Weight Loss Research Roundup: June 2018

avo toast with egg

It seems like every couple of months there’s a new workout trend, health food or diet sweeping the nation. So where do all these ideas come from? The best among them are based in scientific fact! Here’s five discoveries related to diet and weight loss that made headlines in the last month.

(1) Healthy Diet, Better Hearing

Hearing loss is a widespread problem, especially among older adults. Researchers have long suspected a link between healthy lifestyle and better hearing, but the relationship was never very clear.

A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that eating well lowers the risk of hearing loss in women. Researchers followed over 70,000 female nurses for 22 years to assess how three healthy eating plans (AMED, DASH and AHEI-2010) affect health and hearing. Results show that the women who most closely complied with the AMED (Alternative Mediterranean Diet) or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet experienced up to 30% less hearing loss in the long-term. Data of hearing loss was self-reported so these results may not be 100% accurate, but they still suggest an interesting extra benefit of healthy eating! Now we can add preserved hearing abilities to the long list of benefits reaped by following a heart-healthy diet plan.

To read more about the Mediterranean Diet or DASH, click here.

To read a full summary of the article and access the original publication, click here.

(2) Eating Eggs Doesn’t Increase Heart Disease Risk

Did you grow-up hearing that eating too many eggs leads to high cholesterol and heart disease? So did I. However, an expanding body of research indicates that eating cholesterol (such as that included in egg yolks) doesn’t actually increase serum cholesterol in our bodies.

Scientists at the University of Sydney put people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes on either a high-egg (12 eggs per week) or low-egg (2 eggs per week) diet for six months. The first three months participants tried to maintain their weight, while the second three months they aimed to lose weight.

During these six months, researchers monitored subjects’ cholesterol levels, blood sugar and changes in body weight. Participants successfully lost weight in both conditions, but researchers noted no significant difference between the low-egg and high-egg conditions. Eggs have lots of nutritional benefits like plentiful protein and micronutrients, and this research indicates there is no immediate downside of eating lots of eggs in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Good news for all the egg-lovers out there!

To read a full summary of the article and access the original publication, click here.

exercise elderly woman

(3) Exercise Overpowers Obesity Genes After Menopause

As rates of overweight and obesity continue to grow around the world, scientists keep researching whether this condition is genetic or purely behavioral. Studies consistently indicate that genes play at least some role in weight status and this study gives us further hope that good lifestyle choices can overpower less-than-ideal genetics.

Researchers analyzed the effect of exercise on genetic predisposition to obesity in 8,200 postmenopausal women. They found that, contrary to common belief, exercise and lifestyle choices grow increasingly important as we age. According to their research, the modulating effect of exercise in preventing or reducing genetic predisposition to obesity is strongest in the oldest age group (women over 70).

These latest results support common recommendations to stay active and keep moving as we age, for both overall health and weight maintenance.

To read a full summary of the article and access the original publication, click here.

(4) Artificial Sweeteners May Lead to Obesity Too

When we cut down on calories, one of the most common recommendations is to cut down on calories and sugar by using artificial sweeteners. Many of us think that using artificial sweeteners is the healthier option, but new research suggests that this may not be the case.

A team of scientists fed rats either sugar or artificial sweeteners for three weeks. Surprisingly, they found that both real sugar and the sweeteners generate biological changes that lead to obesity and diabetes. Artificial sweeteners change the way we metabolize fat and energy, whereas our bodies are constructed to be able to handle a small amount of sugar. This study once again emphasizes that moderation is key – no matter the substance.

While these results definitely don’t provide enough evidence to start avoiding artificial sweeteners (especially since the results weren’t in human subjects), maybe it should make you think twice about that five-a-day diet soda habit.

To read a full summary of the article and access the original publication, click here.

(5) Sugary Drinks are Worse than Other Calories

Nutritionists often warn about the dangers of liquid  calories, and this paper provides further support for that concern. A group of nutrition and health experts convened at the 2017 CrossFit Foundation Academic Conference to discuss whether all calories are created equal when it comes to causing obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In their recently-published review, the experts concluded that sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and juice drinks prove especially worrisome. They estimate that these sugar-sweetened drinks are worse for cardiometabolic health than other starches given similar caloric content. The experts do, however, approve, of diet drinks. In fact, one of the researchers specifically noted that aspartame has not been shown to cause weight gain in any human studies.

Overall, the authors agree that a minimally-processed diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats is the most advantageous eating pattern.

To read a full summary of the article and access the original publication, click here.

 

What do you think? Share your questions and thoughts with us in the comments section below!

 

Reference

Diet and Weight Loss News. (2018, May). Retrieved from ScienceDaily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/diet_and_weight_loss/

 

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