Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Self-Directed Interventions May Be Useful

Treatments for obesity include exercise, diet, weight loss drugs and lifestyle modification. Lifestyle modification is a key element of most treatment programs, because a person must change the way he or she lives so that good diet, exercise and other healthy habits can become an integral part of the person's daily life. Lifestyle modification is commonly enhanced by counseling. Counseling can be instrumental in enabling obesity and weight loss treatment methods to work. The counseling is usually face-to-face, performed by a professional. But if self-directed interventions can be effective, the need for the professional intervention would be lessened, decreasing the cost of weight loss programs.
A new study has shown that self-directed interventions can be an effective tool in obesity treatment. These tools include email counseling, the use of smartphones, interactive websites and text messaging.  The PubMed reported study is entitled, " Self-Directed Interventions to Promote weight Loss: A Systematic review of reviews."
The study's researchers conclude that ‘self-directed interventions can independently promote weight loss and can augment interventions involving personal contact. Particular change techniques and delivery modes including individualized feedback, email counseling, and online social support appear to enhance effectiveness.’
Still, in a another study, done at the University of Kansas, researchers concluded that self-directed interventions were less important than other tools in the programs the investigators looked at. The University of Kansas researchers suggested that the success of the weight loss programs was "more likely due to the combination of elements—a low-calorie diet, packaged meals, physical activity, individual support, and record-keeping."
At any rate, since self-directed interventions can cause a decrease in the face-to-face time a professional service provider must spend with the patient, these types of intervention can reduce the costs associated with weight loss and weight maintenance programs. Moreover, self-directed interventions can be effective in some cases. So weight loss service providers should consider self-directed methods and determine if the methods might be an effective addition to their treatment services. 
 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Diet Can Cause Leptin Resistance

Leptin is a protein that is produced and secreted by fat cells in our body. Leptin is known to be important in energy regulation. Moreover, leptin plays a role in appetite suppression. But injecting leptin into the body does not appear to suppress appetite. Further, most people's bodies actually make an adequate amount of leptin -- even an obese person's body -- to regulate energy, but a person's body may not appropriately manage the leptin. The person's body may be experiencing something called leptin resistance.  And a recent rat study concludes that diet can cause the resistance.
Leptin was first discovered in 1994. And it was thought that leptin could be used to treat obesity. It was believed that people were obese because of a leptin deficit in the body. But research has shown that this is not the case. Some people's bodies just don't use the leptin properly, causing leptin resistance, a condition similar to insulin resistance.
In fact, the study mentioned above shows that normal weight rats can suffer from leptin resistance.  The investigators concluded that there was "leptin resistance in normal-weight rats with lean leptin levels." The researchers saw this resistance after feeding the rats" a high-concentration-fructose diet." Diet apparently caused the resistance. And if diet can cause leptin resistance in normal weight rats, diet-related leptin resistance may be possible in humans. 
We should note that animal study results often don't translate to humans. Indeed one study showed that about one third of animal studies translate to human clinical trials. Still, rat studies like the diet-related leptin resistance study are worth monitoring, since the studies' results could lead to useful human treatments.
According to scientists in Boston, Massachusetts, leptin that remains in the body too long can create immune system problems, including a higher risk of cancer.  This can happen because leptin resistance can impair the workings of cells that attack certain types of cancers.
So an understanding of how diet is associated with leptin resistance in normal weight persons as well as obese persons would be a great leap forward. Weight loss  service providers and other medical practitioners should keep abreast of research in this area so that they can offer the best leptin resistance treatment possible, if the diet-related leptin research proves positive.

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