Entries in Weight Loss (6)


Diet binging is just as good for weight loss as calorie restriction diets.

Dieting and calorie restriction is popular for weight management. However, there is little research to show their effectiveness especially over long periods and adhering to the long-term energy restriction that is required to achieve lasting, clinically significant weight loss is notoriously difficult.

Weight reducing diets involving intermittent energy restriction have recently gained popularity amongst health professionals and members of the public alike. These involve restricting energy intake by varying degrees for a pre-defined period of time, and eating ad libitum (i.e. to satisfy appetite)–or at least more than during the energy-restricted period—at all other times. The most common form of intermittent energy restriction is ‘intermittent fasting’.

In this study mice that were made obese by a diet high in fat and sugar for 22 weeks were then fed one of two energy-restricted normal chow diets for a 12-week weight loss phase. The continuous diet (CD) provided 82% of the energy intake of age-matched ad libitum chow-fed controls. The intermittent diet (ID) provided cycles of 82% of control intake for 5–6 consecutive days, and ad libitum intake for 1–3 days.

Mice on the ID overall ate significantly more than CD mice however there were no significant differences between the two trial groups at the end.  Body weight, fat mass, circulating glucose or insulin concentrations, or the insulin resistance index were the same.

This type of intermittent moderate energy restriction may offer an advantage over continuous moderate energy restriction, because it induces significantly greater weight loss relative to energy deficit in mice.

The rationale for this is that while energy restriction—notably severe energy restriction—is known to induce adaptive responses such as reduced energy expenditure that inhibit further weight loss and promote weight regain. In other words you reduce your metabolism when you stay on energy restricted diets and having a break form them appears to kick start the metabolism.

So it seems that if you break your diet it ok and may actually have some advantages but only iff like the mice you eat as much healthy food as you want. Not processed foods.


Intermittent Moderate Energy Restriction Improves Weight Loss Efficiency in Diet-Induced Obese Mice

Radhika V. Seimon,

Yan-Chuan Shi,

Katy Slack,

Kailun Lee,

Hamish A. Fernando,

Amy D. Nguyen,

Lei Zhang,

Shu Lin,

Ronaldo F. Enriquez,

Jackie Lau,

Herbert Herzog ,

Amanda Sainsbury

January 19, 2016

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145157


Fibre for weight loss

Fibre in general has been shown to consistently reduce the risk of weight gain, obesity and diabetes. Fibre is also closely aligned with low energy density of food, as it is often indigestible with little or no calories. Adding fibre to foods and eating naturally high fibre foods consistently shows improved feeling of fullness, hunger satisfaction and weight loss. In a study of obese participants consuming a high-fat meal (36% from fat) with or without fibre (polydextrose 15 g), the fibre supplementation increased the after-dinner secretion of the satiety hormone GLP-1 and reduced hunger after the high-fat meal. Similarly, another study found that meals supplemented with 2.4 grams of flaxseed fibre promoted a greater feeling of satiety and fullness in men compared to meals without the fibre. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 37 calories, two grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which include Omega 3s, and two grams of fibre. In another study, the addition of ground flaxseed lowered inflammation and improved numerous health outcomes.

In one study, overweight and obese subjects who had a soluble fibre supplement lost about four kilograms more than people in the placebo group over 16 weeks. In the study, 200 overweight or obese patients were randomly assigned to receive either a mixed fibre dose twice or three times a day or a placebo for 16 weeks. At the end of the study, weight loss was higher in both fibre groups (4.52 and 4.60 kg lost in the twice- and three-times-a-day group, respectively), compared to the placebo group (0.79 kg lost) and the fibre group also felt fuller for longer. In a study of 120 healthy females, 60 volunteers receiving fibre showed significant reduction in BMI, by 0.32, and body fat percentage by 2.18% following regular intake of 30 grams a day of Gum Arabic for six weeks.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the weight loss benefits of 15 g/day of yellow pea fiber found it to be an effective addition to a weight loss program. 9 people received the pea fibre over a 12 week period and lost 0.87 kg of body weight, primarily due to body fat whereas the control subjects gained 0.40 kg of weight over the 12 weeks. The pea fibre group also reported better blood sugar control. The researchers reported that in the absence of other lifestyle changes, incorporating 15 g/day yellow pea fiber may yield small but significant metabolic benefits and aid in obesity management.

Research also highlights the contribution of wholegrain and fibre to a healthy weight maintenance program. In one study, substituting two slices of wholegrain bread daily reduced the risk of weight gain in women by as much as 49%. Over an eight-year period, for every 20 g increase in dietary fibre per day, weight gain can be reduced by up to 5.5 kg; over the same period, those with the highest wholegrain intake gained half as much weight as those with the lowest intake. Add this to all the other things you can do and it all adds up quickly. People who consume more wholegrain foods have consistently been shown to reduce weight gain. Unfortunately, most western diets come far short of the minimum recommended allowance for fibre, often around 1/3. So supplementing with fibre can produce many unexpected benefits including weight loss and better toileting habits.

How simple it is to add a bit of fibre and more high fibre meals to your healthy eating regime.



Exercise for weight loss

Exercises on television shows like “the biggest losers“ give a false impression of the role of exercise. Exercise, unless it is extreme in the case of the biggest losers who have cameras and personal trainers and doctors etc. plays a relatively lesser role in weight loss and may even backfire in people who over do it. That doesn’t mean you don’t do anything because being active is critical for many aspects of your overall health and wellbeing were just saying you don’t have to be a gym junkie to get to your optimal weight.  A lot of evidence shows that aerobic exercises which are great for the heart are minimally effective for weight loss, although they have multiple other benefits including reducing your risk of all forms of chronic illness. The problem is that, in general terms, exercise does not burn tons of calories (unless we’re doing heroic amounts of it). It doesn’t usually take much additional eating to wipe out any calorie deficit induced through exercise. For example the energy burned while walking 30 minutes (170 calories) each day will only lose you around one kilogram after 50 days. In the study, 23 overweight and healthy men engaged in a 6-month programme of exercise 108 minutes of exercise a week changed the expression of about a third of the genes in the fat cells, including some that relate to the risk of type 2 diabetes and the development of obesity. As well as changes in waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, diastolic blood pressure (the lower of the two blood pressure readings), resting heart rate and levels of HDL-cholesterol. However, weight only declined by 1 kg on average and appeared to be no less fat for their efforts.

In a meta analysis of children’s weight loss, Physical activity interventions were not associated with reductions of BMI. However, there was an association between the interventions and reduction of blood pressure. In a study of overweight people expending either 300 or 600 calories a day exercising for 12 weeks twice the exercise did not translate into improved weight loss. Those doing 300 calories of exercise lost an average of 2.7 kg compared to 3.6 kg for the 600 calorie exercise group.  Double the exercise lead to a 30% extra loss of weight. Of interest those exercising for about half an hour a day (300 calories) had a more positive attitude to exercise. Doing larger amounts of exercise are harder which is a barrier to maintaining the exercise.

On the positive side exercise is great for keeping weight off. The more you are active the less likely you are to put on excess weight. In a study of 25 639 men and women an increase in weight was associated with higher risk of being inactive 10 years later. Compared with stable weight, a gain in weight of more than 2 kg per year is associated with physical inactivity

Exercising for weight loss

But don’t stop exercising if you like exercising just yet because the level of exercise also has a large impact on your Resting Metabolic Rate and thermogenesis. There are certain things you can do to improve your weight through exercise. The first is to increase your muscle mass through anaerobic, muscle building exercise. The more muscle you have the higher your resting metabolic rate. That is the more you burn excess fuel while you are resting

You can also use exercise and physical activity to increase your thermogensis at critical times, in a sense tricking you body into burning calories before it is stored around your waist. Insulin is a major contributor to weight gain. The more insulin released with a carbohydrate dense meal the more weight you put on around the waste. However, increasing physical activity soon after a meal, even just standing up increases the cells requirements for the sugar without releasing extra insulin. Within seconds of any physical activity one of the non-insulin sugar pathways into the cells, the Glut 4 transporters are activated to remove sugar from the blood. This reduces blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity (very good for diabetics). That is less insulin does more work. Regular exercise also increases the number of Glut 4 transporters. The more you exercise the more Glut 4 transporters your body will make. Any diabetic will tell you that as soon as they exercise their blood sugar levels goes down straight away. This means less to be stored as fat around the waist. In a study of thirteen obese-patients with type-2 diabetes post-dinner resistance exercise improved both postprandial glucose and glycation-end products, the damage caused by sugar. Post meal physical activity takes the sugar out of the blood before it can cause harm and build up around the waist. Associated with the increase in Glut 4 transporters is that exercise also increases the production of mitochondria which are the energy burning factories of the cells, and a lack of exercise causes numbers to deteriorate.

Exercise for your hunger genes

Like the different foods exercise can also alter how hungry you feel. In its natural environment your body is in perfect balance and everything feeds back on itself to constantly bring it back into balance. While being more active and exercising generally sends messages to eat more, to keep it all in balance you can also use exercises to suppress your appetite and trick the body. Exercise can suppress appetite, subsequent energy intake, and alter appetite-regulating hormones for a period of time post-exercise. Most people experience appetite suppression following an acute bout of exercise as exercise reduces your immediate feelings of hunger. In a study of 9 women who had fasted for some time before the experiment. They found that appetite ratings of the subjects in the exercise group fell for up to 2 hours after they had been placed on a treadmill for 30 minutes. Similar results have been found with different types of workouts and generally the exercise with greater metabolic and mechanical demand (weight-bearing exercise) showed greater immediate appetite suppression. So if you are reducing your calorie intake it is worth being active before a meal as well to reduce those immediate hunger pangs.

There is just no down side to physical activity unless you try to do too much too quickly like the biggest losers.






Standing UP for Weight LOSS

It is funny to think that something as simple as regularly standing up can have so many health benefits. Not just for reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes but also reduce your risk of weight gain. And if done at the right time even help with weight loss. 

Sitting for any length of time may not be good for us, as more and more evidence shows that sedentary behaviours including sitting, watching television, using a computer, and driving a car are risk factors, independent of physical activity, for adverse chronic disease in adults such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and much more. You can do a long run every night, but if you sit too long during the day you still increase your risk of these chronic conditions. In a study of 2,761 women and 2,103 men without clinically diagnosed diabetes, sitting time was detrimentally associated with waist circumference, BMI (body mass index), weight gain, blood pressure, fasting blood fats, HDL cholesterol, two-hour postload plasma glucose, and fasting insulin. A sure way to put on weight. In a meta-analysis using 48 studies, a consistent relationship of sedentary behaviour with mortality was found with weight gain from childhood. That is, the greater the sedentary time in childhood, the greater the weight gain. 

It appears that any type of brief, yet frequent, muscular contraction throughout the day—such as standing or moving—may create healthy epigenetic signals which positively alter the body’s biochemistry and metabolism. One of these is a particular muscle chemicals, lipoprotein lipase (LPL), a protein enzyme has been studied in depth because this enzyme has a central role in several aspects of fat metabolism. Experimentally reducing movement by sitting had a much greater negative effect on LPL regulation than a positive effect of adding vigorous exercise training on top of the normal level of non exercise activity. In rat studies the amount of time spent sedentary influences how our bodies process fats given that leg muscles only produce the lipase lipoprotein (LPL) fat-processing molecule when they are being actively flexed, either standing or moving. What this shows is that by simply standing up more frequently you increase your muscle activity to reduce sugar and fats in the blood. To achieve even better effects you can stand up after a meal rather than sitting down and watching Television. In support of this one study reported that independent of total sedentary time and moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity time, increased breaks in sedentary time were beneficially associated with waist circumference, body mass index, triglycerides, and 2-hour plasma glucose. While in a study of 70 adults involving sitting for nine hours, regular activity breaks lowered plasma insulin levels and lowered plasma glucose when compared with prolonged sitting, even when compared with physical activity. While physical activity lowered plasma triglyceride more with regular activity breaks, activity breaks were more effective than continuous physical activity at decreasing negative blood sugar and insulin levels in healthy, normal-weight adults. 

Overall, there is a compelling case for sitting reduction to be included in clinical preventive advice as a key component of “active living,” where adults and children are encouraged to “stand up, move more and sit less” across different settings and locations throughout the day. Just standing up every 20 or 30 minutes can have a remarkable health benefit reducing your risk of many chronic illnesses. How simple is that. The results of these studies suggests that, at a minimum, we need to be breaking up our sitting time every 20 to 30 minutes. 

So it is now time to stand up for your health and weight loss!

Interested in learning more on the latest research on weight loss from Dr Peter Dingle? His latest book - Unlock Your Genes for Weight Loss - is now AVAILABLE TO ORDER


Science shows we can lose weight

In two recent studies reported in the journal of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1503/ doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1505) they showed that structured lifestyle programs can lead to significant weight loss in obese women. I know it sounds obvious but sometimes science needs to do that to show everyone that it really can be done.

In the first study of around 450 overweight or obese women the intervention included weekly counselling, increased activity, and reduced-energy intake with free prepackaged meals (Jenny Craig). At 2 years, weight loss was greater with the intervention than with usual care (7 kg vs. 2 kg). A good result but what was their nutritional status like?

In the second study, 130 severely obese adults (mostly women) took part in a one-year intensive lifestyle intervention consisting of diet and physical activity. One group (initial physical activity) was randomized to diet and physical activity for the entire 12 months; the other group (delayed physical activity) had the identical dietary intervention but with physical activity delayed for 6 months.

So one group started the exercise earlier. At 6 months, the early-exercisers had lost more weight, which is what you would expect but at 12 months, early- and delayed-exercisers had similar weight loss (12 kg and 10 kg, respectively). One of the findings the researchers reported was that these findings "directly counter the dogma that ... severely obese individuals do not respond to lifestyle intervention,".

So what is the key. Both programs had a strong structure and motivation built in and had pre prepared meals. The first study was sponsored by Jenny Craig (Nestle), but they had no role in the experimentation. The advantage of the pre prepared meals is that the people don’t have to think about their meals. Or is it an advantage. My preference is to get people to eat a big salad before a meal, just like the French do and what we do at home. It is also important to get people to think about nutrition beyond just calories and food beyond filling a big empty hungry feeling or some emotional need.