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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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gut

In recent years science has produced a growing body of evidence that maintaining a healthy weight and a strong immune system depends on a diverse population of microbes that live in your intestinal tract. The function of the microbiome is so important to our health that scientists suggest it should be considered on par with any other essential organ.

We’re also learning that our lifestyle choices directly impact the degree of microbial diversity in our guts. Some of the most recent research appears to confirm that a healthy diet and exercise increase microbial diversity, while a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle limit the beneficial variety of gut bacteria.

Reduced dietary diversity

In a recent article published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, Mark Heiman, from MicroBiome Therapeutics in New Orleans, LA, and Frank Greenway, from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, wrote that the modern industrialization of agriculture has reduced dietary diversity. Eating patterns such as the Western diet that lack a variety of healthy foods also diminish the variety of bacterial species we rely upon to digest our food. What’s more, a change in the diet, for better or worse, can change microbial diversity in a matter of days.

According to the authors, the degree of species diversity in our microbiome affects the degree of different types of signals the gut sends to the rest of the body that affect health and disease. The greater the range of those signals, the more flexible our bodies are in their ability to adapt and maintain good health.

Gut friendly foods

A study published in the journal Science sheds light on how the foods we eat can promote microbial diversity. Researchers from the University of Gronigen in Denmark analyzed bacterial DNA collected from stool samples from 1,100 people and found 60 different dietary factors that affected the number and type of bacterial species in the gut.

Among the participants, those who regularly ate yogurt or buttermilk had the greatest diversity of gut bacteria. Coffee and wine were also associated with increased microbial diversity. Excessive calories were shown to decrease diversity, a finding in line with numerous studies linking obesity with a lack of beneficial gut bacteria.

Exercise for microbes

Regular exercise has also been shown to promote microbial diversity. A 2014 study by a research team from Ireland was the first to investigate the effects of exercise on microbial diversity. The researchers compared the range of gut bacteria and diets of rugby players in training with two other groups: people with similar body mass index (BMI) to the rugby players and people of similar age with lower BMI.

The rugby players had a significantly wider range of gut microbes than the other men, especially those with higher BMI. The rugby players also had a more diverse diet, with more fruits and vegetables and fewer snacks.

Taking control

The University of Gronigen researchers noted that while our risk for chronic disease can be affected by such factors as age and genetics, it’s important to understand the relationship between diet, exercise and gut bacteria, because these factors are well within our control. These relationships also emphasize how much our health—good or bad—largely depends on the lifestyle choices we make.

Sources

Medical News Today

Medical News Today

ScienceDaily

LiveScience

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Fast casual instead of fast food is no way to cut calories

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Study finds no winners of TV’s “Biggest Loser” reality show

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Much like the lesson learned from the fairy tale “Tortoise and the Hare,” slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss. A new study that tracked winners of TV’s The Biggest Loser reality show provides a stark example of the pitfalls of rapid weight loss. Tracking the long-term progress of contestants […]

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Can omega 3 stop DNA damage and disease caused by fructose?

April 29, 2016

According to the Department of Agriculture, Americans consumed about 27 pounds of fructose per capita in 2014. Most of this fructose comes in the form of high fructose corn syrup added to processed foods. New research suggests this massive fructose infusion could be altering our DNA to increase our risk of developing the most common […]

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Endocrine disruptors taint the blood of fast food eaters

April 25, 2016

The health hazards of eating fast food have been well documented, but research continues to uncover new reasons to pack your own lunch. Recent research has found that fast food eaters regularly introduce industrial chemicals known as phthalates into their bodies. Phthalates, which are used to soften plastic and vinyl for food packaging, are “endocrine […]

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What is your exercise equivalent to burn off a bag of chips?

April 20, 2016

If you knew how hard you must exercise to burn off the calories in a donut or a bag of chips, would you make a healthier choice? A group of British health care professionals proposing an “activity equivalent” be printed on food labels believes that you probably will. A few studies have been done suggesting […]

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Is new evidence your green light to indulge full-fat dairy?

April 15, 2016

Conventional wisdom says that because fat has more than twice the calories than protein or carbohydrate, low fat dairy products will lower your risk of obesity and diabetes. A new study has found that the opposite could be true, suggesting that whole fat dairy could have a protective effect. It’s among the latest evidence that […]

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Cancer link suggested with carbohydrates in processed foods

April 12, 2016

There’s a popular notion going around today that sugar feeds and speeds the growth of cancer. That’s not true, but eating too much sugar, and the refined carbohydrates in processed foods, could make you overweight or obese, which will increase your cancer risk. This is supported by science and among the most recent evidence is […]

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