Extra Calories, Low Protein Are Culprits in Weight Gain


There is new research that suggests that the culprit with the weight gain that is unhealthy is not overeating protein but is, instead, taking in excessive calories.

In a study that it is not recommended to try yourself, 25 participants who were healthy were given diets that contained different protein levels – and almost 1,000 surplus calories ñ over a period of eight weeks. This study was done in a hospital setting where each of the participants had been on a diet to stabilize their weight for periods of from 13 to 25 days.

Those who were given low-protein diets were shown to gain less weight than the other groups. However, the quality of the weight that was gained was lower because it resulted from increasing body fat. On the other hand, the diets with high amounts of protein resulted in better lean body mass and this caused the study subjects to burn more calories.

Leanne Redman who is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as an assistant professor of endocrinology at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center noted that although you might have a weight gain when you eat a diet high in fat and low in protein, you may find that you gain weight more slowly but you are amassing more fat while losing more muscle.

These findings appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Associationís January 4th issue.

The researchers particularly studied the ways the protein level in the body might affect weight gain, energy expenditure and body composition. This was accomplished under conditions that were controlled tightly and highly sophisticated methods of measurement were used. All of the participants were young with their ages ranging between 18 and 25 years.

The diets given to the participants varied in the number of calories from protein that they received. There was a low-protein one with 5% calories from protein, a normal-protein one with 15% calories from protein and a high-protein one that had 25% calories from protein. All of these diets had the same amount of fat and carbohydrates. In addition, the participants were given 954 calories more than they needed every day.

During this period of overeating, they all gained weight. But those with the low-protein diet lost approximately 2.2 pounds of muscle mass while the ones with the normal- or high-protein diets were able to gain muscle mass instead. They were able to gain weight because muscle is heavier than fat. The extra calories were converted to fat for those who were eating a low-protein diet.

The composition of the weight – fat or lean muscle – seems to have been of more importance than the actual weight or the body mass index, according to Dr. David Heber who is at the University of California, Los Angeles as the director of the Center for Human Nutrition. He also co-authored a summary that accompanied the study. He noted that calories do count and he advocates a diet that is low in fat and high in protein. He says that it should emphasize fruits that are colorful and vegetables. He also notes that the protein should be ocean fish, egg whites, turkey, white meat chicken and some protein powders. Eating this type of protein may help you feel fuller and your appetite will be reduced.

The director of university nutrition in St. Louis at Washington University has also stated that this is a study which supports the message that calories do count when it comes to the percentage of body fat. I think the conclusions of this study will be very helpful to letting people know that they need to be aware of the number of calories they take in rather than putting the focus on where those calories are coming from.

Do Your Favorite Fatty Comfort Foods Have Mood Altering Abilities?

Cutting a vegetables for a salad with an olive oil

There has been a good bit of research that suggests that the fatty foods that we love actually do a whole lot more than just satisfy our cravings. These comfort foods may also have the ability to soothe the psyche, pretty much providing the real comfort that our soul needs.

A doctor by the name of Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove stated that eating such fats seem to help cut the sad emotions that we can sometimes be faced with, even if we are unaware that we are even eating the fats. There are many different fatty foods that seem to cause both physical and emotional changes in a lot of test subjects.

Think about that time when you dove right into a pint of your favorite ice cream as you were dealing with a breakup. It is this same comforting feeling and emotional healing that people are looking for and often find with certain fatty foods. There are many questions as to whether or not this is something that is all in the mind or maybe connections to childhood memories and other comforts that the mind is used to. Could these actually be signals that make their way from the stomach or mouth to the brain?

Researchers have dedicated a lot of time looking into the ways in which tastes, smells and even the appearance of the food that we are presented with have an impact on our emotions. The newest studies are groundbreaking in the simple fact that they move past the normal sensory stimulation by taking the fatty acids and actually infusing them right into the stomach. This happens without the subjects knowing whether or not they are getting either saline or fats put into their stomachs.

For this particular study, the researchers enlisted the help of 12 subjects as volunteers who were non-obese. During the trial, they received either a saline solution or fatty acids through a feeding tube. With the help of a functional MRI, the researchers looked at the brain waves of each volunteer as they were then exposed to neutral and sad music as well as neutral and sad facial expressions.

Even though it may seem that the subjects would have already been a bit on the sad side because they were going through a medical research procedure, Dr. Ven Oudenhove noted that they were not particularly uncomfortable. The efforts that were put forth to induce the sadness, in the form of the images and the music, made it so that the mood of the volunteers went down by around 2.5 points out of a possible 10. However, the fatty acids were able to reduce this number by around one point.

While looking at the brain, the researchers also noted that the sadness that was induced brought on a change that was around 3-4%, which is notably quite a bit. However, the level of change actually went down to less than 1% after the subjects were given the dose of the fatty acids.

It is not completely clear if the other ingredients that are found in the food would have a similar effect. Dr. Van Oudenhove noted that there still needs to be more research conducted to find out whether or not the findings have the ability to show promise in obesity treatments or even depression or eating disorders. Overall, such studies are showing a lot of promise when it comes to helping people to curb some of their cravings for foods that are high in either fat and/or sugar or even looking at overeating whenever they are depressed or sad.

Could Carbs Be What Is Stopping You From Losing Weight?


In times past, it was shocking to hear the statistics of American obesity rates. But now, with well over 65% percent who are overweight and a significant number of those being obese, it is no longer shocking, but instead is troublesome. Many blame carbohydrates as the main problem flaming today’s weight problems.

Diets based on a low carb theme are not getting the long term results that many hoped for. The typical American eats around the recommended amount of carbs according to government studies. The problem comes from the kind of carbohydrates most Americans eat.

It is necessary for you to consume at least one hundred thirty grams of carbs or brain function is affected. Because that amount is the minimum needed before your health is affected, it is not recommended that you drop to that amount. Since we most commonly consume about 50% of our calories by carbs, it amounts to an average of 275 grams of carbs in a typical diet. This is well with-in a reasonable amount.

If you are not eating too many carbs, then what is the problem? The problems come from the type of carbohydrates you are choosing to consume. When you eat chips and fried potatoes or white bread and so on, it is very different than when you eat whole wheat or rye, or a baked potato with steamed carrots and broccoli.

The kind of carbs people are consuming are indeed a big part of the problem, but not the only one. Another of the big items we should not be consuming as much of is sugar. A healthy diet would not contain more than about 50 grams of sugar daily. A single can of soda contains more than half that amount and many drink more than one can a day. Then on top of that is the sugar that is added to our cereal, bread, sports drinks, salad dressing and other foods that we often do not think of as containing sugar.

After these considerations comes a number of calories we consume compared to the energy we use daily. Coupled this together with the low quality of calories to nutrition is a major part of the weight and other related problems. Just the calories to activity levels ratio are enough for anyone to become overweight. Often we are tired of hearing it, but it still remains a fact, that weight has much to do with the calories in compared to the energy expended.

A typical diet in America contains about 3800 calories a day. That is right at double what is recommended for a healthy adult. Most men should consume between 2000 to 2300 calories depending on their level of daily physical activity. A woman should consume about 1500 to 1800 again depending on her level of exercise or another form of activity. That means that most Americans are eating close to double what they should be to maintain a good weight.

Doctors are now recommending that we try to get at least half of our daily carbs in the form of healthy, unprocessed whole grains. These include bread such as whole wheat, rye, and barley to name a few. Other grains that are healthy are oatmeal, brown rice and corn. Foods made from these unprocessed grains such as cereals, popcorn and pasta are also good choices.

Eating these types of grains will help you stay full and keep you regulated. They will give you energy and nutrition. Our bodies do well by consuming a significant amount of our daily calories with whole grains.

Fruits and vegetables are also very important for getting what you need for nutrition and fiber. Fiber helps the body to slow down the infusion of sugar in the body. That is why the sugar we get from these foods are much better for us than from directly consuming processed sugars. Fiber not only helps keeps you regulated but helps the body to use the carbs you eat for energy instead of converting it to fat for storage. You should consume around 14 or 15 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat each day.

Fiber can be found in vegetables and their peels, in whole grains as well as nuts, beans, seeds, and roots.