We live in a society obsessed with losing weight, and with good reason. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 68% of all Americans are overweight and 33% of those past the age of 20 are clinically obese. The National Institute of Health stated that "Obesity is the leading cause of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer." Recognizing that excess weight is associated with diseases of the gallbladder, joints, kidneys, liver and lungs, it's clear that even a small amount of extra body weight can increase your risk of disease and shorten life expectancy.
To deal with their weight problems, millions of Americans will kick off the new year packed into gyms to collectively sweat off enough fat to form a small asteroid. In practical terms, Americans will fork out an estimated 33 billion dollars on diet programs and related products in the coming year. Unfortunately, a majority of people who starve and sweat themselves into shape will find that weight so painfully lost is quickly regained when they revert to their normal habits.
"In one study participants lost an average of 8% of total body fat over a four week period, and averaged a loss of over 15 pounds per person."
Dietary Fiber Helps Fight Fat
One way to help fight this perpetual battle of the bulge is to increase one's intake of fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate food component containing no calories or nutritional value, provides no energy, and yet is essential for maintaining ones health.
A major benefit of fiber is its ability to bind to excess dietary fats and bile acids and help remove them from the body. Fiber is also a bulking agent that helps one feel fuller, eat less and help speed food through the digestive systems to promote bowel regularity and prevent build-up of metabolic wastes and toxic by-products. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, improve healthy blood sugar levels and promote the growth of friendly intestinal flora.
Chitosan - New Dietary Fiber
Recently scientists in Norway have come up with a new dietary fiber called Chitosan that can help people lose unwanted pounds while significantly reducing cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels. Chitosan can also contribute to reducing high blood pressure, heart disease, and other cardiovascular problems.
Chitosan is a unique fiber derived from the chitin (exoskeleton) of crustaceans such as shrimp, lobsters and crabs. Chitin is processed to form an unstable aminopolysaccharide molecule with a very strong positive (pH) polarity. This polarity attracts negatively charged molecules, and ionically bonds to fats, lipids, and bile. This electrolytic bonding causes large polymer compounds to be formed that cannot be broken down by the digestive process. Chitosan also acts as a coagulating agent for other activated solids, bulk wastes and fibers, trapping them and then passing them out of the body. These solids can contain high calorie complex sugar chains and carbohydrate micelles, substances that often get converted into fat for storage in the body. Eventually, the polymer is excreted as waste from the digestive system, carrying away the attached fat and other potential fat-producing substances.
Researchers in one clinical study found that total cholesterol was reduced by a whopping 32% when using chitosan over a five week period. The study also noted that levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol (which keeps the arteries free of atherosclerotic plaque) increased by 7.5 % while triglyceride levels reduced by 18% during the same period. Additional studies found that concentrations of liver cholesterol were also significantly decreased. One Japanese study showed that rats fed chitosan had decreased liver cholesterol levels 60% lower than the control group after 4 weeks. Best of all, there are no side effects.
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