Monday, June 24, 2013

How to add nutrients without adding calories

by Dr Mike Hart

The problem with eating a ton of healthy food is that you may be over consuming calories.  Mainstream media and fitness experts often tout the benefits of berries, avocados and dark chocolate.  Do they have benefits?  Yes.  Does this give you permission to eat these foods whenever you want?  Absolutely not.  Berries contain sugar, avocados are calorie dense and dark chocolate is high in both fat and sugar.  If you consume too many calories (even from “healthy” foods) you’re going to get fat.
The solution – Extracts and spices
What if there was a way to get all the benefits from foods without having to consume the calories contained within the food itself? Enter extracts.  An extract is when you remove the desired nutrients from a food while leaving behind the undesired calories.  Extracts do not carry all the benefits of real food, however it allows you to get many of the benefits without having to consume any/minimal amount of calories. 
Spices are another great way to add many valuable nutrients without adding calories.  Numerous spices have a ton of health benefits and can be easily added to your diet in a variety of different ways.
So, what extracts/spices do I add to my greens shake? 
If you haven’t read my post on blending green veggies, I suggest reading that here:  before continuing.  Here are the extracts and spices that I add to my shake everyday. 
Raw cocoa powder: 5 grams = 12 calories
Prevents stroke (1)
Decreases your risk of heart disease (2)
Increases overall well-being by regulating neurotransmitters (3,4,5)

Ginger: 2 grams = 2 calories
Decreases pain as a natural anti-inflammatory (6)
May help with allergic asthma (7)
Reduces nausea and vomiting (8)
Anti-carcinogenic (9)

Turmeric:  2 grams = 7 calories
Can protect and reverse liver damage (10, 11)
Potent anti-inflammatory (12)
Anti-carcinogenic (13)
Cinnamon:  2 grams = 6 calories
Improves blood sugar levels (14)
Improves cholesterol profile (14)
Anti-carcinogenic (15)
Green tea powder: 1 teaspoon = 12 calories
Protects against cardiovascular disease (16)
Inversely correlated with type 2 diabetes (17)

Whole foods vs. extracts and spices
Please don’t walk away thinking you get can all your nutrition from extracts and spices.  Eating organic whole foods is how you should be consuming the majority of your nutrition.  Extracts and spices are just a simple way of adding additional nutrients to your diet without over consuming calories.  As always, thanks for reading.   

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