Study Finds Diet That Mimics Fasting May Help Those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) live with frequent, miserable episodes of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, rectal bleeding. Such people, often, find it difficult to find out which foods work best for them and those that do not. Interestingly, new research now suggests that keeping gut health in check might have less to do with the food one eats and more to do...
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  • Most Effective Weight-loss Strategy, Takes only 15 Minutes a Day, Says Study
    When thinking about losing weight, one generally tends to imagine and be fearful about having to spend hours in the gym and depriving oneself of the foods one loves. To a certain extent, this does become necessary; however, new research has now shown that the best predictor of success in losing weight is self-monitoring and recording calorie and fat intake throughout the day. 
     
    According to researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina, the practice of self-monitoring a diet is generally viewed as unpleasant and time-consuming and, for this reason, many do not adopt it. For the study, researchers collated data from 142 participants who self-monitored their dietary intake, in an online behavioural weight-loss programme. 
     
    After six months of monitoring their dietary intake, the most successful participants in an online behavioural weight-loss programme spent an average of just 14.6 minutes per day on the activity. Programme participants recorded the calories and fat content for all foods and beverages they consumed, as well as the portion sizes and the preparation methods. This is the first study to quantify the amount of time that dietary self-monitoring actually takes for those who successfully lost weight and the results are soon going to be published in the March edition of the scientific journal Obesity.
     
    “People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: How much time does dietary self-monitoring really take? The answer is: Not very much,” said Dr Jean Harvey, chair of the nutrition and food sciences department at the University of Vermont and the lead author of the study. For the study, Dr Harvey and her colleagues looked at the dietary self-monitoring habits of participants for a period of 24 weeks, where they met weekly for an online group session led by a trained dietician. 
     
    Additionally, participants also logged their daily food intake online. This process allowed for a record of how much time they spent on the activity and how often they logged in - information the researchers mined for the study. Those who lost 10% of their body weight - the most successful members of the group - spent an average of 23.2 minutes per day on self-monitoring in the first month of the programme. But, by the sixth month, this time had dropped down to 14.6 minutes. 
     
    Surprisingly, the most predictive factor of weight-loss success was not the time spent monitoring—those who took more time and included more details did not have better outcomes—but the frequency of log-ins, confirming the conclusions of earlier studies. “Those who self-monitored three or more times per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Dr Harvey said. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference, not the time spent or the details included.” Explaining the decrease in time needed for self-monitoring over a period, Dr Harvey attributes it to the increasing efficiency in recording data and to the web programme’s progressive ability to complete words and phrases automatically after just a few letters were entered. 
     
    This study’s most important contribution, according to Dr Harvey, might be in helping prospective weight losers set behavioural targets. “We know people do better when they have the right expectations,” Dr Havey added. “We’ve been able to tell them that they should exercise 200 minutes per week. But when we asked them to write down all their foods, we could never say how long it would take. Now we can.”
     
    With online dietary monitoring apps like LoseIt, Calorie King and My Fitness Pal widely available, Dr Harvey hopes the results of the study will motivate more people to adopt dietary self-monitoring as a successful weight-loss strategy. 
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    Type-2 Diabetes: Eat More Plant Food, Whole Grains
    The Singapore Chinese health study, conducted by researchers at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Duke-NUS Medical School, concluded that the way to reduce the risk of diabetes is to have more of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and less of animal foods, such as red meat, and sweetened beverages.
     
    Diet has been known to be an important risk factor for type-2 diabetes hence, scientists have increasingly turned attention to studying the overall dietary patterns, to capture the combined effect of a variety of food groups.
     
    Among the various predetermined dietary patterns of the Western populations are: the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED, an international adaptation of the eponymous diet), the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, the plant-based diet index (PDI) and the healthful plant-based diet index (hPDI); these are, by and large, similar. Each is rich in plant-based foods, including whole grains, vegetables and fruits, nuts and legumes, and low in red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages. All these dietary patterns have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are called high-quality dietary patterns.
     
    Researchers used data from 45,511 middle-aged and elderly participants who did not have diabetes between 1993 and 1998. From the reported intake of 165 food items, the participants were scored on how similar their diet patterns were to the five high-quality diets in terms of intake of specific foods and nutrients included in these patterns. The participants were followed up over an average of 11 years; 5,207 cases of diabetes were reported in such follow-up interviews.
     
    The study found that all five high-quality dietary patterns were inversely associated with the risk of diabetes. Study participants closest to these healthy dietary patterns had a reduction of 16%-29% in the risk of diabetes. However, this reduction in risk was not there in smokers.
     
    "Our results are consistent with studies in other populations that a high-quality diet defined by an abundance of minimally processed plant foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes, but restricted intake of red and processed meat, and sweetened beverages were significantly associated with lower risk of diabetes," said Professor Rob van Dam, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, and senior author of the study.
     
    In a related study in Singapore, investigators found that replacing one daily serving of rice with red meat or poultry may increase the risk of diabetes by up to 40%. In contrast, the replacement of rice with wholemeal bread could reduce the risk by 18%. Although higher rice intake was not associated with a higher risk of diabetes, eating more rice had the effect of reducing the intake of whole grains (wholemeal bread and brown rice) which could reduce the risk instead. 
     
    The Health Promotion Board (HPB) of Singapore encourages Singaporeans to eat a healthy, well-balanced and quality diet by eating foods from all food groups, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, as well as meat. As part of a healthy diet, HPB also recommends that Singaporeans limit their consumption of sodium and sugars from foods as well as beverages. While Singaporeans generally have more of high-quality foods, high sugar and sodium intake remains a cause for concern. 
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    COMMENTS

    Aditya G

    6 months ago

    Wholegrains is a carb and ought to be avoided at all cost, or consumed minimally. There are "good" carbs (paddy and vegetables) and bad carbs (wheat). Fibre is important, but vegetables have plenty of them. Fruits should be brought down to zero as well, because it has natural sugars which is pretty much...sugar. Of course, each human has a different response to different diets. It is up to the person to see which one his body responds well to.

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