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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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cocktail

Drinking alcohol in moderation is a cardinal rule of weight loss. In addition to ingesting lots of empty calories, it’s human nature to crave junk food while under the influence. Why we feel compelled to eat, even after drinking hundreds of calories, has been a mystery. But a team of British researchers believes they can help explain why binge drinking leads to binge eating.

Weekend bender

A full belly normally results in satiety, a feeling produced by the brain after receiving hormone borne signals from the stomach that it’s had enough. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications suggests that feeding circuits in the brain that are activated by starvation (better known as hunger pangs) are also activated by alcohol.

Opting not to encourage such behavior in humans, scientists from The Francis Crick Institute in London simulated a weekend bender with mice. Alcohol equivalent to two bottles of wine or eight pints of beer was injected directly into the abdomens of some of the rodents over three days and monitored their feeding. Among the findings, the intoxicated mice ate far more than the sober mice, especially on day two of the bender. When the animals were allowed to sober up, their appetites returned to normal.

Alcohol and appetite

Previous research has shown that a type of neuron called AgRP plays a role in hunger for both mice and humans. In studies, activating AgRP in mice caused them to eat even though their bellies were full. Turning off AgRP killed their appetites. To test their theory that alcohol affects AgRP, the scientists deactivated this neuron in a group of mice and drugged them with alcohol.

Intoxication failed to trigger binge eating in the deactivated mice. This finding suggested that alcohols effects on AgRP is the answer to why binge drinking leads to binge drinking. The researchers went further by treating AgRP neurons with a substance that turns them green with cell activity. Experiments showed that alcohol increased the rate of neural firing in AgRP.

Practice moderation

The researchers concluded that alcohols effect on AgRP could help explain the relationship between boozing and binging. But by no means did they claim it explains everything. Human beings are a little too complex for that.

Does it matter if you know why drinking too much makes you eat too much? We already knew that once you step over the line, you’re likely to lose control of your appetite. Perhaps you could apply your knowledge of the physiology to resist alcohol’s pull on your appetite. Better still, you could develop a respect for the power alcohol has over your brain cells, which may strengthen your resolve to practice moderation.

Sources

Nature Communications

Scientific American

MedicalExpress

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