The Power of Self-Compassion

When it comes to sticking to a diet, we’ve all experienced those moments of slipping up – perhaps indulging in an unplanned treat or deviating from our meal plan. These instances can often leave us feeling guilty and frustrated, questioning our willpower and dedication. However, recent research suggests that practising self-compassion could be the key to overcoming these setbacks and staying on track with our weight loss goals.

Understanding Dietary Lapses

A recent study involving individuals striving to lose weight examined how they responded emotionally to dietary slip-ups, known as “dietary lapses.” These lapses, triggered by factors like hunger and stress, not only hinder progress but also lead to negative feelings such as guilt and shame, which can derail our efforts.

The study further delved into three core aspects of self-compassion:

  • Mindfulness: Being aware of our thoughts and feelings without judgment.
  • Common Humanity: Recognising that we’re not alone in facing challenges, fostering a sense of connection.
  • Self-Kindness: Treating ourselves with kindness and understanding, especially during tough times

Key Findings

The research revealed that all elements of self-compassion were linked to reduced negativity following dietary lapses. However, showing ourselves kindness emerged as particularly beneficial, helping us regain a sense of control and resilience. By practising self-kindness, we can bounce back from setbacks and continue our weight loss journey with renewed determination.

Practical Insights for Everyday Life

  • Normalising Dietary Lapses: Understanding that slip-ups are a normal part of any weight loss journey can alleviate feelings of failure. Realising that everyone faces challenges on their path to better health fosters a more compassionate attitude towards ourselves and others.
  • Embracing Self-Kindness: Responding to dietary slip-ups with self-compassion, particularly self-kindness, empowers us to move forward without self-criticism. By being gentle with ourselves and treating mistakes as learning opportunities, we can overcome setbacks more effectively.
  • Distinguishing Compassion from Complacency: Practising self-compassion doesn’t mean giving up on our goals or becoming complacent. Instead, it helps us accept setbacks without losing sight of our long-term aspirations. By cultivating resilience and self-acceptance, we can stay committed to our health journey while navigating the ups and downs along the way.

In the journey towards weight loss and healthier eating habits, self-compassion emerges as a valuable tool for managing setbacks and maintaining motivation. By embracing self-kindness and recognising our shared human experience, we can cultivate a mindset that supports our well-being and resilience. Let self-compassion guide you towards a healthier, happier lifestyle, one step at a time.

References:

Hagerman CJ, Ehmann MM, Taylor LC, Forman EM. The role of self-compassion and its individual components in adaptive responses to dietary lapses. Appetite. 2023 Nov 1;190:107009–9.

From Struggle to Success: Navigating the 3 Stages of Weight Cycling

Have you ever found yourself caught in a frustrating cycle of losing weight, only to regain it shortly after? You’re not alone. Weight cycling, often known as “yo-yo dieting,” can take a toll not just on your body, but also on your mental well-being. Recent research sheds light on why people get stuck in this cycle and how they can break free from it. Let’s explore the findings of the study and uncover the three-stage journey of weight cycling.

Understanding the Cycle

Stage One: Entering the Cycle

For many individuals, the journey into weight cycling begins with societal pressures and experiences of weight stigma. Whether it’s comparing oneself to unrealistic standards on social media or facing hurtful comments from peers and family members, feelings of self-doubt and insecurity often arise early on.

Stage Two: Undergoing the Cycle

As individuals internalise these external pressures, their behaviours around food and exercise start to change. Eating habits may become more restrictive, and exercise may be seen primarily as a means to burn calories rather than for enjoyment. Despite efforts to lose weight, feelings of self-criticism and guilt often persist, especially when weight is regained.

Stage Three: Challenging the Cycle

Breaking free from the weight cycling cycle requires a shift in mindset. Some individuals find success by rejecting strict diets and reframing exercise as a form of self-care rather than punishment. However, overcoming negative thoughts about weight and body image can be an ongoing challenge, requiring self-awareness and resilience.

If you’re facing challenges with the weight cycle or if you’re aware of someone who might be, here are some important points to bear in mind:

  • Create a Safe Space: Avoid assuming that all individuals want to lose weight and be mindful of the language used to discuss weight-related topics. Creating a supportive and non-judgmental environment is crucial for building trust and promoting open communication.
  • Mindful Communication: Language matters. Hence, we should use language that empowers individuals and avoids body-shaming or triggering statements. Open-ended questions and positive reinforcement can help individuals feel understood and supported in their journey.
  • Focus on Well-being: By focusing on overall well-being rather than a number on the scale, you can foster a healthier relationship with food and exercise. Emphasising self-care, enjoyment, and balance can also help you break free from the cycle of weight cycling and embrace a more holistic approach to health.

Weight cycling is a complex phenomenon with deep-rooted psychological and societal factors. By understanding the stages of the cycle and adopting a compassionate approach, you can work towards breaking free from harmful patterns and embracing a more positive relationship with your body. It’s time to shift the conversation from weight loss to holistic well-being, empowering individuals to live healthier, happier lives.

References:

Tylka TL, Annunziato RA, Burgard D, Daníelsdóttir S, Shuman E, Davis C, et al. The weight-inclusive versus weight-normative approach to health: evaluating the evidence for prioritizing well-being over weight loss. J Obes. 2014 Jul 23;2014:983495.

Romo L, Earl S, Mueller KA, Obiol M. A Qualitative Model of Weight Cycling. Qual Health Res. 2024 Jan 25;10497323231221666.:

Navigating the Weight Journey: What’s Inside Really Matters

Let’s talk about something we’ve all faced at some point – weight bias. You know, those moments when we feel judged for not fitting into society’s so-called “ideal weight.” But here’s the twist – it’s not just an external thing. A recent study from Canada showed that this bias can also come from within ourselves, affecting our own perceptions and judgments. Let’s unpack what this means and how we can adopt a more positive and inclusive perspective.

The study found a strong link between higher body mass index (BMI) and what they call “weight bias internalisation.” Translation? If you’ve ever found yourself unfairly judging your own or others’ bodies based on weight, you’re not alone. The study also highlighted that women tend to feel this internalised bias more intensely, probably because of the unrealistic body standards society often throws at them.

What’s interesting is how participants in the study pointed fingers at behaviours like overeating, lack of exercise, and high-fat diets as the main culprits behind being overweight. On the flip side, factors like hormones and metabolism got less blame.

Key Insights

  • Understanding Weight Beyond the Basics: Let’s broaden our view on weight. It’s not just about what we eat or how much we move. There’s a whole system of factors – physical, psychological, social, and environmental – at play. 
  • Being Kind to Yourself: Feeling down about your weight is tough, and this study shows it can even lead to mental health struggles. The key is to shift our focus. Instead of blaming ourselves, let’s explore a more positive and holistic view of health. It’s not just about what we eat; it’s about how we feel, sleep, and navigate our lives.
  • Your Health is a Puzzle, Not a Puzzle Piece: Ever thought about how sleep, emotions, work-life balance, relationships, genetics, and where you live might influence your health? They’re all interconnected. By seeing the bigger picture, we can transform our mindset and discover new ways to achieve our health goals.

So, what’s the takeaway? Weight bias is a thing, and it’s not just external. By understanding that weight is a complex interplay of various factors, we can be kinder to ourselves and others. It’s not just about the food we eat or the exercise we do; it’s about embracing a holistic view of health. Your journey is unique, and there’s more to it than meets the eye – or the scale.

References:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41366-021-00860-z 

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-023-16454-5

Late Middle Age Fitness Dilemma: Is ‘Eat Less, Move More’ the Answer?

Imagine you’re an older adult who has been wrestling with weight issues for years, perhaps even decades. Now in your 50s or 60s, nearing retirement, you’re facing a critical juncture where, with each passing year, you’re witnessing the unwelcome transformation of muscle into fat. This increase in body fat raises the stakes for conditions like high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

So, what’s the best strategy to reverse this trend? Over the years, you’ve heard three seemingly conflicting narratives on how to shed those extra pounds. The first preaches the mantra “eat less, move more,” emphasising the dual importance of calorie restriction and aerobic exercise. The second focuses on the kitchen, claiming that the path to a leaner body primarily involves strict dieting and a high-protein intake. The third story promotes “lifting weights to lose weight,” arguing that intense resistance training can rev up your metabolism and sculpt your physique.

In this journey towards optimal body composition in your late middle age, which of these stories holds the key?

A recent research review provides some clarity.

How the Study Worked

This review draws insights from 66 studies involving nearly 5,000 individuals aged between 55 and 70, all with a BMI ranging from 25 to 40. The interventions in these studies varied, lasting around 12 weeks on average, and were categorised into three groups: diet, exercise, and a combination of both.

What the Study Revealed

  • Body-Fat Percentage Results:

The most effective strategy? Calorie restriction with high protein plus any form of exercise, which reduced body-fat percentage by about four points on average.

  • Fat Mass Results:

For total fat loss, calorie restriction plus high protein led the way, cutting an average of 5.86 kg (13 pounds). Interestingly, calorie restriction plus resistance training achieved similar results.

  • Lean Body Mass (LBM):

The surprise here was that combined resistance and aerobic training resulted in the most significant gains in LBM, followed by aerobic training alone. Calorie restriction, on its own, led to small reductions in lean mass.

  • All Outcomes – The Overall Winner:

For overall improvements in body composition, the winning combination was calorie restriction plus resistance training.

Key Takeaways

Clearly, the magic lies in the combination of diet and exercise. Let’s revisit the three stories:

  • “Eat less, move more”: Calorie restriction paired with any exercise proved most effective for reducing body-fat percentage, especially with a high-protein diet.
  • “Abs are made in the kitchen”: Calorie restriction plus high protein excelled in pure fat loss and reducing body-fat percentage, waist circumference, and BMI. However, cutting calories without exercise resulted in a small muscle loss.
  • “Lift weights to lose weight”: As a standalone for fat loss, resistance training was modestly effective for older adults. But, when combined with a reduced-calorie diet, it emerged as a winner, showing excellent outcomes in fat mass reduction, body-fat percentage, BMI, and waist circumference.

In your journey to a healthier you, the evidence points towards a holistic approach—a balanced mix of dietary changes and exercise, with a special nod to the combination of calorie restriction and resistance training. It’s not just about losing fat; it’s about optimising your body composition for a healthier, more resilient future.

References:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.04.001

psychiatrist.com/jcp/mean-difference-standardized-mean-difference-smd-and-their-use-in-meta-analysis

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13428

Can Your Genes Dictate Your Ideal Diet?

Have you ever wondered why two people can embark on a similar diet, yet experience vastly different results? A recent study delved into the intriguing realm of genetics to explore if some individuals are genetically predisposed to thrive on specific diets, be it high in carbs or rich in fats.

The Genetic Diet Conundrum

Weight-loss studies often yield diverse individual outcomes, prompting scientists to investigate if genetic variations could make someone a “fat responder” or a “carb responder.” The theory suggests that tailoring diets to these genetic predispositions might optimise weight loss.

In a 12-week program involving 122 participants, half assigned to a higher-fat diet and half to a higher-carb diet, researchers aimed to align participants with their genetic predispositions. Astonishingly, the results showed no significant difference in weight loss between those on a diet aligned with their genotype and those whose meals were not.

The Genes vs. Weight Loss Verdict

The study’s revelation challenged the assumption that genetically tailored diets lead to better weight loss outcomes. Whether participants followed a genotype-concordant or genotype-discordant diet, the average weight loss was about the same, hovering around 5% of their initial body weight in 12 weeks.

While the concept of “precision nutrition” gains traction, promising tailored dietary plans based on genetics, this study suggests that, at least for weight loss, the impact may be less significant than anticipated. It turns out that your genes might not be the sole arbiters of the perfect diet.

Key Takeaways: Beyond Genetics

  • Precision Nutrition’s Current Landscape: The study highlights that, for weight loss, we might not be at the point where precision nutrition based on genetics significantly outperforms general dietary advice.
  • Factors Beyond Genes: While genetics play a role, numerous other factors, such as personal preferences, lifestyle, and mental well-being, also heavily influence the success of a dietary approach.

Embracing the dynamic relationship between genetics and diet is an ongoing journey in the realm of nutrition. While the study challenges the notion of a one-size-fits-all approach based on genetics for weight loss, it illuminates the intricate interplay of factors influencing dietary success. Remember, in the pursuit of personalised nutrition, genes are just one piece of the puzzle. Acknowledging individual preferences, lifestyles, and holistic well-being is pivotal.

So, as we navigate this intricate landscape of nutritional science, understanding the synergy between our genes and broader lifestyle choices becomes paramount. It’s a journey, and every step towards unravelling this complexity brings us closer to a more nuanced and effective approach to personalised nutrition.

References:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-41969-1

Cracking the Code to Long-Term Weight Loss

When it comes to achieving weight loss goals, many people can relate to the initial excitement of shedding those extra pounds. But the real challenge lies in maintaining that hard-earned progress for the long haul. While weight loss can be tough, maintaining it over time can be even harder. Shockingly, statistics show that only about 20 percent of people who lose weight manage to keep it off for the long-term. So, what’s the secret? What sets apart those who successfully maintain their weight loss from those who struggle? A recent study published in Obesity provides some valuable insights into this million-dollar question.

Study Snapshot

The study involved 6,139 participants with the following demographics:

    • 94.3% were of white ethnicity
    • 91.9% were female
    • 88.2% had a college education
    • The average age was 53.6 years
    • The average BMI was 27.8
    • Inclusion criteria: Participants must have lost 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of body weight and maintained that for at least one year
    • Average weight loss achieved was 24.3 kg (53.6 lb)
    • Average time of weight loss maintenance was 3.4 years

It’s important to note that while this group was somewhat homogenous, future research should explore more diverse populations.

Insights from the Study

The study gathered responses from participants through an online questionnaire, which were then analysed using machine learning to identify trends. Here are some key takeaways:

    • Motivations for Weight Loss: Participants had various motivations to begin their weight loss journey, including health concerns, appearance, physical limitations, social prompts, and a desire for change. This diversity of motivations highlights that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.
    • Motivations for Maintenance: Participants were motivated to maintain their weight loss by comparing their current state to their past, enjoying improved health and appearance, and recognising the benefits of their achievements.
    • Top Maintenance Advice: The study revealed that perseverance in the face of setbacks and continued tracking of food intake were crucial for long-term weight loss maintenance.
    • Perks of Maintenance: Maintainers reported numerous benefits, including increased confidence, reduced pain, improved body image, better overall health (including blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes), and a sense of ease in both mind and body.

What You Need to Know

  1. Finding Your Motivation: Understand that people embark on their weight loss journey for various reasons, whether it’s health concerns, body image, physical limitations, or societal pressure. Your journey is unique, and your motivation matters. Identify what truly drives you to succeed.
  2. Embrace Your Achievements: Recognise that maintaining your weight loss is about celebrating how far you’ve come. Compare your current state to your past self. Revel in the joy of improved health, appearance, and overall well-being.
  3. Overcoming Setbacks: Be prepared for challenges along the way. Understand that setbacks are a natural part of any journey. The key is resilience. When obstacles arise, persevere and keep moving forward. Remember, small setbacks don’t define your entire journey.
  4. The Power of Tracking: Tracking your food intake is a valuable tool, not just during weight loss but also for maintenance. It helps you stay mindful of your choices and prevents drifting too far off course. Consider different tracking methods that work for you, whether it’s portion control or intuitive eating.
  5. Mindset Matters: Cultivate a positive mindset. Recognise that progress, not perfection, is the goal. Understand that it’s normal to face ups and downs. How you respond to setbacks can shape your success. Stay focused on your long-term goals and keep pushing forward.
  6. Identifying Cognitive Distortions: Learn to spot and modify cognitive distortions—those negative thoughts that don’t reflect reality. Challenge over-generalisations and harsh self-judgment. By adjusting your thought patterns, you can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.

In conclusion, maintaining weight loss is an achievable goal with the right mindset and strategies. Your journey is personal, and understanding your motivations, celebrating your achievements, and staying resilient are essential for long-term success. Tracking your progress and addressing negative thought patterns can make the journey smoother and more sustainable. Remember, you’ve got the power to maintain your weight loss and enjoy a healthier, happier life.

References: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29156185/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16002825/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11477495

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.23372

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24355667/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34029443/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31970912/

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/12/3046

Exercise Intensity vs. Volume: What Really Matters for Fat Loss?

When you see that iconic image comparing a sprinter’s muscular physique to a marathoner’s lean build, you might wonder which one is more effective for fat loss. However, this comparison between Olympians can be misleading, as their training, recovery, sleep, and nutrition are worlds apart from the average person’s. Recently, researchers from the University of Cambridge delved into the exercise intensity vs. exercise volume debate, investigating which factor matters most for fat loss in everyday individuals. The results are encouraging for everyone, regardless of their training preferences. In this article, we explore why the Olympian comparison falls short and uncover the findings of the Cambridge study, shedding light on the essential elements of effective fat loss through exercise.

Why Most People Will Never Do a “Sprinter’s Workout”

Before we delve into the Cambridge study’s findings, let’s address the common misconception perpetuated by the sprinter vs. marathoner comparison. While this comparison aims to highlight the benefits of high-intensity sprint intervals for fat loss, it doesn’t apply to most individuals. The athletes featured in these images are world-class, naturally built for their respective sports, and dedicated their lives to achieving peak performance. Elite sprinters, for instance, undergo rigorous training regimens, including sub-maximal sprints, technique work, mobility training, and weightlifting, often training twice a day for several hours. Similarly, Olympic marathoners possess bodies specifically suited for long-distance running. Attempting to emulate their training would be impractical and unrealistic for most people.

What the Cambridge Study Unveiled

The Cambridge study examined the relationship between exercise intensity, exercise volume, and body fat levels in “regular” individuals. Unlike Olympians, these participants followed everyday routines. The researchers analysed data from over 11,000 middle-aged adults and assessed their body fat percentages using DEXA scans. Participants wore combined heart-rate monitors and movement sensors 24/7 for six days, providing data on their physical activity levels. The study yielded valuable insights into the significance of exercise intensity and volume for fat loss.

What the Study Found

The study uncovered a fundamental relationship between physical activity and body fat levels. Participants who engaged in more physical activity exhibited lower body fat percentages, regardless of gender. Notably, women experienced more significant improvements in body composition with higher physical activity levels. When evaluating exercise intensity, individuals who engaged in vigorous activities had lower body fat percentages. Conversely, those who primarily participated in lower-intensity activities exhibited higher body fat percentages. However, the study’s most crucial revelation was that the total amount of energy expended through physical activity, irrespective of intensity, played the most significant role in fat loss. In essence, individuals who burned the most calories through movement were more likely to have lower body fat percentages.

Key Takeaways

  • Start Where You Are: If you’re new to exercise or struggling to get started, remember that even small steps count. The study showed that the biggest difference in body fat was between people who were less active and those who added a bit more movement to their daily routine. So, don’t stress about doing intense workouts right away. Begin with something manageable, like a short daily walk or a few minutes of exercise. What matters most is taking that first step towards a more active lifestyle.
  • Your Unique Path: Understand that there’s no universal exercise plan that works for everyone. Your fitness journey should align with your goals, preferences, and what feels right for your body. High-intensity workouts may suit some, while others may prefer steady-paced activities. It’s all about finding an approach that fits your lifestyle and keeps you motivated. Don’t be afraid to explore different types of exercises until you discover what works best for you.

In summary, the Olympian comparison might not apply to most of us, but the study’s findings offer valuable insights. It’s not about pushing yourself to extremes but rather about embracing movement in a way that suits your individual needs and preferences. Start small, stay consistent, and choose activities that align with your goals. Your fitness journey is unique, and by tailoring it to your lifestyle, you can achieve sustainable fat loss and overall well-being.

References: 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00970-8

http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821ece12

Unveiling the Secret of Successful Food Tracking

In a world where managing our health often feels like juggling too many balls at once, food tracking has emerged as a potential saviour. Whether we’re aiming to shed a few pounds or simply make better food choices, tracking our meals seems like a promising solution. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Recent research conducted by experts from the University of Connecticut, University of Florida, and University of Pennsylvania sheds light on the effectiveness of food tracking for weight loss. Let’s take a closer look at their findings.

Is Food Tracking Worth the Effort?

Imagine if there was a way to manage your portions and make healthier food decisions without the need for complex strategies. Food tracking seems to offer just that. It’s like having a personal guide helping you navigate your eating habits. But here’s the catch: while it can be a valuable tool, the study suggests that it might not be a walk in the park to stick to it.

A group of researchers embarked on a six-month journey with 153 participants, all seeking to follow the WW PersonalPoints programme. This approach, in collaboration with the WW app, offered more than just tracking—it included virtual workshops, coach-led check-ins, and access to a supportive community. The goal was to observe the impact of consistent food tracking on weight loss.

The study unearthed three distinct tracking patterns:

Low trackers (22.9% of participants)

These individuals logged their meals sporadically, averaging less than one day per week over six months. Initial enthusiasm faded quickly.

Medium trackers (59.5% of participants)

They managed to log their meals roughly 37% of the time, equating to about two and a half days weekly. Their consistency dwindled as the study progressed.

High trackers (18.7% of participants)

The diligent ones, these participants logged their meals approximately 88.7% of the time, equivalent to more than six days per week.

The study’s main point lay in determining whether more consistent tracking correlated with more substantial weight loss. As expected, the high trackers enjoyed the most significant weight loss on average. But the story doesn’t end there.

A closer look at individual results reveals intriguing insights. Notably, some participants who tracked their meals infrequently still achieved impressive weight loss, demonstrating that tracking consistency isn’t the only factor at play.

The findings hint at the benefits of short-term tracking, creating heightened awareness of eating habits. However, the participants’ engagement in coaching and support may have influenced positive changes in their eating choices, irrespective of tracking.

While tracking has its merits, it’s not a universal solution. Some individuals may find it empowering, while others might face challenges. The study underscores that tracking isn’t suitable for everyone, especially for those prone to disordered eating patterns.

Overall, the study’s revelations highlight the dynamic nature of food tracking. It’s not just about numbers and consistency; it’s about aligning tracking methods with individual needs and preferences. So, if you’re considering embarking on a food tracking journey, choose the approach that resonates with you and empowers you to make healthier choices on your own terms. 

References:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/oby.23795

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5700836/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30772765

 

What Makes You Eat More Calories? Let’s Find Out!

Do you ever wonder why some meals leave you feeling satisfied while others make you want to keep eating? A recent study aimed to unravel the mystery behind what determines our calorie intake. The findings might surprise you and challenge some of your beliefs.

The researchers discovered that certain factors were consistently linked to how many calories people consumed. These factors included the energy density of food (how many calories are packed into a gram), the presence of hyperpalatable foods (tempting and tasty treats), and the speed at which we eat. These findings make sense and align with what we would expect.

However, there was one unexpected twist involving protein. For years, we believed that a high-protein meal would make us feel fuller for longer and help control our appetite. But the study’s results challenged this notion.

Let’s take a closer look at the study to understand its implications.

Understanding Protein

Protein has long been considered a key player in managing weight and controlling hunger. It was believed that a protein-rich meal would increase both satiation (feeling full while eating) and satiety (feeling full between meals). This idea made protein a popular recommendation for weight management and appetite control.

To explore the relationship between diet and calorie intake, researchers analysed data from two experiments. The participants in these experiments were given different diets, including unprocessed and hyper-palatable foods, low-fat and low-carb options, and a mix of plant-based and animal-based foods.

The researchers examined four variables to understand their impact on satiation and satiety: energy density, hyper-palatable content, eating rate, and protein content. They found that energy density, hyper-palatable content, and eating rate were consistently related to higher calorie consumption. These findings were expected and in line with previous knowledge.

The Protein Puzzle

The real surprise came when analysing the effects of protein. In diets with balanced fat and carbs, a higher protein intake was associated with more eating. This was unexpected, especially since these diets included both processed and unprocessed foods. However, the effect of protein on calorie consumption was minimal in low-carb and low-fat diets, which used mostly unprocessed foods.

When it came to satiety (feeling full between meals), protein intake at one meal was linked to higher calorie intake at the subsequent meal in low-carb and low-fat diets. This contradicted what we believed about protein’s role in reducing hunger.

Deciphering the Results

Understanding the study can be challenging due to its complexity and conflicting findings. The researchers themselves expressed surprise and confusion over the protein results. They offered potential explanations, including the need for a higher protein intake range, the influence of highly processed foods on protein effects, and the possibility of longer-term effects on satiety.

The Takeaways

1. Protein isn’t a magic solution for weight management.

While protein offers many benefits, including muscle repair and hormone production, this study suggests that its impact on satiety might not be as significant as previously believed. However, it’s important to note that this study wasn’t specifically designed to explore satiety. Therefore, we should not rely solely on this study to change our eating habits or give advice to clients.

2. Energy density and hyper-palatable foods play a crucial role.

The study reaffirms that the energy density of food and the presence of hyper-palatable treats strongly influence calorie intake. Foods high in fat tend to have higher energy density, and while some, like nuts and avocados, are nutritious, others, like pastries, should be consumed in moderation. Hyper-palatable foods, often found in snack aisles and drive-throughs, should be enjoyed mindfully, considering both pleasure and calories.

3. Slow down your eating pace.

While eating rate has a slightly less significant impact on calorie consumption compared to energy density and hyper-palatable foods, it remains consistent across different diets. Slowing down and savoring your meals can contribute to better weight management, regardless of your preferred eating pattern.

In conclusion, understanding what influences our calorie intake is a complex endeavor. This study sheds light on some unexpected findings regarding protein’s impact on satiety. While more research is needed, it’s clear that factors like energy density, hyper-palatable foods, and eating rate play significant roles in how much we eat. By being mindful of these factors, we can make better choices to support our health and weight management goals.

References:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-022-00688-4 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-01209-1

https://twitter.com/KevinH_PhD/status/1620095752088473600 

 

5 Things You Should Know About “Problem” Foods

“Problem” foods are those that we find hard to resist and have a tendency to overeat. They can often be delicious treats like ice cream, chips, chocolate, cookies, and pizza. While it’s not surprising that these foods are hard to resist, what’s interesting is how we can manage them to support weight loss and healthier eating habits. Here are five things you should know about “problem” foods:

1. Identifying your problem foods

Most people already have a good idea of their problem foods, but officially identifying them can improve awareness and help reveal patterns.

2. Strategies for managing problem foods

Limiting the portion sizes of problem foods has been found to be strongly related to weight loss. People who use this strategy the most in a 12-month weight loss program lose nearly double the weight compared to those who use it the least. Be mindful of portion sizes and find strategies that work for you to manage your intake of problem foods.

3. Environment matters

While it’s important to avoid labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” the environment can play a role in food choices. If you have easy access to your problem foods, it can be challenging to resist them, especially in moments of fatigue, stress, or hunger. Create a food environment that supports healthier choices.

4. Red, yellow, and green light foods

Instead of categorising foods as “good” or “bad,” create a personalised list of red, yellow, and green light foods. Red light foods are those that present significant challenges and may not align with your goals. Yellow light foods can be consumed in moderation or under specific circumstances, while green light foods are nutritious and make you feel good. Focus on your individual preferences and build a healthier relationship with food.

5. Mindful eating and enjoyment

Ultimately, it’s important to promote mindful eating and the enjoyment of food. Savour your meals, eat slowly, and pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. By practicing mindful eating, you can develop a greater sense of satisfaction from your meals and make more conscious choices around problem foods.

Remember, there are no “bad” foods. It’s about finding balance, managing portions, and creating an environment that supports healthier choices. By understanding and addressing the challenges associated with problem foods, you can make progress toward your weight loss and health goals.

References: 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104687

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