Category Archives: weight control

Healthy, overweight or obese? Surprisingly we can’t tell by looking

chris-christie-townhall_mediumWith all of the news surrounding obesity and the focus we all seem to put on weight, you would probably assume that you (and everyone else) is able to determine whether or not someone is a healthy weight simply by their visual image. Especially when it comes to obesity, this doesn’t seem like a difficult determination.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool say most of us — even healthcare professionals — are unable to visually identify whether a person is a healthy weight, overweight or obese.

The researchers asked participants to look at photographs of male models and categorize whether they were a healthy weight, overweight or obese according to World Health Organization (WHO) Body Mass Index (BMI) guidelines.

The majority flunked. They underestimated weight, often believing that overweight men were a healthy weight.

In a related study of healthcare professionals, the researchers also found that general practitioners and trainee GPs were unable to visually identify if a person was overweight or obese.

The researchers also examined whether increased exposure to overweight and obese people affected a person’s ability to estimate the weight of a person. Their findings suggested that exposure to heavier body weights may influence what people see as a normal and healthy weight and causes people to underestimate a person’s weight.

“We wanted to find out if people can identify a healthy, overweight or obese person just by looking at them,” said Dr. Eric Robinson, who conducted the research. Primarily we found that people were often very inaccurate and this included trainee doctors and qualified doctors too. Moreover, we found that participants systematically underestimated when a person was overweight or obese.”

“Our study of GPs also found a tendency to underestimate weight which has important implications as it means that overweight and obese patients could end up not being offered weight management support or advice,” he said.

Recent studies have found that parents underestimate their overweight or obese child’s weight and this could also act as a barrier to intervention.

FoodFacts.com wonders if the tendency to underestimate obesity by sight has something to do with people not having a clear understanding of their own weight. Of course there are weight ranges easily available that categorize healthy weights by gender, age and height. Those weight ranges do vary by source, however and may serve to confuse some. Those ranges also can’t take body type into account. While we understand that people shouldn’t be overly focused on weight for a number of good reasons, we do think that we should all have a reasonable understanding of where we stand on the healthy weight scale. Our doctors should also undoubtedly be able to guide us to what a healthy weight should be for each of us. If we can’t “see weight,” we do need that guidance. While we might be thinking it’s just “a few extra pounds,” the reality may, in fact, be quite a bit different. We owe it to ourselves to find out.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/whos-fat-most-of-us-cant-recognize-obesity-111214.html

University of Alabama nutrition expert claims water and weight loss are not connected

water.jpgHow many glasses of water did you drink today? For years, we’ve been told that drinking water is for more than hydration and health, it’s also key to weight loss. Most respected diet plans encourage drinking about eight, 8-oz. glasses of water per day. But now, a nutrition expert is calling that into question.

Dr Beth Kitchin, a nutrition expert at the University of Alabama has debunked myths related to drinking water, weight loss and calories.

Dieters are often advised to drink a lot of water to help shed weight. But Kitchin said that it is just a myth that drinking water aids slimming.

“There is very little evidence that drinking water promotes weight loss – it is one of those self-perpetuating myths. I’m not saying drinking water isn’t good – but only one study showed people who drank more water burned a few extra calories, and it was only a couple of extra calories a day,” Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of nutrition sciences, said in a statement.

There is also another myth that says people must drink eight glasses of water a day.
Kitchin said that it is important that the body gets sufficient amount of fluids every day. But it does not necessarily have to be only from water. As of now, there is no evidence proving water’s role in dissolving fat.

Although water is the best liquid to drink; green tea, coffee, diet soda, juices and squash are also hydrating.

“People think coffee doesn’t count, but actually it does. When you drink coffee, your body is retaining much of that fluid – especially for people who are habituated to drinking caffeine, as the body adapts, resulting in a reduced loss of fluids.”

Drinking cold water helps lose weight is another common myth. Kitchin believes that water might help burn extra calories but it does not have sufficient impact to assist weight loss.

The only way to lose weight is to consume lesser calories. Kitchin recommends eating fruits, vegetables and soups. Enrolling in long-running weight management programs like EatRight by UAB or Volumetrics can also help.

Kitchin’s claims contradict the conclusion of previous studies that found drinking two cups of water 20 to 30 minutes before every meal helps people lose weight quickly.

Water is good for our bodies. It doesn’t have an ingredient list (at least it shouldn’t). It helps keep our skin clear and provides the essential hydration we need. There’s even research backing up the claim that drinking water prior to meals will help curb hunger, and therefore, help with weight loss. So FoodFacts.com isn’t necessarily jumping off of water-weight loss connection band wagon just yet. We’d like more information before we take that leap.

http://www.universityherald.com/articles/8152/20140315/drink-water-quench-thirst-burn-calories-lose-weight-nutrition-expert.htm

Surprising comfort foods that can help shed holiday pounds


As the holiday season comes to a close and we get ready to welcome the new year, our thoughts may be turning to weight loss. All those holiday indulgences may have tipped our scales in the wrong direction! So we’re recommitting to our healthy diets as we begin the new year and planning to get rid of the excess pounds we happily put on enjoying the season. FoodFacts.com has some surprising ideas that might just help.

Have a cup of hot chocolate
No — not the cup from the fast food chain by the office. Made in your own kitchen, hot chocolate can actually help with weight loss. Cocoa is high in antioxidants which lower your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone related to a build-up of belly fat. In a study from Cornell University, hot chocolate was found to have a concentration of antioxidants up to five times greater than black tea.

Enjoy a first course bowl of chicken soup
Adding a first course broth or vegetable-based soup before a meal can help you consume fewer calories. The water content helps fill you up, reducing your hunger before eating your main meal. A Penn State study found that eating soup prior to the main meal can reduce calorie intake by 20%.

Pot Roast equals more protein
Carefully prepared, pot roast — or any protein — is actually a weight loss tool Protein fights fat. Because your body works hard to break down protein for energy, you’re actually burning more calories as you digest it. And because it takes protein longer to leave your stomach, you’ll be fuller for longer after eating it. Studies show that people who increased their protein intake to 30% of their dietary intake consumed about 450 fewer calories each day.

Add a side of roasted carrots
Roasted carrots are full of sweet flavor. Carrots are high in water and fiber, so they’re great when you’re hungry. But when they’re roasted they actually help you burn more calories. The antioxidant content of the roasted vegetable actually contains three times the antioxidants of raw carrots.

Roast some potatoes
As it turns out, not all white foods help pack on the pounds. We’ve heard about white flour actually contributing to inflammation problems. We’ve heard that white rice is not as beneficial as brown rice. But the white potato is actually a fine source of many important nutrients. In addition, they contain a disease-fighting chemical called allicin. This anti-inflammatory chemical can contribute to weight loss. In addition, white potatoes are known to be a satisfying addition to a meal.

Enjoy a glass of red wine with your dinner
Many studies have been conducted regarding the benefits of red wine for your heart. But it does appear that there are other important benefits as well — one of which is fighting off excess weight. While there’s nothing conclusive, studies do suggest that the antioxidant resveratrol may inhibit the production of fat cells. There’s another substance occurring naturally in red wine called calcium pyruvate that appears to help fat cells burn more energy. Enjoy one glass for about 150 calories and you can help your heart and your weight.

While these may not be the first things we think of when seek to change our eating habits for weight loss, they really are better, healthier (and more flavorful) ideas. Diet products contain mountains of bad ingredients and they leave us hungry. Diet plans may work for a while, but odds are, the weight will come back. Intelligent changes to our regular diet that we actually enjoy can make a world of difference for our weight. So as you think ahead to taking off some weight in 2014, try some of these ideas. A new approach might just do the trick!

At breakfast … big and healthy is best!

FoodFacts.com knows that everyone in our community understands the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast every day. Our parents and grandparents have been repeating it for years … Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Today, we found a great reason to sit down – not just to a healthy breakfast, but to a big, healthy breakfast. We need to admit that this does make the idea of breakfast just a little more fun.

Researchers have found that eating a big breakfast of 700 calories promotes weight loss and reduces risks for diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.

The study, recently published in Obesity comes from Tel Aviv University, where Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz and colleagues studied the impact of different caloric intake at varying times of day. What they found is that the time of day we eat has a significant impact on how our bodies process food.

To study how this timing affects our bodies, the team put 93 obese women into two different groups:

• “Big breakfast group” – consumed 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at dinner
• “Big dinner group” – consumed 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner.
The women’s diets consisted of moderate fats and carbohydrates, totaling 1,400 calories, and they followed the diets for 12 weeks. The 700-calorie meals, whether eaten for breakfast or dinner, contained the exact same foods, and included a dessert item such as a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie.
• The women in the big breakfast group lost, on average, 17.8 pounds and 3 inches from their waist.
• The women in the big dinner group, on the other hand, only lost 7.3 pounds and 1.4 inches from their waist.

Additionally, the women from the big breakfast group had larger decreases in insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels than the women from the big dinner group.

The researchers note that one of the most important findings is that the women from the big breakfast group did not experience high blood glucose level spikes that normally occur after a meal.

Although the big dinner group was eating a sensible diet and losing weight, the researchers actually found that their triglycerides – a type of fat found in the body – increased, putting them at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

FoodFacts.com thinks this information is a great invitation for all of us to figure out new and inventive ways to enjoy a large and healthy meal at the beginning of our day. The American Diabetes Association came up with more than a few of their own ideas. Things like Breakfast Shakes featuring fat free milk or yogurt and fruit, berry-topped muffins with yogurt, and healthy breakfast sandwiches with lean ham, cheese and fresh fruit all made an appearance on a list of unusual and inviting breakfast items. When the idea of eating a big breakfast is presented in the context of research illustrating for us that it’s healthier to go big at breakfast, FoodFacts.com encourages all of us to get cooking and get creative!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264624.php

Getting enough restful sleep may be important to maintaining healthy weight

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Of course it always made sense. When you’re well-rested, you’re functioning at a higher level, you think more clearly and are more in tune with the world around you. Today, FoodFacts.com found another reason we should all try to follow those wise words. More sleep … and better sleep may have an effect on our weight.

A study has been released from the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania that suggests that healthy adults with later bedtimes and chronic sleep restriction may gain more weight than those who schedule earlier bedtimes and sleep undisturbed.

The study, which appears in the July issue of the journal SLEEP, is the largest, most diverse healthy sample studied to date under controlled laboratory conditions. Results show that sleep-restricted subjects who spent only four hours in bed from 4 a.m. until 8 a.m. for five consecutive nights gained more weight than control subjects who were in bed for ten hours each night from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m.

It’s probably not surprising that the weight increase in the sleep-restricted participants was due to an increase in the number of meals consumed during the late-night period of wakefulness. It may be surprising though, that it was also determined that during that late-night period, those subjects consumed more calories from fat than they did during daytime hours.

The study group was comprised of 225 healthy, non-obese people ranging in age from 22 to 50 years old. Participants were randomly selected for the sleep-restricted group or the control condition group and spent up to 18 consecutive days in the laboratory. Meals were served at scheduled times, and food was always available in the laboratory kitchen for participants to eat at other times of the day as they chose. Subjects could move around the lab, but were not allowed to exercise. Watching television, reading and playing video games and other sedentary activities were allowed.

Researchers noted that they were surprised to find significant weight gain during an in-laboratory study with a defined time parameter. There have been previous studies suggesting an association between short sleep duration and weight gain and/or obesity. This particular study also found gender and ethnicity differences seemed to play a role in the weight gain of sleep restricted participants.

FoodFacts.com thinks that this study information might be useful in regards to the obesity epidemic. It states fairly clearly that when people stay up later, or are wakeful at night, they are eating more. And their choices for those late night meals appear to be less healthful than the choices they are making during daytime hours. Of course, better sleep means better rest for our bodies, but it also seems to mean better food choices during our waking hours and less consumption of fatty foods when we really need to be sleeping. We should be aware of this information and conscious about our food intake when we are up late. And of course, we should make every effort to get to bed when we need to in order for our bodies to take advantage of the rejuvenation we experience from real, restful sleep.
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130628160840.htm

Diet Alert: Foods and beverages containing Aspartame might actually cause weight gain, not help weight loss

FoodFacts.com has been warning consumers about the possible dangers of the non-nutritive sweetener Aspartame for quite a while now. We’ve always understood that the ingredient has not received the type of analysis that would verify its overall safety for the population and that several studies have shown the potential side effects of the substance.

Aspartame, and other non-nutritive sweeteners, like saccharin, have been marketed to consumers as an aid to dieting and weight loss. While its safety has always been in question, aspartame’s use for weight loss hasn’t actually been questioned. Today, we read with interest new evidence that Aspartame might actually be contributing to weight problems, instead of helping to solve them. A new study out of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil has found that the intake of aspartame affected the calorie intake and weight of rats who consumed it as compared to those who contained plain old sugar.

It was discovered that rats fed diets containing aspartame had a significantly larger weight gain than those fed diets containing sugar. The research focused on 29 rats who were fed two different diets. Some of them consumed a plain yogurt sweetened with sugar, while others were fed a plain yogurt sweetened with aspartame. They also ate a regular rat chow and were given water. Their physical activity was restrained. The rats were followed for total body weight gain and caloric intake over a 12 week period. The rats fed yogurt sweetened with aspartame had a measurably larger weight gain than those who were fed the sugar-sweetened yogurt. The caloric intake was similar between the two groups, as well as the physical activity permitted. The conclusion was reached that the rats eating the aspartame-sweetened yogurt needed to consume more of the rat chow to satisfy their hunger. In a manner, they adjusted their consumption to satisfy their needs.

The study is far from conclusive, but it certainly suggests a link between the consumption of aspartame and weight gain – not weight loss. Its results call for further analysis of the ingredient and its benefits to weight control. There are thousands and thousands of products containing Aspartame lining our grocery store shelves. Our population is consuming the ingredient constantly and consciously, believing that Aspartame will help their weight control efforts. This study points to the concept that Aspartame has the opposite effect for weight-conscious consumers. That’s pretty eye-opening.

When we put this possibility together with the many, many other potential dangers of Aspartame, FoodFacts.com can’t help but reiterate our original idea. Aspartame is an ingredient we should avoid. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this study and any that come from its results.

In the meantime, we encourage you to read more: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Sweeteners-linked-to-higher-weight-gain-Rat-study and http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/artificial_sweeteners_weight_gain_1128121243.html

A must read for the FoodFacts community

Recently, FoodFacts came across the book, “I’m Fat, Help Me”, written by Laura Michina. We were so excited about the straight forward, no-nonsense approach the book takes to losing weight, eating well, and improving lifestyle habits, we just had to share the information with our community.

Laura Michina’s important book is written as a handbook for those who are trying to lose weight. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and are looking for a way out of their problems. Most, however, will turn to traditional diets for their solutions. Sadly, it’s proven that those diets, while they may have an initial effect, do nothing to alter the long-term outcome of most dieters.

This book can help those who are looking to make the changes in their diets and lifestyles that will result in weight loss and a return to better health. If you’re looking to lose 15 pounds or over a hundred, this is the book that can help you accomplish your goals. It’s honest, straight-forward and is not at all politically correct. So you’ll have to make sure that you can handle the advice. But, if you can, it will help you make the significant changes that will stay with you for a lifetime. Laura also includes FoodFacts.com in the book and cites our database information in several topic areas.

Laura has it all covered — from why diets don’t work, to making sure you exercise, to the ingredients your body doesn’t need and aren’t good for you. It’s a real and fresh approach to an age-old subject … one that you won’t find in every book on dieting written, and, more importantly, one that can truly help the committed re-establish the healthy relationship with food that can last a lifetime.

Thanks for the mentions, Laura! We’re happy to know that FoodFacts.com can help people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals.

And for anyone who’s interested, you can visit the I’m Fat, Help Me website here.

7/6: National Fried Chicken Day! Read before you order!

chick-fil-a-logo2

Here at FoodFacts.com, we like to keep our followers up-to-date with current trends, research, and events. Today we share with you that July 6, 2011 is deemed National Fried Chicken Day. In fact, July 6th has celebrated this “holiday” for many years now. Although we aren’t so sure how it was originated, we do know that many people do choose to celebrate this day, especially with the immense patriotism still lurking from Independence Day.

We too would like to celebrate this holiday, but in a more health-conscious manner. You see, fried chicken can be very high in trans-fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Therefore, we would like to take the time to reveal some products you may want to learn more about, prior to indulging. Today we have decided to feature the very popular chicken-based franchise, Chick-Fil-A.

We’ll start off with the breakfast Chicken Biscuit. This sandwich provides about 51% of the daily value for sodium alone. With only a 5.1 oz serving, and 440 calories, 1,230mg of sodium is quite a lot, especially to start off the day! biscuit2Although this sandwich is high in protein with 17g, and also carries a decent amount of iron, this still cannot compensate for the 8g of saturated fat and variety of controversial ingredients. You may want to replace ordering this ingredient-packed sandwich with an item more nutrient-dense and filling, such as the yogurt parfait with granola. This may be a better option for a morning meal or snack.

Then there’s the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe. The pros of this sandwich, it has a good amount of protein, vitamin C, and calcium, most likely from the tomato, lettuce, and single slice of cheese. However, this 570 calorie sandwich also contains 8g saturated fat, and 27g total fat. These amounts count for approximately 40-42% your daily value of saturated fat and total fat, which are undeniably very high numbers for one single sandwich. spicy_chicken_sandwich2We must also point out that this sandwich contains almost 100 different ingredients. Some of which include monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, a variety of coloring additives, and TBHQ, all controversial ingredients which we have thoroughly discussed in prior blog posts. To get your chicken “fix” without all the extra mess, you may want to instead try the char-grilled chicken garden salad, without dressing or on the side.

To find chicken and other recipes for today and the rest of the week, try the Foodfacts.com recipe page!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Get the beads out, It’s Fat Tuesday! Although, Foodfacts.com cautions against unhealthy foods, it is ok to indulge every once in awhile. Here’s a video on some of the classic Mardi Gras foods and traditions.

So go ahead, whip up some pancakes or a King Cake! Our friends at Diary of A Sweet Tooth have a great recipe for King Cake, check it out!

Happy Mardi Gras!

“The Melo” Sandwich

New York City is welcoming back basketball All-Star Carmelo Anthony with open arms and what better way for the Big Apple to celebrate then with an iconic deli sandwich. “The Melo” isn’t just any sandwich though, it’s New York City skyscraper style with a pound of Pastrami, Salami, Corn Beef and a half pound of Bacon. That’s a lot of meat! And a ton of calories from our calculations it looks like this sandwich could have around 4,444 calories, 114.5 grams of saturated fat and 20,704 milligrams of sodium! Wow! But then again, watch the video and take a look at this hunk of a deli sandwich there is no way you can eat this alone or in one sitting. We love the enthusiasm New York is showing but please share this ‘Melo Meal” with friends…it looks like a heart attack on a plate for just one person!