Settling the Egg Debate

You can safely eat a dozen eggs a week—or possibly more—without increasing your risk of heart disease, according to new research. Like butter and red meat, eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, and for decades many physicians advised patients to cut back on such foods to keep their heart healthy. To test the health effect of eggs, researchers at the University of Sydney put 128 people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes—a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease—on two different diets for a year. One group ate 12 eggs a week and the other ate two eggs or fewer a week. At the end of the study, the researchers found no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk factors in either group, including in blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, MedicalDaily.com reports. “Our research indicates people do not need to hold back from eating eggs,” study author Nick Fuller says, “if this (Read More)

Diet Linked to Arthritis

Having a bad diet may increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis. Scientists have long thought the condition was tied to obesity and excessive stress placed on the joints, reports MedicalDaily.com. But in a new study, a team from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that a high-fat Western diet caused mice not only to gain weight but also to develop systemic inflammation and an imbalance in their gut microbiome: Their colons had high levels of harmful bacteria and hardly any beneficial “probiotic” bacteria. When the researchers tore cartilage in the rodents’ knees to trigger osteoarthritis, the disease progressed more rapidly in the obese mice. When they then treated these mice with a probiotic to restore their gut microbiome, the rodents had less inflammation and their joint health improved. Study author Eric Schott says his team’s findings “set the stage to develop therapies that target the microbiome and actually treat (Read More)

Cutting Calories for Longevity

Eating less may help people live longer, reports CNN.com. Scientists at Louisiana State University tested the effects of calorie restriction on 53 healthy men and women between 21 and 50 years old. For two years, one-third of the volunteers ate their normal diet, while the rest cut their caloric intake by 15 percent. Unsurprisingly, those who consumed fewer calories lost weight—about 20 pounds on average. But they also saw another benefit: Their metabolic rate, which governs the amount of energy the body requires to sustain normal daily functions, slowed by about 10 percent during sleep. “It’s important because every time we generate energy in the body, we generate byproducts,” explains lead author Leanne Redman. These so-called free radicals accumulate and cause damage to cells and organs; this damage has been linked to diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other age-related diseases. Previous studies have shown that reducing calories can extend life in rodents (Read More)

Grilling Causes Inflammation

Regularly eating grilled, broiled, or roasted meat, chicken, or fish may increase the risk for high blood pressure, a new study shows. Harvard researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing the diet and cooking methods of more than 86,000 women and 17,000 men who were followed for up to 16 years. They found those who ate foods cooked by high heat more than 15 times a month were 17 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate them less frequently. The people who preferred their meats well-done were also 15 percent more likely to become hypertensive, reports Reuters.com. “The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance in animal studies, and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure,” says the study’s lead researcher, Gang Liu. Lowering the heat could help reduce these health (Read More)

Freezing the ‘Hunger Nerve’

Diets often fail as long-term solutions for many people trying to lose weight. But new research suggests that freezing the so-called hunger nerve could suppress hunger and be an effective new treatment for those struggling with obesity. When the stomach is empty, a branch of the vagus nerve called the posterior vagal trunk kicks into action, sending hunger signals to the brain. Guided by CT scan images, researchers used a probe to freeze this nerve in 10 obese women and men, with the aim of dampening its signal. “We’re not trying to eliminate this biological response, only reduce the strength of this signal to the brain,” the study’s lead author, David Prologo, tells ScienceDaily​.com. The preliminary results of the study suggest the nerve-freezing procedure may do just that. None of the subjects experienced side effects, but all of them reported feeling more satisfied and less hungry 90 days later. They also (Read More)

Brain-Boosting Beets

Beets may have a protective effect on the brain that could help ward off Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests. Scientists at the University of South Florida found that betanin, the compound that gives the root vegetable its rich red color, could help prevent pro tein pieces called beta-amyloid from forming harmful plaque in the brain—a hallmark of the neurodegenerative disease. This plaque usually occurs when beta-amyloid binds to metals in the brain such as iron and copper; these metals cause the protein to form clumps that can trigger inflammation and oxidation, which destroys nerve cells. In a series of experiments, the researchers found that when beta-amyloid bound to copper was exposed to betanin, oxidation dropped by up to 90 percent. “This is just a first step,” co-author Li-June Ming tells the New York Daily News. “But we hope our findings will encourage other scientists to look for structures similar to betanin, [which] could (Read More)

Obesity Hard to Overcome

On the popular reality TV series The Biggest Loser, obese people quickly shed 100 or more pounds through grueling workouts and drastic diets. New research reveals, however, that the show’s approach does not keep the pounds off long-term, because obese people’s bodies fight to regain the lost weight. A study involving 14 former contestants found that only one managed to stay slim after six years; the rest regained most or all of the lost weight. After conducting a series of tests, researchers from the National Institutes of Health found the contestants faced a losing battle because of a phenomenon called “metabolic adaptation,” Vox.com reports. A person’s basal metabolic rate— the rate at which energy is used when the body is at rest—slows with weight loss or increased physical activity, as the body fights to maintain a stable weight. That problem was particularly acute for the show’s obese contestants, whose bodies burned 500 fewer (Read More)

The Benefits of Calorie Cutting

Even if you’re not seriously overweight, there’s a lot to be gained by cutting back on calories, including sounder sleep, a better sex life, and more overall happiness, new research suggests. Researchers asked a group of 218 people with generally healthy weights to either reduce their caloric intake or continue to eat as they normally would for a period of two years. During that time, the participants completed detailed questionnaires about their quality of life. Those who ate normally experienced virtually no weight change, but the people who curbed calories (by 12 percent, on average) not only lost an average of 17 pounds but also reported brighter moods, better sleep, friskier libidos, and an improved quality of life. Lead author Corby Martin tells CBSNews.com that calorie restriction produces a wide range of “positive biological and physiological changes,” including lower blood sugar and improved cholesterol and blood pressure.

Processed Foods and Cancer

Eating “ultra-processed” foods—including packaged breads, snacks, baked goods, instant soups, chicken nuggets, and frozen meatballs—could increase your risk for developing cancer, new research suggests. A team of scientists at France’s Université Sorbonne Paris Cité analyzed the dietary records of nearly 105,000 adults. After tracking cancer diagnoses among the group over the course of five years, they found that every 10 percent increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with a 12 percent increase in cancer risk. Ultra-processed foods are loaded with sugar and fat, and have fewer vitamins and less fiber than fresh foods. They also contain additives, including nitrates and artificial flavors, colors, emulsifiers, and sweeteners. Certain types of plastic packaging could also contaminate processed foods with potentially harmful chemicals. The study’s authors caution that larger-scale studies are needed, reports BBC.com, but say their findings “suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing (Read More)

The Spice That Boosts Memory

Known as the ‘golden spice’ of India, turmeric could just be one of the most effective and powerful nutritional supplements on the planet. There are literally dozens of high quality published studies showing it has incredible benefits for the brain and body. In case you didn’t already know, turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color and it has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids. The most active form is called curcumin and as you’ll soon find out it has some very powerful anti-aging health benefits. An active compound found in the Indian spice turmeric could help improve memory and ease depression among those with age-related mental decline, new research suggests. Scientists at UCLA gathered 40 volunteers between 50 and 90 years old, all with some memory complaints but none with dementia. Each person was randomly assigned (Read More)