Chocolate and Wine: A New Weight Loss Approach

Apr 13, 2016 04:50 AM EDT | By Mark Jason Alcala

Mark West Black Launch Event
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: Wine and chocolate on display at the Mark West Black Launch Event at The Carnegie Club on January 13, 2016 in New York City.
(Photo : Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Mark West Wines)

Anyone trying to lose weight would probably steer clear of wine, chocolate and cheese. These food items are usually forbidden in most weight loss diets due to their high-calorie content. But an expert is out to challenge that commonly held belief and insists that anyone trying to lose weight should eat these foods.

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, attributes the failure of most dieting approaches to one thing, they do not take into account the microbes in the gut and the important role they play in one's overall health. Prof. Spector, who is also the author of The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat, points out that the microbes in the body actually outnumber the body's cells by 10 to one, reports Independent.These microbes actually play an important role in the body's various processes, including processes that determine a person's weight.

Prof. Spector cites a study he and his colleagues did which involved 2,000 twins in the U.K. They found that twins which had the highest levels of blood-flavanoids also had lower blood pressure, lower diabetes risk, weighed less and had stronger bones. He added that the flavanoids were usually obtained by drinking wine and eating chocolates.

Most calories restricting diets, Prof. Spector notes, practice the exclusion of one food group such as fat or carbohydrates. He explains that this is because of an erroneously simplistic view on nutrition and weight - as a simple energy in and energy out process without taking into account the microbes present in the diet.

The food restrictions imposed by most diet strategies result in a steadily decreasing microbe diversity which could eventually lead to weight gain and sometimes ill health. For Professor Spector, the best diet would be one which includes a wide variety of food items, especially those that are rich in polyphenols to encourage the increase of microbe diversity.

While a lot of experts may not agree on Prof. Spector's dismissal of calorie counting, most nutritional experts agree on the health benefits of microbes and probiotics. For example, gut microbes promote mental health by easing anxiety and depression,  Live Science cites. In addition, a thriving good bacteria colony in one's gut improves the body's immune response.

Perhaps the best approach would be to combine Professor Spector's recommendation of eating a healthier, more varied diet and combined it with the calorie considerations of most conventional dieting methods. This way, one would be getting the best of both nutritional viewpoints.



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