Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gut Bacteria Diversity in Weight Control

A 2008 study done in St. Louis showed that trillions of bacteria live in our gut. These bacteria perform many functions for our bodies, including calorie extraction and nutrient management. Although bacteria are found in all our guts, each individual has a unique set of gut bacteria. One study indicated that the makeup of the gut bacteria plays an important role in weight control. And more recently, studies have shown that individuals with the least diverse set of gut bacteria are more susceptible to obesity.

In one of these recent studies, researchers looked at the stool of approximately 300 Danish subjects. Subjects in the group were a mixture of lean and obese individuals. The researchers found that the group members who had a low level of gut bacteria diversity had more insulin resistance, more inflammation, and signs of future metabolic diseases. The researchers also concluded that obese group members who had low levels of gut bacteria diversity were more likely to gain weight.

Another one of the recent studies done by researchers in France examined a group of 49 French subjects. All of the subjects were overweight or obese. And all of the subjects were put on a low calorie diet. For those subjects who started the low calorie diet with a low gut bacteria diversity, there was an improvement in metabolic parameters. But for those who started the low calorie diet with a high gut bacteria level, the improvement in metabolic parameters was less pronounced.
So a high level of gut bacteria diversity can improve metabolic parameters and help a person maintain a healthy weight. And diet apparently plays an important role in diversifying our gut bacteria. Therefore, gut bacteria are an area that deserves a lot more research. More research will enable analysts to pinpoint the diets that best diversify gut bacteria.

Organizations that offer meal replacements should be especially interested in this research. Understanding gut bacteria may enable these organizations to provide improved meal replacement products.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Controlling When You Eat May Lead to Weight Loss

The combination of diet, exercise, and lifestyle modification is probably the most preferred approach to weight loss and weight management. But employing this combination often fails to enable an overweight person to lose and maintain a healthy weight for the long-term. Still, some approaches and some research are adding to our knowledge of weight loss methods. And two methods indicate that controlling the days of the week or the time of the day that we eat most of our food can have an effect on our ability to lose weight.

One of these methods, presented in the book entitled "The FastDiet," instructs a person to restrict his or her diet to 500 (women) or 600 (men) calories a day for two days, and then eat normally for the remaining five days of the week. The diet is effective for many, and  appealing to men, who typically don't like dieting.

In scanning "The FastDiet" book reviews on, we found more five-star reviews for the book than any other star level. And as of August 8, 2013, there were 389 five-star reviews, 166 four-star reviews, 63 three-star reviews, 22 two-star reviews, and 30 one-star reviews. At least one of the reviewers lost 3 pounds in two weeks. Another lost 16 pounds in 16 weeks. And at least one reviewer lost 18 pounds during the first two months of the diet. So the FastDiet approach obviously works for some people.

On another front, a study done in Israel indicates that avoiding heavy meals in the evening may be a way to lose weight and maintain the weight loss. The study shows that "consuming the heaviest meal of the day at breakfast and the lightest at dinner can lead to significant weight loss."

The study consisted of 93 women. The women were divided into two groups: a breakfast or "BF" group and a dinner or "D" group. Everyone in the two groups was overweight or obese. All women in the study were placed on a 1400 calorie-per-day diet. The members of the BF group consumed most of their daily calories during the earlier part of the day, while the members of the D group consumed most of their calories during the latter half of the day.

The BF group lost an average of 19.1 pounds over the three month study period, while the D group lost 7.9 pounds. Further, the D group had the more favorable total cholesterol, HDL, glucose, insulin, and ghrelin measurements.

The above mentioned book and study show that in some cases, controlling when you eat may enable you to lose weight. More research is in order for these weight loss approaches. But weight loss providers might want to consider trying the approaches in limited cases, under appropriate conditions.

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