Archive | October, 2011

Healthy Nibbles: 10 October 2011 Edition

17 Oct

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of October 10th, 2011:

Groupon, the online group shopping incentive (think group + coupon), has heads turning in Indianapolis for its recent deal-of-the-day on … wait for it … breast milk. That’s right, human B.R.E.A.S.T milk. While the purported health benefits of breast milk are numerous, not all new moms may be able to produce and supply sufficient amounts of it. This particular groupon therefore aims to make accessing it from other sources (i.e. donors) more affordable, essentially bridging yet another gap in nutrition accessibility. Is it weird that since hearing about this groupon all I can think about is Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath? [Healthland TIME]

Thanks to the collaborative effort of researchers from Australia and the United States, another piece of the obesity puzzle has been put into place. Not only does this research highlight the discovery of a novel protein influencing leptin sensitivity (or more specifically, leptin IN-sensitivity), but also that the timing of leptin modulation can impact obesity progression. Just another reminder that there is far more to solving the obesity problem than a simple balancing of calories in and calories out. [Science Daily]

Speaking of modulating sensitivity, researchers from Duke University have found that sensitivity to simvastatin (Zocor®), a conventional pharmaceutical therapy for high cholesterol, may be influenced by the type of microbes present in the gut. Not only does this finding suggest a novel means by which to pre-screen for simvastatin responsiveness (i.e. by identifying what kinds of microbes are present), but also a relatively simple way to improve treatment efficacy (i.e. by consuming simvastatin-friendly probiotics). [Healthland TIME]

Too much of a good thing, any good thing, is rarely a good idea. In fact, according to recent research examining the risk of death in older women and prostate cancer prevention in men, too much of certain supplements may actually do more harm than good. Though a necessary means to compensate for an existing nutrient deficiency, researchers caution against the unnecessary OVER-use of supplements. Instead, they suggest adopting a healthy diet as a safer alternative to achieving optimum nutrient balance. Adding further credence to the benefits of whole foods …

… are the results from a new study out of Oregon State University which suggest that the bioactive constituents of broccoli may be best consumed in vegetable form, rather than as an isolated supplement, in order to maximize their beneficial anti-cancer health effects. Just how many more times does it need to be said? Eat. Your. Vegetables. Even just a little bit, everyday. [Science Daily]

Healthy Nibbles: 03 October 2011 Edition

10 Oct

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of October 3rd, 2011:

It’s Thanksgiving! Here’s hoping that at some point over this long weekend you’ve found time to reflect and revel in all that you have to be thankful for. When you’re done doing that though and are ready to indulge in some tasty thanksgiving treats, here are a few tips to help keep you from crossing that fine line into OVERindulgence. Although an older post, it’s nonetheless still a relevant one – for future thanksgivings to come, and indeed for any non-holiday day as well. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 🙂 [Kombat Arts Blog]

New hope has emerged for type II diabetics. Animal research out of the Washington University School of Medicine suggests that administration of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a naturally occurring upstream molecule on the pathway to NAD production, improves glucose tolerance to almost normal levels (!!!) Okay, so maybe it’s not so much a ‘new’ hope after all – more like ‘newly re-discovered.’ Either way, these pre-clinical results offer some early hope for the amelioration of one of Canada’s fastest growing diseases. [Science Daily]

Ordering a salad from a fast-food joint may be equally as counterintuitive as getting a diet coke with your combo. For most patrons, it just doesn’t make sense. Not surprisingly therefore, recent food survey results demonstrate that less than half of the American consumers who say they want healthy fast-food menu options, actually order them. According to popular food journalist Mark Bittman, the REAL problem may not be what we order in fast-food lines, but rather that we even join the line in the first place. Rather than pointing the finger at fast-food moguls for their contribution to the current obesity epidemic, perhaps it’s time we consider turning at least one of those fingers inwards, towards ourselves. [Healthland TIME]

Speaking of self-initiative, though much has changed since the 1970’s (i.e. the popularity of bell-bottoms, lava lamps, and disco music), other things such as self-empowerment have endured. It’s been 40 years since the inception of Our bodies, Ourselves, a comprehensive, candid, and easy-to-read road map of women’s sexuality and reproductive health, and yet its popularity continues to grow. Surely an ongoing testament to the significance of self-empowerment, it also sounds remarkably like an uber successful grassroots knowledge translation (KT) initiative, non? [Washington Post]

Healthy Nibbles: 26 September 2011 Edition

3 Oct

From our eyes to yours … here’s what’s up in health and nutrition news for the week of September 26th, 2011:

I used to think that I was relatively immune to some of the more common illnesses such as seasonal colds (naively walking around outside during bitter winters with long, wet hair). But alas, I’ve since realized that regrettably I am so NOT 😦 Although last week I had good intentions to blog about sketchy supplement labeling, the relationship between weight and food impulses, how exercise may help in the fight against smoking, and the 40th anniversary of cancer research, due to a wicked head cold I opted to hide out in bed instead. Just in case you too fell victim to Mother Nature’s chilly disposition as of late, or were just plain old curious, click on each of the respective links above to catch up on these healthful nibbles.

In the nutrition world there are a handful of questions that continually pop up yet remain relatively unresolved. For example, which are better – whole foods or concentrated supplements, and what exactly does ‘natural’ mean? Equally uncertain are the health benefits of organic versus conventionally grown produce … until now that is. Spanish researchers have tackled this enduring question in a recent study examining the polyphenol content of organic and non-organic tomato juice. With an infinite amount of other foods that could be up for similar examination, I’m thinking that these researchers will be clocking some seriously LONG working hours in the near future! [Science Daily]

For athletes, choosing the right diet cannot only make the difference for short and long term health, but also for performance. With a plethora of different diet fads currently available, choosing which one can actually optimize performance can be a challenge in its own right. To help shed some light on this issue, registered dietitian Jennifer Sygo breaks down which fad diets for athletes are worthy of a gold medal, and which are best left to watch from the sidelines. [National Post]

Besides just semantics, what’s the difference between ‘fatness’ and ‘fitness’? According to researchers from Duke University, a ton (no pun intended). In their recent animal study, they found that engaging mice in regular exercise routines (fitness) helped mitigate the negative effects of obesity on the progression of arthritis-related inflammation irrespective of any weight loss (fatness). These findings suggest that tipping the scale towards skinny may not be the only reason to get your sweat on. Exercising just for the sake of exercising? Sounds so simple and yet why is it sometimes still SO hard. [Science Daily]