Category Archives: weight loss

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!

Ongoing nerve damage from obesity alters the ability to keep weight off permanently

Today, FoodFacts.com found more obesity insights in the news. There’s so much research and information about the obesity crisis coming to light. And while there is hope on the horizon, not all of the news is uplifting all the time. Here at FoodFacts.com, however, we even consider the bad news to be helpful – illustrating for all of us that nutritional awareness and dedication to healthy lifestyle are of the utmost importance for the entire population.

Today we read new information that concludes that the way the stomach detects and tells our brains how full we are becomes damaged in obese people but does not return to normal once they lose weight. This is according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

Researchers believe this could be a key reason why most people who lose weight on a diet eventually put that weight back on.

In laboratory studies, University of Adelaide PhD student Stephen Kentish investigated the impact of a high-fat diet on the gut’s ability to signal fullness, and whether those changes revert back to normal by losing weight.

The results, published in the International Journal of Obesity, show that the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness to the brain appear to be desensitized after long-term consumption of a high-fat diet.

“The stomach’s nerve response does not return to normal upon return to a normal diet. This means you would need to eat more food before you felt the same degree of fullness as a healthy individual,” says study leader Associate Professor Amanda Page from the University’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory.

A hormone in the body, leptin, known to regulate food intake, can also change the sensitivity of the nerves in the stomach that signal fullness. In normal conditions, leptin acts to stop food intake. However, in the stomach in high-fat diet induced obesity, leptin further desensitizes the nerves that detect fullness.

“These two mechanisms combined mean that obese people need to eat more to feel full, which in turn continues their cycle of obesity.”

Associate Professor Page says the results have “very strong implications for obese people, those trying to lose weight, and those who are trying to maintain their weight loss.”
“Unfortunately, our results show that the nerves in the stomach remain desensitized to fullness after weight loss has been achieved,” she says.

Associate Professor Page says they’re not yet sure whether this effect is permanent or just long-lasting.

“We know that only about 5% of people on diets are able to maintain their weight loss, and that most people who’ve been on a diet put all of that weight back on within two years,” she says.

“More research is needed to determine how long the effect lasts, and whether there is any way — chemical or otherwise — to trick the stomach into resetting itself to normal.”

While FoodFacts.com understands that this isn’t the best news for those suffering with obesity, or even those just trying to lose some weight and keep it off, we do think there’s a tremendous message here. Healthy eating is a lifestyle. When we avoid high-fat, processed foods, and remain nutritionally aware, we avoid conditions and diseases that are preventable. We put ourselves in a better position to live longer, healthier lives.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916103352.htm

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

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.

Can Blueberries Help Fight Obesity?

blue
Blueberries have been shown to have a positive effect on everything from cardiovascular health to aging, and now it seems that eating these berries could help you slim down as well.

Shiwani Moghe, a researcher from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, looked at whether blueberries and their high polyphenol content could play a role in fighting obesity.

In a study of tissue cultures taken from mice, Moghe examined what effect the polyphenols in the berries have in fighting the development of fats cells, and what she found was the highest dose of polyphenols cut the number of fat cells by 73 percent, while the smallest dose showed a 27 percent decrease.

“We still need to test this dose in humans, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and to see if the doses are as effective. This is a burgeoning area of research. Determining the best dose for humans will be important,” Moghe said. “The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue (body fat) from forming in the body.”

Moghe presented her research at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting for the American Society for Nutrition.

Information provided by http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/04/11/blueberries-help-fight-obesity/