Archive for October 2012

New York bans large sugary drinks

New York City’s health board has passed a law prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces- an act which Mayor Michael Bloomberg says will save lives by reducing obesity.New York bans large sugary drinksNew York City passed the first US ban of oversized sugary drinks in its latest controversial step to reduce obesity and its deadly complications in a nation with a weight problem.

The mayoral appointed city health board outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (one pint) nearly everywhere they are sold, except grocery and convenience stores.

Violators of the ban, which does not include diet sodas, face a $200 (£125) fine.

At a news conference at City Hall, Bloomberg heralded the measure’s passage as “the single biggest step any city I think has ever taken to curb obesity.

“We believe that it will help save lives,” he added.

About one third of Americans are obese, and about 10 per cent of the nation’s healthcare bill is tied to obesity related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development .

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Supermarkets’ luxury ranges contain twice as much fat, salt and sugar as budget versions

Supermarkets’ ‘luxury’ ranges of ready meals can contain more than twice as much fat and salt than the budget, ‘no-frills’ versions, according to a new academic research.Supermarkets' luxury ranges contain twice as much fat, salt and sugar as budget versionsGlasgow University academics said some of the meals should be labelled “damaging” on their packaging after discovering that they contained “shocking” levels of saturated fat, the major cause of heart disease.

After analysing a range of convenience foods produced by five of Britain’s largest supermarket chains, they found the ‘finest’ ranges of ready meals regularly contained up to 100 per cent of fat that should be consumed by an adult in an entire day.

The study, published in Trends in Food Science & Technology, also discovered one serving of a luxury meal contains up to half the guideline daily amount (GDA) of salt.

Mike Lean, chair of human nutrition at the university, said: “Labelling food as ‘extra special’ or ‘finest’ can be misleading for consumers who might expect health benefits at a higher price point.

The study found Sainsbury’s ‘taste the difference’ beef lasagne contains more than twice the saturated fat (77 per cent GDA) than its ‘basics’ version (36 per cent GDA).

It also contained more salt, with the luxury version accounting for 34.5 per cent of GDA compared to 28.8 per cent for the no-frills version.

Similarly, the supermarket’s ‘taste the difference’ shepherd’s pie contained 52.5 per cent of an adult’s recommended daily saturated fat compared to 22 per cent in one from the ‘basics’ range.

Tesco’s ‘finest’ cottage pie ready meals contained 39 per cent of GDA saturated fat compared with 18 per cent for the equivalent dish in the supermarket’s ‘value’ range. There was also twice as much salt, 52 per cent of GDA compared to 25 per cent.

The academics also found that Tesco’s ‘finest’ chicken masala contained far more saturated fat (68 per cent) than the value version (41 per cent).

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Lack of family dinners and fast food fixation grows obesity in Britain

A lack of family dinners and a fast food fixation has led to a culture of obesity in Britain that has given it the highest proportion of overweight poor people in Europe.Lack of family dinners and fast food fixation grows obesity in BritainAn analysis published in The Lancet found that 29 per cent of poorly educated women in England and 27 per cent of men are obese.

It gives England the fattest proportion of people in Europe from this background – more than twice as many as Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland.

Britain’s culture of fast food, poor diet and lack of family dinners- particularly among people on lower incomes, was to blame said the experts.

The report showed wide health inequalities across Europe and warned that these would increase due to the economic climate.

Britain also has one of the higher rates of child poverty with 21 per cent of children living in households earning less than 60 per cent of the average income. This is higher than in some Eastern European countries including Hungary and Estonia.

Prof Peter Goldblatt, of the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, said: “Britain’s obesity problem is well documented, but the worse off you are, the more likely you are to be obese.

“One in eight children entering school in the most deprived areas is obese, compared to one in 16 in the richest. The difference increases through secondary school into adulthood.”

He said Britain had a culture of obesity. “In southern Europe, in particular, there is less fast food and more family dinners. They also have a generally healthy diet, containing a lot of fruit and vegetables.”

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How models stay slim- from cocaine to eating cotton wool balls

A fashion model has recently spoken of the great lengths some go to in order to achieve the zero sized figure that they are required to have.How models stay slim- from cocaine to eating cotton wool ballsRussian model Kira Dikhtyar said that “packs of cigarettes, daily colonics, laxatives, Phentermine diet pills, Adderal, prescription drugs that suppress the appetite” are just some of the techniques employed by her colleagues to stave off hunger.”

“I’ve heard stories that some modelling agents encourage girls to do speed and cocaine in order to speed up metabolism and eat less.”

“And all kinds of injections are becoming more and more popular, from HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) injections that go with a 500 calorie diet plan to T3 thyroid injections that healthy models inject in an attempt to speed up their thyroid function, which results in a faster metabolism.”

HCG injections consist of a hormone which is produced during pregnancy and causes the uterus to be enriched with a thick lining of blood vessels and capillaries so that it can sustain a growing foetus. As a prescription medication, HCG injections are often used in fertility therapy, however, they have recently received attention for their use as a potential weight loss aid due to their ability to suppress appetite.

Health authorities have advised against using them as a method of weight loss due to serious side effects such as gallstones, stroke and blood clots.

The 24-year-old model also claimed that some models resort to eating cotton balls in order to fill their stomachs, before saying that she has only been turned away by one designer – Elie Tahari – for the upcoming New York shows for being too thin.

Dikhtyar’s claims come shortly after two major initiatives were put in place to combat such behaviour. In January this year the CFDA released guidelines asking NYFW designers to, amongst other things, ask models for I.D., encourage those with eating disorders to seek help and to provide substantial amounts of healthy food backstage.

Similarly, Vogue magazine launched ‘The Heath Initiative’ in June – a pact between 19 of the magazines’ international editors to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry.

From:  http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/From-cocaine-to-eating-cotton-wool-balls-how-models-stay-thin

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Intensive two minute exercise as good as a 90 minute run

Short bursts of exercise lasting just 150 seconds could help protect against heart disease as much as a 90 minute run or longer but less strenuous workouts, according to new research.Intensive two minute exercise as good as a 90 minute runEvidence from a study of men aged 18 to 35 indicated brief but intense exercise was more effective at reducing blood fat levels, which can linger in the body after eating and begin the process of clogging up arteries.

In an experiment led by researcher Stuart Gray, a group of men was asked to sprint, cycle or walk for half an hour.

Those who exercised at peak levels for 30 seconds before resting for four minutes and repeating, saw the fat in their blood drop faster than those who walked at a brisk pace in line with Government guidelines.

The results showed walking cut fat by 11 per cent, compared with not doing any exercise, while short periods of exercise helped reduce fat by 33 per cent – the same effect as a 90 minute run.

Dr Gray, of Aberdeen University, told the British Science Festival that two minute workouts may be more effective in causing the liver to process more fat from the blood before storing it or burning it off.

He said that, while the high intensity training “won’t necessarily” improve strength, it does boost endurance.

He added that the short duration of the exercise was ‘highly important as time is often cited as the main barrier to taking part in exercise.”

However, he said exercising for brief period between resting meant the whole workout took 20 minutes and had to be done regularly.

Dr Gray said: “Although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against cardiovascular disease, the findings of our study showed that higher-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise.”

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Fish oil may double benefits of exercise for elderly

Eating a portion of oily fish such as salmon or mackerel three times a week could help to protect the muscles from deterioration in old age by doubling the benefits of exercise, experts claim.Fish oil may double benefits of exercise for elderlyAfter our mid thirties our body’s ability to build muscle through exercise alone begins to diminish, meaning it is difficult for older people to resist muscle wastage

A combination of regular doses of fish oil and gym exercises improved the muscular strength of a group of women in their late sixties by 20 per cent in a new study.

A control group who took part in the twice-weekly, 30-minute exercise sessions but did not take fish oil increased their muscle power by only 11 per cent.

Over the course of the 12-week study, those who took the fish oils also made noticeably larger improvements in tests of their balance, walking speed and time taken to get up from a chair.

Speaking at the British Science Festival, researchers from Aberdeen University said the difference could be down to the effects of DHA and EPA, types of Omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oil that have anti-inflammatory properties.

As a normal part of ageing, muscle size reduces by between 0.5 per cent and two per cent a year in older people, a condition known as sarcopenia.

After our mid-thirties our body’s ability to build muscle through exercise alone begins to diminish, meaning it is difficult for older people to resist muscle wastage.

Researchers said the fish oils could work by combating the low-level inflammation that is typical in older people and hampers the ability of the muscles to build power and mass.

Dr Stuart Gray said: “We’re trying to make older muscle adapt like younger muscle, and that’s where we think fish oil can come in.”

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Adverts for junk food should be banned before TV watershed

Junk food advertising should be restricted before the TV watershed of 9pm to help tackle childhood obesity according to Britain’s leading children’s doctor.Adverts for junk food should be banned before TV watershedDr Hilary Cass, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, called on the authorities to stop showing marketing for unhealthy food to reduce its influence on children.

Current advertising regulations are too weak to prevent products that are high in salt, sugar and fat being promoted, Dr Cass said.

She argued the step was necessary because rates of obesity among children and young people had risen dramatically.

“Although they are trying to avoid junk food advertising around specific children’s programmes, you’ve still got it around soaps and other programmes that children watch,” she said.

“So the only realistic way to do it is to have no junk food advertising before the watershed at all.”

Dr Cass, who represents 11,500 children’s health professionals on behalf of the RCPCH, also claimed the Coalition should introduce taxes on soft drinks with high levels of sugar.

Earlier this year, experts backed a so-called “fat tax”, suggesting it could help reduce the number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes by half.

Professor Simon Capewell, from Liverpool University and co-author of the paper published by the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, said: “Much of the nanny state is manipulated by industry which leads to the nanny state generating very cheap junk food through subsidies at Common Agricultural Policy level, and an environment with advertising and marketing seducing us to buy junk food and sweet drinks.

“In this case the nanny state is malignant rather than benign and we’re looking to government to redress the balance.”

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Chocolate may help reduce stroke risk in men

Regularly eating chocolate may help men to decrease their risk of having a stroke according to new research.Chocolate may help reduce stroke risk in menResearchers writing in the journal Neurology found that of more than 37,000 men followed for a decade, those who ate the most chocolate – typically the equivalent of one -third of a cup of chocolate chips – had a 17 per cent lower risk of stroke than men who avoided chocolate.

The study is hardly the first to link chocolate to cardiovascular benefits, with several previous ones suggesting that chocolate fans have lower rates of certain risks for heart disease and stroke, like high blood pressure.

“The beneficial effect of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to the flavonoids in chocolate,” wrote Susanna Larsson, at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who led the study.

Another study she conducted last year found similar results for women.

Flavonoids are compounds that act as antioxidants and may have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood vessel function, according to studies.

For the study, 37,000 Swedish men aged 49 to 75 reported on their usual intake of chocolate and other foods. Over the next 10 years, 1,995 men suffered a first-time stroke.

Among men in the top 25 per cent for chocolate intake, the stroke rate was 73 per 100,000 men per year. That compared with a rate of 85 per 100,000 among men who ate the least chocolate, report the researchers.

Larsson’s team had information on other factors, such as the men’s weight and other diet habits, whether they smoked and whether they had high blood pressure. Even with those factors considered, men who ate the most chocolate had a 17 per cent lower stroke risk.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Chocolate-may-help-reduce-stroke-risk-in-men

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Eating nuts in pregnancy reduces chance of childhood allergies

Pregnant mothers should eat nuts as it reduces the chances of their children developing allergies new research has found.Eating nuts in pregnancy reduces chance of childhood allergiesChildren of women who eat peanuts and other nuts during pregnancy are a third less likely to suffer from asthma by the age of seven, compared to those whose mothers avoid them, researchers discovered.

For years pregnant women were advised against eating nuts of any kind due to concerns that they could increase the risk of allergies in their offspring.

But in 2009, the Food Standards Agency revised its advice, stating there was “no clear evidence that eating or not eating peanuts during pregnancy, breastfeeding or early childhood has any effect on the chances of a child developing a peanut allergy”.

Now Danish researchers have gone a step further – finding that eating nuts while expecting has a protective effect on babies.

British experts said they hoped the “robust” study would help discredit the myth that foods containing nuts were somehow intrinsically dangerous for most children.

The new study looked at more than 60,000 mothers and their children, following them from early pregnancy until the children were seven.

Nut eating during pregnancy reduced the chance of a child being classes as asthmatic at 18 months by about a quarter, and a third at seven years.

Writing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Ekaterina Maslova and colleagues from the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, said: “We found that maternal peanut and tree nut intake one or more times per week during pregnancy decreases the risk of allergic disease in childhood. These results do not support avoidance of nuts during pregnancy.”

Colin Michie, chairman of nutrition at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, hoped women would take note of the findings, which mirrored others showing early exposure to nuts was beneficial for the developing immune system.

He went on: “Recent studies such as this robust research show the truth of granny’s wisdom, that a little bit of everything tends to be good for you.

“If your body has experienced something before, it’s not going to think that it’s an enemy and come out fighting against it, which is what happens with an allergic response.”

“Scientifically speaking, if you have antigens that are present when you are building up your immune repertoire as a foetus and infant, you are less likely to regard something as foreign or dangerous when you encounter large quantities of it.”

This school of thought is exactly the same as that in the hygiene hypothesis, which contends that growing up in a home that is too clean is bad for a child, as it prevents exposure to bugs that stimulate the immune system.

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Eating-nuts-in-pregnancy-reduces-chance-of-childhood-allergy

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Drinking coffee could help protect against bowel cancer

Drinking several cups of coffee a day could help protect against bowel cancer  according to new research.Drinking coffee could help protect against bowel cancerIt can cut the risk of developing a tumour by between15 per cent and 25 per cent the study of almost half a million people found.

Some previous studies have hinted that coffee could have a protective effect, but their findings have been inconclusive.

However, researchers at the US National Cancer Research Institute in Rockville, Maryland, have found evidence of a possible protective effect.

They looked at 490,000 people who agreed to have their health monitored for a decade, after answering questions about their lifestyle and diet in the mid 1990s. The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Among the sixth who said they drank four or more cups a day, the risk of being diagnosed with bowel or rectal cancer over the decade was 15 per cent lower than non-drinkers of coffee.

Among those who drank at least six cups a day, their risk was 24 per cent lower than non-drinkers.

The researchers noted that drinking decaffeinated coffee appeared to have some beneficial effect, although it was not as strong, while drinking tea had no observable effect.

They concluded: “Additional investigations of coffee intake and its components in the prevention of colorectal cancer … are warranted.”

Every year in Britain 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, and it claims 16,000 lives annually.

In middle age the disease disproportionately affects men, perhaps due to lifestyle factors such as eating more red and processed meat.

If caught early the chances of long term survival are markedly better than if it is only diagnosed late, when it has spread.

Henry Scowcroft, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Many studies have looked at whether people who drink more coffee have a higher or lower risk of different kinds of cancer than those who drink a little or none at all.

“This new research looked at the effects of coffee on bowel cancer, and although the results suggest a reduced risk among people who drank the most coffee, it’s only one study, and we’d need more to be able to say for sure whether this effect is ‘real’, or down to chance.”

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Coffee-could-protect-against-bowel-cancer

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