Nov
01
2006

Body Can Fight Weight Loss

Embarking on a weight loss program needs long-term commitment and persistence. Many dieters have experienced the yo-yo effect of good initial results in losing weight, after which the weight loss stopped, and gradually the weight was gained back. Often dieters blame themselves for their lack of success or are criticized for a lack of self-control.
The “plateau effect” has been discussed and documented before, and now an Australian study has found that “it is not just you”. After initial success and weight loss the human body is designed to strongly resist attempts to lose weight. Dr. Neil King from Queensland University of Technology does research on appetite regulation and energy balance. He conducted studies on groups of people who were overweight and obese people. He found that weight loss from exercise and calorie restriction stops at a certain point, and this plateau remains firmly in place for a prolonged time, despite continuing dieting and exercise.

In the first study 30 obese men and women from Britain took part in a 12-week, laboratory based exercise program in which they exercised five times a week. The second study observed the weight loss in 200 Australian men who were enrolled in a commercial weight loss program, which involved both an exercise program and dietary advice. Although both groups followed different plans, their weight loss still plateaued. The first group averaged a loss of 3 kg during the first 8 weeks, and weight loss in the next 4 weeks was markedly reduced (0.7 kg). The second group had a variable pattern of weight loss, but it, too, showed a plateau.

Body Can Fight Weight Loss

Body Can Fight Weight Loss

Researchers believe that the human body is designed to cope with famine. As a result there is a built-in mechanism responsible for weight loss resistance. It may be a source of frustration to people on a weight loss program in a society where there are no food shortages, but it is meant to be a lifesaver in times when there was a shortage of food.
For the person who wants to lose weight it involves taking a closer look at the caloric output. Longer exercise times, higher intensity or cross training can combat the plateau effect, but patience is also needed along with the determination to carry on with the program.

More information about weight loss: http://nethealthbook.com/health-nutrition-and-fitness/weight-loss-and-diet/

Reference: The Medical Post, October 10, 2006, page 19

Last edited November 1, 2014

Mar
01
2005

Asian Diet To Manage Menopause

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has not only benefits. The potential side effects have become evident, and as a result, doctors have cautioned their patients, that HRT may not be the answer for every menopausal woman. However, lately natural hormone replacement therapy has become popular as an alternative. According to statistics only 20% of Asian women are plagued by hot flashes during menopause as compared to 80% of Westerners. A lifestyle intervention trial from Australia taught 120 women to adapt Japanese diet and lifestyle habits. The participants of the trial also started an exercise program for women, drank lots of water, increased calcium intake and increased the intake of plant-estrogens. Researchers had chosen this model, as Japanese women average five more years of healthy living than their sisters in the West. The spotlight of the research continues to focus on plant-based estrogens. Isoflavone precursors are found in soy (which is widely consumed in Asia), but it is also present in fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds such as flax. We do not know too much about the long-term effect of manufactured or isolated soy products, and so it is best to stay with the natural soy foods such as edamame (soy beans), tofu, tempeh and miso. Beside soy foods, lots of vegetables, beans and fruit are beneficial, and ground flax seed has also shown to decrease menopausal symptoms. Research in Chinese women has shown a modest association between post-menopausal soy intake and increased bone density.

Asian Diet To Manage Menopause

Asian Diet To Manage Menopause

Compared to this, the “typical” North American diet isn’t an accessory to good health; being high in white flour, sugar, trans fat and providing saturated fat of meat and dairy products this is also bad news for menopause. In addition there is a correlation between an increased body mass index and one to five alcoholic drinks per week with increased hot flashes in peri-menopausal women. Research from Simmons College at the Harvard School of Public Health has shown that Western food habits of red meat and processed meats (hot dogs, bacon) put especially women’s health at risk.

Diabetes Risk Increased With Western Diet Over 14 Years (modified from Archives of Internal Medicine)

Diabetes Risk of Western Diet Over 14 years

Diabetes Risk of Western Diet Over 14 years

Some experts say that the health of Asian women is more robust due to their life-long soy intake, in which case it would make sense to not even wait for all the dreaded symptoms of menopause to appear, but make way for healthy diet choices early. Soy products have become immensely popular and are readily available in today’s market, and so it will be interesting to see if the next generation of women has an easier time going through menopause.

More info on menopause: http://nethealthbook.com/hormones/hypogonadism/secondary-hypogonadism/menopause/

References: 1.The Medical Post January 25, 2005, page 17     2. The Medical Post, February 1, 2005, page 17

Last edited October 27, 2014

Jan
01
2005

Doctor Recommended Diet Against Obesity

After overindulging over the holidays, new years resolutions often have diets and life style choices high on the list.
These concerns are not something new. Doctors have had concerns about heart disease, diabetes, bulging waistlines and elevated cholesterol. For over three decades there have been concerns that elevated insulin levels may be associated with heart disease, and the constellation of symptoms was called “syndrome X” and later the “insulin resistance syndrome”.

Most recently the evils that are associated with body fat have been called the “metabolic syndrome”.The problem has assumed epidemic proportions: by 2001, 30% of US adults were considered obese with a body mass index of over 30, and 50% were overweight with a body mass index over 25. The form of type 2 diabetes (the adult onset of the disease) is predicted to double in the next 20 years. Physicians are reporting that they are seeing increasing numbers of children who are obese and suffer of type 2 diabetes. The major concern with an accumulation of body fat is the area of the abdomen (think of the “apple shape” with fat around the abdomen). This visceral fat tissue is not just innocently sitting there stopping you from closing buttons and zippers. It is very metabolically active and the substances it releases are a threat to your health. These fat cells secret pro-inflammatory substances called “cytokines.”

They also form substances that influence blood-clotting, factors that increase insulin resistance, substances like angiotensin, which are signing responsible for high blood pressure as well. Among the host of damaging substances is also the C-reactive protein, which is recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

Doctor Recommended Diet Against Obesity

Doctor Recommended Diet Against Obesity

There is only one solution: to reduce the risk, excessive weight has to be shed. A sensible diet to achieve that goal has to contain less saturated fat, more fiber, and low glycemic index carbohydrates. Proper dietary habits are only one part. The other as important measure is life style intervention, which includes 2.5 to 3 hours of moderate exercise per week.
Many of the current diets promise weight loss without compromising health. All of them promote weight loss, provided they are strictly adhered to.
The high protein diets (Atkins, Protein Power Plan) are useful for rapid initial weight loss, however due to the overload of protein long term use is highly questionable. Kidney dysfunction as a consequence is a threat to health and no benefit at all!
Moderate carbohydrate diets, moderate fat, as well as moderate protein will remain the answer for long-term life style changes. It is also of significance that the glycemic index of carbohydrates plays a major role. Food intake, which favors carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, is associated with less heart disease. It has also been documented that insulin levels are more stable. Low glycemic carbohydrates include most vegetables, beans, lentils, as well as fruit like apples, pears and oranges. In contrast, high glycemic carbohydrates result in a fast insulin release, which ultimately leads to insulin resistance. Among these items are potatoes, crackers and other flour products, rice, puffed or flaked breakfast cereals, and tropical fruit (papayas, pineapple, melons).

For short-term dieters, it is an option to embark on any of the current diets without deleterious effects, no matter whether they are high-carb or low-carb. But at this point only the diets with moderate carbohydrates have shown to have some benefits on heart health.
Ultimately the wiser choice is to consume foods with a low to moderate glycemic index, by increasing the intake of vegetable proteins and oils and by choosing increased servings of vegetables and fruit instead of highly processed items. So, when you next walk through your supermarket, remember that most of the good stuff is in the periphery, namely the area where all the fresh, unprocessed or minimally processed foods are found.

More info about Mediterranean diet: http://nethealthbook.com/news/mediterranean-diet-benefits-us-workers/

Reference: Metabolic Syndrome Rounds, Oct. 2004, Vol. 2, Issues 8, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto/On/Canada

Last edited October 27, 2014