Today’s Headlines: Weight Loss, Mayonnaise, and Stress in the Workplace

Drinking two glasses of water before each meal can help you lose weight. In a recent study, researchers found that drinking 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal can significantly improve your weight loss goals. “The group that loaded up on water lost about three more pounds than the group that didn’t up their water intake. And the more they drank, the better the results; people who drank 16 ounces before every meal lost about 4.3 kg, or 9 pounds, over the course of the experiment.” Having a significant amount of water in your stomach helps you feel full and therefore control what you eat and how much you eat. (Time)

The FDA is making sure that everyone understands what mayonnaise actually is. A new vegan mayo has received backlash from the FDA on account of it being labeled as mayonnaise: in order to be considered mayo the product must contain eggs, and because it’s a vegan product it does not. A letter issued to the fake-mayo company from the FDA stated “We also note that these products contain additional ingredients that are not permitted by the standard, such as modified food starch, pea protein and beta-carotene, which may be used to impart color simulating egg yolk. Therefore, these products do not conform to the standard for mayonnaise.” And these warnings should not be taken lightly, the FDA sends out warning letters to companies all the time about mislabeling and expects them to listen and correct their ways in order to provide honest products to consumers. (The New York Times)

If you’re a women that works with mostly males, that could be what’s causing you stress. Recent research has proven that women who work in environments with mostly males have increased stress levels. “Prior evidence shows that women in male-dominated jobs often experience stressors like social isolation, sexual harassment and low levels of support in the workplace. The researchers thought that stressors like these could impact patterns of the stress hormone cortisol, which fluctuate throughout the day but take an irregular pattern in people exposed to high consistent levels of stress, the authors say. In the study, they found that the “token” women had less healthy cortisol profiles compared to women who worked in jobs with a more even gender split.” The study concluded with explanations that high cortisol and stress is mostly likely directly linked to “negative workplace social climates women face.” (Time)

 

 

Today’s Headlines: The Benefits of Exercising, Scheduled Meal Times, and Risk of Death in Overtime Workers

You should still be exercising daily, even into your senior years. A new study has revealed that “‘Age is not an excuse to do no exercise,”’ and not being physically active exponentially increases your risk for death. “The studies evaluated participants’ physical activity levels and their risk of dying from any cause over about 10 years. They also factored in participants’ self-reported health status, physical or mental illnesses, weight, cholesterol and other details. The mortality rate was 22 percent lower among people [that did a little exercise] than among those who did no exercise at all beyond the activities of daily living.” Based off the results, the researchers advised those aged 60 and above should concentrate on adding light activity into their lives. Even 15 minutes a day can improve and make drastic changes on health, so stand up a little more at work or go for a short walk after dinner. (Reuters)

Scheduled meals and packed lunches lead to a healthier lifestyle. If you pack a lunch almost every day for work you’re already working towards small steps to a healthier lifestyle. “In a new study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition researchers found that college students who made their meals at home and regularly consumed breakfast and an evening meal, had overall better diets. They avoided fast food and sugary drinks and ate more vegetables and fruit compared to people who did not keep an eating routine. People who ate on the run, or used media while they ate or purchased food often ate less healthily.” The study also noted that people who eat in front of the TV or while using any media devices are also more inclined to overeat and choose unhealthy food options. (Time)

Stop working overtime; it’s increasing your risk for serious health problems. A recent study found that people who work more than a traditional 40 hour work week are more prone to serious health issues including strokes and heart attacks. “And there was a 33 percent increased risk of stroke for workers who spend more than 55 hours a week at the office, even after controlling for certain behavioral risks such as smoking and alcohol consumption, according to researchers at University College London and Umeå University in Sweden…For worker bees who spend extra hours on the job, the longer an employee worked past the 40-hour mark, the more they faced an increased risk for stroke or other cardiac events, the study found. People working just a few extra hours a week, between 41 and 48 hours per week, had a 10 percent higher risk of stroke, researchers found, and those working 49 to 54 hours had a 27 percent increased risk of stroke.” While the study couldn’t completely explain or prove one set reason why this happens, researchers hypothesized it was combination of many things including increased workloads and stress, sitting too often, not enough physical activity, and not taking personal relaxation time to heal the body. (ABC)

Chowing Down on the Run Could Boost Overall Snacking

two teen woman friends

Sometimes it’s hard to find time to get meals in. Whether you’re running to a meeting or trying to get your kids out the door, it might seem like sitting down to eat always takes the backseat to other events in your life. But new research has found that all that eating on the move may play tricks on your body when it comes to deciding whether to snack later on and may even boost your eating in a way that leads to weight gain. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Kidney Stones, How to Make Tomatoes Tastier, and Chemotherapy Alternatives

Fresh-squeezed lemonade could solve all of your kidney stone problems. A recent study has shown that the citric acid in lemons has helped break down calcium-filled kidney stones to ease the pain when passing them. “Kidney stones often form when oxalate, a byproduct from some foods, binds with urine. Lemon juice, which is low in oxalate, can stunt the growth of pre-existing stones and prevent crystal deposits in the kidneys from developing into stones.” For best results you should drink natural lemonade that has no added sugars and is as close to fresh-squeezed lemon as possible. (Fox)

Dunking tomatoes in hot water can make them taste better. All produce that comes to the grocery store is picked before it’s ripe and then ripens in the truck while commuting to the stores. Once they arrive, tomatoes are placed in a refrigerator in order to maintain freshness until they are bought. However, it’s been found that colder temperatures reduce the flavor quality of the fruit. “At the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society this week, researchers presented a simple solution: Just give the fruit a nice, hot bath beforehand. In the experiment, which was led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and the University of Florida, Florida-grown tomatoes were dipped in hot water (about 125 degrees Fahrenheit) for five minutes before getting the same chilly treatment as the other tomatoes. The hot bath seemed to mitigate some of the tasteless effects of the chilling. Important flavor compounds — the chemicals that give tomatoes their taste — were more abundant in the experimental tomatoes, even after they’d been chilled and stored.” Hopefully tomato suppliers get word of these new findings and prep their tomatoes in hot water before shipping them off to stores for tastier tomatoes in the future. (Washington Post)

New approaches to cancer treatments have provided a potential alternative to chemotherapy. In a new study, researchers gave a drug commonly used to treat melanoma to those suffering from brain, lung and colon cancer, instead of traditional chemotherapy treatments. “Researchers used a targeted melanoma drug to treat patients with a range of cancers, from lung cancer to brain cancer, who weren’t being helped by traditional chemotherapy any more. Even though they had many different types of tumors, they all had one thing in common — a genetic mutation called BRAFV600. It’s a mutation familiar to doctors who treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s seen in about half of melanoma cases. A pill called vemurafenib, sold under the brand name Zelboraf, specifically targets the mutation. It helps about half of patients with melanoma who have the mutation. The same mutation is sometimes seen in colon cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, brain tumors and some blood cancers.” While the research results proved to be mixed and in need of more testing, for those that it worked on, the results were astounding and either significantly shrunk tumors or eradicated them completely. (NBC)

 

Common Diabetes Drug May Be Acting on Your Intestines

Young Woman Taking Medication

If you have diabetes or know someone who does, you’ve probably heard of the drug metformin. It’s the first line of defense in helping to get high blood sugar levels under control in people with type 2 diabetes and helps to ward off some of the damaging effects of diabetes in the long term. Scientists and physicians had proposed a number of ways metformin has this effect, but the true mechanism hasn’t been nailed down. New research out this week is showing that it may be metformin’s effect on your intestines, rather than on the rest of your body, that is actually making the biggest impact on how metformin shifts your blood sugar. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Trans Fat, Romance, and Surgery

Trans fats are linked to higher risk of death. For a long time saturated fat was considered to be the worst fat that you could put in your body. But now, recent research shows that there is a new bad guy in town—trans fats. “In a study published in the BMJ, scientists say that trans fats are linked to the highest rates of death from all causes, deaths from heart disease and heart problems. The trans fat risk surpassed even that associated with saturated fat, which is found in formerly taboo-for-the-heart foods like butter, eggs and red meat.” In fact, people who ate trans fats had a 34 percent increase of dying from general causes, a 28 percent increase of dying from heart disease, and a 21 percent increase of heart issues. The study concluded by making sure that people were aware that even though trans fats are proven to be the worst, that does not mean that you should add a lot of saturated fats to your diet. (Time)

Women are more likely to be in the mood for romance with full stomachs. It’s been proven that when women are hungry they cannot focus properly on anything—including romance—until they eat something. “For the first set of scans, participants were shown romantic images, such as a couple holding hands, along with neutral images, like a bowling ball. Researchers observed similar levels of brain activation in response to all images. Participants were then given 500 calories of a meal replacement drink before again undergoing the scan and being shown the same images. Study author Alice Ely said the women were more responsive to romantic cues on the second round of scans.” So ladies, do your partners a favor and make sure that you have a full belly when you’re with them so you can pick up (and be in the mood for) their romance cues. (Fox)

Listening to music helps you recover from surgery. The key to healing after surgery could be in your playlist. A study recently found that music is extremely beneficial to patients recovering from surgery.  “The results, published in The Lancet journal, found patients were significantly less anxious after surgery and reported more satisfaction after listening to music. They also needed less pain medication and reported less pain compared with controls. While the study found listening to music at any time seemed effective, there was a trend for better outcomes if patients listened to music before surgery rather than during or after. And when patients selected their own music, there was a slightly greater reduction in pain and in use of pain relief.” If you or a loved one has an operation coming up, remember to bring your music and earbuds to pass time in the waiting room and improve your post-op recovery. (Reuters)

Trying to Kick a Craving? Try Playing a Game

Young woman and a smiling chocolate chip cookie.

What’s the last thing you craved? Was it that cup of coffee right after you woke up? Or a cupcake you saw in a bakery? Your brain is constantly assaulted by sights, smells, and sounds that dredge up desires for anything ranging from food to clothes to sex. While those who study the brain have devised a multitude of ways to cut those cravings and keep you from indulging, new research out this week has found that a fun, visual distraction may be enough to get that item of desire out of your mind. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Alzheimer’s, Stress, and Weight Loss

You can slow down and improve Alzheimer’s symptoms by exercising. A new study has found that exercising on a regular basis can not only prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, but can also be used as a treatment for current patients that suffer from the disease. “Regular aerobic exercise could be a fountain of youth for the brain,” said one of the study leads Laura Baker from the Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Over the six months of the study, the researchers tested verbal recall, decision-making, looked at spinal fluid and blood, and did MRI brain scans…Exercisers had better blood flow in the memory and processing centers of their brains and had measurable improvement in attention, planning, and organizing abilities referred to as executive function.” After significant amounts of physical activity the levels of tau—which is the protein linked to Alzheimer’s—decreased in those in the study. At this time there is no medication that is proven to have better effects then the exercise study. (NBC)

Your stress levels make you less likely to make healthy food choices. While it may seem obvious that stress levels will increase your desire for comfort foods and junk food snacks, there is finally science to explain why, and it all has to do with our brain. “Study volunteers who endured a somewhat stressful experience were 24% more likely to choose unhealthful snacks afterward compared with volunteers who hadn’t experienced stress. And researchers think they know why: Brain scans showed that the stressed people had altered neurological connectivity between regions of the brain that process tastiness, make value judgments and plan for long-term goals…There’s not just one region or node [of the brain] that turns on and off to establish self-control; they have to all sync up and work in unison. Stress disrupts that synchrony.” Do yourself and your body a favor and take some time to relax to benefit your health in more ways than one. Additionally, if you want to lose weight, it’s best to start off your diet by relaxing—chances are your food cravings will diminish significantly. (LA Times)

If you walk to work instead of drive, you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. Swapping out your morning drive for public transportation, walking, or biking will help your body in the long run. “The longer the commute, the greater the weight loss: People with one-way active commutes longer than 30 minutes lost more than 15 pounds on average over two years…Another study of 12,000 people in U.S. metro areas published in July in the online journal PLOS One found a robust association between biking or walking to work and lower body-mass index. Researchers say active commuting holds promise to help people keep weight off once they lose it, which is particularly striking as most people who diet eventually regain the pounds.” While the weather is still nice out, get fit by taking alternate transport to work. (Fox)

Testosterone Supplements Not Helpful for Sex or Life Quality

couple-in-bed

If you are (or know) an older man, you’ve probably seen advertisements on the web and in lifestyle magazines that list the supposed benefits of taking supplemental testosterone. Claims have ranged from reversing aging to preventing cancer to weight loss, but almost none of these claims are backed by much science. New research published this week hammers another nail into the coffin of taking testosterone if you’re a healthy older man by casting doubts on a few of the often-touted benefits. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Sugary Drinks, Surgery Complications, and Diabetes

Sugary drinks linked to thousands of deaths every year. You probably know that sugary drinks aren’t good for you, but you probably didn’t realize they might lead to death. That’s the finding in a study out this week. “By contributing to obesity and, through that, to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks appears to claim the lives of about 25,000 American adults yearly and is linked worldwide to the deaths of 180,000 each year. To generate those estimates of sugary beverages’ health toll, researchers combed through national dietary surveys that captured patterns of beverage consumption in 51 countries from 1980 to 2010. The researchers then mined resource databases to discern the availability and consumption of sugar in 187 countries. They tallied consumption of drinks, homemade and mass-produced, that deliver 50 calories or more per 8-ounce serving, and did not count 100% fruit juices.” The research showed that the U.S. is second behind Mexico in terms of deaths caused by sugary drink consumption. (LA Times)

If you have a complication from surgery, head to the same hospital. When something doesn’t seem quite right after surgery, it can be hard to figure out what to do. A new study published this week has found that you’ll probably be better off going back to the hospital that did the surgery. “The team analyzed Medicare claims data from 2001 to 2011 on patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after major surgeries, including coronary artery bypass surgery, removal of the colon or pancreas, and hip or knee replacement. Between six and 22 percent, depending on the surgery, went back to the hospital within a month. More than half the time, patients were readmitted or transferred to the hospital where they had the surgery. Those who returned to the original hospital where the surgery was done were 26 percent less likely to die within three months of surgery than those admitted to a different hospital.” The researchers point out that this is likely because the original surgeon knows the patient and their medical background when they arrive, allowing them to act quickly to try and fix what might be wrong. Often, ambulances called in these cases will take a person in trouble to the closest hospital, which may not be the right hospital. According to the authors, “patients should try to stay in the immediate vicinity of their surgical hospital for at least a week in case something goes wrong.” (Fox)

If you’re on the road to diabetes, you probably have no idea. Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise for many years, but according to a new study part of the trouble in preventing it is that many don’t even know they’re at risk. “To gauge awareness of a diabetes risk among people with pre-diabetes, researchers gathered a large group of people and weeded out those who said they already had diabetes. Then, they reviewed A1c test results for everyone else to see whether their average blood sugar had been elevated over the last few weeks, an early sign of diabetes. Out of 2,694 adults with high blood sugar, only 288 or one in eight were aware of their status. People who were aware of their condition were about 30 percent more likely to exercise and get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. They were also about 80 percent more likely to attempt weight loss and to have shed pounds in the past year. Lacking awareness, people with the elevated blood sugar levels often fail to make lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise or eating less sugary food that might prevent them from ultimately becoming diabetic.” The team says people who think they might be at risk should talk to their doctor about whether they need to be tested and should ask for an explanation on what the results mean and whether they need to make changes in their lifestyle. (Reuters)