Monday, August 01, 2011

Obese people's bodies programmed to put on weight, professor says

OBESE people are being warned they face a virtually impossible battle to lose weight because their bodies are programmed to regain any kilos they shed.

Professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, Joseph Proietto, said once someone lost weight changes in both energy expenditure and hunger-controlling hormones encourage weight regain.

"It is likely that it is these physiological adaptations that make it so difficult to maintain weight loss," he wrote in an article published by the Medical Journal of Australia. "Importantly, if this regulatory mechanism is operating in those who are already obese, public health messages encouraging people to eat healthy food and to exercise are unlikely to have long-term impact on their weight.

"Several studies have shown that although obese people who make the effort can achieve and maintain significant weight loss for one to two years, the weight is usually regained in the longer term."

Prof Proietto said obesity was often attributed to people eating too many high-calorie foods and not exercising enough. But he noted not everyone who indulges in that type of behaviour becomes obese.

He said this was largely because the body acts to prevent obesity by increasing the levels of a protein hormone, leptim, as fat accumulates. But when that process failed, people were likely to become obese.

Prof Proietto said such cases were rare and more people were likely to become obese because of genetic changes caused by environmental factors, either while a baby was still in the womb or in their early years.

He said the battle against obesity should focus on stopping children from becoming obese in the first place and making bariatric surgery more widely available as it was nearly impossible for obese people to lose weight any other way.


Colonic irrigation has no benefits and can even lead to side effects, say scientists

It is a treatment which has been championed by Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale and Princess Diana. But colonic irrigation actually has no benefits and can even lead to debilitating side effects, a major study has shown.

The process - which can cost up to £90 - involves a therapist flushing about 60 litres of filtered water through a patient’s colon. Those who offer the treatment - known as colonic hydrotherapy by alternative therapists - claim it flushes out toxins in the body. They also say it can lead to weight loss, increased wellbeing and improved skin.

But medics at Georgetown University in the U.S. examined 20 studies published in the past ten years and concluded that the treatment has no benefits. They warn that a colonic can induce side-effects including cramps, nausea, vomiting and renal failure.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Family Practice, also raise concerns that the treatment is being administered by clinics with little or no medical training.

The paper’s lead author Ranit Mishori said: ‘There can be serious consequences for those who engage in colon cleansing. 'It touts benefits that don’t exist.’

NHS advice is that colonic irrigation is a complementary therapy and there is no medical or scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. However, it says the procedure is safe.


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