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Overweight? Here's another reason to lose the excess
We know that blood indicators of inflammation are related to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. One important marker is known as C-reactive protein (CRP). Large studies have shown in the past that high levels of CRP are associated with overweight and obesity as indicated by high Body Mass Index, Waist-to-Hip Ratio, and waist circumference.
Whole Grains Help You Lose Fat
Studies have shown that those who eat more whole-grain foods tend to have a lower Body Mass Index and a lower risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that at least half of your daily servings of grains should come from whole grains, not just because of the increased fiber, but also because they contain more of various heart-protective compounds than refined grains. It is thought that the lower Body Mass Index associated with higher whole-grain intake is due to its higher fiber content, which makes the foods lower in calories and more satisfying.
High Fiber Diets Don't Prevent Diverticulosis
Back in the 1960s two researchers theorized that a diet low in fiber meant higher pressure inside the colon, leading to the outpouchings of the wall of the colon that we call diverticula. When these diverticula become inflamed, this is called diverticulitis, and symptoms of diverticulitis can range from mild to severe stomach pain (with or without bloating), diarrhea or constipation, nausea and vomiting, and even rectal bleeding. The vast majority of people, however, have what is known as asymptomatic diverticulosis - meaning that they have diverticula but have no symptoms.
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Back in January I wrote about C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker of inflammation, which is related to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (Overweight? Here's another reason to lose the excess, 1/12/07). Several other studies have suggested that one way to control the levels of CRP in the bloodstream is diet, particularly a high-fiber diet. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week (2007;167:502-506), researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina tested that theory by recruiting 35 men and women to participate in a dietary study.
Half of the subjects were of normal weight and had normal blood pressure, while the other half were obese (Body Mass Index of 27 or more) and had moderately high blood pressure. None of the subjects had diabetes or other chronic diseases. All were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The two groups followed a high-fiber diet for three weeks, with the difference between the two groups being the source of the fiber: either through high-fiber foods or through a fiber supplement. After three weeks of one type of diet - either high-fiber foods or supplement - the two groups took a break of three weeks, then followed the other type of diet for three weeks. Their blood levels of CRP were tested before and after each type of diet.
The good news is that regardless of where the fiber came from, all subjects saw a decrease in their blood levels of C-reactive protein. However, the levels of CRP in the bloodstream of the obese subjects decreased less than that in the normal weight subjects. "One would hope that the intervention would work best in the people who need it most," the researchers wrote in their article. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Yes, getting more fiber in your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases, but it's also clear that having a Body Mass Index in the normal range is better for your health overall. The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan is one way to help you lose excess weight while you learn to eat more healthfully.
First posted: March 16, 2007