Entries in Weight Loss (2)

Wednesday
Oct132010

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.

Wednesday
Nov112009

How to put Weight On!

It is so easy to put on weight as seen in the growing epidemic of people who are overweight and obese. To understand this epidemic all you need to do is look at their diet. But then if you’re not convinced review the scientific journals and you will see exactly the same.
If you want to put on weight eat more processed foods. Yep these include all the take-aways and fast food but even more importantly it’s the breads, pasta’s, packaged breakfast foods and processed potatoes. Not only are these foods laden with extra calories and no nutrients but you will also absorb more of the calories the more the food is processed. You see calories are no longer calories. Research shows that if you feed unprocessed food to a group of mice and then process the same food and feed it to another group of mice, even though the calories are exactly the same the mice fed the unprocessed food do not put on weight while the mice fed the processed food does put on weight. They both had the same amount of calories but as soon as you cook, crush, aerate or process in any way you increase the absorption of calories. Pigs fed raw potatoes do not put on weight, if you cook the potatoes they do. As little as 50% of a raw egg is absorbed and up to 95% of a cooked egg. The more processed the food the greater the absorption of calories.

So if you want to lose weight just do the opposite. Don’t count the calories just eat more raw food and increase your exercise. The raw food will also have multiple other benefits on your health including reducing the risk of and even reversing many forms of chronic illness.