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Feb 21

The Efficacy of Exercise in Treating Depression | An Alternative to Traditional Treatments – Medriva

Depression is a pervasive mental health issue affecting more than 300 million people globally, according to the World Health Organization. The prevalence of this debilitating disorder has seen a sharp increase of almost 28% during the Covid-19 pandemic. Traditional treatments for depression often involve psychotherapy and medication. However, an increasingly growing body of research is advocating for the inclusion of exercise as a core treatment for this condition.

A number of recent studies have highlighted the significant positive impact exercise can have in the treatment of depression. The benefits are not confined to high-intensity workouts or specialized exercise regimes. According to a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, even low-intensity activities like walking or yoga can be beneficial. The studies found that walking, jogging, yoga, and strength training were particularly effective in reducing depressive symptoms.

One study, which analyzed data from over 200 research studies, found that the impact of exercise on depression appeared superior to the effects of antidepressants. When combined with medication, the effect was even more pronounced, suggesting that exercise could be a valuable addition to traditional treatment protocols. This study also revealed that a range of exercises, including dance, walking or jogging, yoga, strength training, mixed aerobic exercises, and even tai chi or qigong, had a positive impact on mental health.

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the role of exercise in treating depression, there are challenges in implementing exercise programs for individuals suffering from this condition. One of the key recommendations from these studies is the need for a clear, individualized exercise program. This program should aim to push the individual a little, but also be enjoyable and foster a sense of kindness towards oneself. Support and accountability are crucial elements in maintaining such an exercise regimen.

Given the potential of exercise as a treatment for depression, it is important for health services and local and national administrations to make resources available for individualized and supervised exercise programs. This could make exercise as a treatment for depression accessible to the entire population. The provision of these resources could revolutionize the treatment of depression, offering an alternative or complementary treatment that is not only effective, but also free from the side effects often associated with antidepressant medications.

Exercise offers an effective, accessible, and well-tolerated treatment for depression. The integration of exercise into treatment plans, in conjunction with traditional therapies and medications, could result in enhanced outcomes for individuals suffering from depression. As research continues to underscore the importance of exercise in treating depression, it is crucial to implement measures that make exercise an accessible treatment option for all.

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The Efficacy of Exercise in Treating Depression | An Alternative to Traditional Treatments - Medriva

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Feb 21

Running or yoga can help beat depression, research shows even if exercise is the last thing you feel like – The Conversation

At least one in ten people have depression at some point in their lives, with some estimates closer to one in four. Its one of the worst things for someones wellbeing worse than debt, divorce or diabetes.

One in seven Australians take antidepressants. Psychologists are in high demand. Still, only half of people with depression in high-income countries get treatment.

Our new research shows that exercise should be considered alongside therapy and antidepressants. It can be just as impactful in treating depression as therapy, but it matters what type of exercise you do and how you do it.

Read more: Why are so many Australians taking antidepressants?

We found 218 randomised trials on exercise for depression, with 14,170 participants. We analysed them using a method called a network meta-analysis. This allowed us to see how different types of exercise compared, instead of lumping all types together.

We found walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise were about as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy one of the gold-standard treatments for depression. The effects of dancing were also powerful. However, this came from analysing just five studies, mostly involving young women. Other exercise types had more evidence to back them.

Walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise seemed more effective than antidepressant medication alone, and were about as effective as exercise alongside antidepressants.

But of these exercises, people were most likely to stick with strength training and yoga.

Antidepressants certainly help some people. And of course, anyone getting treatment for depression should talk to their doctor before changing what they are doing.

Still, our evidence shows that if you have depression, you should get a psychologist and an exercise plan, whether or not youre taking antidepressants.

Before we analysed the data, we thought people with depression might need to ease into it with generic advice, such as some physical activity is better than doing none.

But we found it was far better to have a clear program that aimed to push you, at least a little. Programs with clear structure worked better, compared with those that gave people lots of freedom. Exercising by yourself might also make it hard to set the bar at the right level, given low self-esteem is a symptom of depression.

We also found it didnt matter how much people exercised, in terms of sessions or minutes a week. It also didnt really matter how long the exercise program lasted. What mattered was the intensity of the exercise: the higher the intensity, the better the results.

We should exercise caution in interpreting the findings. Unlike drug trials, participants in exercise trials know which treatment theyve been randomised to receive, so this may skew the results.

Many people with depression have physical, psychological or social barriers to participating in formal exercise programs. And getting support to exercise isnt free.

We also still dont know the best way to stay motivated to exercise, which can be even harder if you have depression.

Our study tried to find out whether things like setting exercise goals helped, but we couldnt get a clear result.

Other reviews found its important to have a clear action plan (for example, putting exercise in your calendar) and to track your progress (for example, using an app or smartwatch). But predicting which of these interventions work is notoriously difficult.

A 2021 mega-study of more than 60,000 gym-goers found experts struggled to predict which strategies might get people into the gym more often. Even making workouts fun didnt seem to motivate people. However, listening to audiobooks while exercising helped a lot, which no experts predicted.

Still, we can be confident that people benefit from personalised support and accountability. The support helps overcome the hurdles theyre sure to hit. The accountability keeps people going even when their brains are telling them to avoid it.

So, when starting out, it seems wise to avoid going it alone. Instead:

join a fitness group or yoga studio

get a trainer or an exercise physiologist

ask a friend or family member to go for a walk with you.

Taking a few steps towards getting that support makes it more likely youll keep exercising.

Read more: Exercise is even more effective than counselling or medication for depression. But how much do you need?

Some countries see exercise as a backup plan for treating depression. For example, the American Psychological Association only conditionally recommends exercise as a complementary and alternative treatment when psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy is either ineffective or unacceptable.

Based on our research, this recommendation is withholding a potent treatment from many people who need it.

In contrast, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists recommends vigorous aerobic activity at least two to three times a week for all people with depression.

Given how common depression is, and the number failing to receive care, other countries should follow suit and recommend exercise alongside front-line treatments for depression.

I would like to acknowledge my colleagues Taren Sanders, Chris Lonsdale and the rest of the coauthors of the paper on which this article is based.

If this article has raised issues for you, or if youre concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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Running or yoga can help beat depression, research shows even if exercise is the last thing you feel like - The Conversation

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Feb 21

How Exercise Helps Your Heart – Health Essentials

The advice is clear-cut: Sit less and purposefully move more for heart health.

But how does exercise help keep your heart healthy? How much exercise do you need? And what kinds of exercise should you do?

All valid (and important) questions.

We talked with preventive cardiologist Vikas Sunder, MD, and cardiac rehabilitation expert Erik Van Iterson, PhD, about what exercise does for your heart health and how to get started on a heart-healthy exercise program that fits your life.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Thats aerobic exercise the kind that gets your heart rate up for more than a few minutes.

Additionally, an ideal exercise program for heart health also incorporates about an hour of strength-training exercises per week. Two sessions of resistance training for about 30 minutes at a time is a typical recommendation.

Those suggestions may change depending on your health, your goals and your current amount of physical activity. And reaching that standard could take some time. Thats OK.

The goal should be to first and foremost avoid sedentary behaviors that take up the majority of your day, Dr. Sunder notes. Anything that people can do to move more than their baseline is important progress toward improving their heart health.

Aerobic and strength-training exercises are both important for a healthy heart.

When your heart functions in a healthy way, its more able to interact and communicate with other organ systems, Dr. Van Iterson points out. Your whole body benefits from well-oxygenated blood moving from the heart, out to your body and back again. Exercise helps to improve that entire process.

What specifically can you look for as heart-healthy benefits of exercise? Dr. Sunder and Dr. Van Iterson share just a few.

Getting your body moving has plenty of heart-healthy benefits that directly affect how your heart works. Among them:

Scientific data has consistently shown that aerobic, or cardio-style, exercise improves not just the circulation within your heart, but also the circulation throughout your entire cardiovascular system, Dr. Van Iterson shares. That ability to circulate blood in an effective and efficient way typically leads to powerful reductions in cardiovascular risk.

You may have heard that a round mid-section (or so-called apple body shape) can be a sign of potential health problems. And its true.

A high waist circumference (the measurement around your belly button area) can be a sign that you may have higher-than-healthy levels of fat deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your organs. Its called visceral fat, and too much can be dangerous to your health.

High levels of visceral fat can have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system and increase systemic inflammation, Dr. Sunder affirms.

Aerobic exercise and strength-training exercises that incorporate your core can help burn fat and increase the overall proportion of lean muscle throughout your body.

Strength-training exercise can help your body gain more lean muscle mass. And muscle helps keep your body and heart healthy by improving your metabolic rate. In other words, muscle helps your body burn calories more quickly even when your body is at rest.

Unlike fat cells, muscle tissue is metabolically active, Dr. Van Iterson explains. That means that when you have a higher muscle mass, its not only during the literal act of exercise that your metabolism revs up; its working almost all the time.

Exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that help improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Thats important because your mental health plays a big role in keeping your heart healthy. And as exercise makes you feel good, it should help with keeping up your motivation to do more exercise consistently.

We know from studies that mental health concerns like anxiety and depression are associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiac events, Dr. Sunder says. And regular exercise can greatly decrease your risk for anxiety disorders and depression.

Exercise is like the beginning of a chain reaction. It increases endorphins, which makes you feel happier. In turn, that lowers your stress, which improves your mental health. And improved mental health lowers your risk for a slew of heart-related health conditions.

The No. 1 rule for starting a new exercise program is to start small and build up gradually. Because consistent exercise over time is the key to success.

Your exercise routine needs to be something that you can sustain over time, Dr. Van Iterson advises. I encourage people to view exercise as something theyre doing to set themselves up for long-term success. Overloading your system by doing too much too fast will turn out to be a counterproductive experience.

Feeling exhausted and being out of breath at the end of a workout arent typical signs you should use to evaluate whether you had a good workout. In fact, those feelings commonly signal that you overdid it.

Avoid the trap of doing one really intense exercise session and then needing a few days to recover before being able to exercise again.

If youre new to exercise, Dr. Sunder and Dr. Van Iterson recommend starting with aerobic activities. After you consistently meet or exceed your aerobic exercise goal, consider adding in some strengthening exercises.

Try starting with these exercises to improve your heart health.

Doing aerobic, or cardio, exercise is the first step to improving your heart health.

The biggest thing that gets overlooked is that you can keep it simple, says Dr. Van Iterson. Its really thinking about what we consider cardio or aerobic exercise, like walking. For others, it can be running or jogging. It all depends on where youre at in your life and identifying realistic goals, what recent background you have with exercising and if you have any risk factors like a family history of heart disease.

Remember, too, that even your day-to-day activities matter.

Even cleaning your house, gardening or shopping can be ways to get in some physical movement that benefits your heart, Dr. Sunder notes. That all counts as time spent up and moving, which, ultimately, is the goal.

Schedule your exercise in ways that work for you. If you dont always have a half-hour block to dedicate to exercise, dont let it discourage you from doing what you can. Even if you can get 10 minutes in a day, its worth it.

Here are a few examples of exercise that benefits your heart health:

For some people, strength-training exercise can conjure up images of powerlifting on a sweaty gym bench, and if thats your thing, more power to you.

But there are other exercises that can help build muscle and improve your heart health that may be more approachable for newcomers.

You start by trying:

Anything you can do to get your body moving is going to benefit your heart. And the rest of your body. And your mental health. So, start small. Keep going. And show your heart the love it needs.

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How Exercise Helps Your Heart - Health Essentials

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Feb 13

Best Intermittent Fasting App Of 2024, According To Nutritionists – Women’s Health

Window is jam-packed with features that make intermittent fasting as simple as possible. It lets you schedule your eating windows, notifies you when eating windows open and close, lets you sync your data with the Apple Health app and Apple Watch, and provides a blog with tips on how to be healthier.

If you're unsure of where to begin, the Window app can help with that, says Colleen Moltzen, RD, a dietitian at Keatley MNT in New York, adding that the app can keep you motivated with visuals that easily allow you to monitor your weight loss progress.

The basic app is free, but you can also subscribe to the premium version for $9.99 monthly or $39.99 yearly. The upgrade unlocks all IF plans, individual meal plans, challenges that help you build new habits, and nutrition and mood trackers.

Download for Android

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Best Intermittent Fasting App Of 2024, According To Nutritionists - Women's Health

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Feb 13

Can ‘Budget Ozempic’ and ‘Nature’s Ozempic’ Really Help You Lose Weight? – Everyday Health

Anytime a pricey new drug that solves a common health issue hits the market, hype about budget or natural versions inevitably follows, cropping up on social media or package labels.

Not surprisingly, this has happened in a major way since the advent of the popular weight loss and diabetes drug semaglutide, sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.

Of course, a multitude of inexpensive weight loss supplements preceded semaglutide. Numerous herbal and natural supplements claim to assist with weight loss, including caffeine, green tea extract, magnesium, garcinia cambogia, chitosan, conjugated linoleic acid, guar gum, and even laxatives, says Christopher McGowan, MD, of True You Weight Loss in Cary, North Carolina, and a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. (As with other board certifications, the diplomate of ABOM credential means a doctor has completed continuing education in weight management medicine a field long neglected in medical school training.)

But the wild popularity of semaglutide drugs has given rise to social media claims that certain supplements are Ozempic alternatives or dupes. Two stand out: berberine, sometimes referred to as natures Ozempic, and psyllium husk, aka poor mans Ozempic.

But do these Ozempic alternatives really aid weight loss? And whether or not they do, are they safe to take?

It's not hard to see why Ozempic substitutes appeal to many would-be semaglutide users. In general, supplements are easier to access and far less expensive than prescription Ozempic, which without insurance costsover $900 a month for weekly injections, according to Novo Nordisk, Ozempic's maker.

Our current system limits access to comprehensive obesity care, including limited access to FDA-approved medications that do show significant benefits and safety for the treatment of obesity, saysJonathan D. Parker, DO, an Alabama-based obesity medicine specialist and a board member of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. This drives many over-the-counter alternatives as patients seek treatment.

Plus, dietary supplements may offer a natural vibe that many people prefer because of reservations about the potential downsides of semaglutide. These can include anything from common side effects like indigestion or nausea to longer-term issues like malnutrition from low food intake or a potentially heightened risk of thyroid cancer.

Berberine is a supplement derived from shrubs such as barberry, Oregon grape, and tree turmeric. Its most commonly sold in capsules, but you may also find it as a powder. Berberine activates an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps regulate metabolism and lower blood glucose levels hence its natures Ozempic nickname.

To understand berberines attraction, look no further than its price tag: A monthlong supply retails for $20$30.

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Plus the evidence of berberines benefits is limited. Unfortunately, most studies that evaluated [berberines] outcomes are small, nonrandomized, and prone to bias. In other words, the currently available evidence is insufficient to support most health claims attributed to berberine, says Dr. McGowan.

Still, berberine is a relatively low-risk supplement to try. In my opinion, berberine is generally safe and well tolerated, with GI side effects being the most common complaint, Parker says.

Another common Ozempic alternative, psyllium husk doesnt work via any complicated metabolic pathway. Its simply a fiber supplement derived from the seeds of plants in the genus Pantago. (You may recognize it from digestive supplements like Metamucil, which is used for occasional constipation.)

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For most people, its hard to go wrong getting more fiber. But psyllium husk could have downsides. You may experienceside effects like bloating or diarrhea. Take it with at least 8 ounces of water, and drink plenty of water throughout the day, to make this less likely.

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Ultimately, Parker says obesity is a chronic condition best managed in collaboration with your healthcare team. Together, you can decide which supplements, if any, to include in your treatment plan.

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Can 'Budget Ozempic' and 'Nature's Ozempic' Really Help You Lose Weight? - Everyday Health

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Feb 13

Science for Living: What to know about Ozempic and other weight loss drugs – UMass Medical School

Patients used to call theUMass Diabetes Center of Excellence with concerns about their blood sugar levels. Now, most calls are about problems obtaining a commonly prescribed class of drugs for managing type 2 diabetes that also helps them lose weight, according to endocrinologist Samir Malkani, MD, professor of medicine at UMass Chan Medical School and clinical chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine.

Drugs such as Ozempic (semaglutide) and Mounjaro (tirzepatide) that were designed to help lower blood glucose and reduce cardiovascular risks in type 2 diabetes are now in high demand among people wanting to lose weight, one effect of the drugs. Even at retail prices upwards of $1,000 a month, theyre flying off pharmacists shelves, according to Dr. Malkani.

A lot of people who are overweight struggle with eating behaviors, said Malkani. They want to eat, theyre stress eating, some binge eating, sometimes you just eat for comfort. When they take the drug, the desire goes away, so naturally they can eat less.

Heres what to know about these weight-loss drugs:

Products such as the diabetes drug Ozempic, which was rebranded as Wegovy and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for weight loss, use the drug semaglutide, while the diabetes drug Mounjaro, approved for weight loss under the name Zepbound, uses tirzepatide. Both are synthetic versions of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1, said Malkani.

GLP-1 is made by our gut. When we eat a meal, GLP-1 enhances insulin production by our pancreas in response to the glucose that comes out of the food. But it also signals our satiety center in our brain to tell us to stop eating, Malkani said. Synthetic versions of GLP-1 do the same thing but are much longer acting.

The drugs are usually given by injection once a week. A pill form of Ozempic, called Rybelsus, is also available. But this has to be taken daily on an empty stomach.

Malkani said the GLP-1 drugs have another potentially therapeutic effect: In some individuals they seem to cut down craving for alcohol and tobacco.

Who can take the drugs?

GLP-1 drugs are safe for most people to take, based on a physicians prescription, according to Malkani. But insurance only covers the cost for certain conditions. People with type 2 diabetes would usually have the expense covered by their insurance. If someone is overweight, with a BMI of more than 26, and has a serious condition such as heart disease, it would typically be covered.

If someone wants the drug for weight loss alone, Malkani said the threshold for insurance coverage is usually a BMI over 30, after a patient has tried a structured diet and exercise program. Some insurance plans require the patient to also have other health conditions associated with being overweight.

What are the side effects?

Malkani said doctors start prescribing a low dose to minimize side effects, and gradually increase dosage. Mild nausea is typical when starting treatments. Other common side effects are diarrhea, constipation, gallbladder problems and abdominal discomfort.

Some people do get side effects when they dont eat and also forget to drink water, said Malkani. If you have borderline kidney function, you could get dehydrated.

Rare but more serious side effects include paralysis of the stomach and intestines and pancreatitis. There is a warning on the label about the increased risk of thyroid cancer, but this link is still uncertain.

And although GLP-1 drugs have been touted as the solution to the stubborn weight gain that often accompanies menopause, Malkani cautioned that when people lose body fat, they also lose some muscle and bone. He encouraged postmenopausal women to get a baseline bone density evaluation before starting these drugs.

Are GLP-1 drugs forever drugs?

Once someone stops taking the drugs, cravings return and the weight will slowly come back, according to Malkani. A person may not need to take the same drug forever, though, because new and more effective formulations are being developed.

The new drugs theyre coming out with, theyre called small molecules. Theyre not digested by the acid in the gut. So, in the future, people might just be able to take a pill, he said.

How is UMass Chan advancing what is known about diabetes/weight loss drugs?

Malkani and his research team are collaborating with UMass Chans Program in Digital Medicine to analyze electronic health records of patients with heart disease who were prescribed GLP-1 drugs. Were trying to look at what the actual benefits are to them in terms of reduction of cardiac events, and how it affects total medical expenditures, he said.

Another research project aims to determine whether there are genetic factors that influence how people respond to the drugs. Malkani said, There are some people who respond beautifully to these drugs, they lose 15 percent of their body weight. But there are some people who dont.

This genetic database study is led by Nina Rosano, MD, assistant professor of medicine, and Amin Sabet, MD, assistant professor of medicine, specialists in endocrinology and diabetes.

Science for Livingfeatures the perspectives of UMass Chan Medical School experts on the research behind health news headlines. If you have ideas for topicsyoudlike to see explored, please send them to susan.spencer1@umassmed.edu.

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Science for Living: What to know about Ozempic and other weight loss drugs - UMass Medical School

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Feb 13

Why Does Social Media Run on Comments About Weight? TikToker Shares How to "Block Out Any Noise" – EatingWell

Weight loss can be a sensitive subject for many, and for social media influencers, teetering on that fine line can be detrimental for their career. Even for people like Mark Gaetano, best known as @snarkymarky on TikTok to his millions of followers, who had the best intentions.

At the start of 2021 I decided to go on a weight-loss journey because I just wasn't really happy with how I was feeling, Gaetano tells EatingWell. That was my main motive, the way that I was feeling and my lack of physical ability. In fact, my epiphany was I was walking up a flight of stairs and I was just so out of breath that I thought, I can't be living like this anymore.

I started losing weight, and I am a young man who was already overweight, so that's obviously going to hasten the weight-loss progress, he explains. And I started sharing that I was on a weight-loss journey because it was starting to become physically evident that I was losing weight.

Through sharing his journey and expressing that his weight loss was the result of a low-calorie diet and exercise, his fans were mostly encouraging.

Initially, everyone was very, very supportive and they were super happy for me, Gaetano says. They were glad that I was broadcasting this and sharing this healthy transformation with my audience.

By December 2021, Gaetano had lost 125 pounds, so he decided to share this news with his followers.

That was where the comments started to skew negatively because I had posted a video saying that I was no longer overweight, he explains. That was a metric that I was using based off of BMI, which now I know has its very many flaws, but that was my metric that I was using at the time.

Gaetano is right in that body mass index, more commonly known as BMI, isnt the best indicator of your overall health. But instead of the comments being informative about the problems with depending on BMI, they were more accusatory towards the influencers intentions.

Most people were still very happy and celebratory, but there was still a corner of the internet that was not happy with me and was not happy with my tone and my rhetoric in celebrating my weight loss, he says.

Despite this, Gaetano continued his health and wellness progress throughout 2022. In 2023, the TikTok star admitted to gaining back some weight, which resulted in the negative comments shifting. This caused Gaetano to make a response get ready with me video to address these comments, and the video has since gained over 670,000 views.

As Im making more videos, people are of course in the comments, Oh, you gained weight, [and] Oh, I knew that weight loss wasnt going to be sustainable, I knew this was going to happen, I knew he was going to gain weight, which is so rude, he says in his video response. Why are you preying on someones body to change a certain way?

If you think someones words can be dangerous and may be promoting negative aspects of diet culture, consider messaging them directly or leave an informative comment suggesting a change of language instead of an accusatory one. More often than not, their intentions stem from an innocent lack of understanding. As Gaetano continues to give updates on his health journey, its important to remember to never critique other peoples bodies, even if they are choosing to share their health updates, habits and routines. When EatingWell asked Gaetano for advice on how to handle unwarranted comments about weight loss and weight gain, he chose four simple words: Block out any noise.

There are going to be people around you that will be happy to see you succeed, but theres also going to be people around you preying on your downfall, Gaetano further tells us. At the end of the day, its important to focus solely on how you feel, and not anyone else.

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Feb 13

Can kimchi really help you lose weight? Hold your pickle. The evidence isn’t looking great – The Conversation

Fermented foods have become popular in recent years, partly due to their perceived health benefits.

For instance, there is some evidence eating or drinking fermented foods can improve blood glucose control in people with diabetes. They can lower blood lipid (fats) levels and blood pressure in people with diabetes or obesity. Fermented foods can also improve diarrhoea symptoms.

But can they help you lose weight, as a recent study suggests? Lets look at the evidence.

Read more: What is kombucha and how do the health claims stack up?

Fermented foods are ones prepared when microbes (bacteria and/or yeast) ferment (or digest) food components to form new foods. Examples include yoghurt, cheese, kefir, kombucha, wine, beer, sauerkraut and kimchi.

As a result of fermentation, the food becomes acidic, extending its shelf life (food-spoilage microbes are less likely to grow under these conditions). This makes fermentation one of the earliest forms of food processing.

Fermentation also leads to new nutrients being made. Beneficial microbes (probiotics) digest nutrients and components in the food to produce new bioactive components (postbiotics). These postbiotics are thought to contribute to the health benefits of the fermented foods, alongside the health benefits of the bacteria themselves.

Read more: Space travel taxes astronauts' brains. But microbes on the menu could help in unexpected ways

A study published last week has provided some preliminary evidence eating kimchi the popular Korean fermented food is associated with a lower risk of obesity in some instances. But there were mixed results.

The South Korean study involved 115,726 men and women aged 40-69 who reported how much kimchi theyd eaten over the previous year. The study was funded by the World Institute of Kimchi, which specialises in researching the countrys national dish.

Eating one to three servings of any type of kimchi a day was associated with a lower risk of obesity in men.

Men who ate more than three serves a day of cabbage kimchi (baechu) were less likely to have obesity and abdominal obesity (excess fat deposits around their middle). And women who ate two to three serves a day of baechu were less likely to have obesity and abdominal obesity.

Eating more radish kimchi (kkakdugi) was associated with less abdominal obesity in both men and women.

However, people who ate five or more serves of any type of kimchi weighed more, had a larger waist sizes and were more likely to be obese.

The study had limitations. The authors acknowledged the questionnaire they used may make it difficult to say exactly how much kimchi people actually ate.

The study also relied on people to report past eating habits. This may make it hard for them to accurately recall what they ate.

This study design can also only tell us if something is linked (kimchi and obesity), not if one thing causes another (if kimchi causes weight loss). So it is important to look at experimental studies where researchers make changes to peoples diets then look at the results.

Read more: Is apple cider vinegar really a wonder food?

There have been several experimental studies looking at how much weight people lose after eating various types of fermented foods. Other studies looked at markers or measures of appetite, but not weight loss.

One study showed the stomach of men who drank 1.4 litres of fermented milk during a meal took longer to empty (compared to those who drank the same quantity of whole milk). This is related to feeling fuller for longer, potentially having less appetite for more food.

Another study showed drinking 200 millilitres of kefir (a small glass) reduced participants appetite after the meal, but only when the meal contained quickly-digested foods likely to make blood glucose levels rise rapidly. This study did not measure changes in weight.

Another study looked at Indonesian young women with obesity. Eating tempeh (a fermented soybean product) led to changes in an appetite hormone. But this did not impact their appetite or whether they felt full. Weight was not measured in this study.

A study in South Korea asked people to eat about 70g a day of chungkookjang (fermented soybean). There were improvements in some measures of obesity, including percentage body fat, lean body mass, waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference in women. However there were no changes in weight for men or women.

A systematic review of all studies that looked at the impact of fermented foods on satiety (feeling full) showed no effect.

Read more: How much weight do you actually need to lose? It might be a lot less than you think

The evidence so far is very weak to support or recommend fermented foods for weight loss. These experimental studies have been short in length, and many did not report weight changes.

To date, most of the studies have used different fermented foods, so it is difficult to generalise across them all.

Nevertheless, fermented foods are still useful as part of a healthy, varied and balanced diet, particularly if you enjoy them. They are rich in healthy bacteria, and nutrients.

Read more: Im trying to lose weight and eat healthily. Why do I feel so hungry all the time? What can I do about it?

Some fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, have added salt. The latest kimchi study said the average amount of kimchi South Koreans eat provides about 490mg of salt a day. For an Australian, this would represent about 50% of the suggested dietary target for optimal health.

Eating too much salt increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Read more: Remind me again, why is salt bad for you?

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Can kimchi really help you lose weight? Hold your pickle. The evidence isn't looking great - The Conversation

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Feb 13

Women enjoy a combined 80 years of membership in weight loss club – Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS members Sondra Grossman, 88, left, and Betty Judson, 94, right, pose with TOPS group leader Diane Weible during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Betty Judson, 94, of Butler Township, had a goal weight of 145 pounds when she joined the Butler chapter of Take Off Pounds Sensibly, or TOPS, 50 years ago.

My husband liked me at 145, said the spry nonagenarian, who continues to attend TOPS meetings to this day.

TOPS meets at 10:30 a.m. each Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 120 Sunset Drive in Center Township. Costs include $49 for the initial membership fee, then $5 per month.

Judsons favorite living room chair is surrounded by tote bags and stacks of folders containing TOPS information, fliers, notes and other documents.

She helps others in the group by encouraging them and sharing the valuable information she has gained over her five decades in TOPS.

I keep going because Ive made myself useful, Judson said.

The TOPS Butler chapter met at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

She color-codes the diet sheets club members are to fill out each week, which helps them determine where their trouble spots might be.

They can look at their sheets and say I ate too many carbs, and Im going to cut back on that, Judson said.

She also leads the group in song at some meetings and has served as president in the past.

Judson explained that the goal of each TOPS member is to reach and maintain KOPS status, which is an acronym for Keep Off Pounds Sensibly.

I got KOPS in the 70s, Judson said. I was a yo-yoer. Id lose, then gain it all back.

She said each TOPS meeting includes a program that provides information on nutrition or health.

Judson said one meetings program centered on the health benefits of fresh cucumbers, and everyone at the meeting received a packet of cucumber seeds.

The next year, we all had cucumbers, she recalled, laughing.

Many years ago, Judson said those who gained weight were teased, but that practice has pivoted. She said members of the group are like a supportive family, which is why she continues to look forward to meetings.

We are all in there for one reason: to help each other lose weight, Judson said.

Her fellow TOPS member, Sondra Grossman, 88, has been a member for 30 years.

Grossman joined TOPS IN 1994 and earned her KOPS status in 2001.

I saw (TOPS) in the paper, and my weight was going up, she said. I didnt want it to go any further.

Grossman swims at the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA in Cranberry Township three days per week and rides a stationary bike two days.

She regularly snacks on rice cakes and sugar free Popsicles, and advocates eating smaller portions and just sampling foods she craves.

I eat one cookie instead of six, Grossman said. Just go easy and be sensible.

She said she will continue attending TOPS meetings in the future.

It does encourage you not to eat so much, Grossman said, and we have a good time.

Diane Weibel has been the Butler TOPS chapter leader for two years and a member since 2018.

She said she cant imagine the group without the wise words and friendship of Judson and Grossman.

They are the rock of our group, Weibel said. They are fine examples, and they show us that (weight loss) can be done, and you can keep it off.

She said members who gain weight at each weeks weigh-in must pay a quarter per pound gained, and members pay similar fees for not filling out their diet sheets or not wearing their TOPS T-shirt the first meeting of each month.

Its not a diet plan. Its a support group of your peers, Weibel said. You are held accountable each week.

She said those who join pick a goal weight, and when they reach that weight, they must obtain a document from their doctor that the weight is a healthy one for them.

They then receive KOPS status and the recognition that comes with it.

Weibel has lost 50 pounds so far, and she said she feels she will keep it off thanks to TOPS.

If I wasnt going to TOPS, Id be back up that 50 pounds, she said.

All are invited to join TOPS, which has chapters all over Butler County, but those who join the Butler chapter get to meet Grossman and Judson.

Their knowledge and support, and knowing you can achieve this goal and keep the weight off for the rest of your life, its amazing, Weibel said.

TOPS chapters can be searched by ZIP code at tops.org.

Butler TOPS members Sondra Grossman, left, and Betty Judson pose during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS members Betty Judson, left, and Sondra Grossman hold hands to recite the closing pledge during a TOPS meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Butler on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS member Betty Judson recites the TOPS pledge during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS member Betty Judson shares with the TOPS group during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS member Sondra Grossman reads from her TOPS booklet during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS member Betty Judson shares with the group during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Butler TOPS member Betty Judson shares with the TOPS group during a meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Center Township on Monday, Feb. 5. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

See more here:
Women enjoy a combined 80 years of membership in weight loss club - Butler Eagle

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Feb 13

Sharon Osbourne swears off weight loss and cosmetic treatments after experiencing the downsides of Ozempic – Yahoo Life

Sharon Osbourne has expressed regret over taking Ozempic for weight loss.Dave Benett/Getty Images

Sharon Osbourne has expressed regret over taking the drug Ozempic for weight loss.

"I'm through with the weight loss and all that cosmetic stuff," she toldThe Guardian.

Osbourne, 71, says she now weighs less than 100 pounds and "can't put on weight."

Sharon Osbourne has expressed regret over taking the drug Ozempic for weight loss, saying she now weighs less than 100 pounds and "can't put on weight."

In an interview withThe Guardian, Osbourne, 71, highlighted the downsides of Ozempic, a buzzy diabetes drug that also causes weight loss. She said that after dropping "too much" weight, 42 pounds in four months, she was "through with the weight loss and all that cosmetic stuff."

"I was injecting myself with Ozempic," Osbourne said, adding: "I now weigh 7 stone and can't put on weight." In British weight measurement, a stone is equivalent to 14 pounds.

She said her husband,Ozzy Osbourne, "says I look like Nancy Reagan," whosesmall frame was the subject of scrutinyfrom the media during her husband's time in office.

Osbourne has previously talked about her experience taking the drug for weight loss. Inan interview with the Daily Maillast year, she warned those interested in taking Ozempic to "be careful what you wish for."

"You can lose so much weight, and it's easy to become addicted to that, which is very dangerous," she said. "I couldn't stop losing weight, and now I've lost 42 pounds, and I can't afford to lose any more."

"I started on Ozempic last December, and I've been off it for a while now, but my warning is don't give it to teenagers; it's just too easy," she added.

Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide, an FDA-approved drug used to treat diabetes. Also sold under the brand names Wegovy and Rybelsus, semaglutide hassurged in popularitysince it wasapproved by the FDA as a treatment for obesityin 2021.

Dozens of A-listershave acknowledged their use of semaglutide, including Elon Musk, Charles Barkley, and Amy Schumer.

The drug works by suppressing appetite, but side effects such asmuscle loss,nausea, and diarrheahave been reported. A doctor previously told Business Insider it was common toregain the weightafter stopping treatment.

Osbourne also reflected on her previous cosmetic procedures, which include breast implants and Botox, in an interview with The Times in December.

She said a facelift she got in 2021 had left her looking like a cyclops and was the "worst thing" she'd ever done.

Correction: February 12, 2024 An earlier version of this story misstated the year that semaglutide was approved by the FDA as a treatment for obesity. It was 2021, not 2022.

Read the original article on Business Insider

More here:
Sharon Osbourne swears off weight loss and cosmetic treatments after experiencing the downsides of Ozempic - Yahoo Life

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