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Lean times for the diet industry

To grasp the plight of the diet industry these days, consider these two statistics: 77% of Americans are actively trying to eat healthier, according to a poll conducted this month for Fortune by Survey Monkey—but only 19% say they’re on a diet.

It’s not that Americans have slimmed down; more than a third of U.S. adults are still considered obese. It’s the fact that more and more people are focused on health first—and calories second. The percentage of women reporting they are on a diet has dropped 13 points over the past two decades, according to research firm NPD Group.

The result: crimped revenues for companies in the business of helping people lose weight. Market leader Weight Watchers has reported sales declines for two consecutive years and is projecting a weak 2015. Revenues have also shriveled at Jenny Craig and meal provider Medifast. Another meal provider, Nutrisystem, whose revenues were soaring a few years ago, has seen sales tumble 21% compared to four years ago.

The trend is also casting a chill on the low-calorie (or low anything) stalwarts in supermarket frozen food aisle. Sales of Weight Watchers dinners (made by Heinz) dropped by 17% from 2009 and 2014, while those for Con Agra’s Healthy Choice line thinned by 11% during that period, according to Euromonitor. Nestle’s Lean Cuisine revenues have shrunk by about a quarter over five years. Euromonitor has projected an additional 8% drop for the category over the next five years.

“Consumers ascribe less direct interest in diet as a standalone need,” said Weight Watchers CEO Jim Chambers in a recent presentation. He acknowledged that consumers are taking a more “holistic” approach by eating healthier, as well as pursuing wellness and fitness goals. (That broad trend towards fresher foods is squeezing not only the diet companies, but also non-diet packaged-food companies; see Fortune’s cover story, The War on Big Food).

The U.S. weight loss market totaled $64 billion in 2014, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a research firm that tracks the industry. Among the categories whose revenues are dwindling are low calorie/diet foods, diet soft drinks, and commercial weight loss centers.

Other categories are expanding, including health clubs, medical weight-loss plans (more on those later) and bariatric surgery. There are also niches of growth in diet foods, including among multi-level marketing companies such as Herbalife.

Beyond the changes in eating, other factors are playing a role. Technology is newly influential. Weight-loss-industry executives point to the proliferation of smartphone apps, says John LaRosa, research director at Marketdata. Health and wellness apps can help track calories and movement. And they particularly appeal to younger consumers, who may feel out of place, LaRosa says, at a Weight Watchers, where the average group leader is 48.

Obamacare has also taken a bite out of the commercial weight loss market. Several provisions in the law promote preventative care for obesity-related services, including mandating insurance reimbursement for such services. But the reimbursement applies only to “qualified providers,” which essentially boils down to those programs run by doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. Programs such as Weight Watchers typically don’t qualify.

CVS Health is a new competitor in this realm. The pharmacy chain offers one-on-one coaching assisted by doctors or nurse practitioners (thus making the program eligible for reimbursement under Obamacare), personalized plans and other weight loss services at 970 MinuteClinic locations. CVS relies on the Dash diet, a plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods.

“For so long, we had weight loss within the commercial marketplace, rather than under the medical umbrella,” says Dr. Kimberly Gudzune, who led a study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine on commercial weight-loss programs. (Her team discovered that Jenny Craig clients shed at least 15 pounds on average after a year, while Weight Watchers participants lose at least eight.)

“All of these changes are happening as we speak,” Gudzune says. “I am hopeful obesity screening and counseling will be an option for more patients than it is today.” That’s good news for patients but not, perhaps, for diet companies.

 

 

 

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Gut bacteria could be the reason why you can’t lose weight

The gut microbiome. Sounds like some sort of science experiment, doesn’t it?  Did you know that the amount of bacteria on and in our bodies outnumbers actual human cells by more than nine times? The majority of those bacteria are in your gut, where 80 percent of your immune cells can also be found. 

What if I told you that every aspect of your health is defined by the ecosystem that lives inside your belly? Scientists are using your microbiome to discover the answers to why we can’t lose weight (even when we eat all the right things and work out) and why we feel depressed (even when things are going extremely well in our lives).

Sounds intriguing, right? Recent research shows that the bacteria in our gut play a huge role in aspects like how well our metabolism is working, our moods (happy, sad, mad, anxious), and inflammation.

Our bodies contain trillions of bacteria (microorganisms) in our intestines; this is known as our gut flora. There are many functions for these living organisms, some include:

  • Helping the body to digest certain foods
  • Producing certain vitamins (B and K)
  • Helping to fight bad bacteria that comes into our bodies
  • Helping to keep our immune system strong

The composition of our intestinal flora evolves as we age and is influenced by environmental factors. If we develop a loss of balance in gut microbiota, this may lead to problems such as functional bowel disorders, allergies, obesity and diabetes.

So in order to achieve greater health and longevity, we need to create a stable environment in our gut.

Still need some convincing? Consider this:

Anxiety From Bad Bacteria

A study done by Oxford scientists on rats showed healthy probiotic supplementation that increases good bacteria gave the rats a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms after just three weeks. Our brain and body are interconnected, constantly sending messages to each other back and forth. If your body is in a state of homeostasis, your mind will feel more balanced and at ease.

Now that you’re convinced, let’s explore what feeds bad bacteria and kills good bacteria:

  • Too many antibiotics
  • Poor quality, processed foods
  • Too much sugar (candy, sweets, alcohol)
  • Food additives, such as Carrageenan
  • Taking (NSAIDs) like Advil, Aspirin and Motrin on a regular basis
  • Too much wheat consumption
  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of sleep

Finally, here are some helpful tools to create a healthy gut:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is predominantly plant based and full of fiber
  • When taking antibiotics increase your consumption of probiotics to help replenish bacteria that is being killed off
  • Get plenty of sleep to balance out your bodies hormonal systems
  • Incorporate probiotic filled foods into your diet: Fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha are all natural ways to get live bacteria

———-

Read more Goal Getter for healthy eating, weight loss and more.

Custom Search

Gut bacteria could be the reason why you can’t lose weight

The gut microbiome. Sounds like some sort of science experiment, doesn’t it?  Did you know that the amount of bacteria on and in our bodies outnumbers actual human cells by more than nine times? The majority of those bacteria are in your gut, where 80 percent of your immune cells can also be found. 

What if I told you that every aspect of your health is defined by the ecosystem that lives inside your belly? Scientists are using your microbiome to discover the answers to why we can’t lose weight (even when we eat all the right things and work out) and why we feel depressed (even when things are going extremely well in our lives).

Sounds intriguing, right? Recent research shows that the bacteria in our gut play a huge role in aspects like how well our metabolism is working, our moods (happy, sad, mad, anxious), and inflammation.

Our bodies contain trillions of bacteria (microorganisms) in our intestines; this is known as our gut flora. There are many functions for these living organisms, some include:

  • Helping the body to digest certain foods
  • Producing certain vitamins (B and K)
  • Helping to fight bad bacteria that comes into our bodies
  • Helping to keep our immune system strong

The composition of our intestinal flora evolves as we age and is influenced by environmental factors. If we develop a loss of balance in gut microbiota, this may lead to problems such as functional bowel disorders, allergies, obesity and diabetes.

So in order to achieve greater health and longevity, we need to create a stable environment in our gut.

Still need some convincing? Consider this:

Anxiety From Bad Bacteria

A study done by Oxford scientists on rats showed healthy probiotic supplementation that increases good bacteria gave the rats a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms after just three weeks. Our brain and body are interconnected, constantly sending messages to each other back and forth. If your body is in a state of homeostasis, your mind will feel more balanced and at ease.

Now that you’re convinced, let’s explore what feeds bad bacteria and kills good bacteria:

  • Too many antibiotics
  • Poor quality, processed foods
  • Too much sugar (candy, sweets, alcohol)
  • Food additives, such as Carrageenan
  • Taking (NSAIDs) like Advil, Aspirin and Motrin on a regular basis
  • Too much wheat consumption
  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of sleep

Finally, here are some helpful tools to create a healthy gut:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is predominantly plant based and full of fiber
  • When taking antibiotics increase your consumption of probiotics to help replenish bacteria that is being killed off
  • Get plenty of sleep to balance out your bodies hormonal systems
  • Incorporate probiotic filled foods into your diet: Fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha are all natural ways to get live bacteria

———-

Read more Goal Getter for healthy eating, weight loss and more.

Custom Search

How to Get the Perfect ‘Dad Bod’

Snack

Gotta get more protein in. Try any Clif bar so you have enough energy to make it to lunch with your bros. Or chug a Gatorade to make yourself feel like you’re an athlete and to look like a straight up boss.

Lunch

If you’re gonna work out today, you gotta fuel up with more carbs and protein. Try this copycat Chick-Fil-A sandwich if you’re too lazy to drive to the real thing. Add some fries if you want. Fries are your friend.

If you’re not feelin’ the workout today, stock up on protein minus the carbs with some buffalo wings. Preferably boneless because honestly, picking out bones is annoying AF. Buffalo wings go best with beer, so have an ice-cold pint.

Workout (or No Workout)

Time to hit the gym. Do some weights so the girls running on the treadmills will be impressed. No cardio needed; you’re going to throw around a frisbee with some of your bros in the quad later anyway.

Remember, the key to dad bod is working out less and eating more. So if you want to take a post-lunch nap instead, have a beer and lay out by the pool.

Snack

Wow, hard workout. More protein needed. Grab your Blender bottle and pour in a good amount of protein powder in with some chocolate milk.

No workout? Well just have a beer. Why eat a snack when you can drink it instead?

Dinner

Time to chill in front of the TV with at least four slices of pizza, washed down with two Coors Lights. Bonus points for ordering in instead of picking it up yourself.

Want to switch it up? Pick anything from Taco Bell’s menu. Live más, right? Remember to have a beer or two or three.

Foods that are always acceptable (aka diet staples):

  • Pizza (especially stuffed crust)
  • Anything buffalo chicken
  • Anything off Taco Bell’s menu
  • All beer (except for light beer — that’s for weaklings)
  • Greasy Chinese food (as non-authentic as possible)

Now that you’ve got your diet plan, remember to follow it. I mean, don’t you want to be this guy?

Stick to your food staples and the chicks will come flocking.

Disclaimer: This article was written purely for satirical purposes. Follow this diet at your own risk, or consult a nutritionist first.

Photos courtesy of Total Frat Move, BuzzFeed, Tiare Brown, Emily Waples,Kelly Redfield and Hannah Lin.

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