America is facing a major obesity epidemic. The results of this epidemic are massive since obesity is related to chronic metabolic abnormalities. Reduced physical activity and/or increased energy intakes are important factors in this epidemic. Additionally, a genetic liability to obesity is associated with gene polymorphisms affecting biochemical pathways that regulate fat oxidation, energy expenditure, or energy intake.
However, these pathways are also impacted by specific foods and nutrients. Vitamin C status is inversely related to body mass. Food choices can impact post-meal satiety and hunger. High-protein foods promote postprandial thermogenesis and greater satiety as compared to high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods; thus, diet regimens high in protein foods may improve diet compliance and diet effectiveness. Vinegar and peanut ingestion can reduce the glycemic effect of a meal, a phenomenon that has been related to satiety and reduced food consumption. Thus, the effectiveness of regular exercise and a prudent diet for weight loss may be enhanced by attention to specific diet details.
A slight-to-strong genetic predisposition for obesity likely exists for many individuals, a result of susceptibility alleles at a number of loci rather than a specific gene mutation. Hence the environment plays a key role in the permissive expression of obesity phenotypes. The identification of easily manipulated dietary factors (i.e., nutrient supplements or complementary foods) that affect biochemical pathways involved in fat oxidation, energy expenditure, or energy intake, would lay the basis for new adjunct therapies for body weight management.
We have preliminary evidence suggesting that the regular ingestion of vitamin C supplements, dietary protein, vinegar, and/or nuts may help stimulate energy expenditure, promote satiety, and/or modulate fat production. Thus, the effectiveness of regular exercise and a prudent diet for weight loss may be enhanced by attention to specific diet details.
Important and Interesting Facts
Gene polymorphisms associated with biochemical pathways that regulate fat oxidation, energy expenditure, or energy intake have been linked to genetic susceptibility to obesity.
30–70% of the variation in body weight and fat mass can be attributed to genetics; environmental conditions, including specific dietary factors, may play a pronounced role in the expression of these phenotypes.
Vitamin C status is associated with tissue carnitine concentrations and fat oxidation and may represent a modifiable condition that would impact fat oxidation thereby affecting body composition and body mass.
The thermic effect of food, which accounts for ∼10% of daily energy expenditure, is related to dietary protein; thus, the greater calorie-cost of high-protein diets, in association with the increased satiety of these diets, may protect against gradual weight gain.
The glycemic response to food ingestion has been associated with subsequent hunger; complementary foods, such as vinegar or peanut products, when added to meals, may attenuate meal-time glycemia promoting satiety and reduced energy intake.
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