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October 22, 2009, 7:09 AM CT

Fighting obesity with plant-based foods

Fighting obesity with plant-based foods
The cheeseburger and French fries might look tempting, but eating a serving of broccoli or leafy greens first could help people battle metabolic processes that lead to obesity and heart disease, a new University of Florida study shows.

Eating more plant-based foods, which are rich in substances called phytochemicals, seems to prevent oxidative stress in the body, a process linked to obesity and the onset of disease, as per findings published online in advance of the print edition of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

To get enough of these protective phytochemicals, scientists suggest eating plant-based foods such as leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes at the start of a meal. Using what is known as a phytochemical index, which compares the number of calories consumed from plant-based foods compared with the overall number of daily calories, could also help people make sure they remember to get enough phytochemicals during their regular meals and snacks, said Heather K. Vincent, Ph.D., the main author of the paper.

"We need to find a way to encourage people to pull back on fat and eat more foods rich in micronutrients and trace minerals from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy," said Vincent, an assistant professor in the UF Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute. "Fill your plate with colorful, low-calorie, varied-texture foods derived from plants first. By slowly eating phytochemical-rich foods such as salads with olive oil or fresh-cut fruits before the actual meal, you will likely reduce the overall portion size, fat content and energy intake. In this way, you're ensuring that you get the variety of protective, disease-fighting phytochemicals you need and controlling caloric intake".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:09 PM CT

Think what you eat

Think what you eat
New research released recently is affirming a long-held maxim: you are what you eat and, more to the point, what you eat has a profound influence on the brain. The findings offer insight into the neurobiological factors behind the obesity epidemic in the United States and other developed countries. The findings exposed changes in brain chemistry due to diet and weight gain, and were reported at Neuroscience 2009, the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

Obesity has been associated with rises in diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks, among other disorders. In the past decade alone, medical spending for obesity is estimated to have increased 87 percent in the United States reaching $147 billion in 2008 as per a research studyfunded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new research adds another dimension to understanding how obesity rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years.

The new findings show that:
  • Disruptions in the sleep/wake cycle lead to weight gain, impulsivity, slower thinking, and other physiological and behavioral changes. These findings appears to be especially important for people who do shift work (Ilia Karatsoreos, PhD, abstract 471.1, see attached summary).........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 14, 2009, 7:19 AM CT

Candy bar or healthy snack?

Candy bar or healthy snack?
If you think choosing between a candy bar and healthy snack is totally a matter of free will, think again. A newly released study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the choices we make to indulge ourselves or exercise self-control depend on how the choices are presented.

Author Juliano Laran (University of Miami) tested subjects to determine how certain words and concepts affected consumers' decisions for self-control or indulgence. He observed that consumer choices were affected by the actions most recently suggested to them by certain key words.

The tests involved a word-scramble containing words that suggested either indulgence ("weight") or self-control ("delicious"). "Participants who unscrambled sentences linked to self-control were more likely to choose a healthy snack (a granola bar) to be consumed right now, but an indulgent snack (a chocolate bar) to be consumed in the future," writes Laran. Participants who unscrambled sentences linked to indulgence were more likely to choose an indulgent snack to be consumed right now but a healthy snack to be consumed in the future".

A second study examined the same phenomenon, but it involved information linked to saving versus spending money. Again, when information about saving money was active (participants had been exposed to words linked to saving money), participants said that they imagined themselves trying to save money while shopping in the present, but spending a lot of money while shopping in the future. When words about spending money were suggested, the study showed the opposite result.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 14, 2009, 7:17 AM CT

Self-esteem in overweight and underweight women

Self-esteem in overweight and underweight women
Overweight women's self-esteem plummets when they view photographs of models of any size, as per a newly released study in Journal of Consumer Research And underweight women's esteem increases, regardless of models' size.

Authors Dirk Smeesters (Erasmus University, the Netherlands), Thomas Mussweiler (University of Cologne, Gera number of), and Naomi Mandel (Arizona State University) researched the ways individuals with different body mass indexes (BMIs) felt when they were exposed to thin or heavy media models.

"Our research confirms earlier research that observed that normal body mass index (BMI) females' self-esteem can shift upwards or downwards depending on the model they are exposed to," the authors write. "Normal BMI females (with BMIs between 18.5 and 25) have higher levels of self-esteem when exposed to moderately thin models (because they feel similar to these models) and extremely heavy models (because they feel dissimilar to these models). However, they have lower levels of self-esteem when exposed to moderately heavy models (because they feel similar) and extremely thin models (because they feel dissimilar)".

This research provides important new insights into how media exposure affects the self-esteem of overweight and underweight women. "Underweight women's self-esteem always increases, regardless of the model they look at," the authors explain. "Conversely, overweight women's self-esteem always decreases, regardless of the model they look at." Perhaps surprisingly, overweight and underweight women showed comparable levels of self-esteem when they weren't looking at models.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 8, 2009, 7:50 AM CT

Overweight, breathing and sleep disorders

Overweight, breathing and sleep disorders
Overweight individuals are not just at greater risk of having sleep-disordered-breathing (SDB), they are also likely to suffer greater consequences, as per new research.

As per the study, to be reported in the October 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an official publication of the American Thoracic Society, excess weight increased the severity of oxygen desaturation in the blood of individuals with SDB during and after apneas and hypopneas.

"We knew that excess body weight is strongly correlation to more frequent breathing eventsapneas and hypopneasin persons with SDB," said main author Paul E. Peppard, Ph.D., assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "In this study, we wanted to go a step further and measure how much the excess weight contributes to the severity of individual breathing events".

Dr. Peppard and his colleagues recruited 750 adults from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study, an ongoing epidemiological investigation into the natural history of SDB, to have their breathing, blood-oxygen levels and sleep analyzed. Participants were also reviewed on several measures of physiquebody mass index (BMI), neck -circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

Among the participants in the overnight study, 40 percent of whom were obese, there were more than 37,000 SDB events. The scientists observed that many factors influenced the severity of blood oxygen desaturation linked to these events, including age, gender, body position and sleep phase (REM or non-REM sleep). However, even after these other factors were accounted for, the scientists observed that BMI predicted the degree to which the body's tissues were "starved" of oxygen during apneas and hypopneas. In fact, each 10-point increase in BMI predicted a 10 percent increase in the severity of oxygen depletion linked to SDB events.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 8:04 AM CT

High-fat diet impairs muscle health

High-fat diet impairs muscle health
Skeletal muscle plays a critical role in regulating blood sugar levels in the body. But few studies have comprehensively examined how obesity caused by a high-fat diet affects the health of muscle in adolescents who are pre-diabetic.

In a paper published tomorrow in the scientific journal PLoS One, a team of McMaster University scientists report that the health of young adult muscle declines during the pre-diabetic state, which is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but lower than during Type 2 diabetes. The scientists observed that during this period significant impairments occur in the muscle, even though it may be functioning normally.

"Based on the way the muscles performed, you would believe that they're still healthy," said Thomas Hawke, an associate professor of pathology and molecular medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University. "But the fact is the muscle is not healthy. It's undergone a lot of pathological changes".

Hawke led a team of scientists at McMaster and York universities in using mice to examine how a high-fat diet, leading to obesity, affected the form and function of skeletal muscle. The scientists found the high-fat diet resulted in insulin resistance, large increases in fat mass and weight gain. But it also led to initial adaptations in the muscle.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2009, 7:18 AM CT

Impact of Los Angeles fast-food restaurant ban on obesity

Impact of Los Angeles fast-food restaurant ban on obesity
Restrictions on fast-food chain restaurants in South Los Angeles are not addressing the main differences between neighborhood food environments and are unlikely to improve the diet of residents or reduce obesity, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

Scientists from RAND Health observed that the South Los Angeles region has no more fast-food chain establishments on a per capita basis than other parts of the city, but rather a number of more small food stores and other food outlets.

Those outlets are more likely to be the source of high-calorie snacks and soda consumed substantially more often by residents of South Los Angeles as in comparison to other parts of the city, as per the study published online by the journal Health Affairs

"The Los Angeles ordinance may have been an important first by being concerned with health outcomes, but it is not the most promising approach to lowering the high rate of obesity in South Los Angeles," said Roland Sturm, the study's main author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "It does not address the main differences we see in the food environment between Los Angeles neighborhoods nor in the diet of residents."

The Los Angeles City Council in August 2008 approved a ban on opening or expanding fast-food restaurants in an area of the city known as South Los Angeles. The ordinance focused on fast food restaurants characterized by "excessive signage, little or no landscaping, large expanses of surface parking, drive-through windows, multiple driveways, parking lots fronting the street" and argued that the low-income region had a higher concentration of fast-food establishments than more-affluent sections of the city.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 7:00 AM CT

NFL players not more likely to develop heart disease

NFL players not more likely to develop heart disease
Former professional football players with large bodies don't appear to have the same risk factors for heart disease as their non-athletic counterparts, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found in studying a group of National Football League (NFL) alumni.

In comparison to other men in a similar age range, retired NFL players had a significantly lower prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, sedentary lifestyles and metabolic syndrome, the study authors report. The scientific findings are reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

"Despite their large body size, retired NFL players do not have a greater prevalence of heart disease risk factors when in comparison to the general population," said Dr. Alice Chang, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's main author. "In fact, other factors such as age and high cholesterol levels were better predictors for heart disease than the body size of the former athletes in our study".

When body mass index (BMI) standards are applied, more than half of all professional football players are considered overweight or obese, which is considered an indicator for heart disease risk. Dr. Chang said eventhough a majority of these players are not as fit and active after retirement, they still had fewer risk factors for heart disease than men of the same age and body size from the Dallas Heart Study, a groundbreaking investigation of cardiovascular disease that involves thousands of Dallas County residents.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 6:53 AM CT

Those overweight middle-aged women

Those overweight middle-aged women
Women who put on weight as they approach middle-age could reduce their chances of enjoying a healthy old age by up to 80%, as per research from the University of Warwick.

The study, published recently (Wednesday) in the British Medical Journal, suggests that women who have a high body mass index in middle age are significantly more likely to suffer from major chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease and poor quality of life.

Dr Oscar Franco, Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health at Warwick Medical School collaborated on the paper with scientists from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

The research team observed that for every 1kg gained in weight since the age of 18, the odds of healthy survival into old age decreased by 5%.

They also observed that women who were overweight at the age of 18 and continued to gain weight as they grew older were most at risk of developing a major chronic disease. Obese women with a body mass index of more than 25kg/m2 had 79% lower odds of aging without developing a chronic disease, in comparison to women with a body mass index of 18.5-22.9kg/m2.

The research team used the Nurses' Health Study, which has gathered data from more than 120,000 female registered nurses living in 11 US states since 1976. Follow-up questionnaires have been sent out every two years to update information on disease incidence and lifestyle factors.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:39 PM CT

Metabolic syndrome, liver disease and obese teenaged boy

Metabolic syndrome,  liver disease and obese teenaged boy
Scientists studying a large sample of adolescent American boys have found an association between metabolic syndrome, which is a complication of obesity, and elevated liver enzymes that mark potentially serious liver disease.

The link between metabolic syndrome and the suspected liver disease did not appear in adolescent girls, said study leader Rose C. Graham, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. There were ethnic differences among the boys as well, she added, between Hispanic and non-Hispanic males.

The study appears in the October 2009 print edition of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Metabolic syndrome is of concern as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and is estimated to occur in 22 percent of U.S. adults and 4 percent of U.S. adolescents. It is defined by insulin resistance, increased waist circumference, high blood pressure, and abnormal measures of high density lipoprotein ("good cholesterol") and triglycerides in the blood. The criteria are similar for pediatric metabolic syndrome, eventhough there is some dispute over details of the definition.

In adults, scientists have shown an association between metabolic syndrome and a group of diseases called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which at its most severe, may progress to irreversible liver damage. The purpose of the current study was to investigate to what extent metabolic syndrome in adolescents was linked to elevated levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a marker of NAFLD.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Exercise can't stop the aging process, but experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say that for the elderly, whether it's weight training, walking, swimming or biking, 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week is a good prescription for aging."It's never too late to start exercising," said Dr. Robert Roush, an associate professor of medicine-geriatrics at BCM. "Being physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay some diseases and disabilities as people age.".

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