Health psychology and weight loss: two new studies with important outcomes

Health psychology and weight loss: two new studies with important outcomes

Two studies provide guidance about lifestyle changes that health care psychologists can recommend to people trying to lose weight.  This information may help health care psychologists partner with primary medical providers and weight loss programs to help people who are struggling with excessive weight and need to make behavioral changes to promote weight loss and to improve their health behaviors.

First, “Low-calorie sweeteners don’t help with weight loss — and may lead to gained pounds” was posted by StatNews.com on 7-17-17.  That article summarizes the results of a major new study, nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies was published by CMAJ.ca, the online Canadian Medical Association Journal, on 7-17-17.  This study is a meta analysis of random controlled trails with a total of over 400,ooo (!)  subjects and up to ten years of data gathering.  The authors conclude: “Evidence from RCTs does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management, and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.”

Stat cautions: “Many of the clinical trials this study drew on didn’t align closely with the way people consume such sweeteners in the real world — for instance, trials generally give subjects diet soda or sweetener capsules, while ignoring other sources, such as food. These trials also tend to focus on people who are obese and want to lose weight, which is not the case for many people who use low-calorie sweeteners in the general population. And while the longitudinal studies point to an association, they aren’t able to determine cause and effect.”

And, ScienceBlog.com posted Timing And Frequency Of Meals Plays Role In Weight Loss Or Gain on 7-20-17.  This article summarizes the results of a major study which analyzed data from over 50,000 (!) subjects, and found 4 significant lifestyle factors that contribute to a lower BMI:

- eating only one or two meals per day

- maintaining an overnight fast of up to 18 hours

-eating breakfast instead of skipping it

- making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of the day (Making breakfast the largest meal yielded a more significant decrease in BMI than did lunch.)

These two studies provide substantial research support for two common behavioral changes recommended to people trying to loose weight: avoid artificial sweeteners, and eat your breakfast!  On the other hand, eating only one or, more realistically, two meals per day will be a “bridge too far” for most of us, MHConcierge suspects. On the other hand, MHConcierge loves a large and hearty breakfast, and ethusiasticly embraces that finding!

 

 

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