Obesity and Sleep Apnea

27 Apr
More than one-third of Americans are now obese according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is a risk factor for many medical conditions, and is considered a major risk factor for the development of sleep apnea. Simply ... Read more »

Why to Avoid Bananas While Losing Weight

4 Apr

Bananas may come to mind when we think of healthy food choices, but this fruit may not be the best option when trying to lose weight.  Here’s why you should avoid eating bananas while following a weight loss plan. 


Caloric balance is key when it comes to losing and gaining weight. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.  One cup of sliced banana contains 134 calories. Compared to other fruits such as strawberries, which only have 49 calories per cup, or watermelon, which has 46 calories per cup, bananas rank pretty high in terms of calories.


Most of the calories in bananas come from carbohydrate, with 34 grams per cup.  Because of this higher carbohydrate content compared to other fruits, bananas do not fit well in a weight loss plan.


If you are looking for the potassium benefit found in bananas, there are other options that are a part of a healthy low-carbohyrdrate diet!

Some other fruits high in potassium are:

1/2 cup Cantaloupe:  215 mg

1/2 cup Strawberries:  220 mg

1 small Orange:  237 mg

Original Article Here:  http://livehealthy.chron.com/people-say-bananas-arent-good-eat-diet-2657.html

The Impact of Obesity on Fertility

6 Mar

Couples where both individuals are obese may take 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy (compared to non-obese couples), according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The 501 couples involved were a part of the ‘Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study’, which looked at the relationship between fertility and environmental chemicals.  The couples were from Michigan and Texas, and the women in the study kept record of their menstrual cycles, intercourse, and home pregnancy test results.  The couples were monitored until pregnancy or for up to one year of attempting to conceive.

The participant’s BMI was calculated and they were classified into two groups of obesity – group one had a BMI of 30 to 34.9 – group two had a BMI of 35 or greater.  The researchers then calculated the probability that a couple would achieve pregnancy by using a statistical measure called the fecundability odds ratio (FOR).

The researchers compared the average time to achieve a pregnancy among couples in the non- obese group to that of the couples in the BMI of 35 or greater group.

The study found that the BMI 35+ group took longer to achieve pregnancy than non-obese couples. Couples in the non-obese group had a FOR of 1.  BMI 35+ couples had a FOR of .45, indicating that they took 55 percent longer to achieve pregnancy than the non-obese group. When the researchers took into account other factors known to influence fertility, the ratio for BMI 35+ couples lowered to .41 (59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy.)

The study concluded that couples’ obesity may reduce the chances of fertility and that this should be taken into consideration when counseling couples about pregnancy.  Losing weight may help reduce the time needed to conceive.

Full Article Here: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/020217-couple-obesity.aspx

Fasting Diet May ‘Regenerate Diabetic Pancreas’

24 Feb

Recent US research, published in the journal Cell, indicates that pancreas (the organ that controls blood sugar levels) damaged from diabetes may be able to regenerate via a fasting diet.  The regeneration of the organ contributed to a reversal of diabetic symptoms in animal experiments.

During the research, mice were given a modified form of the “fasting-mimicking diet”.  The human equivalent of the diet would be five days on a low calorie (around 800 to 1,100), low protein, low carbohydrate meal plan, but with high unsaturated-fat.  The five days are followed by 25 days eating what they want.

During these animal experiments, the diet regenerated the beta cell (detects sugar in the blood and releases insulin when levels are too high) in the pancreas.

Dr Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California, said: “Our conclusion is that by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back – by starving them and then feeding them again – the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning.”

Researchers have indicated that these findings are “potentially very exciting”, as they are the beginning stages of finding a new treatment for the condition.  People are advised not to try this diet without medical advice.

Full Article Here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39070183

Gender Impacts Consequences of Consuming High Fat Diet

16 Feb

According to a recent study, consuming a high fat diet may have greater negative health consequences for men than women.

The study, conducted by Dr. Zoe Williams and Dr. Matt Cocks, looked at how males and females each responded when they consumed large amounts of high fat foods for a week.  Dr. Williams and Dr. Cocks underwent this high fat diet personally, and studied how the diet affected ability to control blood sugar levels.

Before the two researchers began, their body fat was measured and their blood sugar levels recorded.  They were given glucose monitors to keep track of their blood sugar throughout the week.  In order to have an impact in just one week, the diet contained about 50% more calories than would typically be eaten.

Twice during the week, they each drank a sugary drink to introduce sugar into their blood stream.  The glucose monitors showed whether the diet was affecting their ability to clear this sugar from their blood.

Zoe’s ability to control blood sugar levels didn’t get any worse on the diet.  Matt, however, got 50% worse at clearing glucose from his blood.

Overall, this study shows the importance (especially for men) of maintaining a healthy weight and consuming a low fat diet to keep blood sugar levels normal, leading to prevention of diabetes and other serious medical conditions.

Full Article Here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38963874

Water Intake Crucial for Weight Loss

10 Nov


Improving overall hydration is a common tool used in weight loss. How important is your water intake?

A 2016 study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, found a significant link between inadequate hydration and obesity.

The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between hydration and and weight status amont U.S. adults, and examined a sample from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2012 to compare hydration levels with BMI.  Urine osmolality was used to assess hydration levels, allowing for a more accurate analysis, as this is a more effective measure of hydration levels than water intake alone because it factors in water and solutes cosumed from other beverages and foods.  From the sample, about 32% of individuals were conisdered inadequately hydrated, and were found to have higher BMIs and greater odds of being obese compared to the hydrated adults.

Overall, this study determined a significant association between proper water intake and weight management.  These results emphasize the importance of consuming adequate amounts of water while following a weight loss program.

Original Article Here: http://www.annfammed.org/content/14/4/320.full.pdf+html

Hot Peppers and Health

8 Nov

Capsaicin, the ingredient responsible for the spicy flavor of hot peppers, may offer several positive health benefits. Peppers that contain capsaicin include chili, jalapeno, habanero, cayenne, serrano, cherry peppers and bell peppers. Overall, eating peppers of the capsaicin variety provides benefits in digestive and cardiovascular health and cancer prevention.


Studies have shown that hot peppers have the potential to provide the following health benefits:

1. Reduce risk of cancer.
2. Lower cholesterol.
3. Increase circulation.
4. Support weight loss.
5. Aid digestive processes.
6. Relieve congestion.


Try this ‘Hot Pepper’ Recipe!

Pineapple-Jalapeno Salsa

1 Vegetable
1.5 Fruits

1 1/2 servings Fresh Pineapple
1/2 serving Jalapeno Pepper
1/2 serving Red Onion
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Garlic, minced
1/2 serving Stevia
1/2 tsp. Fresh Lime Juice
Pepper to taste

Dice/cube pineapple, seed and chop pepppers, chop onion. Combine pineapple, peppers, onion, cilantro, and garlic in a bowl. Add Stevia, lime juice and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24246368 and http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/8/931/htm

Study Finds Obesity Gene Not A Barrier to Weight Loss

22 Sep

Genetics play a role in the cause of obesity, but do they affect obesity treatment?

A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that people with the FTO “obesity gene” (a gene linked to weight gain) are just as likely to benefit from weight loss programs as those without the gene.

The study analyzed eight previously conducted trials involving over 9,500 overweight and obese adults, to determine if carrying the obesity-linked FTO gene had an effect on an individual’s ability to lose weight.

In all of the studies, individuals were tested to determine if they carried the gene, and whether they had one copy or two of the genetic variant.  The participants were involved in various diet, exercise, and weight loss interventions and the carrying of the gene appeared to have no effect on weight loss (including BMI, waist circumference and body weight).

This study suggests that diet, exercise and behavioral weight loss interventions are beneficial, even if an individual has a greater risk for weight gain due to genetics.

Full Journal Article Here: http://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4707

Sugary Beverages and Childhood Obesity

21 Sep

Beverages that contain a high sugar content are a contributing cause to the epidemic of childhood and teen obesity.

Sugar-rich drinks such as soda, sports and energy drinks, and flavored teas have become highly popular over the last decade, and particularly so among the young population.  The amount of these types of beverages that are being consumed, as well as the size of those beverages, has increased greatly.  Along with this increase, comes a larger risk for obesity, dental problems and diseases like type 2 diabetes.

One 12-ounce can of regular soda has around 150 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and almost 40 grams of sugar!  These extra calories contribute to weight gain – and extra weight is the largest cause of childhood type 2 diabetes.

When suffering from type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal or the body’s cells ignore the insulin that is produced.  Insulin is needed for the body to use glucose for energy.  One study has indicated that individuals that consume high amounts of sugary beverages have a 26% greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing sugary beverage consumption can help improve glucose and insulin levels in children, in an effort to prevent childhood diabetes and weight gain.

Be cautious of fruit juice as well.  While fruit juice is often perceived as a healthy beverage, some juices can be just as unhealthy as soda.  The amount of sugar that a fruit juice contains may be as much, or more, than soft drinks and the benefits that come from vitamins in juice are outweighed by the amount of sugar.


1. Pay attention to nutrition labels when grocery shopping.  Juices marketed as “100% Pure” or “Organic” may not necessarily be accurate.  Read the nutrition label!

2. Don’t be fooled by the word “fruit”.  “Fruit” is thought of as healthy food, and gives the mindset that items that use the word “fruit”, are healthy.  Watch out for “fruit” products that are filled with added sugar and calories.

To avoid the negative effects that sugary drinks have on health, encourage children to consume sugar in moderation and to consume adequate amounts of water.  Promote healthy beverage choices at home and replace sugary beverages with water, milk or real fruit and vegetable juices.

Sources: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/11/2477

and http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/children-and-type-2/preventing-type-2-in-children.html

Study Finds Fitness Trackers May Not Help With Weight Loss

21 Sep

While fitness trackers are a popular health tool, do they really help you lose weight?  A recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that wearing fitness trackers may not result in greater weight loss.

The study was conducted through the University of Pittsburgh, and involved a group of 470 participants, that were placed on a lower calorie diet and asked to exercise more frequently. They also participated in group counseling sessions.  The participants were aged 18-35 years old and had a body mass index of 25.0 to 40.0 (“overweight” and “obese”).

Six months into the study, a random group of the participants were given a wearable device to monitor their physical activity.  The device was worn on the upper arm and provided information to the participant about physical activity and energy expenditure.  Two years into the study, the participants were assessed to determine if the addition of a fitness tracking device in a diet and exercise intervention improved weight loss.

It was found that the two groups of young adults were equally active and had significant improvements in diet and exercise, but the group that wore the fitness tracker lost less weight than the group that used standard behavioral weight loss methods.  The group that did not use the fitness trackers lost an average of 13 pounds, while the group that used the trackers lost an average of 7.7 pounds.

This study indicates that wearing a device, such as a fitness tracker, may not offer an advantage if your goal is to lose weight.

Full Journal Article Here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2553448