Monthly Archives: December 2015
Weight loss may cure diabetes

Millions of people suffering from type 2 diabetes could be cured of the disease if they just lost weight, a new study suggests.

Scientists at Newcastle University have shown the disease is caused by fat accumulating in the pancreas and losing less than 1g from the organ can reverse the life-limiting illness and restore insulin production.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. In New Zealand some 257,000 people have diabetes, according to the Ministry of Health. As many as 100,000 have the disease but do not know it. It can lead to blindness, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation.

Eighteen obese people with type 2 diabetes who were given gastric band surgery and put on a restricted diet for eight weeks were cured of their condition. The team is now planning a two-year study involving 200 people with Glasgow University to check the findings.”For people with type 2 diabetes, losing weight allows them to drain excess fat out of the pancreas and allows function to return to normal,” said Professor Roy Taylor, of Newcastle University who also works within the Newcastle Hospitals.

“What is interesting is that regardless of your present body weight and how you lose weight, the critical factor in reversing your type 2 diabetes is losing that 1g of fat from the pancreas.”

Diabetes is New Zealand’s fastest growing health issue, and costs millions of dollars to treat each year. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children, and is the only type linked with obesity.

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Could Probiotics Be a New Strategy For Weight Loss?

The research is still nascent, but a new study adds to a growing awareness that our bacterial communities may influence our weight

A probiotic blended into a milkshake may help protect against weight gain, according to a small recent study published in the journal Obesity.

But first, some important caveats: the study tested a commercial product called VSL#3, and was funded by VSL Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The sample size was small. Still, the findings add to growing evidence that probiotics and the gut microbiome may play a role in weight loss.

Past research has linked obesity and diabetes to imbalances in the microbiome, which is made up of trillions of bacteria living in the gut. What we eat can shift our bacterial communities for better or for worse, and probiotics (0ften called “good bacteria”) are being investigated for their potential to support beneficial colonies.

In the new study, Virginia Tech researchers studied 20 healthy men who went on a high-fat and high calorie diet for four weeks. Some men also drank a milkshake that contained VSL#3, a probiotic with multiple strains of bacteria including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum, while others consumed a placebo milkshake. The researchers found that the men who consumed the probiotic mix had lower body mass gain and fat accumulation than those who didn’t.

The researchers suggest that the probiotic supplement might work for a number of reasons, and though they cannot determine a mechanism from their findings, they have some ideas. Overeating can quickly change microbiome communities, which makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients, they say. It’s possible that the VSL#3 helped alter the gut bacteria in way that influenced this system and led to less body fat accumulation. In addition, the researchers say that the probiotic may have reduced lipid absorption or impacted energy expenditure.

The study is not the first to suggest a connection between probiotics and slimming down. Two strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifodobacterium, have been highlighted as specifically beneficial to internal health. A small 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that overweight women consuming daily probiotics lost more weight that women taking placebo pills, though men did not experience the same benefit. (The study was sponsored by the Nestlé Research Center.)

Other studies that are not industry-funded have also found benefits from probiotics, like better blood pressure control and improved mood. The science isn’t yet definitive, and researchers are still uncertain about the best ways to consume probiotics or how to ensure they make it all the way to your gut, but plenty of research into the microbiome is ongoing.

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Survey finds 90 percent overlook key to weight loss

Orlando, Florida – Tens of millions of Americans vow each year to lose weight in the New Year, and while their intentions are good, most of the time their results are not. It’s estimated that only 8 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

Even if weight is lost initially, it usually returns. Studies show nearly 2 out of 3 people who lose 5 percent of their total weight will gain it back, and the more weight you lose, the less your chances of keeping it off.

“That’s not surprising,” said Diane Robinson, PhD, a neuropsychologist and Program Director of Integrative Medicine at Orlando Health. “Most people focus almost entirely on the physical aspects of weight loss, like diet and exercise. But there is an emotional component to food that the vast majority of people simply overlook and it can quickly sabotage their efforts.”

A recent national survey of more than a thousand people commissioned by Orlando Health found that 31 percent of Americans think a lack of exercise is the biggest barrier to weight loss, followed by those who say it’s what you eat (26%) and the cost of a healthy lifestyle (17%). Another 12 percent said the biggest barrier to weight loss was the necessary time commitment.

Only 1 in 10, however, thought psychological well-being was a factor. “That may explain why so many of us struggle,” said Robinson. “In order to lose weight and keep it off long term, we need to do more than just think about what we eat, we also need to understand why we’re eating.”

From a very young age we’re emotionally attached to food. As children we’re often given treats, both to console us when we’re upset, and to reward us for good behavior. Most celebrations, like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day are food-focused, and birthdays are spent sharing cake. Even the mere smell of certain foods, like cookies in grandma’s oven, can create powerful emotional connections that last a lifetime.

“If we’re aware of it or not, we are conditioned to use food not only for nourishment, but for comfort,” said Robinson. “That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, as long as we acknowledge it and deal with it appropriately. “?When ever the brain experiences pleasure for any reason it reacts the same way.

Whether it’s derived from drugs, a romantic encounter or a satisfying meal, the brain releases a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. “We feel good whenever that process is activated,” said Robinson, “but when we start to put food into that equation and it becomes our reward, it can have negative consequences.”

In fact, researchers have found a link between emotional issues like stress, anxiety and depression, and higher body mass indexes (BMI). Many of us can relate to the idea of overindulging at happy hour after a bad day at the office, for example, or eating a pint of ice cream to help us deal with bad news.

That was common coping mechanism for Shekyra DeCree, of Columbus, Ohio. “As a mental health therapist, my job can be very stressful, and everyday when I got home from work, the first thing I would do is go to the refrigerator,” she said. “That was my way to calm down and relax.”

After recognizing the emotional attachment she had with food, DeCree started making conscious changes. In just over one year, she’s lost more than 100 pounds.

“I’d gone on countless diets and tried to exercise before, but this was different,” she said. “You have to change the way you deal with your emotions, your stress and anxiety. Once I understood the mental aspect, I felt free.”

Robinson offers these tips to help recognize the emotional connection you may have to food:

      -Keep a daily diary logging your food and your mood, and look for unhealthy patterns.

-Identify foods that make you feel good and write down why you eat them. Do they evoke a memory or are you craving those foods out of stress?

-Before you have any snack or meal ask yourself: Am I eating this because I’m hungry? If the answer is no, look for the root of your motive.

The goal is to take emotion out of eating and see food as nourishment, not as a reward or coping mechanism. If you struggle, don’t be shy about finding help. “When we’re focused on the physical aspects of weight loss, many of us have no problem joining a gym or hiring a trainer,” said Robinson. “How about joining a support group or hiring a psychologist?” she said. “If getting your body in shape hasn’t work out yet, maybe this time start with your mind

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Safe, permanent weight loss

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