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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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Lots of research suggests timing meals to more closely match circadian rhythms is better for your health. A recent summary of scientific research concludes regular meals, starting with breakfast are associated with lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Critics of the summary say it misleads the public by suggesting regular meals are an actual cause for lower cardiovascular risk. It’s true no causal relationship has been definitively established. However, it could be people who eat regular meals simply tend to eat healthier overall, which can definitely contribute to lowering cardiovascular risk.

Eating healthier can also help you lose weight, which has been definitely proven to protect your heart. Can you adjust your lifestyle to be more mindful of your meal timing?

Meal timing statement

The summary of evidence, known as a scientific statement, was published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. Among the issues addressed, the popular notion of not skipping breakfast is supported by research finding people who eat breakfast are less likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Yet many of these studies are funded by the food industry. Other studies have found no difference between people who eat breakfast and those who don’t.

The AHA statement also cites animal studies finding that infusing lab rats with food while they are sleeping reset their body clocks, altering their metabolism in ways that made them gain weight, trigger inflammation increase insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes. Extensive research of this type has yet to be performed on humans.

Devil’s Advocate

A flaw in this body of research is much of it is based primarily on epidemiological studies. For example, research that compares eating habits with frequency of disease. While a link between certain eating habits and disease risk may be suggested, there are many other factors not included in the analysis that could be more likely to result in heart disease or diabetes.

What’s more, evidence from actual human trials that put people on specific diets to measure the impact of those diets on risk factors (cholesterol, insulin resistance) don’t prove actual rates of heart disease and diabetes are affected by those diets.

In our busy culture, adding the pressure of meal timing to the extra effort required for healthy eating could be counterproductive. Until cause and effect can be established, behaviors such as eating breakfast are fine for people who like to eat breakfast. Healthy people who would rather not shouldn’t feel as if they must.

Eating healthier

Someone who wants to make changes in their life to lose weight could certainly give it a try. A 2013 University of Minnesota study found people who ate a regular breakfast, lunch and dinner were more likely to do their own cooking, eat more fruits and vegetables and pass on fast food.

Other studies have found eating regular meals makes eating on the go less likely. It probably doesn’t take a study to suggest eating on the go makes it more likely you will be eating fast food, or junk food. Chances are you’ll also be distracted, which can make you eat too fast, which leads to overeating. Research has been done that draws correlations with all the behaviors/results in the preceding sentence.

The bottom line: An effective weight loss strategy approaches the challenge from a variety of change angles. Meal timing could be one of them, depending on the individual.

Sources

American Heart Association

Health News Review

New York Times

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What’s really true about eating wheat and losing weight?

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You have to be resilient to stay healthy and happy. Discussions of human resilience usually involve exercise to toughen you physically, or meditation to strengthen you emotionally. But what about dietary resilience? Eating well provides the biological foundation for dealing with the stress of coping with change and taking advantage of opportunities. Coping with stress […]

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January 24, 2017

Certain foods and beverages often make the news when research links them to preserving health and extending life. A pair of favorites to get such attention recently are chili peppers and coffee. Besides Mexican mochas, what do chili peppers and coffee have in common that could lead researchers to suggest they have anti-aging properties? Chronic low-grade inflammation […]

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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 […]

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The number of people with diabetes around the world has quadrupled since the 1980s. Many health care experts believe diabetes is a major public health problem that has reached epidemic proportions. It’s gotten to the point that anyone with elevated blood sugar is being warned that they have a disease called “prediabetes.” Risk factor, or […]

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