Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weightloss Threesome: TV or Sleep, Black Pepper, Ginger, Horseradish or Mustard, PolyGlycopleX (PGX) or Psyllium?

Image 1: True or false - Is three really better than two?
Since the On Short Notice columns turns out to be a major success, I decided that I could put out studies in packages of shorter items, on a more regular basis - at least if I stumble across pairs such as those in today's Fat Loss Threesome and have time to compile them in to a comprehensive blogpost. But enough of the prelude, let's get right to our threesome: Television or Sleep, Black Pepper, Ginger, Horseradish or Mustard, PolyGlycopleX (PGX) or Psyllium - What do you think, which of these is will spice up, which will water down your weight loss efforts; and for the bros out there: Can you stack all of them or do they have to be cycled?

TV Watching and Insufficient Sleep - A Dynamic Duo for (Childhood-)Diabesity

Image 2: Watching TV eating junk is only part of the equation; what's missing here is the lack of sleep kids don't get, when they watch TV canned with coke and energy drinks all night.
Facebook friends and followers of the SuppVersity Facebook Channel may be familiar with at least some of the recent articles on the negative impact of TV watching alone and in conjunction with sleep deprivation on the body composition and metabolic health of our children. My personal favorite in this regard is a letter to the editor of the British Journal of Nutrition, in which Travis John Saunders and Jean-Philippe Chaput argue that obesity prevention could be as simple as turning off the television and having a nap (Saunders. 2012). The authors reference a whole host of studies to support their hypothesis that TV consumption and the associated lack of sleep esp. during the early hours of the night contribute to the rise of the obesity epidemic:
  • TV viewing burns energy at a slower rate than most other waking activities and yet still most available evidence suggests that it may be energy intake, rather than expenditure, which leads the scientifically established association between screen time and weight gain, Saunders and Chaput ascribe to several confounding factors such as
  • TV viewing provides opportunities for snacking & food eaten in front of the TV is generally high in calories and low in nutrients (Thorp. 2011)
  • TV commercials reinforce the unhealthy dietary habits
  • Sleeping also burns less energy than regular waking activities, but reducing sleep time usually increases, not decreases weight gain, due to
  • increased consumption of high energy, specifically high sugar foods to compensate for the lack of energy (cf. "Fat Content Per Energy Drink 0g, Body Fat Gain Per Energy Drink 18g!")
  • decreased energy expenditure through fatigue-related reductions in physical activity and lower basal metabolic rates
"Pah, that's guesswork!" If that's what you think, when you hear about Saunders' & Chaput's hypothesis, you may want to take a look at another recently published study by Calamaro et al. who report that (1) children who consume caffeinated beverages (not even directly before bed) get 15min less sleep and (2) children with 3 technology items in their room got 45min less sleep (Calamaro. 2012). Significant correlations with BMI were yet present for the intake of caffeinated softdrinks, only!
In other words, although both are characterized by physical inactivity TV watching and sleep "exert opposing influences on energy balance and body weight" - an observation which leads the authors to humorously conclude that
Reducing TV viewing and/or getting adequate sleep require little in the way of resources or expertise, and may therefore be more sustainable than more traditional interventions focused on diet and exercise. If having a good night's sleep truly is better for your weight than watching TV, this would be a lifestyle modification which may be substantially easier to implement than adopting a new diet or exercise routine. This change of focus is certainly worth consideration, right after a short nap. (Saunders. 2012)
Assuming that you did not already take your nap or have exceeded your daily combined TV + Internet screen time, you will probably also be interested to hear that another recently published paper by Caroline Fitzgerald et al. reports that "a child who watches 18 hours of television (per week) at 4.5 years of age will by the age of 10 have an extra 7.6 milllimetres of waist because of his or her habits" (Fitzgerald. 2012). Does not sound much, but you know how things go, proper with 5, chubby with 10, obese with 20 and dead before 40... you don't really think your kid could have invested those 3.5 years(!) of he would have been sitting in front of his television screen into more productive, more healthy and more sustainable hobbies, do you?
Implications: The best way to avoid TV & sleep related weight gain and / or propel your weight loss is to start planning your screen time instead of simply planting your (fat?) ass on the sofa, whenever you have a minute to spare.
  1. Go to one of the free online TV magazines and create a schedule pick only those shows you really feel you have to see and try to reduce your screen time by 20min every week
  2. Never eat in front of the television spontaneously, if you have a planned, healthy meal, make sure you don't have more on your plate than you plan to eat(!), and don't have anyone tell you cannot enjoy the SuperBowl or the latest Hollywood blockbuster without chips, popcorn and a soft-drink. 
  3. Get yourself a time-limit switch program it so that it the TV has no power, after 9PM, which is when you will be grabbing your new blindfolds and earplugs and head to bed, weeknights.
If you stick to those simple rules and use your iPhone or iPad only for your obligatory daily class at the SuppVersity you will not just improve your physique, you will also live a couple of extra years! After all, scientists from the University of Queensland calculated in 2011 that "every single hour of TV [i.e. one hour per day] viewed after the age of 25 reduces the viewer's life expectancy by 21.8 min" (Veermann. 2011)!

Mustard, Horseradish, Black pepper & Ginger - Useless Thermogenics

Image 3: Although it's more effective than horseradish, black pepper or ginger It would probably take more hot mustard than your tummy can handle to get ripped to the shreds.
If you are already not watching TV and getting enough sleep (see above) and still don't look as lean and jacked as you would like to, a group of Danish researchers has some suggestions on which supplements you should not waste any money on (Gregersen. 2012): Mustard, horseradish, black pepper and ginger! While the latter two did not exert any measurable effects on either diet induced thermogenesis or energy intake (obviously the intention was to reduce the latter), when they were administered at oral dosages of 1.3 g and 20g, respectively, the addition of 8.3g of horseradish or 21g of mustard to standardized brunch meal did at least have some effects on the 22 young (age 25y), normal-weight (BMI 21.8kg/m2) men in the randomized cross-over study by Gregersen et al.:
  • 8.5g of horseradish decreased the postprandial heart rate and increased the blood pressure to a statistically significantdegree, while
  • 20g of mustard increased the thermogenic response to the testmeal by 14%
Now, while the former sounds dangerous and the latter as if "Mustard-o-burn (TM)" was just around the corner, none of these statistically significant effects were physiologically relevant. After all, it would take roughly 1 years to shed an additional lbs of body weight from the +14% increased diet induced thermogenesis from mustard (even if that lasted 24/7), because +14% added to 13kcal/h are only 1.82kcal/h. Even if we assume that you eat 5 meals a day this would hardly amount to more than 10kcal/day or 1.5min of light jogging... but hey, we all know how futile calculations like these are - no? Well, then you should check out my "Busting the 3,500kcal Equals 1 Lbs of Fat Loss" post!
Implications: If anything the use of tons of spices will render your food so unpalatable that you will simply eat less. Aside from those anorexic effects the use of copious amounts of spices, as they would obviously be necessary to illicit significant thermogenic effects, will probably produce more negative than positive (side) effects and could thus even contradict the established beneficial effects of having a "normal" (=tasty) amount of spices in your diet (Kochhar. 2008).

And in case you still insist on "spicing" up your fat loss regimen beyond the reasonable level your taste buds (and gastrointestinal mucosa; cf. Jensen-Jarolim. 1998) can handle, the topical route as in "Topical Fat Loss: Capsaicin Cream Blunts Weight Gain in Rodent Model and Increases Leptin, Adiponectin, Lipolysis and Fatty Acid Oxidation in Visceral Fat Depots" could in fact be worth a try.

Viscous Weight Loss Alternatives: Psyllium Seed Gum and PGX(R)

Now it would be unfair if I left you with "nothing" else but the advice to switch of the TV, get more sleep and refrain from spicy food (unless you eat it simply 'cause you like it). Luckily, there are yet two additional hitherto unpublished FirstView Articles in the queue of the British Journal of Nutrition which do suggest that dietary fibre, viscous dietary fiber, to be precise could make a valuable addition to your no-TV + lots of sleep regimen.
Figure 1: GI (measured according to ISO 26 642-2010) with and without addition of PGX viscous fiber supplement in 2x250ml water to the 50g carbohydrate meal (Brand-Miller. 2012)
When you ingest it prior to bread, rice, boiled potatoes, french fries cornflakes or instant outs (GI range 65-84) it, a novel dietary fiber supplement that goes by the ingenious brandname PolyGlycopleX
(PGX) leads to dose dependent reduction in the GI of a subsequent carbohydrate meals of 16.5% and 31% for the 2.5g and 5g dose of PGX, respectively - or, physiologically speaking, a 15-33% reduction in blood glucose elevations in the 120min after the consumption of the test meals.

Now that certainly does not sound earth-shattering, but a previous human study has already established that the reduced postprandial glycemia goes hand in hand with increases in PYY expression (Reimer. 2010) and reduced food intake on subsequent meals (Vuskan. 2009). Moreover, earlier rodent studies have established that PGX can improve glycaemic control and protein glycation (Grover. 2011), most probably due to the far-reaching metabolic effects of increased glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1; read more about this incretin hormone in  "Eat More, Burn More and Lose Fat Like on Crack with GLP-1!?") levels.

Will eating 25g of psyllium /day reprogram your genes to burn not store fat?

What's even better though is that the last FirstView Article in today's fat SuppVersity news clearly suggests that you don't have to buy InoviBiologic's patented purified polysaccharide supplement that is extracted from konjac, sodium alginate and xanthan gum by the means of a proprietary process the company calls EnviroSimplex®, to benefit from those health and weight loss effects. If the results Togawa et al. observed in their C57BL/6J who were kept on high-fat (40%) diets with or without the addition of 5% psyllium (as psyllium seed gum, PG-200) for 10 weeks translate to humans, the only reason I could see to spend the extra money would be the whopping dose of ~25g/day (0.32g/kg body weight; learn how to calculate Human Equivalent Doses).
Figure 2: Visceral fat mass and parameters of glucose and lipid metabolism after 10 weeks on the low fat control vs. the supplemented or unsupplemented high fat diet (data expressed relative to control; Togawa. 2012)
If the results do translate to human beings, you can stomach this amount of fiber without negative side effects and are still able to consume adequate amounts of "real" food, though, the data in figure 2 will probably have you hack "psyllium fibre buys" into google in no time. After all, the profound upregulation of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation and lipid transport Naoyuki Togawa and his colleagues from the Yokohama Corporate Research Laboratories and the Laboratory of Food and Nutrition, Graduate School of Horticulture at the Chiba University in Chiba, Japan, detected in fat and skeletal muscle tissue of their lab animals were not just statistically, but also physiologically significant. So significant, in fact, that the mice who consumed ~148g of the psyllium enhanced high-fat diet before they were euthanized at the end of the 10-week study period did not just gain 10% less body weight than their unsupplemented peers, they also had lower cholesterol, lower triglyceride and above all lower visceral body fat masses than the "control" animals on the supposedly healthy low-fat diet.
Image 4: Fiber or no fiber - those abs want to be worked out.
Implications: While ginger, pepper, horseradish and cool are still "hot", dietary fiber is (pun intended) somewhat poopooed upon by many of the "everything mainstream must be wrong" nutrition gurus and fitness enthusiasts. From a scientific perspective, however, it does make more sense to spice your meals up with fiber than with spices that burn away your intestinal mucosa and turn your gut into an open barndoor (cf. Jensen-Jarolim. 1998) for all sorts of things you should better leave where a huge amount of the fiber will go - in the toilet bowl.

That being said, we need further studies to elucidate if and at which dosages similar epigenetic changes as they were observed by Togawa et al. occur in human beings before making any definite recommendations. For the time being, I will simply repeat my advice to
  1. fill yourself up with fiber-laden veggies and consume a balanced (!) amount of saturated, mono- and polyunsaturated fats from whole foods,
  2. aim for a mild energy deficit (~20%) and a reasonable carbohydrate intake of roughly 700-900g per week; either by low-carbing + refeeding (e.g. 6x 50-75g + 1x 250-400) or a constantly low intake of preferably low(er) GI carbs (don't count carbs from green veggies and co!)
  3. eat at least 20-25g of a complete protein (count only meats, fish, eggs and dairy) with every meal and supplement with protein powders / bars, whenever you have no whole food source with 10+g of EAAs in it at hand
  4. follow a sound workout regimen (e.g the "Fat Loss Support Routine" from the Step By Step Guide), don't do hours of "cardio" in the non-existent fat burning zone and cherish the fat-burning effects of glycogen depleting strength and HIIT workouts without overtaxing your central nervous system
If you follow 1-4 on 330 of 365 days of the next year you even the ugliest blubber that may still be covering your abs should disappear - and guess what!? All that without patented or non-patented viscous fiber supplements ;-)

References:
  • Brand-Miller JC, Atkinson FS, Gahler RJ, Kacinik V, Lyon MR, Wood S. Effects of added PGX®, a novel functional fibre, on the glycaemic index of starchy foods. British Journal of Nutrition, 2012; 108, pp 245-248
  • Fitzpatrick C, Pagani LS, Barnett TA. Early childhood television viewing predicts explosive leg strength and waist circumference by middle childhood. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Jul 16;9(1):87.
  • Gregersen NT, Belza A, Jensen MG, Ritz C, Bitz C, Hels O, Frandsen E, Mela DJ, Astrup A. Acute effects of mustard, horseradish, black pepper and ginger on energy expenditure, appetite, ad libitum energy intake and energy balance in human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, Available on CJO
  • Grover GJ, Koetzner L, Wicks J, Gahler RJ, Lyon MR, Reimer RA, Wood S. Effects of the soluble fiber complex PolyGlycopleX® (PGX®) on glycemic control, insulin secretion, and GLP-1 levels in Zucker diabetic rats. Life Sci. 2011 Feb 28;88(9-10):392-9.
  • Jensen-Jarolim E, Gajdzik L, Haberl I, Kraft D, Scheiner O, Graf J. Hot spices influence permeability of human intestinal epithelial monolayers. J Nutr. 1998 Mar;128(3):577-81.
  • Kochhar KP. Dietary spices in health and diseases (II). Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2008 Oct-Dec;52(4):327-54.
  • Marshall SJ, Biddle SJ, Gorely T, Cameron N, Murdey I. Relationships between media use, body fatness and physical activity in children and youth: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004
  • Reimer RA, Pelletier X, Carabin IG, Lyon M, Gahler R, Parnell JA, Wood S. Increased plasma PYY levels following supplementation with the functional fiber PolyGlycopleX in healthy adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;64(10):1186-91.
  • Saunders TJ, Chaput JP. Is obesity prevention as simple as turning off the television and having a nap? Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun 14:1-2.
  • Thorp AA, Owen N, Neuhaus M, Dunstan DW. Sedentary behaviors and subsequent health outcomes in adults a systematic review of longitudinal studies, 1996-2011. Am J Prev Med. 2011 Aug;41(2):207-15.
  • Veerman JL, Healy GN, Cobiac LJ, Vos T, Winkler EA, Owen N, Dunstan DW. Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2011 Aug 15.
  • Vuksan V, Panahi S, Lyon M, Rogovik AL, Jenkins AL, Leiter LA. Viscosity of fiber preloads affects food intake in adolescents. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):498-503.