Want More Brain Energy? Try this Diet!

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.”

News Week

People Are Losing Their Minds Over The CICO Diet

Another day, another diet (or another diet headline at least) and this new diet, named CICO for “Calories In, Calories Out” is particularly appealing because you can eat whatever you like and still lose weight.

Sprouted on the Reddit website, it is claimed that the CICO diet works wonders as it allows dieters to eat whatever types of foods they like, in whatever form they want, as long as they consume fewer calories than they burn — the good old weight loss equation.

As such we are likely to see the CICO Diet in the pile of old, useless diets in a few short months.
So here are just some of the reasons it is unlikely you can eat masses of cake, fast food, and sugary processed snacks while dropping the kilos.

1. Weight loss is not a one size fits all model

While we often talk about weight loss as a universal concept, the reality is that every single person has a unique set of genes, lifestyle, and behaviors that ultimately means the specific variables required for fat metabolism and sustainable weight loss will be different for every single person.

2. It is easy to go overboard with calories

The CICO Diet sounds appealing — eat cake and lose weight but it is important to remember it is difficult to keep daily calorie intake controlled when high calorie, processed foods including fast and fried foods, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and pastries are being consumed.

Read more at News.com

Is Insulin Resistance Linked to Diet Quality?

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the role of diet quality in increasing rates of insulin resistance in a Chinese population.

As you consume a meal, glucose (sugar) from the carbohydrates you ingest is released into the bloodstream. This triggers a response causing your body to produce the hormone insulin, enabling the glucose to be absorbed by the cells in your body to be used for energy. As the glucose enters your body’s cells, the concentration of glucose in your blood decreases. Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells cannot respond normally to insulin. This leads to high blood sugar, which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.

Over the past 20 years, China has experienced rapid economic growth, concurrent with shifts in diet and physical activity. The diet of Chinese adults has shown declines in the intake of vegetables, legumes, and coarse grains alongside an increased intake of oils and animal-source foods.

A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition examined the association of changes in diet quality with biomarkers of diabetes.In this study, 4,734 adults were assessed between 1991 and 2006. The diet quality of these individuals was measured longitudinally by the tailored Alternative Healthy Eating Index (tAHEI) where high scores indicate high diet quality, and low scores indicate low diet quality.

Additionally, individuals who improved their diets over the course of the study also had lower values of diabetes biomarkers. Fasting blood glucose did show an association with any group studied.

Read the full article at Medical News Bulletin

Can High-Protein Diets Damage Your Kidneys?

Here’s a quote that’s been floating around the Internet: “When life gives you lemons, you ask for something higher in protein.”

While it’s not clear who originated the quote (probably not a pasta maker or a bread baker), the quote certainly highlights the recent popularity of high-protein diets such as the Dukan, the Atkins, the South Beach, the Paleo and the Ketogenic diets.

Also, eating too much protein is not without its risks. An article just published in the New England Journal of Medicine reviewed the scientific evidence on what the amount of protein in your diet can do to your kidneys.

For the article, Kamyar Kalantar‑Zadeh, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. of the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine and Denis Fouque, M.D., Ph.D. from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon summarized what is known from studies in animals and humans. Think of your kidneys as the filtering system for your blood.

Moreover, keep in mind that, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 14% of people in the United States have chronic kidney disease, most commonly from high blood pressure or diabetes.

Read more at Forbes

Is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet the Best for You?

Tom Brady, Venus Williams, Penélope Cruz, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have something in common, aside from being unnaturally beautiful: They’ve all followed forms of anti-inflammatory (AI) diets at one time or another.

Tom has done it to boost his performance on the football field. Venus said she did it to help keep her autoimmune disorder in check. And Penélope and Rosie have followed an AI-style detox to keep their skin radiant.

What is inflammation, anyway?

Believe it or not, inflammation starts as a good thing. It happens when your immune system sends out white blood cells and “warrior” compounds like eicosanoids to attack invading viruses, bacteria, or toxins. A classic example of totally normal inflammation: pain, heat, redness, and swelling around a wound or injury (think of a tender sprained ankle).

But for more and more of us, the balance never happens. That’s because sugar, refined grains, and saturated fat can also trigger an inflammatory immune response, notes Sears, and the typical Western diet is packed with them, meaning we’re inflaming our bodies over and over, every time we eat.

Air pollution and environmental toxins also trigger your immune system this way, but “most of the chronic, extra inflammation in our bodies is diet-related,” says Sears. In arteries, chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease. In the brain, it’s linked to anxiety and depression. In your joints, it causes swelling and pain.

Read more at Health

Getting A Break From Your Diet May Help You Lose Weight

For most people, dieting isn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. Usually, because diets involve ignoring the advice of nutritionists who suggest ‘everything in moderation’ is the key to weight loss, and instead encourage you to cut out entire food groups (mainly the ones you love).

But if you’re someone who’s ever endured the torture of a diet, you’ll be over the moon at this latest scientific discovery: scrapping your diet for a couple of weeks could actually help you lose weight.

How could ditching your diet lead to more weight loss? But according to the recent study published in the International Journal for Obesity, that’s exactly what they found.

The study took a group of clinically obese participants and split them into two groups. Both groups were instructed to follow a 16-week diet which saw their usual calorie intake reduced by a third, however, the groups differed in how they carried out this diet.

Read more at Cosmopolitan

STUDY FINDS: Weight Loss May Come Down To What’s In Your Poop

Wondering why a diet’s not working for you? Stop watching your waistline and consider something a little deeper — like the feces lodged in your intestines.

A study this month in the International Journal of Obesity found that a specific diet’s success may come down to the bacteria mix in one’s gut, as observed in stool samples.

The study shows that only about half of the population will lose weight if they eat in accordance with the Danish national dietary recommendations and eat more fruit, vegetables, fibers and whole grains,” said Mads F. Hjorth, a co-author of the study and nutrition professor at the University of Copenhagen.

Read more at USA Today

The Alkaline Diet: Does it Really Work for Weight Loss?

Alkaline Diet, Alkaline Ash Diet, Alkaline Acid Diet and Acid Ash Diet are the various names of diets that come under the umbrella of alkaline diets. The premise these diets are based on is that certain foods can affect the acidity or pH of the body, helping prevent the onset of diseases and even treat them.

Healthy Ways to Love Your Body that added to the hype and interest for this style of eating. Adding to its health benefits of protection against cancer and arthritis, what shot it to fame was the universal pitch that never fails -weight loss!

According to the proponents of this diet, acidity causing foods lead to an increased risk of diseases and an alkaline diet cleanses and protects your body. An alkaline diet allows you to eat:

• Raw Foods
• Plant Proteins
• Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
• Alkaline water
• Green Drinks
• Foods that cause an acidic environment that must be avoided:
• Eggs
• Lentils
• High Sodium foods

Read more at Smart Cooky

What Is A Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet has been a hot topic of late. Depending on who you talk to, it is praised for its incredible weight loss results, criticized for being too restrictive, or condemned as dangerous, especially without medical supervision.

What is a ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic eating pattern is very low in carbohydrates and moderates in protein, meaning a high percentage of total energy intake comes from fat found in dairy products and meat.

“A true ketogenic is one where carbohydrate intake is extremely low — usually less than 10 percent of your total energy intake,” Collins told HuffPost Australia.

How does a ketogenic diet work?

During times of severe energy restriction (such as during fasting or starvation), prolonged intense exercise, or when carbohydrate intake is reduced to around 50 grams per day or less, the body can enter ketosis.

This means that, rather than the body burning its primary fuel source, glycogen (a “complex carbohydrate, which in the human body is like petrol for a car”), the body must break down fats as its main source of fuel.

Read the full article at Huffingtonpost.com

Is Your Diet Making Your Liver Sick?

Many diets have been hailed as being able to improve your health, such as the Mediterranean diet. The typical Western diet is high in fat and sugar, and we already know these two components can wreak havoc on our health. The latest findings suggest that the Western diet can have detrimental effects on our liver as well.

Western diet increases risk of liver cancer

A new study was done where researchers fed mice a Western diet, which is high in fat and sugar. These mice were more likely to develop liver tumors compared to mice who did not consume the Western diet. When the Western diet-fed mice were treated with antibiotics, they did not respond to the treatment.

The researchers specifically looked at mice missing farnesoid x receptor (FXR), which is involved in bile synthesis, secretion, and transport. Bile is necessary for proper digestion. Low FXR levels are seen in patients with cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Lead author of the study Dr. Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan explained, “Gut and liver health are linked. Because the liver receives 70 percent of its blood supply from the intestine, it is important to understand how the gut contributes to liver disease development.”

There are many studies that attribute a Western diet to poor health and this is just another one that solidifies the point. Instead, we should opt for a diet low in fat and sugar. As mentioned earlier, the Mediterranean diet time and time again is hailed for its numerous benefits to health. It emphasizes a high intake of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and above all, low fat and sugar.

Bel Marra Health