Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Surprise! Protein's more filling!

Ok, maybe it's not a surprise, but today at least, it's sure going to be news (and perhaps I'll be the first to break the embargo at 12:01AM - thanks Blogger for allowing scheduled posts!).

It's going to be on radio, print and television - the results of the first prong of the DiOGenes study. DiOGenes is a multi-pronged study spearheaded over in Europe and today's spear has to do with trying to answer the question, "What's the best diet to help maintain weight loss?".

This study was an enormous undertaking as it looked at whole families, in 8 different European countries for between 6 and 12 months and randomized their dietary intakes to compare weight gain with diets high or normal in protein and high or low in glycaemic index carbohydrates.

In total, the study aimed

"to recruit a total of around 850 obese/overweight parents (BMI>28) from the 8 participating centres, corresponding to 450 families with an estimated 450-1050 children, where at least one child in each family is overweight."
Mandatory too was an 8 week run-in weight loss phase where adult family members were required to lose 8% of their body weight before their family was admitted into the study.

The results weren't particularly surprising. Dietary protein helped maintain weight loss while GI index did not.

I think the most important part of the whole paper was a quote in the introduction that does a great job explaining why the world's getting so big so fast,
"Given our genetic background, it is essentially infeasible for humans to self-regulate food intake under current environmental circumstances."
What this basically states is that in 2008, the default is weight gain, and I can't agree more. People haven't changed in the past 100 years, but our environment sure has and the reason we're gaining weight so quickly now is that since weight gain is the default, that means by definition maintenance of a healthy body weight in our current environment has actually become a skill. And just like other skills (martial arts for instance), just because your minds' eye might know what it looks like to do a jumping, spinning hook kick, it doesn't mean you can simply jump up and do one.

To extrapolate a martial arts analogy to healthy weight think of it this way: Just because your minds' eye might know what a healthy lifestyle looks like, to expect yourself, without instruction, to be able to simply jump up and happily live with one is often too much to ask (people do it unhappily all the time - that's called dieting).

Not surprisingly this study was funded by Big Food and here's one time where I think it's a great partnership. Here's an opportunity for Big Food to help by using their study to help pave the way to the creation of new food products that may be useful in preventing weight gain/regain.

Hurray for Big Food!

(there's something I don't say very often)

[BTW, I'll likely have a 5-10 second sound bite on CTV's National News tonight in Avis Favaro's story on this study should any of my Canadian readers want to watch]

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