Pumpkin Gratin

With fall in full swing, pumpkins are in season. Give this delicious pumpkin recipe a try.

Ingredients:
1 serving mozzarella
1 serving vegetables (pumpkin, spring onions)
Curry powder
Salt and pepper

Preparation:
Wash and clean the vegetables and cut them into slices or fine rings. Cut mozzarella into thin slices. Put the pumpkin slices into a casserole dish and season to taste. Bake in the oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 15 minutes. Cover with mozzarella and bake for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with spring onions. Enjoy it!

All Calories Are Not Created Equal

Many people follow the guideline if you “want to lose weight, [you] must ingest fewer calories”. In doing so, they trust the calorie specifications on the food label.

At first glance, this seems logical. The body needs a certain amount of energy to maintain, for example, heartbeat, respiration, digestion, and so on. If there is too little fuel to accomplish the tasks, the body falls back on its fat reserves.

A lower calorie intake should therefore melt away the pounds on your hips – but unfortunately it’s not quite that simple.

What is a calorie?

The calorie is a physical unit for energy, work and heat. More than 150 years ago, researchers determined the amount of energy contained in bread, meat, fish or fruit. To do so, they burnt a certain amount of the corresponding food in a steel cylinder (calorimeter bomb) surrounded by water. This combustion process generated heat which heated the surrounding water. This data was meticulously recorded and used to derive how high the energy or caloric value of the various foods was and this was defined as a calorie or kilocalorie.

“A calorie is consequently the amount of energy required to heat one gram of water by 1 °C” – or 1 kilocalorie (kcal) is exactly the amount of heat/energy density required to heat 1 kg of water by 1 °C (from 22 °C to 23 °C). If a slice of pizza has 245 kcal, this means that the energy stored in it is sufficient to heat 245 l of water by one degree Celsius.

Therefore, one might think that it doesn’t matter for body weight whether one consumes a whole apple or drinks the same amount as apple juice instead. However, while the daily consumption of apples is healthy and provides the body with plenty of vital and dietary fiber, the corresponding amount of apple juice contributes in the long run to the metabolism becoming unbalanced, since in particular the abundant sugar enters the blood quickly and unregulated, thus negatively affecting the insulin level.

Scientists are largely in agreement that it does make a difference where the calories come from, in what form, and probably even at what time of day they are ingested. This is because the type and processing of food determine how our digestive tract and the billions of microorganisms that make their home in it utilize the food.

Preparation and consistency influence calories

Scientists have discovered that food does not release its calories to us one to one. For example, the body has to expend a lot of energy to break down and digest raw vegetables or high-fiber foods. If, on the other hand, the vegetables or whole grain products are cooked, the fiber and complex carbohydrates contained are broken down in such a way that the digestive system does not have to expend as much energy. This implies cooked foods provide more calories than raw foods. The longer a food is cooked or processed, the more the structure of the food changes.

Cell walls break down, nutrients are broken down and are more quickly and easily available to the body.

Janet Novotny, a nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and her colleagues have also demonstrated this very impressively using almonds as an example. The usable calorie content of almonds eaten raw was 20 percent lower than that of the same amount of almond paste. When almond paste was consumed, the full calorie count came into play.

Just to save calories, however, you still shouldn’t switch to a raw food-only diet because it can lead to an undersupply of nutrients and digestive problems. A healthy mix of raw foods and gently prepared foods provides optimal nutrition for the body while still being low in calories.

How much the body absorbs from a food also depends on its consistency. A wholegrain bread with butter and a “Milchschnitte” (a cake based treat with a ‘milky’ filling) are both rated at around 300 kilocalories per 100 grams. The fact that more calories are nevertheless absorbed from the soft children’s snack and that its “caloric value” is ultimately higher can be explained by the fact that the body has to expend more energy when digesting the wholegrain bread with complex carbohydrates.

Japanese researchers have demonstrated this effect in an experiment with rats: for 22 weeks, they fed one group of the animals the usual grain diet. A second group of rats was fed food with the same number of calories but processed food that required significantly less chewing. The result was that the rats with the “soft food” were obese after the experimental period, while the others were not.

Calories – hunger and satiety

It’s one thing to meet your energy needs. But it’s quite another thing to feel full and satiated in the process. Calories are not nutrients. We can mathematically ingest the appropriate amount of energy, but still remain hungry because our food contains few nutrients.

Even carbohydrates and proteins, which both provide 4 kcal per gram, do not have an identical physiological effect on the body.

Short-chain carbohydrates such as glucose enter the blood quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to skyrocket. The hormone insulin encourages the body’s cells to rapidly absorb sugar from the blood. Once this happens, insulin levels promptly drop – which in turn triggers hunger. While 100 kilocalories from a low-sugar apple are filling, the juice drinker quickly feels hungry again and the desire to eat something, despite the same amount of energy ingested, due to the higher sugar intake.

Protein, on the other hand, leads to long-lasting satiety. In the stomach, proteins are broken down into amino acids, which enter the small intestine and stimulate the hormone production of cholecystokinin, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide1. These pass into the blood and transmit the signal of satiety to the brain. At the same time, insulin levels remain stable after the consumption of protein-rich meals and cravings are prevented. It is also interesting to note – as studies have confirmed – that almost one third of the calories consumed in the form of protein are burnt off again directly when the proteins are digested.

Metabolic Balance does not count calories!

Instead of paying attention to the number of calories, it makes more sense to look at the quality of the food. Metabolic Balance therefore recommends unprocessed foods that are as close as possible to there natural state. High-quality cold-pressed oils should not be avoided under any circumstances, despite their high energy content. After all, fat is not only an energy carrier, but also indispensable for many metabolic processes in the body. Fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, legumes, mushrooms, nuts or dairy products with a natural fat content provide not only energy but also plenty of fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein, which are jointly responsible for maintaining the body’s functions and have a high satiety value. Thus, they help maintain weight or facilitate weight loss without having to count calories.

Meals composed of fat, protein and fiber-rich vegetables – as recommended by the Metabolic Balance nutrition plans – have a positive effect on blood sugar levels.

At the same time, a nutrition according to Metabolic Balance ensures a balanced vitamin and mineral account so that all nutrients can be optimally metabolized. Now at the latest, “all calories are not created equal” – after all, it makes a clear difference to the body whether 300 kcal are consumed in the form of fruit, vegetables and nuts or 300 kcal from foods that are less rich in vital substances, such as potato chips and sweets, which provide hardly any vital substances and make it more difficult for the body to function.

Sources:

  1. Oka, K., Sakuarae, A., Fujise, T., Yoshimatsu, H.,Sakata T, et al. (2003). Food texture differences affect energy metabolism in rats. J Dent Res, 82: 491–494. doi: 10.1177/154405910308200617.
  2. Trivedi, Bijal (2009). The Calorie Delusion: Why food labels are wrong (darin u. a. Interview Geoffrey Livesey), New Scientist. (15 July 2009)
  3. Flores-Mateo, G., Rojas-Rueda, D., Basora, J., Ros, E. & Salas-Salvadó, J. (2013). Nut intake and adiposity: meta-analysis of clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr, June 2013, 97: 1346-1355. First published online April 17, 2013. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.031484.

Sugar vs. Low-calorie Alternatives

A calorie-conscious diet is important to many people today. Especially sugar is a red rag for many and so you can find more and more sugar substitutes and sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, succralose, mannitol, sorbitol and many more in various foods.

These artificial sugar alternatives are not only used in confectionery. They are also contained in many processed products, beverages and so-called ‘light’ products. Sweeteners usually have a very low or even no calorie content, whereas sugar substitutes, with about 40% of the calorie count, are only reduced in calories compared to household sugar.

Consumers are often easily misled on this topic. Reduced-calorie products are usually understood as “healthy” and are therefore preferentially purchased and consumed. However, the consequences of excessive consumption of the sweeteners or sugar substitutes contained in them can be devastating for the body.

1. Food Cravings

Research has shown that sweeteners like saccharin lead to constant feelings of hunger. This is because when saccharin is ingested, the body believes it needs to metabolize sugar. But since there is no real sugar to metabolize for energy, the organism reacts with feelings of hunger.

In stock-breeding, saccharin is used as an appetite-stimulating fattening agent. In the human organism, its intake has a similar effect.[1]

The consequence of sweetener consumption can lead to eating more and the body is supplied with more energy than it needs. Thus, by consuming light products, more calories are often absorbed than would be the case if the same product containing conventional sugar were consumed.

2. Disturbance of the Intestinal Flora

Products sweetened with sweeteners often contain the statement that “excessive consumption may have a laxative effect”. One of the reasons for this is that the artificial substances can disturb the intestinal flora. Studies published by the German Medical Journal confirm that sweeteners negatively change the intestinal flora.[2] The intake of sweeteners causes bacteria to multiply, which can metabolize more dietary fiber. This produces short-chain fatty acids, which enter the bloodstream via the intestinal cells and – when there is no energy demand – are stored in fat cells.

Artificially produced sweeteners cannot be metabolized by the human organism. Their consumption contributes to the fact that the composition of the intestinal flora is changed. In the long run, this unbalances the metabolism. Weight gain, high blood pressure and other ailments can be promoted.

Metabolic Balance deliberately avoids the use of sugar and any kind of sugar substitutes. The body can cover its sugar requirements with fruit and vegetables. Sugar substitutes and sweeteners, which are produced with high technological input or exclusively artificially in the laboratory, have no place in a healthy and balanced diet, which consists mainly of unprocessed and natural foods.

The clear recommendation is to stay clear of light products and all foods enriched with sugar substitutes.

It is best to reduce sugar altogether. However, if you don’t want to give up cakes or desserts completely, you should definitely prepare them from scratch. By doing so the sugar content can be significantly reduced or the natural sweetness of fruits (e. g. dates) can be used.


[1] Bürkle, Silvia et al. (2015): „Ernährung macht’s möglich – Stress ade“, p. 59

[2] Süßstoffe: Studie belegt Störung von Darmflora und Glukosestoffwechsel https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/60139/Suessstoffe-Studie-belegt-Stoerung-von-Darmflora-und-Glukosestoffwechsel

Take Charge

Take charge and commit to a healthier future today!

Metabolic Balance is a long-term lifestyle change to optimize your health by providing you with knowledge and support. Each plan is unique (we’ve made over 1 million of them globally!) as it is tailored to your metabolism and health history. Your plan will allow you to explore foods are optimal for you (some new, some familiar) and which ones you should avoid. You won’t be alone, as your certified health professional will coach you every step of the way. In addition online communities of other clients will give you a community to share your experiences with and get advice.

Take charge today and get in touch to see how Metabolic Balance® can help you.

An Apple A Day

We have often heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are nutrient-rich, known to lower uric acid as well as cholesterol. Especially older varieties of apples are rich in polyphenols, which counteract free radicals. Meaning, the naturally occurring flavonoids (phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables) carry out antioxidant action. Therefore, Metabolic Balance applies these impressive health benefits – we eat one apple a day – that’s one of our strategies of success. At Metabolic Balance we help people re-balance their metabolism and health. If you do not have a plan yet, get in contact with us – or one of our certified coaches. We are looking forward hearing from you!

Apples and Bacteria

Did you know that an apple contains more than one million bacteria? This is what scientists at Graz University of Technology have found out. The consumption of apples is therefore not only so healthy because of its abundance of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber and secondary plant substances. The intestinal flora also benefits from the various bacteria, which are found in large quantities especially in the core, seeds and pulp. 

In a study it was also examined whether there is a difference between apples from conventional cultivation and organic apples. The result was clear: the organic apples showed significantly more diverse bacteria communities. So enjoy the organic apple and stay healthy!

Apples and Allergies

European colonists first bought apples to North America during the 17th century. There are more than 7,500 varieties grown worldwide.
While apples are delicious and full of nutrients, they can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Just minutes after consumption you will begin to notice tingling, swelling, and itching in the mouth, lips, and throat; shortness of breath; and diarrhea, stomach discomfort and cramps.
An apple allergy is often occurs when an apple’s polyphenol levels are too low. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant found in plants that combine with the allergy-triggering proteins in the apple, and this makes the apple much more tolerable for consumption. Polyphenols also help combat free radicals. Types of polyphenols in apples include quercetin, chlorogenic acid, catechin, and phlorizin
Old apple varieties often contain significantly more polyphenols than the newer varieties. Polyphenols give apples a sour taste and become brown quickly when you cut them are bite into them. As a result, these characteristics, along with the polyphenols were taken out of the newer varieties. Now, the newer varieties of apple are sweeter and fail to brown as quickly; however, they also trigger allergic reaction much faster.

Note: Most proteins are found in the flesh of the apple skin and change when heated. As a result, those with an apple allergy should peel and boil the apple before consumption. For instance, apple sauce is mostly considered allergen-free. Avoid certain new types of apples, including:
● Ambrosia
● Elstar
● Jonagold
● Honey Crisp
● Sunrise
● Golden Delicious

Instead, choose the older variety of apple. In addition to important vitamins, mineral, and polyphenols, the older varieties contain more fiber, including pectin and cellulose. During digestion, these fibers bind to heavy metals, cholesterol, and other waste products, and excrete them from the body. Another benefit of older apple varieties is they contain more vitamin C than the newer varieties. At the same time, imported older apples have less vitamin C than older varieties from a local orchard. Food loses its nutritional value the longer it has to travel.

The following are some older varieties you should purchase:
● Red Delicious
● Empire
● McIntosh
● Jonathan
● Granny Smith
● Braeburn

Apple Pie Smoothie

With the air getting cooler, the wonderful flavors of fall are coming back into season, so give this delicious spiced smoothie a try!


Ingredients:
1 apple
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Vanilla
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom 

Preparation:
Add all the ingredients to a blender and process until smoothie. Enjoy!

Tips: For extra nutrition you can also consider adding almond butter or chia seeds!

Metabolic Balance works

How does Metabolic Balance compare to other weight loss programs?

Answer: The Metabolic Balance® study from 2010 demonstrated that our method is scientifically proven to meet the highest criteria for effectiveness! The Metabolic Balance study showed that: 62% of participants lost 5% of their total weight AND kept it off for over a year! How could a Metabolic Balance® plan help you reach your health goals?

To learn more visit our website and reach out to one of our qualified coaches!

Photo: Metabolic Balance Australia and New Zealand


Preserving Foods

At the end of the summer and beginning of the fall, many different delicious fruits and vegetable are in season. Now it’s important to use that amazing produce and preserve it for the cold season, so that we can enjoy a bit of summer in autumn and winter.

The following tips tell you how best to preserve your summer treasures:

• Off into the frost!

Freezing is one of the best ways to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables from your own garden or from the market even in winter. 

• Well oiled is half preserved

The following vegetables are good for preserving in oil: Bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms. 

• Just like grandma used to do: Canning

Another alternative to preserve fruits and vegetables from the summer garden is canning. Detailed instructions are provided by the jar manufacturers.

• Dried power packs

Almost all vegetables and fruits are suitable for drying in the air, oven or dehydrator.