The caffeine content in Sambazon’s drink line comes from green tea and guaraná, a a native plant from Brazil with roughly twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds, and—bonus!—the ability to fight fat and lower cholesterol. A recent study found daily supplementation with guaraná could reduce LDL cholesterol levels in healthy adults by as much as 27 percent! And a second animal study published in Clinical Nutrition found guaraná extract supplementation could increase fat metabolism.
Yet there is value in having a variety of diets to choose from, and in tailoring eating plans to help people with specific health concerns — such as diabetes or obesity — manage their conditions, says Andrea Giancoli, a California-based registered dietitian who, along with Katz, consulted on U.S. News & World Report‘s annual ranking of best diets this year. Comparing diets in this way may help steer people away from ineffective or unsustainable fads, Giancoli says.
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An increase in fiber intake is also recommended for regulating bowel movements. Other methods of weight loss include use of drugs and supplements that decrease appetite, block fat absorption, or reduce stomach volume. Bariatric surgery may be indicated in cases of severe obesity. Two common bariatric surgical procedures are gastric bypass and gastric banding. Both can be effective at limiting the intake of food energy by reducing the size of the stomach, but as with any surgical procedure both come with their own risks that should be considered in consultation with a physician. Dietary supplements, though widely used, are not considered a healthy option for weight loss. Many are available, but very few are effective in the long term.
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Just because Katz is not one to abandon his scientific compass under duress of passion does not mean he is without passion, or unmoved by it in his own ways. The subjects of media headlines and popular diet books are dark places for Katz. "It’s not just linguistic, I really at times feel like crying, when I think about that we’re paying for ignorance with human lives," he told me. "At times, I hate the people with alphabet soup after their names who are promising the moon and the stars with certainty. I hate knowing that the next person is already rubbing his or her hands together with the next fad to make it on the bestseller list."
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So, in the midst of this unexpected positivity, I got an email from Pamela Peeke, M.D. She wanted to have a call and give me some advice. In a very unlike-me move, I did not get to the email. I'm very good about responding to email, which has to be one of the lamest brags of all time, but in a world full of ghosting, I'm proud of my prompt replies. But I messed up, and a week and a half later, I got another email. Dr. Peeke wanted to make sure I got her message.