A major trend is that overweight or obese individuals are learning not to strictly diet for weight loss only, but they still need your expert guidance and proper supplementation.
A mystery that remains and looms large is: with all the knowledge of diet and health, with the increasing availability of healthy produce and other foods, with more and more exercise facilities and gadgets available—why are people still overweight and/or obese?
The short answer is—it’s easy and ultimately satisfying to eat foods that collectively go way over the 2,000-calorie maintenance limit per day. The math remains the same—3,500 calories equals one pound.
What fluctuates are diet trends. When clients present a weight gain issue, one of the topics of discussion should be what kind of diet the person may have tried. Trendy, flash-in-the-pan diets (e.g., the Beyonce diet) are commonly attempted, according to Julia Craven, vice president of education and innovation, Enzyme Science, Florida. Many of them are restrictive and focus on limiting certain food categories while increasing intake of other foods. Some diets may create nutrient imbalances, or be so restrictive in caloric intake, the body responds by conserving fat rather than using it as fuel.
“Another reason why trendy diets do not always stick around is because they are not shaped to meet each individual’s particular needs and body type,” Craven explained. “Further, daily lifestyle habits can easily disrupt the body’s chemical and physical balance, which can slow metabolism and lead to weight gain.”
Currently popular diet trends that have weighty science validating benefits include vegan, vegetarian, keto, Mediterranean and paleo; these diets tend to not only have weight management benefits but also other health-promoting attributes for longer-term health and well-being. Additionally, people tend to be adopting these diets not only for dropping pounds but to try to cut out excess sugars and anti-nutrients.
These diets typically require long-term commitments and adjustments; they are not a quick fix (eg., “grapefruit diet”). That, along with misinformation, and weak motivation, hamper success in weight loss the healthy way. Some clients may come to you after “yo-yo’ing” and steadily gaining weight because the quick fixes did not work and they did not try quality, effective dietary supplements.
However, there are some staunch devotees of diets, such as veganism, that may not be doing it the right way, so to speak. According to Matt Hand, DO, a member of the scientific review board of Vermont-based DaVinci Labs, “A vegan diet is likely to help with weight loss for many people—especially those who didn’t eat many fruits and vegetables beforehand. The problem is that a staggering amount of people who start eating a vegan diet depend on vegan packaged foods instead of plants, which can lead to weight gain and nutrient deficiencies, low energy and other health problems.”
Additionally, vegans may have challenges meeting nutritional requirements more so than those who eat moderately healthy omnivorous diets. According to Dr. Hand, vegans tend to have lower levels of iron, zinc, vitamins B12, A, D, and the omega-3 EFAs (essential fatty acids) DHA and EPA.
A key shift, however, according to market research firm The NPD Group, is how “dieting” is viewed. In its report, “U.S. Consumers are Moving Away from Formal Diet plans and Into Whole Body Health and Lifestyle Changes,” (Feb. 2022), it noted that dieting is, more than ever, not just about losing weight and getting skinny. For many people, dieting means obtaining optimal amounts of nutrients, and improving well-being. Nearly 25 percent of respondents reported they were dieting, “and 16 percent of those are on “their own diet” versus a formal diet plan, like intermittent fasting or keto.”
Commenting on the data, Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD, of Street Smart Nutrition told The Food Institute, “Food and eating trends can be cyclical in nature, as seen with reiterations of low-carb trends from years past. But this shift is different in several notable ways, primarily in that many chronic dieters are starting to opt out of dieting altogether.”
She added, “I’ve seen a significant increase in the number of clients who seek support in healing their relationship with food after previously trying every diet under the sun.”
No matter the healthy diet choice, urging overweight clients to shed some pounds not only improves one’s physical shape, energy, cardiometabolic profile, sleep and stress, it can promote longevity. A recent rodent study showed that reduced-calorie diet alone extended lives by 10 percent but when feeding them during their active time extended their lifespan by 35 percent on average. This can be translated into validating the decades’-old advice of “no midnight snacking.” (Acosta-Rodriguez, Science, 2022)
A newly published study by Yale researchers is based on results from the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) clinical trial, the first controlled study of calorie restriction in healthy humans. For the trial, researchers first established baseline calorie intake among more than 200 study participants. The researchers then asked a share of those participants to reduce their calorie intake by 14 percent while the rest continued to eat as usual, and analyzed the long-term health effects of calorie restriction over the next two years.
The team found that the thymus glands in participants with limited calorie intake had less fat and greater functional volume after two years of calorie restriction, meaning they were producing more T cells than they were at the start of the study. However, individuals who did not restrict calories exhibited no change in functional volume.
They further studied adipose tissue of dieting participants three time points: baseline, after one year, and after two. “We found remarkable changes in the gene expression of adipose tissue after one year that were sustained through year two,” said Vishwa Deep Dixit, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Pathology, Immunobiology and Comparative Medicine, and senior author of the study. “This revealed some genes that were implicated in extending life in animals but also unique calorie restriction-mimicking targets that may improve metabolic and anti-inflammatory response in humans.” (Spadaro O, Science 2022)
This research builds upon good news about reducing calorie intake for a period of time. A study that also used the CALERIE cohort showed that reducing calorie consumption by 15 percent for two years slowed aging, while boosting protection against age-related diseases through decreasing systemic oxidative stress. (Redman LM, Cell Metabolism, 2018)
When discussing exercise, new research shows that emphasizing weigh training can also help the body to shed weight, upending the notion that weight training automatically means larger muscles, while aerobic exercise is the only way to burn fat. The study found that when following a reduced-calorie diet to lose weight, adding resistance training is effective in reducing fat percentage, BMI/fat mass and weight. (Lopez, Obesity Reviews 2022 23(5)).
As you work with your overweight or obese client/patient to slim down, you can share with him or her some successful strategies that worked for more than 6,000 study participants who lost more than 50 pounds and kept it off. The first large-scale study of weight loss maintainers who could identify and shared what helped them to stay slimmer was published earlier this year. The participants were recruited from Weight Watchers. Lead author Suzanne Phelan, a professor in Cal Poly’s Kinesiology and Public Health Department, reported, “Weight-loss maintainers saw setbacks as part of their successful journey. Setbacks were not described as failures. They were seen as a temporary interruption in their path. Many weight-loss maintainers described getting back on track at the next meal or the next day and measuring overall success based on long-term goals.” (Phelan, Obesity 2022) Meanwhile, there also may be a neurological component to successful weight loss. Researchers have identified two networks in the brain (called functional network 1 and functional network 2) that influence how successful an individual may be at losing weight. In the six-month randomized study, 71 participants were scanned at the beginning of the trial with functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine if FN1 and FN2 would be predictive of weight loss and if so, how. Participants were scanned during a resting state and then again after receiving a food-cue task.
The researchers found that during the resting state the relationship of brain function in FN1, which involves sensory and motor skills, was significantly associated with six-month weight loss. During the food-cue state, six-month weight loss was significantly associated with FN2, which includes self-regulation and the ability to focus attention.
Lead investigator Dr. Jonathan Burdette, professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Stated, “These findings show that the brain network properties of people who were less successful at weight loss were different from folks who were more successful.” (Burdette, Obesity 2022)
The Supplement Factor
The most suitable dietary supplements can also help tremendously, and may even help reduce setbacks.
Enzyme Science’s Apple Cider Vinegar offers numerous health benefits including support for digestion, metabolism and healthy weight management. Apple Cider Vinegar with “mother” contains a mass of polyphenolic compounds, along with vitamins and minerals, to help detoxify and nourish the body, and clients may find these attributes attractive when learning how to eat properly to lose and manage weight. Craven explained, “The key ingredient, acetic acid, has been shown to support healthy glucose metabolism. This is through the activation of the free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2) and an increase in 5-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activation.”
Enzyme Science Apple Cider Vinegar capsules eliminate the intensely tangy taste that may turn off many clients, she added.
Patient One Metabolic Care from New York-based MediNutritionals Research LLC supplies a synergistic combination of omega-3 fish oil (EPA/DHA), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and borage oil (providing GLA). This proprietary blend combines a desirable ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, formulated to support increased lean muscle mass and reduced body fat, while also promoting glucose balance and cardiovascular and immune health.
Many clients may still erroneously believe that dietary “fat” is bad, unhealthy and eating it will stick to the stomach, hips and thighs. Explaining that many dietary fats are important for producing cell membranes and receptors along with hormone and immune messengers that regulate cardiovascular and insulin function and healthy inflammatory response is a good start but they need to also understand that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is critical to healthy weight management. Common Western diets often result in an imbalance in n-6:n-3 consumption, with high concentrations of saturated fatty acids and low omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, resulting in poor glucose utilization and greater accumulation of body fat. Supplementation with a proper ratio of fatty acids can enhance metabolic function.
Kibow Biotech’s (Newtown Square, PA) Kibow Fortis blends GRAS (generally recognized as safe)-certified soluble and insoluble functional fibers that have the additional ability to function as a prebiotic. A chief component, oat beta 1,3/1,4 glucan, has been shown in research to promote satiety and thus, help in weight management. It is available in orange-flavored powder as well as in tablets.
AMPK Charge+ from Quicksilver Scientific (Louisville, CO), supports those following intermittent fasting or carb restriction. AMPK Charge+ helps activate the AMPK pathway, which is critical for supporting energy metabolism, and fat breakdown. AMPK is the main metabolic pathways activated by fasting and supports energy generation, fat breakdown, a healthy inflammatory response, and normal glucose levels and insulin activity. The AMPK pathway helps the body access fat stores, turning fat into ketones. AMPK Charge+ facilitates this process by flipping the master “metabolic switch” from burning primarily sugar for energy to fat through a blend of DIM, quercetin, milk thistle, resveratrol, berberine and cinnamon.
Another way of shifting to fat burning is Quicksilver Scientific’s Keto Before 6 formula, which accelerates ketone production at the cellular level, unlike the faux-keto state that exogenous ketones present. Keto Before 6 enables the body to quickly shift from glucose to fat burning through the activation of AMPK and lipolysis and the blocking of mTOR. The company claims that these keto drivers help stimulate fat metabolism and play a role in supporting the energy, mental clarity and weight loss experienced on keto. It also contains berberine, resveratrol, milk thistle, quercetin, DIM and cinnamon.
DaVinci Labs offers Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone, which the company claims supports thermogenesis, healthy fat metabolism and appetite control. It contains WellTrim iG African Mango (Irvingia gabonesis) seed extract, shown to support weight management through appetite suppression and increased metabolic rate; raspberry ketone, a compound that supports the body’s ability to produce adiponectin, a hormone that increases metabolism and modulates several metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism, green coffee bean extract, which helps burn a higher proportion of fats to carbohydrates and green tea extract standardized to 70 percent EGCG for thermogenesis.
Da Vinci Labs also provides ThermoSet featuring hoodia, Suntheanine and Metabromine, which is designed to help boost thermogenesis, an increased metabolic rate and energy production, more efficient fat metabolism and support development of lean body mass while also helping manage appetite. It also contains guarana seed, eleuthero and black pepper support thermogenesis and fat metabolism.
There are many ways to help your client begin a healthy weight-loss and management journey. Emphasizing that a diet is not strictly for weight loss but for long-term health and well-being can help shape healthy habits. Today’s offerings of weight-control supplements help your clients reach their goals of dropping pounds and fat (inches) as well as helping control cravings and appetite as they begin One caveat is that unscrupulous product brands may have convinced your patient(s)/client(s) that taking their supplement will work to help them lose weight without changing diet, “eating all the food you want” or not having to exercise, or by wearing a patch or cream. You can direct them to the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.consumer.ftc.gov and type in “the truth behind weight-loss ads.”
Healthy Take Aways
• Some diets may create nutrient imbalances, or be so restrictive in caloric intake, the body responds by conserving fat rather than using it as fuel.
• A vegan diet is likely to help with weight loss for many people—especially those who didn’t eat many fruits and vegetables beforehand. However, vegans may have challenges meeting nutritional requirements more so than those who eat moderately healthy omnivorous diets.
• New research shows that emphasizing weight training can help the body to shed weight.
• Researchers have identified two networks in the brain (called functional network 1 and functional network 2) that influence how successful an individual may be at losing weight.
For More Information:
DaVinci Labs, www.foodsciencecorp.com
Enzyme Science, www.enzyscience.com
Kibow Biotech, www.kibowbiotech.com
Patient One MediNutritionals, www.patientoneformulas.com
Quicksilver Scientific, www.quicksilverscientific.com