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Artificial sweeteners still cause obesity and diabetes
Artificial sweeteners have been heralded by weight-conscious folks looking to cut calories for the last few decades. It’s hard to ignore the fact that dieters and health-conscious people alike have been led to believe that choosing a sugar substitute over the real thing is actually their best option — but is that really true? Research continues to demonstrate that artificial sweeteners can be just as damagingas too much sugar (and perhaps, even more so).
Aspartame, sucralose and the like have been kings of the weight-loss industry for far too long, and it is beginning to look like science may finally dethrone them. But, only if the masses rise up and replace the food industry’s phony synthetics with real food.
Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity, diabetes
“Artificial sweeteners are not risk-free,” Brian Hoffmann, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University, declared.
“They are a very controversial topic when it comes to health and nutrition … but they’re so prevalent in society that I think we owe it to ourselves to try and figure out what’s actually going on,” he contended. Hoffman and his team recently presented their research on artificial sweeteners at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego.
Hoffman, one of the study’s lead authors, says that their findings indicate that sugar substitutes contribute to metabolic disorder and disease through an entirely different pathway compared to regular sugar. Their research shows that artificial sugars alter the activity of select genes charged with processing and breaking down proteins and fats. (MORE)
The key to a healthy diet is within your reach. You don’t need to go far to get it – since all you’ll be needing is a plot of land in your garden and some elbow grease. Here are 10 superfoods you can easily grow in your garden:
Apples – These fruits are packed with vitamin C and soluble fiber, making it great for the heart and blood cholesterol. In addition, apples also help with weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, and cancer prevention. To plant apples, dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the pot your apple tree comes in. Then, remove the tree from the pot, loosen its root ball, and spread the roots. Fill the hole with the soil you dug out and water the tree well.
Barley – Roman gladiators consumed barley so much that they were known as “hordearii” or barley eaters. It’s for a good reason: The grains are an excellent source of energy with its complex carbohydrates, and it also aids in weight loss. To get the most out of barley, it’s best to consume less-processed versions of it. Sow barley seeds in rows, ensuring that there are 20 to 25 seeds per square foot of space.
Cantaloupe – This superfood has a variety of uses: Aside from being a diuretic, it also prevents cancer, treats hepatitis, and even repels worms. It’s a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium. Cantaloupe thrives in warm soil. Spread the plants out at least 18 inches. Ensure the soil remains moist, and water weekly. Add compost to the base of plants every four weeks.
Carrots – These have been in American folk medicine to treat many disorders, including asthma and skin disorders. The beta-carotene that are in carrots is a potent antioxidant which repels free radicals and prevents cellular damage. You can grow carrots in containers. Sow carrot seeds two to three inches apart in a pot at least 12 inches deep. (MORE)
Strawberries may be sweet and juicy, but they are more than just their taste. This fruit can reduce inflammation and cognitive issues related to aging.
In a study published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A, a team of researchers from the Salk Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory discovered that these are all due to the dietary flavonoid called fisetin, which is abundant in strawberries. The research team fed prematurely aging mice a daily dose of fisetin with their food for seven months, and a different group of prematurely aging mice was fed with the same food but without fisetin. During the study period, they subjected the mice to various activity and memory tests. In addition, they looked at the levels of specific proteins in the mice associated with brain function, stress responses, and inflammation.
Results revealed that getting more of fisetin can provide benefits to memory and osteoarthritis symptoms. The group of mice that did not receive fisetin showed increased markers of inflammation and stress, as well as difficulties on the cognitive tests. On the other hand, the group that received fisetin did not show any sign of age-related decline both physically and cognitively. In addition, there were no signs of toxicity or adverse effects from taking the compound fisetin, even at high doses.
Earlier studies have also found fisetin to be beneficial to the conditions of mercury exposure, homocysteine clearance, diabetic neuropathy, and liver damage. Fisetin can also be found in other fruits, such as apples, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, persimmons, and tomatoes. It can also be obtained from vegetables, such as cucumbers and onions as well as some types of nuts. However, strawberries have the highest amount of this powerful flavonoid among other dietary sources. (MORE)
Not all drinks were made to quench a person’s thirst: Far from it, alcoholic beverages and those that contain sugar make us even thirstier, and scientists may have found the reason why. In a study published in Cell Metabolism, research indicated the liver hormone FGF21, or fibroblast growth factor 21, to be responsible for the brain’s actions to increase water intake to prevent dehydration.
Looking for water after a sweet night out
Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) have been studying FGF21 for a long time, with earlier research pointing out the hormone’s ability to act using the brain’s reward pathway to control the need for sugar and alcohol in favor of drinking water.
“We knew that exposure to alcohol or sugar turns on production of FGF21 in the liver. What we now show is that this hormone then travels in the blood to a specific part of the brain, the hypothalamus, to stimulate thirst, thereby preventing dehydration,” explained Dr. Steven Kliewer, a professor at UT Southwestern. “Unexpectedly, FGF21 works through a new pathway that is independent of the classical renin-angiotensin-aldosterone thirst pathway in the kidneys.”
In the study, the team discovered that FGF21 regulated hydration in response to nutrient stress. Using both healthy mice and those that were mutated to be genetically unable to produce FGF21, they discovered that while both mice were able to drink similar amounts of water after a standard diet, the mutated mice were unable to produce FGF21 after they were subjected to a high-fat/low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. According to researchers, this established the role of the hormone in the signaling pathway. (MORE)
Among the plethora of vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients, vitamin B12 is said to be the ultimate brain booster. It is vital for red blood cell formation, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.
According to Jaclyn London, the nutrition director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, a deficiency in vitamin B12 is associated with age-related cognitive decline and impaired nerve function, which is why getting enough vitamin B12 is crucial as we age.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, but it can also be added to others. It is also available as a dietary supplement and a prescription medication. Vitamin B12 contains the mineral cobalt, so compounds with vitamin B12 activity are collectively called “cobalamins.” Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are the forms of vitamin B12 that are active in human metabolism.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 depends on a person’s age:
Adults and teenagers need 2.4 micrograms per day
Children between nine and 13 years old need 1.8 micrograms per day
Children between four and eight years old need 1.2 micrograms per day
Toddlers between one and three years old need 0.9 micrograms per day
Infants between seven and 12 months old require 0.5 μg of vitamin B12 per day, while babies less than six months old only need 0.4 micrograms. Pregnant women require 2.6 micrograms while breastfeeding women need 2.8 micrograms per day. (MORE)