If you’ve been working hard to eat more broccoli or blueberries, headlines like “Fruits and vegetables don’t lead to weight loss, study says” can drive you crazy. You may wonder if it’s worth the effort. I certainly hear from people questioning whether they can trust any nutrition and weight loss messages when they see headlines like these.
Make no mistake about it, fruits and vegetables are a key part of a cancer-preventive diet. And they can play a role in getting to and staying a healthy weight – important for lowering risk for eight cancers and other chronic diseases. Even the authors of that recent study acknowledge that in their paper. So why the confusing messages?
Here’s what that study was about: The authors say that health organizations promote increasing veggies and fruit for weight loss without explaining the need to also decrease overall calories. So they looked for studies that tested the idea that simply adding vegetables and fruit to your diet will lead to weight loss. Continue reading
A calorie is a calorie – eat too many and you’ll gain weight; eat less and you’ll lose weight. Sounds simple, but a New York Times article by two obesity researchers is making headlines, and they question whether focusing on calories alone is really the answer for weight loss. It’s an important issue because obesity links to eight different cancers.
Their hypothesis, published last Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, proposes that the driving force for obesity in America is because we eat too many refined carbohydrates – chips, cakes, soft drinks, sugary foods and refined grains – rather than just too many calories. They say eating these foods can lead to higher insulin levels and an environment in our body that promotes fat storage. Their proposal that type of food is more important than total calories for both becoming obese and for losing weight is interesting, but does need more research.
What research is clear on – we know that cutting back on sugary foods and drinks and other refined carbohydrate foods is one important strategy in a total program for health and weight loss. And substituting whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help lower cancer risk. Continue reading
If you’ve been trying to boost your heart health by eating a Mediterranean diet filled with olive oil, vegetables and nuts, and foregoing red and processed meat, a new report says you also may be lowering your risk for cancer and type 2 diabetes, all without losing weight.
A report of studies from PREDIMED, a large nutrition intervention trial, was published in the May issue of Advances in Nutrition. One study found that after almost 5 years, Mediterranean diet participants had 30% less cardiovascular disease than the control group. Another study found the Mediterranean diet groups had less type 2 diabetes, showed improvements in conditions of metabolic syndrome and had lower levels of markers for inflammation, all risk factors for cancer.
The Mediterranean diet, promoted as heart healthy, is rich in plant foods (such as vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts), olive oil, moderate amounts of fish, yogurt, cheese, poultry and red wine, but little red and processed meats and sweets. In the PREDIMED study, researchers randomly assigned about 7500 participants to one of three groups: a Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) supplemented with olive oil, a MeDiet supplemented with nuts or they were instructed to follow a low fat diet. The PREDIMED study is a randomized, nutritional intervention trial conducted in Spain from 2003 to 2011. Continue reading