Travis Saunders, MSc , Travis

117 posts · 185,220 views

Travis Saunders and Peter Janiszewski are PhD students in Exercise and Health Physiology at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. Their research focuses on obesity, body composition, physical activity, nutrition and metabolic health.

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  • December 14, 2011
  • 09:00 AM
  • 7,939 views

Contributors to the Pediatric Obesity Epidemic Part 3: Sleep, Maternal Age, Pollution & Breastfeeding

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In Part 1 we examined the impact of changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and in Part 2 we looked at changes in food intake. Today we look at the evidence (or lack thereof) linking sleep, pollution, maternal age and breastfeeding with the pediatric obesity epidemic.... Read more »

  • December 15, 2011
  • 09:43 AM
  • 4,752 views

Contributors to the Pediatric Obesity Epidemic Part 4: Adult Obesity, and Relative Contributions of All Risk Factors

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In Part 1 we examined the impact of changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour, in Part 2 we looked at changes in food intake, and in Part 3 we looked at sleep, breastfeeding, maternal age and pollution. Today we look at the evidence (or lack thereof) linking adult obesity with the pediatric obesity epidemic, then examine the relative contributions of all of the risk factors we’ve discussed so far.... Read more »

  • December 16, 2011
  • 11:55 AM
  • 4,657 views

Contributors to the Pediatric Obesity Epidemic Part 5: Risk Factors I Missed

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Today we will look at other potential contributors to the pediatric obesity epidemic which I didn’t include in my paper. There are a few reasons for that – some risk factors are ones that I just felt didn’t have much evidence behind them, others were similar to ones that were included, and some just didn’t fit within the space constraints (since this paper was originally written for my comprehensive exams, it was limited to 15 pages).... Read more »

  • June 10, 2009
  • 11:00 AM
  • 4,187 views

Xocai and the Chocolate Weight Loss Diet - Where's the Evidence?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

If you spend any time following the "super" foods that are currently promoted on websites and daytime talk shows, you will certainly have heard about the "miracles" of dark chocolate, one of the super-est of all the super foods. If the Super Foods were the Super Friends, chocolate would probably be Batman (second only to Super Man, a role currently filled by Acai Berry).... Read more »

Cooper, K., Donovan, J., Waterhouse, A., & Williamson, G. (2007) Cocoa and health: a decade of research. British Journal of Nutrition, 99(01). DOI: 10.1017/S0007114507795296  

  • September 16, 2009
  • 11:35 AM
  • 3,535 views

Physically active vacations are more re-energizing

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

... Read more »

Strauss-Blasche G, Reithofer B, Schobersberger W, Ekmekcioglu C, & Marktl W. (2005) Effect of vacation on health: moderating factors of vacation outcome. Journal of travel medicine, 12(2), 94-101. PMID: 15996454  

  • April 10, 2013
  • 09:45 AM
  • 2,811 views

Obesity and Altitude

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Obesity is a complex and multifactorial chronic disease that remains a military and public health priority in the United States. Recently, we’ve identified a strong association between obesity prevalence and altitude within the US. Our findings were surprising because they indicated the magnitude of this association was large and the pattern of association exhibited a curvilinear dose response in 500 meter categories of altitude. There was a 4-5 fold increase in obesity prevalence at low a........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 2,640 views

What Hurts Fitness More: 30 Years of Aging or 3 Weeks of Bed Rest?

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP in Obesity Panacea

I recently came across a very interesting study published in Circulation in 2001. In it, authors Darren McGuire and colleagues perform the 30-year follow-up on a group of 5 men who had taken part in the Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study (DBRTS). The DBRTS took place in 1966, when all 5 men were healthy 20 year-olds. They were assessed extensively at 3 different time points: baseline, following 3 months of bed rest, and following 8 weeks of physical training. In 1996 these same 5 men were as........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 12:04 AM
  • 2,155 views

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) for Fat Loss: "Fallacy and Hazard"

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea




Photo by Todd Huffman.




One of the great things about this site is that people often bring products or research to our attention that we otherwise might have missed. This occurred yesterday in the comments section of Peter's recent post on Acai berry scams, when one of our readers brought up the use of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity. The website that we were provided smacks of weight loss gimmickry - notably the promise of an obesity "cure" and "near 100% ........ Read more »

  • May 2, 2012
  • 02:48 PM
  • 2,137 views

Sedentary behaviour – one definition to rule them all

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Exciting news – this week the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network published an updated definition of the terms “sedentary” and “sedentary behaviour” in French and English in the journals Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism and Movement & Sport Sciences – Science & Motricité.

In brief, the new definition states that to be engaging in “sedentary behaviour”, you must meet three very basic criteria:

You must be expending very lit........ Read more »

  • March 8, 2010
  • 10:05 AM
  • 1,989 views

Exercise and Body Weight

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea




Image by atomicjeep


I came across a very interesting article in the Ottawa Citizen this weekend, unpleasantly titled "For Canada's obese, exercise alone isn't going to cut it". The crux of the article is this - exercise will not help you lose weight. Every few months it seems that this issue pops up, including a cover article in TIME magazine last year, which Peter has previously dissected. This is a complicated issue, and given the sensational title, I wasn't expecting much from the Cit........ Read more »

  • January 19, 2012
  • 10:00 AM
  • 1,980 views

30 Years of Aging vs 3 Weeks of Bed Rest – Which is Worse For Aerobic Fitness?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

I recently came across a very interesting study published in Circulation in 2001. In it, authors Darren McGuire and colleagues perform the 30-year follow-up on a group of 5 men who had taken part in the Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study (DBRTS). The DBRTS took place in 1966, when all 5 men were healthy 20 year-olds. They were assessed extensively at baseline, following 3 months of bed rest, and following 8 weeks of physical training. In 1996 these same 5 men were re-assessed, allowing the re........ Read more »

  • June 4, 2010
  • 11:45 AM
  • 1,967 views

Increased Physical Activity Prevents the Accumulation of Abdominal Fat

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

One of the most interesting things about exercise is that it results in important health improvements even in the absence of weight loss. For example, just a single session of exercise can result in improved insulin sensitivity, increased levels of HDL cholesterol (aka the "good" cholesterol) and reductions in plasma triglyceride levels - all tremendously important markers of disease risk. In addition to these metabolic changes, new research by our friend and former labmate Lance Dav........ Read more »

Davidson, LE, Tucker, L, & Peterson, T. (2010) Physical Activity Changes Predict Abdominal Fat Change in Midlife Women. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. info:/

  • March 27, 2012
  • 10:40 AM
  • 1,939 views

Canada Releases Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Kids Aged 0-4

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Until recently, only one set of physical activity guidelines was available for children under the age of 5 years (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2009). These guidelines were useful recommendations for parents and caregivers with advice on healthy living, but were informed largely on expert consensus and not by the rigor of a systematic review. Last year, Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) were the first to release evidence-based guidelines and recommend that preschool........ Read more »

Tremblay MS, LeBlanc AG, Carson V, Choquette L, Connor Gorber S, Dillman C, Duggan M, Gordon MJ, Hicks A, Janssen I.... (2012) Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0–4 years). Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. info:/

  • April 4, 2012
  • 02:58 PM
  • 1,934 views

Sitting for just a couple hours has measurable (and negative) health impact

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Last week a fascinating study was published by SBRN member David Dunstan and colleagues in Australia, which examined the acute (e.g. short-term) impact of uninterrupted sitting on metabolic health. In this new study, individuals with overweight or obesity were asked to perform 3 separate conditions in random order.

Uninterrupted sitting – participants sat for 5 consecutive hours
Sitting plus light intensity breaks – similar to the uninterrupted sitting condition, except ........ Read more »

Dunstan, D., Kingwell, B., Larsen, R., Healy, G., Cerin, E., Hamilton, M., Shaw, J., Bertovic, D., Zimmet, P., Salmon, J.... (2012) Breaking Up Prolonged Sitting Reduces Postprandial Glucose and Insulin Responses. Diabetes Care. DOI: 10.2337/dc11-1931  

Nygaard, H., Tomten, S., & Høstmark, A. (2009) Slow postmeal walking reduces postprandial glycemia in middle-aged women. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 34(6), 1087-1092. DOI: 10.1139/H09-110  

  • May 13, 2009
  • 11:00 AM
  • 1,930 views

Ten simple ways to become more physically active

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

... Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 11:23 AM
  • 1,928 views

Grow More Fat and Improve Metabolic Health: Insights from TZD Treatmen

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea


By now, readers of Obesity Panacea have hopefully learned that excess weight is not directly predictive of health risk, and that excess fat mass is not in itself unhealthy. Recall that approximately 30% of individuals who are classified as obese by their body weight turn out to be metabolically healthy, and in fact seem not to get much metabolic benefit (or may even get worse) when they lose weight. Also consider that individuals who have NO fat tissue (e.g. lipodystrophy) have extremely elevat........ Read more »

  • December 1, 2010
  • 12:10 PM
  • 1,926 views

Animal obesity: canary in the coal mine?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

There are a number of factors, both behavioural and environmental, which are thought to play important roles in the current epidemic of obesity. These range from things like increased soft-drink consumption and decreased physical activity, which are at least nominally under our personal control, to more external factors like viruses, light pollution, and environmental contaminants, over which we have little or no control. How much of a role do these external factors play in the obesity epidemi........ Read more »

Klimentidis, Y., Beasley, T., Lin, H., Murati, G., Glass, G., Guyton, M., Newton, W., Jorgensen, M., Heymsfield, S., Kemnitz, J.... (2010) Canaries in the coal mine: a cross-species analysis of the plurality of obesity epidemics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1890  

  • July 13, 2009
  • 11:25 AM
  • 1,907 views

Power-Pops - Lollipops that cause weight loss?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Can you imagine...

A lollipop with the amazing Power to Suppress the appetite and give you a burst of energy. What could be more simple?"

So begins a brochure promoting Power-Pops, a lollipop which claims to reduce appetite, increase energy, and help you lose weight. Power-Pops have received a fair amount of media coverage in the USA, including the following video from the television program Extra (email readers can view the video on our main page by clicking here).



I've got to ........ Read more »

  • May 29, 2012
  • 10:00 AM
  • 1,898 views

Average Canadian kid gets about 8 (!?!) hours of screen time per day

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

That’s right – the average Canadian kid spends almost 8 full hours in front of a screen based device everyday. I hadn’t heard the stat before so I went to the reference paper, which can be accessed for free here.

The data comes from the Canadian Youth Smoking Survey (YSS), which is a nationally representative survey of nearly 52 000 Canadians in grades 6-12 (when a survey is nationally representative, it means that the distribution of participants from various regions, ethn........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2010
  • 11:32 AM
  • 1,890 views

Canadian Health Authorities Release New Physical Activity Recommendations

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Last week ParticipACTION and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) released recommendations for updated Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. The previous guidelines were released between 1998 and 2002, and although they were based on the best research available at the time, from what I understand there simply wasn't a tremendous amount of evidence to draw on in some situations. Since then there have been a number of advances in physical activity research, allowing for the........ Read more »

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