Saturday, September 6, 2008

Studies show exercise boon for obesity, diabetes

By Michael Kahn

LONDON (Reuters) - Walking a bit more each day can help people control their Type 2 diabetes but obese people trying to keep weight off may need to exercise harder than they had thought, according to a studies published on Monday.
Simply walking 45 minutes more each day helped people with diabetes use blood sugar better, Michael Trenell of Britain's Newcastle University and colleagues wrote in the journal Diabetes Care.
"People often find the thought of going to the gym quite daunting, but what we've found is that nearly everyone with diabetes is able to become more active through walking," Trenell said.
The Newcastle team paired 10 Type 2 diabetes patients with people without the condition of similar height, weight and age and asked everybody to walk more than 10,000 steps each day.
Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scans showed that people who walked 45 minutes more each day burned about 20 percent more fat -- increasing the ability of the muscles to store sugar and help control diabetes, the researchers said.
"What is exciting about this study is that it provides an immediate way to help control diabetes without any additional drugs," Trenell said.
Diabetes affects an estimated 246 million adults worldwide and accounts for 6 percent of all global deaths. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 percent of all diabetes cases and is closely linked to obesity and physical inactivity.
Obesity and diabetes both are growing problems as more developing nations adopt a Western lifestyle, something the International Diabetes Federation estimates will propel the number of people with diabetes to 380 million by 2025.

But current exercise guidelines calling for people to get 150 minutes -- 2.5 hours -- each week may not be enough to help the obese keep weight off, John Jakicic of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
To determine an optimal amount of exercise, the U.S. team enrolled 201 overweight and obese women in a weight loss programme between 1999 and 2003 and assigned them to one of four exercise groups.
After six months, women in all four groups had lost an average of 8 to 10 percent of their weight but many gained it back.
Women assigned to exercise for about an extra hour each day did not gain the weight back, the researchers said. These women were also more likely to stick to healthy diets.
Jakicic recommended that people who want to lose weight and keep it off get at least 4-1/2 hours of exercise a week.
"There is a growing consensus that more exercise may be necessary to enhance long-term weight loss," Jakicic and colleagues wrote.
(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Maggie Fox)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Diet Key to Diabetes Risk

Fruits, vegetables, exercise reduce chances of blood sugar disease, studies find

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Packing on the pounds by drinking too many sugary drinks and not eating enough fruits and veggies appears to be associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, while a low-fat diet doesn't alter your risk of developing the blood sugar disease.

That's the conclusion of three studies published in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Obesity is one of the strongest risk factors for developing diabetes. By 2030, 11.2 percent of the adult population in the United States is expected to suffer from type 2 diabetes, according to the journal report.

In one study, Julie R. Palmer, a professor of epidemiology at the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, and her colleagues looked at the association between type 2 diabetes and drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks. For the study, Palmer's team collected data on 43,960 black women, 2,713 of whom developed type 2 diabetes during 10 years of follow-up.

"Drinking sweetened soft drinks or fruit drinks was associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes," Palmer said. "Specifically, women who drank two or more soft drinks per day or two or more fruit drinks per day had a 25 to 30 percent increased risk of diabetes. Drinking diet soft drinks did not increase risk."

Both soft drinks and fruit drinks, if consumed frequently, will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The main mechanism seems to be through their effects on weight gain, Palmer said. "Reducing consumption of these beverages may be a concrete way to reduce weight gain and prevent diabetes," she said.

"Fruit drinks, which are increasingly being consumed by the U.S. population, are not a healthy alternative to soft drinks, at least with regard to risk of type 2 diabetes," Palmer said. "Fruit drinks typically contain as many or more calories as soft drinks and, like soft drinks, may not decrease satiety to the same extent as solid foods."

In another study, British researchers led by Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Metabolic Science of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, collected data on 21,831 healthy middle-aged men and women who did not have diabetes. Over the 12 years of the study, 735 people developed diabetes.

To determine how much fruit and vegetables these people ate, the researchers measured blood levels of vitamin C, which serves as a marker for the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten.

"We have found that eating greater amounts of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of future type 2 diabetes," Forouhi said.

For people with the highest blood level of vitamin C, the risk of developing diabetes over 12 years was reduced by 62 percent, compared with those with the lowest levels of vitamin C, Forouhi said. "We also found an association of eating fruit and vegetables with lower risk of diabetes, with a 22 percent reduction of risk of future diabetes in the highest compared to lowest intake of fruits and vegetables," she said.

Eating even a small quantity of fruit and vegetables is good for you, Forouhi said. "Eating some fruits and vegetables is still better than none. In addition, the association of fruits and vegetables with reduced diabetes risk gets stronger progressively with the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten -- the more that you eat, the greater the potential benefit," she said.

In a third study, Lesley F. Tinker, from the Women's Health Initiative at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues found no significant reduction in the risk of developing diabetes among women on a low-fat diet. However, the low-fat diet did increase weight loss, which can result in fewer cases of type 2 diabetes.

For the study, Tinker's team collected data on 48,835 post-menopausal women who were randomly assigned to a low-fat diet, which contain more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, or to a continuation of their usual diet. The researchers found that 7.1 percent of the women on the low-fat diet developed diabetes compared with 7.4 percent of the women who continued their usual diet.

Women on a low-fat diet lost about 4.2 pounds more weight during the study than women on a regular diet, the researchers noted.

"Modest weight loss, rather than macronutrient composition, may be the dominant predictor of reduced risk of diabetes," Tinker said. "The beauty of a low-fat diet that includes lots of vegetables and fruits is that it is sustainable," she said.

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, thinks that these studies confirm that diet is an important component of producing the risk of diabetes.

"An excess of simple sugar tends to be bad for health and to promote both weight gain and the development of diabetes," Katz said. "An abundant intake of fruits and vegetables defends health and defends against diabetes."

In addition, portion control helps prevent obesity, and by so doing, helps prevent diabetes, Katz said. "The power of diet has been well-established in both diabetes control and prevention. The Diabetes Prevention Program demonstrated a 58 percent reduction in the occurrence of diabetes in high-risk adults with a balanced, wholesome, mostly plant-based diet in combination with regular physical activity," he added.

Dr. Mark N. Feinglos, chief of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition at Duke University Medical Center, and author of an accompanying editorial, no specific food by itself increases the risk for diabetes, rather it's eating too much and gaining too much weight.

"But it's clear that high fructose corn syrup is not a good actor, and it's everywhere now," Feinglos said. "People who have a lot of beverages with high fructose corn syrup are not compensating by having fewer other calories, and it may not function to allow you to feel full, he said. "High fructose corn syrup may also cause liver problems and insulin resistance."

"At this point, all we can say is -- calories trump everything," he said. "All these high-density, empty calorie foods that are adding to the caloric load of the population and making it heavier are the real culprits."

In another study in the same journal, John M. Jakicic, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues found that exercise, as well is diet, is important in maintaining weight loss.

The researchers found that among a group of women who all had lost about 10 pounds, only about 25 percent maintain their weight loss. Moreover these were the women who exercised about 55 minutes a day five days a week.

"This clarifies the amount of physical activity that should be targeted for achieving and sustaining this magnitude of weight loss, but also demonstrates the difficulty of sustaining this level of physical activity," the authors wrote.

More information

For more about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nutrition Fact Labels: The Missing Key to Weight Loss Success!

Gail Davis

To achieve and maintain good health, educate yourself about nutrition fact labels and use them regularly when shopping. They provide valuable information that will help you make wise food choices. Remember, knowing is always better than not knowing! You can bury your head in the sand but it will show up on your scale!

Serving Size and Servings Per Container:

Together, these two make up the most important information provided by your nutrition fact label! Note them carefully. This information can be very misleading. Everything else on the food label is based on this information! Many times, you will think you´re eating one serving when you´re actually eating two or more. Looks can be deceiving! Always ask yourself, "How much am I consuming?"

Number of Total Calories and Number of Calories from Fat:

Remember that all information is per serving! If you have two servings per package, you must double these numbers.

A calorie is a unit of measure that tells you how much energy is provided per serving of that food. A general guide to calories is that 40=low, 100=moderate, and 400=high.

In order to reach and maintain your ideal weight, you must expend more calories than you consume. It´s that "expenditure part" that does most of us in. Regular exercise must be a part of your lifestyle if weight loss and/or good health are your goals.

To roughly estimate how many calories you need each day, follow this guideline:

Are you sedentary? If so, multiply your weight by 14.

Are you moderately active? Multiply your weight by 17.

Are you active? Multiply your weight by 20.

Nutrition Numbers:

Nutrition numbers consist of total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, and milligrams of cholesterol and sodium. Some nutrition labels also list monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and milligrams of potassium. Some important vitamins and minerals are not required to appear on the Nutrition Fact Label, but many manufacturers add them anyway.

Notice that the first several nutrients are the ones you want to limit in your diet. Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of heart disease, cancers, and high blood pressure.

The nutrients listed next are the ones that you need to make sure you get enough of. Most people don´t get enough fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Getting enough of these nutrients can improve your general health and reduce your risk of some diseases and conditions.

Some Nutrition Fact Labels list a footnote at the bottom of each label. Some footnotes are complete and some are not, depending on the size of the label. The footnote simply lists, based on the 2,000-calorie diet, the recommended dietary amounts for all Americans. This information is standard and does not change from label to label.

Percent Daily Values (%DV)

The Percent Daily Value (%DV) is a valuable tool that shows you how much of each nutrient one serving provides based on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet. You do not have to consume 2,000 calories a day to use these numbers. This is just the standard. You don´t have to calculate anything in order to benefit from this information! The %DV does the math for you!

As a rule of thumb, 5% DV or less is low, while 20% DV or more is high. Remember that everything is dependent upon portion size. If you double the amount you consume, you must double the numbers! For example, one serving of a product has 18%DV of fat, which is less than 20%, and therefore not "high." If you eat two servings, which is the entire package, you have consumed 36%, well above "high." That would only leave you 64% of your fat allowance for everything else you eat that day.

For nutrients that you tend to get too much of such as fat, cholesterol, and sodium, you want to try to total 100% or less of the Recommended Daily Value (RDV) each day.

When reading labels, look to see that carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the nutrients you want to get more of, have higher percentages and the nutrients you want to get less of (fat, cholesterol, sodium) have lower percentages.

You can also use %DV to compare similar products and you can check products labeled "reduced fat", "light", and "nonfat" to see which has the highest percentage of a nutrient. If used correctly, %DV can help you make wise, daily food choices. If you eat something particularly high at one meal, you can use this information to balance your intake at another meal.

You will notice that trans fat, protein, and sugars do not have %DV. Research links trans fat to high LDL cholesterol levels and should be avoided! %DV only has to be listed for protein if the product claims to be "high in protein" or if the product is for children under the age of four, and there is no daily recommended amount for sugar. Keep in mind that sugar has many synonyms, such as sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, honey, syrup, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, or fruit juice.

If used correctly, nutrition fact labels are a valuable resource to assist us with our dietary selections. Learn to read them, understand them, and use them!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Exercise for 55 minutes, five times a week to lose weight

By Kate Devlin Medical Correspondent

Scientists found that women who worked out for 275 minutes a week lost almost 10 per cent of their body weight and kept it off for two years.

The Government currently recommends that people exercise for around half an hour a couple of times a week to maintain a healthy body weight.

But ministers have faced accusations that this level is too low and the new study suggests that much more activity is needed to aid weight loss.

More than one quarter of Britons are now defined a clinically obese, a percentage that is predicted to rise in coming decades because of our inactive lifestyles.

Researchers studied more than 200 overweight and obese women as they tried to lose weight over two years.

All the women were told to eat a diet of between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day, and given different levels of physical activity to perform.

Although all the groups had lost an average of between 8 and 10 per cent of their body weight after six months, most could not keep the extra pounds off.

The almost 25 per cent of those who did maintain the weight loss over the two years worked out for around 275 minutes a week, burning around 2,000 calories, the findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal, show.

The study also showed that increased levels of exercise were linked to other behaviours that can lead to weight loss, such as eating less fat.

"This clarifies the amount of physical activity that should be targeted for achieving and sustaining this magnitude of weight loss, but also demonstrates the difficulty of sustaining this level of physical activity," according to John M. Jakicic, from the University of Pittsburgh, who led the study.

"Research is needed to improve long-term compliance with this targeted level of physical activity."

He added that the findings that those who worked out for the longest every week also tended to keep to other good dieting habits "suggests that physical activity does not function independently of these other behaviours."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Health and Beauty: The light way to lose weight

By Diane Crabtree

Women's Editor
It's a case of waist not want not for Kingsley Lambert. The 46-year-old yo-yo dieter has gone from one extreme to another on the trouser front...

WHENEVER Kingsley Lambert has had a problem in his life he would use food to get by.

When his older brother Kim died in a road accident at the age of 17, Kingsley dropped out of school and his weight ballooned.

Years later when he discovered his mum Sheila had cancer at the age of 51, he went on a starvation diet and lived off coffee, diet coke and cigarettes, almost becoming anorexic.

Throughout his 20s and 30s Kingsley, who works at the Halifax Bank, continued to have no control over his eating habits and went from bingeing to dieting at an alarming rate.

"It seemed that every time there was a major milestone in my life such as the birth of my son or the death of a loved one, I lost my dad in 2002 , it had the effect of driving me further into comfort eating and drinking with obvious consequences," says Kingsley who lives in Mytholmroyd, with his wife Niki and their nine-year-old son, Karl.

His yo-yo dieting didn't just affect his weight, it affected his whole life. When he was obese he lost his confidence at work and at one point got demoted.

His relationship with Niki suffered because every time he lost weight and put it back on he felt he had let her down. But what really worried him was Karl getting ribbed at school for having a fat dad.

His son turned out to be his turning point, giving him a driver to lose weight and keep it off, which wasn't purely about Kingsley himself.

At the end of last year he was told about a weight loss programme called LighterLife by a male work colleague who had tried it and lost weight. LighterLife is developed by experts and delivered by trained counsellors in small groups. It is for individuals with three stone or more to lose and aims to assist controlled weight loss while promoting greater understanding of food issues. Kingsley joined Siobhan Barron's LightLife group in Sowerby Bridge last November and since then has become a changed man.

He has not only lost almost eight stones in weight but his health problems have disappeared and he is now doing 15 mile runs in preparation for new physical challenges such as the Berlin Marathon and the Great North Run later this year.

"I had eczema and long-term chronic joint pains in my wrist and thumbs. The joint pains disappeared after three weeks and the eczema after six weeks. I am overjoyed as this has massively improved my quality of life," says Kingsley who finished the programme in April and has kept his weight stable for the past three months.

He is now a size he has not been since he was a teenager and says his fitness levels are at an all time high, so much so that he plans to go camping and trekking with Karl for the first time this summer.

He has never done it before because he would not have fit into a sleeping bag.

His only problem now is finding clothes small enough to fit. "I've gone from one end of the scale to the other. At one time my waist was 46/48 so I had a struggle finding trousers. Now I'm a 30inch waist and still having problems because most shops start at a size 32."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fad diet claims weight loss in 3 days

A fad diet circulating on the Internet claims people can lose 10 pounds in three days by following its all-day menu. While it has drawn some hoping for a quick solution for shedding pounds, would a cardiac doctor recommend it?

Sylvia McNair said while she is trying to lose some weight, she still enjoys her meat and potatoes. So, when she heard about the so-called "Cardiac Unit of Birmingham Hospital Diet," she said bring it on.

"Ten pounds in three days?" she said. "I want to try it."

The three-day diet starts with drinking black coffee or tea, a half a grapefruit, one slice of toast and a tablespoon of peanut butter. For lunch, the dieter eats a half a cup of tuna, one slice of toast and coffee or tea. For dinner, it's two slices of any meat, one cup of green beans, one cup of carrots and one small apple.

On days two and three, the menu changes up a bit, including hot dogs and vanilla ice cream for dinner. So, is the diet too good to be true?

"I would not recommend this," said Dr. David W. Markham, a cardiologist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "What we typically recommend is low fat, low cholesterol diet."

Dr. Markham said the three-day diet could be far too little fuel for a dieter.

"It's very difficult to imagine long term, good weight loss with good health on this particular diet," he said.

However, he said some studies show eating a diet high in protein, like the Atkins diet, works. But, he said diets such as Atkins are harder to maintain over a long period.

In fact, there is no Birmingham Hospital. While the diet is called the "Cardiac Unit of Birmingham Hospital Diet," the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital said there is no validity to the diet.

For those seeking healthy ways to drop pounds, Dr. Markham recommended the American Heart Association website for diets and tips to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Meanwhile, McNair said she still may give the three-day diet a go.

"It sounds too good to be true, but I want to try it anyway," she said.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cycle to keep fit

Cycling is said to exercise the heart better than walking. Cycling is also a low-cost activity and can be done while going to work, performing errands, or just enjoying the outdoors.
While cycling does involve some risk of injury (as do motoring), getting on your bike gets you where you want to go faster than walking and protects against a wide range of ill health.
Cycling is an effective and enjoyable form of aerobic exercise.
It reduces the risk of serious conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the most common form of diabetes.
Some research claims that cyclists covering short distances can reduce their risk of death (mainly due to the reduction of heart disease) by as much as 22 per cent.
Cycling can be part of a programme to lose weight, because it burns the energy supplied by a chocolate bar or a couple of alcoholic drinks in an hour (about 300 calories).
positive effects
A 15-minute bike ride to and from work, five times a week, burns off about 11 pounds of fat in a year.
Cycling can have positive effects on how we feel, too. Moderate exercise, the research shows, has been found to reduce levels of depression and stress, improve mood and raise self-esteem, and has also been found to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
In Jamaica, Sunventures Limited provides several adventure-oriented cycle tours, including the High Blue 402 tour, which originates at Hollywell Park (Hardwar Gap) and ends with dinner at the Crystal Edge Restaurant in Irish Town, a fun option.
The 402 is a Sunday afternoon ride which offers splendid views of the montane mist forest of the Blue Mountains at sunset.
The High Blue 401 targets visitors staying in the mountains or in the capital, Kingston, and adjoining parishes. It routes from Hollywell Park, eastwards, and ends at Silver Hill Gap's Starlight Chalet for lunch.
The High Blue 401 offers a scenic ride through the morning mist, with splendid panoramic views of the verdure of the northern slopes of the Blue Mountain, as well as a first-hand encounter with the tradition of making world-famous Blue Mountain coffee.
Trained guides are available to assist.