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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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citrus

Just in time for summer heat waves, new research linking citrus fruits to malignant melanoma unleashed a slew of overheated headlines on the Internet. The increased cancer risk may be due to certain photosensitizing compounds known to be in citrus fruits.

But cooler heads are saying that the modest increase in melanoma risk seen in the study is probably not enough to forsake the benefits of including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit in a healthy diet.

Tanning activators

Compounds called psoralens occur naturally in citrus fruits. Clinically, they’re used to sensitize skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in preparation for treatment of severe cases of psoriasis and other skin disorders. For the same reason, they were also used as “tanning activators” in suntan lotions and sunscreens. By 1996 the practice ended, after it had become apparent that people using sunscreens containing psoralens had about four times the risk of developing melanoma than those who didn’t.

Could people who have a taste for citrus be subjecting themselves to similar danger? A team of researchers from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, RI, investigated the possibility.

The citrus-melanoma link

The team analyzed diet, lifestyle and health data from 63,810 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study between 1984 and 2010. The same data was collected from 41,622 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between 1986 and 2010. After tracking their health for up to 26 years, it was revealed that 1,840 participants were diagnosed with melanoma.

Their analysis, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed a dose-response relationship between melanoma risk and citrus consumption. That is, the more servings of citrus fruits or juices participants reported consuming, the higher their risk of melanoma. For example, consumption of fruits or juices at least 1.6 times a day was linked to 36 percent higher melanoma risk.

Risky fruits

Drinking orange juice was associated with the greatest risk, which the researchers attribute to the popularity of the product. Eating whole grapefruit was also strongly associated with melanoma risk for people who experienced severe sunburns as children and those who receive a lot of UV exposure. Strangely enough, the link between eating oranges or drinking grapefruit juice and melanoma wasn’t statistically significant.

Time to quit citrus?

The American Cancer Society estimates that 73,870 people in the US will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2015. Nearly 10,000 people will die from the disease. The number one risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from the sun or from tanning beds.

Should you be thinking about cutting back on your citrus as the mercury climbs? F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE, is an analyst who brings research hype back down to earth in “Analysis in 150 Seconds,” a video series for MedPage Today. According to Dr. Wilson, when you compare the degree of risk found in the study with actual melanoma cases, giving up the health benefits of drinking orange juice to avoid skin cancer may not be worth it.

Chill out and pass the sunscreen

“We’re talking seven cases per 10,000 people per year,” Wilson said. “To prevent just one of those cases, you would need to convince roughly 2,500 people who were high-citrus eaters to stop eating citrus. Compare that with the roughly 150 people you would need to convince to wear sunscreen to prevent a case of melanoma.”

The takeaway from this study: keep enjoying your citrus and try to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Using plenty of sunscreen this summer is still your best way to avoid boosting your risk for melanoma.

Sources

MedPage Today

Medscape

Medical News Today

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New dietary guidelines: indulge yourself in healthy fat

June 29, 2015

Every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (GDAC) issues a new set of evidence-based recommendations. Recently the 2015 GDAC provoked a lot of politicians and generated a lot of controversy by suggesting that consumers should consider the impact of their food choices on the environment. However, in an editorial published in JAMA, the […]

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Take steps to protect your bone density during weight loss

June 24, 2015

It doesn’t seem fair, but when you lose weight, you also lose bone mass. This simple biological fact is of particular concern for women at risk for osteoporosis. What’s more, cutting calories usually results in lower calcium intake. But research shows that physical activity can reduce the rate of bone loss while you’re losing weight. […]

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Will FDA ban really get rid of trans fats for good?

June 19, 2015

By now, just about anyone who cares knows that the Food and Drug Administration has revoked “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status from trans fats. It’s been a long time coming. Evidence that trans fats have a propensity to clog arteries has existed since the 1950s. Finally, a lawsuit filed in 2013 motivated the FDA […]

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Is eating more nuts your secret to healthy longevity?

June 16, 2015

You hear a lot about the benefits of eating nuts these days, especially from reports on research showing nuts have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. One of the latest studies suggests eating nuts does more than simply protect your heart. Researchers from the Netherlands have linked specific amounts of regular nut consumption to a lower […]

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Do it yourself anti-inflammatory diet in 3 simple steps

June 11, 2015

Most of the so-called “diseases of civilization” that plague modern society—such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease—could also be called “diseases of inflammation.” In numerous studies, chronic, low-grade inflammation throughout the body has been linked to the poor American diet of processed foods. Some Internet celebrities have put their names on anti-inflammatory diets. There hasn’t […]

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How high fructose corn syrup makes you gain weight

June 8, 2015

In the search for contributing factors to the U.S. obesity epidemic, fructose has been the focus of numerous studies. Fructose arouses such suspicions because over the last 40 years, use of the sweetener in the U.S. diet, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has increased in tandem with the U.S. obesity […]

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Positive diet messages shown to make healthy choices easier

June 3, 2015

If you’re searching for motivation to make the diet and lifestyle changes necessary to lose weight, it pays to accentuate the positive. New research suggests that public health campaigns using negative messages, based on the risks of unhealthy eating, are falling on deaf ears. It appears that most people would rather learn how to eat […]

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Will a daily dose of vitamin B3 lower your skin cancer risk?

May 29, 2015

Average Americans have a 20 percent chance of developing skin cancer at some time in their lives. Limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen are the conventional means for lowering your risk for skin cancer, but research suggests additional preventive measures to consider. A recent study has found that a daily dose of vitamin B3, also […]

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How skipping meals backfires by increasing your belly fat

May 27, 2015

It’s been shown that cutting calories by skipping meals is not an effective weight loss strategy. Such fasting often leads to uncontrollable hunger that can result in eating more, rather than fewer, calories. What’s more, recent research suggests that limiting food intake to one big meal a day is likely to convert those additional calories […]

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