Weight Loss Drug Belviq Pulled From Market Over Cancer Risk

The maker of a weight loss drug pulled it from the market Thursday at the request of federal regulators, who said it posed a slight increased risk of cancer.

Japan’s Eisai Inc. said it was voluntarily withdrawing the drug, Belviq. (The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.) However, the company said in a statement that it disagreed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s interpretation of new data on the drug’s safety and still believes Belviq’s benefit outweighs the risk.

The FDA said patients should stop taking Belviq immediately, dispose of leftover pills and contact their doctor for advice on alternatives. The agency also told doctors to notify their patients to stop taking the drug.

Belviq was approved in 2012, roughly the same time that a couple of other promising weight loss drugs hit the market. None became the blockbusters they were expected to be, but they offered an option for the many people struggling with excess weight or obesity and related health problems.

Belviq was the first drug proven to help people lose weight and keep it off for several years without raising their risk for heart problems. That was the conclusion of a five-year, 12,000-patient study of the drug’s heart safety, which the FDA required Eisai to conduct as a condition of approval.

A recently completed FDA analysis of the data from that study showed 7.7% of participants who took Belviq were diagnosed with cancer, slightly more than the 7.1% who developed cancer in a comparison group given dummy pills. There was a range of cancers, with pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancer reported more often in the patients who took Belviq, the FDA said.

The agency said no special cancer screening is needed for anyone who took Belviq. It noted the increased risk was only seen after extended use of the drug.

Eisai said its assessment is that Belviq has more benefit than risk for its intended patients. It’s specifically approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and adults with a BMI of 27 who have other conditions that carry heart risks, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes.

An extended-release version called Belviq XR also is being pulled from the market.

In testing before Belviq was approved, nearly half of participants given Belviq lost at least 5% of their weight over a year, and nearly one-quarter lost at least 10%. Those results were more than two times better than those of participants given dummy pills.

Of the competing drugs launched about the same time, Qsymia produced more weight loss than Belviq. Contrave, approved in 2014, produced similar weight loss to Belviq but carried a strong warning about the risk of increased suicidal thoughts and behavior.

The drugs’ costs hurt sales. Belviq and Contrave retail for roughly $300 per month without insurance, and Qysmia sells for about $200 per month, depending on the pharmacy.

Several older diet drugs were previously withdrawn from sale after they were found to raise the risk for heart valve damage, suicidal thoughts or other problems.

By Linda A. Johnson / AP February 14, 2020

Source: Weight Loss Drug Belviq Pulled From Market Over Cancer Risk

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Life-Changing Hacks For Coffee And Weight Loss

You may not be thinking of all of the goodness in your coffee when you wake up, stumble to the kitchen, and put on that pot. But, in addition to providing warmth, comfort, and a boost of fuel you need to start your day, that cup of Joe has amazing health benefits.

Your morning cup of coffee is filled with good-for-you antioxidants that can protect cells and combat free radicals in your body that cause illnesses and disease. Caffeine (in moderation) is also effective at boosting your metabolism for fat-burning benefits.

And, if you want to increase those benefits even more, this is the one calorie-burning nutrient nutritionists say you should start adding to your coffee for a flat stomach.

woman holding latte with latte artThanks to the popularity of diets like the Keto Diet, many people are getting on board with the fact that fat isn’t so bad for us after all.

The latest coffee craze is one that may have its roots in Keto logic, but has expanded to become mainstream popular thanks to three factors: it’s unusual, tasty, and, according to many who have tried it, works wonders when it comes to giving you energy and helping you burn stubborn fat.

woman leaning on counter drinking coffee out of mug

Drinking Bulletproof Coffee For Weight Loss

Add Butter To Your Coffee

To those already in the know, “bulletproof” coffee is coffee that has been spiked with butter. A few tablespoons of grass-fed butter can give your coffee a rich, buttery flavor that many say tastes like creamer. But its unusual and unexpected health benefits are what keep coffee lovers coming back for more.

espresso machine making a latteWhile there’s no denying that adding butter to your coffee also means adding upwards of 200 calories to a beverage that contains zero calories, some nutritionists say the benefits may outweigh the negatives.

“This may make the drink slower to digest and absorb, therefore potentially prolonging the effects of the caffeine,” Jaclyn London, MD, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute told Good Housekeeping. “As for the grass-fed distinction, proponents tout the slightly higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and some vitamins that come from cows grazing on an all-green diet.”

woman holding blue coffee mug

Correlation Between Bulletproof Coffee And Weight Loss

There is still a lack of data on whether bulletproof coffee truly helps your health, London says, and the only evidence that currently exists stems from research performed on rats. If it’s any consolation, those rats did experience higher metabolism and energy burn levels after drinking coffee with butter.

woman eating breakfast of yogurt cereal and strawberries in bedAccording to London, bulletproof coffee may help you lose weight — but that depends entirely on your overall diet.

“Bulletproof coffee could help you lose weight if you use it to replace a daily sugary short stack, or if you currently don’t eat breakfast at all,” London told Good Housekeeping. “In that case, BPC may provide a sense of fullness that you might not have experienced otherwise. Eating more calories from longer-lasting sources of energy can help you cut back on random grazing later on.”

But be aware because bulletproof coffee could also backfire on you: drinking your calories and sources of fat could make you feel more “ravenous,” London says. You could end up consuming even more calories each day.

cinnamon sticks and grown cinnamon on a table

If you aren’t sold on the idea of putting butter in your coffee, don’t worry. There are plenty of other healthy coffee additive alternatives that won’t pack on added calories and fat. Alternate coffee add-ons to consider include cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.

Source: Life-Changing Hacks For Coffee And Weight Loss

Entrepreneur Dave Asprey first added butter to his coffee to boost his brainpower. Now, he reveals what he learned about his brain to achieve his weight-loss goals. Subscribe to Dr. Oz’s official YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/1QhiDuv

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I Lost 15 Pounds, and This Is the 450-Calorie Salad I Eat For Lunch Most Days

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I’m a creature of habit. I like to drink the same 400-calorie smoothie every morning after my morning workout, wear the same three black pairs of leggings, listen to the same pump-up jams that I’ve listened to since high school (what’s up, early-2000s pop/punk). And as a creature of habit, I tend to make the same handful of recipes over and over.

Sure, that’s mostly because I’m a terrible cook and not that adventurous in the kitchen, but eating the same things over and over again can help you achieve your weight-loss goals. I have lost about 15 pounds since January, and I find that eating the same lunches repeatedly has kept me on track and takes the guesswork out of tracking my meals.

Since I usually order a takeout salad for lunch anyway, I thought it would be easier if I just made my own salad and brought it in. My 450-calorie salad is actually delicious and provides all three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) to keep me feeling full and satisfied all afternoon. To make things even easier, I just bring all my ingredients to work and chop the veggies when I get there. I don’t have time to slice up a bell pepper or a cucumber in the morning before work, but I do have time to throw all my ingredients in a plastic salad bowl with a lid and run out the door — I like the 2.5-quart bowl from this Sterilite 8 Piece Covered Bowl Set ($12). Check out my recipe below.

450-Calorie Weight-Loss Salad Recipe

  • Mixed greens (usually bagged Spring mix)
  • 3 ounces of rotisserie chicken (no skin)
  • 1/4 of a cucumber
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Greek dressing

In my opinion, the dressing makes all the difference. That’s why I love Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette dressing ($21 for two bottles). It’s made with avocado oil, so it’s full of satiating, healthy fats. I also get more healthy fat from one-fourth of an avocado. For protein, I opt for a slice of rotisserie chicken; I buy a rotisserie chicken from the store on Sunday night and have it the whole week. I also love a variety of colorful veggies to add some healthy carbs.

If I have had a hard workout that morning and know I’ll be hungrier, or if I want some crunch, I’ll throw in a handful of crushed Parm Crisps ($37 for a 12-pack) or get in extra carbs by crumbling up some Simple Mills Almond Flour Fine Ground Sea Salt Crackers ($25 for six).

Although it’s probably easier to keep a bottle of salad dressing in the work fridge, I don’t trust my coworkers (kidding! sort of . . .) so I use the GladWare Mini Round containers ($7 for an eight-count). I can measure out two tablespoons and store it easily. I love these little reusable containers for not only salad dressings, but also stashing nuts, nut butters, and berries.

I’ve been tracking my calories using the Noom weight-loss app and love how the Noom food database is huge and includes all of my favorite foods, snacks, and salad dressings. It makes tracking so much easier. Using the Noom app, I calculated that my salad is 445 calories.

By:

Source: https://www.popsugar.com/

Sure, a salad isn’t the sexiest lunch you can have. But this simple combo is quick to throw together, delicious, and leaves me feeling satisfied. I can’t argue with 15 pounds down.

Image Source: Getty / jeffbergen
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Sterilite 8 Piece Covered Bowl Set
$12

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Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette dressing
$21

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Parm Crisps
$37

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Simple Mills Almond Flour Fine Ground Sea Salt Crackers
$25

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GladWare Mini Round Containers
$7

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Sugar and anxiety are connected in surprising ways

 

There are some things you know are going to make your anxiety worse: WebMDing your stomach ache, foregoing sleep to list all the ways your work presentation could go wrong, calling your friend who freaks out about everything…But treating yourself to a scoop of Rocky Road or a cupcake from your favorite bakery, that’s going to make you feel better right?

Sometimes, 100 percent yes. But other times, that sweet treat can backfire, sneakily causing all sorts of changes that can lead to the opposite of feeling good: anxiety. Here, health experts break down the relationship between sugar and anxiety, and what you can do to combat it.

How are sugar and anxiety related?

The problem with sugar, says hormone health educator Candace Burch, is that it causes blood sugar spikes and drops, which directly affects mood. “The rush of sugar leads to sugar highs, giving a lot of energy, but then the lows lead to feeling sluggish and down.”

“Sugar can exacerbate your feelings of anxiety because of the way our bodies respond to digesting them,” adds Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, owner of BZ Nutrition, a New York-based nutrition practice. “[Sugary foods] cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop faster than they would after eating non-high-sugar-foods. This quick spike and drop causes you to feel uneasy and can even at times mimic a panic attack.” Having low blood sugar levels can actually put the body into a stress response, which, as Zeitlin mentions, can increase anxiety.

Our bodies obviously don’t like being stressed or anxious, says Zeitlin. People combat that in various ways, including reaching for sugary foods. “Foods high in sugar trigger the release of serotonin, which is a feel good hormone,” Zeitlin says. “We are trained to eat sugar and feel good, which makes it understandable why people stress eat, because they just want to feel better when they are feeling stressed and anxious.”

However, when your body is stressed or anxious, you also have higher levels of cortisol (a.k.a. the “stress hormone”). Zeitlin says when this happens, your body suppresses the release of insulin, the hormone that takes up glucose to use for energy. You now have a one-two punch of spiked blood sugar levels (since you’re eating more sugar to combat your stress) and storing excess sugar as fat since you’re not turning it into energy. “So, eating more sugar when you are stressed or anxious just amplifies the amount of sugar your body would naturally have already flowing, and contributes to more severe drops in blood sugar and more drastic drops in your mood,” she says. Enter a cycle of turning to something sweet every time they need another energy and mood boost, and a subsequent rollercoaster of ups and downs which can also contribute to feelings of anxiety.

This sugar-and-anxiety cycle isn’t just relegated to the daytime hours. “High-sugar foods can keep you up because of their energy that prevents your natural stress-booster of sleep from kicking in,” Zeitlin says. “When we don’t get enough sleep we feel even more anxious and stressed because our body missed an opportunity to process it properly.” You’re now going into the next day with less sleep, and thus lower energy levels and higher stress levels. And what do many people reach for to combat stress and anxiety? You guessed it: sugar.

And “high-sugar foods” doesn’t just mean candy, cookies, and cake. “Studies have found that women who eat more refined carbohydrates (baked goods, candy, white breads/rice/cereals, bagels, etc) were more likely to suffer from depression and mood swings because of the drastic peaks and deeps in blood sugar levels,” Zeitlin says.

How to keep sugar from contributing to anxiety

Of course, this isn’t just to freak you out and make you throw out all of the dairy-free ice cream in the fridge. Lots of other things can contribute to anxiety, including stress, coffee, work, and even family relationships—so cutting out Oreos isn’t the magic bullet for reducing anxiety. But the impact of sugar on anxiety levels can affect anyone, says Zeitlin—and if you have an existing anxiety disorder, sugary foods will likely exacerbate your condition, she adds.

One way to combat this is certainly to reduce your sugar intake, including processed foods and breads. It’s also a good idea to load up on foods low in sugar and high in fiber (think veggies, fruit like berries, and whole grains)—Zeitlin says they have a much more even effect on your blood sugar, which can help cut back on feelings of “increased anxiety.” She also recommends stopping eating about two hours before you go to sleep. “This gives your body time to properly digest and process the food—sugary or not—and let that energy subside in time for you to actually fall asleep and stay asleep.”

When you are eating foods higher in sugar, Burch suggests pairing it with foods higher in fiber and healthy fats. “This slows the absorption of sugar, preventing it from spiking blood sugar as much,” she says, and thus making it less likely to put you in an anxiety spiral.

But all this comes with a big caveat: Changing one’s diet shouldn’t be the only thing a person does to fight back against anxiety. “Changing your diet to limit high-sugar foods will not treat or cure your anxiety disorder, but it will help manage it better and optimize the times you are feeling good and less anxious,” says Zeitlin. Psychologist Gail Saltz, PhD, says some ways to reduce anxiety not related to food include deep breathing, working out, and (to bring it all full circle) getting enough sleep. If none of these lifestyle changes are helping, it’s essential to see a professional to help you come up with a treatment plan.

“Sugary foods contribute to mood swings and anxiety. Period,” Zeitlin says. And now that you understand the connection, it’ll be easier to be more mindful when you are consuming foods with sugar in them.

Additional reporting by Jessie Van Amburg.

If you want to cut out sugar completely but don’t know how, here’s some tips. And if your anxiety is worst in the morning, this could be why.

By: Emily Laurence

 

Source: Sugar and anxiety are connected in surprising ways | Well+Good

I’ve Lost 15 Pounds on the Noom Diet App, and Here’s What I Eat in a Day

I’m a fitness editor, and I live a pretty healthy lifestyle — I exercise five to six days a week, eat a whole-foods-based diet, and get at least seven hours of sleep a night — but in January of this year, I found my weight creeping up on the higher end of what I find comfortable. I’ve struggled to keep weight off my whole life, and thanks to my bipolar II medication, general stress, and love of happy hour, this has only gotten harder as I’ve gotten older.

I also have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which means I need to be careful with my weight: women with PCOS are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance (and women with PCOS have a harder time losing weight, which makes this all a fun cycle).

All of that being said: I wanted to check out the Noom weight-loss app to see if it could help me shed some pounds and get back on track with a healthy lifestyle. Created with the help of registered dietitians and other experts, the Noom app aims to not only help you lose weight, but also change your behaviors and reevaluate the thought processes behind the decisions you make. Each day includes new articles on topics such as portion control, staying motivated, identifying your social triggers, and how to decode a restaurant menu.

Noom also includes a daily calorie target, which adjusts based on how much activity you got that day (you manually log your exercise or sync up to your Fitbit or Apple Watch). One of my favorite features of Noom is the comprehensive food log where you type in what you ate and track your daily calories. If your food isn’t in Noom’s database, you can manually add the nutrition information. It also provides a color-coded breakdown of your food based on how calorie-dense they are: green (fruits, veggies, most whole grains, complex carbs), yellow (lean meats, starches, eggs), and red (typically processed junk food but also healthy calorie-dense foods like oils and nuts). You are supposed to aim to eat as many green and yellow foods as possible and limit your red foods to 25 percent or less of your diet.

The biggest adjustment for me was keeping track of everything I ate. Sure, I eat a pretty well-balanced diet, but I’m often tempted by treats in the work kitchen or all of the tasty snacks sent to my office. After hours, it’s easy for me to let one glass of wine turn to three and get carried away with the free chips and salsa. Signing up for Noom really helped me figure out where I tend to overeat and track the true size of a healthy portion: 1/4 cup of almonds is a good-sized snack. Half a bag is not.

After four months on Noom, I’m down 15 pounds! Not as fast as I would have liked, but I do realize that slow and steady wins the race. I didn’t do anything radical aside from read the Noom articles, log my food, work out, and pay attention to my daily calorie budget. Although every day is different for me food-wise, here is an example of what a typical day of eating looks like.

What I Eat in a Day on Noom

My daily calorie target depends on how much activity I’ve done that day. If I’ve worked out and walked 10,000 steps, my calories will be closer to 1,500-1,600 a day. If I skipped a workout and laid on the couch all day (hello, hungover Sundays), my calorie target is closer to 1,200-1,300 a day. Here is an example of a day where I had a moderate workout:

Breakfast: protein smoothie (430 calories)

  • 1 scoop Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Chocolate Shake (170 calories)
  • 1/2 banana (52 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon Perfect Keto Pure MCT Oil (130 calories)
  • 1.25 cup 365 Organic Almond Milk Unsweetened (50 calories)
  • 1 cup baby spinach (7 calories)
  • 3 flowerets of raw cauliflower (9 calories)
  • 3 giant frozen strawberries (12 calories)

Lunch: breaded chicken breast with quinoa and broccoli (405 calories)

  • 3 ounces chicken breast (175 calories)
  • 1/4 serving 365 Everyday Value Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (25 calories)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (40 calories)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (111 calories)
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli (54 calories)

Afternoon snack: almonds and collagen water (180 calories)

  • 17 Blue Diamond Gourmet Almonds, Rosemary and Sea Salt (120 calories)
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water, Strawberry Lemon (60 calories)

Dinner: baked salmon with quinoa and broccoli (397 calories)

  • 3 ounces cooked salmon (195 calories)
  • 1/2 cooked quinoa (111 calories)
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli (55 calories)
  • 1 pat of butter (36 calories)

Daily total calories: 1,412

Food Color Breakdown

Image source: Noom app

On this day, I did a pretty good job of loading up on mostly green foods, a nice amount of yellow foods, and limiting my red foods. I know some of my diet staples are red (like MCT oil and almonds), but I’m going to keep eating them — I just pay attention to the portion sizes.

The Takeaway

I tend to eat the same things over and over, which is one way people find weight-loss success: it takes the guesswork out of having to plan so many meals each week. I also try and meal prep on Sundays, and on this particular day, I made big batches of quinoa in the rice cooker and broccoli (both steamed and oven-roasted) to last for lunches and dinners. I also baked breaded chicken breasts for lunch and salmon fillets for dinner to get my protein in.

My protein smoothie can sometimes be my biggest meal of the day. I make a calorie-dense smoothie like this after my big morning workout to refuel my body and keep me full well until my late lunch. Sometimes I need to supplement with a mid-morning snack, but most days I’m satisfied until 2 p.m. or so.

If I have a day where I know I’m going to be getting drinks after work or want to make room for a delicious chocolate chip cookie from the break room, I make adjustments in my diet the rest of the day. Maybe I’ll skip the MCT oil in my smoothie or forgo an afternoon snack. Sometimes I’ll trade in my quinoa at lunch for double the veggies or leave out the butter on top. Every little tweak or adjustment counts toward my daily calorie target. And while I didn’t reach for something sweet after dinner on this day, I usually have some type of dessert each day that’s less than 100 calories: a square of dark chocolate or a dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe’s.

I have never felt deprived doing Noom and I always listen to my hunger cues. Noom has really opened my eyes to what an accurate portion size is and how to plan your meals around your daily calorie target. I still have a little ways to go to hit my goals, but tracking everything in Noom makes it a little easier.

 

 

Source: I’ve Lost 15 Pounds on the Noom Diet App, and Here’s What I Eat in a Day

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