Category Archives: Overweight & Obesity

Humans Are By No Means the Only Species Getting Fat

I heard about this phenomenon years ago. It’s good to remember that obesity isn’t a simple straightforward process. Like Fanatic Cook, I wonder about pollution as a cause.

“A dramatic rise in obesity has occurred among humans within the last several decades. Little is known about whether similar increases in obesity have occurred in animals inhabiting human-influenced environments. We examined samples collectively consisting of over 20 000 animals from 24 populations (12 divided separately into males and females) of animals representing eight species living with or around humans in industrialized societies. In all populations, the estimated coefficient for the trend of body weight over time was positive (i.e. increasing). The probability of all trends being in the same direction by chance is 1.2 × 10 [to the minus 7th power]. Surprisingly, we find that over the past several decades, average mid-life body weights have risen among primates and rodents living in research colonies, as well as among feral rodents and domestic dogs and cats. The consistency of these findings among animals living in varying environments, suggests the intriguing possibility that the aetiology of increasing body weight may involve several as-of-yet unidentified and/or poorly understood factors (e.g. viral pathogens, epigenetic factors). This finding may eventually enhance the discovery and fuller elucidation of other factors that have contributed to the recent rise in obesity rates.”

Source: Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics

Who Cooks These Day?

I’ve been saying for years that weigh management begins in the kitchen. Meaning preparing your own meals. An article in Nutrition Journal indicates that more folks have been cooking. But it’s not making a dent in the obesity epidemic yet.

“Cooking increased overall from 2003 to 2016. The percent of college-educated men cooking increased from 37.9% in 2003 to 51.9% in 2016, but men with less than high school education who cook did not change (33.2% in 2016) (p < 0.05). College-educated women who cook increased from 64.7% in 2003 to 68.7% in 2016, while women with less than high school education had no change (72.3% in 2016) (p < 0.05). Women with less education spent more time cooking per day than high-educated women, but the reverse was true for men. Among men, the percent who cook increased for all race/ethnic groups except non-Hispanic blacks. Among women, only non-Hispanic whites increased in percent who cook. Among both men and women, non-Hispanic blacks had the lowest percentage who cooked, and non-Hispanic others spent the greatest amount of time cooking.”

Source: Who’s cooking? Trends in US home food preparation by gender, education, and race/ethnicity from 2003 to 2016 | Nutrition Journal | Full Text

Which Foods Make People 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.

Steve Parker, M.D.

NASEM: Current U.S. Dietary Guidelines Aren’t 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 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.

Obesity In U.S. Adults Is Now Up to 40% (Four in Ten)

…according to the CDC.

For youths 19 or less, the obesity rate is 18.5%.

To find out if you’re obese, use a BMI calculator.

To combat obesity, follow The Advanced Mediterranean Diet (2nd Ed.).

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Brown Fat and the Cat in the Hat

My son Paul made this

My son Paul made this (I’ll see you in heaven, Romeo)

The Joslin diabetes blog has an interesting article on brown fat and its effect on metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity. Brown fat is just a type of body type different from the more plentiful white fat (which is actually more pale yellow). If there are other colors of body fat, I don’t know.

If you can “activate” your brown fat, it helps you burn more calories, which could be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. It also improves insulin sensitivity: beneficial if you have type 2 diabetes or are prone to it.

From Joslin:

“When brown fat is fully activated, it can burn between 200 and 300 extra calories per day. It is most successfully activated through cold exposure. A recent study of people with type 2 diabetes had volunteers sit in a 50 degree room for a couple of hours a day for 10 days in shorts and short-sleeved shirts.

“When I say cold, it’s not icy cold, it’s not like the winter in Boston,” she says. “It’s more or less like the temperature we have here in autumn. After this mild cold exposure, all ten volunteers with type 2 diabetes, as shown in that study, displayed increased brown fat activity and improved insulin sensitivity. This is very exciting.”

Dr. Tseng is working on understanding exactly what is happening on a cellular level to activate brown fat in the cold to see if she can create a drug that will mimic the effects. “Although cold works, it’s just not pleasant,” she says. “If you had to sit in a cold room for a few hours every day, perhaps not everybody could accept that.”

Source: How Your Body Temperature Can Affect Your Metabolism | Speaking of Diabetes | The Joslin Blog

Another way to activate brown fat is exercise (at least if you’re a man or a mouse).

Steve Parker, M.D.

We Don’t Know How to Get Overweight Kids to Exercise

From a recent meta-analysis:

“In conclusion, there is no evidence that currently available interventions are able to increase physical activity among overweight or obese children. This questions the contribution of physical activity to the treatment of overweight and obesity in children in the studied interventions and calls for other treatment strategies.”

Source: Effectiveness of interventions on physical activity in overweight or obese children: a systematic review and meta-analysis including studies with o… – PubMed – NCBI

For weight loss in overweight and obese children, you have to focus on diet modification. Same as adults.