Category Archives: Overweight and Obesity

Overweight U.S. Adolescents Eat More Ultra-Processed Foods

“One little piece won’t hurt . . .”

An article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found an association between overweight/obesity and consumption of ultraprocessed foods in U.S. adolescents.

The study looked at 3,600 adolescents who reported their food intake over a 24-hour period. The results are pretty strong: the more ultra-processed food consumed, the greater the odds of overweight and obesity.

Jan at The Low Carb Diabetic blog reported that:

Ultra-processed foods make up ‘two-thirds of calories consumed by children and teens’
Experts from Tufts University in Massachusetts studied two decades of dietary data to 2018 and found that the amount of calories young people consumed from ultra-processed foods jumped from 61 per cent to 67 per cent.

I’m not paying for the JAND scientific report so I don’t know how they defined ultra-processed foods. The definition varies quite a bit over time, by researcher, and by research goals. From the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

The definitions [of ultra-processed foods] used in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016a represent the definitions used from publications devoted solely to that purpose and are heavily referenced in the literature on ultra-processed foods. The definitions used in years 2015, 2016b, and 2017 are from articles that focused on the relation between ultra-processed food intake and public health nutrition, in which definitions of ultra-processed foods are presented in detail in the article. The first definition alludes mainly to the use of both food additives and salt in food products (6). The second introduces the putative impact of ultra-processed foods on accessibility, convenience, and palatability of ultra-processed foods (8). Subsequently, the definitions become longer and include more elements. Thus, the third definition builds on previous definitions but introduces 2 new angles (9). One is the nonavailability of ingredients used in ultra-processed foods from retail outlets such as supermarkets, and the second introduces food additives as the most widely used ingredients, in numerical terms, in the manufacture of ultra-processed foods. The next definition now introduces the role of food fortification as a defining element of ultra-processed foods (4). Further definitions introduce new elements such as the importance of foods synthesized in a laboratory, based on organic materials such as oil- and coal-based additives and flavoring compounds (10), a specification for the minimal number of ingredients to be found in these foods (5), and then an emphasis on the inclusion of salt, sugars, oils, and fats as a starting point for defining ultra-processed foods. This definition gives details of specific categories of food additives and highlights how the intended use of these additives is to imitate sensory qualities of fresh or minimally processed foods (group 1) or to specifically disguise undesirable qualities of ultra-processed foods (11). The final definition from 2017 (12) is quite similar to that used in the 2016b publication (11).

Photo by Chan Walrus on Pexels.com

If you want to dive deep, you can download a list of ultra-processed food examples from that NLM article. I didn’t. But I figure the way to avoid over-processed foods is to eat food closer to the way God made it rather than man-made.

Steve Parker, M.D.

1 Comment

Filed under Overweight and Obesity

Obesity Is a Risk Factor for Greater #COVID19 Severity #Coronavirus

BMI over 30

From Diabetes Care:

Health care professionals caring for COVID-19 patients should be cognizant of the increased likelihood of severe COVID-19 in obese patients. In particular, the presence of obesity increases the risk of severe illness approximately threefold with a consequent longer hospital stay.

Source: Obesity Is a Risk Factor for Greater COVID-19 Severity | Diabetes Care

Not sure if you’re obese? Check your BMI.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com

2 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Overweight and Obesity

Kevin Hall’s Tentative New Theory of Obesity

paleo diet, paleolithic diet, caveman diet

Not Kevin Hall, although I do have a female relative named Kevan

At Scientific American:

Nutrition researcher Kevin Hall strives to project a Zen-like state of equanimity. In his often contentious field, he says he is more bemused than frustrated by the tendency of other scientists to “cling to pet theories despite overwhelming evidence that they are mistaken.” Some of these experts, he tells me with a sly smile, “have a fascinating ability to rationalize away studies that don’t support their views.”

Among those views is the idea that particular nutrients such as fats, carbs or sugars are to blame for our alarming obesity pandemic. (Globally the prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016, according to the World Health Organization. The rise accompanies related health threats that include heart disease and diabetes.) But Hall, who works at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, where he runs the Integrative Physiology section, has run experiments that point fingers at a different culprit. His studies suggest that a dramatic shift in how we make the food we eat—pulling ingredients apart and then reconstituting them into things like frosted snack cakes and ready-to-eat meals from the supermarket freezer—bears the brunt of the blame. This “ultraprocessed” food, he and a growing number of other scientists think, disrupts gut-brain signals that normally tell us that we have had enough, and this failed signaling leads to overeating.

*  *  *

At the end of the 19th century, most Americans lived in rural areas, and nearly half made their living on farms, where fresh or only lightly processed food was the norm. Today most Americans live in cities and buy rather than grow their food, increasingly in ready-to-eat form. An estimated 58 percent of the calories we consume and nearly 90 percent of all added sugars come from industrial food formulations made up mostly or entirely of ingredients—whether nutrients, fiber or chemical additives—that are not found in a similar form and combination in nature. These are the ultraprocessed foods, and they range from junk food such as chips, sugary breakfast cereals, candy, soda and mass-manufactured pastries to what might seem like benign or even healthful products such as commercial breads, processed meats, flavored yogurts and energy bars.

Wasn’t David Kessler, M.D., saying the same things ten years ago?

Here’s another new theory from me: If you had to kill and butcher your own animals, you’d eat less meat.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords. com

2 Comments

Filed under Overweight and Obesity

Eat Nuts to Avoid Age-Related Weight Gain

Remember…peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes

Nuts have been part of the healthy Mediterranean diet for decades.

From NPR:

Eating a handful of almonds, walnuts, peanuts or any type of nut on a regular basis may help prevent excessive weight gain and even lower the risk of obesity, new research suggests.

It may be that substituting healthy nuts for unhealthy snacks is a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies aging, according to the researchers. Nuts also help us feel full longer, which might offset cravings for junk food.Researchers looked at the diet and weight of more than 280,000 adults taking part in three long-term research studies. Over more than 20 years of monitoring, participants were asked every four years about their weight and, among other things, how often, over the preceding year, they had eaten a serving (about one ounce) of nuts.

Source: Just A Handful Of Nuts May Help Keep Us From Packing On The Pounds As We Age : The Salt : NPR

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Both of my Mediterranean Diets include nuts.

Click pic to order at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords.com.

Click pic to order at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords.com.

3 Comments

Filed under nuts, Overweight and Obesity

What’s a Reasonable Rate of Weight Loss?

paleobetic diet, low-carb, diabetic diet, paleo diet

Java had to lose weight when he developed metabolic syndrome

P.D. Mangan posted a good article on the risks of rapid weight loss. I agree with him that a max of 1–2 pounds a week is a reasonable weight-loss goal, and that a bit more than that is OK in the first week but highly inadvisable for the long run. Most folks do well if they settle into one pound a week.

From P.D.:

Slower Metabolism

A slower metabolism is another side effect of losing weight too quickly; since your body’s metabolism is essentially determining how much fuel you are needing to burn every day based on your activities and food intake, dropping calories out of your diet can considerably lower your metabolism. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is! A lower metabolism essentially causes your body to burn fewer calories each day than it typically would, and some research even shows up to a 23% decrease in calories that are burned each day. This doesn’t always go away when you stop losing weight quickly, either, your metabolism might take a while to get back on track and burning appropriately, which could affect your health and weight for a long time.

Muscle Loss

Lastly, your body could end up losing muscle as part of your quick weight loss routine. Granted, eliminating calories from your diet will have you lose weight, yes, but aside from a lot of that weight being water, some of it can also be muscle. A recent study done with people on a 500 calorie diet versus a 1250 calorie diet showed significant results; by the end of the trial, the participants on the 500 calorie diet lost six times more muscle than those on the 1250 calorie diet – an astounding loss in muscle in just a five-week span of time.

Source: Risks of Losing Weight Too Quickly – Rogue Health and Fitness

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com. E-book versions also available at Smashwords.com.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Overweight and Obesity, Weight Loss

Cutting Back on Ultra-Processed Foods Should Help With Weight Loss

“How about some ultra-processed bread?”

Over the short term, those eating ultra-processed foods at 500 calories a day more than those eating unprocessed foods.

From Kevin D. Hall and associates at Cell Metabolism:

We investigated whether ultra-processed foods affect energy intake in 20 weight-stable adults, aged (mean ± SE) 31.2 ± 1.6 years and BMI = 27 ± 1.5 kg/m2. Subjects were admitted to the NIH Clinical Center and randomized to receive either ultra-processed or unprocessed diets for 2 weeks immediately followed by the alternate diet for 2 weeks. Meals were designed to be matched for presented calories, energy density, macronutrients, sugar, sodium, and fiber. Subjects were instructed to consume as much or as little as desired. Energy intake was greater during the ultra-processed diet (508 ± 106 kcal/day; p = 0.0001), with increased consumption of carbohydrate (280 ± 54 kcal/day; p < 0.0001) and fat (230 ± 53 kcal/day; p = 0.0004), but not protein (−2 ± 12 kcal/day; p = 0.85). Weight changes were highly correlated with energy intake (r = 0.8, p < 0.0001), with participants gaining 0.9 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.009) during the ultra-processed diet and losing 0.9 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.007) during the unprocessed diet. Limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods may be an effective strategy for obesity prevention and treatment.

Source: Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake: Cell Metabolism

Steve Parker, M.D.

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com

2 Comments

Filed under Overweight and Obesity, Weight Loss

THIS May Be Why Americans Are Fat

Your average Americans

There’s no shortage of speculation as to why 70% of us in the U.S. are overweight or obese. A few possibilities include:

  • we’re too sedentary
  • we eat too many carbohydrates
  • we eat too much fat
  • our foods are over-processed
  • we eat away from home too often
  • we eat too many industrial seed oils
  • our water and food are contaminated with persistent organic pollutants that disrupt our endocrine systems

I was reading an article at Nutrition Today and came across this graph of calorie consumption change from 1971 to 2004 (or 2000?):

The verbal summary is from this article cited by the cited by the Nutrition Today authors: During 1971—2000, a statistically significant increase in average energy intake occurred. For men, average energy intake increased from 2,450 kcals to 2,618 kcals, and for women, from 1,542 kcals to 1,877 kcals. So men’s daily calorie intake went up by 168, and women’s by 335.

The original article I read states, alternatively, that men’s daily caloric consumption rose from 2450 to 2693, a gain of 243. I can’t explain the discrepancy between 243 and 168, nor why 2004 is in the graph instead of 2000.

Maybe you don’t think an extra 168 calories a day is much. If you believe in the validity of the Energy Balance Equation, those 168 daily calories will turn into  17.5 pounds of fat in a year unless you “burn them off” somehow. If you weigh 150 lb (68 kg), you can burn those 168 calories by doing a daily 15-minute jog at 5.5 mph (8.9 km/hr). But you ain’t gonna do that, are you?! (I’m not getting into a debate about validity of the equation now; for another perspective, read Lyle McDonald.)

But year 2000 was a long time ago. How much are Americans eating now? According to a 2016 report from Pew Research Center:

Broadly speaking, we eat a lot more than we used to: The average American consumed 2,481 calories a day in 2010, about 23% more than in 1970. That’s more than most adults need to maintain their current weight, according to the Mayo Clinic’s calorie calculator. (A 40-year-old man of average height and weight who’s moderately active, for instance, needs 2,400 calories; a 40-year-old woman with corresponding characteristics needs 1,850 calories.)

Bottom line? We’re eating more than we did in 1970. Which could explain why we’re fat. Unless we’re burning more calories than we did in 1970, which I doubt.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: In scientific literature, kcal is what everybody else calls a calorie.

Click pic to buy book at Amazon.com in the U.S.

3 Comments

Filed under Causes of Diabetes, Overweight and Obesity

Which Foods Make Us Fat?

At my other Advanced Mediterranean Diet website, a few years ago I asked visitors to answer a poll question. 2,367 responded thusly:

What single food category makes you gain the most fat weight?Fatty foods like bacon, butter, oils, nuts:
5%
Protein-rich foods: meat, eggs, fish:
0%
Sugary sweet items:
23%
Starches: bread, potatoes, peas, corn:
16%
Carbohydrates:
30%
Pastries, cake, pie, cookies:
25%
Other:
1%

Total Votes: 2367

Yes, I know it’s not a scientific poll, but it’s something. I’m not surprised at the results. I’m wishing I’d offered nuts as a choice since there are at least a few folks who gain weight on nuts, perhaps not realizing that nut calories are mostly from fat. To participate in the poll, click the link above.

Steve Parker, M.D.

low-carb mediterranean diet

Click the pic to purchase at Amazon.com in the U.S.

1 Comment

Filed under Overweight and Obesity

NASEM Concludes U.S. Dietary Guidelines Are Not Trustworthy

Back to the drawing board

NASEM is the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Andy Harris writes that:

The nation’s senior scientific body recently released a new report raising serious questions about the “scientific rigor” of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This report confirms what many in government have suspected for years and is the reason why Congress mandated this report in the first place: our nation’s top nutrition policy is not based on sound science.

Dr. Harris notes that since 1980, when the guidelines were first published, rates of obesity have doubled and diabetes has quadrupled.

Current recommendations to reduce saturated fat consumption and to eat health whole grains do not, after all, reduce rates of cardiovascular disease. That was my conclusion in 2009.

For a mere $68 US you can read the NASEM report yourself. Better yet, read Tom Naughton’s thoughts for free.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: The diets I’ve designed are contrary to U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

1 Comment

Filed under Overweight and Obesity

Average U.S. Woman Today Weighs as Much as the Average Man of 1960

But women now are also about a half inch (2.2 cm) taller, so that explains it, right? Not by a long shot. The author of the article below blames unhealthy food, too much of it, plus physical inactivity. Since 1960, women’s average weight is up 18.5%, and men’s up 17.6%.

Click the link below for details. I quote:

The average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As reddit recently pointed out, that’s almost exactly as much as the average American man weighed in the early 1960s.

Men, you’re not looking too hot in this scenario either. Over the same time period you gained nearly 30 pounds, from 166.3 in the 60s to 195.5 today.

Source: The average American woman now weighs as much as the average 1960s man – The Washington Post

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: You wanna do something about it? Send my book to someone you love.

PPS: Men are also a half inch taller.

3 Comments

Filed under Overweight and Obesity