Sunday, July 29, 2012


THE LATEST “BREAKTHROUGH” WEIGHT LOSS RESEARCH – one of the “pearls” of recent nutritional “science”


By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2

The Daily Mail newspaper in England recently published (online version, June 26th, 2012) the conclusions of a study done at Tel Aviv University which bluntly states that eating dessert for breakfast helps you lose weight. The study, for obvious reasons, made for the BIG NEWS. But before you jump into eating doughnuts and cake for breakfast again, maybe you should at least try to dissect it a little bit further and see if the facts really hold up.
The article starts with: “Good news for dieters – having a sweet treat for breakfast can actually help you lose pounds and keep them off longer” – PERFECT advice! Have some processed sugar, Stupid!

It goes on to say: “Although both diets (there were 2 groups) had the same amount of calories (….) - one included a large breakfast with a sweet treat such as a doughnut, while the other allowed  for a larger meal later in the day”. What an ingenious statement that a bigger meal in the morning makes you fuller and more satisfied for the rest of the day, while being hungry all day and eating most of your calories at night keeps you fat. Did they really need to waste money on research to figure this out? Really???

The author of the study states that “The goal of a weight loss diet should be not only weight reduction, but also reduction of hunger and cravings, thus helping prevent weight gain”. Yes, indeed, that’s a smart statement, but how on earth did they draw the conclusion that you can (or should even attempt to) reduce hunger and cravings with extra sugar is beyond me.

In my holistic nutrition coaching practice I always suggest clients eat at least 25% (if not more) of their daily caloric intake for breakfast. The reason is simple and logical: your body needs most of the calories during the day to maintain a certain level of energy, not at night when it rests. No surprise here. So, if you starve it for the first part of the day, it will slow down its metabolic rate to conserve calories. This will result in fewer calories burnt overall and more calories stored. No surprise here either.

Unless you have been on a ketogenic diet for quite some time (meaning you have been eating mostly protein and fat, with minimal amount of carbohydrates, and your body has had a chance to switch to using body fat as fuel almost exclusively), you will still need some carbohydrates. Depending on your Metabolic Type you will need a lot, a little, or somewhere in between, but you will need them nonetheless for your body and brain to function properly. In the study, the subjects in the group that regained the weight were given not only 50% fewer calories, but of those calories only 13% were from carbohydrates – way too little even for Protein Types. The group that lost more weight was given double the amount of calories, more calories coming from carbohydrates (40%), AND a higher total amount of protein. (By the way, even in that group the ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and calculated 30% fat still kept that group in a moderate carbohydrate/high protein classification – a perfect Zone Diet.)

Why is it then a wonder that the results came out the way they did? One has to be completely blind to not be able to figure out why the higher carbohydrate diet worked better. So, simply speaking, the bigger meal satisfied the body’s energy needs better, by providing more satiating protein, more energy producing carbohydrates, and a sufficient amount of fat to keep the participants’ blood sugar under control. In addition, higher amounts of protein and carbohydrates created a higher level of thermogenesis (amount of heat produced and calories burnt in the process of digestion, assimilation, etc.) since they take more energy to break down and digest than a low-calorie breakfast, whose 52% of calories came from fat, a nutrient with a minimal thermogenic effect.
At this point, I start to wonder why anyone would even undertake a study whose outcome is not only obvious, but at best unhealthy, and dangerous at worst. And who could possibly pay for a stupid science like this? The sugar industry? I would be curious to check the sources that funded it, and I probably wouldn’t be very surprised with my findings.

Another important point, if you haven’t figured it out already, is the fact that the same effects could have been achieved by substituting some high quality, high fiber carbohydrates: vegetables, fruit, whole grains like old-fashioned slow cooking oatmeal, dairy (whose big % of calories come from carbohydrates, e.g. yogurt, etc.), and even small amounts of healthier sweeteners like organic raw honey or unprocessed maple syrup for the "dessert treat". I bet the researchers knew the outcome would have been exactly the same, or better, but the study wouldn’t have made big news.

What bothers me most, is that this is exactly what companies that fund dubious studies like this one count on – masses of readers or listeners, who have absolutely no idea how to evaluate scientific research, and who take whatever is fed to them by the media (and sponsored by the food and drug industries) at face value. If it’s research from some university, it must be valid.

With the overwhelming obesity epidemic in the US and (thanks to commercial CRAP food production driven exclusively by money) spreading quickly to other countries, the last thing we need is scientists telling us to eat more sugar in order to lose weight.

Funny though, the researcher’s conclusions are correct, for the most part:

1. Timing of the meal is indeed an important factor in weight loss success (here having a bigger meal in the am),

2. Diets higher in protein reduce hunger by giving the feeling of satiety,

3. Carbohydrates make people feel full.

But here’s the conclusion I have a real problem with: “dessert kept sweet and fat cravings under control”. Any half-reliable nutrition source will tell you that dessert (or any sugar for that matter) does anything BUT that. As a matter of fact, in most cases, it does the exact opposite: spikes your blood sugar causing your body to release massive amounts of insulin, then making the blood sugar plummet and increasing the cravings for sugar even more.

One thing that researches did not mention is just exactly how many carbohydrate and fat calories in the whole meal came from dessert, were they only from dessert, or were they just a small addition to other, better carbohydrate options – an important factor in the whole equation that should not have been omitted.

By the way, the only reason why sugar might satisfy sweet and fat cravings (though in case of just sugar it is only a short-lasting effect) is when your diet is seriously out of balance, you have nutritional deficiencies, candida or parasites, or you have been working out long or hard without replenishing your glycogen stores by consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrates afterwards. A comment here on sweet breakfast: many people (including yours truly) do not feel like eating meat and vegetables in the morning and would rather have something “sweet”. But that’s when natural foods like fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, wholegrain minimally processed breads, nut butters, honey and low-sugar 100% fruit spreads come in, if that’s what you crave. Dessert, in a true sense of the word, should hardly be a main option for breakfast as part of a healthy diet.

So what conclusion will most readers draw from reading the headlines (which is the only thing a majority of people read these days anyway)? That not only is it OK, but downright advisable, to have sweets for breakfast, because it will help them with their battle of the bulge. And, of course, they will be dead wrong and most will find themselves in even deeper trouble following such an insane advice.
The science and resulting lengthy advice on what to eat for breakfast is beyond the scope of this article (and it will differ from person to person), but one thing is for sure: DON’T TAKE WHAT YOU READ IN THE MEDIA AS GOOD ADVICE, EVEN IF IT CLAIMS TO BE A SCIENTIFIC STUDY (AND ESPECIALLY IF IT DEFIES COMMON SENSE), AND LOOK FOR MORE RELIABLE SOURCES OF INFORMATION WHEN YOUR HEALTH IS AT STAKE. This, however, is a whole other endeavor, and a whole other story, since most sources you have been told are trustworthy unfortunately are not.

When it comes to your own health, do the research, and take your own responsibility. The results are worth it.

Here’s the link to the original article:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Can I eat after 6pm and still lose weight? personal trainer Santa Monica

Monika Tarkowska-Carter, personal trainer, (Santa Monica) with Fitness Science, Inc. gives the real skinny on the importance of what times of day you eat and don't eat. 
Eating at the right times will help your metabolism function optimally, giving you good energy and assisting you in losing weight. There are a number of misconceptions about how to do this. Monika sets the record straight in this video, giving details about when to eat and how much, and how to avoid stressing your body into a slower metabolism that will cause weight gain by allowing yourself to get too hungry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Get a Personal Fitness Assessment and Learn How to Maximize Your Potential

Close to Santa Monica or West Los Angeles, and Wanting to Lose Weight, Firm Up, Become More Flexible or Improve Athletic Prowess?  Get a Personal Assessment

As your personal trainer in Los Angeles at Fitness Science Inc. we believe you are unique

Your biochemistry is unique to you and you alone. Your genes, your heritage, the climate where you live, as well as your current age, activity levels, health, and degree of stress will predetermine how your body will react to certain kinds and ratios of foods. All of us have very unique nutritional needs. The Metabolic Typing Assessment we utilize helps to determine what kind of “diet” your body will respond to the best, considering all the above factors and your current state of health. Although not the “be all end all” method we use to help you achieve your desired goals, it is extremely helpful in designing a program that will make you feel your very best.

Some problems we see in people's diets:

  • Starving or not eating enough. This causes loss of muscle tissue. Due to inadequate calorie intake your body goes into starvation, or in other words, survival mode. This, in turn, slows down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories per day than before, and making you tired, lethargic and grumpy
  • Toxicity from diet or medications stresses the body, slowing down weight loss.
  • The wrong diet for your own body type can be harmful, even a diet you were told is "healthy".
Our assessment can identify these and other nutrition factors that may be keeping you from losing weight or achieving optimal health.

Call 310-471-6786 to set up a consultation.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nutrition myth quiz: do you pass?

As a Santa Monica personal trainer, I talk to many people who say they eat healthy, but are unable to lose weight, or have other health problems. Upon asking some questions, I find they have misconceptions about what healthy eating is.
Do you:

  • Avoid animal fats and saturated fats of any kind?
  • Think that tropical oils are bad?
  • Eat a lot of vegetable oils because you think they are heart-healthy?
  • Eat nuts, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils as your only sources of fat?
  • Try to follow a low fat diet because you think it will help you lose weight?
  • Drink a lot of fruit juices because you think they are full of vitamins?
  • Eat huge amounts of fruit because you were told they are good for you?
  • Think that crispy cereal with non-fat milk is a health food?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions and are having problems with your weight OR your health, you need nutrition re-education.

At Fitness Science Inc. we believe you are unique. Your biochemistry is unique to you and you alone. Your genes, your heritage, the climate where you live, as well as your current age, activity levels, health and degree of stress, will predetermine how your body will react to certain kinds and ratios of foods. All of us have very unique nutritional needs. The Metabolic Typing Assessment we utilize helps to determine what kind of “diet” your body will respond to the best, considering all the above factors and your current state of health. Although not the “be all end all” method we use to help you achieve your desired goals, it is extremely helpful in designing a program that will make you feel your very best.

Friday, July 13, 2012

So, you think you're eating healthy? Los Angeles personal trainer busts nutrition myths

What do you really know about nutrition?

Many people think they know what healthy nutrition is yet after our Los Angeles personal trainer's deeper inquiry it turns out they were all wrong. Others are simply confused. This is mostly because the nutrition information we see in the media has been politicized. Most research studies are funded by the food and drug industry, and consequently, the results of the research are twisted and presented in a way that plays to the above industries’ agendas. 
This sad reality has created the ever increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other related problems. We are overweight, our kids are overweight, and things seem to only be getting worse.

Many outspoken researchers are finally starting to speak up. Change is gradually starting to happen but it is still slow- very slow! We've been brainwashed to think that saturated fat is the source of all evil, that we don’t really need much protein, that our diets should be based on huge amounts of grains, that vegetable oils are good for us, and so on, and so on. The examples are endless…..and the public is more frustrated and confused than ever. 
If you are having problems with your weight OR your health, you may, like many people, need nutrition re-education.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Secrets to Real Weight Loss: Personal Trainer Santa Monica describes why we get stuck

Monika Tarkowska-Carter, Santa Monica personal trainer, describes some of the most common reasons people do not lose weight, which can be different for everybody. 
How well are you eating? How many times a day? How many times do you cheat?
Are you working out enough? Too much? Is it the right exercise? Do you allow enough rest in between workout sessions?
Do you have toxicity in your body from diet, environment, or medications?
Are you sleeping well? Are you under stress? Do you have unresolved emotional issues causing stuck energy? Monika explains how all these factors, and more, affect the body's ability or inability to lose weight.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Total Renewal Approach from Personal Trainer Los Angeles

Monika Tarkowska-Carter, personal trainer in Los Angeles, CA, owner of Fitness Science, Inc describes her philosophy.
There is more to health than the absence of disease!
Some components of health:
*Energy: do you have enough energy?
*Healthy eating: Are you eating healthy but not eating for weight loss? Is your diet right for you?
*Optimal weight
*Detoxification: Are you struggling to lose weight because of toxins in your body?
*Stress: Stress affects your ability to lose weight.
People are not the same. One of the biggest sins of the nutrition industry today is that we treat everyone as if they were the same.  Monika looks at a person's biochemical individuality through extensive questionnaires to develop the right approach for them.
This holistic approach to fitness, nutrition, and weight loss will look at all aspects of your life and health for total renewal.