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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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coffee sun

Recent headlines have trumpeted an association between drinking coffee and protection against melanoma as “good news for coffee drinkers.” The results have been touted as “another excuse” to indulge in the world’s favorite pick-me-up, and add to a growing body of research suggesting that numerous compounds are present in coffee that promote health and prevent cancer.

However, as with most dietary research, it’s difficult to link exposure to a single factor, such a coffee, with a health benefit, such as reduced melanoma risk, without considering the influence of a full spectrum of lifestyle and environmental factors.

Curb your enthusiasm

Researchers try to adjust their data to account for these “confounding factors,” but until further research can prove that drinking coffee does indeed reduce the risk of melanoma by showing exactly how it does, this good news for coffee drinkers should be regarded as nothing more than an interesting possibility for the time being.

Establishing the link

For the study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers from the institute and Yale School of Public Health analyzed data collected by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and AARP. From a food frequency questionnaire sent to 3.5 million AARP members, the researchers focused on coffee drinking reported by 444, 357 white seniors. The study focused on Caucasians because of the higher melanoma risk among this population compared to other races.

The incidence of melanoma among respondents was tracked for an average 10.5 years. A statistical analysis showed that caffeinated coffee drinkers (not decaffeinated coffee drinkers) were less likely to develop malignant melanoma. The protective effect of coffee drinking also increased with the level of consumption. However, the association was found only with malignant melanoma, not melanoma in situ, which means a cancer lesion that remains confined to a specific site on the skin and has not yet metastasized.

Confounding coffee

The researchers adjusted the data to account for other factors, such as body mass index, alcohol use, smoking and ultraviolet radiation exposure and the protective effect of coffee was still evident. But closer examination suggests the influence of these confounding factors was not completely accounted for.

For example, to determine rates of UV exposure, researchers relied on a comparison of average levels of UV radiation in the zip codes of respondents, not reported individual levels of UV exposure. What’s more, it could be possible that people who drink more coffee tend to spend a lot more time indoors working in offices than people who drink less.

Don’t forget the sunscreen

The researchers conceded that the results of their study cannot be applied to populations other than Caucasian seniors in the U.S. They also noted that their results will have to be replicated in further studies before you can increase your coffee intake with the confidence that you’re protecting yourself from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Looking on this research with a skeptical eye doesn’t mean coffee won’t protect you from skin cancer. Yet until a direct cause and effect is established, continue to enjoy your coffee, but don’t forget the sunscreen.

Sources

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

MedPage Today

Medical News Today

Chicago Tribune

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Why food labels don’t help you make healthy choices

January 28, 2015

Food labels have been around for several decades, but information about the calories and nutrients in food has done little to improve public health. The FDA is in the process of creating a new and improved Nutrition Facts label, but sneak previews show little change from the previous design. A recent study suggests that among […]

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Which nutrition trends will you choose to follow in 2015?

January 26, 2015

Humans are herd animals and when it comes to food, our copycat tendencies create diet fads, or to be more diplomatic—nutrition trends. Food manufacturers are very eager to exploit the latest consumer bandwagons for profit, and the nutrition trade magazine Today’s Dietitian obliges them with an annual forecast. According to its survey of 500 registered […]

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Study suggests 12-hour eating window prevents weight gain

January 23, 2015

The idea that putting a halt to your food intake earlier in the evening will help you maintain a healthy weight isn’t new. A new study suggests that exactly when you should stop eating for the day could depend on exactly when you started. Working with mice, researchers found that time restricted eating within a […]

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Is the quest for a miracle diet pill nearing its destination?

January 22, 2015

For decades, pharmaceutical companies have been trying to come up with a drug that promotes weight loss. Amphetamines appeared to work great at first, but we all know how that turned out. Other recently approved obesity drugs, such as Belviq, have been shown to help people lose weight, but the list of side effects is […]

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Does your grocery shopping sabotage New Year’s resolutions?

January 19, 2015

When the self-indulgent holiday season is over, vows to eat less, eat healthier and slim down are an American tradition. A new study examining grocery-shopping habits suggests the exact opposite usually happens, despite such good intentions. Researchers found that after the holidays people continue to buy junk food, as well as more food overall, than […]

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An avocado a day keeps the cholesterol away

January 14, 2015

We’ve all heard the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” New research suggests adding a daily dose of another fruit: an avocado. In a study focusing on the heart health benefits of avocados, people who ate one a day showed significant improvements in their cholesterol profiles. Monounsaturated marvel Avocados used to get […]

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Why you should pass on the protein supplement trend in 2015

January 12, 2015

Going into 2015, protein is the hottest functional food ingredient in the U.S., according to the market research firm Packaged Facts. Supplement makers are scrambling to formulate protein products demanded by a growing number of baby boomers seeking a magic formula to lose weight and fend off the consequences of aging. But the truth is, […]

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Congress orders dietary panel to ignore environmental issues

January 9, 2015

It’s natural to assume dietary guidelines recommended by the Department of Agriculture are written simply to promote good health. In reality, certain aspects of the dietary guidelines may be written to promote the health of certain industries that purchase influential politicians. This political influence can be seen as a panel of nutrition experts advising the […]

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Researchers claim animal sugar in red meat triggers cancer

January 8, 2015

A growing body of research suggests a link between eating red meat and certain cancers, especially colorectal, breast, prostate, ovarian and lung cancers. Yet no study has either shown why red meat is associated with cancer, or proven that eating red meat will cause cancer. However, researchers from University of California San Diego say they […]

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