Monthly Archives: March 2016

To Speed Up Weight Loss, Eat More of These Kinds of Food

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils: Humble foods that may pack a punch for weight loss, Canadian researchers report.

A new analysis of data from 21 clinical trials on these foods—collectively known as “pulses” —finds that they can help dieters feel full, and shed unwanted pounds.

“Though the weight loss was small, our findings suggest that simply including pulses in your diet may help you lose weight, and we think more importantly, prevent you from gaining it back after you lose it,” study lead author Russell de Souza, a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said in a hospital news release.

One expert wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“These types of legumes are some of the most underappreciated foods around,” said Dana Angelo White, a nutritionist and assistant professor of sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

“They are full of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals,” she noted. “It makes sense they would help facilitate weight loss and reduce cholesterol when eaten regularly.”

The Canadian team also noted that pulses have a “low glycemic index” — meaning that they break down slowly in the digestive tract. As such, they can be consumed instead of animal protein or unhealthy fats at mealtimes.

The trials included in the new analysis involved a total of 940 adults. When participants started eating one serving (3/4 cup) of pulses a day, they lost an average of 0.75 pounds over six weeks without making any special effort to avoid other types of foods, the researchers said.

According to de Souza’s team, prior research has shown that eating bean, lentils and other pulses makes people feel fuller.

That’s key to weight loss—90 percent of weight loss programs fail, due in part to the influence of hunger and food cravings, according to de Souza.

“This new study fits well with our previous work, which found that pulses increased the feeling of fullness by 31 per cent, which may indeed result in less food intake,” he said.

These foods also appear to help lower blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, he added.

Antonella Apicella, an outpatient dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study, “supports the notion that foods such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and dry peas may reduce body fat and may contribute to weight loss, even if calories were not restricted.”

She agreed that pulses do seem to help people feel fuller, sooner, and the fiber these foods contain “may reduce the absorption of fat.”

The findings were published March 30 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains how to choose a safe and successful weight loss program.


Why Crunchy Food Might Help You Lose Weight

A new study has revealed a weight-loss trick that couldn’t be simpler: Turn down the volume in your environment (or your earbuds), and listen to yourself chew. Seriously, that’s it!

The findings of the study suggest that you’ll eat less if you’re more aware of the noise your food makes while you’re chomping away—a concept the researchers have coined the crunch effect.

RELATED: 49 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full

Listening to yourself chew may seem odd at first, because most of us don’t pay much attention to the cacophony in our mouths. Noise is a sensory cue we tend to overlook when we’re eating, the study authors explained in a news release. According to Ryan Elder, an assistant professor of marketing at Brigham Young Univeristy’s Marriott School of Management, sound is known as “the forgotten food sense.”

To learn more about its potential impact on our eating habits, Elder, together with his colleague Gina Mohr, an assistant professor of marketing at Colorado State University, conducted a series of experiments.

In one trial, one group of participants wore headphones playing loud music while they snacked on pretzels, and another wore headphones playing quiet music while they grazed. The result: The louder music disguised the sounds of mastication, and people in the first group ate more pretzels on average. In another experiment, the researchers found that when the participants simply imagined chewing noises they consumed less.

RELATED: How Putting a Mirror in Your Dining Room Might Help You Lose Weight

The takeaway? Being mindful of your munching could lead you to have fewer chips, or cookies, or nuts. And that so-called crunch effect can make a difference in the long-term. As Elder put it, “over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up.”


Why Climbing on the Scale More Often Can Help You Lose Weight

FRIDAY, March 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Want to boost the odds your diet might work? Head to those bathroom scales more often.

That’s the finding from a new study that suggests consistent self-weighing might improve people’s daily determination to shed pounds.

One expert who reviewed the study wasn’t surprised.

“Self-monitoring has been shown in many weight-management studies to improve weight loss and maintenance,” said nutritionist Nancy Copperman, of Northwell Health in Lake Success, N.Y.

“In this study, more frequent and consistent weighing had a positive effect on a person’s confidence to lose weight—which might be an explanation” for the strategy’s success, said Copperman, who is assistant vice president of public health at Northwell.

In the new study, a team led by Yaguang Zheng, of the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, tracked outcomes for 148 people. All of the study participants took part in a 12-month behavioral weight-loss study and were grouped according to how often they weighed themselves as they were dieting.

Those in the “high/consistent” group weighed themselves at least six days a week throughout the study period. Those in the “moderate/declined” group tended to slack off their self-weigh-ins (declining from four or five days a week to two days a week). And those in the “minimal/declined” group decreased their self-weigh-ins from five or six days a week to no weigh-ins during the week.

At six and 12 months, the researchers assessed what they called the participants’ “confidence to avoid eating” in certain situations—such as when they felt down, when food was readily available, and when there was any social pressure to eat.

By the end of the study, participants in the high/consistent self-weighing group had the largest increases in their confidence to avoid overeating, while dieters in the other two groups experienced no change, the Boston team said.

Another expert called the results “dramatic.”

“There seems to be a clear relationship between people whose confidence to avoid eating under varied situations and moods increased over the year they were followed, and the frequency at which they weighed themselves,” said Columbia University nutritionist Pamela Koch.

But does that change in determination to stay away from excess eating actually lead to more weight loss in people who frequently weighed themselves? Koch said the answer isn’t clear.

“The study’s conclusions might be much more significant if those who had high confidence and high weighing behaviors were also those who gained the least, or no weight at all, over that year,” said Koch, who directs Columbia’s Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy.

The study was to be presented Friday at an American Heart Association meeting in Phoenix. Experts note that research presented at medical meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains how to choose a safe and successful weight-loss program.