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New Laws 2010: California bans trans fat in restaurants

Dieting • • Fat, DietaryJan 25 10

Starting on Jan 1, 2010, California prohibits restaurants from using oils, margarines and shortening with more than half a gram of trans fat per serving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The new law was actually passed by the California Legislature in 2008, but the state gave the restaurants time to change their recipes and menu to avoid introduction of trans fat into restaurants-prepared meals.

Trans fat has been linked to a number of health problems like diabetes and heart disease. It’s probably also linked to other cardiovascular diseases among other things.

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Child fitness: Sneaky strategies aim to get kids moving

Children's Health • • DietingJan 18 10

Is your rug rat becoming a sofa spud?

To get that texting, tweeting, gaming child up and exercising, a new book suggests parents try sneaking fitness into the day-to-day routine.

“A sneaky fit kid can burn an extra 400 calories per day,” said Missy Chase Lapine, who co-authored “Sneaky Fitness: Fun, Foolproof Ways to Slip Fitness into Your Child’s Everyday Life” with personal trainer Larysa DiDio.

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Does junk food at non-food stores in US add pounds?

Dieting • • Food & NutritionJan 11 10

A new study shows that candy, soda and other junk foods are commonly sold at stores not traditionally associated with food—in a trend that researchers say may be contributing to the U.S. obesity problem.

The study, of more than 1,000 non-food retail stores across the U.S., found that 41 percent sold candy, soft drinks, chips and other sweet and salty snacks. The foods were most commonly placed at check-out counters, where they were “within arm’s reach” of impulsive buyers, the researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Nearly all drug stores and gas stations in the study sold snack foods—as did a majority of general merchandise stores, hardware and garden stores and automobile repair shops.

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Study offers clues on diet benefits without the diet

DietingOct 02 09

Experiments which mimicked a low-calorie diet by tinkering with genes in mice extended their lives and prevented disease, and a drug that has the same effect could give people longer, healthier lives, scientists said on Thursday.

British researchers found that deleting a gene linked to nutrients and growth helped mice to live 20 percent longer on average, and partly explained why eating less appears to improve health and increase longevity.

The findings also offered a possible genetic drug target for protecting against ageing-related diseases, they said.

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‘Anti-Atkins’ low protein diet extends lifespan in flies

DietingOct 01 09

Flies fed an “anti-Atkins” low protein diet live longer because their mitochondria function better. The research, done at the Buck Institute for Age Research, shows that the molecular mechanisms responsible for the lifespan extension in the flies have important implications for human aging and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.

The findings, which appear in the October 2 edition of Cell, also provide a new level of understanding of the regulation of mitochondrial genes and open new avenues of inquiry into the interplay between mitochondrial function, diet and energy metabolism.

Mitochondria act as the “powerhouse” of the cells. It is well known that mitochondrial function worsens with age in many species and in humans with Type II diabetes and obesity. “Our study shows that dietary restriction can enhance mitochondrial function hence offsetting the age-related decline in its performance,” said Buck faculty member Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, lead author of the study.

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The wonders of wine

Dieting • • Food & NutritionSep 17 09

A conversation over a glass of wine turned into EUREKA-backed research effort to create new, healthy wine-flavoured products. The German and Spanish partners of project E! 4008 PROVINO say they have invented a way of making powder from by-products of red wine production which could be used in everything from yoghurt and chocolates to creams and face masks.

Two years ago, a group of friends were enjoying a glass of wine in the Mosel region in south-west Germany when their conversation turned to the health benefits which studies attribute to the drink. During the fermentation process of making wine, by-products are left over which are often just discarded as waste and the friends reasoned that since these by-products contain the goodness of wine in an even more concentrated form, and without the alcohol, shouldn’t it be more often used and consumed by humans?

One of the friends was Bernd Diehl, the 48-year-old co-owner of a German chemical analysis company called Spectral Service. He proposed his company develop a method to turn the by-products into a powder preserving as many of the natural, healthy properties of wine as possible - the proteins, B vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, which are thought to prevent heart or circulation diseases, inflammation and thrombosis.

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Green tea component may help preserve stored platelets, tissues

DietingSep 14 09

In two separate studies, a major component in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), has been found to help prolong the preservation of both stored blood platelets and cryopreserved skin tissues. Published in the current double issue of Cell Transplantation (18:5/6), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct, devoted to organ preservation and transplantation studies from Japan, the two complimentary studies have shown that EGCG, known to have strong anti-oxidative activity, can prolong platelet cell “shelf life” via anti-apoptosis (programmed cell death) properties and preserve skin tissues by controlling cell division.

Dr. Suong-Hyn Hyon, lead author on both studies and associate professor in the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences in Kyoto, Japan, says that EGCG, a green tea polyphenol, is a known anti-oxidation and anti-proliferation agent, yet the exact mechanism by which EGCG works is not yet known. However, some of the activity of EGCG is likely to be related to its surface binding ability.

Enhanced platelet preservation

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A drink or two hours before driving ups crash risk

Dieting • • Food & NutritionSep 11 09

Watch out for that glass of wine at meals or those two beers you had when celebrating your friend’s birthday. Research now suggests that having as little as a drink or two within six hours before getting behind the wheel of a car increases the risk of being involved in an accident.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Italy’s minister of agriculture, Luca Zaia, said that “two glasses of wine cannot be the cause of a traffic crash,” Dr. Stefano Di Bartolomeo told Reuters Health via E-mail. “Our findings show just the opposite—the increase in risk is significant already after 1-2 glasses.”

Di Bartolomeo, from the Università degli Studi di Udine, and fellow researchers in Italy looked at the effects of alcohol use and meal consumption in 326 drivers admitted to the emergency room for treatment after a crash. All had also been driving during the six to 18 hours before the crash.

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Nonagenarian researcher petitions FDA to ban trans fats

Dieting • • Fat, DietarySep 03 09

“I request to ban trans fats from the American diet.”

Thus begins a 3,000-word petition to the Food and Drug Administration, the work of a man on a dogged, decades-old crusade to eradicate trans fats from food.

Fred Kummerow, a 94-year-old University of Illinois veterinary biosciences professor emeritus who still conducts research on the health effects of trans fats in the diet, filed the petition with the FDA last month. The petition is now posted on the FDA Web site, and public comments are invited. (See below for information on viewing the petition and making a comment.)

“Everybody should read my petition because it will scare the hell out of them,” Kummerow said.

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Picky Eater? What Parents Need to Know

Children's Health • • DietingAug 31 09

Catering to a child who is a picky-eater is like being a short-order cook: chaotic. Dinnertime becomes a war zone, with hopeless battles fought over vegetables and macaroni and cheese.

Picky-eating is as normal as potty-training, a right of passage in childhood development. Taste-buds evolve and food preferences expand in these early years. Even the best of parents can have a difficult time getting their child to eat. In fact, picky-eating is one of the most common occurrences in children, often outgrown as the child reaches adolescence. But if eating behavior inhibits normal developmental and physical growth processes, it could be something much more severe – a pediatric feeding disorder.

“The difference between a fussy eater and a child with a feeding disorder is the impact the eating behavior has on a child’s physical and mental health,” says Peter Girolami, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland – one the first programs of its kind in the United States and the largest in the world to treat pediatric feeding disorders.

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Kefir won’t stop diarrhea in many kids

Children's Health • • DietingAug 04 09

If you give your kids kefir to prevent the diarrhea they often get when they take antibiotics, here’s some news for you: if your kids are otherwise healthy, it probably won’t help, according to a new study.

Up to 35 percent of children who take antibiotics develop diarrhea, according to Dr. Daniel J. Merenstein at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC and colleagues, who performed the study. Sometimes the diarrhea is so severe that the children can’t finish taking the medication.

Many sources report that kefir helps prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Kefir, a cultured dairy beverage that’s a bit like drinkable yogurt, is rich with probiotics—bacteria present naturally in the body and sometimes added to food or dietary supplements to boost immune function.

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Sports drinks start working when they hit the mouth

Dieting • • Food & NutritionApr 21 09

High-carbohydrate sports drinks can boost athletic performance, and their effects may begin as soon as they hit the mouth, a new study suggests.

The researchers had endurance athletes rinse their mouths with either of two carb-containing drinks, the athletes’ exercise performance improved. The same was not true when the athletes were given water flavored with an artificial sweetener.

What’s more, brain scans showed that simply swishing the carbohydrate drinks around the mouth activated particular areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward. Again, the artificially sweetened water did not have the same effects.

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Chewing gum reduces snack cravings and decreases consumption of sweet snacks

Dieting • • Food & NutritionApr 20 09

Men and women who chewed Extra® sugar-free gum three times hourly in the afternoon chose and consumed less snacks and specifically, less sweet snacks than they did when they did not chew gum. They still reached for a variety of snacks provided but the decrease in overall snack intake was significant at 40 calories and sweet snack intake specifically was significantly lowered by 60 calories.

Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., presented study findings on April 19, 2009 at the Experimental Biology 2009 meeting in New Orleans.

The presentation by Dr. Paula J Geiselman, chief of women¹s health and eating behavior and smoking cessation at Pennington, was part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition. Earlier studies had found that gum chewing was associated with lower snack intake, but the study conducted by Dr. Geiselman is the first to examine the macronutrient composition of afternoon snack food choices made by men and women after chewing Extra® sugar-free gum.

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Strength training aids health, extra protein or not

DietingApr 13 09

Men with high cholesterol can do their bodies well through strength training, without the need for protein supplements, a small study suggests.

Strength training is known to build muscle mass, aid weight loss and help lower cholesterol. The new study looked at whether protein supplements—either from whey (a milk-based protein) or soy—offered added benefits to overweight men with high cholesterol.

Many weightlifters use protein supplements, mostly whey-based, in the belief that they are required for building muscle. Few use soy-based supplements, but in theory, such products could be particularly beneficial for men at risk of heart disease because soy may cut cholesterol levels.

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Targeting oxidized cysteine through diet could reduce inflammation and lower disease risk

DietingMar 28 09

A team of scientists at Emory University School of Medicine has identified a direct link between oxidative stress and inflammatory signals in the blood. The finding could lead to improved strategies for preventing several diseases by including antioxidants in the diet and for reducing the impact of inflammation in critically ill patients by adding cysteine to intravenous or tube feeding.

The results are published online this week in the journal PLoS One.

Many normal metabolic functions produce reactive forms of oxygen that can damage cells. Oxidative stress, a disruption of the body’s ability to control reactive forms of oxygen, has been connected with heart disease, diabetes and several neurodegenerative diseases.

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