Are the 10 most addictive foods like drugs of abuse?
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Are the 10 most addictive foods like drugs of abuse?
Eating these foods has considerable health benefits, scientists have found.
Eating more fibre-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, could decrease the risk of heart disease by 30%, research concludes.
Higher fibre intake has also been linked to weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.
Studies conducted over almost 40 years find that eating around 25-29 grams of dietary fibre a day has clear health benefits.
Most people, though, consume less than 20 grams per day.
In the US, the average intake is 15 grams per day.
Fibre-rich foods reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, (15-30%), heart disease, stroke type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer (15-24%)
Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses.
Professor Jim Mann, study co-author, said:
“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains.
This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases.”
The study included data from 135 million people in almost two hundred different studies.
The results clearly showed that the more dietary fibre people consumed, the more they were protected against a wide variety of diseases.
Professor Mann said:
“The health benefits of fibre are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism.
Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.
The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer.”
The study was published in the journal The Lancet (Reynolds et al., 2019).
Stop food cravings and cut chocolate consumption in half by doing this.
Once-a-week injection of this drug led overweight or obese people to lose more than a fifth of their weight.
A weekly injection of semaglutide, known as Ozempic, can reduce body weight by more than 20 percent, a study has found.
Semaglutide — which is now approved by the US FDA for weight management — is known as an anti-diabetic medication and typically prescribed in 1mg doses.
For this study, participants who were obese or overweight received a higher dose at 2.4 mg alongside a low calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Participants, on average, lost over 15 kg and more than 30 percent of people lost one-fifth of their weight — an equivalent of 20 percent.
The drug, like incretin, a natural hormone in our body, lowers blood sugar hence is prescribed for people with diabetes.
Professor Rachel Batterham, a senior author of the study, said:
“The findings of this study represent a major breakthrough for improving the health of people with obesity.
Three quarters (75%) of people who received semaglutide 2.4mg lost more than 10% of their body weight and more than one-third lost more than 20%.
No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss—this really is a gamechanger.
For the first time, people can achieve through drugs what was only possible through weight-loss surgery.”
Semaglutide, marketed as ozempic, can take over the regulating appetite system by mirroring the incretin hormone known as GLP-1 which reduces appetite and hunger.
The researchers believe the medication will help obese people to lose weight and so can lower the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as well as diabetes and heart disease.
Professor Batterham said:
“The impact of obesity on health has been brought into sharp focus by COVID-19 where obesity markedly increases the risk of dying from the virus, as well as increasing the risk of many life-limiting serious diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and certain types of cancers.
This drug could have major implications for UK health policy for years to come.”
For this study, about 2,000 overweight or obese adults received an injection of 2.4mg semaglutide every week over a 14-month trial.
They were also given guidance and consultation on lifestyle changes about increasing physical activity and cutting down calories.
Participants on semaglutide lost 15.3kg of their weight with a -5.54 reduction in BMI, whereas those who didn’t receive the medication had a 2.6 kg weight loss with a -0.92 reduction in BMI.
Furthermore, the semaglutide group experienced a reduction in blood pressure, waist circumference, and blood sugar levels.
Professor John Wilding, the study’s first author, said:
“This is a significant advance in the treatment of obesity.
Semaglutide is already approved and used clinically at a lower dose for treatment of diabetes, so as doctors we are already familiar with its use.
For me this is particularly exciting as I was involved in very early studies of GLP1 (when I worked at the Hammersmith Hospital in the 1990s we were the first to show in laboratory studies that GLP1 affected appetite), so it is good to see this translated into an effective treatment for people with obesity.”
The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine (Wilding et al., 2021).
The keto diet works for weight loss and reduces risk of diabetes only if it is done this way.
The ketogenic diet has become very popular since celebrities like Lebron James, Kim Kardashian, and Gwyneth Paltrow promote it for weight loss.
But the keto diet improves human health and reduces obesity only if used for a very short period as its negative effects begin after a single week of dieting, researchers have found.
Indeed, a study has found that keto-like diets increase ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and increase the chance of heart disease (Iatan et al., 2023; presented at the American College of Cardiology’s World Congress).
A keto diet is extremely high in fat and very low in carbohydrates.
Ninety percent of calories are from fat, 1 percent from carbohydrates, and the rest from protein.
The effect of the diet — whether positive or negative — all depends on gamma delta T-cells that play a major role in the immune response and inflammation.
The keto diet manipulates our body to burn more fat and since it hardly contains carbohydrates will cause glucose levels to drop as well as lower insulin production.
In response our body goes into starvation mode and so starts breaking down fats rather than carbohydrates.
Through this process, ketone bodies are produced by the liver and will be used as an alternative energy source.
When the body starts to use these chemicals, it will cause gamma delta T-cells to expand in the fat tissues.
This decreases the risk of diabetes and reduces adipose tissue inflammation, according to Professor Waldemar Von Zedtwitz, the senior author of this study.
The research team fed a group of mice with a keto diet and saw that after one week the mice’s metabolism and insulin sensitivity improved while their blood sugar levels and inflammation reduced.
However, after the first week of being on the low-carb, high-fat diet, the mice started to eat more fat which was more than they could burn and so faced obesity and diabetes.
The team found that this “starving-not-starving” mode causes the body to store fat but also burn fat at the same time.
Professor Dixit said:
“They lose the protective gamma delta T-cells in the fat.
Before such a diet can be prescribed, a large clinical trial in controlled conditions is necessary to understand the mechanism behind metabolic and immunological benefits or any potential harm to individuals who are overweight and pre-diabetic.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three American adults have prediabetes.
This metabolic condition tied to obesity is a world wide issue leading to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Professor Dixit said:
“Obesity and type 2 diabetes are lifestyle diseases.
Diet allows people a way to be in control.”
The study was published in Nature Metabolism (Goldberg et al., 2020).
After a bad night sleep, don’t follow your nose.
The sense of smell is to blame when, after sleeping poorly, we crave more calorie-dense, high-fat foods.
Our sense of smell is influenced by lack of sleep in two ways.
Firstly by making food smell more delicious to the brain and secondly by influencing the brain about what we decide to eat, a study has found.
The change in decisions is due to a communication breakdown in the part of the brain that receives signals about food.
Dr Thorsten Kahnt, study co-author, explained:
“When you’re sleep deprived, these brain areas may not be getting enough information, and you’re overcompensating by choosing food with a richer energy signal.
But it may also be that these other areas fail to keep tabs on the sharpened signals in the olfactory cortex.
That could also lead to choosing doughnuts and potato chips.”
Previous studies have shown that poor sleep elevates specific endocannabinoids which are naturally produced by the body.
Endocannabinoids are important for the brain responses to odours and food smells.
These compounds are able to reduce anxiety and improve mood, as well as increase food cravings and calorie intake.
Dr Kahnt said:
“We put all this together and asked if changes in food intake after sleep deprivation are related to how the brain responds to food odors, and whether this is due to changes in endocannabinoids.
What makes our brain respond differently that makes us eat differently?”
In this study, participants had 4 weeks good sleep and thereafter they were only allowed to have four hours sleep a night for 4 further weeks.
They were served buffet snacks as well as a controlled menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day after a deprived sleep or good night’s sleep.
Dr Kahnt said:
“We found participants changed their food choices.
After being sleep deprived, they ate food with higher energy density (more calories per gram) like doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies and potato chips.”
Also, one of the endocannabinoid compounds known as 2-OG was increased in participants’ blood serum after the night of poor sleep.
The study revealed that the piriform cortex was encoding smells more strongly in subjects who were sleep deprived.
The piriform cortex is a region in the brain which sends information to another part called the insula, which has a strong influence on decision-making.
It seem poor sleep reduces the communication between the piriform cortex and the insula whereas 2-OG increases it, resulting in a preference for high-calorie foods.
Dr Thorsten said:
“When the piriform cortex does not properly communicate with the insula, then people start eating more energy-dense food.
Our findings suggest that sleep deprivation makes our brain more susceptible to enticing food smells, so maybe it might be worth taking a detour to avoid your local doughnut shop next time you catch a 6 a.m. flight.”
The study was published in the journal eLife (Bhutani et al., 2019).
Low calorie sweeteners are supposed to help people lose weight, but do they?
Low calorie sweeteners are supposed to help people lose weight, but they are actually contributing to type 2 diabetes and weight gain, a review of different studies reveals.
Low calorie sweeteners are consumed as a substitute to simple sugars including sucrose, glucose and fructose or fruit sugar.
The artificial sweeteners market is growing fast and is expected to reach $2.2 billion in 2020.
Despite the marketing that artificial sweeteners provides fewer calories and so lead to weight loss, consumers are more likely to gain weight.
According to Professor Peter Clifton, the lead author of this study, in the past 20 years, consumption of low calorie sweeteners has increased by 200 percent among children and 54 percent among adults.
However, recent studies show that low calorie sweeteners can have several harmful effects on the human body.
For example, a study suggests that artificial sweeteners have an appetite-stimulating effect on the brain, causing people to eat more.
Another study over seven years on 5,158 American adults found that people who had a high intake of artificial sweeteners put on more weight compared to nonusers.
Professor Clifton said:
“Consumers of artificial sweeteners do not reduce their overall intake of sugar.
They use both sugar and low-calorie sweeteners and may psychologically feel they can indulge in their favourite foods.
Artificial sweeteners also change the gut bacteria which may lead to weight gain and risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Although it is not clear why, artificially sweetened beverages have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, and death.
Professor Clifton and his team reviewed 13 studies in which they suggest an association between artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
One study found that changing from artificially sweetened beverages to natural fruit juice would reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7 percent.
Professor Clifton concluded:
“A better option than low-calorie sweeteners is to stick to a healthy diet, which includes plenty of whole grains, dairy, seafood, legumes, vegetables and fruits and plain water.”
The study was published in Current Atherosclerosis Reports (Kim et al., 2019).
The drink can boost weight loss without exercise or changing diet.
Apple cider vinegar can boost weight loss without exercise or changing diet, research finds.
People in one study who added two teaspoons of vinegar to their diet per day lost weight.
They achieved this without making any other changes to their diet or doing more exercise.
The vinegar also led to lower levels of triglycerides, which is an indicator of better heart health.
Whether or not the vinegar is of the apple cider variety, probably makes little difference.
To make the vinegar more palatable, it can simply be stirred into a glass of water, or any other drink, to help reduce the sharp taste.
Alternatively, it can be drizzled on a salad, added to a smoothie or used to add zest to another food.
Other benefits of vinegar include that it may lower blood pressure and help inhibit the spiking of blood sugar after eating.
For the study, 175 people in Japan were split into three groups.
One acted as a control and ate their normal diet, another group added a single teaspoon of vinegar per day, while a third added two teaspoons per day.
The results showed that after 12 weeks, those who had added two teaspoons had lost between 2 to 4 pounds in weight.
They also had lower triglyceride levels.
The other two groups did not lose significant amounts of weight.
The study’s authors conclude:
“The present study is the first to demonstrate that vinegar reduces body weight, BMI, and body fat mass in obese Japanese subjects.
Furthermore, continuous vinegar intake was found to lower serum triglyceride levels.”
Animal studies have previously found that acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, can reduce body fat.
The authors write of vinegar’s other benefits:
“Vinegar has a very long history, going back to Babylonia in 5,000 BC.
We have found that intake of vinegar lowers blood pressure, improves hypercholesterolemia, and inhibits postprandial hyperglycemia.”
The study was published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry (Kondo et al., 2009).
Study points to a radical new approach to dieting: choosing a diet you can actually enjoy!
A nutritionally complete meal replacement to lose weight and ward off obesity.
Replacing meals with high-protein formulated foods could be a potential way to overcome obesity.
A high-protein total diet replacement may provide similar amounts of calories as other low-protein diets but it has metabolic advantages like greater fat loss.
Data from 2016 suggests that about 2 billion of the world’s adult population are overweight and 650 million of these are obese.
Obesity is a leading cause of death due to its associations with the rising incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Therefore, obesity has become a worldwide public health emergency, calling for strategies to fight it.
Formula foods including high-protein diet replacement products sold in the market are attractive options for the overweight population, but do they really keep the weight off?
A study suggests that nutritional plans consisting of high-protein total diet replacements might be the solution against obesity.
High-protein diets can help weight loss by improving lean body mass, increasing energy expenditure, and the feeling of fullness.
Ms Camila Oliveira, the study’s first author, said:
“Considering the prevalence of obesity worldwide and its impact on health, it’s not surprising nutritional strategies such as total diet replacements and high-protein diets are becoming increasingly popular as weight management strategies; however, research around these topics has not kept pace with their growth in popularity.”
For this study, 43 healthy young adults with a normal weight were recruited.
They were divided into a group who received a high-protein total diet replacement and a control group.
Researchers examined the effect of a high-protein total diet replacement on energy metabolism compared to a typical North American diet (the control group).
The high-protein diet contained 40 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrate, and 25 percent fat.
The control group diet contained 55 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat, and 15 percent protein.
Both groups received the same amount of calories for 32 hours and were screened in a metabolic chamber.
The research team found that the high-protein total diet replacement induced higher fat oxidation (fatty acid break down), increased energy expenditure and negative fat balance (fat loss).
The results also suggest that fewer calories alone won’t cause weight loss as both diets contained the same number of calories meaning a higher proportion of protein is the most likely reason for this occurrence.
Professor Carla Prado, study senior author, said:
“Although these results are restricted to a specific population of healthy, normal-weight adults, they can help nutrition scientists and healthcare providers better understand the real physiological effects of a high-protein total diet replacement in humans.
In our opinion, it is imperative to first understand the physiological impact of a high-protein total diet replacement in a healthy population group so that the effects are better translated in individuals with obesity and its related comorbidities.”
The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Oliveira et al., 2020).