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Reset on Weight Management

Every New Year brings the promise of new resolutions about better weight management and plans for weight loss. Find some new inspiration for your clients’ weight management goals as they aim to hit reset in a positive and healthy way.

12/16/2020

A recent report from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics may not surprise you: 14% more Americans say they are on a special diet to lose weight or for other health-related reasons compared to a decade ago. During this same time, obesity rates have risen to 42% up from 34%.

Add to these statistics more data: Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Weight Wellness program in Dallas presented findings from their survey of 123 obese patients at The Obesity Society 2020 annual meeting in early November.  Results showed 61% reported engaging in stress eating during the early phases of COVID-19 and seven in 10 people said that their weight-loss goals became harder to achieve during lockdown.

On the flip side of these not-so-encouraging figures is a little good news: people are aware of the chronic health issues associated with being overweight and managing weight for health reasons is more on people’s radar than in the past. That offers you the opportunity to meet them where they are to help them begin their health journey.  That’s especially true now during COVID, when everything seems more challenging than it used to be, and people need more encouragement and guidance than ever before.

We share with you another reason to love the Med Diet as a way to foster sustainable eating, as well as resources to help your clients with weight management goals.

RECIPE

Bringing together crunchy almonds, whole grains and beans with a citrusy kick, this salad is easy to prep ahead of time and ready for on-the-go lunch or a nourishing side dish.  For more delicious recipes, visit our Recipe Center.

Almond, Farro And Black Bean Salad With Cilantro

Sample Post:  This colorful salad has the protein boost from black beans and edamame, whole grain goodness of farro and nutritious crunch of almonds.  Farro, a Mediterranean staple, is easy to prepare ahead—and pairs perfectly with almonds.  A dash of cilantro adds a fresh twist to brighten up the winter table.

RESEARCH UPDATE:  New Mediterranean diet study investigates link between nut consumption and markers for Metabolic Syndrome

New fad diet plans hit the headlines each January, but the Mediterranean diet regularly clocks in as one of the top recommended diets every year. Almonds fit into the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes plant foods including nuts, and a recent study shares results about the diet effects on Metabolic Syndrome and weight management. Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) and its cluster of markers - large waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, reduced HDL-cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and elevated blood glucose - have long been associated with increased cardiovascular risk.

The aim of a recent study from PREDIMED-Plus1 was to determine if changes in nut consumption over a 1-year period were associated with in differences in symptoms among middle-aged and older Spanish adults with high cardiovascular disease risk who followed a Mediterranean diet.

Data from 5,800 participants (3,005 men and 2,795 women, ages 55-75 years old) who completed a food questionnaire at the start of the study and at the 1-year mark was analysed. All participants were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 27 and <40) and had MetS. 

Nut consumption (including almonds) by study participants was validated by a food questionnaire and adherence to the Med Diet was confirmed in consultation with dietitians. From baseline to the 1-year mark, MetS symptoms were assessed, including waist circumference, HDL-cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), and excess body weight (both BMI and body weight). 

The researchers then grouped the participants into three tertiles by determining increases in nut consumption during the study time period.  After one year, average nut consumption amounts for tertile 1, tertile 2, and tertile 3 were as follows (P < 0.001):

  • Tertile 1: 18.4 ± 14.4 g/day of nuts
  • Tertile 2: 24.6 ± 11.2 g/day of nuts
  • Tertile 3: 44.7 ± 18.9 g/day of nuts

After the 1-year follow-up, the groups with the largest nut consumption (tertiles 2 and 3) had consistent calorie intake compared to baseline, which suggests increased nut consumption did not have a significant impact on overall calorie intake. Researchers also found:

  • When assessing MetS features and weight change, with each tertile of increasing nut intake, waist circumference, blood triglyceride concentrations, systolic blood pressure and BMI decreased significantly (P<0.05)
  • Significant increases in extra virgin olive oil consumption and adherence to the Med Diet were observed across the 3 tertiles.
  • When the three groups were compared to one another, the group that ate the most nuts (tertile 3) also increased consumption of extra virgin olive oil EVOO and improved adherence to the Mediterranean the most.
  • For women, HDL-cholesterol levels increased with each tertile of increasing nut intake (P= 0.044)
  • When comparing the group that ate the most nuts (tertile 3) to the group that ate the least nuts (tertile 1), participants in tertile 3 had greater decreases in waist circumference (men only), total body weight and BMI (P<0.05).
  • There were no significant changes between groups in fasting blood glucose and diastolic blood pressure.

The researchers noted that these findings, except for the increase in HDL-cholesterol, were consistent with previous study findings. In the original landmark PREDIMED study, cardiovascular disease in those following the Med Diet was lowered by approximately 30% compared to those in the control diet. 

Limitations of this study should be noted, and include:

  • The study participants were older obese/overweight adults, presented with MetS and had a higher CVD risk, so the results may not be applicable to other populations.
  • The food questionnaire may have caused overestimations of certain food groups, and the study design of recruiting attendance at the educational sessions may have limited inclusion of lower income participants.
  • More research is needed to assess long-term results.

The findings suggest symptoms of MetS and excess weight were inversely associated with nut consumption.  For this population of older adults with metabolic syndrome, boosting nut consumption and adhering to the Mediterranean diet were associated with reductions in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, triglyceride concentrations and systolic blood pressure. Increasing consumption of nuts, including almonds, may be an effective dietary strategy for managing weight and improving components of the metabolic syndrome. Click here to view the full study.

1. Julibert A, Bibiloni M, Gallardo-Alfaro L, et al. Metabolic Syndrome Features and Excess Weight Were Inversely Associated with Nut Consumption after 1-Year Follow-Up in the PREDIMED-Plus Study. The Journal of Nutrition. 2020; 150(12): 3161-3170.