Weighty headlines: breakfast, saturated fat, fasting

HealthGal Health Guide
  • Recent headlines have highlighted new studies covering the weight sector, and showcased some new findings.  Here are just some of those recent headlines and studies:


    Researchers report in the June 5th issue of the Cell Press journal, Cell Stem Cell, that a simple dietary approach – periodic fasting - may combat the immunity-impact that both chemotherapy and aging have, by causing stem cells to replenish.  The conclusion is that this periodic fasting may have value to cancer patients, the elderly, and even people struggling with certain immune issues.


    With all the talk recently about whether we should be abandoning our high carbohydrate consumption (the real recommendation by experts is to choose whole grains and less processed grains and use strict portion control) and reconnect with fat consumption (really the intent is to suggest higher consumption of portion-controlled healthy fats), a new study suggests that “limiting the consumption of saturated fats may help individuals with a genetic predisposition to obesity."  The study out of Tufts University, identified 63 gene variants associated with an obesity genetic predisposition, and looked at 2800 men and women enrolled in two studies on heart disease prevention.  Those who had one or more of the gene predispositions, and who also consumed a diet higher in saturated fat, were more likely to have a higher BMI.  Findings suggest that dietary fat should be monitored in individuals in whom we suspect there may be a higher likelihood of obesity outcome.

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    There’s been a lot of talk over the years and much research done, on how eating or not eating breakfast impacts weight gain and risk of obesity.  Most dieticians and nutritionists (like myself) believe that starting your day with breakfast is important for a variety of health reasons – better energy levels, revving up your metabolic rate and yes, possibly helping with weight management.  But does science confirm the breakfast-weight link?  A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the impact of a recommendation to “eat or skip breakfast” and the impact of “switching breakfast habits,” on weight loss in adults who were specifically trying to lose weight on their own.  The study concluded “little difference on weight” despite the fact that eating or not eating breakfast does have an impact on appetite and metabolism.  It should be noted tthat the study had several limitations.  It was only sixteen weeks in duration, and it only looked at BMI results.  It is important to realize that sometimes studies may not prove intuitive recommendations.  It’s also important to realize that advice needs to be personalized – so some individuals indeed, may benefit from adopting a regular habit of consuming breakfast, as they attempt a new diet, while others may find that saving calories for later in the day somehow benefits their weight loss efforts.


    Amy Hendel is a Physician Assistant and Health Coach with over 20 years of experience.  Noted author, journalist and lifestyle expert, she brings extensive expertise to her monthly shareposts.  Her most recent book, The 4 Habits of Healthy Families is available for purchase online, and you can watch her in action on her shows Food Rescue and What's for Lunch? Sign up for her daily health tweets or catch her daily news report at www.healthgal.com.



Published On: June 08, 2014