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Fructose alters hundreds of brain genes, which can lead to a wide range of diseases

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Scientists report that diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse the damage

Date:

April 22, 2016

Source:

University of California - Los Angeles

Summary:

Consuming fructose, a sugar that's common in the Western diet, alters hundreds of genes that may be linked to many diseases, life scientists report. However, they discovered good news as well: an important omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose.

 

A range of diseases -- from diabetes to cardiovascular disease, and from Alzheimer's disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- are linked to changes to genes in the brain. A new study by UCLA life scientists has found that hundreds of those genes can be damaged by fructose, a sugar that's common in the Western diet, in a way that could lead to those diseases.

However, the researchers discovered good news as well: An omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose.

"DHA changes not just one or two genes; it seems to push the entire gene pattern back to normal, which is remarkable," said Xia Yang, a senior author of the study and a UCLA assistant professor of integrative biology and physiology. "And we can see why it has such a powerful effect."

DHA occurs naturally in the membranes of our brain cells, but not in a large enough quantity to help fight diseases.

"The brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and of integrative biology and physiology, and co-senior author of the paper.

DHA strengthens synapses in the brain and enhances learning and memory. It is abundant in wild salmon (but not in farmed salmon) and, to a lesser extent, in other fish and fish oil, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and fruits and vegetables, said Gomez-Pinilla, who also is a member of UCLA's Brain Injury Research Center.

Americans get most of their fructose in foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener made from corn starch, and from sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts. The Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2014. Fructose is also found is in most baby food and in fruit, although the fiber in fruit substantially slows the body's absorption of the sugar -- and fruit contains other healthy components that protect the brain and body, Yang said.

To test the effects of fructose and DHA, the researchers trained rats to escape from a maze, and then randomly divided the animals into three groups. For the next six weeks, one group of rats drank water with an amount of fructose that would be roughly equivalent to a person drinking a liter of soda per day. The second group was given fructose water and a diet rich in DHA. The third received water without fructose and no DHA.

After the six weeks, the rats were put through the maze again. The animals that had been given only the fructose navigated the maze about half as fast than the rats that drank only water -- indicating that the fructose diet had impaired their memory. The rats that had been given fructose and DHA, however, showed very similar results to those that only drank water -- which strongly suggests that the DHA eliminated fructose's harmful effects.

Other tests on the rats revealed more major differences: The rats receiving a high-fructose diet had much higher blood glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels than the other two groups. Those results are significant because in humans, elevated glucose, triglycerides and insulin are linked to obesity, diabetes and many other diseases.

The research team sequenced more than 20,000 genes in the rats' brains, and identified more than 700 genes in the hypothalamus (the brain's major metabolic control center) and more than 200 genes in the hippocampus (which helps regulate learning and memory) that were altered by the fructose. The altered genes they identified, the vast majority of which are comparable to genes in humans, are among those that interact to regulate metabolism, cell communication and inflammation. Among the conditions that can be caused by alterations to those genes are Parkinson's disease, depression, bipolar disorder, and other brain diseases, said Yang, who also is a member of UCLA's Institute for Quantitative and Computational Biosciences.

Of the 900 genes they identified, the researchers found that two in particular, called Bgn and Fmod, appear to be among the first genes in the brain that are affected by fructose. Once those genes are altered, they can set off a cascade effect that eventually alters hundreds of others, Yang said.

That could mean that Bgn and Fmod would be potential targets for new drugs to treat diseases that are caused by altered genes in the brain, she added.

The research also uncovered new details about the mechanism fructose uses to disrupt genes. The scientists found that fructose removes or adds a biochemical group to cytosine, one of the four nucleotides that make up DNA. (The others are adenine, thymine and guanine.) This type of modification plays a critical role in turning genes "on" or "off."

The research is published online in EBioMedicine, a journal published jointly by Cell and The Lancet. It is the first genomics study of all the genes, pathways and gene networks affected by fructose consumption in the regions of the brain that control metabolism and brain function.

Previous research led by Gomez-Pinilla found that fructose damages communication between brain cells and increases toxic molecules in the brain; and that a long-term high-fructose diet diminishes the brain's ability to learn and remember information.

"Food is like a pharmaceutical compound that affects the brain," said Gomez-Pinilla. He recommends avoiding sugary soft drinks, cutting down on desserts and generally consuming less sugar and saturated fat.

Although DHA appears to be quite beneficial, Yang said it is not a magic bullet for curing diseases. Additional research will be needed to determine the extent of its ability to reverse damage to human genes.

The paper's lead author is Qingying Meng, a postdoctoral scholar in Yang's laboratory. Other co-authors are Zhe Ying, a staff research associate in Gomez-Pinilla's laboratory, and colleagues from UCLA, the National Institutes of Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

Yang's research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant R01DK104363), as is Gomez-Pinilla's (R01DK104363 and R01NS050465).

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160422091900.htm

160422091900_1_540x360.jpg

Americans get most of their fructose in foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener made from corn starch, and from sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts. The Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup in 2014.

Credit: © AlenKadr / Fotolia

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      The bottom line, according to biologist David Rand of Brown University, who studies mitochondrial genomes, is that when you swap mitochondria, the reaction is "highly unpredictable."
      And that's why many experts are calling for caution even amid all the excitement following the three-parent Mexico trial — though there is reason to believe they aren't being heard.
      A three-person baby has now been born in China, and two more may soon be born in Ukraine, according to Nature News. Zhang, meanwhile, continues to encourage potential patients in Mexico: "We have received interest both locally and abroad," he says, "and we invite people to learn more about the treatment."
      Doug Wallace, head of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is among those calling for a more methodical approach to the technique, though he says he doesn't think there's any way to put the brakes on now. "I think what's happened is we're going to see more and more trials and some families are going to be exceedingly fortunate — and perhaps some will be an unfortunate part of the learning set."
      Research on mitochondria has to catch up, Wallace says, and while matching haplotypes is a good idea, it isn't so easy to do in practice. "Finding women to be egg donors is going to be a major limitation," he says — especially when you'd first have to survey a large group to find compatible mitochondrial DNA.
      Still, for women desperate to conceive a healthy child this may seem reasonable. Wallace adds that mitochondrial replacement therapy might find favor even outside those seeking to avoid passing on fatal genetic mutations — such as older women simply facing reduced fertility. "There's no proof that's the case," he says, but if it came to pass, that could mean a therapy that might change the DNA of tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of babies conceived by this method.
      That would have a real impact on the long-term future of society, Wallace adds, and we don't yet fully understand all of the implications.
      "I think it's an exciting possibility," he says, "but also a little disconcerting."
      Jill Neimark is an award-winning science journalist and an author of adult and children's books. Her most recent book is "The Hugging Tree: A Story About Resilience."
      A version of this article originally appeared at Undark, a digital science magazine published by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT.
      http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/01/507244429/unexpected-risks-found-in-editing-genes-to-prevent-inherited-disorders
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Using a sauna may be more than just relaxing and refreshing. It may also reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a new study suggests.
      Researchers in Finland analyzed medical records of 2,315 healthy men ages 42 to 60, tracking their health over an average of about 20 years. During that time, they diagnosed 204 cases of dementia and 123 cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
      The study, in Age and Ageing, controlled for alcohol intake, smoking, blood pressure, diabetes and other health and behavioral factors. It found that compared with men who used a sauna once a week, those who used a sauna four to seven times a week had a 66 percent lower risk for dementia and a 65 percent lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
       
      The senior author, Jari Antero Laukkanen, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Eastern Finland, said that various physiological mechanisms may be involved. Sauna bathing may, for example, lead to reduced inflammation, better vascular function or lowered blood pressure.
      “Overall relaxation and well-being can be another reason,” he added, though the findings were only an association. “We need more studies to clarify mechanisms and confirm our findings.”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/well/mind/are-saunas-good-for-the-brain.html?_r=0
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      It’s that time of year again. On November 6th, most of the United States will participate in that semi-annual ritual of changing the clocks by an hour. In the fall we gain an hour of sleep time, or an hour of loafing around on a Sunday morning…how bad could it be?
      Our circadian clock is an elaborate system of chemical signals and hormonesreacting to all sorts of environmental inputs such as light, feeding, and even temperature. The system is quite elegant, with many interconnected parts that when working well keeps us healthy with brains and metabolism in tip top condition. We can compare the circadian system to an orchestra playing a symphony…if everyone is playing the same piece, well-timed and in tune, it sounds wonderful, but if one horn is off pitch, the whole experience can be ruined. 
      Sleep is necessary for the brain to wash away the build-up of toxic byproducts of cell metabolism accumulated over the day. Without sleep, we very quickly lose the ability to function. The effects of acute total sleep deprivation are very obvious. In folks with bipolar disorder it can cause a manic episode and seizures in those with epilepsy. Long term, even low level sleep deprivation can contribute to a myriad of bad health effects, such as obesity, depression, and dementia. It also increases risks of heart attacks and motor vehicle accidents. While one hour difference a couple times a year seems small, evidence shows us that the delicate human circadian clock doesn’t adjust well to the abrupt difference in time.
      When looking at the acute affects of the one hour transition of daylight savings, there are a host of papers showing negative effects on workplace injuries, productivity, traffic accidents, and heart attacks. But what about mental health? Older papers remark on no changes in suicidal behaviors or increase in inpatient or outpatient admissions during DST changes, but large Scandinavian registries over decades give us the ability to get a bigger picture of daylight savings in spring and fall and mental health. Overall admissions could balance out if each transition (forward or backward) has different effects on major depressive disorder or mood disorders with more seasonal components.
      It seems that the single hour change is not disruptive enough to lead to an increase hospitalization for bipolar manic episodes in this Finnish study (whereas there are cases of mania caused by bigger time shifts due to air travel). However, less dramatic but negative behavioral effects are seen in children during the days following daylight savings switches.
      One hour of change in the timing of the day (that, in the fall, is often looked upon favorably as ‘that extra hour of sleep’) theoretically has it’s most debilitating consequences for those with depressive disorders. We don’t understand all the intricacies of circadian rhythm and mood problems, but we do know there are many therapies involving light, sleep deprivation, early awakening, and circadian advance to an “early to bed, early to rise” sleep schedule can effectively help treat depression. Sleeping later in the morning is associated with depression, particularly in women. It makes sense, then, that a government proscribed regimen of sleeping later could increase the risk of depression, and a recent large study seems to confirm this, with an 11% increase in hospitalizations for depression in the weeks after the daylight savings transition to standard time in Denmark. Autumn daylight savings in the high latitudes shortens the effective light in the working day, with biologic and psychological effects.
      The one hour time change, even adding an hour of needed sleep, can be detrimental to the brain’s delicate circadian clock. It acts as one more stressor to the myriad of stress in our modern daily schedules. Given that daylight savings time may not even save energy, it’s a wonder that we subject ourselves to the disruption twice a year.
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201611/your-brain-daylight-savings
      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201611/your-brain-daylight-savings
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Telling small lies desensitizes our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future
      Date:
      October 24, 2016
      Source:
      University College London
      Summary:
      Telling small lies desensitizes our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future, reveals new research.

      Researchers have shown that self-serving lies gradually escalate, and they have revealed how this happens in our brains.
      Credit: © pathdoc / Fotolia
      Telling small lies desensitises our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future, reveals new UCL research funded by Wellcome and the Center for Advanced Hindsight.
      The research, published in Nature Neuroscience, provides the first empirical evidence that self-serving lies gradually escalate and reveals how this happens in our brains.
      The team scanned volunteers' brains while they took part in tasks where they could lie for personal gain. They found that the amygdala, a part of the brain associated with emotion, was most active when people first lied for personal gain. The amygdala's response to lying declined with every lie while the magnitude of the lies escalated. Crucially, the researchers found that larger drops in amygdala activity predicted bigger lies in future.
      "When we lie for personal gain, our amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie," explains senior author Dr Tali Sharot (UCL Experimental Psychology). "However, this response fades as we continue to lie, and the more it falls the bigger our lies become. This may lead to a 'slippery slope' where small acts of dishonesty escalate into more significant lies."
      The study included 80 volunteers who took part in a team estimation task that involved guessing the number of pennies in a jar and sending their estimates to unseen partners using a computer. This took place in several different scenarios. In the baseline scenario, participants were told that aiming for the most accurate estimate would benefit them and their partner. In various other scenarios, over- or under-estimating the amount would either benefit them at their partner's expense, benefit both of them, benefit their partner at their own expense, or only benefit one of them with no effect on the other.
      When over-estimating the amount would benefit the volunteer at their partner's expense, people started by slightly exaggerating their estimates which elicited strong amygdala responses. Their exaggerations escalated as the experiment went on while their amygdala responses declined.
      "It is likely the brain's blunted response to repeated acts of dishonesty reflects a reduced emotional response to these acts," says lead author Dr Neil Garrett (UCL Experimental Psychology). "This is in line with suggestions that our amygdala signals aversion to acts that we consider wrong or immoral. We only tested dishonesty in this experiment, but the same principle may also apply to escalations in other actions such as risk taking or violent behaviour."
      Dr Raliza Stoyanova, Senior Portfolio Developer, in the Neuroscience and Mental Health team at Wellcome, said: "This is a very interesting first look at the brain's response to repeated and increasing acts of dishonesty. Future work would be needed to tease out more precisely whether these acts of dishonesty are indeed linked to a blunted emotional response, and whether escalations in other types of behaviour would have the same effect."
      Story Source:
      Materials provided by University College London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
      Journal Reference:
      Neil Garrett, Stephanie C Lazzaro, Dan Ariely, Tali Sharot. The brain adapts to dishonesty. Nature Neuroscience, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/nn.4426
      Cite This Page:
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      Chicago
      University College London. "How lying takes our brains down a 'slippery slope': Telling small lies desensitizes our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161024134012.htm>.
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161024134012.htm
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Do you see what I see? Not necessarily with these optical illusions! When you look at an image, your brain takes that information into perception. Sometimes, an image can trick the brain into perceiving it differently from what the picture actually is, creating an optical illusion.
      Take a look at the following 10 images to find out if you can see the two images masking as one.

      Is It a Man Playing a Horn or Woman’s Face?
      When you stare at this black and white image, do you see woman’s face with hair on the right side of it or a man playing a horn? If you can’t see the man, look at the black shape. See him now?

      Is It a Rabbit or a Duck?
      If you look at this image one way, the two rectangular shapes on the left could be a duck’s bill. But if you look at it another way, those shapes might appear to you as a pair of rabbit ears.

      Do You See One Face or Two?
      When staring at this image, you might see two silhouettes facing each other. Look again and you may just see one face staring at a candlestick.

      Do You See a Stream or People?
      Some people may see a rushing stream going down a mountain in this picture, but if you take a closer look at that stream, you may see it as people wearing white robes. What do you see?

      Is It a Frog or Horse?
      At first glance, this image may just look like an illustration of a horse. However, if you tilt your head to the left you might see a frog sitting on a lily pad instead.

      Is It a Vase or Two Faces?
      In this popular optical illusion you might see a vase. Another person might look at it and see two silhouettes of faces. Do you see how the curves of the vase could form the shape of a face and vice versa?

      Do You See an Old Man, an Old Woman, or a Girl?
      Your eye might show you one, two or even three different images in this complex optical illusion. Do you see the large nose and mustache of a man who is wearing a hat? Perhaps you see the young girl wearing a hat who is looking away on her left. Or, you might see the old woman, also wearing a hat, who is facing to the left.

      Are the Circles Intertwining or Concentric?
      Do these circles look like they’re intertwining to you? Now, take another look and try to pinpoint the locations in which the circles meet. If you can’t find them, don’t worry. These circles are actual concentric and only have the illusion of intertwining with one another.

      Are the Circles Moving?
      Staring still at this image will show you two stationary circles with a black dot in the middle of the inner circle. Stare at the dot, but start moving your head closer to the image, and then pull it away. Did you see the circles move?

      Do You See an Elderly Man and Woman or a Young Man and Woman?
      When you look at this image do you see two elderly people gazing at each other? If not, you might see two people wearing sombreros while sitting down set against a larger scene. The man is playing the guitar. These people’s bodies make out the silhouettes of the elderly couple’s faces.
      http://www.doctoroz.com/gallery/10-amazing-optical-illusions#cmpid=em10142016
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Could too much weight be bad for the brain as well as the belly?
      New research suggests that being overweight or obese may trigger premature aging of the middle-aged brain.
      The study centered on how carrying excess weight might affect the brain's white matter, which facilitates communication between different brain regions.
      White matter tissue is known to shrink with age. But the new study found that the amount of white matter in the brain of a 50-year-old overweight/obese person was comparable to that of a 60-year-old lean person.
      "Obesity is associated with a host of biological processes that are seen in normal aging," said study author Lisa Ronan, a research associate in the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge in England. "And therefore we hypothesized that obesity may in fact compound the effects of aging that we see in the brain. This is what we found."
      Ronan stressed that it's "too early to tell" what this really means. "However, it is possible that being overweight may raise the risk of developing disorders related to neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia," she said.
      Still, the study didn't prove obesity causes premature brain aging. And, Ronan noted that "there were no differences in cognitive ability between overweight and obese people and their lean counterparts."
      Ronan and her colleagues focused on nearly 500 men and women between the ages of 20 and 87. All were residents of the Cambridge region and in good mental health.
      About half were "lean" (at a body mass index or BMI between 18.5 and 25). Nearly a third were "overweight" (BMI 25 to 30), and about 20 percent were "obese" (BMI over 30). Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on weight in relation to height.
      Initial white matter measurements generally revealed that overweight/obese participants had notably reduced white matter volume compared with lean participants.
      And an age breakdown revealed that a middle-aged participant who was either overweight or obese had a white matter volume comparable in size to that of a middle-aged lean participant a decade older.
      The study authors stressed that the 10-year white matter difference was only seen among those middle-aged and older, not among participants in their 20s or 30s. This, they said, suggests that the brain may become increasingly vulnerable to the impact of excess weight as people grow older.
      "At the moment, we really don't know what might be driving the correlation between an increased BMI and lower white matter volume," noted Ronan.
      "Indeed, it is not yet clear whether being overweight/obese may cause brain changes, or whether brain changes may in some way cause an increase in adiposity (excess weight)," she added.
      "Until we understand the mechanism that relates BMI to brain changes, it is not easy to say whether losing weight will in some way act to mitigate the effects we reported," she said. "This is something that we are currently investigating."
      The findings were published recently in the Neurobiology of Aging journal.
      Dr. Yvette Sheline is director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. She described Ronan's study as "interesting from several perspectives."
      But, Sheline noted that the study had a few "limitations," which might explain why the research team didn't observe any relationship between reduced white matter volume and poorer memory and thinking.
      Sheline said Ronan's team "only looked at obesity as an overall measure and didn't take into account the distribution of fat." She also noted that some studies have suggested that obesity centered around the waist does tend to have a worse effect on thinking than other types of obesity.
      "Also, this study didn't actually follow people over time, so their conclusions are limited by having measures from only one time point," Sheline added.
      More information
      There's more on obesity's impact on health at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
      SOURCES: Lisa Ronan, Ph.D., research associate, department of psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England; Yvette Sheline, M.D., professor, psychiatry, radiology and neurology, and director, Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; July 27, 2016, Neurobiology of Aging
      Last Updated: Aug 10, 2016
      https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/obesity-health-news-505/obesity-might-speed-aging-in-the-brain-713775.html
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The federal government’s decision to update food labels last monthmarked a sea change for consumers: For the first time, beginning in 2018, nutrition labels will be required to list a breakdown of both the total sugars and the added sugars in packaged foods. But is sugar really that bad for you? And is the sugar added to foods really more harmful than the sugars found naturally in foods?
      We spoke with some top scientists who study sugar and its effects on metabolic health to help answer some common questions about sugar. Here’s what they had to say.
      Why are food labels being revised?
      The shift came after years of urging by many nutrition experts, who say that excess sugar is a primary cause of obesity and heart disease, the leading killer of Americans. Many in the food industry opposed the emphasis on added sugars, arguing that the focus should be on calories rather than sugar. They say that highlighting added sugar on labels is unscientific, and that the sugar that occurs naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables is essentially no different than the sugar commonly added to packaged foods. But scientists say it is not that simple.
      So, is added sugar different from the naturally occurring sugar in food?
      It depends. Most sugars are essentially combinations of two molecules, glucose and fructose, in different ratios. The sugar in a fresh apple, for instance, is generally the same as the table sugar that might be added to homemade apple pie. Both are known technically as sucrose, and they are broken down in the intestine into glucose and fructose. Glucose can be metabolized by any cell in the body. But fructose is handled almost exclusively by the liver.
      “Once you get to that point, the liver doesn’t know whether it came from fruit or not,” said Kimber Stanhope, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who studies the effects of sugar on health. Dr. Stanhope noted that while the liver may not know whether the fructose came from an apple or a soft drink, the way the liver processes that fructose could possibly be affected by some of the beneficial components in fruit. In contrast to soda, fruit contains fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous other bioactive components. “We don’t know if and how these components may counteract the negative effects of fructose overload in the liver,” she said.
      The type of sugar that is often added to processed foods is high-fructose corn syrup, which is the food industry’s favored sweetener for everything from soft drinks to breads, sauces, snacks and salad dressings. Made commercially from cornstarch, high-fructose corn syrup is generally much cheaper than regular sugar. It contains the same components as table sugar – glucose and fructose – but in slightly different proportions.
      What about “natural” sweeteners?
      Food companies like to market agave nectar, beet sugar, evaporated cane juice and many other “natural” sweeteners as healthier alternatives to high-fructose corn syrup. But whatever their source, they are all very similar. To suggest one is healthier than another is a stretch, experts say. In fact, last month, the F.D.A. urged food companies to stop using the term evaporated cane juice because it is “false or misleading” and “does not reveal that the ingredient’s basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar.”
      Is high-fructose corn syrup worse than regular sugar? How is it different?
      High-fructose corn syrup and regular sugar are so similar that most experts say their effects on the body are essentially the same.
      The main difference is that the variety of high-fructose corn syrup used in soft drinks tends to have more fructose. In one 2014 study, researchers analyzed more than a dozen popular soft drinks and found that many sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup – including Pepsi, Sprite, Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola and Arizona Iced Tea – contained roughly 40 percent glucose and 60 percent fructose. Regular sugar contains equal parts glucose and fructose.
      Why doesn’t the F.D.A. require that added sugars be listed in teaspoons rather than grams?
      When the new food labels go into effect, the daily recommended limit for added sugars will be 50 grams, or roughly 12 teaspoons, daily. (One teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams.) But the new food labels will list the amount of added sugars solely in grams.
      Many nutrition advocates have urged the F.D.A. to require that food labels list added sugars in both teaspoons and grams on food labels, arguing that Americans often underestimate the actual amount of sugar in a product when it’s expressed in grams alone.
      But the F.D.A. ultimately sided with the food industry, which opposed the teaspoon proposal.
      “It would be difficult, if not impossible, for a manufacturer to determine the volume contribution that each ingredient provides toward the added sugars declaration,” the agency said. “For example, a cookie made with white chocolate chips and dried fruit would have added sugars in the form of sugar in the batter as well as in the white chocolate chips and the dried fruit.” The F.D.A. also said that requiring both grams and teaspoons would “cause clutter and make the labels more difficult to read.”
      But Michael Jacobson, the president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that had petitioned the F.D.A. to require the teaspoon measurement, said the agency was under enormous pressure from the food industry, “which knows that consumers would be far more concerned about a product labeled 10 teaspoons than 42 grams.”
      So what’s the issue with added sugars?
      It mainly comes down to the way they’re packaged.
      Naturally occurring sugar is almost always found in foods that contain fiber, which slows the rate at which the sugar is digested and absorbed. (One exception to that rule is honey, which has no fiber.) Fiber also limits the amount of sugar you can consume in one sitting.
      A medium apple contains about 19 grams of sugar and four grams of fiber, or roughly 20 percent of a day’s worth of fiber. Not many people would eat three apples at one time. But plenty of children and adults can drink a 16-ounce bottle of Pepsi, which has 55 grams of added sugar – roughly the amount in three medium apples – and no fiber. Fiber not only limits how much you can eat, but how quickly sugar leaves the intestine and reaches the liver, Dr. Stanhope said.
      “You can’t easily eat that much sugar from fruit,” she said. “But nobody has any problem consuming a very high level of sugar from a beverage or from brownies and cookies.”
      Why is it a problem to have too much sugar?
      Many nutrition experts say that sugar in moderation is fine for most people. But in excess it can lead to metabolic problems beyond its effects on weight gain. The reason, studies suggest, is fructose. Any fructose you eat is sent straight to your liver, which specializes in turning it into droplets of fat called triglycerides.
      “When you ingest fructose, almost all of it is metabolized by the liver, and the liver is very good at taking that fructose and converting it to fat,” said Dr. Mark Herman, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard. Studies show a predictable response when people are asked to drink a sugary beverage: A rapid spike in the amount of triglycerides circulating in their bloodstreams. This also leads to a reduction in HDL cholesterol, the so-called good kind.
      Over time, this combination – higher triglycerides and lower HDL – is one major reason sugar promotes heart disease, said Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and adviser to the United Kingdom’s national obesity forum. This sequence of events may even overshadow the effects of LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad kind.
      “What many people don’t realize is that it’s triglycerides and HDL that are more predictive of cardiovascular disease than LDL cholesterol,” Dr. Malhotra said. “I’m not saying LDL isn’t important. But if there is a hierarchy, triglycerides and HDL are more important than LDL.”
      Dr. Malhotra said that when people reduce their sugar intake, “their overall cholesterol profile improves.”
      “I see this in so many of my patients,” he added. “The effects are rapid.”
      How much sugar is too much?
      One of the largest studies of added sugar consumption, which was led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that adults who got more than 15 percent of their daily calories from added sugar had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. For the average adult, that translates to about 300 calories, or 18 teaspoons of added sugar, daily. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually quite easy to take in that much, or even more, without realizing it. A single 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, for example, has almost 10 teaspoons of sugar; it can add up quickly.
      The study found that most adults got more than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, and that for 10 percent of people, more than 25 percent of their calories came from added sugar. The biggest sources for adults were soft drinks, fruit juices, desserts and candy.
      While those might seem like obvious junk foods, Dr. Malhotra said, about half of the sugar Americans consume is “hidden” in less obvious places like salad dressings, bread, low-fat yogurt and ketchup. In fact, of the 600,000 food items for sale in America, about 80 percent contain added sugar.
      Everyone’s tolerance for sugar is different. Studies show, for example, that people who are already obese may be more susceptible to metabolic harm from sugar than others. But Dr. Malhotra said that he generally advises people to follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines, which recommend that adults and children consume no more than about six teaspoons daily of added sugar.
      “Could I tell you the exact limit where sugar starts to definitely impact cardiovascular health?” he said. “That’s difficult. But I think if people stick within the W.H.O. limits, then their risk is reduced.”
      Source: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/is-sugar-really-bad-for-you-it-depends/?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=1
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      MRI scans found infants who drank more of it had more brain tissue, study found.
      TUESDAY, May 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Breast milk may help promote brain growth in premature infants, a new study found.
      "The brains of babies born before their due dates usually are not fully developed," explained senior investigator Dr. Cynthia Rogers, an assistant professor of child psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.
      "But breast milk has been shown to be helpful in other areas of development, so we looked to see what effect it might have on the brain," Rogers said in a university news release.
      "With MRI scans, we found that babies fed more breast milk had larger brain volumes. This is important because several other studies have shown a correlation between brain volume and cognitive development," she said.
      The study included 77 infants born at least 10 weeks early, with the average being 14 weeks premature. Brain scans were conducted on the infants at about the time when they would have been born if delivered at full term.
      The scans revealed that infants whose daily diets included at least 50 percent breast milk had more brain tissue and cortical-surface area than those who received much less breast milk.
      The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, in Baltimore. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
      Source: https://consumer.healthday.com/women-s-health-information-34/breast-feeding-news-82/preemies-brains-get-a-boost-from-breast-milk-study-shows-710484.html
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    • I voted your remark "sad" because it truly is. It is a meaningless non-sequitur with no relevance ... which you think is profound.
    • Maybe you jw's will get lucky and your hero Hitler will start ruling again.
    • Trump is a pugilist, fully capable of vulgarity. It doesn’t really bother me. In some regards, it is refreshingly candid. It is not for nothing that the Bible calls the political nations “beasts.” They behave that way—ripping and tearing at each other and indeed, at anyone who gets in their way. So I am not put off by someone who drops the pretense and carries on to call a spade a spade. As much as ones might like the facade of being “presidential,” and of respecting the “dignity” of fellow world leaders, ought they not produce results to earn that respect? The hospital operating room can expect awed dignity when it routinely save lives—conducting the most delicate of procedures. But if the results degenerate to indistinguishable from that of a butcher shop, surely that aura of admiration will fade. “Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made,” is the old saying, and it is the butcher shop comparison that wins out over the precision operating room. It almost does my heart good to see Trump brawling with his political counterparts as they do their utmost to preserve “dignity.”  Moreover, you would almost expect Jehovah’s (American) servants to see that. They don’t because they truly are apolitical. They follow politics hardly at all, and there is a fair number of them that consider even a comment about the topic as akin to ripping a loud one at the concert hall—it is just gauche—it is as though deliberately contaminating the soufflé with the street rock salt. The JW Governing Body works hard to keep the squabbles of politics out of the congregation and to safeguard its neutrality.  Keeping truly neutral is not easy. Geoffrey Jackson reflects on how (Australian) candidates of his youth offered dramatically different proposals regarding the military draft—a matter that would affect him greatly. Updating his struggle to the present—adapting it to brothers today who might be personally advantaged or disadvantaged by the proposals of a given political figure—he ventured on how some might truly strive to be neutral and yet in the back of their head was the thought: “I hope that idiot doesn’t come into power.” He said it about two years ago. It is impossible for me not to wonder what “idiot”—if there was one—he had in mind.  Of course, Witnesses are politically neutral due to their advocacy for God’s kingdom—the one of the Sermon on the Mount—“thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” “God’s will is done in heaven,” I tell the householder as I glance upward. “I mean, I guess it is—surely he has it all running smoothly up there—but it sure isn’t done on earth. Pockets of it here and there may be, but nobody would ever say that the world runs that way it does today according to God’s will. According to the prayer, we should not expect that until the kingdom comes.” Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t go campaigning for human governments because they are announcing God’s government which will tackle and solve the problems human governments consistently flounder on. If Witnesses today did reflect on national politics—and the particulars are replicated in many nations—they might reflect that Trump’s enemies are the “one world government” people of the humanist variety—180 degrees apart from the one world government of the “God’s kingdom” variety. They are the humanists who would rise above national boundaries to blur or even erase them. They are humanists who yet pursue the dream of the League of Nations, reinvigorated after WWII as the United Nations. A worldwide blending of peoples and their interests into one common government by man, incorporating whatever is the humanistic thinking holding sway at the time. These ones fully expect those of government (largely themselves) to be granted dignity in light of the noble task they have assumed—it doesn’t matter if praiseworthy results are slow to come—it is the intention that matters. The common working people know it is a crock. They see their own interests being sold out for the loftier “higher” interests of these they would call the “elites.” Their economic interests are tamped down. Their moral values are shoved aside. They are astounded, to take an example, to think that biological differences should not determine male and female, and dismayed to see the view that completely defies their common sense and all of recorded history take the world by storm under the new tidal wave of humanists. They don’t think these guys deserve any dignity at all, so when a photo-shopped Trump is bare-knuckle boxing with the CNN moniker (bastion of world-government think), they love it, and they also love it that the dignified crowd are aghast. ....To highlight the GB’s challenge in encouraging all to stay on the same neutral page, I wrote the following in No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash: “They just about succeeded in their mission to re-instill complete neutrality – they were alllmmoooost there, when along came the summer Olympics in Rio. On the second day of the Olympics, I mentioned to Tom Pearlsnswine in the field ministry that Hillary had worn a bright pants suit. “Christians are no part of the world!” he rebuked me. On the third day of the Olympics, at the Kingdom Hall, I told him that Trump had tied his shoe. “We must fix our eyes on Jerusalem above!” he said. On the fifth day of the Olympics, I dropped by his home while he was watching the games on TV. He screamed: “Look at that medal count, Tommy!” he shouted. “We’re cleaning up!”  
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