New York Times reports no benefit to time restricted eating… but what did participants in the study eat?

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The New York Times reported on a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on time restricted eating, or as it is more commonly known these days, intermittent fasting. It’s important to note the study was also based on calorie restriction, which was left out of the headline, in addition to time restriction. The study showed no significant difference in weight loss or body composition between those practicing both calorie restricted and time restricted eating versus those simply practicing calorie restriction.

But now, a rigorous one-year study in which people followed a low-calorie diet between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or consumed the same number of calories anytime during the day has failed to find an effect.

The study, published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, was led by researchers at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, and included 139 people with obesity. Women ate 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, and men consumed 1,500 to 1,800 calories daily. To ensure compliance, participants were required to photograph every bit of food they ate and to keep food diaries.

The bottom line, said Dr. Ethan Weiss, a diet researcher at the University of California, San Francisco: “There is no benefit to eating in a narrow window.”

Scientists Find No Benefit to Time-Restricted Eating – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The article did not report on what the study participants ate. I don’t have a sufficient background in analyzing the study so I’ve reached out to some doctors on Twitter to see if they will review the findings.

I know from personal experience over decades of eating mainly one meal a day that I never need to restrict calories, count calories, count macros, or limit myself in any way in order to maintain my weight. I also know from personal experience if I want to lose weight I simply start restricting intake of carbohydrates, even more than I do now, and I can drop weight very quickly. If you add real fasting to the weight loss regimen, not eating for at least 3 days, you can enhance the weight loss effect even more. These things have held true to me when I waver off my normal weight range of 165 lbs. to 170 lbs.

If people are eating roughly the same number of calories but those calories are high in carbohydrates I wouldn’t expect for there to be a great difference in weight loss between the groups but I would expect some. In fact there was a small difference. The time restricted group lost around 18 lbs. while the other group lost 14 lbs.

The mean weight loss from baseline at 12 months was −8.0 kg (95% confidence interval [CI], −9.6 to −6.4) in the time-restriction group and −6.3 kg (95% CI, −7.8 to −4.7) in the daily-calorie-restriction group. 

Calorie Restriction with or without Time-Restricted Eating in Weight Loss | NEJM

The study says it’s not statistically significant but 4 lbs. is enough to make a difference to me. But, statistics is a different world and maybe 4 lbs. isn’t that big a deal if the participants are morbidly obese.

I’d like to see an opinion from a scientist or doctor that I trust.

High Fructose Corn Syrup may block Vitamin D increasing risk COVID-19 infection

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It’s increasingly clear that metabolic health and Vitamin D deficiency lead to more serious cases of COVID-19. Obviously I’m not a doctor but when I heard the information in this post I had to pass it along.

I ran across the following recording of Dr. Roger Seheult of MedCram.com. In this audio he explains how High Fructose Corn Syrup can block the Vitamin D in your body from being effective thereby hurting your immune system and leaving you possibly more susceptible to COVID-19.

Then I did a little searching and found this study from 2014 where they point out the same information.

… chronic intake of high levels of dietary fructose can lead to a decrease in circulating levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 independent of dietary Ca2+ levels and of physiological increases in Ca2+ requirement. This work is highly relevant since fructose, a sugar contained in many types of foods that are being consumed at high levels, may contribute to the increasing prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency…

nih.gov

Then I found the video mentioned in the audio clip by Dr. Seheult on YouTube where he goes more in depth about the effects of HFCS on Vitamin D.

Study: Metabolic Syndrome on the Rise

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Some of the unchanging facts during the COVID-19 pandemic is that most of the people that are having severe reactions and having difficulty recovering are those with metabolic syndrome.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of at least three of the five following medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high serum triglycerides, and low serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Wikipedia

If you are suffering from these illnesses you are at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 than the rest of the population.

Some components of metabolic syndrome, such as obesity and hypertension, are associated with more severe COVID-19. Separately, research shows higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and deaths from COVID-19 among some racial and ethnic groups.

For example, hospitalization rates for COVID-19 among Blacks and Hispanics are four to five times higher than for non-Hispanic white people. Health disparities associated with COVID-19 may reflect a complex combination of elements — not just age and chronic medical conditions, but also genetic, social, environmental, and occupational factors. Similar factors probably play a role in why metabolic syndrome affects, and is rising in, some groups more than others. This is an area of active (and much needed) research.

Harvard

This latest study from Harvard shows that metabolic syndrome is on the rise and is especially escalating in women, Asians, and Hispanics.

A new study explores how common metabolic syndrome is and who is getting it. Researchers analyzed survey data from more than 17,000 people who were representative of the US population in gender, race, and ethnicity. While the overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased slightly between 2011 and 2016 — going from 32.5% to 36.9% — it increased significantly among

women (from 31.7% to 36.6%)
adults ages 20 to 39 (from 16.2% to 21.3%)
Asian (from 19.9% to 26.2%) and Hispanic (from 32.9% to 40.4%) adults.

Harvard

One of the tools to reverse metabolic syndrome is to immediately lower your carbohydrate intake and the Keto Diet is a great way to accomplish that. Of course, always seek your doctor’s advice before making any changes in your diet.

Metabolic Syndrome is growing in the United States

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It’s been shown over the last several months that those from metabolic syndrome are most vulnerable to COVID-19. The inflammation associated with this syndrome is what puts the immune system into overdrive causing massive complications. If Americans are to improve their resistance to this virus we are going to have to adopt diets that are low in carbohydrates and restrict processed foods. Whole food eating as it’s being called today is the best medicine.

“It’s about lifestyle. Diet, exercise, healthy food choices,” Dr. Robert Wong, a gastroenterologist at Stanford University in California and a study author, told Healthline. “The U.S. health system says this a lot, but it’s not working.”

The study found that the overall percent of people in the United States with metabolic syndrome has edged up to 37.

However, a deep dive into older Americans as well as subgroups such as the Hispanic population finds the numbers soaring more than 50 percent.

Healthline

Nearly 50% of Americans over 60 suffer from metabolic syndrome

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The bad news is way too many people suffer from metabolic syndrome. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to reverse. It starts with your diet and getting off the sugar/carbohydrate addiction.

As many as 37 percent of all American adults have metabolic syndrome, placing them at increased risk for heart disease and other health problems, according to a study published Tuesday by JAMA.

In addition, nearly half of all U.S. adults aged 60 years and older have the condition, the researchers said.

UPI.com

It sounds like a fad but eating a low carb high fat diet combined with intermittent fasting works miracles when it comes to getting your metabolic health in order. It’s easier than you think and doesn’t require any calorie counting or calorie restriction. When you cut out the sugars and the carbs and replace them with high quality proteins you’ll find you won’t need to eat as much or as often.

Poor metabolic health is the weakness that allows COVID-19 to kill

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It’s not the virus that is the big killer. It’s the virus plus the Standard American Diet (SAD). The US will suffer the most because we are the least metabolically healthy.

The map above shows where U.S residents are at increased risk for severe Covid-19 illness, compared with the national average. It is based on the estimated proportion of adults in each county who have one or more of these conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and chronic lung disease, using survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A majority of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 in the New York City area, an early epicenter of the nation’s outbreak, had one or more underlying health conditions. Studies from the C.D.C. and others suggest that, once infected with the coronavirus, people with such conditions are at particular risk for severe illness, including hospitalization and death. The conditions do not on their own increase a person’s chance of catching the disease.

New York Times

The American diet and COVID-19 mortality

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The link between poor metabolic health and death from COVID-19 keeps cropping up in the news.

Doctors and scientists are discovering two common characteristics among many of those who are losing their battle with COVID-19 — they are overweight or obese and suffer from a chronic disease. Ninety four percent of deaths from COVID-19 are in those with an underlying age-related chronic disease, mostly caused by excess body fat.

COVID-19 has pulled back the curtain to reveal just how unhealthy we are as a nation. Only about 12 percent of Americans are metabolically healthy, without a large waist, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol. The major driver of poor metabolic health, which increases the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, is the nation’s diet — rich in starch, sugar, and processed foods

msn.com

How to prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome

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In a previous post I discussed what metabolic syndrome is and its possible causes. Here I’ll discuss what you may be able to do to reverse or prevent it.

To start you can immediately reduce your consumption of carbohydrates. It’s not to say you need to eliminate them from your diet but if you have a sugar addiction or have difficulty staying away from breads, cereals, and other grains it is in your best interest to find substitutes to remove as much from your diet as you can.

This is where the Keto Diet or a High Fat Low Carb (HFLC) diet comes into play. By removing carbs from your daily consumption you can start to immediately reverse some of the issues that lead to obesity and type-2 diabetes. The higher consumption of protein and fat on an HFLC diet allows you to feel full and satisfied, also known as satiety. When you feel satiated you can go longer without eating. And with the removal of carbs from your diet, you won’t suffer the spikes in insulin which will contribute to greater insulin sensitivity.

You can also try what is now known as Intermittent Fasting. It’s not some crazy thing where you stop eating for days on end. It’s simply cutting out some of your meals and limiting the time you eat to a certain time window of the day.

I started this well over 25 years ago just on a whim. I was getting heavier and approaching 200 lbs. I didn’t ever want to see the scale hit that number so I decided to change my eating habits by eating only when hungry. The first meal I cut out was breakfast. I was rarely hungry in the mornings and breakfast actually got in the way of reading the morning paper. So since the day I decided to go down that route I simply have a cup of coffee while reading the news in the morning. I was able to next skip lunch. It seemed the longer I went without eating the less hungry I became. For a long time now I have been eating only one large meal per day with maybe a snack in the evenings. It can be done and without even thinking about will power.

There are books to get you started on both the low carb approach and intermittent fasting approach. The two combined make powerful tools that you can use without any medication. The best part about going low carb and following intermittent fasting is that it’s free. No diet shakes or powders. No meal plans or pharmaceuticals. All you need to do is not eat as often and stay away, as much as you can, from sugar, breads, cereals, and other carbohydrates.

Book: Life in the Fasting Lane

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Last week I finished reading, “Life in the Fasting Lane”, and I think it’s a great book for anyone looking to get into intermittent fasting or even fasting for longer periods. The book follows the real experiences of Eve Mayer and chronicles her successes and struggles with weight, diet, and fasting.

There is nothing better than real people and their experiences to help you through getting started on improving your metabolic health. The book is an easy and fast read and contains enough information to help you along. It’s available in Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle versions.

Catch up sleep may help with metabolic syndrome

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I guess sleeping in on the weekends can help out if you’re burning the candle at both ends on the weekday. Who knew!

Patients and Methods: A total of 1,453 individuals were selected from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Weekend CUS was divided into four categories: ≤ 0 hour, 0– 1 hour, 1– 2 hours, and ≥ 2 hours. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were derived by univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Results: Participants with weekend CUS ≥ 1 hour had decreased risk of metabolic syndrome in univariate analysis (CUS 1– 2 hours: OR: 0.413, 95% CI: 0.301– 0.568; CUS ≥ 2 hours: OR: 0.382, 95% CI 0.296– 0.493). Weekend CUS 1– 2 hours reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome in multivariate logistic regression analysis (OR: 0.552, 95% CI: 0.369– 0.823). Based on the age group analysis, weekend CUS ≥ 1 hour reduced the metabolic syndrome among those aged 20– 39 and 40– 65 (20– 39: CUS 1– 2 hours OR: 0.248, 95% CI: 0.078– 0.783, CUS ≥ 2 hours OR: 0.374, 95% CI: 0.141– 0.991; 40– 65: CUS 1– 2 hours OR: 0.507, 95% CI 0.309– 0.832 CUS ≥ 2 hours OR: 0.638, 95% CI: 0.415– 0.981).
Conclusion: Weekend CUS was associated with a low risk of metabolic syndrome among Korean adults with sleep restriction.

dovepress.com