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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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fiber

Research shows that eating more fiber can help you lose weight, along with many other health benefits. You can get the best results by increasing your fiber intake via an overall healthy diet. For many, this is easier said than done. Could you still lose weight simply by ingesting more fiber without making comprehensive dietary changes? A new study suggests you can, but critics of the research say focusing solely on fiber to lose weight isn’t really a good idea.

Fiber vs obesity

It’s estimated that the average American’s dietary fiber intake is about 15 grams per day. Public health authorities believe that getting those of us deficient in fiber to eat more could help stem the rising tide of obesity in this country. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a daily fiber intake of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

In addition to boosting fiber intake, AHA dietary goals include a complex set of recommendations that involve limiting calories by eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, a proper ratio between animal and vegetable proteins, and severely cutting down on sugar, sodium, alcohol, and fat.

A short cut for weight loss?

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst wanted to test their theory that a focus on increasing fiber alone would be easier and more effective for losing weight than following the AHA recommendations. They recruited 240 adults with metabolic syndrome and body mass indexes (BMI) ranging from 30 to 40.

The BMI threshold for obesity is 30. Metabolic syndrome is defined as having three of the following conditions: high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and fat accumulated around the midsection. The participants were randomly selected to either follow the AHA diet or simply told to increase their fiber intake to 30 g per day for a period of one year.

Healthy diet wins

Among the findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the high-fiber group increased their intake by an average of 4.7 g per day, compared to 1.3 g per day in the AHA group. However, the AHA group had a greater reduction in calories per day (465) than the high fiber group (200). The AHA group also lost more weight (avg. 6 lbs) than the high fiber group (4.6 lbs).

Shortcomings of the study included the absence of an exercise prescription as part of a weight loss plan. The researchers also conceded that the participants were mostly well-educated white women with a baseline fiber intake higher than the national average. Whether their weight loss was maintained was not assessed.

Even though weight loss in both groups did not meet the study’s goal of a loss of 7 percent of body weight, the researchers concluded that “a simplified approach emphasizing only increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for individuals who find it difficult adhering to a more complicated diet.”

Future of junk food fiber

David Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center, told MedPage Today that the implications of the study were “less than desirable.” He noted that research supporting increasing fiber at the expense of a variety of wholesome foods could be seized upon by the food industry as an excuse to produce “a fiber-enriched inventory of junk food.”

The food industry is no doubt already on the case. But even though a pack of fiber-enriched chips may seem like an easy, tasty means of increasing your fiber intake, you’ll be better off reaching for an apple instead.

Sources

Annals of Internal Medicine

MedPage Today

Medical News Today

 

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