Tag: Diet

Study Reveals The Cheese Triggers The Same Part Of The Brain As Drugs

There’s a good reason why you just can’t resist reaching for another slice of Stilton.

Scientists claim that cheese is as addictive as drugs because of a chemical called casein.

This is found in dairy products and can trigger the brain’s opioid receptors, which are responsible for addiction.

The study, by the University of Michigan, took a look at which items act as the “drugs of the food world“.

The researchers discovered pizza was one of the world’s most addictive foods, largely because of its cheesy topping.

Fat seemed to be equally predictive of problematic eating for everyone, regardless of whether they experience symptoms of ‘food addiction,” Erica Schulte, one of the study’s authors, told Mic.




Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said that casein ‘breaks apart during digestion to release a whole host of opiates called casomorphins.’

Some scientists believe the influence of cheese is so potent that they refer to it as “dairy crack“.

A number of studies have revealed that casomorphins lock with opioid receptors, which are linked with the control of pain, reward and addiction in the brain.

[Casomorphins] really play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element,” registered dietitian Cameron Wells told Mic .

Milk contains a tiny amount of casein in milk, but producing a pound of cheese requires about 10 pounds of milk, so the chemical is ingested in high amounts.

According to the University of Illinois Extension Program, caseins makes up 80 per cent of the proteins in cow milk.

The average person is estimated to eat around 35 pounds of cheese – suggesting that it really as addictive as research claims.

The problem is particularly bad when it comes to highly-processed cheese such as ‘plastic cheese’.

Studies in animals have found that highly processed foods, or foods with added fat or refined carbohydrates, may be capable of triggering addictive eating behaviour.

And people with symptoms of food addiction or with higher body mass indexes have reported greater problems with highly processed foods.

This suggests some may be particularly sensitive to the possible “rewarding” properties of these foods, said Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student and the study’s lead author.

If properties of some foods are associated with addictive eating for some people, this may impact nutrition guidelines, as well as public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children,” Schulte said.

Nicole Avena, assistant professor of pharmacology and systems therapeutics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and a co-author on the study, explained the significance of the findings.

This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response,” she said.

This could help change the way we approach obesity treatment. It may not be a simple matter of ‘cutting back’ on certain foods, but rather, adopting methods used to curtail smoking, drinking and drug use.”

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Pass it on: Popular Science

 

Breakfast Is Not The Most Important Meal According To Scientists

breakfast

It might be the biggest nutrition myth. Here’s why scientists now say breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, and what it means for your diet.

For years, people thinks that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Eat a big meal to start the day and everything will be okay.




Turns out the “right thing” really depends on whether you want to eat early in the morning. That’s because two recent studies found that eating breakfast has no direct impact on weight loss. From a physiological perspective, there’s nothing special about eating early in the morninga and triggering weight loss.

In the study, which looked at more than 300 people, participants were split into 2 groups. One ate breakfast and the other did not.

While there were some small differences, the bottom line was that there was no significant difference in weight loss between the breakfast eaters and the breakfast skippers.

eating breakfast

In fact, both groups lost weight and this occurred without the researchers telling participants what to eat (or not eat) for breakfast. The growing evidence should be a welcome relief for those who don’t like eating first thing in the morning.

Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. 

But neither is lunch, dinner, or snacks. This isn’t meant to be puzzling or a letdown to those of you trying to crack the weight loss code. Believing that one meal is the foundation of success can be detrimental to your healthy living goals.

The problem with the breakfast-is-best hypothesis is that it steers people into the “there’s only one way to eat” mentality.

Healthy breakfast

The truth is, it doesn’t matter when you eat your meals: Morning, night, or spread out through the day. If there are behavioral reasons why you want to eat breakfast, such as it energizes or improves focus, then those are good reasons to have an early meal.

If breakfast feels forced or makes you sluggish, then there’s no pressure to force feed just for the sake of eating. In fact, recent research also suggests that  it’s your choice if you want to eat three meals, six meals or anywhere in between, and that there is a meal frequency that’s ideal for weight loss.

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Can Fasting Help You Lose Weight And Live For Longer?

New research suggests that fasting could slow down ageing and extend people’s lives. What fasting diets are there – are are they a good idea?

Intermitent Fasting is in fashion.

There are all sorts of ratios and variants on core idea of dramatically restricting calories for a few days each week while eating normally on other days.

And while this approach seems totally at odds with the traditional health advice we’ve always been given about eating balanced, regular meals, a growing number of scientists are saying IF diets can reduce our chances of developing some chronic diseases and may even add years our lives.




The most recent evidence comes from the University of South California, where researchers found that 34 people on a low-calorie, low-protein diet had a decrease in risk factors associated with chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

This builds on a number of earlier findings that suggest fasting reduces blood pressure, increases cellular repair and metabolic rate, and protects against conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

And while it is not be a step towards eternal life, a 2015 study at the University of Florida revealed that fasting on alternate days increased the gene related to anti-ageing in human cells.

Short periods of starvation effectively mimic the eating habits of our ancestors, who did not have access to grocery stores or food around the clock.

It’s not without its risks and downsides, though. Dieticians warn that skipping meals can cause dizziness, difficulties sleeping, dehydration and headaches.

Others are concerned it reinforces poor eating habits. “These diets can encourage a ‘scrimp and splurge’ approach to eating,” says British nutritionist Julia Harding.

“They don’t necessarily promote a good understanding of food. People need to make sure they’re eating nutritious, balanced meals on their ‘off days’ and think beyond calories.”

As fasting continues to win new fans, the array of variations is about as dizzying as a day on zero calories.

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How To Eat Healthy And Save The Planet

Dieticians and food companies are awaiting the US Department of Agriculture’s highly anticipated new dietary guidelines by the end of this year with one key question in mind: will they include environmental considerations?

The USDA updates its guidelines on what’s healthy for Americans to eat and what’s not every five years. This year, for the first time, the USDA’s advisory panel recommended that those guidelines should also include sustainability.

The government agency is being asked to factor in whether or not a food is good for the planet when deciding whether its healthy.

The move caused a major uproar throughout the food industry, with thousands of commenters arguing that environmental concerns were beyond the scope of the guidelines and that addressing them was an overreach of the USDA’s authority.

The public comment period closed last month and the USDA will be releasing final dietary guidelines by the end of the year.




The finished product may or may not include references to sustainability. Regardless, it’s clear that nutritionists are increasingly drawing connections between health and the environment.

According to Geagan, consumers are driving the push for dietary sustainability – and encouraging dietitians to get onboard.

Consumers aren’t just looking for what’s on the nutrition fact panel anymore – they have a whole list of other things they want to know about and how they define eating right,” she says.

Supermarkets are also looking at the intersections of health and environmental concerns, Geagan adds.

Supermarket dietitians are very interested in this as a way to engage consumers and create value,” she says, pointing to Kroger’s Free From 101+ as a prime example.

The supermarket chain conducted consumer testing and surveyed shoppers to pinpoint 101 ingredients they don’t want in their food, and are now in the process of weeding them out of stores nationally.

Christopher Gardner, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, says he sees the various aspects of sustainability – creating local economies, fair labor practices, animal rights, and environmental impacts – as useful drivers of behavior modification.

I spent decades doing all this research to show people what they should be eating and I had very little success getting anyone to change their diet,” he said during a presentation at the Sustainable Foods Institute in Monterey, CA, last month.

But when I started adding in discussions about animal rights or labor practices or climate change, I saw really meaningful shifts in people’s willingness to change.

The reason, he says, is that most people relate to at least one of those drivers, and that adding multiple reasons to shift a behavior tends to be more effective than focusing on any one.

There may even be a business benefit to shifting the composition of our dinner plates.

Wasserman points out that, while McDonald’s is somewhat locked into the quarter pound beef patty, some newer entrants to the industry – like Five Guys – are offering smaller meat servings.

In the process, they’re delivering health benefits to customers, environmental benefits to the planet, and financial benefits to the company, all without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction.

It’s hard for people to get jazzed up about changing eating habits for a result they’ll see 10 years from now,” Geagan says.

But framing it as a more immediate payoff or benefit – in terms of weight loss, health, energy, really focusing on the health benefit overlap of these issues, that’s where I think health professionals can really add value to the conversation.”

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Pass it on: New Scientist

High Sugar Diets Linked To Heightened Depression Risk In Men

doughnuts

Millions of sweet-toothed British men could be making themselves anxious and depressed by consuming too much sugar, a study suggests.

Scientists found that men who consumed more than 67g of sugar per day – the equivalent of two regular cans of coca-cola – increased their risk of mood disorders by more than a fifth compared with those with an intake of less than 39.5g.

Since the average British man has a 68.4g per day sugar habit, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey published in 2013, the findings do not bode well for the mental health of the UK male population.




The study ruled out the possibility that the results can be explained by unhappy men comforting themselves with sugary treats.

Lead researcher Dr. Anika Knuppel, from University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health, said: “High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men.”

”There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

There is increasing evidence for the physical damage sugar has on our health. Our work suggests an additional mental health effect.”

depressed

For reasons that are unclear, the study which looked at thousands of civil servants of both sexes found no link between sugar intake and new mood disorders in women.

The findings are based on data from Whitehall II, a major long-term investigation into physical and mental health problems encountered by people working at different levels of the UK civil service.

Sugar consumption was compared with rates of common mental disorders in more than 5,000 men and 2,000 women between 1983 and 2013.

Participants were placed into three groups according to their daily sugar intake. After five years, men in the top group were 23 per cent more like to have developed a common mental disorder such as depression or anxiety than those in the bottom group.

sugar

The top tier men consumed more than 67g of sugar per day and the bottom group less than 39.5g.

British adults consume roughly double recommended levels of added sugar, three quarters of which comes from sweet foods and drinks, said the researchers.

Dr Knuppel added: “Sweet food has been found to induce positive feelings in the short-term. People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings. Our study suggests a high intake of sugary foods is more likely to have the opposite effect on mental health in the long-term.”

Co-author Professor Eric Brunner, also from UCL, said the new sugar tax on soft drinks which takes effect in April 2018 was a “step in the right direction”.

He said: “Our findings provide yet further evidence that sugary foods and drinks are best avoided. The physical and mental health of British people deserves some protection from the commercial forces which exploit the human ‘sweet tooth’.”

sugar

Catherine Collins, from the British Dietetic Association, was one of a number of experts to urge caution. “Whilst the findings as reported are interesting, the dietary analysis makes it impossible to justify the bold claims made by the researchers about sugar and depression in men.”

“More surprising is the lack of reported effect in women, who have a far more emotional relationship with food,” she said. Reducing intake of free sugars is good for your teeth, and may be good for your weight, too. But as protection against depression? It’s not proven.”

Professor Tom Sanders, a nutrition expert at King’s College London, said: “This is an observational study not a clinical trial and its interpretation needs to be treated with caution.”

“While the authors have tried to adjust for the effects of social factors there still is a risk of residual confounding. There is also a major problem in that sugar intake is under-reported in the overweight and obese, which the authors acknowledge.”

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Is A Vegan Diet Healthy?

veg

“Is the vegan diet healthy?” Frustratingly, the answer is that it depends as much on what you eat as with any other diet. Someone living purely on ready salted crisps or chips, for example, would be technically following a vegan diet, but it would in no way be healthy.

However, research shows that there are potential benefits to a vegan diet. A recent study indicated that the average vegan diet is higher in vitamin C and fibre, and lower in saturated fat than one containing meat. In addition, statistics show that vegans have a lower BMI (height-to-weight ratio) than meat eaters in other words, they are skinnier.




You see, a diet without any meat or dairy products is likely to contain a lot less saturated fat, which is related to increased cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease.

We also know that fat contains more calories per gram than other foods, and so vegans may consume fewer calories as a result. Finally, a vegan diet is generally thought to contain more cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds than a non-vegan diet.

Sounds great right? Not quite. In terms of micro-nutrients, a vegan diet is actually more susceptible to being nutritionally poor. A vegan diet is naturally low in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.

sliders

Therefore, if you follow a vegan diet it is essential that you get enough of these nutrients through specific vegan food sources and may even need to take additional supplements. We have many recipes suitable for vegans that can help, just check out our vegan section.

Going vegan does not necessarily mean you are going to be healthier. In fact, I think that much of the improvement in diets among vegans is a result of education rather than going meat free.

In other words, if someone chooses to go vegan they are more likely to care about what they are eating and therefore are more likely to educate themselves on the types of foods they should and should not be eating.

veg

Many people see the word vegan on the label and they assume it must be super healthy wrong. Even if it’s vegan, it’s just as important to look at the ingredients list and the nutrition information to see how much fat, sugar and salt something contains.

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