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Category: Health & Wellbeing (Page 1 of 28)

Consuming low-calorie sweeteners at the same time as carbohydrates impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar

Nature »

Sugar substitutes make people feel they can indulge in a sweet treat or a soft drink without the calories. But research suggests that consuming low-calorie sweeteners at the same time as carbohydrates prevents the body from using blood sugar effectively, increasing the risk of health problems.

Dana Small at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and her colleagues asked 60 healthy people to consume 7 beverages of a single type over 2 weeks. The beverages contained either sugar, the low-calorie sweetener sucralose, a non-sweetening carbohydrate or both sucralose and the carbohydrate.

The Rinse Cycle » More evidence to suggest that getting plenty of deep, restful sleep is essential for our physical and mental health

The rhythmic waves of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that occur when we are sleeping, appear to function much like a washing machine’s rinse cycle, which may help to clear the brain of toxic waste on a regular basis.

Laura Sanders, Science News »

Every 20 seconds, a wave of fresh cerebrospinal fluid rolls into the sleeping brain. These slow, rhythmic blasts, described for the first time in the Nov. 1 Science, may help explain why sleep is so important for brain health.

Studies on animals have shown that the fluid, called CSF, can wash harmful proteins, including those implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, out of the brain. The new results give heft to the idea that a similar power wash happens in sleeping people.

Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director’s Blog »

The findings, published recently in the journal Science, are the first to suggest that the brain’s well-known ebb and flow of blood and electrical activity during sleep may also trigger cleansing waves of blood and CSF. While the experiments were conducted in healthy adults, further study of this phenomenon may help explain why poor sleep or loss of sleep has previously been associated with the spread of toxic proteins and worsening memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

From Science News via YouTube »

During non-REM sleep, oxygen-rich blood (colored red) flows out of the brain just before a wave of cerebrospinal fluid (blue) rolls in, entering from a lower part called the fourth ventricle. That cerebrospinal fluid may help clean harmful proteins out of the brain.

 

Replacing red meat with plant protein will help you live longer better

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated there was enough evidence to classify processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” and red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

CNN »

In the first study, which tracked more than 37,000 Americans with an average age of 50, those who ate the most plant protein were 27% less likely to die of any cause and 29% less likely to die of coronary heart disease when compared to people who ate the least amount of plant protein.

“It isn’t enough just to avoid red meat — it’s also about what you choose to eat in place of red meat,” Dr. Zhilei Shan, lead study author and postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a news release.

Shan pointed out that nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains contain more than just protein. They include healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant “phytochemicals,” which he said “have been associated with lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.”

Scientists have cured diabetes in mice for the first time

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million Americans have diabetes. That’s equal to 10% of the population in the USA. To date the most common treatment has been to manage the disease with diet and insulin shots, when requred.

Further research is required, however this new research could lead to a cure in humans.

Rishabh Jain, International Business Times »

Researchers at the Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri were able to cure diabetes in mice by infusing them with stem cells.

Diabetes affects the ability of the body of producing and managing insulin, which is normally produced by the pancreas. When this happens, body insulin levels need to be monitored regularly and expensive insulin shots need to be administered if blood sugar levels shoot up. According to the researchers, the findings provide a much reliable alternative— using beta cells to generate insulin for diabetics.

The treatment works using pluripotent stem cells. These cells can actually shape-shift into becoming any kind of cells in the body. However, the process is not perfect. The cells can also morph into other types of cells. The cells are harmless but do affect the ratio of the insulin-producing cells, affecting the efficacy of the treatment.

Over 40% of American adults are obese. Nearly 1 in 10 are morbidly obese.

More than 4 in 10 Americans are now obese.

Key findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study »

  • In 2017–2018, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in adults was 42.4%, and there were no significant differences between men and women among all adults or by age group.
  • The age-adjusted prevalence of severe obesity in adults was 9.2% and was higher in women than in men.
  • Among adults, the prevalence of both obesity and severe obesity was highest in non-Hispanic black adults compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
  • The prevalence of severe obesity was highest among adults aged 40–59 compared with other age groups.
  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of both obesity and severe obesity increased among adults.

This research corresponds to earlier studies that suggest half of adult Americans will be obese within 10 years.

More » Associated Press

New research associates the consumption of dairy milk with a much greater risk of developing breast cancer

Evidence suggest that consistently drinking as little as a quarter of a cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 percent.

Drinking one cup per days was associated with a 50 percent increase.

Drinking two to three cups of milk per day increases the risk 70 to 80%.

Science Daily »

Current U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend three cups of milk per day. “Evidence from this study suggests that people should view that recommendation with caution,” Fraser said.

Dietary intakes of nearly 53,000 North American women were evaluated for the study, all of whom were initially free of cancer and were followed for nearly eight years. Dietary intakes were estimated from food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), also repeated 24 hour recalls, and a baseline questionnaire had questions about demographics, family history of breast cancer, physical activity, alcohol consumption, hormonal and other medication use, breast cancer screening, and reproductive and gynecological history.

By the end of the study period, there were 1,057 new breast cancer cases during follow-up. No clear associations were found between soy products and breast cancer, independent of dairy. But, when compared to low or no milk consumption, higher intakes of dairy calories and dairy milk were associated with greater risk of breast cancer, independent of soy intake. Fraser noted that the results had minimal variation when comparing intake of full fat versus reduced or nonfat milks; there were no important associations noted with cheese and yogurt.

“However,” he said, “dairy foods, especially milk, were associated with increased risk, and the data predicted a marked reduction in risk associated with substituting soymilk for dairy milk. This raises the possibility that dairy-alternate milks may be an optimal choice.”

Canada’s Food Guide was updated in January for the first time in more than a decade. Noticeably, there was a de-emphasis on dairy consumption and the suggestion Canadians should instead consume more water.

More » News Medical, Daily Mail

JP Morgan economists warn climate crisis is threat to human race

Patrick Greenfield and Jonathan Watts, The Guardian »

The JP Morgan report on the economic risks of human-caused global heating said climate policy had to change or else the world faced irreversible consequences.

The study implicitly condemns the US bank’s own investment strategy and highlights growing concerns among major Wall Street institutions about the financial and reputational risks of continued funding of carbon-intensive industries, such as oil and gas.

JP Morgan has provided $75bn (£61bn) in financial services to the companies most aggressively expanding in sectors such as fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration since the Paris agreement, according to analysis compiled for the Guardian last year.

Mediterranean diet increases good gut bacteria which is linked to healthy living

Half the participants were asked to eat more vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, olive oil, and fish – and less red meat and dairy.

Paul O’Toole, University College Cork

Since our everyday diets have such a big affect on the gut microbiome, our team was curious to see if it can be used to promote healthy ageing. We looked at a total of 612 people aged 65-79, from the UK, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Poland. We asked half of them to change their normal diet to a Mediterranean diet for a full year. This involved eating more vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, olive oil and fish, and eating less red meat, dairy products and saturated fats. The other half of participants stuck to their usual diet.

We initially found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet had better cognitive function and memory, less inflammation, and better bone strength. However, what we really wanted to know was whether or not the microbiome was involved in these changes.

[…]

Many of the participants were also pre-frail (meaning their bone strength and density would start decreasing) at the beginning of the study. We found the group who followed their regular diet became frailer over the course of the one-year study. However, those that followed the Mediterranean diet were less frail.

The link between frailty, inflammation, and cognitive function, to changes in the microbiome was stronger than the link between these measures and dietary changes. This suggests that the diet alone wasn’t enough to improve these three markers. Rather, the microbiome had to change too – and the diet caused these changes to the microbiome.

[…]

Future studies will need to focus on what key ingredients in a Mediterranean diet were responsible for these positive microbiome changes. But in the meantime, it’s clear that the more you can stick to a Mediterranean diet, the higher your levels of good bacteria linked to healthy ageing will be.

Paul O’Toole, Professor of Microbial Genomics, School of Microbiology and APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork

This excerpt is from an article published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Five ways hiking is good for you

  1. Hiking keeps your mind sharper than many other forms of exercise
  2. Hiking helps to keep you calm and happy
  3. Hiking helps your relationships
  4. Hiking can increase our creativity
  5. Hiking helps cement a positive relationship with the natural world

Jill Suttie, Greater Good Magazine »

The experience of hiking is unique, research suggests, conveying benefits beyond what you receive from typical exercise. Not only does it oxygenate your heart, it helps keep your mind sharper, your body calmer, your creativity more alive, and your relationships happier. And, if you’re like me and happen to live in a place where nearby woods allow for hiking among trees, all the better: Evidence suggests that being around trees may provide extra benefits, perhaps because of certain organic compounds that trees exude that boost our mood and our overall psychological well-being.

Hiking in nature is so powerful for our health and well-being that some doctors have begun prescribing it as an adjunct to other treatments for disease. As one group of researchers puts it, “The synergistic effect of physical activity and time spent in nature make hiking an ideal activity to increase overall health and wellness.”

Read the whole article to read more about the science behind the benefits of hiking.

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