Does Camphorated Oil Burn Fat?

Does Camphorated Oil Burn Fat?

Question:

Does camphorated oil burn fat?

– Margaret

Answer:

Camphor is an insoluble, waxy, flammable, white or transparent solid with a strong aroma (typically from Asian evergreen trees or basil) that is used in skin balms and liniments.

You may get a different answer from a company or person promoting sales of it, but nutritionally camphor oil has NO proven effect on weight status, metabolism or body fat. Oral intake is not recommended as side effects include mouth and throat burning, nausea and vomiting. Ingestion of camphor can lead to coma and death.

Note that in the 1980s, “camphorated oil” (20% camphor in cottonseed oil) was removed from the US market because of safety concerns. Use of products containing more than 11% camphor is not recommended.  Diluted camphorated oils are only for topical or aromatic use in the treatment of infections, cold/cough, and respiratory disorders, sleeplessness, skin conditions, pain and swelling.

Resources:

  1. CAMPHOR WebMD 8/24/2018 https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-709/camphor
  2. CAMPHOR PubChem Open Chemistry Database 8/24/2018 https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/d-camphor#section=Top

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Should You Count the Caloric Value of Fiber?

Should You Count the Caloric Value of Fiber?

Question:

I’ve had my body fat tested via Dexascan and my metabolism calculated via a breathing test. The determination was that I should be consuming no more than 2,103 calories and no fewer than 1,700 calories daily.

I prefer to eat only 1,700 calories whenever possible — and work out (weights & cardio) a few days each week in order to create an even greater deficit. It’s my understanding that, for me, eating fewer than 1,700 calories daily can result in a “starvation response” whereby I’ll actually retain fat instead of burning it.

My Question: Since fiber isn’t used for energy or stored — but is counted as a carb worth 4 calories/gram on nutritional labels and calorie-tracking apps — should I deduct from my daily totals the caloric value of the fiber I eat in order to stay out of “starvation mode”?

For example, say I’ve eaten 1,700 calories today, but that included 35g of fiber, which equals 140 calories. That dips my actual daily calories roughly 10% — to 1,560 — and into the starvation-mode territory. Should I compensate for those “missing” fiber calories with more food, or is my logic flawed and fiber actually DOES count toward my macros/calories?

– Darin S.

Answer:

Great question, Darin! Fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates from plant sources that may be fermented in the large intestine. Considered a subset of the total carbohydrate, dietary fiber is listed under carbohydrates on a Nutrition Facts panel. It includes both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as lignin, whether naturally occurring or added.

Yes, since fiber is not digested (thus not used for energy or stored), it’s known to have less than the 4 calories per gram than other carbohydrates do. In fact, certain fibers offer almost 0 calories, while others provide only a smidge of energy after their fermentation by colonic bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that fermentable fibers provide about 2 calories per gram. Manufacturers may subtract the insoluble fibers when calculating energy, but not soluble fiber grams. Half of your stated 140 calories calculated from the fiber may already have been considered on food labels, leaving only 70 calories or 4% of your daily target of 1,700.

My recommendation would be to not compensate for any “missing” fiber calories, as people, in general, tend to under-report food intake when tracking and diet analysis calculations are already inaccurate by 10%. Maintain your protein intake when restricting calories and I’d suggest bumping your pre- or post-exercise nutrition up by 100 calories on your workout days.

Rather than focus on fiber in calorie-counting accuracy, readers should instead focus on getting the recommended amount of fiber each day, which has recently increased. As of 2016, the FDA the daily reference value of fiber was raised from 25 grams to 28 grams.

Resource

  1. Carbohydrate Issues: Type and Amount. ML Wheeler and FX Pi-Sunyer. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2008; Suppl 1, 108(4): s34-39.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Question:

I have a question on sweet potatoes. Someone told me that eating one sweet potato before a workout is a great source of energy and it does not contain any bad cholesterol. What is your take on this?

– Nick C.

Answer:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy! They are full of complex carbohydrates (25 grams = 100 calories) for lasting fuel with a little protein (approx. 2 grams per cup). Sweet potatoes do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat. They have a good fiber content, providing 4 grams per medium potato, which is beneficial for watching your cholesterol.

They are so easy to microwave and eat with a spoon right from the peel when sliced length-wise. No condiments needed! Kept cold, chunks of cooked sweet potato can be dressed up to make savory or sweet. Avoid fried sweet potato pre-workout as you don’t need the added fat slogging you down and hampering performance.

Resource:

  1. What’s to Know About Sweet Potatoes? Megan Ware. Medical News Today, Sept 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Sugar Content of Jamaica Tea

Sugar Content of Jamaica Tea

Question:

I have been drinking a lot of Jamaica tea with a little Splenda. Does the tea have a sugar content? I have seen conflicting articles when I Google it. Thanks.

– Antonio D.

Answer:

Tea brewed from the dried petals of the hibiscus flower (also known as Jamaica or Roselle) is a pleasant ruby red, almost cranberry juice-like color, not to be confused with African rooibos tea.

According to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy Release: brewed hibiscus tea has 0 grams carbohydrate per 8 fluid ounces, no caffeine and contains trace minerals. By contrast, a cup of the raw flower petals has 6.5 grams carbohydrate.

If you brew your own or obtain it unsweetened, there should be no sugar in your Jamaica. However, prepared hibiscus/Jamaica teas sold at a coffee shop/restaurant or in the drink aisle at a store may be sweetened with sugar.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

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Fruits to Help with Weight Loss

Fruits to Help with Weight Loss

Question:

I’ve been eating just fruit for lunch each day. Can you please recommend the best fruits to eat for weight loss?

– Lisa

Answer:

My first recommendation would be to consume more than just fruit if you eat only 3 meals and breakfast is not ample. On the other hand, if you eat heartily in the morning with snacks between meals, then you might get by on a fruit-only lunch.

Almost all fresh* fruits (save avocados, olives & coconuts) are pure carbohydrates with very little protein or fat. So, they may not sustain you for long. They do offer an abundance of fiber, vitamins/minerals, and water content, though. I would encourage you to balance your fruit only lunch with some nuts, seeds or even a hard-cooked egg for a little protein and fat.

While the nutritional content varies among fruits, there aren’t particular ones that promote weight loss, per se. Melons and strawberries are more calorie-dilute than some others, while cherries, grapes, and bananas are considered dense. Anything that takes a while to chew means you’ll consume less of it, so apples with the skin on and pomegranate arils may be better choices.

For further answers regarding fruit consumption click here and here.

*Dried and canned fruits are a no-no for dieters!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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