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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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IBS

Most of the millions of people who are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon don’t have celiac disease, the condition triggered by a severe allergic reaction to gluten. Some of these people may have gone gluten-free believing that this protein found in wheat is the cause of their irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

But avoiding gluten may be in vain for IBS sufferers, because a growing body of evidence suggests that fructose and a collection of other of hard-to-digest carbohydrates known as FODMAPS could be the cause for their gastrointestinal distress.

FODMAPS and IBS

Credit for establishing the link between FODMAPS and IBS goes to Sue Shephard, a dietitian and researcher in Melbourne, Australia who sought a nutrition-based treatment for celiac disease. She developed an experimental diet that eliminated foods often not absorbed in the small intestine that cause cramps, bloating and diarrhea once they reach the colon.

As part of her PhD thesis at Monash University, she tested her diet on 25 people with irritable bowel syndrome for 22 weeks and found that at least 70 percent were relieved of their symptoms. The foods eliminated from the diet included a long list of popular staples such as apples, pears, onions, beans, milk, fruit juices and sodas.

The offending nutrients are a group of carbohydrates including fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. To simply that mouthful, Shepherd and her colleagues coined the term “FODMAPs.”

Drugs vs diet

Shepherd began teaching FODMAP avoidance in 1997. Her thesis study was published in the journal Gastroenterology in 2009. In 2012 Bloomberg reported that she employed 13 dietitians in a practice treating nearly 4,000 people a year. Yet in the U.S. mainstream medicine largely ignores the influence of diet on IBS.

American patients are often advised to take fiber supplements or over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications. Doctors write prescriptions for antibiotics, antispasmodics and even antidepressants. In severe cases of IBS, a powerful drug called Lotronex could be prescribed, but only after the patient signs a statement acknowledging risks that include serious or fatal side effects.

The low-FODMAP diet

According to the digestive Health foundation in Melbourne, a day on the low-FODMAP diet could include a poached egg with spinach plus a banana for breakfast, a ham and salad sandwich on gluten-free bread for lunch, and grilled chicken, baked potato and sauteed spinach and capsicum, seasoned with the green onion, salt, pepper, olive oil and pine nuts. Safe snacks include with blueberries, or peanut butter on a celery stick.

Ask a pro

Developing a low-FODMAP diet suitable to your individual needs is a process of elimination and careful re-introduction that requires expert help. If you think a dietary intervention could be the answer to your IBS, a dietitian who is up to speed with Shepherd’s approach can help you learn what foods to avoid—and most importantly what you can eat to stay healthy.

Sources

New York Times

Bloomberg

U.S. News & World Report

Mayo Clinic

Drugs.com

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Is gradual weight loss really no better than crash dieting?

October 22, 2014

Gradual weight loss over an extended period of time has been the accepted wisdom for permanent success. Yet a new study suggests there is little difference between the long-term outcomes of either slow and steady, or rapid weight loss. However, other research has identified certain behavior patterns associated with successful weight maintenance apart from the [...]

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Armed forces fear a military weakened by childhood obesity

October 20, 2014

A soldier on the job usually has to pack around about 100 pounds of body armor and equipment. Packing around an extra 25 or 30 pounds of fat isn’t a good thing. Overweight soldiers and Marines have become a problem for the armed forces and a group of retired military leaders, fearing for their future [...]

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Are your ancestors to blame for your coffee addiction?

October 17, 2014

Are you not yourself until you’ve had your morning cup of coffee? Is the thought of living through a day without coffee distressing? New research suggests that your craving for coffee, the amount you drink and the benefits you get from it depend on your genetic makeup. Caffeine addiction Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, [...]

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Can eating with an overweight person lead to overeating?

October 15, 2014

For most people, eating is a social occasion. It’s known that social influences play a big role in our appetite and eating behavior. How big is that role? Recent research on the influence of dining companions and appetite suggests that overeating could be contagious. Eating behavior modification In most restaurants, the floor plan, interior design, [...]

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Can olive oil rescue a failing heart?

October 13, 2014

The Mediterranean diet is famous for being heart healthy. Healthy fats found in foods such as olive oil and fish get a lot of credit for many of the diet’s health benefits. How heart healthy is olive oil? The primary fat in olive oil is in the form of oleate, a compound researchers have found [...]

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Caffeine underwear exposed as latest weight loss fraud

October 10, 2014

This just in from the “too good to be true” desk: underwear made with caffeine-laced fabric won’t help you lose weight. The Federal Trade Commission announced Sept. 30 it was fining two companies a total of $1.5 million for marketing caffeine-infused “shapewear” that promised to melt fat simply by wearing it. The agency will use [...]

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Do obese teens face lifetime of low income, discrimination?

October 8, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued a report in September stating that childhood obesity is leveling off or declining—for teens of higher socioeconomic status. This positive trend appears to be leaving teens on the lower end of the scale behind. This doesn’t bode well for their economic future, based on research showing that [...]

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Average U.S. waist circumference expanding, overtakes BMI

October 6, 2014

The scale may be telling you that you’re not gaining weight, but your waist size could be sending you a warning about your health. In fact, waist circumference is a more reliable metric than body mass index for assessing one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes. A new analysis shows that even though average BMI [...]

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Ebola-cocoa link shows how disaster can affect food security

October 3, 2014

Chocolate has made a lot of headlines in recent years as studies have suggested eating it is heart healthy. Functional food enthusiasts in the U.S., along with rising standards of living in other countries, have increased global demand for cocoa, creating shortages and sending prices for the commodity upward. Chocolate may become very scarce, and [...]

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