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Period: May 1, 2013 to May 15, 2013
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Intense Interval Training Works Wonders On The Body – In Seven Minutes

An article by Canadian researchers in a health fitness journal describes an intense – but very short, fairly easy and scientifically sound – exercise program that produces beneficial molecular changes in muscles comparable to those induced by hours of running or biking. The 12 familiar exercises – pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, squats, etc. – are performed in intervals: 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by a 10-second rest, followed by 30 seconds of exercise, and so on. Exercises alternately target upper body and lower body muscles, allowing worked muscles to recuperate. “The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done,” says New York Times blogger Gretchen Reynolds.

"The Scientific 7-Minute Workout", The New York Times, May 09, 2013

Scientists Confirm Heart-Healthy Benefits Of Walnuts

Scientists have known for some time that eating walnuts in a heart-healthy diet reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Now a new U.S. study explains what component of walnuts is responsible. For the study, 15 participants with high cholesterol levels were fed one serving of whole walnuts, defatted nutmeat, walnut skin or walnut oil. Biochemical and physiological tests were conducted before, during and after. The one-time consumption of walnut oil improved vascular health. Eating whole walnuts helped HDL (good cholesterol) and helped the body effectively transport and remove excess cholesterol from the body. The researchers suggested that the beneficial effects come from the alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-tocopherol and phytosterols in walnut oil.

"Acute Consumption of Walnuts and Walnut Components Differentially Affect Postprandial Lipemia, Endothelial Function, Oxidative Stress, and Cholesterol Efflux in Humans with Mild Hypercholesterolemia", Journal of Nutrition, May 08, 2013

A Simple Formula: Walk 5,000 Steps A Day, Save 20 Percent On Health Insurance

A fitness program that tied participation to health insurance premium discounts got people off their duffs and walking, according to a U.S. study. More than 6,500 obese people insured by Blue Care Network in Michigan were offered a choice: pay 20 percent more for their insurance or participate in a computerized pedometer-based wellness program that involved walking 5,000 steps a day (about 1.2 miles) in a three-month period. After a year, 97 percent of the enrollees met or exceeded the average goal, even those – about a third of participants – who felt the program was “coercive”.

" Implementation and evaluation of an incentivized Internet-mediated walking program for obese adults", Translational Behavioral Medicine, May 08, 2013

Infrequent Users Of Workplace Wellness Centers Report Declines In Quality Of Life

Earlier studies have shown that workplace wellness centers can play a key role in weight loss and fitness. But what about other benefits, such as improving the physical and mental quality of life? This U.S. study involving 1,100 wellness center members found that frequent users reported an overall improvement in quality of life, from a rating of 59.4 to 80.4 percent. Less frequent users reported no improvement in their physical quality of life, and even a decline in their mental quality of life (51.4 to 34.5 percent). The reason, researchers suggested, is that less frequent users often tend toward negative “self-talk”, in effect, beating themselves up over their non-participation.

"Is Usage of a Wellness Center Associated With Improved Quality of Life?", American Journal of Health Promotion, May 08, 2013

New Foodservice Company Tackles A Tough Problem: Providing Healthy – And Tasty – School Meals

Nearly everyone – school administrators, Michele Obama, nutritionists, the U.S. Congress, etc. – agrees that school lunches need to be healthier. Kids themselves are apparently okay with healthy as long as it’s also tasty, and that has been a problem. Entering this $16 billion market is a new school meals company – Revolution Foods – determined to provide healthy choices using locally produced foods that kids would eat because they taste good. The company develops its meals with the help of kids, using tastings, focus groups and constant feedback. Revolution, which is not yet profitable, recently won a contract to provide meals to 114 schools in San Francisco, and the number of children choosing to eat the company’s offerings leaped 12 percent.

"A new company is trying to make school meals healthier", The Economist, May 04, 2013

Tart Cherries May Someday Help People At Risk For Diabetes, Heart Disease

New research from the University of Michigan finds that eating tart cherries provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of prescription fat and glucose regulation drugs, and may also reduce the risk of stroke, even when eaten with the drugs. According to the researchers, Montmorency tart cherries activate certain receptors in many body tissues. Researchers believe that anthocyanins – the pigments that give the fruit its red color – could be responsible for this activation. The research shows that rats who ate only tart cherries had the best results, but those who ingested a combination of tart cherries and the drug  Actos also did better than those who only took the drug.

"Tart Cherries Linked to Reduced Risk of Stroke", News release, study presented at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting in Boston, April 23, 2013

Research, Studies, Advice  

Study Links Med. Diet To Improved Memory Function Later In Life

A U.S. study finds a connection between the Mediterranean diet (fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, etc.) and preserving memory and thinking abilities as people age. The study was conducted among 17,478 people (average age 64) who were monitored for health changes over four years. Those who adhered to the Mediterranean diet – and avoided saturated fats, meat and dairy foods – were 19 percent less likely to develop thinking and memory problems. However, the connection was not found in diabetics. Researcher Dr. Georgios Tsivgoulis said diet is only one modifiable habit that could preserve cognitive function, also citing exercise, weight management, not smoking, and taking hypertension and diabetes medicines.

"Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of incident cognitive impairment", Neurology, May 10, 2013

Benefits Of Sunlight Exposure On Blood Pressure Outweigh Skin Cancer Risks

A British study concluded that exposure to sunlight improves health overall, especially blood pressure, and the benefits – a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke – far outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer. In the study 24 volunteers sat under tanning lamps for two 20-minute sessions. In one session volunteers were exposed to UV rays; in the other UV rays were blocked so only the heat affected their skin. Subsequently, blood pressure dropped for one hour following exposure to UV rays, but not in the heat only sessions. Scientists said exposure to UV rays produces a pressure relieving compound called nitric oxide.

"Sunshine Could Benefit Health and Prolong Life, Study Suggests", News release, study presented at a conference of skin experts in Edinburgh, U.K., May 07, 2013

Omega-3s Do Not Boost Protective Effect Of Anti-AMD Nutrient Cocktail

Including omega-3 fatty acids in a mix of nutritional supplements commonly recommended for preventing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) did not improve the effect, according to an NIH study. The plant-derived antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin also had no overall effect on AMD when added to the combination. However, they were safer than the related antioxidant beta-carotene, which has been associated with a higher risk of lung cancer, researchers said. More than 4,000 people, ages 50 to 85 years at risk for advanced AMD, a major cause of vision loss among older Americans, participated in the five-year trial.

" Long-Term Effects of Vitamins C and E, β-Carotene, and Zinc on Age-Related Macular Degeneration", Ophthalmology, May 06, 2013

Magnesium Found To Be Important For Children’s Bone Health

A U.S. study among younger school-age children showed that calcium intake was not significantly related to bone health, but magnesium – found in salmon, almonds, and other foods – was a key predictor of how much bone children had. The study, whose goal was to find the role of magnesium intake and absorption in relation to bone mineral content, involved 63 healthy children between aged 4 to 8. Before the study began, participants filled out food diaries, and during the study they were served foods consistent with calcium and magnesium levels based on their diaries. Researchers said calcium is important, but not more important than magnesium.

"Magnesium May Be as Important to Kids Bone Health as Calcium", News release, presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting, May 05, 2013

Brain Imaging Study Shows Why Fasting Is Counter-Productive As A Weight Loss Strategy

An imaging study by scientists in Oregon among adolescents found that weight loss would be more effective and enduring if dieters ate healthy, low-fat/low-sugar foods during regular meals, rather than fast for long periods of time. Participants in two groups voluntarily restricted their caloric intake to approximate what happens with real-world dieters. Using a brain imaging paradigm, the researchers examined the responsivity of adolescent's attention and reward regions of the brain. They found that restricting food intake increases the reward value of food, especially high-calorie, appetizing food. The more successful people are at low-calorie dieting, the tougher it is to stick to the diet. Fasting for a long time also often leads to poor post-fast food choices.

"Caloric deprivation increases responsivity of attention and reward brain regions to intake, anticipated intake, and images of palatable foods", NeuroImage, May 02, 2013

Lifestyle Changes Reduce Risk Of Fatal Blood Clots

A nearly five-year study by U.S. researchers found that, among seven healthy lifestyle changes, regular physical activity and a low body mass index (BMI) had the biggest positive impact on the risk of deadly blood clots. Participants in the study were rated on their health based on physical activity, avoiding smoking, diet, maintaining a healthy body mass index, and controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers compared the incidence of blood clots among the participants with various levels of heart health. Participants with optimum health had a 44 percent lower risk of blood clots than those with inadequate health. Those with average health had a 38 percent lower risk. The study followed 30,239 adults 45 years or older for 4.6 years.

"Seven Simple Lifestyle Steps May Decrease Risk of Blood Clots", News release, presentation at the AHA's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013 scientific sessions, May 02, 2013

People At Risk For Heart Disease Can Improve Their Health By Eliminating Lectin From Diet

An imaging study by scientists in Oregon among adolescents found that weight loss would be more effective and enduring if dieters ate healthy, low-fat/low-sugar foods during regular meals, rather than fast for long periods of time. Participants in two groups voluntarily restricted their caloric intake to approximate what happens with real-world dieters. Using a brain imaging paradigm, the researchers examined the responsivity of adolescent's attention and reward regions of the brain. They found that restricting food intake increases the reward value of food, especially high-calorie, appetizing food. The more successful people are at low-calorie dieting, the tougher it is to stick to the diet. Fasting for a long time also often leads to poor post-fast food choices.

"Diet, Anti-Aging Supplements May Help Reverse Blood Vessel Abnormality", News release, study presented at the AHA's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013 scientific sessions, May 01, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Lowers Cholesterol, Improves Metabolism

U.S. researchers have found that adhering to a heart-healthy diet reduces “bad cholesterol” (LDL) in men with high risk of heart disease, regardless of weight loss. Nineteen men with metabolic syndrome aged 24 to 64 were fed a standard North American diet for five weeks. For another five weeks they were fed a Mediterranean-style diet, then a 20-week weight-loss regime, then five more weeks of the Mediterranean diet. Results showed a nine percent decrease in LDL and improved metabolism. Doctors recommended the Mediterranean diet for effective management of metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high waist circumference, high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”).

"Heart Healthy Diet Helps Men Lower Bad Cholesterol, Regardless of Weight Loss", News release, presentation at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013 Scientific Sessions, May 01, 2013

Researchers Discover Simple Test For Determining Hardening Of The Arteries In Children

Researchers have discovered a simple formula and blood test that can accurately determine arterial health. In a study at a U.S. hospital, the ratio of triglycerides – a component of cholesterol – to HDL (good cholesterol) was calculated in 900 children and young adults. Researchers found that the higher the ratio, the more likely a person would have stiff and damaged arteries. When hardening of the arteries is detected in children, it can be a sign of "accelerated aging," which increases the risk of “dangerous outcomes” -- stroke, heart attack, etc. -- much earlier in adult life than normally expected. The researchers said the problem can be reversed in children with changes in diet, including reduced intake of sugary beverages and carbohydrate-rich foods.

"Children on Track for a Heart Attack", The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2013

Green Tea Plus Polyethylene Glycol Has Positive Impact On Weight, Insulin Resistance

A study conducted in mice by Korean researchers found that green tea in combination with polyethylene glycol significantly lowered body weight and insulin resistance. By itself green tea had no effect on body weight or glucose intolerance. For the study, both diabetic and normal mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with green tea. One group was also given polyethylene glycol to prevent absorption of gallated catechins into the bloodstream, which would increase insulin resistance. Researchers concluded that combining green tea extract and polyethylene glycol might be a preventative and therapeutic tool for treating obesity and obesity-related type 2 diabetes without unwanted side effects.

"Green tea extract with polyethylene glycol-3350 reduces body weight and improves glucose tolerance in db/db and high-fat diet mice", Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, April 29, 2013

Mangos Help Control Blood Sugar Levels Among Obese People, Study Shows

Mangos have properties that can help regulate blood sugar levels among obese people, according to the study presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Conducted by a research team led by Edralin Lucas, the study studied the effects of eating mangos everyday on 20 obese adult people. At the end of the 12-week study period, during which participants ate 10 grams of freeze-dried mango daily, the researchers found that the blood sugar levels of the participants declined from levels recorded at the start of the study.

"Mangos Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels Among Obese People", Medical News Today, April 28, 2013

Clinical Study Finds Indian Plant Effective As Appetite Suppressant

An Australian study has found evidence that an extract of an edible succulent plant native to India aids in reducing waist size in overweight and obese people by suppressing appetite. Researchers tested the effect of 500 mg of Caralluma fimbriata extract on 33 overweight men and women. After 12 weeks, those who had taken the supplement has lost an average of 2.6 inches from their waist, compared to one inch among the control group. The active ingredients in Caralluma fimbriata – pregnane glycosides – have been shown in other human trials to inhibit appetite. Caralluma fimbriata is available through the ingredient Slimaluma, developed by Gencor, which provided the extract for the Australian study.

"Indian herb may whittle waistlines", Newhope 360, April 26, 2013

Protein Consumption Is Important To Weight Loss, Survey Of Women Finds

A survey of 1,824 middle-aged women found that 43 percent believe eating more protein prevents weight gain, and eating protein helped in their own efforts to lose weight. Most of the women surveyed correctly identified good protein sources, and a majority knew the daily percent of dietary energy recommended from protein. According to the researchers, because the majority of Americans are overweight, education regarding dietary protein requirements may enhance the use of protein in the diet as a weight loss strategy. Women may need more information regarding protein energy content and choosing protein sources to enhance protein intake as a weight management strategy, they said.

"Perceived Importance of Dietary Protein to Prevent Weight Gain: A National Survey among Midlife Women", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, April 26, 2013

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout

The New York Times, May 09, 2013

Daytime Sleepiness in Obesity: Mechanisms Beyond Obstructive Sleep Apnea—A Review

Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology and Department of Medicine, Sleep Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, May 08, 2013

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