Can Eating Breakfast Help You Shed Pounds?


Brown, A.W. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online Sept. 4, 2013.

Suzy Weems, PhD, RD, dietitian and professor of family and consumer sciences, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Kutsuma, A. Scientifica, 2014.  

Pereira, M.  The Journal of Nutrition, published online, Dec. 1, 2010.

Timlin, M.T. Pediatrics, March 2008.

The National Weight Control Registry: “NWCR Facts.”

Leigh Tracy, RD, dietitian, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore.

Odegaard, A. Diabetes Care, June 2013.

Vander Wal, J.S. International Journal of Obesity, October 2008.

Rebello, C. Nutrition Journal, February 2014.

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Research on dogs might shed light on human responses to food: study

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Researchers in Hungary who found that normal and overweight dogs behaved differently in tasks involving food say the dogs’ responses were similar to what might be expected in normal and overweight humans.

Bucka, the 11 year-old overweight mongrel dog, is seen during a test trying to find the reasons for obesity at the Ethology Department of the ELTE University in Budapest, Hungary, June 13, 2018. Picture taken June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Tamas Kaszas

The study suggested dogs could be used as models for future research into the causes and psychological impacts of human obesity, the authors of the paper from Budapest’s ELTE University said.

Researchers put two bowls – one of them holding a good meal, the other empty or containing less attractive food – in front of a series of dogs.

The study found that canines of a normal weight continued obeying instructions to check the second bowl for food, but the obese ones refused after a few rounds.

Slideshow (9 Images)

“We expected the overweight dog to do anything to get food, but in this test, we saw the opposite. The overweight dogs took a negative view,” test leader Orsolya Torda said.

“If a situation is uncertain and they cannot find food, the obese dogs are unwilling to invest energy to search for food – for them the main thing is to find the right food with least energy involved.”

The behavior had possible parallels with overweight people who see food as a reward, said the paper published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.

Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Andrew Heavens

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Freezing ‘Hunger Nerve’ Might Help Shed Pounds

Freezing the so-called “hunger nerve” could help people lose weight, a small early-stage study suggests.

The nerve’s proper name is the posterior vagal trunk and it’s part of the larger vagus nerve that’s linked with the heart, lungs and digestive system, ABC News reported.

The phase 1 study results included 10 overweight patients, ages 27-66. Researchers inserted a probe into the patients’ backs in order to freeze the hunger nerve for two minutes. The goal was to shut down the hunger signal, explained Dr. David Prologo, an interventional radiologist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Patients were checked seven, 45, and 90 days after the procedure and at each appointment, the patients said they had decreased appetite, ABC News reported.

During the follow-up, the patients lost an average of 3.6 percent of their body weight, and had a nearly 14 percent decrease in their body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat based on weight and height.

The long-term effectiveness is unknown, ABC New reported.

The study was presented at the Society for Interventional Radiology Conference this week in Los Angeles. The next step would be a phase 2 study.

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Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Clues to Parkinson’s May Be Shed in Tears

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Your tears may reveal if you are at risk of Parkinson’s disease, preliminary research suggests.

When people shed tears, certain proteins are released. Levels of those proteins are different in people with Parkinson’s compared to those without the disease, according to a preliminary study.

“We believe our research is the first to show that tears may be a reliable, inexpensive and noninvasive biological marker of Parkinson’s disease,” said study author Dr. Mark Lew, of the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

Parkinson’s is a progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. It usually causes tremors and stiffness, or slowing of movement. Early symptoms may be mild and go unnoticed.

Lew’s team analyzed tear samples from 55 people with Parkinson’s and 27 people without the disease. Levels of one type of protein were higher and levels of another type of protein were lower in people with Parkinson’s, the findings showed.

The proteins in tears are produced by cells in the tear gland through nerve stimulation. Because Parkinson’s can affect nerve function outside of the brain, the researchers wanted to investigate if disease-related changes in nerve function could be revealed by analyzing tears.

“Knowing that something as simple as tears could help neurologists differentiate between people who have Parkinson’s disease and those who don’t in a noninvasive manner is exciting,” Lew said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

“And because the Parkinson’s disease process can begin years or decades before symptoms appear, a biological marker like this could be useful in diagnosing, or even treating, the disease earlier,” he added.

However, that’s still far in the future. Further research with larger groups of people is needed to find out if tear samples could reveal Parkinson’s in its earliest stages, before symptoms develop, the study authors said.

The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Los Angeles, April 21-27. The findings should be considered preliminary until peer-reviewed for publication in a medical journal.

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SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, Feb. 22, 2018

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Brain Scans May Shed Light on Bipolar Disorder-Suicide Risk

TUESDAY, Jan. 31, 2017 — Among teens and young adults with bipolar disorder, researchers have linked brain differences to an increased suicide risk.

About half of people with bipolar disorder — marked by extreme mood swings — attempt suicide and as many as one in five dies by suicide, the study authors said.

For the new study, teens and young adults with bipolar disorder underwent brain scans. Compared with those who had not attempted suicide, those who had attempted suicide had slightly less volume and activity in areas of the brain that regulate emotion and impulses, and in the white matter that connects those areas.

“The findings suggest that the frontal cortex is not working as well as it should to regulate the circuitry,” said study senior author Dr. Hilary Blumberg.

“That can lead to more extreme emotional pain, difficulties in generating alternate solutions to suicide and greater likelihood of acting on suicidal impulses,” she said.

Blumberg is a professor of psychiatric neuroscience, psychiatry, radiology and biomedical imaging at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

“Suicide is a leading cause of death of adolescents and young adults, and we can’t move on this issue fast enough,” she said in a university news release. “The identification of brain circuits involved in risk for suicide can lead to new ways to identify who is most at risk and, hopefully, prevent suicides.”

The study was published Jan. 31 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on bipolar disorder.

Posted: January 2017

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6th-Century Skeletons Shed Light on Deadly Plague Outbreaks

FRIDAY Sept. 2, 2016, 2016 — Ancient skeletons have helped scientists learn more about plague, and the discoveries could prove important in future outbreaks.

Centuries before the Black Death in the 1300s, the Justinian plague in the sixth century killed about 50 million people (15 percent of the world’s population) across the Byzantine Empire.

German scientists have now confirmed that both outbreaks were caused by the same bacterium — Yersinia pestis.

They found Y. pestis in sixth-century skeletons from Altenerding, an ancient burial site near Munich, and created the first high-quality genome — the full set of genes — of that strain of Y. pestis.

Among other things, the work uncovered 30 new mutations and gene changes unique to the Justinian strain. The discoveries offer new insights about the evolution of Y. pestis since the Justinian plague.

The data suggest the strain was genetically more diverse than once thought. But how it got to Germany remains a mystery, according to the study published online Aug. 30 in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

“Our research confirms that the Justinianic plague reached far beyond the historically documented affected region and provides new insights into the evolutionary history of Yersinia pestis,” researcher Michal Feldman said in a journal news release.

Feldman studies archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

Plague is considered a re-emerging disease in parts of the world, so new insight into evolutionary changes, adaptation and its impact could prove important, the study authors said.

More information

See The Deadly Seven: Where Are These Diseases Now? for more information about plague.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on plague.

Posted: September 2016

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Biking, Walking to Work Can Help Shed Pounds

U.K. study found a switch away from cars helped folks with 30-minute commutes drop 15 lbs in 2 years

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 8, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Leaving your car at home and cycling, walking or using public transit to get to work could help you lose weight, according to a new study.

The research included 4,000 British people who were surveyed three times between 2004 and 2007, about their usual way of traveling to and from work. The study participants also provided details on their height and weight.

After adjusting the data to account for other factors that might contribute to weight loss, the researchers found that people who switched from using a car to walking, cycling or public transit had an average weight loss of about 2.2 pounds.

The longer the commute by walking, cycling or public transit, the greater the weight loss, the investigators found. People with physically active commutes of more than 10 minutes lost an average of 4.4 pounds and those with physically active commutes of more than 30 minutes had an average weight loss of about 15.4 pounds over a two-year period.

People who switched from walking, cycling or taking public transit to taking a car to work gained an average of 2.2 pounds, according to the study.

The researchers said that due to the study’s design, it doesn’t definitively show a cause-and-effect relationship.

The findings were published online May 7 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

If more commuters left their cars at home and walked, cycled or took public transit to work, it could lead to a decline in the average weight of the general population, study author Adam Martin, of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and colleagues suggested in a journal news release.

“Combined with other potential health, economic, and environmental benefits associated with walking, cycling and public transport, these findings add to the case for interventions to promote the uptake of these more sustainable forms of transport,” the study authors concluded.

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Santa Ana Police Sergeant: She’d Run Over Ferguson Protesters, Too!


A Ferguson solidarity march last week in Minneapolis turned ugly when a man drove through activists and pinned a teenage girl under his car, sending her to the hospital. The incident made news rounds (with media capturing footage) and went viral online–and that’s where we meet Santa Ana Police Sergeant Michelle Miller.
On her Facebook page, the sarge shared a wacky right-wing article titled “Driver Plows Through Ferguson Protestors In Minnesota.”

“I would have done the same,” she wrote. “I’m surprised this didn’t happen more.” A friend added, “what are these savages thinking?”

The protest-plowing driver isn’t exactly the safest behind the wheel with a trio of DUIs on his record in addition to other related convictions–something the shit blog Miller shared failed to mention!

The OC Weekly contacted SanTana police spokesperson Anthony Bertagna, about Miller’s comments. “To achieve its mission and efficiently provide service to the public, the Santa Ana Police Department carefully balances our individual employee’s rights against the Department’s needs and interests when assessing the propriety of an employees’ speech and expression,” he said. “Where an employee’s speech and expression conflict with the policies and performance of the Department, we will take appropriate administrative action,” he adds. “Any such administrative action would be considered a confidential personnel matter.”

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The Body Fat That Might Help You Shed Pounds

The Body Fat That May Help You Shed Pounds

Oct. 22, 2014 — Dropping extra pounds has long been a goal for people who want to improve their health and appearance. But a different type of fat — called brown fat — may help us lose weight.

Researchers recently found that cold temperatures may help us make more of this “good fat” that can boost our metabolism and burn calories.

We asked experts to weigh in on the potential benefits. 

What is brown fat?

It’s a type of body fat that creates heat. It’s reddish-brown in color because it’s packed full of the power producers in cells, called mitochondria, which give cells energy by turning calories into heat. 

“Everyone is born with brown fat. Babies have an abundance of it. It helps keep them warm as they exit the womb,” says Philipp Scherer, PhD. He’s a professor of internal medicine and cell biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. “But people tend to lose brown fat as they get older.” Why? Researchers are still trying to figure that out, Scherer says.

Brown fat might make up a small amount of an adult’s total body fat. But more and more studies are showing that some adults have higher levels of brown fat than expected.

It’s sprinkled in between areas of white body fat, usually in the:

  • Neck
  • Upper chest
  • Shoulders

How is it different from white fat?

  • Brown fat burns calorie-loaded fats called lipids.
  • White fat is a “bad” fat that stores those lipids, creating unhealthy belly fat and thicker thighs.   

How do I know if I have brown fat?

There’s no easy way to tell. You can’t see it by just looking at your body. In the past, researchers have seen it when doing biopsies on babies and rats. But as body imaging methods have advanced, so has the ability to view brown fat. 

“When radiologists started doing PET [imaging] scans, they started seeing areas in adults that they couldn’t identify as cancer or inflammation,” says Anastasia Kralli, PhD. “Those areas turned out to be brown, or beige, fat in adults.” Kralli is an associate professor of chemical physiology and cell biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.

How can you gain brown fat?

Turn your thermostat down a few degrees, or possibly take a brisk walk in the winter. Evidence shows that as the temperature drops, the amount of calorie-burning brown fat goes up. But experts say there may not be a recommended temperature, and the impact of how long you stay in the cold isn’t clear.

A small study earlier this year suggested that long-term exposure to cold may spur brown fat growth, while warmth appeared to suppress it. Researchers followed five men ages 19-23 for 4 months and set the temperature in the rooms where they slept.

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Mouse Study May Shed Light on Huntington’s Disease

WEDNESDAY March 26, 2014, 2014 — An amino acid deficiency might be responsible for the brain degeneration that occurs in people with Huntington’s disease, research in mice suggests.

Huntington’s is an incurable inherited brain disease. Symptoms typically begin in middle age and include movement and balance problems. Patients can eventually lose the ability to walk, talk and swallow.

Patients with Huntington’s have degeneration in up to 90 percent of a brain structure called the corpus striatum, which plays a role in mood, movement and thinking. Although the genetic mutation that causes Huntington’s has long been known, the specific cause of this brain degeneration has not been identified, according to a Johns Hopkins University news release.

In the new study, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that mice that couldn’t make the amino acid cysteine had widespread deterioration in the corpus striatum. But the progression of this destruction was slowed when the mice were fed a diet rich in cysteine, which is found in foods such as wheat germ and whey protein, the researchers found.

The mice in the study lacked an enzyme called cystathionine gamma lyase, which helps make cysteine, the researchers said.

The findings, which were published online March 26 in the journal Nature, suggest that the use of cysteine supplementation in Huntington’s patients warrants further investigation, according to the researchers.

Scientists note, however, that research with animals often fails to provide similar results in humans.

“Usually it’s very hard, if not impossible, to develop straightforward mechanisms that explain what’s going on in a disease,” team leader Dr. Solomon Snyder, a professor of neuroscience, said in the news release.

“What’s even harder is, even if you can find a mechanism that causes a tissue to rot, usually there’s nothing you can do about it,” Snyder said. “In this case, there is.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about Huntington’s disease.

Posted: March 2014

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Newly Discovered Gene May Shed Light on Certain Brain Disorders

WEDNESDAY Feb. 12, 2014, 2014 — Scientists who discovered a gene that links the thickness of the brain’s gray matter to intelligence say their finding might help improve understanding of brain disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

The team looked at the cerebral cortex, which is the outside layer of the human brain. It plays an important role in areas such as memory, attention, thought, language and consciousness. Previous research has shown that the thickness of the cerebral cortex is closely linked with intelligence.

Until now, no genes associated with the thickness of the cerebral cortex have been identified, the study authors said.

The researchers at King’s College London, in England, analyzed DNA samples and MRI brain scans from nearly 1,600 healthy 14-year-olds, who also underwent tests to determine their intelligence levels.

The scientists examined more than 54,000 variations of genes that might play a role in brain development. Teens with a particular variant of one gene (called the NPTN gene) had a thinner cortex on the left side of the brain and scored lower on the intelligence tests, according to the study.

The findings were published Feb. 11 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

This genetic variation is estimated to account for only about 0.5 percent of the total variation in intelligence. But the findings may prove important in learning more about the biological factors underlying conditions such as autism and schizophrenia, the researchers said.

“We wanted to find out how structural differences in the brain relate to differences in intellectual ability,” study lead author Dr. Sylvane Desrivieres said in a King’s College news release. “The genetic variation we identified is linked to synaptic plasticity — how neurons communicate.”

“This may help us understand what happens at a neuronal level in certain forms of intellectual impairments, where the ability of the neurons to communicate effectively is somehow compromised,” Desrivieres said.

“It’s important to point out that intelligence is influenced by many genetic and environmental factors,” she said. “The gene we identified only explains a tiny proportion of the differences in intellectual ability, so it’s by no means a ‘gene for intelligence.'”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about the brain and how it works.

Posted: February 2014

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‘Transparent’ Mouse Brain Could Shed Light on Human Brain Health

WEDNESDAY April 10, 2013 — Scientists who developed a way to make a mouse brain transparent say the process could revolutionize the way the human brain is studied.

A transparent brain can be examined whole, without the need to slice or section it. The three-dimensional complexity of molecular structures and wiring are intact and can be assessed and probed with visible light and chemicals, according to the Stanford University researchers.

The chemical process for making the brain transparent — called CLARITY — is done after it is removed from the animal. The process involves replacing the brain’s lipids (fatty molecules) with a hydrogel, according to a study published online April 10 in the journal Nature.

The research described in the study was performed primarily on a mouse brain, but the investigators have used the same process on zebrafish and on preserved human brain samples, and achieved similar results.

“Studying intact systems with this sort of molecular resolution and global scope — to be able to see the fine detail and the big picture at the same time — has been a major unmet goal in biology, and a goal that CLARITY begins to address,” team leader Karl Deisseroth, a bioengineer and psychiatrist, said in a Stanford news release.

Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), said in the news release: “This feat of chemical engineering promises to transform the way we study the brain’s anatomy and how disease changes it. No longer will the in-depth study of our most important three-dimensional organ be constrained by two-dimensional methods.”

The NIMH provided funding for the research.

“CLARITY promises to revolutionize our understanding of how local and global changes in brain structure and activity translate into behavior,” Paul Frankland, a senior scientist in neurosciences and mental health at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto, said in the news release. He was not involved in the research.

Experts note that success in animal research often does not translate to success in human research.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about the brain.

Posted: April 2013

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Cash Incentives, Penalties May Spur People to Shed More Pounds

Study found those who won or lost $ 20 depending on weight-loss success stuck with the program

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Denise Mann

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) — Money talks when it comes to motivating people to lose weight, a new study shows.

And it doesn’t have to be a ton of cash, either. Just receiving $ 20 a month for losing 4 pounds — or having to hand over $ 20 for not shedding the weight — was enough incentive for many people to stay the course, according to research that is to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, which is set to begin this weekend in San Francisco.

“Financial incentives and disincentives can help people lose weight, and keep it off for one year,” said study author Dr. Steven Driver, resident physician in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “It’s not about getting rich, it’s about being held accountable.”

In the study, 100 employee volunteers who were considered obese (body mass index between 30 and 39.9) were placed into one of four weight-loss groups: two with financial incentives and two without. All of the weight-loss plans included an educational component, and one included a structured behavioral plan as well.

Those individuals in the financial incentive groups who met their goal received $ 20 per month, while those who didn’t had to pay a penalty of $ 20 into a larger bonus pool. Participants in the two incentive groups who completed the study were eligible to win this bonus pool when the study ended.

When all was said and done, those who were paid money for shedding pounds lost more and were more likely to complete the study. Specifically, 62 percent of those who got paid for losing weight each month stayed the course, compared with only 26 percent of those who had no opportunity to receive financial incentives. Among people in the incentive groups, weight loss was slightly more than 9 pounds, on average. In contrast, participants who did not receive money to lose weight lost an average of 2.3 pounds.

More study is needed to see how long these changes can last, Driver noted. “The real challenge is to extend this research, and see if we can develop a sustainable financial incentive model that lasts for longer than one year,” he said.

Many employers are beginning to offer such programs to encourage healthier behaviors among employees, Driver added.

And this is a good thing, said study co-author Dr. Donald Hensrud, chair of preventive, occupational and aerospace medicine at Mayo Clinic. “We need to use creative strategies to help people eat less and exercise more, and do all of those things that they know they should be doing,” he said.

One expert said the findings make sense.

“I don’t find it surprising that even a really small financial incentive helps spur some weight loss,” said Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness, in Washington, D.C.

The real question is how long these healthy habits will last, he pointed out.

“The challenge is how to help people lose weight in a way that is sustainable. This is more data that financial incentives and disincentives do play a role in what our behaviors are, but things like this are not likely to make a long-term impact on the obesity epidemic by themselves,” Kahan said.

“We need to be thinking about a comprehensive approach that addresses much more than increasing initial motivation,” he explained. “We need to maintain this motivation over time.”

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30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Enough to Shed Pounds

30-Minute Workout as Good as an Hour to Lose Weight Among Overweight Adults

Aug. 24, 2012 — Thirty minutes of exercise a day may be the magic number to lose weight.

A new study shows 30 minutes of exercise a day works just as well as an hour in helping overweight adults lose weight.

Researchers found moderately overweight men who exercised hard enough to sweat for 30 minutes a day lost an average of 8 pounds over three months compared to an average weight loss of 6 pounds among men who worked out for 60 minutes a day.

The overall loss in body mass was the same for both groups, almost 9 pounds.

Researchers say the results are surprising.

Part of the explanation may be that people found 30 minutes of exercise so doable that they had the desire and energy for additional physical activity, says researcher Mads Rosenkilde, a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen, in a news release.

30-Minute Workout Does the Trick

In the study, researchers followed 60 moderately overweight men who wanted to lose weight. The men were randomly put into either a moderate or high aerobic exercise group.

The high-exercise group was instructed to exercise hard enough to produce a sweat, like from running or cycling, for 60 minutes a day. The moderate group only had to sweat for 30 minutes a day.

After 13 weeks, the study showed 30 minutes of exercise a day produced similar or even better results than 60 minutes a day.

The men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost an average of 2 pounds more of body weight than those who worked out for an hour.

Researchers say those who exercised 30 minutes a day actually burned more calories than they should have according to their exercise program.

In contrast, the men who exercised 60 minutes a day lost less body weight relative to the energy they burned during their workouts. The extra 30 minutes of exercise did not appear to provide any additional weight loss in body weight or fat.

More Benefits From Shorter Workouts

Researchers say the results suggest that 30 minutes of exercise a day may provide additional weight loss benefits.

For example, people may still have extra energy leftover after shorter workouts to be more physically active throughout the day.

In addition, researchers say the men who exercised for 60 minutes a day probably ate more to compensate for the longer workout session and therefore lost less weight.

The results appear in the American Journal of Physiology.

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Food Journal: Write It Down, Shed More Pounds

Food Journals Help Dieters Lose Weight, Study Shows

July 13, 2012 — If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less — and if you want to eat less, it helps to write it down.

When researchers studied the eating behaviors of female dieters they found that two of the most important tools linked to successful weight loss were a pen and notebook.

Women who kept food journals and consistently wrote down the foods they ate lost more weight than women who didn’t.

Skipping meals and eating out frequently, especially at lunch, led to less weight loss.

Researcher Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, says based on the study results, the number one piece of advice someone should follow if they want to lose weight is, “Keep a food journal.”

“It’s about accountability, knowing what you’re eating and how much, and how that all adds up compared with your calorie goal for losing weight,” she tells WebMD.

The study appears in the latest issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Journal Keepers Lost More Weight

The study included 123 previously inactive, overweight, postmenopausal women in Seattle enrolled in a weight loss study.

Over the course of a year, the women followed a restricted-calorie diet with the goal of achieving a 10% reduction in weight in six months. Half the women were put on an exercise program and the other half were not.

All the participants were asked to record the foods they ate daily in seven-day diaries provided weekly by dietician counselors.

During the study, the women also completed a series of questionnaires designed to assess their individual eating-related behaviors and strategies to achieve weight loss.

At the end of the year, both the diet-alone and diet-and-exercise groups had lost an average of 10% of their starting weight.

Meal Skippers Lost Less

Among the specific findings:

  • Women who consistently filled out the food journals lost about 6 pounds more than those who didn’t.
  • Those who skipped meals lost an average of 8 fewer pounds than those who didn’t.
  • Women who ate in restaurants at lunch at least once a week lost an average of 5 pounds less than those who ate out less.

“Eating out may be a barrier for making healthful dietary changes because it usually means less individual control over ingredients and cooking methods, as well as larger portion sizes,” the researchers wrote.

Journal Keepers Avoid Mindless Eating

The study is not the first to find that keeping a food journal helps people shed pounds.

A 2008 study found that dieters who kept food diaries at least six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who kept the journals one day a week or less.

Keeping a food diary helps increase awareness of mindless, distracted eating, says nutritionist and diabetes educator Megrette Fletcher, RD, who is also co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating.

“We know that when people keep food journals they are more aware of what they eat and in what quantities,” she tells WebMD. “Whether the goal is to lose weight, keep diabetes under control, or just to avoid eating when you are not hungry, food journals can help.”

Most experts recommend writing down the foods you eat as soon as you eat them, rather than waiting until the end of the day.

Some other tips:

  • It may also help to write down what you were doing when you were eating and how eating made you feel.
  • Record your level of hunger along with the foods you eat.
  • Be honest: Keeping a journal will do you no good if you only do it when you are being virtuous. Record the food slips along with the food triumphs.

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