Study: Higher dose of anti-seizure drug during pregnancy may increase baby's risk of cleft lip, palate

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Taking a higher dose of topiramate during the first three months of pregnancy may increase a baby’s risk of cleft lip or cleft palate more than when taking a lower dose, according to a study published in the December 27, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Source: http://www.news-medical.net

How to Control Your Hunger Hormones to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

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A symphony of factors control hunger, fullness, and ultimately our weight, including everything from how well you slept last night to the accounts you follow on Instagram. Also involved in the complex process are hormones, particularly the two that are often referred to as hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin.

In an ideal world, leptin and ghrelin work together to help keep you at a healthy weight. In the real world, well, 70% of the population ends up overweight or obese. Could out-of-whack hormones be to blame?

To answer that question, you first have to understand how the so-called hunger hormones work.

Leptin is the satiety hormone. Essentially, it tells you when to stop eating. “It makes you feel full, and it blocks appetite,” says James Shoemaker, MD, PhD, associate professor in biochemistry and molecular biology at St. Louis University.

Ghrelin, on the other hand, tells you when you’re hungry and need to eat. Think of it as the gremlin making your stomach grumble. “It’s made in the stomach primarily, and it’s released when you haven’t eaten for a while,” says Michael Schwartz, MD, co-director of the Diabetes Institute at the University of Washington in Seattle. Ghrelin peaks every four hours or so–roughly corresponding to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

RELATED: How to Reprogram Your Appetite to Crave Healthy Foods

When everything’s running smoothly, the two hormones work in harmony, says Philadelphia-based Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. “As one is rising, the other one is dropping.”

But things can–and do–go wrong.

For starters, leptin levels fluctuate with how much fat you have. When you lose weight, leptin levels drop. With less of that appetite-suppressing hormone, you end up feeling hungrier and eating more, potentially causing you to gain back the weight you had lost. “[Once] you have returned to your baseline weight, leptin will have recovered,” explains Dr. Schwartz.

In fact, a study that looked at 14 former Biggest Loser contestants showed that, indeed, leptin levels declined in those who lost large amounts of weight (they lost an average of almost 130 pounds). That could explain why most of them regained much of the weight over time.

It’s also possible to become desensitized to leptin–called leptin resistance–if you are constantly stuffing yourself with food. “You’d think that if you’re eating a lot you shouldn’t be hungry, but it’s the opposite,” says Cohn, who is also author of The Belly Fat Fix: Taming Ghrelin, Your Hunger Hormone, for Quick, Healthy Weight Loss. “Even though there may be leptin in circulation, it’s not registering,” she says, and you don’t know you’re full. 

RELATED: 11 Foods That Make You Hungrier

Hunger-stimulating ghrelin levels also vary with weight loss. After dieting, ghrelin production increases, potentially causing people to eat more and gain weight. “The cravings can be so hard to control,” says Cohn. “Once you’re out of whack, it’s really hard to get back into balance.”

Why our bodies fight back

Understandably, human beings are designed to fight starvation. Part of the body’s response to dieting is a drive to revert to whatever weight we were previously. “As you gain weight, the brain thinks that the new weight is the one that’s supposed to be regulated,” says Dr. Schwartz. “That’s why it’s so hard to lose weight and keep it off.”

That response typically kicks in after you’ve lost around 5% to 7% of your bodyweight, he says. “Once you lose more than 5% of your bodyweight, on average, you’re going to engage these responses that counter-regulate against the weight loss. Whether you do it quickly or slowly, it doesn’t matter very much.”

Interestingly, people who undergo bariatric surgery seem to have lower levels of hunger-promoting ghrelin than people who take pounds off through plain old diet and exercise. This may be why weight loss after gastric bypass surgery tends to last for longer periods of time.

Harnessing your hormones

Barring surgery, is there any way you can control these hormones to your advantage? Luckily, yes.

If you can, stick to a more moderate weight loss of just around 5% of your bodyweight so you don’t trigger that debilitating drop in leptin. Then, readjust mealtime: “Eat on the clock,” says Cohn. That means every two hours if you like to eat smaller portions or every four hours if you eat larger meals. This draws down stomach-grumbling ghrelin levels.

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It’s also important to eat a balance of foods at each meal, particularly protein and complex carbs. “Protein is a major player in suppressing ghrelin,” Cohn says. “It takes more work to digest and keeps you full longer.” Fiber also slows digestion and helps keep you full, she adds. Look for complex carbs like whole grains, veggies, and fruit, especially those containing a type of fiber known as “resistant starch,” like not-quite-ripe bananas.

Exercise may also help control your hunger hormones so you can shed pounds for good. One study found that losing weight on a treadmill resulted in lower ghrelin levels than slimming down by simply eating less.

Source: http://www.health.com

This Couple Has Dropped Almost 400 Pounds Since Making a New Year's Resolution to Lose Weight

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'Tis the season for New Year's resolutions—and with that, the almost inevitable resolution relapse. But that didn't happen to one determined couple, who set a goal to lose weight together starting on January 1, 2016. Nearly two years later, they’ve shed a combined 394 pounds—and they’ve been documenting their incredible weight-loss journey on Instagram.

Before they made their joint resolution, Lexi Reed weighed 480 pounds, while her husband, Danny, tipped the scales at 280 pounds.

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“We knew that together anything was possible,” Lexi writes in one photo caption on Instagram. “We weighed a combined total of 765 lbs and we [were] fed up with the life we were living.”

They credit their weight loss to preparing their own meals, drinking water instead of soda, and spending less time on the couch watching TV. Their workout goals started small; they pledged to spend 30 minutes at the gym five times a week. Now, Lexi goes to the gym daily and pushes herself to finish intense workouts—like an hour of Zumba or weightlifting.

Lexi even credits their losing weight as a team with strengthening their 10-year relationship. “We have transformed our lives and molded our bodies into the people we’ve always wanted to be,” she writes. You will be amazed by their eye-popping before-and-after posts below.

 

Source: http://www.health.com

This Woman Lost 77 Lbs. in a Year By Cooking With an Instant Pot Every Night

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This article originally appeared on People.com.

An Instant Pot was this woman’s one way ticket to weight loss.

At the start of this year, weighing 212 lbs., Brittany Williams decided to take control of her health by challenging herself to make dinner every night, she tells PEOPLE. The mom of three got her husband involved by having him agree to not bring takeout home for the duration of the year, and instead she decided to bust out the Instant Pot that had been lying around her house mostly untouched. She’s now down 77 lbs. since January 3 and 125 lbs. in total.

“I’ve had the Instant Pot for four years but I didn’t use it much and when I did it was for comfort foods like mac and cheese, ribs and cheesecake,” Williams, 27, says. “Starting in January I began using the Instant Pot every day—sometimes several times a day, five to six nights a week for dinner and several mornings for breakfast. I even use it to warm leftovers instead of my microwave.”

The blogger behind Instant Loss says the trendy, easy-to-use appliance that works as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker has made “making healthy food convenient and allowed me to succeed where I’ve failed many times before.”

Dropping the weight wasn’t all thanks to the push of a button though. Williams overhauled her diet to mirror something similar to paleo, avoiding most grains, dairy and sugar. “It’s simple. If it comes from the earth and is unprocessed, I eat it,” she writes on her blog. She loads up on vegetables and limits her fruit to avoid natural occurring sugars. 

“Eggs, meat, alternative flours (coconut, almond, and cassava), oils (coconut, avocado, and olive), nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate are some other examples of what I eat,” she says.

Williams is constantly sharing Instant Pot recipes—like dairy-free creamed corn and chickpea tacos—that not only adhere to her diet but most importantly, save time.

“There are nights I don’t start cooking dinner till 6pm because I lose track of time or we don’t get home till late, nights that I used to pull out of a frozen pizza or have my husband grab dinner on his way home from work,” she writes. “My Instant Pot has eliminated those nights. I can throw a few things in the pot and have dinner on the table in under a half hour.”

Source: http://www.health.com