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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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sweet

You save about 16 calories with each teaspoon of real sugar you replace with fake sugar. But new research suggests using zero calorie artificial sweeteners as part of your weight loss plan could backfire. Instead of helping you eat fewer calories, artificial sweeteners may actually stimulate your appetite to make you eat more.

Trick your brain

Previous research has found that artificial sweeteners can trick your brain into preparing your body for an influx of sugar calories. One of those responses is a surge of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that allows your body’s cells to accept glucose. People who use artificial sweeteners frequently to avoid sugar continue to stimulate releases of insulin, even with no glucose to absorb. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which body’s cells don’t respond to insulin, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Stimulating appetite

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia claim to have discovered another way that artificial sweeteners can trick your brain to the detriment of your weight loss plan, and your overall health. Their study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, revealed that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite by affecting a previously unknown neural network that associates sweetness with energy content.

The researchers began their experiments with fruit flies feeding them a diet spiked with either sugar or sucralose, the artificial sweetener branded as Splenda. After five weeks, all the flies were fed sugar. Those previously fed sucralose consumed 30 percent more calories than those started on sugar. Repeating the experiment with mice showed that sucralose produced the same effect in mammals.

Fasting response

The researchers explained that eating real sugar releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Rising blood sugar levels cause a secondary stimulation of dopamine. Artificial sweeteners trigger the first response, but without the rise in blood sugar, the body sends signals demanding more food in a futile attempt to complete the pathway. In other words, the artificial sweeteners appear to trigger a fasting response, which also heightens the perception of sweetness, making food even more irresistible.

Of mice and men (and women)

It’s not a stretch to assume that humans are affected in a similar way. Mice and humans have a neurotransmitter associated with the fasting response called neuropeptide Y. When researchers conducted the experiment with mice genetically engineered to lack neuropeptide Y, sucralose had no affect on their appetites.

What’s more, The researchers also found that sucralose was associated with hyperactivity, insomnia and deteriorating sleep quality – the same effects observed in human studies investigating physiological responses to the fasting state.

The real thing

These new findings suggest that at 16 calories per teaspoon, real sugar in moderation could be much better for you than the harmful metabolic effects associated with artificial sweeteners. Billions of people are using these chemicals with the belief they are healthy, while it increasingly appears they have been approved for consumption before the negative effects on humans have been thoroughly researched.

Sources

ScienceDaily

LiveScience

NewsMax Health

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