Scientists have found that mutated DNA does indeed slow metabolism, leading to obesity
The mocked "obesity excuse" of being born with a slow metabolism is actually true for some people, say researchers. A team at the University of Cambridge has found the first proof that mutated DNA does indeed slow metabolism. The researchers say fewer than one in 100 people are affected and are often severely obese by early childhood.
The findings, published in the journal Cell, may lead to new obesity treatments even for people without the mutation. Scientists at the Institute of Metabolic Science, in Cambridge, knew that mice born without a section of DNA, a gene called KSR2, gained weight more easily.But they did not know what effect it may be having in people, so they analysed the DNA of 2,101 severely obese patients.
Some had mutated versions of KSR2. It had a twin effect of increasing their appetite while their slowing metabolism.
"You would be hungry and wanting to eat a lot, you would not want to move because of a slower metabolism and would probably also develop type 2 diabetes at a young age," lead researcher Prof Sadaf Farooqi told the BBC.
She added: "It slows the ability to burn calories and that's important as it's a new explanation for obesity."
Although It is an exciting and interesting breakthrough explaining the pathway predisposing people to obesity it does exist in obese and lean people so you still need the obesogenic environment."
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Source: BBC News
Different forms of the same food can provoke polarised reactions in individuals. Take carrots. A lot of people say they hate them cooked, and yet they enjoy them fresh. A prolific commenter on this website who goes by the handle Ubermensch1 recently declared that he or she (you never know when avatars are concerned) loves tomato ketchup but, conversely, loathes fresh tomatoes. I even have a friend who wouldn't eat an orange if you paid her, but drinking its juice is just fine. This strikes me as odd, because oranges are pretty much balls of orange juice. Each to their own world of taste.
I'll allow that ketchup and fresh tomatoes are quite different animals. Ubermensch1 hates tomatoes for their "bitter taste" and the "leathery feel" they have on the inside (really? A tomato?). Ketchup, on the other hand, is sweet and savoury – cooked or extra-ripe tomatoes provide extra–savoury, umami deliciousness – with a smooth and viscous texture. They're still both essentially tomatoey, though, whereas I have never been able to fathom how almond-flavoured items, such as amaretti biscuits and marzipan, can taste so revoltingly not of almonds.
What's wrong with carrots?
When people say they detest cooked carrots, they generally mean boiled (although the sickly-sweet glazed variety my dad used to do also springs to mind). The most obvious sensory attribute that is missing from a boiled carrot is the crunch. The sound of crunching while eating enhances our perception of freshness, irrespective of taste. And our teeth and jaws appreciate foods that allow them to do some mighty chomping once in a while. A floppy carrot, therefore, can be disconcerting.
And, of course, the effects that cooking has on the taste are myriad. They way we chew soft, cooked carrots will cause different flavours to be released, according to food scientist Lindsey Bagley. Furthermore, she says, "chemically, there are more sugars in a raw carrot than in a boiled carrot", which will have leaked sweetness into the cooking. As well as their inherent sweetness, she continues, "carrots can have a harsh, sometimes earthy or woody flavour character. And young 'baby' carrots have a green, parsley-type flavour." With minimal boiling (blanching) to retain flavour, many of these attributes will be enhanced because they are being eaten warm, which brings out and intensifies these flavours. I would argue that blanching is preferable to boiled carrots, which are eerily bland (and get extra loathesome points if they're crinkle-cut).
But that's not all. Cooking carrots also forms lipid droplets, which contain many of the flavour compounds, according to Mike Gordon, professor of food and nutritional sciences at the University of Reading: "As they move from cells into intercellular spaces, this could increase the flavour intensity." On the other hand, the "slightly acidic tissues" in carrots would lose some acidity to the water. So there's a lot going on there – all depending on the level of cooking, type of carrot and whose palate is doing the tasting.
Of course, if you roast your carrots, it's a whole other ball game. Bagley says: "The flavour and sweetness will be intensified, but also a caramelisation note is added as the sugars brown." It is easier to retain some bite in a roasted carrot, too.
Read more? See here
Source: The Guardian- Word of Mouth Blog
Two hot new regimes have caught on since New Year, each promising pain-free weight loss. Can either make the pounds melt away? Kate Hilpern gives the low-down
The Alkaline Diet - What do the experts say?
"The theory of the alkaline diet is that eating certain foods can help maintain the body's ideal pH balance to improve overall health. But the body maintains its pH balance regardless of diet," says British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Rick Miller.
What's more, while there is evidence that alkaline diets may help prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, and age-related muscle wasting, there isn't any proof that an acid-producing diet is the foundation of chronic illness.
Mind you, says Miller, you're unlikely to do yourself any harm. "The diet's premise is to increase alkalizing foods (such as fruit and vegetables) and reduce your intake of acid foods (such as meat, salt, and refined grains). Well, that's pretty much what we consider as healthy eating anyway and if you're overweight, of course it will probably help you shift some pounds.
The 5:2 Diet - What do the experts say?
Despite the claims that it helps people lose weight, increases their lifespans, improves cognitive function and protects against conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's, the general medical consensus is that there isn't actually any firm evidence.
"Yes, there's some work on the effects of intermittent fasting on ageing and cognitive decline, but almost all these studies involve rodents, not humans, and the work on preventing diseases took place in laboratory conditions, with no guarantee of successful real-world outcomes," says British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Rick Miller.
He warns that if you're only eating a quarter of the calories you need, you may suffer low blood-sugar, as well as digestive problems, and that unless dieters increase their water consumption on their restricted days, they could suffer from constipation.
"I used to eat like the 5:2 diet in my teens and early 20s and it was called bulimia," says Zoë Harcombe, author of The Obesity Epidemic book, who is concerned that this diet carries a huge risk of encouraging disordered eating in people who are prone to it.
Sarah Schenker, spokesperson for the Nutrition Society, agrees: "The reality is that the 5:2 diet is how a lot of people manage their weight naturally. You eat all you want on the weekend, then have a day or two when you cut right down – and it does work for people. Also, there's something to be said for giving our systems a rest, particularly if we eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrates. So I don't think it's a fad and I'm certainly not dismissive, although I think we need to do more research."
Some experts believe that on the eating days, there's a risk of over-indulging and putting on weight, although a study by the University of Illinois found that people only eat about 100-110 per cent of the calories they needed. It's quite hard to fully make up for the lack of food on the restricted days.
Read more: See here
Source: The Independent
The latest research shows that
Mushrooms, like our skin are capable of transforming UV light from the sun into the vitamin.
Study Design: The researchers gave 30 subjects a daily capsule for 3 months containing 2,000 units of Vitamin D or a sun-exposed mushroom powder with high-levels of the nutrient. The results indicate that there were no significant differences in the participants' vitamin D levels
The researchers conclude that consumers are advised to take the mushrooms - any variety will work - out of their wrapping and place them outdoors between the hours of 10am and 3pm for up to 60 minutes during the late spring and summer months.
Important to note: Vitamin D production is dependent on the season and latitude; research shows that in northern Europe, Vitamin D production can only take place between the months of March to October.
To read more click here
Source: The Mail Online.
Light drinking during pregnancy does not harm child behavioural or mental development development , reports the journal BJOG
*1 unit is half a pint of lager or a single measure of spirits.
Source: BBC News