The Fitness Dr: Everyone Eats the Equivalent of Three Extra Cheeseburgers a Day
By Dr. Fredrick Peters
Researchers have revealed that most everyone eats the equivalent of three extra cheeseburgers a day than they admit, regardless of their waistline. The study shows obese and thin people all fib about food to the same amount regardless of the number on the bathroom scale; and this could be undermining national health advice.
Researchers considered the amount of energy a person burns in a day with everyone misreporting how many calories they consume by an average of 900 calories. They found that as obese people burn more energy doing day-to-day tasks, they do not lie about food more than slimmer people. Although the gap in reported meals and actual intake was bigger in obese people, they burn more calories than non-obese people.
The research team said: “The gap between reported intake and actual expenditure was bigger in obese adults than normal-weight adults but not because they lied about how much they had eaten, instead it was because they expended much more energy each day than their thinner peers. Bigger bodies need more energy every hour of the day and particularly during physical activity because moving your weight is hard work.”
The study looked at 221 adults with an average age of 54 and a range of body shapes. Although obese people misreported how much they ate by an average of 1200 calories and slimmer participants by 800 calories, they burned 13% or 400 calories more energy. Everyone lied, whether they were obese or non-obese, about how much they consumed by the same amount, claiming they consumed 1,800 calories on average.
New Weight-loss Intervention Targets Instinctive Desire to Eat
People who are highly responsive to food lost more weight and, importantly, were more successful at keeping the pounds off using a new alternative weight-loss intervention that targets improving a person’s response to internal hunger cues and their ability to resist food, reported a team led by University of California San Diego.
“There are individuals who are very food cue responsive. That is, they cannot resist food and/or cannot stop thinking about food. Behavioral weight loss skills are not sufficient for these individuals, so we designed an alternative approach to address this clinical need.”
Approximately 74% of adults in the United States are living with overweight or obesity. Behavioral weight loss programs, that include calorie counting, have been the go-to treatment. However not everyone responds, and most people regain the lost weight.
For those who find it difficult to resist food, weight loss can be particularly challenging. This food responsiveness is both hereditary and shaped by the environment and individual factors. In the Providing Adult Collaborative Interventions for Ideal Changes (PACIFIC) randomized clinical trial, the researchers compared their intervention, called Regulation of Cues, against a behavioral weight loss program, a control group, and a cohort that combined Regulation of Cues with the behavioral program.
Weight loss was comparable after twenty-four months among individuals in both the Regulation of Cues and the behavioral weight loss program. However, participants in the Regulation of Cues arm stabilized their weight and kept it off while participants in the other groups regained weight at mid-treatment when clinic visits were reduced to monthly.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are risk factors for heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers, all of which are among the leading causes of preventable death. Over a 12-month period, 271 adults aged 18 to 65 attended twenty-six group treatments. They were all asked to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity per week.
The Regulation of Cues
The Regulation of Cues intervention did not prescribe participants with a diet. Instead, it trained the use of natural cues of when to eat rather than focusing on calories, it reinforced tolerance of cravings, and focused on inhibiting urges to eat palatable foods when not physically hungry. Palatable foods, food that contains high amounts of sugar or fat, with the addition of salt, stimulate the reward system in the brain and can be particularly challenging to resist.
The control arm provided nutrition education, social support, and mindfulness training. The behavior weight loss program prescribed a diet, restricted calorie-dense foods, reinforced avoidance of cues to overeat, and focused on restricting calories. The combined program integrated the focus on diet and energy intake from the behavioral weight loss program with Regulation of Cues, including management hunger cues.
“Individuals who need help losing weight can seek out the Regulation of Cues program if behavioral weight loss did not work for them, if they feel they have trouble resisting eating, or if they never feel full.”
*Dr. Peters is the founder of “The Fitness Doctor” (www.thefitnessdoctors.com). He is also a Professor of Applied Exercise Science at Concordia University. He has a Ph.D. in Physiology from Kent State University and is a certified member of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Peters was born and raised in the Cleveland area and is a graduate of St. Ignatius High School and John Carroll University. He can be reached at fr**@th***************.com.