Globally, nearly half of deaths due to cancer can be attributable to preventable risk factors, including the three leading risks of: smoking, drinking too much alcohol or having a high body mass index, a new paper suggests.
The research, published Thursday in the journal The Lancet, finds that 44.4% of all cancer deaths and 42% of healthy years lost could be attributable to preventable risk factors in 2019.
“To our knowledge, this study represents the largest effort to date to determine the global burden of cancer attributable to risk factors, and it contributes to a growing body of evidence aimed at estimating the risk-attributable burden for specific cancers nationally, internationally, and globally,” Dr. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and his colleagues wrote in the study.
The paper, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed the relationship between risk factors and cancer, the second leading cause of death worldwide, using data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.
The project collects and analyzes global data on deaths and disability. Murray and his colleagues zeroed in on cancer deaths and disability from 2010 to 2019 across 204 countries, examining 23 cancer types and 34 risk factors.
The leading cancers in terms of risk-attributable deaths globally in 2019 was tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer for both men and women, the researchers found.
The data also showed that risk-attributable cancer deaths are on the rise, increasing worldwide by 20.4% from 2010 to 2019. Globally, in 2019, the leading five regions in terms of risk-attributable death rates were central Europe, east Asia, North America, southern Latin America and western Europe.
“These findings highlight that a substantial proportion of cancer burden globally has potential for prevention through interventions aimed at reducing exposure to known cancer risk factors but also that a large proportion of cancer burden might not be avoidable through control of the risk factors currently estimated,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, cancer risk reduction efforts must be coupled with comprehensive cancer control strategies that include efforts to support early diagnosis and effective treatment.”
The new study “clearly delineates” the importance of primary cancer prevention and “the increasing cancer numbers related to obesity clearly demands our attention,” Dr. William Dahut, chief scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the new study, wrote in an email to CNN.
“Modifying behavior could lead to millions more lives saved greatly overshadowing the impact of any drug ever approved,” he wrote, adding, “The continued impact of tobacco despite approximately 65 years of a linkage to cancer remains very problematic.”
Although tobacco use in the United States is less than in other countries, tobacco-related cancer deaths continue to be a major problem and disproportionately impact certain states, Dahut wrote.
A separate study, published earlier this month in the International Journal of Cancer, found that the estimated proportion of cancer deaths in 2019 attributable to cigarette smoking in adults ages 25 to 79 ranged from 16.5% in Utah to 37.8% in Kentucky. The estimated total lost earnings due to cigarette smoking-attributable cancer deaths ranged from $32.2 million in Wyoming to $1.6 billion in California.
“In addition, it is no secret that alcohol use as well as the dramatic increase in the median BMI will lead to significant numbers of preventable cancer deaths,” Dahut added. “Finally, cancer screening is particularly important in those at increased risk as we move to a world where screening is precision based and adaptable.”
In an editorial that was published alongside the new study in The Lancet, Dr. Diana Sarfati and Jason Gurney of Te Aho o Te Kahu Cancer Control Agency in New Zealand wrote that preventable risk factors associated with cancer tend to be patterned according to poverty.
“Poverty influences the environments in which people live, and those environments shape the lifestyle decisions that people are able to make. Action to prevent cancer requires concerted effort within and outside the health sector. This action includes specific policies focused on reducing exposure to cancer-causing risk factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, and access to vaccinations that prevent cancer-causing infections, including hepatitis B and HPV,” Sarfati and Gurney wrote.
“The primary prevention of cancer through eradication or mitigation of modifiable risk factors is our best hope of reducing the future burden of cancer,” they wrote. “Reducing this burden will improve health and wellbeing, and alleviate the compounding effects on humans and the fiscal resourcing pressure within cancer services and the wider health sector.”
The company that makes snacks like Oreos and Ritz Crackers is having a very good year. Sales in North America have leapt more than 16% over 2019. And there’s one big reason: When we started to go into lockdown, Americans stocked up on comfort food.
Why not? We thought it would be a matter of weeks. Seven months on, that includes some extra pounds for many of us. A survey done for Nutrisystem found that 76% of Americans have gained weight, as much as 16 pounds between March and July. Another survey, done in August by RunRepeat, found that 41% of the 10,000+ respondents in the U.S. had gained more than 5 pounds since quarantine began — and those are people visiting a website devoted to running.
“Back then it was a shock to the system, the challenge of staying home,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. “Now we’re seeing people struggling with stress, boredom, and the inability to focus on making a lifestyle change when there are so many other things going on.”
So, does that mean we should just keep going the way we have been? Not so fast, says Kirkpatrick: “Some people are changing the narrative, looking at this as an opportunity.” Not going to the workplace means there’s no long commute, which makes space for exercising and cooking healthy meals. “While about half of my patients are saying this is the worst thing ever, the other half say, ‘There’s so much I can’t control, I’ll control making a true lifestyle change.’ They’ve finally got the time to do it,” she says.
Such was the case for Dianne Simmons of Frederick, MD, who has lost 40 pounds on WW (formerly Weight Watchers) during the pandemic. “COVID made me look differently at how there are some things I can control, and some I have no control over whatsoever,” she says. “I think I needed something to focus on that allowed me little victories going along. It makes 2020 feel a bit less dire.”
How to Lose Weight in Quarantine
Kirkpatrick says there’s not a single “pandemic diet” that will help shed those pounds. But she does offer some suggestions – including specific ways of eating – that take into account the times we’re living in. Complicated diets that require extensive shopping and meal prep may be too difficult or stressful to tackle right now.
To start, all the usual weight loss advice still applies: Focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, and a good night’s sleep. But given the realities of pandemic life, that may not be enough. Here’s what Kirkpatrick suggests:
Take baby steps. We’re all stressed right now, so trying to overhaul your lifestyle completely might be asking too much of yourself. Instead, start with one small step. “What’s something you can change right now?” says Kirkpatrick. “It’s too hard to make five different changes when you can just pick one to start.” For many of her patients, that means experimenting with intermittent fasting, in which you eat only during a set number of hours each day. (More on that below.)
Embrace semi-homemade. Yes, you have more time to cook. But if you just don’t have the mental energy to choose recipes and shop for specific ingredients, stock your kitchen with ready-to-use items that are easy to transform into a nutritious meal. “Now isn’t the time to become a grand chef,” says Kirkpatrick. “Learn to be a great short-order cook.” Frozen chicken breast + frozen broccoli + a pouch of pre-cooked quinoa or brown rice = dinner.
Eat on a schedule. Working from home means you’ve got food accessible 24/7, and your days probably have less structure than they used to. Plan when you’ll take a coffee break and eat lunch, and stick to it.
Consider intermittent fasting. “Even a Mediterranean or low-carb diet takes planning, and most of my patients can’t wrap their heads around that right now,” says Kirkpatrick. Intermittent fasting limits your eating to a set window of hours each day. The idea isn’t to gorge on cookies during those hours – you should still aim for healthy meals and snacks — but you don’t have to count calories or nutrients. Simply by not eating early in the morning and late at night, you’ll probably find you’re eating less. Pre-pandemic, Rachel Kahan of Brooklyn, NY, was doing a 12-hour intermittent fast, largely because her commute required eating breakfast early and dinner late. In lockdown, her family ate breakfast later in the morning and had dinner earlier in the evening, which left her with a 10-hour window for eating. She’s lost 5 pounds, and her husband has lost 10.
Or maybe go vegan. Many of Kirkpatrick’s patients have adopted a vegan lifestyle during the pandemic, which they hope will be better for their immune systems. Experts say a plant-based diet supports your immune system. “It’s transformed how they eat,” she says. “A lot have lost weight without that being the goal.”
Lock the liquor cabinet. Not only does alcohol provide excess calories, it also takes away your ability to regulate your food intake, Kirkpatrick says. “If you start drinking while you’re cooking, you stop caring about what you’re eating.” You don’t have to give up alcohol entirely, but drink more consciously.
Start the day ready to play. Get dressed every day, but skip the comfy sweats. Opt for clothing that encourages you to move. “Loungewear doesn’t foster physical activity,” says Kirkpatrick. “Whatever clothes make you more likely to go for a walk, choose that.”
Use your commute time for exercise. Now that you don’t have to leave home by 8, you can spend that time moving your body. “The intensity of your workout doesn’t have to change, but you might have 90 minutes now, instead of 45 minutes during your lunch break on the job,” says Kirkpatrick.
Get Help Losing Weight
If the DIY approach doesn’t feel right to you, virtual help is right at your fingertips. To decide what kind of plan will work best for you, ask yourself a few questions:
What’s realistic in your current environment? A young person quarantining with roommates probably can’t ask everyone else to adopt the same approach to eating, but you can be honest with them and ask for their support. A parent with small children, on the other hand, has more control over what food comes into the house — but less time to focus on your own needs, so a health-oriented meal-delivery program might do the trick. And a senior living alone might want the sociability and group support of a plan like WW.
What kind of communication do you prefer? If you’re just looking for structure and guidance, a tracking app or website might do the trick. For structure as well as support from others, a formal weight loss program could be a good fit. Or if you’d prefer a one-on-one approach, opt for Zoom sessions with a dietitian.
How much support do you need? Maybe you already understand what changes you need to make, but don’t have people in your life who’ll support you. Thanks to the pandemic, neighborhood groups have sprung up on sites like Facebook and Nextdoor. “People share ideas about what to make for dinner, or say, ‘Hey, I’m going for a socially distanced walk at noon. Who wants to join?’” says Kirkpatrick. “They’re supporting one another, and they don’t necessarily have to see each other.”
When it comes to measuring your progress, Kirkpatrick says you can aim for one-half to one pound a week – but in terms of your overall health, keeping track of your waist measurement might be the better bet. Studies have shown that central obesity (carrying more weight around your middle) has a higher risk of chronic illness and death.
“Waist size also matters because central obesity is more inflammatory, which may have a worse effect on COVID compared to someone who is holding weight in the butt or thigh area,” Kirkpatrick says. “This is the time to focus on accurate, measurable indicators for health, and studies show that waist is a better predictor.”
By Debbie Koenig Oct. 29, 2020
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 29, 2020
Article: The Pandemic Diet: How to Lose the ‘Quarantine 15’
Mondelēz International: “Mondelēz International Reports Q2 2020 Results.”
SWNS Digital: “Americans have gained up to 16 pounds while quarantining.”
High levels of this vitamin are associated with 20 pounds more weight loss.
Higher levels of vitamin D are linked to more weight loss, research finds.
People who are dieting have been shown to lose 20 pounds more when they have high vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D at higher levels in the body is also associated with burning belly fat.
The conclusions come from a study of 4,421 people whose total body fat and belly fat was measured.
Across men and women, higher vitamin D levels were linked to less belly fat, the results showed.
However, women with higher vitamin D levels also had less total body fat.
One reason for the beneficial effect of vitamin D may be its connection with the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin can affect everything from sleep to mood.
High levels of vitamin D may suppress the storage of fat.
Over half the people in the world may be deficient in vitamin D.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.
That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more Northern climes.
Dr Rachida Rafiq, the study’s first author, said:
“Although we did not measure vitamin D deficiency in our study, the strong relationship between increasing amounts of abdominal fat and lower levels of vitamin D suggests that individuals with larger waistlines are at a greater risk of developing deficiency, and should consider having their vitamin D levels checked.”
The study does not prove causation, though, Dr Rafiq explained:
“Due to the observational nature of this study, we cannot draw a conclusion on the direction or cause of the association between obesity and vitamin D levels. However, this strong association may point to a possible role for vitamin D in abdominal fat storage and function.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
Netflix and Eat? Here’s How To Stop Overindulging During Pandemic Isolation
Spending way too many hours in front of the TV?
Indulging in way too many salty snacks?
You’re not alone.
A recent Bloomberg report cited data showing sales were up — way up — for all types of comfort foods, including popcorn (48 per cent), pretzels (47 per cent) and potato chips (30 per cent) compared to a year ago.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to Kira Lynne, a life coach and counsellor in Vancouver. During stressful or anxious times, such as what we’re experiencing right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, people will reach out for things that bring them comfort, whether it be certain junk foods, TV shows or video games.
“It’s a scary time.”
Lynne said its important you don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself giving in to these temptations.
“Be gentle with yourself on that.”
That said, there are some practical things you can do if you’re worried about overindulging. She suggests, for instance, delaying the snacking and the Netflix-watching to the end of the day as sort of a “reward” to yourself.
Another piece of advice: eating “mindfully.” Get rid of distractions, such as the TV. You’ll enjoy the food more and won’t need to eat as much to feel satisfied.
Amy Bondar, a nutritional therapist and certified eating psychology coach in Calgary, agrees.
To slow down the binge eating, she recommends that her clients “see, taste, smell and hear each bite of food,” they take in. In other words, “experience the experience of eating.”
“Unwanted eating behaviours only happen in the stress response and the more heightened your stress and anxiety, the more likely you are to eat unconsciously and stand in front of the pantry or fridge gnawing on your worries,” she wrote in a recent blog post.
With so much uncertainty in the world right now and things that are beyond our control, experts recommend focusing on finding things that you can control. That includes building a daily routine for yourself so you have some predictability and structure to your day.
Lynne says in the first part of her day, she takes her dog for a walk, comes home and meditates, makes breakfast, devotes a couple hours to work and then takes a lunch break.
Adrienne Clarkson, Canada’s former governor general, even weighed in this week on the importance of establishing a routine, tweeting: “It is so good for the morale to dress every day as though going to the office, or a meeting. For heaven’s sake wash your hair and don’t wear pyjamas or a sweat suit all day! And, guys, SHAVE!”
On the question of whether it’s OK to keep the PJs on throughout the day, Lynne prefers not to make a blanket rule. Instead, she might ask her clients, “how do you feel different if you are in PJs?” or “are you glad you got out of PJs?” and then letting their answers guide their clothing choices.
With many people no longer having to deal with commutes and appointments, both experts suggest taking advantage of this free time to try new hobbies or to set new goals.
Go online and find a home workout routine that you like. Start an online business. Catch up with old friends over the phone or video chat. Do some spring cleaning around the house.
“Use this time as an opportunity to redefine your health, not decline your health,” Bondar said.
Lynne also suggests limiting your intake of coronavirus news each day.
“I check it once a day. Just as much as I need to stay healthy — nothing additional,” she said, adding that she’s “asked people in my life not to send me gloom and doom.”
“I need to keep my mental health in a good place.”
Experts say another way to lessen anxiety is to find ways to help others. Make an online donation to a charity, Lynne said. Or help deliver food to people who can’t get out of the house.
“It gives a sense of purpose.”
By Douglas Quan Vancouver Bureau Thu., March 26, 2020
How To Combat Weight Gain During The Pandemic
(beyond Diet And Exercise)
Quarantine life is challenging, to say the least, and all of us are struggling mentally, emotionally and physically. And no one would blame you for being tempted to abandon your diet and exercise plan and reach for the tub of ice cream while binge-watching that tiger show that everyone is talking about.But health experts strongly recommend you do your best to prevent excess weight gain during this historic and scary time.
Dr. David Buchin, director of bariatric surgery at Huntington Hospital, is seeing that a large percentage of the patients battling Covid-19 in the medical center’s intensive care unit are obese. Patients who are obese are especially challenging to care for, he said, as treatment involves rolling them from their back to their front regularly to optimize lung function. In addition, a recent study found that in patients under the age of 60, obesity doubled the risk of Covid-19 hospitalization.
I’m not suggesting starting a strict diet or intense exercise program while sheltering in place, but there are some simple things you can do to prevent weight gain and protect yourself not only from Covid-19-related complications, but also from diseases such as diabetes and heart disease that will remain two of the top causes of death after we get through this pandemic.
When it comes to quarantine shopping, it’s important to be organized, especially when it comes to eating enough fruits and vegetables (aim for five servings per day if you can). Buy a combination of fresh, frozen and canned to last you at least a week or more.
Consume fresh products first and then move on to frozen and canned. Rinse canned vegetables to reduce sodium, and be sure to consume fresh or frozen fruit daily as the vitamin C content of canned fruits and vegetables, which is important for immunity health, is lower than fresh or frozen.
Chef Devin Alexander, who has maintained a 70-pound weight loss for decades, has some terrific tips for shopping on a budget and managing quarantine cravings. When buying produce, for example, unlike most other items, she suggested looking for the items on sale.
Watermelon and berries go on sale in the summer because they’re in season and thus very plentiful. That’s also when they taste the best, so you can make amazing desserts without the need for a ton of added sugar.
Alexander also recommended having coleslaw on hand for when the salty cravings hit. Her recipe for Orange Cilantro Cole Slaw, available on her website, satisfies that salty, crunchy hankering in a way that’s actually good for you. It helps get in a serving or two of vegetables, and just might keep you from “needing” to eat a bag of chips. In addition, cabbage and carrots are budget-friendly, last for weeks and are loaded with immune-supporting nutrients.
When you come home from the store, make sure to put the healthier foods in more easily seen locations in your kitchen. Food cravings and hunger can be triggered by just seeing food, so keep more indulgent foods out of sight – and hopefully out of mind – on upper shelves in your cupboard, in the back of the fridge or the bottom of the freezer.
During this global crisis it’s even more important than ever to find ways to conquer stress and manage anxiety.
I know, it isn’t easy. Balancing homeschooling, financial challenges, cabin fever, social isolation and illness is stressful, but stress can contribute to poor eating choices and increase fat deep in your belly (underneath the muscle) that can contribute to heart disease and diabetes even more than the pinchable fat that lies directly underneath your skin.
Practice mindfulness, meaning doing your best trying to live in the present versus worrying too much about the future. That’s the advice from Joanne Koegl, a licensed marriage and family therapist who tells clients to take time out of their day to focus on simple things such as the warmth of the sun, the beauty of a flower, the taste of a bite of chocolate or the laugh of a child.
Koegl recommended apps and websites such as Headspace, Calm, The Tapping Solution (a self-administered therapy based on Chinese acupressure that can help calm the nervous system) and Breathe by anxiety expert Dr. Jud Brewer. These resources and others are offering free services focused on managing Covid-19-related anxiety and stress.
You can also practice basic self-care to manage anxiety and relieve stress. Take a hot bath, find a quiet place in your house and sip a cup of tea, exercise, call an old friend or consider volunteering if it’s safe. Helping others also gives you a sense of purpose and joy.
If you are really struggling with anxiety, there are mental health telemedicine options such as Doctor on Demand and crisis hotlines available in major cities across the country. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to reach out for professional help.
Both excess sleep and inadequate sleep have been linked to weight gain, increased appetite and worsening blood sugar control, so try your best not to completely abandon your sleep schedule by staying up late, sleeping until noon or staying up all night watching television.
Try to stay on a relatively normal sleep schedule, experts recommend. This is much easier to do if you follow basic sleep principles including avoiding excess alcohol before bed, keeping your room as dark as possible and at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and exercising regularly. And turn off the news (and put down your phones) in the hours before bed.
Spending so much time at home has another unforeseen consequence. You are burning far fewer calories going about your daily life than you were pre-quarantine, regardless of whether you exercise daily.
Sitting at the computer for hours, whether doing Zoom work calls or socializing, and staying inside on evenings and weekends binge-watching television, along with shopping and socializing online, easily all add up to several hundred fewer calories burned per day through non-exercise activity, which is often higher than intentional exercise for most people. It’s essential to incorporate more movement and less sitting every day.
Buchin tells his patients to commit to a certain amount of exercise to “earn” their television viewing. For example, for each movie they watch they should incorporate 20 minutes of some form of activity which could be cleaning, playing with your family, gardening or even simply standing while talking on the phone or participating in a Zoom call.
I have been using my Apple Watch more than ever lately. I appreciate the reminder to stand up every hour for at least one minute and the ability to track my general daily activity in addition to exercise.
If you don’t have a fitness device, set a timer on your phone or even your microwave to remind you to get up every hour and walk around the house, up and down the stairs a few times or just do some stretching in place before sitting down again.
As we hear repeatedly on the news, we are all in this together, and my hope is that with these tips, you and your loved ones can maintain your weight and stay fit, healthy and maybe even a little less stressed during this global pandemic.
Dr. Melina Jampolis is an internist and board-certified physician nutrition specialist and author of several books, including “Spice Up, Slim Down.”
Taking vitamin D supplements can significantly increase weight loss, according to a recent study.
People who took vitamin D supplements had over four times the weight loss as those that did not, researchers found.
Vitamin D also doubled the number of inches taken off their waistlines.
Low levels of vitamin D is repeatedly linked to being overweight and obese.
Almost 40 percent of obese people are deficient in vitamin D.
The study included 400 obese and overweight people with vitamin D deficiency.
They were put on a low-calorie diet and split into three groups.
One group took 25,000 IU of vitamin D per month, the second took 100,000 IU of vitamin D per month and the control group took none.
Six months later the results showed that both vitamin D groups had lost more weight than those who were not taking the vitamin.
Those taking 100,000, or around 3,000 IU per day, had 12 pounds of weight loss.
People taking 25,000 IU, or around 800 IU per day, lost 8 pounds.
In comparison, those only following the calorie restricted diet had just 2.6 pounds of weight loss over the six months.
The study’s authors write:
“The present data indicate that in obese and overweight people with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation aids weight loss and enhances the beneficial effects of a reduced-calorie diet.”
Measurements of dieters’ waistlines also revealed vitamin D had had an effect.
Those taking 100,000 IU lost an average of two inches from their waistline compared to just over 1 inch in the control group.
The researchers conclude:
“All people affected by obesity should have their levels of vitamin D tested to see if they are deficient, and if so, begin taking supplements.”
About the author Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was presented at the European Congress on Obesity, 2015 (Vigna et al., 2015).
Summary: Scientists suggest that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.
New information published by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Health suggests that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.
“The medical community used to think that obesity was a result of consuming too many calories. However, a series of studies over the past decade has confirmed that the microbes living in our gut are not only associated with obesity but also are one of the causes,” said Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., lead author of the review and assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.
In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is increasing at 2.3% rate each year among school-aged children, which is unacceptably high and indicates worrisome prospects for the next generation’s health, the article states.
Yadav’s manuscript, published in the current issue of the journal Obesity Reviews, reviewed existing studies (animal and human) on how the interaction between gut microbiome and immune cells can be passed from mother to baby as early as gestation and can contribute to childhood obesity.
The review also described how a mother’s health, diet, exercise level, antibiotic use, birth method (natural or cesarean), and feeding method (formula or breast milk) can affect the risk of obesity in her children.
“This compilation of current research should be very useful for doctors, nutritionists and dietitians to discuss with their patients because so many of these factors can be changed if people have enough good information,” Yadav said. “We also wanted to identify gaps in the science for future research.”
In addition, having a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome and obesity in both mothers and their children hopefully will help scientists design more successful preventive and therapeutic strategies to check the rise of obesity in children, he said.
Journal Reference: Halle J. Kincaid, Ravinder Nagpal, Hariom Yadav. Microbiome‐immune‐metabolic axis in the epidemic of childhood obesity: Evidence and opportunities. Obesity Reviews, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/obr.12963 Cite This Page: MLA APA Chicago Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Source: Materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
The food signals the body to start burning fat and stop storing it.
Around 3 servings of yoghurt each day can double weight loss, research finds.
People in the study who ate yoghurt lost twice as much body fat as those that did not.
Yoghurt is rich in calcium, which is thought to aid weight loss.
Calcium signals the body to start burning fat and stop storing it.
Dieters taking calcium lost 81 percent more belly fat.
Belly fat is particularly dangerous, with strong links to heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
Professor Michael Zemel, the study’s first author, said:
“Not only did yogurt help the study participants lose more weight–the average weight loss was 13 pounds–they were about twice as effective at maintaining lean muscle mass.
This is a critical issue when dieting — you want to lose fat, not muscle.
Muscle helps burn calories, but it is often compromised during weight loss.”
The study included 34 obese people who were all put on a calorie-restricted diet.
Their diet was restricted by 500 calories each day.
Half of them were given 500mg of calcium per day as a supplement, while the other group were given 1,100mg plus three servings of low-fat yoghurt.
The results showed that those taking the higher dose of calcium lost 22 percent more weight, 61 percent more body fat and 81 percent more belly fat.
Professor Zemel said:
“The moral of the calcium story is to not dump dairy when you’re dieting.
Not only is it critical to keep your calcium levels high so you won’t lose bone density, it will also help you maintain your muscle mass and increase your fat loss.
A diet rich in low fat dairy foods, like yogurt, can help make your weight loss efforts easier.”
About the author Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks: Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Some people believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that eating breakfast increases weight loss. But is this true? And, if so, which are the best breakfast foods for weight loss?
There is little evidence to support the idea that eating breakfast can increase weight loss. Breakfast is just another meal. That said, eating breakfast can give a person energy for the day. This may reduce the risk of overeating and, in this way, support weight loss efforts.
This article explores the best breakfast foods to eat to aid weight loss. It also discusses breakfast options to suit vegetarian, vegan, and restricted diets. Read on to learn all there is to know about eating breakfast and losing weight.
Breakfast food tips
To get the most out of breakfast, it is best to eat nutrient dense foods. These foods offer more nutritional value per calorie, which may help a person feel fuller longer.
Here are some breakfast food tips that may support weight loss:
Eat fiber-rich foods
People who regularly eat fiber-rich breakfasts may have less visceral fat and inflammation.
People trying to lose weight may benefit from eating fiber-rich foods for breakfast and throughout the day.
A 2015 study found that diets rich in fiber helped people lose more weight and improved symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for diabetes.
Other studies link fiber to better health and more weight loss. For example, a 2012 study found that adolescents who ate more fiber had less visceral fat and less inflammation.
Eat more protein
Eating more protein for breakfast or at any other time of day may support weight loss.
Numerous studies link higher protein diets to more weight loss. A 2014 analysis suggests that protein may help people feel fuller, reducing overeating. People may also burn more calories when they eat protein.
Protein-rich foods are generally rich in other nutrients, allowing a person to get a wide range of nutrients without consuming lots of calories.
Avoid high calorie options
Try to avoid foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. Reducing calorie intake at breakfast time and throughout the day may help a person lose weight.
To cut down on calories, avoid adding sugar to breakfast foods. A healthy oatmeal breakfast can become a sugar-laden, high calorie meal when a person adds lots of brown sugar. Select cereals that contain less sugar and avoid pancakes and pastries that contain lots of sugar.
Avoid sugary drinks
Be mindful of the role of drinks in calorie content. A glass of orange juice typically contains more than 100 calories but offers little nutritional value. Opt for eating the whole fruit rather than drinking juices.
Eat whole foods
Eating whole foods instead of processed foods may help a person lose weight. Try replacing white bread, pasta, and bagels with whole grain options.
Whole grain offers more nutritional value and may reduce the risk of some types of heart disease. Because whole grains are rich in fiber, they may support weight loss and reduce constipation.
Should you eat breakfast?
With interest in intermittent fasting increasing, some people are now opting to skip breakfast altogether. But does skipping breakfast support weight loss?
Not eating breakfast may support weight loss because it means a person goes longer without consuming calories, which may lead to a lower total calorie intake throughout the day.
However, skipping breakfast may not support weight loss for everyone. For some people, skipping breakfast leads to overeating at lunchtime. In this way, skipping breakfast may lead to higher overall calorie consumption, undermining weight loss.
Research around breakfast and weight loss is inconclusive. A 2019 BMJ meta-analysis and systematic review suggests that skipping breakfast may support weight loss. Examining 13 trials, researchers found that not eating breakfast offered modest decreases in weight.
However, the study’s authors also note that the data is not strong. Other factors might account for the difference. Scientists need to do more research to fully understand whether avoiding breakfast is an effective weight loss strategy.
Breakfast foods for vegans
Peanut butter on toast is a healthful breakfast choice for vegans trying to lose weight.
As for all people, it is essential for people who follow a vegan diet to consume sufficient protein. Consuming protein helps people to feel full, which may support weight loss.
Vegan breakfast foods may be a healthful option for anyone wanting to limit meat consumption or add variety to their diet. Also, eating more vegetables increases a person’s fiber and nutrient intake.
Many vegan breakfast options are rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Here are some vegan breakfast foods to try:
vegan scramble (using tofu instead of eggs) and kale, broccoli, or spinach
peanut or almond butter on whole grain toast
oatmeal with blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries and an optional teaspoon of honey
whole grain cereal with soy or almond milk
avocado toast on whole wheat bread, seasoned with lemon juice and sea salt
vegan BLT made from soy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and whole grain buns
rolled oats with peanut butter
smoothie with avocado, banana, frozen berries, and a teaspoon of honey
Breakfast foods for vegetarians
Vegetarians can choose from a wide variety of delicious breakfast foods. Adding dairy products makes it easy to get plenty of protein to support weight loss.
A 2011 study compared the diet of vegetarians to nonvegetarians. Researchers found that vegetarian diets were more nutritionally dense. This may be because vegetarians eat more fruits and vegetables than meat eaters. The study’s authors also suggest that a vegetarian diet may support weight loss.
Here are some vegetarian breakfast ideas:
whole grain cereal with 1% milk
Greek yogurt with berries
plain vanilla yogurt with bananas
two slices of white cheddar cheese with a handful of mixed nuts
hard boiled egg sprinkled with salt
avocado with cottage cheese and hot sauce
poached eggs on whole grain toast
scrambled eggs with hot sauce instead of cheese or salt
Breakfast foods for meat eaters
While meat is high in many nutrients, it is also a high calorie food due to its fat content. Lean meats and poultry contain less fat and calories than red meats, so choosing these types of meat is a good option for meat eaters hoping to lose weight.
Reducing the amount of meat in each meal and replacing it with nutrient-rich, high fiber vegetables may also help.
The following meals can support healthy weight loss:
grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce on whole grain bread
Canadian bacon with yogurt or eggs
turkey sausage scramble with lots of vegetables
Breakfast for people with dietary restrictions
Having allergies or an underlying health condition need not affect a person’s enjoyment of breakfast. There are plenty of alternatives available.
Here are some breakfast options for people with dietary restrictions:
Many people have food allergies or sensitivities to lactose, nuts, and eggs, which many breakfast foods contain. Fortunately, there are many substitute options available:
Lactose intolerance: Lactose free milk and milk substitutes, such as almond milk, can be good options for people with lactose intolerance.
Nut allergies: Lentils, chia seeds, and quinoa can be healthful options for people with nut allergies.
Egg allergies: People who cannot eat eggs should consider lean meats, nut butter, and nuts instead.
For people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, finding breakfast options that do not contain gluten is essential.
Many food stores sell gluten free versions of common breakfast items, including:
Another gluten free breakfast idea involves serving high protein foods, such as eggs or lean meats, with wilted spinach and cooked tomatoes.
People with diabetes can eat hard boiled eggs for breakfast to manage their blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes must keep their blood sugar levels consistent. Skipping breakfast may not be healthful for people with diabetes, particularly if they take medication for their condition. People who take medication for their diabetes typically need to consume some carbohydrate to manage their blood sugar levels.
Here are some breakfast options for people with diabetes:
scrambled eggs with wilted spinach
hard boiled eggs
a handful of nuts
lean meats with spinach or kale
Breakfast habits can support weight loss but how this works varies from person to person. Eating breakfast may aid weight loss for some people as they stay fuller for longer, which prevents snacking during the day. For others, skipping breakfast supports weight loss because it leads them to consume fewer calories overall.
Losing weight requires a person to burn fewer calories than they eat. To sustain weight loss, a person must stick to a reduced calorie diet and pair this diet with more activity. To make sustainable dietary changes, it is vital that a person finds healthful foods they enjoy eating.
Highly restrictive diets are often difficult to follow. Instead, incorporate a few treats and find nourishing, low calorie foods that taste good. A dietitian or doctor can help a person develop the right meal plan for their needs
Commonly used household disinfectants could increase the risk of young children becoming overweight by altering the makeup of their gut bacteria during the first few months of life, a study suggests.
The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, analyzed the gut flora of 757 infants at age three to four months and their body mass index, or BMI, at one and three years old, looking at exposure to disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products used in the home.
Anita Kozyrskyj, professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, is shown in a handout photo. The high use of household disinfectant cleaners is changing the gut flora in babies, leading to them becoming overweight as three-year-olds.
“We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age three to four months,” said principal investigator Anita Kozyrskyj, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta.
Lachnospiraceae is one of many non-pathogenic bacteria that naturally inhabit the human gut.
“When they were three years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant,” she added.
Researchers from across Canada looked at data on microbes in infant fecal matter among children enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort. They used World Health Organization growth charts for BMI scores.
Associations with altered gut flora in babies three to four months old were strongest for frequent use of household disinfectants such as multi-surface cleaners, which showed higher levels of Lachnospiraceae.
Kozyrskyj said researchers also found there was a greater increase in levels of those bacteria in children whose parents reported more frequent cleaning with disinfectants.
“As the microbiome develops over the first year of life, these microbes increase in their abundance. So it was a matter of dose,” she said in an interview, noting that studies of piglets have found similar changes in the animals’ gut microbiome when they were exposed to aerosol disinfectants in their enclosures.
However, the same association was not found with detergents or eco-friendly cleaners, the CHILD study found. Babies living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers.
“Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae (a family of bacteria that includes E. coli). However, we found no evidence that these gut microbiome changes caused the reduced obesity risk,” Kozyrskyj said.
One reason could be that the use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits, contributing in turn to the healthier gut microbiomes and weight of infants.
“Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight,” write the authors. “Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population.”
There are many findings that point to a possible causative role for disinfectants in altering gut flora and subsequently leading to a higher childhood BMI, said Kozyrskyj, noting that in studies of mice, Lachnospiraceae has been shown to cause insulin resistance and increased fat storage.
“I would be comfortable in saying the high use of disinfectants had a contributory role … My advice would be to not overuse them,” she said.
“Some people might say maybe go for an alternative, go for the eco product instead of the disinfectants as a cleaning agent.”
In a related CMAJ commentary, epidemiologists Dr. Noel Mueller and Moira Differding of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health write: “There is biologic plausibility to the finding that early-life exposure to disinfectants may increase risk of childhood obesity through the alterations in bacteria within the Lachnospiraceae family.”
They call for further studies “to explore the intriguing possibility that use of household disinfectants might contribute to the complex causes of obesity through microbially mediated mechanisms.”
Kozyrskyj agreed, saying there is a need for further research that classifies cleaning products by their ingredients, with an analysis of their potential individual effects.
What do economics have to do with health? At most universities they’re not even in the same building! But it turns out that a dip in the economy can lead to a rise in our weight according to a study done by John Hopkins. Researchers found that from 2008 to 2012—the period known as the great recession—weight gain was strongly correlated with the rise in unemployment, increasing the risk of obesity by 21 percent. This makes sense as one of the first things to go when our budgets get tight are luxuries like health food and gym memberships, not to mention the loss of health insurance that often accompanies a job loss. However, it may help to remember that there are many low-cost or free ways to protect your health—and an investment in you is the best one you can make.
How high you are
No we’re not talking about the wave of pot legalization sweeping the country (although that probably would affect your weight too) but rather how high up you live. There’s a reason that Colorado is the both the slimmest and the steepest state in the nation. The altitude at which you live is strongly correlated with your weight, with each gain in altitude corresponding with a drop in weight, according to a study done by the U.S. Air Force. But don’t sell your beach-front property and head for the hills just yet—the effect can be balanced out by other factors known to prevent against obesity where you live, like outdoor greenery, strong social ties, and opportunities to go outside. Case in point: Hawaii is the third thinnest state in America, and it’s the definition of sea level.
It’s a generation thing
Ever wondered why your grandma never exercised a day in her life and yet wore a tiny wedding dress that you could never hope to fit into even though you run marathons? Some of it may be due to the difference in generations you were both born into. Bad news for young ‘uns: Millennials, Gen Y, and Gen X all need to eat less and exercise more to stave off obesity than their forefathers did, according to a study from York University. And it’s not just the fact that we have Netflix and take out at our fingertips. Rather, the researchers found that the average metabolism of both men and women has slowed, even after controlling for factors like disease, diet, and fitness. Why? We have no solid answers yet but in the meantime, if you’re under 40 at least you can take comfort that you’re not alone in your struggle.
That cursed smog
The effects of environmental pollutants go far beyond wheezing and sneezing. Rats exposed to highly polluted air were not only much more likely to become obese, according to a study done by Duke University, but also had a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. And it’s not just limited to rodents. People who live close to roadways with a high level of air pollution are also more likely to gain weight, says a study from the University of Southern California. Unfortunately air pollution is likely not under your direct control but we can all work together to lobby for and implement clean-air policies where we live, making for both a healthier physical and celestial body.
Our delightfully warm and cozy homes and offices might be partly responsible for our less-delightful expanding waistlines, say researchers in a study published in the journal Cell. The scientists found that regular exposure to mildly cold weather—as would have been normal in the days before programmable thermostats—helps the human body regulate a healthy weight. The chilly air seems to increase metabolism by making the body work harder to cope with the changing conditions. Some proponents of “cold therapy” take daily ice baths or “shiver walks” but you don’t have to be that extreme to see results, say the researchers. Just lowering your thermostat by a few degrees or turning the shower briefly to cold can help.
How many antibiotics you’ve taken
Antibiotics are one of the biggest miracles of modern medicine, no doubt about it. But those infection-fighting drugs may have unintended consequences. The more antibiotics a person takes during their lifetime, particularly during early childhood, the greater their risk of becoming obese, according to an NYU study. Researchers speculate that it has to do with killing healthy gut bacteria, decimating your microbiome along with the bad bugs, as good bacteria has been shown to help prevent weight gain. But if you were the kid with chronic ear infections, don’t fret, you can rebuild your good gut bacteria by taking a probiotic and eating plenty of fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Fido and Fifi
Owning a pet, particularly a dog, slashes the human companion’s risk of obesity, says the American Heart Association. Why? Dogs need to be walked daily and are often quite persistent, encouraging their owners to walk as well. But it’s not just the extra exercise, especially since 40 percent of dog owners confess to not walking their dog on a regular basis. The researchers add that petting an animal greatly reduces stress and depression, two other known risk factors for weight gain. So if you do have a dog, make sure to walk them daily, and in the meantime soak up all the snuggles, wet kisses, and purrs you can.
The number on your paycheck
Income is one of the biggest factors correlated with obesity, with poor Americans being three times more likely to be obese than richer ones, according to a study published in Nutrition Reviews. Low-income people are less likely to have access to supermarkets with fresh foods (often living in “food deserts”), less likely to have health insurance, and less likely to live in neighborhoods where exercise outdoors is encouraged or even safe. Fortunately this is one area we can all help improve by working to better conditions in our own neighborhoods or helping out others nearby.
Pesticides may help us grow stronger and more plentiful crops but many of the chemicals used in popular formulations are known “endocrine disruptors”: They interfere with your body’s metabolic systems. Pesticides hijack our metabolism by mimicking, blocking, or otherwise interfering with the body’s natural hormones, according to a report issued by The Endocrine Society. Regular exposure to pesticides through food was correlated with an increase risk of both obesity and diabetes. Buying all organic may be one solution but for many people that doesn’t fit in the budget. If money’s tight you can also decrease your pesticide load by avoiding, or only buying organic of, the “dirty dozen“, the most contaminated produce. Or you can always try growing some of your own fruits and vegetables. (Bonus: Gardening is great exercise!)
How many trees you can count from your window
Close proximity to parks, trails, and other types of green spaces is linked with lower body weight, according to research done by the American Diabetes Association. Being able to see, and more importantly walk to, greenery encouraged people to exercise more and made it feel, well, less like exercise. Parks make physical exertion feel like fun but even if you’re not using them to exercise, simply being in the presence of nature has been shown to reduce stress, lower weight and improve your health overall. The vast majority of Americans already live within walking distance of some type of park so get out there and explore your neighborhood.
All that stuff on the food label you don’t recognize
You already know that processed foods do no favors for your waistline but it turns out it’s not just the empty calories and trans fats doing the damage. Some of the most popular food additives are linked with weight gain and obesity, according to a study done by Georgia State University. Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods for texture and to extend shelf life, are one of the worst offenders as they interfere with good gut bacteria. But some artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and even the food packaging have also been linked in research to obesity.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of obese children and adolescents worldwide has jumped tenfold in the past 40 years and the rise is accelerating in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Asia, a major study said on Wednesday.
Childhood and teen obesity rates have leveled off in the United States, north-western Europe and other rich countries, but remain “unacceptably high” there, researchers at Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
“Over 40 years we have gone from about 11 million to a more than tenfold increase to over 120 million obese children and adolescents throughout the world,” lead author Majid Ezzati of Imperial’s School of Public Health, told a news conference.
This means that nearly 8 percent of boys and nearly 6 percent of girls worldwide were obese in 2016, against less than one percent for both sexes in 1975.
An additional 213 million children aged 5-19 were overweight last year, but fell below the threshold for obesity, according to the largest ever study, based on height and weight measurements of 129 million people.
The researchers called for better nutrition at home and at school, and more physical exercise to prevent a generation from becoming adults at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancers due to excessive weight.
Clear food labels on salt, sugar and fat content are needed to help consumers make “healthy choices”, the study said.
Taxation and tough restrictions on marketing of junk food should be considered, it said. WHO has already recommended a 20 percent tax on sugary drinks to reduce consumption.
South Africa, Egypt and Mexico which had “very low levels of obesity four decades ago” now have among the high rates of obesity in girls, between 20-25 percent, Ezzati said.
“The experience of east Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean show that the transition from underweight to overweight and obesity can be rapid,” the study said.
If current trends continue, in 2022 there will be more obese children and teenagers worldwide than underweight ones, who now number 192 million, half of them in India, the study said.
Polynesia and Micronesia had the highest rates of child obesity last year, 25.4 percent in girls and 22.4 percent in boys, followed by “the high-income English-speaking region” that includes the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Britain.
Among high-income countries, the United States had “the highest obesity rates for girls and boys”, 19.5 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively.
“Children are not getting physical activity in the school days, there is poor food opportunities in many schools, walking and cycling to school is going down in many countries, unsafe in many other countries, and parents are not being given the right, sufficient advice on nutrition,” said Fiona Bull of WHO’s department of non-communicable diseases.
“It’s the changing environments, food, behaviors, portions, consumption patterns have completely changed over the last 40 years. Highly processed food is more available, more marketed and it’s cheaper,” she said.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay Editing by Jeremy Gaunt OCTOBER 10, 2017
Add cancer to the many good reasons to strive for a healthy weight
The rates of 12 obesity-related cancers rose by 7 per cent from 2005 to 2014, an increase that is threatening to reverse progress in reducing the rate of cancer in the United States, U.S. health officials say.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 630,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with a cancer linked with being overweight or obese in 2014.
Obesity-related cancers accounted for about 40 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Although the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses has fallen since the 1990s, rates of obesity-related cancers have been rising.
“Today’s report shows in some cancers we’re going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said on a conference call with reporters.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, 13 cancers are associated with overweight and obesity.
Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
Cancers of the thyroid, postmenopausal breast, gallbladder, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, uterus and colon and rectum (colorectal).
In 2013-2014, about two out of three U.S. adults were considered overweight or obese. CDC researchers used the U.S. cancer statistics database to see how obesity was affecting cancer rates. Although cancer rates rose in 12 of these cancers from 2005 to 2012, colorectal cancer rates fell by 23 per cent, helped by increases in screening, which prevents new cases by finding growths before they turn into cancer.
Cancers not associated with overweight and obesity fell by 13 per cent.
About half of Americans are not aware of this link, according to Schuchat. The findings suggest that U.S. healthcare providers need to make clear to patients the link between obesity and cancer, and encourage patients to achieve a healthy weight.
“The trends we are reporting today are concerning,” Schuchat said. “There are many good reasons to strive for a healthy weight. Now you can add cancer to the list.”
She said the science linking cancer to obesity is still evolving, and it is not yet clear whether losing weight will help individuals once cancer has taken root.
What is clear is that obesity can raise an individual’s risk of cancer, and that risk may be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, Schuchat said Tuesday.