lose weight

  1. Wii Fit won’t make you fit

    Videogames are often blamed for everything wrong with kids today -- but in most cases, they get a bum rap.

    Believe it or not, videogames can be an enriching, engaging, and even productive way to pass the time -- and as I’ll tell you later in the week, some games might even slash the dementia risk in seniors.

    But there’s one thing videogames can’t do. They can’t help you lose weight, and that includes games that require movement, like Nintendo’s Wii Fit.

    In a new study, 84 overweight kids were randomly assigned to either a Nintendo Wii with Wii Fit games that require active play -- like sports and dancing -- or a Nintendo Wii with a more traditional game that can be played in the usual couch potato position.

    The kids also wore accelerometers to measure total daily activity, which 13 weeks later revealed virtually no difference at all between the two groups, according to the study in Pediatrics.

    The kids who played Wii Fit got between 25 and 28 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day, while the kids who played less active games got between 26 and 29 minutes a day -- both a far cry from the hour or so kids should spend engaged in active play each day.

    The researchers say they’re not sure if the movements of Wii Fit were so minimal that the accelerometers didn’t pick them up, or if the kids balanced out their Wii Fit sessions by spending less time engaged in other forms of physical activity.

    Either way, the results speak for themselves: No one’s getting fit off Wii Fit.

    Surprised? Don’t be -- one of the company’s own studies found that many Wii Fit games don’t even reach the levels of exercise achieved by ordinary walking.

    Another study found that 10 minutes of Wii Fit burned just 25 calories -- less than cleaning or vacuuming, and a fraction of what you can burn in 10 minutes of running on a treadmill.

    That’s not to say you need to slave away in a gym -- or even on a treadmill -- to lose weight and stay fit.

    You don’t.

    But you do need to get out and get moving, whether it’s a brisk walk through the local park, a daily "workout" in your garden or a regular tennis habit.

    And by that, I mean "real" tennis... not the one in Wii Sports.

  2. The earl's cure for cholesterol

    If Earl Grey tea is known for anything other than its noble name, it's the distinct smell of bergamot.

    That's an orange grown in the Mediterranean, especially the Calabria region of southern Italy, and new research shows it can do so much more than add fragrance to a cup of tea.

    In fact, this stuff is nothing short of a citrus miracle – because one month of bergamot extract can help slash your cholesterol levels, cut your blood sugar down to size, and even help you to lose weight.

    Go brew your own cup of Earl Grey while I break this one down.

    More than 200 Italian patients with a history of high cholesterol were given a bergamot extract from Australia called BergaMet. After just one month, their LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels plunged by 39 percent while their HDL ("good") cholesterol levels shot up by 41 percent.

    The bergamot supplement appears to work a little like statins in that it blocks the enzyme that creates cholesterol. But since it uses a different mechanism, it doesn't appear to cause any of the notorious statin side effects like muscle pain and liver damage.

    That alone should be enough to make bergamot smell even better than it does already – but that's not all it did: The patients in the study also saw a 22 percent reduction in their blood sugar levels, which could help reduce their risk of metabolic syndrome and even diabetes.

    And for the icing on the cake, another study under way in Australia finds it may even help people to lose weight. One badly obese patient taking part in that one lost nearly 30 pounds in the first month alone.

    The "catch" here is that cup of tea you're sipping on is a good start, but it won't come close to matching the levels given to patients in the new studies. You can find bergamot extract here and there, but they're not all that popular yet – and many of them are geared towards aromatherapy and shouldn't be ingested.

    So if you want to give this stuff a try, speak to a naturopathic physician about the best way to get it first.

    And go ahead and brew that cup of tea anyway. It certainly can't hurt – and it tastes great, too.

  3. Wrong approach to obesity

    At least we're not getting fatter. The newest obesity numbers are in and, well, this is what passes for victory these days: Americans have had roughly the same rate of obesity for much of the past decade, with a little more than a third of us in need of plus-size clothing.
  4. The part-time diet that really works

    Researchers put women on a low-carb diet up against women on a low-calorie diet -- but with a huge catch: The low-carb eaters would stick to the plan for just two days a week… and eat whatever they wanted the rest of the time.
  5. Rejected diet drug returns from the grave

    A "no" from the FDA never quite means "no" -- not when it comes to the agency's drug-industry pals, anyway. Case in point: The feds said "no" to the diet drug Contrave earlier this year over its potential for heart risk -- even after an FDA panel signed off on it.
  6. Olive oil cuts stroke risk

    Years ago, researchers tried using olive oil as a placebo in trials for heart drugs. As it turned out, olive oil -- not widely known at the time for its heart benefits -- protected the patients in placebo groups better than some meds.
  7. Candy company dishing out health advice

    Don't kid yourself--there's nothing healthy about chocolate, and don't let any dietician tell you otherwise.
  8. Swimming in an obesity treatment

    Researchers have discovered that a compound in kelp may actually help send your extra pounds out to sea.
  9. Lose weight, gain sleep

    One of the most common causes of poor sleep is apnea – and for many people who suffer from this chronic condition, there's a simple answer.
  10. Bad diets & unneeded drugs

    If you're looking to lose some weight - and these days, who isn't? - be careful. There's an entire industry waiting to take advantage of you, and it's about to get even worse.

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