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February 12, 2015

L-Glutamine May Alter Gut Microbiota of Obese People

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 6:50 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have found that the microbiota in the guts of obese and overweight individuals is different from that of leaner people. A recent study suggests that taking supplements of L-glutamine may change the composition of gut microbiota in obese people so that it more closely resembles the gut microbiota of people with a normal weight.

L-glutamine is an amino acid that is found naturally in the body.

Participants in the study included 33 overweight and obese individuals between the ages of 23 and 59 who were given either 30 grams of L-glutamine or 30 grams of L-alanine daily for two weeks.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a statistically significant reduction of 0.3 in the ratio of Firmictues to Bacteriodetes in the L-glutamine group. In comparison, the placebo group had an increase from 0.91 to 1.12. The ratio of these two bacteria is considered to be a good measure of obesity, with higher numbers associated with obesity.

The researchers stated that the change in the ratio was similar to that seen after weight loss.   While no changes in body weight were seen during the 14 day study, the researchers called for a longer period of supplementation to determine if L-glutamine may be able to effect metabolic changes.

Researchers from the School of Applied Sciences conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 29, 2015, in the journal Nutrition.

Previous studies suggest that L-glutamine may help relieve some of the side effects of medical treatments, including diarrhea, swelling in the mouth, nerve pain, and muscle and joint pain. It has also been found to help boost the immune and digestive systems.

L-glutamine can be found in animal proteins such as fish, pork, beef, and chicken. For vegetarians, it can be found in beans, milk, yogurt, ricotta cheese, and cottage cheese. Finally, if you think you’re not getting enough L-glutamine or simply would like to increase your intake, it can be taken in supplement form.



February 11, 2015

Oatmeal For Breakfast May Increase Feelings of Fullness

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:30 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Weight loss involves a variety of factors, including eating a healthy diet and reducing caloric intake. A recent study suggests that eating oatmeal for breakfast may be the best way to increase satiety and consume a lower-calorie lunch, particularly in people who are overweight.

Participants in the study included 36 people, 18 of whom were overweight and 18 of whom were slim. They were given three different breakfasts on different days: 350 calories of quick-cook oatmeal, 350 calories of sugared corn flakes, or a control breakfast of 1.5 cups of water.

Before each meal and at frequent intervals up until lunch three hours later, the researchers measured the participants’ appetites, ratings of hunger, and fullness. They also took blood samples to measure glucose, insulin, glucagon, leptin, and acetaminophen.

The researchers found that acetaminophen concentrations peaked latest after consuming oatmeal, reflecting slower gastric emptying. The participants who ate oatmeal also had significantly higher ratings for fullness and lower ratings for hunger. 

Participants also consumed 31% fewer calories at lunch when they had oatmeal for breakfast, as compared with the sugared corn flakes and the water. Additionally, the participants reported the same amount of hunger at lunchtime when they had eaten the cornflakes for breakfast as when they had drunk water.

The results seen were even greater for the overweight subjects, who ate 50% fewer calories at lunch after eating the oatmeal breakfast.  This suggests that overweight people may be more responsive to the satiety effects of the dietary fiber in oatmeal.

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 23, 2015, in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism.

Oatmeal is high in fiber and protein and low in fat, making it a great addition to your diet. In addition to increased levels of satiety and subsequent weight loss potential, previous studies suggest that the soluble fiber in oatmeal may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, and infectious diseases.



January 5, 2015

Negative Comments About Weight May Lead to Weight Gain

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:52 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that negative comments about a woman’s weight from family and loved ones may result in increased weight gain while positive comments may encourage weight loss.

Participants in the study included university-aged women who were asked how they felt about their height and weight. All of the women were at the high end of Health Canada’s BMI recommendations.

The researchers followed up with the women five months later to see if they had talked to their loved ones about their weight and how their loved ones responded. Three months after that point, the researchers followed up again to find out if there had been any changes in weight or in their concerns about their weight.

On average, the women in the study gained weight over time. However, the women whose loved one’s told them they looked fine maintained or even lost some weight, approximately one pound. On the other hand, the women who didn’t receive positive feedback from their loved ones gained approximately 4.5 pounds on average.

The researchers found that the women who received positive feedback from their loved ones felt better about their bodies and did not gain weight like the women who did not receive positive feedback.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo conducted the study. It was published in the December 2014 issue of Personal Relationships.

In addition to positive support from loved ones, people looking to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight should eat a balanced diet that includes five to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It also recommended that they get at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day.



January 1, 2015

Weight Training May be Best Exercise for Reducing Abdominal Fat

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 9:19 am
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Abdominal fat is the most dangerous kind of fat and is also the hardest to lose. A recent study suggests that doing 20 minutes of weight training every day may lower the increase of age-related abdominal fat in men better than aerobic exercise.

Participants in the study included 10,500 healthy men age 40 and over with a wide range of BMI. All of them took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study between 1996 and 2008. The researchers studied the participants’ physical activity, waist circumference and body weight. They also looked at the changes in their physical activity over the 12-year study period.

They found that the participants who increased their weight training by 20 minutes per day had less gain in their waistline when compared with men who increased their aerobic exercise, stair climbing, or yard work by the same amount of time. On the other end of the spectrum, the men who increased their amount of sedentary activities, such as watching television, had a larger gain in their waistlines.

The researchers also found that the optimal results were seen when weight training was combined with aerobic exercise.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 19, 2014, in the journal Obesity.

Abdominal fat increases the risk of a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Abdominal fat is also a key indicator of metabolic syndrome. Exercise is the best way to reduce abdominal fat.



December 31, 2014

Whey Protein May Reduce Muscle Loss During Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 10:18 am
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

People who are trying to lose weight often also lose muscle mass as a side effect. A recent study suggests that including whey protein in short-term weight loss plans may help prevent muscle loss.

Participants in the study included 40 obese and overweight men and women. All of the participants followed hypoenergetic (low calorie) diets. One third of the group took approximately 27 grams of whey protein, one third took approximately 27 grams of soy protein, and the final third took 25 grams of maltodextrin carbohydrate as a placebo.

At the conclusion of the two-week intervention period, myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) was reduced by 9% in the whey group, compared with 28% in the soy group and 31% in the carb group. MPS is the synthesis of protein that results in stronger muscles and increased strength. A smaller reduction in MPS, therefore, means that more muscle is being synthesized.

The researchers theorized that the difference in MPS levels between the three types of protein could be due to the higher leucine content in whey. Leucine has been found in previous studies to be a protein that is beneficial to muscle synthesis.

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 17, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk, but is only approximately 1% of the composition of milk. It is obtained as a byproduct of cheese making and can be purchased in powder form from health food stores. Additionally, it can be found in yogurt and in ricotta cheese, which is one of the only cheeses that do not have the whey removed.



December 30, 2014

Paleo Diet May Not Actually Mirror Ancient Diets

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 5:16 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

The Paleolithic (or “Paleo”) diet has gained popularity in recent years. It was designed to emulate the diet eaten by early humans in the Paleolithic era and omits any foods not available during that time, including grains, dairy products, legumes, processed oils and refined sugar. A recent study suggests that the Paleo diet, however, probably does not accurately reflect the diet of that era, as there were multiple diets in ancient times.

For this study, the researchers examined anatomical, paleoenvironmental, and chemical evidence as well has how animals living today eat. The anthropologists found that ancient humankind’s diet probably varied based on what was available in their areas. They also pointed out that paleolithic humans weren’t great hunters and that their teeth were not developed in a way that would allow them to eat many different plants.

The researchers warn that it can be hard to say exactly what the Paleo diet was. They point out that the recommendations made by current proponents of the Paleo diet are based mainly on the diets of modern-day hunter-gatherers, not the diets of our ancestors. They believe that the diets of paleolithic peoples were much broader than those of modern hunter-gatherers.

They caution that diets in the Paleolithic era would also depend largely on geography. People in the north, for example, probably ate an almost exclusive animal-based diet due to unsuitable growing conditions, while people living near the equator most likely had more plant life integrated into their diets.

Finally, ancient foods often did not look anything like modern-day foods, due to evolution and selective breeding of animals and plants with the advent of agriculture.

Researchers from Georgia State University and Kent State University conducted the study. It was published in December 2014 in the Quarterly Review of Biology.

One of the arguments behind following the Paleo diet is that it includes a minimal amount of processed foods, which generally should be avoided. While there are always a number of fad diets gaining popularity, the best dietary advice is to get a good balance of fruits, vegetables, and proteins.



December 11, 2014

Obesity Linked to Shorter Life Expectancy

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 5:46 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Being overweight or even obese is becoming increasingly common worldwide, and is resulting in an increase in obesity related diseases. Now a recent study has found that being overweight or obese could shorten a person’s lifespan by up to eight years.

For their study, researchers developed a disease-simulation model in order to estimate the annual risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality for people with a BMI of 25-30 kg/m2(overweight), 30 – 35 kg/m2 (obese), and higher than 35 kg/m2 (very obese). For their model, they used data from 3,992 non-Hispanic white participants in the National Nutrition and Examination Survey, which took place from 2003 to 2010.

After validating their model projections, the researchers estimated the years of life lost and healthy life-years lost associated with each category. They found that the effect of excess weight on life lost was most noticeable in younger people and that it decreased with increasing age.

Specifically, obese men lost between 0 and 8 years of their lives if they were between the ages of 60 and 79 and 5 to 9 years if they were between the ages of 20 to 39. Very obese men lost between 0 and 9 years if they were between the ages of 60 and 79 and 7 to 10 years if they were between the ages of 20 and 39. Men who were just overweight showed smaller losses. Similar results were noted for women.

The researchers also found that healthy life-years lost were as much as two to four times higher than total years of life lost across all of the groups.

Researchers from McGill University conducted the study. It was published on December 5, 2014, in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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.



December 10, 2014

Researchers Find Rise in Obesity-Related Cancers Worldwide

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 4:16 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have found that high body-mass index (BMI) is associated with an increased risk of cancer. A recent study looked further into this and found that a quarter of all obesity-related cancers in 2012 can be attributed to the rise in average BMI since 1982.

The researchers examined data from multiple sources, including the GLOBOCAN database of cancer incidence and mortality for 184 countries. They found that obesity-related cancer is more common in women than in men, which they attributed to endometrial and post-menopausal cancers.

In men, 136,000 or 1.9% of new cancers in 2012 could be attributed to excess weight while the number was 345,000 or 5.4% in women. Approximately 75% of the weight-related cancers in women were post-menopausal breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and colon cancer. In men, approximately 66% of the obesity-related cancers were colon and kidney cancers.

The researchers found that in developed countries, 8% of cancers in women and 3% of cancers in men were obesity-related, whereas those numbers were 1.5% and 0.3% in developing countries.

Regionally, North American accounted for 23% of all obesity-related cancers worldwide. Sub-Saharan Africa had the fewest, with 1.5%, and Eastern Europe accounted for more than a third of all obesity-related cancers in Europe.

There was also a large difference between countries. For example, the Czech Republic had a particularly high rate for men, with 5.5% of new cancers in 2012 attributed to obesity. Barbados had a particularly high rate for women – 12.7% – while countries in sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest for men (2%) and women (4%).

The researchers concluded that addressing obesity worldwide is important in order to curb the rise in incidences of cancer.

Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 26, 2014, in The Lancet Oncology.

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.



November 28, 2014

DNA-Based Diets May Bring Better Results Than Standard Diets

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 9:02 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

One of the biggest issues when it comes to shedding pounds is that people have a hard time sticking with their diets. A recent study suggests that DNA-based dietary advice may be easier to adhere to than standard “one size fits all” diets.

Participants in the study included 138 healthy young adults. The researchers collected information about their intake of caffeine, sodium, vitamin C, and sugar. Following that, half of the group was given DNA-based dietary advice for those four areas of interest and the other half was given standard dietary advice.

The researchers assessed changes in dietary habits of all of the participants using food frequency questionnaires at the three and 12-month marks. They found that the DNA-based diet group showed improvements in their diets at three months and even greater improvements after 12 months.

The positive changes were especially notable in the individuals who were told they carried a gene that is linked with salt consumption and high blood pressure. The researchers noted a significant drop in sodium intake among those individuals.

While no significant improvements were noted in the other three areas of interest, the researchers noted that the majority of the participants were already meeting the dietary recommendations in those areas, suggesting that not much improvement was necessary.

Researchers from the University of Toronto conducted the study. It was published on November 19, 2014, in the journal PLoS One.

DNA-based dietary recommendations are still a relatively new field. If you’re interested in exploring this weight loss option, talk to your physician or nutritionist about the best way to go about it.



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.



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