Can This DIET Actually Beat The Flu?

Results of a new study in mice suggest that the body may be able to defeat the influenza virus if a person has the right sort of diet — a ketogenic, or keto, diet.


This Food Made At HOME Fights Malaria

The research appears in the BMJ journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, and professor Jake Baum, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, is the last and corresponding author of the paper.


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According to a new study, replacing sugar and saturated fat with vegetables can help reduce the impact of sleep deprivation.


The Health Connection Between The heart And The Brain

Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular health and brain health, but it is unclear whether genetic or environmental factors are most important in determining them both. A new study in twins suggests that nurture, rather than nature, may be decisive.


These Diet May WORSEN Skin Inflammation

New research in mice suggests that ketogenic diets with a very high fat content could actually worsen skin inflammation. The team now urges people with psoriasis to avoid such diets.

Ketogenic, or keto, diets are high in fats and low in carbohydrates.

People often use such diets for weight loss, as they stimulate the body to enter ketosis.

This is a state in which the body starts burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, as it naturally would.

Some studies suggest that keto diets may help manage the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and protect against cognitive decline, and doctors sometimes advise people with epilepsy to follow a keto diet to reduce the frequency of seizures.

However, keto diets also come with some risks and side effects, such as flu-like symptoms and skin rashes.

Now, a study in mouse models with psoriasis-like skin inflammation suggests that some keto diets — those that are highest in fats — could actually exacerbate such skin problems.

The study authors — from Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria — report their findings in a paper that appears in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

“This study leads to a broader understanding of possible effects of ketogenic diets with a very high fat content on skin inflammation and underlines the importance of the composition of fatty acids in the diet,” says co-lead study author Barbara Kofler, Ph.D.

Keto diet potentially harmful in psoriasis

The researchers fed different groups of mouse models with psoriasis-like skin inflammation distinct types of ketogenic diets, including one that had a high content of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are a type of fat that derives from coconuts.

They found that high MCT diets — especially if they also contained omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil, nuts, or seeds — made skin inflammation worse in mice.

The team was also hoping to find out if long-chain triglyceride (LCT) based ketogenic diets could slow down the progression of psoriasis-like skin inflammation. Their experiments did not confirm this effect, but they did show that more balanced keto diets did not worsen skin inflammation.

“We found that a well-balanced ketogenic diet, limited primarily to [LCTs] like olive oil, soybean oil, fish, nuts, avocado, and meats, does not exacerbate skin inflammation,” says Kofler.

“However, ketogenic diets containing high amounts of MCTs, especially in combination with omega-3 fatty acids, should be used with caution since they may aggravate preexisting skin inflammatory conditions,” she warns.

Co-lead investigator Roland Lang, Ph.D., adds that “[k]etogenic diets supplemented with MCTs not only induce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines [cell signaling proteins], but also lead to an accumulation of neutrophils [white blood cells that play a key role in immune responses] in the skin, resulting in a worse clinical appearance of the skin of the mice.”

“Neutrophils are of particular interest since they are known to express a receptor for MCTs and therefore a ketogenic diet containing MCTs may have an impact on other neutrophil-mediated diseases not limited to the skin,” he notes.

In the future, the researchers are interested in studying the effects of ketogenic diets on skin inflammation in the long term. This would be to find out which keto diets are potentially harmful in the context of skin health, and which — if any — might be helpful.

Despite the recent findings, the investigators say that people following a keto diet should not worry: In the study, the team fed the mice an extremely high fat (77% fat) diet, which most people are unlikely to follow.

Nevertheless, they say that people with psoriasis may wish to avoid ketogenic diets to prevent any further damage to the skin.

“I think most people following a ketogenic diet don’t need to worry about unwanted skin inflammation side effects. However, [people] with psoriasis should not consider a ketogenic diet an adjuvant therapeutic option.”

Barbara Kofler, Ph.D.

Src: Medical News Today


This Substance In Drinks But Not Food CAUSES Weight Gains

The effect of added sucrose in the diet on calorie intake and body weight appears to depend on whether it is in liquid or solid form, according to a new study in mice. If the results translate to humans, they suggest that the contribution of added dietary sugar to obesity comes largely from sugar-sweetened drinks.

A team of scientists in the United Kingdom and China made these suggestions after giving mice added sugar in either their drink or their food for 8 weeks and then comparing them.

In both groups of mice, the added sugar represented 73% of the available dietary calories.

A recent Molecular Metabolism paper carries a full report of the study.

“The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” says John R. Speakman, a professor in the school of biological and environmental sciences at the University of Aberdeen in the U.K., “has been widely implicated as a contributing factor in obesity, and we investigated whether the mode of ingestion (solid or liquid) had different impacts on body weight regulation in mice.”

Prof. Speakman, who led the research at both the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, is the corresponding and senior author of the new study.

Liquid sucrose led to weight gain

The researchers monitored the mice’s body weight, body fat, calorie intake, and energy expenditure.

They also measured glucose and insulin response as a way to assess how close the animals might come to developing diabetes.

The results showed that the mice that had liquid sucrose in their drinking water consumed more calories, put on more weight, and increased their body fat.

In contrast, the mice that had the same level of added sucrose in their food pellets but drank plain water “were leaner and metabolically healthier than their counterparts exposed to liquid sucrose,” write the authors.

The mice that had increased body fat as a result of drinking liquid sucrose also developed lower tolerance to glucose and sensitivity to insulin, both of which are markers of raised diabetes risk.

However, the authors link these adverse metabolic markers to an increase in body fat and not directly to higher sucrose intake.

Liquid, but not solid, sucrose to blame

In their study discussion, the authors suggest that the findings may explain why their own previous investigations on increased dietary sucrose in mice did not show a significant effect on energy intake and body weight. In those studies, they fed the mice a diet containing only 30% sucrose and delivered it only in solid form.

“The current results demonstrate,” they note, “that when exposed to liquid sucrose, mice had greater energy intake than when offered the same macronutrient composition but in solid form.”

The team also suggests that the findings point to liquid, as opposed to solid, sucrose being a factor on its own.

Many human studies have revealed a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and total calorie intake. This link would suggest that when people consume more carbohydrates in liquid form, they do not compensate by reducing the amount that they consume in solid form.

While the new findings did show that there was some reduction in solid food intake as a result of sucrose-enriched water consumption, the “reduction was insufficient to balance the elevated calorie intake in the liquid sucrose.”

“These data, therefore, support the suggested role of sugar-sweetened beverages in the development of diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance,” conclude the authors.

A better understanding of excess food intake

Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Reading in the U.K., was not involved in the recent research, although his group carries out similar investigations.

He describes the new study as “very interesting” because of the importance of understanding how sugar-sweetened drinks contribute to obesity.

He also draws attention to studies in humans that have shown that sugar-sweetened drinks increase energy consumption. He observes that the new study “investigates this further and confirms these findings.”

Prof. Kuhnle does, however, point out the study’s two main limitations. The first is that research in mice does not always translate to humans.

The second limitation is that the amount of sucrose in the mice’s water was much higher than that present in many of the sugar-sweetened drinks that people consume.

The mice’s water was 50% sugar, which is five times the amount in the average cola drink and double the amount present in many milkshakes, he observes.

“However, despite these limitations, this study clearly highlights the need for a better understanding [of] the underlying reasons for excess food intake and how they can be modified,” he adds.

As a food category, sugar-sweetened drinks — including soda, energy, and sports drinks — are by far the most significant contributor of added sugar in the average diet in the United States. So concluded an analysis of 2005–2006 national survey data by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

That NCI report revealed that the average person in the U.S. consumed 21 teaspoons of added sugar per day and that sugar-sweetened drinks accounted for more than one-third (35.7%) of the intake. The next largest contributor was grain based desserts, which accounted for 12.9% of daily added sugar intake.

“There has been a lot of concern recently over the intake of sugary drinks, and if humans respond in the same way as mice do, then these concerns may be entirely justified.”

Prof. John R. Speakman

Src: Medical News Today


Impact Food Has On Gut Health

It seems intuitive that cooked food and raw food likely impact the gut microbiome in different ways, but there has been little to no research on this topic — so far. A new study in mice and humans now confirms this notion.


Do Bananas Promote Weight Loss

Bananas are a healthful addition to a balanced diet, as they provide a range of vital nutrients and are a good source of fiber.


The Negative Effect Of Too Much Iron

One global study that investigated the role of iron in a variety of health conditions has found that excess iron may lead to a higher risk of bacterial skin infections.


Will Green Tea Fight Obesity?

According to a recent study in mice, consuming green tea might reduce the risk of obesity and its related conditions. It appears that the benefits are due to green tea’s positive influence on gut bacteria.