon IGF-1 Production in men. This means that Enclomiphene is likely not a good option for men that simulataneously suffer from significant HGH Deficiency and Testosterone Deficiency simultaneously. This does mean, however, that Enclomiphene Citrate is safer for the prostate than Testosterone Therapy. Further study is needed to elucidate the impact of Enclomiphene upon IGF-1.

Enclomiphene to Be Marketed as Androxal

Although Enclomiphene Citrate is not available on the open market quite yet, the plans are to sell and distribute the medication under the brand name Androxal. Androxal will be specially formulated for male use, to provide the optimal amount of medication to restore the youthful cascade of male hormones necessary to restore vitality and sexual potency.

One reason why there is so much interest in Enclomiphene Citrate is that men in America are choosing to have children later and later in the lifespan, meaning that the segment of the population that experiences symptoms related to Low-T while also being interested in having children continues to grow.

Interested in Enclomiphene Now? Talk to Your Doctor About Clomid!

Although Enclomiphene Citrate is not currently on the market, you can still talk to your doctor about Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate), and find out if you are a candidate for treatment. Clomid is designed and certified for use by women, but there are many physicians all across the country that are highly experienced with the treatment regimen. Clomid may never gain enough traction for FDA-Approval, but the treatment has been used effectively for decades.


HIDDEN SOURCES OF SUGAR IN COMMON FOODS


Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 07 August 2014

Hidden Sources of Sugar

As our knowledge of nutritional science continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly clear how devastating the excess consumption of sugar is for our health. It causes us to gain weight, it causes spikes in blood sugar, and it increases the body's resistance to insulin, just to name a few of the issues caused by our national love affair with sugar.

Now, as we become armed with this knowledge, many of us are choosing to take control of our health and our diet, to live a better life by controlling our consumption of sugar. This can be incredibly difficult, however, because we are surrounded by so many concentrated sources of sugar that we aren't even aware of!

The goal of this article is to help you control your consumption of sugar by informing you of a variety of foods which many people don't realize are loaded with sugar.

Pasta Sauces Sometimes Worse than Drinking Soda

Most of us remember when we were children, and spaghetti was a staple of the average American diet. Pasta sauce does provide the nutrient equivalent of multiple servings of vegetables, but it also contains a tremendous amount of sugar. In fact, most of these sauces contain between six and twelve grams of sugar for each serving. Each serving is only a half a cup, and most people end up having even more.

Twelve grams of sugar is like eating two chocolate chip cookies!

Based on current research, it is recommended that men have 150 calories from sugar at most, and only 100 for women. That means that most pasta sauces have way too much sugar for you to keep your consumption down to acceptable levels without diligence. White sauces are even worse than red sauces, because they contain high levels of fat in addition to calories from sugar. We recommend shopping around for pastas that are specially made for aware consumers, or to make your own sauce at home!

Granola Bars Often as Bad as Candy Bars

Many people think of granola bars as the ideal healthy snack. Unfortunately, most of the granola bars that you buy at the store are loaded with sugar and other ingredients designed to make you crave them. Many of them are even covered in chocolate or yogurt.

It's important to recognize that many of the granola bars sold at supermarkets are nothing more than candy bars given a new name to appeal to more health conscious consumers. Granola is still a fantastic snack, but we recommend buying loose granola, which often comes in cereal boxes, and snacking on it that way. You can cut your sugar consumption from your snack significantly by switching to regular granola (8-12 grams of sugar per ounce vs. 5 grams of sugar per ounce).

Yogurt Can Be a Deceiving Health Food

Like granola bars, yogurt is another food which is often advertised as a health food when it is manufactured like a desert. Among dairy products, Yogurt is among the most concentrated sources of protein and calcium per serving, but it is often heavily sweetened to appeal to the consumer while also meeting their latent desire to improve their eating habits.

An eight ounce cup of Low-Fat Yogurt can contain more than thirty grams of sugar...Fully 1/3 of the sugar a woman needs in a single day! That's like eating eight ounces of ice cream! Of course, Greek Yogurt and similar forms of yogurt aren't inundated with sugar in the same way, and there are plenty of types of yogurt on the market which are low-sugar or naturally flavored which can fulfill your desire for a high-protein snack without loading you up with unhealthy sugar. Another option is to buy plain yogurt and add your own healthy fruits to naturally sweeten your snack!


Packaged Flavored Oatmeal Much Unhealthier than Plain Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an awesome way to get a lot of fiber along with some complex carbs, but the prepackaged flavored oatmeal that you buy at the store is almost like eating a bowl of sugary cereal. One serving of instant oatmeal contains as much as fifteen grams of sugar, whereas low-sugar packages still contain five or six grams of sugar.

Oatmeal is quick enough to make on its own. Plain oatmeal takes just a couple of minutes and is way healthier than flavored oatmeal. Try adding cinnamon and chopped up banana to meet your breakfast needs more completely without resorting to processed sugar. Plain oatmeal has less than a single gram of sugar.

Be Careful with Salad Dressing

Most people think about fat when they think about salad dressing, but these products are also often a major source of sugar. Catalina, French, and sweet vinaigrettes are the worst offenders, with as much as seven grams of sugar in just two ounces of dressing.

When using dressings, think of them as a means by which to add a source of healthy fat to your meal, and don't go overboard. There are a number of awesome dressings that are low in sugar while also adding a lot to the flavor and texture profile of your salad, such as oil and vinegar.

Breakfast Cereals Often Infused with Excess Sugar

Most people are aware of the unhealthy cereal brands that are targeted to children, but many of the cereals marketed as healthy foods are also quite loaded with sugar as well. Many bran, corn, and oat cereals have ten, twenty, or even more grams of sugar per cup.

Never trust the advertising when it comes to breakfast cereals, always look at the spine of the box and check the sugar content, as well as the general nutrition content! Good breakfast cereals should be fortified and full of fiber and complex carbs.

Energy Drinks Frequently Loaded with Sugar

Energy drinks are often marketed as metabolism boosters that give you a shot in the arm when you need it most, but many rely on a heavy dose of sugar to provide the brunt of their energy. There are a number of energy drinks on the market that have as much as 25 grams of sugar in a small can.

If you are interested in the healthier ingredients contained within energy drinks, think about buying B-Complex or Vitamin C supplements from the grocery store and combine them with a nice, tall glass of water to simultaneously rehydrate you and supply you with healthy nutritional supplementation. Supplements containing Taurine or Guarine may also be an option, but do your research.

Packaged Fruits Contain Much More Sugar than Fresh Fruit

One of the biggest culprits for excess sugar is canned fruit. The so-called light syrup commonly advertised on the can isn't so light, and drastically increases the sugar content per serving. In fact, just draining the syrup from the can can decrease the sugar content by more than half.

Rather than turn to canned fruits, buy them fresh at the store, and eat them before they go bad. Also, it's important to note that frozen fruits have a higher nutrition content than even their fresh counterparts, as frozen fruits are usually frozen immediately after they are harvested, whereas fresh fruit loses some of its nutrition content during transport and delivery. Both are still quality sources of dense nutrition, however.

Cole Slaw is a Poor Alternative to Salad

It almost seems like a little salad, doesn't it? This side, which is commonly one of the healthier-sounding sides at many restaurants, is usually also loaded with sugar, as well as fat. This is true for coleslaw from fast food restaurants as well as that which is sold at supermarkets and served at most eating establishments. Generally, cole slaw contains around fifteen grams of sugar.

Before going to a restaurant, consider looking up their sides on the web in order to see if their cole slaw meets the grade. If you are a big fan of cole slaw, start making your own batches, designed to meet your personal needs.

Many Teas Loaded with Sugar

In the recent past, people consumed lots and lots of juice, without thinking about the tremendous amount of sugar that is contained in many popular fruit juices. As consumers have become more aware, many have changed to specialty teas. Unfortunately, many of these forms of tea are just as bad, or worse. For example, Sweetened tea with lemon can contain more than thirty grams of sugar per 16 ounce bottle, even more than some fruit juices, including apple juice.

Teas are a fantastic way to infuse your diet with flavonoids and other healthy ingredients, but go for unsweetened tea or lightly sweetened tea, or better yet, make your own and control the content! Also consider sweetening your tea with Stevia, a natural no-calorie sweetener that is far better for you than artificial sweeteners.

High Sugar Volume in Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is often a solid choice for an on-the-go snack, but it's important to recognize that dried fruit has a high concentration of sugar. The dehydration process actually means that there is more sugar per ounce in the product, meaning that you have to be much more conscientious, and because of the reduced water content, will perhaps not be filled up as easily. For example, half an ounce of raisins contains ten more grams of sugar than eight ounces of grapes.

Sugar Content in Ketchup

Ketchup is a heavily sweetened and processed product by the ounce, but luckily, most people don't drown their food in ketchup. A single tablespoon of ketchup contains around four grams of sugar. If you have your sugar under control, this isn't an issue, but if you are looking to reduce your sugar consumption by any means necessary, turn to other condiments such as mustard, which contains less than a quarter of the sugar contained in ketchup.

Limiting Sugar is a Constant Battle

In this world of High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar-infusion, it can be very difficult to contain the level of sugar in one's diet. It takes a conscious effort, because everywhere in society, there are advertisers trying to sell you products that sate your desire for flavor as well as your conscience with intentionally misleading labels.

By taking your nutrition into your own hands, it is possible to overcome these societal norms and optimize your diet for a long and healthy life without giving up the wonderful tastes and flavors that make eating such a pleasure!


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