Archive for the tag - weight gain

Do Antihistamines Cause Weight Gain?

I think I'm getting some hay fever!

If you’ve ever looked at a bottle of allergy suppressing antihistamines, you may have noticed a warning about possible weight gain. But is this warning valid?

A recent Yale University study showed that people (and men, in particular) who take prescription antihistamines are an astounding 55% more likely to be overweight than their non-antihistamine using counterparts. While this study looked specifically at prescription antihistamines, over-the-counter varieties may also be linked to weight gain.

According to Dr. Linda B. Ford, director of the Asthma and Allergy Center in Omaha:

Antihistamines, which people usually take on their own to control allergic reactions or to help themselves get to sleep, can promote weight gain, too. This occurs only in a minority of people who take the drugs.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes the weight gain. It’s speculated that antihistamines may increase hunger because histamine receptors are thought to play a role in appetite. Antihistamines may also slow down the body’s metabolism, causing it to burn fewer calories. Or it’s possible that some other factor could explain the apparent link between antihistamines and weight gain – clearly, more research is needed.

The problem of weight gain and antihistamine use may become exacerbated by prolonged treatment. Using an antihistamine may result in a few pounds gained here and there, but over the course of years – it can really start to add up. As a precaution, Dr. Joseph Ratliff, the lead researcher of the study, recommends that people with allergies talk to their doctors about the potential side effects of the various treatments including eye drops, nasal sprays, allergy shots, decongestants and non-drug alternatives like limiting exposure to allergy triggers.

Weight Gain After Cardio: What You Can Do About It.

Hey Davey,

I have been doing a lot of cardio recently but have found that in the past four days I weigh four pounds more than usual? Is it water weight? Is it new muscle? What’s going on!

Thanks,
Jerry

Hey Jerry,

First things first, four pounds is nothing to fret about. I think I’ve taken shits that are bigger than that (too much information?) – so keep in mind your body’s own internal biological workings. Ensure that you are weighing yourself at the same time of day and at the same point in your routine for more accurate results; some people report body weight fluctuations of as much as six pounds during the course of a single day.

If the four pounds aren’t the result of normal flucuations – and instead, indicative of a true trend (i.e., you gain another four pounds next week) – it’s impossible for me to say whether it’s water, fat or muscle. But in actuality, it could be any or all of the three.

While people generally associate cardiovascular exercise with weight loss – it’s not always the case. Long cardio sessions can result in the breakdown of muscle – which slows the metabolism and often results in unwanted weight gain. For the best results, limit your cardio exercise to 45 minutes or less. Many of my cardio sessions are only 15 minutes long (but very intense). It’s a matter of quality – not quantity!

If, in addition to your cardio workouts, you are engaged in strength training (i.e., lifting weights, weight machines, etc.), then it’s possible that your additional mass is muscle. Muscle is very dense and heavy. If you are looking to release extra body fat, adding muscle is one of the best ways to do it. To know if your gains are muscle, you’ll have to look beyond the scale. Instead, try alternative ways to quantify your progress – such as measuring your waist. If you lose inches off of your waist and yet gain pounds, it’s a good clue that your gain is the result of muscle. And that would be a very good thing!

Lastly, your weight could be the result of water retention. To eliminate water weight, eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sodium. Moreover, you need to drink water to lose water – so stay hydrated. If you are not drinking enough water, your body will go into “drought mode” and retain any and all water like a camel. Not drinking enough water, by the way, also slows down your body’s metabolism and can result in unwanted weight gains.

Bottom line: Ensure that you are limiting your cardio workouts to 45 minutes (or less), are participating in strength training workouts and are staying hydrated.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

Does Chewing Gum Cause Weight Gain – Or Weight Loss?

Does male model Bernardo Velasco need to worry about gaining weight from his bubble gum? Probably not, research says.

I’ll admit that I had a secret agenda when penning this post. One of my biggest pet peeves is loud gum-chewers, especially when that chewing is done at the gym. For some reason, I really let it annoy me. Perhaps I need a hobby.

Long ago, I heard something of an urban legend: If you chew gum, it signals to your brain (and then stomach), that you are eating. When no food enters the stomach, the brain thinks that starvation is occurring – and as a result, the metabolism is lowered and weight gain becomes imminent when food is finally ingested. In fact, I’ve used this theory against the loud gum-chewers in my life, as I often find myself saying, “You know that stick of gum will make you gain weight, right?” It almost always works to disarm the chewer.

Turns out, I haven’t been able to find any support for this urban legend – though some folks tangentially claim that chewing gum does increase hunger. And since sugary sweetness is addictive, it’s possible that chewing gum can make you crave other sweet and potentially unhealthy foods.

Unfortunately for me, most of the research points to chewing gum as a weight loss or weight management tool. In fact, a UK study from 2007 showed that chewing gum:

  • Reduced caloric intake. Gum chewers reduced sweet snack intake by 39 calories and salty snacks were decreased by 11 calories.
  • Suppresses hunger.
  • Decreases stress, elevates moods and increases relaxation.

Other studies confirm the calorie-reduction findings of the UK study, most reporting that caloric intake for gum chewers was reduced by 30 – 50 calories. Moreover, chewing gum burns an extra 11 calories an hour. Woot, woot.

Of course, all of this needs to be taken into perspective; 30 – 50 calories is about a bite of cake, or a few minutes on a treadmill. And most people can make much bigger weight loss strides through an improved diet and exercise program.

It’s also worth noting that excessively chewing sugar-free gums made with sorbitol have been linked to extreme weight loss and diarrhea. A pack of gum a day isn’t a good idea. My mom always says, “Everything in moderation.”

If moderate gum chewing does have an impact on your weight, it appears to be fairly small and possibly negligible. Looks like it’s time to retire the gum-chewing weight gain urban legend once and for all. Damn it.