Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Dieting


Peoples' attempts to lose weight by low calorie diets often result in weight gain because of over-compensatory overeating during lapses. Animals usually respond to a change in food availability by adjusting their foraging effort and altering how much energy reserves they store. But in many situations the long-term availability of food is uncertain, so animals may attempt to estimate it to decide the appropriate level of fat storage.

Concepts: Nutrition, Energy, Physics, Obesity, Mass, Heat, Carbohydrate, Dieting



There is growing interest in the use of information communication technologies to treat obesity. An intervention delivered by smartphone could be a convenient, potentially cost-effective, and wide-reaching weight management strategy. Although there have been studies of texting-based interventions and smartphone applications (apps) used as adjuncts to other treatments, there are currently no randomized controlled trials (RCT) of a stand-alone smartphone application for weight loss that focuses primarily on self-monitoring of diet and physical activity.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Obesity, Randomized controlled trial,, Weight loss, Pharmaceutical industry, Dieting, Information technology


Systematic differences between populations in their preferences for body size may arise as a result of an adaptive ‘prepared learning’ mechanism, whereby cues to health or status in the local population are internalized and affect body preferences. Alternatively, differences between populations may reflect their ‘visual diet’ as a cognitive byproduct of mere exposure. Here we test the relative importance of these two explanations for variation in body preferences. Two studies were conducted where female observers were exposed to pictures of high or low BMI women which were either aspirational (healthy, attractive models in high status clothes) or non-aspirational (eating disordered patients in grey leotards), or to combinations thereof, in order to manipulate their body-weight preferences which were tested at baseline and at post-test. Overall, results showed good support for visual diet effects (seeing a string of small or large bodies resulted in a change from pre- to post-test whether the bodies were aspirational or not) and also some support for the associative learning explanation (exposure to aspirational images of overweight women induced a towards preferring larger bodies, even when accompanied by equal exposure to lower weight bodies in the non-aspirational category). Thus, both influences may act in parallel.

Concepts: Psychology, Nutrition, Population, Sociology, Dieting


BACKGROUND: Intermittent fasting (IF; severe restriction 1 d/week) facilitates weight loss and improves coronary heart disease (CHD) risk indicators. The degree to which weight loss can be enhanced if IF is combined with calorie restriction (CR) and liquid meals, remains unknown. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of IF plus CR (with or without a liquid diet) on body weight, body composition, and CHD risk. METHODS: Obese women (n = 54) were randomized to either the IFCR-liquid (IFCR-L) or IFCR-food based (IFCR-F) diet. The trial had two phases: 1) 2-week weight maintenance period, and 2) 8-week weight loss period. RESULTS: Body weight decreased more (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L group (3.9 +/- 1.4 kg) versus the IFCR-F group (2.5 +/- 0.6 kg). Fat mass decreased similarly (P < 0.0001) in the IFCR-L and IFCR-F groups (2.8 +/- 1.2 kg and 1.9 +/- 0.7 kg, respectively). Visceral fat was reduced (P < 0.001) by IFCR-L (0.7 +/- 0.5 kg) and IFCR-F (0.3 +/- 0.5 kg) diets. Reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels were greater (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L (19 +/- 10%; 20 +/- 9%, respectively) versus the IFCR-F group (8 +/- 3%; 7 +/- 4%, respectively). LDL peak particle size increased (P < 0.01), while heart rate, glucose, insulin, and homocysteine decreased (P < 0.05), in the IFCR-L group only. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that IF combined with CR and liquid meals is an effective strategy to help obese women lose weight and lower CHD risk.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Dieting, Diets


BACKGROUND: Numerous natural products are marketed and sold claiming to decrease body weight and fat, but few undergo finished product-specific research demonstrating their safety and efficacy. OBJECTIVE: To determine the safety and efficacy of a multi-ingredient supplement containing primarily raspberry ketone, caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger and Citrus aurantium (Prograde MetabolismTM [METABO]) as an adjunct to an eight-week weight loss program. METHODS: Using a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind design, 70 obese but otherwise healthy subjects were randomly assigned to METABO or a placebo and underwent 8 weeks of daily supplementation, a calorie restricted diet, and exercise training. Subjects were tested for changes in body composition, serum adipocytokines (adiponectin, resistin, leptin, TNF-alpha, IL-6) and markers of health including heart rate and blood pressure. RESULTS: Of the 45 subjects who completed the study, significant differences were observed in: body weight (METABO -2.0% vs. placebo -0.5%, P < 0.01), fat mass (METABO -7.8 vs. placebo -2.8%, P < 0.001), lean mass (METABO +3.4% vs. placebo +0.8%, P < 0.03), waist girth (METABO -2.0% vs. placebo -0.2%, P < 0.0007), hip girth (METABO -1.7% vs. placebo -0.4%, P < 0.003), and energy levels per anchored visual analogue scale (VAS) (METABO +29.3% vs. placebo +5.1%, P < 0.04). During the first 4 weeks, effects/trends for maintaining elevated serum leptin (P < 0.03) and decreased serum resistin (P < 0.08) in the METABO group vs. placebo were also observed. No changes in systemic hemodynamics, clinical blood chemistries, adverse events, or dietary intake were noted between groups. CONCLUSIONS: METABO administration is a safe and effective adjunct to an eight-week diet and exercise weight loss program by augmenting improvements in body composition, waist and hip girth. Adherence to the eight-week weight loss program also led to beneficial changes in body fat in placebo. Ongoing studies to confirm these results and clarify the mechanisms (i.e., biochemical and neuroendocrine mediators) by which METABO exerts the observed salutary effects are being conducted.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Physical exercise, Mass, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Dieting, Leptin


In Canada, 31.5 % of children are overweight or obese, putting them at an increased risk of chronic co-morbidities and premature mortality. Physical activity, healthy eating, and screen time are important behavioural determinants of childhood overweight and obesity that are influenced by the family environment, and particularly parents' support behaviours. However, there is currently a limited understanding of which types of these support behaviours have the greatest positive impact on healthy child behaviours. This study aims to determine the relative contribution of different types of parental support behaviours for predicting the likelihood that children meet established guidelines for daily physical activity, daily fruit and vegetable consumption, and recreational screen time.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Obesity, Physical exercise, Overweight, Child, Childhood, Dieting


BACKGROUND: Despite the increasing understanding of the mechanisms relating to weight loss and maintenance, there are currently no validated public health interventions that are able to achieve sustained long-term weight loss or to stem the increasing prevalence of obesity in the population. We aimed to examine the models of energy balance underpinning current research about weight-loss intervention from the field of public health, and to determine whether they are consistent with the model provided by basic science. EMBASE was searched for papers published in 2011 on weight-loss interventions. We extracted details of the population, nature of the intervention, and key findings for 27 articles. DISCUSSION: Most public health interventions identified were based on a simple model of energy balance, and thus attempted to reduce caloric consumption and/or increase physical activity in order to create a negative energy balance. There appeared to be little consideration of homeostatic feedback mechanisms and their effect on weight-loss success. It seems that there has been a lack of translation between recent advances in understanding of the basic science behind weight loss, and the concepts underpinning the increasingly urgent efforts to reduce excess weight in the population. SUMMARY: Public health weight-loss interventions seem to be based on an outdated understanding of the science. Their continued failure to achieve any meaningful, long-term results reflects the need to develop intervention science that is integrated with knowledge from basic science. Instead of asking why people persist in eating too much and exercising too little, the key questions of obesity research should address those factors (environmental, behavioral or otherwise) that lead to dysregulation of the homeostatic mechanism of energy regulation. There is a need for a multidisciplinary approach in the design of future weight-loss interventions in order to improve long-term weight-loss success.

Concepts: Health, Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Physical exercise, Weight loss, Dieting, Homeostasis


A discrepancy exists with regard to the effect of smartphone applications (apps) on weight reduction due to the several limitations of previous studies. This is a retrospective cohort study, aimed to investigate the effectiveness of a smartphone app on weight reduction in obese or overweight individuals, based on the complete enumeration study that utilized the clinical and logging data entered by Noom Coach app users between October 2012 and April 2014. A total of 35,921 participants were included in the analysis, of whom 77.9% reported a decrease in body weight while they were using the app (median 267 days; interquartile range = 182). Dinner input frequency was the most important factor for successful weight loss (OR = 10.69; 95% CI = 6.20-19.53; p < 0.001), and more frequent input of weight significantly decreased the possibility of experiencing the yo-yo effect (OR = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.39-0.89; p < 0.001). This study demonstrated the clinical utility of an app for successful weight reduction in the majority of the app users; the effects were more significant for individuals who monitored their weight and diet more frequently.

Concepts: Cohort study, Clinical trial, Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Effectiveness, Adipose tissue, Dieting


To assess the predictive capacity of a recently described equation that we have termed CUN-BAE (Clínica Universidad de Navarra-Body Adiposity Estimator) based on BMI, sex, and age for estimating body fat percentage (BF%) and to study its clinical usefulness.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Fat, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Adipocyte, Dieting