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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.



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.



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