body weight

  1. From KO'd to OK'd: Rejected diet drug stages a comeback

    Nearly two years ago, an FDA panel rejected the Qnexa diet pill over safety concerns.

    Now, that same panel has given the drug the OK, which means the agency itself will almost certainly approve it for sale soon.

    But don't be fooled by this about-face, because the drug hasn't magically gotten any safer over the last two years.

    Qnexa still comes with all the same potential risks that caused the panel to think twice back in 2010: birth defects, suicidal thoughts, depression, memory loss, attention problems, bone problems, kidney stones, and more.

    Even worse, the drug can increase heart rate and cause heart palpitations -- and the panelists who approved it admit they don't know if those side effects will lead to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems down the road.

    But they went ahead and approved it anyway.

    "The potential benefits of this medication seem to trump the side effects, but in truth, only time will tell," Dr. Kenneth Burman of the Washington Hospital Center confessed to Time magazine.

    Allow me to translate:

    "It could help people lose a bunch of weight, and it could well kill a whole bunch of people at the same time. Let's find out, shall we?"

    I say let's not -- because if this drug's history is any indication, its widespread use will lead to more problems than this panel is letting on.

    Qnexa isn't a new drug -- it's actually a combination of two older drugs: the amphetamine phentermine, better known as the "phen" in fen-phen (yes, THAT fen-phen), and the seizure drug topiramate.

    It's more of a side-effect cocktail than an actual drug -- so much so that 40 percent of the people who took the high dose in a company-funded trial had to drop out.

    Many of those who stuck with it were rewarded with weight loss of close to 10 percent of their body weight. But 10 percent for an obese person isn't an achievement. It's someone who's just a little less obese -- and it took them a full year to get there to boot.

    What's more, patients who take the drug still have to make diet and lifestyle changes and get more exercise. And if you have to do all that to get thin, why bother messing around with drugs like Qnexa in the first place?

    Skip the meds and eat better instead.

    Try a low-carb or Mediterranean-style diet, and the pounds will melt away as if by magic -- and you'll soon find yourself reaching in the back of your closet for clothes you never thought you'd wear again.

  2. Seaweed for heart health

    For most of us, seaweed is a nuisance: It can get in the way when you're trying to swim, and that's only if the smell of the stuff rotting on the beach doesn't chase you back home before you even dip a toe in the water.

    But in Asia, this nuisance is on the menu -- and with good reason, too: Seaweed is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and a new review of the research finds it can boost your heart health like nothing else.

    Researchers looked at about 100 studies on seaweed and found that it has a similar effect on blood pressure as ACE inhibitors -- but unlike prescription meds, seaweed comes with virtually no risks.

    But that's not all -- not even close.

    Researchers from the Teagasc Food Research Center in Dublin say the studies they reviewed show that seaweed and microalgae are as rich in bioactive peptides as dairy.

    They're also easy to cultivate, low in calories and rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as B vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium.

    And once you get over the fact that you're eating beach debris, it can taste pretty good too. The Japanese use seaweed in nearly everything, including a simple salad of fresh seaweed tossed with healthy sesame oil and seeds.

    I don't know if seaweed is the reason they live longer than nearly anyone on the planet -- all the fatty fish in the diet there probably have just as much, if not more, to do with it -- but it's an easy enough dish to replicate at home if you're willing to give it a shot.

    Along with keeping blood pressure in check, a regular side of seaweed might even help keep your weight under control by blocking the absorption of fat. One study found that rats given seaweed lost 10 percent of their body weight.

    Seaweed also contains anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant compounds. It can help beat pain, fight arthritis, lower your cancer risk, and keep cholesterol in check.

    I could go on, but I think you get the point: It almost doesn't matter what benefit you're looking for -- chances are, you'll find it in simple seaweed… if you can stand the smell, anyway.

2 Item(s)