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September 25, 2012

Portion Control - Page 3

The most potent weapon in your antiaging arsenal may be scaling back at mealtime.

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40s, 50s & BEYOND

THE SCIENTIFIC SCOOP: As metabolism function drops further, daily calorie requirements dip, too. In addition, women approaching menopause have less estrogen, meaning fat goes straight to the abdomen, not hips or thighs.

THE EATING STRATEGY: After 40, overall health becomes as much a consideration as weight. Experts highlight the need for heart-healthy fats like coconut oil, which contain a cholesterol-lowering triglyceride that's easily converted into energy; and antioxidant-packed and anti-inflammatory foods like red bell peppers, which can reduce the effects of chronic oxidative stress and excessive inflammation, both of which are linked to higher cancer risks. Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Moreno, a San Diego-based family practitioner whose latest book, The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging, was published in September, tells patients this age to eat Brazil nuts, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that can help fight depression. Ji Baek, 42, founder of Rescue Beauty Lounge, an upscale line of nail products, has her own approach: She eats just one meal a day. Throughout the morning and afternoon, Baek snacks on an apple or a few cashews and drinks tea in anticipation of a 6 p.m. dinner date with her husband or friends, which often includes wine, stuffed pasta shells, and steak. "I'm not a farmer. I don't need to eat three times a day," she says, adding that the diet allows her to enjoy the foods she loves while staying lean. "I choose quality over quantity."

Jewelry designer Ann Dexter-Jones, in her late 50s, took the opposite approach, eating more, not less, when she realized that being too thin was adding years to her appearance. "I needed a few carbs to fill out my face," says Dexter-Jones, who now has oatmeal for breakfast, a meal she used to skip; vegetable- and fish-filled lunches and dinners (Dover sole and sea bass are favorites); and vodka sodas instead of wine, which she says has too much sugar. Savory snacks, like Gorgonzola and Emmentaler cheese, salami, and pickles, round out the day.

THE EXERCISE PLAN: Add resistance training to your fitness program to mitigate the effects of sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass, says Dr. Caroline Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center.

THE NEW PRESCRIPTIONS

Last summer, the FDA approved its first two diet medications in more than a decade, Belviq and Qsymia. (Another, Contrave, was rejected in 2011 but is expected to be reviewed again in two years.) Die-hard dieters are rejoicing, but experts like Dr. Gerard Mullin, the director of Integrative Gastroenterology Nutrition Services at Johns Hopkins Hospital, question the drugs' long-term efficacy. Even those who celebrate the addition of new tools to help patients, like Dr. Caroline Apovian, say the drugs are intended for clinically obese patients with diseases like type 2 diabetes or hypertension. "This is not for someone who wants to lose 5 pounds to fit into a wedding dress," she says.

NAME: BELVIQ

TIMELINE: Approved by the FDA in June 2012; available by prescription soon.

CLAIM TO FAME: This appetite suppressant activates a serotonin receptor in the brain, so smaller portion sizes trigger greater satiety. In clinical trials, almost half of the nondiabetic patients who used Belviq lost 5 percent or more of their starting weight (an average of 12 pounds) in a year. Possible side effects include headaches and dizziness.

NAME: QSYMIA

TIMELINE: Approved by the FDA in July 2011; available by prescription soon.

CLAIM TO FAME: This drug combines phentermine, an appetite suppressant, with topiramate, an epilepsy and migraine medication often prescribed off-label to help people feel fuller. Dieters on a high dose lost slightly more than 10 percent of their starting weight, but possible side effects include elevated heart rates, a decline in cognitive function, and birth defects in babies of pregnant patients.

NAME: CONTRAVE

TIMELINE: Rejected by the FDA in 2011; may be reviewed again in two years.

CLAIM TO FAME: Contrave, a combination of the antidepressant buproprion (marketed as Wellbutrin) and naltrexone, a medication for drug and alcohol addiction, suppresses food cravings. The FDA has asked for more research on its effect on cardiovascular health.


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