Category Archives: Weight Loss

High Protein Diet May Prevent Regain of Lost Weight

Filet mignon and sautéed asparagus

Weight loss can change your metabolism in such a way that promotes regain of lost weight. For successful weight-losers with prediabetes, a higher protein diet could help with prevention of regain. How much higher protein? 25% versus the usual 15% of calories from fat.

This is important research since most people who lose fat weight gain it back, typically within the subsequent 6–12 months.

For the boring details, keep reading.

ABSTRACT

Background

Weight loss has been associated with adaptations in energy expenditure. Identifying factors that counteract these adaptations are important for long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate whether increased protein/carbohydrate ratio would reduce adaptive thermogenesis (AT) and the expected positive energy balance (EB) during weight maintenance after weight loss in participants with prediabetes in the postobese state.

Methods

In 38 participants, the effects of 2 diets differing in protein/carbohydrate ratio on energy expenditure and respiratory quotient (RQ) were assessed during 48-h respiration chamber measurements ∼34 mo after weight loss. Participants consumed a high-protein (HP) diet (n = 20; 13 women/7 men; age: 64.0 ± 6.2 y; BMI: 28.9 ± 4.0 kg/m 2) with 25:45:30% or a moderate-protein (MP) diet (n = 18; 9 women/9 men; age: 65.1 ± 5.8 y; BMI: 29.0 ± 3.8 kg/m 2) with 15:55:30% of energy from protein:carbohydrate:fat. Predicted resting energy expenditure (REEp) was calculated based on fat-free mass and fat mass. AT was assessed by subtracting measured resting energy expenditure (REE) from REEp. The main outcomes included differences in components of energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, and AT between groups.

Results

EB (MP = 0.2 ± 0.9 MJ/d; HP = −0.5 ± 0.9 MJ/d) and RQ (MP = 0.84 ± 0.02; HP = 0.82 ± 0.02) were reduced and REE (MP: 7.3 ± 0.2 MJ/d compared with HP: 7.8 ± 0.2 MJ/d) was increased in the HP group compared with the MP group (P < 0.05). REE was not different from REEp in the HP group, whereas REE was lower than REEp in the MP group (P < 0.05). Furthermore, EB was positively related to AT (rs = 0.74; P < 0.001) and RQ (rs = 0.47; P < 0.01) in the whole group of participants.

Conclusions

In conclusion, an HP diet compared with an MP diet led to a negative EB and counteracted AT ∼34 mo after weight loss, in participants with prediabetes in the postobese state. These results indicate the relevance of compliance to an increased protein/carbohydrate ratio for long-term weight maintenance after weight loss. The trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01777893.

Source: High Compared with Moderate Protein Intake Reduces Adaptive Thermogenesis and Induces a Negative Energy Balance during Long-term Weight-Loss Maintenance in Participants with Prediabetes in the Postobese State: A PREVIEW Study | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I didn’t read the whole study. I leave that to you.

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Real-World Comparison of Paleo, Mediterranean, and Intermittent Fasting Diets for Weight Loss

New Zealand researchers didn’t find much difference in outcomes between the three diets: intermittent fasting, Mediterranean, or paleo.

I don’t have the full article so know few details about the diets. For instance, there are many different intermitting fasting diets: which one did they use?

250 overweight adults chose which diet they wanted to follow for 12 months. Participants got a 30-minute educational session on their chosen diet and then were set loose. They may also have chosen “standard exercise” or high-intensity interval training.

From the report abstract:

RESULTS:

Although 54.4% chose IF [intermittent fasting], 27.2% Mediterranean, and 18.4% Paleo diets originally, only 54% (IF), 57% (Mediterranean), and 35% (Paleo) participants were still following their chosen diet at 12 mo (self-reported). At 12 mo, weight loss was -4.0 kg (95% CI: -5.1, -2.8 kg) in IF, -2.8 kg (-4.4, -1.2 kg) in Mediterranean, and -1.8 kg (-4.0, 0.5 kg) in Paleo participants. Sensitivity analyses showed that, due to substantial dropout, these may be overestimated by ≤1.2 kg, whereas diet adherence increased mean weight loss by 1.1, 1.8, and 0.3 kg, respectively. Reduced systolic blood pressure was observed with IF (-4.9 mm Hg;  -7.2, -2.6 mm Hg) and Mediterranean (-5.9 mm Hg; -9.0, -2.7 mm Hg) diets, and reduced glycated hemoglobin with the Mediterranean diet (-0.8 mmol/mol; -1.2, -0.4 mmol/mol). However, the between-group differences in most outcomes were not significant and these comparisons may be confounded due to the nonrandomized design.

CONCLUSIONS:

Small differences in metabolic outcomes were apparent in participants following self-selected diets without intensive ongoing dietary support, even though dietary adherence declined rapidly. However, results should be interpreted with caution given the exploratory nature of analyses.

Source: Intermittent fasting, Paleolithic, or Mediterranean diets in the real world: exploratory secondary analyses of a weight-loss trial that included ch… – PubMed – NCBI

I probably won’t bother to read the full report. You’re welcome to it for $35 USD. The abstract doesn’t convince me it’s worth my time and money.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Ketogenic and Very Low-Carb Diet Effective for T2 Diabetes for at Least Two Years

This Avocado Chicken soup is very low-carb. Use the search box to find the recipe.

It’s well-established that very low-carb and ketogenic diets over the short-term usually do a good job for folks with type 2 diabetes: better blood sugar levels, fewer diabetes drugs needed, improved lipids, lower blood pressure, etc. Many people—from patients to dietitians to physicians—question whether the diet and associated improvements can be sustained for more than a few months. The study at hand looked at results two years out, and found definite clinical benefit and sustainability.

First, a quick point to get out of the way. In the U.S., HgbA1c is reported as a percentage. But other countries often report HgbA1c in mmol/mol. It’s not easy to convert one to the other accurately, so when you see values in mmol/mol below, be aware they’re only my approximations, not the researchers’.

Here’s how the researchers did their study, published in the summer of 2019.

Scientific Method

262 adults with type 2 diabetes (average age 54) were enrolled in the intervention group, called CCI (digitally-monitored continuous care intervention via a web-based app). 87 were assigned to “usual care.” For all participants at baseline, body mass index averaged 37-40, HgbA1c averaged 7.6% (60 mmol/mol), and they had diabetes for an average of eight years. The CCI group monitored beta-hydroxybutyrate (a ketone) levels, glucoses, body weight, etc, and uploaded results via the web-based app. The app also facilitated an online peer community for social support. For those who preferred in-person education (about half of the total), clinic-based group meetings were held weekly for 12 weeks, bi-weekly for 12 weeks, monthly for six months, and then quarterly in the second year. Continuous Care Intervention included individual support with telemedicine, customized nutritional guidance (emphasis on sustained nutritional ketosis), and health coaching.

The 87 Usual Care folks were recruited from the same geographic area and healthcare system. The received care from their primary care physician or endocrinologist and were counseled by a dietitian (ADA recommendations) as part of their diabetes education. Medical care was not modified for the study. This group had less intense clinical measurements than the CCI cohort.

Of the 262 participants who started with the CCI group, 218 remained after one year. So 44 drop-outs. Of these 262 pioneers, 194 remained for the entire second year (so 24 more drop-outs). If those drop-out numbers seem high to you, be aware that they are NOT. Even the Usual Care group of 87 had 19 drop-outs over the two years.

So what happened?

Reductions from baseline to two years in the CCI group included: fasting insulin, weight (down about 10% or 11.9 kg), blood pressure (systolic and diastolic), HgbA1c, and triglycerides. Those are all going in the right direction.

Other findings for the CCI group: HDL-cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) went up. Excluding metformin, the use of diabetes control drugs in the CCI group dropped from 56% of participants to 27%. Some dietitians fear the ketogenic diets are bad for bones, causing calcium to leak out of bones, weakening them since calcium is the main mineral in bones. But spine bone mineral density in the CCI group was unchanged over the two years.

The “usual care” group had no changes in those measurements or diabetes medication use.

Now, to understand some of the investigators results, you need to know their definitions. Diabetes remission = glycemic control without medication use. Partial remission is “sub-diabetic hyperglycemia of at least 1 year duration, HgbA1c level between 5.7-6.5% (39 to 48 mmol/mol), without any medications (two HbgA1c measurements).” Complete remission is “normoglycemia of at least 1 year duration, HgbA1c below 5.7% [39 mmol/mol], without any medications (two HgbA1c measurements).” Diabetes reversal per Supplementary Table 2: Sub-diabetic hyperglycemia and normoglycemia (HgbA1c below 6.5% or 48 mmol/mol), without medications except metformin.

The CCI group had resolution of diabetes (partial or complete remission in 18%, reversal in 53%), which was not seen in the usual care group. Complete remission was achieved in 17 (6.7%) of the CCI group. HgbA1c in the CCI group at two years dropped from average of 7.6% (60 mmol/mol)  to 6.7% (50 mmol/mol).

Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes

Metformin is the most-recommended drug for type 2 diabetes

“CCI diabetes reversal exceeds remission as prescriptions for metformin were usually continued given its role in preventing disease progression, preserving beta-cell function and in the treatment of pre-diabetes per guidelines.”

The average dose of insulin in CCI folks who were using insulin at baseline decreased by 81% at two years. (Have you noticed the price of insulin lately?)

Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a ketone, and at a certain level in the blood, indicates the presence of ketosis on a ketogenic diet. “The 2 year beta-hydroxybutryate (BHB) increase above baseline demonstrated sustained dietary modification.”  “…the encouraged range of nutritional ketosis (> or = 0.5 mM) was observed in only a minority (14.1%) of participants at 2 years. On average, patient-measured BHB was > or = 0.5mM for 32.8% of measurement over the 2 years.”

Bottom Line

In summary, the CCI group—eating ketogenic and/or very low-carb—showed sustained beneficial effects even two years after start of the study. I suspect the Virta app, clinic-based group meetings, and individual support and coaching contributed significantly to the participants’ success.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: By the way, many of the study authors are affiliated with Virta Health Corp., which I assume is a for-profit company. Virta provided funding for the study. Could that funding have unduly influenced the results? It’s always possible but I have no evidence that it did. If not already available, I expect a commercial version of the program will be within 12–24 months.

Reference: Athinarayanan, S.J., et al (including Sarah Hallberg, Jeff Volek, and Stephen Phinney). Long-Term Effects of a Novel Continuous Remote Care Intervention Including Nutritional Ketosis for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-year Non-randomized Clinical Trial. Frontiers in Endocrinology, Vol. 10, article 348, June 19, 2019.

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Can You Avoid Muscle Loss on Low-Calorie Diets?

Greek salad with canned salmon

The parts of your body that aren’t fat tissue are collectively called fat-free mass or lean mass. Fat-free mass includes muscle, organs, bones, water, connective tissue, etc. Reduced-calorie diets are often linked to reduction of body components—like muscle—other than the desired loss of excess fat.

One proven effective way to preserve muscle mass on a reduced-calorie diet is to consume adequate protein. Judicious exercise also helps.

I haven’t read the full article below, and probably won’t. For what it’s worth, the authors say fat-free mass can be preserved during a very low-carb ketogenic diet via adequate intake of vitamin D, leucine, and whey protein. Do you think maybe they’re selling a particular supplement?

The abstract isn’t very well written. Or is it the title that’s misleading?

Abstract

The loss of fat free mass (FFM) that occurs during a weight loss secondary to low-calorie diet can lead to numerous and deleterious consequences. We performed a review in order to evaluate the till-now evidence regarding the optimum treatment for maintaining FFM during low-calorie diet. This review included eligible studies. In order to maintain FFM during a low-calorie diet, there are various diet strategies: adopt a very-low carbohydrates ketogenic diets (VLCKD) and take an adequate amount of specific nutrients (vitamin D, leucine, whey protein). As regard the numerous and various low-calorie diet proposals for achieving weight loss, the comparison of VLCKD with prudent low-calorie diet demonstrated that FFM was practically unaffected by VLCKD. This is possible for numerous mechanisms, involving insulin and insulin like grow factor-I – growth hormone (IGF-I-GH) axis, and which acts by stimulating protein synthesis. Considering protein and amino acids intake, an adequate daily intake of leucine (4 grams/day), and whey protein (20 grams/day) is recommended.

Regarding vitamin D, if the blood vitamin D has low values (<30 ng/ml), it is mandatory that an adequate supplementation is provided, specifically calcifediol because in the obese subject, this form is recommended to avoid seizure in the adipose tissue: 3–4 drops/day or 20–30 drops/week of calcifediol are generally adequate to restore normal 25(OH)D plasma levels in obese subjects.

Source: Current Opinion On Dietary Advice In Order To Preserve Fat Free Mass During A Low-Calorie Diet – ScienceDirect

I had never heard of that obesity-calcifidiol connection.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Alternate-Day Fasting Reduced Insulin Resistance Better Than Daily Calorie Restriction

Horses, like Java, also get Metabolic Syndrome but it’s not quite the same as in humans. Java had to lose weight and change his diet.

Body tissue resistance to the effect of insulin is considered harmful by many experts. For instance, it may contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. BTW, if you have Metabolic Syndrome, you probably have insulin resistance. Regular exercise and loss of excess body fat are two ways  to reduce insulin resistance. Fasting also has an effect, but is it better than daily calorie restriction?

From a small study in the journal Obesity:

Abstract

Objective

This study compared the effects of alternate‐day fasting (ADF) with those of daily calorie restriction (CR) on body weight and glucoregulatory factors in adults with overweight or obesity and insulin resistance.

Methods

This secondary analysis examined the data of insulin‐resistant individuals (n = 43) who participated in a 12‐month study that compared ADF (25% energy needs on “fast days”; 125% energy needs on alternating “feast days”) with CR (75% energy needs every day) and a control group regimen.

Results

In insulin‐resistant participants, weight loss was not different between ADF (−8% ± 2%) and CR (−6% ± 1%) by month 12, relative to controls (P < 0.0001). Fat mass and BMI decreased (P < 0.05) similarly from ADF and CR. ADF produced greater decreases (P < 0.05) in fasting insulin (−52% ± 9%) and insulin resistance (−53% ± 9%) compared with CR (−14% ± 9%; −17% ± 11%) and the control regimen by month 12. Lean mass, visceral fat mass, low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol, high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, C‐reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 6 values remained unchanged.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that Alternate-Day Fasting may produce greater reductions in fasting insulin and insulin resistance compared with Calorie Restriction in insulin‐resistant participants despite similar decreases in body weight.

Source: Differential Effects of Alternate‐Day Fasting Versus Daily Calorie Restriction on Insulin Resistance – Gabel – – Obesity – Wiley Online Library

It would be interesting to compare the compliance and drop-out rates between the two groups studied. Is a daily 24% calorie deficit easier to stomach than a 75% reduction every other day?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Why Is Rapid Weight Loss Dangerous?

paleobetic diet, low-carb, diabetic diet, paleo diet

Totally unrelated – my horse Java

P.D. Mangan posted a good article on the risks of rapid weight loss. I agree with him that a max of 1–2 pounds a week is a reasonable weight-loss goal, and that a bit more than that is OK in the first week but highly inadvisable for the long run. Most folks do well if they settle into one pound a week.

From P.D.:

Slower Metabolism

A slower metabolism is another side effect of losing weight too quickly; since your body’s metabolism is essentially determining how much fuel you are needing to burn every day based on your activities and food intake, dropping calories out of your diet can considerably lower your metabolism. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is! A lower metabolism essentially causes your body to burn fewer calories each day than it typically would, and some research even shows up to a 23% decrease in calories that are burned each day. This doesn’t always go away when you stop losing weight quickly, either, your metabolism might take a while to get back on track and burning appropriately, which could affect your health and weight for a long time.

Muscle Loss

Lastly, your body could end up losing muscle as part of your quick weight loss routine. Granted, eliminating calories from your diet will have you lose weight, yes, but aside from a lot of that weight being water, some of it can also be muscle. A recent study done with people on a 500 calorie diet versus a 1250 calorie diet showed significant results; by the end of the trial, the participants on the 500 calorie diet lost six times more muscle than those on the 1250 calorie diet – an astounding loss in muscle in just a five-week span of time.

Source: Risks of Losing Weight Too Quickly – Rogue Health and Fitness

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Paleo Diet Helps With Weight Loss, BMI, and Waist Circumference 

Wim Hof’s ancestor?

I may have mentioned this meta-analysis before. Click the link below for fulll text of the report. Here’s the abstract:

Background

The Paleolithic diet has been studied in the scope of prevention and control of chronic noncommunicable diseases (CNCD). The objective of this study was to analyze the influence of the Paleolithic diet on the prevention and control of CNCD in humans, specifically on anthropometric markers, through a systematic review with meta-analysis.

Methods

What is the effect of the Paleolithic diet on anthropometric parameters (weight, body mass index and waist circumference) compared to other control diets based on recommendations in adults? We included only randomized studies with humans that used the Paleolithic Diet in the prevention and control of CNCD published in Portuguese, English or Spanish. The search period was until March 2019, in the LILACS, PubMed, Scielo, Science Direct, Medline, Web of Science and Scopus databases. The abstracts were evaluated by two researchers. We found 1224 articles, of which 24 were selected and 11 were included in the meta-analysis. The effect of dietary use on body weight, body mass index and waist circumference was evaluated.

Results

The summary of the effect showed a loss of − 3.52 kg in the mean weight (CI 95%: − 5.26; − 1.79; p < 0,001; I2 = 24%) of people who adopted the Paleolithic diet compared to diets based on recommendations. The analysis showed a positive association of adopting the Paleolithic diet in relation to weight loss. The effect was significant on weight, body mass index and waist circumference.

Conclusion

The Paleolithic diet may assist in controlling weight and waist circumference and in the management of chronic diseases. However, more randomized clinical studies with larger populations and duration are necessary to prove health benefits.

Source: Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis | Nutrition Journal | Full Text

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. 

He has no interest in meta-analysis.

From Nutrition Journal:

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Paleolithic diet has been studied in the scope of prevention and control of chronic noncommunicable diseases (CNCD). The objective of this study was to analyze the influence of the Paleolithic diet on the prevention and control of CNCD in humans, specifically on anthropometric markers, through a systematic review with meta-analysis.

METHODS:

What is the effect of the Paleolithic diet on anthropometric parameters (weight, body mass index and waist circumference) compared to other control diets based on recommendations in adults? We included only randomized studies with humans that used the Paleolithic Diet in the prevention and control of CNCD published in Portuguese, English or Spanish. The search period was until March 2019, in the LILACS, PubMed, Scielo, Science Direct, Medline, Web of Science and Scopus databases. The abstracts were evaluated by two researchers. We found 1224 articles, of which 24 were selected and 11 were included in the meta-analysis. The effect of dietary use on body weight, body mass index and waist circumference was evaluated.

RESULTS:

The summary of the effect showed a loss of - 3.52 kg in the mean weight (CI 95%: - 5.26; - 1.79; p < 0,001; I2 = 24%) of people who adopted the Paleolithic diet compared to diets based on recommendations. The analysis showed a positive association of adopting the Paleolithic diet in relation to weight loss. The effect was significant on weight, body mass index and waist circumference.

CONCLUSION:

The Paleolithic diet may assist in controlling weight and waist circumference and in the management of chronic diseases. However, more randomized clinical studies with larger populations and duration are necessary to prove health benefits.

Source: Influence of Paleolithic diet on anthropometric markers in chronic diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis. – PubMed – NCBI

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Burn More Fat With Interval Training Versus Continuous Exercise

From JAMA Network:

Exercisers can burn slightly more body fat with interval training than moderate-intensity continuous training, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Although the differences in fat loss weren’t huge, the interval workouts were shorter, which could make it easier for people to adhere to them.

Source: For Fat Burning, Interval Training Beats Continuous Exercise | Lifestyle Behaviors | JAMA | JAMA Network

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Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Consumption and Weight Gain

Can you think of a diet that has less ultra-processed food than the paleo diet?

From Cell Metabolism:

We investigated whether ultra-processed foods affect energy intake in 20 weight-stable adults, aged (mean ± SE) 31.2 ± 1.6 years and BMI = 27 ± 1.5 kg/m2. Subjects were admitted to the NIH Clinical Center and randomized to receive either ultra-processed or unprocessed diets for 2 weeks immediately followed by the alternate diet for 2 weeks. Meals were designed to be matched for presented calories, energy density, macronutrients, sugar, sodium, and fiber. Subjects were instructed to consume as much or as little as desired. Energy intake was greater during the ultra-processed diet (508 ± 106 kcal/day; p = 0.0001), with increased consumption of carbohydrate (280 ± 54 kcal/day; p < 0.0001) and fat (230 ± 53 kcal/day; p = 0.0004), but not protein (−2 ± 12 kcal/day; p = 0.85). Weight changes were highly correlated with energy intake (r = 0.8, p < 0.0001), with participants gaining 0.9 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.009) during the ultra-processed diet and losing 0.9 ± 0.3 kg (p = 0.007) during the unprocessed diet. Limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods may be an effective strategy for obesity prevention and treatment.

Source: Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake: Cell Metabolism

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