STANDING instead of sitting for six hours a day could help people lose weight over the long term, according to a Mayo Clinic study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
In recent years, sedentary behaviour, such as sitting, has been blamed for contributing to the obesity epidemic, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, says Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, senior author and chair of preventive cardiology at Mayo Clinic in the United States.
Population-based studies report that in the US, adults sit more than seven hours a day. The range across European countries is 3.2 to 6.8 hours of daily sitting time.
The study examined whether standing burns more calories than sitting in adults in the first systematic review and meta-analysis (combining data from multiple studies) to evaluate the difference.
The researchers analysed 46 studies with 1,184 participants. Participants, on average, were 33 years old; 60% were men; and the average weight was 65kg.
“Overall, our study shows that, when you put all the available scientific evidence together, standing accounts for more calories burned than sitting,” says Dr Farzane Saeidifard, first author and cardiology fellow at Mayo Clinic.
The researchers found that standing burned 0.15 calories (kcals) per minute more than sitting. By substituting standing for sitting for six hours a day, a 65kg adult would expend an extra 54 calories (kcals) in six hours.
Assuming no increase in food intake, that would equate to 2.5kg in one year and 10kg over four years. “Standing for long periods of time for many adults may seem unmanageable, especially those who have desk jobs, but for the person who sits for 12 hours a day, cutting sitting time to half would give great benefits,” Dr Lopez-Jimenez says.
The authors acknowledge that more research is needed to show if replacing standing with sitting is effective and whether there are long-term health implications of standing for long periods.
In recent years, moderate to vigorous physical activities in daily life have been encouraged in efforts to maintain and lose weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease, he says. But individuals cite barriers, such as time, motivation or access to facilities.
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, known as NEAT, a concept developed by Dr James Levine and Dr Michael Jensen – both Mayo Clinic endocrinologists and obesity researchers – focuses on the daily calories a person burns while doing normal daily activities, not exercising.
“Standing is one of the components of NEAT, and the results of our study support this theory,” Dr Lopez-Jimenez says. “The idea is to work into our daily routines some lower-impact activities that can improve our long-term health.”
Of note, the researchers found that calories burned between standing and sitting is about twice as high in men as in women.
This likely reflects the effect of greater muscle mass in men on the amount of calories burned, because calories burned is proportional to the muscle mass activated while standing, researchers found. – Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service
- Lose weight without losing your mind.
- Estrada Anton/Shutterstock
- Christopher Payne and Rob Barnett are formerly obese economists and the authors of “The Economists’ Diet.”
- In explaining how to lose weight, they recommend using “meta-rules,” or guidelines that apply on all occasions, to lose weight.
- The idea is to minimize decision-making and save yourself some mental energy.
“Unless it’s a special occasion, never have seconds.”
“During the week, always have salad for lunch.”
These seemingly stifling directives are examples of so-called “meta-rules,” and they’re designed to help you figure out how to lose weight without losing your mind.
Christopher Payne and Rob Barnett use the term, which they say they borrowed from behavioral economist Dan Ariely, in their book, “The Economists’ Diet: The Surprising Formula for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off.” Payne and Barnett are economists who worked together at Bloomberg; in their book, they guide readers in applying fundamental economic principles to the process of losing weight, the same way they did.
At different points in time, both Payne and Barnett were obese. Payne lost 45 pounds in 18 months, while Barnett lost 75 pounds in the same amount of time.
Meta-rules work for two reasons, the authors argue. The first reason: They eliminate the amount of choice you have in your daily diet. “The more times you present yourself with a choice, the more possibility there is to do something that you’re trying not to do,” Payne told me.
The second reason meta-rules work: They make life less exhausting while you’re getting healthier. Payne said that if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to just not have whatever you’re trying to avoid eating in your home. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a decision every night about whether to indulge.
Barnett and Payne are hardly the first people to recognize the power in minimizing decision-making. For example, Max Levchin, a PayPal founder who’s now the CEO of the online lending service Affirm, previously told Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell about the importance of consistency in his fitness regimen.
“So long as your daily default is ‘Be on the bike,’ some days you’ll miss because you’re traveling or you’re sick,” he said. “But most of the time, you’ll just get up, and get on a bike first thing in the morning, which is what I do.”
The authors note, however, that meta-rules are not a panacea for anyone struggling with their weight.
In the book, they write: “The oath we make to ourselves doesn’t protect us from having to make a decision; it just changes the decision from ‘Shall I have dessert tonight? to ‘Shall I break my oath tonight?’ For sure, the latter holds more sway over us than the former, but it’s not 100 percent foolproof.”
PEOPLE who wolf down their food could lose weight simply by chewing longer and pausing between bites.
Research involving nearly 60,000 Japanese people showed a link between eating slower or faster, and losing or gaining weight.
“Changes in eating speed can affect changes in obesity, BMI and waist circumference,” a research duo from Japan’s Kyushu University wrote in the journal BMJ Open.
“Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks.”
BMI stands for Body Mass Index, a ratio of weight-to-height used to determine whether a person falls within a healthy range.
The WHO considers someone with a BMI of 25 overweight, and 30 or higher obese.
In line with recommendations by the Japanese Society for the Study of Obesity, however, a BMI of 25 was taken as obese for Japanese populations for the purposes of the study.
The researchers analysed health insurance data from 59,717 individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – a form of the disease that generally hits in adulthood as a result of being overweight.
The participants had regular check-ups from 2008 to 2013.
Data captured included their age and gender, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, eating habits, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.
From the outset, the slow-eating group of 4,192 had a smaller average waist circumference, a mean BMI of 22.3, and fewer obese individuals – 21.5% of the total.
By comparison, more than 44% of the fast-eating group of 22,070 people, was obese, with a mean BMI of 25.
The team also noted changes in eating speed over the six years, with more than half the trial group reporting an adjustment in one direction or the other.
“The main results indicated that decreases in eating speeds can lead to reductions in obesity and BMI,” they found.
Other factors that could help people lose weight, according to the data, included to stop snacking after dinner, and not to eat within two hours of going to bed.
Skipping breakfast did not seem to have any effect.
Limitations of the study included that eating speed and other behaviours were self-reported. There was also no data on how much participants ate, or whether they exercised or not.
Commenting on the research, Simon Cork of Imperial College London said it “confirms what we already believe, that eating slowly is associated with less weight gain than eating quickly.”
This may be due to the fact that the satiety signal takes some time to travel from the stomach to the brain, and may arrive only after the fast eater has already consumed more than enough.
But he said that relying on the participants themselves to score whether they eat slowly, or fast, was “considerably subjective” and may skew the data.
Katarina Kos, an obesity researcher from Exeter Medical School, said similar research has to be conducted in non-diabetic people to rule out a potential role for diabetes medication in weight loss or gain. – AFP Relaxnews