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November 8, 2010, 7:56 AM CT

Chefs can create reduced-calorie restaurant foods

Chefs can create reduced-calorie restaurant foods
Restaurants could play an important role in helping to reduce the growing obesity epidemic by creating reduced-calorie meals, as per Penn State researchers.

The scientists surveyed chefs, restaurant owners, and culinary executives from across the country to assess their perceptions of serving healthy foods in restaurants.

In the survey, 72 percent of the 432 respondents said they could trim off 10 percent of the calories in meals without customers noticing differences in taste, and 21 percent said they could trim off at least 25 percent of the calories. This small change could lead to a major impact on the obesity epidemic.

"Reducing intake by as little as 100 calories per day can amount to a significant weight loss over a year," says Liane Roe, research nutritionist in Penn State's Department of Nutritional Sciences and co-author on the team's findings, which appeared in Obesity

Roe and co-author Barbara Rolls, holder of the Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition, observed that a number of chefs were not familiar with the calorie content of the meals they served -- 7 percent were not at all familiar and 49 percent were somewhat familiar.

"If a large number of chefs don't know the calorie content of their food, they will be limited in their ability to modify what they serve to guests," said Roe.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2010, 7:53 AM CT

Hard work improves the taste of food

Hard work improves the taste of food
It's usually accepted that we appreciate something more if we have to work hard to get it, and a Johns Hopkins University study bears that out, at least when it comes to food.

The study seems to suggest that hard work can even enhance our appreciation for fare we might not favor, such as the low-fat, low calorie variety. At least in theory, this means that if we had to navigate an obstacle course to get to a plate of baby carrots, we might come to prefer those crunchy crudits over the sweet, gooey Snickers bars or Peanut M&Ms more easily accessible via the office vending machine.

"Basically, what we have shown is that if you have to expend more effort to get a certain food, not only will you value that food more, but it might even taste better to you," explained Alexander Johnson, an associate research scientist in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins. "At present, we don't know why effort seems to boost the taste of food, but we know that it does, and this effect lasts for at least 24 hours after the act of working hard to get the food."

The study, titled "Greater effort boosts the affective taste properties of food," appears in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 26, 2010, 7:58 AM CT

Helping combat obesity epidemic

Helping combat obesity epidemic
In an insightful Commentary in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal, Chair of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and Professor and Associate Dean, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, highlights the key features and noteworthy findings of the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report. While a number of of the recommendations from prior reports are reinforced, new evidence-based findings will help registered dietitians and other health care providers prioritize effective approaches towards facilitating better eating habits among Americans.

Dietary Goals for Americans (DGA) were first set in 1977 at a time when the average total fat intake was 42% of total energy intake, saturated fatty acids (SFA) intake was about 14%, and cardiovascular disease mortality was at an all-time high. Population-wide improvement in these parameters has occurred. By 2010, average American intake of total fat and SFA has decreased significantly to 33.6% and 11.4%, respectively still higher than recommended, but certainly improved.

Meanwhile, the obesity epidemic in the US continues. "The literal 'elephant in the room' is the persistent and pervasive obesity epidemic that continues to perpetuate and perplex health care providers in all specialty areas, as well as consumers," commented Professor Van Horn. This report indicates that the US population consumes inadequate nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and overconsumes calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods that include solid fats, added sugars, salt, and refined grains. The result is a population that is overfed and undernourished.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 22, 2010, 7:58 AM CT

Parent-only treatment for obese children

Parent-only treatment for obese children
A study led by a researcher at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine indicates that parent-only therapys for childhood obesity work equally as well as plans that include parents and child, while at the same time more cost effective and potentially easier for families.

The results were published recently in the advanced online edition of the journal Obesity

Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, and his colleagues set out to assess whether parent-only groups are an equally viable method for weight loss.

"Our results showed that the parent-only group was not inferior in terms of child weight loss, parent weight loss and child physical activity," said Boutelle. "While further research is needed, our work suggests that parent-only groups are a viable method for providing childhood obesity therapy".

Recent data suggests at 31 percent of children in the United States are overweight or obese, or between four and five million children. Current therapy programs generally require participation by both parents and children in a plan that combines nutrition education and exercise with behavior treatment techniques.

"Parents are the most significant people in a child's environment, serving as the first and most important teachers," said Boutelle "Since they play a significant role in any weight-loss program for children, we wondered if the same results could be achieved by working with just the parents, without the child coming to the clinic".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2010, 7:08 AM CT

Link between obesity and memory

Link between obesity and memory
Because of impairments in their insulin sensitivity, obese individuals demonstrate different brain responses than their normal-weight peers while completing a challenging cognitive task, as per new research by psychology experts at The University of Texas at Austin.

The results provide further evidence that a healthy lifestyle at midlife could lead to a higher quality of life later on, particularly as new drugs and therapys allow people to live longer.

"The good thing about insulin sensitivity is that it's very modifiable through diet and exercise," says psychology graduate student Mitzi Gonzales, who co-authored the paper reported in the journal Obesity with Assistant Professor Andreana Haley and other colleagues.

To better understand why midlife obesity is associated with higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia in old age, the scientists had middle-aged adults between 40 and 60 years of age complete a challenging cognitive task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

While obese, overweight and normal-weight participants performed equally well on the task, obese individuals displayed lower functional brain response in one brain region, the inferior parietal lobe.

Obese participants also had lower insulin sensitivity than their normal weight and overweight peers, meaning that their bodies break down glucose less efficiently. Poor insulin sensitivity may ultimately lead to diabetes mellitus if the pancreas is unable to secrete enough insulin to compensate for reduced glucose use.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 18, 2010, 7:59 AM CT

Nonprofit weight loss program beats obesity

Nonprofit weight loss program beats obesity
In the battle against obesity, new research has observed that it may not be necessary to spend a lot on a weight loss program when cheaper, nonprofit alternatives may work just as well.

Scientists at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found those who spent three years in the nonprofit Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) program lost five to seven percent of their body weight and kept it off.

"This is the first time a study of this size and duration has ever been done on a weight loss program," said Nia Mitchell, MD, MPH, and a primary care doctor who worked on the study. "The natural history of weight loss is weight regain and we were happy to see that people were able to keep off the weight".

The three-year study, published last month in the research journal, Obesity, followed thousands of people enrolled in TOPS. The program provided access to their database, but no funding for the research. Milwaukee-based TOPS helps members lose weight through group support and education. They are encouraged to get a weight goal from their doctors and make it their target. At the same time, they attend weekly meetings and weigh-ins. Members receive a booklet with a six week lesson plan, a one-year subscription to TOPS News and membership in the local chapter.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 18, 2010, 7:45 AM CT

Right foods aid memory and protect against disease

Right foods aid memory and protect against disease
For the first time scientists have found out what effect multiple, rather than just single, foods with anti-inflammatory effects have on healthy individuals.

The results of a diet study show that bad cholesterol was reduced by 33 per cent, blood lipids by 14 per cent, blood pressure by 8 per cent and a risk marker for blood clots by 26 per cent. A marker of inflammation in the body was also greatly reduced, while memory and cognitive function were improved.

"The results have exceeded our expectations! I would like to claim that there has been no prior study with similar effects on healthy subjects", says Inger Bjrck, professor of food-related nutrition at Lund University and head of the University's Antidiabetic Food Centre.

Forty-four healthy, overweight people between the ages of 50 and 75 took part in the diet study. For four weeks they ate foods which are presumed to reduce low-grade inflammation in the body, a condition which in turn triggers metabolic syndrome and thus obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The test diet was high in antioxidants, low-GI foods (i.e. slow release carbohydrates), omega fatty acids, wholegrain products, probiotics and viscous dietary fibre. Examples of foods eaten were oily fish, barley, soy protein, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, vinegar and a certain type of wholegrain bread. Some of the products in the food portfolio are still not available in the shops, but were developed specifically for the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 15, 2010, 6:59 AM CT

Fats galore in human plasma

Fats galore in human plasma
Edward A. Dennis of University of California, San Diego.

Credit: UC San Diego

Human blood is famously fraught with fats; now scientists have a specific idea of just how numerous and diverse these lipids actually are. A national research team, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has created the first "lipidome" of human plasma, identifying and quantifying almost 600 distinct fat species circulating in human blood.

"Everybody knows about blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides," said Edward A. Dennis, PhD, distinguished professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and principal investigator of LIPID MAPS, a national consortium studying the structure and function of lipids. "For the first time, we've identified and measured hundreds more and ultimately we might discover thousands. These numbers and their remarkable diversity illustrate that lipids have key, specific functions, most of which we do still not recognize or understand. This lipidome is a first step towards being able to investigate correlations between specific fat molecules and disease and developing new therapys."

The findings would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Lipid Research

In recent years, researchers have begun to appreciate the greater, more complex roles of lipids in human biology (among them the emergence of vitamin D). The utility of lipids in building cell membranes is well known, as is their function as repositories of stored energy. Less well-understood, however, is their role as signaling molecules.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 14, 2010, 8:04 AM CT

ver-the-counter weight-reducing products can cause harm

ver-the-counter weight-reducing products can cause harm
The desire for a quick-fix for obesity fuels a lucrative market in so-called natural remedies. But a study of medical records in Hong Kong revealed 66 cases where people were suspected to have been poisoned by a "natural" slimming treatment. In eight cases the people became severely ill, and in one case the person died. The study is published recently in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

The scientists looked at the ingredients in the 81 slimming products that these people had taken. They found 12 different agents that fell into five categories: undeclared weight-loss drugs; drug analogues (unlicensed chemical derivatives of licensed drugs); banned drugs; drugs used for an inappropriate indication; and thyroid hormones.

"People like the idea of using a natural remedy because they believe that if it is natural, it will be safe. There are two problems here. Firstly not all natural agents are harmless, and secondly the remedies also contain potentially harmful manufactured drugs," says Dr Magdalene Tang, who works at the Toxicology Reference Laboratory at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong.

She believes that fewer people would use these products if they were more aware of the potential risks involved.

While the research concentrated on cases in Hong Kong, the work raises worldwide concerns. These slimming products are widely available over the counter not only in Hong Kong, but in other countries where drug regulation is relatively non-comprehensive. In addition, anyone can buy them over the internet even if you do live in regions with tighter regulatory control.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 11, 2010, 7:46 AM CT

Weight-loss program for obese and overweight women

Weight-loss program for obese and overweight women
In another article being released early online, Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D., R.D., from Moores UCSD Cancer Center, La Jolla, Calif., and his colleagues, conducted a randomized controlled trial of weight loss and weight maintenance in 442 overweight or obese women (BMI, 25 40), ages 18 to 69, over a two year period with follow-up between November 2007 and April 2010.

The women were randomized into three intervention groups: in-person, center-based (167 women) or telephone based (164 women) weekly one-to-one weight loss counseling, including free-of-charge prepackaged prepared foods (from Jenny Craig, Inc.) and increased physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The participants were eventually transitioned to a meal plan that was not based mainly on the commercial program. The third group was the usual care group (111 women) who received two individualized weight loss counseling sessions with a dietetics professional and monthly contacts. All participants were provided a small monetary compensation ($25) for each completed clinic visit.

At 24 months, weight data were available for 407 of the 442 women (92.1 percent of the study sample). The average weight loss for the women participating in the center-based group was about 16 pounds or 7.9 percent of their initial weight, about 14 pounds or 6.8 percent for the telephone-based group, and about 4.5 pounds for the usual care control group. "By study end, more than half in either intervention group (62 percent of center-based [n=103] and 56 percent [n=91] of telephone-based participants) had a weight loss of at least 5 percent compared with 29 percent (n=32) of usual care participants," the authors report.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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