8 Juicy Reasons to Eat More Strawberries

Who doesn’t love strawberries?  And you don’t need any reason other than the pleasure of their sweetness to eat them every day.  But according to researchers from Oklahoma State University, there’s lots more to strawberries than the flavor.[i]

Their study was Continue reading

Extensive Study Shows Green Tea May Help Prevent Cancer

Green tea has long been linked to cancer prevention. And, a new health breakthrough has found that women who drink green tea may have a reduced risk of certain digestive system cancers-especially those in the stomach, esophagus, and colorectum.

In a recent study, researchers surveyed women in a large population study Continue reading

Put the Brakes on Oxidative Damage with This

Researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have discovered one healing food that could be a natural remedy against oxidative damage. What’s more, this food grows in just about everyone’s front yard or backyard. It makes a delicious tea that’s full of antioxidants and it’s easy to cultivate and use right in your own kitchen. Continue reading

Can Sweeteners Be Blamed For Rise In Obesity?

Can Sweeteners Be Blamed For Rise In Obesity?

LOS ANGELES – Researchers have claimed that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.

Dangerous growth of fat cells

The study by a team at the University of California claimed fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs has increasingly been used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar in yoghurts, cakes, salad dressing and cereals.

Over 10 weeks, 16 volunteers on a strictly controlled diet, including high levels of fructose, produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. It was reported that they also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. Another group of volunteers on the same diet, but with glucose sugar replacing fructose, did not have these problems.

People in both groups put on a similar amount of weight. However, the researchers said the levels of weight gain among the fructose consumers would be greater over the long term.

Fructose is not responsible for obesity

Dr. Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, however was dismissive of the study’s findings and said:

“The results reported from this study do not support the claim that high doses of fructose are responsible for childhood obesity or the increasing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.

“This study used a small number of participants over a short period of time and the results are inconclusive. As the authors of the study say, further long-term and carefully controlled studies are needed to investigate the effects of fructose, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup.”

STILL TRYING TO BURN OFF HOLIDAY WEIGHT?

STILL TRYING TO BURN OFF HOLIDAY WEIGHT? 

BEVERLY HILLS – Try ‘interval exercise’ – which purportedly burns fat up to “nine times higher” than aerobic exercise “with effects continued for 24 hours,” according to studies reported in Metabolism Journal.

A program of “two minutes at 97% of maximum heart rate followed by a recovery period of three minutes at low intensity… is also better for conditioning the heart and improving overall circulation than lower-intensity, long-duration exercise like walking and jogging… because with interval training you transition back and forth between aerobic and anaerobic states, using fuel… As muscles require more oxygen than is available, muscle cells must rely on other reactions to continue contractions.” Then, because interval training also “helps reset your body’s temperature thermostat higher, it continues to burn more fuel even after you stop the exercise.”                                                                                                                                     

Long Lasting Weight Loss

BEVERLY HILLS – Weight loss diet tip – it’s hard to have lasting weight loss without taking steps to increase your healthy habits and reduce unhealthy ones. Losing weight is about burning energy – more than what is taken in.

This is how the low-carb/Atkins diets work… a low-carbohydrate diet reduces food intake, since the ketones produced by fat-burning really do curb ones appetite! It’s really not complicated – if you burn up your fat stored in the body – you WILL lose weight!

One of the most important and effective ways for losing weight and getting healthier is to avoid two kinds of foods.

Both of these foods have been linked to deteriorating health, and specifically weight gain and obesity.

The unhealthy ingredients in these foods have quietly and steadily been used in greater amounts over the last two decades in the USA…and most of us don’t know it!

Partially hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids…

One group of the foods to avoid are those that contain “Trans Fatty Acids”. These fats are found in partially hydrogenated oils – manufactured and unhealthy fats. These are oils that have had hydrogen added to them to prolong their shelflife.

They are a quiet killer hidden in food and they have been directly linked to the escalating rates of obesity in both adults and children all over the world.

There is a clear statistical increase in obesity over the last 20 years as these types of hydrogenated oils have become an increasing part of the typical American diet.

The U.S. government states that manufactured hydrogenated oils have no safe level for human consumption! There is no safe level of consumption, but it’s still in most of the products Americans eat every day.

In the USA, most of our food dollars is spent on processed foods. Government reports say that over 40% of foods found in an average grocery store contain these kinds of hydrogenated oils.

Most fast foods contain hydrogenated oils. Snacks, chips, candy bars, cookies, crackers, commercial baked goods, pastries and cakes…almost all of these processed foods contain hydrogenated oil.

How can you avoid hydrogenated oil and its effect on your health? What do you look out for?

• 1 – The first thing to do is to read the labels. Read the labels of foods you buy and look for partially hydrogenated oils. If you see those words, avoid that food. Any food that contains partially hydrogenated oils is unhealthy and will affect your weight loss program in a negative way.

Here are examples of foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils:

• cereals • cookies • cake mixes • candy bars • chips, pretzels • snacks • commercial pastries • processed foods • fast foods

What is known for sure is – you can’t lose weight and regularly eat foods containing partially hydrogenated oils.

• 2 – Ask questions. When eating out, ask if the foods you are ordering contain partially hydrogenated oils.

• 3 – Find alternative foods.The good news is – because of more media exposure about the dangers of hydrogenated oils, companies are starting to replace partially hydrogenated oils with other healthier ingredients and creating healthier versions of some of your favorite products.

McDonalds has had legal actions taken against it by concerned consumers attempting to force McDonalds to reduce or eliminate hydrogenated oils in its products. Restaurants are starting to add more natural oils and are removing partially hydrogenated oils from their kitchens.

Try to get as many organic whole foods included in your daily diet as possible. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and organic meats and dairy products will mean you won’t be filling your body with hydrogenated oils, growth hormones and antibiotics. Try to avoid processed and fast foods as much as possible.

Avoiding these hidden oils in the food you eat every day will make an important impact on your health, and will help you in reaching your weight loss goals. Add some lifestyle changes and imagine where you will be on your trip towards better health in the future!

Refined white flour products.

The other common weight loss ingredient is refined white flour. Refined white flour products stimulate the highest production of insulin.

When we consume these kinds of products, our blood sugar levels spike upward dramatically at first within the hour, then plummet downward an hour or so after…creating mood swings, hunger cravings, and pushing us toward diabetes and obesity.

Did you know that refined white flour converts into glucose in the body FASTER than white sugar? It’s true! Once you understand how the body functions in weight gain and weight loss, you can then understand what to do to have lasting weight loss without dieting.

 

Eat the Butter: Study Finds Fatty Foods Help Pilots on Mental, Flying Tests

GRAND FORKS — Running a marathon, grab a carbohydrate bar. Lifting weights, gulp a protein shake. But climbing into a fighter jet? Butter-soaked lobster might help.

That was the surprising finding of a new military-funded study that sought to figure out what types of foods were best for pilots when missions restricted when or what they could eat. University of North Dakota researchers found that pilots who ate the fattiest foods such as butter or gravy had the quickest response times in mental tests and made fewer mistakes when flying in tricky cloud conditions.

High-carb diets trumped high-protein in performance tests.

“We wound up analyzing the data every which way but upside down. It came out consistent every time,” said psychology professor Tom Petros, who conducted and reviewed the tests.

Fat has been considered a villain by some nutritionists. Earlier research in humans and animals has linked diets high in saturated fats to mental decline and shorter-term problems with memory and learning.

Athletes and others with physically demanding jobs generally focus on a high-carbohydrate diet for improved performance. The study’s researchers aren’t saying people should now load up on biscuits and gravy, in fact researchers said it’s hard to draw conclusions from their study because more tests are needed to figure out what’s behind the results. Follow-up studies begin this spring.

Researchers said the study is not aimed at weight control and noted that because the pilots are young, they’re able to absorb a high amount of fatty acids for brain development.

Military experts hope the research will eventually help improve pilots’ performance. National Transportation Safety Board statistics show 80 percent of civil and military accidents are caused by human error.

The study tracked 45 student pilots to assess how different foods affect a pilot’s performance. Every three weeks, each pilot spent one week on four different diets: high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-protein and a control diet.

The menus were similar so the type of diet wouldn’t become obvious to participants. In some cases, the difference was in the drinks, condiments, gravy, salad, vegetables and desserts.

“They loved the day they got brownies,” said Glenda Lindseth, who helped lead the project. “They all got them, but some of them were a little smaller and some of them didn’t have frosting.”

One typical meal was thin crusted extra meat and cheese pizza for the fat diet, a thin crusted chicken supreme pizza for the carbohydrate diet, and a grilled chicken breast with mixed salad greens, fat-free salad dressing and fat-free shredded cheese for the protein diet.

The study used a flight simulator that required students to descend in cloudy weather when the runway wasn’t visible and using only the plane’s computers. The pilots then had to climb into a holding pattern. They also took tests that required memorizing and repeating numbers and comparing shapes.

“I could tell the difference on how well I was doing on the different diets,” said Jeremy Ternes, who participated in the study. “There were times I thought, ‘Wow, I was a lot more on today as compared to last week.’”

He added: “I think a lot of people felt they did better when they got the lobster and the good stuff.”

Based on their test scores, pilots on the high-fat and high-carb diets performed substantially better than the high-protein eaters. The high-fat dieters did slightly better than the high-carb dieters.

“With additional research, these findings may help decrease the number of aviation accidents due to pilot error, which is especially important for the war fighter,” Lindseth said.

More study is needed to determine whether the findings will have a lasting effect.

“Most of the studies indicate that a diet of saturated fats like those found in junk food reduces cognitive performance,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a physiological science professor at UCLA who was not involved in the study. “I will be more interested to see what they find when they monitor the composition of the diet.”

How Proximity to Convenience Stores Promotes Child Obesity

MONTREAL – The proximity of convenience stores to kids is connected to childhood obesity, according to a new study.

As part of the study 632 children and their families from Montreal in Canada were recruited in 2005.

The children belonged to family incomes ranging from 31,000 dollars to 141,000 dollars.

Of the underage participants, 42 percent were overweight and 22 percent were outright obese.

The researchers noted that access to green spaces may have little influence on the size of 8 to 10-year-olds.

However, proximity of parks can affect how much children walk, but impact on weight remains to be seen.

Families who took part in the quality study will continue to be monitored to verify if proximity to the park has an impact on the long-term weight of children.

Senior researcher Tracie Ann Barnett, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and researcher at the Sainte Justine University Hospital Research Center, said: “Access to convenience stores seems more relevant in obesity than access to fast food restaurants.”

She further suggested that schools should establish zones that are free of convenience stores.

Researchers Find a Way to Block Fat Consumption

ST. LOUIS – Researchers have discovered a way to block fatty diet consumption by deactivating a part of the brain that regulates emotion. But the blockade will not affect people who are hungry.

“It appears that two different brain circuits control the motivation to seek and consume,” said Matthew Will, assistant psychological science professor at the University of Missouri (U-M) College of Arts and Science.

“Understanding how this circuit in the brain works may provide insight into the exact networks and chemicals in our brain that determine the factors influencing our feeding habits,” he said.

The release of opioids, pleasure chemicals that can lead to euphoria, into the brain produces binge eating in non-hungry people. Will and his team of researchers determined that deactivating the basolateral amygdala – the brain region that regulates emotion – blocked this type of binge eating.

“A key to curbing the obesity epidemic in America is controlling the desire to binge eat,” Will said.

“Humans have more programming to start and continue eating than to stop eating, especially when they have a bowl of ice cream in front of them. Most of us would finish it even if we weren’t hungry.”

Researchers said deactivating the basolateral amygdala had no effect on feeding in rats that were simply deprived of food for 24 hours, said an U-M release.

This suggests that the basolateral amygdala is specifically involved in the overconsumption of food based on its palatability or pleasure driven by opioids rather than the level of hunger.

The study was published in Behavioural Neuroscience.

Common Abbreviations Used in Nutrition

When you read about nutrition, diet and nutritional supplements, you are likely to come across some abbreviations that may not look familiar to you. Here are some common abbreviations used in nutrition:

AA

Amino Acids, the individual components of proteins.

ADEK

Vitamins A, D, E and K, fat-soluble vitamins sometimes grouped together and designated by the abbreviation ADEK.

AI

Adequate Intake , amount of a nutrient that will meet the requirements of everybody. It is used when a RDA can’t be determined.

BMI

Body Mass Index, a measurement that indicates obesity by calculating the relative percentages of fat and muscle in the body.

Ca

Calcium, a dietary mineral needed for healthy bones, muscle function and many other functions in the body.

DRI

Dietary Reference Intake, the levels of nutrients needed for dietary consumption. They replaced the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) in 1989.

EAR

Estimated Average Requirement, the intake of a nutrient that will meet the requirements of one half of all healthy individuals.

Energy RDA

Energy Recommended Dietary Allowance, the average number of calories needed, differing by gender and age. Note: The Energy RDA is an average, so any person may actually need more calories or fewer calories than what the calorie charts show.

Fe

Iron, a dietary mineral needed for transportation of oxygen throughout the body.

FTT

Failure To Thrive, a significant delay in growth of an infant or young child.

g

Gram, a metric unit of measure. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are measured in grams. It would take about 29 grams to equal one ounce.

IU

International Unit, a measure of the activity of vitamins and drugs. Vitamins A, D and E are often measured in this way. Conversion from IU to mg is different for each vitamin.

K

Potassium, a dietary mineral that is needed for water balance and healthy muscle function in the body.

kcal

Kilocalorie, a measure of energy that we commonly refer to as a “calorie.”

mcg

Microgram, a metric unit of measure. Some vitamins and minerals are measured in micrograms, for example, 1,000 micrograms equal one milligram.

mg

Milligram, another metric unit of measure. Many vitamins and minerals are measured in milligrams, for example, 1,000 milligrams equal one gram.

Mg

Magnesium, a dietary mineral needed for healthy muscle function and other processes in the body.

mEq

Milliequivalent, a measurement that is equal to one-thousandth of a gram equivalent.

Na

Sodium, a dietary mineral that is needed for water balance in the body.

RDA

Recommended Dietary Allowance designates the amount of a nutrient that will meet the requirements of 97.5% of healthy individuals. It is based on the EAR plus two standard deviations.

REE

Resting Energy Expenditure, number of calories you would burn if you stayed at rest all day.

RNI

Reference Nutrient Intake, used in the UK and stands for the daily nutrient recommendations to meet the needs for the majority of the population.

UL

Tolerable Upper Limit, highest level of a nutrient that is safe for all individuals.

Soybeans May Sub for Fish Omega-3

SIOUX FALLS – Diners who’d prefer to skip the salmon may no longer miss out on the fish’s omega-3 fatty acids, known to reduce heart disease.

Genetically engineered soybean plants produce oil that helps boost levels of one such acid and can be added to food for a healthier diet. Results from a 157-person study of the oil’s potential benefits were presented today at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Fatty fish, such as albacore tuna, mackerel, sardines and herring, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because it is high in eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, omega-3 fatty acids. Heart disease is the top cause of death worldwide for both men and women, and the American Heart Association, based in Dallas, recommends eating two Servings of fatty fish a week.9

“Without the American public really having to go out of their way to develop a taste for fish, which they’re not going to do, we’ll put a healthy dietary component that’s been missing into their foods,” said William Harris, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine, in Sioux Falls, in an interview.

The oil, whose taste is undetectable, may be incorporated into breakfast bars and salad dressings, Harris said. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, said in October the new oil is generally accepted as safe.

Approval Needed

The modified soybeans still need approval from biotech regulators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sales should begin early in the next decade, he said.

Researchers  created the new soybean strain by inserting genes from a fungus and another plant. Soybeans naturally create an omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid, that leads to creation of EPA. That process takes two steps in human bodies, the first being a conversion to stearidonic acid, or SDA, Harris said.  Ggenetically modified soybeans skip that step, and start with SDA, which changes more efficiently into omega-3 fatty acids.

In the study, healthy volunteers in Cincinnati, Sioux Falls and Chicago were separated into three groups to test the differences among oil from the new soybeans, unaltered soybeans and EPA derived from fish. The volunteers were given gel caps and oil to put on food. The goal was to see if the new soybean oil boosted EPA levels in participants’ red blood cells.

Study Findings

At 12 weeks, the new oil boosted EPA levels with about 18 percent of the efficiency of pure EPA, according to the research.

Subjects taking the modified soybean oil were given more than those in the fish-derived EPA group. The former took 15 grams of the new soybean oil and 1 gram of regular soybean oil in the form of gel caps a day, while those in the EPA group were given one gram of EPA in gel caps and 15 grams of regular soybean oil daily. The group given unaltered soybean oil had 15 grams of oil and 1 gram in gel caps a day.

EPA levels rose 18 percent in the group taking the new soybean oil, compared with 20 percent in the pure-EPA group, according to the report. The regular soybean oil didn’t raise cellular EPA levels at all, the results showed.

More tests are needed to ensure the oil has the same effect once put into foods, Harris said.

As the oil gets incorporated into foods, “the background levels of omega-3 in the population will rise,” Harris said. The oil will take pressure off fish populations and be free from contaminants such as mercury and dioxins that can be found in fish.

“It’s virtually an inexhaustible source if it works out,” Harris said.

 

Fighting Infection With Manuka Honey

CARDIFF – Manuka honey may kill bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Dr Rowena Jenkins and colleagues from the University of Wales Institute – Cardiff investigated the mechanisms of manuka honey action and found that its anti-bacterial properties were not due solely to the sugars present in the honey.

Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was grown in the laboratory and treated with and without manuka honey for four hours. The experiment was repeated with sugar syrup to determine if the effects seen were due to sugar content in honey alone. The bacterial cells were then broken and the proteins isolated and separated on a system that displayed each protein as an individual spot. Many fewer proteins were seen from the manuka honey-treated MRSA cells and one particular protein, FabI, seemed to be completely missing. FabI is a protein that is needed for fatty acid biosynthesis. This essential process supplies the bacteria with precursors for important cellular components such as lipopolysaccarides and its cell wall. The absence of these proteins in honey-treated cells could help explain the mode of action of manuka honey in killing MRSA.

“Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time,” said Dr Jenkins, “But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics“.

Here’s Why Sugar in Green Tea is a Healthy Idea

WASHINGTON – A new study has shown that adding ascorbic acid and sugar to green tea can help the body easily absorb helpful compounds that help fight health problems. Mario Ferruzzi, lead researcher and associate professor of food science and nutrition at Purdue University, insists that adding ascorbic acid to green tea would increase the absorbability of catechins found in the tea.