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Obesity

Processed Food Linked to Weight Gain

Over the past several decades, fast-food and processed/packaged foods made with cheap ingredients like white flour and salt have come to dominate the American diet. While an established link between eating too much junk food and obesity has been made, there is still a need for more research to suss out the reasons why.

Can Digital Multitasking Increase Overeating?

You may want to review your digital device usage. New research shows that people who mindlessly switch between a smartphone and a tablet or other digital devices are likely to have an increased susceptibility to food temptations and lack of self-control, potentially leading to weight gain. Researchers from three American universities conducted the inquiry to examine whether links exist between obesity and use of digital devices.

The Weight Debate: Obesity and Health Risks

Think of it as the point-counterpoint discussion on obesity: Is the healthcare profession overemphasizing the negative consequences of extra weight? What are the risks? Is the focus on obesity helping or hurting our clients?

Health at Any Size

Embracing Health at Every Size

People who have worked to lose weight may have found that achieving short-term weight loss is relatively easy. But weight loss success all too often ends in weight regain. Soon, dieters embark on a new diet, launching a round of weight cycling that wreaks havoc on the body and causes many problems routinely blamed on obesity.

Obesity and Cancer Risks in Young Adults

Recent findings reveal a trend toward increased risk for obesity-related cancers among young American adults. The study, published in The Lancet, found significant increases in six of 12 obesity-related cancers in young adults, with even greater rises in successively younger generations. Compared with people born 1945-1954, for example, those born 1980–1989 had double the risk . . . at the same age.

Diet Can Fight The Effect Of Fat Genes

Over the past few decades, researchers have shown that an individual’s
genetic makeup can play a big role in his or her propensity to gain weight and keep it on. For instance, one person may have a gene that makes him more efficient at converting food calories into body fat, while someone lacking this gene can apparently eat as much as she wants without packing on a single pound. Maddening for some, to be sure. But now it seems that dietary choices may have the power to override certain genes associated with body weight.

Crunch Your Way to a Six-Pack

Calorie counts notwithstanding, research keeps showing that nuts can help in the battle of the bulge. One example was a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago. In that experiment, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating a daily 1-ounce serving of any type of nut—including peanuts and nut butters—in place of calories from low-nutrition foods was associated with a lower risk of long-term weight gain and obesity in more than 125,000 adult men and women.

Weight Gain Is Bad News for Our Gustatory Mojo

Studies have shown that people with obesity have a blunted sense of taste, so they have to eat more richly flavored foods (more sugary and higher in fat) to glean as much sensory satisfaction from a meal as their leaner peers. This could help in understanding why heavier people have a hard time losing weight.

Obesity Boosts Melanoma Risk

Add this to the list of dangers associated with obesity: New research from Sweden suggests obesity is a risk factor for developing skin cancer, and weight loss—in this case via bariatric surgery—could reduce the risk of malignant melanoma skin cancer, in particular, by 61%.
The study included 2,007 bariatric surgery patients and 2,040 nonsurgery controls whose skin cancer incidence was monitored for 18 years. Aside from the significantly lower risk of developing malignant melanoma, the surgery group saw a 42% reduction in skin cancer risk in general.

Question of the Month

It will soon be easier for consumers to make better food and beverage decisions when eating out or on the go. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved forward with a food labeling law that requires restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts for standard menu items. Proponents say calorie disclosures on everything from muffins to lattes to Happy Meals will offer more transparency and will likely encourage diners to downsize their consumption.

Plant Foods Are Good for Our Gut Bugs

Our bodies host a huge population of microorganisms, dubbed the human microbiome. In recent years, the makeup of critters in our guts has been linked to a plethora of conditions, including depression, heart disease and obesity. And now bug-friendly scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have presented initial findings from the American Gut Project, a crowdsourced initiative that analyzes people’s survey responses and fecal samples to better understand how things like diet, lifestyle and disease affect the human microbiome.

Time to Snub the Clubs?

The prospect of getting extra bang for their food buck has more people perusing
warehouse-style club stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. But the urge to stockpile large amounts of food in the house may lead to calorie overload.

Exercise and the Gut Microbiome

New research suggests that endurance exercise positively affects the gut microbiome, but only for lean individuals and only for as long as exercise continues. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted the study with 32 sedentary men and women—some lean, some obese. The purpose was to explore the impact of endurance exercise on the composition, functional capacity and metabolic output of gut microbiota. Investigators collected samples from the subjects before and after 6 weeks of exercise, then after 6 weeks of no exercise.

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