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May 27, 2015

Obesity Associated With Higher Cancer Risk

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 5:11 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

While obesity is usually associated with cardiovascular issues, a recent study suggests that it is also associated with a higher risk of developing certain cancers. This is believed to be due to extra body fat interfering with hormone cycles as well as glucose and fat metabolism.

For this study, researchers derived population attributable fractions (PAFs) using relative risks and BMI estimates in adults by age, sex, and country. PAFs calculate the contribution of a risk factor to a disease or death. They calculated PAFs using BMI estimates from 2002 and they used GLOBOCAN2012 data to estimate the numbers of new cancer cases that could be attributed to high BMI. In addition, a 10-year lag-period between high BMI and cancer occurrence was assumed.

The researchers found that 5.4% of all cancers in women and 1.9% of all cancers in men were associated with a high BMI. They noted that this was especially true of esophagus, bowel, kidney, and pancreatic cancers. In women, it was also associated with gallbladder, ovarian, uterine cancers, and postmenopausal breast cancers.

They also noted that the effects were mainly seen in people with a BMI of 30 or above and that an increase in BMI by a factor of 1 was associated with a 3% to 10% increase in risk of developing cancer.

The researchers pointed out that abdominal fat was especially dangerous and associated with a higher risk of cancer. This is because abdominal fatty tissue is hormonally active, creating adipose tissue hormones and changing the balance of sex hormones by converting more androgen precursors into estrogen. That, in turn, encourages the development and growth of hormone-related tumors, such as those found in breast cancer and endometrial cancer. Abdominal fat can also lead to an increase in insulin resistance, which leads to increased insulin production, which can encourage cell division and tumor growth.

Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France and the University of Queensland in Australia conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 25, 2014, in Lancet Oncology.

Obesity has 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.

 



May 19, 2015

Botanical Blend May Aid With Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 2:48 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Pancreatic lipase is an enzyme that is secreted by the pancreas when fat is present. A recent study suggests that taking a botanical blend containing Coleus forskohlii, Salacia reticulata, and Sesamum indium may inhibit pancreatic lipase, and reduce body fat by as much as 5%.

Participants in the study included men and women with a BMI between 25 and 30. Over the course of six weeks, the participants were given either 1000 mg of the botanical blend in the form of four 250 mg soft gels or a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the participants receiving the botanical blend had higher lipase inhibition. The results were more pronounced when the three extracts were taken together than when taken separately. They also found that the botanical blend group had 5% more fat loss than the placebo group.

Researchers led by Dr. Vladimir Badmaev from the American Medical Holdings conducted the study. It was published in the May 2015 issue of Journal of Functional Foods.

The botanical blend used in this study was a proprietary blend. However, previous studies suggest that natural lipase inhibitors may also be found in Japanese ginseng, polyphenols, flavonoids, and caffeine.



May 1, 2015

Changing the Carbs and Proteins You Eat Could Have Effect on Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 2:15 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that changing the types of protein and carbohydrate-rich foods that people eat may have a significant effect on weight loss over the long term.

Participants in the study included 120,784 men and women who took part in three different long-term studies of U.S. health professionals. The researchers looked at the association between 4 year changes in consumption of protein foods, glycemic load (GL) and weight changed.  They found that diets with a high GL — which usually contain a lot of starches, white bread, and potatoes — were associated with more weight gain over time than diets with a low GL.

The researchers then looked into the relationship between changes in GL and the effect on the relationship between major protein-rich foods and long-term weight gain. They found that changes in consumption of red meat and processed meat were most strongly associated with weight gain. Increased consumption of yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken, and nuts was associated with weight loss.

The researchers also noted that increased consumption of dairy products — including full-fat cheese, whole milk, and low-fat milk — did not seem to have an effect on either weight gain or loss. Therefore, the fat content of dairy products did not seem to have a large impact on weight gain.  Interestingly, they did find that low-fat dairy consumption was associated with consumption of more carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain. They attribute this to compensating for the lower calories by increasing carb intake.

They also found that increases in consumption of protein-rich foods that are associated with weight gain (such as red meat) were usually coupled with an increased dietary GL.  This was usually the result of concurrent increased consumption of low quality carbohydrates such as white bread. However, when these protein-rich foods were consumed together with foods that had a lower GL, such as vegetables, participants gained less weight.

Finally, the researchers found that consuming fish, nuts, and other foods associated with weight loss along with a lower GL diet enhanced weight loss.  Consuming them along with a higher GL diet decreased weight loss.

Researchers from the Tufts University and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 8, 2015, in the American Society for Nutrition.



April 2, 2015

Whey Protein May Help With Muscle Retention During Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 4:01 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

When people are losing weight they often lose muscle instead of fat, which is a key contributor to resting calorie burning. A recent study suggests that whey protein may help with weight loss while simultaneously retaining muscle when people are following a diet.

Participants in the study included 40 overweight or obese adults between the ages of 35 and 65 with a body mass index of 28-50 kg/m2. Over the course of 14 days they were given either 27 g of whey protein, 26 g of soy protein, or 25 g isoenergetic carbohydrate twice daily. All of participants also followed a 2750 calorie per day diet.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted better muscle synthesis in the whey group.  This was measured by attenuated decline in postprandial rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis after the participants lost weight. They also noted suppression of lipolysis or the breakdown of fatty acids in all of the groups, but it was most notable in the carbohydrate group.

Myofibrillar protein synthesis and lipolysis are both important in the maintenance of muscle and the loss of fat.

Researchers from McMaster University conducted the study. It was published on February 1, 2015, 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.



March 27, 2015

Balanced Protein Intake May Lead to Better Muscle Synthesis

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Sarah @ 9:02 am
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Previous research suggests that sarcopenic obesity – an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass – is becoming increasingly prevalent among mature adults. A recent study suggests that balancing protein intake throughout the day as opposed to consuming it all during the evening meal may increase muscle gain by approximately 20% as well as promote weight loss.

Participants in the study included 20 obese men between the ages of 60 and 75 years old.  All underwent one of two interventions: balanced protein consisting of  total protein intake distributed at 25% for breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snack or a skewed protein intake of 7%, 17%, 72%, and 4% throughout the day. Both groups consumed the same amount of protein, however the balanced protein group drank a Nestle whey protein drink while the skewed group received their protein solely from dietary sources.

During the first two weeks all of the participants followed their usual physical activity, which was monitored with a pedometer and an accelerometer. For the last two weeks, they all did supervised resistance training.

The researchers measured myofibrillar protein synthesis with blood samples and muscle biopsy at the two and four week marks.

Both groups showed decreases in muscle and fat after the first two weeks of the study. While fat reduction was the same for both groups, the balanced protein group showed slightly less muscle loss. After resistance training was begun, both groups showed slower muscle loss.  The balanced protein group also had 19% higher myofibrillar protein synthesis when compared with the skewed group.

Additionally, when the balanced protein group started doing resistance training, their rate of protein synthesis went from the low level seen during the first two weeks of the study back to the normal levels seen before the start of the study.

Researchers from Nestle conducted the study. It was published on March 3, 2015, in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also a building block for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. To get the optimal benefit from protein, it’s important to choose the right type. Some good sources of animal protein include fish, poultry, and lean meat.



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.



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