3 artificial-sounding ingredients that are actually healthy

As you've read in several of my past newsletters, you want to be on the lookout for hidden ingredients in your foods such as MSG or trans fats that can be causing weight gain or other health problems.

However, I've noticed that sometimes people think that just because a label contains an odd-sounding ingredient, that it must be harmful.  This is NOT always the case.  Check out these examples of artificial-sounding ingredients that are actually natural, and even healthful...

3 Odd-Sounding ingredients that are actually okay:

1.  Xanthan Gum -- Despite the artificial-sounding name, this is actually naturally produced from fermentation of a type of bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris, and acts as a type of soluble fiber in our digestion.  Xanthan gum is used as a type of thickener or gel agent in various types of foods and is basically harmless, while adding just a slight fiber boost to certain foods.

According to my friend and colleague Kelley Herring, author of the amazing Guilt-Free Desserts, "xanthan gum and guar gum also add soluble fiber which helps balance blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol".

2.  Alginate -- This is another artificial-sounding ingredient you'll sometimes see on labels that's actually natural and even healthful.  It's derived naturally from seaweed and serves as a thickener in certain types of foods.  Alginate has been linked to improving cholesterol levels and possibly even helping to control appetite.  This is yet another odd-sounding ingredient not to worry about.

3.  Canthaxanthin -- you might have already heard of the health benefits of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant in krill oil that protects your skin along with other health benefits.  Well, Canthaxanthin is similar in that it has antioxidant benefits similar to other carotenoids.

Canthaxanthin is simply just a natural coloring added to certain types of foods, despite the artificial-sounding odd name.  Again, nothing to worry about with this additive either.

On the other hand, there are PLENTY of additives that might actually sound natural, but are actually potentially carcinogenic and harmful to your body...

My colleague, and fellow nutrition investigator, Nick, shows you some sneaky and harmful ingredients to watch out for in this article:

Beware of these 4 sneaky ingredients making you fat (and possibly causing cancer or other health problems)

Shop smart for you and your family and be a label-reader!

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


Drink THIS to lose fat & heal your digestion

Today's article shows you a superfoods drink that I also personally use every day, can help you to lose fat and heal your digestion problems... and it's also very simple to make.

Our resident expert, Dr Kareem explains in the article below...

Drink THIS to lose fat & fix your digestion
by Dr. Kareem, Author of 14-Day Fat Loss Plan

The longer I've been in the healthcare industry, the more I realize that a 'balanced body' is the key to just about any health goal you might have. Whether you want to lose weight, reduce bodyfat, build muscle, or increase athleticism, the faster you balance your body the quicker you'll see results. 

The first step is to balance your 'Macronutrient Ratio,' which is just a fancy way of saying that you have to balance the amount of carbs:proteins:fats you consume.

Here's a simple rule that I like to follow, as a general theme to healthy eating and high energy output:

9 grams of carbs: 7 grams protein: 4 grams fat

Assuming you're eating a large amount of veggies, that means a good portion of those carbs will be indigestible fiber, and the caloric ratio will end up almost equally balanced between slow carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

Next, consider the 'Nutrient Density' in everything you eat. Not all calories were created equally, not even from the same macronutrient classification or category.  Eating animal fats usually means more dietary cholesterol, but this isn't necessarily a problem like most people think...

Cholesterol is actually normal and healthy for your body -- it's something your body naturally produces because it's required to sustain life.  However, inflammation combined with high levels of LDL cholesterol can result in a very dangerous situation.

'Triglycerides' are often a root cause of inflammation and heart disease as a result of poor diet.  High triglycerides are often caused by eating too much sugar and refined carbs and poor insulin sensitivity.

If you eat sugar, you're inflaming.  If you eat cookies, crackers,bread, cereal, or estrogenic products like soy and non-organic fruits and vegetables (pesticides are estrogenic), you're inflaming. 

Ultimately, this means that your body will have a harder time processing the carbs it consumes.  Your body's relationship with a normal macronutrient changes, and it will affect you differently. 

If you have a lot of inflammation in your body, fix this first, then adjust your diet for increased nutrient density.  Get rid of any trans fats, most of the grains you consume, and any food category that you're particularly sensitive to.  Alongside, take a careful look at your environment -- if you are in a stressed-out situation, take time each day to calm your mind through meditation, positive self-talk, and visualization of happier circumstances.  I recommend at least 15-20 minutes, as this seems to be an accepted time by, which is the leading organization for battling depression through natural means.

Once you address the inflammation in your body, you can hone in on eating the "right" foods, even if they have things like cholesterol in them that scares you.  Now its time for the grass-fed beef, free range organic chickens, and the eggs they produce (yolks included!) 

Last, but certainly not least, it's important you balance your micronutrients and hydration.  These are the 'invisible' aspects of your daily health rituals that need to exist.  Hydration is pretty easy, unless you have some extreme reason for dehydration -- just drink half your bodyweight (pounds) in ounces of water each day.

Micronutrients, on the other hand, are an uphill battle.  To derive all of the micronutrients your body needs simply from the food you consume is very difficult.  For example, you'd have to eat a variety of about 25 different fruits and vegetables, but just small pieces of each one.  This is how you'd get the proper mineral balance, natural vitamins (not artificial), and antioxidants you need for optimal health.

In addition, the health of your digestive tract determines how well your body will respond to any of the information above.  Digestive enzymes that target ease of digestion and enzyme release specifically designed to break up difficult to digest substances, can make a game-changing difference in the balance of your overall health.

Again, you can do a lot for your gut by consuming 'probiotics' in the form of plain (non-sweetened) kefir and yogurt, and strengthen your digestive tract significantly.  However, this is only part of the equation, and it would have to be daily habit.

For the fastest and most reliable (daily) solution to micronutrients, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and electrolyte balance, I simplify my life with a unique smoothie each morning (actually, my wife makes it for me -- she's awesome!) -here's exactly what goes in this daily digestive system healing smoothie:

    *2 heaping tablespoons Athletic Greens (essential ingredient teeming with every micronutrient you need, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and powerful antioxidants)
    *1 tbsp chia seeds (healthy omega-3 fats, lots of fiber)
    *1 scoop protein powder (this protein contains no deadly artificial sweeteners)
    *Frozen wild blueberries (handful)
    *8 to 10 ounces of water (or use half water and half kefir if you want extra probiotics)

Drink this superfood-smoothie daily and watch your body balance out.  You'll be losing fat in no time, and you'll watch your digestion and overall health improve substantially.

Grab Athletic Greens for your daily digestion-healing smoothie here


Red wine and your gut?

You've probably heard that red wine can be a very healthy drink option, but you most likely only heard about generic benefits of the antioxidants and resveratrol in red wine.

But here's another MAJOR reason below why red wine in moderation (1-2 glasses per day max) can be a super healthy part of your routine.  I personally have really grown to enjoy having a glass of red wine with dinner about 4-5 days per week.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95:1323-1334) reported that people who drank 2 glasses of red wine per day (dry red wine, not sugary dessert wines) had higher levels of beneficial bacteria in their gut and lower levels of pathogenic bad bacteria in their gut.  This is great news as you know from reading this newsletter how vastly important your gut flora balance is to everything from your digestion, immunity, metabolism, skin health, and much more.

The study concluded that while red wine consumption decreased pathogenic bacteria in the gut, it actually had a prebiotic effect in the gut in that it supported the growth and colonies of healthy gut microbes which protect your health.

But the powerful health benefits of red wine don't stop there...

Another exciting part of this study is that the red wine drinkers also decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and CRP (C-reactive protein).  CRP is a measure of overall inflammation in your body, so it's great to see an association between red wine and reduced inflammation.

The interesting part of the study is that red wine was compared against equivalent servings of gin (equivalent alcohol serving) and none of the benefits mentioned above were seen in the group consuming the gin.  This means the benefits were probably related to the polyphenols and resveratrol in red wine and not necessarily the alcohol content itself, although there is likely a synergistic effect of the alcohol and other compounds in red wine as the group receiving de-alcoholized red wine got less of a blood pressure benefit.

You can choose Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz or any other dry red wine to get all of these powerful health benefits of the unique polyphenols and resveratrol.

Note that white wine also has some health benefits but not nearly as powerful as red wine due to the lower antioxidant levels. 

Another benefit of red wine not mentioned in the study above is that I've seen studies that show that red wine consumed with a meal can slow and moderate the blood sugar response you get from that meal.  This is yet another benefit to keeping your hormones balanced, controlling insulin levels, controlling appetite, and staying lean!

As you can see, there's plenty of reasons raise a glass of red wine at your meals and toast to your health and happiness!

But beware...

As good as red wine is for your health and gut microbes, there are plenty of things that can DESTROY your beneficial gut flora...

Antibiotics (over-prescribed, often unnecessarily) are one thing that can destroy your gut flora balance and have huge ramifications for your health.  In addition, too much sugar in your diet can increase the growth of bad bacteria, and using the artificial sweetener sucralose can KILL-off portions of your beneficial bacteria, destroying your health in the process.

My colleague Brett Hall also shares with you in the video below other dangers that can destroy your gut health...

The WORST thing that destroys your healthy gut microbes (plus 4 secrets to rid yourself of harmful gut bugs)

PS -- if you liked today's article about red wine, please fwd this email on to any of your friends, family, or co-workers that also enjoy a good glass of red wine.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


Never eat these TOXIC protein bars or energy bars

Let's face it... most protein bars or "energy" bars are TERRIBLE for your health while pretending to be healthy.

First, most protein bars are nothing more than glorified candy bars.

In most stores, I find it almost IMPOSSIBLE to find a truly healthy bar to buy for snacks for road trips, flights, hiking excursions, or just to have quick mid day snacks available for work days. 

Here are 3 major issues I see with MOST bars:

1.  Most bars have WAY too much sugar and total carbs and not enough protein or fiber.  These ratios of protein, sugar, and fiber is the first thing I search for when looking at labels, and almost EVERY bar I see at most stores is totally out of whack and a blood sugar nightmare waiting to happen. 

This is where most bars actually make you hungrier in the hours after you eat them, and cause weight gain from hormonal and blood sugar disruptions too.

Unfortunately, most bars that attempt to be lower in sugar use dangerous artificial sweeteners instead.

2.  It's almost impossible to find protein bars that don't use soy protein as the main protein source.  Soy protein is horrendous for your health, and something I try to avoid, but most bars contain it because it's the cheapest protein source available.  Remember that most soy protein also originated from genetically modified soy, which some animal studies are showing causes extreme digestive system inflammation and possible tumors.

3.  Most bars don't contain enough healthy fats... they either try to be too low-fat overall (making them not satisfying for your appetite), or the fats that they do contain are highly processed omega-6 fats or even trans fats in some cases that I've seen.

While most bars are positioned as “healthy,” these fat loss–and health-derailing nightmares are full of simple sugars, damaged and denatured fats, dirt-cheap and unhealthy protein, and usually a slew of artificial colors, dangerous sweeteners, and preservatives.

Just take a look at the labels on these supposed “health bars” and you’ll likely see ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), safflower oil or other inflammatory omega-6 oils, corn syrup, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup (from GM corn), sugar, brown sugar, fructose (even worse than sugar for your blood chemistry), maltodextrin and dextrose (carbohydrates whose glycemic index is even higher than sugar!), canola oil (and you might know that canola oil is terrible for you), sucralose and aspartame (which are chemical, artificial sweeteners, possibly linked to cancer and sucralose is shown to damage your gut flora), and the list goes on and on.

In reality, these “obesity additives” are some of the worst things you can put in your body if your goal is to achieve a flat belly and improve your health. Not only can they wreak havoc on your blood sugar, hormones, and cardiovascular risk factors, but they can outright STOP fat loss dead in its tracks, leaving you wondering why, despite all your efforts to eat healthy, your body fat stores just won’t seem to budge.

This brings us to another very important point to consider when choosing a protein bar: protein quality.

You see, the #1 protein source used in most protein bars is soy protein, one of the cheapest protein sources in the world.

Do you think that’s a coincidence? Not a chance! Unfortunately, soy protein contains BOTH phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens that act like estrogen in the body and have been linked to numerous health problems, including decreased thyroid output in women and decreased testosterone levels in men.

This is really bad news, because less thyroid hormone means less calorie burning and more fat storage for you.  And low testosterone for men can make it impossible to build any strength or muscle and lose any fat, among other major problems that Low T causes for men.

Finally, a brand-new ORGANIC high-protein, healthy-fat, high-fiber bar that's soy-free, gluten-free, with no artificial sweeteners and tastes great!

Introducing the delicious, nutritious, and ultra-convenient BioTrust Organic Protein Bars!

Each BioTrust Organic Protein Bar is made up of an array of Certified Organic ingredients, including...

20 Grams of Organic Protein (zero soy) and a whopping 14 Grams of Organic prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion and improved gut flora!

That’s more fiber than a FiberOne® bar, which has barely any protein at all and has too much sugar.

Not only that, but BioTrust Organic Protein Bars are officially the FIRST Organic Protein Bar in the entire industry made with organic whey protein.  They also contains organic rice protein and organic pea protein making for a unique combination of high quality proteins without any harmful cheap soy protein!

But what about the taste?

Well, you’ll be happy to know that BioTrust Organic Protein Bars taste absolutely incredible... in fact, I just enjoyed one of these new bars with a cup of tea earlier today and they taste like choc chip cookie dough in my opinion!

While being made up of a very short list of ultra-high-quality organic ingredients unlike other bars that have to resort to a mile-long list of health–and fat-loss-sabotaging fillers to even make their “frankenfood” protein bar creations edible.

In fact, each BioTrust Organic Protein Bar is a healthy, ultra-convenient, and completely balanced meal that boasts an ideal blend of low-glycemic organic carbohydrates and an array of healthy fats to compliment the 20 grams of organic protein and 14 grams of fiber contained in each bar.

What about the sweeteners used?

These new Organic Protein Bars use a mixture of organic stevia and organic honey for the sweetener, which is perfect in my opinion. 

With this mixture, these bars are lower in sugar than most bars, but the sugar that they do contain is derived from healthy organic honey which contains unique antioxidants not found in other sugar sources.   And combined with the massive 14 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein, you end up with a snack or small meal that's very low in glycemic response helping to keep your blood sugar balanced.

This means you REDUCE your cravings and keep a fat-burning environment humming along inside your body!

The truth is, you can’t even buy a fattening dollar menu meal consisting of unappetizing mystery meat, soggy fries, and a flat soda for the same low price as these organic protein bars which make a much healthier and quick meal alternative for on-the-go.

Even more, you’ll pay an even higher price for many of the low-quality, TOXIC protein bars at your local convenience store than you will for a premium BioTrust Organic Protein Bar containing all-natural organic ingredients and top-grade organic protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

To begin experiencing just how easy it is to eat healthy and lose flab when you always have convenient, organic, great-tasting nutrition at your fingertips for on-the-go, simply tap the link below and select your money-saving package while using the coupon code "organic" at checkout to receive FREE shipping on your order...

Again, the coupon code to receive FREE shipping on your order is -- organic

=> Get FREE shipping on BioTrust Organic Protein Bars today (No soy, no gluten, no artificial sweeteners; 20 grams protein, 14 grams fiber per bar)

Don’t fall victim any longer to making poor food choices due to your busy lifestyle. Instead, use these Organic Protein Bars any time you need delicious and nutritious snacks or meal replacements in your busy days.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


This exercise boosts your metabolism for 38 hours (3 studies)

If you've been following my newsletters for a while, then you know that SHORT, intense exercise is by far the best fat-burning exercise you can perform...

In fact, it's been proven to result in up to NINE times faster fat loss... and here are a few research studies that show just how powerful it is compared to long slow cardio...

Keep in mind that intensity is relative to each person's current fitness level... so "short and intense" can mean something totally different to someone who is possibly older and/or out of shape, compared to someone who is already in good shape.
The Research on SHORT, intense workouts:

As mentioned in several previous articles, "slow and long" cardio is OLD news and extremely ineffective when compared to short-burst intense exercise, and here are a few of studies to support this that my colleague Alwyn Cosgrove passed along:

Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

In this study a 30-minute circuit style resistance training session was put to the test. The result was a 38 hour increase in metabolism – massive AFTERBURN.

Let’s put this in perspective: Say that you worked out at 8AM on Friday. By way of short-burst, intense exercise, you’d still be burning extra calories from that workout (above and beyond your normal metabolic rate) while out at the movies on Saturday night.

Here’s another study:

Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.

This study showed that those who added short burst intense exercise to a reduced calorie diet burned up to 44% more fat than those who dieted alone.

Don’t get me wrong, diet is the NUMBER ONE component of the fat loss puzzle, but once you’ve got that down, short burst intense workouts can really take your results to a whole new level.

And here’s one more:

Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.
Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.
J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.

This study compared “slow and long” aerobic exercise to short burst intense resistance training and found that the resistance group lost significantly more fat without losing ANY lean muscle even at an extremely low calorie intake (not so for the aerobic group).

In fact, believe it or not, while the aerobic group experienced a decrease in metabolism (and lost muscle), the resistance training group actually increased their overall metabolic rate.

THAT’S the power of short-burst resistance training, and it doesn't require as much work as you might think.  In fact, in terms of duration of exercise each week, this method is no more than 90 minutes of exercise in an ENTIRE week, as opposed to some people who you see pumping away laboriously on treadmills and exercise bikes for 90 minutes per day, totally wasting their time, as their body never seems to change.

My friend and colleague Steve Holman is an expert in this area and shows you exactly how to put this method to use here:

=> EXACTLY how to perform short-burst workouts for 38-HOUR boosted fat-burning

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer


Amazing healthy dessert or snack recipe (so delicious!)

A couple months ago, I sent you a really tasty new healthy dessert/snack recipe that we called Danette's healthy balls.  You can see the original recipe on that page.  Super simple and tasty.

Well, after experimenting with this recipe a few times, I've made a few modifications to it that lower the overall carbs while increasing the healthy fats and fiber in order to lower the glycemic response from this recipe.

The existing recipe with the oats is okay for highly active people that workout hard and can utilize the carbs from the oats well.  And oats are one of the more "neutral" grains that have less antinutrient problems compared to wheat or corn.

But I still wanted to modify these healthy cookie dough balls for our own batches to be lower in carbs for a lower blood sugar response since I use these mostly in the evenings for dessert each night.

So what I did was replace the oats in the recipe with hazelnut flour, although any nut flour will work well too.  Since the basis of the recipe is a jar of almond butter, I chose to use hazelnut flour instead of using almond flour and almond butter.  That way, you diversify the fatty acid profile and the vitamin/mineral profile from 2 types of nuts instead of only one type.  You can also add chopped pecans and walnuts for more variety.

If you choose to use peanut butter as the base of the recipe, you can use almond flour (which is easier to find than hazelnut flour), and that way, you still get a more diverse nutrient profile from the 2 types of nuts instead of just one.

I also added some other bells and whistles to this modified version to add more healthy fats and fiber.  Notably, I added coconut milk instead of water, and also added a 1/3 cup of chia seed for extra fiber and vitamins/minerals.

I also used 1/4 cup real maple syrup instead of the 1/4 cup honey.  This was mainly because raw honey is generally solid and doesn't mix well, so real maple syrup worked better for me in order to mix everything together.

Oh, and I also added some cocoa powder, dark choc chips, and some pure cacao nibs for the extra taste and nutrition benefits of the various forms of cocoa.

Here's the new version below which I just made 2 days ago and is the BEST batch I've made yet.  These things are deeee-lish!  My dad even made a batch of these recently and said he looks forward to having a few of these little gems with a cup of tea every single day as a mid day snack or dessert.

The ratio of sugar in these is very low since the majority of the recipe consists of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.  The only real carb source is the maple syrup and it's only 1/4 cup in the whole recipe, but the amount of balls this makes will last you at least a week.

The New Modified Healthy Balls Dessert Recipe:

 * 1 full jar (12 oz) of almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter
 * 1/4 cup real maple syrup (grade B has more nutrients than grade A)
 * 2 cups hazelnut flour or almond flour
 * 1/2 cup organic canned coconut milk (canned is creamier than the watered down cartons)
 * 1/3 cup chia seed
 * 1 teaspoon vanilla
 * 2-3 scoops vanilla or chocolate whey protein (Chocolate Biotrust protein tastes the best in this mixture!)
 * 2 Tbsp of organic cocoa powder
 * 1/3 cup of cacao nibs
 * 1/3 cup of dark choc chips (70% cacao or higher)
 * 1 Tbsp of cinnamon
 * pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and continue to mash together with a large spoon for a few minutes until everything seems well mixed together.  Roll into 1 inch balls and lay out on plates or waxed paper to put in the freezer (they need to be separate so they don't freeze together).  Once frozen, you can transfer all the balls to a tupperware container to keep in the freezer until any time you want a healthy sweet treat!

Try these and you'll be BLOWN AWAY at how good these are!

Remember to make sure that you grab our new healthy anti-aging recipe manual that Catherine Ebeling and I have co-authored below:

82 amazingly delicious fat-burning anti-aging recipes (metabolism-boosting breakfasts, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and more!  All designed to help counteract the aging process for a leaner younger looking body)

This manual will give you endless ideas so you NEVER get bored with eating healthy!

PS -- if you liked today's recipe, please share this page with any of your friends, family, or co-workers that would enjoy it.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer