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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

By Steve Blechman


Recently, a study published in the British Medical Journal (November 2018) reported that a low-carbohydrate, randomized trial was better than a high-carbohydrate diet and resulted in enhanced energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. Weight loss is often accompanied by a slowing of resting metabolism. By enhancing energy expenditure, it helps to maintain weight loss. The researchers found that on a low-carb diet, you burn 250 more calories per day versus high-carb. Most recently, a study published in Diabetes Care (November 5, 2018) showed participants maintained weight loss over a one-year period by staying on an energy restricted Mediterranean diet with daily exercise. Few studies have followed individuals for a year or more to see if they kept the weight off!

A breakthrough, long-term diet study was published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation on measuring body fat! This diet study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology for the first time, measuring changes in body and organ fat during 18 months on a Mediterranean/low-carb diet, with and without moderate physical exercise. MRI is a diagnostic technique that produces computerized images of organs and internal body tissues using a magnetic field and radio waves. This is the best approach to date for measuring body fat, compared to weighing people as a result of diet and exercise. The scale, skinfold calipers or underwater weighing aren’t giving you the whole picture!

The research was conducted between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Harvard University. The research group was led by Drs. Iris Shai, Yftach Gepner, Ilan Shelaf and Dan Schwarzfuchs from Ben-Gurion University. Dr. Meir Stampfer was also a lead author for the study, and is from the prestigious Harvard University. Dr. Stampfer is a well-known authority on nutrition and obesity. The study analyzed the implementation of positive dietary changes and how this could help in reducing body fat, particularly visceral (abdominal) body fat.

The Mediterranean low-carb diet was significantly superior to a low-fat diet in decreasing fat storage, including visceral (deep abdominal) liver and heart fat. A most recent study published in the journal Radiology, December 2018, showed that MRI is effective for monitoring liver fat in obese patients. High visceral fat has been shown to increase metabolic syndrome, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Losing deep, subcutaneous visceral fat, as well as haptic (liver) fat, was associated with improved insulin sensitivity and improved lipid profile.

People who strictly follow the Mediterranean diet tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of the proportion of weight to height and waist circumference— according to a large population study led by Simona Bertoli from the Nutritional Research Center in Milan, Italy. The Mediterranean diet is high in fish, seafood, antioxidant-rich vegetables, red wine and berries rich in polyphenols, beans, lentils, nuts, legumes and extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) that are rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. Extra-virgin olive oil contains a polyphenol called oleuropein and can increase brown fat thermogenesis. Brown fat is a special kind of fat cell that generates heat and helps regulate bodyweight and energy expenditure. Recently, a study published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) on April 25, 2018 found that the Mediterranean diet fights against frailty. It’s just another study that supports the Mediterranean diet to preserve lean body mass and health during aging. Low-calorie diets can cause the loss of lean body mass. A healthy weight loss is one that preserves lean body mass while dieting. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, which can result in more calories burned in a 24-hour period, which can help you keep the weight off!

Last year I reported why the low-carb Mediterranean diet was the best diet for 2018 and it is still the best diet for 2019 based on the latest scientific research! In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean diet as the best overall diet for healthy eating, tied with the Dash Diet. The Mediterranean diet was also ranked number one for the easiest diet to follow; best diet for diabetes; best heart-healthy diet and best plant-based diet too. This year, US News & World Report selected the Mediterranean Diet as the best overall diet for 2019 (US News & World Report; Jan 2nd, 2019). It was also rated the best diet for preventing heart disease and diabetes. These results were based on a panel of 23 experts, and 41 diets based on the scientific literature.

The most recent Harvard study that appeared in JAMA on December 7, 2018 was reported by ScienceDaily on the same day and stated, “Investigators identify, assess underlying mechanisms that may explain the diet's 25 percent reduction in cardiovascular risk for American women.” In the report, researchers said, “Our study has a strong public health message that modest changes in known cardiovascular disease risk factors, particularly those relating to inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, contribute to the long-term benefit of a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease risk. This understanding may have important downstream consequences for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease,” said lead author Shafqat Ahmad, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Brigham and at the Harvard Chan School.

Results of an Italian study published in the International Journal of Cardiology, November 24, 2018, found the Mediterranean diet was instrumental in lowering cardiovascular risk in patients who take statin drugs. What the researchers found was in the population group, statins reduced cardiovascular disease and death risk only in the group in the combination of the statin drug and Mediterranean diet. Inflammation and lowering LDL cholesterol is likely to be the synergistic benefit of combining the Mediterranean diet and statin drugs in lowering mortality risk. The combined benefits of the Mediterranean diet and statins may be an optimal option for preventing cardiovascular disease mortality compared to statins alone. The LDL-lowering effect of statins, combined with the anti-inflammatory benefits of the Mediterranean diet, provides added benefits for lowering cardiovascular mortality.

In a randomized controlled study in young adults that appeared in the journal Atherosclerosis, October 17, 2018, a high-saturated fat, low-carb diet (less than 20 grams per day) on average increased LDL-C (the bad cholesterol) by 44% in healthy adults! The response from this high-saturated fat, low-carb diet averaged 5% to 107% increase of LDL-C. This is very concerning! It is important that LDL-C should be measured in those following a high-saturated fat, low-carb diet such as traditional Atkins diet or ketogenic diet. What’s also concerning is there was a significant increase in Apolipoprotein-B (Apo-B)! High Apo-B levels are a very high risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease! Any diet that restricts carbohydrate and calories will result in weight loss, but a high-saturated fat diet that raises LDL cholesterol is not healthy, even though you are losing weight!

Several studies have shown that a low-carb, ketogenic Mediterranean diet is a healthier alternative to low-carb, high-saturated fat diets for weight loss. It has the favorable effect on non-atherogenic lipid profiles lowering LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, lowering blood pressure and inflammation and improving fasting blood glucose levels and reduction in weight circumference (Nutrition Journal, October 26, 2008; Nutrition Journal, October 12,2011; Nutrients, December 18, 2013). A recent study showed that the Mediterranean style diet may also lower women’s stroke risk, which was reported by the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke in October 2018.

The low-carb Mediterranean diet is clearly the best diet for weight loss and optimal health! It was reported in ScienceDaily that the Mediterranean Diet can slow aging. According to the article, “A series of six articles appearing in the March issue of The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences finds new correlations between a Mediterranean diet and healthy aging outcomes -- while also underscoring the need for careful approaches to the use of data in order to measure the diet's potential benefits.” Another study recently reported in the October 2018 journal Ophthalmology found that the Mediterranean diet was beneficial in preventing macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness.

Also, it was recently reported that only 12% of Americans are considered metabolically healthy! (November 28, 2018, ScienceDaily). The obesity epidemic is upon us! Diabetes is rampant. Studies have shown that people with diabetes, or high-blood sugar, do better and benefit more on a diet lower in carbohydrates. The research has shown that the low-carb Mediterranean diet is clearly the best diet for weight loss and metabolic health!

A most recent and very concerning study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, December 20, 2018, showed that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can reduce brown adipose tissue. Statins lower brown fat! Which can lower energy expenditure and increase glucose intolerance. Reduction in brown fat has been shown to raise diabetes risk. Studies also indicate that statins can raise blood sugar and diabetes. Could statins, by reducing brown fat, be contributing to increasing high blood sugar and diabetes? This is a startling finding! People on statins may benefit from the Thermo Heat® Low Carb Mediterranean Diet. The body has two forms of fat - white fat and brown fat. Brown fat burns calories. The more brown fat you have, the more calories you burn. The capability of harnessing one’s own brown fat for fat burning is revolutionary! The ability to get lean by producing extra brown fat and enhancing and activating existing brown fat represents a promising way to burn fat. Several landmark discoveries and approaches to this are being explored at major research centers and universities worldwide, with great excitement! Brown fat research is a hot topic today!

The book The Thermo Heat® Weight Loss Revolution by Michael Rudolph, Ph.D. provides a calorie-controlled low-carb Mediterranean diet, 30-day meal plan and exercise program. It says that you should limit yourself to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day, or less. Processed food and sugar is off the table! The Thermo Heat® Weight Loss Revolution stresses foods high in monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It also recommends thermogenic brown fat-activating herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor food, such as garlic, onion, mustard and chili pepper (capsaicin), to name a few. Monounsaturated fats are more thermogenic than saturated fats found in high-fat dairy and red meat. Because of ease of compliance, The Thermo Heat® Weight Loss Revolution Mediterranean diet makes it easy to follow even when dining out. One or two glasses of polyphenol-rich red wine (not white wine, or any other alcoholic beverages) per day can have positive health benefits on the Mediterranean diet. Studies show that olive oil and certain spices can enhance brown fat and increase thermogenesis. A number of studies have shown that healthy fats from nuts, olive oil and fish, found predominantly in Italian, Greek and Turkish cuisine, have health benefits in the prevention of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Fish oil and omega-3 fats can decrease bodyweight gain and fat accumulation by increasing thermogenesis and energy expenditure. (Clinical Nutrition, 2009; Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental, 2008; International Journal of Obesity, 2002; Nutrition Journal, 2015).

For more authoritative information, see The Thermo Heat® Weight Loss Revolution, by Michael J. Rudolph, Ph.D, including the foreword by Daniel L. Friedman, MD and Eugene B Friedman, MD. You can click the link to order on Amazon here. The Thermo Heat®Weight Loss Revolution is a groundbreaking scientific plan based on research involving brown fat (BAT). The Thermo Heat® Weight Loss Revolution offers its readers a brown fat, thermogenic and brown-fat-activating-diet, nutrition, supplement(s) and exercise program.



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