High Fat Breakfast Associated W/ Lower 24h Food Intake, Watching "Biggest Loser" Boosts TV Snack Consumption

This is not a photo of a study participant from the Bourne study, but it could be.
If you've read yesterday's SuppVersity article with the telling title "Unable to Lose Weight? Behavioral Change, Motivation to Exercise Intensely and Self-Monitoring are the Three Pillars of Short- and Long-Term Weight Loss Success" (read it) you will be aware that behavioral change and the way you think about yourself can have make the difference between being "unable to lose weight" and staring in your personal "Biggest Loser" show... speaking of which, one of the two studies in today's installment of the Short News is actually about the real TV show with the same name or rather its effect on young women's snack consumption in front of the screen.

The other study, and the one I would like to start with, is about high(er) fat breakfasts. Something the fable of the "super high insulin sensitivity in the AM" would imply must be bad for you. Well, since the myth of AM insulin sensitivity has, just like any myth, only a tiny bit of truth in it (the amount of glucose that can be taken up is higher after an overnight fast; the insulin sensitivity as measured by the amount of insulin that's necessary to do the trick, however, is increased due to the healthy increase in cortisol in the AM), it is no wonder that this is not the case.
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  • Higher proportion of total and fat energy intake during the morning may reduce absolute intake of energy within the day: an observational study in free-living japanese adults. This is both the title and the main result of a recent study from the School of Public Health at the University of Tokyo (Tani. 2015).

    In the study, a total of 119 women and 116 men completed 16-day semi-weighed dietary records. The longitudinal dietary intake data for each participant were analyzed using a mixed model to examine the effect of energy intake at various times of day on subsequent or overall energy intake.
    Figure 1: Absolute changes in energy intake in the high fat vs. low fat breakfast condition during breakfast, lunch and dinner (left) and for the complete 24h period (right | Tani. 2015).
    The results indicate that the proportion of energy intake (%) in the morning meal was significantly and negatively associated with energy intake (kcal) in the subsequent afternoon and evening meals, and consequently in the whole day in both sexes (see Figure 2 for the mean reductions in energy intake when comparing the high vs. low fat breakfasts).

    This significant and negative association was also observed for proportion of energy intake (%) of fat, but not of carbohydrate or protein, in both sexes. Unfortunately, the proportion of energy intake (%) in the morning meal was negatively associated with overall energy intake (kcal) from the group of meats, fish, and eggs in both sexes. Foods of which you as a SuppVersity reader know that they can promote weight loss / weight maintenance. The intake of junk food like confectioneries and soft drinks, on the other hand, was reduced only in the female participants. 
  • Watching reality weight loss TV: the effects on body satisfaction, mood, and snack food consumption What would you guess happens if you watch the Biggest Loser? Are you going to copy them? Starve yourself? Work out like a maniac?

    No! At least in those who needed it the most (those happen to be the same people who love the show), the Biggest Loser leads to increased snack food intakes while watching and will make them sad.
    Figure 2: Rel. change in body satisfaction and mood
    Next to less pronounced effects on the subjects' mood, watching "The Biggest Loser" increased the likelihood of food and snack intake of the 99 Caucasian female first year Psychology students who participated in this study compared to the control show "The Block".

    In view of the fact that the increased food intake may be a result of the increase in body satisfaction the young women obviously derived from watching her significantly overweight fellow Americans on the show, it is particularly interesting that especially those women who usually stick to their diets (=have a high dietary restraint) ate food while watching the weight loss program. In conjunction with the previously highlighted findings the study at hand "highlight[s] the potential negative impact of weight-focused reality TV on mood, body satisfaction and snack food consumption among some women" (Bourn. 2015). One thing the scientists forget to mention, though, is the absence of long-term data that would confirm that this effect does (a) persist and will (b) help people lose weight / stay lean.
Study comparing "Biggest Losers" to weight loss surgery patients shows different metabolic effects: "Metabolic Damage in Biggest Losers: Will Diet & Intense Exercise Make You Fat, While Surgery Will Make You Lean? Plus: How to Avoid / Correct Diet-Induced REE Reductions" | Read more in a previous SV article.
Is there anything the two studies have in common? Obviously both are in one way or another related to weight loss / maintenance, but there's more than that. I am not sure about the US edition of the Biggest Loser, but in Germany the show is all about exercise (tons of exercise on top of even more tons of exercise) and the only thing the participants learn about nutrition is b*llshit a la "Fat has 1.25x more energy than carbs and protein, so it's bad for ya!" In addition to the comforting feeling that there is a heavy dozen of people out there who are way heavier than you that may be behind the increased snack consumption in the Biggest Loser (TBL) condition of the Bourn study, this stupid TV-format will also scare people away from those foods that may help them to avoid the afternoon and evening binges of cookies and co. that are among the #1 reasons hurdles to successful weight loss and maintenance in women, specifically.

From the astonishingly large amount of research that has been conducted on reality TV shows like TBL, we do also know that (1) shows like TBL increase anti-fat attitudes aka "those lazy bastards" (Domoff. 2012; Yoo. 2013) and that (2) the diet and exercise regimen presented are not sustainable in the real world (energy intake decrease by 65%, intense exercise goes up from zero to 3.5h+ per day | Hall. 2014). It is thus not surprising that (3) the majority of the participants (unsurprisingly) fail to maintain their new weight status (learn more) | Comment on Facebook!
  • Bourn et al. "Watching reality weight loss TV: the effects on body satisfaction, mood, and snack food consumption." Appetite (2015): Accepted article.
  • Domoff, Sarah E., et al. "The effects of reality television on weight bias: an examination of The Biggest Loser." Obesity 20.5 (2012): 993-998.
  • Hall, Kevin D. "Diet versus exercise in “the biggest loser” weight loss competition." Obesity 21.5 (2013): 957-959.
  • Hill, James O. "Is" The Biggest Loser" Really a Big Winner or Just a Big Loser?." Obssity Management 1.5 (2005): 187-188.
  • Tani et al. "Higher proportion of total and fat energy intake during the morning may reduce absolute intake of energy within the day: an observational study in free-living japanese adults." Appetite (2015): Accepted article.
  • Yoo, Jina H. "No clear winner: effects of The Biggest Loser on the stigmatization of obese persons." Health communication 28.3 (2013): 294-303.
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