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April 18, 2014

Morning Light Linked to Lower BMI

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:13 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Previous studies have shown that exposure to light can influence sleep and circadian timing, two things that influence weight regulation. Now, a new study has found that exposure to early morning light helps regulate the circadian rhythm and is associated with lower BMI.

Participants in the study included 54 people with an average age of 30. They wore wrist actigraphy monitors that recorded and measured their light exposure and sleep patterns for seven days. They also recorded their caloric intake in food logs.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that morning light was associated with a 20% and 34.7% change in a person’s BMI. This held regardless of physical activity, caloric intake, sleep timing, age, or season.

The researchers theorize that this effect can be traced back to the circadian rhythm, also referred to as the body’s internal clock. Our bodies are programmed to expect light in the mornings and can get out of sync if not exposed to enough light in the morning. This can have alter metabolism and lead to weight gain.

The researchers emphasized that even people who rise early may not be getting enough light, as most Americans live in spaces that do not have a lot of natural light.

Researchers from Northwestern Medicine conducted the study. It was published on April 2, 2014, in the journal PLoS One.

This is the first study of its kind to examine the correlation between light exposure and BMI. However, people looking to lower their BMI should also consider eating probiotic cheese, dark chocolate, and foods that are high in calcium, as all of those have been linked with lower BMI.



April 11, 2014

Exercise and A Good Diet Important Even if No Weight Loss Occurs

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:39 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Overweight people are often perceived as being at higher risk for certain diseases, regardless of their dietary and exercise habits. However, a recent study suggests that an overweight person who eats well and exercises regularly may be metabolically healthier than an overweight person who does neither.

Participants in the study included 181 children who were classified as obese. The researchers found that the children who ate more fruits and vegetables and less fatty meats and limited their screen time were healthier than their peers who did not do those things.

The researchers classified those children as metabolically healthy, which meant that they were at lower risk for obesity-related conditions such as type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. This held true even if the children did not lose weight.

While losing weight is still ideal in order to ward off those conditions, the researchers concluded that eating more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, being physically active and limiting time spent in front of a tv or computer are also beneficial.

Researchers from the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 26, 2014, in Diabetes Care.

While this study shows that exercise and a balanced diet are important whether or not you lose weight, it’s also important to remember that obesity can have a number of negative effects 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.



March 24, 2014

Milk Proteins Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 4:32 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Obesity and reduced muscle strength are associated with increased blood pressure. A recent study suggests that taking a milk protein supplement while also undergoing exercise training may result in significant improvements in blood pressure and arterial stiffness in hypertensive obese women.

Participants in the study included 33 obese and sedentary women with an average age of 30. Over the course of four weeks, all of the women took part in moderate intensity exercise training three times per week. Om addition, one third of the group took 30 grams of whey protein daily, one third took 30 grams of casein, and one third took a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, both the casein and whey protein groups had decreases in brachial systolic blood pressure of approximately 5 mmgHg, as well as a reduction in aortic systolic blood pressure of 6 mmHg and 7 mmHg, respectively.

Both groups also had significant improvements in arterial stiffness. The control group had no changes in blood pressure or arterial stiffness.

Researchers from Florida State University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 3, 2014, in American Journal of Hypertension.

Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk, but it 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 ricotta cheese, which is one of the only cheeses that do not have the whey removed.

When shopping for a whey protein, pay attention to the source of the milk, the production method, manufacturer specifications, and any added ingredients.

Casein is the other, more abundant, protein found in milk and has been linked in previous studies with building muscle and improved weight loss.



March 13, 2014

The Type Of Fat You Eat May Change How You Gain Weight

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 5:54 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

According to a recent study comparing the consumption of polyunsaturated fat to the consumption of saturated fat, the fat you eat may affect where on your body you gain weight. It may also affect the risk of developing both cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.

Participants in the study included 39 young adult men and women who were of a normal weight at the onset of the study. They were instructed to consume 750 extra calories per day in the form of a muffin for seven weeks. The goal was for them to gain 3% of their starting weight.

The muffins for half of the group were cooked with polyunsaturated fat (sunflower oil) while the other half were cooked with saturated fat (palm oil.) The muffins had the same sugar, carbohydrate, fat and protein content.

The researchers used MRI scans at the beginning of the study and after the weight gain. They also measured gene activity in abdominal and visceral fat before and after the weight gain.

While the weight gain was comparable between the two groups, the saturated fat group had higher levels of fat in the liver and abdomen when compared with the polyunsaturated group. Fat in these areas is especially dangerous, as it has been linked with the development of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

Additionally, the polyunsaturated fat group gained three times more muscle mass due to overeating, compared to the saturated fat group.

The researchers also found that eating too much saturated fats activated genes in the fatty tissue that increased fat storage in the abdomen and hampered insulin regulation. In contrast, polyunsaturated fats activated the genes in visceral fat that reduce storage of fat and actually improve metabolism.

Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden conducted the study. It was published in the February 2014 issue of Diabetes.

For people looking to lower their percentage of abdominal or visceral fat, previous studies suggest that consuming more probiotics, calcium and vitamin D, and extract from lychee fruit may help. Additionally, it is always important to eat a balanced diet with the right amount of calories for your body size.



February 14, 2014

It Is Normal For Weight To Fluctuate During the Week

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 6:39 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

While it is important to monitor weight gain or loss on a regular basis, slight weight gains during the weekend are not necessarily causes for alarm. A recent study found that minor weekend weight gain is not detrimental, as long as it is balanced by minor weight loss during the week.

Participants in the study included 80 adults whose weight was monitored for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 330 days. The researchers found that participants who maintained or lost weight tended to see their highest weight on Monday or Tuesday, and their lowest weight on Friday or Saturday. Participants who gained weight did not see weight decreases during the week, signifying they were not making healthier food choices during the week.

They concluded that a little indulgence on weekends and holidays could actually be better for weight management than trying to apply strict weight loss regimens over long periods, as they can be difficult to adhere to.

Researchers from the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 31, 2014, in the journal Obesity Facts.

Many other factors contribute to weight gain, such as lifestyle, exercise, and diet. Additionally, getting a good night’s sleep may help with weight control by giving the brain the rest it needs to help make appropriate food choices.



December 30, 2013

A Big Breakfast Might Help With Type-2 Diabetes Management

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 9:00 am
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

With the rise in obesity and the concurrent rise in type-2 diabetes, researchers have been studying ways to reduce both. Most recently, a study has been released suggesting that eating a big breakfast full of protein and fat may help manage type-2 diabetes and possibly help with weight loss.

Participants in the study included 59 obese or overweight individuals with type-2 diabetes, 21 of whom were men. For three months, half of the group was given a big breakfast high in both protein and fat that accounted for 33% of their totally daily caloric intake. The other half was given a small breakfast rich in carbohydrates that accounted for 12.5% of their daily caloric intake.

Both groups saw a similar reduction in body weight at the end of the study period. However, participants in the big breakfast group had greater reductions in blood glucose levels (HbA1c) (4.62% vs. 1.46%) and in systolic blood pressure (9.58 vs. 2.43 mmHg) compared to the small breakfast group.

Additionally, 31% of the participants in the big breakfast group were able to reduce their type-2 diabetes medication dose than in the small breakfast group, where a higher proportion of individuals actually increased their dosage.

Finally, the big breakfast group had lower hunger scores and more improvements in fasting glucose than the small breakfast group.

Researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 29, 2013 in Obesity.

Previous studies have found that eating a protein-rich breakfast may curb hunger throughout the rest of the day. Some studies have also found that it contributes to weight loss, although the results regarding weight loss are still inconclusive.



December 25, 2013

Brewer’s Yeast Extract May Help With Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 2:37 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

People who are obese are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis. A recent study has found that a hydrolysate from brewer’s yeast may help obese people lose weight and abdominal fat.

Participants in the study included 54 obese men and women. Over the course of ten weeks they consumed either 0.5 grams of yeast hydrolysate or dextrin as a control 30 minutes before breakfast and again 30 minutes before dinner.

At the six week point, the researchers noted that the yeast hydrolysate group already had significant reductions in calorie intake. This reduction was maintained through the end of the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted an average 5.7 lbs reduction in body weight and a 17.3 cm2 reduction in abdominal circumference in the yeast group, compared to 1.8 lbs and 7 cm2 reductions in the control group.

Researchers from Jeonju University in South Korea conducted the study. It was published in the January 2014 issue of Nutrition.

Previous studies have found an association between yeast hydrolysates and increased energy, better immunity, and improved gastrointestinal health. The best way to obtain these health benefits is through a high quality supplement.



December 12, 2013

Obesity Has Negative Effect on Heart Health

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 6:16 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

There have been a few studies published recently that have suggested it’s possible to be both overweight and not at a higher risk for heart disease. A recent review of several studies has found, however, that obese people have an increased risk of developing heart disease even if they have no other metabolic syndrome risk factors.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by obesity, high blood pressure, extra body fat at the waistline, high blood sugar, and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol. People with metabolic syndrome are at significantly higher risk of cardiovascular issues than those who are metabolically healthy.

For this study, the researchers examined data from 60,000 people who participated in eight studies in total. When they controlled for studies with ten years or more of follow-up, they found that metabolically healthy obese individuals were at higher risk for cardiovascular events compared to metabolically healthy non-obese individuals.

Additionally, the researchers found that people with metabolic syndrome were at a similar increased risk of a cardiovascular event regardless of their weight.

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto conducted the study. It was published on December 3, 2013, in JAMA’s Annals of Internal 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.



November 29, 2013

Eating Protein For Breakfast May Help Curb Hunger

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 9:00 am
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

What you eat for breakfast can have an effect on what you eat the rest of the day. A recent study suggests that eating a protein-packed breakfast may help people feel less hungry the rest of the morning and eat less at lunch.

Participants in the study were divided into 3 groups and given a breakfast of approximately 300 calories that contained similar amounts of fat and fiber. The first group’s breakfast also had 30 to 39 grams of protein, the second group’s breakfast did not have added protion, and the third group skipped breakfast.

The researchers gave the participants questionnaires to measure appetite before they ate and every 30 minutes between breakfast and lunch. For lunch they were given tortellini and sauce and told to eat until they were full.

After lunch, the researchers noted that the protein-rich group had lower hunger, more fullness, and less desire to eat throughout the morning. They also ate fewer calories at lunch when compared with the protein-light and skipped breakfast groups.

Researchers from Biofortis Clinical Research conducted the study. It was presented at The Obesity Society’s annual scientific meeting in Atlanta the week of November 12, 2013.

Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also involved in the creation of some hormones, and helps form antibodies that help prevent infection and illness.

To get the optimal benefit from protein, it’s important to choose the right type. Some good sources of protein are fish, poultry, beans, lean meat, nuts and whole grains.



November 27, 2013

White Bean Extract Might Aid in Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 3:26 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Losing weight and keeping the weight off can be very difficult. According to a recent study, white bean extract might help enhance the weight loss benefits of a restricted calorie diet.

Participants in the study included 123 people who followed a slightly low-calorie diet for 12 weeks. During that time, half of the group took 3 grams of a bean extract while the other half took a placebo. At the end of that time period, the white bean extract group had lost an average of 6.3 lbs., while the placebo group lost only 2 lbs.

49 of the participants continued taking either the placebo or the white bean extract for 12 more weeks following the initial study. They were told to eat whatever they wanted. During that time period, 73.5% maintained their weight loss.

Participants completed the Control of Eating Questionnaire at the end of the study. Researchers found that the extract group had a statistically significant decrease in desire, frequency, and strength of cravings for chocolates and other sweet foods. The placebo group, on the other hand, had increased difficulty resisting those foods.

The researchers noted that these findings suggest that white bean extract could be used in real life settings to aid with weight loss.

Researchers from InQpharm Europe Ltd. conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 5, 2013.

Previous studies have found an association between white bean extract and regulating blood sugar, lowering insulin resistance, heart disease, increased energy, and helping relieve symptoms of arthritis.



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