Vegetarian or ‘Flexitarian’ Diet Benefits Waistline and Pocket

Adopting a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet to lose weight and improve health may not be as onerous as is typically assumed, as people can experience health benefits even if they only partially switch to plant-based foods. In addition, the diets may cost less than other healthy diets, suggests new research presented here at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) 2018.

Access the full article here.

The comments are the best part of this article.

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To Weigh or Not to Weigh

The National Weight Control Registry has published several studies on the habits of those who have successfully achieved and maintained significant weight loss over 10 years (4, 5, 6, 7). Their findings are based on the tracking of over 10,000 individuals through detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys designed to identify behavioral and psychological characteristics and strategies used to maintain weight loss. 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.

Here’s a short literature review on weighing habits in the processes of losing weight and maintaining weight loss.  Read the source article here.

I completed my annual National Weight Control Registry survey this morning.

For the first time in a very long time I reported a weight loss since the last follow up.

When I tell people I’ve lost 200 pounds they are always surprised and ask how I did it.

Well, you’ll just have to buy the book when I finish writing it.

(Eat Like an Asian) A Healthy Asian A Posteriori Dietary Pattern Correlates with A Priori Dietary Patterns and Is Associated with Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in a Multi-ethnic Asian Population

Results

We identified a “healthy” dietary pattern, similar across ethnic groups, and characterized by high intakes of whole grains, fruit, dairy, vegetables, and unsaturated cooking oil and low intakes of Western fast foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, poultry, processed meat, and flavored rice. This “healthy” pattern was inversely associated with body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) (−0.26 per 1 SD of the pattern score; 95% CI: −0.36, −0.16), waist circumference (−0.57 cm; 95% CI: −0.82, −0.32), total cholesterol (−0.070 mmol/L; 95% CI: −0.091, −0.048), LDL cholesterol (−0.054 mmol/L; 95% CI: −0.074, −0.035), and fasting triglycerides (−0.22 mmol/L; 95% CI: −0.04, −0.004) and directly associated with HDL cholesterol (0.013 mmol/L; 95% CI: 0.006, 0.021). Generally, “healthy” pattern associations were at least as strong as a priori pattern associations with cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Conclusion

A healthful dietary pattern that correlated well with a priori patterns and was associated with lower BMI, serum LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and fasting triglyceride concentrations was identified across 3 major Asian ethnic groups.

Full abstract here.

Eat like an Asian.

Fat and Getting Fatter

Trends in Obesity and Severe Obesity Prevalence in US Youth and Adults by Sex and Age, 2007-2008 to 2015-2016

JAMA. Published online March 23, 2018. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3060

Age-standardized prevalence of obesity among adults increased from 33.7% (95% CI, 31.5%-36.1%) in 2007-2008 to 39.6% (95% CI, 36.1%-43.1%) in 2015-2016 (P?=?.001) (Table 2). Prevalence increased among women, and in adults aged 40 to 59 years and 60 years or older. The observed increases in men and adults aged 20 to 39 years did not reach statistical significance. There were no significant quadratic trends. The adjusted model also showed a significant overall linear trend for obesity among adults (P?<?.001; data not shown).

Age-standardized prevalence of severe obesity in adults increased from 5.7% (95% CI, 4.9%-6.7%) in 2007-2008 to 7.7% (95% CI, 6.6%-8.9%) in 2015-2016 (P?=?.001). Prevalence increased in men, women, adults aged 20 to 39 years and 40 to 59 years. There was no significant linear trend among adults 60 years and older. There were no significant quadratic trends. The adjusted model also showed a significant overall linear trend for severe obesity (P?<?.001; data not shown).

OK…I know I’m obsessive about this obesity trend.  But that’s what happens when your peak BMI used to be 53+.  Many people have told me I should write a book.  Let’s just say I’m working on it.  A book is not a collection of blog posts.  I am not going to publish a book until I am satisfied I’ve done the best writing job I possibly can.
I just returned from a week away.  I didn’t step on the scale.  I weighed myself today for the first time in a week.  BMI holding steady around 26.
Read the source study here.

Vegan Diet, Subnormal Vitamin B-12 Status and Cardiovascular Health

Abstract

Vegetarian diets have been associated with atherosclerosis protection, with healthier atherosclerosis risk profiles, as well as lower prevalence of, and mortality from, ischemic heart disease and stroke. However, there are few data concerning the possible cardiovascular effects of a vegan diet (with no meat, dairy or egg products). Vitamin B-12 deficiency is highly prevalent in vegetarians; this can be partially alleviated by taking dairy/egg products in lact-ovo-vegetarians. However, metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency is highly prevalent in vegetarians in Australia, Germany, Italy and Austria, and in vegans (80%) in Hong Kong and India, where vegans rarely take vitamin B-12 fortified food or vitamin B-12 supplements. Similar deficiencies exist in northern Chinese rural communities consuming inadequate meat, egg or dairy products due to poverty or dietary habits. Vascular studies have demonstrated impaired arterial endothelial function and increased carotid intima-media thickness as atherosclerosis surrogates in such metabolic vitamin B-12 deficient populations, but not in lactovegetarians in China. Vitamin B-12 supplementation has a favourable impact on these vascular surrogates in Hong Kong vegans and in underprivileged communities in northern rural China. Regular monitoring of vitamin B-12 status is thus potentially beneficial for early detection and treatment of metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency in vegans, and possibly for prevention of atherosclerosis-related diseases.

Conclusions

Metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency is prevalent in vegetarians and, in particular, in vegans. Those subjects with normal or relatively high salt intake may be associated with unhealthy early vascular changes in function and structure, which have not been well documented in the past. In individuals with subnormal vitamin B-12 status, vitamin B-12 supplementation may significantly improve such vascular changes. Regular monitoring of vitamin B-12 profile may thus be beneficial for early detection and treatment of metabolic vitamin B-12 deficiency, and possibly prevention of atherosclerosis-related diseases.

You can download a copy of the full study at this link.

It’s not easy to overcome confirmation bias.  So my research often takes me to studies and articles that challenge my firmest held beliefs.  This literature review study does confirm one of my longest held beliefs.  Some of the sickest people I see are the shoppers in health food stores.

Take some B-12.  Or as this study demonstrates get your B-12  from dairy, meat, and fish and shellfish.

 

Change in Diet Can Lower Mortality Risk

A worsening diet over the course of 12 years was associated with an increased mortality of 6% to 12%, the researchers found.  Those who stayed consistently on a healthy diet starting at baseline had a 9% to 14% lower risk for death than those who stayed consistently on a poor diet.

Source: Change in Diet Can Lower Mortality Risk

Source: Association of Changes in Diet Quality with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality — NEJM

 

Fried potato consumption is associated with elevated mortality: an 8-y longitudinal cohort study

Source: Fried potato consumption is associated with elevated mortality: an 8-y longitudinal cohort study

Results: Of the 4400 participants, 2551 (57.9%) were women with a mean ± SD age of 61.3 ± 9.2 y. During the 8-y follow-up, 236 participants died. After adjustment for 14 potential baseline confounders, and taking those with the lowest consumption of potatoes as the reference group, participants with the highest consumption of potatoes did not show an increased risk of overall mortality (HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.91). However, subgroup analyses indicated that participants who consumed fried potatoes 2–3 times/wk (HR: 1.95; 95% CI: 1.11, 3.41) and ≥3 times/wk (HR: 2.26; 95% CI: 1.15, 4.47) were at an increased risk of mortality. The consumption of unfried potatoes was not associated with an increased mortality risk.

Conclusions: The frequent consumption of fried potatoes appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk.

The abstract indicates the researchers controlled for “14 confounders”.  Note the increased mortality impact was from a subgroup analysis.  Since I’m unwilling to pay $40 USD for the full study I’ll never know if the researchers controlled for triple cheeseburgers, eggs, bacon, sausage, fried fish,  or any other foods commonly consumed with fried potatoes.

Poutine???