Category Archives: General

For Fertility And Healthy Babies, A Father’s Diet Matters Too

Most conversations about infertility and healthy reproduction tend to focus on the woman, and how things like age, environment and lifestyle factors can affect her ability to give birth to a healthy baby.

But new research is suggesting that the health of the father may play a more significant role that has traditionally been thought. Two new studies, published independently in the journal Science, showed that a father’s diet can powerfully affect his offspring.

In one of the studies, a team of Chinese researchers fed male mice a high-fat diet and then harvested their sperm to impregnate female mice. The offspring of those mice developed impaired insulin resistance and glucose intolerance — both known precursors to diabetes — while the offspring of a control group of mice did not. 

A second study conducted by U.S. and Canadian researchers, which ran the same experiment but with a low-protein diet, was less conclusive. The only changes to offspring that the researchers observed were some alterations in genes responsible for stem cell development. 

The findings suggest that the DNA contained in sperm isn’t the only impact a father has on his offspring. RNA — a chain of acids whose job is to help carry out the “blueprint” contained in DNA  — may also play a role. In the Chinese experiment, transfer RNAs seemed to carry the information from the father’s diet that later impacted the offspring’s health. 

“Traditionally, the male contribution to a child has been thought to be limited to one half of the child’s DNA,” Dr. Oliver Rando, a biochemist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post. “So this general idea that a father’s diet or environment can influence his children’s metabolism or other traits obviously challenges this way of thinking.”

New research also suggests that a prospective father’s diet may affect his fertility. Another recent study found environment and lifestyle factors — including diet and exercise — to be strongly linked to male reproductive health and infertility, potentially playing a role in decreasing birthrates globally. 

“I was surprised that we found such poor semen quality among young men ages 20 to 25,” the lead author of that study, Dr. Niels Skakkebaek of the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement. “We found that the average man had more than 90 percent abnormal sperm. … It appears that we are at a tipping point in industrialized countries where poor semen quality is so widespread that we must suspect that it results in low pregnancy rates.”

Skakkebaek and his colleagues concluded that the advancing age of prospective mothers isn’t the only important biological factor in declining pregnancy rates. “The situation is more complex,” he said. 

The authors of the studies on mice suggest that if the results are replicated in humans, as they are expected to be, then it may be wise for prospective mothers and fathers to consider their diets leading up to pregnancy. 

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Diet debate: Are diet drinks a no-go? – BBC News

Image copyright Thinkstock

It’s rare in life to have your cake and eat it. But are low-calorie sweeteners the guilt-free way to be naughty?

Nobody is going to claim that regularly drinking full-sugar pop is good for you with a 500ml bottle of cola containing around 200 calories.

But a diet version can come in at just the one calorie.

Simple logic would suggest that swapping a full sugar drink for a diet version cuts calories from your diet.

And yet such drinks have a mixed reputation. There is public concern about some sweeteners and groups of scientists have argued that low-calorie sweeteners may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So do they have a place in our shopping baskets?

“A lot of people assume they must be healthy choices because they are not sugared beverages, but the critical thing for people to understand is we don’t have the evidence,” said Prof Susan Swithers, from the US’s Purdue University.

Studies looking at large groups of people have shown obese people tend to drink more fizzy diet drinks than those of a healthy weight.

A study of US adults in the American Journal of Public Health showed 11% who were a healthy weight, 19% of those who were overweight and 22% who were obese drank diet beverages.

And a study in the journal Obesity that followed 3,700 people for eight years showed those consuming the low-calorie sweeteners put on the most weight.

The researchers were left asking the question: “Are artificial sweeteners fuelling, rather than fighting, the very epidemic they were designed to block?”

But it is impossible to determine cause and effect in such studies. Are the drinks causing weight gain or are obese people turning to diet drinks in an effort to control their weight?

Different types of sweetener

Image copyright SPL
  • Aspartame: Odourless, white crystalline powder that is derived from two amino acids
  • Saccharine: The first artificial sweetener ever synthesised in 1879
  • Stevia: Sweetener derived from the South American Stevia plant

Sweeteners – NHS Choices

Body disruption

Prof Swithers’ experiments on rats suggest the drinks alter the way the body deals with normal sugar, which could lead to weight-gain.

When sugar hits the tongue it gives us that delicious hit of sweetness, but also tells the body that food is on the way.

But with zero-calorie sweeteners that same message is sent, but no food arrives. The argument is the link between sweetness and calories has been broken.

Prof Swithers told me: “We think the diet sodas may be bad because they make it hard to deal with the sugar you are consuming.

“When the animals get real sugar they’re not as good at processing it, their hormonal responses get blunted, their blood sugar levels go up and it leads to weight gain.”

She also points out another problem – compensation. When you know you are taking calories out of one part of your diet you tend to eat more somewhere else.

“I had a diet beverage therefore I can have a cookie,” she said – it’s the same effect that has been well documented after we hit the gym.


Image copyright Thinkstock

Aspartame is one of the best known low-calorie sweeteners, but is also the most controversial.

The sugar substitute, also known as E951 in Europe, is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has been linked to a series of scare stories since it was introduced to foods in the 1980s.

Claims have included allergies, premature births and cancer.

Pepsi quoted public distrust in the stuff as the number one reason people were ditching their diet soda in the US.

It is often described one of the most tested food ingredient in the world.

And a review by the European Food Safety Authority in 2013 concluded that there were “no safety concerns” including for pregnant women and for children.

Meanwhile scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel showed that low-calorie sweeteners altered the balance of bacteria inside the guts of rats.

Our body’s cells are outnumbered 10-to-one by bacteria, viruses and fungi growing on or in us and this “microbiome” has a huge impact on health.

The study, in the journal Nature, showed that low-calorie sweeteners altered the animals’ metabolism and led to higher blood sugar levels – an early sign of developing type 2 diabetes.

Seven human volunteers then spent seven days consuming very high levels of low-calorie sweeteners. In half of people the results mirrored those in the animals.

But Prof Peter Rogers, from the University of Bristol, is far from convinced by such studies.

He says most of the animal research used levels of sweeteners that showed “little relation” to how they are used in real life.

And that it was “equally plausible” that low calorie sweeteners “may actually decrease one’s desire for a sweet dessert”.

More from our Diet Debate series:

Read: Is breakfast a waste of time?

Watch: How healthy is your breakfast?

Read: Low-fat or high-fat – does it matter?

Read: Is butter back and is saturated fat good for you?


Prof Rogers was part of a review, which included researchers funded by the food industry, of the evidence on low-energy sweeteners.

The results, published in the International Journal of Obesity, showed people lost weight when asked to replace sugary drinks with low-calorie sweetened ones.

It showed they lost around 1.2kg on average when people were on the diet for between four and 40 months – an effect broadly the same as for switching to water.

Prof Rogers said: “We clearly found that consuming low-calorie sweeteners, in place of sugar, reduced energy intake and body weight.”

And that while people consuming sweeteners did end up eating more than those who stuck to sugary drinks, they still consumed fewer calories overall.

He concludes: “They’re not going to do all the work for you, but it’s a way to enjoy the pleasure of sweet, without the penalty of calories in our obesogenic society.”


Image copyright Thinkstock

Although experts say that in an ideal world we’d all be drinking water, a study in Obesity journal even suggests “pre-loading” with water half an hour before eating actually helps people lose weight.

But even staunch critic of low-calorie sweeteners, Prof Swithers, argues they may have a role as a halfway house.

“A diet beverage would be useful to have in your diet as a transition, so if you’re drinking regular soda every day and find it too difficult to stop,” she said.

They should help with some weight-loss, at least in the short-term. The big question is whether we’d all be better off by just adjusting to a diet that’s less sweet.

Follow James on Twitter.

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Thinking of doing a detox diet? Be warned: this is what happens to your body | Brigid Delaney

I did an extreme detox a couple of years ago and was shocked to discover how bad it made me smell. Here are some other unexpected effects

Its that time of year, where after a month or more of the party season, detox diets start appearing in magazines and on websites everywhere you look promising rapid weight loss.

But be warned: I have done it before, and I can tell you what happens to your body and its not pleasant.

A couple of years ago I went on an extreme detox. For two weeks I ate no food, just drank foul-tasting Chinese herbs (imagine the taste of old cigarette butts floating in brackish creek water), then for the following three weeks I ate only small amounts of cucumber and poached chicken.

I lost 14 kilograms, which I put back on over the following two years.

I wont be doing an extreme detox again but if youre considering it, here are some of the weird effects you can expect to experience.

You will smell

It was day four of no food when I noticed the smell. I was lying in bed with the windows open, and thought, Maaaannn, someone must have left a bag of old chicken carcasses out in the sun. Chicken carcasses and off milk. I closed the window in disgust before realising the smell was coming from me. I smelled like chicken carcasses and sour milk.

Over the following weeks, friends recoiled from me when I hugged them, and I noticed that when I cried, even my tears smelled bad.

You will be bored

Not shopping for, preparing, eating and cleaning up after a meal means that days are no longer filled with food-related tasks. Without meals, theres no marker or divider so time takes on a different dimension. Theres so much of it!

I avoided food-related socialising while detoxing, so did not spend any time in restaurants or bars. I had nothing to do during the day, which was lucky because I slept a lot (and was being paid by a magazine to write about the diet). I also had no plans at night.

I was bored. Really bored. Each day I went to the detox clinic, got weighed, had some acupuncture and a (very hard) massage. Then Id go home to just … hang. I had no energy to do anything else. When I met people on a rare outing, I was hyperactive. I was so excited to meet a friend in the park one day that I arrived an hour early.

Soon I will see her! I said, looking at my phone, In 43 minutes!

It reminded of that novel on boredom, The Pale King by David Foster Wallace: over the foothills of tedium and boredom lie bliss you just have to wait it out.

First you look bad, and then you look amazing

First, your skin goes blotchy, eyes bloodshot, hair lank, tongue coated, and of course you stink. Then one day you wake up and look in the mirror and theres no other word for how you look: AMAZING.

Years fell off my face. One day I woke up and every single wrinkle I had was gone. My nails were strong, hair shiny, the whites of my eyes luminous. Who was this person? I was afraid, though, that if I kept on not eating, Id look like an infant by Easter.

Your dreams will be particularly vivid

By day five, I felt like I was on heavy sedatives. I could barely do anything except sleep.

When awake, I spent hours staring out the window. I couldnt concentrate enough to read more than a couple of lines of my book. TV programs, even the dumb ones, were too much effort.

But, oh, my dreams! Ive never had such vivid, energetic, horrific dreams thrumming with currents of anxiety. Typically I was trying to get somewhere, running from gate lounge to gate lounge trying to board a flight for my departure to Barkly. Where is Barkly? I dont know but I had to get there.

Days four to seven are really hard

The first couple of days are fine, almost a novelty. I felt too waterlogged from the gross herbs to be properly hungry and I didnt leave the house much so was safe from temptation. There were headaches probably from caffeine withdrawals but they went away after three days.

But by day four, bad moods, boredom, hunger, lack of energy and brain fog were bumming me out. I was no longer able to think very much, about anything at all.

In the second week, things improved considerably, including memory and concentration.

You will only think of food, to the point of obsession

Food preoccupied me like never before. I spent a lot of time thinking about various meals of the past that I have enjoyed. Seeing a picture of pizza on my Twitter feed made me feel so much longing that I couldnt sleep. Its like being horny, times a thousand. I would stop outside restaurants to watch people eat. I licked food, secretly at home, then threw it in the bin. I missed chewing.

When I was out with a friend who was eating hot chips, I snatched one from his plate, licked it and felt it in my mouth, then threw it in the bin without swallowing it. He was disgusted. He also told me that my new gaunt face made me look like a PR chick.

People have strong opinions on detoxing

On day 10 I woke up with chest pains. Am I having a heart attack? I panicked. The pain subsided and I visited my GP who was surprisingly mellow about the fast. He told me that fasting had been around forever and human beings are quite good at it due to long periods of time not catching things in the wilderness. He also said that fasting is good from an ethical perspective because you get to understand what its like to go without food.

Other people thought it was dangerous, despite the fact that the current Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy did the same program (he lost 13kg). Friends couldnt fathom not eating for that long, and wondered if I might actually die from starvation.

I spoke to a professor from the nutrition school at the Queensland University of Technology who said, When you fast for more than three or four days, all you do is reduce your metabolism.

Stuff comes out of your body

This was a mystery. Why, if I was not eating anything was my body expelling so much STUFF? It was gross. What was it? Where did it come from? A Google search revealed weird pictures of things in toilet bowls that other fasters had taken. It was horrible, yet in that deprived state, strangely compelling.

You reassess food intake

When I started eating again, I was full after one bean and a tiny piece of fish. It was delicious. I did not need any more food. I thought back to all the times when I needed a snack after two or three hours. I needed it! Well, perhaps I didnt need it.

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Jessica Simpson’s secret to staying fit: ‘Being a mom is enough of a diet’

Jessica Simpson hit the town Tuesday night in New York City, and the mother of two looked stunning in a curve-hugging dress that showed off the results of her healthy living.

The 35-year-old fashion designer opened up about her fitness regimen when she spoke with ET on the red carpet at the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, where she was honored with the Future of Fashion Award.

WATCH: Jessica Simpson Flashes Her Rock Hard Abs in Tight-Fitting Crop Top and Polka Dot Pants

“I think being a mom is enough of a diet,” said Simpson, who brought along her husband, former NFL star Eric Johnson, as her date for the evening.

While the fashion designer and entrepreneur is super busy these days, she says it’s important that she makes her health a priority.

“You have to run around chasing your kids, but I do eat a lot of their corn dogs, so I have to get on the treadmill a lot to watch my TV shows,” Simpson joked.

RELATED: Jessica Simpson: ‘There Was A Lot of Baby Weight to Lose’

Simpson also opened up about her children, and whether she and her husband intend on having any more.

Back in November, Simpson told ET there were no plans to expand her family. While that’s still the case, she now seems a bit more open to the idea.

“I don’t think I could have another baby right now. It was a very, very big shock after having a baby and four months later knowing I was pregnant again, so I think that’s not in our near future,” Simpson shared. ” But people have kids at 40 now, so you never know.”

WATCH: Jessica Simpson Says She Doesn’t Want More Kids: ‘That Would Freak Me Out’

One thing she is planning on is a return to her roots — namely, acting and singing.

“Oh, there’s lots of music and lots of acting coming up in the near future,” Simpson teased. “I have to do it all. I’m like a jack of all trades.”

However, Simpson stressed that, no matter what, she “will never ever, ever put fashion aside.”

WATCH: Jessica Simpson Shows Off Her Incredible Swimsuit Bod

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Add These Four Foods To Your Diet And Your Body Will Burn More Fat

January is proven to be the month where gyms are the busiest. With New Year’s resolutions in full force, you’ll often find a long line for the shoulder press, and you’ll definitely be hard-pressed to get ample room in your usual morning Zumba class. Year-round gym-goers may joke around at the end of the year to prepare for the resolution rush, but it’s very real.

While working out is crucial for getting healthy, happy, and fit,you won’t make any progress as long as you keep fueling your body with junk. You can do as many burpees, squats, sprints, deadlifts, and downward dogs as you want, but if you continue with the sweets and luxurious dinners out of moderation, you’ll never reach your resolution. But where do you begin? You never want to deprive your body of what it needs, or your sweet tooth from what it wants entirely.

For starters, learning about what specific foods do to your body can really help you make the perfect get-happy plan for 2016.Did you know that some foods can actually help your body burn fat faster? Some of them may already be some of your favorite foods, and you just didn’t know it. Add these four fat-burning foods to your diet, alongside your favorite exercises, and you’re already on your way to looser jeans.

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Facebook users recruit friends for diet, supplement programs but is it legit? | Fox News


Last winter, Natalie Vargas was nearing her mid-30s, eating fast food for lunch, drinking about nine cups of coffee a day, and feeling exhausted and sick to her stomach. But all of that changed in April 2015, when she began following a program she heard about on Facebook from a friend who had been struggling with similar issues.

My body started to feel better and better and better, Vargas, an aesthetician who lives in Newburgh, N.Y., told

Vargas, 34, credits the transformation to a $125/month weight loss and cleanse program she purchased through Plexus. The company is one of countless that uses multi-level marketing (MLM) a trend that experts say has helped fuel the U.S. dieting industrys growth to an estimated $64 billion value, the latest data available from research firm Marketdata Enterprises.

As New Years resolutions to hit the gym and eat healthy begin to wane, droves of Americans like Vargas will turn to similar programs that suggest their brand-specific supplements can help kick-start users metabolism, detoxify their systems and boost their energy.

Many people will learn about these programs through friends on social media who are then compensated by the company whose products theyre promoting the basis of MLM, or network marketing.

But due to flexible federal regulation of weight loss products and their often obscure ingredients, many registered dieticians question whether these programs offer more than what can be attained through a traditional healthy lifestyle. Others worry some may be Ponzi schemes that could leave participants not only sicker but also broker than when they started. 

Can you really detox the body?

On Amazon, nearly 3,000 products are listed under the subcategory Detox & Cleanse.

The terms detox and cleanse have become so mainstream in the dieting world that those terms dont mean too much anymore, Heather Mangieri, spokeswoman for American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) based in Pittsburgh, told

But if you talk to anyone with a degree in dietetics from an accredited university like Mangieri, who received her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh or any biologist with similar credentials, theyll tell you the same thing: The body already cleanses itself. Thats what the liver, kidneys and colon do naturally.

If [cleanses] ever did the kind of thing theyre claiming to do, theyd kill you, Michael D. Gershon, a pathology and cell biology professor at Columbia University, told

Gershon, who studies the bowels relationship with the nervous system, said the bacterium in the bodys colon lining plays a fundamental role in digestion and nourishment. For example, cellulose, a component of fiber found in leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, cant be digested by the body without the delicate balance of bacterium that self-regulates in the colon.

When the colon absorbs toxins by way of exposure to a foodborne illness like salmonella or cholera, for instance the body becomes nauseated and vomits to try to rid itself of that toxin. In foods that are safe to eat, toxins arent absorbed. The body flushes them naturally.

One way to avoid a toxin is dont eat it, Gershon said.

Taking any supplement in excess has the potential to have the opposite of its desired effect that is, overloading on supplements may intoxicate the body, said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York Universitys Langone Medical Center.

Heller, a registered dietician for nearly two decades, referred to Nobel Prize winner Linus Paulings 1969 theory that vitamin C was a miracle supplement that could cure the common cold and extend peoples life spans. Following that belief, which has been debunked multiple times but is still popularly held today, people began taking too much vitamin C, causing the vitamin to transform from a disease-fighting antioxidant to a pro-oxidant, Heller said.

Our bodies are designed to deal with these vitamins in teams, Heller told [Vitamin C] works closely with vitamin E and selenium to balance the bodys system, so too much of one or the other can really knock it off. So in addition, you may be overloading your bodys ability to metabolize and detoxify these supplements, overwhelming your liver and kidneys.

We dont know what large doses of these supplements may do to our bodies, Heller said.

Can supplements help you lose weight?

Popular programs like Plexus, as well as Isagenix, AdvoCare and Arbonne, call for taking supplements, either in pill or powder form, and some version of fasting from whole foods.

Heller hasnt extensively studied the ingredients of products in those plans, but she said a quick review suggests many contain Stevia, a non-nutritive sweetener that research suggests may interfere with the gut-brain axis, increase sweet cravings and appetite, and shift the gut microbiome in an unfavorable direction. The microbiome refers to that crucial population of bacterium that Gershon described.

Heller said some of the products for these programs also contain laxatives.

Looking at the long lists of ingredients in these products, one wonders, Why not just eat real food, where Mother Nature has created the perfect balance of nutrients for the body? Heller said. These kinds of programs are a waste of time and money.

Isagenix, a company that has about 230,000 likes on Facebook, has a whole catalog of packages not only for weight loss, but for performance enhancement and energy, among other solutions. Its 30-Day Cleansing and Fat Burning System calls for, during two different periods throughout the cleanse, an elimination of full meals and taking a mix of shakes and supplements the company says may accelerate weight loss, as well as cleanse and flush the body.

AdvoCare, which has about 374,000 likes on Facebook, has a 24-Day Challenge that features a bundle of supplements to be taken during a 10-day cleanse phase to rid your body of waste, among other effects, and then offer appetite control and overall wellness during the following 14-day phase.

Whether its helpful at all to supplement a healthy, balanced diet with any vitamins and minerals in the first place is unclear, registered dieticians say.

Although sales of supplements have led to the growth of a multibillion dollar industry, the science behind whether theyre helpful or harmful or do nothing at all is fuzzy.

Studies on multivitamins, for example, have produced mixed results, with some research suggesting people who take them may be less inclined to follow a healthy diet thus increasing their risk of early death and other studies suggesting they may extend an individuals life span.

Some experts say individuals could benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement, Heller noted, but the popular belief that vitamin B12 can offer an energy boost is a myth because the body excretes the vitamin before fully absorbing it.

A big reason why companies can say their products may have certain benefits lies in terms laid out by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Those rules outline what dietary supplement companies and their ambassadors may imply during marketing, but they allow companies to clarify claims with asterisks that indicate their products may not work for everyone and that they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Since 1994, when Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, supplementswhether sold individually or bundled in weight loss packages have been freed of regulation from the FDA.

It is the companys responsibility to make sure its products are safe and that any claims made about such products are true, Lynsday Meyer, an FDA spokeswoman, told in an email. But just because you see a supplement product on a store shelf does not mean it is safe.

The FDA has received numerous reports of harm associated with the use of weight loss products, including increased blood pressure, heart palpitations (a pounding or racing heart), stroke, seizure and death, Meyer said. When safety issues are suspected, FDA must investigate and, when warranted, take steps to have these products removed from the market.

To Hellers knowledge, there is no supplement that has been scientifically proven to expedite weight loss. 

There isnt any, Heller told [Weight loss] has to do with how much physical activity you do, and how much calories you burn and how much you take in, and its really as simple as that. But the quality of those calories counts.

Heller and Mangieri both said two-day cleanses that call for consuming only juice may help someone get into a proper mindset to jump-start their weight loss goal and, depending on the plan, leave them properly hydrated. But for any time beyond that, these types of juice cleanses can be dangerous.

If youre not consuming food that has some protein and some carbohydrates and some fats over a period of time, then you are scaring your body, Heller said. And so it launches into this urgent mode, and why would we want to do that to our bodies, which are dealing with enough difficult stuff as it is?

Mangieri said any safe program would include the basic foundation of a nutritious diet: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats.

Any program thats avoiding certain nutrients is a huge red flag also programs that claim that theyll help you lose weight in a certain amount of time, Mangieri told

Depending on a persons starting weight, generally speaking an individual can lose 2 pounds a week with a healthy eating plan and without supplements, she said. Thats 8 pounds a month, which is really good.”

Vargas, the Plexus participant, said she lost 8 pounds on the companys TRI-PLEX Combo, which consists of a powder to be mixed into water, plus two solid supplements. Now expecting her first child, she has continued taking the combo each month and said the healthy track Plexus has put her on helped her keep off the weight until her second trimester of pregnancy. She also credited the program with helping her conceive, which shed had trouble doing prior.

Vargas cleared the TRI-PLEX Combo with her OB-GYN and communicates on a private Facebook page with about 10,000 other women who are pregnant  or trying to conceive while taking Plexus products. She said shes working on becoming an ambassador for the program by sharing personal testimonials with her friends in hopes of recruiting new participants on Facebook. With that rank, shell get the TRI-PLEX Combo for $109 a month instead of $124. Shell have to make that $109 monthly quota, either through sales to other people or with her own purchases of Plexus products.

More on this…

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Mediterranean diet linked to healthier aging brain | Fox News

Food is seen on a table at a restaurant at the port of El Masnou, near Barcelona May 16, 2008. REUTERS/Albert Gea (Copyright Reuters 2015)

Following a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and healthy fats may preserve a more youthful brain in old age, a U.S. study suggests.

Previous research has connected a Mediterranean diet to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain conditions, noted lead study author Yian Gu of Columbia University in New York.

For the current study, researchers focused on elderly people with normal cognitive function to see if the diet might also be tied to losing fewer brain cells due to aging, Gu said by email.

“Among cognitively healthy older adults, we were able to detect an association between higher adherence to a Mediterranean type diet and better brain measures,” Yu said.

To understand the relationship between the diet and brain health, Yu and colleagues reviewed surveys that 674 elderly people completed about their eating habits and then examined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of their brains.

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Why is everyone freaking out about Chick-fil-A offering diet advice?

Chick-fil-A’s bag suggests that eating more of its grilled chicken nuggets can help shed pounds. (AP)

Talk about making a mountain out of mole hill.

Chick-Fil-A has a suggestion to help drop those pounds you may have packed on during the holidays. Eat their grilled chicken nuggets.

Kick off the New Year by adding one healthy habit to your routine, the fast food chains bags now read. Heres a good one: Eat smaller meals (like an 8-count pack of grilled nuggets) every three to four hours.

The so-called “Chick-fil-A diet”–as it’s now been come to be called–went viral after SBNation’s Rodger Sherman tweeted out a photo of the bag. 

(Another tip on the bag also suggests staying balanced by exercising more.)

Since then the chicken chain has been getting a lot of snaky comments from many who are interpreting that Chick-fil-A is tell you to eat their nuggets 6 times a day. They are not.  (Lets be clear here, were talking the grilled chicken nuggets, not the fried version.)

They’re suggesting you eat a food portion around the same size as their grilled nuggets every three to four hours–and their menu item was an example. 

Why they may be doing this is because nutritionists and fitness experts say that eating healthy snacks that are low in calories and fat can improve overall health.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition label. 

Theyre low in carbs, have 140 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving.

But there is a high amount if you take the chains advice of eating them every three hours. At 530mg per serving, youd likely reach the upper safe limit around 2,300 mg of daily sodium intake every day.

But, lets face it, if youre taking diet advice from a bag of fast food, you may want to think twice.

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The Chick-fil-A diet clucked me up

This is what happens when you eat Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets three times a day. (Chick-fil-A)

Im in a fowl mood.

Theres a hot diet thats making waves on the Web. No, it doesnt involve kale, and theres no juice, either. Its just chicken specifically, from New York Citys newest clucking chain: Chick-fil-A. And I decided to take it as far as I could in its most literal sense. The details of whats being billed as the Chick-fil-A diet and the chicken nugget cleanse by media outlets come printed right on the chains takeout bags.

Kick off the New Year by adding one healthy habit to your routine, they read. Heres a good one: Eat smaller meals (like an 8-count pack of grilled chicken nuggets) every three to four hours.

So I went for it. Specifically, I aimed to eat a 140-calorie serving of eight grilled chicken nuggets every three hours for a full 24-hour span. Like any die-hard American, I love fast food. And like most people, I also love quick-and-dirty solutions to feeling healthy while still being able to eat junk. Honestly, my loafers couldnt carry me to the Chick-fil-A location on 37th Street and Sixth Avenue fast enough.

The news of this dietary regimen broke this weekend, and obviously, the Internet completely exploded.

The future is fast-food cleanses! announced Cosmopolitan. The future isnt so bad! (But most people are dead. R.I.P. humanity.)

With 530 grams of sodium, theyre well under the daily limit of 2,300 grams recommended in US dietary guidelines, wrote the Huffington Post. And they have less than one-third of the daily cholesterol limit for healthy people.

Heres how my cleanse went down.

1:45 p.m.: Can I get 10 eight-piece grilled chicken nuggets? I asked with cheer when I arrived at the Chick-fil-A counter. It was more than I needed, but if the chicken-only diet treated me kindly, I wouldnt have minded expanding the 24-hour period into something greater. As advertised, the diet doesnt specify anything about the use of side sauces or beverages. So I also picked up a variety of the chains dips including everything from 45-calorie packs of barbecue sauce to a 140-calorie container of Chick-fil-A sauce and a diet lemonade (healthy, right?). The 10 boxes of nuggets alone cost $50.90, not including tax.

2:30 p.m.: I arrived back at my desk feeling hungry and immediately opened my first pack of nuggets. Bite-sized and bearing grill marks, the pieces were bathed in a puddle of oil (hopefully vegetable) and came lightly seasoned (with what specifically, Im not sure). Though a very strong scent of grilled chicken quickly permeated my cubicle area, they actually tasted pretty good. Suddenly, 24 hours of chicken nuggets didnt seem so daunting.

5 p.m.: Waiting until 5:30 for my next dose of tender chicken bites was challenging. Turns out I was hungrier than I thought at 2:30, and those eight nuggets hardly made a dent in my appetite. All I could focus on was more food to the point where it distracted me from a deadline. By 5, I couldnt take it any longer. I microwaved the second eight-piece serving, dipped it into some honey mustard (only an extra 45 calories per container!) and felt much better.

7:30 p.m.: I was next due to eat at 8:30 dinner, I guess? but I still felt fine at the gym while doing a high-intensity 40-minute session on the elliptical machine. Actually, I felt terrific. I ran with more vigor than usual and ended up burning 515 calories easily metabolizing those two eight-piece servings from earlier. For a second, I thought about staying until 9 to do weights, but then reconsidered so I could arrive home for the next batch of nuggets. Maybe there is something to this cleanse, I thought to myself.

8:25 p.m.: Things started to get hairy on my three-block walk home from the gym. My energy completely vanished, hunger pangs set in and I began to feel lightheaded. With few calories consumed since 2:30, coupled with a workout, I was like a car running on a low tank of fuel. I burst through my door and immediately microwaved another eight nuggets. Just for the sake of more calories 110, to be precise I ate them with Chick-fil-As tangy Polynesian dipping sauce. I was so hungry that, even after I inhaled the chicken, I ate the leftover sauce with a spoon. Good thing I live alone. Thirsty, and simply in need of something else in my belly, I chugged a large glass of milk. And thats just gross.

9:30 p.m.: It still wasnt enough. I spent the next hour on my couch feeling sluggish, asking myself if I really had to wait another two hours to eat the next batch at 11:30 before bed. It obviously didnt happen: In a fit, I heated up another eight and perked right up. My apartment double-reeked of chicken.

8:15 a.m.: On any normal day, I eat a breakfast of fruit and oatmeal, then wash it all down with a mug of coffee. But after a full night of sleep, I microwaved more nuggets, dipped them into a 110-calorie container of Chick-fil-A ranch dressing, then chased it with my normal cup of joe. It was my fifth serving of eight grilled nuggets in 18 hours, and I began to feel some heartburn coming on. The lingering smell of chicken, plus the mere chicken-and-coffee combo so early in the morning, also made me feel a bit nauseated on top of it. Mind over matter, I encouraged myself.

9:20 a.m.: Convinced the oily smell was seeping through my skin, I sprayed on some extra cologne before heading out to work. I felt sluggish, still a bit sick, and missed my train. The next one came it was packed and I boarded. One stop later, I got a cold sweat, and I felt a rising feeling in my esophagus. For a second, it was difficult to swallow. Something was about to get nasty on a subway full of people. Yes, I really thought I was about to blow chunks in front of everyone. Is that the key to a cleansing diet? Luckily, I deep-breathed myself through it and managed to keep it together the remaining 30 minutes.

11:30 a.m.: Do I have to? I asked myself when I looked at the next round of freshly nuked grilled nuggets. My tummy had since settled, and I didnt want to have another close call. Needless to say, I took my time to get to them. I ate them without any condiments. I felt fine after eating them, and that feeling lasted a while. The next and last installment was at 2, but I decided to call it off. I had had enough. I took the four remaining boxes out of the fridge and left them out for any co-worker who dared to try the all-chicken regimen. Im not sure who grabbed them later, but I do hope theyre enjoying those nuggets with some vegetables thats a balanced meal.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.

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Exercise Or Diet? One Is More Important For Weight Loss

A combination of a healthy diet and a well-rounded exercise regimen is key for weight loss. But if you pit the two against each other, one yields more results than the other. 

When it comes to dropping pounds, what you put in your body is more important than how you move it, according to the AsapScience video above. The clip explains that cutting out calories is more fruitful than running on the treadmill because it takes less time. You could put on your gym clothes, go to a workout class and come home and shower to burn some calories, or you could just not eat a candy bar. 

While exercise is crucial for leading a healthy life, exclusively, it doesn’t often promote weight loss. A 2015 study found that calorie control is more successful, especially because exercise increases appetite in many people. Even more, additional research found that working out burns more calories initially, but the burn eventually plateaus as the body adjusts for stability. 

Nevertheless, we have to stress that putting the two together is your very best bet for getting the most out of life. Don’t forget that physical activity can reduce risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes and can boost your mood and help you sleep better.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to choose between the two.

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