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Q: I’ve seen eggs at the supermarket that are labeled “Free Range or Cage Free”. What does this mean?

A: Free Range or Cage Free means that the chickens that laid these eggs were not confined in cages or small spaces but were allowed to roam naturally, as nature intended. These free range areas may be outdoors or indoors.


Illene writes:

Q: I find it very hard to lose weight. My friend seems to think I have thyroid problems. How do I find out if I do?

A: Quite a few people, when they find it hard to lose weight, automatically blame the function of their thyroid gland. It's easy to find out if the thyroid gland is the culprit - all it takes is a few blood tests administered by your doctor. As someone who really does have a thyroid gland that does not function, let me ask you a few questions. Have you noticed thinning, dry skin? Are you experiencing hair loss - is there more than the normal amount of hair in the brush or going down the drain when you shampoo? Has your hair become brittle? The inability to lose weight is also a symptom, as is weight gain. Are you experiencing abnormal fatigue, or long periods of lethargy or muscle weakness? Are you constipated quite a bit? Have your nails suddenly started to split or become very brittle? Are your cholesterol levels elevated? How's the memory - are you forgetting things that were once easy to remember? Are you suddenly cold all the time? Do you have a goiter?

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is located at the base of your neck, right below the Adam's apple. The thyroid gland has one function - to make thyroid hormone, known as T4 (thyroxin) and T3 (triiodothyronine). Thyroid hormone controls the function of every cell and gland in the body - in other words, the thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolism. Thyroid hormones play a key role in mental function, moods and emotions. Thyroid affects the body's use of vitamins, proteins, carbs, fats, electrolytes and water. Thyroid also regulates the body's immune response. An underactive thyroid is known as hypothyroidism.

If you think you have an underactive thyroid, talk to your doctor. Blood tests will be performed that evaluate your production of thyroid hormones, specifically T3, T4 and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). TSH is produced by your pituitary gland. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, synthetic thyroid hormones are usually prescribed.

In many cases, thyroid disorders are symptoms of another underlying problem. Adrenal stress and Cortisol block thyroid function. Insulin Resistance also mimics many of the same symptoms of hypothyroidism. Poor nutrition will also masquerade as a thyroid disorder. Only your doctor can test and pinpoint your exact problem and the cause.


Leslie writes:

Q: On my lunch break at work, I have been ordering a bun-less hamburger with cheese, mayo and ketchup. I find that eating this hamburger will knock me out of ketosis! What gives? I'm not eating the bun, only the meat and cheese!

A: Be very careful with the condiments you use on your bun-less hamburger. Lettuce, a tomato slice, a small amount of mayo or a pickle slice will be fine to eat in moderation, but you mention you are adding ketchup. Most ketchup is full of sugar, and sugar will throw you out of ketosis. There are low-carb versions of ketchup available in the supermarket, or you can make your own for use at home. I would avoid using any type of ketchup while eating out. Trying switching from hamburger for lunch to a vegetable plate or large green salad. Hidden sugars and carbs are the downfall of many a dieter.


Margaret writes:

Q: I made it through the Induction Phase of my Atkins diet just fine and lost weight. Over the next few weeks of my On-Going Weight Loss Phase , I added back a few carbohydrates to my diet but find I am in a major stall and I'm not losing weight! This is the fourth week I have been on this plateau! Help!

A: The stall you are in may be caused by too many carbs being added back into your diet. The Atkins diet is about counting carb grams, not calories.

There are two numbers that you must learn to calculate in order to lose weight permanently on the Atkins diet, and those numbers are known as "CCLL" and "ACE".

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