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Period: February 1, 2017 to February 15, 2017
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Body’s “Natural Cannabis” System May Be Why Western Diet Leads To Obesity

Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Scientists have long known it was mainly because their Western diet is rich in sugar and fat. Now new U.S. research shows that a Western diet leads to overeating and obesity because of elevated "peripheral endocannabinoid signaling." The endocannabinoid system – a sort of “natural cannabis” consisting of lipid signaling molecules called endocannabinoids – is found in the brain and all peripheral organs. It helps control food intake, energy balance, and reward. Endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors on body cells. The researchers believe that targeting cannabinoid receptors with pharmacological inhibitors could be a safe way to treat overeating and diet-induced obesity, 

"Peripheral endocannabinoid signaling controls hyperphagia in western diet-induced obesity. ", Physiology & Behavior, January 11, 2017

Saving Time Is Not The Only Reason Parents Buy Frozen Meals

Prepackaged, processed frozen meals are popular among parents, despite the fact that they are high in calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. A U.S. study has found that the main reason for their popularity is that they save time for busy moms and dads: 57 percent indicated that in a survey. But that wasn’t the only reason. Forty-nine percent of parents surveyed said they bought the frozen meals because their families liked them. One-third chose them because children could help prepare them, and 27 percent liked the cost savings. The findings, however, raise some concerns among nutritionists. Cooking frozen packaged meals means choosing fewer fruits and vegetables and fewer nutritious foods generally. It also means people are not developing cooking and meal-planning skills. 

"Reasons Parents Buy Prepackaged, Processed Meals: It Is More Complicated Than “I Don't Have Time”. ", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, February 02, 2017

Foods Rich In Resistant Starch Offer Several Health Benefits

Resistant starch, found in bananas, potatoes, grains, and legumes, is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a form of dietary fiber. Over the last decade, resistant starch has been the subject of numerous studies showing it has a significant impact on post-meal blood sugar metabolism, satiety, and intestinal health. This new comprehensive review of these studies summarizes the effects of resistant starch consumption and looks at potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. One possible conclusion is that resistant starch foods may be particularly useful for managing diabetes. However, the British researchers found no evidence of an impact on other metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and blood lipids. 

"Health effects of resistant starch. ", Nutrition Bulletin, February 07, 2017

Study Throws Cold Water On Assumptions About Exercise And Weight Gain

Regular exercise offers many health benefits – reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and improved mental health and mood – but preventing weight gain or boosting weight loss are not among them, according to a new U.S. study that collected data from the U.S. and four other countries. The study among young adults of African descent also found that sedentary time was not associated with weight gain. At the first visit, Ghana participants had the lowest average weights, and were also fitter than Americans. Ghanaians were more likely to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week (U.S. guidelines). The researchers were surprised to find, however, that total weight gain in every country over two years was actually greater among participants who met the physical activity guidelines.  

"Accelerometer-measured physical activity is not associated with two-year weight change in African-origin adults from five diverse populations. ", PeerJ, February 07, 2017

Scientists Find Dangerous, Illegal Substances In Herbal Supplements

A British chemist and a team of scientists who have been examining ways to detect illegal ingredients in herbal supplements have come up with some disturbing findings. Many over-the-counter supplements labeled as fully herbal often include potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label. For example, the scientists found that weight loss supplements often contain sibutramine (once sold as Reductil). The substance was taken off the market in 2010 in Europe and the U.S. because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Another example: tadalfil and sulfoaildenafil were frequently found, but not listed on the label, in herbal supplements for erectile dysfunction. When taken with other medicines containing nitrates, they can lower blood pressure drastically and cause serious health problems.  

"A Review of Methods for the Simultaneous Detection of Illegal Ingredients in Food Supplements", The Journal of the Association of Public Analysts, February 07, 2017

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