Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fidgeting For Your Health

Previous research has lead to the hypothesis that sitting for extended periods of time reduces blood flow to your legs, and therefore can contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. New research coming out of the University of Missouri shows that there could potentially be an easy counterbalance to the ill effects of sitting… Fidgeting. Yes, the habit that many have ingrained in their daily life to help deal with stress or nerves, could help with blood flow to your legs. Researchers tested the hypothesis on healthy young men and women during a sitting time of three hours, while measuring blood flow in an artery of the lower leg. Those that fidgeted showed an increase in blood flow, which could decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease due to sitting. While it is still optimal to stand and walk to break up your sitting time, when you are without that opportunity, fidgeting can be an acceptable alternative.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Who's Calling The Shots?

If you’re ever lonely just remind yourself that you have 40 trillion tiny little friends in low places. The low places I’m speaking of are the intestines. The complex relationship shared between the body and the 40 trillion bacterial cells sheltered in the intestines is of great interest even to psychologists now who speculate that disorders such as autism, depression, memory and obsessive-compulsive disorder may be related the gut microbes. So, it poses the question: who’s really calling the shots, the microbes, or the mind? The brain and microbes cross paths at the brain-gut-enteric microbiota axis, or the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Here microbes are believed to interact with nerves to impact hormones, and the hormones, as you may know, can contribute to a chemical imbalance that result in depression and other hormone-related issues. More research is needed in this topic, but the understanding is that altering the levels of gut microorganisms may alter out mood, behaviors, and memory.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"Negative Calories " Add Up in the End

Myths are common in the food and nutrition world, and can spread quickly, leading to a misinformed public. One topic of interest within the general public is weight loss, and a long-lasting myth is that of “negative-calories”. Negative calories is an idea that certain foods will help with weight loss, even when consumed in unlimited portions, due to the negligible number of calories (thought to be quickly burned by chewing, digesting and absorbing the nutritional content) while also boosting your metabolism after eating, ultimately causing weight loss. Yes, this for anyone sounds extremely enticing, an idea I for one would love to believe, but there is no evidence of support. Even though some foods, say lettuce or cucumbers, have a low number of calories, they still count towards your daily caloric intake. To challenge the myth, all you need to know are some basic facts about metabolism. Our bodies burn calories at rest, a function called our basal metabolic rate, or BMR, which fluctuates between each person and depends on factors such as height, weight or age. Next is the thermic effect of food, the energy exerted to chew, digest and store nutrients. Our bodies burn the least amount of calories during these two acts, therefore, despite a small rise in our metabolism after eating, even extremely low-calorie foods cannot be expected to cause weight loss. Research has yet to be done specifically on negative calories, but for now, facts of metabolism seem to debunk this myth.

You can find the full article here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Give Me Some Sugar, Better Yet, Some Brazzein

Calorie-free or low-calorie sweeteners have become increasingly popular due to new attitudes regarding sugar. We’ve all seen the yellow, pink, and white sugar packets and an array of different sugars in the baking isle, but a new protein may begin to gain popularity as a low calorie sweetener – brazzein. Brazzein is a fruit protein derived from West African fruit, but the reason you don’t hear about it is because the isolation of brazzein is very difficult. There is a new approach, however, that utilizes yeast to over produce specific proteins that are involved in the formation of brazzein. This approach was done by a specific yeast species where 2.6 times more brazzein was produced and, according to a taste panel, the product was over 2000 times sweeter than traditional sugar. This is very useful research for nutritionists, food chemists, biologists and those in the food industry and it is only the beginning of brazzein.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Anorexia of Aging Debunked

            The phrase “anorexia of aging” refers to the decreased appetite experienced by older adults, and is common among 15-20 % of the elderly. A decreased appetite may sound like a good thing to some, but the unintentional weight loss may be especially detrimental to the health of seniors. Previously, it was believed that the anorexia of aging was due to a decrease in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates the feeling of hunger, but new research suggests the appetite reduction may stem from an increase in a satiety (fullness) hormone peptide YY. In this study older adults demonstrated a greater production of PYY compared to a younger age group, while the levels of GLP-1 and ghrelin remained similar between the two groups. Based on this study, it can be hypothesized that greater levels of PYY contribute to undernutrition and weight loss among older adults. Knowing which hormone to target can potentially be useful in treating, or managing the anorexia of aging.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

College Linemen Heavier than Ever!

            A recent study has shown that college linemen, even in a lower division, are larger than ever with weights 38 % greater than their 1956 counterpart, according to Tufts University. This is a potential issue for the athletes after their career has ended. Tufts University professor Dr. David Greenblatt released a statement that American football should develop ways for players to integrate back into a normal lifestyle after their football career is over. The big push on being “bigger, faster and stronger” among athletes at all ages has lead to hyper-nutrition and larger linemen as a potential result (other positions not so much). It is important for these athletes to be aware of the health risks associated with carrying that much weight later on down the road.