Weight-Loss Breakthroughs Your Doctor Wishes You Knew

Fat chance

waistlineAndrii Kobryn/Shutterstock

Research is changing the way we think about body fat. For example, there are two kinds in your body—white and brown—and brown fat is active. While white fat just sits on your thighs and belly, brown fat burns calories and is more prominent in normal weight people. Researchers reveal in new research published in the journal Scientific Reports that a new technology may be able to convert white fat to brown fat. The findings were in mice and in human cells; if the researchers can replicate the process in human trials, the technique may help many win the battle of the bulge.

Try another type of intermittent fasting

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You could limit your fast to two days a week, says Dr. Aronne. “This is a version of intermittent fasting that is very doable and promising.” It’s known as the 5:2 diet, or 2-day diet. People limit themselves to 800 calories on two—non-consecutive—days a week; on the other days, they eat normally. Dieters tend to find it easier than following a low-calorie diet everyday—yet the weight loss is comparable: “Research out of the United Kingdom showed that weight loss is equal to what can be expected when people eat 1,500 calories daily,” he says.

Cooling brain inflammation

MRI brain of Dementia patientHippocampal atrophy grade 4 by MTA scaleTemporal atrophyAtthapon Raksthaput/Shutterstock

In your brain, the small structure known as the hypothalamus regulates your temperature, your metabolism, and your appetite among many other vital functions. “There is a whole line of obesity research showing that hypothalamic injury may be the reason that many people gain weight and can’t lose it,” Dr. Aronne says. Eating too many calories damages nerves in the hypothalamus so they don’t function as well. “There are fewer nerves and they are surrounded by inflammatory cells that prevent the hormone leptin from doing its job,” he says. (Remember, leptin can signal fullness.) But “nerve growth factors can grow new nerves in the hypothalamus in mice and they lose weight and are cured of obesity, suggesting that this injury is reversible.” Human trials are ongoing in humans, he says. “This is about fixing what is broken and I am very enthusiastic about it.” Here’s what happens to your brain on a diet.

Resist that bread bowl

High Angle View Of A Variety Of Freshly Baked Bread In The Wicker BasketAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The first thing you do when you sit down in a restaurant—snack on bread—could be a cause of obesity, Dr. Aronne says. “When you eat bread before your meal, your blood sugar rises and increases production of insulin, and that makes weight gain more likely,” he says. Reversing this order may help put the brakes on weight gain. “Eating veggies, proteins, and then carbs at the end of a meal has a profound impact on blood sugar levels and a greater suppression of ghrelin, the hormone that tells your body to eat,” he explains. Don’t miss these 30 tiny diet changes that can help you lose weight.

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