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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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Your body fat is made up of two types of cells that categorize the tissue by color: brown fat and white fat. White fat stores energy but brown fat actually burns energy to generate heat. It used to be believed that we were born with brown fat to help keep us warm as infants. As we mature into adults, our brown fat was thought to melt away.

Recently, however, it’s been discovered that our brown fat doesn’t recede completely. This discovery has led to numerous studies with the goal of learning how to activate the thermogenic properties of brown fat to burn more calories and melt away pounds. New research suggests that could be as simple as turning the thermostat down in the bedroom.

cold-thermostat

White fat vs. brown fat

White fat is made from cells with the sole purpose to store excess calories to be available as an energy source when necessary. White fat cells have very few mitochondria, tiny energy producing subunits known as organelles that are present in all the cells in your body. Brown fat is brown because its cells are packed with a lot of mitochondria.

When exposed to cold temperatures or certain hormones such as epinephrine, brown fat cells turn on a gene that “uncouples” its mitochondria from the energy production process so the organelles actually start burning fat and glucose, which dissipates as heat.

Burning fat and calories?

Because the mitochondria use glucose as a fuel to generate heat, brown fat can do a lot more than just keep us warm. When brown fat cells are stimulated by cold or hormones, it draws a significant amount of glucose from the blood to help regulate blood sugar levels. By diverting glucose, brown fat can also divert extra calories from fat storage when you eat too much.

Your brown fat is sparsely distributed in the back of your neck, above your collarbones, between your shoulder blades and around your heart and kidneys. When your body accumulates white fat, your brown fat deposits shrink and slow their fat-burning activity. A lot of scientists are searching for ways to hyperstimulate brown fat and help brown fat cells proliferate.

Bedroom chill

For a recent study published in the journal Diabetes, researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health recruited five volunteers to sleep in climate-controlled bedrooms for four months. All their meals were provided to ensure a constant, uniform calorie intake.

For the first month, the bedrooms were set at 75 degrees, considered a neutral temperature that would not cause changes in the mitochondria. The second month the bedrooms were cooled to 66 degrees, a temperature thought to stimulate brown-fat activity. The third month, the bedrooms were reset to 75 degrees to reset the mitochondria after the previous month. The final month was set at 81 degrees.

Stimulate your brown fat

Throughout the study, the volunteers’ blood sugar, insulin levels and daily energy expenditures were monitored. Brown fat was measured each month. Four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees nearly doubled their volumes of brown fat. They also burned a few more calories throughout the day. After four weeks sleeping at 81 degrees, they had less brown fat than was measured when the study began.

According to the researchers, simply sleeping in a cooler room could give you metabolic advantages that help you maintain a healthy weight, as well as reduce your risk for diabetes and other chronic illnesses related to overweight and obesity.

Sources

Medical News Today

Medscape

HealthCanal

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A high-phosphorus diet may be endangering your kidneys

July 30, 2014

Americans are constantly being advised to cut down on salt and sugar. But did you know that phosphorus could be just as problematic in the standard American diet? Overconsumption of phosphorus may become the next major health issue as more people rely on the convenience of prepared and processed foods. Too much of a good [...]

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Obesity epidemic: too many calories, or too little exercise?

July 29, 2014

Are too many calories the probable cause for the alarming increase in U.S. obesity rates? New research suggests a stronger link with plummeting rates of physical activity, because overall calorie consumption hasn’t changed enough to make a difference. Sedentary lifestyles may be hurting children the most, which may significantly curtail the average lifespan of younger [...]

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Will climate change increase your risk for kidney stones?

July 28, 2014

The bad diet and lifestyle habits that have led to increased rates of obesity and diabetes could also be why the prevalence of kidney stones has doubled in the last 20 years. Recent studies have found that people at risk for developing kidney stones are more likely to suffer from the condition during the summer [...]

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Why antioxidants may not work at all to prevent cancer

July 25, 2014

The idea that eating antioxidant supplements will help protect you against cancer causing free radicals has become widely accepted. Yet a cause and effect relationship between antioxidant consumption and protection against cancer has never been established by any study. In fact, some studies suggest that antioxidant supplementation actually promotes cancer development. In a recent article [...]

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Why your extra-virgin olive oil is probably fake

July 25, 2014

If you’re aware of the heart-healthy benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, you’re probably using it for most of your cooking instead of vegetable oils. But chances are the extra-virgin olive oil imported from Italy you’re buying from the supermarket isn’t really what the label says it is. There may be good news on the horizon, [...]

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Be skeptical of claims linking coffee with weight loss

July 24, 2014

Can drinking coffee really help you lose weight? That’s the suggestion made by headline writers on the Internet after a recent study was published associating caffeine with increased calorie burning among trained athletes after exercise. It’s true that caffeine does increase metabolism, but many questions about its effectiveness and safety as an exercise and weight [...]

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Misleading media hype about fruits, vegetables, weight loss

July 24, 2014

Studies about nutrition, dieting and weight loss that receive media coverage often feature sensational headlines that jump to the wrong conclusions. A case in point is a recent study published with headlines such as “Why eating fruits and vegetables won’t make you thin” (Fox News), and “Eating more fruits and vegetables has no effect on [...]

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Is over-fortified cereal toxic for children and moms-to-be?

June 30, 2014

Many decades ago the federal government initiated food fortification programs to combat the widespread malnutrition of the times. Today, many Americans still don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals they need, but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) warns that some people who eat fortified foods may be getting too much of a good thing. [...]

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