iDiet shines a spotlight on weight loss news
The diet news that’s worth your time
The news is always full of weight loss and health headlines, but have you noticed many of them are more click-bait than serious journalism? We’ve sorted through recent headlines that caught our attention, and summarized some of the more responsible and well-researched stories for you. We are particularly attracted to helpful, educational stories with a basis in scientific research. Enjoy!
Abdominal fat and what to do about it
Summary: Visceral fat is fat that is carried in the abdomen, padding the spaces between your internal organs. It is metabolically different than the subcutaneous fat under your skin, and has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes. It is also associated with breast cancer and gallbladder problems in women.
This type of fat produces hunger-stimulating hormones, and can disrupt the normal communication of the many hormones in your body that regulate weight and hunger. It also produces cytokines that can put you at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, and disrupt blood pressure and blood clotting.
What 2000 Calories Looks Like
Summary: A visual story showing how easy it is to eat more than an entire day’s worth of calories in one meal.
How Sugar and Fat Trick the Brain into Wanting More Food
Summary: Processed foods confuse our ability to know when we are full.
Our bodies normally produce a variety of signaling hormones that help us know when we are full, and even more helpfully, when we are putting on weight and need to dial back on the portion sizes. But extremely sweet or fatty foods activate the reward areas of our brains and override the normal functioning of our complex hunger signaling systems. Rodent studies show that excessive body fat can also interfere with the hormones that normally signal fullness. But losing weight can bring these systems back into balance.
Editor’s note: the iDiet plans cover these modern hunger problems in detail and provide strategies for handling tempting high-calorie foods both at home and away.
Obesity Is Linked to at Least 13 Types of Cancer
Summary: In addition to the cancers that were already acknowledged as being weight-linked (esophogeal, colorectal, breast, uterine and kidney cancers), a review of over a thousand studies by the World Health Organization has linked excess fat to at least 8 more types of cancer: gastric cardia, liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, thyroid, ovarian, meningioma, and multiple myeloma.
Combined, these 13 cancers account for 42 percent of all new cancer diagnoses. This means being overweight now surpasses smoking as the number one cause of new cancer diagnoses.
Don’t Give Up on Weight Loss Because of “Biggest Loser”
Tufts research doesn’t support surprising findings of slowed metabolism.
Summary: You may have heard about a recent study of 14 Biggest Loser contestants who were measured 6 years after the show ended, and had regained and average of 2/3 of the weight they lost. The study also claimed their metabolisms had slowed more than should be expected.
In contrast, Dr. Roberts’ Energy Metabolism Laboratory has published two larger and more rigorous studies that show almost no negative effect of weight loss on metabolism, beyond what would be expected from weight loss alone. In other words, a smaller body requires fewer calories to maintain weight, but the decrease is normal and predictable in people studied who did not crash-diet.
Dr. Roberts noted that several scientifically rigorous studies conducted on people losing weight by less extreme methods than used on the show indicate that calorie requirements do seem to decrease with weight loss, but the decrease is approximately in proportion to pounds lost. “This is a much different and more positive message. Rather than instilling the sense of futility that characterizes the experiences of the TV contestants, this shows that healthy weight loss can lead to healthy prevention of weight regain when we continue the effective habits that made weight loss possible in the first place. Plus when resting metabolic rate decreases in proportion to weight loss it means that metabolism remains normal, not unhealthily low.”
She also observed, “It is not appropriate for the media to extrapolate broad conclusions from a small self-selected group of people undergoing bizarre and unsustainable regimens that are entertaining as in a reality show but are not sustainable,” Roberts says. “My recommendation is to recognize the dramatic weight loss experienced on the TV show is an aberration that should not be confused with the experiences of those who embark on a moderate, healthy, well-designed regimen to lose weight and to keep it off.”
Does Subsidizing Crops We’re Told To Eat Less Of Fatten Us Up?
Summary: A multifaceted discussion and debate on food policy in the United States, including whether our farm subsidies are in alignment with our public health goals. Fun fact: less than 1% of all farm subsidies are targeted at fruits and vegetables — whether that’s for growing, marketing, or research to improve their quality or yield.