Societal cost savings from weight loss:
Source: Johns Hopkins University
Source: Johns Hopkins University
Two options: honey lemon chicken or marinated tofu. I know, I know that’s not a tough choice and face it, even vegans would choose the chicken if they could. But for the 150 million+ diabetics worldwide, tofu and cooked millet may become your new favorite meal. OK, so the favorite part may be an exaggeration, but hey, if a vegetarian diet can increase weight loss and improve your metabolism then it’s worth a shot, or a taste. Yep, according a new study this veggie diet beat out the conventional diabetic diet on both counts, just not the taste category. Of course with diabetes prevalence expected to double by 2025 and with one-third of the world now considered overweight, we may want to consider rewiring our taste buds.
Is it possible to be simultaneously hefty and healthy? In a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity, researchers who scrutinized 20 years of electronic health records for 3.5 million people discovered that people who were overweight, but did not have any of the metabolic problems usually linked to excess weight, were more prone to develop metabolic problems. Compared to non-overweight individuals, “healthy obese people had a 50% higher risk of heart disease, a 7% higher risk of stroke, twice the risk of heart failure and a greater risk for peripheral artery disease.” The takeaway: physicians should encourage weight loss among obese patients irrespective of metabolic abnormalities.
Ever heard of the belly-brain connection? Or about the second brain in your gut? Well here is another crazy connection between the mind and one’s midsection: electromagnetic brain stimulation—currently a treatment for major depression—promotes weight loss by improving the health of the bacteria in one’s intestines. This study, which expands upon previous research linking dTMS (deep transcranial magnetic stimulation) with reduced food cravings resulting in weight loss, found that “After five weeks of treatment, subjects receiving dTMS lost more than 3% of their body weight and more than 4% of their fat—significantly more than controls did,” according to principal investigator Livio Luzi M.D. These findings offer hope for safe, effective, and non-invasive treatments for obesity.
In the past several decades, Americans have made great strides towards social acceptance of differences in lifestyle, whether it’s including women in the workforce, minorities in politics or welcoming LGBTQ members in our communities. Many consider these good things. But, too much of a good thing can be harmful. And, our increased social acceptance of excessive body weight is an example of how a good thing may have a downside. A recent study shows American waistlines have continued to expand, but attempts at weight loss have shrunk. The hypothesis: overweight people who are OK with their shape are less motivated to lose unhealthy weight. Not good, considering obesity has a greater negative impact on one’s health than smoking, drinking alcohol and poverty.
Do I really need that brownie? This age-old question possibly just became easier to answer for some. The FDA has approved a new weight-loss device for obese patients. AspireAssist is a surgically-placed tube that drains stomach contents into the toilet (~30% of calories consumed at the prior meal). A clinical trial followed two groups of patients over a one-year period. All patients received nutrition and exercise advice but only one group of patients used the device. AspireAssist users lost an average of 12.1% of their bodyweight while the control group reduced bodyweight by 3.6%. Social media commentary has been mixed with some likening the device to bulimia. Time will reveal patient and physician receptivity to AspireAssist. We’ll leave it to the waistlines to judge its effectiveness.