Entries in Dieting (22)


Low-Cal Peanut Butter Is a Dream for Dieters

PB2(NEW YORK) -- If eating peanut butter straight from the jar is wreaking havoc on your waistline, a new low-cal powdered option might be worth a try.

Two new powdered peanut butters on the market are offering the same delicious taste of peanut butter at a fraction of the calories and fat.

The new products, Just Great Stuff Organic Powdered Peanut Butter and PB2, both contain 45 calories and zero saturated fat in a 2-tablespoon portion.  The products are free of preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

Traditional peanut butter weighs in at about 190 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat for a 2-tablespoon portion.  But regular peanut butter contains more protein and fiber, compared with the powdered substitute.

The company website states that PB2 removes over “85% of the fat from premium quality peanuts.”

“Essentially, the oil is squeezed out of roasted peanuts and what remains is our famous powdered peanut butter – all natural with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.”

The products have already generated a cult following, including Weight Watchers’ customers looking for a peanut butter solution without all of the points.

“This product is fantastic, all the yummy goodness of peanut butter without the hefty calories that usually comes with it,” one reviewer raves on the site.

Both companies also offer chocolate peanut butter options but testers generally prefer the original.  The powder can be used in many different recipes for added peanut flavor without the fat.

Just Great Stuff’s Organic Powdered Peanut Butter is available online and in natural food stores at $8.50 for a 6.5oz jar.  PB2 is available across the country or online and offers four 6.5oz jars for $15.96.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What’s the Secret to Paula Deen’s Weight Loss?

Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Paula Deen made a name for herself, and made herself a small fortune, by dishing up indulgent treats like a doughnut-topped bacon burger and deep-fried anything on her Food Network TV show, in her magazine and even aboard cruise ships with her fans.

When in January she announced she had type 2 diabetes, she was hit hard by critics who denounced her for hiding her diagnosis from the public for three years and only coming forward after signing a deal with diabetes drug-maker Novo Nordisk.

Now the Southern chef is firing back, on the scale, announcing to People magazine that she has lost 30 pounds in six months, and she’s not stopping.

“It took me a couple of years to get to this point,” Deen tells the magazine in this week’s cover story out Friday.  “If you make a few small changes, they can add up to big results.”

So how did the 65-year-old chef lose the equivalent of 120 sticks of her beloved, and well-used, butter? For one thing, instead of hitting the deep fryer, she started hitting the weights.

“For the first time since she was a high school cheerleader, Paula has started working out,” People magazine’s Lesley Messer told ABC News.  “She says it’s really helping her feel better.”

Deen herself visited the ABC food show The Chew to show off her new figure and reveal her diet secrets. “It’s really about moderation,” she said on the show.  “I’ve said it for so long but I really started to practice that.

“I double my salad, double my green beans and the carbs are like this,” she said, pointing to a small portion size.  “I wasn’t about to change my life but I have made simple changes in my life.”

After she went public with her diabetes in January, Deen launched a new campaign, “Diabetes in a New Light,” a partnership with Novo Nordisk. Deen reportedly takes the company’s drug Victoza to help her maintain proper blood-sugar levels.

Deen, who says she has gone from a size 18 to a size 10, told People the key to her weight-loss success has been dropping white foods like potatoes from her diet, and swapping out others, like using mustard instead of ketchup.

Now, instead of skipping breakfast altogether, Deen says she’ll enjoy a fruit smoothie.  For dinner, instead of fried chicken or worse, baked chicken or fish and Greek salad instead of chips are on the table at the Deen household.

The woman famous for making Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies now enjoys sugar-free ice cream for dessert instead. “I do think differently now” about food,” Deen said. “I’m more aware.”

While it remains to be seen what kind of inspiration Deen is providing to her fans who loyally tuned in to see what kind of over-the-top indulgences she had cooked up, her weight loss is forcing her own family to keep up.

Her husband, Michael Groover, is reportedly drinking four shakes per day to lose 100 pounds and her oldest son, Jamie, 44, has dropped 40 pounds himself.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FDA Approves Weight Loss Drug Belviq

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the weight loss drug Belviq for people who are overweight or obese and have one or more weight-related health problems, the agency announced today.

"Obesity threatens the overall well-being of patients and is a major public health concern," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. "The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition."

The drug, made by Arena Pharmaceuticals, acts on a receptor in the brain to help people eat less and feel fuller, according to the FDA statement.

In clinical trials people who took Belviq were twice as likely to lose 5 percent or more of their weight than people who took a placebo. The drug was also linked to improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

In 2010, the FDA decided not to approve Belviq, citing concerns that the drug carried heart-valve risks and increased brain and breast tumor development in rats given seven times the recommended dose.

But new studies by Arena Pharmaceuticals found no increased risk of heart valve problems and only a small risk of cancer. And in May 2012, an FDA panel voted 18 to four to approve the drug, stating the benefits of Belviq outweigh the potential risks when used in a population of overweight and obese people.

Obesity is becoming an epidemic of massive proportions. According to the World Health Organization, by 2015 2.3 billion adults will be overweight, and more than 700 million will be obese. Obesity is associated with a host of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, asthma, cancers and strokes. Indeed, obesity, along with tobacco, is a leading cause of preventable death.

The main treatments for obesity are diet and exercise. If those interventions are not effective, then a person can consider medical therapy or bariatric surgery. However, bariatric surgery, though effective in leading to weight loss, is also a surgical procedure with serious risks.

The most common side effects of Belviq are headache, nausea and dizziness. And people taking Belviq were twice as likely to have neuropsychiatric and cognitive side effects.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


For Calories, It's All About Quality over Quantity, Harvard Study Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- When is a calorie not just a calorie? When it comes to losing weight, according to a new study from Harvard University. The results found that the number of calories consumed is not necessarily as important as the quality of those calories: That is to say, the kind of calories the body gets may affect how efficiently people burn their body's energy, which can be key for losing weight and keeping it off.

"It's not that calories don't matter, but the quality of the calories going in can affect the number of calories going out," said study author Dr. David Ludwig, at Boston Children's Hospital.

The researchers studied 21 overweight and obese adults, starting each on a diet that helped them lose at least 12.5 percent of their body weight. Then, to help them maintain that weight loss, the researchers put the participants on a cycle of three diets, and they were to stick to each for four weeks.

One was a low-fat diet, similar to the one recommended by the American Heart Association, which had participants reduce their dietary fat, that emphasized eating whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Another was modeled on the Atkin's Diet, a plan in which participants ate more protein and fat but severely curbed their consumption of breads, pastas and other carbohydrates.

The final diet was a low-glycemic index plan, a model based on regulating the body's blood sugar levels used in many commercial diet plans, such as Nutrisystem and the Zone diet. The plan didn't require the participants to reduce the fat or carbohydrates in their diets but focused on the quality of the carbohydrates they ate. The plan pushed participants to replace some grain products and starches with vegetables, legumes, fruits and foods rich in healthy fats.

The results weren't good news for low-fat diet aficionados. When dieters followed that plan, their bodies burned fewer calories than when they were following the low-carb or low-glycemic index diets. And the low-fat diet changed certain metabolic factors in their bodies that typically predicted weight regain.

The low-carb diet seemed to help participants burn the most calories. But it also increased certain markers of stress and inflammation in the body, such as the stress hormone cortisol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

In the end, the researchers found that the low-glycemic index diet struck the right balance for the participants. It helped the dieters burn more calories, though not as many as the low-carb diet, but didn't seem to increase disease-causing stress markers in the body.

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The results provide physiological evidence for a growing consensus among doctors and diet specialists that low-fat diets, a longtime staple of advice for shedding pounds, aren't as beneficial as many once thought.

"There is a growing feeling that we need to go beyond low-fat diets, that was too simplistic a vision," Ludwig said. "Instead, focus on reducing highly processed carbohydrates."

Heavily processed carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and some breakfast cereals, to name a few make sugar readily accessible, rather than securing it to more healthy elements, like the fiber in an apple. Ludwig said easily absorbable sugar leads to a rapid surge and crash in blood sugar after a meal, which can wreak havoc on weight loss.

Other studies have found results in favor of weight-loss diets based on the glycemic index, including one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 that found that the diet plan was the most effective in helping people maintain their weight loss.

Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said the glycemic index has become a key part of his practice in helping obese patients lose weight.

"Many obesity specialists who treat patients all day long, as we do, favor low glycemic diets, those with less sugar and starch, because patients seem to do better," he said.

But not everyone favors the diet plan. Critics argue that the nutrition standards of the glycemic index are out of whack compared with what people know are healthier choices, giving foods like candy and soda healthier ratings than potatoes or rice. Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, director of the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, said the concept is too confusing for most consumers to follow for the long-term.

The study did not follow patients for the long term, and the authors note that it's difficult to say whether the dieters would have maintained their weight loss outside of the study's highly controlled setting.

Ultimately, doctors agree that balanced diets that cut out junk are the most healthful ones. Sarah Bleach, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the best weight loss advice boils down to a simple message: eat fewer calories than you burn through exercise.

"Even if the type of calorie matters for maintaining weight loss, it still boils down to simple arithmetic -- eat less, exercise more," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Appetite for Food, Cocaine Linked to Same Spot in Brains of Mice

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- In the global fight against obesity, scientists have become particularly interested in the parts of the brain that make us want to eat, and sometimes to eat too much.

Many researchers have noted that hunger and satiety stimulate the brain's reward system. But scientists at Yale University have discovered that the same brain cells behind hunger drive another circuit of reward, the one stimulated by highly addictive drugs like cocaine.

The drive to eat lies in a couple hundred brain cells, called neurons, in the hypothalamus, a tiny structure at the very center of the brain.

"In order for you to feel hungry, these neurons have to be active," said Tamas Horvath, one of the authors of the study published Sunday.

Horvath and his colleagues found that when these brain cells were made to be inactive in the brains of mice, the mice became far less interested in food and became leaner. But at the same time, they became more interested in exploring new environments and they became very interested in cocaine.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, suggest that in mice, and possibly in humans, there is an overlap between addiction and obesity in the brain. But perhaps not in the way many scientists may have thought.

Researchers studying the root of obesity in the brain have suggested that the brain's reward system, which gets jazzed by actions like eating, is less active in animals and people who are obese, meaning they eat more in order to satisfy those brain cells.

But Horvath said his findings suggest the opposite.

"If you make these [brain cells] less active, you're less interested in food, you're leaner, and more interested in novelty and when provided the opportunity for cocaine, you're very interested in cocaine," he said.

So far, the findings apply only to mice, and only more research can show if they apply to humans.

Scott Sternson, who studies the neurological processes behind hunger at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said the findings are unexpected and mean that scientists need to think more carefully about the wiring of the brain's reward system when it comes to food.

Dr. Deborah Mash, a professor of neurology and pharmacology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, said the findings shake up the current thinking about drug addiction in the brain. Typically, scientists don't consider the bundle of hunger-driving brain cells in the hypothalamus as a part of the system that gets hooked on drugs like cocaine.

"We really don't understand the rules of this system yet," Mash said. "If we could begin to see how the circuitry is disregulated in addiction, we may be able to come up with a druggable target" for treating cocaine addiction.

Mash, who studies the brains of cocaine addicts after their deaths, said the study also highlights some intriguing parallels in human drug addicts.

"Most cocaine-addicted individuals are very thin. When people come off of cocaine, they eat and eat and eat," she said.

Horvath said he will continue to study the overlap between hunger and addiction in the brain, and he hopes that other scientists will consider how even the most fundamental structures of the brain can influence complex behaviors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Weight-Loss Surgery to Lose 20-50 Pounds

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new surgical weight-loss procedure is now available to women who are looking to slim down and lose 25 to 70 pounds.

Dr. Tom Lavin, founder of Surgical Specialists in Louisiana, is a pioneer behind the hottest new weight-loss procedure called POSE, which stands for primary obesity surgery endoluminol.

“POSE is for patients who want to lose 25-50, maybe 60 or 70 pounds,” says Lavin. “It’s a much different group of people than we normally approach for bariatric surgery.”

POSE is like the classic bypass operation, but there are no incisions, as everything is done through the mouth using an endoscope. The surgical tools make the stomach about 30 percent smaller, says Lavin, and the patient typically goes home the same day.

Critics argue that while the endoscope has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, its use in weight-loss surgery has not been approved, and no long-term studies have been done in the U.S. to test its safety or effectiveness.

“Until we have good data, it’s not something that we should be promoting to the public,” says Dr. Shawn Garber, director of the New York Bariatric Group. “You are putting needles through the patient’s stomach, you are putting a device down through the esophagus — there are risks.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tony Mims Loses 198 Pounds on "Extreme Makeover"

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Tony Mims always smiled, but he’d had a tough life. The son of alcoholic parents, he left home when he was 14 and worked in the fast-food industry.

Over time, Mims’ weight ballooned.

“I’m tired of having limitations of what I have to do,” he said. “And I sweat like crazy. I’d give one of my kidneys to have a smaller body.”

Mims was tasting wedding cakes with his fiancée when Chris Powell, the trainer on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, showed up and pledged to help him change his body and his life.

At the weigh-in, Mims, then 49-years-old, got harsh news. After years of overeating, he weighed 398 pounds. He had to be weighed on a truck scale.

As part of Mims’ weight-loss program, he would learn how to cook healthy meals. Powell got him exercising.

It wasn’t easy. Added to the pressure, Mims’ son, Marcus, fell ill. His son suffered from cerebral palsy, and the hospitalization helped put things into perspective for Mims.

“I’m here fighting for my life and he’s in the hospital fighting for his,” Mims said tearfully.

Powell moved in with Mims and his fiancée, and helped them remake their home. For a while, things went well, at 90 days into his program, Mims weighed 294 pounds.

But Mims and his fiancée were having trouble. The relationship fell apart, and he moved out of the home he shared with her.

When it was time for Mims’ six-month weigh-in, Powell couldn’t find him. That’s because Mims was living in his car. He had become homeless.

Then, Mims got devastating news. His son had died. Rather than derailing Mims, the news strengthened his commitment to the weight-loss program.

When he showed up for his nine-month weigh in, the results were amazing. He weighed 226 pounds, for a total weight loss of 172 pounds so far.

He was now ready to have the excess flesh on his frame surgically removed.

Three months after the surgery, his friends and family gathered for his 50th birthday, and he had a final weigh-in. He weighed 200 pounds.

Mims found a new love, and is engaged to be married.

The episode of Extreme Makeover that chronicled Mims’ weight-loss journey aired Sunday on ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Watch Life-Changing Surgery on TLC’s "Man With The 200 Lb. Tumor"

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For Hai, 31, one high-risk surgery is the deciding factor between life and death. Yet this Vietnamese native is willing to take that chance if it means he will have the opportunity to walk again.

Hai suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that facilitates tumor growth on nerves in the body. He has been weighed down by a tumor that has been growing his entire life, rendering him bedridden for the past six years.

Despite having his leg amputated in his teens, the surgery failed to stop the tumor’s growth. Now, the tumor, which originates at the base of his spine, weighs 200 pounds – twice as much as Hai’s body weight.

Doctors in Vietnam gave Hai less than a year to life, but his friends and family have reached out to renowned plastic surgeon Dr. McKay McKinnon of Chicago, who has successfully removed life-threatening tumors from patients around the world to see if he can help save Hai.

Given the severity of Hai’s condition, he is unable to travel outside of Vietnam. As a result, Dr. McKinnon will make the journey to Ho Chi Minh City to perform a complicated surgery with a team he has never met before.

The surgery is the subject of TLC’s medical special, The Man With The 200 Lb. Tumor, which premieres Wednesday at 10 PM ET/PT on TLC.

During the trying 12-hour surgery, McKinnon hopes that he can successfully sever the tumor as close as possible to its point of origin without cutting any of Hai’s vital organs.

Since blood is shared between the patient and the tumor, it puts Hai at risk for drastic shifts in body weight, as well as dangerous blood and fluid shifts during the procedure, which may require multiple blood transfusions.

“I’m happy, but worried,” said Hai in the special. “If the surgery’s successful, I can walk. If it isn’t…Well, we all yearn to live.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Epilepsy: ‘Miracle Diet’ Prevents Seizures; Scientists May Know Why

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While neurologists have known that a high-fat and very low-carb diet, known as a ketogenic diet, reduces seizures in epileptic patients who are resistant to medical therapy, the “why” to it all has always been a mystery.

But today, some scientists say they may have found the answer. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School said seizures might be linked to a protein that changes metabolism in the brain, which is why patients respond so well to the ketogenic diet.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures, or convulsions, over time. The seizures represent episodes of disturbed brain activity and cause changes in attention and behavior, according to the National Institutes of Health. The condition affects about 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

The ketogenic diet mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. The diet produces ketones in the body, organic compounds that form when the body uses fat, instead of glucose, as a source of energy. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures.

The study, published in the journal Neuron and conducted in genetically-altered mice, found that the effect of the ketogenic diet on epilepsy can be mimicked using a much more specific and non-dietary approach by manipulating a particular protein in mice, said Gary Yellen, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study.

“This points toward potential new ways of treating epilepsy in patients for whom current drugs are not effective,” said Yellen.

Yellen said that while the connection between epilepsy and diet has remained unclear for nearly 100 years, he has seen children’s lives change drastically after changes in their food intake. In the past, some patients have also seen improvement when they cut nearly all sugar from their diets.

Experimenting in mice, the researchers found they could mimic the effects of the diet by altering a specific protein, known as BAD. Seizures decreased in the mice.

While the research must first be replicated in humans, Yellen said, in the long run, scientists should be able to target this pathway pharmacologically.

“Because the ketogenic diet can be so broadly effective against many types of epilepsy that are not well-treated by existing medications, tapping into its mechanism may be valuable for treating many epilepsy patients,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paula Deen Dishes on New Diet, Weight Loss

ABC/Donna Svennevik(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity chef Paula Deen has revamped her diet and lost 30 pounds, she told the co-hosts of The View Monday.

Monday’s episode, which took a look at increasing American obesity rates, was titled “The Fat Show.” Co-host Joy Behar quipped to Deen “and you’re the guest of honor.”

Deen has come under fire in recent weeks for waiting to announce her diabetes diagnosis and signing a pharmaceutical promo deal with Novo Nordisk.

The co-hosts gave Deen the opportunity to defend herself against critics of the buttery recipes she has become known for.

“Studies have shown, Barbara, that there’s not one food that causes diabetes.  What causes Type II diabetes is being overweight…I’ve just come to grips, over the past four or five months, with my diabetes.”

“This is not something I chose,” she said. “I’m the only one in my family, and my family we all eat the same way.”

However, Deen does acknowledge that she received warnings from her doctors in the past.

“I ignored it for the first couple of years — I thought the doctor was wrong.”

Deen has lost 30 pounds, eating in moderation and allowing herself one cheat day a week with her family.

“I have rearranged my plate,” she said, adding she doesn’t eat comfort food as often.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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