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Analysis and Comment (35)

Used as a weight-loss or body-sculpting supplement, DNP can cause side effects when used in doses recommended by body-building websites. Used as a weight-loss or body-sculpting supplement, DNP can cause side effects when used in doses recommended by body-building websites. Ian Carroll/Flickr

‘Fat blaster’ drug can give you weight loss to die for

Losing weight is very hard, so it’s not surprising many people succumb to the allure of miracle weight-loss pills and potions available online. But they do so at their own peril, as today’s Emergency Medicine…
Eating less and exercising works for people who need to lose a little weight but not necessarily for people who’ve carried a lot of excess weight for a long time. Eating less and exercising works for people who need to lose a little weight but not necessarily for people who’ve carried a lot of excess weight for a long time. Ed Yourdon/Flickr

How close are we to the fat-fighting drugs we need?

There will always be people extolling the virtues of eating less and moving more for weight loss. But while this may work for overweight people or the newly obese, it’s woefully inadequate for most people…
Find a healthy eating regime you can stick to. Find a healthy eating regime you can stick to. foshydog/Flickr

Health Check: what’s the best diet for weight loss?

When it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks that guarantee success. What works for you is likely to be different to what works for your partner, neighbour or workmate. The best advice is to…
Bariatric surgery is the last-line option for weight loss. Bariatric surgery is the last-line option for weight loss. Chris J/FLickr

Explainer: the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery

You don’t need an expert to tell you obesity has become a major health problem worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates 35% of the world’s adults are overweight and 11% obese, double the rate…
If we’re fit, does it matter what we weigh? If we’re fit, does it matter what we weigh? Image from shutterstock.com

Viewpoints: can you be healthy at any weight?

Australians are getting heavier and, as a result, are more likely to suffer life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes. But should we be worried about a bit of excess weight…
Meat, anyone? Meat, anyone? Shutterstock

Caveman cravings? Rating the paleo diet

Over the years, hundreds of diet books have claimed to have the perfect recipe for decreasing the national girth. They manipulate quantities of protein, fats or carbohydrates and most work in the short…
Your fat isn’t burning: try harder. Your fat isn’t burning: try harder. NTT Docomo

Fat breath: Japan develops a weight loss breathalyser

A Japanese research team claims to have developed a pocket-sized device that reveals if your body is burning fat in real time by measuring the amount of acetone on the breath. The prototype device is aimed…
New findings have emerged on the impact of weight discrimination on weight gain and loss. New findings have emerged on the impact of weight discrimination on weight gain and loss. puuikibeach

Discrimination against fat people increases the likelihood of weight gain

Research published in PLOS ONE this morning has found that people who experience discrimination based on their weight are likely to gain more of it. Similarly, negative attitudes lead people who are obese…
People on the diet need to restrict intake of calories on fasting days. People on the diet need to restrict intake of calories on fasting days. Martin Lee

Here’s the skinny on fasting for weight loss – the 5:2 diet

The “new” weight-loss strategy known as the 5:2 diet has been receiving much attention in the media since the book The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer…
Losing just 5% of your body weight is likely to improve your health. Losing just 5% of your body weight is likely to improve your health. Image from shutterstock.com

You don’t have to be the biggest loser to achieve weight loss success

Weight-loss ads and television shows regularly profile people who have transformed their lives through major losses of 30 kilograms or more. These weight-loss ambassadors try to inspire us to do the same…
Doctors are not morally obliged to ensure patients follow their advice. Doctors are not morally obliged to ensure patients follow their advice. Image from shutterstock.com

Drawing the line on doctors' responsibility for patients

The NSW Supreme Court decision to overturn damages awarded to an obese man whose doctor failed to refer him for specialist care to help him lose weight has been widely welcomed by medical and legal experts…
Some GPs are reluctant to broach the issue of weight for fear of offending their patients; others aren’t convinced by the evidence. Some GPs are reluctant to broach the issue of weight for fear of offending their patients; others aren’t convinced by the evidence. Image from shutterstock.com

Are GPs doing enough to help patients lose weight?

Almost two-thirds (62%) of Australian adults and one fifth (21%) of children aged five to nine years are either overweight or obese. The prevalence has increased by 5% in the last decade and is strongly…
Excess kilojoules, rather than dietary fat, leads to weight gain. Excess kilojoules, rather than dietary fat, leads to weight gain. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: low-fat diets are better for weight loss

If food is labelled low fat, it’s got to be better for weight loss, right? Wrong – it’s the total kilojoules that matter most for weight loss. Looking solely at fat content only gives you part of the picture…
Unrealistic advertising can severely damage individual self-esteem. Unrealistic advertising can severely damage individual self-esteem. Ed Yourdan/Flickr.

Reining in advertisers to curb Australia’s body image distortion

Body image may be the western world’s ugliest export. Images of thin, toned women and hyper-muscular men are conveyed via television, magazines, movies and the internet to the global market. The ideal…
Detox diets may do little harm, except to your bank balance, but neither do they do a lot of good. Detox diets may do little harm, except to your bank balance, but neither do they do a lot of good. katstan

Monday’s medical myth: detox diets cleanse your body

Detox diets make amazing promises of dramatic weight loss and more energy – all achieved by flushing toxins from the body. Toxins have very little to do with it; detox diets “work” because of the very…
There’s no good evidence to show cutting carbs works better than just cutting calories. There’s no good evidence to show cutting carbs works better than just cutting calories. Skley

Monday’s medical myth: cutting carbs is the best way to lose weight

There seems to be an endless number of fad diets and “golden rules” for weight loss. One of the most popular of these rules is that cutting carbohydrates (carbs) is the best way to lose weight. The most…
Focusing on weight as the problem and weight loss as the solution makes social and economic inequalities invisible. Focusing on weight as the problem and weight loss as the solution makes social and economic inequalities invisible. Isaac Brown Stocky Bodies

How anti-obesity campaigns reinforce stigma

Anti-obesity messages are everywhere – in news, in entertainment, and in public health campaigns. We are constantly being told that fat is bad for us, and that in order to be healthy we need to lose weight…
Labelling a person as “obese” may not always be helpful in prompting positive changes in behaviour. Labelling a person as “obese” may not always be helpful in prompting positive changes in behaviour. HighContrast

Explainer: overweight, obese, BMI – what does it all mean?

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. Today we launch a series looking at how this has happened and, more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic…
Psychological influences on weight problems are extremely important, but are often overlooked. Psychological influences on weight problems are extremely important, but are often overlooked. vistavision

Knowledge is power… but it won’t help you lose weight

Researchers have been telling us for decades that being overweight is not good for our health. Medical journals are full of articles that link overweight and obesity to just about every disease and illness…
The TGA is still slow to act on products making dubious weight-loss claims. The TGA is still slow to act on products making dubious weight-loss claims. puuikibeach

New weight-loss claims show TGA reforms aren’t working

Little seems to have changed inside the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). And that’s despite two years of reviews into the shortcomings of its regulatory processes and the release, late last year…
Successful weight losers have higher levels of nerve activity than those who struggle to lose weight. Successful weight losers have higher levels of nerve activity than those who struggle to lose weight. Flickr/the great

A weighty issue: biggest losers have greater nerve activity

If you put a group of people on a calorie-restricted diet, you’ll see that some seem to lose weight easily, while others struggle to shed each pound. This difference doesn’t just come down to how much…
If you’re not meeting your weight-loss targets, you need to eat less or move more. If you’re not meeting your weight-loss targets, you need to eat less or move more. Flickr/lism

Monday’s medical myth: ‘my slow metabolism makes me fat’

People who struggle to lose weight often blame their difficulty achieving a healthy weight on their “slow metabolism”. So is this a real barrier to weight loss, or is the real culprit an excess of food…
Too many pharmacists legitimise celebrity-endorsed fad diets and misleading weight-loss products. Too many pharmacists legitimise celebrity-endorsed fad diets and misleading weight-loss products. Ell Brown

Want to try the latest fad diet? Just ask your local pharmacist

Welcome to the tenth and final instalment of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Dr Rachael…
Prescription weight loss medicines are expensive and don’t produce lasting results. Prescription weight loss medicines are expensive and don’t produce lasting results. Flickr/Flashstep

Are diet pills the silver bullet for obesity?

Welcome to part nine of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Lennert Veerman, Senior Research…
Promises of a quick weight-loss fix mask the realities of liposuction. Promises of a quick weight-loss fix mask the realities of liposuction. Laura Mary

Quick and easy, or painful and risky? The truth about liposuction

Welcome to part seven of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, health sociologist Rhian…
Miranda Kerr lost her pregnancy weight and was back on the runway six months after giving birth. Miranda Kerr lost her pregnancy weight and was back on the runway six months after giving birth. AAP

Ignore the hype, real women don’t ‘bounce back’ to their pre-pregnant shape

Welcome to part six of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Caroline Homer, Professor of…
How much weight can be lost from reducing calorie intake is generally misunderstood. How much weight can be lost from reducing calorie intake is generally misunderstood. Flickr/puuikibeach

An online tool to help achieve your weight-loss goal (no, it’s not a fad diet)

Welcome to part four of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Deakin University Public Health…
Your long-term weight loss success is dependant on both exercise and nutrition. Your long-term weight loss success is dependant on both exercise and nutrition. Kenny Holston

Food v exercise: What makes the biggest difference in weight loss?

Welcome to part four of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Deakin University nutrition…
Group therapy programs aim to counter the influence of these images and reduce body dissatisfaction. Group therapy programs aim to counter the influence of these images and reduce body dissatisfaction. Flickr/jaimelondonboy

Feel manipulated? Anxious? Tune out the hype and learn to love your body

Welcome to part three of The science behind weight loss, a Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Professor Susan Paxton, from…
Diet pill manufacturers take advantage of consumers' desire to look and feel better. Diet pill manufacturers take advantage of consumers' desire to look and feel better. Flickr/jypsygen

Want to set up a weight loss scam? Here’s how …

Welcome to part two of The science behind weight loss, a new Conversation series in which we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. Here, Michael Vagg, Clinical…
Fad diets might give you short-term “results” but they’re unlikely to keep the weight off. Fad diets might give you short-term “results” but they’re unlikely to keep the weight off. Flickr/HTB

Diets and weight loss: separating facts from fiction

Welcome to The science behind weight loss, a new Conversation series where we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. In our first instalment, renowned nutritionist…
Over time, smokers gain as much weight as the rest of the population. Over time, smokers gain as much weight as the rest of the population. Flickr/Difei Li

Monday’s medical myth: smoking helps control your weight

One of the few positives put forward by smokers to justify their habit is that it helps keep their weight in check. And while smoking may be harmful to their health, so is obesity. So how does this claim…
Adjusting your protein intake can help you lose weight or build muscle mass. Adjusting your protein intake can help you lose weight or build muscle mass. Neric Blein

Can protein intake control fat? The weight-loss search continues

For most people, successful weight loss comes down to two things: eating less and exercising more. But new research shows we may have been underestimating the role protein plays in losing weight and building…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (15)

Heart health not tied to weight loss

A Mediterranean diet can improve heart health even if dietary changes aren’t coupled with weight loss, new research shows…

Boys want average bodies

Most teenage boys want an average physique that doesn’t stand out, according to research from Concordia University and the…

Flame retardants lower birthweight

Common household flame retardant chemicals have been linked to low infant birth weight. The researchers found that whenever…

Doing your nut helps diabetes

Eating nuts helps control diabetes and prevents some consequences of the condition, according to University of Toronto researchers…