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St John’s Wort Can Be As Dangerous As Prescription Antidepressants

July 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Australian researchers who studied adverse drug reactions have found that taking the herbal depression remedy St John's Wort with a commercial antidepressant can lead to serious side effects. The researchers also found that adverse reactions were the same for people who took St John's Wort as for those who took the antidepressant fluoxetine. St John's Wort can cause dangerous increases in body temperature and blood pressure, as well as anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, vomiting, amnesia and aggression. The researchers said their findings suggest that bottles of St John’s Wort should have improved warnings about potential adverse reactions.
Claire L Hoban et al., "A comparison of patterns of spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting with St. John's Wort and fluoxetine during the period 2000-2013. ", Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, July 15, 2015, © Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Mind
Depression
Alternative Therapies
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Pills & Supplements
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Worldwide
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Australia

Exercise – The More The Better – Improves Brain Functions In Older Adults

July 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A six-month clinical trial involving 101 healthy older adults has found that brain functions improve proportionately with increasing time spent aerobic exercising. The purpose of the study was to determine the optimum amount of exercise to benefit the brain. The researchers divided the participants into four groups, three of which were monitored at different lengths of exercise time – 75 minutes a week, 150 minutes, or 225 minutes – while a fourth was a control. All of the exercisers benefited, the study found, but those who exercised more saw more benefits, especially in the ability to perceive where objects are in space and how far apart they are from each other. Also improving were overall attention levels and ability to focus.
Eric D. Vidoni et al., "Dose-Response of Aerobic Exercise on Cognition: A Community-Based, Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. ", PLoS ONE, July 15, 2015, © Vidoni et al.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Mind
Mental Alertness
Aging
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Worldwide
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House Agriculture Panel Okays Bill Barring Compulsory GMO Labeling

July 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. House Agriculture Committee sided with the food industry and others opposed to mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms in okaying a bill to bar labeling and prohibit state/local efforts to regulate GMO crops. Opponents of compulsory GMO labeling say it would lead to a hike in food prices and would confuse consumers because GMOs are well regulated, safe and as nutritious as conventional foods. They urged the House to pass H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. Proponents of mandatory labeling say there is a lack of scientific consensus on GMO safety and on concerns about the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), widely used on genetically modified crops.
Carey Gillam, "U.S. House committee approves anti-GMO labeling law", Reuters, July 14, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Genetically Modified Foods
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Where You Stand ON GMO Food Labeling Depends On Your View Of GMO Safety

July 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The debate over labeling foods containing genetically modified ingredients rages on, with some states requiring it, others rejecting it, and the FDA firmly on the fence. Center for Food Safety head Andrew Kimbrell says consumers have a basic right to know what they’re eating. And that includes the right to choose “whether or not to purchase foods produced through genetic engineering.” But Penn State University professor Nina Fedoroff argues that GMO labeling is a “terrible idea” that will only make food more expensive without providing consumers any useful information. At the core of her argument is the belief that GMO foods are basically safe, a conclusion not shared by Kimbrell. He says no one really knows whether “tinkering with a plant’s DNA” could make a nontoxic plant toxic “or have other unintended impacts.”
"Should Companies Be Required to Label Genetically Modified Foods?", The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Genetically Modified Foods
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Dining Out Is Not A Healthy Choice

July 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. scientist who analyzed eight years of data from a national health survey reports that Americans who eat at fast food and full service restaurants generally consume 200 more calories a day, compared to eating at home. In addition, they tend to take in more cholesterol, sodium, fat, and saturated fat. Restaurant diners tend to take in more healthy nutrients (e.g., certain vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids) than at-home or fast food diners, but they also also consume a lot more sodium and cholesterol. Fast food adds an average of 300 milligrams of sodium to the daily intake, while restaurant food adds 412 milligrams.
R An, "Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption and daily energy and nutrient intakes in US adults", European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 09, 2015, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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To Avoid Muscle Pain While Performing Computer Work, Move Once In Awhile

July 7, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Canadian kinesiologist says there are effective ways to prevent the muscular and skeletal pain felt by 10 percent of office workers who overuse certain muscles. In a recent experiment, Julie Côté’s research team had participants perform a 90-minute typing task – either walking on a treadmill or sitting – while muscle activity was measured in their necks, shoulders, forearms, wrists, and lower backs. They found that there was lower, but more variable, neck and shoulder activity – and thus less discomfort – when participants walked. She concluded that treadmill workstations could help reduce muscle pain associated with computer work. But the basic advice is fairly simple: to avoid pain and discomfort, office workers should make minor movements and adjustments of position every few minutes.
"Taking the pain out of office work", News release, McGill University, July 07, 2015, © McGill University
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Muscadine Grape Seeds: Good Source Of Cholesterol-Cutting Vitamin E

July 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has found that the seeds of the muscadine grape, normally discarded as waste in the production of wine and juice, are rich in a type of vitamin E that seems to help retard fat cell production. Oil from the seed supplies tocotrienol, an unsaturated form of the vitamin, as well as other mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Scientists have known for some time that red palm and rice bran oil are rich in tocotrienol, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol. The researchers said their findings suggest that muscadine grape seed oil might be an even better source of tocotrienol, “Consuming foods made with muscadine grape seed oil" -- e.g., salad dressing -- "could curtail weight gain and reduce obesity,” one of the researchers said.
Lu Zhao et al., "Muscadine grape seed oil as a novel source of tocotrienols to reduce adipogenesis and adipocyte inflammation. ", Food & Function, July 06, 2015, © Royal Society of Chemistry
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Australian Researchers Test GM Wheat That Lowers Cholesterol

July 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists at Australia’s national research organization (CSIRO) have discovered a gene in oats that can be inserted in wheat to boost a cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber known as betaglucan. Barley and oats are rich in betaglucan, but wheat is not. The researchers discovered very small differences in the enzyme that makes betaglucan in wheat and oats, but those differences – involving a single amino acid – can change the structure and make it more soluble. They are now growing wheat crops that include the gene that gives oats their cholesterol-lowering qualities. They will test the flour made from the modified wheat to see if the bread is acceptable – and can lower cholesterol.
Lucinda Jose, "CSIRO developing wheat with cholesterol lowering qualities", ABC (Australia), July 05, 2015, © ABC
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Heart & Cardiovascular
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Australia

Purported “Marriage Bonus” Of Better Health Not Entirely True

June 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A European study finds that though marriage is generally good for a couple’s health – the so-called “marriage bonus” – it can lead to an obesity problem. Married couples tend to eat better than unmarried people, but they exercise less and tend to weigh more. The study looked at health data gathered from face-to-face interviews with 10,226 adults in nine countries. Couples, both men and women, tended to have a higher body mass index than singles, even though they ate more healthful foods. The key factor contributing to weight gain seems to be reduced participation by men in sports.
Jutta Mata et al., "Higher body mass index, less exercise, but healthier eating in married adults: Nine representative surveys across Europe. ", Social Science & Medicine, June 29, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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Body
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Europe
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Switzerland

Athletes Can Avoid Deadly Drops In Blood Sodium By Drinking When Thirsty

June 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Athletes engaged in strenuous exercise should drink water only when thirsty to avoid a serious health problem, U.S. researchers report. Too often hikers, cyclists, runners and others drink water steadily, a practice that seriously reduces blood sodium levels, a condition known as exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), or "water intoxication." Symptoms include headache, vomiting, confusion and seizures, resulting from swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). Unless treated immediately, severe EAH can be fatal. The safest way to hydrate when exercising strenuously, especially in hot weather, is to drink fluids only when thirsty.
Tamara Hew-Butler et al., "Statement of the Third International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference", Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, June 29, 2015, © Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Compulsive Snacking, Without Hunger, Is A Risk Factor For Weight Gain

June 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People who snack compulsively when they’re not hungry can gain as much weight as when they consume large meals or calorie-rich foods, according to Australian researchers. Study participants were found to be susceptible to compulsive snacking, even after finishing a similar snack. In fact, 75 percent of participants ate a second chocolate snack after eating as much as they wanted of a first. The findings suggest that those people – who had a higher BMI – were more impulsive, and more responsive to food reward, even though they weren’t really hungry. The researchers concluded that repeated snacking in the absence of hunger is a risk factor for weight gain.
Stephanie H. Fay et al., "Psychological predictors of opportunistic snacking in the absence of hunger ", Eating Behaviors, June 25, 2015, © Elsevier Ltd.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
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Obesity
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Australia

Periods Of Fasting, Not Just Overall Calorie Reduction, Are Beneficial To Health

June 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers experimenting with middle-aged mice have determined that cycling through periods of low-calorie diets and regular diets leads to a broad array of health benefits. Control groups were fed the same number of calories monthly as those experiencing the “fast mimicking diet” (FMD), but did not get the same health benefits. The FMD cut caloric intake to 34 to 54 percent of normal for four days at a time, with specific amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients. The researchers concluded that the fasting cycles were the key, extending life span, reducing cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammatory diseases, slowing bone mineral density loss and improving the cognitive abilities of older mice.
Sebastian Brandhorst et al., "A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan ", Cell Metabolism, June 18, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Europeans Seem To Know That Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An increasing number of consumers in Europe know that a low-glycemic diet is beneficial to health, according to a study sponsored by functional ingredients maker Beneo. The research, conducted in the U.K., Germany, and Spain, explored attitudes about carbohydrates, sugars and low-glycemic foods and their role in managing blood sugar. Consumers know that carbs are an essential fuel for the body. They know the difference between “good” and “bad” carbs, and that different types of carbs have different effects on the body. They are aware, for example, that whole grain, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and slowly digestible and slow-release carbs are “good.”
"Consumer research reveals improved understanding of the benefits of low glycemic nutrition", NewHope360.com, June 17, 2015, © Penton
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Immunity
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Whole Grains
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Spain

Higher Trans-Fat Consumption Results In Poorer Memory In Men

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical study involving 1,018 men and women found that men 45 years old and younger who consumed more trans-fat in their diets had worse memories than those who consumed less. The participants completed a dietary survey and a memory test that included word recall. Men aged 45 and younger recalled an average of 86 words. However, each added gram of trans-fats consumed reduced memory by 0.76 words. The U.S. researchers said the results focused mainly on men because of the small number of female participants. But factoring in data from women did not change the overall results.
Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, Alexis K. Bui, "A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory", PLoS ONE, June 17, 2015, © Golomb, Bui
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
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Effective Weight Loss Tools Include A Scale And A Spreadsheet

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A two-year U.S. clinical study finds that regular self-weighing and weight recording – known as the “Caloric Titration Method” or CTM – can be effective in losing weight and keeping it off, especially for men. For the study, 162 participants were told to use whatever dieting method they preferred to lose 10 percent of their body weight, in one percent increments, by one year. Half of the group were required to weigh themselves daily and track their weight. The researchers found that CTM produced “a small but sustainable weight loss in overweight males.” CTM seems to reinforce some behaviors, such as eating less, and strengthens others, such as going for a walk, to maintain body weight.
Carly R. Pacanowski, David A. Levitsky, "Frequent Self-Weighing and Visual Feedback for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults. ", Journal of Obesity, June 17, 2015, © Pacanowski and Levitsky
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Dieting & Weight Control
Obesity
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Worldwide
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United States of America

How Fermented Milk Proteins May Protect Against Heart Disease

June 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Korean researchers have found in an animal study that certain dietary compounds -- formed when milk-based products are heated and fermented – lowered total cholesterol levels, including low density lipoproteins and triglycerides. The findings suggest the possibility that the compounds, formed in a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction, could protect humans from cardiovascular disease. The researchers noted that milk proteins produced through heating and fermentation might someday be used as antioxidants and cardioprotective ingredients for functional, pharmaceutical, and dairy applications.
N. S. Oh et al., "Dietary Maillard Reaction Products and Their Fermented Products Reduces Cardiovascular Risk in Animal Model. ", Journal of Dairy Science, June 11, 2015, © American Dairy Science Association
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Heart & Cardiovascular
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South Korea

Research Links Nut Consumption With Lower Mortality Rates

June 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Men and women who snack on nuts or peanuts are significantly less likely to from respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes, according to a Dutch study begun in 1986 involving 120,000 adults aged 55-69. The minimum daily intake of nuts or peanuts should be about 10 grams, or about 0.35 ounces. A standard serving of nuts is about one ounce. Peanuts and tree nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds that, the researchers said, reduced death rates. The protective effect of peanuts did not apply, however, to peanut butter.
Piet A. van den Brandt, Leo J. Schouten, "Relationship of tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake with total and cause-specific mortality: a cohort study and meta-analysis. ", International Journal of Epidemiology, June 10, 2015, © Van Den Brandt & Schouten
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Netherlands

Vitamin E Is Critical For Repair Of Damaged Muscle

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Research in animals conducted in Georgia (U.S.) confirms that vitamin E is crucial to repair of injured muscle, a fact that should cheer body builders as well as sufferers from muscular dystrophy, diabetes-related muscle weakness, and brain trauma from athletics, and military or road injuries. Without vitamin E, the plasma membrane of cells will not heal properly. The plasma membrane keeps a cell from spilling its contents and controls the entry and exit of nutrients, waste, etc. That’s especially important for muscle cells, which are constantly subject to tear. Finding the physiological significance of vitamin E is important, but the researchers cautioned that "the major medical significance here is yet to be uncovered."
Mohamed Labazi et al., "The antioxidant requirement for plasma membrane repair in skeletal muscle. ", Free Radical Biology and Medicine, June 05, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Aging
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E-Bikes Boost Number Of Bike Trips, Distance Traveled, In Norway

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A study conducted in Norway, a nation of eager bike buyers who apparently do not ride regularly, finds that using an electric bike (e-bike) increases the time spent cycling and the distance traveled. The report says e-bikes are “responsible for dramatic changes in people's transport patterns” in the country. E-bikers travel twice the distance of conventional bikers, in terms of kilometers and number of trips taken. Daily trips went from an average of 0.9 to 1.4 trips, and the average length doubled from 4.8 to 10.3 kilometers. E-bike use is different among men and women: men tend to take longer trips, while women take more trips.
Aslak Fyhri, Nils Fearnley, "Effects of e-bikes on bicycle use and mode share. ", Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, June 05, 2015, © Elsevier B.V
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Body
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Europe
Norway

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked To Better Cognitive Ability In At-Risk Adults

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tested the cognitive flexibility of 40 healthy – but Alzheimer’s at-risk – older adults found that those who ate more omega-3 fatty acids had healthier brains. The area of the brain region that contributes to cognitive flexibility (anterior cingulate cortex) was larger in the omega-3 eating adults and they performed better on cognitive flexibility tests. All participants carried the gene variant APOE e4, a biomarker for a higher risk of developing late onset Alzheimer’s. The researchers cautioned that the findings suggest, but do not prove, that eating fish oils enlarges the anterior cingulate cortex and improves cognitive flexibility in older people.
Aron Barbey et al., "Anterior cingulate cortex mediates the relationship between O3PUFAs and executive functions in APOE e4 carriers. ", Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, June 05, 2015, © Frontiers Media S.A.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Food & Nutrition
Mind
Mental Alertness
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The More Time Spent Exercising The Lower The Risk Of Death

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Three hours of any kind of physical activity spread evenly over six days a week reduces the risk of death by any cause among older men, a Norwegian study has found. More than 15,000 men in their forties were given a health exam in 1972-73, and answered a questionnaire about their leisure time physical activity. Time spent doing any exercise was the key, scientists said. Less than an hour a week of light physical activity was not associated with a lower risk of death. But more than an hour was linked to a 32 percent to 56 percent lower risk. Overall, 30 minutes of physical activity – no matter how intense – 6 days a week was linked to a 40 percent reduction in risk of death from any cause.
I. Holme, S. A. Anderssen, "Increases in physical activity is as important as smoking cessation for reduction in total mortality in elderly men: 12 years of follow-up of the Oslo II study. ", British Journal of Sports Medicine, June 05, 2015, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Aging
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Heart & Cardiovascular
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Europe
Norway

Fasting, Rather Than Frequent Snacking, Can Lead To Weight Gain

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study in mice finds that limiting eating to one large meal a day, compared to eating several small meals, is more likely to lead to insulin resistance in the liver, prediabetes, and weight gain. The liver doesn’t respond to insulin signals telling it to stop producing glucose; the excess blood glucose tends to be stored in the abdomen as fat. That stored visceral fat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The findings suggest that human dieters should not skip meals to save calories because that causes large fluctuations in insulin and glucose. That in turn results in weight gain, rather than weight loss.
Kara L. Kliewer et al., "Short-term food restriction followed by controlled refeeding promotes gorging behavior, enhances fat deposition, and diminishes insulin sensitivity in mice. ", The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, June 05, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Food & Nutrition
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Heart & Cardiovascular
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Diabetes
Obesity
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United States of America

Major British Retailer To Enrich Bread Products With Vitamin D

May 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer has begun adding vitamin D to its entire line of packaged bread and rolls. The products are prepared using a vitamin D-rich yeast that has been exposed to UV light. The decision came after the company surveyed 2,476 of its customers, finding that 78 percent wanted vitamin D enrichment of food. In addition, health experts have expressed fears about the rise in rickets cases among British children due to vitamin D deficiencies. Marks and Spencer is the only retailer so far to offer vitamin D-enriched bread.
"Vitamin D to be added to M&S bread", BBC, May 30, 2015, © BBC
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Traces Of Monsanto Herbicide Discovered In South Africa’s Bread, Maize Meal

May 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Governments around the world are moving to restrict, or outright ban, the use of a herbicide known as glyphosate because research has shown it to be carcinogenic in animals, and there is evidence it is harmful to humans. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have all banned or limited glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. But glyphosate use in South Africa has been growing: the country has been slow to act on health warnings, there is almost no regular monitoring, and the herbicide continues to show up in bread and maize meal. Half of South Africa's maize crop and all of its soy crop are genetically modified, which means glyphosate has to be used in cultivation.
Shaun Smillie, "Toxins in your bread", Times Live (New Zealand), May 19, 2015, © Times Media Group
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Genetically Modified Foods
Safety
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Worldwide
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Asia-Pacific
Middle East- Africa
New Zealand
South Africa

A Busy Employee Isn’t Necessarily A Physically Active One

May 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A European study of physical activity in the workplace finds that being busy doesn’t necessarily correlate with being physically active enough to prevent heart disease. The study was conducted in a busy Irish hospital among 83 employees in six healthcare occupations. Each wore a pedometer to record steps; calories burned were also assessed. High levels of activity -- achieving maximal health gains -- were achieved by only 53 percent, especially among pharmacists and nurses. Pedometer data showed that only 6 percent reached the recommended levels of 10,000 steps per working day. Thirty percent were described as "sedentary" (fewer than 5000 steps a day).
McIntyre E. et al., "Exploring the physical activity levels and sedentary behavior of employees within a workplace environment", Study reported at the EuroPrevent Congress, May 17, 2015
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Fitness & Exercise
Heart & Cardiovascular
Obesity
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EMEA
Europe
Ireland

How To Prevent Muscle Loss Among Elderly Is Still A Mystery

May 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
It is fairly common for older people to eat poorly and lead sedentary lives, both of which can speed muscle loss. But what combination of diet, supplements and exercise works best? A review of more than 100 scientific articles about diet and exercise training trials in adults over 65 years old found that results failed to conclusively show what effectively prevents muscle loss (sarcopenia). Some studies did show that a proper diet enhanced the effects of exercise, but much of the research was incomplete or inconsistent. The researchers said “maintaining sufficient levels of physical activity and diet quality to prevent sarcopenia is therefore a priority.” Bottom line: much more research is needed.
Denison HJ et al., "Prevention and optimal management of sarcopenia: A review of combined exercise and nutrition interventions to improve muscle outcomes in older people. ", Clinical Interventions in Aging, May 17, 2015, © Dove Press Ltd
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Europe
United Kingdom

Gluten-Free Diet Is No Panacea

May 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Many misconceptions have been spread in recent years by gluten-free guru authors, and their celebrity devotees, whose anti-gluten rhetoric borders on religious fanaticism. The bombast and nonsense has spawned a billion-dollar gluten-free foods industry almost overnight. A gluten-free diet is certainly important for people diagnosed with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerance. But to claim that avoiding gluten will prevent bloating, Alzheimer’s disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism is, as one author calls it, “fear-mongering.” A major misconception is that gluten-free foods are healthier. One nutrition counseling service says sometimes gluten-free foods have more sugar, fat and calories than gluten-containing foods -- to make up for lost taste.
Melinda Carstensen, "Against the grain: When not to go on a gluten-free diet", FoxNews.com, May 15, 2015, © FOX News Network, LLC
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Disinfectant Wipes Are Highly Effective At Reducing Poultry Preparation Risk

May 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tested the effectiveness of disinfectant wipes on typical countertop materials after preparation of chicken found they reduced the risk of Campylobacter jejuni infection by up to 99.2 percent. People cooking chicken and other poultry don’t need to ingest Campylobacter bacteria to get sick. That’s why it’s critical to wipe kitchen surfaces clean and wash the hands after poultry preparation. Surfaces tested successfully with the disinfectant wipes included granite, laminate and ceramic tile. The researchers said the wipes would also be effective in reducing food poisoning caused by E.coli, Salmonella, and noroviruses.
Gerardo U. Lopez et al., "Impact of Disinfectant Wipes on the Risk of Campylobacter jejuni Infection During Raw Chicken Preparation in Domestic Kitchens. ", Journal of Applied Microbiology, May 12, 2015, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Safety
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Successful Dieting Involves Planning How To Handle Inevitable Negative Feelings

May 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Planning to diet and actually dieting are two very different phases of the weight loss process, and each is guided by unique factors, according to a U.S. study. Planning to diet is a thought process, whereas dieting itself involves feelings. That leads to a disconnect that often dooms the diet to failure. The reaction to deprivation is a feeling, and it’s usually negative. Ignoring food preferences leads to other negative feelings. A key to successful dieting, then, is to plan – not only how to cut calories – but also how to overcome the negative reactions inspired by the diet.
M. T. Kiviniemi et al., "Planning versus action: Different decision-making processes predict plans to change one's diet versus actual dietary behavior. ", Journal of Health Psychology, May 12, 2015, © SAGE Publications
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Mind
Other Mind
Dieting & Weight Control
Obesity
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Electronic Salt Spoon Eases Transition To Low-Sodium Diet

May 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A three-month U.S. pilot study has found that individuals and families were able to significantly reduce the amount of salt they ate daily by using an innovation known as the electronic salt spoon that measures the exact amount of salt in foods. It can be used in everyday cooking to detect salt levels and to help adjust food portions to keep sodium intake to recommended amounts. The researchers said that consumers who consume too much salt are often surprised to find that vegetables, processed foods and restaurant meals – not table salt – are the leading sources of sodium in the American diet.
"Transitions to a low sodium diet with electronic salt spoon", News release, University of Kentucky, May 12, 2015, © University of Kentucky
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Variety (In Pizzas) Is The Bane Of A Healthy Diet

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
To avoid overeating, stick to your favorite brands of food, a British clinical study recommends. The researchers looked at the eating behaviors of 200 people who either tried many different brands and types of pepperoni pizza or who tended to stick to a favorite brand. More than 70 types of pepperoni pizzas, available in supermarkets or from famous name pizza shops, were found. Calorie content among the various brands differed by more than 300 percent, from 501 calories per pie to as much as 1909 calories per pie. The researchers found that people who tried a variety of brands and types of pepperoni pizza tended to eat more, believing the pizza to be less filling.
Charlotte A. Hardman et al., "So Many Brands and Varieties to Choose from: Does This Compromise the Control of Food Intake in Humans? ", PLoS One, May 11, 2015, © Hardman et al.
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Senior Cognition Improves With Mediterranean Diet Fortified With Olive Oil, Nuts

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Adding extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish -- and low in animal fats – improves cognitive performance in older adults, according to a study. But the researchers in Spain cautioned that the findings are preliminary and more research is necessary. The randomized clinical trial included 447 cognitively healthy volunteers who followed a low-fat diet (the control group), a Mediterranean-type diet supplemented with olive oil, or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. After four years, the cognitive functions of the low-fat diet group had declined. But memory improved in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group, and frontal (memory) and global cognition improved in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group.
Cinta Valls-Pedret et al., "Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline. ", JAMA Internal Medicine, May 11, 2015, © American Medical Association
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Genetic Engineering Results In Cattle Whose Beef Is Rich In Omega-3s

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A team of Chinese scientists using genetic engineering techniques has developed a variety of beef cattle whose meat is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, normally found in oily fish. The researchers introduced a gene -- isolated from a nematode worm – that codes for enzymes involved in the conversion of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. The experiments were not without problems, however. Eleven of 14 calves that received the gene (fat1) died before they were four months old from a common cattle infection. Further research is needed to determine the cause, and to perfect the gene transfer process.
Gong Cheng et al., "Production of transgenic beef cattle rich in n-3 PUFAs by somatic cell nuclear transfer. ", Biotechnology Letters, May 11, 2015, © Springer Science+Business Media
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Substituting Unsweetened Drinks For Sugary Ones Cuts Risk Of Diabetes

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A British study has found a link between sugary drinks and the onset of type 2 diabetes. According to the researchers, who gathered data on 25,000 adults up to age 79, found that for every five percent increase in sugary drink calories as a proportion of total calories consumed, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes rose 18 percent. They analyzed various types of sugary beverages: soft drinks, sweetened tea or coffee, sweetened milk drinks, artificially sweetened beverages (ASB), and fruit juice. When they examined what would happened if water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or ASB were substituted for sugary drinks, they found that the risk of type 2 diabetes dropped by 14 to 25 percent.
Nita G. Forouhi et al. , "Prospective associations and population impact of sweet beverage intake and type 2 diabetes, and effects of substitutions with alternative beverages. ", Diabetologia, May 11, 2015, © European Association for the Study of Diabetes
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Why Some Overweight People Have a Tougher Time Shedding Pounds

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
With the proviso that “biology is not destiny,” NIH researchers nevertheless confirmed that some obese people have a harder time losing weight because their metabolisms slow down considerably during a calorie-reduction diet. Tests on 12 obese men and women using a whole-room indirect calorimeter showed that people with “thrifty” metabolisms had a much harder timer dropping the pounds, while people with a “spendthrift” metabolisms easily lost weight. But the researchers said in effect that it’s not a hopeless situation: a balanced diet and regular physical activity over a long period “can be very effective for weight loss."
Martin Reinhardt et al., "A Human Thrifty Phenotype Associated With Less Weight Loss During Caloric Restriction. ", Diabetes, May 11, 2015, © American Diabetes Association
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Risk Of Toxic Overdoses Of Vitamin D Is Virtually Zero

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and for preventing a variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. Research has shown that many Americans do not get enough vitamin D in their diet, so physicians and nutritionists have recommended supplements. But fears have been raised that overdoing vitamin D can be toxic. A new U.S. study, however, shows that the danger of toxic overdoses of vitamin D is rare. Analyzing 10 years of data from 20,000 vitamin D measurements, the researchers found that eight percent had levels greater than the recommended maximum of 50 ng/mL. Less than one percent had levels over 100 ng/mL. But even among those with high levels of vitamin D, the risk of hypercalcemia, or elevated serum calcium, was nonexistent.
Michael F. Holick, "Vitamin D Is Not as Toxic as Was Once Thought: A Historical and an Up-to-Date Perspective", Mayo Clinic Proceedings, May 11, 2015, © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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Calif. Company Launches New Trend In “Detox”: Breakfast Cereals

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The “detox” phenomenon began with teas and juices, and has mostly stayed there. But Solana Beach, Calif.-based Earnest Eats has taken detox into the realm of solid foods with breakfast cereals that support digestion, healthy liver function and the body’s own natural detoxification system. Ingredients, besides lots of fiber (six grams per serving), include globe artichoke, green tea, ginger, and dandelion root. The detox, or “reboot,” process requires three steps, and four cereal versions: lemon, maple, and cayenne Spark (step 1); dragonfruit and maqui berry Beam (step 2); turmeric beans and greens Thrive (step 3), and coconut, chocolate, and date Bliss (step 4).
"PLA Innovation of the Week: detox beyond juice - a new cereal takes the detox concept into foods", Datamonitor, May 11, 2015, © Datamonitor
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For Weight Loss, The Type Of Exercise Really Doesn’t Matter

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The debate continues on what type of exercise – cardio or strength training – is best for losing weight, but Spanish research suggests that the debate is irrelevant. The researchers wanted to find out if endurance training, strength training, or a combination of both, made a difference in body weight or body composition. Researchers monitored 96 obese men and women aged 18 to 50 for 22 weeks. All followed a diet that had 30 percent fewer calories than normal. All were randomly assigned to different exercise regimens that were performed three times a week. The researchers were surprised to find significant reductions in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, total fat mass -- and an increase in muscle mass – no matter the exercise regimen.
Pedro J. Benito et al., "Change in weight and body composition in obese subjects following a hypocaloric diet plus different training programs or physical activity recommendations. Journal of Applied Physiology", Journal of Applied Physiology, May 03, 2015, © The American Physiological Society
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How To Get People To Eat More Healthful – Or More Profitable – Foods

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S review of 112 studies that looked into healthy eating behavior finds that fruits and vegetables that are presented well, are easy to reach and look like a normal eating choice tend to get eaten. The three principles hold true whether at home, in a cafeteria, grocery store or restaurant: fruits, vegetables and other beneficial foods should be convenient, attractive and an obvious choice. A restaurant, for example, could steer patrons away from the deep-fried onion rings by giving the high-profit shrimp salad appetizer an enticing name, highlighting it on the menu, and having the waitress point it out as a special.
Brian Wansink, "Change Their Choice! Changing Behavior Using theCANApproach and Activism Research. ", Psychology & Marketing, May 03, 2015, © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Drop In Average Grain Consumption Worries Nutritionists In Australia

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Consumption data collected in 2014 from 3,031 Australians (aged 2 to 70 years) indicate a serious decline in eating bread, white pasta and noodles, since 2011, apparently due to the increasing popularity of paleo and gluten-free diets. The study found that six percent of Australians now eat no grains at all, and intake of grains on average has dropped from six to four servings a day. Dietitians are concerned because a decline in grain consumption means Australians could be missing out on vital fiber and nutrients (iron, B vitamins).
Sue Dunlevy, "Paleo diet and gluten-free fad behind 30 percent fall in grain consumption in three years", News Corp Australia Network, May 03, 2015, © News Limited
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Research Shows Balanced Protein Intake Is Key To Weight Loss

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
One of the keys to losing weight, or to maintaining weight loss, is to eat a sufficient amount of protein each day. But U.S. researchers who reviewed earlier studies find that it is especially important to disperse the protein intake throughout the day to achieve weight loss goals. The researchers recommend that people start with at least thirty grams of protein at breakfast. A day’s diet should contain 1.2 – 1.6 grams of high-quality protein (from eggs, beef, pork or dairy) per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 150-pound (68-kilogram) woman should eat approximately 90-100 grams of protein a day to lose weight or prevent gaining weight.
H. J. Leidy et al., "The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 03, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Trading Two Minutes Of Walking For Two Minutes Of Sitting Lowers Mortality Risk

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Low intensity activities like standing do not offset the adverse health effects of sitting for a long time, day after day. But a new U.S. study based on data from the NHANE survey shows that short periods of light intensity activities (like casual walking, light gardening, etc.) substituted for sitting actually lengthens the lifespan of people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially if they sit for more than half of their waking hours each day. Trading two minutes of sitting for two minutes of low intensity activities (e.g., standing) accomplishes nothing. But trading two minutes of sitting for two minutes of walking was associated with a 33 percent lower risk of dying.
Srinivasan Beddhu et al., "Light-Intensity Physical Activities and Mortality in the United States General Population and CKD Subpopulation. ", CJASN, May 03, 2015, © American Society of Nephrology
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Food Industry Pushes Unhealthy Foods, Blames Obesity On Inactivity

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists writing in a journal editorial excoriate the food industry – comparing its marketing tactics to those of “Big Tobacco” – for pushing sugary and fatty foods on people, while blaming obesity on a lack of physical activity. "Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation," they write. Though regular exercise is important for warding off serious illnesses, no one can “outrun” a diet loaded with sugar, carbs, and fat. In fact, calorie-packed diets now generate more bad health than a sedentary lifestyle, alcohol, and smoking combined, the scientists write.
A. Malhotra et al., "It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet. ", British Journal of Sports Medicine, May 03, 2015, © British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
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Substituting Navy Bean Flour For Wheat Flour To Make Gluten-Free Cakes

April 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A recent study finds that whole navy bean flour – naturally gluten free -- can successfully replace wheat flour in cake baking. Scientists analyzed the effect of navy bean flour at three levels of protein content, comparing it with wheat flour samples. Batters had higher viscosity than conventional cake flour batter. Lowering protein content by adding starch reduced viscosity. Navy bean cakes were softer, but not as spongy. The researchers concluded that when the protein content of navy bean flour is adjusted to a level similar to wheat flour it “has potential as a healthy alternative in gluten-free cakes.”
Alissa Marrapodi, "Navy Bean Flour Gluten-Free Alternative for Cakes?", Food Product Design, April 30, 2015, © Informa Exhibitions LLC.
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Eight Nutrients That Can Keep The Aging Brain In Tip-Top Shape

April 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A cognitive specialist has compiled a list of eight nutrients that, according to published studies, protect the brain from the damaging effects of aging. At the top of the list are cocoa flavanols. Research has shown that they not only improve circulation and heart health, they also seem to benefit the dentate gyrus, a part of the brain associated with age-related memory. A mouse study showed that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements result in better object recognition memory, and spatial and localizatory memory that recalls facts and knowledge. Other brain-boosting nutrients and foods included phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid, walnuts, citicoline, choline, magnesium and blueberries.
Linda Milo Ohr, "Protecting the Aging Brain", Food Technology, April 24, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Sugar Relieves Stress, But Amplifies Health Problems

April 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A small U.S. clinical study that tested the impact of beverage sweeteners on the brain found that sugar – but not aspartame – relieves emotional stress. The study involved 19 young adult women whose brain responses were monitored during math tests. Before the tests, women drank beverages sweetened with sugar or aspartame. The response of the hormone cortisol was inhibited in the brains of study participants who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. The sugar actually relieved stress. The problem, researchers said, is that this can lead to increased reliance on sugary drinks and foods at emotionally stressful times, amplifying serious health problems such as obesity.
Matthew S. Tryon et al., "Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body. ", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, April 24, 2015, © The Endocrine Society
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Most Studies On Weight-Loss Programs Are Useless – Just Like The Programs

April 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Most commercial weight-loss programs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and neither are the studies purportedly proving their effectiveness, according to a U.S. review. The researchers culled just 39 valid clinical trials covering 11 programs – of 32 commercial programs on the market – from 4,200 studies. The worthwhile studies tested Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, HMR, Medifast, OPTIFAST, Atkins, SlimFast, the Internet-based Biggest Loser Club, eDiets and Lose It!. “Gold-standard” data on Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig showed that participants, on average, lost more weight after one year than people on self-directed diets, or people who simply read health information or received other forms of education and counseling.
Kimberly A. Gudzune et al., "Efficacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs. ", Annals of Internal Medicine, April 23, 2015, © American College of Physicians
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Extracts Of Pears May Offer Hope For Diabetics With High Blood Pressure

April 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
American researchers have found in test tube experiments that two varieties of pears might help people control type 2 diabetes, as well as hypertension caused by diabetes. Studies tested the peel, pulp and juice of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears, both rich in phenolic compounds. They found that the watery extract of Bartlett pulp acted like ACE (angiotensin-I-converting enzyme) inhibitors, the medications used to treat high blood pressure. In further testing, they found that fermented Starkrimson pear extract can inhibit H. pylori – a gut bacteria associated with gastritis and stomach ulcers – without affecting beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Dipayan Sarkar et al., "Dietary functional benefits of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears for potential management of hyperglycemia, hypertension and ulcer bacteria Helicobacter pylori while supporting beneficial probiotic bacterial response. ", Food Research International, April 23, 2015, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Maple Syrup Extract Effective At Killing Bacteria When Used With Antibiotics

April 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
New Canadian research reports that maple syrup extract seems to boost the effectiveness of antibiotics on dangerous bacteria. The findings are important because overuse of antibiotics is associated with the rise in drug-resistant bacteria, a major global public health problem. The researchers prepared a concentrated extract of maple syrup that comprises mainly phenolic compounds. They tested the extract on infection-causing strains of E. coli, Proteus mirabilis and other bacteria. The extract was somewhat effective by itself, but very effective when combined with antibiotics.
Vimal B. Maisuria et al., "Polyphenolic Extract from Maple Syrup Potentiates Antibiotic Susceptibility and Reduces Biofilm Formation of Pathogenic Bacteria. ", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, April 23, 2015, © American Society for Microbiology
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Overdoing Supplement Dosages Increases Cancer Risk

April 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An American researcher who has spent 20 years studying the impact of diet and dietary supplements on cancer has concluded that taking larger than recommended dosages of supplements to prevent cancer actually  increases the risk of cancer. In one study, data showed that taking high levels of beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer and heart disease by 20 percent. Another study found that taking too much folic acid increases the number of colorectal polyps rather than reduces them. The bottom line, researchers say, is that people should get their vitamins and other nutrients from fresh foods, though proper dosages of supplements are generally safe.
Tim Byers, "Dietary supplements shown to increase cancer risk", Blog entry, research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, April 20, 2015, © University of Colorado Cancer Center
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