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OH NO! not another one!!!

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default OH NO! not another one!!!

Right when I think I have it alllll figured out....

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/he...ewanted=1&_r=1

Yet another "study" with "astounding results" from five nutrition and public health experts at Harvard University, ...No wonder people get SO CONFUSED about weight loss! everything seems to be contradicted by everything else! And throw in "experts" from HARVARD no less, & you've got a whirlwind of speculations by those of us who are TRYING to lose weight!

The new research...is by far the most detailed long-term analysis of the factors that influence weight gain, involving 120,877 well-educated men and women who were healthy and not obese at the start of the study. In addition to diet, it has important things to say about exercise, sleep, television watching, smoking and alcohol intake.

From the article:

"...the newest findings on what specific foods people should eat less often ó and more importantly, more often ó to keep from gaining pounds as they age should be of great interest to tens of millions of Americans." (oh, really?)

"People donít become overweight overnight. Rather, the pounds creep up slowly, often unnoticed, until one day nothing in the closet fits the way it used to." (ya don't say?)

"The analysis examined how an array of factors influenced weight gain or loss during each four-year period of the study. The average participant gained 3.35 pounds every four years, for a total weight gain of 16.8 pounds in 20 years." (Seriously? 16.8 lbs in 20 years? I WISH THAT'S ALL I'D GAINED IN 20 YEARS!!!!!)

Now, don't get me wrong, after reading the article, I still have the AUDACITY to believe that "calories" is the bottom line. Eat too many, ya get fat. Cut'm back (by whatever method you choose), ya lose weight. Still, every time there's a "new study" with "amazing results"... I just get a little... PEEVED. Ya know? I mean, it just makes me 2nd guess everything I've learned/done up to this point. Am I really doing this diet thing the best way I know how?-the best way for me? Or -if I just "listen to the experts" ...could I have already lost that 50 lbs by now??

Somebody give me encouragement, please... it's stuff like this that make me want to throw in the towel & just accept the fact that I am a fatty & always will be.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:08 PM   #2
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Experts. Studies. Sensationalized headlines.

I'm pretty sure the only expert you need to follow is the one who is an expert at your life... OHWAIT! You're already an expert at your life. What luck!

Sometimes articles can give good ideas, but most of the time we've just got to take 'em with a grain of salt. Some of the things they suggest aren't always going to apply to every situation.

Peanut Butter, as an example, might be nice to have... unless you're allergic to peanuts! That might be an obvious example, but... Not everything they suggest is one-size-fits-all. THAT'S what I wish they'd change.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:13 PM   #3
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Ugh... if I lost a pound for every time I saw one of these astounding new research articles that just contradicts the last thing they said, I'd be dead.

I agree. Eat a lot and sit around... gain weight. Eat healthy and exercise... lose weight.

Everyone's different, but its still basic.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:14 PM   #4
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The thing I hate most about articles regarding weight loss, exercise, nutrition, etc is how much they generalize and condense information. People need to pay less attention to what "experts" say, and more to what does and does not work for them as individuals. Obviously we can gain some insight from other's research and knowledge, but that doesn't mean every new study should be handed out as gospel. I spent way too much time worrying about what I was doing wrong because of some new article, until I realized if it's working for me and giving me results then it definitely isn't wrong.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting the article. Even if my own experience isn't reflected in the content of an article, I still like to read it to be more informed. I respect the study, but I am definitely skeptical about the conclusions concerning "bad" foods. First of all, unless it's poisonous, I don't buy the fact that there are "bad" foods. I do believe in "everything in moderation." I'm sure you've heard about this, but I'll post the link to it anyway: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08...sor/index.html

It's the story about a nutrition professor who ate mainly twinkies for a month and lost a significant amount of weight. I'll bet the scientists of the Harvard study would consider Twinkies a "bad" food, yet that nutrition professor lost weight by eating them but counting the calories.

Also, is it really coincidental that nearly all the foods listed by the Harvard Study as the ones that promote weight gain are ones that are generally higher in calories (e.g., French fries). I think many of the foods listed may lead to weight gain because they taste so darn good that we overdo it. IMHO, it's mindless eating that is the culprit. Also, I believe that carbs encourage water retention, which makes it seem as if you've gained weight if you eat a lot of carbs, but if you're sticking to a calorie count that is within your range, that is just water weight. The reason that low-carb diets seem so effective initially is that the body is letting go of lots of water.

Finally, ---and here my inner Oliver Stone is coming out---I am always a bit skeptical of articles like these that demonize certain foods. It certainly would support a government push for a "fat" tax, right?
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBunneh View Post
The thing I hate most about articles regarding weight loss, exercise, nutrition, etc is how much they generalize and condense information. People need to pay less attention to what "experts" say, and more to what does and does not work for them as individuals. Obviously we can gain some insight from other's research and knowledge, but that doesn't mean every new study should be handed out as gospel. I spent way too much time worrying about what I was doing wrong because of some new article, until I realized if it's working for me and giving me results then it definitely isn't wrong.
Yes!! I think I was much better off in my 20s (before computers and the Internet took off) when I didn't know much. All I did was use my basic common sense, and I had more determination and seemed to succeed faster. Now, it's like information overload. Some of the information can be downright discouraging.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:18 PM   #7
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I kind of like reading things like this because it means that even the brainiacs at Harvard don't have this stuff figured out yet!!! If they did, they wouldn't be still researching it. In college we'd read the actual studies from the scientific journals they are originally published in (not necessarily on this topic, but it's the same idea), and they are never as clear cut as the news media would have you believe. The studies are riddled with "biases", their findings are correlational (they can't really demonstrate a cause and effect relationship, just that two factors seem to go together in a statistically significant way), the findings might only be valid in X population, there are confounding variables blah blah blah. I think the news media really does a disservice to the general population when they present the "findings" in such absolute terms.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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Yeah for me I'm pretty sure it still comes down to calories. Hmm, astounding findings that fried foods lead to weight gain?? REALLY??? Wow never would have thought of that - oh and people who chose to eat yogurt assumingly instead of other not as healthy options lost weight?? CRAZINESS!! haha Anyways clearly choose healthy most of the time, control portions, and you will lose weight over time!
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:19 PM   #9
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I am one of those people that do believe that there may be a little more to the equation that just "calories in vs. calories out".

That said, I absolutely DO NOT believe in overanalyzing the SCIENCE mumbo jumbo behind it because I'm also of the belief that there is much that science still does not understand about this weight/fat loss equation. I mean...we are only using less than 10% of our brains functionality..this would include scientist as well!

I say, starting with the calories in vs. calories out (ergo calorie counting) is a GREAT place to start. I think once you enter maintainenance is where you will have more room to play with other notions of how certain foods effect your bodyfat percentage, etc.

I did my calorie count for yesterday and have myself with 3 cinnamon raisin whole wheat pancakes, 2 turkey sausage links - 380 cals., 7 cookies = 700 cals., 2 slices pumpkin pie, 480 cals., muffin, 139 cals., chicken salad, 300 cals., filet mignon over mashed potatoes, green bean almondine - 450 cals., orange - 45 cals., watermelon - 50 cals., prunes - 65 cals., yogart - 70 cals. making my daily total = 2,679 cals.!!! My weight is down today. huh?

I think you may find that food timing, frequency, activity level (I did, however swim 60 laps in the pool yesterday), etc. also play a part. Again...not just calories in vs. calories out, but like I said...that's a good place to start.
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lin43 View Post
Yes!! I think I was much better off in my 20s (before computers and the Internet took off) when I didn't know much. All I did was use my basic common sense, and I had more determination and seemed to succeed faster. Now, it's like information overload. Some of the information can be downright discouraging.
THAT'S IT!!!! For me, I mean. "information overload"... I keep telling myself that I read too much! But I can't help it! I'm a reader... and I always like to hear other points of view. (that is, until they contradict my own, LOL )

Oh, & thanks to lin43 for reminding me about The Twinkie Diet Man... he DID lose weight by counting calories even tho he ate "baaaaddddd foods" ...so take that, Expert Harvard ButtHeads!!!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:27 PM   #11
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Often the research could tell us a lot, but the way it is reported pulls all the truth out of it.

If you understand what research can tell you (and what it cannot), then each new study gives you more information, and you can fit it into the information you already have to get "more truth" (even when the studies seem contradictory).

No scientist will argue that one study can tell you anything, because chance and coincidence are involved. Statistical design and analyzing the math of it, can help reduce the odds that the study resultas are purely the result of coincidence, but each new piece of the puzzle creates better and better understanding of what's really going on.

The problem is how the information is twisted and/or misunderstood by people who don't understand research design and statistics.

It's a shame, because the confusion convinces many people that research is useless and can say anything the researchers want it to say - but that's not usually the facts. Usually the researchers aren't manipulating data for their own nefarious purposes, they're trying to get at the truth. And if more people understood how research was conducted and what conclusions can and can't be drawn from the body of research (because you can't conclude anything from one study), fewer would believe that the research is useless or harmful.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:06 PM   #12
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Ok, I'm a science girl, so I did a little google scholar action and found the actual article as publised in the New England Journal of Medicine http://anpron.eu/wp-content/uploads/...en-and-Men.pdf. My statistics are a a little rusty, but I waded through it the best I could. If you're curious, check out the "discussion" section at the end. They bring up very interesting points about their findings and the limitations fo the study. Something I thought was interesting was that they specificially selected non-obese participants who were free from chroninc disease for this study which means that it may or may not generalize to other populations. I bet a lot of people reading the NY times article, looking for helpful info might not fit into the population in the study. The study wasn't even looking at people wanting to lose weight- it was looking at average people and studying how/why they gained weight over time. Not that that their research is totally useless when it comes to looking at weight loss, but I think the distinction is an important one.

Their point isn't that calories don't matter, but that the quality of food influences the quantity (or total calories). What they didn't find was a clear pattern of association between high calorie food and more weight gain in the long run (examples were low-calorie beverages were associated with weight gain while nuts were associated with weight loss over time). In their study, the more people ate of unprocessed foods, the less weight they gained- duh!. They go on to discuss mechanisms that might account for this- things like the way these foods influence hunger, satiety, absorption, metabolism, etc.- as avenues for future research.

Straight from the article: "Our findings suggest that both individual and population-based strategies to help people consume fewer calories may be most effective when particular foods and beverages are targeted for decreased (or increased) consumption."

You eat fewer calories, you eat higher quality food and that helps you lose weight. I don't think this is anything new or by any means a directive to throw away the idea of calories. See what happens when the news media gets involved .
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:46 PM   #13
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If articles like this bother you, don't read them.

If you are having success on your weight-loss journey, continue doing what works.

Personally I like to read this type of article as I feel that there are always new things to be learned.

But if stuff like this messes with your mind, avoid the problem.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuende View Post

You eat fewer calories, you eat higher quality food and that helps you lose weight. I don't think this is anything new or by any means a directive to throw away the idea of calories. See what happens when the news media gets involved .
Nice summary. That's my read of the actual study, too.

It's not rocket science: eat more calories than you burn (through exercise, but also through daily activities and body functioning) and eventually you'll get fat. Eat fewer calories than you burn, and eventually you'll lose weight.

This correlative study is just showing that, on average, people who eat French fries tend to eat too many calories. It's just an average, though -- other people can eat one French fry and then stop, or they offset their fries by eating fewer calories elsewhere.

True, weight loss is never linear, and there will always be weight fluctuations because of water weight (esp. for women). The human body also evolved all kinds of survival mechanisms, both psychological and physiological, that will kick in if the body thinks it is at risk of real starvation. (Note: from the body's standpoint, starvation is a sustained period of caloric intake far, far below maintenance: bodies don't go into "starvation mode" if you eat a shade under 1000 calories a day, or if you don't eat for two hours in a row. Those are just dieting myths.)

As long as you remember "calories in < calories out = weight loss", you won't go that far astray.

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Old 07-21-2011, 03:07 PM   #15
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Well, I liked the brief synopsis of the story. It's basically everything I believe and do anyway. I "DO" believe that rice and potatoes and breads and pastas are a big problem as they are all simple carbs. As are the sweeteners in yogurts, juices and sodas.

I eat for hunger. I'm not hungry and I'm eating like they say to eat. i don't NEED to count my calories (though I do) because I feel full on what I'm eating and I really feel I could eat this way the rest of my life.

I think that's part of what they were hinting at. If you eat whole grains, lean meats, nuts, dairy, lots of vegetables, you will fill up and not NEED to eat more (read eat too much). People who drink juice drinks, soda, potato chips and french fries are getting too many calories when they eat for hunger. One way of eating for hunger leads to lower calories. The other way leads to higher calories.

What it implies, for LONG term is that people are not able to control their portions when eating the bad foods. if they could they wouldn't gain weight. People may 'intend' to eat just a bit of the bad stuff, but then need to eat more overall to keep from feeling satisfied. We just aren't going to live life always feeling unsatiated.

And the OP was laughing/incredulous at the 16 pounds gain. It's quite significant for more than 120,000 people to gain that much - and these are people in the health care field! They are MORE likely (you would think) to be more mindful of what they eat and their weight. So, if just two people were in the study, one could stay the same, and another gain 32 pounds in that time to get that 16 pounds average.
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