In the News: Neither Low-Carb Nor Low-Fat Diets Are Better for Weight Loss, Study Sees Increase in Kidney Stones in the U.S., Researchers Find Potential Source of Osteoarthritis Prevention

Low-fat and low-carb diets contribute to weight loss just about equally. In a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine, using 609 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 with about equal numbers of males and females, it was found that limiting either carbs or fats will contribute to weight loss the same amount. What is more, the study also tested all participants’ specific genotype patterns and insulin levels before they began their respective diets, and neither factor could predict an individual’s success with one approach or the other. Each group started their intake of either fat or carbs at just 20 grams a day and then slowly added it back until they reached an amount they could sustain for the course of the yearlong study (an amount which was significantly less than the starting fat/carb intake). While the study definitively answered that certain genotypes do not affect your weight’s reaction to low-carb or low-fat, there was a drastic disparity in results on both sides, with the average participant losing 13 pounds. The study authors decided that the main takeaway was that the fundamental strategy to either approach was the same: be more mindful of your food intake, and as a result eat less sugar, more vegetables, and mostly whole foods. That is where people on both sides saw results. (SD)

Study finds an increase in kidney stones in Americans. About 10% of people will experience a kidney stone at some point in their lives, making it a fairly common ailment, but kidney stone cases increased by four times in women and two times in men from 1984 to 2012. Women aged 18 to 39 saw the largest increase, from 62 to 252 cases in every 100,000 participants. This extremely painful diagnosis is mostly due to genetics and is more likely to happen if a person has too much calcium in their body and does not consume enough fluids. One reason for the larger number of kidney stones found may be a large increase in the amount of CT scans performed, which is how the condition is found. However, calcium oxalate was behind about 75% of the stones discovered in this study, and oxalate is naturally found in foods like beets, chocolate, tea, and nuts – therefore things you may want to avoid if you have a genetic disposition to kidney stones or have had one in the past. The best thing you can do is drink as much as 3 quarts of water a day, ideally producing about 2 ½ quarts of urine, to flush out stones before they become a problem. Learn more about preventing kidney stones here. (CNN)

Researchers may have found a preventative measure for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and plagues about 30 million adults just in the United States alone. Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute recently looked into how a certain protein known as FoxO affected joint health in mice. Lower levels of FoxO contributed to the degeneration of joints at a younger age and a greater chance of damage to cartilage. FoxO-deficient mice also showed poorer autophagy, which is the process where cells get rid of damaged components to carry out repairs, and not enough lubricin, which is a protein that protects joint cartilage from damage in the first place. Perhaps the most hopeful bit is that researchers increasing FoxO expression in cells taken from people with osteoarthritis saw a renewed expression of autophagy and lubricin production. More research will be conducted on creating molecules that increase FoxO levels and their potential effects. In the meantime, try these three tips to reduce arthritis. (MNT)