Link Blog 02/24/2016


  • Late for this season, but something to remember for next year

    tags: geek valentines-day humour linkblog

  • Calorie count serves as an upper limit to the energy that can be extracted, but it depends on a variety of factors including your gut bacteria and nature of the food.

    tags: health food linkblog diet

    • Nash and Haelle are in good company: more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. For many of them, the cure is diet: one in three are attempting to lose weight in this way at any given moment. Yet there is ample evidence that diets rarely lead to sustained weight loss. These are expensive failures. This inability to curb the extraordinary prevalence of obesity costs the United States more than $147 billion in healthcare, as well as $4.3 billion in job absenteeism and yet more in lost productivity.
    • Measuring the calories in food itself relies on another modification of Lavoisier’s device. In 1848, an Irish chemist called Thomas Andrews realised that he could estimate calorie content by setting food on fire in a chamber and measuring the temperature change in the surrounding water.
    • Using the Beltsville facilities, for instance, Baer and his colleagues found that our bodies sometimes extract fewer calories than the number listed on the label.
    • For example, it seems that medications that are known to cause weight gain might be doing so by modifying the populations of microbes in our gut. In November 2015, researchers showed that risperidone, an antipsychotic drug, altered the gut microbes of mice who received it. The microbial changes slowed the animals’ resting metabolisms, causing them to increase their body mass by 10 per cent in two months. The authors liken the effects to a 30-lb weight gain over one year for an average human, which they say would be the equivalent of an extra cheeseburger every day.
    • Other evidence suggests that gut microbes might affect weight gain in humans as they do in lab animals. Take the case of the woman who gained more than 40 lbs after receiving a transplant of gut microbes from her overweight teenage daughter. The transplant successfully treated the mother’s intestinal infection of Clostridium difficile, which had resisted antibiotics. But, as of the study’s publication last year, she hadn’t been able to shed the excess weight through diet or exercise. The only aspect of her physiology that had changed was her gut microbes.
    • The discrepancies between the number on the label and the calories that are actually available in our food, combined with individual variations in how we metabolise that food, can add up to much more than the 200 calories a day that nutritionists often advise cutting in order to lose weight. Nash and Haelle can do everything right and still not lose weight.
    • Today, excess weight affects more people than hunger; 1.9 billion adults around the world are considered overweight, 600 million of them obese.
    • As a result of her research, Roberts has created a weight-loss plan that focuses on satiety rather than a straight calorie count.
    • teens given instant oats for breakfast consumed 650 more calories at lunch than their peers who were given the same number of breakfast calories in the form of a more satisfying omelette and fruit
    • He points to research demonstrating that high-fructose corn syrup and other forms of added fructose (as opposed to fructose found in fruit) can trigger the creation of compounds that lead us to form an excess of fat cells, unrelated to additional calorie consumption. “If we cut back on some of these things,” he says, “it seems to revert our body back to more appropriate, arguably less efficient metabolism, so that we aren’t accumulating fat cells in our body.”
    • Peter Turnbaugh cautions that the science is not yet able to recommend a particular set of microbes, let alone how best to get them inside your gut, but he takes comfort from the fact that our microbial populations are “very plastic and very malleable” – we already know that they change when we take antibiotics, when we travel and when we eat different foods. “If we’re able to figure this out,” he says, “there is the chance that someday you might be able to tailor your microbiome” to get the outcomes you want.
  • Some interesting suggestions from the likes of what Disney has done in their theme parks and also what healthcare providers are looking into. User consent and awareness is the key.

    tags: technology healthcare linkblog

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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