Medical researchers have known for a long time that the hormone adiponectin improves obesity and diabetes and that the compound resveratrol increases the production of this beneficial hormone.
Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan who study plants from around the world for useful medicinal properties have found that Melinjo seed extract (MSE) stimulates the production of adiponectin, a beneficial hormone that improves obesity and diabetes. They also discovered that individual genetic differences were responsible for variations in its efficacy.
In Southeast Asia, the fruit, flowers, and leaves of Indonesia’s “Melinjo” tree are traditional foods.
The resveratrol compounds in the seeds of Melinjo tree may help with obesity and diabetes.
According to Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) the yo-yo pattern of overeating followed by undereating, reduces the brain’s ability to feel reward.
An estimated 15 million people compulsively eat in the U.S. It is a common feature of obesity and eating disorders, most notably, binge eating disorder. People often overeat because it is pleasurable in the short term, but then attempt to compensate by dieting, reducing calorie intake and limiting themselves to “safe,” less palatable food. However, diets often fail, causing frequent “relapse” to overeating of foods high in fat and sugar (palatable foods).
Desperate for another hit? Or going “cold turkey”?
Yo-Yo dieters’ brains eventually show “drug-addict” like reactions.
“We are just now beginning to understand the addictive-like properties of food and how repeated overconsumption of high sugar — similar to taking drugs — may affect our brains and cause compulsive behaviors,”
Pietro Cottone, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology & experimental therapeutics at BUSM and co-director of the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders.
In the experiment half the people were given a high sugar, chocolate-flavored diet (exciting food) for two days each week. For the remaining days of the week they were given a standard control diet (dull food). Essentially they “yo-yo’ed” between exciting food and dull food.
The other half of the people were given the standard, dull, food all the time.
Yo-yo dieters’ brains became immune to the effects of amphetamines. They needed a “bigger hit” to feel rewarded.
When these people were given amphetamines, (yes, the researchers gave them all drugs – under medical supervision of course!) the amphimines did not have as much effect on the yo-yo dieters as it did on the people who ate the standard, dull diet.
Researchers found that the yo-yo dieters’ brains behaved similar to drugs addicts’, specifically a “crash” in the reward system.
When people become used to eating highly rewarding, sweet foods, when they can no longer get those rewarding foods, they have a similar “downer” to drug addicts who are going cold turkey.
Drug addicts eventually become immune to the “reward feelings” caused by the drug, which leads to drug addicts needing a bigger and bigger “high” every time. Similarly yo-yo dieting, leads to a constant search for a “bigger high” with more rewarding food, after a period of dull, unrewarding standard food.
“Compulsive eating may derive from the reduced ability to feel reward. These findings also provide support to the theory that compulsive eating has similarities to drug addiction.”
The researchers hope these findings spark new avenues of research into compulsive eating that will lead to more effective treatments for obesity and eating disorders.
This lockdown might be benefiting children’s eating habits if they watch healthy cooking on TV.
Just as Joe Wick’s virtual PE lessons have got the nations kids jumping around their living rooms, and improving their health, healthy cooking TV shows can be a key ingredient in nudging children towards healthier food choices now and into adulthood.
Researchers asked children to watch 10 minutes of a television cooking program designed for children, and then offered them a snack as a reward for participating. Children who watched the healthy program were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack options — an apple or a few pieces of cucumber — than one of the unhealthy options — a handful of chips or a handful of salted mini-pretzels.
“The findings from this study indicate cooking programs can be a promising tool for promoting positive changes in children’s food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.”
Frans Folkvord, PhD, of Tilburg University,Tilburg, Netherlands.
Watching healthy TV cookery shows leads to healthy food choices by younger viewers
Visual prominence of healthier options in both food choice and portion size on TV cooking programs leads young viewers to want healthier options.
It also makes them freely choose those healthier options too.
Although eating healthy is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, for some people this preoccupation with healthy eating can become physically and socially impairing.
When it becomes a pathological obsession with healthy eating or consuming only a limited range of food it is known as known as orthorexia nervosa
healthcare providers as well as members of the public should recognise … that so-called healthy eating can, in fact, be unhealthy. It can lead to malnourishment or make it very difficult to socialize with people in settings that involve eating. It can also be expensive and time-consuming.”
Jennifer Mills, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and senior author on the study
“When taken to the extreme, an obsession with clean eating can be a sign that the person is struggling to manage their mental health.”
Previous research has shown that unlike individuals with anorexia nervosa who restrict calories to maintain very low body weight, people who have the condition have a fixation with the quality of food eaten and its preparation rather than the number of calories.
Over time, people with orthorexia nervosa spend increasing amounts of time and effort purchasing, planning, and preparing pure and healthy meals.
Eventually this planning and obsessing becomes all-consuming that interferes with other areas of life and results in weight loss.
Other eating habits such as being a vegetarian or vegan also put individuals at higher risk for developing orthorexia nervosa. Lacto-vegetarians were at highest risk for developing orthorexia nervosa and people who are on a strict eating schedule, spending large amounts of time preparing meals, were also at greater risk.
“In our research, we found equal rates of men and women who struggle with symptoms of orthorexia nervosa,” said Mills. “We still think of eating disorders as being a problem that affects mostly young women. Because of that assumption, the symptoms and negative consequences of orthorexia nervosa can fly under the radar and not be noticed or taken seriously.”
In short, it’s good to be careful about what you eat. But also take care about being too careful!
New research from Rice University indicates that mindless switching between digital devices is associated with increased susceptibility to food temptations and lack of self-control, which may result in weight gain.
“Increased exposure to phones, tablets and other portable devices has been one of the most significant changes to our environments in the past few decades, and this occurred during a period in which obesity rates also climbed in many places,” said Richard Lopez, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rice and the study’s lead author.
People who compulsively check their phones, tend to be fatter than people who don’t
The research found that people who used their phone compulsively or inappropriately (such as wanting check their phone for messages while they were talking to someone else) as well as more passive behaviors (like media-related distractions that interfere with your work) found that they had a with higher body mass index (BMI) and greater percentage of body fat.
When media multitaskers/compulsive phone users were shown pictures of food, whilst they were in a fMRI brain scanner, researchers saw increased activity in the part of the brain dealing with food temptation.
Compulsive phone user’s brains react differently to images of tempting foods
Overall, Lopez said these findings suggest there are links between media multitasking, risk for obesity, brain-based measures for self-control and exposure to real-world food cues.
Allergy tests were performed on children at six months and then at two to three years of age. Results were compared to a control group, whose mothers did not eat salmon during pregnancy.
This study shows how the effects of the mother’s diet, while pregnant, has long term effects on the child’s health.
These benefits may not be immediately obvious at birth or soon after and may only appear later in childhood.
These latest results are one example of Professor Calder’s ground-breaking research into specific relationships between nutrition and immune-related conditions over the course of the human life course.
To eat or not to eat fish is a question that has long concerned pregnant women. Now, a new USC study shows that children whose mothers ate fish from one to three times a week during pregnancy were more likely to have a better metabolic profile — despite the risk of exposure to mercury — than children whose mothers ate fish rarely (less than once a week).
Fish is a major source of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important for the developing fetus.
However, some types, such as swordfish, shark and mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury — a potent toxin that can cause permanent neurological damage. Mercury contamination is also found in soil, air, water and plants.
More fish is not better
The children of women who ate fish from one to three times a week had lower metabolic syndrome scores than the children of women who ate fish less than once a week.
But the benefit declined if women ate fish more than three times a week.
A new study explores in greater depth the effect on infant cognition of drinking fruit juice while pregnant.
Results show that infants whose mothers had their diets supplemented with fruit juice – particularly orange juice and tomato juice – performed significantly better on tests of memory.
“Our results show that there is significant cognitive benefit for the offspring of mothers that ingest more fruit during pregnancy,” said Rachel Ward-Flanagan, University of Alberta
“We see this as especially valuable information for pregnant mothers, as this offers a nonpharmacological, dietary intervention to boost infant brain development.” said Claire Scavuzzo, co-lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Science’s Department of Psychology.
“The idea that nutrition may also impact mental health and cognition has only recently started to gain traction,” said Ward-Flanagan. “People want to be able give their kids the best possible start in life, and from our findings, it seems that a diet enriched with fruit is a possible way to do so.”