Consuming more honey, fruit juice may damage your liver

Consuming more honey, fruit juice may damage your liver

The findings indicated that in addition to higher weight gain, the fructose group showed more markers of vascular disease and liver damage, than the glucose group.

According to researchers, these type of sugar may also play a role in increasing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The paper was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

Researchers compared the effects of two types of sugar on metabolic and vascular function.

For the study, female rats were given a liquid solution of either glucose (a form of sugar found naturally in the body after carbohydrates are broken down) or fructose (sugar found in fruit and fruit juices), in addition to their normal diet of solid food.

The rats received the sweetened solutions for eight weeks, roughly equivalent to a person eating large amounts of sugar for six years.

The sugar-fed rats were compared with the controlled group that received plain drinking water, in addition to their food supply.

They found that although both sugar-fed groups consumed more calories than the control group, the total calorie intake of the glucose-fed rats was higher than the rats that were given fructose.

Another surprising observation was that “despite this difference, only the fructose group exhibited a significant increase in final body weight,” the researchers wrote.

These included high triglycerides, increased liver weight, decreased fat burning in the liver (a factor that can contribute to fatty liver) and impaired relaxation of the aorta, which can affect blood pressure.

The results suggest that an increase in the amount of calories consumed due to sweeteners is not the only factor involved in long-term health risks.


Why Indians must say NO to GM Diet

Why Indians must say NO to GM Diet (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)

We all have heard about GM Diet, and many of us have gone bananas over following it. We made a hell out of a whole week of our lives and let our taste buds be wracked for losing some kilos. But is the diet plan really as clean as it sounds?

This crash diet that became a fad in India a couple of years ago wasn’t actually meant for Indian stomachs. GM Diet expands to General Motors Diet and was exclusively designed for the employees of General Motors Corporation. Following this diet can let you be at loss if you do not understand what you are signing up for. Here, we take a look at why GM Diet is not an ideal way to lose weight and what risks does it entail for Indians.

Why Indians Should Not Follow It

There are three reasons why the GM Diet plan is not suitable for Indians, says Pragya Sood, a health chef.

The first reason is that Indians traditionally follow a five meal plan, which is a combination of different grains, fruits, vegetables, vitamins and nutrients. If we follow GM Diet, we consume only one type of food for the whole day. Indian bodies are not accustomed to such a diet and this may lead to constipation and other gastrointestinal issues.

The second thing that Indians should consider before following GM Diet is the biological difference between their bodies and the bodies of American General Motors Corporation employees whose main aim with the diet was to combat obesity. An American way of life and their diet is very different from ours. This is the reason why the results of a GM Diet are very short lived for us.

Thirdly, because our bodies are not accustomed to consuming one kind of food the whole day, GM Diet can throw our bodies in a shock mode. This shock mode can manifest itself in multiple ways. The person who follows it will become more prone to falling ill, may develop dark circles, may impact his immunity adversely and so on.

There are some other risk factors that are associated with GM Diet, such as follows:

Causes Nutritional Imbalance

The seven day diet that is proposed in GM Diet offers fibre while upholding protein, carbohydrates and fats. This makes you lose weight quickly as there is fat loss and muscular loss because of less protein intake. This can cause muscle weakness, duller skin, and lead to hair loss.

Disrupts Fitness Regime

The GM Diet is such that that it does not support an ongoing regular fitness regime. Because your nutrient intake is hampered, the energy to sustain a workout is not generated in your body.

Slows Metabolic Process

Because GM Diet restricts protein intake, it will slower your body’s metabolic processes. A slower metabolism can, on the contrary to your purpose, lead to quicker weight gain.

More Weight Gain After You Stop

If you have followed the GM Diet whole heartedly and it gave you a good five kilos loss in weight, congratulations. But, that’s temporary. You will gain more weight once you are off the diet. This is because the GM Diet slowers your body processes and once you are off it and consume a normal diet, it will reflect in the kilos you gain again.

Can Cause Dehydration

When you are on GM Diet, your body uses fluids to maintain body’s metabolism. This can develop a state of perpetual thirst and feeling dehydrated.


Now, it’s the ‘Sirtfood Diet’

Kale is a part of Sirtfoods (Pic: Thinkstock)

With January being the month of resolutions, it’s no surprise that food diets are doing the rounds. The latest craze is the Sirtfood Diet by Aidan Gogginsand Glen Matten, that lets you indulge in chocolate, coffee and more. Sirtfoods are newly-discovered food groups. These foods activate a certain protein called sirtuins, which aid the fat-blasting genes in the body. Sirtuins regulate metabolism to clear out the cells, detoxify the body and thus help one lose weight. Along with their fat-burning effect, sirtfoods are said to also have the ability to control appetite. As per reports, studies have shown them to be more effective than even prescription drugs in preventing certain diseases.

Top sirtfoods include strawberries, dark chocolate, kale, red onions, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, green tea, cocoa, curry spices, soy, turmeric and coffee. How about starting with a healthy kale smoothie tomorrow morning?


Good news! That cuppa coffee is key to your long life

Good news! That cuppa coffee is key to your long life (Courtesy: Thinkstock)

The finding that coffee drinkers tend to live longer than people who abstain has long puzzled scientists. US scientists believe they’ve found the answer – and it’s to do with caffeine. It helps to block chemicals in the blood that promote inflammation, they say. The study was published in Nature Medicine.

Drinking coffee and tea may help people to live longer by reducing chemicals in the blood that can trigger heart disease, researchers have found. Now researchers at Stanford University believe they may have hit on a reason why having a coffee or tea break is so good for us.

Caffeine, the ingredient that gives coffee, tea and some fizzy drinks a lift, blocks chemicals in our blood that promote inflammation. Inflamed blood vessels are more likely to become stiffer – a risk factor for heart disease. Inflammation also plays a key role in many other diseases, the research study said.

Tests on the blood of people fewer of the chemicals linked to inflammation – were found to have more caffeine in their bloodstream. Further investigation revealed that they, as might be expected, drank more coffee than their peers.

A chemical found in chocolate, theobromine, was also found to have an anti-inflammatory effect, although not as pronounced as caffeine.

David Furman of the Stanford University’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantaion and Infection said: ‘More than 90 per cent of all noncommunicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation.’ Dr Furmann added: ‘It’s also well known that caffeine intake is associated with longevity. Many studies have shown this association. We’ve found a possible reason for why this may be so.’

His colleague Mark Davis added: ‘Our findings show that an underlying inflammatory process, which is associated with aging, is not only driving cardiovascular disease but is, in turn, driven by molecular events that we may be able to target and combat.’

The authors found that in an ongoing study following participants aged 20-30, and another group of people aged 60, those who ‘tended to drink more caffeinated beverages’ had lower levels of inflammatory compounds in their blood.

Further tests in the laboratory in human cell cultures found that caffeine had an active role in combating the chemicals that trigger inflammation. The key chemical combated by caffeine is called Interleukin-1-beta.

When injected into mice, IL-1-Beta led to ‘massive systemic inflammation, along with high blood pressure’. It also led to immune cells – white blood cells that fight infection and – clogging the animals kidneys. It also found more platelets platelets, which make blood more likely to clot.

Dr Davis said: ‘That something many people drink – and actually like to drink – might have a direct benefit came as a surprise to us’.

‘What we’ve shown is a correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity. And we’ve shown more rigorously, in laboratory tests, a very plausible mechanism for why this might be so.’


What triggers people to eat more

What triggers people to eat more (Getty Images)

Regular intake of a “western diet” — consisting of foods that are high on sugar and fat levels — is behind an alarming rise of conditions such as overeating and obesity, researchers warned.

However, according to the study, the increased “peripheral endocannabinoid signalling” in the western food is the key factor that triggers an anxiety in the people to eat more.

The endocannabinoid system — located throughout the mammalian body, including the brain and all peripheral organs — helps in many aspects inside our body with major functions related to intake of food, balancing the energy and reward.

Endocannabinoids are the signalling molecules present inside this system.

The findings showed blocking the actions of these endocannabinoids can lead to normalisation of food intake and meal patterns, thus help in the treatment or cure of overeating and obesity.

“Our research shows that targeting cannabinoid receptors in the periphery with pharmacological inhibitors that do not reach the brain holds promise as a safe therapeutic approach for the treatment of overeating and diet-induced obesity,” said lead author Nicholas V. DiPatrizio, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside.

“This therapeutic approach to targeting the periphery has substantial advantages over traditional drugs that interact with the brain and cause psychiatric side-effects,” DiPatrizio added.

Using a mouse model, the team fed a group of mice on a western diet for 60 days and another who was kept on a low fat or sugar diet.

The results revealed that the mice group on the western diet displayed ‘hyperphagia’ with increased weight. These also had the tendency to intake larger amount of food with the habit of consuming more calories at a higher pace.

“These hyperphagic responses to western diet were met with greatly elevated levels of endocannabinoids in the small intestine and circulation,” DiPatrizio said, adding that further research is necessary to identify whether similar mechanisms drive obesity in humans.

The study appears in the journal Physiology and Behavior.


Band of broth-ers

Band of broth-ers

A new year calls for some ‘stock’ taking… in this case, literally, with bone brothbecoming the beverage of 2017. The old-fashioned super drink is hot once again and destined to stay that way. Like most other things, bone broth is a time-honoured food that has bounced back from ancient kitchens to join the long list of contemporary superfoods.

Our grandma’s magical brew is the new-age cure for modern maladies. Americans are ordering cups of bone broth on the go instead of their daily lattes and have also created a band of “broth-ers” – ardent devotees of bone broth.

How is it done?

Be it the French bouillon, the Italian brodo or Indian Paya (trotters) soup, a warming broth has always been a medicinal soul food for societies around the world. It is essentially a warming, nourishing beverage made from meaty bones, veggies and herbs left to smoulder for hours (in some cases up to 72 hours) and then strained. Now, smouldering hot broth can also be a breeding ground for bad bacteria so it is advisable to cool it down before diving into the bowl.

Why so hot?

People around the world still consume broth regularly as a cost-effective and highly nutrient dense food. Besides its amazing taste and culinary uses, broth is an excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system. Dieticians who specialise in the Paleo diet assert that the long cooking process of broth breaks the bones down, releases nutrients and minerals, and makes nutrient-rich collagen, gelatin, and glucosamine easier to digest.

Super brew

Bone broth scores on three big health fronts – whole food, clean food and slow food. An ancient cure for common cold and influenza, it is far more powerful than known to
most. Celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kobe Bryant and Salma Hayek, tout it as a cure-all to help you attain radiant skin, weight loss and shiny hair.


It heals and seals your gut

Gelatin in broth helps seal holes in intestines. This helps cure chronic diarrhoea, constipation.

It protects your joints

Glucosamine and a host of other goodies in broth keep your joints healthy. The phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium gives you stronger bones, too.

It makes you look younger

Collagen in broth makes your skin look younger, hair shinier and nails glossy.

It helps you sleep and feel better

Glycine in broth helps you sleep better and improves memory.

It boosts immunity

High concentration of minerals fortifies your immune system.

It helps you recover

Bone broth helps in recovery, as the nutrients are easily absorbed; the liquid is hydrating.

It’s very economical

A super brew from leftover bones and veggies — what more do you need?


Low Protein Levels May Increase Kidney Function Decline in Elderly

Low Protein Levels May Increase Kidney Function Decline in Elderly

Older adults with low blood levels of a circulating protein in the blood may be at an increased risk of experiencing decline in their kidney function, a study has found. The findings showed that higher blood levels of a protein called soluble klotho — with anti-ageing properties — may help preserve kidney function.

“We found a strong association between low soluble klotho and decline in kidney function, independent of many known risk factors for kidney function decline,” said David Drew from Tufts University in Massachusetts, US.

The kidney has the highest levels of klotho expression and is likely the major source of soluble klotho, and thus, in patients with kidney disease levels of klotho tend to be low. Although the exact mechanism of action of soluble klotho remains to be identified, the protein has been shown to influence multiple cellular and endocrine pathways, the researchers said. After adjusting for various factors such as demographics, comorbidities, and kidney disease risk factors, each two-fold higher level of klotho was linked with a 15-20 per cent lower likelihood of experiencing kidney function decline in the elderly.

“This suggests that klotho could play a role in the development of chronic kidney disease and also raises the possibility that klotho could be an important therapeutic target for future clinical trials,” Drew added.
For the study, the team analysed 2496 study elderly with measures of soluble serum klotho and repeated measures of kidney function over 10 years of follow up. Although additional studies are needed, the findings point to a potential target for preventing and treating kidney disease, the researchers stated.

The study is forthcoming in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).


Childhood Asthma May Up Obesity Risk: Study

Childhood Asthma May Up Obesity Risk: Study

If your child is suffering from asthma, they may be at higher obesity risk later in childhood or adolescence according to this new study. In fact, asthmatic children were 51 per cent more likely to become obese over the next decade in comparison to those who did not have asthma in which a person’s airways become inflamed.

“Early diagnosis and treatment of asthma may help prevent the childhood obesity epidemic,” said Frank D. Gilliland, Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) in the US.

Although, the researchers are unclear whether children with asthma are at higher risk for onset of obesity or whether obese children develop asthma, or both, they say that part of the problem may be a vicious cycle where asthma and obesity negatively affect each other. One of the reasons obesity may be more prevalent in children with asthma is because respiratory problems may cause this population to play and exercise less. Plus, a side effect of many asthma medications is weight gain. Elevated asthma and obesity may also contribute to the development of other metabolic diseases, including pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes in later life, Gilliland said.
“The study results also suggest that asthma inhalers may help prevent obesity in children. Although this observation warrants further study, it is interesting that the correlation exists irrespective of physical activity and other asthma medication use,” Gilliland added.

For the study, the team analysed the records of 2,171 kindergarteners and first graders out of which 13.5 per cent of the children had asthma, but who were not obese. Over the 10 years of follow-up, 15.8 per cent of all the children developed obesity. Eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity and achieving asthma control through medication can improve childrens’ overall health while reducing the risk of obesity, the researchers suggested.

The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


Men Want Quick Results from Therapy, Women Happy to Talk

Men Want Quick Results from Therapy, Women Happy to Talk

Men prefer quick fixes whereas women prefer talking about their feelings during therapy to battle depression. According to this new study, men apparently commit suicide at three to four the rate in comparison to women, and yet men don’t seek psychological help as much as women.

“This might be because the types of treatment on offer are less appealing to men because many psychological interventions are more about talking than about fixing problems,” said John Barry from University College London.

“It is likely that men benefit as much as women from talking about their feelings, but if talking about feelings appears to be the goal of therapy, then some men may be put off,” Barry added.
For the study, the team asked 347 participants to say what kind of therapy they would like if they needed help. The men and women in this group, half of whom reported having received some form of therapy, showed many similarities in their preferences, but also some key differences. Men more than women expressed a preference for therapy that involved sharing and receiving advice about their concerns in informal groups. But women preferred a psychodynamic psychotherapy, where discussion focuses on feelings and past events.

In addition, they also showed interesting differences in coping strategies. While trying to cope with stress and trauma, women turned to the comfort of eating, whereas men were more likely to indulge in sex or pornography, the researchers said. Psychology might be more effective in treating men if gender differences were taken into account more, the researchers suggested.

The findings were presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in Liverpool.

Men’s Health: 6 Causes of Fatigue and How to Prevent Them

Men's Health: 6 Causes of Fatigue and How to Prevent Them

Are you at work, facing issues finishing off the tasks at hand because you feel tired? Have you ever wondered, “Why am I so drained?”

We have a habit of blaming our fatigue on our fast-paced and hectic lifestyle. And most of the time, we are right. In fact, feeling exhausted is so common in people these days that it has its own acronym, called TATT, which stands for “tired all the time.” You can fix this by making a few changes in your lifestyle, such as getting more sleep, trimming your social calendar, having a wholesome and nutritional diet, drinking more fluids, taking multi-vitamins, and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol. However, if you still feeling tired or drained after making these changes, then you should seek medical assistance.

Here are the health conditions known to cause fatigue:

1. Anaemia

The fatigue caused by anaemia is the result of lack of red blood cells. If you feeling tired all the time and if your symptoms include extreme weakness, difficulty in sleeping, lack of concentration, rapid heartbeat, chest pains and headache, then you are probably suffering from Anaemia.

Solution: Thorough evaluation for anaemia includes a physical exam and blood tests, including a complete blood count to check the levels of your red blood cells. Taking iron supplements to boost the low levels of iron in your body is usually effective, and the condition rarely causes long-term problems.
anaemia 625

2. Sleep Apnea

It is a disorder characterised by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. In the most common type, obstructive sleep apnea, your upper airway actually closes or collapses for a few seconds, which, in turn, alerts your brain to wake you up to begin breathing again. Sleep apnea is often signalled by snoring and is generally followed by tiredness the next day.

Solution: This involves an overnight stay at a sleep clinic, where you’ll undergo a polysomnogram, which is a painless test that will monitor your sleep patterns, breathing changes, and brain activity. Lifestyle changes are also effective ways of mitigating symptoms of sleep apnea such as quitting smoking, losing weight and avoiding alcohol.

sleep apnea 620

3. Insulin Resistant

Insulin resistance means the hormone insulin isn’t able to get nutrients, particularly glucose or sugar, into the body’s cells. Since the cells aren’t properly absorbing blood sugar, they can’t transfer energy throughout the body sufficiently. High insulin also creates inflammation which can prevent healing, and confuse the body and affect energy levels.

Solution: A fasting glucose test during routine screenings is suggested. If the fasting glucose levels are higher than usual, it could be a sign that one is having insulin resistance issues. Therefore, one should adopt healthy lifestyle changes, like exercising and making healthier food choices to lower body weight.


4. Thyroid Disease

The thyroid gland is found in the front of the neck and produces hormones that control metabolism. When the thyroid hormones are low, then everyday activities can cause fatigue.

Solution: Thyroid disease can be detected with a blood test. Thyroid disorders are treatable, so all people who complain of fatigue and/or muscle weakness should have the test done.


5. Low Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the human body. It is mainly produced in the testicles in men. Testosterone production typically decreases as men age. Men can experience a range of symptoms if it decreases more than it should. One might be experiencing symptoms of low testosterone if they are tired all the time.

Solution: During sleep is when men produce most of their daily testosterone. Less sleep means less testosterone. So, one of the first recommendations is to get a good night’s sleep. Also, maintain a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fat with a rich mix of fruit, vegetables, and a moderate amount of animal fat. Doing so can help diminish feelings of fatigue.


6. Statins

Doctors often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to lower their bad cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. While statins are highly effective, they have been linked to muscle pain and aches, causing fatigue. Statins block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This causes soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles. The pain can be a mild discomfort, or it can be severe enough to make your daily activities difficult.

Solution: Maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced, heart-healthy diet. The heart is a muscle, and nothing strengthens it better than activities like brisk walking, yoga, etc.


There are few other common causes of fatigue like any chronic systemic disease related to liver, kidney and heart, infective illness like UTI, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections, depression, vigorous exercise, chronic and excess use of aerated drinks.