Sunday, September 13, 2020

Changing carb quality improves risk factors for heart disease

The Study 

The quality of carbohydrates we eat has been a very hot topic in nutrition research for some time. In this fascinating study, over 5,000 overweight Spanish adults worked to improve their carbohydrate choices from less healthy sources (such as refined cereals, sugar and soda) to more healthy sources (such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains). The results were impressive. After 6 months of these changes, body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and triglyceride levels all improved significantly. After 12 months, HDL cholesterol also improved. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020; 111:291-306. 

Take Home Message

The carbohydrates you choose can have a major impact on your weight, energy, mood and health. Shoot for healthy sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other legumes. Limit bread, pasta, white rice and sugar. It is also a good idea to have a moderate percentage of carbs in your diet. Somewhere around 40-50% is a nice goal, especially if you round out the difference with 20-25% lean proteins and 30-35% healthy vegetable based fats.

Three Popular Diets Compared

The Study

This interesting study examined adherence, dietary composition, weight loss and health effects for three popular weight loss diets: intermittent fasting, paleo and Mediterranean. A total of 250 overweight adults were allowed to choose which diet they wanted to try and were followed for 1 year. Here are some of the results:

-Weight loss was slightly higher on the Intermittent Fasting diet at 8.8 lbs. by the end of the year. The Mediterranean diet was a close second at 6.2 lbs. The Paleo group only lost 4 pounds by the end of follow up. However, the Mediterranean group lost more body fat, visceral fat and had a greater drop in waist circumference than the other groups.

-The Mediterranean diet was the easiest to stick to with 57% of subjects sticking with the diet by the end of 1 year. The Intermittent fasting group was a close second with 54% of subjects staying on the diet by the end of 1 year. Only 35% of the Paleo subjects were still on their diet by the end of the year.

-The Mediterranean group had a significantly lower blood pressure and HbA1c compared to the other groups and also ended up with a lower c-reactive protein, which is a measure of body wide inflammation.

-The intermittent fasting subjects had the highest consumption of processed foods and lowest fiber and calcium intakes by the end of 12 months. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020; 111:503-14.

Take Home Message

This is a really interesting study. When you are choosing a weight loss diet, you need to look at the whole picture. Will the diet work? Can you stay on it? How will it impact your long-term health? For me, the Mediterranean diet is the clear winner here. It provides the right combination of helping you lose weight, being the easiest to stay on and it has the best impact on your health. I have been recommending this type of diet for over 20 years with amazing results. If you want to learn more about it, check out the Healthy Eating Pyramid from the Harvard School of Public Health here.

Book Review: The Weight Loss Triad, 2nd Edition

As many of my blog and newsletter readers know, I like to review books from time to time. Well today it is my pleasure to introduce my own new book, The Weight Loss Triad, 2nd Edition. Many of you may be familiar with my first book, The Weight Loss Triad, which was published in 2009. I can’t believe it was over 10 years ago! There are a few reasons why I figured it was time to update this book:

-There has been a lot of new nutrition and weight loss research in the past 10 years that has influenced my recommendations. While the majority of my program is exactly the same as it was 10 years ago, there have been a few important changes that needed attention.

-I have had 10 more years of experience working with clients, which has taught me a lot about how to make this program work for people regardless of any obstacles they may be facing.

-The 1st Edition was written for the general population. I didn’t include a lot of the research that guides my recommendations because I did not want to make things too complicated. In the 2nd Edition, I want to let the reader know where they can find the studies that I have used to formulate my recommendations and to provide a summary of this research.

My new book, similar to the 1st Edition, presents a comprehensive weight loss strategy broken down into 3 key areas: Diet, Cardiovascular Exercise and Resistance Training. It also includes chapters on lifestyle factors and frequently asked questions to help the reader incorporate the principles of this program into their daily routine no matter what life throws their way.

In these crazy and stressful times, we all need to do what we can to take care of ourselves. If your diet and exercise programs need a little tweaking and you want to drop a couple of pounds, this book could be a great help to you.

You can pick it up on in either a print or kindle version. 
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