No need to be skimmy when it comes to dairy
You no longer need to feel guilty in the morning coffee line when the person in front of you orders a skinny chai latte, because new research is suggesting that there is no reason to avoid high-fat dairy products.For years, we have been advised to opt for reduced fat milk
as it believed that saturated fat in dairy products increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
However, a world first scientific review challenges these recommendations. The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, reviewed numerous studies that delved into the association between high-fat dairy intake, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The authors found that high-fat dairy consumption was not linked to any of those risks
. In fact, in 11 of the 16 studies it was evident that higher dairy fat intake was associated with lower body fat levels. Another study, conducted by researchers at Harvard, followed 6814 people for 10 years collecting dietary information and found that the higher a person’s intake of saturated fat from dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, the lower their risk of cardiovascular disease
Australian dieticians reinforce the importance of taking a whole food approach rather than looking at single nutrients in foods
. Dairy foods contain a unique package of 10 essential nutrients such as high quality proteins, calcium and potassium and it is more important to get these health benefits than be hung up on the fat content. So full-fat latte – here we come! Just smile
Feeling good usually makes us smile, but does it work the other way around. When we feel bad, can we smile to make ourselves feel better?
It appears in fact we can, as a study published in the Psychological Science
journal suggests that there are potential health benefits to smiling during life’s stressful situations.
169 participants were split into three groups. Each group was trained to use chopsticks to hold a different facial expression in order to measure how smiling affects a person’s ability to recover from episodes of stress
. One group held a standard smile that uses the muscles surrounding the moth, another group held a duchenne smile, which engages the muscles around the mouth and eyes and the third group held a neutral expression. The chopsticks were essential as they forced people to smile without them being aware. The participants then worked on a number of stressful multitasking activities, while researchers measured their heart rates and self-reported stress levels.
Results suggest that there may be scientific merit to smiling as the participants who were instructed to smile, in particular those with a duchenne smile, had lower heat rate levels compared to participants who held neutral expressions. It seems smiling during brief stressors can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy.
So next time your stressed out – smile, even if you don’t mean it. Lose weight… with a drug?
Obesity continues to be a concerning problem, especially in Australia. Researchers are continually trying to find solutions that can not only help obese people lose weight, but also help them keep the weight off. According to a study in the Cell Metabolism
journal, researchers may have found a drug that can do just that
The drug works to increases sensitivity to the hormone leptin, which is a natural appetite suppressant. Leptin has been tested before, but leptin supplements alone have not been successful in reducing body weight as a desensitisation to the hormone occurs. Researchers therefore believe that rather than providing excess leptin, it would be better to block the receptors that cause the desensitisation. By blocking these receptors with the new drug, sensitivity to leptin increases and it can work to supress the appetite.
The drug worked in mice, as it not only suppressed the appetite of obese mice, which caused weight loss but also improved metabolic health
. The mice also showed no signs of anxiety and other behavioural side effects
, which has been a common concern in studies regarding leptin.
Although conducted on mice, the implications for the development of new treatments for obesity in humans could be significant.
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