Losing weight is already tough on its own, but some people are making the task harder on themselves with how much sleep they get on a nightly basis.

A new study from Uppsala University found that even just one night of sleep loss can have a significant impact on the tissue that affects the body’s regulation of gene expression and metabolism in humans.

The researchers studied 15 individuals who began the experiment at a healthy weight. They participated in two in-lab sessions where their daily activity and meal patterns were kept uniform. Those researched then alternated between shifts where they slept more than eight hours during one session, and were kept awake the entire night during the other. The following morning, small tissue samples were taken from the participants’ subcutaneous fat and skeletal muscle. These two tissues often exhibit disrupted metabolism in conditions such as obesity and diabetes. At the same time in the morning, blood samples were also taken and were found to comprise of sugar molecules, as well as different fatty and amino acids.

“Our research group were the first to demonstrate that acute sleep loss in and of itself results in epigenetic changes in the so-called clock genes that within each tissue regulate its circadian rhythm. Our new findings indicate that sleep loss causes tissue-specific changes to the degree of DNA methylation in genes spread throughout the human genome. Our parallel analysis of both muscle and adipose tissue further enabled us to reveal that DNA methylation is not regulated similarly in these tissues in response to acute sleep loss,” Jonathan Cedernaes, who led the study, told Science Daily.

Epidemiological studies have shown that those who suffer from chronic sleep loss, or who carry out late-night work shifts, are more likely to be at risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Other studies have found that disrupted sleep and adverse weight gain were directly associated. In those cases, fat accumulation increased at the same time that muscle mass reduced — a mix associated with numerous adverse health consequences. It wasn’t until this study that experts could definitively say whether sleep loss per se can cause molecular changes at the tissue level that can confer an increased risk of adverse weight gain.

Now, we know that not only is a good night’s slumber important for memory retention and focus throughout the day, but it’s also important for maintaining a healthy weight.

“It will be interesting to investigate to what extent one or more nights of recovery sleep can normalize the metabolic changes that we observe at the tissue level as a result of sleep loss. Diet and exercise are factors that can also alter DNA methylation, and these factors can thus possibly be used to counteract adverse metabolic effects of sleep loss,” Cedernaes added.

If you feel like your sleep cycle is getting in the way of your weight loss goals, contact your primary care physician. You can also simply give us a call to schedule a consultation at 410-565-6552!



The benefits of a high-protein diet continue to grow as more and more research is done on the subject.

The latest study on the subject — courtesy of the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism — found that protein-heavy diets may reduce the liver’s fat content and lower the risk of diabetes in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

The American Physiological Society gathered 25 volunteers, including 15 who had been previously diagnosed with NAFLD, to participate in a low-calorie diet to lose eight percent body weight. After the participants reached their weight loss goals, they were told to maintain weight through a moderate- or high-protein diet averaging from 0.8 to 1 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.

Researchers found that after two years of weight loss, the dietary protein increase led to a reduced liver fat content. They also found that over half of the participants previously diagnosed with NAFLD no longer had a fatty liver.

“These findings stress the clinical implications and potential benefits of increased protein intake after weight loss for people with NAFLD at risk to develop diabetes,” the researchers wrote.

NAFLD — more colloquially called “fatty liver” — is a result of the liver’s total weight being made up of more than five percent fatty tissue. This extra fat in the liver may lead to scarring, which may increase the risk of liver cancer or failure. This also comes with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Coincidentally, those with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop NAFLD — an estimated 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes also have a fatty liver. Obesity is also a major risk factor for NAFLD.

Interested if you are at risk for NAFLD, or even type 2 diabetes? Contact your primary care physician to find ways to better your liver health. You can also simply give us a call to schedule a consultation at 410-565-6552!



When people typically think about what parts of the body affect emotions, they’re more likely to think of the brain or the heart first. But, believe it or not, the most mentally influential organs within ourselves are the large and small intestines.

The trillions of bacteria, known as the microbiota, have some important jobs within our intestines. They help us digest our food, protect us from disease, neutralize toxic by-products that stem from the digestive process, and make it more difficult for unhealthy bacteria to thrive within our stomachs. Considering they make up around 4.5 pounds of our body, they are quite a strong force.

The microbiota also affects things outside of the stomach. One connection is on the obvious side. Feelings of anxiety tend to disrupt our stomachs by making us feel queasy, and depression causes constipation. But a research group in Ireland found that this also goes the other way around. Probiotic-fed mice were more suited to handle anxiety-inducing scenarios and less likely to feel depression than the control group, that received a bland broth.

Another connection centers around our personalities. A study at McMaster University found that when the gut bacteria of two groups of mice were switched with one another, the mice began to switch personalities as well. Originally, the two groups of mice were separated into an “extrovert” group and an “introvert” group. By the time the experiment concluded, the mice had the exact opposite personality that they had started with.

A third connection comes from a theory on cravings. Certain sections of the microbiota actually crave certain foods more than others. When food that is popular among the bacteria gets consumed, they produce particles that get sent to the brain and turned into dopamine and serotonin. The source of anger and frustration that comes shortly after starting a diet may actually come from bacteria in your stomach. This is an untested theory, but a well-formed on nonetheless.

Interested in how this can be changed? Contact your primary care physician to find healthier ways to create lasting change in your diet that your microbiota will enjoy. You can also simply give us a call to schedule a consultation at 410-565-6552!



The carbohydrate composition of diets increased the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) in laboratory mice, a new study from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation found.

Tim Griffin, Ph.D., and his lab placed groups of mice on different high-fat diets to test the effect of obesity on OA. Researchers noticed that fiber and sugar in the diets were enough to alter the mice’s chances of developing OA. The high-sucrose diet caused joint inflammation, and the high-fiber diet changed cartilage genes as well as cellular stress-response pathways.

Though the experiment was performed on mice, Griffin pointed out that the study could be translated to humans.

“It’s important to understand how our diet affects the health of our joints,” Griffin said to Science Daily . “We were surprised to see so many OA-related differences between the two high-carb diets even though body weight and body fat were the same.”

OA occurs when the cartilage that cushions bones in the joints breaks down and wears away, causing the bones to rub against one another. It affects nearly 27 million people in the U.S., and is the most frequently diagnosed arthritis. It’s also the most widespread form of disability in the country.

Though there are several factors that could contribute to an increased risk of OA (i.e. previous joint injuries, genetics and age), carrying extra weight is the most common.

Even if the root cause of this disease isn’t certain, shedding weight — particularly in the form of cutting carbs — is the best way to avoid this affliction at all. Contact your primary care physician to see if your weight puts you at risk for OA. You can also simply give us a call to schedule a consultation at 410-565-6552!



De-Bunking “Diet” Soda
Ever since diet soda was popularized in the 1970s, scientists have been researching it. Here are some of the things they have found.

We all know that soda really isn’t good for us. It’s packed full of lots and lots of sugar and all sorts of other things that humans really shouldn’t consume. This is how diet soda was born. Soda manufacturers developed a “healthier” alternative to their regular sugary beverages. But is diet soda really any better for you? Sure, it’s lower in calories: some varieties don’t have any calories at all. But is it better? The short answer to that is no, it is not. In some cases, it’s actually worse.

Ever since diet soda was popularized in the 1970s, scientists have been researching it. Here are some of the things they have found.



Fad Diets: Destined to Fail
Fad diets were not made to last.

The number of fad diets out there grows every day. There’s always some celebrity endorsing this or that new fad diet. If you try them, you will probably lose some weight. The problem is that these fad diets were not built to last. As soon as you stop rigidly abiding by the rules of “the plan”, you start gaining the weight back. Actual success stories from these fads are few and far between. Despite all of this, fad diets still remain popular. Here are a couple of the big things to look for so you don’t fall into the fad diet trap.



Simple Changes to Make to Your Diet
Drinking more water every day is one of the simple changes to your diet that you can start today!

One of the biggest reasons why some people struggle to lose weight is that they make lifestyle changes without the proper support network to make it a habit they can keep up. Often, living a healthier lifestyle successfully entails making some simple changes to your existing habits. These little changes may not do a whole lot on their own, but taken together they can mean success. Your personalized weight loss solution from Pria Wellness Center may include any or all of these simple changes to your diet to help you achieve success.



Good vs Bad Fats
While bad fats definitely exist, some fats, like the ones found in olive oil, can actually aid you in losing weight.

While many are under the impression that fats are bad in every case, our bodies actually need some fats in order to lose weight. This false impression is a result of claims made by various diet fads which took off in the eighties. There are fats that are good for you and fats that are bad, and understanding the difference between the two will aid you in your journey towards a happier, healthier lifestyle. Today, we’re going to discuss the difference between good and bad fats.


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