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November 17, 2014

Vegan Diets May be Best for Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 8:18 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Weight loss can be a difficult task, and there are many different methods to try. A recent study suggests that a vegan diet may be the best diet for weight loss.

Participants in the study included 63 people between the ages of 18 and 65 with BMIs between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2. Of those initial participants, 76% completed the trial.

The participants were instructed to follow one of five diets for six months: vegan (no animal products), semi-vegetarian (occasional meat), pesco-vegetarian (no meat except seafood), vegetarian (no meat), and omnivorous, which had no exclusions.

The researchers noted that the vegan group showed the most weight loss at the two and six month mark. Their weight loss was on average 4.3% higher than any of the other groups at 16.5 pounds. They also had lower levels of fat and saturated fat, lower BMIs, and improved macro nutrients when compared with the other groups.

The researchers also noted that the vegan group showed all of these improvements despite the fact that they consumed more carbohydrates that rate low on the glycemic index compared with the other groups.

Researchers from the University of South Carolina conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 17, 2014, in the journal Nutrition.

Previous research has linked vegan diets with combating cancer and better overall health. If you’re interested in converting to a vegan diet, consult a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting all of the proper nutrients. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with high quality supplements.



October 10, 2014

Yerba Mate May Boost Fat Burning Metabolism During Exercise

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:21 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Yerba mate is a tea-like drink traditionally consumed in South American countries. A recent study suggests that consuming yerba mate before working out may boost fat burning metabolism without affecting performance.

Participants in the study included 14 healthy men and women who drank either 1,000 mg of yerba mate or a placebo and then performed a series of exercises of increasing intensity. 

The researchers found that the yerba mate group had a 24% boost in fatty acid oxidation during light and moderate exercise. They also noted increased energy expenditure as a result of the increased fatty acid oxidation in the yerba mate group.

Increases in fatty acid oxidation and energy expenditure during exercise have been shown to increase fat burning metabolism.

The highest increase in effectiveness was seen at the lower intensity levels of exercise. 

Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and Qatar University conducted the study. It was published on September 2, 2014, in Nutrition & Metabolism.

Yerba mate is high in the antioxidants known as polyphenols; in fact, analysis has shown that it has more antioxidants than green tea. Previous studies have found links between mate and weight loss, mental health, allergy relief, strengthening the heart muscle, improved immune system and better digestion.



October 7, 2014

Increase in Waist Size Associated With Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 5:04 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have shown that overall weight gain during adulthood is a risk factor for breast cancer. A recent study suggests that an increase in waist size is especially harmful. It found that going up a skirt size over a period of 10 years between your mid 20s and mid 50s is correlated with a 33% higher risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.

Participants in the study included 93,000 women who took part in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) in England. All of the women were over 50, had already gone through menopause, and had no breast cancer when they started their time in the study between 2005 and 2010. They were mostly white, had a university education, and were overweight with a BMI of 25-26 at the beginning of of the study.

At the onset of the study, the women provided information on height and weight (BMI), reproductive health, fertility, family history of breast and ovarian cancer, use of hormonal birth control, and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). They also provided information about their current skirt size and what size they were in their twenties.

The researchers monitored the women for three to four years, at which point they asked again about whether or not they were continuing to use HRT, their general health, whether or not they’d been diagnosed with cancer, and lifestyle factors – including how much they smoked and drank.

During the study period, 1,090 of the women (a little over 1%) developed breast cancer. The researchers found that infertility treatment, family history of breast/ovarian cancer, and use of HRT were strongly associated with the risk of developing breast cancer. However, after controlling for all those factors, an increase in skirt size was found to be the strongest predictor of developing breast cancer.

The average skirt size for the women at age 25 was a US 8 and the average size at 64 was a US 10. Three out of four women had an increase in skirt size during the study period.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that going up one skirt size every 10 years was associated with a 33% increased risk of developing breast cancer. Going up two sizes was associated with a 77% increased risk. The researchers estimated that a five-year absolute risk of postmenopausal breast cancer goes from 1 in 61 to 1 in 51 with every increase in skirt size over a 10 year period.

Researchers from University College London and the University of Manchester conducted the study. It was published on September 24, 2014, in BMJ Open.

The most dangerous kind of waist fat is the fat surrounding your internal organs, known as belly fat. Belly fat has been linked to a large range of health problems including insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other obesity-associated health disorders.



September 29, 2014

Snacking on Almonds May Lower Food Consumption Later in Day

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 7:43 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have found that consumers associate almonds with being heart healthy and nutritious. In line with these findings, almonds have become the nuts most frequently consumed as a snack in North America. Now, a recent study suggests that eating almonds mid-morning may lower the amount of food that you consume at lunch and dinner.

Participants in the study included 32 healthy women who ate their standard breakfast and then either no almonds, 28 grams of almonds, or 42 grams of almonds at mid-morning for three days. Each intervention period was followed by a two-week washout period, after which the women underwent a different intervention.

The researchers found that the more almonds the women ate at mid-morning, the less they ate at lunch and dinner. Almonds are micronutrient dense and have the highest protein and fiber content of all tree nuts. These factors may account for their ability to provide feelings of satiety.

Researchers from Leatherhead Food Research and the University of Sussex conducted the study. It was published in the September 2014 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have found that almonds may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. They’re also a great source of magnesium, manganese, and protein.

Almonds can easily be added to your daily diet as a mid-day snack, in breakfast cereal, or even sprinkled over a small serving of ice cream for dessert. Consider substituting a less healthy snack such as potato chips or cookies for a handful of almonds.



September 15, 2014

Thykaloids Found in Spinach May Aid Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 10:43 am
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that taking a supplement that included a patented spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids may lower measures of “hedonic hunger” by as much as 95%.

Hedonic hunger is eating for pleasure rather than to satisfy a biological need. A good example of hedonic hunger is continuing to eat potato after your body is no longer physically hungry.

vParticipants in the study included 38 overweight women between the ages of 40 and 65. They were given either 5 grams daily of spinach extract or a placebo every day before breakfast over the course of 12 weeks. All the participants were told to follow a 3 meal a day schedule and to increase their physical activity.

At the conclusion of the study, the extract group had an average loss of 11 lbs, which as 43% more body weight than the placebo group loss of 7.5 lbs. They also had a significant decrease in total LDL cholesterol.

In addition, the researchers found that taking the spinach extract was associated with an increased release of the hormone GLP-1, which is responsible for feelings of satiety. The spinach group also had decreased urges for sweets and chocolate, which is a measure of hedonic hunger, when compared with the control group.

The researchers believe that the thykaloids in the spinach extract extend the period of digestion, which makes us feel satiated and reduces hedonic hunger.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden conducted the study. It was published in the October 2014 issue of Appetite.

In order to get the weight loss benefits seen here, the researchers recommend that spinach be consumed in a “green drink” form. Because our bodies can’t digest thykaloids, the spinach must be crushed, filtrated, and centrifuged – or, in other words, run through a blender. Thykaloids can also be found in other green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce, kale, and collard greens.

In addition to weight loss, previous studies suggest that the thykaloids found in spinach may help with insulin regulation.



August 22, 2014

Could Pistachios Help Diabetics With Their Heart Health?

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 10:04 am
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

People with type-2 diabetes are at higher risk for heart problems than people who don’t have diabetes. A recent study suggests diabetics may be able to lower their blood pressure during stressful situations and improve heart health by eating two servings of pistachios daily.

Participants in the study included 30 adults between the ages of 40 and 70 who had well-managed type-2 diabetes. For the first two weeks of the study, the participants consumed the typical American diet containing 36% fat and 12% saturated fats.

They were then randomly assigned to one of two test diets. The first was a standard heart-healthy diet consisting of 27% fat and 7% saturated fats. The second was a moderate-fat diet with 33% fat and 7% saturated fats and two servings of pistachios per day of approximately 3 ounces.

Following a two week washout period, participants switched test diets.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that, while laboratory blood pressure was unchanged, real-world measures of blood pressure were significantly lower after the pistachio diet, especially during sleep. They also noted that vascular constriction during stress (in this case, immersing the hand in icy water for two minutes and a difficult math test) was lower after the pistachio diet.

Improvements in heart rate variability were also recorded. Heart rate variability measures how well the nervous system controls heart function.

Researchers from Penn State University conducted the study. It was published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of American Hypertension.

Pistachios have high levels of protein and antioxidants and have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration (age related vision loss), strengthen the immune system and protect against heart attacks. To maximize the benefits of pistachios and nuts in general, it is important to avoid salted, oil-roasted nuts.



July 17, 2014

Extreme Obesity Drastically Cuts Lifespan

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 9:22 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Once a relatively rare condition, class III (or extreme) obesity is on the rise in the United States and worldwide. A recent study suggests that being extremely obese could cut a person’s life expectancy by as much as 13.7 years.

Data for this analysis included 20 studies that had 313,575 total participants. Of those participants, 9,564 were classified as extremely obese while the other 304,011 were considered normal weight.

The researchers used body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity. The scale for BMI is:

Normal weight: 18.5-24.9

Overweight: 25.0-29.9

Class I obesity: 30.0-34.9

Class II obesity: 35.9-39.9

Class III obesity: 40.0 or higher

After examining the data, the researchers found that overall risk of dying from the majority of major health issues rose with increasing BMI in the class III group. For people in the BMI range of 40-44.9, there was a 6.5 year loss in life. For those in the 55-59.9 range, there was a 13.7 year loss of life.

To emphasize the seriousness of those numbers, the researchers pointed out that the loss of life is equivalent to or higher than the difference between current smokers and people who have never smoked in the normal weight cohort of the study.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute conducted the study. It was published on July 8, 2014, in PLoS Medicine.

Obesity has a far ranging negative effect on health. Each year, obesity causes approximately 300,000 premature deaths in the United States. The negative health effects associated with obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea.

Improving eating habits and increasing physical activity play a vital role in preventing obesity. It is recommended that we eat five to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It also recommended that we get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day.



June 26, 2014

Prebiotics May Positively Alter Gut Bacteria of Obese People

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 2:26 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have found that the gut microflora of obese people differs from that of individuals who are not obese. Now, a recent study suggests that taking inulin-type fructans prebiotics may increase levels of a beneficial bacteria in the guts of obese people and possibly reduce metabolic risk factors.

Participants in the study included 30 obese women who took either 16 grams per day of the proebiotic or a malodextrin placebo every day for three months.

At the conclusion of the study, the prebiotic group had notable increases of beneficial bacteria as well as a reduction in shorty chain fatty acid levels, which are correlated with BMI. They also had a reduction in insulin levels and the homeostasis model assessment, two markers of metabolic syndrome.

Researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 11, 2014, in Clinical Nutrition.

Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics. While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.



June 18, 2014

High-Fat Yogurt May Be Better Than Low-Fat Yogurt for Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 5:32 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Low-fat yogurt is a great source of protein and is often included in weight loss diets. A recent study suggests, however, that full-fat yogurt may be a better option than low-fat yogurt for people trying to lose weight.

Participants in the study included 8,516 men and women of normal weight. The researchers followed their eating habits for two years and found that eating 125 grams of full-fat yogurt once daily was associated with a 19% lower risk of being obese.

Additionally, the researchers found that eating people who ate full-fat yogurt and followed the Mediterranean diet were the least likely to be obese. The Mediterranean diet contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains but low levels of meats and saturated fats.

The participants who didn’t eat yogurt or follow a Mediterranean diet were 36% more likely to be obese than those who did.

The researchers weren’t entirely sure why the full-fat yogurt was associated with a lower risk of obesity and low-fat yogurt wasn’t, but they hypothesized that it had to do with the amount of sugar that is sometimes added to low-fat yogurt. They also suggested that high-fat yogurt may contain more beneficial bacteria.

Researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain conducted the study. It was presented at the Congress on Obesity, which took place from May 28-31, 2014 in Bulgaria.

Previous studies have shown yogurt to improve bone health, provide good bacteria for gut health, and it may even be associated with weight loss. Previous research has shown that the Mediterranean diet may improve heart health, lower the risk of diabetes, asthma, lower rates of obesity and even decrease the overall risk of mortality.



June 12, 2014

Prunes May Help With Weight Loss Without Negative Side Effects

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 5:14 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Consumption of dried fruit is usually discouraged when someone is trying to lose weight because it tends to have high sugar content. But a recent study suggests that incorporating prunes into a weight management diet may help with weight loss.

Participants in the study included 100 overweight and obese low-fiber adults with a mean age of 43 and a mean body mass index of 30 kg/m2. Over the course of 12 weeks, half of the group was given prunes (140 g/day for women and 171 g/day for men) while the other have was given advice on healthy snacks.

At the conclusion of the study, the prune group had a mean weight loss of 4.4 lbs and a reduction in waist circumference of 2.5 cm. The control group had a weight loss of 3.3 lbs and 1.7 cm from their waistlines.

Additionally, the prune group showed greater weight loss in the last four weeks compared to the control group. They also had greater feelings of fullness after week eight and reported no negative side effects from consuming the prunes, despite the high doses.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool conducted the study. It was presented at the European Congress on Obesity, which was held in Bulgaria from May 28-31, 2014.

Prunes contain high amounts of fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and some protein. They have been linked to relief from constipation, improved blood circulation and slowing the aging of the brain and body.

Prunes can be eaten on their own, added to baked goods and salads, or consumed in juice form.



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