Fad or Fact? The Science Behind Weight Loss

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The Mediterranean Diet (Fotolia, taken from AAN)

While many of us are currently occupied with post-spring break grief and are refocusing our study regime, our poor bodies are trying to compensate for the overwhelmingly late nights, excessive binge eating, and lack of exercise many of us have abided by this past break. Popularity of the weight loss craze has only developed further as the years have progressed. This has resulted in diets, workout plans, and weight loss programs becoming frequently searched items on the Internet. With increasing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases prevalent across the nation, researchers, medical professionals, and the common “women” have taken up the responsibility to find a solution. In the recent years, medical professionals have begun to emphasize the importance of a healthy diet and an even healthier lifestyle. As a result, researchers and nutritionists have taken up the task to find ways to increase metabolism as well as reduce fat cells and enhance fat-burning mechanisms throughout the body.

For many individuals in the United States, the most common excuse for the lack of exercise in one’s daily routine is not having enough time. Current research on physical activity has suggested that whole-body vibrations (WBVs) may be as effective as regular exercise. According to a recent study, WBVs are a less strenuous form of exercise as it consists of an individual sitting, standing, or lying on a machine that has a vibrating platform (The Endocrine Society, 2017). As the machine vibrates, energy is transmitted to the body and muscles are reflexively required to contract and relax numerous times throughout the duration of the WBV. These WBVs can easily be incorporated into one’s daily life, as they can sit or stand on the vibrating machine while watching television or while reading. WBVs are said to mimic the muscle and bone health benefits of regular exercise, as demonstrated in the study conducted in mice (The Endocrine Society, 2017). These researchers are yet to determine whether there is a significantly similar effect in humans, but a question to consider: Are WBVs the next big thing?

In addition to research on exercise, research on healthy diets and boosting metabolism have also been on the rise. Many medical professionals and researchers have experimented and analyzed which foods help burn fat. Berries are considered to be an exceptional metabolism-revving food because they are high in fiber, which keeps you full and acts like a sponge to absorb and move fat through the digestive system (Dolgoff, 2011). In a process called “dietary induced thermogenesis,” the rate at which the body burns calories increases. This process occurs upon eating certain types of fish. Large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (particularly EPA and DHA), found in certain fish, alter leptin levels, which is a hormone in the body that directly influences metabolism and increase the levels of fat-burning enzymes as well as decrease the levels of fat-storage enzymes (Dolgoff, 2011). It has also been found in recent studies that strictly following a Mediterranean diet allows individuals not only to retain more brain volume but also to increase metabolism (AAN, 2017). A Mediterranean diet includes large amounts of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans, grains such as wheat and rice, moderate amounts of fish, dairy, and wine. Poultry and red meat are often avoided. As a result, the likelihood of having diabetes and high blood pressure is reduced (AAN, 2017).

A new fad that has been spreading across the nation is taking shots of apple cider vinegar in order to enhance weight loss. However, recent studies have debated its actual benefit. Rather than having a debloating effect, apple cider vinegar is a potently acidic solution and has the potential to erode enamel as well as damage the esophagus (Foley, 2017). Researchers are currently in the process of determining a safer method of consumption, suggesting a concoction of apple cider vinegar and honey. Now that you know the secrets of current weight loss research, go get that summer beach body!!

References:

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2017, January 4). Mediterranean diet may have lasting effects on brain health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 17, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170104174210.html

Dolgoff, J. (2011, September 28). Foods That Can Rev Your Metabolism. The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanna-dolgoff-md/metabolism-boosting-food_b_902121.html?utm_hp_ref=weight-loss

Foley, M. (2017, March 17). Why It’s Important to Stop Drinking Shots of ACV. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Can-You-Do-Shots-ACV-40672193

The Endocrine Society. (2017, March 15). Whole-body vibration may be as effective as regular exercise: Mouse study is the first to show less strenuous alternative can benefit bone health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 17, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170315143836.html

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