Learn some techniques to help train your brain to recognize and stick with healthy portions of food. Using portion control allow you to eat almost anything with an awareness of what portion sizes are.
There are less invasive options becoming available for weight loss surgery. There are over 200,000 Americans who undergo the major operation called bariatric surgery to try to least weight.
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Timing is everything in life….especially when it comes to weight loss. A timely study just released from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds us that the calorie density, or the amount of calories per bite of food that you eat, may make all the difference in helping you painlessly shed some of that extra winter weight.
Just ask Barbara Rolls, PhD, researcher, and author of the just released, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, an updated and expanded version of her bestseller book published in 2004. According to research, much of which was conducted by Rolls, it is the volume of food rather than the calories that is the key to helping you feel satisfied or satiated when you eat. Translation: When it comes to weight loss, you need to outsmart your stomach by filling it up with a large volume of low calorie-dense foods to satisfy your hunger, which will enable you to cutback on daily calories. In this case, size does matter.
For example, an apple that would fit in the palm of your hand (about 3 inches) is a mere 75 calories. Because over 85 percent of its weight is from water (0 calories) and fiber (0 calories), it is considered a low-density food as it is low in calories per bite. However, a slice of apple pie, which could also fit in the palm of your hand, has calorie-dense fat and sugar added, along with the apples, so will serve up about 300 calories a slice. (That’s without the a la mode part.) You would have to eat four apples to consume the equivalent of the calories in the pie slice. Because of the apple’s volume, you would likely get “full” after chomping on an apple or two, and thus, consume less calories overall.
Compare these two meals:
Volume-wise, the more colorful dinner plate of grilled chicken, which is loaded with tons of low calorie, high-volume veggies is going to fill you up for less calories compared to the higher fat, more caloric-dense fried chicken meal. In fact, the puny portions in the fried chicken dinner may cause you to go back for seconds (adding more calories to your meal) in order to obtain the volume of foods you need to eat to feel full.
The same strategy goes for soups. By ladling a low-calorie dense, veggie-based soup rather than a high calorie-dense fatty chowder in your bowl, you will end up consuming the same volume of soup but for less calories:
This is actually part of the logic behind the new MyPlate. By devoting half of your plate to low- calorie, high-volume fruits and veggies, you will crowd out the higher, calorie-dense items on your plate while feeling satisfied.
Need help in planning meals that are voluminous but not high in calories? The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet also contains over 100 new recipes developed by registered dietitian and culinary wizard, Mindy Hermann, as well as advice for when you are food shopping and dining out.
You can eat more and weigh less.
By RON WINSLOW
About 200,000 Americans undergo surgical procedures to shrink their stomachs each year in the hope that the resulting weight loss will prevent heart attacks and other consequences of obesity.
Now, a new study that tracked more than 4,000 Swedish patients for a median follow-up of nearly 15 years found the procedures were associated with significant relative reductions in risk of heart-related death, heart attacks and strokes.
Those benefits weren’t associated with the degree of weight loss.
The findings support growing evidence that the benefits from the surgery—one of the few effective remedies against extreme obesity—come from a variety of biological changes that often occur independently of weight loss.
“Given the known association between obesity and cardiovascular disease, intuition would have predicted that the reduced incidence of cardiovascular events would be related to weight loss,” write the research team, led by Lars Sjöström of Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. But the researchers failed to find a significant link between the two.
The findings challenge the practice of using a measurement called body mass index, or BMI, as the key criterion for eligibility for the procedure, some researchers say.
The new study found that the absolute benefit in reducing risk of serious heart events was small: There were 28 heart-related deaths over the study period among 2,010 patients who underwent surgery, compared with 49 deaths among 2,037 who were in a matched control group.
Reports from the same patient group, including one published in 2007, found surgery was associated with a reduction in death from any cause, and favorable outcomes for cancer, diabetes and other conditions.
U.S. guidelines say candidates for surgery should have a BMI, a calculation based on height and weight, of 40 or more, or 35 or more with a obesity-related disease such as diabetes. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lowered the requirements for a less invasive bariatric strategy called gastric- banding to patients with a BMI between 30 and 40 who have at least one complicating disease.
The new study wasn’t a randomized trial—patients between 37 and 60 years old who underwent one of three different approaches to surgery were matched with patients of a similar gender, age and BMI.
Average weight loss among bariatric patients ranged between 16% and 23% for up to 20 years of follow-up, compared with about zero in the non-surgical patients.
Robin Blackstone, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery said recent research shows biological effects of surgery, including lower levels of a hormone called leptin, appear to explain benefits not associated with weight loss.
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By RON WINSLOW
Whether you are just starting a New Year’s diet or struggling to maintain a healthy weight, a provocative new study offers some timely guidance. It isn’t so much what you eat, the study suggests, but how much you eat that counts when it comes to accumulating body fat.
The findings are the latest in a string of studies to challenge claims that the secret to healthy weight loss lies in adjusting the amount of nutritional components of a diet—protein, fat and carbohydrates.
The diet industry has offered dozens of strategies recommending raising or lowering carbohydrates, protein or fat.
In the study, to be published in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, 25 young, healthy men and women were deliberately fed nearly 1,000 excess calories a day for 56 days, but with diets that varied in the amounts of protein and fat.
While those on a low-protein diet—about 5% of total calories—gained less weight than those on a normal- or high-protein regimen, body fat among participants in all three groups increased by about the same amount. Typical protein consumption is about 15% of calories, while the U.S. government recommends it make up between 17% and 21% of total daily calories.
Getty ImagesA woman stands on a scale during her weekly weigh-in at the Wellspring Academy, a California school to help teens lose weight.
“The body was confronted with excess calories, but it didn’t care where they came from,” said George Bray, a researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La., and lead author of the report. “The only thing it can do is put them into fat.”
The findings suggest that it matters little whether a diet is high or low in fat, carbohydrates or protein, it’s calories that build body fat.
“That’s a very important message,” said Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, an obesity researcher at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., who wasn’t involved with the study. “Weight gain depends primarily on excess calories, regardless of the composition of the meal.”
More than 60% of U.S. adults are considered overweight and more than 30% are obese, defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher.
There was a potentially detrimental effect of the low-protein diet: Participants had a reduction in levels of lean body mass. Those whose diet was 15% or 25% protein had an increase in lean body mass, a reason why they gained more weight than those on low-protein fare.
“There is no health-related benefit to a reduction in lean body mass,” said Dr. Bray. “That’s not what you want to happen.”
BMI, a calculation based on height and weight, is widely used to describe the weight status of a population. But it is increasingly controversial when used to assess the health of individual patients.
Edward Livingston, a gastrointestinal surgeon and researcher at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said the fact that patients in the study gained less weight on a low-protein diet but still accumulated substantial body fat suggests relying on BMI measurement may be misleading patients and doctors about obesity risk.
“If your diet is poor, it might be the fat that hurts you,” said Dr. Livingston, who wasn’t involved in the latest study.
“You can’t just look at BMI. That’s a function of your body weight. You ought to be looking at the fat,” he said, and not just body weight.
The patients in the Pennington study ranged in age from 18 to 35 and had BMIs between 19 and 30. (Between 25 and 30 is considered overweight.)
They lived at the center’s metabolic unit for between 10 and 12 weeks and were fed the 1,000 extra calories a day for the final eight weeks of their stay.
Dr. Bray said the more than 50,000 extra calories were roughly equivalent to the excess calories the average American consumes over a decade.
“It was quite a load,” he said, but if they spread the calories out over a longer time “it would take us years to see the changes.”
Carbohydrates were held steady at about 41% to 42% of calories while fat levels varied with the protein regimen.
Regular exercise wasn’t part of the participants’ routine. Physical activity was controlled and participants were monitored to make sure they ate all the food they were given.
After eight weeks, all participants in the study gained weight. The 16 men and nine women made similar gains. The low protein-diet group gained about seven pounds, about half the 13.3 pounds added on by the normal protein participants and 14.4 pounds put on by the high protein group.
Researchers said that previous studies had led them to expect that a high-protein diet would lead to lower weight gain. Yet despite the differences in protein and fat intake, the level of body fat increased by essentially the same amount among all the participants.
Turkey, chicken, tuna and pork chops were among the protein sources. The menu items were the same for each participant, Dr. Bray said, but a participant on the low-protein diet would have gotten more mayonnaise and less tuna in a tuna fish salad, while the high-protein diet was extra tuna with little mayonnaise.
An editorial accompanying the study said that because the diet increase “the risks of overnutrition beyond that detected by body mass index…the magnitude of the obesity epidemic may have been underestimated.”
The editorial, by Zhaoping Li and David Heber of the Center for Human Nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, urged clinicians to focus on “fat reduction rather than simply weight loss” in treating patients with obesity.
Write to Ron Winslow at firstname.lastname@example.org
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