This is the time of year we tend to consider a change in diet. There has been a lot of confusion in recent years about what constitutes a healthy diet, with many people advocating and espousing a ketogenic diet, similar to the Atkins diet: a low-carbohydrate, high-fat/high-cholesterol diet (HF/HC). Since most North Americans will die of a heart attack or stroke if they don’t die young from another cause, this is a big mistake.
In 2016, there were large headlines trumpeting that “we can eat cholesterol now; the new U.S. guideline says so.” But that’s not what the guideline said. It said that there were insufficient data on which to base a specific limit to daily cholesterol intake, as in the past, but the intake of cholesterol should be as low as possible within the recommended eating pattern.
A study that clarifies what is the best diet for weight loss and diabetes was done among overweight residents of a nuclear facility in Israel, who were randomized to a low-fat versus a low-carb HF/HC (Atkins) diet, versus the Mediterranean diet. Weight loss was identical on the Mediterranean diet and the low-carb HF/HC diet, and both were better than the low-fat diet. The key finding, though, was that the Mediterranean diet was clearly the best for lowering blood sugar, fasting insulin levels and something called insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic state).
So the healthiest diet is the Mediterranean diet – a high-fat/low-glycemic index diet. This is why recent guidelines – the 2016 U.S. guideline, and the Canadian guideline now in development – are moving toward a more plant-based pattern of eating. We should limit red meat, avoid egg yolks and have three vegetarian days a week.
Read the full article at The Globe and Mail
Evaluation of GMO crops that emphasizes independent science — rather than nonpublic research by pesticide companies — reflects that in 2015, the research arm of the World Health Organization analyzed all published glyphosate studies and determined the pesticide was a probable carcinogen. That finding prompted California to add glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals.
Escalating use of GMO crops and glyphosate has triggered the growth of glyphosate-resistant superweeds across nearly 100 million acres in 36 states. To combat that, pesticide companies are now pushing the use of the highly toxic, drift-prone pesticide dicamba on a new generation of GMO crops that tolerate both dicamba and glyphosate.
I have long been perplexed that so many people continue to condemn foods made from genetically modified organisms that have been consumed by Americans and others for decades with no deleterious effects.
Mitch Daniels rightly framed as “immoral” the scientifically baseless yet “concerted, deep-pockets campaign” to persuade “a high percentage of Americans and Europeans to avoid GMO products” and “inflict their superstitions” on the world’s poor and hungry.
Apparently, winning market share and lawsuits is more important to some people than feeding a hungry planet.
Read the full article in The Washington Post
Since the earliest days of civilization, humanity has been trying to work out how to enjoy all the pleasure of drinking alcohol with none of the pain of a hangover.
To combat the symptoms of a big night out, veteran partygoers swear by everything from the hair of the dog to a full English breakfast to alleviate the symptoms of a big night out – but do any of them work?
Alas, the NHS has no words of comfort for the regretful raver. “There is no cure for a hangover,” is their stark ruling on the subject.
So, from a scientific perspective, anything purporting to be a “miracle” hangover cure is probably a load of hokum. But if the thought of getting out of bed is making you quail and you’re willing to give anything a go, here are some of the most unusual remedies from around the world.
Leche de Tigre, or tiger’s milk, is the Peruvian name for the potent marinade used to make ceviche, the national dish of raw seafood.
Balut is a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell – beak and all. Although it might turn even the most hardened of stomachs, it is often recommended as the ultimate hangover remedy and is also believed to boost male fertility and libido.
More of this at The Week
AS desperate dieters go to extreme lengths to shed the Christmas kilos and slim down for summer, experts have taken aim at a deadly new diet that bans everything but water, tea, and coffee.
With the so-called #waterfast diet becoming a potentially fatal fad via social media, body image and eating disorder advocate Mia Findlay warned “starving” your body was the “most dangerous” way to lose weight.
“There are a lot of people who do reviews on these so-called diets, and they say they felt so clear-headed, and they felt like they were reaching this state of nirvana, and the reason that is happening is that their bodies are going into starvation mode,” Ms. Findlay said.
Meanwhile, eating disorder expert Joanne Labiner said “water fasting” pushed the body to an anorexia-like state, risking organ damage and death.
“It can be so bad for your organs, that’s why people with anorexia can die of a heart attack — their body feeds on their heart,” she said. “Our body thinks it’s an emergency and tries to prevent that fat storage from being used up and it feeds on the muscle.”
Read the full article in Daily Telegraph
Cold weather doesn’t literally make you sick, but the winter season does indeed make you more prone to catching a bad cold. Chilly conditions mean you spend more time indoors, where bacteria and viruses are more likely to linger in the air and on surfaces you touch, and the drop in temperature leaves your mucous membranes dry, irritated, and more vulnerable to infection.
The holiday season can be particularly rough on the ol’ immune system, what with all the traveling and hanging out with far-flung relatives and their exotic germs. And let’s be honest, you’re probably not taking the best care of yourself either—drinking, eating lots of unhealthy food, staying up late.
Actually, take a break!
The simplest remedy is also the most effective, and probably the most disappointing. If you had time to rest, dammit, you wouldn’t be Googling around for quick cold remedies.
But listen, friends: you’ve got to get some rest. Really.
If you absolutely must go into the workplace (or to a family gathering for the holidays) bring some hand sanitizer with you. You usually want to avoid killing off the microbes that live on your skin. But if you’re exposing innocent bystanders to your cold or flu, the least you can do is give yourself a good Purell rubdown after any contact between your hands and your mucus-y bits.
More of this at Popular Science
Decades of fretting over the safety and virtue of genetically modified organisms have led to a perverse outcome. Plant scientists in academia and startup companies have largely shied away from creating new GM crop varieties because it takes, on average, more than a hundred million dollars and over a decade to get such a plant approved by regulators in the United States, and also because the idea of GMO food has elicited public outrage.
As a result, a few large agricultural and chemical producers like Monsanto—or MonSatan, if you prefer—dominate the GM industry, making a killing off herbicide- and insect-resistant corn and soybeans.
New gene-editing tools, either CRISPR or the slightly older TALEN, don’t insert a foreign gene into the plant to create a new trait (as typically happens with conventional GMOs) but, rather, tweak the plant’s existing DNA. The engineered crops thus sidestep the lengthy regulatory process and could avoid the stigmas surrounding GMOs entirely.
Read the full article at MIT Technology Review
Everybody wants glowing skin – be it a man or a woman. Now, everyone is not blessed with healthy skin, and some of us are constantly on the look-out for measures to make our skin not only look better but also feel better.
To help you tackle this, and ensure your skin looks healthier than ever, here are 4 points that will surely be of some help.
• Cleanse your skin
• Moisturise to energize
• A good night’s sleep
Read the full article at GQ India
Trials for a GM banana variety, which is resistant to wilt and contains vitamin A, have been ongoing since 2004 in an effort to improve production. The law will mean this crop can be released to the public.
“Now that the law has been passed, we’re able to go for open-field trials [of the technologies] before releasing them to the public,” says Priver Namanya Bwesigye, a plant biotechnologist at the National Agricultural Research Organisation. She adds that GM bananas could be released for public use in 2021.
Other GM trials include developing cassava resistant to brown streak, drought-resistant maize, and bollworm-resistant cotton.
Critics say GM crops will make farmers beholden to big agribusiness by having to buy seeds every season. Farmers in Uganda produce between 80% and 85% of their own seeds (pdf), saving some of their harvest as seed for the next planting season.
Scientists say the GM banana will fight vitamin A deficiency. In Uganda, on average, 30% of people do not get enough of this vitamin, Bwesigye says: the World Health Organization classifies the situation as grave if 15% of the population is deficient.
“[Malnutrition] is rampant in communities feeding a lot on staple [crops],” she says. “We are addressing communities feeding on these bananas every day.” She says the culture in Uganda is still for people to feed on staples and little else, rather than having a more varied diet that includes vegetables.
Read more at The Guardian
What doesn’t kill brain cells might make them stronger. The brain cells of mice who regularly fast may grow more than usual once they get food again, according to research presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in November and first reported by New Scientist.
One particular protein may be behind the growth: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In humans, BDNF may be involved in learning and memory. Levels of this protein tend to decline as a person gets older, especially if someone is diagnosed with a disease that can affect cognitive functions like Alzheimer’s. However, levels of this protein increase in mice that have been fasting by up to 50 percent.
In theory, Mattson said, BDNF might be stimulating cells to produce more mitochondria. Mitochondria are often described as the powerhouse of the cell—they’re what are responsible for transforming chemicals into an energy form that a cell can use to function. Having more of these mitochondria may allow brain cells to make more connections to other brain cells, too.
However, that’s still speculation. For now, so is the idea that fasting might make your brain work better. What Mattson can say, though, is that it might—“if you’re a mouse or a rat.”
Botanical dietary supplements continue to be popular in the United States. The American Botanical Council (ABC) recently published the Herb Market Report 2016, which listed a number of reasons behind the current interest by consumers.
Botanicals that are believed to be beneficial for overall health—rather than a specific health condition—showed greater increases in sales. In alignment with this is the uptick in sales of a number of adaptogens–substances that allow the body to better resist various stress factors. Plants in this category include ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, mushrooms and Rhodiola.
The increased interest in herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine has also been obvious by the fact that Boswellia, turmeric, and fenugreek posted some of the largest gains in 2016. But the success of these herbs is not only based on an increased interest in Ayurvedic medicine, but also due to the fact that these herbs have a large body of scientific data supporting their health benefits.
In addition, inflammatory conditions are very common in our society; thus, ingredients with sound data that may be used to alleviate the symptoms of some of these conditions, e.g., turmeric and Boswellia, have a large pool of potential consumers.
Read more at Natural Products Insider