Drinking Soda While Eating Burger Is Especially Fattening

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . .

Combining a sugary soda with your burger or fried chicken can really prime your body to pack on more pounds, a new study suggests.

Folks who had a sweetened drink with a high-protein meal stored more unused fat, compared to others who ate the same food with a sugar-free beverage, laboratory tests revealed.

Their bodies did not burn about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugary drink, researchers found.

The participants also burned less fat from their food, and it took less energy overall to digest the meal.

“If we are adding extra carbohydrates on top of what’s already in a meal, that will definitely have an effect on the body being able to use fat as an energy source, and it will more than likely go into energy storage,” said lead researcher Shanon Casperson. She’s a research biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sodas, sweetened coffee and iced tea drinks, fruit drinks, energy beverages and the like are leading sources of added sugar in the American diet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six in 10 kids and half of adults drink at least one sugary beverage each day.

Food contains three major types of nutrients — carbohydrates, fats and protein. Casperson and her team wanted to see how extra carbs in the form of a sugary drink would affect metabolism of fats and proteins.

For the study, 27 healthy-weight adults were placed in a sealed “metabolic room” that carefully tracked how much oxygen was inhaled and carbon dioxide was exhaled, Casperson said. Urine samples were also collected.

“With those three variables, we are able to calculate the amount of nutrients they use” as well as the calories they burn every minute, Casperson said.

Participants spent two full days in the sealed room. On one day they ate two meals containing 15 percent protein, and on the other they ate two meals with 30 percent protein. The meals consisted of bread, ham, cheese, potatoes and butter, and each provided 17 grams of fat and 500 calories.

Each day, the participants had a sugary cherry-flavored drink with one meal and a sugar-free cherry drink with the other meal, Casperson said.

The sugar-sweetened drink decreased fat oxidation — the process that kick-starts the breakdown of fat molecules — by 8 percent, the researchers discovered.

Also, the sweetened drink consumed with a 15 percent protein meal decreased fat oxidation by an average 7.2 grams, while the same sugary drink with a 30 percent protein meal decreased fat oxidation by 12.6 grams.

The researchers think the extra load of carbohydrates in a soda might reduce the body’s need to process dietary fat for energy, since fat is more difficult to burn than sugar.

“It’s easier for the body to use carbohydrates as an energy source,” Casperson said. “When you provide the body with carbohydrates, it’s going to use that first.” Unburned fat then winds up deposited somewhere in a person’s body, such as the belly or hips.

The study provides much-needed nuance to the understanding of fast-food nutrition, said Erika Renick. She’s a bariatric dietitian with the Comprehensive Weight Loss Center at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.

“While this was a small sample size, the study backs up what recent research has been pointing to — that adding protein to meals helps to keep us full and that sugary drinks can influence our food cravings,” Renick said.

“However, this study takes it a step further by suggesting that pairing sugar-sweetened drinks with protein-rich meals can encourage weight gain more than we originally understood,” Renick continued.

“This specific combination seems to decrease how well our bodies burn fat,” she said. “More research would need to be done, but steering people away from this combination could potentially be another tool when counseling people on weight management.”

Casperson isn’t sure why adding extra protein to a meal seemed to affect the reduction in fat burning. “That’s something we need to look at in future research,” she said.

The study appears in the journal BMC Nutrition.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

Grapefruit Juice and Some Drugs Don’t Mix

Grapefruit juice and the actual grapefruit can be part of a healthy diet. Grapefruit has vitamin C and potassium—nutrients your body needs to work properly.

But it isn’t good for you when it affects the way your medicines work, especially if you have high blood pressure or arrhythmia (irregular or abnormal heart beat).

This food and drug interaction can be a concern, says Shiew Mei Huang, PhD, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has required that some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs taken by mouth include warnings against drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruit while taking the drug, Huang says.

Here are examples of some types of drugs that grapefruit juice can cause problems with (interact):

  • Some statin drugs to lower cholesterol, such as Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin).
  • Some drugs that treat high blood pressure, such as Procardia and Adalat CC (both nifedipine).
  • Some organ-transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine).
  • Some anti-anxiety drugs, such as buspirone.
  • Some corticosteroids that treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, such as Entocort EC and Uceris (both budesonide).
  • Some drugs that treat abnormal heart rhythms, such as Pacerone and Nexterone (both amiodarone).
  • Some antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine).

Grapefruit juice does not affect all the drugs in the categories above. The severity of the interaction can be different depending on the person, the drug, and the amount of grapefruit juice you drink. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider and read any information provided with your prescription or OTC drug to find out:

  • If your specific drug may be affected.
  • How much, if any, grapefruit juice you can have.
  • What other fruits or juices may also affect your drug in a similar way to grapefruit juice.

b>How Grapefruit Juice Can Interfere With Medications

With most drugs that interact with grapefruit juice, “the juice lets more of the drug enter the blood,” Huang says. “When there is too much drug in the blood, you may have more side effects.”

For example, if you drink a lot of grapefruit juice while taking certain statin drugs to lower cholesterol, too much of the drug may stay in your body, increasing your risk for liver and muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure.

Many drugs are broken down (metabolized) with the help of a vital enzyme called CYP3A4 in the small intestine. Grapefruit juice can block the action of CYP3A4, so instead of being metabolized, more of the drug enters the blood and stays in the body longer. The result: too much drug in your body.

The amount of the CYP3A4 enzyme in the intestine varies from person to person, says Huang. Some people have a lot of enzymes and others just a little. So grapefruit juice may affect people differently even when they take the same drug.

Although scientists have known for several decades that grapefruit juice can cause too much of certain drugs in the body, Huang says more recent studies have found that the juice has the opposite effect on a few other drugs.

“Grapefruit juice can cause less fexofenadine to enter the blood,” decreasing how well the drug works, Huang says. Fexofenadine (brand name Allegra) is available as both prescription and OTC to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies. Fexofenadine may also not work as well if taken with orange or apple juice, so the drug label states “do not take with fruit juices.”

Why this opposite effect? Instead of changing metabolism, grapefruit juice can affect proteins in the body known as drug transporters, which help move a drug into our cells for absorption. As a result, less of the drug enters the blood and the drug may not work as well, Huang says.

How Grapefruit Juice Affects Some Drugs

When drugs are swallowed, they may be broken down (metabolized) by enzymes and/or absorbed using transporters in cells found in the small intestine. Grapefruit juice can cause problems with these enzymes and transporters, causing too much or too little drug in the body.

Some drugs, like statins used to lower cholesterol, are broken down by enzymes. Grapefruit juice can block the action of these enzymes, increasing the amount of drug in the body and may cause more side effects.

Other drugs, like Allegra (fexofenadine) used to treat allergies, are moved by transporters into the body’s cells. Grapefruit juice can block the action of transporters, decreasing the amount of drug in the body and may cause the drug to not work as well.

Find Out if You Should Avoid Grapefruit or Other Juices

  • Ask your doctor, pharmacist or other health care provider if you can drink grapefruit juice while taking your medication.
  • Read the medication guide or patient information sheet that comes with your prescription drug to find out if grapefruit juice affects your drug.
  • Read the Drug Facts label on your OTC drug, which will say whether you shouldn’t have grapefruit or other fruit juices with it.
  • If you must avoid grapefruit juice with your medicine, check the labels of fruit juices or drinks flavored with fruit juice to see whether they are made with grapefruit juice.
  • Seville oranges (often used to make orange marmalade), pomelos, and tangelos (a cross between tangerines and grapefruit) may have the same effect as grapefruit juice. Do not eat those fruits if your medicine interacts with grapefruit juice.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug

15 Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Mandy Ferreira wrote . . . . . . . .

Here are some of the potential benefits of pomegranate.

1. Antioxidants

Pomegranate seeds get their vibrant red hue from polyphenols. These chemicals are powerful antioxidants.

Pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It also has three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation.

2. Vitamin C

The juice of a single pomegranate has more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C can be broken down when pasteurized, so opt for homemade or fresh pomegranate juice to get the most of the nutrient.

3. Cancer prevention

Pomegranate juice recently made a splash when researchers found that it may help stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. Despite multiple studies on the effects of the juice on prostate cancer, results are still preliminary.

While there haven’t been long-term studies with humans that prove that pomegranate juice prevents cancer or reduces the risk, adding it to your diet certainly can’t hurt. There have been encouraging results in studies so far, and bigger studies are now being done.

4. Alzheimer’s disease protection

The antioxidants in the juice and their high concentration are believed to stall the progress of Alzheimer disease and protect memory.

5. Digestion

Pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It may be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

While there are conflicting beliefs and research on whether pomegranate juice helps or worsens diarrhea, most doctors recommend avoiding it until you are feeling better and your symptoms have subsided.

6. Anti-inflammatory

Pomegranate juice is a powerful anti-inflammatory because of its high concentration of antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress and damage.

7. Arthritis

Flavonols in pomegranate juice may help block the inflammation that contributes to osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. The juice is currently being studied for its potential effects on osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis and joint inflammation.

8. Heart disease

Pomegranate juice is in the running as the most heart-healthy juice. It appears to protect the heart and arteries.

Small studies have shown that the juice improves blood flow and keeps the arteries from becoming stiff and thick. It may also slow the growth of plaque and buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. But pomegranate may react negatively with blood pressure and cholesterol medications like statins.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before indulging in the juice or taking a pomegranate extract supplement.

9. Blood pressure

Drinking pomegranate juice daily may also help lower systolic blood pressure. But more studies need to be done to determine if pomegranate juice can decrease overall blood pressure in the long term.

10. Antiviral

Between the vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E, pomegranate juice can prevent illness and fight off infection. Pomegranates have also been shown to be antibacterial and antiviral in lab tests. They are being studied for their effects on common infections and viruses.

11. Vitamin-rich

In addition to vitamin C and vitamin E, pomegranate juice is a good source of folate, potassium, and vitamin K.

Whether you decide to add pomegranate to your daily diet or just sip on it every now and then, check the label to ensure that it is 100 percent pure pomegranate juice, without added sugar. Or, juice it fresh.

12. Memory

Drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a daily may improve learning and memory, according to a recent study.

13. Sexual performance and fertility

Pomegranate juice’s concentration of antioxidants and ability to impact oxidative stress make it a potential fertility aid. Oxidative stress has been shown to cause sperm dysfunction and decrease fertility in women.

The juice has also been shown to help reduce oxidative stress in the placenta. But researchers don’t yet know the exact benefits this may provide. Drinking pomegranate juice can also increase testosterone levels in men and women, one of the main hormones behind sex drive.

14. Endurance and sports performance

Move over, tart cherry and beet juice. Pomegranate juice may be the new sport performance enhancer. The juice may help reduce soreness and improve strength recovery. It also decreases oxidative damage caused by exercise.

15. Diabetes

Pomegranate was traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes in the Middle East and India. While much is still unknown about the effects of pomegranate on diabetes, it may help decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.

Bottom line

Green juice isn’t the only healthy option out there. Adding pomegranate juice to your diet may reduce your risk for chronic disease and inflammation. It’s also a great way to get the fruit’s nutrients and a boost of antioxidants.

It’s best to check with your doctor before drinking pomegranate juice every day, to make sure it won’t interfere with any of your medications.

Source: Medical News Today

Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Risk of Death

Andrew M. Seaman wrote . . . . .

People who drink the most coffee are less likely to die than those who drink the least or none, according to two new studies that followed nearly three quarters of a million people for about 16 years.

The results don’t necessarily mean coffee directly prevents people from dying, but researchers suggest they should at least reassure people who can’t get by without their daily cup of joe.

“It’s premature that people start consuming coffee to improve health outcomes,” said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. “However, if they do so, they should probably do it without a lot of concern.”

“I think for some people, it’s going to put their minds at ease,” said Lichtenstein, who wasn’t involved with either of the new studies.

Previous research from the United States and Japan found a reduced risk of death among coffee drinkers, but little was known about whether such a link also existed in Europe, where coffee-drinking habits vary between countries.

People in Denmark drink larger quantities of coffee than Italians who drink smaller and stronger drinks like espresso, for example.

For one of the new studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the authors examined data collected over about 16 years from 521,330 people living in 10 European countries. There were 41,693 deaths over the study period.

Men who reported drinking the most coffee were about 12 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period, compared to men who didn’t drink coffee. Similarly, women who drank the most coffee were about 7 percent less likely to die during that time than women who didn’t drink any.

Despite the people being so different from country to country, the researchers saw a consistent relationship, said co-lead author Neil Murphy, of the Inter Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

They found coffee tied to a reduced risk of death from digestive diseases among both men and women, along with a decreased risk of death from circulatory and cerebrovascular diseases among women. Women with the biggest coffee habit, however, had an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer.

“A lot more research is needed to tease apart what it is in coffee that might be having these effects,” Murphy told Reuters Health.

Until more is known, he, too, said the findings at least suggest coffee isn’t detrimental to people’s health.

A second study also looked at coffee consumption among diverse populations in the U.S.

“Finding in one population doesn’t necessarily apply to others,” said V. Wendy Setiawan, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

For their study, the researchers analyzed data on 185,855 people aged 45 to 75 years who were African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese American, Latino or white.

Over roughly 16 years of follow up, 58,397 people died.

Compared to people who drank no coffee, those who drank one cup per day were 12 percent less likely to die during follow up. People who drank two or more cups per day were 18 percent less likely to die.

Setiawan also said their study can’t say what is behind the link between coffee and lower risk of death.

“Caffeine is the most studied compound, but we see similar patterns among people who drink decaffeinated,” she said.

Lichtenstein also said it could be that people who drink coffee aren’t drinking other beverages with a lot of calories like apple juice.

“I always felt its one of the few things that I enjoy that doesn’t have calories,” she said.

Of course, she said that doesn’t apply if people add a lot of cream and sugar.

Source: Reuters


Today’s Comic

Video: Tipsy Robot Bar at Las Vegas

One of the two robots at the Tipsy Robot bar inside of the Planet Hollywood makes a gin and tonic.

The bar is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Watch video at You Tube (1:31 minutes) . . . .