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Supplement Perspectives

Dieting for Dollars: The Future of Fat or Fit?

In my January 24, 2012 post for this blog, I exhorted marketers to forget the mirage claimsreduced appetite or increased satietyand deliver on the implicit promise claims such as fat or weight lossif the data exist, which my blog post suggested is largely lacking.

Weight maintenance. Maintaining a stable weight over an extended period of time, or a lifestyle with effective weapons against mass expansion. But what if your body composition (lets abandon weight for a moment) iswell marbled and less than lean? Is body composition and weight maintenance (aka prevention of fat or weight gain) a paramount objective, or is it the remodeling of the composition (more muscle, slightly more bone, and less adipose, which may elicit a drop in weight)?

Is there an evidence-based dietary supplement, bioactive, or claimed functional food or beverage that truly produces favorable body composition/weight changes and maintains them over a protracted period of time?

From my vantage the answer is a confident negative when the runway of future time is six months or more. Some may chant CLA but the lone one year (and the longest) study done in the United States showed zero effect at favorably influencing weight maintenance/regain over placebo, while another one-year study in Scandinavia (the land where CLA appears to work its magic year or longer studies) was ineffectual at preventing weight/fat regain.

Is there a way to inspire body composition remodeling and the maintenance of the New You? Tara Costa, one of The Biggest Loser (USA) loss champions155 pounds lost in the 2009 seasonwas sued this July by one of her sponsors for breach of contract (read: weight regain). Ms. Costa asserted that she remains in fantastic shape. Financial incentives (like The Biggest Loserwinner takes all) for an individual are just that: individualized.

Could crowd incentivizing work?

What if your employer created a work environment that 1.) adjusted environmental proximity factors (such as swapping out junk food and drinks in vending machines for more nutrient dense options; 2.) required at least one daily activity break of at least 20 minutes; or 3.) created a group or company-wide financial incentive program to improve body composition and then maintain the improved state?

A recent rigorously controlled study funded by the National Institute on Aging compared the effectiveness of individualized or blinded groups (five people randomly assigned to a group, with no interactions or identity revelations) financial incentives to inspire employees at a hospital to lose weight. Body composition was not assessed. After six months those in the groups lost notably more weight (average of 4.8 kg) over the individual (average of 1.7 kg) or controlno inclusion in the incentive program (average of 0.5 kgat least they lost, but no monetary gain!). The groups also received much larger payouts ($514.70) than individual participants ($128.60) over the five-month incentive period. Distinctively, some of the weight-loss difference was even maintained in the groups (relative to control) after an additional 12 weeks without incentives.

What if your nutrition company employed such a program focused on body weight and body composition, and made it open label. Think of it: each group could interact, share tips, reinforce, support, and collaborate (group exercise!) to achieve greater results, on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis? To maintain a new paragon one needs to envision and attain it first

Mr. Almada has no conflicts to disclose, save his role in leading a company that markets a patented starch-based carbohydrate (Vitargo®) sometimes used to increase muscle weight or prevent weight re-loss


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