Exercise Versus Dieting: Preventing weight gain

July 4, 2016

Conventional wisdom says that dieting is essential to weight loss and that exercise alone is generally insufficient for weight loss.

However, a new study looked at a related topic – preventing weight gain. This study compared three groups of obesity-prone rats. The control group was sedentary. The second group of rats exercised regularly in running wheels. The third group of rats was sedentary and on a calorie-restricted diet. All three groups ate the same kibbles though daily servings for the calorie-restricted group were 20% less than that for the group of runners.

Unsurprisingly, the control group turned out to be obese at the end of the study. The other two groups staved off obesity. However, the runners were metabolically healthier in terms of insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, burning more fat and they also seemed to have more metabolic activity within their brown fat. Interestingly, gut microbes in the runners were different from gut microbes in the calorie-restricted group, so exercise had a probiotic effect even though all groups had been fed the same kibbles.

This study suggests that exercise alone can deliver results that are far superior to dieting alone – at least for rats trying to avoid obesity. It seems reasonable to assume that this would be true for humans too, though it is obviously important to focus on both exercise and calorie intake while eating healthy food.

Dark Chocolate can improve Cognitive function and help the brain

June 28, 2016

There are a number of good reasons to eat dark chocolate. I myself try to eat dark chocolate every day. So it was interesting to read a recent study which suggests that “people who eat chocolate at least once a week tend to perform better cognitively“. The researchers say that eating chocolate helps the brain with regular tasks like “remembering a phone number, or your shopping list, or being able to do two things at once, like talking and driving at the same time

Interestingly, the study doesn’t limit benefits to dark chocolate and that suggests that eating regular chocolate  (e.g. milk chocolate which accounts for around 85% chocolate sales in the US) might also help the brain. However, I’ve headlined this post with “dark” chocolate because it seems more likely (from a lot of other research) that cocoa flavanols found in dark chocolate are responsible for improved brain function.