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Healthier Overweight

July 9, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Some time ago, I was approached by an overweight gentleman who was familiar with my line of work. He explained that he planned to lose weight eventually, but wasn’t quite ready to adopt many of the principles espoused on my site and elsewhere. He went on to ask a rather provocative question: Apart from making major changes to my diet and exercising, are there any small steps I can take to protect myself? At first, my thought was: What’s the point? You can’t put out a fire with a squirt gun! If you want to get healthy, a commitment needs to made! However, as I listened further to his circumstances and history, I relented and decided to offer what I hoped would be the first steps in his path to a genuine lifestyle change.

A high potency, multivitamin-mineral is almost always a good starting point for those grappling with weight issues. Ironically, overweight is often associated with inadequate nutrition. The antioxidants and essential nutrients contained in well formulated multiples can go a long way in discouraging any outright deficiencies. If you’re heavy and you only take one other supplement, I would make it fish oil. DHA and EPA, the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil, tend to reduce obesity related inflammation and various cardiometabolic risk factors, including elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. In recent studies, dosages vary, but typically range between 1-3 grams of DHA + EPA daily. Fish oil supplements ought to be taken with food, preferably foods that are rich in another source of health promoting fats: monounsaturates. Almonds, avocados and olive oil are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats which have likewise been shown to mitigate the effects of overweight on diabetes and cardiovascular disease incidence and progression.

Substituting sugar sweetened drinks with low-calorie beverages is another simple shift for the better. But, I’m not talking about swapping regular soda for diet soda. The options I recommend above all else are: homemade hot cocoa, organic ginger tea and organic green tea. Recent scientific studies reveal that: a) non-alkalized hot chocolate, made with 100% cocoa powder, supports healthier circulation in overweight adults; b) ginger tea helps manage appetite and slightly boosts metabolism; c) green tea supplies a powerful antioxidant boost and positively affects multiple risk factors associated with excess weight such as high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and systemic inflammation. The key is how you prepare each of these conditionally health promoting brews. I suggest starting with the purest ingredients and making sure not to add components that negate the inherent goodness of pure cocoa, ginger and green tea. For the hot cocoa, I like to simply add boiling water, a splash of unsweetened almond or coconut milk and a pinch of sea salt and stevia. If you don’t care for the taste of plain ginger or green tea, try squeezing in some organic lemon and a few drops of liquid stevia extract. Not only will these beverages hydrate you, but they’ll also assist your body to stay well until you’re ready to make more substantial changes.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – (N-3) Fatty Acids Alleviate Adipose Tissue Inflammation and Insulin (link)

Study 2 – High Physiological Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Affects (link)

Study 3 – Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation in Healthy Middle(link)

Study 4 – Supplementation of n3 Long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (link)

Study 5 – Possible Effect of DHA Intake on Body Weight Reduction and Lipid (link)

Study 6 – Effects of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids on Cardiovascular Risk Factors(link)

Study 7 – Consumption of a High Monounsaturated Fat Diet Reduces Oxidative (link)

Study 8 – Effects of Sugar-Sweetened and Sugar-Free Cocoa on Endothelial (link)

Study 9 – Ginger Consumption Enhances the Thermic Effect of Food and Promotes (link)

Study 10 – Green Tea Extract Reduces Blood Pressure, Inflammatory Biomarkers (link)

Fish Oil (EPA/DHA) May Minimize Some of the Negative Effects of Excess Body Fat

Source: Adv Nutr. 2011 Jul;2(4):304-16. (link)

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition

3 Comments & Updates to “Healthier Overweight”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: Higher protein diets may lower risk of cardiometabolic disease …


    J Nutr. 2015 Mar;145(3):605-14.

    Higher-Protein Diets Are Associated with Higher HDL Cholesterol and Lower BMI and Waist Circumference in US Adults.

    BACKGROUND: Protein intake above the RDA attenuates cardiometabolic risk in overweight and obese adults during weight loss. However, the cardiometabolic consequences of consuming higher-protein diets in free-living adults have not been determined.

    OBJECTIVE: This study examined usual protein intake [g/kg body weight (BW)] patterns stratified by weight status and their associations with cardiometabolic risk using data from the NHANES, 2001-2010 (n = 23,876 adults ≥19 y of age).

    METHODS: Linear and decile trends for association of usual protein intake with cardiometabolic risk factors including blood pressure, glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and triglycerides were determined with use of models that controlled for age, sex, ethnicity, physical activity, poverty-income ratio, energy intake (kcal/d), carbohydrate (g/kg BW) and total fat (g/kg BW) intake, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.

    RESULTS: Usual protein intake varied across deciles from 0.69 ± 0.004 to 1.51 ± 0.009 g/kg BW (means ± SEs). Usual protein intake was inversely associated with BMI (-0.47 kg/m(2) per decile and -4.54 kg/m(2) per g/kg BW) and waist circumference (-0.53 cm per decile and -2.45 cm per g/kg BW), whereas a positive association was observed between protein intake and HDL cholesterol (0.01 mmol/L per decile and 0.14 mmol/L per g/kg BW, P < 0.00125). CONCLUSIONS: Americans of all body weights typically consume protein in excess of the RDA. Higher-protein diets are associated with lower BMI and waist circumference and higher HDL cholesterol compared to protein intakes at RDA levels. Our data suggest that Americans who consume dietary protein between 1.0 and 1.5 g/kg BW potentially have a lower risk of developing cardiometabolic disease. Be well! JP

  2. JP Says:

    Update: Diets rich in fiber reduce excessive inflammation in overweight adolescents …


    Pediatr Obes. 2015 Mar 2.

    Dietary fibre linked to decreased inflammation in overweight minority youth.

    OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between diet and inflammation, and adiposity in minority youth.

    DESIGN AND METHODS: The study was designed as a cross-sectional analysis of 142 overweight (≥85th body mass index percentile) Hispanic and African-American adolescents (14-18 years) with the following measures: anthropometrics, adiposity via magnetic resonance imaging, dietary intake via 24-h dietary recalls, and inflammation markers from fasting blood draws utilizing a multiplex panel. Partial correlations were estimated and analysis of covariance (ancova) models fit to examine the relationship among dietary variables, inflammation markers and adiposity measures with the following a priori covariates: Tanner stage, ethnicity, sex, total energy intake, total body fat and total lean mass.

    RESULTS: Inference based on ancova models showed that the highest tertile of fibre intake (mean intake of 21.3 ± 6.1 g d-1 ) vs. the lowest tertile of fibre intake (mean intake of 7.4 ± 1.8 g d-1 ) was associated with 36% lower plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (P = 0.02) and 43% lower resistin (P = 0.02), independent of covariates. Similar results were seen for insoluble fibre. No other dietary variables included in this study were associated with inflammation markers.

    CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that increases in dietary fibre could play an important role in lowering inflammation and therefore metabolic disease risk in high-risk minority youth.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 06/05/15:


    Food Funct. 2015 Jun 1.

    Effects of Nigella sativa oil with a low-calorie diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women: a randomized controlled clinical trial.

    Obesity is typically associated with increased risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Therefore, a therapeutic approach that aims to control body weight and metabolic profile might be effective in preventing CVDs. We aimed to determine the effects of Nigella Sativa (NS) oil with a low-calorie diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. In this double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial, 90 obese women were recruited. Participants were females aged 25-50 years old with body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 35 kg m-2. They were randomly assigned to receive a low-calorie diet with 3 g per day (1 g before each meal) NS oil or placebo for 8 weeks. Anthropometric indices, dietary intake and biochemical parameters were measured at the baseline and after the intervention. Eighty-four females completed the trial (intervention n = 43, placebo n = 41). Two groups were similar in the baseline characteristics. After the intervention, dietary intake was changed in both groups compared to the baseline, but the differences were not significant between the two groups. In the NS group, weight (-6.0 vs. -3.6%; p < 0.01) and waist circumference (-6.9 vs. -3.4%; p < 0.01) decreased significantly compared with the placebo group at the end of the trial. Comparison of biochemical parameters presented a significant decline in triglyceride (-14.0 vs. 1.4%; p = 0.02) and very low density lipoprotein (-14.0 vs. 7%; p < 0.01) levels in the NS group compared to the placebo group. NS oil concurrent with a low-calorie diet can reduce cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. However, more clinical trials are needed to elucidate efficacy of NS as a complementary therapy in obese subjects. Be well! JP

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