Research Update: Eating Late Can Have Negative Health Consequences

Last February, we posted an article that highlighted research on the correlation between eating late and your blood sugar. The study concluded that ultimately, when food is consumed late at night, when our glucose tolerance is lowest, the body is more likely to store those calories as fat rather than burn it as energy. Repeatedly eating late will ultimately lead to weight gain.

Another new study, led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, has shown that regularly eating late in the day can have negative health consequences. Not only can eating late promote weight gain but it also has an unfavorable impact on energy metabolism and hormonal markers that are linked to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

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On June 15, 2017, posted in: Healthy Tips, Recent research by

Recent Research: Metabolic Fitness Programs as Therapeutic Option

During a recent research study, patients with fatty liver disease reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI) following a regimented health education, nutrition and exercise program. This holistic approach to weight loss is very similar to the comprehensive program at Medical Metabolic Specialists.

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On April 9, 2017, posted in: News, Recent research by

Danger of Weight Bias Internalization

A recent study conducted at The University of Pennsylvania points to potential dangers of weight bias internalization. While the results are mixed, there is new evidence to support the association between weight bias internalization and risk for metabolic syndrome.

Weight bias includes (WBI) pervasive negative stereotypes and prejudice regarding an individual’s overweight, such as attributions of responsibility and/or incompetence. New research suggests that adults with obesity seeking weight-loss treatment, who scored higher on a WBI scale were more likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to those with lower scores.

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On February 26, 2017, posted in: News, Recent research by

New Research: Long-Term Benefits of Weight Loss

The Joslin Diabetes Center released information from a recent study showing that weight loss and the cardiovascular benefits associated continue for at least five years into the future. This intense life-style intervention program, specifically designed for obese patients with diabetes, is referred to as the Why WAIT (Weight Achievement and Intensive Management) program.

The study led by Dr. Osama Hamdy followed 129 Why WAIT participants with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 38. After the initial 12 week intervention, participants showed an average loss of body weight of 9.7% (about 24 pounds) and maintained an average loss of 6.4% (about 16 pounds at five years). Dr. Hamdy explains, “This weight loss was very impressive, since we know from previous research that if this population can maintain a 7% weight loss, they show a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity and many other cardiovascular risk factors.”

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On January 22, 2017, posted in: News, Recent research by

New Study Shows Aspartame May Prevent Weight Loss

What exactly is aspartame?

Aspartame is probably the most common artificial sweetener in use today. You know it under its brand names such as NutraSweet and Equal. Companies use this substitute in foods and beverages because it is about 200x sweeter than regular sugar, so much less is needed to give the same level of sweetness. This inevitably lowers the calories in the food or beverage, which has been thought to help individuals with obesity who are trying to lose weight and wean themselves off of sugar. (American Cancer Society) However, a team of researchers has found a possible explanation for why the use of sugar substitutes might not actually promote weight loss at all.

Strawberry Beside Spoon of Sugar

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On December 24, 2016, posted in: News, Recent research by

New Clues to Cardiometabolic Risk

At a recent meeting at the Cardiometabolic Health Congress, Dr. Subodh Verma, MD, PhD, FRCSC of the University of Toronto explained that “intra-abdominal visceral fat plays a causal role in the development of almost all components of metabolic syndrome, irrespective of a person’s BMI.” This post will unpack what that statement means, and more importantly, what it means for you.

During that same keynote presentation, Dr. Verma explained that adipose tissue around the gut around is a driving risk factor for a number of other diseases, including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and all types of cancer. He mentioned the range of studies that demonstrated a positive relationship between higher waist-to-hip ratio and higher risk for cardio vascular disease. Finally, Dr. Verma concluded by saying that ethnicity, genetics, biology and diet ALL contribute to fat distribution and overall health.

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On October 24, 2016, posted in: News, Recent research by

Breakthrough Obesity and Diabetes Research

Over the years, researchers have proven time after time that beige fat possesses both the qualities of white and brown fat. This “hybrid fat” can not only hoard energy, like white fat, but also burn energy, similar to brown fat.

In 2015, researchers discovered another interesting feature of beige fat: it has the ability to switch between storing and burning energy. Most recently, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found a way of keeping beige cells in the energy-burning state.

Why does this matter? By preventing beige fat cells from digesting their own mitochondria, researchers actually protected mice against obesity and symptoms of prediabetes. A graduate student who worked on the study, Svetlana Altshuler-Keylin, explains. “We knew that the color of brown and beige fat comes from the amount of pigmented mitochondria they contain, so we wondered whether something was going on with the mitochondria when beige fat turns white.”

The University of California researchers found a cluster of genes related to mitochondria were actually very active in beige fat and then declined significantly once it turned to white fat. While this was an important finding in and of itself, the researchers took it to the next level by controlling a process called autophagy.

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On September 27, 2016, posted in: News, Recent research by

New Research Reveals Link Between Obesity and Brain Structure

When we hear the term Body Mass Index (BMI) it’s often in relation to conditions such as Diabetes or high blood pressure. It’s not very often we hear BMI having anything to do with the brain – that is about to change. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Yale University have found a new link between high BMI and brain structure.

Recently published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, the team of researchers showed that the brains of overweight people age at a much faster rate than those of their lean counterparts. In fact, researchers were able to show that the brains of obese or overweight individuals appear to age an extra ten years compared to lean people. Through brain scanning technology, the scientists were able to draw conclusions from the decrease in volume of white matter in the overweight or obese groups.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Yale University started with the knowledge that the volume of white matter in a human brain typically increases during youth and then subsequently decreases with age. This trend is consistent among lean and overweight individuals; however, the researchers were interested in the idea that a subject’s BMI may contribute to the rate at which this shrinkage of white matter occurs.

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On August 12, 2016, posted in: News, Recent research by

The Truth About Childhood Obesity


Despite efforts, childhood obesity in the United States continues to increase at an alarming rate. In fact, researchers from Duke Clinical Research Institute reported that we just saw the biggest increase in severe obesity over the last 30 years.

Associate professor and lead author, Asheley Skinner, Ph.D. explains, “Despite some other recent reports, we found no indication of a decline in obesity prevalence in the United States in any group of children aged 2 through 19…” While obesity research is typically ongoing, Skinner most recently analyzed data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, which is a large compilation of health information.

The researchers found that for 2013-2014, 33.4% of children ages 2 through 19 were overweight. Among this group, 17.4% had obesity, which includes a range from the lower end of to the higher end of the designation. Skinner explains that severe obesity actually remains incredibly high among adolescents. To Skinner, this increase is the most disheartening and worrisome.

The commonness of severe obesity (adult BMI of 35 or higher) accounted for the sharpest rise form the previous reporting period. Among all overweight children analyzed, 6.3% had a BMI of at least 35 and another 2.4% of those had severe obesity, which was consistent with an adult BMI of 40 or more.

Due to the fact that an estimated 4.5 million children and teens have severe obesity, this new generation will require new, innovative and intensive efforts to steer them toward a healthier lifestyle. Skinner emphasizes, “Studies have shown that obesity in childhood is associated with worse health and shortened lifespans as adults.”

While progress has been made in addressing the issue and giving it the attention it deserves, reversing the problem is as difficult one-on-one as it is nationally. This particular study reminds us that we (as a country) may need to be more disruptive in our thinking about how we change our environment if we really want to see a difference.

Despite the fact that the study, of course, has limitations, obesity is still a population health problem in the United States that will require large-scale changes. Everything from food policy and access to health care to school curriculums and community resources will need to be addressed. The goal is to create healthy lifestyles for children and adults alike, encouraging healthier diets and more physical activity.

At Medical Metabolic Specialists, we do not see patients until they are at least 18 years old; however, healthy lifestyles start from parents and adults setting good examples. Thomas Power, chair of the Department of Human Development at Washington State University, said parents directly influence their child’s eating habits. Parents especially impact the development of a child’s preference for healthy foods as well as their ability to regulate how much they eat. For more information on how to develop healthy habits, contact the specialists at MMS.

Original Source: Science Daily



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On May 31, 2016, posted in: News, Recent research by

Follow Up: The Obesity Gene

Despite years of extensive research, there is still much we do not understand about obesity. As a follow up to our blog post “Obesity Gene May Hold the Key to Eradicating Obesity,” we’ve been following the research of scientists in Germany that say they’ve discovered a genetic ‘switch’ that could essentially turn obesity on or off.

The new study is founded on epigenetics research, the way the genes in our body change based on chemical and environmental factors. According to this line of thought, we are born with a set of genes that can be turned off or on, dialed up or down through processes inside the body. This usually explains why identical twins don’t always look identical.

The scientists in Germany have discovered one of these epigenetic tags, which apparently works like a light switch. “Once the switch is triggered, it is a lifelong decision that ends in a stable, either lean or obese phenotype,” said lead author Andrew Pospisilik from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics.

According the researchers, the effect is similar to an ordinary light switch – on or off, lean or obese. Typically, we consider epigenetic control of disease to act more like a dimmer, shifting phenotypes gradually up or down.

Previous studies have shown a link between Tim28 and the genes that control weight so researchers hypothesis that this is an epigenetic tag that can control obesity in a binary way.

While we know that epigenetic information can be passed through the generations in animals, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. The biggest question remains, how might this work in humans?

This new study might help us understand how genetic variations are passed on, as well as leading the way towards improved treatments for those living with obesity. The next step is to determine whether factors such as diet, stress or drugs can also flip the switch on or off.

Source: ScienceAlert 

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On February 12, 2016, posted in: News, Recent research by