Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat for weight loss. Its high soluble fiber content helps control your appetite, makes you feel full for longer periods of time, and slows your digestion, which all help with weight regulation.
However, even though oatmeal is a healthy choice, it can easily become unhealthy depending on how you make it. In other words, what you choose to add to your oatmeal will either make or break your weight loss goals.
Here are a few healthy oatmeal habits for losing abdominal fat to try, and for more healthy eating tips make sure to check out Oatmeal Recipes Perfect For Weight Loss.
Although oatmeal can help you reach your goals of shrinking abdominal fat, people often derail their goals unknowingly by adding sugary toppings to their favorite oatmeal.
“I recommend avoiding too much regular sugar and additives when trying to eat a healthy bowl of oatmeal, says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, author at Fit Healthy Momma. “Sugar-free replacements like stevia are a good choice because they still allow you to have a great taste without any of the negative things that come with a high dose of sugary breakfast foods.”
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If you’re trying to avoid sugary toppings on your oatmeal, it certainly doesn’t mean you have to eat it plain. For example, Ronald Smith, RD recommends adding nuts and seeds for a nutrient boost.
“Nuts and seeds are high in protein and healthy fats,” says Smith. “I recommend adding chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans, as well as seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds.”
This boost in protein can be a helpful tool in weight loss around your stomach area, and according to a study from Nutrition & Metabolism, high-quality protein was associated with a decrease in abdominal fat.
One way to add natural sweetness without added sugar is by including some delicious fresh fruit in your oatmeal.
“Berries are especially good options because they are low in calories and high in fiber, and they help reduce the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers,” says Smith.
Medical News Today also notes that apples can be a great aid in weight loss because of their exceptionally high fiber content, so you may enjoy adding some sliced apples and cinnamon to your next bowl of oatmeal.
Grace Hamrick, RD recommends rounding out your oatmeal breakfast with some protein and fat to help you stay full longer.
“My favorite is adding fresh blueberries and chopped walnuts, but another way to enjoy oatmeal while increasing the protein is by adding a runny egg to the bowl and serving with a side of fruit,” says Hamrick.
For more oatmeal tips, read these next:
This Popular Supplement Falls Short on Health Claims, Says Report
It’s one of the most well-known wellness trends there is: taking apple cider vinegar, or ACV, shots. Experts, influencers, and everyday people claim that this living vinegar can provide countless benefits, from regulating blood sugar, to supporting weight loss, to even lowering cholesterol levels. So it’s no wonder that companies would want to capitalize on these health claims and find ways to make it easier for consumers to get apple cider vinegar into their diets.
One way companies came up with is through apple cider vinegar supplements, with one brand, Goli, bursting onto the scene in 2019 with an Apple Cider Vinegar gummy.
But today, the National Advertising Division (NAD) released their recommendation that Goli “discontinue or modify its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the amount of ACV contained in its gummies is associated with the health benefits of traditional liquid ACV.”
The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the non-profit BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation of product marketing claims to “guide the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S.”
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
Anecdotally, many people find ACV to be a beneficial supplement, and there are countless studies that support certain benefits.
“There is some data that suggests ACV, when taken in an appropriate quantity, can offer some health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity. However, more high-quality studies are needed in order to make specific claims. Some studies suggest that vinegar, and not apple cider vinegar specifically, offers some potential health benefits,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian on our medical expert board.
As Manaker notes, because the current studies are small or performed in animal models, current research does not conclusively support ACV’s health benefits.
Why does NAD recommend Goli stop marketing its gummies as having the same health benefits as ACV?
NAD has been reviewing many of Goli’s marketing claims for about a year, dating back to March 2021 when the division recommended that Goli discontinue its skin health claims.
In its recent report, NAD determined that Goli’s use of the terms “Apple Cider Vinegar” and “ACV” in its advertising “reasonably conveys the message that the product provides the nutritional and health benefits of traditional apple cider vinegar.”
However, NAD claims that this message is not supported due to the fact that “the health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar are tied to a much higher amount of acetic acid, the ‘active’ ingredient in ACV, than is present in the suggested intake for Goli’s ACV Gummies.”
READ MORE: Supplements You Should Give Up in 2022, Say Dietitians
How does liquid ACV differ from ACV gummies?
The decision by NAD is based on the fact that ACV gummies are very different from liquid ACV in both form and function.
Most ACV gummies do not contain a high enough concentration of apple cider vinegar as a liquid dose.
For example, one two-gummy serving of Goli ACV gummies is said to contain 1 gram of ACV, which the company claims is the equivalent to one dose of liquid apple cider vinegar. However, this concentration is significantly less than what studies on ACV typically involve, and those studies only use liquid ACV.
Following the recent proceedings, Goli has agreed to permanently discontinue the claim that two gummies are equivalent to a dose of liquid ACV, and the company will also cease to claim that these gummies contain “All of the Age Old Benefits of Traditional ACV.”
Another big difference between gummies and liquid ACV is the presence of “the mother.”
Liquid apple cider vinegar can come with “the mother,” which is the combination of yeast and bacteria formed during fermentation. This is the cloudy substance you may see in your bottle of ACV. This substance contains polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants) and other potentially beneficial compounds; however, ACV gummies may not necessarily contain the same compounds.
“Certain gummies claim to contain the mother in their composition. However, it is unclear what effect the processing of the supplement has on the function of ‘the mother,’” says Manaker.
For example, Goli says that they “source a top-quality Apple Cider Vinegar powder for our product, made with real apple cider vinegar that contains the mother at time of manufacturing,” and they are careful to avoid saying that the mother is present in their processed supplement.
At this time, there are no studies on the efficacy of ACV in gummy form.
While there are small studies that examine the benefits of liquid ACV, there are currently none on a gummy version.
“Unfortunately, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of ACV gummies. Assuming taking this ingredient in gummy form can have the same health effects as taking it in liquid form may be over-reaching. We can’t say for sure until we have quality clinical trials to evaluate the effects,” says Manaker.
If you want to reap the benefits Goli claims, there are ways to do so without taking this supplement.
“People may take Goli AVC gummies for a healthy immune function, heart health, and antioxidant support (all benefits listed on their website), but these benefits may not be because of the vinegar,” says Manaker. “In addition to ACV, these gummies are made with synthetic forms of vitamin B12 and folic acid, so people may experience outcomes like more energy because of the additional vitamins they are putting in their body.” In other words, you’re basically taking a B-complex vitamin when you have Goli ACV gummies.
Manaker recommends that people lean on products that have adequate evidence to support their use, but more importantly, you should focus on your diet to improve your health.
“People can easily take in antioxidants by making a point to consume a balanced diet filled with fruit, veggies, nuts, and beans. For heart health support, evidence-based solutions like sipping on green tea may be a more effective solution. And for weight management goals, there is nothing quite like following a balanced diet and including physical activity in your day to help maintain your ideal weight,” she says.
“Another option is to explore a high-quality multivitamin that not only contains B vitamins (like Goli provides), but also other nutrients that people are oftentimes deficient in, like vitamin D to support a slew of health goals. There are plenty of solutions out there that have quality data to support its use and they can be fantastic options to lean on instead of taking an ACV gummy every day,” says Manaker.
Editor’s Note: Although Goli reached an agreement with NAD on certain points, the supplement company will be appealing the decision, “because it ‘disagrees’ with NAD’s findings that its advertising conveys unsupported implied messages, that its recommended dosage claim is in dispute before the NAD, and with NAD’s exercise of jurisdiction ‘over these issues and over other advertising that is at issue in pending federal litigation.’”
The #1 Worst Food for Arthritis, Says Dietitian
Additional reporting by Leo Andreoli.
Picking out the #1 worst food to eat if you have arthritis isn’t easy, and that’s because an arthritis diagnosis comes with a lot of variables.
For one, what makes one person’s joint pain worse may be totally different from what exacerbates another’s, according to Heidi Turner, MS, RDN, CD, an integrative registered dietitian nutritionist with Food Logic, who specializes in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
Secondly, there are various types of arthritis, each of which may be made worse by something different in the diet. Four common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which is a wearing down of the cartilage in the joints due to aging; rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells and causes inflammation typically in the hands, wrists, and knees; gout, which usually affects one joint at a time, often starting with the big toe, and ankylosing spondylitis; or ankylosing spondylitis (AS), which reduces the flexibility of the spine.
RELATED: Telltale Signs You Have Arthritis
“Everybody’s different; one person with osteoarthritis can eat a food (and feel fine) while another can have a really bad reaction to it,” says Turner.
With that in mind, to find the #1 worst food for arthritis, the solution is to try an “elimination diet,” that is, eliminating foods to identify those that make you feel better when you stop eating them. Read on to learn more about how to try an elimination diet to pinpoint the foods that worsen arthritis symptoms as well as the most likely culprits, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The #1 Best Juice to Drive Every Day, Says Science.
While an elimination diet will help you find the worst foods for your arthritis, Turner says processed and high-sugar foods are generally the worst foods for sufferers of any type of arthritis for the same reasons they are harmful to your overall health. “Foods that contain a lot of chemicals and preservatives, high-starch foods, sugars, highly-processed grains, things like that will encourage inflammation and are what you want to get out of your diet first and replace with whole foods,” she says.
New research from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine suggests a connection between an unhealthy gut microbiome and rheumatoid arthritis. The trillions of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are impacted by what you eat, and an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria may make RA symptoms worse, according to the study.
What are those foods that cause an unhealthy gut? Inflammatory foods like saturated and trans fats, fried foods, corn oil, and baked goods. “If you’re working with a lot of gut issues, then you might try to take out those known inflammatory foods, including gluten and dairy,” says Turner.
Some people with arthritis find that eating tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers trigger arthritic swelling and stiffness. “Eating nightshade plants can irritate the joints; I see that quite a lot in my practice,” says Turner.
The inflammatory reaction may be due to a buildup of a bitter-tasting chemical found in nightshade plants called solanine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, giving up nightshades come with a downside: you’d miss out on some highly nutritious foods, the Cleveland Clinic notes.
The form of arthritis known as gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body and crystals of uric acid accumulate in the joints, causing swelling and pain. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of chemical compounds in certain foods called purines. “Gout is its own little beast,” says Turner. The worst foods to eat if you have gout are “foods high in purines like organ meats, alcohol (especially beer), sardines, and sweet beverages like soda and juices with high fructose corn syrup,” she says. Even certain vegetables, like cauliflower and asparagus, are higher in purines than others and may cause inflammation in a joint.
Because foods can affect people so differently, eliminating certain inflammatory foods and monitoring how your body reacts may be the best way to identify those that worsen your arthritis symptoms, says Turner. Other tactics to try, she says, are adopting a paleo diet or Mediterranean-style diet. Both include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and fish and shun added sugars and processed grains. To learn more about the health benefits of this style of eating, read What Happens to Your Body on the Mediterranean Diet.