Wellness Database: Weight Loss
The key to losing weight is burning more calories than are taken in through food. Fad diets should be avoided in favor of the Mediterranean Diet or similarly nutritious diet.
High Protein Diet May Benefit Weight Loss
Summary: In a controlled, six-month trial involving 57 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), adherence to a high protein diet (>40% of energy from protein and 30% from fat) was found to be associated with greater weight loss (mean: 4.4 kg) and body fat loss (mean: 4.3 kg), as compared to women adhering to a standard protein diet (<15% of energy from protein and 30% from fat), after a period of 6 months. Furthermore, adherence to a high-protein diet was associated with greater reductions in glucose, even after adjusting for changes in weight. The authors conclude, "Replacement of carbohydrates with protein in ad libitum diets improves weight loss and improves glucose metabolism by an effect that seems to be independent of the weight loss and, thus, seems to offer an improved dietary treatment of PCOS women."
Reference: "Effects of increased dietary protein-to-carbohydrate ratios in women with polycystic ovary syndrome," Sorensen LB, Soe M, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan; 95(1): 39-48. (Address: Department of Human Nutrition, Centre for Advanced Food Studies, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Gynaecological Clinic Taastrup, Taastrup, Denmark).
Calcium and Vitamin D May Reduce Abdominal Fat
Summary: In this study, 2 parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 16 week trials were conducted involving 171 overweight and obese subjects (mean age: 40 years) randomly assigned to either consume 240 mL of an orange juice (regular or lite) fortified with 250 mg calcium and 100 IU vitamin D per serving, or an unfortified orange juice (regular or lite). Results found that after 16 weeks, the reduction in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was significantly greater (-12.7 cm(2)) among subjects who received OJ fortified with calcium and vitamin D, as compared to those who received unfortified OJ (-1.3 cm(2)), and the reduction was even greater in the trial with "lite orange juice"; those who received lite OJ fortified with calcium and vitamin D has a reduction in VAT of -13.1 cm(2), as compared to -6.4 in the unfortified lite OJ group. The authors conclude, "The findings suggest that calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation contributes to a beneficial reduction of VAT."
Reference: "Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese adults," Rosenblum JL, Castro VM, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Jan; 95(1): 101-8. (Address: Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA).
Vitamin D and Weight Loss May Help Reduce Hyperactivity In The Obese and VItamin D Deficient
Summary: In a study involving 50 newly diagnosed hypertensive patients (excluding those with secondary hypertension, chronic kidney disease, or coronary artery disease), mean age 49.5 years, mean BMI: 28.3 kg/m(2), mean 25(OH)D concentration of 18.5 ng/mL, mean systolic blood pressure: 162.4 mm Hg, and mean diastolic blood pressure 100.2 mm Hg, subjects with lower 25(OH)D levels were found to have significantly more elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure. The authors conclude, "Vitamin D deficiency and obesity are associated with stimulation of RAAS activity. Vitamin D supplementation along with weight loss may be studied as a therapeutic strategy to reduce tissue RAS activity in individuals with Vitamin D deficiency and obesity."
Reference: "The Effects of a Multiflavonoid Supplement on Vascular and Hemodynamic Parameters following Acute Exercise," Kappus RM, Curry CD, et al, Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2011; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Vascular Biology and Autonomic Studies Laboratory, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA).
Dr. Andrew Myers: Chromium Picolinate
Chromium is a critical to the body’s metabolism and storage of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These are the three major categories that make up a person’s diet. Chromium picolinate was first identified in the 1950s as a form of chromium that was highly bio-available and that seemed to help enhance the function of insulin. In diabetics or those with insulin resistance, insulin is less effective at transporting sugars, which eventually impairs pancreatic function. There are a wide variety of health benefits from taking chromium yet it remains an often overlooked mineral. Research has found benefits related to weight loss and overall health.
Chromium Picolinate can boast an impressive resume of health benefits, many related to fitness, muscle development and weight loss: lower body weight, reduced risk of obesity, and a resulting lower chance of heart disease. Many of these benefits appear related to a higher dietary intake of chromium, not necessarily chromium picolinate. The picolinate form, however, appears to be the easiest for the body to absorb and use.
Benefits of Chromium Picolinate
Chromium picolinate has the ability to reduced hunger and caloric intake. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics found that for a group of 48 overweight women who did not have diabetes, an eight-week chromium picolinate supplementation regimen reduced hunger levels by 24% and reduced the women’s food intake by 25% compared with the control group. The women also experienced reduced cravings for high-fat foods, suggesting that regular supplementation with the mineral may affect the release of hormones that regulate appetite and satiety, the feeling of being full. Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown that chromium picolinate can help people increase lean body mass, reduce body fat percentage, and reduce overall body weight when part of a healthy fitness and dietary program.
Chromium is beneficial to diabetics because it is known to enhance the action insulin in metabolizing blood sugar, and people with type 2 diabetes have been found to be chromium deficient. A study published in 1997 has 180 diabetics take either a chromium supplement or a placebo. After four months, the blood sugar levels of the people who received chromium picolinate were 15%-19% lower than in the placebo patients. A recent meta-analysis of chromium studies found showed that in 13 of 15 studies, supplementation with chromium improved at least one measure of glycemic control.
One surprising benefit to chromium picolinate is the alleviation of depression symptoms. One study, from Duke University, found that chromium supplementation significantly improved feelings of hopelessness, hostility, overeating, and fatigue. The supplementation alleviated all symptoms in around 60% of the study’s subjects.
Chromium picolinate can affect or be affected by these nutrients:
- Vitamin C: Insulin facilitates the transport of Vitamin C into the cell, so reduced insulin resistance may also confer the added benefit of higher Vitamin C antioxidant activity.
- Biotin: Studies suggest that adding biotin to chromium can improve the management of blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
- Vitamin E: Tocopherols like Vitamin E can improve insulin function, enhancing the effects of chromium.
- Manganese: Manganese is an activator or co-factor of many enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, and its presence may further enhance the ability of chromium to regulate blood sugar.
- 200 mcg per day as a maintenance dose
- 500-1000 mcg per day for weight management, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular dysfunction
Whey Protein May Facilitate Weight Loss
Summary: In a study involving 90 overweight and obese subjects randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments for a period of 23 weeks: 1) whey protein (providing 56 g/d protein and 1670 kJ/d); 2) soy protein (providing 56 g/d protein and 167- kJ/d); 3) isoenergetic amount of carbohydrate, consumed twice daily, added to their normal free-choice diets, supplementation with whey protein was found to be associated with reductions in body weight (-1.8 kg), fat mass (-2.3 kg), waist circumference, and fasting ghrelin. No such changes were found in the soy protein or carbohydrate groups. The authors state, "Through yet-unknown mechanisms, different sources of dietary protein may differentially facilitate weight loss and affect body composition." The effects of whey protein supplementation on weight loss and body composition warrants further investigation.
Reference: "Whey protein but not soy protein supplementation alters body weight and composition in free-living overweight and obese adults," Baer DJ, Stote KS, et al, J Nutr, 2011; 141(8): 1489-94. (Address: Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA).
Americans More Aware of Poor Dietary Habits
Although the actual healthfulness of diets has not changed much in the last 15 years, there has been a large and significant decrease in the percentage of Americans who rate their diets as Excellent or Very Good.
• The share of people who said that their diets were excellent or very good declined by 9.1 percentage points, from 41 percent to 31.9 percent, between 1989-91 and 2005-08.
• Declines in the share of excellent or very good self-ratings of diet were especially large among Hispanics and people who were underweight, overweight, or obese, younger than 65, or had some college education (but not a college degree).
• People who perceived themselves as overweight became less likely to rate their diet as excellent or very good between 1989-91 and 2005-08.
• Those who had diets high in fat were much less likely to rate their diets as very good or excellent in 2005-08 than in 1989-91.
These results suggest a reduced optimistic bias in Americans’ views of their diets—and perhaps greater receptiveness to information about the relationships between diet and health.
We also find a strong relationship between diet assessment and some dietary choices and habits. Comparing subjective ratings of diet quality across different groups, we find:
• Self-ratings of diet healthfulness tend to be low among people who report a higher share of their food budget spent away from home and of calories eaten away from home.
• Those with better diet self-ratings are more likely to share meals with the family, both at home and away from home.
• Those who report high diet quality are more likely to keep skim milk and dark green vegetables on hand in the household, and they are less likely to stock sugar-sweetened beverages.
Source: Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-83) 24 pp, September 2011
Dr. Louis Ignarro: Eating Fresh
What type of foods do you regularly eat? Are they fresh, natural foods? Or do you often eat processed food with ingredients you can barely pronounce? Our bodies were designed to eat fresh food, not processed food. As it turns out, fresh food actually tastes better than processed food though many people no longer remember what eating fresh tastes like. Eating fresh is one of the most fundamental aspects of staying healthy, having energy, and feeling good. Eating fresh, healthy food is only one part of the equation. Individuals need to re-learn how to enjoy preparing, cooking, and consuming delicious food.
How much fresh food should you eat? People need at least five to nine servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every single day to stay healthy and prevent cancer and other disease. This will provide a huge boost in vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, and other nutrients necessary to thrive. Raw nuts and whole grains like brown rice are also nutrient-rich fresh foods.
No matter what you are eating, it is a substance that was alive at one time. Imagine, for instance, walking to your backyard and tugging a bunch of sweet, orange carrots from the ground. You take them inside, rinse them off, slice them and add them to your salad. In this scenario, you are eating food that was alive just half an hour before eating. As you eat these carrots, they are passing their life-giving vitality directly into your body. The less your food is refined, the more nutrients it shares with you. Now, consider the frozen carrots in your freezer right now. These carrots were alive a few months ago. After they were picked they were hauled to a processing plant where they were rinsed with chlorine and other chemicals to eliminate contamination. They were then boiled, frozen, and sat on a truck and in a freezer for months at a time. These frozen carrots simply do not offer the same vitality that fresh, living food delivers.
Next time you eat, ask yourself how you feel. Do you feel bloated and tired? Do you suffer from constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, or low energy? Simply adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your meals can quickly reverse even the most irritating health woes.
Benefits of Fresh Veggies
- Fiber to cleanse your body of toxins
- Phytonutrients: health-protecting plant compounds
- Enzymes to fuel vital chemical reactions
- Essential fatty acids to help combat a host of diseases
Keys to Success
Eat the rainbow: Consume as many different colors of fresh foods as possible. Each color represents different nutritional contents. A big variety in color can help to provide the nutrients necessary for long term health and vitality.
Shop the perimeter: When visiting the grocery store, the healthiest and freshest foods are always around the outer edge of the store. Produce, dairy, seafood, and the butcher are areas to focus on. Avoid the middle aisles which typically contain processed food that isn’t likely to be as healthy as the fresh food around the outside aisles.
Keep fresh food in sight: Keep fruit, vegetables, and nuts on countertops and coffee tables whenever possible. Seeing these healthy items means you’re more likely to snack on them.
Add fruit to dessert and breakfast: Instead of trying to eliminate cereal and ice cream from your diet simply use it as a vehicle for delivering fresh fruit. Add strawberries, bananas, or blueberries to your regular meals for an easy extra serving of fresh food.
Fish Oil May Lower BMI
Summary: In a cross-sectional study involving 330 subjects, subjects with low red blood cell EPA and DHA levels were found to have significant predicted increases in triglycerides (99.5 mg/dl, 106%) and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations (137.8 mg/dl, 156%), associated with increases in body mass index (BMI) from 25 to 35, while subjects with high red blood cell EPA and high red blood cell DHA concentrations were found to have significantly lower predicted increases in triglycerides (13.9 mg/dl for EPA (23%) and 12.0 mg/dl (18%) for DHA) and CRP (0.5 mg/l (50%) for EPA and -0.5 mg/l (-34%) for DHA). These results suggest that having higher EPA and DHA status in red blood cells may help to reduce obesity-related risk of dyslipidemia and inflammation, thereby potentially reducing the risk of various inflammatory chronic diseases.
Reference: "Associations of obesity with triglycerides and C-reactive protein are attenuated in adults with high red blood cell eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids," Makhoul Z, Kristal AR, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2011 March 23; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Cancer Prevention Program, Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA).
Dr. Andrew Myers: The Benefits of Exercising
Most people know that exercise is important for weight loss and preventing heart disease, and there are a wide range of other scientifically proven benefits to exercising daily. Whether you like to walk, jog, bike, swim, or play an active sport, you can improve your health by maintaining a regular exercise regimen. Twenty minutes a day, three times a week can be enough to improve your health.
Exercise is fundamentally important to losing weight because it is the best way to burn calories, which are simply a unit of energy. Eating less and exercising more is the formula for losing weight. An individual who consumes 2000 calories without using any energy will gain over half a pound of stored body fat. To lose a pound you must burn 3500 more calories than you consume. While this may sound intimidating, it can be easy to add twenty or thirty minutes of exercise, three or four times a week to lose weight and enjoy many other health benefits.
Thirty minutes of walking burns around 200 calories. Adding a thirty minute walk, three times a week to one’s normal lifestyle, and not changing anything else, will burn over 30,000 calories in a year which is nearly nine pounds. A single hour of walking, three times a week over the course of a year can generate close to twenty pounds of weight loss.
Exercise is necessary for the prevention of heart of heart disease. It can reduce blood pressure by causing the endothelial cells to produce sufficient amounts of Nitric Oxide. This relaxation effect reduces pressure. In addition, the Nitric Oxide generated reduces the build of arterial plaque, thereby reducing the occurrence of stroke and heart attacks. Cholesterol levels are also known to benefit from regular exercise such as walking.
Here are some less well-known reasons it is important to exercise:
- Exercise may prevent aging (http://bit.ly/eJcMZS)
- Exercise may lower risk of colon cancer mortality (http://bit.ly/r40735)
- Exercise lowers heart disease risk in children (http://bit.ly/iquuQi)
- Exercise prevents bone dysfunction syndrome (http://bit.ly/qcTGDJ)
We would love to know how you like to exercise. Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/healthiswealth.net and post on our wall about your exercise regimen.
Chromium Supplementation Beneficial to Overweight Children
Summary: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study involving 25 overweight children aged 9-12 years, results indicate that short-term supplementation with chromium may improve insulin sensitivity and body composition. The children were randomized to 400 microg chromium chloride or placebo, during a 6-week lifestyle modification regimen that included nutritional education and 3x90 min of aerobic physical activity weekly. At intervention end, chromium chloride supplemented children showed positive changes in HOMA, QUICKI, lean body mass and percentage body fat, compared with children in the placebo group. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "These results suggest that short-term chromium supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity and body composition in overweight children."
Reference: "Effects of short-term chromium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and body composition in overweight children: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study," Kim CW, Joo NS, et al, J Nutr Biochem, 2011 Jan 7; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Family Practice and Community Health, Ajou University School of Medicine, 443-721 Suwon, Korea).
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Nutrients and Diet
Alpha Lipoic Acid Amino Acids Antioxidants Arginine Calcium Carnitine Carotene Chromium Picolinate Citrulline Coenzyme Q10 DHEA Fat Fiber Fruit and Vegetables Garlic Ginkgo Biloba Glucosamine Vegetarian Diet Green Tea Iron Lutein Lycopene Magnesium Mediterranean Diet Multivitamins Nitric Oxide Nuts Olives Omega 3 Fatty Acids Policosanols Polyphenols Pomegranate Probiotics Pycnogenol Red Yeast Rice Salt Saffron Selenium Soy Theanine Vitamin A Vitamin B Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K White Tea Zinc