From the March 2015 blog item by
Heart-healthy fats are good, but not in coffee
There’s a lot of hype lately about the most recent coffee trend. Take your morning cup-of-joe, add two tablespoons of butter and some oil, and call it Bulletproof Coffee. No doubt it’s an interesting flavor, but it’s the claims of increased energy and weight loss that seem to be giving this morning jolt traction.
It’s not just any butter and coffee. Those supporting this idea say it has to be unsalted, grass-fed butter and medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT) added to low-toxicity coffee beans. But can a mixture like that really live up to what proponents are saying?
What happens to butter in your body
There’s no real research into whether butter-spiked coffee is good for you, but we do know some things about how butter affects your digestion.
According to existing research, fat in butter contains glycosphingolipids, fatty acids that ward off gastrointestinal tract infections, especially in very young children and older adults.
Its omega-3 and omega-6 fats also slow down your body’s metabolism of caffeine, so you hold on to energy longer and avoid the crash that comes when the stimulant wears off.
More about MCT
MCT, most commonly found in coconut oil, is also good for our bodies and brains. When it comes to our bodies, we don’t store MCT in our adipose tissue, the fat around and inside our muscles, like the other dietary fats we eat.
Most of those fats are long-chain triglycerides, but MCTs are shorter. They travel directly to the liver where they’re processed into powerful energy particles called ketone bodies.
In addition, if your brain loses the ability to break down its primary fuel source, glucose, due to cognitive impairment or some other disorder, it can use ketone bodies as an excellent, alternative source. Researchshows that people with cognitive impairment who ingest MCT experience an almost immediate improvement in mental function.
So, do the health benefits of butter and MCT mean you should add them to your morning coffee? To begin with, if you don’t already drink coffee, I don’t recommend you start. If you do, though, I still don’t endorse your adding butter and oil to it, and I have no plans to do it either.
Healthy fats and oils do have a place in our daily diets, but I’m not convinced that enhancing our coffee with them is the best way to incorporate them.
From the 14 November 2014 item at ScienceDaily
Source:Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health
Summary:More than 40 percent of U.S. Internet users use online search engines to seek guidance on weight loss and physical activity. A new study finds that high-quality weight loss information often appears after the first page of search engine results.
Given that obesity affects one-third of Americans, it is not surprising that more than 40 percent of U.S. Internet users use online search engines to seek guidance on weight loss and physical activity. A new study in the American Journal of Public Health finds that online searchers often initially encounter poor-quality weight loss information.
The study reveals that the first page of results, using a search engine like Google, is likely to display less reliable sites instead of more comprehensive, high-quality sites, and includes sponsored content that makes unrealistic weight loss promises.
“Federal agencies, academic institutions and medical organizations need to work a lot harder at search engine optimization to get their links on top of searches,” Modave added. “Consumers need to be more critical when reading online. Ideally, they could read original studies from which many stories are written but, of course, that’s not realistic for most people.”
Untested Stimulant Drug Found in 12 Weight Loss Supplements | Medication Health News.
From the 10 October 2014 article
n a new study, 12 out of 14 supplements marketed for weight loss were found to contain a stimulant that has not been studied for human use. This chemical, known as DMBA (1,3-dimethylbutylamine) is pharmacologically similar to DMAA, which was banned by the FDA in 2012 due to multiple adverse effects, including death. Furthermore, DMBA containing products may have synonymous names printed on the label, such as AMP Citrate and 4-amino-2-methylpentane citrate. Some brands are even trying to market this product as an herbal product derived from tea. Given this recent finding, it is important to steer our patients away from using these weight loss and athletic enhancement supplements until further investigation takes place. Are there any specific supplements that you would feel comfortable recommending for weight loss? How do you promote a healthy diet and lifestyle to your patients?
For additional information, go to LiveScience.
Caution – The pop up ad video was a bit too sensual for me
Disclaimer – I am not endorsing any products in this article,
This article is for informational purposes only
The article basically points out eating healthy involves research, getting down to basics, and being in tune with what your self (body/mind) needs.
Aside comment – Not sure how much diet/exercise can offset an unhealthy work environment.
From the 14 January 2014 New Yorker Magazine article
When it comes to dieting the Silicon Valley way, you can forget thetouchy-feely purity of a juice cleanse: You’re not trying to change your life on an emotional and spiritual level. Your body is not a temple; it’s a machine, and so improving the body is purely a problem of data and input and output. How can you make it run optimally? What food, or combination of nutrients, goes in to produce the highest cognitive function and the best performance with the least amount of time and effort?
“I spent $300,000 hacking myself,” says Dave Asprey. “It was blood work, cholesterol tests, scans, looking at my diet to figure out why I’d lose 50 pounds and have it come back.”
After fifteen years as his own lab rat, Asprey is the creator of theBulletproof Diet (which combines Tim Ferris’s Four Hour Bodylifestyle with a Paleo-esque diet) and head of the Bulletproof Executive (a lifestyle site/podcast/book that spreads the gospel of biohacking). He also looks, in his own words, “pretty damn good for a 40-year-old who was formerly obese and sleeps five hours a night.”
Really, though, looking good is just a happy byproduct. And while Silicon Valley may sit amid the locavore bounty of Northern California, diet hacking doesn’t have much to do with holistic wellness or the pleasures of organic eating. For Asprey and other Valley denizens looking to disrupt diets, the real focus isn’t weight-loss or well-being. It’s surviving a punishingly work-centric way of life, and figuring out how to apply the ideals that govern their professional world — innovation, optimization, efficiency, quantification — to the human body.
This approach to dieting has existed almost as long as Valley culture itself. The ideas behind bodyhacking and the Quantified Self movement got their start with the SiliconValley Health Institute, which was founded in 1993: Its aim was to look outside of mainstream medicine to find out not just how to treat or prevent illness, but how to optimize the body’s potential….
English: Jo Swinson MP addressing a Liberal Democrat conference in the Bournemouth International Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From the 27 December 2012 article at Medical News Today
Please do not promote “miracle diets” for the New Year, British Women and Equalities Minister, Jo Swinson has urged magazine editors.
Every year throughout the world, magazines are awash with miracle cure diets that guarantee incredible results after weeks of overindulgence during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Jo Swinson, MP (Member of Parliament) for East Dunbartonshire, says magazine editors must avoid the temptation of falling into the annual diet hype among their New Year resolutions for 2013. The Minister made the request in an open letter to magazine editors.
Swinson urges editors to think twice about the consequences of promoting unrealistic and untested diets on girls and women.
Swinson said “Surely by now we’re all aware that there are no miracle diets or if there are, they are miracles that come with a cost. Given that most diets fail within a very short time, it is irresponsible for magazines to offer ‘tips’ ‘tricks’ and ‘simple steps’ so that people can be thin. Not healthy or vibrant, just thin.”…
Read entire article here
Dietary supplements (Photo credit: Andrei Z)
From the 2 October 2012 report by the Office of the Inspector General, US Department of Health and Human Services
WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
The Government Accountability Office and public interest groups have raised concerns about a specific type of claim-called a structure/function claim-that manufacturers may use on dietary supplement labels. Manufacturers have used these claims to promote health benefits of their products. Stakeholders have urged FDA to strengthen oversight of these claims because they are potentially misleading and may lack scientific support. FDA lacks authority to review or approve these claims before products enter the market. Manufacturers must have competent and reliable scientific evidence to show that claims are truthful and not misleading, but they do not have to submit the substantiation to FDA, and FDA has only voluntary standards for it. A manufacturer must notify FDA when it uses structure/function claims, and a product label must include a disclaimer stating that FDA has not reviewed the claim and that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
We analyzed structure/function claims for a purposive sample of 127 dietary supplements marketed for weight loss or immune system support. We reviewed the claims to determine the extent to which they complied with FDA regulations. We reviewed substantiation provided by manufacturers to describe the quantity and nature of the evidence. We also assessed the accuracy and completeness of notification letters that manufacturers must submit to FDA for their structure/function claims.
WHAT WE FOUND
Overall, substantiation documents for the sampled supplements were inconsistent with FDA guidance on competent and reliable scientific evidence. FDA could not readily determine whether manufacturers had submitted the required notification for their claims. Seven percent of the supplements lacked the required disclaimer, and 20 percent included prohibited disease claims on their labels. These results raise questions about the extent to which structure/function claims are truthful and not misleading.
WHAT WE RECOMMEND
We recommend that FDA seek explicit statutory authority to review substantiation for structure/function claims to determine whether they are truthful and not misleading. We recommend that FDA improve the notification system for these claims to make it more organized, complete, and accurate. We also recommend that FDA expand market surveillance to enforce the use of disclaimers for structure/function claims and to detect disease claims. In its comments on the draft report, FDA did not explicitly concur with our first recommendation, but said it would consider it. FDA concurred with our second and third recommendations.
Working Out (Photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
From the 24 August 2012 article at Medical News Today
According to a study published in theAmerican Journal of Physiology, 30 minutes of daily exercise is just as effective for losing weight as 60 minutes
30 participants were assigned to engage in exercise for one hour per day, wearing a heart-rate monitor and calorie counter. The other 30 participants were assigned to 30 minutes per day. The team found that 30 minutes of daily exercise was enough to lose weight.
Mads Rosenkilde, Ph.D. student, Department of Biomedical Sciences said: “On average, the men who exercised 30 minutes a day lose 3.6 kilo in three months, while those who exercised for a whole hour only lost 2.7 kg. The reduction in body mass was about 4 kg for both groups.”
“Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should relative to the training program we set for them. In fact we can see that exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat. The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. 30 minutes of concentrated exercise give equally good results on the scale.”
According to the researchers, one explanation for their findings is that half an hour of exercise is so doable that study participants had the desire and energy for more physical activity after their daily exercise session. Furthermore, those who exercised for 60 minutes per day probably ate more, thus their weight loss was slightly less than anticipated.
“The participants in our study trained every day for three months. All training sessions were planned to produce a light sweat, but participants were expected to increase the intensity and give it gas three times a week.
Another interesting scenario is to study exercise as a form of transport. Training is fantastic for your physical and mental health. The problem is that it takes time. If we can get people to exercise along the way – to work, for example – we will have won half the battle.”
An issue of Newsweek quotes me as saying, “A lot of our weight-loss recommendations are unethical because we shouldn’t be saying lose weight when there is no chance people will keep it off.“
This quote appears in the context of a lengthy article by Daniel Heimpel that examines whether or not the obesity epidemic is being oversold.
While I personally do not think that the obesity epidemic is being oversold, I do stand by my statement that most of the weight loss advice given to patients with overweight or obesity is unethical.
In medical school, I was thought the principle of “primum non nocere” or “first, do no harm.” This principle begs us to always consider the possible outcomes (including the unintended ones) of any actions that we take with our patients, including of course the advice we give them.
So what are the potential ethical concerns about telling someone to lose weight?..
[Read the rest of the article here]
- ‘Fitness and Fatness’: Not All Obese People Have the Same Prognosis; Second Study Sheds Light On ‘Obesity Paradox’(Science Daily)
People can be obese but metabolically healthy and fit, with no greater risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer than normal weight people, according to the largest study ever to have investigated this seeming paradox…
“There are two major findings derived from our study. Firstly, a better cardio-respiratory fitness level should be considered from now on as a characteristic of this subset of metabolically healthy obese people. Secondly, once fitness is accounted for, our study shows for the first time that metabolically healthy but obese individuals have similar prognosis as metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals, and a better prognosis than their obese peers with an abnormal metabolic profile.”
The researchers say their findings have important clinical implications. “Our data suggest that accurate BF% and fitness assessment can contribute to properly define a subset of obese individuals who do not have an elevated risk of CVD [cardiovascular disease] or cancer,” they write.
Dr Ortega added: “Physician should take into consideration that not all obese people have the same prognosis. Physician could assess fitness, fatness and metabolic markers to do a better estimation of the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer of obese patients. Our data support the idea that interventions might be more urgently needed in metabolically unhealthy and unfit obese people, since they are at a higher risk. This research highlights once again the important role of physical fitness as a health marker.”..
[Read entire article here]
Studies suggest you should be squeezing in some heart-pumping cardio, no matter how little time you have to spare
From the 22 August 2012 article at Science News Daily
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have shown that 30 minutes of daily training provide an equally effective loss of weight and body mass as 60 minutes. Their results have just been published in the American Journal of Physiology.
On average, the men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost 3.6 kilo in three months, while those who exercised for a whole hour only lost 2.7 kg. The reduction in body mass was about 4 kg for both groups,” reports Mads Rosenkilde, PhD student, Department of Biomedical Sciences.
30 minutes of exercise training provide an extra bonus: “Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should relative to the training program we set for them. In fact we can see that exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat. The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. 30 minutes of concentrated exercise give equally good results on the scale,” explains Mads Rosenkilde.
Motivation to exercise
Mads Rosenkilde postulates that some of the explanation for the surprising results is that 30 minutes of exercise is so doable that participants in the study had the desire and energy for even more physical activity after their daily exercise session. In addition, the study group that spent 60 minutes on the treadmill probably ate more, and therefore lost slightly less weight than anticipated.
English: Fruit on display at La Boqueria market in Barcelona. Français : Fruits à l’étal dans le marché de La Boqueria à Barcelone. Español: Fruta en el mercado de La Boquería, en Barcelona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From the 24 July 2012 article at Science News Daily
t may make you scratch your head, but in fact it is possible to overeat healthy foods, according to Loyola University Health System registered dietitian Brooke Schantz.
While fruits are nutritious, too much of even a healthy food can lead to weight gain,” Schantz said. “The key is to remember to control the portion sizes of the foods you consume.”
Schantz reported that overeating healthy foods is easy to do, but the same rules apply to healthy food as junk food. Weight fluctuates based on a basic concept — energy in versus energy out. If your total caloric intake is higher than the energy you burn off in a day, you will gain weight. If it is lower, you will lose weight.
“I have had many patients tell me that they don’t know why they are not losing weight,” Schantz said. “Then they report that they eat fruit all day long. They are almost always shocked when I advise them to watch the quantity of food they eat even if it is healthy.”
Schantz said that one exception applies. Nonstarchy vegetables are difficult to overeat unless they are accompanied by unnecessary calories from sauces, cheeses and butter. This is due to the high water and fiber content of these vegetables coupled with the stretching capacity of the stomach. The vegetables she suggested limiting are those that are high in starch, such as peas, corn and potatoes. Foods that are labeled as fat-free or low-fat are another area of concern.
“People tend to give themselves the freedom to overeat ‘healthy’ foods,” Schantz said. “While the label might say that a food or beverage is low-fat or fat-free, watch the quantity you consume and refrain from eating an excessive amount. Foods that carry these health claims may be high in sugar and calories.”
More research needed, still these scientists may be on to a contributing factor in weight control…
From the 6 June 2012 article at Science Daily
Microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract form an intricate, living fabric made up of some 500 to 1000 distinct bacterial species, (in addition to other microbes). Recently, researchers have begun to untangle the subtle role these diverse life forms play in maintaining health and regulating weight….
Research conducted by the authors and others has demonstrated that hydrogen-consuming methanogens appear in greater abundance in obese as opposed to normal weight individuals. Further, the Firmicutes — a form of acetogen — also seem to be linked with obesity. Following fermentation, SCFAs persist in the colon. Greater concentration of SCFAs, especially propionate, were observed in fecal samples from obese as opposed to normal weight children. (SCFAs also behave as signaling molecules, triggering the expression of leptin, which acts as an appetite suppressor.)
While it now seems clear that certain microbial populations help the body process otherwise indigestible carbohydrates and proteins, leading to greater energy extraction and associated weight gain, experimental results have shown some inconsistency. For example, while a number of studies have indicated a greater prevalence of Bacteroidetes in lean individuals and have linked the prevalence of Firmicutes with obesity, the authors stress that many questions remain.
Alterations in gut microbiota are also of crucial concern for the one billion people worldwide who suffer from undernutrition. Illnesses resulting from undernutrition contribute to over half of the global fatalities in children under age 5. Those who do survive undernutrition often experience a range of serious, long-term mental and physical effects. The role of gut microbial diversity among the undernourished has yet to receive the kind of concentrated research effort applied to obesity — a disease which has reached epidemic proportions in the developed world.
Exploiting microbes affecting energy extraction may prove a useful tool for non-surgically addressing obesity as well as treating undernutrition, though more research is needed for a full understanding of regulatory mechanisms governing the delicate interplay between intestinal microbes and their human hosts….
Relative risk of mortality by BMI in White US men who never smoked. Berrington de Gonzalez A,..
The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released a new report, Bending the Obesity Cost Curve, which finds that reducing the average body mass index by just five percent in the United States could lead to more than $29 billion in health care savings in just five years, due to reduced obesity-related costs.
“Your “healthy” weight cannot simply be calculated from a general source – people’s healthy weight, orideal weight, depends on several factors, including their age, sex, body type, bone density, muscle-fat-ratio, overall general health, and height.
Over the last few decades, using BMI (body mass index) was seen as an excellent means for calculating a person’s healthy weight. However, BMI, as you will see later on in this article, is at best, a ballpark calculation with several limitations…
…Health care professionals and sports scientists say measuring a person’s body fat percentage is the ideal way of gauging their level of fitness and general health, because it is the only one that includes the person’s true body composition. [my emphasis]
(Unfortunately, at this time, the only ways to measure body fat percentage are rather hi-tech according to this article. Three ways noted are based on air displacement, infrared rays, and X-rays)
Image via Wikipedia
From the 31 December 2011 Medical News Today article
Long-term healthy dietary interventions frequently induce a rapid weight decline, mainly in the first four to six months, followed by weight stabilization or regain, despite continued dieting. The partial regain may discourage people from adhering to healthier habits, but research now shows that improvements to health remain even if weight is regained.
The study recently released online in Diabetes Care (Print: February 2012) identified two distinct biomarker patterns that correspond to weight change, one of which continues to improve with time.
According to BGU Faculty of Health Sciences Prof. Assaf Rudich, “This study tells us that we may all have tunnel vision on weight when it comes to healthy dieting. Although maintainingideal body weight is linked to better health, when it comes to adopting healthier dietary habits in mild to moderately obese people, there are benefits beyond weight loss, such as decreasing inflammatory tone and elevating the ‘good cholesterol‘ HDL.”
Rudich explains that switching to healthier dieting extends benefits beyond the single outcome of weight loss. In fact, important improvements that likely signify decreased risk for cardiovascular disease occur even despite weight regain, as long as dieting continues. ….
Read the entire article
From the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center 12 December 2011 press release
…shedding the pounds may have some negative consequences on the overall health of older women if the weight loss is not maintained, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study showed that some older women who lose weight gain a lot of their weight back within a year. Importantly, the weight regained is mostly in the form of fat, rather than muscle.
“The body composition of some of the women was worse than before their weight loss,” said Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D., a gerontologist at the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation at Wake Forest Baptist and principal investigator for the study. “When older women lose weight, they also lose lean mass. Most women will gain a lot of the weight back, but the majority of the weight regained is fat.”…
“Most people will regain their weight after they lose it.” Nicklas said. “Young people tend to regain weight in the proportion that they lost it. But the older women in our study did not appear to be regaining the muscle that they lost during initial weight loss in the same way.”
The long term consequences of losing muscle mass in middle aged and older women is yet unknown, but in combination with the loss in bone density known to occur as we age, the loss of muscle could increase their fall risk, among other things.
“There are certainly a lot of health benefits to weight loss, if you can keep the weight off,” Nicklas said. “For older women who lose weight, however, it is particularly important that they keep the weight off and continue to eat protein and stay physically active so that, if the weight does come back, it will be regained as muscle instead of fat.”
She cautioned that the results from this study were limited to sedentary, abdominally obese, postmenopausal women, and the findings may differ in men or in younger populations….
Read the entire press release
Exercise helps us to eat a healthy diet
From the 29 November Eureka News alert
A healthy diet and the right amount of exercise are key players in treating and preventing obesity but we still know little about the relationship both factors have with each other. A new study now reveals that an increase in physical activity is linked to an improvement in diet quality.
Many questions arise when trying to lose weight. Would it be better to start on a diet and then do exercise, or the other way around? And how much does one compensate the other?
“Understanding the interaction between exercise and a healthy diet could improve preventative and therapeutic measures against obesity by strengthening current approaches and treatments,” explains Miguel Alonso Alonso, researcher at Harvard University (USA) who has published a bibliographical compilation on the subject, to SINC.
The data from epidemiological studies suggest that tendencies towards a healthy diet and the right amount of physical exercise often come hand in hand. Furthermore, an increase in physical activity is usually linked to a parallel improvement in diet quality.
Exercise also brings benefits such as an increase in sensitivity to physiological signs of fullness. This not only means that appetite can be controlled better but it also modifies hedonic responses to food stimuli. Therefore, benefits can be classified as those that occur in the short term (of metabolic predominance) and those that are seen in the long term (of behavioural predominance).
According to Alonso Alonso, “physical exercise seems to encourage a healthy diet. In fact, when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful and the diet is adhered to in the long run.”
The authors of the study state how important it is for social policy to encourage and facilitate sport and physical exercise amongst the population. This should be present in both schools and our urban environment or daily lives through the use of public transport or availability of pedestrianised areas and sports facilities….
From the 25 August 2011 NIH press release
Findings challenge one-size-fits-all weight assumptions
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have created a mathematical model — and an accompanying online weight simulation tool — of what happens when people of varying weights, diets and exercise habits try to change their weight. The findings challenge the commonly held belief that eating 3,500 fewer calories — or burning them off exercising — will always result in a pound of weight loss.
Instead, the researchers’ computer simulations indicate that this assumption overestimates weight loss because it fails to account for how metabolism changes. The computer simulations show how these metabolic changes can significantly differ among people. Findings will be published Aug. 26 in a Lancet issue devoted to obesity.
However, the computer simulation of metabolism is meant as a research tool and not as a weight-loss guide for the public. The computer program can run simulations for changes in calories or exercise that would never be recommended for healthy weight loss. The researchers hope to use the knowledge gained from developing the model and from clinical trials in people to refine the tool for everyone.
“This research helps us understand why one person may lose weight faster or slower than another, even when they eat the same diet and do the same exercise,” said Kevin Hall, Ph.D., an obesity researcher and physicist at the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the paper’s first author. “Our computer simulations can then be used to help design personalized weight management programs to address individual needs and goals.”
The online simulation tool based on the model enables researchers to accurately predict how body weight will change and how long it will likely take to reach weight goals based on a starting weight and estimated physical activity. The tool, at http://bwsimulator.niddk.nih.gov/, simulates how factors such as diet and exercise can alter metabolism over time and thereby lead to changes of weight and body fat….
Read the article