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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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ugly

The practice of selling only unblemished produce in supermarkets has conditioned consumers to be repulsed by fruits and vegetables that are misshapen, scarred or scabbed. The result is billions of tons of wasted food that could feed millions of people. The situation is even more absurd considering evidence from recent findings that so-called “ugly” produce can actually be more nutritious than the perfect specimens we prefer.

Beneficial blemishes

Fruits and vegetables rely on antioxidants for protection against insects and disease. Apples, for example, develop dark blotches and black dots after marshalling antioxidants to fight off a form of fungi common in orchards. There’s a growing body of evidence that produce under environmental stress contain higher levels of antioxidants and other compounds that can help protect humans as well.

A 2010 study by Slovenian researchers took a close look at how ventura inaequalis, a fungus that causes apple scab disease, effects the production of antioxidant phenolic compounds in the fruit. The findings, published in the Journal of Horticultural Science and Biology, the content of certain phenolic compounds in fruit infected with the fungus was up to 3.9 times higher compared to “healthy” apples.

Perfectly bland

According to the Department of Agriculture, about 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. (including about 6 billion pounds of produce) is thrown away—either rejected by supermarkets and restaurants, or passed over by consumers. This waste adds up to a $15 billion annual loss for supermarkets alone.

The truth is, the perfect produce we’ve become accustomed to isn’t found in nature. Plants are bred to achieve a certain size, shape and color, often at the expense of taste. The supermarket tomato, for example, has been engineered to be uniformly round and with the ability to ripen evenly after its been picked. But the flavor of a tomato comes from sugars produced in the leaves of the plant, which never get the chance to reach the fruit.

Stress induced nutrition

In addition to antioxidants, plants tend to increase their content of other vital nutrients when they are stressed. Tomatoes grown in dryer conditions develop cracks in the skin that heal with a scar. Although cosmetically ugly, they have nearly twice the B vitamins—essential for energy metabolism—than their pampered counterparts.

Dark spots on green peppers shows they have fought off a fungus, which has boosted their vitamin C content. In addition to being a strong antioxidant, Vitamin C is vital for iron absorption and formation of collagen—the most abundant tissue in the body. The brown freckles that develop on bananas after sitting on the counter a few days shows they have nearly twice the magnesium—important for normal blood pressure regulation—as unblemished bananas.

Get ugly

Chances are your local supermarket refuses to stock ugly fruits and vegetables. But there’s a growing movement to keep less than perfect produce from simply being thrown away. An internet search will probably lead you to local companies that specialize in produce that doesn’t meet the cosmetic standards of supermarkets. Local farmer’s markets also aren’t bashful about offering plants allowed to grow naturally. Once you get over their appearance, you will probably get more bang for your buck in nutrition and taste.

Sources

NPR

Journal of Horticultural Science & Biology

Newsweek

Intelligence for Your Life

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Research shows eating fiber is your key to aging gracefully

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Added sugar listing on labels can heal your blood vessels

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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 […]

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

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One of the best ways to eat healthier is to cut out, or at least cut down, the fast food in your diet. Many people assume that shifting your lunch destination from fast food to fast casual is a step in the right direction. However, new research shows that meals offered at fast casual restaurants […]

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Kind label warning exposes FDA ignorance about healthy fats

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For decades, government dietary guidelines have demonized fat as unhealthy. Recently the Food and Drug Administration warned the maker of Kind bars it must remove the word “healthy” on it’s label because the bars contained too much fat. The warning showed that as an agency, the FDA is woefully behind the times, given it has […]

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Calorie restriction leads to better sex during weight loss?

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Most of us could benefit from eating less, even if we’re not obese, suggest the results of a new study investigating the benefits of calorie restriction. And those who believe that cutting daily calories will leave them hungry, lethargic and irritable could be mistaken. Researchers found that people who cut calories by a modest amount […]

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