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obesity

cause and cure
And the subject of my novel
The Magic Formula 
now published on Amazon and
Smashwords
Author James Dolittle
Ref ASIN: B01L5S1OGY


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Sept 17th 2017

Your body clock could be more responsible for weight gain than you thought, a new study has found.

Different people have different approaches to timing your meals if you want to lose weight or stay healthy.

Some argue you shouldn’t eat less than two hours before bed, and others advocate waiting until lunchtime to eat your first meal of the day, thus giving your body a fasting period overnight.

But little research has been conducted into how our eating habits can be affected by our sleeping patterns - until now.

The study by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US, has discovered how mealtimes affect your weight gain, based on what time you wake up and go to sleep.

They analysed data from 110 adults aged 18 to 22 to document sleep and circadian behaviours within their regular daily routines.

Using an app, all their food intake was logged for seven consecutive days during their regular daily routines. Body composition and timing of melatonin release (which marks the onset of sleep) was assessed in a laboratory.

The researchers found that the most important thing is to wait a few hours after eating before going to bed, so your body has time to digest.

The participants with the highest body fat percentages consumed most of their calories shortly before bed, when their levels of melatonin were high.

In contrast, those with lower percentages of body fat tended to go to bed a few hours after finishing eating.

Our metabolism is affected by our circadian rhythm, and this varies greatly from person to person, whether due to irregular work shifts or simply natural preference for rising early or staying up late.

“We found that the timing of food intake relative to melatonin onset, a marker of a person’s biological night, is associated with higher percent body fat and BMI, and not associated with the time of day, amount or composition of food intake,” lead author Andrew McHill, Ph.D., researcher with the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at BWH, said.

“These findings suggest that the timing of when you consume calories, relative to your own biological timing may be more important for health than the actual time of day,” he added.

The researchers accepted that university-aged students may not be representative of the population as a whole, but they concluded that the study’s results provide evidence that the consumption of food during the circadian evening plays an important role in body composition.

Aug 31st 2017

boxtops

Bay State schools are participating in a fundraising program that rewards students for purchasing sugar-laden foods and makes children brand ambassadors for products that contribute to childhood obesity, according to researchers from Harvard and MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

“The bottom line is that while schools and children are participating in this program, it isn’t promoting the best health,” said one of the study’s researchers, MassGeneral’s Chief of General Academic Pediatrics Dr. Elsie Taveras. “The program is leveraging caring parents to promote these unhealthy foods.”

Box Tops for Education, a campaign launched by food company General Mills, gives schools 10 cents for each label that has been clipped from eligible products. But a study published last week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that fewer than a third of those products — which include high-sugar cereals and Gushers fruit snacks — met nutritional standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Taveras said.

The doctor said she was prompted to take a deeper look at the program when her daughter, who attends elementary school in Brookline, asked to buy a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch at the grocery store so she could take the label to her school.

“She said there was a competition in school, and the class who brought in the most box tops would get a pizza and ice cream party,” Taveras said. “School is an environment where children expect adults are doing the best they can to provide the highest-quality foods. It’s paradoxical.”

Taveras said she still contributes to the program but sticks to the non-food items that qualify, like Ziploc bags.

About 90,000 schools nationwide that raise money through Box Tops for Education. Nearly 2,000 schools in the Bay State, including Boston Latin School and Boston Trinity Academy, take part in the program.

Despite the criticism, General Mills has pointed out the company has reduced sodium in more than 420 of its products by 5 to 25 percent and stresses that Box Tops for Education allows many schools to buy physical education and playground equipment, “which is costly and difficult to fund through other means.”

Aug 10th 2017

The sun's out and holidays are looming - and suddenly supermarket shelves seem to be full of mysterious 'teatox' packages and 'skinny' teas, promising miraculously fast weight loss just in time for the beach. Perhaps you've been tempted - or maybe you've even bought a pack yourself. But here, GP Dr. Louise Newson, who runs a private clinic at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull tells us why they're so dangerous - and why exactly we should steer clear….

1. They're all different

...Making it hard to know what's actually in them. "Detox teas aren't regulated and they're not all the same," explains Dr. Newson. "Some are harmless, but some contain laxatives such as senna, which work by stimulating your colon to contract more than it usually does, forcing out water and waste." And while senna makes you look slimmer temporarily (thanks to losing water weight) there's no impact on actual fat loss, says Dr. Newson, because any calories from food have already been absorbed by this point.

The difficulty comes in working out which teas are safe, and which probably aren't. "As a rule, teas with senna should definitely be avoided," she says. "Senna should only be used for short-term relief of constipation whereas many of these teas recommend use for weeks at a time when constipation isn't a problem - which can be dangerous."

2. Natural doesn't mean 'safe'

Natural = good, right? Not necessarily. "Just because something is labelled 'natural', it doesn't mean it's safe for us to eat or drink," explains Dr. Newson. "None of these products are regulated and manufacturers don't really know the combined effect the ingredients will have on the body.

And don't make the mistake of believing the celebrities advertising it are taking it either. "It's highly unlikely they're using it themselves," Dr. Newson points out.

3. Medication might not be as effective

From thyroid medication to antidepressants - sipping a seemingly innocuous tea could have serious repercussions on medication we're already taking, it turns out. "Laxative teas could interact and stop medications from working, which is incredibly dangerous," says Dr. Newson. If in doubt, it's always worth a quick chat with your GP or medical professional. Better safe than sorry…

4… meaning you could get pregnant

Alongside other medication, widespread accounts of detox teas causing the contraceptive pill to stop working have already hit headlines and according to Dr. Newson, it's worth listening to. "When you suffer from diarrhoea (passing six to eight watery stools in 24 hours) there's a high chance the contraceptive pill hasn't worked because it hasn't been absorbed properly. If in doubt, call your GP to find out the best course of action - you might need to take a replacement pill ASAP."

5. Sleep problems are common

Thanks to most detox teas containing medium to high levels of caffeine (there are links to suggest caffeine can suppress appetite) it's possible your sleep cycle could be affected, too – especially if you rarely drink caffeine normally. It's best to check how much caffeine you're consuming either way – the general advice is that four or five cups of coffee a day is safe (which equals around 400mg of caffeine) although everybody has different tolerances.

6. Your body won't absorb vital nutrients

"The irony is, many people start drinking detox teas to be 'healthy' and 'detox', but the laxative effect means food isn't properly absorbed," explains Dr. Newson. "Going to the toilet too quickly after eating means the gut isn't getting the opportunity to absorb food which means vitamins and minerals aren't being absorbed by the body either." The result? Trying to be 'healthy' has exactly the opposite effect, sadly…

7. Digestive problems are likely, too

"As a doctor, I've seen lots of patients who have abused laxatives as teens experiencing serious constipation when older as a result," says Dr. Newson. "It doesn't take long for laxatives to cause problems if you're using them when you don't need them. As well as affecting the chemicals in the blood (electrolytes) your gut can become lazy as a result, which means you'll need to continue using laxatives long-term and become reliant on them - another problem in itself."

And be wary of anything claiming to 'speed up the metabolism' too, says Dr. Newson. "Anything that speeds up the metabolism is dangerous because when you stop taking it, it can slow the metabolism down," she explains.

8. You probably won't lose weight

"As discussed, detox teas won't actually help you lose weight – they're just a temporary quick-fix which doesn't last," says Dr. Newson. "If you really want to lose weight and improve your health, you're better off looking at your diet – increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, and cutting out processed rubbish – it's a far safer, healthier way of doing it. My rule of thumb is that if you're embarrassed about the diet you're on (and don't want to talk about it to friends, for example) then it's probably not a sensible diet to be on!"

Aug 3rd 2017

Oprah Winfrey is all for accepting your body -- but she has her limits when it comes to her own physique and how it affects her health.

The 63-year-old media mogul gave an interview to The New York Times Magazine for an in-depth story focusing on the changing dieting culture over the years, and discussed her own well-known struggles with her weight. Oprah discussed the movement of women accepting their bodies at any weight, but acknowledged that this thinking doesn't work for her.

"This whole P.C. about accepting yourself as you are -- you should, 100 percent," she says. "[But] for your heart to pump, pump, pump, pump, it needs the least amount of weight possible to do that. So all of the people who are saying, 'Oh, I need to accept myself as I am' -- I can't accept myself if I'm over 200 pounds, because it's too much work on my heart. It causes high blood pressure for me. It puts me at risk for diabetes, because I have diabetes in my family."

According to the magazine, Oprah says she doesn't care if she's never skinny again, but rather, that she feels as if she has control. Oprah shares that she decided to get involved in Weight Watchers in 2015 -- which uses a point system that assigns points to foods based on their caloric and nutritional content -- to be more conscious of her eating. She admits she used eating as a way to deal with stress during the height of her career though she wasn't aware of it, eating bags of potato chips instead of confronting emotions.

"It's a mechanism to keep myself on track that brings a level of consciousness and awareness to my eating," she explains about Weight Watchers. "It actually is, for me, mindful eating, because the points are so ingrained now."

"In the particular moment in time that I got the call, I was desperate: What's going to work? I've tried all of the green juices and protein shakes, and let's do a cleanse, and all that stuff," she adds. "That doesn't work. It doesn't last. What is going to be consistent, keep me conscious and mindful?"

However, Oprah acknowledges that people have to find what works for them.

"I used to say this to my producers all the time. We are never going to win with this show looking back to see what other people are doing on their shows," she says. "The only way you win is to keep looking forward for yourself. What's best for you?"

ET spoke to Oprah last July at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where she explained that she doesn't actually have a goal weight in mind.

"It's a feeling where you get to the point where [you think], 'Oh, I can go to the store, I can pick that size, it's available, I don't have to, like, have it altered and all that stuff,'" she explained. "So I'll know when I'm there."

July 31st 2017

Walnuts

They are rich in fibre, alpha-linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), manganese, biotin and other health-boosting nutrients, and now a study suggests that the humble walnut could promote gut health. Research published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests that walnuts make beneficial changes to gut bacteria.

The researchers added walnuts to the diet of rodents, while another group's diet contained none of the nuts. After measuring the numbers and types of bacteria in the colon, the team discovered that the bacteria had changed in the walnut-eating rodents. Not only did the functional capacity change, but there was an increase in good bacteria.

According to Medical Xpress, Dr Lauri Byerley Associate Professor of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine noted: "We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease… Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacillus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic."

NetDoctor's nutritionist Naomi Mead explains that prebiotics are foods that feed the 'good' bacteria in the gut, and include foods such as onion, garlic, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), lentils and beans. "A plant-based diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables nourishes a healthy gut microbiome," she says.

Dr Byerley added that greater diversity of bacteria in the gut is increasingly being associated with an improvement of overall health outcomes.

Walnuts have previously been linked to an improvement in colon health.

While further research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn, walnuts are a great addition to a healthy diet. Try adding them to breakfast cereal or porridge, smoothies, soups or salads.

July 28th 2017

By now, we all know that sugary drinks are bad for you, but it turns out that consuming them alongside one particular type of meal could be disastrous for your waistline...

That's according to a new study published in the journal BMC Nutrition, which says that having a sweetened beverage with high-protein foods can increase how much fat you store, Business Insider reports.

Researchers from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Grand Forks Human Nutrition Center in America looked at 27 individuals over two days to test whether adding a sugary drink to a meal affects the way the body stores fat.

And it turns out that combining protein-rich foods with a sweet drink is a big no-no...

On the day when participants consumed a high-protein meal with a sugary drink their fat oxidation – the process that breaks down fat molecules – slowed down by eight per cent.

'We found that about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugar-sweetened drinks were not expended, fat metabolism was reduced, and it took less energy to metabolise the meals. This decreased metabolic efficiency may "prime" the body to store more fat,' said study author Dr Shanon Casperson.

Even worse, scientists found that this particular combination seems to make you crave more unhealthy food just a few hours after eating...

'We were surprised by the impact that the sugar-sweetened drinks had on metabolism when they were paired with higher-protein meals,' Dr Casperson added. 'This combination also increased study subjects' desire to eat savoury and salty foods for four hours after eating.

'Our findings suggest that having a sugar-sweetened drink with a meal impacts both sides of the energy balance equation,' she concluded.

While the study was only small, and further research is needed, we reckon this is further proof that it's time to quit your fizzy drink habit for good!

July 19th 2017

Consuming food and drink containing artificial sweeteners could lead to weight gain and heighten the risk of suffering from health issues including diabetes, scientists claim.

A large-scale study on the effects of the sugar substitute found it can potentially negatively impact on a person's metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite.

Sweeteners are widely used as a low-kilojoule alternative to sugar, but researchers fear its perceived slimming abilities have been overblown.

Instead it could lead to relatively increased threats of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity, the study claims.

But the findings were dismissed by industry bosses, who said the no-kilojoule ingredient had been "deemed safe" by health regulators across the world.

Scientists from the University of Manitoba, Canada, reviewed 37 studies following more than 400,000 people for an average of 10 years to unpick the realities behind artificial sweeteners.

They found that scientific evidence does "not clearly support" its intended weight-loss benefits, one author of the paper, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, said.

Ryan Zarychanski, a professor from the Canadian institution, said: "Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products."

Evidence about the benefits and drawbacks of sweeteners was conflicting, however, the study said.

Lead author Meghan Azad said: "Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised.

"Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products."

June 22nd 2017

WARNING: This article contains discussion of eating disorders and caution is recommended

Experts are warning about the dangerous consequences of a weight loss method known as the 'Sleeping Beauty' diet.

The basic premise behind the fad, which has been embraced by some 'pro-anorexia' blogs, is that if you are sleeping more, you will not be awake to eat. It's a worrying idea and according to a recent report by Broadly, some women have been taking this diet to the extreme by taking sedatives to sleep for abnormally long periods of time – in some cases up to 20 hours per day.

One simple and relatively moderate version of the diet was populated by sleep expert Dr Michael Breus in his 2012 book 'The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep'. In the book, 7-9 hours of sleep are encouraged and followers of the diet should not drink caffeine or alcohol near bedtime or exercise within four hours of sleeping.

Since then, some 'pro-ana' websites, where some sufferers consult and encourage each other on their eating disorders, have been discussing why they sleep to avoid eating. Some have talked of taking strong pain killers to "dope themselves out" and curb hunger while others explained the 'Sleeping Beauty diet' is where you take sedatives so you sleep for days and don't eat.

Users on the forums have spoken about trying to sleep all weekend in order to avoid eating or being monitored by their families. Others have discussed taking sleeping pills so that they would not binge or purge – which are signs of binge eating disorder and bulimia.

"Anyone worried about themselves or someone they know should seek advice."

Linia Patel, a dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietician Association, has warned that following the diet to this extreme is dangerous and could even result in death.

"The sad reality is that sleeping for several days straight won't make thinner," she told Cosmopolitan. "If you do manage to wake up two pounds lighter you will wake up being potentially addicted to sedative pills which is not good news. Being addicted to sedative pills means one day you might not wake up at all. This diet has not been proven to be a safe and effective way to help weight loss by any means. If abused it would lead to death."

But it might not cause weight loss

Patel also said that the premise behind the diet may not even contribute to weight loss at all. While it is true that there have been previous studies linking sleep deprivation to obesity, there have been others suggesting oversleeping can do the same.

"One study showed that people who slept for 9 – 10 hours a night were 21% more likely to become obese," she explained. "Oversleeping has been linked to a number of medical problems such as heart disease and diabetes as well as an increased risk of death."

Although Dr Breus made a link between sleep and dieting in his 2012 book, he said his idea has now been taken to the "extreme".

"Research shows that when the body is sleep deprived the hormonal imbalance produced between leptin and ghrelin can cause weight gain," he explained to Cosmopolitan. "So one idea was that if you have insomnia, and use a pill to help with sleep, it should keep your metabolism moving."

Dr Breus continued: "In the Broadly article, the idea has been taken to the extreme, where an individual will sleep longer than needed to avoid food, or to continue to fast. The idea that people are being prescribed sleep aids to be used to sleep longer to avoid food, is clearly an abuse of the prescription. Physicians with patients who have these types of food issues need to be clear with their patients about this form of prescription abuse."

"Sleep is important to manage stress and obesity, but too much sleep can also be harmful."

While lots of people experiment with all kinds of diets for weight loss, there have been a number of seemingly extreme diets emerge from the industry which can be dangerous. Just last week, Australian media were reporting on a new craze which involved people injecting themselves with pregnancy hormones.

Everything in moderation is key (even sleep)

If somebody is vulnerable to an eating disorder then the constant bombardment and advertisements of diet plans and products can make the likelihood of the disorder developing increase. A spokesperson for the eating disorder charity B-eat told Cosmopolitan that while the diet industry is unlikely to be the sole reason of the development of an eating disorder, they may "exacerbate the problem or be a contributing factor" for somebody already at risk.

"If someone has become obsessive about what they're eating or appears to be going to extremes in order to lose weight, it could be a sign that they are developing or have developed an eating disorder," the representative said. "It's important in that case that they seek treatment as soon as possible, as this will give them the best chance of recovery. Anyone worried about themselves or someone they know should seek advice from a doctor at the earliest opportunity."

Essentially, when it comes to being healthy, the same rule of everything in moderation still applies, even with sleep.

"Getting enough sleep is important to manage stress and obesity, but too much sleep can also be harmful, " Patel says. "If you want to lose weight then please find and see a registered Dietitian or Nutritionist. They will be able to advise you on how to lose weight in a safe and effective way and how to keep it off."

* If you, or someone you know, are worried about disordered eating, contact B-eat 365 days a year 3pm-10pm on 0808 801 0677 or any time on help@b-eat.co.uk

June 15th 2017

Diet sodas get plenty of heat for being unhealthy, even causing weight gain despite containing zero calories, but a new study found that drinking artificially sweetened beverages while pregnant can actually make your children heavy.

Researchers looked at data from 1996 to 2002 collected in the Danish National Birth Cohort study, which compiled long-term research from 92,000 pregnant woman living in Denmark. In this original study, participants completed a questionnaire about diets after being pregnant six months. Children’s weight was also captured at the time of birth and again at 7 years old. In the new study, researchers looked at 900 pregnancies where the mother was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition only pregnant woman receive.

About nine percent of the participants consumed at least one artificially sweetened drink per day. The team found that their kids had a 60 percent chance of being heavier at birth, compared to moms who never drank these beverages. At seven years old, these kids were almost twice as likely to have weight problems, according to a release on ScienceDaily.

While many often think that fake sugar is better than real sugar, researchers found no advantages to drinking a beverage using a substitute over the real thing.

"Our findings suggest that artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy are not likely to be any better at reducing the risk for later childhood obesity than sugar-sweetened beverages," said study co-author Cuilin Zhang, Ph.D., in a statement. "Not surprisingly, we also observed that children born to women who drank water instead of sweetened beverages were less likely to be obese by age 7."

Babies of moms who included real sugar and sugar substitute drinks into their diets had equal chances of being obese or overweight. Moms who only drank water reduced their kid’s risk of obesity by 17 percent.

The team couldn’t determine why this occurred, but cited a study suggesting that artificial sweeteners caused the intestines to absorb blood sugar glucose, however that study was conducted in animals.

As with most scientific studies, there are other pieces of research which state that using sugar substitutes are totally fine. Vice explored the reason behind the discrepancies in a story earlier this year and found that the conflicting research is partially due to the prevalence of studies funded by food makers.

"Right now, the simple answer is this is science versus the food industry," Robert Lustig, neuroendocrinologist at the University of California, told Vice.

Another researcher, Kristina Rother, chief of the National Institutes of Health’s division of pediatric diabetes, told Vice that many are surprised to hear that something without calories could make them fat.

"A lot of people were like, 'Kristina, are you saying something with no calories can cause weight gain?'" she explained to Vice of the reactions she receives. "It was like I was challenging the law of thermodynamics."

Rother has published numerous studies on the subject and tells the website that sugar substitutes are not exactly guilt-free.

"I'm not blaming artificial sweeteners for America's obesity epidemic, but I think they're a part of it," she said.

Related: Diet Soda Increases Risk Of Stroke And Dementia (Provided by Wochit News)

June 14th 2017

WARNING: This article contains discussion of eating disorders and caution is recommended

Experts are warning about the dangerous consequences of a weight loss method known as the 'Sleeping Beauty' diet.

The basic premise behind the fad, which has been embraced by some 'pro-anorexia' blogs, is that if you are sleeping more, you will not be awake to eat. It's a worrying idea and according to a recent report by Broadly, some women have been taking this diet to the extreme by taking sedatives to sleep for abnormally long periods of time – in some cases up to 20 hours per day.

One simple and relatively moderate version of the diet was populated by sleep expert Dr Michael Breus in his 2012 book 'The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep'. In the book, 7-9 hours of sleep are encouraged and followers of the diet should not drink caffeine or alcohol near bedtime or exercise within four hours of sleeping.

Since then, some 'pro-ana' websites, where some sufferers consult and encourage each other on their eating disorders, have been discussing why they sleep to avoid eating. Some have talked of taking strong pain killers to "dope themselves out" and curb hunger while others explained the 'Sleeping Beauty diet' is where you take sedatives so you sleep for days and don't eat.

Users on the forums have spoken about trying to sleep all weekend in order to avoid eating or being monitored by their families. Others have discussed taking sleeping pills so that they would not binge or purge – which are signs of binge eating disorder and bulimia.

"Anyone worried about themselves or someone they know should seek advice."

Linia Patel, a dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietician Association, has warned that following the diet to this extreme is dangerous and could even result in death.

"The sad reality is that sleeping for several days straight won't make thinner," she told Cosmopolitan. "If you do manage to wake up two pounds lighter you will wake up being potentially addicted to sedative pills which is not good news. Being addicted to sedative pills means one day you might not wake up at all. This diet has not been proven to be a safe and effective way to help weight loss by any means. If abused it would lead to death."

But it might not cause weight loss

Patel also said that the premise behind the diet may not even contribute to weight loss at all. While it is true that there have been previous studies linking sleep deprivation to obesity, there have been others suggesting oversleeping can do the same.

"One study showed that people who slept for 9 – 10 hours a night were 21% more likely to become obese," she explained. "Oversleeping has been linked to a number of medical problems such as heart disease and diabetes as well as an increased risk of death."

Although Dr Breus made a link between sleep and dieting in his 2012 book, he said his idea has now been taken to the "extreme".

"Research shows that when the body is sleep deprived the hormonal imbalance produced between leptin and ghrelin can cause weight gain," he explained to Cosmopolitan. "So one idea was that if you have insomnia, and use a pill to help with sleep, it should keep your metabolism moving."

Dr Breus continued: "In the Broadly article, the idea has been taken to the extreme, where an individual will sleep longer than needed to avoid food, or to continue to fast. The idea that people are being prescribed sleep aids to be used to sleep longer to avoid food, is clearly an abuse of the prescription. Physicians with patients who have these types of food issues need to be clear with their patients about this form of prescription abuse."

"Sleep is important to manage stress and obesity, but too much sleep can also be harmful."

While lots of people experiment with all kinds of diets for weight loss, there have been a number of seemingly extreme diets emerge from the industry which can be dangerous. Just last week, Australian media were reporting on a new craze which involved people injecting themselves with pregnancy hormones.

But it might not cause weight loss

Patel also said that the premise behind the diet may not even contribute to weight loss at all. While it is true that there have been previous studies linking sleep deprivation to obesity, there have been others suggesting oversleeping can do the same.

"One study showed that people who slept for 9 – 10 hours a night were 21% more likely to become obese," she explained. "Oversleeping has been linked to a number of medical problems such as heart disease and diabetes as well as an increased risk of death."

Although Dr Breus made a link between sleep and dieting in his 2012 book, he said his idea has now been taken to the "extreme".

"Research shows that when the body is sleep deprived the hormonal imbalance produced between leptin and ghrelin can cause weight gain," he explained to Cosmopolitan. "So one idea was that if you have insomnia, and use a pill to help with sleep, it should keep your metabolism moving."

Dr Breus continued: "In the Broadly article, the idea has been taken to the extreme, where an individual will sleep longer than needed to avoid food, or to continue to fast. The idea that people are being prescribed sleep aids to be used to sleep longer to avoid food, is clearly an abuse of the prescription. Physicians with patients who have these types of food issues need to be clear with their patients about this form of prescription abuse."

"Sleep is important to manage stress and obesity, but too much sleep can also be harmful."

While lots of people experiment with all kinds of diets for weight loss, there have been a number of seemingly extreme diets emerge from the industry which can be dangerous. Just last week, Australian media were reporting on a new craze which involved people injecting themselves with pregnancy hormones.

Everything in moderation is key (even sleep)

If somebody is vulnerable to an eating disorder then the constant bombardment and advertisements of diet plans and products can make the likelihood of the disorder developing increase. A spokesperson for the eating disorder charity B-eat told Cosmopolitan that while the diet industry is unlikely to be the sole reason of the development of an eating disorder, they may "exacerbate the problem or be a contributing factor" for somebody already at risk.

"If someone has become obsessive about what they're eating or appears to be going to extremes in order to lose weight, it could be a sign that they are developing or have developed an eating disorder," the representative said. "It's important in that case that they seek treatment as soon as possible, as this will give them the best chance of recovery. Anyone worried about themselves or someone they know should seek advice from a doctor at the earliest opportunity."

Essentially, when it comes to being healthy, the same rule of everything in moderation still applies, even with sleep. 

"Getting enough sleep is important to manage stress and obesity, but too much sleep can also be harmful, " Patel says. "If you want to lose weight then please find and see a registered Dietitian or Nutritionist. They will be able to advise you on how to lose weight in a safe and effective way and how to keep it off."

* If you, or someone you know, are worried about disordered eating, contact B-eat 365 days a year 3pm-10pm on 0808 801 0677 or any time on help@b-eat.co.uk

June 12th 2017

Trying to lose a few pounds before the summer "officially" hits? That's probably a struggle that many of us go through every single year. If you have tried to lose weight at any point of your life, then I bet you have heard of following claim - spicy food helps you lose weight. A lot of you have probably tried it, too. Now you are either recollecting the time when you did, or seriously doubting if this is real science. Especially for those of you who loathed spicy food your entire lives, does it really worth it to venture down this road? Does spicy food really help you lose weight? Well, let's find out.

Boosting Your Metabolism?

One of the most commonly recognised and supported arguments is that eating spicy food raises your body temperature and therefore boosts your metabolism. Generally, the increase in body temperature after eating spicy food is associated with a chemical compound called "capsaicin." While the exact mechanism remains unclear, what scientists do know is that capsaicin excites the receptors in our skin which normally respond to heat, causing physical reactions such as burning and sweating. However, hold your applause there for a minute. Even though spicy food increases your metabolism, it does so at a rate ever so slightly - about 8 percent, and only temporarily - that the effect is almost negligible.

So is that a "no?" Not quite yet. Despite the disappointing findings, scientists did not give up there. On the contrary, they presented the next argument - spicy food helps reduce appetite. It appears that the same chemical and burning sensation as mentioned above tend to suppress appetite and curb cravings. More specifically, in a study conducted at Purdue University, those who did not consume spicy meals regularly ate 60 fewer calories when red pepper was added to their soup. So the pain may not be so bad after all.

Moreover, many researchers have studied the effect of capsaicin on the fat-burning process. According to a study completed by researches at the University of Wyoming, dietary capsaicin suppresses obesity induced by high-fat diets - in mice. In other words, for those of you on a high-fat diet, spicy food will prevent weight gain to a certain extent. In fact, multiple studies conducted in a similar manner produced positive results. It's reasonable to conclude that eating spicy food does lead to less fat gain, possibly even more effective fat-burning.Are you fully convinced by the arguments yet? If not, there is more to come. Aside from helping you lose weight, spicy food has other health benefits that should not be ignored. A study conducted from 2004 to 2008 that tracked 20,224 people over a 7-year period produced data suggested a lower risk of premature deaths for those who ate spicy food six to seven times per week. The difference was as large as 14%. Capsaicin intake is also widely researched for its potential cancer-fighting properties, as the compound seems to play a significant role in killing cancer cells.

The last thing you need to know before heading out on your spicy food adventure is that despite all these health benefits, capsaicin is a blood thinner. However, this should only be a concern to the people taking medications like warfarin. So just be careful how much red pepper you are eating and don't go crazy!

After all, we should return to the initial question, does spicy food help you lose weight? Simply put, it can, though only to a certain extent. You might be disappointed by this answer, but relying on spicy food as a shortcut to weight loss is probably not the best idea. That being said, spicy food does have many other health benefits that you should not ignore. So unless you absolutely loathe red peppers, go get spiced up!

June 7th 2017

A promising new weight-loss procedure may be a safe and effective way to help people who want to lose 40 pounds or more.

A promising new weight-loss procedure may be a safe and effective way to help people who want to lose 40 pounds or more, but want to avoid drastic obesity surgery.

The innovative, surgery-free method helped patients drop close to 18 percent of their body weight, researchers reported last month.

"It's like a glorified sewing machine," says gastroenterologist Dr. Reem Sharaiha of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who led the study.

"There are a series of sutures going from one part of the stomach to the bottom of the stomach all the way to the top. No scars, no cuts. You are asleep, like going to the dentist to pull your teeth out."

Her team found that the accordion procedure helped patients, on average, lose 17.6 percent of their weight and nearly 27 inches from around their waists. The BMIs of the 91 patients who underwent the procedure between 2013 and 2016 decreased from 40.7 — considered morbidly obese — to a BMI of 32. The results were published in the May Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The minimally invasive, non-surgery procedure involves using an endoscopic tube with a camera attached that goes down the mouth into the esophagus and lets a gastroenterologist see inside the stomach.

The doctors sews stitches in the stomach to pull it tight and make it smaller without making any cuts. Over time a patient's weight loss can plateau, but doctors can go back and re-tighten the stomach, leading to more pounds shed. After the procedure, post-op recovery involves a liquid diet for two weeks.

New York resident Jaheidi Fonseca, 31, was having trouble losing weight after having three children. Two-years ago Fonseca tipped the scale at 219 pounds, trying everything from diet pills to protein shakes to shed the weight — without success.

"It was incremental, after I had my first child I gained weight that never came off, having two other children I just kept gaining and harder for me to lose," Fonseca, a medical technician, told NBC News. "I wasn't on the right track to start losing weight."

After seeing her fellow colleagues lose weight, Fonseca met with a gastroenterologist who recommended the endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), also called the accordian procedure.

Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 30, affects 78.6 million Americans — more than one-third of U.S. adults, according to the National Institutes of Health.

This procedure is meant for people with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, unhealthy cholesterol and a BMI of less than 40.

The study's early results show that the accordion procedure is safe, effective and less expensive than surgery for people who have been unable to lose weight through lifestyle changes, said Dr. Stacy Bethauer, president of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, who was not involved in the study.

"While it may not be as effective as surgery, it has fewer complications and may be the ideal treatment for patients with less severe obesity," said Brethaur. "Like any weight loss treatment, endoscopic procedures should be done as part of a multidisciplinary weight management program that can help each patient determine the best option for them."

Dr. Scott Kahan, a weight loss expert at the Obesity Society and George Washington University Medical Center, sees promise in the procedure since it can be offered to a wider group of people. "This procedure includes patients with BMI over 30, whereas traditional bariatric surgery is usually only offered to people with a BMI of at least 35," Kahan, who was also not involved in the study, told NBC News.

Currently, the procedure costs between $10,000-$15,000 and insurance coverage is limited. However, with more studies coming in, the accordion procedure could be covered. One limiting factor is accessibility, since approximately 25 centers in the U.S. currently perform this procedure, Sharaiha said.

After the 40-minute procedure, Fonseca went home the same day and the pounds came off and continued to drop. She lost nearly 60 pounds and found the stamina to start exercising and eating better.

"You see the weight loss right away," Fonseca said. "Three days later you start feeling different and you start seeing changes little by little, day by day. You just lose more and that's the best thing the best feeling ever. I wanted to make a change for me."

7th June 2017

J.D. Roth is once again on a mission to help people lose weight, starting with former contestants of The Biggest Loser who regained the hundreds of pounds they dropped on the show.

The former executive producer of The Biggest Loser is back with a new show, The Big Fat Truth, and he kicks off the series by following up with his former contestants.

"I feel badly that some people from the show went back to some bad decision making patterns and gained the weight back, and felt ashamed," Roth tells PEOPLE. "Here they are, they won the lottery and got on the show and lost all the weight and then gained it back."

Roth says that examining their experience can help people lose weight for good.

"What can we learn from someone who lost 200 lbs. and gained back? What emotional hurdle could they not get over that another contestant who lost 200 lbs. and kept it off was able to do? I wanted to compare the differences, and get these people back on track," he says.

Roth dismisses the theory presented in the headline-making study published in The New York Times, which followed former contestants and found that their metabolism is permanently damaged by the extreme weight loss tactics on the show.

"I cancelled my subscription that day. Not only did they not call the creator of the show [Roth], but they also never compared the people who gained the weight back on The Biggest Loser with the ones who kept it off. If they had shown the science, that the metabolism of the people who kept the weight off, has the same issue as the people who gained the weight back, that would be interesting," he says.

Roth believes it comes down to their mindset, and those that regained the weight weren’t able to let go of their former self.

He cites the first-ever winner, Ryan Benson - who will be on The Big Fat Truth - as one example.

"He said, ‘I collected my check for $250,000, went straight to my favorite hamburger place, and never looked back.’ So for him, he never made the emotional commitment to really want to change," Roth says.

"And for every contestant it’s different. Life gets in the way sometimes, and they can’t keep up with the good decision-making they were doing before. And for some of them, I think they never solved those emotional problems. It’s always going to be there, but you have to figure out how to get past it."

Roth - who readily admits that he has no background in science or medicine - says the researchers needed to perform a double-blind study for him to be convinced that the show damaged contestants’ metabolisms.

"Everyone needs to see both sides of that story. And if it’s true, and you do a double-blind study and you compare it to the 50 percent of people who lost weight on The Biggest Loser and kept it off, then it’s even more interesting if it’s true. So I’m willing to learn," he says.

Roth says he would "love" to redo the study, but for now he’s content to help the former contestants - along with moms, type 2 diabetics, nurses and more - on his new show.

"For the last 15 years, I’ve been kind of at the forefront of the weight loss genre in television, and I love it," he says. "I love watching people transform in front of my eyes, I love watching the human spirit take hold, and watching a person find themselves again. It’s always been about more than weight loss."

The Big Fat Truth premieres Sunday, June 11 at 8 p.m. ET on Z Living

This article was originally published on PEOPLE.com

April 18th 2017

"For years, we were told that fat was the mortal enemy," said Elissa Goodman, holistic nutritionist and lifestyle cleanse expert. And it's true. We've lived by this idea that eating fat would in turn make us fat. "That has changed over the past two decades as more research has been publicized about the detriment of sugar on our well-being."

Nutritionist Cara Clark agrees - "Live by the phrase, fat doesn't make you fat, sugar does!" All those years we've been demonizing fat? We've been ignoring a larger problem at hand: sugar.

Sugar can be dangerous for a number of reasons. According to Clark, it can be worse than some drugs, mostly because it's legal, available, and people in general are not as educated about the ramifications of sugar addiction. "There are many reasons I believe that sugar is worse for you than fat," she said. "It overstimulates the pleasure or reward center of the brain, which creates the addiction. Like other addictive substances, it creates withdrawal symptoms when trying to break the habit. Think headaches, nervousness, other cravings, mood changes."

Physiologically, sugar impacts many aspects of your health. We only need a certain amount of energy from glucose (sugar), and if we have too much, "then the excess is stored in our liver and turned into fat cells to use in the future," said Clark. So, the sugar literally becomes stored fat in your body. Clark said, "If we don't use those fat cells, we have the potential to continue storing and storing and storing - and that's what causes obesity, which can lead to hundreds of health issues!"

Unlike fat - which is an essential macronutrient our body actually needs, "Our body doesn't need any added sugar," says Lori Zanini, RD, CDE. "All quality carbohydrates (fresh fruit, whole grains, legumes, sweet potatoes, etc.) will eventually break down to sugar in our bloodstream; they also deliver essential nutrients to our body, which is the difference."

"Fat serves a purpose in the body," said Goodman, "whereas added and refined sugars do not. Healthy fats provide essential fatty acids that are important for balancing hormones, proper nervous system function, and healthy vessels and heart. Fat also helps us absorb (fat soluble) vitamins." Think of that the next time you opt for a fat-free salad dressing! You actually need a little bit to help you get the nutrients from your veggies.

Additionally, Goodman told POPSUGAR "Healthy fats are essential to your health, they're needed to prevent illness and disease." Zanini seconded this, saying that good kinds of fat can help with weight loss and fight off life-threatening health risks. "Healthy fat keeps us feeling satisfied after meals, and research has shown improves insulin sensitivity and increased good HDL cholesterol, which lowers risk of heart disease."

But not all fat is good fat - and that's important to keep in mind. Zanini said, "When it comes to fat, it's all about the type of fat, not necessarily the amount," she said. Clark warned that "saturated fat should be limited, and trans-fat should be avoided! These are the two that can cause high cholesterol." Goodman cited "avocado, coconut, ghee, olive oil, seeds, and nuts" as good sources of fat in her diet, and credits those foods for her weight maintenance, energy, strong immune system, and great thyroid health.

"You can avoid the whole fat or sugar debate by focusing on eating real, whole foods," said Goodman. "Whole foods provide the types of sugars and fats that your body can use and process naturally."

April 12th 2017

Two in five people say they have experienced ‘fat bias’ from within the NHS, according to a new survey.

The findings, released to coincide with new BBC documentary ‘Obesity: How Prejudiced is the NHS?’, found that a significant proportion of people had experienced negative attitudes from parts of the NHS because of their weight.

One person said doctors always linked their health issues, regardless of what they were, back to their weight, which made them reluctant to go back and see them.

Another said they’d been made to feel “lazy” by medical staff.

As part of the documentary, which airs on BBC 2 on 11 April at 9pm, Professor Rachel Batterham, head of the obesity services at University College Hospital and a research scientist, explored whether there is ‘fat prejudice’ against obese patients within parts of the NHS that is stopping them accessing a potentially cost effective surgery, even when recent scientific research supports it.

Professor Batterham said she considers obesity to be a disease that needs specialist treatment, including weight-loss surgery, whereas many others contend that it is a lifestyle choice.

As such, she met with several NHS patients who were denied life-changing bariatric surgery and other routine operations.

According to the NHS, bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure and “should only be considered for selected patients where the full range of other weight management approaches have been considered, with expert support, but have not been successful”.

Professor Batterham also spoke to others who have tried to use the NHS weight management services, with one admitting it actually resulted in her gaining two stone.

From a survey of 993 people, 43% agreed that they had experienced ‘fat bias’, with one person saying they were treated as a “second class citizen by the NHS”.

One quarter (25%) of participants said their GPs had referred them to NHS weight management or healthy living services.

Nearly a fifth (18%) said they had been refused a NHS service due to their weight, which included a range of procedures from fertility treatment, knee and hip operations, hernia removal, kidney transplant and treatment for varicose veins.

Several respondents said GPs and nurses would always refer back to their weight when discussing medical conditions.

One individual said: “No matter what ailment I go to my GP with - my skin condition or my back problem - she always brings it right back to my weight.”

Another added: “[I] Feel like I won’t get any further with any medical issues because of my weight.”

“Dismissive attitudes” from medical staff also arose as an issue. One person said health professionals treated them “as if they didn’t understand things” and added: “You feel worthless and come away feeling very depressed.”

In response to the survey’s findings, an NHS England spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: “Ultimately these are legally decisions for Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), but informed by best evidence and national guidance where appropriate.”

Tackling obesity and diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time and the number of people being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are rising.

The NHS launched a ‘Healthier You’ programme to help promote awareness of, and ultimately prevent, diabetes. As of now, it offers services across half of the country and by 2020 expects that up to 100,000 people a year will be referred and offered intensive support to help avoid developing Type 2 diabetes.

April 5th 2017

Your beach body is waiting.

In his work with celebrity clients with last names like Kardashian and Hemsworth, nutritionist Philip Goglia must meet high demands – and fast. A trio of actresses, for instance, recently called on Goglia to help whip them into tip-top shape for leading roles in action adventure films. So he put them on strict eating plans – and watched their body fat percentages drop by more than 10 percent in just six weeks.

"They are as focused as any elite pro athlete I work with," says Goglia, co-founder of G-Plans, an online nutrition platform catered to users' metabolic type, who's based in Santa Monica, California.

Other folks may desire such dramatic results but lack the personalized nutrition advice, access to elite training facilities and time to commit to a strict diet and exercise regimen – not to mention a job that depends on physical perfection. "It's not realistic to think that people can [achieve what they see on TV] at home," says Cheryl Forberg, the nutritionist for the NBC reality show "The Biggest Loser," who lives in Kelseyville, California. "It's [participants'] full-time jobs; they're really working out for hours literally every day."

Still, noticeable body changes are entirely possible in two months – even for laypeople, experts say. For example, aiming to lose as many as 15 pounds is "doable," Forberg says, depending on your current weight and motivation level, and assuming you include exercise in your plan. Goglia says cutting more than 1 percent body fat per week is achievable too – "if you find religion with your food pattern" or comply more than 80 percent of the time.

So whether you're counting down to a beach vacation, saying "I do" in a summer wedding or simply striving for more poolside confidence, here are five simple diet changes you can begin making today:

Would you rather carry around some breath mints or carry around some extra weight? If you prefer the mints, use them to chase meals with garlic and onion – two of Goglia's picks for best spring weight-loss foods since they both contain minerals and oils that help break down fat deposits and speed up metabolism, he says. (Eat the onions raw, he adds, to maximize these benefits.) Fish high in omega fatty acids like salmon, black cod, arctic char and sea bass are also worth their stink – especially if you eat them for dinner, Goglia says. "The result is a deeper sleep, increased growth hormone release and reduction of inflammation," he says.

Advice to drink plenty of water – Goglia recommends chugging up to 1 ounce per pound of body weight daily – isn't new, but it bears repeating since people aiming to lose weight often don't heed it, Forberg says. "They don't realize how incredibly helpful that could be to help them lose weight," she says. Why? Because drinking water before and during meals can help fill you up – or help you realize that you're actually thirsty rather than hungry. What's more, as you amp up your fiber intake via fruit and vegetables, you'll need more water to help flush it all through. "It helps to cleanse you from the inside out," Stoler says. Water, too, is an ideal substitute for calorie-laden, blood sugar–affecting drinks including booze, many juices and soda. Though research on the topic is mixed, Goglia recommends also avoiding diet soda: "In many cases," he says, "the use of diet soda stimulates unwanted sugar cravings."

If you think you're eating healthier but not seeing results, keep an honest food journal to keep you accountable and prevent you from mindless eating, Forberg suggests. Indeed, one study of 1,700 people showed that people who kept food diaries lost twice as much weight as people who didn't. Forberg recommends writing down activities like meal prep and exercise in a calendar, too. Try, for example, setting aside some time on Sundays to chop vegetables to snack on all week, says Forberg, a self-proclaimed "grazer" who keeps out bowls of vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli to promote responsible munching. "If you really want to prioritize health and weight … you really need to write it down in your calendar – just like a conference call," she says. "Treat it with that kind of priority."

March 20th 2017

A South American tribe with a highly active lifestyle has the healthiest arteries of any population yet studied, say researchers.

The Tsimane people, who live in the Bolivian Amazon, spend most of every day hunting, fishing, farming and gathering wild fruits and nuts, and follow a carbohydrate-based diet containing little protein and fat.

Scientists who examined hundreds of men and women from the group found that almost nine out of 10 had clear arteries showing no risk of heart disease.

Even in old age most remained in astonishingly good health.

Almost two thirds of people aged over 75 were nearly risk free and just eight per cent had a moderate-to-high risk level.

One 80-year-old had arteries resembling those of Americans in their mid-fifties.

The American lead scientist, Professor Hillard Kaplan, from the University of New Mexico, said: "Our study shows that the Tsimane indigenous South Americans have the lowest prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) of any population yet studied.

"Their lifestyle suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in non-processed fibre-rich carbohydrates, along with wild game and fish, not smoking and being active throughout the day could help prevent hardening in the arteries of the heart.

"The loss of subsistence diets and lifestyles could be classed as a new risk factor for vascular ageing and we believe that components of this way of life could benefit contemporary sedentary populations."

While people living in cities are sedentary for more than half their waking hours, the Tsimane are inactive for only 10 per cent of the day.

Men spend an average of six to seven hours a day engaged in physical activity, while women are active for four to six hours, said the researchers, whose findings are reported in The Lancet medical journal.

The Tsimane diet largely consists of non-processed carbohydrates high in fibre, such as rice, plantain, manioc, corn, nuts and fruits.

Protein, from animal meat, accounts for only 14 per cent of the diet and fat makes up the same proportion.

Each member of the tribe consumes roughly 38 grams of fat per day, of which just 11 grams is saturated fat.

The researchers visited 85 Tsimane villages between 2004 and 2015 and measured heart disease risk by carrying out computed tomography (CT) X-ray scans on 705 adults aged 40 to 94.

Similar scans of nearly 7,000 Americans in a previous study showed that only 14 per cent had no risk of heart disease.

Half were at moderate-to-high risk – a five-fold greater prevalence rate than that seen in the Tsimane population.

Members of the tribe also had low readings for heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

But strangely, half the population had raised inflammation markers, despite this normally being seen as a risk factor for unhealthy arteries.

Co-author Professor Randall Thompson, from Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, said: "Conventional thinking is that inflammation increases the risk of heart disease.

"However, the inflammation common to the Tsimane was not associated with increased risk of heart disease, and may instead be the result of high rates of infections."

The research is being presented at an American College of Cardiology conference taking place in Washington DC.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: "We already know that certain aspects of lifestyle increase your risk of heart disease, and we've been providing advice on these for many years now.

"This study simply adds to the wealth of research already done on this topic.

"There are some lessons we can learn from this study though.

"It may not be possible for people in the industrialised world to copy the Tsimane community's way of life, but there are certainly aspects of their diet and lifestyle, such as not smoking and eating a diet low in fat, that we can better incorporate into our lives to help reduce our risk of heart disease."

March 5th 2017

If your motivation for tucking into a ready meal or frozen pizza is that you’d prefer not to splurge on fresh fruit and veg, then you might want to rethink your dietary habits.

Data published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) shows healthier foods bought in super markets tend to have a smaller price tag than their unhealthier counterparts, dealing a blow to the argument that poor diets and obesity are directly caused by economic deprivation.

The data compiles prices offered by Asda and Tesco on 78 common food and drink products and finds that healthier options are generally cheaper than less healthy alternatives.

When measured by edible weight, a wide range of fruit and vegetable are available for less than £2.00 per kilogramme. By contrast, the cheapest ready meals, chocolate, crisps and bacon cost more than £3 per kilogramme, the study found.

The IEA said the £1 cost of a cheeseburger could also buy a kilo of sweet potatoes, two kilos of carrots, or 10 apples, claiming that the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day could cost as little as 30p.

"A diet of muesli, rice, white meat, fruit and vegetables is much cheaper than a diet of Coco Pops, ready meals, red meat, sugary drinks and fast food. The idea that poor nutrition is caused by the high cost of healthy food is simply wrong. People are prepared to pay a premium for taste and convenience,” Chris Snowdon, the report's author and head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, said

"A nutritious diet that meets government recommendations is more affordable than ever.

"Given the relatively high cost of junk food, it is unlikely that taxing unhealthy food or subsidising healthy food would change people's eating habits. Instead, it would transfer wealth from the poor to the rich," he added.

Nearly 70 per cent, or two-thirds of British households, said they find healthy food and drinks more expensive when compared to other products, according to a YouGov survey released earlier this year.

The same survey found that a staggering 40 per cent of 18 to 34 years olds said they can’t afford to purchase healthy products because of their price.

A separate study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found increasing the portions of fruit and vegetables consumed each day from five to 10 could significantly reduce a person's risk of heart disease and cancer.

Feb 19th 2017

cider diet

There’s no weight loss secret that thin people are keeping to themselves: To slim down simply requires sticking to a disciplined diet and exercising consistently.

With that being said, there are certain drinkable concoctions that make it easier to follow a strict eating regimen — and a pre-breakfast beverage of apple cider vinegar, warm water, and honey might just be one of them.

Drinking a mixture of eight ounces of water, one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and one teaspoon of honey before a meal can help aid in digestion and lower blood glucose levels, but it can also result in the overall calorie reduction of your meal. I know you’re probably reading this with a degree of skepticism, but research shows that apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss by interrupting the body’s digestion of starch; if less starch is broken down then the overall calorie absorption of the meal is disrupted.

 But if you’ve ever tried choking apple cider vinegar by itself, you’ll recall that it feels like downing a shot of the cheapest house whiskey. Adding a teaspoon of honey not only makes the drink palatable, but it also endows it with honey’s natural ability to speed up metabolism.

And while the studies supporting apple cider vinegar’s miracle weight loss potential are limited, there are also few studies suggesting any serious negative side effects from drinking apple cider vinegar. Try this mixture a few times a week before breakfast and see what happens!

Jan 16th 2017

Sugar

As the cliché goes, you are what you eat.

There’s a somewhat accepted logic that no food is bad for you in moderation – we need a balanced diet, and there’s nothing wrong with the odd chocolate bar or McDonald’s every now and then, as long as that’s not all you eat.

A calorie from ice cream is the same as one from a vegetable, right? Just don’t eat too many.

That's just what the sugar companies want you to think.

A new article in the New York Times breaks down how for decades, the sugar industry has helped perpetuate the idea that sugar itself is not necessary fattening, and all calories are essentially equal (check out this great old advert reporting on ‘The importance of sugar’).

It even goes all the way back to when President Dwight D. Eisenhower started using sweetener in his coffee, on his doctor's advice, no less, and the sugar people went on the offensive to say how needless that was.

Much like how tobacco firms tried to disprove they caused lung cancer, the sugar industry sought to find scientific evidence to play down the damage it does.

But there’s also plenty of research to say how bad it is.

Here’s the science part – pay attention

Since the 1960s, researchers have found that different carbohydrates (like glucose and fructose) are metabolised differently, and affect how the body accumulates fat.

Sugar has a unique composition, being half glucose, half fructose.

The impact of that can build up over the years and decades, and profound over a lifetime.

According to NYT: 'In light of this research, arguing today that your body fat responds to everything you eat the exact same way is almost inconceivably naïve.'

So what's the lesson here?

Put down the doughnuts, and don't belive everything the adverts tell you.

Dec 29th 2016

Four-fifths of middle aged adults are putting themselves at risk of disease as busy lives and desk jobs make it increasingly hard to stay healthy, experts have said.

Eighty-three percent of 40 to 60 year-olds are either drinking too much, are inactive or are overweight, Public Health England (PHE) said.

Officials said that nine in 10 men (87%) and eight in 10 women (79%) are not doing enough exercise, exceeding the recommended limits for alcohol or are either overweight or obese.


— PublicHealthEngland (@PHE_uk) December 28, 2016

Figures taken from the Health Survey for England show that 77% of men and 63% of women in middle age are either overweight or obese – with the rate of obesity shooting up 16% in the last two decades.

The diabetes rate among this age group also doubled in this period in England, PHE said.

Meanwhile, many are also not being physically active and drinking too much.


— One You (@OneYouPHE) December 28, 2016

The health body is encouraging adults to take its One You – How Are You health quiz which may highlight problems and areas for improvement.

People who take the quiz and are flagged as having a problem are directed to apps including Couch to 5K, Alcohol Checker and Easy Meals

“The demands of modern day living are taking their toll on the health of the nation, and it’s those in middle age that are suffering the consequences most, as their health reaches worrying new levels,” said Professor Sir Muir Gray, clinical adviser for PHE’s One You lifestyle campaign.


— NHS Choices (@NHSChoices) December 23, 2016

“Over 15 million Britons are living with a long term health condition, and busy lives and desk jobs make it difficult to live healthily.

“But just making a few small changes will have significant benefits to people’s health now and in later life.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: “People are busy with work, with families, with the daily grind and sometimes their own health is the least of their priorities.

“The How Are You Quiz will help anyone who wants to take a few minutes to take stock and find out quickly where they can take a little action to make a big difference to their health.”

Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK, added: “We know that people often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to their general health but the consequences of doing nothing can be catastrophic

Dec 6th 2016 UK

Obese people on benefits could be forced to talk to doctors or nurses about how their weight affects their ability to work.

In trials being considered by the Government claimants would be asked to discuss their weight with a healthcare professional to ensure the benefits system is providing “value for money”.

The recommendation by health expert Dame Carol Black to the Department for Work and Pensions could pave the way for sanctions if people do not attend their appointments.

Jobcentre Plus advisers will be trained to refer claimants to local weight-management services when it is clear that their weight was a barrier to work.

The news came as doctors today urged the Government to ensure that the new sugar tax rate was high enough to help Britain’s obesity crisis.

The British Medical Association is backing former chancellor George Osborne’s proposal for surcharges to manufacturers and distributors based on the sugar content of their drinks, but warned that the Government must stand firm on the intended levies as the legislation was introduced in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Dr Paul Darragh, BMA board of science deputy chairman, said: “The Government’s drive to introduce the levy is a positive first step to encourage healthier diets, and urge the Treasury to set the rates at a high enough level to ensure it is as effective as possible in reducing the growing levels of obesity.”

Today, the Government said that obesity was the “major public health challenge of our time” and that the sugar level of drinks must change because one in three children was overweight or obese.

The levy will force companies to pay more when their drinks have a five per cent sugar content a higher levy for an eight per cent sugar content.

Dr Darragh said: “Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges facing our country, with one in five children starting primary school overweight or obese.

“While sugary drinks are very high in calories, they are of limited nutritional value. As the largest source of sugar for children, doctors are increasingly concerned about how they contribute towards conditions like diabetes.”

Dec 1st 2016

AN UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY

In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, Cani and de Vos discovered something more. Since December 2015, Akkermansia-based treatment trials for humans have been ongoing. While the effects are yet to be conclusive, it’s clear that the treatment isn’t harmful to humans — after all, A. muciniphila is one of the more common gut bacteria.

Then something came up. They discovered that pasteurization had very positive effects on the bacterium. “Unexpectedly, we discovered that pasteurization of A. muciniphila enhanced its capacity to reduce fat mass development, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in mice,” says the study.

Pasteurization, it would seem, makes the bacterium effective because it kills off everything else in A. muciniphila except for a protein — the genetically engineered version of it is called Amuc_1100. When tested on mice, this protein appeared to be good for the immune system, blocking toxins from reaching the bloodstream, and strengthening intestinal immunity.

Amuc_1100 is the key to how A. muciniphila can combat obesity in mice. In the near future, it’s expected to be able to do the same thing in humans.

Nov 9th 2016

Sugary drinks could be banned from England's hospitals as the NHS attempts to tackle the obesity problem affecting its staff.

NHS England is considering a ban on the sale of drinks with added sugar or, alternatively, making vendors pay a levy to be allowed to sell such drinks on NHS premises.

The rules would cover fizzy drinks but also sweetened milk, sweetened coffee and fruit juice with added sugar.

It is estimated that more than half of the health service's 1.3 million employees are overweight or obese and NHS England says this is not just bad for their own health but also affects their credibility when they advise patients to lose weight.

Chief executive Simon Stevens said: "Confronted by rising obesity, type 2 diabetes and child dental decay, it's time for the NHS to practice what we preach.

"Nurses, visitors and patients all tell us they increasingly want healthy, tasty and affordable food and drink options.

"So, like a number of other countries, we're now calling time on hospitals as marketing outlets for junk food and fizzy drinks."

Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said the idea was "brilliant", adding that staff "know full well the ravages caused by sugary drinks on a patient's health".

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: "It's hard to see how a ban on soft drinks can be justified given that the sector has led the way in reducing consumers' sugar intake - down by over 17% since 2012."

Mr Stevens is to announce the consultation later on Wednesday at a conference in London and, if adopted, the plan could be in place next year.

Money raised would go towards staff health and wellbeing programmes.

Any levy would be in addition to plans for a new tax on the soft drinks industry that was announced by the Government in March.

Sept 21st 2016

People with a gene linked to weight gain are just as likely to benefit from weight loss programmes as those without, researchers have discovered.

The findings suggest diet, exercise and drug-based approaches to losing weight can be widely beneficial, even if some people may have a greater risk of piling on the pounds due to their genetics. In short, your DNA is not a barrier to weight loss.

While many genes are believed to affect body weight, a particular version of the so-called FTO gene shows one of the strongest associations with fat gain. Those carrying two copies of the genetic variant – about 16% of the population – are on average 3kg heavier than those without, and 1.7 times more likely to be obese.

While it is not known exactly how the genetic variant promotes weight gain, it is believed to increase the appeal of high-calorie foods and reduce the feeling of fullness after a meal. But whether it also affects efforts to shed pounds has been a matter of debate.

“It has become clear that genetics play a part in the reason why some of us get fatter,” said John Mathers, lead author of the research from Newcastle University. “The one that has the biggest effect in most people is the FTO gene, so we wondered whether having the [high-risk version of the] FTO gene would affect how well you could lose weight.”

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Mathers and an international team of collaborators describe how they analysed eight previously published randomised control trials involving a total of more than 9,500 overweight or obese adults to investigate whether carrying the obesity-linked version of the FTO gene affects the ability to lose weight.

In all of the studies, the participants were tested to discover whether they carried the genetic variant, and whether they had one copy or two, but the results were not disclosed to the participants. The researchers found that for each copy of the high-risk gene the participants possessed, they were, on average, almost 0.9kg heavier.

The participants took part in a variety of weight-loss programmes, including diet-based, exercise-based and drug-based approaches. “To our surprise, we discovered that carrying the [high-risk] FTO gene made no difference to your ability to lose weight. So people lost weight at just the same rate if they had the [high-risk version of the] FTO gene as if they didn’t,” said Mathers.

“There was no link between the type of the intervention – so whether the people were losing weight through diet or physical activity – and the gene. It seemed to work equally well.”

The genetic variant that promotes weight gain is believed to increase the appeal of high-calorie foods. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian

Sex and ethnicity, the authors said, did not affect the rate of weight loss, although they noted there was a lack of participants of Asian descent.

The studies, added Mathers, did not show whether carrying the obesity-linked version of the FTO gene affects whether weight loss was sustained, as the longest follow-up time was three years.

Dr Jude Oben, co-founder of the Obesity Action Campaign and senior lecturer in hepatology at University College London, welcomed the results. “Obesity is costing the NHS £16bn a year. We at Obesity Action Campaign are alarmed by this. Obesity causes cancer, diabetes, heart disease and liver cirrhosis. It is the HIV of our age. It is killing millions of our patients,” he said.

“That this size of study and its robust statistical methodologies support common sense is great. It means that general weight loss strategies which must involve the psychological, nutritional, physical and policy changes should be developed.”

Andrew Hattersley, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Exeter and part of the team that discovered the influence of the FTO genetic variant on weight gain, said it was not surprising that those with the variant were as able to lose weight as those without.

“Part of [obesity] is environmental, part of it is genetic, part of the genetic component is the FTO gene,” he said. “This isn’t a group that is remarkably different genetically. It is a very minor change and it is only a minor part of their susceptibility.”

Sept 19th

We know that a gastric band can successfully treat obesity and the attendant Type 2 diabetes.

Not just that, gastric bypass surgery can also have dramatic effects on reducing your appetite and increasing your weight loss.

We now also know that while a gastric bypass prevents the absorption of food, the key reason for a patient’s change in appetite is hormonal.

With a gastric bypass, digested food is delivered further down the gut than normal. As a result, the gut releases a different mix of hormones. These hormones are capable of tricking your brain into thinking you’re full.

Afterall bariatric surgery is expensive and has a one-in-500 risk of death. In addition, it’s beyond the scope of the NHS to perform a sufficient number of gastric bypass ops to bring the obesity epidemic under control.

So now comes an interesting question. With an injection of these hormones could you mimic the effects of a gastric bypass without the actual surgery?

Scientists at Imperial College London have done this precise experiment with a hormone injection – and it appears it can indeed mimic the effects of a gastric bypass and make the brain think you’re full, so patients actually eat less.

In the study it was around a third less for every meal.

Researchers have discovered obese people have lower levels of hormones telling the brain to stop eating, lower than levels typically found in slimmer people.

Sir Steve Bloom, professor of medicine at Imperial College, London, believes obesity won’t be a problem in 10 years.

“They’ll have the injections, they will be painless, with no side effects and will actually be really inexpensive and freely available – I think this is going to make an enormous difference.”

In tests, two obese men injected with the hormones were given a huge bowl containing three supermarket chicken curry ready meals. They each ate around 280 fewer calories than they had after a placebo jab.

The two men said they felt “not hungry at all” and “comfortably full”. Sir Steve’s fellow researcher Patricia Tan said: “With the injections of hormones, the patients are eating up to 30% less.”

So far, the three hormones OXM, PYY and GLP1, which tell the brain to stop eating, have had to be given in a jab before each meal, but the scientists hope to develop a longer-lasting injection.

This novel and imaginative approach with a triple hormone jab could mean that a simple cure for obesity does exist.

Sept 18th

Obese thinking

 Telling overweight people to eat healthily does not work because their brains override rational advice when presented with food, the University of Cambridge has found.

Although the government and NHS has attempted to educate people with healthy eating campaigns, the researchers say that removing temptation is probably the best solution.

The study found that both lean and overweight people were aware of which foods are nutritious and were inclined to choose healthier options in a computer-based task.

“The presence of unhealthy food options is likely to override people’s decisions.” Dr Nenad Medic from the Department of Psychiatry

But when presented with a buffet of real food, the overweight people ate far more unhealthy foods than the thinner participants.

“There’s a clear difference between hypothetical food choices that overweight people make and the food they actually eat,” says Dr Nenad Medic from the Department of Psychiatry.

“Even though they know that some foods are less healthy than others and say they wouldn’t necessarily choose them, when they are faced with the foods, it’s a different matter.

 “This is an important insight for public health campaigns as it suggests that just trying to educate people about the healthiness of food choices is not enough.

“The presence of unhealthy food options is likely to override people’s decisions. In this respect, food choice does not appear to be a rational decision - it can become divorced from what the person knows and values.”

The inability to pick healthy foods appears to stem from differences in the brain. In a second study, the researchers looked at the brain structure of over 200 healthy individuals using an MRI scanner and found an association between body mass index (BMI) and brain structure.

In particular, an area of the brain linked to rational thought and decision making – the ventromedial prefrontal cortex - was found to have less grey matter in people with high BMI.

Perhaps this offers us some clues about the first observation – that rational, hypothetical valuation decisions don’t fully translate into healthy choices in the overweight people when they are offered real food choices,” says Professor Paul Fletcher from the Department of Psychiatry.

“While the region is clearly responding in a way that is not distinct from leaner people, perhaps the structural differences suggest a reduced ability to translate what one knows into what one chooses.

“Although we can only speculate at this stage, and we really don’t know, for example, whether this brain change is a cause or a consequence of increased weight, this could help explain why this same group of people found it harder to stick to their original, healthier food choices when presented with a buffet selection.”

A recent study, published in The Lancet, found that Britain will be the fattest country in Europe by 2025, with nearly four in 10 people clinically obese.

Professor Theresa Marteau, Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge, a co-author of the study, adds: "These findings attest to the power of environments in overwhelming many people’s desires and intentions to eat more healthily.

“The findings also reinforce the growing evidence that effective obesity policies are those that target food environments rather than education alone.”

The two pieces of research were published in the online journal eNeuro and the International Journal of Obesity.

Sept10th

Babies born by Caesarean section are more likely to be obese than those delivered naturally, according to new research. 

The study found that those born by C-section are 15% more likely to be obese in childhood.

That increased risk could persist through adulthood, according to researchers at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

Reseachers examined 16 years of data from more than 22,000 young adults in the study, published in the journal Jama Paediatrics.

It found that youngsters born by Caesarean were 64% more likely to be obese than siblings born by vaginal birth.

Around one in every four to five pregnant women in the UK has a Caesarean section.

Jorge Chavarro, an author on the study, said: "Caesarean deliveries are without a doubt a necessary and lifesaving procedure in many cases.

"But Caesareans also have some known risks to the mother and the newborn.

"Our findings show that risk of obesity in the offspring could be another factor to consider."

Dr Daghni Rajasingam, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said the study should be interpreted cautiously.

She said it did not include data on why a Caesarean section was required or other details surround the labour or delivery.

"Currently in England, the rate of Caesarean section is 26.2%," she said.

"This figure has been rising slowly over the last decade and could be explained by various factors which make childbirth more difficult including a rise in older mothers and more obese mothers.

"We must remember that in some cases an emergency Caesarean section is carried out to save the life of the mother and/or baby.

"Further research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying this possible association, but as with any intervention all doctors must ensure that women are informed about the risks and benefits of a Caesarean section, as well as the alternative options."

Sep 4th

You know a fast-food diet is bad for you – but I’ll bet you can’t come close to guessing just how bad it is.

An experiment that aimed to mimic the US diet and lifestyle (and we’re fast approaching it in the UK) put volunteers to bed for a week.

Six healthy men were fed 6,000 calories a day of pizza, burgers and other junk food. It took just two days for their bodies to go haywire and show signs of serious disease.

At the start, three of the men were a normal weight, three were overweight and none were obese or unhealthy. They were all on bed rest throughout the study.

In a week, they had gained an average of 3.5kg (7.7 lb) and showed signs of insulin resistance, the forerunner of diabetes .

Half of all US adults are suffering from diabetes or are at risk of developing it in the near future (pre-diabetes). And the vast majority don’t know.

Researchers designed the study to find out about insulin resistance, the main culprit in Type 2 diabetes.

They found that insulin resistance is a key component – but the mechanism by which obesity promotes it is not yet fully understood.

Guenther Boden and Salim Merali of Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, US, said their aim was to recreate the average American diet and find out how it can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Merali told New Scientist: “Here, we have shown that feeding a common US diet to healthy non-obese men at two to two and a half times their regular caloric intake for as little as one to two days produced severe systemic and adipose tissue insulin resistance in every one of six study subjects.

Boden added: “It was a regular, American diet, composed of pizzas, hamburgers and that sort of thing. They took to the diet and liked it.”

The study lasted a week. “In that time, the men gained an average of 3.5 kg and showed signs of insulin resistance as well as oxidative stress,” the team wrote in Science Translational Medicine.

By day two, all had a rapid and continuous rise in both blood insulin and insulin-resistance levels.

It is truly a wake-up call for us all that all of them suffered severe systemic and adipose tissue insulin resistance in such a short space of time.

Now granted, enforced bed rest isn’t something that happens to many of us, but on the other hand, it’s pretty close to what life is like as a couch potato, which many of us are.

Food for thought.

Sept 3rd

Latest news from England

Obese people will be routinely refused operations across the NHS, health service bosses have warned, after one authority said it would limit procedures on an unprecedented scale.

Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.

The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the “most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.

Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, which represents acute care, ambulance and community services, said: “I think we are going to see more and more decisions like this.

“It’s the only way providers are going to be able to balance their books, and in a way you have to applaud their honesty. You can see why they’re doing this – the service is bursting at the seams.” 

The announcement is the latest in a series of setbacks for patients, who are facing rolling strikes by junior doctors that threaten to cripple the health service as winter approaches.

The decision by Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) comes amid increasing limits across the NHS on surgery for cataracts, and hip and knee operations.

How to | Work out BMI

Under the latest restrictions, patients in the catchment area who have a BMI of 30 or more will be barred from routine surgery for non-life-threatening conditions for a year, although they may secure a referral sooner if they shed 10 per cent of their weight.

A BMI – weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared – of 30 is the point at which a person is classed as obese and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be classified as such by 2050.

Smokers who refuse to quit will have planned operations postponed for six months, but may be included on surgeons’ waiting lists earlier by proving they have given up for at least eight weeks.

The ban will not apply to cancer patients, or those with some conditions that could becoming life threatening, or if exceptional circumstances can be shown.

The restrictions echo others made by health bosses in Hertfordshire, the North West and London in the past two years, where blanket referral bans were imposed on patients on the basis of their weight.

Last month St Helens CCG in Merseyside said it was considering temporarily suspending all non-essential hospital referrals by GPs because of financial concerns.

Reports of rationing have emerged after NHS England admitted in May that its provider sector overspent by £2.45 billion in 2015-16, a more-than-threefold increase on the previous year.

The figure, which was described as conservative by think-tanks, prompted some hospital chief executives to question the future viability of free universal healthcare.

Mr Hopson called for a “realistic national conversation” about how much should be spent on the health service, and said that if procedures had to be restricted, the reduction should be managed on an NHS-wide basis.

However, Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, condemned the decision to bar obese patients and smokers from routine surgery.

“This policy from Vale of York is among the most severe the modern NHS has ever seen,” she said.

“Leaving patients waiting in pain for treatment longer than is clinically necessary cannot be accepted. In the last month alone, the Royal College of Surgeons has learnt of at least three clinical commissioning groups that are planning to introduce policies that deny or delay patients’ access to surgery as a means to cut spending.

“At this rate we may see brutal service reductions becoming the norm, rather than just being exceptions.”

A statement from Vale of York CCG said: “The local system is under severe pressure. Hospitals are being warned they will not be paid for surgery if they carry out operations on obese patients who are not exempt from the policy.

“This work will help to ensure that we get the very best value from the NHS and not exceed our resources or risk the ability of the NHS being there when people really need it.” 

 

Aug 29th

"In the analysis of obesity prevalence across 170 countries, we have found that sugar availability in a nation explains 50 percent of obesity variation while meat availability [explains] another 50 percent," says Prof. Henneberg.

"After correcting for differences in nations' wealth (Gross Domestic Product), calorie consumption, levels of urbanization and of physical inactivity, which are all major contributors to obesity, sugar availability remained an important factor, contributing independently 13 percent, while meat contributed another 13 percent to obesity," he adds.

Aug 19th

LONDON (AP) — Britain has unveiled a plan to battle rising child obesity by urging food manufacturers to cut down on sugar and getting primary schools to make pupils do more exercise.

 But health campaigners have slammed the government for failing to restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.

 The government wants manufacturers to cut the amount of sugar in products popular with children, including cereals, candy and desserts, by 20 percent over five years. Officials say they will consider "alternative levers" if the voluntary target isn't met.

 Britain has already announced a "sugar tax" on sodas to start in 2018.

 Parveen Kumar, chairwoman of the British Medical Association board of science, said Thursday that it was "incredibly disappointing" that the plan didn't include restrictions on marketing of unhealthy food and drinks.

July 17th

Caroline Flack might be busy sending a host of attractive singles off into the sunshine for the holiday of a lifetime but the Love Island presenter has revealed that her busy schedule hasn’t stopped her from staying fit and healthy this summer.
Speaking to Your Fitness magazine, she said: ”I work out three times a week and used to feel really intimidated entering the free weights area but now I feel comfortable. I've been lifting heavy weights for 14 weeks and I haven't become any bigger.”
And the hard work is clearly paying off. She recently revealed she had shed a stone in three months despite still eating a plentiful and varied diet, owing her slimming waistline to a ‘hardcore’ sugar-free diet.
“I'm consuming more calories now than ever before,” she confessed. “They're just the right calories.
“I'm always starving in the morning so I eat a lot for breakfast it's usually scrambled or poached eggs, bacon, avocado, mushrooms or sometimes even steak.
“What made the biggest difference to how I looked and felt was cutting out all sugar.”
Her recent weight loss has been highly publicised, with speculation that online trolls were the motivation for Flack, 36, to hit the gym.
“I’d hate to think I did this for anyone else,” Caroline hits back in the latest issue of Your Fitness magazine. “The truth is I did this for me to make myself feel the very best I could and this is the way I decided to do it. I don't like to weigh myself. But it was never really about losing weight.”
Keen to be an advocate of ‘strong not skinny’, her recent body transformation has also made her rethink how the media portray women’s bodies.
She says: ”There seems to be one type of body out there at the moment. If anyone looked through a magazine from a different era they'd assume that that's what all humans looked like.
“It's not and it's time we started to show what actual bodies look like and that all women don't look the same. I want to set a good example and show what's real. “

July 15th

If you need more convincing that refined sugars are wreaking havoc on your health, then look no further than this newest study, which shows that cutting added sugar for just a few days dramatically improves health.

The study, published in Obesity, followed 43 obese children with chronic metabolic conditions such as hypertension. The researchers changed their diets for nine days, substituting their normal snacks and drinks with ones that kept the calorie counts the same but restricted sugar - so instead of sugary yoghurts, pastries, and cereals, the kids were fed hot dogs, bagels, fruit, and pizza.
The results were "striking," says lead author and pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, MD. Even though the children were eating the same amount of calories, just eliminating added sugar from their diets improved almost all areas of their metabolic health, such as lower blood pressure, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin levels, and improved liver function tests. Plus, even though the experiment was designed to maintain weight - the children were given more food whenever they started to lose weight - the kids told researchers that they felt fuller on the lower-sugar diet.
Lustig calls this finding "the strongest evidence to date that the negative effects of sugar are not because of calories or obesity." "This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight; rather sugar is metabolically harmful because it's sugar," he says.
The findings are also a clear indication that monitoring added sugars in your family's diet is extremely important for improving health and may affect how your body deals with cravings and satiety cues. Added sugars can show up as many different names on ingredient lists, so it pays to read nutrition labels and go for unprocessed foods whenever possible. Take it from Lustig, who explains that when it comes to what you put on your plate, a calorie is not just a calorie, and in fact, "sugar calories are the worst."
This is exactly what happens to your body when you eat a ton of sugar

Slimzene Internet Diet Scam Finally Exposed

After months of campaigning against the notorious diet company Slimzene, FORZA is pleased to give details of some recent developments that should bolster the spirits of the UK supplement industry.

Slimzene is a US-based company owned by Natural Health Network that is part of an on-going internet diet scam. Since the turn of the year, the Slimzene scam has started to spread to the UK where it has made millions of pounds after duping countless numbers of innocent customers.

When ordering from the Slimzene website, customers are urged to sign up to a ‘free trial’ of diet pills. However, once signed up they are charged a large amount of money (ranging from £70 to as much as £140) from their bank accounts at the end of every month.

Slimzene will then continue charging a customer’s bank account every month until the customer cancels the trial offer, which in itself is very long and incredibly difficult process.

When UK supplement firm forza became mistakenly associated with the fraudulent organisation on the internet, it immediately launched a public awareness movement in order to warn customers not to trust those companies offering an online free trial of diet pills as it will usually end up costing them a lot of money.

After posting as much information as she could find about Slimzene onto the forum, forsa's Commercial Director Karen Page was shocked to find just how many innocent victims had been lured in by the scam.

“After doing some research on Slimzene and the Natural Health Network, I could immediately see why so many people had put their trust in the free trial offer. It did not look like a cheap and nasty website; a lot of time and effort had gone into making it look completely honest and professional.

“The forum discussion currently has 437 posts, all from customers who have been misled by Slimzene and who are desperately searching for a way of terminating the payments.

“The process for stopping the card payments is certainly not easy, but by doing a bit of investigating and then sharing our findings online we were able to help a large number of people resolve the issue.”

The free trial scam is nothing new – the concept has been around for a long time – but Slimzene are the first company to go the extra mile in making it seem entirely legitimate to the average customer.

The company gained trust from customers by using paid advertisements on Facebook which featured lots of fake weight loss claims as well as apparently genuine celebrity endorsements from the likes of British singer Adele and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.

May 20th

Sugar face

Many of the dangers of a high sugar diet are well known, from causing tooth rot to adding unwanted extra inches to your waistband. But a little known effect is how sugar can seriously harm your face.

A phenomenon known as ‘sugar face’ can occur when people have a high presence of sugar in their diet; causing acne, under-eye bags and pallid skin. Scientists warn that the under-acknowledged issue may be causing more harm than many people realise.

Dr Tamara Griffiths from the British Association of Dermatologists told The Independent: “Sugary foods have a high glycaemic index (GI) resulting in a rapid sugar load into the body and dramatic fluctuations in the hormone insulin. Over time this can result in insulin-resistance and diabetes, which can accelerate the ageing process."

Many of the dangers of a high sugar diet are well known, from causing tooth rot to adding unwanted extra inches to your waistband. But a little known effect is how sugar can seriously harm your face.

A phenomenon known as ‘sugar face’ can occur when people have a high presence of sugar in their diet; causing acne, under-eye bags and pallid skin. Scientists warn that the under-acknowledged issue may be causing more harm than many people realise.

Dr Tamara Griffiths from the British Association of Dermatologists told The Independent: “Sugary foods have a high glycaemic index (GI) resulting in a rapid sugar load into the body and dramatic fluctuations in the hormone insulin. Over time this can result in insulin-resistance and diabetes, which can accelerate the ageing process."

May 17th

Losing weight can often feel like a war of attrition.

And one battle you might not expect to end up fighting is the one with your best friends or even your partner.

Because the complicated and controversial truth of the matter is that it's often those closest to you who are keeping you fat.

While we all seemingly strive to stay slim, you don't have to look very hard to find weight-loss detractors. They're all around you and they might not even know it themselves.

But you need to be mindful, and wary, of their motives because it's these very people who are the most likely to throw a huge spanner in your fitness works.

In an ideal world, it's your good pals or spouse who should be the most supportive of your choices.

They're the ones who should be subtly hiding the chocolate biscuits when you pop round for a cup of tea or suggesting you skip the late-night pizza on the way home from the pub. But in actual fact, they're the ones who'll scupper your well laid plans.

And I can't help but feel this is an overlooked element of dieting which goes on to cause real issues.

So why are our loved ones trying to sabotage us?

It's simple - they feel threatened because you're actively trying to change yourself.

Perhaps they'll begin by telling you they love you just as you are, that you don't need to change because you're already perfect

It's a nice sentiment, but let's be honest, if you've already voiced concerns about your body then you're probably not happy with it.

And then it gets even worse.

Because when you persist in working to reach your goals, your friends and family may even start to poke fun at you and, in the extreme, start arguments about it.

You find yourself in a situation which is, at best, undermining your efforts and at worst, absolutely soul destroying and likely to have you reaching for the comfort of cake as you slip back in to the perpetual vicious circle.

But it's also important to understand they're not usually doing this for any other reason than they're afraid.

Change is scary, especially when it's in someone else whom you're close to, and the longer you've been close to them, the scarier it is.

They may be frightened that the 'new you' will mean the end of your old routine - that you'll no longer want to go out for a Chinese every Thursday night, or that you're spending so long in the gym they never get to see you.

Will those cherished nights in front of Netflix evaporate as you spend more time analysing your Fitbit device?

If that all sounds depressing, what you need to remember is that their criticism or disparaging remarks are all about them, not you.

In my experience, involving them in the process is the best medicine.

Sell them the idea on the benefits they themselves will enjoy: if you're feeling better about yourself and you've lost weight, you'll have more energy, be happier, and most importantly to your partner, feel sexier! All of this is going to benefit the people closest to you.

It's difficult enough embarking on an exercise programme without being told by our nearest and dearest that we'll 'never stick it out or that 'it's futile' because we'll just go back to our old ways once we've achieved what we set out to do.

Think I'm exaggerating? Are you reading this and tutting, 'Well, that would never happen to me...'? Please take note of a recent survey.

This research, conducted on behalf of healthy snack food provider, found that a quarter of Brits will deliberately try to 'sabotage' a friend's diet.

And the most common reason given for doing so was because said friend became 'too boring' while trying to shed excess fat.

A fifth admitted trying to ruin their friends' diets by trying to tempt them out for a drink or dinner.

It's men who are the worst culprits - 39 per cent are willing to sabotage weight loss attempts, compared with just 20 per cent of women.

While one in six overall purposely tempted mates with unhealthy treats and a cruel 7 per cent even tried to persuade them to give up on losing weight altogether.

Just when you thought you didn't have even hurdles to jump through to get your fitness plan on track...

May 6th 2016

Obesity could be a contagious condition which spreads in the same way as bugs like C.diff, scientists have suggested.

A huge study of bacteria in the human gut has found that one third of species produce spores which survive in the open air and can potentially move between people.

Scientists now believe that many diseases and conditions, are triggered or exacerbated by changes in gut bacteria.

A decade ago, Washington University discovered that adding gut microbes from obese mice to thin mice caused huge gains in weight, a finding which has been replicated many times.

But the new research suggests that those microbes can live outside of the body and be ingested, potentially upsetting populations of healthy bacteria in the gut and triggering disease.

Intriguingly it could explain why some illnesses run in families. Far from being simply genetic, family members could be picking up conditions through close contact or sharing bathrooms.

Spores are a form of bacterial hibernation which allow species to remain dormant for long periods of time. It is the first time that scientists have considered that transmission of disease might be possible through gut bacteria.

Dr Trevor Lawley, who led the new study at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said the conditions like obesity and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which includes Crohn’s Disease and Colitis, could be passed on.

“I think there are definitely disease that are caused by an imbalance in microbiotia. If you look at something like Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Or obesity, that’s a possibility.

“People who live in the same house share a similar microbiome. And genetics only really accounts for between 7 – 13 per cent of the risk. There are definitely people who are more susceptible to disease and so it could be a combination of things.

Being able to cast light on this microbial 'Dark matter' has implications for the whole of biology and how we consider health.”

Bacteria in the guy could be passed through faeces in bathrooms Credit: Alamy

However scientists are confident that by mapping the bacteria in the gut of healthy people they should be able to reset the balance.

Around two per cent of a person's body weight is due to bacteria. Many of these bacteria are sensitive to oxygen and are difficult to culture in the laboratory, so until now it has been extremely difficult to isolate and study them.

But now the team has compiled a library of new bacteria they are hoping to create a pill containing a mix of bugs which could restore healthy levels.

Hilary Browne, based in the Host-Microbiota Interactions Laboratory, at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, explains: "It has become increasingly evident that microbial communities play a large role in human health and disease.

By developing a new process to isolate gastrointestinal bacteria, we were able to sequence their genomes to understand more about their biology. We can also store them for long periods of time making them available for further research."

The research was published in the journal Nature .

Cause and cure

Easier said than done,  is it in the genes?, obesity? or is it a question of lifelong bad eating habits? these are questions which we will try to find the answers to.

In your daily life. You need to heed the warning signs when in the course of conversation. Your companion says you’re looking a bit podgy today, or you’re getting a bit of a pot on you . It means other people are noticing what you have been aware of for quite some time now, so now is the time to do something about it. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it is going to be, you could lose a few pounds fairly easily getting rid of a few stone is another matter altogether.

 There are ways that you can very quickly assess the degree of excess weight that you are carrying, the most common one is your BMI index, it’s a good guide, but you have to make allowances for unusual stature, another way is to measure your waistline. You probably remember what it used to be. And if it’s got a inches more then it’s time to do something about it.


How to calculate BMI? If you wish to calculate BMI yourself, below are the BMI formulas for both English units and metric units:

Metric Units: BMI = Weight (kg) / (Height (m) x Height (m)) English Units: BMI = Weight (lb) / (Height (in) x Height (in)) x 703


Examples 1: Someone who is 1.70 m and weights 60 kg has a BMI of

BMI Calculation = 60 / (1.7 x 1.7) = 20.8 <== This person is in the Normal category.


Example 2: Someone who is 5'6" (5'6" = 66") and weights 160 lb has a BMI of

BMI Calculation = 160 / (66 x 66) x 703 = 25.8 <== This person is in the Overweight category.

There is an age-old saying, you are what you eat and it’s as true today as ever It was, you have to, consider very carefully what you eat and drink, so start today and keep a record, but you have to record everything, yes everything, that you eat or drink every single day.

 You will soon find that you are not eating as much as you did when you first started to record it. This is because the very fact of having to write it down will give you feelings of guilt, because to be honest, you know you shouldn’t be eating it in the first place, now we’re off to a good start, do not say to yourself, yes, I know I’m fat. I’ve just got to live with it, the fact is you will live with it. You will more likely die with it,

There are two aspects to losing weight. First of all, eating less, and then there is moving yourself, eating less is fairly easy, especially if you’ve been eating everything you fancy without much thought to the damage it is doing to your body. Trying to get off your backside and do some regular exercise for some overweight people would appear to be an impossible task.

 Let’s take things one at a time, if you like to eat a lot of food. You can still do that, you just have to eat less of the damaging food and bulk up on the things that are good for you, I’m going to mention now the scourge of all overweight people, sugar, manufacturers put sugar in practically everything because they know if it tastes good people will buy it, but it’s got to ridiculous proportions now, if they weren’t intent on screwing every last penny out of the shoppers they could quite likely reduce the sugar content by 50% and we would hardly notice it. So the point is they won’t do it, so you must do it yourself.

 So we made a good start. We are recording our intake, cutting down on our sugars, and we thought about how we can get some exercise, now do we need help?. It’s much better if you have the support of the people around you, psychologists are beginning to believe that overweight mothers overfeed their families, including their children to reduce their own guilt feelings and embarrassment.

 You must stop telling yourself. We can’t help it. It’s in the genes. It is much more likely to be in the refrigerator, so your first step is cut down on the goodies when you do your shopping, there is an old adage that says never do your shopping when you’re hungry, and another good tip is don’t buy anything from around the tills they load up this area with sweets and candies as a last-minute temptation, you know this scam, so be strong and resist the temptation.

 The next step is to put those oversize plates away, a smaller plate will look full despite the fact it’s got less food on it, now try to get the whole family interested even if some of them don’t need to lose any weight, get them to support you. It will make the world of difference, and the first step is for you to admit that you have a problem. Use a method that they use in the Alcoholics Anonymous programme If you can, before you sit down to eat. See if you can say out loud "I am overweight, but I’m working on it."

getting a grip on obesity

To be continued. There is much more to be said yet.


Whenever you feel the need to eat try this, it may not be that you are actually hungry, you may be suffering from a simple sugar craving, you can cure this  by keeping a packet of boiled sweets close by, so instead of going to get some food. You suck on a boiled sweet and you will find your hunger feeling will disappear, if you compare the amount of calories you will see that this is a good idea.

It is much better to constantly eat sensibly not missing any meals than it is to have a complete fast for a day or two, fasting alters the body’s chemistry and sends the message food is short, we better make some fat, this of course is the last thing you want to tell your body to do.

And if you do it more than once. This message is reinforced into your body’s metabolism and becomes a source of trouble.

Some people think it’s a good idea to have part of their digestive system clamped off so it cannot be used. The result of this is you can only eat a very small amount before you feel discomfort, eating a little bit much more often, apart from the discomfort, this is not a good idea.

Alcohol plays a big part in making people overweight, apart from the fact that there is always sugar in alcohol. If you drink sufficient alcohol, you tend to worry less about the fact that you are overweight, and that’s not a good situation.

I strongly suggest that you watch the following videos and try to follow the advice that is given.

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