FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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A low fat or low carbohydrate diet: Which is it? The DIETFITS study

 

Will this debate ever end ?- there is hope after reading this study. The results were not so new – other studies have shown similar results.

This study showed that it made little difference whether a dieter chooses a low fat or low carbohydrate diet, but it was the quality of the foods in both groups that resulted in a meaningful weight loss instead of dwelling on calorie restriction. The low carbohydrate group had a larger loss, but the differences were not significant.

The weight loss range was substantial -some losing a lot of weight while a few even gained weight on both of the diets. The distribution curve was startlingly similar between the groups.

This study scored a win for whole foods rather than consuming highly processed foods. Refined carbohydrates are still defined as “junk” so sugar and flour more than likely are not very good food choices for health and/or weight control.

“Before worrying about the details, one should ensure their diet is more whole foods (with ample vegetables) than processed foods. If your chosen diet leaves you feeling hungry, you will likely revert back to old eating habits.” was a quote from the lead author of the study. All weight loss programs/plans should include a weight loss maintenance phase since it makes no sense to lose weight and not be able to keep the weight off permanently. If you plan to lose some weight, this study should be a “must read.” You can find the whole study HERE.

CLICK HERE for a brief summary.

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Processed Foods and Cancer Risk??

It would be next to impossible to identify just what ingredients in ultra-processed foods have a possible cancer link. Just read a few ingredient lists and you will soon realize this.   Or packaging may contribute in several ways.  Or it may be what is missing or lost in processing that may be part of any association. The size of the following study was impressive and the results were interesting and likely not food industry funded.

CLICK HERE.


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Diabetes Awareness Month

The global statistics speak for themselves.  “This year 10 million more people are living with diabetes than in 2015, meaning that 1 in 11 adults now has diabetes, for a total of 425 million people.” Many people don’t know they even have a condition called pre-diabetes. Prevention is often effective and there are many prevention programs in the U.S; however, they do not seem to be utilized as well as they should be.

In my opinion, people can lose 10% of their body weight on any diet in time if they stick to the program.  The problem: Keeping the weight off. An effective prevention program for obesity/diabetes should contain weight maintenance training in terms of realizing what is necessary to prevent weight regain. Our bodies have developed many mechanisms for putting weight back on, not taking it off. A Forbes article found HERE discusses some pitfalls on weight reduction.

CLICK HERE.


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The “Magic” of Weight Loss?

It has become more and more obvious that the simple advice for weight loss, i.e. “eat less” just does not work for many people. The body fights to maintain the weight it wants, and often that is not the weight we want. For most dieters, this results in losing a few pounds and gaining them back over and over again. Weight loss claims by many weight loss plans are “magical” and not realistic. How many times have you seen them display their results in terms of how their diet resulted in long-term weight loss? There is always the disclaimer that accompanies their before and after photos that says in fine print something like “results are not typical for every one.”

This was so obvious when the study on the “Biggest Loser” participants came to light that all but one in one of the seasons had gained a large percentage of their weight back. That is not to say their weight loss was futile since even a loss of 5-10% of body weight can have health benefits.

It has been reported that many people are just giving up on dieting – no wonder. Weight loss is difficult and weight maintenance is even more difficult based on past research and should not be portrayed as anything other than that.

My favorite quotes on the subject reflect how many dieters feel:

“In two decades I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet”Erma Bombeck

“I am more  than my measurements. The cycle of body shaming needs to end. I’m over it…My body is MY body. I’ll call the shots.” Ashley Graham

“I’m not going to miss 95% of life to weigh 5% less.” Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

“I finally figured out the big, elusive secret to weight loss. Don’t eat! Who knew?” Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

“Healthy living is a learnable skill.” Claude Viens, The most powerful weight loss device ever made; The human brain

The obesity epidemic is becoming a global phenomenon. The obesity industry also continues to grow. With our current food environment, who knows when it may end

CLICK HERE.


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Why Dieting Can Make Us Fat

Since we are a nation obsessed by weight loss, it is so important to realize that chronic dieting itself can make some people overweight or obese as a result. There are many reasons why our bodies resist weight loss and more than likely it is due to a fear of starvation. This involves the neuro-endocrine system and we have many mechanisms to prevent this threat to our existence.

This is more than likely involving our set -points defined as “a level at which body fat or body weight seems to resist change despite changes in energy intake or output.” The set point for each of us is largely determined by genes. Signals related to food intake affect hunger and satiety (feeling of fullness) over short time periods while signals from the adipose tissue trigger the brain to adjust to both food intake and energy expenditure for long-term regulation. The  two primary hormones involved are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a peptide hormone produced  by the stomach that stimulates food intake and leptin is a peptide hormone produced by fat cells that signals information about the amount of body fat. The interactions are complex and better left to more academic discussions than in this blog post.

If you diet frequently, you should understand some of the implications of these interactions. The following article is a long read but it is important to know the facts – the best action is to prevent weight gain if possible so that we do not have to deal with its effects later on.

Weight management is possible by putting into practice the following simple suggestions.

Balance your intake and output, for example, weight yourself once a week; if the number goes up, cut down your calories.

Cut down on calories, e.g. bring your own lunch rather than eating out.

Don’t get too hungry – fill up on high fiber foods.

Increase activity – Take a walk during lunch break or after dinner.

Avoid fad diets – they only lead to the problem.

CLICK HERE.


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The Teaching Kitchen

A new approach to promote nutrition and help curb the obesity/diabetes epidemic. Patients listen to their doctors – we need more involvement of increased nutrition education in medical schools and in the doctor/patient relationship. This also serves as a great opportunity for the  registered dietitian/nutritionist to work with the physician.

Interestingly, the first diet book was written by a female physician, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters called “Diet and Health: With Key to the Calories.”

CLICK HERE.