Study: Exercise Key to Staying Slim After Weight Loss

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you’ve lost a bunch of weight and want to keep those pounds from piling back on, you’ll need to make regular physical activity a part of your life.

New research looking at people who lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for a year or longer found that regular exercise was key.

“These people rely on physical activity to maintain their weight rather than restricting calorie intake. This shows how critical physical activity is for maintaining weight,” said lead author Danielle Ostendorf. She’s a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

But Ostendorf was quick to point out these findings don’t mean that people shouldn’t pay attention to their diet. “Diet is very important, especially for weight loss,” she said.

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you use during the day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of calories someone needs depends on several factors, including age and activity level.

Generally, a 40-year-old woman needs between 1,800 and 2,200 calories a day, the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines recommend. A man the same age usually needs about 2,400 to 3,000 calories daily. The more you move, the more calories you can eat.

The current study looked at three groups of people.

The weight maintainer group included 25 adults who had lost about 30 pounds or more and kept it off for more than a year. Another group included 27 adults at a normal weight. The final group had 28 adults who were either overweight or obese.

All three groups were monitored over a week while they were living as normal. No one gained or lost weight.

The volunteers weren’t given any specific instructions on diet or exercise. They gave urine samples at the beginning and end of the study to measure how many calories they used (energy expenditure).

Each participant also wore a fitness device to measure their activity. It could differentiate whether people were standing or stepping and determine intensity level, Ostendorf said.

The study found that people who maintained their weight loss burned about 180 more calories a day during physical activity than other participants.

People who are overweight and obese use more calories normally, just to move a larger body throughout the day, the researchers explained. So, the fact that the maintainers used more calories than people who were still overweight or obese suggests they were more physically active.

Data from the fitness devices suggested the same. Maintainers clocked about 12,000 steps per day. Normal-weight adults had about 9,000 steps daily, and those who were overweight or obese had 6,500.

The maintainers spent about 95 minutes a day doing moderate to vigorous activity, Ostendorf said. Moderate activity might be walking up a hill; you can still talk but you might be a little out of breath. Running is an example of vigorous activity, she said.

Compared to the normal-weight group, both the maintainers and the overweight and obese group ate and used 300 calories more a day. But the maintainers appeared to compensate with more activity, researchers said.

The takeaway: You have to be active to stay at a healthy weight.

“People can lose weight and maintain the weight loss. There are people who have done this successfully. And it doesn’t have to be an extreme workout,” Ostendorf said.

Current U.S. physical activity guidelines call for at least 150 to 300 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity activity. Any physical activity counts toward that goal.

Dana Angelo White, a registered dietitian and clinical assistant professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., agreed with the study’s conclusion.

“If you manage to successfully lose weight, there’s a certain level of maintenance required. And, you can’t just rely on diet or exercise by themselves,” said White, who wasn’t involved with the study.

She emphasized that everyone — regardless of weight status — needs to be physically active for good health.

“Commit to moving more. That doesn’t mean you need to go from zero to a hundred overnight. But find some sort of enjoyable exercise routine, and increase your activity outside of exercise as well. Make extra steps wherever you can. Walk around on your lunch break, or if you can, walk your kids to school. Anything to keep moving,” White suggested.

The study was published in the March issue of Obesity.

Source: HealthDay


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Study: Exercise Is More Critical than Diet to Maintain Weight Loss

A new study from the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus revealed physical activity does more to maintain substantial weight loss than diet.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, was selected as the Editor’s Choice article.

“This study addresses the difficult question of why so many people struggle to keep weight off over a long period. By providing evidence that a group of successful weight-loss maintainers engages in high levels of physical activity to prevent weight regain – rather than chronically restricting their energy intake – is a step forward to clarifying the relationship between exercise and weight-loss maintenance,” said Danielle Ostendorf, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

The findings reveal that successful weight-loss maintainers rely on physical activity to remain in energy balance (rather than chronic restriction of dietary intake) to avoid weight regain. In the study, successful weight-loss maintainers are individuals who maintain a reduced body weight of 30 pounds or more for over a year.

Key findings include:

  • The total calories burned (and consumed) each day by weight-loss maintainers was significantly higher (300 kcal/day) compared with that in individuals with normal body weight controls but was not significantly different from that in the individuals with overweight/obesity.
  • Notably, of the total calories burned, the amount burned in physical activity by weight-loss maintainers was significantly higher (180 kcal/day) compared with that in both individuals of normal body weight and individuals with overweight/obesity. Despite the higher energy cost of moving a larger body mass incurred by individuals with overweight/obesity, weight-loss maintainers were burning more energy in physical activity, suggesting they were moving more.
  • This is supported by the fact that the weight-loss maintainer group also demonstrated significantly higher levels of steps per day (12,000 steps per day) compared to participants at a normal body weight (9,000 steps per day) and participants with overweight/obesity (6,500 steps per day).

“Our findings suggest that this group of successful weight-loss maintainers are consuming a similar number of calories per day as individuals with overweight and obesity but appear to avoid weight regain by compensating for this with high levels of physical activity,” said Victoria A. Catenacci, MD, a weight management physician and researcher at CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

The study looked at successful weight-loss maintainers compared to two other groups: controls with normal body weight (Body Mass Index (BMI) similar to the current BMI of the weight-loss maintainers); and controls with overweight/obesity (whose current BMI was similar to the pre-weight-loss BMI of the maintainers). The weight-loss maintainers had a body weight of around 150 pounds, which was similar to the normal weight controls, while the controls with overweight and obesity had a body weight of around 213 pounds.

This study is one of the few to measure total daily energy expenditure in weight-reduced individuals using the gold standard doubly labeled water method. This method allows researchers to precisely determine an individual’s energy expenditure through collecting urine samples over one to two weeks after people are given a dose of doubly labeled water. Doubly labeled water is water in which both the hydrogen and the oxygen atoms have been replaced (i.e. labeled) with an uncommon isotope of these elements for tracing purposes.

The measure of total daily energy expenditure from doubly labeled water also provides an estimate of energy intake when people are weight stable, as they were in this study. Prior studies used questionnaires or diet diaries to measure energy intake, which have significant limitations.

The researchers also measured each individual’s resting metabolic rate in order to understand how much of the total daily energy expenditure is from energy expended at rest versus energy expended during physical activity. Prior studies used self-reported measures or activity monitors to measure physical activity, which are techniques that cannot provide the same accuracy.

The findings are consistent with results from the longitudinal study of “The Biggest Loser” contestants, where physical activity energy expenditure was strongly correlated with weight loss and weight gain after six years.

Source: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus


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What Is the Dopamine Diet?

Sarah Lienard wrote . . . . . . . . .

Famed as the Tom Kerridge diet, the ‘happy’ weight loss plan is making headlines. But does the dopamine diet work? Our dietitian investigates…

What is the dopamine diet?

Billed as the weight loss regime that boosts mood too, this diet is all about increasing levels of the ‘happy hormone’ dopamine in the brain at the same time as shedding pounds. Certain celebrities such as TV chef Tom Kerridge have boosted this diet’s popularity in recent years. There are several different versions of the diet, but all are based around foods that are thought to boost dopamine. These can include:

  • Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken and turkey
  • Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel
  • Eggs
  • Fruit and vegetables, in particular bananas
  • Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
  • Dark chocolate

Most versions of the diet recommend avoiding alcohol, caffeine and processed sugar, while some also recommend cutting out or severely restricting starchy carbohydrates. So what is the science behind the dopamine diet? Dietitian Emer Delaney explains…

What is dopamine and how does food affect it?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter – a chemical that is responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain. Dopamine directly affects the reward and pleasure centres in the brain, which in turn affects mood. Its activation occurs for a number of reasons, including the sudden availability of food.

There is emerging evidence to show that people who are overweight may have impairments in dopamine pathways which could have been blunted through constant exposure to highly palatable (sugary and fatty) foods. This blunted response could potentially lead to increased reward seeking behaviour, including over-eating – however, this is an area that needs more research. Currently, we do know that all eating increases dopamine, especially the intake of high fat and sugar foods, both off which can lead to an increase in appetite, overeating and weight gain in the long term.

So how can you boost your dopamine without resorting to high fat and sugar foods?

Protein foods are made from the building blocks of amino acids (including tyrosine), which are essential to the production of dopamine. It has therefore been suggested that upping protein intake may also boost dopamine production without increasing appetite. A recent study looked at this theory and concluded that eating a high protein breakfast including eggs, lean meats and dairy was best at reducing mid-morning cravings whilst increasing dopamine levels.

Dietitian Emer Delaney’s top tips

  • Eat regular meals. This will prevent a sudden swing in hormones and help to regulate your appetite. It also reduces the chance of overeating in the evening.
  • Try eating more lean protein at breakfast such as eggs, smoked salmon, mackerel, or a high-protein yogurt with added nuts, seeds or fruit. Try our high-protein recipe collection for breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.
  • Some versions of this diet ask you to completely restrict starchy carbohydrates, which I wouldn’t recommend. Carbohydrates are important components of the diet, so ensure you include some at every meal. Aim for low-GI carbohydrates such as rye bread or porridge. Both will encourage blood glucose levels to remain steady, which will have a positive effect on appetite.
  • Choose healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive, safflower, sesame or rapeseed oils in addition to avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds and oily fish such as herring, fresh tuna and trout.
  • Include lean protein foods at lunch and dinner by eating chicken, lentils, pulses, fish, or lean beef.
  • Increase activities such as yoga as we know this can also increase dopamine levels.
  • Keep things simple and look at the quality of foods you eat, reduce processed salty foods, keep sugary treats to a minimum and make sure you’re eating your five-a-day.

Source: BBC

Is the Most Effective Weight-Loss Strategy Really that Hard?

If you want to lose weight, research shows, the single best predictor of success is monitoring and recording your calorie and fat intake throughout the day — to “write it when you bite it.”

But dietary self-monitoring is commonly viewed as so unpleasant and time-consuming, many would-be weight-losers can’t muster the will power to do it.

New research to be published in the March issue of Obesity suggests that the reality of dietary self-monitoring may be far less disagreeable than the perception.

After six months of monitoring their dietary intake, the most successful participants in an online behavioral weight-loss program spent an average of just 14.6 minutes per day on the activity. Program participants recorded the calories and fat for all foods and beverages they consumed, as well as the portion sizes and the preparation methods.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina, is the first to quantify the amount of time that dietary self-monitoring actually takes for those who successfully lose weight.

“People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: How much time does dietary self-monitoring really take?” said Jean Harvey, chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont and the lead author of the study. “The answer is, not very much.”

Harvey and her colleagues looked at the dietary self-monitoring habits of 142 participants in an online behavioral weight control intervention. For 24 weeks, participants met weekly for an online group session led by a trained dietician.

They also logged their daily food intake online, in the process leaving behind a record of how much time they spent on the activity and how often they logged in – information the researchers mined for the new study.

Participants who lost 10 percent of their body weight – the most successful members of the cohort – spent an average of 23.2 minutes per day on self-monitoring in the first month of the program. By the sixth month, the time had dropped to 14.6 minutes.

Brief but frequent

What was most predictive of weight-loss success was not the time spent monitoring – those who took more time and included more detail did not have better outcomes – but the frequency of log-ins, confirming the conclusions of earlier studies.

“Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Harvey said. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference – not the time spent or the details included.”

Harvey attributes the decrease in time needed for self-monitoring to participants’ increasing efficiency in recording data and to the web program’s progressive ability to complete words and phrases automatically after just a few letters were entered.

The study’s most important contribution, Harvey said, may be in helping prospective weight-losers set behavioral targets.

“We know people do better when they have the right expectations,” Harvey said. “We’ve been able to tell them that they should exercise 200 minutes per week. But when we asked them to write down all their foods, we could never say how long it would take. Now we can.”

With online dietary monitoring apps like LoseIt, Calorie King and My Fitness Pal widely available, Harvey hopes the study results motivate more people to adopt dietary self-monitoring as a weight-loss strategy.

“It’s highly effective, and it’s not as hard as people think,” she said.

The stakes are high. The latest federal data show that nearly 40 percent of American adults were obese in 2015–16, up from 34 percent in 2007–08. Obesity is linked to chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cancer and accounts for 18 percent of deaths among Americans ages 40 to 85, according to a 2013 study.

Source: University of Vermont


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Intermittent Fasting: No Advantage Over Conventional Weight Loss Diets

Koh wrote . . . . . . . . .

Feasting eight hours and then fasting the following 16 hours? Or is it even better to fast two whole days a week and then enjoy eating without regrets for the rest of the week? Intermittent fasting, also known as 16:8 diet or 5:2 diet, is trendy. Numerous popular self-help books on this topic promise weight loss without yo-yo effect as well as sustained changes in metabolism and resulting health benefits. The German Nutrition Society (DGE), on the other hand, warns that intermittent fasting is not suitable for long-term weight regulation. In addition, according to DGE, there is not enough scientific evidence on the long-term effects of this dieting method.

“There are in fact only a few smaller studies on intermittent fasting so far, but they have come up with strikingly positive effects for metabolic health,” says DKFZ’s Ruth Schübel. “This made us curious and we intended to find out whether these effects can also be proven in a larger patient group and over a prolonged period.”

In collaboration with a team of DKFZ researchers and scientists from Heidelberg University Hospital, Schübel examined 150 overweight and obese study participants over one year as part of the HELENA study. At the start of the study, they were randomly classified in three groups: One third followed a conventional calorie restriction diet that reduced daily calorie intake by 20 percent. The second group kept to a 5:2 dietary plan that also saved 20 percent of calorie intake over the whole week. The control group followed no specific diet plan but was advised, like all other participants, to eat a well-balanced diet as recommended by DGE. Following the actual dieting phase, the investigators documented the participants’ weight and health status for another 38 weeks.

The result may be as surprising as it is sobering for all followers of intermittent fasting. The HELENA researchers found that improvements in health status were the same with both dietary methods. “In participants of both group, body weight and, along with it, visceral fat, or unhealthy belly fat, were lost and extra fat in the liver reduced,” Schübel reported.

The changes in body weight distribution in the study participants were exactly determined using special MRT imaging executed by Johanna Nattenmüller at Heidelberg University Hospital. The good news is: a small dieting success is already a big gain for health. Those who reduce their body weight by only five percent, lose about 20 percent of dangerous visceral fat and more than a third of fat in the liver – no matter which dietary method they have used.

The investigators also did not find any difference between the two dieting methods in any other metabolic values that were analyzed or biomarkers and gene activities under investigation.

Although the HELENA study does not confirm the euphoric expectations placed in intermittent fasting, it also shows that this method is not less beneficial than conventional weight loss diets. “In addition, for some people it seems to be easier to be very disciplined on two days instead of counting calories and limiting food every day,” explained Tilman Kühn, leading scientist of the trial. “But in order to keep the new body weight, people must also permanently switch to a balanced diet following DGE recommendations”, he added. According to Kühn, the study results show that it is not primarily the dietary method that matters but that it is more important to decide on a method and then follow through with it. “The same evidence is also suggested in a current study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, that is, reducing carbohydrates versus reducing fat intake while otherwise having a balanced diet,” said Kühn. In this study, participants also achieved comparable results with both methods.

The scientists’ credo is therefore: “Just do it!” Body and health will benefit from weight loss in any case, as long as it is achieved by a reliable dieting method and on the basis of a well-balanced diet.

Source: The German Cancer Research Center


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