Category Archives: Weight Loss

Who Says the Mediterranean Diet Is Best?

U.S. News and World Report once again ranks the Mediterranean diet #1 in Best Overall Diets:

It’s generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods. The Mediterranean Diet may offer a host of health benefits, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.

Source: What is the Mediterranean Diet? Best Diet Overall | U.S. News

I can’t find a date at the source URL but I think it was January , 2021,

Steve Parker, M.D.

front cover of Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes

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

Semaglutide Now Available to Help With Weigh Loss

Potential customers

Semaglutide was originally FDA-approved as a treatment for type diabetes. The drug mimics a natural hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). It will be sold under the trade name Wegovy. The dose of this injectable medication must be increased gradually over 16 to 20 weeks to 2.4 mg once weekly to reduce gastrointestinal side effects. I have no idea how much it will cost. From the FDA:

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy (semaglutide) injection (2.4 mg once weekly) for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol), for use in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity. This under-the-skin injection is the first approved drug for chronic weight management in adults with general obesity or overweight since 2014. The drug is indicated for chronic weight management in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least one weight-related ailment or in patients with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater. 

Click for the FDA news release.

The most common side effects of semaglutide include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal (stomach) pain, headache, fatigue, dyspepsia (indigestion), dizziness, abdominal distension, eructation (belching), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, flatulence (gas buildup), gastroenteritis (an intestinal infection) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (a type of digestive disorder).  

Steve Parker, M.D.

What’s the Best Type of Exercise to Reduce Obesity?

Steve Parker MD
Resistance training on left; treadmill on right can be high intensity

From Obesity Reviews:

Current international guidelines recommend people living with obesity should be prescribed a minimum of 300 min of moderately intense activity per week for weight loss. However, the most efficacious exercise prescription to improve anthropometry [measurements and proportions of the body], cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and metabolic health in this population remains unknown. Thus, this network meta‐analysis was conducted to assess and rank comparative efficacy of different exercise interventions on anthropometry, CRF and other metabolic risk factors.

* * *

Results reveal that while any type of exercise intervention is more effective than control [no particular exercise, if any], weight loss induced is modest. Interventions that combine high‐intensity aerobic and high‐load resistance training exert beneficial effects that are superior to any other exercise modality at decreasing abdominal adiposity, improving lean body mass and increasing cardiorespiratory fitness. Clinicians should consider this evidence when prescribing exercise for adults living with obesity, to ensure optimal effectiveness.

Source: What exercise prescription is optimal to improve body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness in adults living with obesity? A network meta‐analysis – O’Donoghue – – Obesity Reviews – Wiley Online Library

So, “combine high‐intensity aerobic and high‐load resistance training” to reduce body fat and increase fitness.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

Ketogenic Diet More Effective Than Low-Fat for Obesity and Diabetes

One of many ketogenic salads

From The Journal of Nutrition:

For >50 y, dietary guidelines in the United States have focused on reducing intakes of saturated and total fat. However, rates of obesity and diabetes rose markedly throughout this period, with potentially catastrophic implications for public health and the economy. Recently, ketogenic diets have received substantial attention from the general public and nutrition research community. These very-low-carbohydrate diets, with fat comprising >70% of calories, have been dismissed as fads. However, they have a long history in clinical medicine and human evolution. Ketogenic diets appear to be more effective than low-fat diets for treatment of obesity and diabetes. In addition to the reductions in blood glucose and insulin achievable through carbohydrate restriction, chronic ketosis might confer unique metabolic benefits of relevance to cancer, neurodegenerative conditions, and other diseases associated with insulin resistance. Based on available evidence, a well-formulated ketogenic diet does not appear to have major safety concerns for the general public and can be considered a first-line approach for obesity and diabetes. High-quality clinical trials of ketogenic diets will be needed to assess important questions about their long-term effects and full potential in clinical medicine.

Source: Ketogenic Diet: Evidence for Optimism but High-Quality Research Needed | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

     Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: A ketogenic diet is one of the options in The Advanced Mediterranean Diet, 2nd edition.

Despite Pasta, You Can Still Lose Weight With a Mediterranean Diet

spaghetti squash, spaghetti
Spaghetti squash is an alternative to pasta

The title above sums it up. If you’re eating pasta frequently and trying to lose weight, you do have to be careful not to over-eat. In other words, you generally have to restrict calories. In the study at hand, I don’t know how many daily calories were allowed since I haven’t read the full report. Here’s the abstract:

Background & aims

The effect of pasta consumption within a low-energy [read: calorie-restricted] Mediterranean diet on body weight regulation has been scarcely explored. This paper investigates the effect of two Mediterranean diets, which differed for lower or higher pasta intake, on body weight change in individuals with obesity.

Methods & Results

Forty-nine volunteers finished a quasi-experimental 6-month two–parallel group dietary intervention. Participants were assigned to a low-energy high pasta (HP) or to a low-energy low Pasta (LP) group on the basis of their pasta intake (HP ≥ 5 or LP ≤ 3 times/week). Anthropometrics, blood pressure and heart rate were measured every month. Weight maintenance was checked at month 12. Body composition (bioelectrical impedance analysis, BIA), food intake (24-h recall plus a 7-day carbohydrate record) and the perceived quality of life (36-item short-form health survey, SF-36) were assessed at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Blood samples were collected at baseline and month 6 to assess glucose and lipid metabolism. After 6-month intervention, body weight reduction was −10 ± 8% and −7 ± 4% in HP and LP diet, respectively, and it remained similar at month 12. Both dietary interventions improved anthropometric parameters, body composition, glucose and lipid metabolism, but no significant differences were observed between treatment groups. No differences were observed for blood pressure and heart rate between treatments and among times. HP diet significantly improved perception of quality of life for the physical component.

Conclusions

Independent of pasta consumption frequency, low-energy Mediterranean diets were successful in improving anthropometrics, physiological parameters and dietary habits after a 6-month weight-loss intervention.

Source: Body weight of individuals with obesity decreases after a 6-month high pasta or low pasta Mediterranean diet weight-loss intervention – Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases

Steve Parker, M.D.

No Big Difference Among Popular Diets

The french fries and 40 diet

From MedPage Today:

When it comes to choosing among popular diets, patients might as well choose the one they like. The diets all result in modest weight loss and their differences generally disappear at 12 months, scientists said.

The meta-analysis of 121 randomized clinical trials comparing 14 popular diets found that the top three in terms of mean weight loss and blood pressure reductions at 6 months were Atkins (5.5 kg, 5.1 mm Hg systolic); Zone (4.1 kg, 3.5 mm Hg); and DASH (3.6 kg, 4.7 mm Hg), reported Bradley Johnston, PhD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues.

However, as shown in the study online in The BMJ, the other popular diets were associated with some degree of weight loss and blood pressure improvement at 6 months, on the order of 2-3 kg for body weight and 3-4 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure.

By 12 months, the effects had diminished to the degree that the differences between diets were negligible, the team said.

None of the popular diets were associated with significant reductions in lipids, with the notable exception of the Mediterranean diet, for which there was a mean 4.59 mg/dL reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol at 6 months. The Mediterranean diet was also notable in that this effect did not diminish at 12 months, the researchers said.

Source: Study: No Big Difference Among Popular Diets | MedPage Today

Diets don’t work if you don’t follow them. Compliance drops off dramatically after 6-12 months. People go back to their old ways of eating and regain the last weight.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: The Advanced Mediterranean Diet is not popular. But if you don’t follow it, you’ll gain back the lost weight.

Anna Lee’s 10 Tips for Weight Loss

She’s smart and “on the money.” The only additional advice I’d give is to do resistance training, aka weight training.

More about Anna Lee’s transformation:

How Can Low-Carb Diets Be Better Than Others for Weight Loss? 

Sous vide chicken and sautéed sugar snap peas. This meal fits into a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

Low-carbohydrate diets help many folks, but not all, lose excess fat weight. When low-carb diets help, it may be related to Total Energy Expenditure (TEE). When you read “energy,” think calories. TEE is a combination of calories needed for 1) basic life processes (i.e., basal metabolic rate, as needed to maintain heart beats, breathing, steady body heat, growth and repair of tissues, etc.), 2) processing of ingested food (dietary thermogenesis), and 3) physical exercise.

Here’s the abstract of an article in The Journal of Nutrition that examines the headline question. It’s complicated and I haven’t read the full study yet.

Many obesity experts believe that to lose excess fat weight, you have to ingest fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis for physical exercise and basal metabolic rate. This creates a calorie (energy) deficit. Your body satisfies that deficit by converting fat tissue to weightless energy. The authors of the study at hand are essentially saying that, after 2-3 weeks, a low-carb diet “revs up your metabolism” to burn more calories. That can help you lose weight or maintain weight loss, unless you over-eat.

Here you go, nutrition nerds:

Background

The effect of macronutrient composition on total energy expenditure (TEE) remains controversial, with divergent findings among studies. One source of heterogeneity may be study duration, as physiological adaptation to lower carbohydrate intake may require 2 to 3 wk.

Objective

We tested the hypothesis that the effects of carbohydrate [expressed as % of energy intake (EI)] on TEE vary with time.

Methods

The sample included trials from a previous meta-analysis and new trials identified in a PubMed search through 9 March 2020 comparing lower- and higher-carbohydrate diets, controlled for EI or body weight. Three reviewers independently extracted data and reconciled discrepancies. Effects on TEE were pooled using inverse-variance-weighted meta-analysis, with between-study heterogeneity assessed using the I2 statistic. Meta-regression was used to quantify the influence of study duration, dichotomized at 2.5 wk.ResultsThe 29 trials ranged in duration from 1 to 140 d (median: 4 d) and included 617 participants. Difference in carbohydrate between intervention arms ranged from 8% to 77% EI (median: 30%). Compared with reported findings in the prior analysis (I2 = 32.2%), we found greater heterogeneity (I2 = 90.9% in the reanalysis, 81.6% in the updated analysis). Study duration modified the diet effect on TEE (P < 0.001). Among 23 shorter trials, TEE was reduced on lower-carbohydrate diets (−50.0 kcal/d; 95% CI: −77.4, −22.6 kcal/d) with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 69.8). Among 6 longer trials, TEE was increased on low-carbohydrate diets (135.4 kcal/d; 95% CI: 72.0, 198.7 kcal/d) with low heterogeneity (I2 = 26.4). Expressed per 10% decrease in carbohydrate as %EI, the TEE effects in shorter and longer trials were −14.5 kcal/d and 50.4 kcal/d, respectively. Findings were materially unchanged in sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions

Lower-carbohydrate diets transiently reduce TEE, with a larger increase after ∼2.5 wk. These findings highlight the importance of longer trials to understand chronic macronutrient effects and suggest a mechanism whereby lower-carbohydrate diets may facilitate weight loss.

Source: Do Lower-Carbohydrate Diets Increase Total Energy Expenditure? An Updated and Reanalyzed Meta-Analysis of 29 Controlled-Feeding Studies | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

In the Discussion section the authors write:

This finding supports a prediction of the carbohydrate-insulin model and suggests a mechanism whereby dietary carbohydrate reduction could aid in the prevention and treatment of obesity. According to this model, the high insulin-to-glucagon ratio with a diet high in glycemic load (mathematical product of glycemic index and carbohydrate amount) shifts the partitioning of metabolic fuels from oxidation in lean tissue to storage in adipose tissue. If the effects observed here persist over the long term, then reducing dietary carbohydrate intake by half from 60% of energy intake (a typical level for low-fat diets) would increase energy expenditure by ∼150 kcal/d, counterbalancing (if not compensated for by other factors) much of the secular increase in energy intake thought by some to underlie the obesity epidemic.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Improve Weight Loss on a Mediterranean Diet By Restricting Breakfast Carbohydrates

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean DIet

Naturally low-carb Caprese salad: mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil

Reducing carbohydrate content of breakfast improved weight loss on a calorie-restricted Mediterranean diet. Both diets in the study at hand were calorie restricted Mediterranean diets but only one of them restricted carbs at breakfast. Unfortunately the abstract does not mention the degree of calorie restriction nor the the AM carb restriction.

From the abstract of the study at hand:

Methods

Seventy overweight/obese individuals were randomized to two hypocaloric dietary regimens: one Mediterranean diet (Med-D) and one morning carbohydrate-restriction diet (MCR-D). Participants assigned to the MCR-D were permitted to consume a breakfast low in carbohydrate content, whereas typical Mediterranean morning meals were allowed in the Med-D group. Both diets were identical from midday on. Participants were followed over a period of 2 mo.

Results

Individuals in both groups achieved significant reductions in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat mass. These reductions were more pronounced in the MCR-D than in the Med-D group (all P < 0.001). More participants in the MCR-D group achieved loss of 5% to 10% of body weight by the end of the first month, as well as 5% to 10% and >10% of body weight by the end of the second month (all P < 0.001). All participants achieved loss of ≥5% baseline body weight by the end of the intervention. Both groups achieved similar reductions in fasting serum glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and serum triacylglycerols as well as improvement in insulin sensitivity. Individuals in the Med-D group showed reductions in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, whereas no such effect was observed in the MCR-D group.

Conclusions

Integration of morning carbohydrate restriction into a Mediterranean-type hypocaloric diet resulted in greater weight loss while retaining metabolic benefits in glycemia-related parameters.

Source: Carbohydrate restriction in the morning increases weight loss effect of a hypocaloric Mediterranean type diet: a randomized, parallel group dietary intervention in overweight and obese subjects – ScienceDirect

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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

Mediterranean Diet Ranked as Best Overall of 2020

Santorini, Greek seaside

Not surprising!

Every year, the U.S. News and World Report puts together a panel of experts to rank various diets.

From MedScape:

For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been named the best diet overall in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings.

In 2018, the Mediterranean diet shared top honors with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Both focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The ketogenic diet, one of the most popular, again fared well in the annual survey, but only in the fast weight loss category. Overall, it was not rated highly.

Angela Haupt, managing editor of health for the publication, says this year’s list has ”no surprises,” as it includes many diets that have been named outstanding before. Trendy diets typically won’t be found on its list, she says, explaining that its experts look for plans that have solid research and staying power.

Source: Mediterranean Diet Repeats as Best Overall of 2020

Click for the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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