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weight loss

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Is Alternate-day Fasting Beneficial?

Alternate-day fasting offered no advantage over reduced-calorie diets in weight loss.

The obesity epidemic has spawned many novel approaches to weight loss. One such  increasingly popular approach today is alternate-day fasting. A randomized clinical trial of 100 obese, but healthy individuals, divided the participants into alternate-day fasting, daily caloric restriction, and a control group. At the end of one year weight loss in both treatment groups was about 5%, while the control group had a slight weight gain.

PositiveTip: When it comes to weight loss, the bottom-line is to reduce energy intake and increase output via physical activity.

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Do Your Genes Make You Fat?

There are no poor candidates for lifestyle change!

Many people who are overweight or obese often blame it on their genes. In a meta-analysis of nearly 10,000 subjects, researchers from England found even those with genetic risk factors for obesity respond as well as anyone else to diet and exercise. This data strongly suggests that obesity-linked genes do not affect the ability to lose weight.

PositiveTip: Don't blame your genes. While your genes may increase your risk of being fat, your choices of healthful lifestyle change make is possible to lose weight!

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"Successful" MyFitnessPal Users

Those who succeeded in losing weight ate 17% more grains.

MyFitnessPal, a popular smartphone app with 150 million users, has released some interesting data about "successful users" who lost weight. All users ate similar amounts of carbs, fat and protein. However, the successful ones ate 29% more dietary fiber--but not near the recommended amount. Successful users also ate 11% less meat, 13% fewer eggs, but 10% more yogurt and almonds. They also ate more fruit, vegetables, grains, and olive oil. Read more... (The writer has no conflicts-of-interest.)

PositiveTip: High-quality food choices--especially fiber content--help promote weight loss.

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Knee OA Pain and Weight Loss

A weight loss of more than 10% resulted in significant improvements in knee OA pain.

A community-based study found a clear dose-response relationship in symptom improvement in overweight and obese people suffering with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Each subject was likely to require referral to an orthopedic surgeon for possible knee joint replacement. Those who lost more than 10% of their body weight saw the greatest improvements in knee pain and function. 

PositiveTip: Dietary intervention, appropriate exercises and motivational support can lead to significant quality of life enhancements in knee OA pain.

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Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Less than a third of pregnant American women experience healthy weight gain.

Researchers have found more than 2/3 of pregnant women in the U.S. gain too much weight or too little weight during their pregnancy. Only 32% of pregnant ladies experienced appropriate weight gain, while 48% were excessive, and 20% were inadequate. Those obese or overweight before pregnancy had the highest risk of excessive gain, and those underweight the highest risk of inadequate gain.

PositiveTip: If you are pregnant, visit the Institute of Medicine website to find valuable guidance on a healthy weight.

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Greater Fat Loss by Cutting Fats

Cutting fat resulted in more body fat loss than cutting carbs.

A small study of body fat loss found cutting dietary fat lead to significantly more loss than cutting carbohydrates. All participants were fed a 5-day energy-balanced diet, then randomized to the two dietary groups for 6 days. Following a washout period, each group was crossed over to the other diet for 6 days. The low fat diet resulted in 89 g/day fat loss vs. 53 g/day in the reduced-carb diet. The investigators noted these differences might diminish over time.

PositiveTip: Cutting fat calories may significantly help in weight loss.

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Thin Results for Weight Loss Programs

Best programs result in modest weight loss below participants expectations.

Researchers compared results from 45 commercial weight loss trials focused on 11 well-known programs (including Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and SlimFast) with controls based on counseling and education. At one year, only Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers showed a very modest loss compared with controls. Structure and strong social support seem to be key ingredients to success. Almost all of these trials were relatively short in duration. 

PositiveTip: Let consistent good choices and regular exercise empowered by God's grace bring true success. 

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Benefits of a Low-Carb Plant-based Diet

Low carbohydrate, plant-based diet helps lose weight.

Researchers wanted to find a heart healthy alternative to the typical low-carb Atkins-style weight loss diets. This small, randomized, controlled trial used 23 participants. Those on a low-carb, plant-based diet lost 4 more pounds and had 10% lower LDL (bad cholesterol) than those on a high-carb, plant- based diet. Most low-carb diets increase the intake of animal proteins and fats which can boost LDL (bad cholesterol).

PositiveTip: Replace high calorie, fatty foods with plant-based options for better health.

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Exercise Intensity and Weight Loss

High-intensity or low-intensity physical activity will both help take off the pounds.

When it comes to weight loss, both high and low-intensity workouts are beneficial. Researchers randomized 300 abdominally obese adults to four groups: controls maintained baseline activity level, low (30 minutes)-low (intensity) group, high-low exercise, and high-high exercise. Each exercise group received 5 weekly sessions of the assigned intervention. After 24 weeks all in the exercise groups had smaller waists and had lost weight with little difference between the groups. 

PositiveTip: Just get moving more results in improved weight control.

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Popular Diets May Waste Your Time

Fad diet evidence is inconsistent and regaining the weight is common.

The American Heart Association systematically reviewed the impact of several popular diets on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors:

  • Weight Watchers data showed modest weight loss in year one, but people regained weight later
  • Atkins data was inconsistent
  • South Beach was ineffective after 12 months
  • Comparing all 4 diets found minimal differences in improving cardiovascular risks.

PositiveTip:  Invest in a sustainable lifestyle rather than fad diets; healthy, tasty food and regular, enjoyable exercise is a sustainable, weight-losing “diet for life”.