Archive for January 2016

Can seaweed really help you lose weight?

Jamie Oliver has credited adding to seaweed to his diet as one reason for his weight loss, but does it actually work?

Jamie Oliver has credited adding to seaweed to his diet as one reason for his weight loss, but does it actually work?

Jamie Oliver has revealed how he shed almost two stone after learning about “simple foods that are nutritious and delicious”.

As well as switching to cutting out white, unprocessed foods and eating more vegetables, he has also added seaweed to his diet.

But can this coastal plant really help you shed those pesky post-summer holiday pounds?

Last year, research from Newcastle University suggested that seaweed could be a key ingredient to losing weight as a compound found in it stops the body from absorbing fat.

Research found that alginate, which is found in sea kelp, can help to suppress the digestion of fat in the gut. The researchers believe that if the alginates can block the fat digesting enzyme, the body will absorb less fat and stop people from becoming obese.

However, the NHS warned that the research did not “draw any definitive conclusions” and that it was “unclear whether any potential effect from from seaweed extract would lead to an improvement in weight-related health issues, such as a reduced risk of diabetes.”

They also say that blocking fat is not always beneficial for you: “Fat plays an important role in metabolism; it’s just the intake of excessive fat that is a health problem. This means that the potential for alginate to stop excess fat being absorbed by the body has its downsides, and the excess fat will have to come out in come capacity.”

It looks the jury is still out on seaweed’s weight-loss properties – but it’s so delicious, so we reckon it’s worth adding a little extra to your diet anyway.

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Coffee has secret trick to stop sleep

A cup of coffee in the evening may be keeping you awake for more reasons than you realise.

A cup of coffee in the evening may be keeping you awake for more reasons than you realise.

Their study, in Science Translation Medicine, showed caffeine was more than just a stimulant and actually slowed down the body’s internal clock.

A double espresso three hours before bedtime delayed the production of the sleep hormone melatonin by about 40 minutes, making it harder to nod off.

Experts said our own actions had a huge influence on sleep and the body clock.

One of the researchers, Dr John O’Neill, from the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, said “If you’re tired and having a coffee at night to stay awake, then that is a bad idea, you’ll find it harder to go to sleep and get enough sleep.”

In his half of the study, cells grown in a dish were exposed to caffeine to work out how it changed their ability to keep time.

It showed the drug was able to alter the chemical clocks ticking away in every cell of the human body.

Meanwhile, five people at the University of Colorado Boulder, in the US, were locked in a sleep laboratory for 50 days.

And as light exposure is the main way we normally control our body clock, they spent most of their incarceration in very dim light.

In a series of experiments over the month and a half, the scientists showed that an evening dose of caffeine slowed the body clock by 40 minutes.

It had roughly half the impact of three hours of bright light at bedtime.

Dr O’Neill said it would be “complete speculation” to set a cut-off time for drinking caffeine in the evening but he personally never drank coffee after 17:00.

He said the findings may help treat some sleep disorders and people who naturally woke up too early – known as larks – to help keep them in sync with the rest of the world.

“It could be useful with jet lag if you are flying east to west where taking caffeine at the right time of day might speed up the time it takes to overcome jet lag,” he added.

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