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Football fans get FFITer and lose weight

An initiative that helps male football fans feel better and live a healthier lifestyle by losing weight, taking more exercise, and improving their diet has been a resounding success, according to new research published in The Lancet and BMC Public Health.

The Football Fans in Training programme (FFIT) has run for three seasons at Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) clubs. The research, led by a team at the University of Glasgow, UK, shows that FFIT has proved extremely popular with men, and its effectiveness and value for money have now been clearly demonstrated in one of the world's first randomised control trial (RCT) of a health programme delivered through professional sports clubs.

Professor Sally Wyke, one of the two Principal Investigators from the University of Glasgow said: "We now have 'gold standard' evidence that the FFIT programme can help men lose weight and keep it off. After 12 months, the difference in weight loss between men who did the programme and men in a comparison group, who did not do the programme, was 4·94kg."

The study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research (NIHR PHR) Programme, began in June 2011 and involved 747 men.

The article published in BMC Public Health presents the starting, baseline, measurements of men who participated in the FFIT research. The baseline measurements showed that 90% of participants had a BMI (body mass index) over 30 kg/m2, which classified them as obese. The research team carried out focus groups to see what initially drew men to the programme and their reluctance to use other weight loss programmes. One man said, when speaking of what attracted him to FFIT: "I was very aware that every time I was buying a new suit, the trouser size was getting bigger and I just wanted to address it. And with FFIT having a tie with the team I've supported all my life, I felt that the two kind of - they fitted nicely. It meant I could do something [about my weight] and I could get a wee sneaky peek behind the scenes at the club."

The Lancet article establishes the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the programme, showing that the men who participated in FFIT lost more than 9 times as much weight as men who had not done the programme. As well as losing weight when they were on the 12 week programme, nearly 40% of men who participated in the programme maintained a weight loss of at least 5% of their original body weight a full 12 months later, an outcome associated with lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and other health problems. The study also found that FFIT had other benefits it helped men reduce their waist size, body fat and blood pressure. Participants also increased their physical activity levels, and improved their diets and mental wellbeing.

The cost-effectiveness analysis of FFIT revealed that the intervention was relatively inexpensive to deliver, suggesting that FFIT could offer good value for money for local and national health providers.

Derek Spence, who has lost 14·9kg (2 stones and 5lbs) since starting FFIT at Hibernian FC in September 2011 said: "I had tried to do fitness things before, and my motivation had let me down. But coming to Hibs and doing the Football Fans in Training Programme gave me a lot more confidence to continue with it. Since then, I've done an 18 lap run around the pitch at Easter Road for charity I play 90 minutes of football and 5-a-side. Things I wouldn't have looked at before now, I do now. I also learnt so much about things like portion sizes: you already know you might be eating too much, but seeing it in front of you makes all of the difference. It's just been a fantastic experience."

Professor Kate Hunt, from the Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow and the other study Principal Investigator said: "Weight management and dieting are often wrongly viewed as women's issues, meaning that some men do not want to take part in existing weight management programmes. The FFIT programme shows that men are keen and able to make positive changes to their health in the right circumstances, and the football club is a great setting for weight management and other health initiatives for men. Participants really enjoyed being with other men like them, with a shared interest in football and similar health issues to address. They loved having the opportunity to spend time at the club, using parts of the stadium that they couldn't ordinarily access. And they appreciated the chance to be encouraged, trained, and informed by the club's coaches. This model has real potential for the future."

Writing in a Comment linked to The Lancet article, Dr David Lubans, of the University of Newcastle, Australia, says that, "Although rates of obesity in men are increasing, men are less likely to consider themselves overweight or to volunteer for weight loss studies...Football is a very popular sport in many European countries, and the use of professional football clubs to deliver a health behaviour intervention for overweight men is highly innovative...the findings from the FFIT study could encourage researchers and health professionals to use this strategy in other sports (eg, rugby union, American football, and basketball) to combat the global obesity epidemic."


High-protein diets, like the popular Dr. Dukan diet, increase the risk of developing kidney disease in rats, study suggests

An experiment done in rats by scientists at the University of Granada, Spain, shows a high-protein diet increases the chance of developing kidney stones and other renal diseases.

High-protein diets, like the popular Dr. Dukan diet, increase the long-term risk of developing kidney disease and have a negative effect on renal urinary and morphological markers, the study suggests. What's more, they may promote serious pathologies like nephrolithiasis (calcium kidney stones) because they drastically reduce urinary citrate (an inhibitor of calcium salt crystallization) and urinary pH, and increase urinary calcium (to compensate for the metabolic acidity caused by excess protein).

University of Granada scientists have demonstrated this in an experiment in rats that examined the effects of a high-protein diet on renal urinary, plasma and morphological parameters.
The researchers studied 20 Wistar rats, divided into two groups of 10. The first group were fed a high-protein diet of commercial hydrolysed protein supplements with a 45% protein level. The control group were fed a normal protein diet. The experiment lasted 12 weeks, which is the equivalent of 9 years in human terms.

10 per cent weight loss
The results showed that the rats on a high-protein diet lost up to 10% of their body weight over the 12 weeks with no improvement in their plasma lipid profile. Moreover, urinary citrate in these rats was 88% lower and urinary pH was 15% more acidic. In the animals fed a high-protein diet, kidney weight increased by 22%, glomerular area -- the network of capillaries that filter blood in the kidneys -- by 13%, and the mesangium -- a collagen structure surrounded by these capillaries -- by 32%.

The results of this study lead the principle author, Dr Virginia A. Aparicio of the University of Granada Department of Physiology, to stress the need to closely monitor anyone on a high-protein diet. The Dukan diet, and others like it, may have serious long-term adverse effects on their health, if the rat study results are applicable to humans.
She warns that the negative effects of high-protein diets on the kidney also depend on the presence of other nutrients in the diet. "Eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of kidney stones forming -- probably due to their high potassium and magnesium content, which compensates for the acidity of the high-protein diet," Dr Aparicio concludes.


Diet beverages no solution for weight loss

Overweight adults who believe drinking diet soda will help them lose weight, or keep weight off, should think again.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who examined national patterns in adult diet beverage consumption and calorie intake found that overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food than obese or overweight adults who drink regular soda or other sugary beverages. The results are published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“Although overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they consume significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks,” said Sara Bleich, PhD, associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and lead author of the paper.
Using data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers looked at national patterns in adult diet beverage consumption and caloric intake by body-weight status. The NHANES is a population-based survey designed to collect information on the health and nutrition of the US population.

Diet sodas mess with your head – and waistline
Although the association  was based on data from dietary questionnaires rather than a forensic look at total diet over time, it adds to a growing body of research suggesting diet sodas don’t deliver the benefits the promise – and may even do harm
Consumption of diet soda has increased considerably in the past few decades from 3% in 1965 to 20% today. Individuals who drink diet soda typically have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and consume more snack food than those who drink sugary beverages.
Earlier research may explain why the investigators found higher consumption of solid food among heavy adults who drink diet beverages. Artificial sweeteners, which are present in high doses in diet soda, are associated with a greater activation of reward centres in the brain, thus altering the reward a person experiences from sweet tastes.

In other words, among people who drink diet soda, the brain’s sweet sensors may no longer provide a reliable gauge of energy consumption because the artificial sweetener disrupts appetite control. As a result, consumption of diet drinks may result in increased food intake overall.
Other evidence has suggested that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners could put some at higher risk of diabetes.

“The results of our study suggest that overweight and obese adults looking to lose or maintain their weight–who have already made the switch from sugary to diet beverages–may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification,” said Bleich.


Study points to 'growing class gap' in US teen obesity

Although recent reports suggest the childhood obesity epidemic in the US may have abated somewhat, a new study finds that the overall trend masks growing socioeconomic disparities, with teens in poorer families showing increased rates of obesity.

In August 2013, researchers reported how for the first time in 30 years, in all but one state of the US, obesity rates are holding steady.

Meanwhile, also in August 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that US child obesity rates are dropping.
Stable pattern masks widening gap

But Dr. Carl Frederick, of Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and colleagues noticed a disturbing pattern underlying these apparently welcome trends, which they reported in a recent online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

"[...] we document that the overall trend in youth obesity rates masks a significant and growing class gap between youth from upper and lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds."
An overweight and a skinny teen next to each other.
The researchers found an obesity rate class gap, in which obesity rates among teens from an upper socioeconomic group fell, while rates among teens from a lower socioeconomic group increased.

They found that up to 2002, obesity rates for all teenagers rose at the same rates, but after that, a class gap appeared, and got wider and wider, showing that while obesity has starting falling among teens of higher socioeconomic status, it has continued to rise among those of lower socioeconomic status.

The authors say their findings highlight a need for public health interventions to address disadvantaged adolescents who remain at risk. They should also look at how health information circulates among different socioeconomic groups, they add.

For their study, they examined changes in obesity by socioeconomic background among American youngsters aged between 12 and 17. They got their data from two nationally representative health surveys: the 1988-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and the 2003-2011 National Survey of Children's Health.

They describe what they found:

    "Although the overall obesity prevalence stabilized, this trend masks a growing socioeconomic gradient: The prevalence of obesity among high-socioeconomic status adolescents has decreased in recent years, whereas the prevalence of obesity among their low-socioeconomic status peers has continued to increase."

Widening obesity gap between groups linked to lifestyle differences

The comprehensive data set allowed them to look at other possibly linked factors. They found for instance, there were also socioeconomic differences in levels of physical activity, and calorie intake, which they note "may have contributed to the growing obesity gradient."

They suggest doing more to promote healthy lifestyles among young people, especially in the lower socioeconomic groups, would not only help tackle the obesity epidemic among teenagers and reduce the burden of consequent chronic diseases, but would also reduce future health care costs and pave the way for an overall healthier nation.


Will 2014 Be the Year That the Paleo Diet Goes Mainstream?

The annual Google Zietgist list shows the top search terms each year, and this year the Paleo diet took the prize as the most googled diet term of the year.  To those of us that champion eating this way, this is FANTASTIC news.  I love hearing that more and more people are becoming curious about the way that humans are supposed to eat.  Even better,  media outlets like NPR, the Huffington Post, and even the skeptical  Daily Beast are all talking about Paleo this week, which will get even more people interested to find out what the Paleo and Primal ways of eating are all about.
Growth of the Paleo Diet

When I started this website, my hope was that sharing my story and experiences could help motivate others to give the diet a try.  I am not a person who has been eating this way for years, and the knowledge that I learn and the stories shared come from someone who is still in the discovery phase.  That said, I have now lost over 25 pounds eating Primally, and I have come to believe that anyone can achieve health benefits and even weight loss by modifying their  diet in the same way.

Judging from the numbers, it appears that the same realization been happening organically long before I started.  For several years now, Paleo/Primal sites have dominated the health/weight-loss best sellers list on, and some studies estimate that as many as 3 million Americans are currently on some variation of the “caveman diet“.
America in Crisis

I am convinced that a health revolution is going to happen in this country in the next 5-10 years.  We spend 2.8 trillion dollars on health care each year, and yet the number of people who are sick in this country continues to climb.  According to recent statistics released by the CDC, 69.2 percent of American adults over the age of 20 are overweight, and 35.9% are considered obese.  When troubling numbers like these are growing every single year, clearly something we are doing is causing problems.

We cannot continue to go down this path.  At some point, we as a society are going to need to take a look at our behavior and figure out what is causing this health crisis.  We are taking more drugs and medicine than ever, and the problems are only getting worse, so clearly that is not the solution.  It is really quite simple when you strip everything down to its core.  It all starts with what we put into our bodies.  We need to examine our nutrition, and be willing to make some wholesale changes.  I believe that 10 years from now, many of the common ingredients found in processed food may be looked at the same way we look at cigarettes today.  These chemicals are wrecking our bodies and making us sick, and we have to stop eating them.  I can’t say for certain if this shift will happen in 2014, and it will indeed be the year that the Paleo Diet goes mainstream, but I do think it will happen soon.
Availability of Paleo Friendly Foods

I do look forward to the day when Paleo becomes mainstream.  Restaurants and grocery stores will have to start replacing their processed items filled with nastiness like MSG and High Fructose Corn Syrup, with all natural ingredients.  The availability of organic and grass feed meats would likely increase as well.  It is certainly possible to eat Paleo today at just about any grocery store or restaurant, but you do sometimes have to spend considerable time researching and reading labels to pull it off properly.

I recently read an article about a Paleo-Themed restaurant in the UK that is trying to get kickstarter funds to get moving. I believe that there will come  a day in the near future when restaurants like this are commonplace, and that will certainly be a good day for our society as a whole.


New Study to Explore Intervention to Help Reduce Weight in People With Schizophrenia

A group of researchers, led by Professor Richard Holt at the University of Southampton, are to investigate whether people with schizophrenia or first episode psychosis are able to reduce their weight through a structured education program.
People with schizophrenia are two to three times more likely to be overweight or obese. As well as a range of adverse physical health consequences, such as diabetes and heart disease, weight gain may be an important factor that stops people taking their antipsychotic medication. This increases the risk of relapse of the schizophrenia and worse mental health.

However, if they can change their diet and exercise habits, their weight may reduce and quality of life improve.
The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme, will develop an education approach, originally designed by the University of Leicester DESMOND team, to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, for people with schizophrenia. This will be examined in a randomized controlled STEPWISE (Structured lifestyle Education for People WIth SchizophrEnia) trial and compared to usual health and social care.

The program will include four weekly sessions with clinicians and follow up sessions after three, six and nine months all focusing on diet and exercise.
The study will start recruiting participants from participating NHS Trusts in October 2014.

Richard Holt, Professor in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Southampton, is leading the project in collaboration with co-investigators at the Universities of Sheffield and Leicester and mental health trusts across the UK. The study is sponsored by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

"We know people with severe mental illness die 10 to 20 years earlier than the general population. The commonest cause is from heart disease and being overweight or obese increases this risk. We want to develop a program for use in the NHS that will help people with schizophrenia address the problem of obesity," explains Professor Holt.

Dr David Shiers, a retired GP and collaborator on the project, said: "Given how weight gain can damage long term physical health as well as increase stigma it is incumbent on clinicians to seek more effective ways to offset such a serious adverse effect of the antipsychotic medication they prescribe."


The God Diet: Can It Really Perform Weight Loss Miracles?

The God Diet is the latest weight-loss craze, one that turns to a clean-eating strategy that stretches back thousands of years.

The diet is based on two passages of the Bible pertaining to Daniel. In the first passage, Daniel fasted and ate only vegetables and drank only water to set himself apart for God. Later he fasts again, cutting out all meat, wine, and rich foods from his diet.

Faithful followers who turned to the Bible for moral direction have noted the passage, and decided to make the Good Book a source of diet advice. Followers of the God Diet say it makes them feel great and lose weight by cutting out unnecessary fats from their diet.

The God Diet, also known as the Daniel Diet or Daniel Fast, has gotten plenty of press lately. Nutritionist Susan Gregory wrote about the diet in a book called The Daniel Fast, and has also put out a number of YouTube videos sharing her thoughts and strategies.

Gregory calls the fast like a “vegan diet with even more restrictions,” because it also calls on dieters to give up caffeine, chemicals, and sugar. She said the result is a decrease in headaches, leg cramps, and fatigue.

Pastor Rick Warren has also spoken in favor of the God Diet, describing it as “a lifestyle based on the biblical story of Daniel, who forsook the king’s rich food in order to honor God’s best for him and his friends.”

But not everyone is on board with the God Diet. Nutritionist Zoe Harcombe told the MailOnline that over a long period of time, the diet can have adverse health effects. She said the diet is helpful in cutting out junk foods, sugar, and processed flour, but over time would create a deficiency in a number of vitamins and nutrients.

Harcombe said followers could miss out on Vitamins A, D, E, and B12, which could create serious health complications. She advised people who plan to spend more than a few days on the diet should take vitamin supplements.

Harcombe’s recommendations on the God Diet can be found here. An overview of the diet and how to implement it can be found here, thanks to Susan Gregory.


Losing weight: Lifestyle changes trump any diet

What's the best diet for maintaining a healthy weight and warding off chronic diseases? Is it a low-carb diet, a high-carb diet, an all-vegetable diet, a no-vegetable diet?
Researchers say you'd be better off just forgetting the word diet, according to an editorial published August 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Two researchers Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., and Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago call for an end to the so-called diet wars, because they are all equally as good, or bad, in helping people fight obesity.

In the end, patients only get confused thinking that one diet is superior to another, they said, when in fact changes in lifestyle, not diet types, are the true ways to prevent weight gain and the associated ills of diabetes and circulatory disease.
"The amount of resources that have gone into studying 'what' to eat is incredible, and years of research indicate that it doesn't really matter, as long as overall calories are reduced," Appelhans told LiveScience. "What does matter is 'how' to eat, as well as other things in lifestyle interventions, such as physical activity and supportive behaviors that help people stay on track [in the] long term."
The researchers cite numerous studies that demonstrated only moderate success with various types of diet that focus on macronutrients: protein, fat or carbohydrates; but regardless of diet, without a lifestyle change, the weight comes back.
Conversely, several large and recent studies such as the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study found lower weight and lower incidence of diabetes among study participants many years after the study's initial completion because the subjects were taught how to lose weight through lifestyle interventions.
Lifestyle trumps diet
Pagoto described lifestyle interventions as three-prong: dietary counseling (how to control portions, reduce high-calorie foods and navigate restaurants), exercise counseling (how to set goals, target heart rate and exercise safely), and behavioral modification (how to self-monitor, problem solve, stay motivated and understand hunger).
"The 'diet' used within a lifestyle intervention can be low-fat, low-carb, etc. It doesn't matter," Pagoto said. "In fact, at least one study compared a low-fat lifestyle intervention with a low-carb lifestyle intervention, and it made no difference. The diet itself [is not] instrumental to the lifestyle interventions success; it is the behavioral piece that is key."
Pagoto agreed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of weight gain and heart disease. A massive study involving more than 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, published in JAMA in June, found that dedicated vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians (who eat fish) live longer than meat eaters. But that doesn't mean a vegetarian diet is all it takes to help you stay healthy.

"Adherence is key, and the way to destroy adherence is forcing foods on someone they do not like, do not know how to prepare, or can't afford," Pagoto said.
Why diets go wrong
Indeed, the authors wrote that the only consistent fact in all the diet studies is that adherence is the element most strongly associated with weight loss and disease risk reduction.
Pagoto described five challenges to any diet that she sees with her patients: having no time to cook or exercise; being too stressed out, having family members bring junk food home; not having anyone to exercise with, or feeling awkward exercising; and feel hungry all the time. The ratio of fat to carb to protein doesn't come into play.
Most her of obese patients understand which foods are healthful and unhealthful, she said. So she works with her patients to find ways to make healthy behaviors more routine, regardless of the patient's type of diet.
Pagoto and Appelhans call for more research on diet adherence. The authors described the amount of adherence research as miniscule compared to that on studying the large fad diets.
Similarly, the general population knows more about nuances of these diets Atkins, South Beach, the Zone and such than they do about the basics of adherence; and that, the authors said, is central to the obesity epidemic.


Study Shows Keys to Successful Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance

Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have published one of the first studies of its kind to follow weight loss maintenance for individuals over a 10-year period. The results show that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible if individuals adhere to key health behaviors. The study is published in the January 2014 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D., is the lead author on a 10-year observational study of self-reported weight loss and behavior change in nearly 3,000 participants. The participants had lost at least 30 pounds and had kept if off for at least one year when they were enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).
The participants were then followed for 10 years. Thomas explains that the goal of the study was to determine how well they kept the weight off and to identify predictors of successful weight loss maintenance.

Thomas says, "On average, participants maintained the majority of their weight loss over this extended follow-up period, and better success was related to continued performance of physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diets, and avoiding overeating."

Other findings from the study show that more than 87 percent of the participants were estimated to be still maintaining at least a 10 percent weight loss at years five and 10. The researchers found that a larger initial weight loss and longer duration of maintenance were associated with better long-term outcomes. Conversely, they found that decreases in physical activity, dietary restraint and self-weighing along with increases in fat intake were associated with greater weight regain.

Thomas concludes, "This is one of the only studies to follow weight loss maintenance over such a long term. What the results tell us is that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible, but it requires persistent adherence to a few key health behaviors."


Cholesterol Study Shows Algal Extracts May Counter Effects of High Fat Diets

Health Enhancement Products, Inc., in conjunction with Wayne State University's Department of Nutrition and Food Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, announces the publication of a scientific article in the Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism, "ProAlgaZyme sub-fraction improves the lipoprotein profile of hypercholesterolemic hamsters, while inhibiting production of betaine, carnitine, and choline metabolites."
The paper describes the beneficial effects of the Company's proprietary algal culture in supporting healthy cholesterol balance. The fractions and isolates derived from the Company's proprietary algae culture "PAZ" (formerly referred to as "ProAlgaZyme") were shown to be a viable candidate for supporting healthy cholesterol balance, in sharp contrast to the control group. The project, led by Smiti Gupta, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and food science at Wayne State University, involved monitoring lipid metabolism in a widely accepted animal model for investigating human lipid metabolism. The scientific paper describes a follow-up study to the original research conducted by Gupta. In the previous study, published in 2012, the test group consumed algal-infused water while simultaneously consuming a high fat diet. The algal fractions and isolates were shown to have a preventative beneficial effect against the negative effects of the high-fat diet on the animal's plasma cholesterol levels. Specifically, the extracts significantly increased high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, aka "good" cholesterol), and reduced non-HDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and the ratio of total cholesterol/HDL-C, despite the ongoing consumption of high fat food.

The test subjects in the recent study consumed a high fat diet for four weeks, at which point they became hypercholesterolemic (i.e. they had high plasma cholesterol levels.). Subsequently, the animals were given the extracts for 0 (untreated), 3, 7, 10, 14, and 21 days while still on the high fat diet. The results indicated that the PAZ extracts may be a useful option for improving the plasma cholesterol profile despite the hypercholesterolemic state induced by a high fat diet.

Specifically, "bad" cholesterol concentrations significantly decreased in all subjects consuming the PAZ extracts, compared to those who were not treated. Furthermore, increased levels of "good" cholesterol could be seen as early as Day Three for that same group. By Day 21, "good" cholesterol levels increased by 28% and "bad" cholesterol levels decreased by 30%.

Additionally, metabolomics analysis was conducted to analyze the concentration of certain metabolites (small molecules which are byproducts of normal metabolic functions) in the blood. Administering the PAZ extract correlated with significantly decreased levels of several metabolites that are independent predictors of increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Gene expression analysis was also conducted, to get a deeper insight into the increase in plasma HDL-c levels. Thus the expression levels (mRNA) of proteins involved in HDL-c metabolism were evaluated. By Day Ten, subjects showed a threefold increase in the gene expression of APO A1, a major protein associated with the production of HDL particles, the "good" cholesterol which increased sixfold by Day 21.

"To put this in perspective, the benefit of raising HDL can be explained by examining how these "good" cholesterol particles function: They play a key role in removing excess cholesterol from cell storage and transporting that cholesterol to the liver for excretion from the body," said Amy Steffek, Ph.D., HEPI Director of Research & Development. "They also have other properties that promote and protect cardiovascular health, and serve as an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk.

To simplify, one can lower risk of cardiovascular disease by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol. Given that cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the US and other industrialized nations, the effects of our algal extracts in improving "good" cholesterol, and therefore cardiovascular health, are significant and potentially wide-reaching. Whether the relationship between our bioactive extracts and increased HDL cholesterol is causal or correlative, the studies conducted show an improved metabolic state, despite the continuation of a high fat diet.


Acupuncture of the ear could hold weight loss key according to South Korean study

They found pricking five key places could help slash a person’s body mass index -a method that targets just one spot could cut it by a similar amount

Fat people can lose weight by having acupuncture on their ears, experts claim.
They found that pricking in five key places could help slash a person’s body mass index by 6.1%.
A method that targets just one spot on the ear could cut it by 5.7%, researchers in South Korea found.
They said: “The five ear acupuncture points, generally used in Korean clinics, and the Hunger point alone treatment are both effective for treating overweight people.”
The research on 58 Korean participants found those who underwent the treatment over eight weeks had a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower weight than those in the control group.
But Prof Edzard Ernst of the University of Exeter said: “It is hard to think of a treatment that is less plausible than ear acupuncture .
“Testing such a treatment is arguably a waste of resources.
"If it is studied nevertheless, the test should be rigorous, which unfortunately cannot be said for this study.”


Slow eating may reduce hunger but not calorie intake

Previous studies suggest that eating speed may affect how many calories the body consumes. But new research suggests that eating speed, rather than caloric intake, may have more of an impact on hunger suppression.
This is according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Investigators from the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University say that previous research has mainly analyzed the link between calorie intake and eating speed in individuals of a healthy weight.
But this new study looked at the relationship between eating speed and energy intake in 35 overweight and obese individuals and compared the results with 35 individuals of a healthy weight.
New research suggests that eating slowly may reduce hunger but may not have a significant impact on calorie intake.
Both groups were required to consume one meal a day within a controlled environment over 2 days. Both meals were the same for each group, and the energy content (calories) and weight of each meal were measured prior to consumption.

For one meal, both groups were asked to eat at a slow pace. During this meal, they were asked to imagine they had time constraints in which to finish, to take small bites, thoroughly chew their meal and pause and set down their cutlery between bites.
For the other meal, both groups were asked to eat their food at a fast pace. They were asked to imagine they had to finish their meal within a certain time frame, take large bites, chew quickly and to not put down their cutlery between bites.

Slow eating 'may reduce hunger'

Results of the study revealed that both groups felt less hungry an hour after the slow-eating condition, compared with the fast-eating condition.
Dr. Meena Shah, lead author of the study, explains:
"In both groups, ratings of hunger were significantly lower at 60 minutes from when the meal began during the slow compared to the fast-eating condition. These results indicate that greater hunger suppression among both groups could be expected from a meal that is consumed more slowly."
Both groups also demonstrated a higher water consumption throughout the slow-eating condition, with 12 ounces of water consumed, compared with 9 ounces throughout the fast-eating condition.
Dr. Shah says the higher consumption of water during the slow-eating condition may have caused stomach distention in the participants and therefore may have affected the level of food consumption.

No impact on calorie intake for obese group

However, when analyzing the participants' calorie intake, the researchers found that only the subjects of a healthy weight saw a reduction in calorie intake after consuming the meal in the slow-eating condition. The obese/overweight group ate 58 calories less, while the normal weight group ate 88 calories less.
"A lack of statistical significance in the overweight and obese group may be partly due to the fact that they consumed less food during both eating conditions compared to the normal-weight subjects," says Dr. Shah.

She adds that the overweight and obese participants may have felt self-conscious during the meal, and so it is possible that this may have caused them to eat less.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of the US adult population is obese. Obesity rates have increased from 14.5% of the US population in 1971-74 to 35.9% of the population in 2009-10.
Dr. Shah notes that with obesity rates continuing to rise, information on how individuals of a different weight approach and consume food may help in the development of strategies to reduce calorie intake.

But she says that findings from this study show that slowing the speed of eating "may help to lower energy intake and suppress hunger levels and may even enhance the enjoyment of a meal."


How to Lose Weight as Fast as Possible With Zero Hunger

There are many ways to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.
However, most of them require you to be hungry and unsatisfied.
If you don’t have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly.
The method I’m about to describe will:
  • Kill your appetite.
  • Make you lose weight fast, without being hungry.
  • Improve your health at the same time.

Rule 1 – Eliminate Sugars and Starches

The most important part is to remove sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet.
These are the foods that stimulate secretion of insulin the most. If you didn’t know already, insulin is the main fat storage hormone in the body.
When insulin goes down, fat has an easier time getting out of the fat stores and the body starts burning fats instead of carbs.
Another benefit of lowering insulin is that your kidneys shed excess sodium and water out of your body, which reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight.
It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds (sometimes more) in the first week of eating this way, both body fat and water weight.
This is a graph from a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight/obese women.
Weight Loss Graph, Low Carb vs Low Fat
The low-carb group is eating until fullness, while the low-fat group is calorie restricted and hungry.
Cut the carbs, lower your insulin and you will start to eat less calories automatically and without hunger.
Put simply, lowering your insulin puts fat loss on “autopilot.”
Bottom Line: Removing sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet will lower your insulin levels, kill your appetite and make you lose weight without hunger.

Rule 2 – Eat Protein, Fat and Vegetables

Each one of your meals should include a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetables. Constructing your meals in this way will automatically bring your carb intake into the recommended range of 20-50 grams per day.
Girl Eating Kebab
Protein Sources:
  • Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
Protein is the macronutrient that contributes most to fullness and eating adequate protein can raise your metabolism.
Low-Carb Vegetables:
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Cellery
  • Full list here.
Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20-50 net carbs per day.
The vegetables and the meat contain all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. There is no physiological need for grains in the diet.
Butter CurlsFat Sources:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Lard
  • Tallow
Eat 2-3 meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a 4th meal.
Don’t be afraid of eating fat, trying to do both low-carb AND low-fat at the same time is a recipe for failure. It will make you feel miserable and abandon the plan.
The best cooking fat to use is coconut oil. It is rich in fats called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are more fulfilling than others and can boost metabolism slightly.
There is no reason to fear these natural fats, new studies show that saturated fat doesn’t raise your heart disease risk at all.
To see how you can assemble your meals, check out this low carb meal plan and this list of low carb recipes.
Bottom Line: Assemble each meal out of a protein source, a fat source and a low-carb vegetable. This will put you into the 20-50 gram carb range and drastically lower your insulin levels.

Rule 3 – Exercise 3-4 Times Per Week

You don’t need to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it is recommended.
The best option is to go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Do a warm up, lift weights, then stretch.
If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.
By lifting weights, you will burn a few calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight.
Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat.
If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some easier cardio workouts like running, jogging, swimming or walking will suffice.
Bottom Line: It is best to do some sort of resistance training like weight lifting. If that is not an option, cardio workouts work too.

Optional – Do a “Carb Re-feed” Once Per Week

Overweight Man Eating Cake
You can take one day “off” per week where you eat more carbs. Many people prefer Saturday.
It is important to try to stick to healthier carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.
But only this one higher carb day, if you start doing it more often than once per week then you’re not going to see much success on this plan.
If you must have a cheat meal and eat something unhealthy, then do it on this day.
Be aware that cheat meals or carb refeeds are NOT necessary, but they can up-regulate some fat burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones.
You will gain some weight during your re-feed day, but most of it will be water weight and you will lose it again in the next 1-2 days.
Bottom Line: Having one day of the week where you eat more carbs is perfectly acceptable, although not necessary.

What About Calories and Portion Control?

Apple And Calculator
It is NOT necessary to count calories as long as you keep the carbs very low and stick to protein, fat and low-carb vegetables.
However, if you really want to, then use this calculator (opens in new window).
Enter your details, then pick the number from either the “Fat Loss” or the “Extreme Fat Loss” section – depending on how fast you want to lose.
There are many calorie counters you can use to track the amount of calories you are eating. I like Cron-O-Meter – it is free and easy to use.
The main goal is to keep carbs under 20-50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat.
Bottom Line: It is not necessary to count calories to lose weight on this plan. It is most important to strictly keep your carbs in the 20-50 gram range.

Other Weight Loss Tips to Make Things Easier (and Faster)

Pretty much all you have to do is to stick to the three rules:
  1. Eliminate high-carb foods.
  2. Eat Protein, Fat and Veggies.
  3. Exercise 3-4 times per week.
However, there are a few other tips that you may find useful if you want to speed things up even further.
None of these are old wives’ tales, they all have scientific evidence to back them up.
Drink Water, Coffee or Tea: Satisfy your thirst with water. If you’re a coffee or a tea drinker, then by all means drink as much as you want as both can raise your metabolism slightly.
Use Smaller Plates: Studies show that people automatically eat less when they use smaller plates. Strange, but it works.
Sleep Like a Baby: Poor sleep is associated with weight gain and obesity, taking care of your sleep is important.
Reduce Stress: Being stressed can elevate the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause fat accumulation in the belly .
Bottom Line: It is most important to stick to the three rules, but there are a few other things you can do to speed things up.

You Will Become a “Fat Burning Beast”

Doctor With Thumbs Up
You can expect to lose 3-10 pounds of weight (sometimes more) in the first week, then consistent weight loss after that.
I can personally lose 3-4 lbs per week for a few weeks when I do this strictly.
If you’re new to dieting, then things will probably happen quickly. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you will lose it.
For the first few days, you might feel a bit strange. Your body has been burning carbs for all these years, it can take time for it to get used to burning fat instead.
It is called the “low carb flu” and is usually over within a few days. For me it takes 3. Adding some sodium to your diet can help with this, such as dissolving a bouillon cube in a cup of hot water and drinking it.
After that, most people report feeling very good, positive and energetic. At this point you will officially have become a “fat burning beast.”
Despite the decades of anti-fat hysteria, the low-carb diet also improves your health in many other ways:
  • Blood Sugar tends to go way down on low-carb diets.
  • Triglycerides tend to go down.
  • Small, dense LDL (the bad) Cholesterol goes down.
  • HDL (the good) cholesterol goes up.
  • Blood pressure improves significantly.
  • To top it all of, low-carb diets appear to be easier to follow than low-fat diets.
Bottom Line: You can expect to lose a lot of weight, but it depends on the person how quickly it will happen. Low-carb diets also improve your health in many other ways.

You Don’t Need to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight

If you have a medical condition then talk to your doctor before making changes because this plan can reduce your need for medication.
By reducing carbs and lowering insulin levels, you change the hormonal environment and make your body and brain “want” to lose weight.
This leads to drastically reduced appetite and hunger, eliminating the main reason that most people fail with conventional weight loss methods.
This is proven to make you lose about 2-3 times as much weight as a typical low-fat, calorie restricted diet.
Another great benefit for the impatient folks is that the initial drop in water weight can lead to a big difference on the scale as early as the next morning.
Here are a few examples of low-carb meals that are simple, delicious and can be prepared in under 10 minutes: 7 Healthy Low-Carb Meals in 10 Minutes or Less.
On this plan, you can eat good food until fullness and still lose a ton of fat. Welcome to paradise.


7 Ways to Get Fit Fast: A Week of 10-minute Workouts for Year End Toning

You’ve got one week left to meet your 2013 New Year’s resolutions! No problem if you fell off the wagon sometime back in, oh, February. There’s no reason you can’t get fit(ter) by NYE! We searched far and wide for our favorite 10-minute toning routines and came back with these stellar seven. Do one each day between now and New Year’s and you’ll start 2014 stronger and slimmer than before!

10-minute Butt Lift with Rebecca Louise: The first 8-minutes of this lower-body routine are prop-free. The last two require an exercise ball and a resistance band. (Don’t have ‘em? Repeat your two favorite moves for a full 10-minute workout.)

10-minute barre3 workout with Sadie Lincoln: Get graceful while you get fit with this full body workout. All you need is a sturdy surface to hold onto, such as a kitchen counter.

10-minute abs with Jennifer Galardi: Skip the crunches and try this standing abs workout. You’ll whittle your waist without the use of any extra props.

10-minute Arms with the Lean Machines: Trainers Leon and John demo moves to tone and strengthen the arms and shoulders. Light dumbbells are all you need to rid yourself of “bingo wings”.

10-minute Fat-Burning Funk Dance Workout with Denise Austin: Harness your inner dancer–and zap calories–with this easy to follow dance routine. Lacking in rhythm? No worries–you’ll be out of view in your living room!

10-minute Full Body Yoga Routine with Tara Stiles: This 10-minute yoga video is so relaxing to watch and do you’ll be surprised when you’re sore the next day! All you need is a yoga mat.

10-minute Pilates Chair Workout: Seriously–you don’t even have to stand up to do this short Pilates workout. But in 10 minutes you’ll improve your posture, flexibility, and core strength.