A study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows just how many calories riders will burn daily during a grand tour. Using the doubly labeled water technique, investigators determine that cyclists will burn about 7,650 calories each day during a stage of the Giro d'Italia. Boy, that is a lot of pasta.
A major new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine shows the types of foods we choose plays a bigger role in weight loss success than what type of diet we decide to adhere to. The researchers recruited 609 overweight adult men and women who were then randomized into one of two diet groups for a 1-year period: low-carbohydrate or low-fat. Those on the low-fat diet consumed about 48% of their calories from carbs and 29% from fat while those in the low-carb group consumed roughly 30% of their calories from carbs and 45% from fat. Importantly, protein intake was matched between diet interventions and people were not given any specific calorie restraints that they had to adhere to. The key was that both groups were counselled to eat mostly vegetables and other whole foods – the low-fat group was told to select plenty of whole grains, legumes and fruits, while the low-carb group members were instructed to select what is considered healthier fatty foods such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil. By studies end, individuals in the two groups had lost similar amounts of weight, about 12 1/2 pounds, and also the same amount of size from their waistlines without paying much attention to calorie counting. Researchers looked for clues (such as gene patterns related to metabolism and insulin levels) to see if there were any factors that might make someone more prone to fat loss on either of the diets, but they were unable to make any connections.
The take home message is that whatever diet you might be following -Paleo, vegan, gluten-free etc. - these diet plans will all work to trim belly fat if they are focused on the intake of nutrient-dense whole foods. In other words, foods that are closer to how they come from nature such as quinoa, almonds, wild salmon, spinach and raspberries.
You Are What You (Don't) Eat
It turns out that what people aren't eating is killing them. A recent study in JAMA found that about 45% of all deaths among subjects in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from some of the most common chronic diseases - type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease - can be contributed to poor intakes of fruits, vegetables, seafood derived omega-3 fats, nuts and whole grains. Too much sodium, sugar-sweetened drinks and processed meats like bacon were also found to raise the risk of enjoying fewer birthdays. Now I can feel even better about my daily salad, adding a generous handful of blueberries and almonds to my breakfast oatmeal and grabbing a few cans of sardines every time I visit the grocery store.
America is often considered to have one of the worst overall diets, but eating habits up here in Canada aren’t much better.
A report funded by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada and carried out by researchers the University of Montreal found that about 48% of Canadians’ daily caloric intake hails from ultra-processed foods. Alarmingly, the investigation also discovered that children aged nine to 13 are the largest consumers of these nutritional duds, which account for 57% of their daily calories. Those are huge numbers and should sound alarm bells for health officials.
For the purpose of the study, “ultra-processed foods” were defined as products comprised largely of substances like sugar, fat, salt and additives, with little to no intact food. So that would be stuff like sweetened drinks, frozen dinners, sugary boxed cereals, fast-food pizza, cereal bars and potato chips. All of which are contributing to our collective poor health and expanding waistlines among all generations.
So clearly, dietitians like myself still have a lot of work to do.
Matthew Kadey - Dietitian, Nutrition and Food Writer, Recipe Developer and Cookbook Author.