Category Archives: Weight Gain

Early to bed and early to rise makes a person thinner? Early bed times linked to less weight gain

late nightWhile it’s not how the old saying goes, that may actually make more sense than the original as we’re discovering early bed times linked to less weight gain. found this interesting information regarding late bedtimes and likely weight gain that might encourage all of us to limiting our late hours.

Teenagers and adults who go to bed late on weeknights are more likely to gain weight than their peers who hit the hay earlier, according to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, that has found a correlation between sleep and body mass index.

Berkeley researchers analyzed longitudinal data from a nationally representative cohort of more than 3,300 youths and adults, and found that for every hour of sleep they lost, they gained 2.1 points on the BMI index. This gain occurred roughly over a five-year period.

Moreover, exercise, screen time, and the number of hours they slept did not mitigate this BMI increase, according to the study published in the October issue of the journal, Sleep.

“These results highlight adolescent bedtimes, not just total sleep time, as a potential target for weight management during the transition to adulthood,” said Lauren Asarnow, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in UC Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic.

BMI is the measure of a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A healthy adult BMI range is estimated to be 18.5 to 24.9.

The Berkeley study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which has tracked the influences and behaviors of U.S. teenagers since 1994. Focusing on three time periods — the onset of puberty, the college-age years and young adulthood — researchers compared the bedtimes and BMI of teenagers from 1994 to 2009.

Adolescents in the study reported their bedtimes and sleep hours while researchers calculated their BMI based on their height and weight.

Surveys show that many teenagers do not get the recommended nine hours sleep a night, and report having trouble staying awake at school. The human circadian rhythm, which regulates physiological and metabolic functions, typically shifts to a later sleep cycle at the onset of puberty.

The results of the study thus suggest that adolescents who go to bed earlier will “set their weight on a healthier course as they emerge into adulthood,” Asarnow said.

Asarnow is a researcher on UC Berkeley’s Teen Sleep Study, a treatment program designed to reset the biological clocks of adolescents who have trouble going to sleep and waking up. She is also currently an intern in psychiatry at the University of North Carolina.

In addition to Asarnow, co-authors on the study are Allison Harvey at UC Berkeley and Eleanor McGlinchey at Columbia University.

Sleep is a significant part of a healthy lifestyle. The more well rested we feel the better we are able to function at our full potential. Our brains work better. Our bodies work better. And according to this study, we’re actually a better weight than our counterparts who get to sleep later. It’s a good choice we can all be making easily!

Can obesity be reversed?

3829063385_8e46d16540_oMany different initiatives have been undertaken to attempt to reverse obesity in affected individuals, up to and including bariatric surgery. The recent classification of obesity as a disease has encouraged research and study into effective treatments for the condition. Can obese people turn their situation around, losing weight and keeping it off?

Casting aspersions on the effectiveness of current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise, it has been found that chances of obese people recovering normal body weight are very slim, shows research.

The chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women, increasing to one in 1,290 for men and one in 677 for women with severe obesity, the findings showed.

“Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight,” said study’s first author Alison Fildes from the University College London.

The findings suggest that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at population level.

The research tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788) women using electronic health records from 2004 to 2014.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at the probability of obese patients attaining normal weight or a five percent reduction in body weight.

Patients who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study.

The annual chance of obese patients achieving five percent weight loss was one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women.

For those people who achieved five percent weight loss, 53 percent regained this weight within two years and 78 percent had regained the weight within five years.

Overall, only 1,283 men and 2,245 women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-35 reached their normal body weight, equivalent to an annual probability of one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women.

For those with a BMI above 40, the odds increased to one in 1,290 for men and one in 677 for women with severe obesity.

Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients.

“This evidence suggests the current system is not working for the vast majority of obese patients,” Fildes said.

Finding out what will work for the majority of patients suffering from obesity is still the task at hand. fully supports the continuation of this important research. While the odds don’t look great today, we can only assume that with more research and study, we’ll discovered a combination of medication and lifestyle changes that will have a significant impact on the lives of obese men and women, and help us avoid obesity in future generations.

Fructose and weight gain. Turns out not all sugar is sugar after all.

Fructose-in-the-firing-line-Study-warns-of-weight-gain-and-increased-body-fat-compared-to-glucose_strict_xxlWe all remember those ads from the Corn Refiner’s Association for “corn sugar” — high fructose corn syrup. In an effort to gain consumer acceptance of high fructose corn syrup, the CRA ran a television advertisement proclaiming that “sugar is sugar.” The concept didn’t fly very well with consumers (or with lawyers for that matter). Since that time, high fructose corn syrup has been linked with weight gain — and new studies seem to be proving the idea out more and more.

In the last 40 years, fructose, a simple carbohydrate derived from fruit and vegetables, has been on the increase in American diets. Because of the addition of high-fructose corn syrup to many soft drinks and processed baked goods, fructose currently accounts for 10 percent of caloric intake for U.S. citizens. Male adolescents are the top fructose consumers, deriving between 15 to 23 percent of their calories from fructose–three to four times more than the maximum levels recommended by the American Heart Association.

A recent study at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois found that, matched calorie for calorie with the simple sugar glucose, fructose causes significant weight gain, physical inactivity, and body fat deposition.

The paper, “Fructose decreases physical activity and increases body fat without affecting hippocampal neurogenesis and learning relative to an isocaloric glucose diet,” was published in Scientific Reports.

“The link between increases in sugar intake, particularly fructose, and the rising obesity epidemic has been debated for many years with no clear conclusions,” said Catarina Rendeiro, a postdoctoral research affiliate at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and lead author on the study. “The reality is that people are not only consuming more fructose through their diets, but also consuming more calories in general.

“One of the key questions is whether an increase in fructose intake contributes to obesity in the absence of excessive calorie intake.”

The researchers, under the direction of Justin Rhodes of Beckman’s NeuroTech Group and professor of psychology at Illinois, studied two groups of mice for two-and-a-half months: one group was fed a diet in which 18 percent of the calories came from fructose, mimicking the intake of adolescents in the United States, and the other was fed 18 percent from glucose.

“The important thing to note is that animals in both experimental groups had the usual intake of calories for a mouse,” said Rendeiro. “They were not eating more than they should, and both groups had exactly the same amount of calories deriving from sugar, the only difference was the type of sugar, either fructose or glucose.”

The results showed that the fructose-fed mice displayed significantly increased body weight, liver mass, and fat mass in comparison to the glucose-fed mice.

“In previous studies, the increases in fructose consumption were accompanied by increases in overall food intake, so it is difficult to know whether the animals put on weight due to the fructose itself or simply because they were eating more,” Rhodes said.

Remarkably, the researchers also found that not only were the fructose-fed mice gaining weight, they were also less active.

“We don’t know why animals move less when in the fructose diet,” said Rhodes. “However, we estimated that the reduction in physical activity could account for most of the weight gain.”

“Biochemical factors could also come into play in how the mice respond to the high fructose diet,” explained Jonathan Mun, another author on the study. “We know that contrary to glucose, fructose bypasses certain metabolic steps that result in an increase in fat formation, especially in adipose tissue and liver.”

The precise mechanisms are still being investigated, but one thing is certain: high intake of fructose by itself adds pounds.

“We designed this study based on the intake of fructose by adolescents in the United States,” said Rhodes. “Our study suggests that such levels of fructose can indeed play a role in weight gain, favor fat deposition, and also contribute to physical inactivity. Given the dramatic increase in obesity among young people and the severe negative effects that this can have on health throughout one’s life, it is important to consider what foods are providing our calories.” knows that everyone in our community counts high-fructose corn syrup among the top ingredients they avoid. Not all sugar is just sugar for our bodies. Fructose isn’t the same as cane sugar and studies like this are illustrating the facts regarding the subject.

Finding it tough to take off those extra pounds? It may have more to do with your biology than your willpower.

150511162918_1_540x360Did you ever wonder how two people can follow the same exact diet, strictly adhere to it, and end up with two completely different sets of results? Some people do seem to have an easier time taking off weight than others. We’ve heard people say that it’s “in their genes,” but for those who can’t seem to get the weight off, it’s really not enough information to help them. Especially for obese people desperately trying to shed pounds, that simple statement does nothing to help them find out what they need to focus on to make a diet work for them.

For the first time in a lab, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found evidence supporting the commonly held belief that people with certain physiologies lose less weight than others when limiting calories. Study results published May 11 in Diabetes.

Researchers at the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch (PECRB), part of the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, studied 12 men and women with obesity in the facility’s metabolic unit. Using a whole-room indirect calorimeter — which allows energy expenditure to be calculated based on air samples — researchers took baseline measurements of the participants’ energy expenditure in response to a day of fasting, followed by a six-week inpatient phase of 50 percent calorie reduction. After accounting for age, sex, race and baseline weight, the researchers found that the people who lost the least weight during the calorie-reduced period were those whose metabolism decreased the most during fasting. Those people have what the researchers call a “thrifty” metabolism, compared to a “spendthrift” metabolism in those who lost the most weight and whose metabolism decreased the least.

“When people who are obese decrease the amount of food they eat, metabolic responses vary greatly, with a ‘thrifty’ metabolism possibly contributing to less weight lost,” said Susanne Votruba, Ph.D., study author and PECRB clinical investigator. “While behavioral factors such as adherence to diet affect weight loss to an extent, our study suggests we should consider a larger picture that includes individual physiology — and that weight loss is one situation where being thrifty doesn’t pay.”

Researchers do not know whether the biological differences are innate or develop over time. Further research is needed to determine whether individual responses to calorie reduction can be used to prevent weight gain.

“The results corroborate the idea that some people who are obese may have to work harder to lose weight due to metabolic differences,” said Martin Reinhardt, M.D., lead author and PECRB postdoctoral fellow. “But biology is not destiny. Balanced diet and regular physical activity over a long period can be very effective for weight loss.”

More than one-third of American adults are obese. Complications from obesity can include heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

“What we’ve learned from this study may one day enable a more personalized approach to help people who are obese achieve a healthy weight,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. “This study represents the latest advance in NIDDK’s ongoing efforts to increase understanding of obesity.”

The study does seem to suggest that for obese people, dieting needs to be individually focused. Perhaps staying on a specific eating regimen for six months may work for some, but others will need a year long program. Perhaps specific foods need to be included for some and not for others. And exercise may fall into that same category.

Obesity doesn’t appear to be a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. It affects health in different ways for different people. understands that it makes sense that reversing obesity in specific individuals can require more than a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s probably true for the non-obese population as well. Find what works for your body and your lifestyle and stick to it as long as it’s necessary to shed the pounds you want to see gone. All of us should keep in mind that the best diet isn’t a diet at all, it’s a lifestyle. A healthy, balanced approach to nutritious foods helps us all maintain ideal weight and avoid weight-related health problems.

Low-quality carbohydrate consumption linked to weight gain

950341751Losing weight is a difficult proposition for many. It’s also been complicated by the myriad of concepts applying to weight loss that permeate our culture. We’re sure you’ve heard just about all of them — no-carb, low-carb, gluten free, nutritional cleansing, the cabbage soup diet, calorie counting, low-sugar, no-sugar. We could go on and on. The thing is, they don’t always work. And even when they do, folks who’ve been on them would probably tell you they put the weight right back on after they finished. Is there an answer to this? Why is it so difficult for people to achieve long-term weight loss?

A study from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Police from the Tufts University led the research concerning the correlation of glycemic index and long term weight. Prior studies proved the association of glycemic index and diabetes but this is the first time long-term weight showed in the equation.

The researchers analyzed 16 years of follow ups from over 120,000 men and women in the continental United States. They particularly observed the types of protein consumed by the participants and its relation to weight gain or loss.

They concluded two things in their search. First thing is that increased consumption of seafood, yoghurt, nuts, skinless chicken and yoghurt has a strong correlation with weight loss. While, increased consumption of red meat- especially processed meat is strongly related to weight gain.

Consumption of dairy products, low-fat or full-fat, did not really affect their weights.

“The fat content of dairy products did not seem to be important for weight gain. In fact, when people consumed more low-fat dairy products, they actually increased their consumption of carbs, which may promote weight gain. This suggests that people compensate, over years, for the lower calories in low-fat dairy by increasing their carb intake”, explained author Dr. Jessica Smith from Friedman.

Variations with food combinations are also expounded. Research suggests that increased consumption of red meat as well as foods with high GL will more likely lead to weight gain than increased red meat consumption while eating more vegetables instead.

Increased consumption of nuts, fishes and other foods that promotes weight loss while eating high-quality carbs with less GL will probably enhance the weight loss effect but increased consumption of low quality carbs with higher GL will still lead to weight gain even if there’s an increased portions of nuts and fishes.

As have mentioned earlier, dairy and poultry products did not seem to affect the weight but research showed that there will still be weight gain if there’s an increased consumption of low-quality carbs.

Researchers recommend more nuts, fishes and other protein-rich foods while avoiding low quality carbs that can be seen from starches, grains and sugars.
Let’s have a short refresher course in carbs. Carbohydrates are in just about everything we eat. Low quality carbohydrates are often referred to as simple carbs. They contain smaller molecules of sugar that are easily absorbed by your body. The energy is stored as glycogen in our cells and if not used immediately they are converted into fat. These are generally found in processed foods — things like candy and desserts, sugary cereals, sodas and other sugary beverages and refined breads. These products, and others like them, fall higher on the glycemic index than quality carbs like whole grain breads, unprocessed whole grain cereals, green vegetables and fresh fruits.

We can see again that fresh whole foods are the healthiest, most beneficial dietary choices we can make. As often as possible, preparing foods in our own kitchens gives us the best opportunity for optimal health.

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. 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.

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. 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!

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy linked to childhood obesity takes enormous interest in the latest information released that may present us with new insights into the obesity crisis. What we’ve been able to determine from the wealth of new studies published in the last few years is that the obesity epidemic is complex and linking its origins to one or two different possible causes can’t even begin to bring us closer to solutions. There are a broad range of factors requiring a multi-faceted approach to reversing and preventing obesity in the future. Today we read new research information linking obesity to pregnancy weight gain.

Women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy are at higher risk of having overweight or obese children, according to a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts, conducted a population-based cohort study of 42,133 women who had more than one singleton pregnancy and their 91,045 children.

The study involved matching records of all live births in Arkansas with state-mandated data on childhood body mass index (BMI) and height from public schools between 2003 and 2011.

The researchers wanted to determine whether childhood obesity is due to conditions during pregnancy, which can influence birthweight, or whether other shared mother and child factors, such as genes and diet, play a part.

The results of the study showed that on average, mothers gained around 14 kg in each pregnancy.

Researchers say that for every kilogram of weight a mother gains during pregnancy, at age 12 their child’s BMI will increase by 0.02 kg/m2.

Using a within-family design (testing associations within each family), the researchers found that for every kilogram of weight a mother gained during pregnancy, their child’s BMI would increase by 0.02 kg/m2 (8%) by age 12.

When the researchers adjusted the results for differences in birthweight, this increase in weight still remained significant.

Overall, variations in pregnancy weight gain accounted for a 0.43 kg/m2 difference in childhood BMI. By comparison, there has been an estimated 2 kg/m2 increase in the average BMI of children in the US since the 1970s.

The researchers note that although it would have been useful to include data of the mothers’ pre-pregnancy BMI in this study, this would have differentiated the results further since women with higher BMI tend to gain less weight during pregnancy.

Because childhood body weight predicts adult body weight, the study authors say their findings suggest that overnutrition in pregnancy may program the fetus for an increased lifetime risk for obesity, although the magnitude of this effect may be small. once again wants to emphasize the importance of nutritional awareness for the entire population. Eating well during pregnancy is such an important part of taking care of a mother’s own nutritional needs. While weight gain is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy, excessive weight gain should be avoided – not just for the health of the expectant mother, but also for the health of the child as well.

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, 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. 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.