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How cheese and milk benefit the obese!

Last updated on: May 04, 2014 16:07 IST

How cheese and milk benefit the obese!

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A round up of all the health news that could benefit you

Researchers have found that whey protein, which is found in milk and cheese, could have health benefits for people who are obese and do not yet have diabetes.

The study examined how different protein sources affect metabolism.

Lars O Dragsted, Kjeld Hermansen and colleagues point out that obesity continues to be a major public health problem worldwide. In the US alone, about 35 per cent of adults and about 17 per cent of children are obese, a condition that can lead to a number of health issues, including cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.

One risk factor for cardiovascular disease in people who are obese is high levels of fat in their blood after meals. But recent research has found that these levels partly depend on the kind of protein included in the meal.

Studies have suggested that whey protein can lower the amount of fat and increase insulin, which clears glucose in the blood, keeping sugar levels where they're supposed to be. But the details on whey's effects were still vague, so the team took a closer look.

They gave volunteers who were obese and non-diabetic the same meal of soup and bread plus one kind of protein, either from whey, gluten, casein (another milk protein) or cod.

The scientists found that the meal supplemented with whey caused the subjects' stomachs to empty slower than the others'. These subjects also had lower levels of fatty acids in their blood after meals but higher amounts of the specific types of amino acids that boost insulin levels.

The study has been published in the ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.

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Photographs: Courtesy Gud2Eat.com

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Eating lots of fibre may help heart attack survivors to live longer

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A new study has revealed that a higher intake of cereal fibre in heart attack survivors may improve long-term survival rates.

According to researchers, people who survive heart attacks have a greater chance of living longer if they increase their dietary intake of fibre -- and eating lots of cereal fibre is especially beneficial.

The scientists said that those who ate most fibre had a 25 per cent lower chance of dying in the nine years after their heart attack, as compared to those who ate least fibre.

The study also found that every 10g per day increase in fibre intake was associated with a 15 per cent lower risk of dying over the nine-year follow-up period.

It was revealed that high dietary fibre intake can improve blood lipid levels and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes while a low-fibre diet is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

The study was published on bmj.com.

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Photographs: Courtesy Gud2Eat.com
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Stress can be contagious: Study

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Stress can be contagious, as observing another person in a stressful situation can be enough to make our own bodies release the stress hormone cortisol, a new study suggests.

This is the conclusion reached by scientists involved in a large-scale cooperation project between the departments of Tania Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and Clemens Kirschbaum at the Technische Universitat Dresden.

Empathic stress arose primarily when the observer and stressed individual were partners in a couple relationship and the stressful situation could be directly observed through a one-way mirror.

However, even the observation of stressed strangers via video transmission was enough to put some people on red alert. In our stress-ridden society, empathic stress is a phenomenon that should not be ignored by the health care system.

Stress is a major health threat in today's society. It causes a range of psychological problems like burnout, depression and anxiety.

Even those who lead relatively relaxed lives constantly come into contact with stressed individuals.

Whether at work or on television: someone is always experiencing stress, and this stress can affect the general environment in a physiologically quantifiable way through increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol.

"The fact that we could actually measure this empathic stress in the form of a significant hormone release was astonishing," Veronika Engert, one of the study's first authors, said.

This is particularly true considering that many studies experience difficulties to induce firsthand stress to begin with. The authors found that empathic stress reactions could be independent of ("vicarious stress") or proportional to ("stress resonance") the stress reactions of the actively stressed individuals. 

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Fear of gaining weight deter smokers from quitting

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Researchers suggest that smokers may avoid treatment to quit smoking if they previously gained weight while trying to quit.

According to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, weight gain is a predictable occurrence for smokers who have recently quit.

Within the first year after quitting, they gain an average of eight to14 pounds, and some smokers report that they keep smoking simply because they do not want to gain weight from quitting.

Susan Veldheer, project manager in the Department of Public Health Sciences, predicted that smokers would avoid treatment to quit if they are highly concerned about gaining weight.

Researchers surveyed 186 smokers who sought treatment to quit and 102 smokers who avoided treatment.

Smokers were defined as "seeking treatment" if they participated in a smoking cessation treatment research study.

Other smokers were approached in the clinics and offered the cessation treatment research study. If they were not interested in the study, they were defined as "not seeking treatment," or avoiding it. Participants were current smokers who smoked at least five cigarettes per day and were recruited from Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

All participants were asked about weight gain during past attempts to quit and their concern for gaining weight after quitting in the future. Overall, smokers who sought treatment to quit were equally concerned about gaining weight as the smokers who avoided treatment.

"They are concerned about weight gain if they attempt to quit even though they may know the benefits of quitting," Veldheer said.

Researchers suggest that clinicians should ask smokers if they had previously gained weight while trying to quit. If so, these smokers should be assured that strategies to maintain weight will be addressed in treatment. 

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Oily fish may not be as beneficial for heart health as believed questioned

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Researchers have questioned the validity of oily fish being a part of a heart healthy diet.

This guideline is partially based on the landmark 1970s study from Bang and Dyerberg that connected the low incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) among the Eskimos of Greenland to their diet, rich in whale and seal blubber. Now, researchers have found that Eskimos actually suffered from CAD at the same rate as their Caucasian counterparts, meaning there is insufficient evidence to back Bang and Dyerberg's claims.

Using 40 years of new information and research, a team of investigators set out to re-examine Bang and Dyerberg's study of Greenland Eskimos and CAD. This study is still widely cited today when recommending the dietary addition of fish oil supplements (like omega-3 fatty acids) or oily fish to help avoid cardiovascular problems.

However, the new review of information has determined that Bang and Dyerberg failed to actually investigate the cardiovascular health of the Eskimo population, meaning that the cardio-protective effects of their diet are unsubstantiated.

Bang and Dyerberg relied mainly on annual reports produced by the Chief Medical Officer of Greenland to ascertain CAD deaths in the region. The 2014 study has identified a number of reasons that those records were likely insufficient, mainly that the rural and inaccessible nature of Greenland made it difficult for accurate records to be kept and that many people had inadequate access to medical personnel to report cardiovascular problems or heart attacks.

In fact, researchers have now found that concerns about the validity of Greenland's death certificates have been raised by a number of different reports and that at the time, more than 30 per cent of the population lived in remote outposts where no medical officer was stationed. This meant that 20 per cent of the death certificates were completed without a doctor having examined the body.

The data collected through this new investigation shows that Eskimos do have a similar prevalence of CAD to non-Eskimo populations, and in fact, they have very high rates of mortality due to cerebrovascular events (strokes).

The study has been published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.


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