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New evidence suggests artificial sweeteners may be harmful to your health

A new study suggests that regular use of artificial sweeteners may impair blood-sugar control. The latest findings suggest consuming even less than half the amount approved by health authorities is not safe.

For the study, participants who don’t normally use the sweeteners were assigned to use 45 per-cent of the Health Canada acceptable daily intake (ADI). After only 14 days, these participants experienced an 18 per-cent reduction in insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for type-2 diabetes.

Sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, cyclamate and saccharin are zero-calorie sweeteners approved in Canada.

Cyclamate (brand names Sucaryl, Sugar Twin, Sweet’N Low) and saccharin are not allowed to be added to foods; they’re sold only as tabletop sweeteners.

Acesulfame potassium, aspartame and sucralose are allowed to be added to all sorts of foods including yogurt, baked goods, pancake syrup, ketchup, chewing gum, fruit juice and soft drinks. Sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (Equal) are also available as tabletop sweeteners.

Health Canada considers these five artificial sweeteners safe when consumed in amounts up to the acceptable daily intake (ADI). The ADI is the maximum amount thought safe to consume each day over a lifetime.

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Should you be taking Vitamin D?

The research is more complicated than you might think.

As is pointed out in this BBC aricle, it’s widely agreed that vitamin D supplements, especially over winter, may be beneficial, and will only be a waste of money at worst.

It’s likely you won’t get enough from your diet between now and next spring, but the impact this could have on your health is still up for debate.

More at BBC

How physical activity helps mental wellbeing

There are various ways that physical activity helps mental wellbeing, including:

Improved mood – Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. For more information and a link to the study, go to the Mental Health Foundation website.

Reduced stress – Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.

Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.

Depression and anxiety – Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.

More at Sport England

Around the world, 800,000 people kill themselves every year

Sometimes they are famous names such as Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade that make headlines, but they are all sons or daughters, friends or colleagues, valued members of families and communities.

Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address. Stigma, fear and lack of understanding compound the suffering of those affected and prevent the bold action that is so desperately needed and so long overdue.

One in four of us will have to deal with a mental health condition at some point in our lives, and if we’re not directly affected, someone we care for is likely to be. Our young people are particularly vulnerable, with suicide being the second leading cause of death globally among 15-29 year olds and half of all mental illness beginning by the age of 14.

This is from an opinion piece by Lady Gaga and Tedros Adhanom, Director general of the World Health Organization, published in The Guardian.

Artificial sweeteners in foods and drinks have a toxic effect on digestive gut microbes

According to a study published in the journal Molecules, researchers found that six common artificial sweeteners approved by the Food and Drug Administration and 10 sport supplements that contained them were found to be toxic to the digestive gut microbes of mice.

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore tested the toxicity of aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame, and acesulfame potassium-k. They observed that when exposed to only 1 milligram per milliliter of the artificial sweeteners, the bacteria found in the digestive system became toxic.

“This is further evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners adversely affects gut microbial activity which can cause a wide range of health issues,” Ariel Kushmaro, a professor in BGU’s department of biotechnology engineering, said in a press release.

More: CNBC

Children’s intelligence tied to three things – exercise, sleep and limited screen time

Evidence-based research has found three behaviors that lead to higher scores on tests of mental ability in children: at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, nine to 11 hours of sleep a night, and no more than two hours a day of recreational screen time.

According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, for kids between the ages of eight and 11, it should include at least 60 minutes of physical activity, two hours or less of recreational screen time, and nine to 11 hours of sleep. Yet, in a new study, only one in 20 US children met all three of these recommendations.

The research, published on Thursday (Sept. 27) in the academic journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (paywall), used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a 10-year, longitudinal, observational study of over 4,500 children between eight and 11 years old, from 21 study sites across the US, and compared their daily exercise, technology, and sleep habits to the guidelines. The researchers then assessed the participants’ “global cognition” with standards developed by the National Institute of Health.

They found that only 5% of children met all three recommendations. Sixty-three percent of children spent more than two hours a day staring at screens, going over the screen-time limit; 82% of children failed to meet the guidelines for daily physical activity; and 49% did not get the recommended hours of sleep. Twenty-nine percent met none of the recommended standards.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

More at QuartzNY Times, Science Daily

Journey into the sacred headwaters of northern British Columbia

Three friends set off on a 400 km biking and packraft expedition through the heart of the sacred headwaters in northwestern British Columbia, birthplace of three critical salmon rivers, and home to the Tahltan people. In the wake of the devastating Mount Polley Mine disaster, the team’s goal is to understand what is at stake as a wave of new mines are developed across this remote corner of the province.

Their journey offers an exciting and sobering window into this wild landscape as they pedal through vast boreal forest, paddle frigid whitewater, battle monster trout, outrun a grizzly, learn about the Tahltan’s fight to protect their homeland and glimpse inside a massive open pit mine.

More at salmonbeyondborders.org

Why meat may be the worst food in the world

Life expectancy in the USA continues to decline

Heart disease and cancer still kill most Americans, but they weren’t the reason people are dying younger. In fact, deaths from heart disease have been declining. Between 2006 and 2016, however, death rates from from drug overdoses increased 72 percent and for suicides, 23 percent.

So who lives longest? According to the report, Hispanics had the highest life expectancy at 81.8 years. Non-Hispanic whites were next, with 78.5 years, followed by non-Hispanic blacks, with 74.8 years.

Read more at Atlanta Journal Constitution

More: These US Cities Have Lowest Life Expectancy – Newsweek via MSN

Obesity is on track to overtake smoking as the single biggest cause of preventable cancer in British women

If the projected trends continue, obesity as a cause of cancer in women will overtake smoking by 2043, the report says.

The figures for men are different as men are more likely to smoke and to get tobacco-related cancers. The gap between obesity and smoking as causes of cancer is expected to close much later than in woman.

While more males than females are overweight, obesity has a greater effect on women as some of the most common obesity-related cancers predominantly affect them, such as breast and womb cancers.

More at The Guardian

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