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What is the best way to manage weight?

What is the best way to manage weight?

The science behind healthy weight management

Frontier Voice of Nutrition Remarks (February 10, 2013) <<Print PDF What is the best way to manage weight>>

Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D., interviewed Prof. James O. Hill, Ph.D., a pioneer scientist who serves as the Executive Director, Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, Director, Center for Human Nutrition, Director, Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC).

It’s easy to maintain body weight if you know how our body handles food. Human body works best and maintains energy balance best under high physically active conditions. When you are physically active, your body helps match your appetite to your energy needs. In other words, let physical activity drive your food intake. There are substantial data to show that just eating less is not a long-term strategy to manage weight. Your energy expenditure drops after weight loss, so that unless you increase physical activity, it will be difficult to eat sufficiently little to meet your new lowered energy needs.

Nutrition Remarks interviewed Prof. James O. Hill, Ph.D., who is a pioneer in physical activity, nutrition and energy balance: Following is a concise summary of the interview.

Question from Nutrition Remarks: How do you like to describe energy intake and expenditure?

Answer from Dr. Hill: I would like to describe this in terms of the energy balance. Basically, food we eat brings energy into the body (energy intake) while physical activities and various biological actions happening inside our body uses energy (energy expenditure).

Question: How do you like to describe energy flux?

Answer: Energy flux is the total energy flows through the body. A higher energy flux means high intake and high expenditure. In other words, at high flux, the body take lot of calories in and spends a lot.

Question: What happens to the energy balance in obesity?

Answer: If the energy intake is high and expenditure is low, excess energy will store in the body causing obesity.

Question: Why do you recommend matching energy intake to a high level of energy expenditure?

Answer: Our body work best when there is a high energy flux. Basically, if you are physiologically very active and eat enough to match the energy need of the body; your body will easily maintain a healthy weight. In case of low energy flux, it is really difficult to eat small amounts to match that low energy expenditure.

The bottom line is our body is more precise in balancing energy at high energy flux.

Question: Do you think that human body has evolved to maintain energy balance at a high flux and the mismatch occurs due to today’s sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity?

Answer: Yes, it is. Humans evolved in an environment where they were physically very active to survive. I think our genetic background favors high energy flux as the total picture suggests that energy expenditure is the driver and intake is the follower in a healthy system. However, due to the sedentary lifestyle we are in the state of energy deregulation where high energy expenditure is not driving the energy intake but body weight drives by the food intake.

Question: In order to achieve a matching energy intake to a high level of energy expenditure in today’s society, what are the recommendations you suggest?

Answer: If someone is physically active, the only thing to be worried is the food intake to match the energy need. However, in less physically active cases, energy balance should be carefully maintained. Therefore, less active people should know that they will have a very hard chalange to balance energy at low expenditure. So the options are either to change the lifestyle to increase physical activities or strictly and vigorously regulate energy intake to match with low expenditure. But we have evidence and experience that this low energy intake to match low expenditure fails in most of the cases.

Question: How people can adjust their physiological variation and be successful in achieving matching energy intake to a high level of energy expenditure?

Answer: We know that some people can easily maintain weight compared to others. However, as a general rule of thumb, it is worthwhile to maintain a high enough energy flux and then understand your individual energy demand to match your expenditure.

Question: Is there any other important information that you want to discuss in brief?

Answer: My message is “Be more active and eat smart”

Dr. James O. Hill, Ph.D., is the Founding Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He also holds the Anschutz Endowed Chair in Health and Wellness. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of New Hampshire in Physiological Psychology. He served as Chair of the first World Health Organization Consultation on Obesity in 1997. He was President of The Obesity Society (TOS) 1997-8 and President of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) 2008-9. He was a member of the NIH Expert Panel on Obesity that developed first U.S guidelines for the treatment and prevention of obesity. Dr. Hill has published more than 500 scientific articles and book chapters. Many of these focus on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity in weight management. He is the recipient of the 2007 TOPS award and the 2012 George Bray Founders Award from TOS. He has received the Centrum Center, McCollum and Kritchevsky awards from the ASN. He is the 2012 Atwater Lecturer for the US Department of Agriculture. Dr. Hill is a cofounder of the National Weight Control Registry, a registry of individuals who have been successful in maintenance of a reduced body weight. He is co-founder of America on the Move, a national weight gain prevention initiative that aims to inspire Americans to make small changes in how much they eat and how much they move to prevent weight gain. He is the author of the Step Diet Book, published in June 2004. He lectures widely throughout the world on obesity, health and wellness. His current work focuses on developing science-based strategies to reduce obesity rates.

More about Dr. Hill and his work





Nutrition Remarks would like to acknowledge Tim Goss, the Center Coordinator at Assistant to the Executive Leadership Team, Anschutz Health & Wellness Center for coordinating the interview and information verifications.

Written by NalinSiriwardhana, PhD.

Copyright © 2013 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved



Is it true that eating slowly will help you lose weight?

Is it true that eating slowly will help you lose weight?

Are you overweight and eating fast? Learn to eat slowly, You may avoid weight gain.

Frontier Voice of Nutrition Remarks (February 13, 2012) <<<Print PDF>>>

Nalin Siriwardhana, Ph.D., interviewed Dr. Eric R Muth, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and
Director of the Human Factors Institute Clemson, SC, USA.

Eating too fast may increase the risk of weight gain. If you are a fast eater and you want to maintain your healthy weight or stop unhealthy weight gain, it may be worthwhile to slow down the rate of eating.

Even if you have eaten enough for your physiological needs, you can eat beyond those needs because it takes time for your brain to sense and signal that you are full. If you eat fast, by the time your brain knows that you are full, you may have already overeaten. Overeating leads to intake of more calories than you need and those excess calories will store in the body and make you gain weight. Therefore, if you eat slowly and give your body time to understand and signal fullness, you may have a better chance of stopping before you overeat.

Scientists are working to uncover the mechanisms that link slow eating and weight gain prevention. When eating fast, you put lot of calories in before you feel full. Scientific evidence supports the idea that eating slower may reduce the calorie intake and eventually prevent unhealthy weight gain.

A recent exciting study conducted by researchers at Clemson University, South Carolina, USA showed that the calorie intake of overeating individuals who consume larger amounts of food can be controlled by learning to eat slowly. Nutrition Remarks interviewed the principle investigator, Dr. Eric R Muth, Ph.D., of the study and a simplified version of the conversation is given below:

Question from Nutrition Remarks: What scientific evidence is in favor of the fact that fast eaters eat more compared to slow eaters?

Answer from Dr. Muth: Studies have found an association with fast eating, obesity and weight gain. However, interventions to slow down eating do not always lead to weight loss. So, it is possible that eating rate is associated with obesity and weight gain, not as a causal factor, but just somehow as a coincidence.

Also, it is known that obese individual eat faster and take larger bites, both of which increase the calorie intake. On the other hand, a study from Dr. Martin’s research group at Pennington Biomedical Research Center showed that reduced eating rate could decrease calorie intake in men but not in women. Therefore, these observations that some scientific studies show reducing eating rate could reduce overall calorie intake should be more intensely studied and define criteria and recommendations in detail. For example, slowing eating rate will likely not help a person who already eats slowly.

Question: What are the known/proposed mechanisms that explain how fast eating helps high calorie intake?

Answer: The general idea is that it takes time for satiety cues (a signal from your body to brain to tell that you are full) to stop eating. People can eat fast and eat too much before the cues have time to work. Slowing eating speed gives more time for the cues to work and for people to pay more attention to the cues.

Question: How do you like to describe the bite-rate counter?

Answer: The bite rate counter is a wristwatch like small device that can be worn on the wrist of the hand use to eat. It automatically counts bites.

Question: How does the bite rate monitoring by the bite-rate counter help to reduce calorie intake?

Answer: It cues people in a way that gives faster feedback than the body’s own satiety cues. In other words, it will tell how fast you eat. Therefore, you can adjust yourself to eat slowly during the meal. One of the other interesting advantages of the bite-rate counter is that it can be programmed in a variety of different ways according to the needs of the user. Therefore, the bite counter can have pre-set limits that show a person when to stop.

Question: Can the bite counter be used easily and how practical it is?

Answer: Yes, it is worn like a watch and can be used in real-time. Data stored on the device can be downloaded to a computer if desired. In addition, the settings on the device can be customized using computer software.

Question: Your study shows that only the big meal eaters can benefit by this intervention. How do you like to describe the fact that calorie intake was not reduced in those who ate less than 400kcal in your study?

Answer: Yes, it seems that slowing bite-rate with the bite-rate counter may be most effective for individuals who consume larger amounts of food but not individuals who eat small meals. This is called a ceiling effect. When the baseline is high, it is easier to make it go down than up. The opposite is a floor effect. When the baseline is low, it is easier to make it go up than down.

Question: How do you describe the psychological effect of bite counter?

Answer: In one sense you can think of it as a biofeedback device. In another sense, you can think of it as a non-judgmental reminder.

This news release was based on the original scientific article published by Dr. Muth in Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Additional general background information was acquired from PubMed and NIH sources.

Original work; Scisco et al., Slowing bite-rate reduces energy intake: an application of the bite counter device. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Aug ;111(8):1231-5.

Dr. Eric R. Muth Ph.D., is a Professor and Director of Human Factors Institute, Department of Psychology, Clemson University. Dr. Muth has specific expertise in measuring human physiology in free living humans. His current work focuses on tracking intake behavior using simple, wearable devices.

Adam Hoover and Dr. Muth, are partners in a company, “Bite Technologies,” that markets and sells a bite-counter device. Clemson University has filed a US patent for intellectual property known as “The Weight Watch”, serial no. 61/144,203 having a filing date of January 13, 2009. Bite Technologies has licensed the method from Clemson University and has been funded by South Carolina Launch, a state organization that incubates startup companies associated with university intellectual property. Bite Technologies manufactures self-contained, portable versions of the Bite Counter.

Dr. Muth would like to acknowledge his main collaborator and business partner, Dr. Adam Hoover, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Jenna Scisco, a PhD candidate in his lab, was the lead investigator on the slow eating paper. Yujie Dong, a PhD candidate in Dr. Hoover’s lab also collaborated on the project.

Specific funding for the paper: Jenna Scisco was funded on a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate(NDSEG) fellowship through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Funding for experiment materials was provided by a Creative Inquiry grant from Clemson University.

More about Dr. Eric Muth and work




Written by Nalin Siriwardhana, PhD. and Amanda Fields


Copyright © 2012 Nutrition Remarks. All rights reserved