Michael Hunter, MD on Medika Life

A Neglected Weight Loss Tool

“Aside from the fact that they say it’s unhealthy, my fat ain’t never been no trouble. Mens always have loved me. My kids ain’t never complained. Plus they’s fat.”
― Alice Walker, You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: Short Stories

DID YOU KNOW THAT, AT ANY GIVEN TIME, more than one-third of Americans are on a specific diet, with weight loss being a primary reason?

Here are the statistics from a Centers for Disease Control (USA) survey: The more a person weighed and the more education they had, the higher the chances that they reported being on a special diet.

In addition, women appeared more likely to be on a diet than men. Non-whites appeared slightly less likely to be dieting. A higher percentage of those at least 40 years were on diets than those aged 20 to 39.

Between 2007 and 2018, weight loss (or low calorie) diets become more popular, with low-carbohydrate diets gaining in popularity (and low-fat or low-cholesterol approaches experiencing a drop in popularity).

Restrictive diets don’t work for most.

According to a 2020 systematic review, popular diets don’t work for most people. More accurately, restrictive diets are modestly effective for a while, but the benefits are primarily gone after a year or so. In the study authors’ words:

Macronutrient diets, over six months, lead to modest weight loss and substantial improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, particularly blood pressure. At twelve months, the effects on weight reduction and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors largely disappear.

Listen to Becky Ramsing, a registered dietitian and senior program officer at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future: “Diet changes people make to lose weight can vary greatly. And in some cases, people might not understand why they are making the choices they do.”

She continues, adding that “they won’t eat bread, but then they’ll go eat many other things that are higher in calories. Rather than putting a primary focus on banning particular foods to make lasting changes, Ramsing suggests people consider their overall patterns of eating. Diets are hard to stick to for long periods.

Weight loss — Chewing as a secret weapon.

Do you chew fast or slowly? So many of us focus on a particular diet, whether it be keto or Mediterranean, or some other type. But have you thought about the association between the time you spend chewing your food and the amount of weight you lose?

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Researchers from Waseda University have found a link between chewing and weight loss. Here are their conclusions:

“Chewing well, by increasing energy expenditure, can help prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome. While the additional energy expenditure per meal is small, the cumulative effects every day and 365 days a year are substantial.”

Mindful eating

I admit to often eating too fast (I am working on it). On the other hand, mindful eating is a better approach and is associated with weight loss, according to a randomized clinical trial.

So here’s what we ought to do: Chew slowly and savor our food. Think about the food and process (yes, you’ll need to turn off the television), and you are less likely to continue eating after you’re full.

Portion control is a crucial way I manage my relationship with food. One other approach that helps me is getting adequate sleep.

Sleep — Another key to weight control

Earlier this month, I shared information about the relationship between sleep and weight.Avoid Weight Gain Without DietingI BELIEVE LESS AND LESS in the ability of restrictive diets to facilitate long-term weight loss. Caveman, low-fat, or…medium.com

Thank you for joining me today. Do you practice slowly chewing? Mindfulness eating?


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Michael Hunter, MD
Michael Hunter, MD
I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

Michael Hunter, MD

I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

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