Friday, October 16, 2015

Eating Fruits & Veggies Can Encourage Weight Loss

Heath & Wellness

Boxes of Berries: Our family enjoys picking all kinds of berries, as we did last summer. Raspberries not only are easy on the eyes and taste delicious, but also are healthy and help to maintain one’s weight. Counting calories might not be as important as the kind of calories one consumes.
Harvard School of Public Health writes: “The good news is that many of the foods that help prevent disease also seem to help with weight control—foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. And many of the foods that increase disease risk—chief among them, refined grains and sugary drinks—are also factors in weight gain. Conventional wisdom says that since a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source, the best advice for weight control is simply to eat less and exercise more. Yet emerging research suggests that some foods and eating patterns may make it easier to keep calories in check, while others may make people more likely to overeat.”
Photo Credit & Source: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2015

I read two articles this week in Medical News Today that are related to health, in particular to what we eat: the first article, by Honor Whiteman, reports on the serious concerns raised by the World Obesity Federation of a worldwide obesity epidemic; and the second article, by Yvette Brazier, which says that certain fruits and vegetables can not only help individuals maintain a healthy weight but also aid in weight loss.

About 13 per cent of the world’s people are considered obese, and the obese federation predicts that this rate will rise a further 4 per cent by 2025 if no government action is taken. In “Obesity rates will soar by 2025 if governments fail to take action, says report,” (October 11, 2015), Whiteman writes:
What is more, the report - released in line with the first World Obesity Day— reveals that 177 million adults across the globe will be severely obese and in need of treatment in the next 10 years unless more is done to combat the problem.
Overweight and obesity can raise the risk for a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. A recent study reported on by Medical News Today also links overweight and obesity to earlier onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled worldwide. This increase has been largely attributed to a rise in consumption of foods high in fat, an increase in sugary drink intake and lack of physical activity.
Fast food advertising, a rise in sedentary working environments and increased numbers of people residing in urban environments have also been cited as contributors to the obesity epidemic.
What is also true is that genetics alone can’t account for the the doubling the amount of individuals classified as obese, since the gene pool has remained relatively steady during this period. Humans are not destined to become obese or overweight. Fast foods, processed foods, fried foods, sugary drinks and and other junk foods coupled with inactivity are a sure recipe for weight gain.

The key point is that not all foods are equal and it is not just about counting calories, says an article in Harvard School of Public Health discussing the latest research. If left unchecked for years or even decades, the result is obesity. All of these are known contributing factors to obesity, defined as a BMI of 30 or higher; overweight is defined as a BMI between 25 and 30.

I have always been on the slim side, but I have gained weight as I have aged: my BMI is currently 23.3, within the normal range. (You can calculate your BMI by using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BMI Calculator.) The World Obesity Federation, based in London, England, says on its site that it “represents professional members of the scientific, medical and research communities from over 50 regional and national obesity associations.”

As for what governments can do, I have noticed in the last few years here in Canada (both in Quebec and in Ontario), schools teaching more about making healthy food choices (my older son, who’s in Grade 8, often finds these lectures “boring, advising students of the importance of steering away from empty calories; moreover, my younger son’s elementary school (he is in Grade 2) has instituted a healthy snack program.

The schools physical-education programs do encourage physical activity. I am not sure what more governments can do other than to continue to encourage and educate its citizens, particularly when they are young. Being healthy is not at all boring, and its benefits are numerous. For example, there is a correlation between being healthy as a child and having good health as an adult. This is especially important when one considers what a recent article (“When Should Parents Worry About Their Child’s Weight Gain?” October 14, 2015), by Dr. Marc Michalsky, in U.S. News and World Report says: “Current estimates are that about 17 percent of American children and adolescents–or 13 million, ages 2 to 19 years–are considered to be obese.”

Advertising, culture and peer pressure all have a strong pull on people. Perhaps, there needs to be more ads showing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, but I think this has been done in the past. Parents also to need to keep at it, by providing healthy and nutritious meals and reducing going out to fast-food places.

The second article has some hopeful news, despite the fact that more than 66 per cent of Americans are classified as either overweight or obese, The CDC further reports that more than one-third (34.9 per cent), or 78.6 million of U.S. adults, are classified as obese. The rise in obesity correlates with the rise in type 2 diabetes; and now medical researchers understand  what is taking place at the molecular level.

A change in diet can contribute to weight loss and also reduce the health risks associated with the body carrying extra fat, not only in your midsection or hips, but also in your organs. Any loss in weight can prove beneficial to one’s health, but it will require what nutritionists refer to as “lifestyle changes,” which includes being physically active and eating more healthy foods.

In “Fruits and vegetables that can aid weight loss revealed,” (September 24, 2015), Brazier writes:
Fruits were categorized into citrus, melon, and berries, and vegetables into cruciferous, green leafy, and legumes based on similar nutritional content.Only whole fruits were included, as fruit juice tends to contain added sugar. Unprocessed potatoes were counted as vegetables (baked, mashed and so on), but not fried.
The researchers examined data on weight and diet changes and the association between change in intake of specific fruits and vegetables and change in weight.
Adjustments were made for lifestyle variables, including smoking status, physical activity level, hours of sitting or watching TV and hours of sleep, as well as change in intake of other foods and nutrients such as fried potatoes, juice, whole grains, sweets and alcohol.
Starchy vegetables led to weight gain
The researchers found that overall, eating an extra portion of fruit a day led to a weight loss of 0.24 kg, while eating an extra daily portion of vegetables brought a weight loss of 0.11 kg. Greater weight loss was linked to higher-fiber, lower-glycemic vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Fruits overall, particularly berries, apples and pears, contributed to greater weight loss, compared with vegetables
Perhaps an apple a day can keep the doctor away.

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For more, go to [MedNews1 & MedNews2]

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