Research Roundup – Jan. 30 2013

Research Roundup!

Research Roundup!

Study #1: Too Little Sleep Spurs Appetite-Boosting Hormones

Process worked differently in men, women.

Sources: MedLine Plus

Jason’s Thoughts:

Lack of sleep impacts many aspects of healthy living, including appetite.  Sleep is when your body repairs itself, converts thoughts to long term memory and more.  If you’re getting less than 6 hours of sleep, you could make a healthy habit change by focusing on getting even 30 or 60 extra minutes of sleep a night.  Set a timer to stop working at a specified hour, create a routine, try to keep as much light out as possible (including your cellphone screen) and don’t do anything in bed except sleep (well, and that too) so your body doesn’t associate your bed with any other activity that could keep you awake.  If you have racing thoughts when trying to go to bed, write down all of your worries or concerns on a piece of paper until you can’t think of anything else to write.  Then try going back to bed.  Or you could do warm milk if you’re not lactose intolerant.

Study #2: Yo-Yo Dieting Can Hurt the Heart:

Older women who lose weight and then regain it may raise their risk of cardiovascular trouble.

Sources: Healthday and Journals of Gerontology

Jason’s Thoughts:

There’s always been debate on whether yo-yo dieting can have negative effects beyond the weight regain.  This study suggests yes, at least for older women.  I think it really ultimately comes down to the related changes in body composition.  If your weight loss comes from ½ muscle and ½ fat and your weight regain is primarily fat, then you have less lean body mass, a slower metabolism and likely more inflammatory issues going on in the body.

Samantha Heller, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator , says it best in the article, “This small study is a great example of why we need to avoid fad diets and diet programs, potions and pills that promise quick weight loss … while it can be frustrating to take the slower, healthier route to weight loss, the long-term results are ultimately more satisfying and healthier.”

Living healthier is a skill that must be learned, or relearned.  It’s not about the speed of weight loss, it’s about permanency.  I want every pound lost to be one that never comes back.

Research Roundup – Jan. 7 2013

Research Roundup!

Research Roundup!

I’m excited to start the new, Research Roundup series on the blog.  For those that don’t know, I love learning and figuring out how research can be applied to everyday life. Every post will include links to a couple recent research articles and my thoughts on them.  Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts too – did I mention I love learning?

Study #1 (via AND Knowledge Center Daily News):

Your Smartphone Might Help You Lose Weight: “Personalized feedback and coaching along with education let patients shed pounds, study found.”

Sources: Healthday & Archives of Internal Medicine

Jason’s Thoughts:

In my opinion, the two most insightful quotes of the article:

Bonnie Spring, study author: “This reminds us that few, if any, commercially available weight-loss apps have been tested in rigorous clinical trials, and that technology may work best when it’s integrated into a care system that also provides accountability and support.”

Dr. David Katz, director of Prevention Research Center at Yale: “Not much weight loss happens at a clinical visit, of course, weight loss happens in between visits … It makes sense to extend coaching and guidance between visits.”

Making healthy changes to your eating and physical activity habits can be hard; accountability and support are key, whether it comes from within yourself or from other, caring individuals.  While it’s not the most time efficient for practitioners, small frequent “touches” such as check-ins, motivations, etc. is the best way to stay in touch with a client between sessions.  It can also become its own unique service model – frequent, small touches for a monthly fee rather than one big follow up.  Thoughts?

Study #2 (via AND Knowledge Center Daily News):

All in the mind? Meal memories may influence later feelings of satiety: “People who believe they have eaten a large meal feel less hungry for hours after the meal, irrespective of the actual amount they consume, say researchers.”

Sources: Food Navigator and PLoS One

Jason’s Thoughts:

Interesting, though you’re probably not going to have someone pulling soup from your bowl or chicken from your plate as you eat it.  You know how much you’re cooking for yourself and research shows the larger the portion we take, the more we eat of it.  So how to implement this finding?  Maybe stare at a big box of cookies and imagine eating all of them (and feeling full from it).  Then only eat one or two slowly (take them out of the container and put the rest away before eating).  Happy to hear other suggestions.

Regardless, this does give credence to a neural aspect of satiation, which would operate independently of the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.  Same idea applies to the research by Brian Wansink that shows eating meals on smaller plates makes you feel more satisfied form the same amount of food.

The last piece of the article regarding the use of artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes in foods and how they may impair our sense of satiety.  Some research exists in this area, especially with sugar substitutes and links to overeating.  In other words, highly processed foods aren’t so great for us…who knew? (note the sarcasm)

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