In Rodents Fed High-Fat Diets, Gut Microbes Boost Hunger, Trigger Obesity

After several hints that gut microbes may be key players in the obesity epidemic, a new study provides a mechanistic explanation of how the intestinal inhabitants directly induce hunger, insulin resistance, and ultimately obesity in rodents.

Source: In rodents fed high-fat diets, gut microbes boost hunger, trigger obesity

The percentage of fat in our diets (since the early 80s) has gone down, but protein stayed the same, and carbs have gone up to pick up the slack.

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Why You Should Care About Added Sugars in Your Food

When the new food labels roll out in a year or two, a 20 ounce Pepsi will have to say it contains 130% of your daily value of added sugar. Yogurts will have to call out their added sugar, so we can’t kid ourselves that it all comes from fruit. Food companies fought the change, but they lost.

Source: Why You Should Care About Added Sugars in Your Food

It would be nice to know what foods insist that they add a bunch of sugar when there isn’t a need to. It’s less of a health concern and more of an openness concern. If you eat a yogurt, you might assume that all the labeled sugars are entirely necessary in order for the yogurt to still be yogurt. That’s false. Yogurts have a lot of sugar added that didn’t need to be there for it to be a yogurt, and if people were to demand less added sugar, food would move towards forms which have less sugar.

Even if it’s a meaningless differentiation between added and non-added sugars biochemically, it’s not a meaningless differentiation if making the distinction causes people to make healthier life choices. Sometimes you have to show people the right true statement in order to get them to change. Heck, if we chose to label daily intakes in fractions instead of percents, that might even cause a significant difference eating habits, since people may treat 3/2 different than 150% in their mind.

Study: Probiotics Don’t Do Shit for Healthy Adults’ Shit

A new study suggests that if you’re a healthy adult without any underlying conditions mucking up your digestion, you might want to think twice before spending your hard-earned dollars on probiotics.

Source: Study: Probiotics Don’t Do Shit for Healthy Adults’ Shit

There are lots of personal anecdotes about probiotics helping someone through digestion related issues.  If it works for you, that’s all that really matters.

Why Your Labrador Retriever Loses Its Mind Around Food

As a breed, labrador retrievers often have serious food-related issues—a behavioral quirk that often leads to over-eating and canine obesity. Researchers have finally figured out why, and the answer could influence the way we treat human obesity.

Source: Why Your Labrador Retriever Loses Its Mind Around Food

It seems like with all the pure breeds there is some kind of really really detrimental flaw in their genetics that just keeps getting worse and worse the more they breed them to “look better” or do that one thing that their breed is “supposed to do”.

Study: Former Biggest Loser Contestants’ Metabolisms Are Wrecked, Leading to Weight Gain

Contestants lost hundreds of pounds during Season 8, but gained them back. A study of their struggles helps explain why so many people fail to keep off the weight they lose.

Source: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

Two individuals, each of the same size/weight, but one who had lost a substantial amount of weight to arrive there, end up with significantly different resting metabolisms, such that it becomes impractical to maintain the weight loss.  The alternative for those people is to devote substantial amounts of time to exercise to maintain caloric burn rates that counter their abnormally low metabolisms.  That’s part of the lifestyle change – crash/fad diets do not work for the long term.

New nonsurgical weight-loss treatment curbs hunger, melts away pounds

Battling bulge can often be a frustrating fight—with tedious calorie counting, rigorous exercise regimens, and invasive and expensive stomach-shrinking surgeries. But a new method to offload the flab promises to be a quick and simple treatment that cuts cravings and leads to sustainable weight loss.

The non-surgical procedure works using tiny, injectable beads that restrict blood flow to the part of the stomach that releases the hunger-sparking hormone, ghrelin. In a pilot clinical trial with seven severely obese patients, the method successfully curbed hunger and trimmed an average of 13.3 percent of excess weight after six months.

Source: New nonsurgical weight-loss treatment curbs hunger, melts away pounds

Given that the treatment involves obstructing blood vessels to restrict blood flow, it will be interesting to see how many people who could benefit from this would actually be eligible. Healthy circulation in the morbidly obese is not something you can take for granted!

I’d also want to know about the long-term effects of this, particularly the likelihood of the beads getting dislodged and clogging blood vessels they’re not supposed to.

Curious about the FDA approved AstraZeneca’s approach in 2014?  Leptin doesn’t work, since it’s too easily overcome.  The drug also has very nasty side effects, including diabetes and lymphoma. It is really only supposed to be used by people who have a congenital Leptin deficiency. Providers must go through special training to be able to prescribe the drug.

“You Lose Weight in the Kitchen, You Gain Health in the Gym”

You can’t eat total crap and then bust your butt exercising to magically erase those calories: It’s not that simple. If you want to make longer lasting, healthier changes, what and how much you eat is far more important than how much you exercise.

Source: “You Lose Weight in the Kitchen, You Gain Health in the Gym”

I could not figure out what I was doing wrong until I started thinking about my eating habits. I confess – they were not they were not up to par.  Only then did I understand that a workout was ~20% of the fitness goal, and the rest was my diet.

Off-Switch For Overeating and Obesity Found in the Brain

After tediously tracking calories and willfully shunning cravings, many a dieter has likely dreamt of a simple switch that, when thrown, could shut down hunger and melt away pounds—and scientists may have just found it.

Source: Off-switch for overeating and obesity found in the brain

The “it’s your own fault” view of obesity as a willpower issue does not hold up to logical scrutiny.

As far as I know, obesity is the only condition that has massively increased in humans, despite an overwhelmingly negative view of it by society, and shaming of sufferers. Look at smoking as an analog–despite how difficult it is to quit smoking, people have done so in huge numbers over the past few decades, while obesity has continued to rise, unabated, throughout the world. If it were a willpower issue, as smoking apparently is, we would most certainly not see this happening.

Parents’ Bad Diets May Mess With Genes, Boost Kids’ Risk of Obesity, Diabetes

A crummy diet can obviously have a lasting impact on the waistline—but for parents, it may also have a lasting impact on DNA and the family line, a new study suggests.

Source: Parents’ bad diets may mess with genes, boost kids’ risk of obesity, diabetes

It’d be interesting to test if the epigenetic changes are permanent, or if they can be reversed by the fat mouse loosing weight.

Getting Six Hours of Sleep Can Be Just as Bad as Not Sleeping at All

Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to both your health and productivity. Yawn. We’ve heard it all before. But results from one study impress just how bad a cumulative lack of sleep can be on performance. Subjects in a lab-based sleep study who were allowed to get only six hours of sleep a night for two weeks straight functioned as poorly as those who were forced to stay awake for two days straight. The kicker is the people who slept six hours per night thought they were doing just fine.

Source: Why Six Hours Of Sleep Is As Bad As None At All

The sample size is way too low to take the news seriously, but for a follow-up study? I’d be curious to know how people do when they routinely get 4-6 hours of sleep during the week, but then catch up by sleeping 8-10 on the weekend.

It seems that since the people sleeping 6 hours per night didn’t show really ill effect until 10 days in, that being able to “reset” once or twice per week might make a real difference.  I know I’ve had times where I’m suddenly aware that I’m quite tired, go for a nap to find I’ve been out for hours.