Weight Loss News

May 19, 2009 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Over the past 8 months or so, I’ve lost just over 70 lbs. Many of the weight loss strategies I’ve employed were taken directly from medical studies I read about in scientific literature. Several recent trials exemplify the core principles that are helping me to reach my goal.

First, here’s what worked for me. I’ve been following a natural, whole food based, low-carbohydrate diet. That’s been largely responsible for my weight loss and improved health. I have been exercising as well, but not very intensely and, frankly, not even regularly. My pattern of loss indicates that I lose weight both during very active periods and when I’m relatively sedentary. I’ll provide a more detailed explanation of my protocol once I reach my goal weight, which i hope to achieve within the coming month. At that point, I’ll post some before and after photos and all the specifics of my wellness routine.

Obesity World Map

A study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition describes the effects of a low-carbohydrate vs. a low-fat diet on weight loss and cardiovascular markers. 69 volunteers who exhibited abdominal obesity and at least one additional risk factor for Metabolic Syndrome completed the one-year trial. Metabolic Syndrome is defined by the presence of more than one of the following conditions: elevated triglycerides, excess fat in the mid-section, high blood sugar, hypertension and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

33 volunteers consumed a low-carb diet consisting of 4% carbohydrates, 35% protein and 61% fat (based on total caloric intake). The remaining 36 participants maintained a low-fat diet comprised of 46% carbohydrates, 24% protein and 30% fat. Here’s what the authors found at the conclusion of the 12 month experiment (1):

  • The low-carb group lost a greater amount of weight, -14.5 kg vs -11.3 kg
  • The carb restricted volunteers also lost more body fat, -11.3 kg vs. -9.4 kg
  • The low-carbers showed a larger decrease in triglycerides and an increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol

The only negative feature reported in the carbohydrate restricted diet was a minor increase in LDL cholesterol levels. It should be noted however that previous studies do not support such an association between low-carb diets and elevations in LDL cholesterol. (2,3,4,5) In addition, the reduction in body fat and weight, the lowering of triglycerides and the boost in HDL are all positive and significant steps towards combating Metabolic Syndrome.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but increasing the amount of dietary fat and/or choosing specific fats may promote both the loss of body fat and excess weight. The most common concern about increased fat intake is the proposed endangerment to heart health. This fear appears to be unwarranted and is evidenced in the May 2009 issue of the journal Lipids.

A group of 40 women with abdominal obesity were instructed to take either 1 ounce of soybean oil or 1 ounce of coconut oil in addition to a balanced daily diet and a regular walking program. Testing was conducted on the women prior to the beginning of the trial and one week after the end of the experiment. The trial lasted a total of 12 weeks. Several interesting observations were noted by the researchers. (6)

  • The total number of calories and the carbohydrate content of the diet was reduced after the inclusion of more dietary fat. The amount of protein, fiber and total dietary fat remained unchanged.
  • The coconut oil group demonstrated an increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol and an improvement in the LDL:HDL ratio (the “bad” to “good” cholesterol ratio).
  • The soybean oil group displayed an increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, a reduction in HDL and poorer LDL:HDL ratios.
  • Both groups lost weight, but only the women taking coconut oil showed a significant decrease in abdominal obesity.

The beneficial shift in cardiovascular markers may be surprising to some because coconut oil is rich in supposedly harmful saturated fat. Soybean oil, on the other hand, is very low in saturated fatty acids.

Low Carb Diet and Cholesterol
N Engl J Med volume 359:229-241 July 17,2008

Including higher levels of fat in my own diet has been key to managing my appetite and maintaining proper blood sugar control. As such, nuts can be a helpful food in any weight loss program. It’s well known that most nuts and many seeds are rich in protein, fat, fiber and a variety of healthful nutrients. But, new research presented in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition offers an additional clue about how we can best utilize nuts to aid in weight management. (7)

A group 13 healthy men and women were included in a trial involving the consumption of 2 ounces of almonds per day. The goal of the study was to determine how the amount of chewing would affect appetite and fat digestion. Each participate was asked to chew the almonds either 10, 25 or 40 times prior to swallowing (on separate days). Appetite monitoring, blood tests and stool samples were taken prior to and after eating the almonds.

The participants hunger was suppressed and their fullness was enhanced by chewing the almonds 25-40 times. These effects lasted for at least 2 hours afterward. The researchers noted that the levels of a hunger suppressant hormone known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) decreased the most after 40 chews. It appears that these effects are likely due to improved digestion of unsaturated fats derived by more thorough mastication.

All three of these studies reflect my own experience and, more importantly, the effects reported by many other dieters that I’ve encountered on my weight loss journey. But these types of recommendations are rarely put forth by conventional nutritionists and physicians. I hope that will change as the number of studies that support alternative weight loss strategies are more widely disseminated. I’ll do my best to help spread the word and continue to document new and innovative ways to achieve a healthy weight.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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

15 Comments & Updates to “Weight Loss News”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Wow, 70 lbs, congratulations! It’s a remarkable achievement.

  2. JP Says:

    Thanks, Kevin!

    Be well!


  3. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    Congratulations JP. 70lb loss in 8 months is phenomenal. I lost about that amount but it took me years and lots of exercise. I really don’t count my carbs but I assume they are high since I eat mainly oats, barley, salad, berries, nuts, mackerel, and a little yogurt. I use olive, coconut, ricebran, and canola oils….mainly olive oil. I use oats because they are considered a high protein grain and barley because of it’s high fiber. Since I use the “groats” form, they are very low on the glycemic scale. Every time I visit my mom I gain 8 or 10lbs in a week’s time. My soon to be 91 year old mom amazes me how she can thrive on a poor diet….candy, cookies, pastries. I’ve always tended to be the fattest member of my family but now I’m the slimmest.

    My problem has always been my enormous appetite. I cope by eating large amounts of low calorie dense food, yet very filling.

    I thank the late Dr Gerry for promoting interval training and Dr Cinque for suggesting running only uphill. Uphill running exerts the heart and lungs with minimal impact to the joints. Uphill running, however does stress the ligaments and tendons.

  4. Sue Says:

    Wow, congratulations on your weight loss and excellent blog.
    Look forward to seeing the before and after pics.
    All the best.

  5. JP Says:

    Thanks, Iggy!

    You’ve got the best of both worlds. You eat and live healthfully and you have good genes in your favor as well. 🙂

    I have quite a powerful appetite as well. I don’t eat a lot of fiber but I think the added protein, fat and the low-glycemic load of my menu probably is responsible for taming my hunger pangs.

    I hope we’ll both continue to find success with our weight and in our quest for good health.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Thanks, Sue! I appreciate your kind words!

    I’ll have to dig around in my old photos and try to find the most unflattering one. Then I’ll have to enlist my wife to try to make me look my best this time around. It’s too bad I don’t know how to use Photoshop. 🙂

    Be well!


  7. Lynne Says:

    I am looking forward to your blog when you reach your goal weight! Good luck, and your writing is very inspiring, as well as very helpful.

  8. JP Says:

    Thanks a lot, Lynne. I really appreciate your encouragement and support.

    I’m going to search for an old photo with me at my heaviest weight (or close to it). Then I’ll have my wife snap a photo of me once I get to 180.

    Be well!


  9. Eric Says:

    Great information!I am trying my best to lost weight but I guess it is a slow process.

  10. JP Says:

    It can be, Eric. But, stick to it and your health will improve as your weight declines. Most worthwhile projects take time. Keep at it and feel proud of your accomplishments! You’re worth the effort! 🙂

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Update 04/20/15:


    Phytother Res. 2014 Oct;28(10):1520-6.

    IQP-GC-101 reduces body weight and body fat mass: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

    IQP-GC-101 is a patented blend of the standardized extracts of Garcinia cambogia, Camellia sinensis, unroasted Coffea arabica, and Lagerstroemia speciosa. These individual ingredients of IQP-GC-101 have each shown promise in promoting weight loss; however, the efficacy of the blend has not been established. This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel group study conducted over 14 weeks (including a 2-week run-in phase) aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of IQP-GC-101 in reducing body weight and body fat mass in overweight Caucasian adults. Subjects took three IQP-GC-101 or placebo tablets, twice a day, 30 min before main meals. All subjects also adhered to a 500 kcal/day energy deficit diet with 30% of energy from fat. Ninety-one overweight and mildly obese subjects (46 in the IQP-GC-101 group, 45 in the placebo group) completed the study. After 12-week intervention, IQP-GC-101 resulted in a mean (±SD) weight loss of 2.26 ± 2.37 kg compared with 0.56 ± 2.34 kg for placebo (pU  = 0.002). There was also significantly more reduction in body fat mass, waist circumference, and hip circumference in the IQP-GC-101 group. No serious adverse events were reported. The use of IQP-GC-101 has been shown to result in body weight and body fat reduction in the current study, with good tolerability.

    Be well!


  12. JP Says:

    Updated 06/11/16:


    Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016 Jun 6.

    Effect of a high-fat Mediterranean diet on bodyweight and waist circumference: a prespecified secondary outcomes analysis of the PREDIMED randomised controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: Because of the high density of fat, high-fat diets are perceived as likely to lead to increased bodyweight, hence health-care providers are reluctant to recommend them to overweight or obese individuals. We assessed the long-term effects of ad libitum, high-fat, high-vegetable-fat Mediterranean diets on bodyweight and waist circumference in older people at risk of cardiovascular disease, most of whom were overweight or obese.

    METHODS: PREDIMED was a 5 year parallel-group, multicentre, randomised, controlled clinical trial done in primary care centres affiliated to 11 hospitals in Spain. 7447 asymptomatic men (aged 55-80 years) and women (aged 60-80 years) who had type 2 diabetes or three or more cardiovascular risk factors were randomly assigned (1:1:1) with a computer-generated number sequence to one of three interventions: Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (n=2543); Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (n=2454); or a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat; n=2450). Energy restriction was not advised, nor was physical activity promoted. In this analysis of the trial, we measured bodyweight and waist circumference at baseline and yearly for 5 years in the intention-to-treat population. The PREDIMED trial is registered with ISRCTN.com, number ISRCTN35739639.

    FINDINGS: After a median 4·8 years (IQR 2·8-5·8) of follow-up, participants in all three groups had marginally reduced bodyweight and increased waist circumference. The adjusted difference in 5 year changes in bodyweight in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group was -0·43 kg (95% CI -0·86 to -0·01; p=0·044) and in the nut group was -0·08 kg (-0·50 to 0·35; p=0·730), compared with the control group. The adjusted difference in 5 year changes in waist circumference was -0·55 cm (-1·16 to -0·06; p=0·048) in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group and -0·94 cm (-1·60 to -0·27; p=0·006) in the nut group, compared with the control group.

    INTERPRETATION: A long-term intervention with an unrestricted-calorie, high-vegetable-fat Mediterranean diet was associated with decreases in bodyweight and less gain in central adiposity compared with a control diet. These results lend support to advice not restricting intake of healthy fats for bodyweight maintenance.

    Be well!


  13. JP Says:

    Updated 04/16/17:


    Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2017 Mar;22(1):45-49.

    Low Dose Yeast Hydrolysate in Treatment of Obesity and Weight Loss.

    The anti-obesity effects of yeast hydrolysate (YH) supplementation (1.0 g/d) have already been demonstrated. We investigated whether a low dose of YH (0.5 g/d, YH-500) also has the anti-obesity effects. Thirty obese women were randomly assigned to the control or YH-500 groups. After 8 weeks, weight and body mass index were significantly reduced by the YH treatment (0.5 g/d) (P<0.05). The YH-500 group lost a significant amount of body fat after the 8-week treatment: fat mass 25.9 kg (baseline) versus 23.8 kg (8th week), P<0.01; fat mass ratio 38.8% (baseline) versus 36.5% (8th week), P<0.05. The YH-500 group showed a significant reduction in calorie intake during the 8-week treatment (P<0.001). The control group wanted to eat much more food (P<0.05) and sometimes thought about eating more often compared with the YH-500 group (P<0.05). Whereas the control group showed a slightly increased sweet preference, the YH-500 group showed a significant reduction in sweet preference (P<0.05). In conclusion, low dose YH supplementation (0.5 g/d) may induce a reductions in weight and body fat in obese women via the reduction of calorie intake.

    Be well!


  14. JP Says:

    Updated 06/09/17:


    Ann Nutr Metab. 2017 Jun 9;70(4):277-285.

    The Effect of Dietary Supplements Containing Green Tea, Capsaicin and Ginger Extracts on Weight Loss and Metabolic Profiles in Overweight Women: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.

    BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary supplements containing green tea, capsaicin and ginger extracts on weight loss and metabolic profiles among overweight women.

    METHODS: This randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was implemented among 50 overweight women. Participants were randomly divided into 2 groups. Group A received dietary supplements containing 125 mg green tea, 25 mg capsaicin and 50 mg ginger extracts (n = 25) group B received placebos (n = 25) twice with lunch and twice with dinner daily for 8 weeks.

    RESULTS: Compared with placebo, taking dietary supplements containing green tea, capsaicin and ginger resulted in a significant decrease in weight (-1.8 ± 1.5 vs. +0.4 ± 1.2 kg, respectively, p < 0.001) and body mass index (BMI; -0.7 ± 0.5 vs. +0.1 ± 0.5 kg/m2, respectively, p < 0.001). In addition, subjects who received green tea, capsaicin and ginger co-supplements had significantly decreased serum insulin concentrations (-2.6 ± 3.9 vs. -0.6 ± 2.0 µIU/mL, p = 0.02), homeostatic model of assessment for insulin resistance (-0.5 ± 0.8 vs. -0.05 ± 0.6, p = 0.01), and increased quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (+0.01 ± 0.01 vs. +0.001 ± 0.01, p = 0.008) and plasma glutathione (GSH) levels (+73.8 ± 120.6 vs. -28.3 ± 193.4 µmol/L, p = 0.03) compared with the placebo. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicated that taking green tea, capsaicin and ginger co-supplements for 8 weeks among overweight women had beneficial effects on weight, BMI, markers of insulin metabolism and plasma GSH levels. Be well! JP

  15. JP Says:

    Updated 04/30/18:


    Nutrition. 2018 Mar 22;54:12-18.

    A nonrestrictive, weight loss diet focused on fiber and lean protein increase.

    OBJECTIVE: We examined the feasibility and acceptability of a non-restrictive diet that was focused on increasing dietary fiber and lean protein intake for weight loss.

    METHODS: Dietary intake was assessed using three randomly selected 24-h dietary recalls. Fifteen obese adults enrolled in a 12-wk study that included six biweekly individual dietary counseling sessions to attain a daily goal of higher fiber (35 g/d) and lean protein (0.8 g/kg/d of individual’s ideal body weight) intake. Feasibility was determined by retention and attendance and dietary adherence was measured.

    RESULTS: One participant dropped out of the study before the 12-wk assessment visit. Fourteen participants completed all six counseling sessions and one participant completed five sessions. At week 12, 93% of participants approved of the diet and 92% of participants did not feel hungry while on the diet. Mean fiber intake increased by 6.8 g/d (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.2 to 10.5 g/d) and total protein intake increased by 5.7 g/d (95% CI, -3.7 to 15.0 g/d). The mean change in energy intake was -265.5 kcal/d (95% CI, -454.8 to -76.2 kcal/d). The dietary quality score as measured by the Alternative Healthy Eating Index increased by 6.1 (95% CI, 1.5 to 10.7). The mean change in weight was -2.2% (95% CI, -3.6 to -0.7%).

    CONCLUSIONS: A diet that promotes increased fiber and lean protein intake demonstrates feasibility and high acceptability ratings, which resulted in calorie and weight reductions and an improvement of the dietary quality.

    Be well!


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