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Here’s What Science Says About The Best Way To Lose Weight (Hint: It Sucks!)

Fat. Sugar. They taste so damn good — which makes it really easy to gain weight. losingfat

As the days are getting longer and warmer — which means pool parties, beach BBQs and Pride celebrations  — we’re all thinking about shedding winter weight gain (along with our clothes). For many of us, our body mass index provides us with a sense of self-worth, and often, a sense of shame. One again, we have a divided self, with one part seeking pleasure and the other restraint.

But before you starve yourself, there’s a lot of bad and confusing advice out there about how to lose weight and keep it off, so here are five things the best science really has to say about what it takes to lose the spare tire and gain a bikini-ready beach bod.

1. Genetics and early environment play a big role.

Scientists are concluding that some people are genetically predisposed to lose or gain weight easier. You could have two people eat the same amount from birth — and one stays skinny and the other, well, not.

Research has also shown the number of fat cells you have is set in early childhood. That means the number of fat cells you have now is the same number you’ll have when you die, no matter how much you exercise or starve yourself. We’re still not sure why this is. Maybe it’s the amount of food your mom ate while pregnant or the amount you ate when you were a child — or just plain genetics. But no matter how much you exercise and stop eating, you won’t reduce the number of your fat cells.

Take away: Set realistic goals based on your specific body and don’t be too hard on yourself.

2. Calories in, calories out is what matters.

While there are numerous fad diets and supplement companies that claim to make weight loss easier, science shows the only thing that really matters is that you’re burning more calories than you ingest. You could eat nothing but twinkies for a month, and as long as you’re eating less calories than you use, you’ll lose weight.

Take away: Count the calories you consume and the calories you burn. The daily total will not lie. Get an estimate of how many calories you burn a day here.

3. Cutting down carbs helps your body and mind 

Reducing carb intake not only makes it physically easier to lose body fat, but also mentally easier. There’s increasing evidence that a diet high in carbohydrates, especially sugar, change your biochemistry so that you burn fat more slowly and feel hungrier more quickly. However, carbs taste crazy amazing, so if you do consume them, make sure they’re in the form of a whole grains or fruits that are high in protein and/or fiber.

That will keep you full for longer.

Take away: Stay away from sugar. But it’s hard to stay away from carbs, which provide a quick source of energy, so make sure you get them from whole grains and fruits.

4. Your body will fight weight loss. Keep a food and exercise diary.

The hardest part about weight loss isn’t losing the weight. It’s keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it. Your body will change chemistry to encourage weight gain — make you hungrier, slow metabolism — it’s designed to store energy.

In study after study, the best weight loss results came from manually recording the calories you consume and the calories you burn. It’s the only way to keep you honest  — you’ll be surprised how quickly it all adds up (or doesn’t). It seems taking the extra time to pay attention to your calories helps you focus on healthier choices.

However, before you start your weight loss regimen, think hard about the reasons you want to lose weight. Whether you’re trying to be healthier, seeking validation, looking to get laid more often — whatever the reason — go for it.

Just understand the tradeoffs you’ll have to make to maintain weight loss. It’s a lifelong struggle that can drain you emotionally. Make sure your reasons are solid. Studies show weight loss doesn’t lead automatically to happiness. There are real mental health issues — depression, anxiety, psychosis — associated with the pursuit of the “perfect” body. If body image is a source of distress for you, please, see a professional.

Take away: Life is too short – and there are too many great meals – to suffer too much over the amount of fat on your body. Chubby guys are cute, after all!

5. The majority of your calories should come from plants.

Fruits, veggies and grains will keep you happy and healthy–and are likely to keep the pounds away at the same time.

Enough said.

Wanna learn more about weight loss? Click the video to see Alex and Xander clarify fat …

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Guy loses nearly 400 pounds with insane diet plan: eating less, exercising more.

In this video, Brian Flemming shares the story of how he lost 390 pounds “through diet and exercise.”


Brian explains,

I was once 625lbs and am now 235lbs. I had a size 62 waist and am now a size 38. After losing all of this weight, I now have 30-40lbs of excess skin left over. This is very difficult for me to show, but it is a constant reminder of who I was when I was obese. It is embarrassing and leaves me very self conscious. It give me back pains and keeps me from doing healthy things that I now love, like running. I have not gone swimming in over 10 years because I was ashamed when I was obese and now I am ashamed because of my skin. I hope to one day get it removed so that I can move on once and for all.

His full story: team383.com. His GoFundMe is here. More videos at his YouTube channel here.

Custom Search

Guy loses nearly 400 pounds with insane diet plan: eating less, exercising more.

In this video, Brian Flemming shares the story of how he lost 390 pounds “through diet and exercise.”


Brian explains,

I was once 625lbs and am now 235lbs. I had a size 62 waist and am now a size 38. After losing all of this weight, I now have 30-40lbs of excess skin left over. This is very difficult for me to show, but it is a constant reminder of who I was when I was obese. It is embarrassing and leaves me very self conscious. It give me back pains and keeps me from doing healthy things that I now love, like running. I have not gone swimming in over 10 years because I was ashamed when I was obese and now I am ashamed because of my skin. I hope to one day get it removed so that I can move on once and for all.

His full story: team383.com. His GoFundMe is here. More videos at his YouTube channel here.

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New analysis finds successes, gaps in community-based diabetes prevention …

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University of Chicago Medicine researchers urge renewed focus on at-risk minority groups and standardization of study design

Lifestyle interventions designed to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can work well in group-based, community settings, conclude authors from the University of Chicago Medicine in a new report issued by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) on March 25, 2015.

The report, supported by NYSHealth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, evaluated evidence from 46 studies that used interventions such as diet, exercise or medication to prevent or delay diabetes in at-risk participants. The findings showed comprehensive, community-based programs that included both exercise programs and diet counseling were more effective than those that used a single approach, or even those that administered medication alone.

“This report shows that it is still worth pursuing these diabetes prevent programs in the community,” said lead author Chia-Hung Chou, PhD, research associate/assistant professor in the Section of General Internal Medicine. “However, before we really pour a lot of money into them, we want to know more about how they should be structured, how they can be adapted to different settings and how we can include more participants from the most vulnerable populations.”

While most diabetes prevention programs were moderately successful at reducing the risk for developing the disease, researchers found that only four studied primarily African-American or Hispanic subjects, despite the high prevalence of the disease in those communities. Lack of standardization in the implementation and documentation of such programs also makes it difficult to assess their costs and long-term effectiveness.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, yet it is preventable. It already affects more than 29 million Americans — almost 1 in 10 — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects this to increase to 1 in 5 Americans by 2050. Prevalence of diabetes is particularly high among racial and ethnic minority groups. Native Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites, while African-Americans and Hispanics are 1.7 times as likely.

Clinical trials conducted in controlled research settings have shown strong evidence that lifestyle interventions can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. The gold standard for such trials is the Diabetes Prevention Program, which was launched by the National Institutes of Health in 2002. That study included more than 3,200 participants, nearly half of whom represented minority groups. Participants who received intensive counseling about diet and exercise cut their risk of diabetes by half. Those who took oral medications cut their risk by one-third.

Since then, many research studies have implemented similar prevention programs in real-world community settings. The new report evaluates the effectiveness of this broad range of programs at reducing the risk or delaying the onset of diabetes.

The report authors identified 46 such prevention programs and calculated how likely the intervention was to reduce the risk of developing diabetes compared with other studies. The analysis found:

  • 23 studies, or 50 percent, implemented full lifestyle interventions of both physical activity and diet; 19 studies, or 41 percent, focused on treatment with medications. The remaining four studies, or 9 percent, introduced diet or physical activity only. Only four of the studies included primarily African-American or Hispanic subjects.
  • There is modest evidence that full lifestyle interventions, including both diet modifications and exercise, can reduce the risk of diabetes. Meanwhile such programs typically can be modified to take place in groups.
  • Programs that focused on either diet or exercise, but not both, do not show much promise for preventing diabetes. Full lifestyle interventions were also more successful than those using medications.
  • Long-term effects of such programs are unclear, due to lack of resources for follow-up.
  • Average costs for the programs are also unclear due to a lack of standardization in study design and documentation.
  • All of the studies that were assessed took place between 2002 and 2013.

To address these gaps, the report’s authors urge health care policymakers to support larger studies assessing the effectiveness of full lifestyle intervention programs in community settings, with a particular focus on recruiting participants from racial and ethnic minority populations that are most vulnerable. The group also recommends further efforts to standardize the design and documentation of community-based prevention programs in order to evaluate their results more consistently and ease implementation in varied settings.

“It may not be possible to ask different research groups to implement prevention programs in a uniform, standardized way,” said Chou. “However, if they are able to follow the same procedure to report their findings and document their study’s implementation and costs, then we will have enough information to know how that program can be implemented again. If we know which parts worked and which parts didn’t, other groups in similar communities can learn from them.”

Additional authors on the report include Deborah Burnet, MD, MA, professor of medicine and pediatrics and Chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine; David Meltzer, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine, and Director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences; and Elbert Huang, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, Director of the Center for Translational and Policy Research of Chronic Diseases, and Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research.

The University of Chicago Medicine
Communications
950 E. 61st Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 702-0025 Fax (773) 702-3171

New analysis finds successes, gaps in community-based diabetes prevention …

Share on:
Post on FacebookFacebook

Add to your del.icio.usdel.icio.us

Digg this storyDigg

StumbleUponStumbleUpon

Twitter

<!–Advertisment–>

University of Chicago Medicine researchers urge renewed focus on at-risk minority groups and standardization of study design

Lifestyle interventions designed to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can work well in group-based, community settings, conclude authors from the University of Chicago Medicine in a new report issued by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) on March 25, 2015.

The report, supported by NYSHealth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, evaluated evidence from 46 studies that used interventions such as diet, exercise or medication to prevent or delay diabetes in at-risk participants. The findings showed comprehensive, community-based programs that included both exercise programs and diet counseling were more effective than those that used a single approach, or even those that administered medication alone.

“This report shows that it is still worth pursuing these diabetes prevent programs in the community,” said lead author Chia-Hung Chou, PhD, research associate/assistant professor in the Section of General Internal Medicine. “However, before we really pour a lot of money into them, we want to know more about how they should be structured, how they can be adapted to different settings and how we can include more participants from the most vulnerable populations.”

While most diabetes prevention programs were moderately successful at reducing the risk for developing the disease, researchers found that only four studied primarily African-American or Hispanic subjects, despite the high prevalence of the disease in those communities. Lack of standardization in the implementation and documentation of such programs also makes it difficult to assess their costs and long-term effectiveness.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, yet it is preventable. It already affects more than 29 million Americans — almost 1 in 10 — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects this to increase to 1 in 5 Americans by 2050. Prevalence of diabetes is particularly high among racial and ethnic minority groups. Native Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites, while African-Americans and Hispanics are 1.7 times as likely.

Clinical trials conducted in controlled research settings have shown strong evidence that lifestyle interventions can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. The gold standard for such trials is the Diabetes Prevention Program, which was launched by the National Institutes of Health in 2002. That study included more than 3,200 participants, nearly half of whom represented minority groups. Participants who received intensive counseling about diet and exercise cut their risk of diabetes by half. Those who took oral medications cut their risk by one-third.

Since then, many research studies have implemented similar prevention programs in real-world community settings. The new report evaluates the effectiveness of this broad range of programs at reducing the risk or delaying the onset of diabetes.

The report authors identified 46 such prevention programs and calculated how likely the intervention was to reduce the risk of developing diabetes compared with other studies. The analysis found:

  • 23 studies, or 50 percent, implemented full lifestyle interventions of both physical activity and diet; 19 studies, or 41 percent, focused on treatment with medications. The remaining four studies, or 9 percent, introduced diet or physical activity only. Only four of the studies included primarily African-American or Hispanic subjects.
  • There is modest evidence that full lifestyle interventions, including both diet modifications and exercise, can reduce the risk of diabetes. Meanwhile such programs typically can be modified to take place in groups.
  • Programs that focused on either diet or exercise, but not both, do not show much promise for preventing diabetes. Full lifestyle interventions were also more successful than those using medications.
  • Long-term effects of such programs are unclear, due to lack of resources for follow-up.
  • Average costs for the programs are also unclear due to a lack of standardization in study design and documentation.
  • All of the studies that were assessed took place between 2002 and 2013.

To address these gaps, the report’s authors urge health care policymakers to support larger studies assessing the effectiveness of full lifestyle intervention programs in community settings, with a particular focus on recruiting participants from racial and ethnic minority populations that are most vulnerable. The group also recommends further efforts to standardize the design and documentation of community-based prevention programs in order to evaluate their results more consistently and ease implementation in varied settings.

“It may not be possible to ask different research groups to implement prevention programs in a uniform, standardized way,” said Chou. “However, if they are able to follow the same procedure to report their findings and document their study’s implementation and costs, then we will have enough information to know how that program can be implemented again. If we know which parts worked and which parts didn’t, other groups in similar communities can learn from them.”

Additional authors on the report include Deborah Burnet, MD, MA, professor of medicine and pediatrics and Chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine; David Meltzer, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine, and Director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences; and Elbert Huang, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, Director of the Center for Translational and Policy Research of Chronic Diseases, and Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research.

The University of Chicago Medicine
Communications
950 E. 61st Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone (773) 702-0025 Fax (773) 702-3171

​The Most Overrated "Healthy" Foods (and What to Eat Instead)

Sometimes a food becomes trendy based on health claims that, as it turns out, the food can’t really support. Here’s a look at a few superfoods that aren’t so super—and suggest some alternatives that are healthier, cheaper, or both.

Now, as a fan of all food, I want to be clear that all of these are delicious and many are nutritious, so it’s not like you have to stop eating them if you love them. These foods made the list because they tend to be hyped with health claims. In each case, either the food’s nutritional information doesn’t support the claim, doesn’t support it as well as other, less-hyped foods, or the food has other health concerns that make it less than virtuous.

Quinoa

If you think quinoa is “one of the most protein rich foods we can eat,” you’ve been suckered. A full cup of cooked quinoa has just eight grams of protein, or slightly more than a single hard-boiled egg. That’s more than a cup of rice, sure (4 grams) but nowhere near a cup of lentils (18 grams) much less the 43 grams of protein in a cup of chopped chicken breast.

Part of quinoa’s claim to protein fame is that it is a “complete” or “high quality” protein, which just means that it contains all nine of the amino acids we need in our diet. Vegetarians used to worry about whether they were getting enough complete protein, but that turned out to be an overblown fear. As long as you’re eating a varied diet, you’ll get all the amino acids you need.

What to eat instead: If you just want protein, have a steak or something. If you specifically want a high-protein grain or pseudograin that your friends aren’t cool enough to have heard of yet, quinoa is a fine option but you could also kick it up a notch and try spelt or teff or amaranth.

Agave Nectar

The sweet liquid that tequila is made from can also be boiled down into a syrup that boasts a low glycemic index. Low GI foods mean that your blood sugar (glucose) doesn’t rise very much when you eat it. On paper that makes it look like a better choice than sugar or honey, especially if you’re diabetic or worried that you might be headed in that direction.

The problem: Agave nectar achieves that feat by simply not containing any glucose. Instead, it’s made of another type of sugar, fructose (the same fructose that’s vilified in high fructose corn syrup.) The details are still under scientific debate, but there’s some evidence that fructose is worse for you than glucose or other sugars. Either way, it’s still a sugar, and sugars in general are linked to all kinds of health problems.

What to eat instead: Other sweeteners, like sugar and honey and maple syrup, are no worse for you than agave, and many are cheaper. For real health benefits, just stop eating so much sugar. (Sorry, but it’s true.)

Coconut Water

It’s known for two things: hydrating you better and more “naturally” than sports drinks, and inspiring deep divides between the people who love it and the people who hate it. (I’m firmly in the “love” camp, especially if I can get the kind with little squares of coconut pulp in it.)

But does it really substitute for a sports drink? Coconut water is high in potassium, and low in sodium and calories. An athlete’s top needs from a sports beverage, besides water, are…sodium and calories. You sweat out far more sodium than potassium, so drinking coconut water, unless you’re using it to wash down some salty potato chips, is kind of a bust.

What to drink instead: For a short workout, water. (You’ll replace the electrolytes when you eat your next meal.) For a long sweaty workout, Gatorade is a fine choice, or you can have water alongside real food like salty snacks. You can also make homemade electrolyte drinks.

Acai Berries

Acai berries have both the hallmarks of a classic superfood: they were obscure until recently, and they have a high antioxidant content. (They also carry a made-up association with weight loss, but no need to discuss that further: it’s a myth popularized by a scam diet.) So why not buy the juice with acai in it, the yogurt with acai in it, or maybe a bag of acai powder to add to your smoothies?

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, and free radicals are associated with cancer, so anything with antioxidants tends to get a health halo. But it doesn’t follow that antioxidant-rich foods are always good for you—in fact, a few studies have shown health risks to taking large amounts of antioxidant vitamins. What’s more, antioxidants are a large family of compounds that each have different potential effects on health. Just knowing that a certain substance can neutralize a lot of free radicals doesn’t guarantee it will be good for your health.

And here is where acai’s superfood standing gets yanked. Many fruits have antioxidants, but acai berries’ claim to fame was their sky-high ORAC value, a score indicating antioxidant capacity. But there turned out to be no meaningful link between ORAC values and health. The USDA took down their ORAC database years ago for this reason. A placeholder page now states:

The data for antioxidant capacity of foods generated by in vitro (test-tube) methods cannot be extrapolated to in vivo (human) effects and the clinical trials to test benefits of dietary antioxidants have produced mixed results. We know now that antioxidant molecules in food have a wide range of functions, many of which are unrelated to the ability to absorb free radicals.

Antioxidant-containing foods are still often good for you, but not necessarily because of their antioxidant content. Without ORAC, there is no ranking by which acai berries can be said to be better or healthier than, say, blueberries, which contain similar compounds.

What to eat instead: You probably weren’t eating acai berries to begin with; you were probably buying iced tea or salad dressing or lotion with a small amount of acai in it. (Pro tip: don’t eat the lotion.) So, go ahead and buy whichever of those products you would have chosen if it weren’t for the word “acai” on the label.

If you really want more antioxidants in your diet and want to lower your risk of cancer, almost any fruits and vegetables will do (partly because we don’t really have enough evidence to point out specific ones). Blackberries, tomatoes, kale, you get the idea. If you’re stuck on ORAC values and are in the juice aisle, don’t forget that plain old concord grape juice, the kind you guzzled as a kid, scores higher than acai juice.


Vitals is a new blog from Lifehacker all about health and fitness. Follow us on Twitter here.

Photos by Dave Pickersgill, Christian Guthier, Ken Bosma, Koshy Koshy, papagaio-pirata.

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