Much has been made of the recently published results of the DIETFITS (Diet Intervention Examining the Factors Interacting with Treatment Success) study. Most of the headlines emphasized the fact that the two diets involved — low-fat and low-carb — ended up having the same results across almost all end points studied, from weight loss to lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.

What’s most interesting, however, is how these two diets are similar.

The authors wanted to compare low-fat vs. low-carb diets, but they also wanted to study genetic and physical makeups that purportedly (their word) could influence how effective each type of diet will be for people. Previous studies had suggested that a difference in a particular genetic sequence could mean that certain people will do better with a low-fat diet. Other studies had suggested that insulin sensitivity may mean that certain people will do better with a low-carb diet.

What DIETFITS revealed about weight loss

The study began with 609 relatively healthy overweight and obese people, and 481 completed the whole year. For the first month, everyone did what they usually did. Then, for the next eight weeks, the low-fat group reduced their total fat intake to 20 grams per day, and the low-carb group reduced their total carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day. These are incredibly restricted amounts, considering that there are 26 grams of carbs in the yogurt drink I’m enjoying as I write this, and 21 grams of fat in my half of the dark chocolate bar my husband and I split for dessert last night.

That kind of dietary restriction is impossible to maintain over the long term and, as this study showed, unnecessary. Participants were instructed to slowly add back fats or carbs until they reached a level they felt could be maintained for life. In addition, both groups were instructed to

  • eat as many vegetables as possible
  • choose high-quality, nutritious whole foods and limit anything processed
  • prepare food themselves at home
  • avoid trans fats, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates like flour.

People were not asked to count calories at all. Over the course of a year, both groups attended 22 classes reinforcing these very sound principles — and all participants had access to health educators who guided them in behavioral modification strategies, such as emotional awareness, setting goals, developing self-efficacy (also known as willpower), and utilizing social support networks, all to avoid falling back into unhealthy eating patterns.

Participants in both groups also were encouraged to maintain current US government physical activity recommendations, which are “150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week.”

Two different diets that are not so different after all

Get all that? Basically, the differences between groups were minimal. Yes, the low-fat group dropped their daily fat intake and the low-carb group dropped their daily carb intake. But both groups ended up taking in 500 to 600 calories less per day than they had before, and both lost the same average amount of weight (12 pounds) over the course of a year. Those genetic and physical makeups didn’t result in any differences either. The only measure that was different was that the LDL (low density lipoprotein) was significantly lower in the low-fat group, and the HDL (high density lipoprotein) was significantly higher in the low-carb group.

I love this study because it examined a realistic lifestyle change rather than just a fad diet. Both groups, after all, were labeled as healthy diets, and they were, because study investigators encouraged eating high-quality, nutritious whole foods, unlimited vegetables, and avoiding flours, sugars, bad fats, and processed foods. Everyone was encouraged to be physically active at a level most Americans are not. And — this is a big one — everyone had access to basic behavioral counseling aimed at reducing emotional eating.

When it comes to diet, everything old is new again

This whole study could just as well be called a study of sustainable healthy lifestyle change. The results jibe very much with prior research about healthy lifestyle. The end message is the same one that we usually end with:

The best diet is the one we can maintain for life and is only one piece of a healthy lifestyle. People should aim to eat high-quality, nutritious whole foods, mostly plants (fruits and veggies), and avoid flours, sugars, trans fats, and processed foods (anything in a box). Everyone should try to be physically active, aiming for about two and a half hours of vigorous activity per week. For many people, a healthy lifestyle also means better stress management, and perhaps even therapy to address emotional issues that can lead to unhealthy eating patterns.

Image: vadimguzhva-iStock

Remember, it isn’t about dieting, it is about abundance! Clean out your system, and replace it with rich vegetables, fruits, and proteins. The tools are here to help you.

“I never feel like I’m dieting. When I get hungry, I simply eat. I know that what I put in my mouth will help my cells become nourished and fueled for energy to work optimally. I’ve tried other diet protocols in the past, but what makes this different is that I feel satisfied. It is sustainable. I’m forced to have to relationship with the right foods and it has truly changed my attitude towards eating. I am bound to a healthy life style by always having my fruits and vegetables with me at hand. My hunger is under control, which in turns, regulates my metabolism. This is what it means to be healthy….satisfaction and abundance.”–Sue

Q: What is Clean Burn Shape?
A: CBS is a program for complete detoxification and weight loss for adults over 18 years of age. CBS offers an outline for eating 6-9 servings of vegetables, 4-6 servings of fruits, along with utilizing a protein shake (Shape), beverage detox mix (Clean), and green coffee extract pills (Burn).

Q: Is this more of a lifestyle change with helpful protocols?
A: Yes, CBS is more about clean eating, with adequate number of fruits and vegetables. You have abundance with this diet because you must eat. Don’t worry about counting calories, just focus on eating adequate number of servings. Along the way, your body will get used to the healthy lifestyle. By eating often, you control the hunger hormone and sugar levels in your body. This control of hormone levels enables your body to function and utilize the foods more efficiently, which will allow you to obtain proper detoxification and weight loss.

Q: What is in the Shape protein shake?
A: In the protein shake has:

  • organic flax
  • spirulina
  • chia seed
  • blue green algae
  • barley grass
  • wheat grass
  • spinach
  • chlorella
  • oat grass
  • quinoa sprouts
  • pea fiber
  • kamut grass.

One serving has 16 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. You can use it as a meal replacement every day. It helps with digestion and regularity. This also helps reduce and replace junk food cravings. You can mix 1 scoop of the protein shake with 8-12 ounces of water, or almond milk. By adding fruits or peanut butter, the protein shake elevates to a delicious treat.

Q: What is in the Clean drink?
A: Clean assists in nourishing the body with nutrients that help support the body’s natural detoxifying process for elimination and waste exchange. It supports regularity, and helps reduce occasional bloating. In the Clean drink there is a proprietary blend of:

  • Aronia Fruit powder (aronia melanocarpa)
  • Alfalfa grass powder (medicago sativa leaf)
  • Aloe vera powder (aloe barbadensis leaf)
  • Potassium hydrogen glucarate (cholesterol lowering agent, by reducing the steady state levels of cholesterol synthesis)
  • Peptizyme SP (serrtiopeptidase) anti-inflammatory enzyme
  • Artichoke leaf extract (cynara scolymus)
  • Ashwagandha extract (withania somnifera root)
  • Burdock root extract (arctium iappa)
  • Eleuthero extract (eleutherococcus senticosus root)
  • Fennel seed extract (foeniculum vulgare)
  • Licorice root extract (glycyrrhiza uralnesis)
  • Milk thistle extract (silybum marianum seed)
  • Pau D’Arco extract (tabebuia avellanedae bark)
  • Peppermint leaf extract (menthe piperita)
  • Rhodiola rosae extract (rhodiola rosae root)
  • Suma root extract (pfaffia paniculata)
  • Yellow dock root extract (rumex crispus)
  • Turmeric extract (curcumalonga
  • Organic dried cane syrup
  • Beet root (for color)

Q: What is Burn capsules?
A: The Burn capsules are made of green coffee extracts. It helps with maintaining healthy glucose levels after meals, and metabolism for the body’s ability to lose weight naturally. Losing weight often leads to muscle loss, but the Burn capsules helps supports a healthy lean muscle mass to fat mass ratio. One capsule is 300mg, and you can take up to 3 times a day for optimal benefits.

Q: What are the program guidelines?
A: There are 3 steps to the program: http://cleanburnshape.com/the-10-30/?EnrollerID=3

Step 1: The 10 Day
The CBS 10 day program will have you seeing and feeling results faster than you thought possible. This step is cleaning out your system. You will feel the immediate effects of cleansing and detoxification. If your system is dirty from decades (or even a weekend) of bad choices, it’s time to tidy up.

Step 2: The 30 Day
Congratulations for continuing to move on. This is where it gets easier. The CBS 30 day program will allow you to adapt to a healthy lifestyle to meet your health goals.

Step 3: Life
Once you have reached your goal weight, make the new diet and exercise disciplines a part of your life.

How to Remove Iron Burns from Carpet

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Srini asked, How do I clean a carpet where a clothes iron fell on it? While I was ironing my shirts, the iron fell on the carpet by mistake. How do I fix the carpet?

The carpet in our homes takes more wear and tear than any other part, so it’s worth the effort to fix problem areas. When irons fall onto the carpet, there are three different levels of burn marks that remain. Sometimes, the iron sits for only a second and the very tops of the fibers are damaged. This is considered a less-severe burn and can be trimmed away. Other times, the iron lands in such a way that a more significant length of the fibers are burnt and requires replacement of that piece of carpet. The least severe is when the fibers are not burnt at all, there are just some scorch marks that can be cleaned away. Follow the instructions below to get the best results possible.

Removing Less-Severe Burns

What You Will Need

  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Wide-toothed comb

How to Trim Away the Burnt Fibers

  1. Begin by sanding away burn marks with sandpaper.
  2. Vacuum any debris away.
  3. Remove remaining black fibers by cutting them out with scissors.
  4. Comb the area with a wide-toothed comb to restore the fibers and blend the area in with the other carpet.
  5. If a scorch mark remains, follow the direction below for removing scorch marks.
  6. If you find that more of the carpet was burned, than what you originally thought and/or the removal of the burnt fibers creates a noticeable spot, proceed onto the steps below to replace the section.

Replacing a Section of Carpet with Severe Burns

  • Matching carpet scrap (large enough to cover the burn area), available at carpet stores
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Carpet adhesive or double-sided carpet tape
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Paper
  • Heavy book
  • Wide-toothed comb

How to Remove and Replace the Burnt Section

  1. Begin by vacuuming any debris away so you can start with a clean work area.
  2. Use a utility knife to carefully cut out the section of carpet that has been burned. Cut deep enough to cut through the carpet backing, but try to avoid cutting the padding underneath.
  3. Next, lay the removed piece on top of the scrap piece. Match up any patterns and make sure that the pile is going in the same direction. This will help the new piece to blend in with the remaining carpet.
  4. Cut around the removed piece, using it as a pattern, to create two pieces that are the same size and shape.
  5. Next vacuum the section where the carpet was removed to clean out any carpet fibers, etc. that may have collected in the area.
  6. Place the scrap piece into the hole and trim to make any adjustments. Try to get it to fit as close as possible to the original hole.
  7. When the piece is cut to the correct size, you are ready to install it. Apply a double-sided tape or carpet adhesive to the padding in the open spot.
  8. Place the new piece onto the adhesive and ensure that patterns and pile direction are lined up. Press firmly in place.
  9. Cover with a heavy book to keep the piece in place while the adhesive dries. (Skip to step 11 if using the double-sided tape.)
  10. Let the dry for several hours before removing the book and/or walking over the area.
  11. Remove book and gently comb carpet with wide-toothed comb to blend the new piece in with the existing carpeting.

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Removing Scorch Marks

A scorch mark is different from a burn in that the fibers have only changed color somewhat from being too close to the high heat, not actually burned or charred. Here’s how to remove the discoloration.

  • Cleaning solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 10 parts water (safe on natural and synthetic fibers), use the regular kind of peroxide (the 3% kind)
  • Soft cloths or sponges
  • Water

How to Remove Scorch Mark Stains

  1. If a scorch mark remains, soak a cloth with the cleaning solution and blot the stain working from the outside towards the middle.
  2. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed.
  3. Spray with clean water to rinse.
  4. Blot with a clean, dry cloth and allow the area to dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • For smaller burns, such as cigarette burns, see our article How to Remove Cigarette Burns from Carpet.
  • If you are unsure of this procedure, or uncomfortable in performing the necessary steps, you should not hesitate to contact a carpet professional who will perform the repairs for you.

There are real, and difficult, biological reasons why it’s hard to lose weight

The body fights back

For many years, the diet and fitness industry has supplied folks with an unlimited number of different weight-loss programs — seemingly a new solution every month. Most of these programs, on paper, should indeed lead to weight loss. At the same time, the incidence of obesity continues to rise at alarming rates. Why? Because people cannot do the programs.

First, overweight and obese patients do not have the calorie-burning capacity to exercise their way to sustainable weight loss. What’s more, the same amount of exercise for an overweight patient is much harder than for those who do not have excess body weight. An obese patient simply cannot exercise enough to lose weight by burning calories.

Second, the body will not let us restrict calories to such a degree that long-term weight loss is realized. The body fights back with survival-based biological responses. When a person limits calories, the body slows baseline metabolism to offset the calorie restriction, because it interprets this situation as a threat to survival. If there is less to eat, we’d better conserve our fat and energy stores so we don’t die. At the same time, also in the name of survival, the body sends out surges of hunger hormones that induce food-seeking behavior — creating a real, measurable resistance to this perceived threat of starvation.

Third, the microbiota in our guts are different, such that “a calorie is a calorie” no longer holds true. Different gut microbiota pull different amounts of calories from the same food in different people. So when our overweight or obese colleague claims that she is sure she could eat the same amount of food as her lean counterpart and still gain weight, we should believe her.

Lots of shame

Importantly, the lean population does not feel the same overwhelming urge to eat and quit exercising as obese patients do when exposed to the same weight-loss programs, because they start at a different point.

Over time, this situation has led to stigmatizing and prejudicial fat-shaming, based on lack of knowledge. Those who fat-shame most often have never felt the biological backlash present in overweight and obese folks, and so conclude that those who are unable to follow their programs fail because of some inherent weakness or difference, a classic setup for discrimination.

The truth is, the people failing these weight-loss attempts fail because they face a formidable entry barrier related to their disadvantaged starting point. The only way an overweight or obese person can be successful with regard to sustainable weight loss is to directly address the biological entry barrier that has turned so many back.

Removing the barrier

There are three ways to minimize the barrier. The objective is to attenuate the body’s response to new calorie restriction and/or exercise, and thereby even up the starting points.

First, surgeries and interventional procedures work for many obese patients. They help by minimizing the biological barrier that would otherwise obstruct patients who try to lose weight.

These procedures alter the hormone levels and metabolism changes that make up the entry barrier. They lead to weight loss by directly addressing and changing the biological response responsible for historical failures. This is critical because it allows us to dispense with the antiquated “mind over matter” approach. These are not “willpower implantation” surgeries, they are metabolic surgeries.

Second, medications play a role. The Food and Drug Administration has approved five new drugs that target the body’s hormonal resistance. These medications work by directly attenuating the body’s survival response.

Also, stopping medications often works to minimize the weight-loss barrier. Common medications including antihistamines and antidepressants are often significant contributors to weight gain. Obesity-medicine physicians can best advise you on which medications or combinations are contributing to weight gain or inability to lose weight.

Third, increasing exercise capacity, or the maximum amount of exercise a person can sustain, works. Specifically, it changes the body so that the survival response is lessened. A person can increase capacity by attending to recovery, the time in between exercise bouts. Recovery interventions, such as food supplements and sleep, lead to increasing capacity and decreasing resistance from the body by reorganizing the biological signaling mechanisms, a process known as retrograde neuroplasticity.

Lee Kaplan, director of the Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts Weight Center, captured this last point during a recent lecture by saying: “We need to stop thinking about the Twinkie diet and start thinking about physiology. Exercise alters food preferences toward healthy foods . . . and healthy muscle trains the fat to burn more calories.”

The bottom line is, obese and overweight patients are exceedingly unlikely to be successful with weight-loss attempts that utilize mainstream diet and exercise products. These products are generated with the intent to sell, and the marketing efforts behind them are comparable to the well-known distractions generated by the Wizard of Oz. The reality is, the body fights against calorie restriction and new exercise. This resistance from the body can be lessened using medical procedures, by new medications or by increasing one’s exercise capacity to a critical point.

Remember, do not start or stop medications on your own. Consult with your doctor first.

Prologo is an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University and the founder of The Catching Point, a diet and exercise program. This article was originally published on theconversation.com.

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