Nutrisystem is a smarter weight-loss program that users enjoy.
- The societal and economic consequences of obesity cannot be ignored.
- The economic impact is up to $190 billion every year in America.
- Americans spend up to $2.5 billion each year on popular weight-loss programs.
Credit: Nutrisystem<h3>The economics of obesity</h3><p>The obesity crisis in America has profoundly changed the health of our nation. Two-thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese. Excess body weight creates numerous health problems, such as increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, cancer, sleep apnea, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Tragically, the steep rise in obesity rates can, in large part, be traced back to the surge in processed foods made with filler ingredients, questionable preservatives, and excessive sugars. </p><p>That's part of what makes losing weight so difficult. Supermarket shelves are stocked with processed foods. A whopping 74 percent of packaged foods contain added sugars, which are conveniently disguised under 61 different names, including dextrose, maltose, and treacle. You shouldn't have to play detective every time you go to the grocery store. </p><p>Obesity has real-world consequences. Every year, up to $6.38 billion is lost in productivity costs due to obesity-related absenteeism. That number only accounts for people taking off of work. Overall, obesity-related costs in America are estimated to be $147 billion every year. One <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/economic/" target="_blank">study</a> shows that cost was $190 billion in 2005. </p><p>Overweight citizens are also more likely to suffer from poor mental health. The combination of poor self-image, social stigma, lack of exercise, and biological issues due to obesity increase the likelihood that someone will be anxious or depressed. This creates a crippling feedback loop: diets high in sugars and carbohydrates, which are fueling the rise in obesity, are <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/your-diet-might-be-causing-anxiety-and-depression" target="_self">also linked</a> to poor mental health. </p><p>Many people want a solution that works. In 2014, Americans spent roughly $2.5 billion on commercial or proprietary weight loss programs. As a society, we pay the price of obesity in the form of work absenteeism, inflated health care costs, and mental health issues, and we pay trying to solve it. Finding a solution to this problem is of utmost importance. </p>
Research finds that our sense of self can be manipulated by certain smells and sounds.
- Researchers find that there are smells that make us feel thinner and lighter, and other smells that do the opposite.
- The sounds of our footsteps can have a similar effect.
- The researchers suggest that sensory stimuli play a part in our self-image and may be subject to beneficial manipulation.
Lemon, vanilla, and footsteps<p>The research involved two different experiments run consecutively.</p><p>In one, participants were asked to adjust the dimensions of an onscreen 3D avatar so that it best represented themselves as they were exposed to fragrances. A lemon scent caused the subjects to dial in a lighter body weight. A vanilla odor had the opposite effect.</p><p>SCHI lab head <a href="http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/328262" target="_blank">Marianna Obrist</a> tells <a href="http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/49415" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">University of Sussex</a>, "Previous research has shown that lemon is associated with thin silhouettes, spiky shapes and high-pitched sounds while vanilla is associated with thick silhouettes, rounded shapes and low-pitched sounds. This could help account for the different body image perceptions when exposed to a range of nasal stimuli."</p><p>Regarding the second experiment, UC3M's <a href="https://uclic.ucl.ac.uk/people/ana-tajadura-jimenez" target="_blank">Ana Tajadura-Jiménez</a> says, "Our previous research has shown how sound can be used to alter body perception. For instance, in a series of studies, we showed how changing the pitch of the footstep sounds people produce when walking can make them feel lighter and happier and also change the way their walk."</p><p>The current study's authors had headphone-wearing participants walk in place on a wooden board as the researchers manipulated the sound of of their footsteps in the headphones, making them higher in pitch or lower. While walking, they were presented with lemon and vanilla scents. The psychological effect of the fragrance became even more pronounced when combined with the sound manipulations.</p><p>"We based our study on the concept of crossmodal correspondences," Brianza tells <a href="https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/sense-of-smell-body-image-study" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Inverse</a>, "which is the spontaneous and unconscious association between different sensory stimulations [like when people see colors when they listen to music]."</p><p>Says Obrist, "One of the interesting findings from the research is that sound appears to have a stronger effect on unconscious behavior whilst scent has a stronger effect on conscious behavior. Further studies need to be carried out in order to better understand the potential around sensory and multisensory stimuli on BIP [body image perception]."</p><span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b41cfbc7383cdedd0348b1ebd83212a4"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KCno-EtCFOw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
What the heck is going on<p>Brianza says, "Our brain holds several mental models of one's own body appearance which are necessary for successful interactions with the environment." She adds, "These body perceptions are continuously updated in response to sensory inputs received from outside and inside the body."</p><p>Considering that what we know of the world—and to an extent, of ourselves—is based on sensory stimuli, perhaps it should not be completely surprising that we may draw unexpected cues from them.</p><p>In any event, the researchers' findings offer tantalizing early clues that may bear therapeutic fruit when it comes to addressing body issues later on. Will it turn out, for example, that scented garments can help us make kinder, more accurate fitting decisions in olfactorily and sonically optimized dressing rooms?</p><p>Says Brianza, "Being able to positively influence this perception through technology could lead to novel and more effective therapies for people with body perception disorders or the development of interactive clothes and wearable technology that could use scent to enhance people's self-confidence and recalibrate distorted feelings of body weight."</p>
The human body is endlessly fascinating.
- Last year, it was reported that a Belgian man arrested for drunk driving brewed the alcohol in his own gut.
- The disorder, auto-brewery syndrome, occurred after he took a round of antibiotics.
- He was cured after a fecal donation from his daughter.
What is Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="29f77231a58d168a5819bc02e41d66b9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Awn3haOpfcI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Fecal transplants, or bacteriotherapy, help replenish bacterial balance, especially when antibiotics kill too many "good" bacteria. The procedure is most often performed by colonoscopy, though sometimes a nasoduodenal tube is required. While there are a variety of tests needed before doctors will perform bacteriotherapy, fecal transplants actually <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895930/" target="_blank">date back</a> at least 1,700 years to Traditional Chinese Medicine.</p><p>Fecal transplants are most commonly performed to treat diseases caused by the bacteria, <em>C. difficile</em>. Over 15,000 people <a href="https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/clinical-trial-testing-fecal-microbiota-transplant-recurrent-diarrheal-disease-begins" target="_blank">die every year</a> from such diseases. </p><p>Researchers are constantly learning more about the incredible complexity and importance of the microbiome. Besides gut-related disorders, bacteriotherapy <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895930/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">may soon be used</a> to treat a variety of ailments, including obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, hay fever, and eczema. </p><p>The doctors feel confident recommending this particular intervention. Treating ABS often involves changes in diet, probiotics, and drug therapy. Yet antibiotics have strange effects on the microbiome, and in this case, it was enough to make him resistant to the usual therapies. </p><p>The team in Belgium is hopeful they've found another avenue for treating ABS. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Moreover, we can imagine a future point - after additional research to evaluate the safety of faecal microbiota transplantation - at which this approach might become standard therapy for gut fermentation syndrome."</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?
- New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
- The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
- The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.
A new 5-step system for treating obesity<p>To help primary care practitioners better treat obesity, the doctors outlined five steps:</p><ol><li>Recognition of obesity as a chronic disease by health care providers, who should ask the patient permission to offer advice and help treat this disease in an unbiased manner.</li><li>Assessment of an individual living with obesity, using appropriate measurements, and identifying the root causes, complications and barriers to obesity treatment.</li><li>Discussion of the core treatment options (medical nutrition therapy and physical activity) and adjunctive therapies that may be required, including psychological, pharmacologic and surgical interventions.</li><li>Agreement with the person living with obesity regarding goals of therapy, focusing mainly on the value that the person derives from health-based interventions.</li><li>Engagement by health care providers with the person with obesity in continued follow-up and reassessments, and encouragement of advocacy to improve care for this chronic disease.</li></ol><p>Insider noted that some health professionals and body-positive advocates don't think the guidelines go far enough in reframing obesity treatment. The update still points "to individual bodies as the problem, not culture," registered dietitian <a href="https://www.bodykindnessbook.com/" target="_blank">Rebecca Scritchfield</a>, told <a href="https://www.insider.com/canada-doctors-obesity-should-be-defined-by-health-not-weight-2020-8" target="_blank">Insider</a>.</p><p>But it's also possible to see how some health professionals may worry this new model could discourage patients from taking the initiative to tackle weight-loss on their own, through exercise and dieting.</p><p>In a 2020 opinion piece published in <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.00002/full" target="_blank">Frontiers in Nutrition</a>, Dr. <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/people/u/69229" target="_blank">Elliot M. Berry</a> argued that misplaced "medical and political correctness" may lead to the abrogation of the physician's responsibility to properly care for patients.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"For example, some doctors are now even reluctant to raise the issue of obesity lest they be accused of fat shaming by not accepting their patients' proportions (despite the quote at the head of this opinion piece), and thereby receive poor approval ratings in an atmosphere where popularity is equated with good healthcare."</p><p>Berry offers a list of nine steps that he thinks could help the healthcare industry better treat obesity, without shaming patients or falling prey to political correctness.</p>
The study was only conducted with already healthy men, however.
- A new study at the University of Bath found that binge eating on occasion doesn't have major metabolic consequences.
- 14 healthy young men were instructed to eat pizza until full or to keep going until they couldn't eat another bite.
- Their blood sugar levels were similar to having eaten normally and blood lipids levels were only slightly higher than normal.