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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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August 1 was the deadline for public comment on Food and Drug Administration proposals for updating the Nutrition Facts panel on food packaging. One of the changes, listing the amount of added sugars, has generated the most conflict between nutrition experts and the food industry.

In general, those in favor of listing added sugars cite the public’s right to know how many extra empty calories are present in foods. Those opposed say sugar is sugar and it doesn’t make any difference where it comes from.

sugar

Public right to know

The FDA agrees with the argument that once it gets into the body, sugar is sugar, whether it occurs naturally in food or gets added during processing. However, in a statement the agency said listing added sugars could “help individuals identify foods that are nutrient dense within calorie limits and aid in reducing excess calorie intake from added sugars.”

Sugar and chronic disease

Among the comments submitted to the FDA, organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Union of Concerned Scientists agree with the agency’s position.

They point out that research has established a clear link between overconsumption of sugar and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. Because most food and beverage manufacturers rely on sugar to make their processed products appealing—even those marketed as healthy choices—consumers are largely in the dark about how much sugar their eating, as well as how much sugar they could be avoiding.

Food industry spin

Among the arguments submitted from food industry spin doctors, The Sugar Association says added sugars make healthy foods “palatable,” thus encouraging consumers to choose them over junk foods with added sugars. But the most creative smokescreen may have come from the American Bakers Association, which filed a 31-page comment containing such whoppers as the claim that listing added sugars would be “false and misleading” because sugar is sugar, whether it occurs naturally or as an industrial chemical such as high fructose corn syrup.

Empty calories

The science isn’t conclusive in regard to how the body metabolizes the fructose calories occurring in an apple vs. the fructose calories poured into factory cauldrons from 50-gallon drums. But when it comes to calories the food industry is intentionally clouding the issue. In reality, when sugar is added to products purely for marketing purposes, calories completely devoid of nutrients are consumed that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Food industry fear

One change suggested, but not proposed by the FDA for the Nutrition Facts panel is listing a Daily Value for added sugars. The AHA suggests a limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) for women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for men. The food industry’s biggest fear could be that listing added sugars will make following the AHA’s advice too easy.

Deceptive tactics

Under the status quo, even checking the ingredients list on most packaged foods, where “sugar” usually appears near the top, doesn’t tell you how much sugar is really there. To hide added sugars, food companies include multiple forms of sugar individually in the ingredients list. This tactic allows sugars to be listed separately in smaller amounts, making it difficult for consumers to figure out the total sugar content.

Common food label listings for sugar:

agave nectar                                    brown sugar                                    cane crystals

cane sugar                                       corn sweetener                               corn syrup

crystalline fructose                        dextrose                                           evaporated cane juice

fructose                                            fruit juice concentrates                 glucose

high fructose corn syrup              honey                                                invert sugar

dextrose                                          maltose

Sources

Food Politics

Food Navigator

Harvard School of Public Health

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Global zinc deficiency puts health of billions at risk

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Diabetics sue drug maker, claiming statins made them sick

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How a healthy diet, not drugs, can treat diabetic nerve pain

August 15, 2014

In our Western culture medical treatments usually rely on drugs to treat symptoms without addressing the underlying cause of disease. A classic case in point is the condition of diabetic neuropathy, which is painful nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels. Drugs are usually prescribed to relieve the pain, but a recent study shows [...]

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The rest of the world doesn’t refrigerate eggs, Should you?

August 13, 2014

Americans like to think we’re ahead of the rest of the world on food safety. But when it comes to chickens and eggs, our obsession with germs may be doing more to increase, rather than decrease our risk of foodborne illness. While we wash and refrigerate our eggs, people across the Atlantic don’t bother. Yet [...]

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Why the right bedtime snack won’t make you fat

August 11, 2014

It’s likely you’ve been told that if you eat shortly before bedtime the calories you consume are converted directly to fat. This notion is based on the assumption that during sleep your body isn’t burning any calories. That assumption is wrong and the belief that your bedtime snack goes straight to your gut, or your [...]

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What you need to know about new FDA gluten-free rules

August 8, 2014

Ever since gluten-free emerged as a diet fad a few years ago, the market for gluten free foods has been like the Wild, Wild West. The number of food products touted as “gluten free” available to trend chasing consumers has exploded. Meanwhile, people with celiac disease, who must avoid gluten as a matter of survival, [...]

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Does Soylent supplement point to a bleak future for food?

August 7, 2014

“Soylent Green” is a classic (1973) sci-fi movie starring Charlton Heston set in an overpopulated world where the masses are fed a “food,” which gives the film its title, made from human corpses. Unappetizing though it may sound, “Soylent” is the name given to a new meal replacement drink by its inventor, who claims it [...]

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How clean plates, portion size and obesity are all connected

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Food portions in America on average have doubled in size over the last 20 years, a prime suspect in the dramatic increase in obesity among children and adults. A new study finding that average adults completely finish these oversized meals also points to simple solutions for overeating: recognize the proper proportions for a healthy serving, [...]

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Can eating less fat, losing weight, make food taste better?

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How you taste food is entirely dependent on how well you smell. Recent research has found that obesity can diminish your sense of taste. Another study found that eating a high fat diet can impair your sense of smell. If you want to enjoy a healthy relationship with food, these findings suggest you should lose [...]

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