Potatoes link to Obesity and Diabetes

Potatoes are one of the world’s most popular food crops.

They are commonly eaten as a snack or fast food, such as potato chips or French fries, which are undoubtedly unhealthy in large amounts. But are boiled or baked potatoes also unhealthy?

Recently, a team of Danish researchers conducted a meta-analysis of studies examining the association of potatoes with obesity and diabetes. Below is a detailed summary of its findings.

Sack Of Potatoes On Wooden Table

Background

Potatoes are a major staple in the Western diet.

They are mainly composed of starch, which makes up 9–23% of their raw weight (1).

Starch is a complex carb composed of chains of glucose molecules. It is easily digested and may cause spikes in blood sugar levels when eaten on its own.

Foods like potatoes generally rank high on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how much a particular food increases your blood sugar level (2).

As a result, some people believe that eating a lot of potatoes may increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases (34).

Article Reviewed

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining whether eating potatoes raises the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies.

Study Design

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies investigating whether potatoes cause obesity, type 2 diabetes or heart disease in healthy adults.

The researchers searched for all relevant articles using several major electronic databases.

The inclusion criteria included the following:

  • The study had to include adults aged 18 or older.
  • The participants had to be free of diabetes or heart disease.
  • Intervention studies had to use white or yellow potatoes.
  • Intervention studies had to compare potatoes with other sources of carbs.
  • Single-meal studies were excluded.

Bottom Line: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of potatoes on weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The Selected Studies

A total 103 articles were fully assessed, but only 13 met all of the inclusion criteria. Below are summaries of the included studies, all of which were prospective observational studies.


Mozaffarian D, et al. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011.

This large prospective observational study in American adults showed that eating 1 serving of potatoes (all types combined) daily was linked with a slight weight gain (1.28 lbs) over a 4-year period.

The study also showed that French fries were associated with the most weight gain (3.35 lbs), whereas boiled, baked or mashed potatoes were much less fattening.


Halkjær J, et al. Dietary predictors of 5-year changes in waist circumference.Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2009.

Each 60 calorie-per-day increase in potato consumption was linked with a 0.1 cm increase in waist circumference in women over a 5-year period. This association was not statistically significant in men.


French SA, et al. Predictors of weight change over two years among a population of working adults: the Healthy Worker Project. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 1994.

High intakes of French fries were significantly associated with weight gain in women.


Halkjær J, et al. Food and drinking patterns as predictors of 6-year BMI-adjusted changes in waist circumference. British Journal of Nutrition, 2004.

This study found no significant links between eating potatoes and waist circumference.


Linde JA, et al. Specific food intake, fat and fiber intake, and behavioral correlates of BMI among overweight and obese members of a managed care organization. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2006.

This study found no significant association between total potato consumption and body mass index (BMI). However, when French fries were examined separately, they were significantly associated with a higher BMI.


Halton TL, et al. Potato and french fry consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006.

Eating potatoes was linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in American women. However, this only applied to obese participants with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30.

In contrast, French fry consumption increased the risk of type 2 diabetes irrespective of people’s BMI.


Salmerón J, et al. Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1997.

A high intake of potatoes was linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.


Villegas R, et al. Prospective study of dietary carbohydrates, glycemic index, glycemic load, and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in middle-aged Chinese women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007.

Eating a lot of potatoes was linked with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged Chinese women.


Salmerón J, et al. Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of NIDDM in men.Diabetes Care, 1997.

High consumption of potatoes was not associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in American men when French fries were excluded.

However, when French fries were examined separately, they were found to be significantly linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.


Liu S, et al. A prospective study of fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care, 2004.

Potato consumption was not significantly associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.


Hodge AM, et al. Glycemic index and dietary fiber and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 2004.

Total potato consumption was not significantly linked with the risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women.


Feskens EJM, et al. Dietary factors determining diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. Diabetes Care, 1995.

This prospective observational study had a 20-year follow-up. It found that higher intakes of potatoes were associated with lower 2-hour blood sugar levels.


Joshipura KJ, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake in relation to risk of ischemic stroke. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999.

This study in American adults that were followed for 8–14 years found no significant links between potatoes and ischemic stroke.


Finding 1: Potatoes Were Not Consistently Associated with Obesity

Five observational studies examining the association of potatoes with weight gain or obesity were selected.

They included a total of 170,413 participants and had follow-ups ranging from 2 to 20 years.

Only two of these studies reported a positive association between potatoes and measures of overweight or obesity (56).

On the other hand, when French fries were examined separately, they were more strongly linked with obesity than boiled, baked or mashed potatoes (57).

This is probably because French fries are high in unhealthy fat and associated with fast food and unhealthy dietary habits (8).

Bottom Line: Observational studies examining the association of potatoes with body weight have provided mixed results.

Finding 2: Potatoes Were Not Consistently Linked with Diabetes

Seven of the included studies examined the association of potatoes with type 2 diabetes (T2D). They included a total of 326,675 participants.

Their results were mixed. Two studies in American women linked high total potato consumption with an increased risk of T2D (910), whereas other studies suggested that potatoes may protect against T2D (1112).

However, French fries were more consistently linked with an increased risk of diabetes than boiled, baked or mashed potatoes (91013).

This is likely because French fries are high in unhealthy fat. Additionally, those who eat a lot of them are generally less health-conscious.

Bottom Line: Observational studies examining the association of potatoes with the risk of type 2 diabetes have provided inconsistent results.

Finding 3: Potatoes Were Not Associated with Heart Disease

The researchers included only one study investigating the association of potatoes with heart disease.

This prospective observational study consisted of two large cohorts, including a total of 114,276 participants who were followed for 8–14 years (14).

Eating potatoes was not significantly linked with an increased risk of ischemic stroke.

Bottom Line: Potatoes were not significantly linked with an increased risk of heart disease.

Limitations

Although this meta-analysis didn’t have any apparent faults, the conclusions were based on weak evidence.

No long-term randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria, and all of the included studies were observational.

Summary and Real-Life Application

This study showed that potatoes are not consistently linked with an increased risk of weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes or heart disease in apparently healthy people.

However, most studies suggest that eating a lot of French fries may increase the risk of chronic disease.

Since all of the studies had an observational design, the true association of potatoes with obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease remains unclear.

Well-designed, long-term randomized controlled trials are needed before any solid conclusions can be reached.

Coconut Water Or Gatorade


There are many health claim benefits that the coconut water producing companies are touting. Among the claims are: it will boost circulation, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, raise the metabolism, treat kidney stones, reduce the risk of cancer and stroke, has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, helps to carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, removes toxins from the body, aids with digestion and prevents constipation.

Coconut water is the juice found in young, green coconuts. It has a sweet nutty taste. Coconut water has long been the standard drink of countries where coconut trees are abundant such as Southeast Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. Natives usually just bore a hole in a fresh nut and drink it with a straw because once the water is exposed to air it will rapidly lose most of its nutritional value and will begin to ferment. Coconut water is naturally sterile, isotonic and has the same level of electrolytes as found in human blood. It was used during WWII as a plasma replacement for wounded soldiers.

Coconut water should not be confused with coconut milk which is the high-fat emulsion of mature coconut meat. Coconut water is about 95% water and is fat-free, cholesterol-free and full of the electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Coconut water naturally contains about 11 or 12 grams of sugar, which adds up to about 50 or 60 calories per serving.

Coconut water companies main claim is that coconut water is the best drink to re-hydrate the body after exercising. Nutritional experts state that coconut water can be a good drink for hydration after normal exercising but warn that it may not be the best drink after vigorous and strenuous exercising due to the high loss of sodium in sweat. The replacement of sodium after water loss is much more important than potassium. Coconut water contains about 569 mg of potassium and 160 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which is formulated for athletes and contains around 52.5 mg of potassium and 192 mg of sodium. Plus coconut water contains very little protein and carbohydrates, which are essential for rapid recovery from dehydration.

Coconut water costs on average about 62 cents an ounce whereas Gatorade costs on average at retail around 24 cents per ounce. So, the choice is yours, coconut water as an expensive re-hydrating drink or as an occasional refreshing drink that may be beneficial to your health. Much like the hype over Garcinia Cambogia – it has some benefits, but is way too expensive in our opinion.

As a side note, many people order young green coconuts that come from Thailand to drink the fresh coconut water straight from the nut. Be aware that young Thai Coconuts must undergo intensive chemical treatment to assure a long shelf life.

The coconuts may be dipped in formaldehyde to help prevent molding and to keep the meat white. The formaldehyde will leech into the fruit and water. If ordering fresh young green Thai coconuts, or any other fresh young green coconuts that come from overseas markets for that matter, do your research on the company and inquire if the coconuts have been treated before buying and consuming.

Obese People’s Brains Respond Differently to Sugar

Many people believe that excessive sugar intake is one of the main reasons for the “obesity epidemic.”

This is not because sugar is high in calories. Instead, evidence suggests that sugar may increase cravings and promote higher overall calorie intake.

Recently, a team of researchers examined the effects of sugar — glucose and fructose — on brain activity in lean and obese adolescents. Here is a detailed summary of their findings.

Obese Woman Happily Eating Ice Cream Cone

Background

High intakes of sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, have been associated with an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese.

The two most common forms of simple sugars (monosaccharides) in the diet are glucose and fructose. In foods, they often occur together or are combined in the form of sucrose (table sugar).

Some researchers have suggested that sugar may be addictive, similarly to some narcotic drugs, explaining its link to obesity (12).

Although several studies support this idea, strong evidence is still lacking.

Article Reviewed

This study examined the effects of glucose and fructose on blood flow in the brain of lean and obese adolescents.

Altered Brain Response to Drinking Glucose and Fructose in Obese Adolescents.

Study Design

This observational study investigated the effects of eating glucose and fructose on brain blood flow and appetite hormones in lean and obese adolescents.

A total 38 adolescents were recruited — 14 lean and 24 obese. They were 13–19 years old and apparently healthy.

On separate occasions after an overnight fast, the participants consumed 75 grams of glucose or 75 grams of fructose, dissolved in 300 ml of cherry-flavored water.

Afterwards, the researchers measured the following:

  • Brain blood flow: The researchers assessed cerebral blood flow (brain perfusion) in different brain regions, using pulsed arterial spin labeling (PASL) and functional MRI. The brain scans took an hour.
  • Glucose: Every 10 minutes the researchers took blood samples to measure blood sugar (glucose).
  • Fructose: Circulating levels of fructose were measured 20, 40 and 60 minutes after drinking the glucose and fructose beverages.
  • Appetite hormones: Ghrelin, insulin, leptin and adiponectin were also measured in blood samples.
  • Self-rated appetite: At the beginning and end of each session, the participants were asked to rate their feelings of hunger, satiety and fullness using a visual analog scale.

Bottom Line: This observational study examined the effects of eating glucose and fructose on brain activity in lean and obese adolescents.

Finding 1: Obese Adolescents’ Brains Responded Differently to Sugar

The researchers discovered that the brains of obese adolescents responded differently to sugar consumption, compared to those of lean adolescents.

In obese individuals, eating glucose or fructose reduced blood flow in the prefrontal cortex — a brain region involved with decision making and behavioral choices.

Glucose also increased blood flow in the hypothalamus — a region involved with appetite — whereas fructose increased blood flow in the ventral striatum — a brain region involved with food rewards, cravings and pleasure (3).

In contrast, when normal-weight individuals ate the same amount of glucose, blood flow increased in the prefrontal cortex, while remaining unchanged in the hypothalamus and ventral striatum.

Interpreting these findings, the authors speculated that sugar intake may reduce conscious control of sugar intake and increase brain activity involved with food reward processing. These effects might promote the overconsumption of sugar.

The results are supported by a previous study showing that obese adolescents had higher ratings of disinhibition (lack of restraint) and impulsivity (4).

Animal studies have also found that regular sugar intake may lead to binge drinking of sugar-sweetened beverages, sugar cravings and increased consumption of other foods when sugar is not available (1).

A previous study in lean adults showed that eating glucose reduced blood flow in the hypothalamus and ventral striatum, whereas fructose did not significantly affect blood flow (5).

Taken together, the results of the current and previous studies indicate that regular and excessive sugar intake might lead to sugar addiction in some people.

Bottom Line: In obese adolescents, sugar increased brain activity in regions involved with pleasure and cravings and reduced activity in regions involved with decision making.

Finding 2: Eating Sugar Increased Hunger in Obese Adolescents

Hunger ratings increased significantly after eating glucose and fructose in obese adolescents, whereas they remained unchanged in those who were lean.

However, ratings of fullness were higher among lean adolescents after drinking the fructose beverage.

These findings suggest that sugar intake may promote excessive calorie intake in obese individuals.

Bottom Line: Eating either glucose or fructose significantly increased self-rated feelings of hunger in obese adolescents. In contrast, glucose and fructose did not affect hunger ratings in lean participants.

Finding 3: Effects on Circulating Levels of Hormones and Sugar

Blood sugar (glucose) rose similarly in both obese and lean adolescents after consuming glucose. However, insulin levels were slightly higher in those who were obese.

A similar but insignificant increase in blood sugar was seen after eating the fructose.

Normally, glucose and fructose consumption reduces the levels of ghrelin — the hunger hormone. Compared to lean adolescents, this suppression of ghrelin levels was lower in obese adolescents.

These changes were associated with changes in blood flow in several brain regions — the hypothalamus, thalamus and hippocampus.

The authors speculated that changes in ghrelin and insulin may possibly contribute to the differences in brain activity. However, the role of insulin and ghrelin in obesity is still unclear.

Bottom Line: The hormones ghrelin and insulin might be involved with the glucose and fructose-related changes in brain activity. However, their exact role is still poorly understood.

Limitations

The main limitation of the current study is its assessment of brain activity. It measured neuronal activity indirectly by assessing brain blood flow (brain perfusion), a marker of neuronal activity.

Second, the study didn’t include a control group and the data was observational. For this reason, we cannot rule out that factors other than sugar affected brain blood flow.

Third, the researchers didn’t measure eating behavior directly.

Finally, the simple sugars glucose and fructose are usually not eaten in isolation. Rather, they’re found in foods or consumed together as sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In short, this study showed that sugar (fructose and glucose) has different effects on brain activity in obese and lean adolescents.

Specifically, sugar intake among obese individuals was associated with increased activity (blood flow) in brain regions involved with pleasure and food-reward processing and reduced activity in regions involved with decision making.

These findings indicate that obese adolescents are more likely to succumb to cravings and eat excessive amounts of sugar. However, further studies are needed to confirm these findings by measuring eating behavior directly.

Although it’s easier said than done, limiting your sugar intake is one of the most important things you can do to lose weight.

Does Cumin REALLY help with Weight Loss?

cumin seedThough  you’ve probably heard of cumin, I bet you didn’t know that it can help you with losing weight.

Add Cumin to your diet and you’ll get an increase in your metabolism, kick your immune system into better gear, naturally detox your body on a regular basis and burn fat way faster.

Known as Jeera in India, Cumin is very common in African, Indian, Asian and Latin American dishes and offers a wide variety of health benefits… both for physical and mental health.

Weight Loss – More effective than prescription drugs!

A recent study of 78 men and women showed Cumin as effective as prescription drug Orlistat (brand names alli or Xenical) for weight loss, without the nasty side effects (1).

Over the 8 week trial, those receiving Cumin lost an average of 2-3 lbs – better than those taking Orlistat.

Another recent research study at Shahid University tested women on a controlled diet who were given cumin powder vs placebo.

The women given cumin powder lost 3 more pounds, and decreased their body fat % almost 15% vs less than 5% for the control group (2).

The dosage tested was 3 grams – or about 1 teaspoon of cumin powder daily, mixed with yogurt.

Abdominal Fat Burning

Both of these studies showed that not only is cumin great at overall helping your body not to build and store fat, but it’s specifically good at targeting your abdominal fat.

Cumin is not a magic diet pill but it does appear to be as effective for weight loss as popular prescription diet drugs

money bag

Why you haven’t heard about Cumin for Weight Loss

Its pretty simple really – Cumin is readily available at any grocery store, which means that:

1. Big Pharma companies can’t make huge dollars selling you a prescription

2. Scammers can’t tell you its a miracle pill and sell you their pills for $40 a bottle.

Its probably not as strong as Lipodrene, but research shows it is effective for weight loss, proven for thousands of years to have no bad side effects, and many other positive health benefits.

Other benefits of Cumin besides Weight Loss

heart

Besides the 2 studies mentioned above, there have been numerous studies that demonstrate positive

Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides 

In the study at Shahid University, those taking cumin lowered their triglycerides 23 points and nearly 10 points off their LDL cholesterol levels (2).

Improve Mental Health with Cumin

Cumin is also beneficial to mental health,  and can help you improve your memory and sharpen your concentration skills (4).

Sleep

sleepCumin has been prescribed for thousands of years to help alleviate insomnia.

Recent studies suggest the anti-stress and relaxation properties probably account for the long recognized  benefits as a sleep aid (4).

Digestive system

In Indian cuisine it’s commonly combined with a number or other spices, such as ginger, fenugreek, black pepper and turmeric powder.

This helps increase the effect that it has on your digestive system and helps your body absorb more nutrients, which in turn helps prevent your body from storing fat(6)

Cumin is an amazing source of iron, which is important for ensuring a healthy digestive system. It helps your body produce energy more effectively, carry a healthy supply of oxygen to the tissues in your body, and improves your immune system.

Arthritis, Asthma, and more

Cumin has also been proven to help those who suffer from arthritis, asthma and kidney disease.

Side Effects
This study of cumin (5) with subjects taking up to 20 grams of cumin daily showed it was “well tolerated with no significant adverse side effects.

Where to Buy

Virtually any grocery store will have Cumin in their spice section.

If you don’t want to carry a bottle around with you to sprinkle on your meals, you might try taking some capsules along.

They cost more than the powdered spice, but some people find the convenience to be worth it.

We did carry Cumin capsules in our store, but they are out of stock right now. The amazon product at left is the only other source we could find.

Final Thought: Add Cumin to your diet

In one of the studies demonstrating the best weight loss results, the test subjects mixed cumin powder in their yogurt, so that is a good option for many people.

You’ll need to carry some with you during the day since it works best taking it 3 times a day.

Just remember to take 500-1,000mg 3 times a day with a full glass of water before, or with your meals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuminum cyminum extract attenuates scopolamine-induced memory loss and stress-induced.

Effect of cumin powder on body composition and lipid profile in overweight and obese women.

Weight loss in animals and humans treated with “weighlevel”, a combination of four medicinal plants

One year sustainability of risk factor change from a 9-week 

The influence of different single dietary sources 

Methanolic extract of Cuminum cyminum inhibits ovariectomy

African Mango raised good hormone levels

Featured on Dr Oz show

Dr Oz dietOn his TV show Dr Oz featured African Mango on his popular. He called it a “breakthrough supplement” and a “miracle in your medicine cabinet”, the “#1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat”.

  • Melts stubborn body fat
  • Miracle in your medicine cabinet
  • Decrease weight and waist circumference

Proven weight loss in University studies

According to a 2009 study on Irvingia Gabonensis (African Mango), it steps in and acts a completely natural appetite suppressant. When you take African Mango, it actually starts to interact with and help your brain send different signals about how hungry you are.

102 participants in a ten-week study were given either a placebo or 150mg of African Mango. This was done twice a day before eating a meal. Those taking African Mango capsules lost nearly 30 pounds in ten weeks, as well as more than six inches around the waist and nearly 20% body fat. LDL cholesterol levels improved, too. This was a double-blind study.

Its the seeds, not the fruit…

Dr Oz diet

The African Mango is a fruit that’s native to African rainforest. It is very different than other Mangoes, and it is actually the SEEDS, called “dika nuts” that are ground up and used to curb hunger.

Used for Centuries by natives in Africa

Dika Nuts have been used by natives in Africa for centuries, to ward off hunger on long hunting trips. Lately, it’s been studied for more than 20 years… Actually, you might be surprised to learn that it’s been studied more than ephedrine and fen-phen.

Leptin is the key

You’ve likely never heard of Leptin. It’s a hormone that plays a role in how big your appetite is and you get it from African Mango. In fact, you won’t find any other supplement proven to help give you a good, balanced level of Leptin. Mango supplements have even been shown to lower your C-reactive proteins, which is commonly just referred to as CPR. The combination of CPR and Leptin in your system will greatly help you keep your appetite under control.

African Mango key to the Superfruit Diet

Superfruit is a term used to describe fruits that have many positive health benefits in addition to aiding weight loss. The main ingredients in the Superfruit Diet are all super healthy productsrecommended by Dr Oz on his show and in magazine articles such as the one here.

African Mango is a safe, natural way to stop hunger. Combined with the other ingredients recommended by Dr Oz, the Superfruit Diet is the most powerful healthy diet aid available.

No patent, so ignored by big Pharma

Sadly, when something like this is discovered, it’s often ignored or even buried by the government and big pharmaceutical companies. There’s just not a huge profit to be made when something this powerful is naturally found in nature instead of something they can patent like the recently announced Belviq, or Qnexa. Those have multi-billion dollar investments that will be recouped thru huge profit margins, even though they are much less effective than natural products like African Mango, Raspberry Ketone, or Green Coffee Extract.


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Can the Menstralean Diet Help You Lose Weight?

The Menstralean diet is a cutting edge weight loss strategy for women.

Basically, it’s synchronized with the phases of the menstrual cycle, and scientists believe that it may be easier to adhere to than the traditional approach.

Recently, a team of researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing the Menstralean diet with a conventional weight loss diet.

Here is a detailed summary of their findings.

Fit Woman Holding Gym Bag And Phone

Background

In women of reproductive age, the menstrual cycle is a recurring monthly process that prepares the body for possible pregnancy.

On average, the length of the menstrual cycle is 28 days and can be divided into three phases:

  1. Menstruation (days 1–4).
  2. Follicular phase (days 5–15).
  3. Luteal phase (days 16–28).

The menstrual cycle is characterized by metabolic changes and fluctuations in hormones. Compared to menstruation and the follicular phase, the luteal phase is associated with the following:

  • More frequent food cravings, especially for carbs and fat (12).
  • Increased calorie intake (3).
  • Increased calorie expenditure (4).

Simply put, women tend to have a greater appetite during the luteal phase, which can promote weight gain. During this phase, it may also be harder to stick to a calorie-reduced diet.

The Menstralean weight loss program is adjusted to the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Some researchers believe that this makes it easier to follow in the long-term, compared to conventional, calorie-reduced diets.

Article Reviewed

A team of Danish researchers examined the effectiveness of the Menstralean diet and exercise program on weight loss in women.

A weight-loss program adapted to the menstrual cycle increases weight loss in healthy, overweight, premenopausal women: a 6-mo randomized controlled trial.

Study Design

The purpose of this 6-month, randomized controlled trial was to examine the effectiveness of a weight loss program designed to moderate the effects of the menstrual cycle.

A total of 31 healthy but overweight, premenopausal women completed the study. None of them were taking hormonal contraceptives.

Each of the women followed an exercise program and calorie-reduced diet that provided 1,600 kcal per day.

They were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

  • Menstralean diet: This diet was tailored to the metabolic changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. It changed depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle (see chart below).
  • Control diet: This was a simple, calorie-reduced diet that contained 45–50% of calories from carbs, 15–20% from protein and 30% from fat.

All women in the Menstralean diet group started the program on the first day of their menstrual cycle.

The Menstralean diet was a 28-day plan designed to match the three phases of the menstrual cycle. Specifically, the proportion of protein, fat and carbs differed depending on the phase, as shown in the chart below:

Carbs Protein Fat By Phase

The luteal phase (phase 3) is associated with more frequent food cravings and increased calorie intake (3).

For this reason, the participants were allowed to eat an additional 200 kcal of dark chocolate per day during phase 3.

What’s more, the diet in phases 2 and 3 provided higher amounts of protein (30% of total calories) in hopes that it would reduce appetite and cravings, making the program easier to follow.

All of the participants were also advised to exercise. On the Menstralean diet, the exercise routine changed depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle:

  • Phase 1 (days 1-5): Light training once a day. This involved walking, yoga or stretching.
  • Phase 2 (days 6-14): Circuit training consisting of weight and aerobic exercises 2 days a week and cardio 2–3 days a week.
  • Phase 3 (days 15-28): Weight training 2 days a week and cardio 2–3 days a week.
  • Control (days 1-28): Vigorous exercise for half an hour 2 days of the week but moderate exercise on the other 5 days. This exercise program corresponded to Danish public health guidelines.

At the start, midpoint and end of the study, the researchers measured body weight and waist circumference.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of the Menstralean diet, a weight loss program that’s synchronized with the menstrual cycle.

Finding: The Menstralean Weight Loss Program Caused Greater Weight Loss

Weight loss was similar in both groups when average values were compared.

However, when participants who didn’t fully comply with the program were excluded from the calculations, those in the Menstralean group turned out to have lost significantly more weight, compared to the control group.

These findings are shown in the chart below:

Menstralean Vs Control Group Weight Loss

Simply put, those who followed the Menstralean weight loss program lost an additional 10 pounds (5 kg) over a 6-month period, compared to the control group.

Waist circumference also decreased by additional 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) in the Menstralean group, compared to the control group.

The protein content of the Menstralean diet was higher than the control group’s. Specifically, protein provided 30% of the total calories most days on the Menstralean diet but only 15–20% on the control diet.

Eating more protein is an effective weight loss strategy and may have been responsible for at least some of the differences between groups (56).

This is the first study to examine the effectiveness of a weight loss program that is synchronized with the menstrual cycle. Further studies need to confirm its findings.

Bottom Line: Those participants who managed to follow the Menstralean weight loss program lost significantly more weight than those in the control group.

Limitations

This study had several limitations.

First, it was not possible to blind the participants to their treatment. Those in the Menstralean group may have realized that they had been assigned to a new and unusual weight loss program.

As a result, they may have become more motivated than those in the control group.

Accordingly, the drop-out rate was much higher in the control group (61%) than the Menstralean group (38%).

Second, the drop-out rate was quite high, suggesting that the weight loss program may have been hard to follow and not for everyone.

Third, the Menstralean diet may not be relevant for women taking hormonal contraceptives.

Finally, the menstrual cycle is highly variable between women. Accurately synchronizing a weight loss program with the menstrual cycle may be difficult.

Bottom Line: The study’s main limitations were a high drop-out rate and indications of lower motivation in the control group.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In short, this study suggests that synchronizing a weight loss program with the phases of the menstrual cycle makes it easier to follow. This approach was called the Menstralean diet.

However, the study had several limitations that make the findings difficult to interpret.

First, the Menstralean diet provided higher amounts of protein, compared to the control group.

Second, differences in drop-out rates suggest that participants on the control diet may have been less motivated. Of course, this also supports the idea that the Menstralean diet is easier to stick to, but we do not know for sure.

Simply put, it’s debatable whether matching a diet to the phases of the menstrual cycle is more effective than a traditional approach. Further studies need to confirm the findings.

High-Protein Breakfasts Burn Calories and Reduce Hunger

Obesity is a serious health concern.

In both children and adults, it may increase the risk of several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

For successful weight loss, multiple strategies are usually required. One effective approach may be to eat more protein  (1).

For this reason, researchers set out to see if high-protein breakfasts could help burn calories and reduce appetite in overweight and normal-weight children.

High Protein Egg Breakfast with Toast

Background

“Calories burned” refers to the rate at which the body uses energy.

In more scientific terms, it is known as energy expenditure. When energy expenditure rises after a meal, it is referred to as the thermic effect of food.

Compared to fat and carbs, protein has a greater thermic effect and is considered very weight-loss friendly (2).

Protein contains many fewer calories than fat, by weight. And, although its calorie content is equal to that of carbs, eating more protein appears to speed up our metabolism. This temporarily increases the amount of calories burned (34).

Article Reviewed

Researchers at the University of Arkansas set out to examine whether a high-protein breakfast could help burn calories and reduce appetite, when compared to a high-carb breakfast.

The results were recently published in the Journal of Nutrition:

Breakfasts Higher in Protein Increase Postprandial Energy Expenditure, Increase Fat Oxidation, and Reduce Hunger in Overweight Children from 8 to 12 Years of Age.

Basic Study Design

The study was a randomized, crossover study in normal-weight and overweight children, aged 8–12.

A total of 35 girls and boys participated, but only 29 completed the study.

The children were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

  1. High-protein breakfast: This breakfast contained 21% protein (18 g), 52% carbs and 27% fat. The calorie content was 344 kcal. It consisted of an egg, egg whites, butter, orange juice and two slices of white bread.
  2. High-carb breakfast: This breakfast contained 4% protein (3 g), 67% carbs, and 29% fat. The calorie content was 327 kcal. It consisted of a frozen waffle, butter, maple syrup and orange juice.

Since the study had a crossover design, all participants had both types of breakfast on separate occasions.

The two breakfasts had a similar calorie content. The fiber and fat content was also controlled.

Immediately after eating breakfast, energy expenditure, fat and carb oxidation, appetite and blood sugar were measured over a 4-hour period.

Additionally, food intake was estimated at the end of the testing period by providing participants with a free lunch buffet and recording how much they ate.

Bottom Line: The study was a randomized, crossover trial in overweight and normal-weight children. The study compared the effects of high-protein and high-carb breakfasts on appetite and calories burned.

Finding 1: High-Protein Breakfasts Help Burn More Calories

The high-protein breakfast increased the amount of calories burned in both the normal-weight and overweight children.

Here is an overview of the main results:

  • Fat oxidation was 16% higher after the high-protein breakfast, compared to the high-carb breakfast.
  • Carb oxidation was 32% higher 4 hours after the high-protein breakfast, compared to the high-carb breakfast.

The effect of protein on calories burned is well known. Many studies have shown that high-protein meals increase the amount of calories burned, compared to meals that are high in carbs (25).

Bottom Line: The high-protein breakfast increased the amount of calories burned after the meal more than the high-carb breakfast did. This is supported by previous studies.

Finding 2: Protein is More Filling Than Carbs

All participants were less hungry and felt more full after the high-protein breakfast, compared to the high-carb breakfast (stay away from applesauce ?).

Here are the results:

  • Hunger was 14% less after the high-protein breakfast.
  • Fullness was 32% greater after the high-protein breakfast.
  • Desire to eat was 30% less after the high-protein breakfast.

All of these differences were independent of body weight.

These results are supported by previous studies showing that eating high-protein meals may increase fullness and reduce hunger (56).

However, in the present study there was no significant difference in food intake between groups at the lunch buffet.

This is supported by one study in children who had a low-glycemic breakfast. While they remained full for a longer time, there was no effect on food intake at lunch (7).

Bottom Line: The high-protein breakfast was more filling than the high-carb breakfast, resulting in decreased hunger and increased fullness.

Finding 3: Protein Helps Burn More Calories in Overweight Children

In overweight children, the high-protein breakfast appeared to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure to a greater extent than in normal-weight children.

After the high-protein breakfast, the energy expenditure was 4.09 and 3.68 kcal/240 min among the overweight and normal-weight children, respectively.

This indicates that protein may have stronger effects on burning calories in overweight children.

Bottom Line: The high-protein breakfast helped burn more calories in overweight children than it did in normal-weight children.

Finding 4: High-Protein Breakfasts May Help Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

Both breakfasts resulted in similar increases in blood sugar.

However, there were some differences:

  • Blood sugar levels were 10% higher 30 minutes after the high-carb breakfast, but only among normal-weight children.
  • Blood sugar levels were 6.3% higher 240 minutes after the high-protein breakfast.

These results indicate that the high-protein meal helps lower blood sugar levels and preventing large fluctuations.

This is supported by previous studies showing that diets high in protein may improve blood sugar control (8910).

Bottom Line: There were only small differences in blood sugar levels between groups. However, there were some indications that a high-protein breakfast may be better at stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Limitations

The study had a few limitations:

  • The effects of high-protein and high-carb breakfasts were examined with only one test meal for each.
  • The participants were children. It is unclear if the results can be generalized to adults.
  • The study had few participants. A greater number of participants might have given different results.
  • The overweight and normal-weight participants had breakfasts with a similar calorie content. Since overweight children presumably have higher calorie intakes, this might have affected the results.
  • The high-protein breakfast contained only 22% protein. A higher protein content could have given different results.

Summary

In short, the study shows that high-protein breakfasts can help burn calories and reduce hunger.

They temporarily cause more calories to be burned, when compared to high-carb breakfasts. Additionally, they may help reduce appetite for a few hours.

At the end of the day, adding protein to your meals may be a valuable long-term strategy against weight gain and obesity.

Carrageenan may be BAD for your health

Is Carrageenan Bad For You Gene Bruno

Carrageenan, an extract of red seaweed, is a good source of soluble fiber. It is widely used in the food industry, for its gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.

Carrageenan is a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatin in some applications. It has also been the subject of many long-term dietary studies under defined regulatory conditions en route to its current global regulatory status.

While some indicate that carrageenan safely passes through rat GI tracts without adverse effect when it is a dietary ingredient, other animal dietary studies have observed colitis-like disease and tumor promotion. This has caused some people to be concerned about the safety of carrageenan when used in dietary supplements.

The question of safety
So what is the bottom line? Is carrageenan a safe or unsafe dietary ingredient for humans? To answer this question, it is important to consider the amount of carrageenan used in animal studies. In a published scientific review called, “Review of Harmful Gastrointestinal Effects of Carrageenan in Animal Experiments,”1 the author discusses a variety of studies.

When examining those in which the animals consumed carrageenan in water or food, negative effects were observed at levels of 0.2 to 15 grams per kilogram of body weight. That would translate to 15 to 1,125 grams of carrageenan daily for a 165 pound human being. At the high end of that range, that’s the equivalent of eating 4500 calories a day just from carrageenan alone.

My point is, the amounts used in these studies are typically far more than people would likely consume on a daily basis in dietary supplements; and speaking of people, it is important to note that the concerns about the use of carrageenan are based solely upon animal studies, not human studies. Nevertheless, there are human studies on carrageenan, and the results are different than those of the animal studies.

Human studies on carrageenan
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study,2 255 patients with peptic ulcers received 0.75 g of carrageenan or a placebo each day for 22 months.

The results were that, compared to placebo, carrageenan was effective for the treatment of peptic ulcer without noticeable side effects (p<0.025). The global judgment of effectiveness was made based chiefly on the x-ray and gastroscopic findings, and then on the outcome of such subjective symptoms as retching, vomiting, nausea, and anorexia.

Another randomized crossover study3 aimed to determine the effect of carrageenan incorporation into a meal on carbohydrate absorption in human subjects.

The concept being that soluble fiber decreases the amount of carbohydrates that reach the bloodstream by delaying their absorption in the small intestine. This was tested by measuring blood glucose levels, a reflection of carbohydrate absorption.

The total dietary fiber (TDF) content of the carrageenan (2.03 percent) meal was about three times that of the control meal (0.68 percent). The meal provided 14.84g (meal with carrageenan) and 3.45 g of TDF (meal without carrageenan), and were fed to the same ten fasting subjects at different times.

The results showed the average blood glucose levels of subjects were significantly lower after consuming the carrageenan meal than when consuming the regular meal (P <or = 0.05 at 15, 45, and 90 minutes). Likewise, there was a significant lowering of total cholesterol (P <0.0014) and triglyceride (P <0.0006) levels after eight weeks with carrageenan. In fact, levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) increased significantly (P <0.0071) after eight weeks with carrageenan.

No side effects were reported in the study. The researchers concluded that the blood sugar lowering-effects of carrageenan could prove useful in the prevention and management of metabolic conditions such as diabetes.

There are also some human cell line studies, but I didn’t include data on those because they don’t necessarily reflect what happens in a live human body.

Conclusion
In my opinion, at the doses typically found in dietary supplements, carrageenan is neither potentially beneficial nor potentially harmful—there is just too little of it. Personally, I would not hesitate to use dietary supplements that contain carrageenan as part of their make-up.

References

  1. Tobacman JK. Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environ Health Perspect. Oct 2001;109(10): 983–94.
  2. Yamagata S, Ishimori A, Hachiro S, et al. Clinical Evaluation of Pharmacotherapy for Peptic Ulcer with Antipepsin Agents by Double Blind Technique – Multicenter Clinical Study. Tohoku J Exp Med. 1973;110:377–404.
  3. Dumelod BD, Ramirez RP, Tiangson CL, Barrios EB, Panlasigui LN. Carbohydrate availability of arroz caldo with lambda-carrageenan. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1999 Jul;50(4):283–9.