Could copper be the new fat burner? The foods you should eat to get your daily dose

It’s one of the essential dietary minerals, vital to healthy bones, preventing anaemia and energy production. Now a clinical study shows copper also plays an integral role in the metabolism of fat

 

Copper’s antibacterial properties make it much sought after in preventing the spread of bacteria, and the trace mineral is pivotal in the formation of red blood cells and maintaining cholesterol balance.

As if that weren’t enough, copper just got an extra burnish with a recent study by scientists from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley, who found that copper plays an integral role in metabolising fat.

Lead researcher Chris Chang said: “We find that copper in the diet is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy. It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases.”

Read at South China Morning Post

Drink to Your Health (in Moderation), the Science Says

Interesting article in the New York times by Aaron E. Carroll on the affects of alcohol on your health.

 


 

Over the past year, I’ve tried to clear up a lot of the misconceptions on food and drink: about salt, artificial sweeteners, among others, even water.

Now let me take on alcohol: wine, beer and cocktails. Although I have written about the dangerous effects of alcohol abuse and misuse, that doesn’t mean it’s always bad. A part of many complex and delicious adult beverages, alcohol is linked to a number of health benefits in medical studies.

That doesn’t mean the studies provide only good news, either, or that the evidence in its favor is a slam dunk. You won’t be surprised to hear that, once again, my watchword — moderation — applies.

Research into how alcohol consumption affects health has been going on for a long time. A 1990 prospective cohort study included results of more than 275,000 men followed since 1959. Compared with those who never drank alcohol, those who consumed one to two drinks a day had a significantly reduced mortality rate from both coronary heart disease and “all causes.” Those who consumed three or more drinks a day still had a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease, but had a higher mortality rate over all.

Link to full article on NYT

 

The 6,000-Calorie Diet

Between October 2013 and July 2014, six healthy, middle-aged men reported to Temple University Hospital in north Philadelphia. For seven days, researchers confined each subject to his hospital bed and told him to select breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with three daily snacks, from the hospital menu containing typical American cuisine: eggs, fried chicken, hamburgers, French fries, etc. The intake totaled a whopping 6,000 calories—about 2.5 times the men’s normal diet.

Physician Guenther Boden of the Temple University School of Medicine and his colleagues had recruited the men to investigate how overeating leads to insulin resistance, which in rodent models happens quickly and dramatically, well before the animals gain much weight. Researchers had proposed several possible mechanisms, including elevated levels of fatty acids; inflammation; endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress; and oxidative stress. “If you look at people who are obese and insulin resistant, you find all sorts of abnormalities that could explain the insulin resistance,” says Boden. “What no one knows is how the whole thing starts.”

 

Link to full article at The Scientist

Extra virgin olive oil linked to lower blood sugar and cholesterol

(Reuters Health) – Compared to other kinds of fat, extra virgin olive oil may have healthier effects on levels of blood sugar and bad cholesterol after meals, according to an Italian study.

That may explain why a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil is linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers say.

“Lowering (post-meal) blood glucose and cholesterol may be useful to reduce the negative effects of glucose and cholesterol on the cardiovascular system,” lead study author Francesco Violi, a researcher at Sapienza University in Rome, said by email.

Violi and his colleagues tested the effect of adding extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to a Mediterranean diet based on fruits, vegetables, grains and fish, with only limited consumption of dairy or red meat.

 

Read full article at Reuters

Diet swap experiment reveals junk food’s harm to gut

A two-week diet swap experiment hints at just how damaging a Western diet might be to our guts.

Researchers asked people to switch diets for two weeks – 20 US volunteers moved to a low-fat, high-fibre diet while 20 volunteers from rural Africa were asked to eat more “junk” food.

Although the swap was brief, its impact was visible, Nature Communication says.

The Americans benefited from less bowel inflammation, while the African volunteers’ bowel health deteriorated.

It is not possible to make any firm conclusions based on such a small study, say experts.

But the findings do support the belief that modern Western diets – which are high in fat and sugar and low in fibre – are bad for us.

 

Full Story on BBC

A 12-Hour Window for a Healthy Weight

Scientists, like mothers, have long suspected that midnight snacking is inadvisable. But until a few years ago, there was little in the way of science behind those suspicions. Now, a new study shows that mice prevented from eating at all hours avoided obesity and metabolic problems — even if their diet was sometimes unhealthful.

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego and elsewhere began experimenting with the eating patterns of laboratory mice in a previous study. On that occasion, some mice consumed high-fat food whenever they wanted; others had the same diet but could eat only during an eight-hour window. None exercised. The mice that ate at all hours soon grew chubby and unwell, with symptoms of diabetes. But the mice on the eight-hour schedule gained little weight and developed no metabolic problems. Those results were published in 2012.

This article appeared in the January 18, 2015 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

Sit Less, Live Longer?

People need motivation to get up from their office chairs or couches and become less sedentary, two useful new studies could provide the impetus. One found that sitting less can slow the aging process within cells, and the other helpfully underscores that standing up — even if you are standing still — can be good for you as well.

For most of us nowadays, sitting is our most common waking activity, with many of us sitting for eight hours or more every day. Even people who exercise for an hour or so tend to spend most of the remaining hours of the day in a chair.

Full story at NYT

Any diet will do, say researchers, if you stick to it

All diets – from Atkins to Weight Watchers – have similar results and people should simply pick the one they find easiest, say researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analysed data from 48 separate trials.

The Canadian team concluded that sticking to a diet was more important than the diet itself.

Obesity experts said all diets cut calories to a similar level, which may explain the results.

Diets go in and out of fashion on a regular basis, with a current debate around the relative benefits of low carb and low fat diets.

All the same

Scientists at McMaster University in Ontario and the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto analysed data from 7,286 overweight dieters.

 

Read full story at BBC

How safe is eating meat?

There have been a lot of news reports about the health risks of meat eating, but are they justified? Dr Michael Mosley has been investigating the truth behind the headlines for BBC Horizon.

I like eating meat, but what was once an innocent pleasure is now a guilty one.

If you believe the headlines, regularly indulging in a steak or a bacon sandwich raises your risk of heart disease and cancer.

The threat to health comes not from eating white meat, like chicken, but from red and processed meat.

Despite the negative headlines, on average Brits still eat about 70g of red and processed meat a day, with a quarter of men eating almost twice as much.

My wife, Clare, who is a GP, has for many years been trying to cut our family’s consumption of red and processed meat. I, however, was resistant.

So we were both delighted when Horizon asked me to investigate what, if any, the risks really are.

I visited numerous experts, finding out what they themselves eat.

I also decided to go on a high-meat diet to see what effects doubling my intake to around 130g a day would have.

 

Read full story at BBC News

New Research Links Bad Diet To Loss Of Smell, Florida State University Study

Could stuffing yourself full of high-fat foods cause you to lose your sense of smell?

A new study from Florida State University neuroscientists says so, and it has researchers taking a closer look at how our diets could impact a whole range of human functions that were not traditionally considered when examining the impact of obesity.

“This opens up a lot of possibilities for obesity research,” said Florida State University post-doctoral researcher Nicolas Thiebaud, who led the study examining how high-fat foods impacted smell.

Thiebaud led the study in the lab of Biological Science Professor Debra Ann Fadool. Their work is published in the Journal of Neuroscience and shows that a high-fat diet is linked to major structural and functional changes in the olfactory system, which gives us our sense of smell.

Florida State