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While we feature the Medifast diet, we are also blog on the latest diet, nutrition, and health news. So, you can stay up to date on the latest nutritional science and learn healthy approaches to fighting obesity throughout the weight loss process.

Enter DietScienceNews.com

by TMP Editor on June 17, 2014

Greetings dear readers. In an effort to better reflect our overall mission and upcoming strategic transition, we will soon be switching the name of our website. We will no longer be themedifastplan.com and will move to the new URL of DietScienceNews.com. We are hoping to have this transition completed in the upcoming days.

What does this mean to you? Nothing much to start with. We still love Medifast and will continue to promote what we view to be the most effective commercial diet on the market. However, you have probably noticed that we cover a lot of general diet and nutrition news in our blog posts. We are going to continue in this direction and develop a more agnostic approach to our views of the dieting industry.

We look forward to continuing this journey with you as we refine our quest for real, science based diet and nutrition news.

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Americans are exercising more, but they aren’t getting much slimmer. Exercise is an essential part of a weight loss strategy, but portion control could be more important. The challenge is to maintain a balanced diet that provides the nutrition necessary to remain healthy while eating less.

Medifast Twice as Effective

When it comes to portion control, a recent trial found that the prepackaged food regimen featured with Medifast helped people lose twice as much weight compared with dieters who tried to match the same nutrition and calorie count on their own.

Exercise can’t overcome poor diet

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics found that in the last decade, the percentage of Americans who got sufficient weekly exercise increased from 46.7 to 51.3. In a report on the study published in the journal Population Health Metrics, the researchers concluded that this increased physical activity has done little to reduce the U.S. obesity rate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of Americans are obese. A separate report by the institute published in the Journal of the American Medical Association identified poor diet as the primary reason why Americans are so unhealthy compared to other developed countries.

The portion control solution

Another study, published in the April 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity shows that a prepackaged portion control diet plan can be a viable solution to this intractable problem.

Researches at Tufts Medical Center in Boston conducted a rigorously controlled year-long study comparing the results of dieters on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan with dieters given advice on how to achieve the same nutrition and calorie intake independently.

A total of 120 men and women from 19-65 years old with body mass indexes ranging from 35 to 50 were randomly assigned to two equally sized groups. The study included a 6-month weight loss phase and a 6-month weight maintenance phase.

Medifast results

At the end of the weight loss phase, people in the Medifast group lost an average of 16.5 pounds (6.7 percent of their starting weight). Those buying and preparing their own diets lost an average of 8.4 pounds (3.4 percent of their starting weight. The Medifast dieters shrank their waists an average of 2.24 inches compared to 1.46 inches for independent dieters. Total cholesterol dropped an average of 8.4 mg for the Medifast group compared to 1.1 mg for the independent group.

Often after a significant caloric restriction a few pounds return as the body seeks equilibrium and the Medifast plan was no exception. However, overall weight loss for the Medifast dieters was an average of 10 pounds, more than twice that of the independent group at 4.4 pounds.

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan

The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan consists of five pre-packaged meals each day designed to supplement one meal of vegetables and protein prepared at home. The portion control program offers 70 prepackaged foods arranged in multiple combinations totaling 1,000 calories a day. Medifast dieters also receive access to dieticians and recipes for the home-cooked aspect of the plan, which costs about $300 a month.

Source: International Journal of Obesity, HealthWatch MD, Los Angeles Times

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Basic Calorimeter Design Basic Calorimeter Design

To lose weight, most people think they have to start counting calories. It’s true that losing weight is essentially about burning more calories than you take in. To do that, of course you need to know just how many calories you’re eating. However, the amounts of calories in food, as listed on food labels and in virtually every available reference, are determined using a calorimeter, a device invented over a century ago.

Tracking food intake

Today we know that the results obtained with a calorimeter are often overestimated. This is because the total calories a person gets from food are affected by many variables, including the degree to which a food is processed, the degree to which food is chewed, the energy required for digestion and an individual’s ability to utilize the calories that are absorbed, rather than excreted.

Understanding that calorimeters are fallible, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates the content of nutrition facts on food labels, allows calorie counts a plus or minus 20 percent margin of error. But even though calorie counts are flawed, they’re still useful for keeping track of your food intake. Counting calories makes you aware of the quality of your diet and helps you be accountable for your food choices.

How many calories do you need?

The first thing you need to know about counting calories is how many calories you need, or your Total Energy Expenditure (TEE). Your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) is about 70 percent of your TEE. The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) you eat accounts for about 10 percent. Physical activity accounts for about 20 percent of TEE.

Resting Energy Expenditure

One of the most accurate tools most often used by dietitians to calculate REE is called the Mifflin/St. Jeor equation:

Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (4.92 x age) + 5

Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (4.92 x age) – 161

Physical Activity Factor

The calories burned from physical activity can be accounted for by applying a multiplier to the result of the Mifflin/St. Jeor equation:

REE x 1.2 – Sedentary (little or no exercise, desk job).

REE x 1.3-1.4 – Lightly Active (light exercise 3-5 days/week).

REE x 1.5-1.6 – Moderately Active (moderate exercise 3-5 days/week).

REE x 1.7-1.8 – Very Active (rigorous exercise 6-7 days/week).

Thermic Effect of Food

Accounting for TEF results in an estimation of TEE:

REE x Activity Score x 1.1 (TEF) = TEE

Total Energy Expenditure

Our hypothetical 38 year-old female weighs 170 pounds (72.7 kg) and is 5’-7” (170 cm). She has a desk job and is sedentary.

REE = (10 x 77 kg) + (6.25 x 170 cm) – (4.92 x 38 years) – 161                        1,485 calories

TEE = 1351 x 1.2 x 1.1            1,960 calories

Our hypothetical person requires about 2,000 calories to maintain her current weight. To lose weight she would need to increase her level of physical activity, as well as decrease her amount of daily calories. The good news is that cutting calories doesn’t necessarily mean eating less. The trick is to choose more foods that are nutrient dense—such as fruits and vegetables—instead of calorie dense (fast foods, processed foods).

Sources

New York Times

My Fitness Pal

Evidence Mag

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Healthy diet with real food is best booster for aging brains

May 19, 2015

There are all kinds of dietary supplements marketed as “brain boosters” that promise to preserve cognitive ability as people age. No evidence exists proving that brain supplements—or supplements claiming virtually any health benefit—actually work. However, there’s plenty of evidence that a healthy diet based on whole foods is the best treatment for aging brains. Brain […]

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How to lower your colon cancer risk in just two weeks

May 14, 2015

The standard Western diet has become recognized as the ticket for admission to a host of chronic diseases. A new study shows just how quickly adopting an eating pattern heavy on refined carbohydrates, excess protein and saturated fat could increase your risk for colon cancer: two weeks. The good news is that adopting a healthy […]

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Exercise alone without changing diet futile for weight loss

May 11, 2015

Exercise is frequently touted in the media these days as a panacea for avoiding obesity and chronic disease. However, while a growing body of evidence attributes numerous health benefits to exercise, weight loss may not be one of them. This is the claim made by a controversial new editorial claiming that without changes in diet—added […]

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Study offers weak evidence doubting yogurt’s health benefits

May 6, 2015

In recent years, yogurt has surged in popularity due to suggested benefits that include weight management, as well as lower risk of diabetes and hypertension. Yet one of the most recent yogurt studies claims to have found no evidence supporting any of those benefits. But rather than dismissing the health claims of yogurt, this research […]

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Drunkorexia: more women trading food for alcohol calories

April 30, 2015

New research examining health survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that heavy drinking among Americans is becoming more common. Rates of binge drinking and general alcohol abuse have been rising faster among women then men. One of the more popular—and dangerous—forms of alcohol abuse among women is cutting calories from […]

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Calorie restriction via intermittent fasting is good for you

April 29, 2015

Intermittent fasting has become a popular eating pattern for weight management. The most popular methods involve eating far less than usual a couple of days a week. Some people choose to refrain eating for up to 24 hours. But you can realize some of the benefits of intermittent fasting, which have ranged from weight loss […]

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Do dietary supplements promote health, or provoke cancer?

April 27, 2015

In our pill-popping society, dietary supplements are heavily marketed as an alternative to a healthy diet. Numerous studies have shown that dietary supplements seldom perform as advertised. In fact, it is becoming evident that heavy doses of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in supplement form could actually provoke cancer instead of promote health. Billions to burn […]

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Can choosing organic produce help protect male fertility?

April 24, 2015

Research has shown no significant difference in nutrition between organic and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. However, organic produce does have significantly lower pesticide residues, a possible benefit for aspiring fathers. A new study suggests ingesting pesticide residues could lower sperm count. In addition to avoiding certain fruits and vegetables shown to have high pesticide […]

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What the findings linking sugar to stress relief really mean

April 20, 2015

The damage done by sugar in the American diet is well documented. A new study showing that sugar in soft drinks suppressed the body’s stress response has generated headlines that drinking soda may provide the benefit of stress relief. But closer examination of the research suggests that the effect of sugar on hormones involved with […]

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