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Category: General Health (page 1 of 5)

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.

Read more

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

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

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

Sex and seniors. They are doing it. And they are liking it.

Awkward as the idea may be to younger people, sex does matter to people 65 and older. “They report benefits such as feeling more connected as a couple, feeling a greater sense of well-being. If your sex life if going well, then you are generally going to feel happier about that,” said Hinchliff.

On the flipside, if there are problems in the bedroom, it could spell trouble for the relationship: Hinchliff says people can experience feelings of frustration, depression and tension, and have more arguments with their partner.

Hinchliff has been researching stereotypes surrounding older people’s sex lives for 17 years and believes the subject matter has been woefully neglected.

To challenge the taboos, she sought the help of a local artist, who produced a series of artworks of older adults in relationships. The exhibition is now on display in Sheffield. The pieces are fun and downright cheeky.

CBC

World Health Organization states alcohol is responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide

Alcohol is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.

Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

The UN health agency’s latest report on alcohol and health pointed out that alcohol causes more than one in 20 deaths globally each year, including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders.

Men account for more than three quarters of alcohol-related deaths, the nearly 500-page report found.

More at AFP via Yahoo

Anti-inflammatory diet linked to reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer

In the study of 68,273 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 years who were followed for 16 years, participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 13% lower risk of cancer mortality, when compared with those who followed the diet to a lesser degree. Smokers who followed the diet experienced even greater benefits when compared with smokers who did not follow the diet.

Anti-inflammatory foods consist of fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. Pro-inflammatory foods include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips, and soft-drink beverages.

Read more at ScienceDaily.com

Canada’s ban on trans fats in food goes into effect

It’s now illegal for manufacturers to add trans fats to any food made or imported into the Canada. Trans fats are known to increase “bad” cholesterol, in turn raising the risk of heart disease.

Canada’s ban on the main source of artificial trans fats came into effect Monday, making it illegal for manufacturers to use the additive in any food made or imported into the country, as well as in any meals prepared in restaurants.

The ban takes aim at partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are the main source of industrially produced trans fats in all foods sold in Canada. The new regulation applies only to PHOs, not naturally occurring trans fats, which can be found in some animal-based foods such as milk, cheese, beef and lamb.

Trans fats have been used for the last century to add taste and texture to food as a replacement for butter. They also extend the shelf life of many foods, including commercial baked goods like cookies, pastries, donuts and muffins, snack foods and fried foods.

Read more in the Globe and Mail, CBC

Using a shampoo bottle to save the lives of young children stricken with pneumonia

An enterprising doctor is saving the lives of infants stricken with pneumonia in Bangladesh with a device that costs a fraction of traditional ventilator.

The hospital now deploys it routinely and the number of children who die there from pneumonia has fallen by three-quarters. That means the survival rate in the Dhaka Hospital is today almost on a par with that of children treated in rich-world facilities, using conventional ventilators.

Dr Chisti says that, as well as saving lives, his device has cut the hospital’s spending on pneumonia treatment by nearly 90%. The materials needed to make his version of a bubble-CPAP ventilator cost a mere $1.25. The device also consumes much less oxygen than a conventional ventilator.

Read more at the Economist (paywall)

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