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How to help babies stay a healthy weight

<p>How babies are fed is often a topic of hot discussion. It’s known that babies should be introduced gradually to solid foods <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/solid-foods-weaning/">at around six months old</a>. But in recent years, another question has arisen: should parents be spoon-feeding babies special pureed baby foods or could they just join in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/08/baby-led-weaning">with the family and feed themselves</a> from the very start?</p> <p>Known as <a href="http://www.babyledweaning.com">baby-led weaning</a>, parents who follow the method believe it has lots of <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1740-8709.2011.00360.x">benefits for their baby</a>, such as encouraging them to eat a range of foods and stay a healthy weight. Research suggests that babies who feed themselves are <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00207.x">less likely to be fussy</a> and more likely to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jhn.12616">eat a wider variety of food</a>. But what about their weight?</p> <p>Research examining this so far <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13668-017-0201-2">has been mixed</a>. But in <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mcn.12941">our new study</a> of 269 babies, we found that when babies were breastfed, there was no difference in weight for those who were spoon-fed or self-fed. But when babies were bottle fed, those who were spoon-fed were heavier than those who self-fed.</p> <p>This is potentially because as long as babies have some opportunity to be “in charge” of how much they eat, they may be better able to eat according to what they need rather than how much food a caregiver might encourage them to eat.</p> <p><strong>Milk matters too</strong></p> <p>Previous research into the impact of solid foods and weight has not really explored how the other part of a baby’s diet – their milk feeds – might play a role.</p> <p>Indeed, solid foods should only be part of a baby’s diet. Babies who are between six and 12 months should still be getting lots of energy <a href="https://www.unicef.org/parenting/food-nutrition/feeding-your-baby-6-12-months">from breast or formula milk</a>. In fact, at six to eight months old, babies only need <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59f75004f09ca48694070f3b/t/5ceed06a15fcc07f8822270b/1559154825802/Eating_well_first_year_April19_for_web.pdf">less than 200 calories a day</a> from solid foods.</p> <p>Research with older children shows that using a “<a href="http://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_7_No_2_June_2017/9.pdf">responsive feeding style</a>”, where lots of healthy options are offered but parents don’t put too much pressure on how much children eat, is associated with <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01849">a healthier weight and more varied diet</a>. Children are better able to listen to their own hunger cues and don’t crave foods that are “banned” so much – meaning they are less likely to overeat.</p> <p>Research with younger babies shows that <a href="https://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/bf-basics/importance-responsive-feeding/">being “responsive” during milk feeds</a> also matters. For example, bottle fed babies who are fed responsively – with parents looking for cues they are full – <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3572635">drink less than those who are encouraged to finish a bottle</a>.</p> <p>Breastfeeding might <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0083893">make responsive feeding easier</a> as you cannot see how much a baby has drunk, so you have to trust they will feed if they are hungry. It’s also difficult to persuade a baby who doesn’t want to breastfeed to do so. But if you are bottle feeding you can see how much is left and might worry that baby <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01145.x">needs to finish the bottle</a>.</p> <p>This might explain why babies who are breastfed are more likely to be able <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00071.x">to control their appetite</a> as toddlers and are <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/17477160902763309">less likely to be overweight</a>.</p> <p><strong>Feeding your baby responsively</strong></p> <p><a href="http://orca.cf.ac.uk/91927/">Decisions around feeding babies are complicated</a> and some mothers <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jan.12832">might face challenges breastfeeding</a> or <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mcn.12166">worry about giving their baby solid foods</a>. But the good news is that most babies, unless there is a particular medical worry about their growth, should be able to have opportunity to be “in charge” of how much they eat.</p> <p>If you are bottle feeding, try not to worry too much about when and how much your baby feeds. Instead, try <a href="https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/bottle-feeding-resources/infant-formula-responsive-bottle-feeding-guide-for-parents/">“paced” or “responsive” feeding</a>, where smaller amounts of milk are made up and you watch carefully for signs your baby is full.</p> <p>To do this gently, offer your baby the bottle by stroking their lip and wait for them to show they are ready –- they will open their mouth if they are hungry. Pause regularly and stop when your baby starts to show signs of being full, such as turning their head or pushing the bottle out. Don’t try to encourage them to finish the bottle.</p> <p>If you are spoon-feeding, <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/solid-foods-weaning/">let your baby set the pace of the meal</a>. Offer them small spoonfuls and, again, pause in between, looking for signs they have had enough such as turning their head or pushing lots back out. Don’t try to persuade them to finish a jar or eat too quickly.</p> <p>Remember, guidelines suggest that however you feed your baby you <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/solid-foods-weaning/">can give them finger foods from the start of weaning</a>. Try foods such as soft cooked sticks of parsnip, broccoli or yam, flakes of fish or toast fingers. Cut food into pieces large enough for them to pick up, so that the food sticks out of the top of their fist. But make sure you avoid foods that could snap off in your baby’s mouth such as hard apple slices or raw carrot sticks or small hard foods such as nuts or popcorn.</p> <p>Some babies might not eat much at first when they self-feed, but don’t worry. Remember, the <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13679-018-0297-8">experience of learning to eat is important too</a>. Letting babies play with food, feeling its texture and learning how it tastes is all part of their development – just put a mat down and try not to worry too much about the mess!<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/129961/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sara-wyn-jones-379117">Sara Wyn Jones</a>, PhD researcher in Public Health, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/swansea-university-2638">Swansea University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amy-brown-279356">Amy Brown</a>, Professor of Child Public Health, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/swansea-university-2638">Swansea University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-lee-602893">Michelle Lee</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/swansea-university-2638">Swansea University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/let-babies-be-in-charge-of-how-much-they-eat-it-could-help-them-stay-a-healthy-weight-129961">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Do blind people have better hearing?

<p>The sensation of sound occurs when the vibrations from sounds enter our ear and cause little hairlike structures – called hair cells – within our inner ear to move back and forth. The hair cells transform this movement into an electrical signal that the brain can use.</p> <p>How well a person can hear largely depends on how intact these hair cells are. Once lost, they don’t grow back – and this is no different for blind people. So blind people can’t physically hear better than others.</p> <p>Yet blind people often outperform sighted people in hearing tasks such as <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378595515300174">locating the source of sounds</a>. The reason for this emerges when we look beyond the sensory organs, at what is happening with the brain, and how the sensory information is processed by it.</p> <p>Perception occurs when the brain interprets signals that our sensory organs provide, and different parts of the brain respond to the information arriving from different sensory organs. There are areas that process visual information (the visual cortex) and areas that process sound information (the auditory cortex). But when a sense like vision is lost, the brain does something remarkable: it <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898172/">reorganises the functions of these brain areas</a>.</p> <p>In blind people, the visual cortex gets a bit “bored” without visual input and starts to “rewire” itself, becoming more responsive to information from the other remaining senses. So blind people may have lost their vision, but this leaves a larger brain capacity for processing the information from other senses.</p> <p>The extent of reorganisation in the brain depends on when someone loses their sight. The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898172/">brain can reorganise itself at any point in life</a>, including adulthood, but during childhood the brain is more able to adapt to change. This is because during childhood the brain is still developing and the new organisation of the brain does not have to compete with an existing one. As a result, people who have been blind from a very early age show a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898172/">much greater level of reorganisation in the brain</a>.</p> <p>People who become blind early in life tend to outperform sighted people, as well as those who became blind later in life, in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/430309a">hearing</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982203009849">touch</a> perceptual tasks.</p> <p><strong>Echolocation</strong></p> <p>The reorganisation in the brain also means that blind people are sometimes able to learn how to use their remaining senses in interesting ways. For example, some blind people learn to sense the location and size of objects around them using <a href="https://community.dur.ac.uk/lore.thaler/thaler_goodale_echo_review2016.pdf">echolocation</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2IKT2akh0Ng?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>By producing clicks with their mouths and listening for the echoes, blind people can locate objects in their surroundings. This ability is tightly linked with the <a href="https://community.dur.ac.uk/lore.thaler/thaler_goodale_echo_review2016.pdf">brain activity in the visual cortex</a>. In fact, the visual cortex in blind echolocators responds to sound information in almost the same way as it does to visual information in the sighted. In other words, in blind echolocators, hearing has replaced vision in the brain to a very large extent.</p> <p>But not every blind person is automatically an expert echolocator. Whether a blind person is able to develop a skill like echolocation depends on the time spent learning this task – <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378595514000185">even sighted people can learn this skill with enough training</a>, but blind people will probably benefit from their reorganised brain being more tuned towards the remaining senses.</p> <p>Blind people will also rely more on their remaining senses to do everyday tasks, which means that they train their remaining senses on a daily basis. The reorganised brain together with the greater experience in using their remaining senses are believed to be important factors in blind people having an edge over sighted people in hearing and touch.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/102282/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/loes-van-dam-543699">Loes van Dam</a>, Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-essex-1291">University of Essex</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-blind-people-have-better-hearing-102282">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How you can protect your eyes from bushfire smoke

<p>As we continue to contend with smoke haze in various parts of the country, many Australians may find themselves with watery, burning, irritated or red eyes.</p> <p>Data from countries with consistently poor air quality suggest there could also be a risk of longer term effects to our eyes, particularly with prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke.</p> <p>Although <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/documents/protect-yourself-from-bushfire-smoke.pdf">P2/N95 masks</a> can protect us from inhaling harmful particles, unfortunately they can’t protect our eyes.</p> <p>But there are certain <a href="https://www.optometry.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/Bushfires%20and%20your%20eyes%202020%20Advice%20Sheet%20FINAL%20%281%29.pdf">things you can do</a> to minimise irritation and the risk of any longer term effects.</p> <p><strong>Irritation in the short term</strong></p> <p>The eye’s surface is continuously exposed to the environment, except when our eyes are shut when we sleep.</p> <p>Bushfire smoke contains dust, fumes (such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides), and <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/particulate-matter.aspx">tiny particles</a> called PM10 and PM2.5.</p> <p>When the smoke comes into contact with our eyes, the fumes and small particles dissolve into our tears and coat the eye’s surface. In some people, this can trigger inflammation, and therefore irritation.</p> <p>The presence of a marker called matrix metalloproteinase-9, or MMP-9, indicates the eye is inflamed.</p> <p>During periods of poor air quality from bushfires in the United States, MMP-9 was present in the eyes of <a href="https://www.healio.com/ophthalmology/cornea-external-disease/news/online/%7Bb8dad2b8-5df1-4412-a5f2-886a099210bb%7D/poor-air-quality-associated-with-dry-eye">more people</a> than it ordinarily would be.</p> <p><strong>Longer term risks</strong></p> <p>We know very little about how pollution from bushfire smoke might affect our eyes over the longer term, or what damage repeated or chronic exposure might do.</p> <p>But we do know people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution, such as China, are <a href="https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-019-1794-6">three to four times more likely</a> to develop dry eye.</p> <p>Dry eye is a condition where a person <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/dry-eye">doesn’t have enough tears or they are of such poor quality</a> they don’t lubricate and nourish the eye. We need high quality tears to maintain the health of the front surface of the eye and provide clear vision.</p> <p>For people who already have dry eyes – often older people – poor air quality may <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749118304056?via%3Dihub">increase the damage</a>. The smoke and pollution may cause intense stinging and a feeling of grittiness to the point they can barely open their eyes.</p> <p>While dry eye is a result of damage to the surface of the eyes, it’s also possible pollutants entering the blood stream after we breathe them in could affect the blood supply to the eye. This in turn could damage the fine vessels within the eye itself.</p> <p>Research has suggested high levels of air pollution in Taiwan may increase the risk of <a href="https://jim.bmj.com/content/67/7/1076">age-related macular degeneration</a>, which could be an example of this.</p> <p>We need more research into the long-term effects on our eyes of prolonged poor air quality, particularly from bushfire smoke. But what we do know suggests it’s possible bushfire smoke could be causing subtle damage to the eyes, even in people without any symptoms.</p> <p><strong>What can you do to protect your eyes from the smoke?</strong></p> <ul> <li>the best option is to avoid going outside when air quality is at is worst, where possible</li> <li>wearing sunglasses or glasses when outside if you need them might stop some of the dust carried in the wind from contacting the eye’s surface (but it won’t stop the tiny particles getting in)</li> <li>avoid wearing contact lenses if possible.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Some tips if your eyes are irritated</strong></p> <ul> <li>flush your eyes as often as you can, with over-the-counter <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/lubricating-eye-drops">lubricant eye drops</a> if you have some on hand. If not, use sterile saline solution or clean bottled water</li> <li>if your eyes are itchy, flush them and then place a cool face washer over your closed lids</li> <li>don’t rub your eyes, as this could make the irritation worse.</li> </ul> <p>If your eyes are red and sore and these steps don’t help, it’s best to see an eye care professional.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katrina-schmid-914685">Katrina Schmid</a>, Associate Professor, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/isabelle-jalbert-929894">Isabelle Jalbert</a>, Associate Professor, School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW Sydney, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/bushfire-smoke-is-bad-for-your-eyes-too-heres-how-you-can-protect-them-129898">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why your risks of breast cancer increase as the oceans rise

<p>It is encouraging to see greater attention in the media to the issue of climate change and its effects on the life-support systems of the planet. The link between breast cancer and the environment, however, is being overlooked.</p> <p>Premenopausal women exposed to high levels of air pollution have a 30 per cent increased risk for breast cancer, according to <a href="https://journals.lww.com/environepidem/Fulltext/2018/09000/Residential_exposure_to_fine_particulate_matter.2.aspx">a paper in <em>Environmental Epidemiology</em></a> published by Paul Villeneuve, a professor of occupational and environmental health at Carleton University, and his research team last year.</p> <p>This should trigger a wake-up call given that we tend to think of breast cancer as a disease of aging women.</p> <p>In fact, the science of breast cancer tells us that “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/107735209799449761">genetic susceptibility makes only a small to moderate contribution</a>” to breast cancer. The known risk factors — such as family history, age, gender, ethnicity and hormones — account for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129067">only around three in 10 cases</a>.</p> <p>The other 70 per cent are likely related mostly to environment — including the air, water and soil, the places we live and work in and the products we consume — according to current research.</p> <p>In Canada, <a href="http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/statistics/?region=on">over 26,300 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017</a> so that 70 per cent represents a lot of women.</p> <p><strong>Carcinogens in the workplace</strong></p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-11-87">Our work environments</a> are part of this story.</p> <p>A paper published last November in <em>New Solutions Journal</em> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1048291118810900">points to workplace exposures as the cause for one woman’s breast cancer</a>.</p> <p>Using the evidence presented at a worker’s compensation hearing, Michael Gilbertson, a former federal government biologist who studied the health effects of toxic chemicals, and Jim Brophy, an occupational health researcher, found that they could infer a causal relationship between the woman’s diagnosis of breast cancer and her high exposure to air pollution — as a border guard at the bridge connecting Windsor, Ont. to Detroit, Mich.</p> <p>Despite the scientific evidence highlighting environmental factors and the important role they likely play in contributing to breast cancer, the woman at the bridge was denied compensation.</p> <p>She was denied even though breast cancers were occurring in this region at a rate up to 16 times higher than the rest of the county, and in an environment with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.22653">pollutants containing known breast carcinogens</a> such as benzene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.</p> <p>It is not surprising, given that environment is regularly ignored when we talk about breast cancer.</p> <p><strong>A disease of our communities</strong></p> <p>When researchers study what women know about breast cancer they find a focus on cures, detection and treatments. What’s often missing from their list is prevention, and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2010.496836">prevention is often confused with early detection</a>.</p> <p>Primary prevention means stopping cancer before it starts — not finding it and treating it early, although that too is important. Women’s knowledge of breast cancer is importantly <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.00274">connected to media and medical practitioner’s messages</a>.</p> <p>Forecasts of the future of cancer tell us that <a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/chronic-diseases/cancer/canadian-cancer-statistics.html">one in two Canadians</a> will likely be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Projections show rising rates of many cancers, including breast cancer.</p> <p>Dr. Ted Schettler, who wrote <a href="https://www.healthandenvironment.org/docs/EcologyOfBreastCancer_Schettler.pdf"><em>The Ecology of Breast Cancer</em></a> argues:</p> <blockquote> <p>“breast cancer is not only a disease of abnormal cells, but also of communities we create and live in.”</p> </blockquote> <p>If we apply his argument, it means we can create conditions for fewer future breast cancers. The question then becomes how?</p> <p><strong>We cannot blame women</strong></p> <p>To start, we need to make prevention at least as much a priority as early detection, better treatments and the search for cures. We also have to take a good look at all suspected causes.</p> <p>Conversations about prevention often stir debate about what is to blame for the breast cancer rates we are seeing. But an aging population of women who make bad lifestyle choices doesn’t explain increases in breast cancers in more and younger women.</p> <p>It doesn’t explain why women who migrate from countries with lower rates of breast cancer develop the same rates within 10 years of living in their new homes. It also doesn’t explain the clusters of breast cancers in regions with high levels of air pollution containing definitive breast carcinogens.</p> <p>We need confidence in what the science is already showing us about the role of <a href="https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-017-0287-4#Sec49">environmental and workplace hazards</a> in breast cancer causation.</p> <p>Indeed, the evidence points to <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/ssi-ete101017.php">associations between numerous environmental pollutants</a> and an increased risk for breast cancer — <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17503434">including pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemicals, endocrine disrupting chemicals and vehicle emissions</a>. <a href="https://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2011/05000/Breast_Cancer_Risk_Associated_With_Residential.10.aspx">Living and working in proximity to these exposures</a>, especially during vulnerable windows of development, is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240618/">putting women</a> at <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129067">high risk</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-069X-11-87">Some occupations</a>, including radiology, pharmacy, health care, hairdressing, working with plastics, manufacturing, agriculture, working as airline crew and firefighting, also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1048291118758460">carry a higher risk</a>. These <a href="https://d124kohvtzl951.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/02025357/Report_Working-Women-and-Breast-Cancer_August_2015.pdf">occupational sectors employ thousands of thousands of women</a> worldwide.</p> <p>We need greater awareness and extended programmes that focus on these environmental and workplace causes. And we need to create and enforce policies and put regulations in place that prevent such exposures.</p> <p><strong>The climate change link</strong></p> <p>The women in Paul Villeneuve’s study are not unlike the female border guard. These cases are all linked to high levels of air pollution. Their stories are those of countless other women who face exposures to breast carcinogens in many Canadian urban environments and workplaces with high levels of traffic and industrial pollution.</p> <p>We also have evidence that these exposures are increasing, as our climate is changing. This link is complex, as is so much about cancer generally. Air pollution is <a href="https://www.who.int/sustainable-development/AirPollution_Climate_Health_Factsheet.pdf">one of the many causes of climate change</a> as well as <a href="https://journals.lww.com/environepidem/Fulltext/2018/09000/Residential_exposure_to_fine_particulate_matter.2.aspx">breast cancer</a>.</p> <p>It is also believed that increased ambient air temperatures may change the effects of chemical contaminants on humans and that increased precipitation and flooding will <a href="https://setac.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/etc.2046">move contaminants to places where greater exposure by humans is possible</a>.</p> <p>Finally, as the incidence of fires increase with climate change, exposures to chemicals associated with the development of breast cancer often found in fires also increase. Studies are now investigating <a href="http://womenfirefighterstudy.com/about/">possible elevated incidence of breast cancer among women firefighters</a>. They are clearly a highly exposed group and may be just one example of women bearing an elevated breast cancer risk.</p> <p><strong>Prevention a priority</strong></p> <p>At this important moment in history, as we debate the poor state of the environment and the adverse outcomes associated with it, we have the opportunity to make prevention of the many diseases — including breast cancer — a priority.</p> <p>Many stories report on the numerous health problems connected to climate change including other cancers, cardiovascular disease, fertility problems, asthma, adverse birth outcomes, disabilities, diabetes and stroke. And yet, despite increasing evidence of an association between breast cancer and environmental exposures, the media does not cover this piece of the story.</p> <p>We must do the work now to create a future where we won’t have to surrender our good health to unregulated exposure to known and suspected breast carcinogens. Instead we must <a href="https://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/ADVISORY/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf">implement the precautionary principle</a> — in our communities, our workplaces and across our planet.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/108420/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jane-e-mcarthur-613732">Jane E. McArthur</a>, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-windsor-3044">University of Windsor</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-the-oceans-rise-so-do-your-risks-of-breast-cancer-108420">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What you can expect from menopausal hormone therapy consultation

<p>We have seen increasingly dramatic headlines over the years on the risks of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), also known as hormone replacement therapy.</p> <p>An alarming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397">study in 2002</a>, which found an apparent increased risk of breast cancer in women who took MHT, prompted the first of these headlines.</p> <p>But newer evidence has been reassuring. It’s also a reminder that when considering your options, any risk associated with taking MHT needs to be balanced with the benefits.</p> <p>This balance is the main thing your GP will consider when discussing whether MHT is right for you.</p> <p><strong>Remind me, what’s all this about breast cancer?</strong></p> <p>In 2002, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397">Women’s Health Initiative study</a> found women who took MHT had a 26% increased risk of breast cancer. This finding, which was later disputed, led to a <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146494">55% drop</a> in MHT use in the next three years.</p> <p>A reanalysis of the data showed <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1745676">a lower risk</a> of breast cancer in some women.</p> <p>And in 2016, a statement from the world’s leading menopause specialists <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13697137.2013.771520">said</a> the benefits of MHT are more likely to outweigh the risks if women with symptoms start taking it before they turn 60 or within ten years after menopause.</p> <p>Then <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext">a study</a> published in The Lancet in recent months suggested the risks might be greater than once thought.</p> <p>However, this study combined the results of previous ones, including observational studies, which have limitations. Observational studies show associations between one factor and another, rather than one causes the other. So factors other than MHT might be at play in increasing a woman’s risk of breast cancer. As a result, these studies tend to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3818421/">overestimate the risks</a>.</p> <p>Other risks linked with MHT include <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30626577">thromboembolism</a> (a type of blood clot). And in older women, there’s an increased risk of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3675220/">stroke</a>.</p> <p>So, if you are one of approximately <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706184">one-third of women</a> aged 40-65 suffering moderate to severe menopausal symptoms, what do you need to know?</p> <p><strong>What type of symptoms are we talking about?</strong></p> <p>Most women experience menopause (the date of her last period) at around <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">45-55 years of age</a>. Some women’s periods stop before then, either spontaneously or due to some medical treatment, with varying symptoms and health risks.</p> <p>However, menopausal symptoms may start before periods stop, and last on average seven to ten years. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706184">For a minority of women</a>, symptoms can last for longer.</p> <p>Physical symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706184">severe symptoms</a> <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26115590">profoundly reducing</a> women’s quality of life.</p> <p><strong>What are the benefits of MHT?</strong></p> <p>MHT is available in different forms such as a tablet, skin patch, gel, and vaginal pessary or cream. These have <a href="https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Tools/Menopause_tool.pdf">advantages and disadvantages</a>.</p> <p>For example, some act on the whole body such as tablets, gels, and patches while others such as vaginal creams and pessaries act on the local area only. Those that act locally have <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext">no increased risk</a> of breast cancer or thromboembolism.</p> <p>MHT is an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26444994">effective treatment</a> for hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Other treatments, such as bioidentical or natural hormones, have <a href="https://theconversation.com/natural-hormone-therapy-no-panacea-for-menopause-symptoms-25869">safety concerns</a>. Others, such as <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001395.pub4/full">phytoestrogens</a> and many <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/health-info/fact-sheets/complementary-medicine-options">other herbal preparations</a>, <a href="https://canceraustralia.gov.au/publications-and-resources/clinical-practice-guidelines/menopausal-guidelines">don’t work</a>.</p> <p>MHT also helps <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29234813">prevent</a> osteoporosis, and may help prevent colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.</p> <p><strong>Different risks and benefits for each woman</strong></p> <p>The balance of risks versus benefits of MHT varies from woman to woman, depending on a number of factors. Here are some hypothetical examples.</p> <p><strong>1. Gina is a healthy 52 year old with menopausal symptoms, a family history of breast cancer (her mother was diagnosed at 65), and low bone density</strong></p> <p>If Gina’s menopausal symptoms are troubling her, then MHT is a reasonable option. Not only is it the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15495039">most effective treatment</a> for her symptoms, it has the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30907953">added benefit</a> for bone health. Gina will need a comprehensive assessment to decide the best type of MHT.</p> <p>Breast cancer is the most feared risk of MHT. The risk depends on the type of MHT and how long it’s used. But that risk declines after Gina stops using it.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext">The Lancet paper</a> showed that for women with a family history of breast cancer like Gina, MHT use does not further increase her breast cancer risk. But it also showed that longer use of MHT is associated with a slower decline in risk after stopping using it.</p> <p><strong>2. Sarah has menopausal symptoms, has had both ovaries removed and a hysterectomy, is obese and drinks moderately</strong></p> <p>Sarah’s going through what’s called a “surgical menopause” and has the physical symptoms that go with it, including hot flushes.</p> <p>Her obesity and moderate drinking already increases her risk of breast cancer. <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext">The Lancet paper</a> showed that the use of oestrogen only-MHT (the type of MHT she’d take because of her hysterectomy) does not further add to this risk.</p> <p>However, her obesity is associated with an increased risk of blood clots. As the risk of blood clots increases if she takes oestrogen in tablet form, MHT as a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13697137.2018.1439915">skin patch or gel</a> would be the best choice.</p> <p>Losing weight <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23084519">may also improve</a> Sarah’s hot flushes.</p> <p><strong>3. Sam went through menopause before she turned 45</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S1470-2045%2812%2970425-4">One in 10 women</a> experience menopause before the age of 45, like Sam.</p> <p>This puts her at a <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(12)70425-4">30% lower risk</a> <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/about-ams/media-info/1468-mht-and-breast-cancer-risk-lancet-29-august-2019">of breast cancer</a> compared with women who experience menopause later in life.</p> <p>However, early menopause is associated with a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21993082">greater risk</a> of premature death, including from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27627190">heart disease</a> as well as substantially greater risk of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17476146">osteoporosis and fragility fracture</a> in later life.</p> <p>So her GP will likely advise her to take MHT until the average age of menopause. This <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19733988">restores</a> her breast cancer, heart, and mortality risk to approximately what it would have been if she had not gone through an early menopause. It also reduces her risk of bone thinning (osteoporosis).</p> <p><strong>4. Lee is 65, has vaginal dryness but no more hot flushes</strong></p> <p>Vaginal symptoms, including discomfort from vaginal dryness, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13697137.2017.1421923?scroll=top&amp;needAccess=true">are common</a> in postmenopausal women like Lee. And vaginal oestrogen preparations as a pessary are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27577677">an effective and safe option</a>.</p> <p>Vaginal oestrogen acts locally so <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27577677">does not</a> improve bone health and does not increase blood clots or breast cancer risk.</p> <p><strong>So how best to act on this?</strong></p> <p>The decision about whether to use MHT, which form, or to consider an alternative to MHT to manage your symptoms can be a complex one.</p> <p>So, it’s important to form a partnership with your doctor who can guide you to make an informed decision. You may need several discussions over a period of time to fully consider what is right for you.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/124174/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhonda-garad-783705">Rhonda Garad</a>, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow in Knowledge Translation, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amanda-vincent-842862">Amanda Vincent</a>, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor and Endocrinologist, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/thinking-of-menopausal-hormone-therapy-heres-what-you-can-expect-from-your-gp-124174">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why we think a better body will be a better self

<p>Is a better body a better self? Is a perfect body our best self? In the visual culture we inhabit we increasingly believe that a better body will lead to a better life, one where we are happier, have a better job, a better partner, and things go well for us.</p> <p>Think about the New Year’s resolutions we make, the majority of them are about the body – to exercise more, to change our diet, or straightforwardly to lose weight. While exercise might be undertaken <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-weight-loss-is-your-only-goal-for-exercise-its-time-to-rethink-your-priorities-120083">under the guise of health</a>, it’s often for beauty, and as beauty becomes the dominant value we, at times, risk our health for it.</p> <p>Thinking that we are our bodies is transformative, it overturns how we understand human beings. We used to think that to be better we had to change what was on the inside – to have a better character, be kinder, be a better mother or friend. In <a href="https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691160078/perfect-me*">my research</a>, I’ve found that we now increasingly judge ourselves and others on looks. We think that the inside will follow the outside.</p> <p>In the social media world, what matters is looking like the perfect mother rather than being the perfect mother. In a visual and virtual culture to succeed we have to look like we succeed, and make the grade when it comes to our appearance: to be thin, firm, smooth and young enough. And then, miraculously, all the rest will come to us. This is a dramatic change in what we value and what matters to us.</p> <p><strong>Surgical fixes</strong></p> <p>As our bodies have become ourselves, we are also then under pressure to “fix” them in order to fix ourselves. It’s no surprise in this context that we think changing our bodies is something we have a duty to do. Bodywork, from hair removal and constant diet and exercise to cosmetic surgery, is something we obsess about and focus our lives around.</p> <p>Many of us want to change our bodies because we feel like we are not good enough as we are. While cosmetic surgery is still a minority activity it is growing. More and more of us are going under the knife, as well as engaging in very many more beauty practices.</p> <p>This is a global trend. In 2018, more than <a href="https://baaps.org.uk/about/news/1708/cosmetic_surgery_stats_number_of_surgeries_remains_stable_amid_calls_for_greater_regulation_of_quick_fix_solutions">28,000 procedures</a> took place in the UK. In the US, the number was close to <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324693.php#1">18 million</a>. While in South Korea, which boasts the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005311/">highest number of procedures per capita</a> worldwide, there were a million.</p> <p><strong>Televised ‘routine’ procedures</strong></p> <p>That cosmetic surgery is becoming normal is reflected in the TV shows we watch. Increasingly, they present cosmetic surgery not as unusual or an “extreme makeover” but routine and aspirational. <a href="https://www.channel4.com/press/news/caroline-flack-present-surjury-wt-channel-4#:%7E:targetText=Caroline%20Flack%20is%20to%20present,they've%20always%20dreamed%20of.">Channel 4’s Surjury</a> clearly buys the claim that our bodies are ourselves, and that if we fix our body we’ll fix ourselves.</p> <p>In attracting participants, the show promises to “make your surgical dreams come true”. The format involves contestants pitching their stories to a jury of strangers (and you can apply to be on the jury too) who decide which lucky contestant will have the surgery they desire.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VZnAetkE4Sw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p07sltv0/plastic-surgery-undressed">BBC’s Plastic Surgery Undressed</a> is less sensationalist and doesn’t pay for surgery. Instead, it takes four people considering a procedure and gives them the opportunity to learn as much about the surgery as possible, including watching one being performed by a leading surgeon.</p> <p>The show is pitched as a response <a href="https://aestheticsjournal.com/news/almost-half-of-millennials-compare-aesthetic-treatment-to-a-haircut">to a poll the BBC conducted</a> of 1,033 UK women aged between 18 and 30. The results found that 48% of respondents believed that having a cosmetic procedure is like having a haircut and that 66% indicated that they had either had a cosmetic procedure, or would consider one.</p> <p>While the show strives to educate it also normalises procedures that can raise real risks. For example, bum enhancement surgery, also known as “Brazilian butt lifts”, have seen an increase in demand but are wildly dangerous. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has warned surgeons <a href="https://baaps.org.uk/media/press_releases/1630/the_bottom_line">against performing the surgery</a> until more is known and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has dubbed it the <a href="https://theconversation.com/brazilian-butt-lifts-are-the-deadliest-of-all-aesthetic-procedures-the-risks-explained-101559">most dangerous</a> form of plastic surgery – with a <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/woman-who-died-during-butt-enhancement-surgery-allegedly-rushed-hospital-staff-inquest-told-1473386">mortality</a> rate of <a href="https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/01/31/plastic-surgery-brazilian-butt-lifts-florida-death-column/2374585002/">1 in 3,000</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The modified norm</strong></p> <p>As more people have surgery, the more normal it is, and the more people opt for it, in turn, the more normal it becomes, and so on. It might not be very long in the future when it will be normal to have surgery and abnormal not to. We can see this in other beauty practices. Body hair, for example. We have reached the stage where we now believe that a normal, and even natural, body is one that is hairless. In 2018, there was an increase in hair removal with 70% of adults removing hair from their bodies compared with 64% in 2016, according to <a href="https://store.mintel.com/uk-shaving-and-hair-removal-market-report?_ga=2.239483395.1630422344.1574349413-1107517240.1572104721">research by Mintel</a>.</p> <p>As the modified body becomes the normal body, we will spend more and more time trying to fix them - shaping, cutting, moulding and toning ourselves into our “perfect” body. A body that doesn’t and cannot exist. We all age, sag, wrinkle and die, and even those who fit the ideal will still feel they don’t measure up.</p> <p>As the practice of surgery becomes more prevalent, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986110/">more surgeons are being confronted</a> with patients who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). It is believed that <a href="https://www.priorygroup.com/blog/the-risks-of-cosmetic-surgery-for-body-dysmorphic-disorder-patients">15% of people</a> seeking plastic surgery have it and fewer than 10% of BDD patients will be satisfied with the results. Instead, it is likely that their anxieties will focus upon another aspect of their appearance.</p> <p>The type of beauty ideals we aspire to cannot be achieved. No one can have perfectly smooth, pore-free, blemish-free, wrinkle-free skin. This only exists in the virtual world of make up, filters, apps and airbrushing. We all know that even celebs and influencers don’t look like their enhanced and modified images.</p> <p>While we know this, it does little to turn the rising tide of body image anxiety, shame and feelings of failure. To change this we need to focus less on what individual women do and don’t do, and instead focus on changing the culture. One way of doing this is to take the pressures to be perfect seriously and recognise how much our bodies matter in a visual and virtual culture. If our bodies are ourselves then body shaming is never OK. To begin to end this we can call out <a href="https://everydaylookism.bham.ac.uk/">lookism</a>, prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s appearance, and push back.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127269/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/heather-widdows-129539">Heather Widdows</a>, John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-birmingham-1138">University of Birmingham</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/new-year-new-you-why-we-think-a-better-body-will-be-a-better-self-127269">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What you should know about your colon

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of us don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about our colons… at least not until our doctors mention that dreaded first colonoscopy! Well, it turns out our colons deserve a lot more attention. The health of your colon actually plays a huge part in your overall health… from your moods to your weight and everything in between!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may have noticed that the colon and gut have been a hot topic in the medical community recently. Science has even come up with a new buzz word to describe the microorganisms that live there. They’re referring to them as your microbiome, and it’s basically a jungle of bacteria that live in your colon. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In fact, it’s estimated that there are more than 100 trillion microorganisms living in your gut, and most of these tiny critters aren’t just hitching a ride. They actually have important jobs to do! Over the past few years, science has been exploring exactly how the bacteria in your colon affect your health, and here’s what they’ve discovered.</span></p> <p><strong>Understanding the purpose of your colon</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The colon is actually your large intestine. It helps the body absorb nutrients and water, as well as eliminate waste. The colon is part of the digestive system, which includes your small intestine, esophagus, stomach, and mouth. Each part of this complex system has its own job to do in the process of digesting and absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The colon is basically a five to six-foot-long tube that is curled up inside of your abdomen, running from the small intestine to the rectum. The muscles in the digestive system contract when you eat, moving food through the small intestine where nutrients and calories are absorbed. The waste material that’s leftover ends up in your colon, mostly in liquid form. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The colon removes the moisture from the waste material and balances pH and electrolytes. The microorganisms in your colon support the digestive process, assist in absorbing nutrients, and protect the body from harmful bacteria. It takes about 36 hours for food to travel from your stomach to the rectum.</span></p> <p><strong>How your colon affects your overall health</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stress, eating too many processed foods, lack of proper sleep, taking antibiotics, and other aspects of our modern lifestyle can damage the beneficial bacteria in our colons, allowing harmful bacteria to grow unchecked. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you have an overabundance of harmful bacteria in your gut, it can lead to many chronic conditions throughout the body, including:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chronic inflammation</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Joint pain and arthritis</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Heart disease</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Obesity</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diabetes</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Acne and other skin conditions</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Digestive problems</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mood swings, depression, and anxiety</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Headaches and migraines</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Insomnia and lack of energy</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brain fog</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hormonal imbalances</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-are-common-symptoms-of-autoimmune-disease"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Autoimmune disorders</span></a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Signs of an unhealthy colon</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Usually, the first indicators of an unhealthy colon are digestive issues like diarrhea, heartburn, bloating, gas, and constipation. An unhealthy gut can also lead to food sensitivities and food allergies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may also notice unexplained changes in your weight because your body can’t absorb nutrients or regulate blood sugar efficiently. Some people also experience sleep issues because serotonin (the hormone that regulates sleep) is produced in the colon. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Skin conditions such as eczema and acne can also be caused by a damaged gut. The gut also plays a key role in the health of the immune system. Those with an unhealthy gut often get sick easily or experience autoimmune problems.</span></p> <p><strong>How to improve your gut health</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are several things you can do to support the beneficial bacteria in your gut. The functional medicine experts at Rahav Wellness recommend </span><a href="https://rahavwellness.com/colonics/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">colon hydrotherapy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> as a safe way to remove harmful bacteria and waste that can build up in the colon over time. It’s also the most effective way to give your gut a complete reset.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Learning how to manage your stress levels is also important. Yoga, meditation, exercise, acupuncture, and massage are all great ways to keep stress in check. Getting plenty of sleep is also essential. Chew your food thoroughly and eat mindfully to improve digestion.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Staying well-hydrated is also crucial because it supports the mucosal lining of the colon. Probiotics are also important for replenishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut. You should eat probiotic foods every day or take a daily probiotic supplement to keep your gut healthy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getting checked for </span><a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263965.php"><span style="font-weight: 400;">food intolerances</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is also a good idea. If you continue to eat foods that you have sensitivities to, it will only contribute to inflammation and digestive issues. Cutting back or eliminating sugar, processed food, and unhealthy fats will also support your microbiome.</span></p> <p><strong>Foods that support colon health</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are also certain foods that will support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. These include high fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Garlic and onions may also be beneficial because they support the immune system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fermented foods lie yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi are great food sources of probiotics. Foods that are rich in collagen, such as bone broth, may also support a healthy gut.</span></p> <p><strong>Final thoughts</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although the colon and digestive system are a bit complex, keeping them healthy is pretty simple. Making a few healthy adjustments to your diet will help your colon do its job and keep your immune system strong. Committing to these lifestyle changes will have a positive effect on your overall health as a result.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Donna Maurer.</span></em></p>

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Greek yoghurt vs ‘regular’ yoghurt: Which one is healthier?

<p>Once a rare option, Greek yoghurt has become as popular as its regular counterpart today. Fans praise Greek yoghurt as not only the tastier of two, but also the healthier alternative. But what does science say about this claim?</p> <p>While both yoghurts are made of the same ingredients – milk and live cultures – Greek yoghurt is strained more extensively to remove most of whey liquid, lactose and sugar, creating a thicker, more concentrated product.</p> <p>Because of this, Greek yoghurt can have up to twice as much protein as the regular version while cutting the sugar and sodium content by half. The removal of whey liquid also means that the sweet aftertaste is taken out, giving the yoghurt a stronger, tangier flavour.</p> <p>“For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of a protein edge and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not all hype,” registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner told <span><a href="https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt-which-is-more-healthful"><em>US News</em></a></span>.</p> <p>However, Greek yoghurt packs more in the fat department. According to dietitian Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections, a serving size of Greek yoghurt can have <span><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/whats-the-big-deal-about-greek-yogurt-2018-11?r=US&amp;IR=T">10 grams of fat with 7 grams of it being saturated fat</a></span>, while regular yoghurt contains 8 grams of fat with 5 grams saturated.</p> <p>Regular yoghurt also has higher levels of calcium, minerals and probiotics thanks to the less strenuous straining process.</p> <p>Both yoghurts can be a great addition to your diet – but the one to put in your shopping cart depends on your dietary and taste preferences.</p>

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Rebel Wilson stuns fans with incredible weight loss transformation

<p>Australian actress Rebel Wilson has promised to make 2020 “The Year of Health” – and it seems that she’s already raking in the benefits of her healthier lifestyle.</p> <p>The 39-year-old took to Instagram to let her followers know that she will attempt to “avoid sugar and junk food” after heavily indulging this past holiday season.</p> <p>She also posted a photograph of her out for a walk on a beach in her activewear – and fans were quick to heap praise on the star’s visible weight loss.</p> <p>“I’m so proud of you!! You look fantastic already with your weight loss,” one said.</p> <p>“You look great, you look absolutely beautiful beforehand and still now. Such a role model,” another agreed.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6z53A8peHH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6z53A8peHH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Okay so for me 2020 is going to be called “The Year of Health” - so I put on the athleisure and went out for a walk, deliberately hydrating on the couch right now and trying to avoid the sugar and junk food which is going to be hard after the holidays I’ve just had but I’m going to do it! Who’s with me in making some positive changes this year?</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rebelwilson/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Rebel Wilson</a> (@rebelwilson) on Jan 2, 2020 at 12:43am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“You already look amazing! Killing it! Any positive changes are good changes,” said another fan.</p> <p>Wilson revealed that she was making a commitment this year to improve her health.</p> <p>“Okay so for me 2020 is going to be called ‘The Year of Health’ – so I put on the athleisure and went out for a walk, deliberately hydrating on the couch right now and trying to avoid the sugar and junk food which is going to be hard after the holidays I’ve just had but I’m going to do it! Who’s with me in making some positive changes this year?”</p> <p>Wilson went through a weight-loss transformation in 2019 after hiring a celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, who revealed she trained at least four times a week.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6uV5XXJMpr/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6uV5XXJMpr/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Guys, exactly this time last decade I was taking a huge risk and moved to Hollywood with just one suitcase and a doona in my hand. I couldn’t be prouder of all the films, TV shows and live performances I’ve done since then and all the wonderful people I’ve met along the journey who have helped and supported me. I appreciate you all so much 💕Can’t wait to see what this next decade brings!</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rebelwilson/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Rebel Wilson</a> (@rebelwilson) on Dec 30, 2019 at 8:53pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“When she’s in town, she’s a solid four days a week,” the LA-based fitness expert told<span> </span><em>US Weekly</em>. “She is such a cool person to work with.”</p> <p>He then revealed the secret to her success, which is workouts based on “peripheral heart action”.</p> <p>“It’s forcing the blood to go from upper extremity to lower extremity sequentially so that you elicit a response from the heart rate … you’re creating an aerobic response in what would normally be viewed as anaerobic movements,” said Peterson.</p> <p>These workouts could range from an intense session on a treadmill to a demanding HIIT class.</p>

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Why your New Year's resolution to go to the gym will fail

<p>Come January, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/01/01/the-science-of-keeping-your-new-years-resolution/">40% of Americans will make New Years resolutions</a>, and <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/">nearly half of them will aim</a> to lose weight or get in shape.</p> <p>But <a href="https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail">80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February</a>, and gyms will experience a <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Business/best-time-sign-gym-membership/story?id=21373583">decrease in traffic after the first and second months</a> of the year as those who made New Year’s resolutions to get in shape lose steam.</p> <p>As a lecturer at Binghamton and <a href="https://www.binghamton.edu/news/story/1737/binghamton-health-and-wellness-lecturer-earns-guinness-world-record/">former Olympic weightlifter, world champion powerlifter and strength coach</a>, much of my life has been spent in training halls and gyms around the country. People often ask me, “How do I stay motivated to work out?”</p> <p><iframe id="WFV9s" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/WFV9s/1/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Motivation and short-term objectives</strong></p> <p>Years back, when I was at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one of the sports psychologists told me that motivation is a lie.</p> <p>It took me years of experience and research to figure out why, but I believe she was right.</p> <p>Personally, I have no issues getting up on a cold and dark morning to train when a competition is drawing near. But when there is no immediate objective or goal in site, getting up that early is much harder.</p> <p>Motivation is driven by emotion and that can be positive, as long as it <a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(96)80077-8">is used for a short-term objective</a>. For some, a New Year’s resolution can serve as a motivator. But since <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fundamental-four/201205/emotions-and-motivations">motivation is based on emotion</a>, it can’t last long.</p> <p>Think of it this way: No one can laugh or cry indefinitely, and that is exactly how we know that motivation will fail.</p> <p><a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/affective-neuroscience-9780195178050?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">Emotion is a chemical release</a> yielding a physiological response. If someone attempting to get in shape is reliant upon this reaction to propel them towards working out, they are almost sure to burn out, just like with a resolution.</p> <p>When people buy gym memberships, they have the best of intentions in mind, but the commitments are made in a charged emotional state. Motivation helps with short-term objectives, but is virtually useless for objectives that require a greater length of time to accomplish.</p> <p>In other words, don’t totally discount the value of motivation, but don’t count on it to last long either because it won’t.</p> <p><strong>Discipline yields results</strong></p> <p>If motivation won’t help you reach your goals, what will?</p> <p>The answer is discipline. Discipline, as I define it, is the ability to do what is necessary for success when it is hardest to do so. Another way to think of it is having the ability, not necessarily the desire, to do what you need to when you least want to.</p> <p>Failure to get up when the alarm rings, the inability to walk away from a late night of partying before game day or eating a doughnut when you have committed to no processed sugar are all failures of discipline - not motivation.</p> <p>The keys to discipline are practice and consistency. Discipline means repetitive – and sometimes boring – action. There are no shortcuts. You can thank motivation for the first three weeks or so of your successful gym attendance, but after that you need to credit discipline.</p> <p>There is another clear line defining the difference between motivation and discipline. Motivation in and of itself typically fails to build other qualities necessary for advancement, but discipline does. Discipline <a href="https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=hy9mDwAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PT11&amp;dq=Discipline+builds+confidence&amp;ots=ga0Vo8UNjY&amp;sig=wsZ-N4x6NhasmmAnbGb610pbt3Y#v=onepage&amp;q=Discipline%20builds%20confidence&amp;f=false">develops confidence</a> and patience.</p> <p>Discipline builds consistency and consistency yields habits. It is those habits that, in the end, will ultimately define success.<em><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/william-clark-887069">William Clark</a>, Adjunct Lecturer of Health and Wellness Studies, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/binghamton-university-state-university-of-new-york-2252">Binghamton University, State University of New York</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-your-new-years-resolution-to-go-to-the-gym-will-fail-127090">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why peanuts trigger such powerful allergic reactions

<p>Food allergens are the scourge of the modern school lunchbox. Many foods contain proteins that can set off an oversized immune reaction and one of the fiercest is the humble peanut.</p> <p>Around <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674911001357">3 per cent of children in Australia</a> have a peanut allergy, and only <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11174206">1 in 5 of them</a> can expect to outgrow it. For these unlucky people, even <a href="https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(97)70161-1/fulltext">trace</a> amounts of peanut can trigger a fatal allergic reaction.</p> <p>But what sets the peanut apart from other nuts? Why is it so good at being an allergen?</p> <p>To answer this, we have to explore the pathway from allergen to allergy, and just what it is about an allergen that triggers a response from the immune system.</p> <h2>How food gets to the immune system</h2> <p>Before coming into contact with the immune system, an allergen in food needs to overcome a series of obstacles. First it needs to pass through the food manufacturing process, and then survive the chemicals and enzymes of the human gut, as well as cross the physical barrier of the intestinal lining.</p> <p>After achieving all of this, the allergen must still have the identifying features that trigger the immune system to respond.</p> <p>Many food allergens successfully achieve this, some better than others. This helps us to understand why some food allergies are worse than others.</p> <p>The most potent allergens – like peanuts – have many characteristics that successfully allow them to overcome these challenges, while other nuts display these traits to a lesser extent.</p> <h2>Strength in numbers</h2> <p>The first characteristic many allergenic foods have, especially peanuts, is strength in numbers. Both tree nuts and peanuts contain multiple different allergens. At <a href="http://www.allergen.org/index.php">last count</a>, cashews contain three allergens, almonds have five, walnuts and hazelnuts have 11 each and peanuts are loaded with no less than 17.</p> <p>Each allergen has a unique shape, so the immune system recognises each one differently. The more allergens contained in a single food, the higher the potency.<br />Additionally, many of these allergens also have numerous binding sites for both antibodies and specialised immune cells, further increasing their potency.</p> <h2>Stronger through scorching</h2> <p>The first hurdle for a food allergen is the food manufacturing process. Many nuts are roasted prior to consumption. For most foods, heating changes the structure of proteins in a way that destroys the parts that trigger an immune response. This makes them far less potent as allergens.</p> <p>This is not the case for many tree nuts: allergens in almonds, cashews and hazelnuts survived roasting with no loss of potency.</p> <p>And for the major peanut allergens, it’s even worse. Roasting actually makes them more potent.</p> <h2>The gauntlet of the gut</h2> <p>From here, the allergen will have to survive destruction by both stomach acid and digestive enzymes within the human gut. Many nut allergens have the ability to evade digestion to some degree.</p> <p>Some simply have a robust structure, but peanut allergens actively <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?db=PubMed&amp;cmd=Retrieve&amp;list_uids=12847498">inhibit</a> some of the digestive enzymes of the gut. This helps them safely reach the small intestine, where the allergens then need to cross the gut lining to have contact with the immune system.</p> <p>This is where peanut allergens really stand apart from most other allergens. They have the ability to cross the intestinal cells that make up the gut lining. Given their relative sizes, this is like a bus squeezing itself through a cat flap.</p> <p>Peanut allergens accomplish this remarkable feat by altering the bonds that hold the gut cells <a href="https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/362956">together</a>. They can also cross the lining by hijacking the gut’s own ability to move substances. Once across, the allergens will gain access to the immune system, and from there an allergic response is triggered.</p> <p>The combination of multiple allergens, numerous immune binding sites, heat stability, digestion stability, enzyme blocking, and the effect on the gut lining makes peanut a truly nasty nut.</p> <h2>Where to from here?</h2> <p>This leaves us with a nagging question: if peanuts are so potent, why doesn’t everyone develop a peanut allergy? We still don’t know.</p> <p>Recently, a potential <a href="https://unisa.edu.au/Media-Centre/Releases/2019/peanut-allergy-vaccine-to-rewrite-the-immune-system/">vaccine</a> developed by researchers from the University of South Australia has shown promise in reprogramming the immune system of mice and blood taken from people with peanut allergy. Will this translate to a potential treatment for peanut allergy? We will have to wait and see.</p> <p>For now, the more we learn about the action of allergens, and the more we understand their effects on our body, the more we can develop new ways to stop them. And eventually, we might outsmart these clever nuts for good.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127120/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dwan-price-742000">Dwan Price</a>, Molecular Biologist and Postdoc @ Deakin AIRwatch pollen monitoring system., <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/tough-nuts-why-peanuts-trigger-such-powerful-allergic-reactions-127120">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Brooke Shields heads into 2020 in stunning Blue Lagoon form

<p>Brooke Shields is heading into 2020 with a homage to one of her iconic 1980 roles.</p> <p>Two days before the year ended, the 54-year-old actress and model took to Instagram to showcase her toned body. In the picture, Shields could be seen standing on the beach wearing navy blue bikini.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6rOA7tADF5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6rOA7tADF5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">another blue lagoon 💙</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/brookeshields/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Brooke Shields</a> (@brookeshields) on Dec 29, 2019 at 3:46pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Another blue lagoon,” she wrote on the caption, referring to the 1980 film <em>The Blue Lagoon</em> where she played the lead role of Emmeline Lestrange.</p> <p> The star also shared another photo on New Year’s Eve from her vacation. The selfie showed the former Calvin Klein model posing in front of a mirror in a bikini set and hat. “Ready to spend the last day of the year at the beach!” the caption read.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6wAbRMAPtm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6wAbRMAPtm/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Ready to spend the last day of the year at the beach! 👙 @adoreme</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/brookeshields/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Brooke Shields</a> (@brookeshields) on Dec 31, 2019 at 12:24pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Shields shared that she has been staying in shape with gym exercises. “It’s been a long road from my knee surgery last year to now – I’ve learned so much about my body and I’m excited to share more of my wellness journey with you,” she wrote on Instagram.</p>

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Turia Pitt hints at due date for second child

<p><span>Turia Pitt has shared a picture of her baby bump as she hinted at the due date of her second child.</span></p> <p><span>In the photograph shared on Instagram, the burns survivor and mother-of-one could be seen posing at the beach in a set of bikini. </span></p> <p><span>“Can’t work out why I seem to be going through my sunscreen faster than six months ago?! Anyone?” she wrote on the caption, suggesting how far along she is in her pregnancy.</span></p> <p><span>If the 32-year-old is currently six months pregnant, the baby is likely to be born in March 2020.</span></p> <p><span>The snap has gained more than 94,000 likes with fans praising her looks.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6H6k21AlDe/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B6H6k21AlDe/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Turia (@turiapitt)</a> on Dec 15, 2019 at 10:43pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>The pregnancy was first announced in August. </span></p> <p><span>Pitt and her husband Michael Hoskin are parents to son Hakavai, who was born in December 2017.</span></p> <p><span>“Michael and I are both so excited,” Pitt told <em><a href="https://www.who.com.au/exclusive-turia-pitt-opens-up-about-her-pregnancy-marriage-and-overcoming-adveristy">Who</a></em> of her second pregnancy. “I’m a little tired, which is probably to be expected. But generally, I’m feeling really well.”</span></p> <p><span>She shared having Hakavai has changed her perspective on parenting. </span></p> <p><span>“Before I had Hakavai, I thought all I’d want for my kids is for them to be happy,” she said. </span></p> <p><span>“We don’t want them to get picked on, we don’t want anything bad to happen to them, we don’t want their hearts to be broken, we don’t want to see them upset and we don’t want them to hurt themselves. But all of that stuff is inevitable.</span></p> <p>“So the main thing I want to teach my kids is resilience – the belief that they not only will go through hard times, but that they can.”</p>

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How much alcohol is safe to drink in a week?

<p>New <a href="https://online.nhmrc.gov.au/public-consultation/nhmrc-draft-revised-australian-guidelines-reduce-health-risks-drinking-alcohol">draft alcohol guidelines</a> recommend healthy Australian women and men drink no more than ten standard drinks a week and no more than four on any one day to reduce their risk of health problems.</p> <p>This is a change from the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol/how-much-alcohol-is-safe-to-drink">previous guidelines</a>, released in 2009, that recommended no more than two standard drinks a day (equating to up to 14 a week).</p> <p>(If you’re unsure what a standard drink looks like, use <a href="https://yourroom.health.nsw.gov.au/games-and-tools/pages/standard-drink-calculator.aspx">this</a> handy reference.)</p> <p>The guidelines also note that for some people – including teens and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding – not drinking is the safest option.</p> <p><strong>What are the new recommendations based on?</strong></p> <p>The National Health and Medical Research Council looked at the latest research and did some mathematical modelling to come to these recommendations.</p> <p>It found the risk of dying from an alcohol-related disease or injury is about one in 100 if you drink no more than ten standard drinks a week and no more than four on any one day.</p> <p>So, for every 100 people who stay under these limits, one will die from an alcohol-related disease or injury.</p> <p>This is considered an “acceptable risk”, given drinking alcohol is common and it’s unlikely people will stop drinking altogether. The draft guidelines take into account that, on average, Australian adults have a drink three times a week.</p> <p><strong>Why did the guidelines need updating?</strong></p> <p>Recent research has shown there is a clear link between drinking alcohol and a number of <a href="http://theconversation.com/four-ways-alcohol-is-bad-for-your-health-92578">health conditions</a>. These include at least seven <a href="https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/2397/about-us/our-annual-reports-and-research-activity-reports/our-position-statements-about-cancer-council-nsw/alcohol-and-cancer2/">cancers</a> (liver, oral cavity, pharyngeal, laryngeal, oesophageal, colorectal, liver and breast cancer in women); diabetes; liver disease; brain impairment; mental health problems; and being overweight or obese.</p> <p>Some previous research suggested low levels of alcohol might be good for you, but we now know these studies were <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-22/studies-linking-alcohol-to-health-benefits-flawed-researchers/7264040">flawed</a>. Better quality studies have found alcohol does not offer health benefits.</p> <p>The new guidelines are easier to follow than the previous guidelines, which gave recommendations to reduce both short-term harms and longer-term health problems. But some people found these <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494949">confusing</a>.</p> <p>Although most Australians drink within the previously recommended limits, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494949">one study</a> found one in five adults drank more than the guidelines suggested and almost half could not correctly identify recommended limits.</p> <p>Although women tend to be more affected by alcohol than men, at the rates of consumption recommended in the guidelines, there is little difference in long term health effects so the guidelines apply to both men and women.</p> <p>The recommended limits are aimed at <em>healthy</em> men and women, because some people are at higher risks of problems at lower levels of consumption. These include older people, young people, those with a family history of alcohol problems, people who use other drugs at the same time (including illicit drugs and prescribed medication), and those with physical or mental health problems.</p> <p>The guidelines are currently in draft form, with a <a href="https://online.nhmrc.gov.au/public-consultation/nhmrc-draft-revised-australian-guidelines-reduce-health-risks-drinking-alcohol">public consultation</a> running until February 24.</p> <p>After that, there will be an expert review of the guidelines and the final guidelines will be released later in 2020. There may be changes to the way the information is presented but the recommended limits are unlikely to change substantially, given they’re based on very careful and detailed analysis of the evidence.</p> <p><strong>What’s the risk for people under 18?</strong></p> <p>The draft guidelines recommend children and young people under 18 years drink no alcohol, to reduce the risk of injury and other health harms.</p> <p>The good news is most teenagers <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/2016-ndshs-detailed/contents/table-of-contents">don’t drink alcohol</a>. Among 12 to 17 year olds, only 20% have had a drink in the past year and 1.4% drink weekly. The number of teenagers who have never had a drink has increased significantly in the last decade, and young people are having their first drink later.</p> <p>However, we know teenagers are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960066/">more affected</a> by alcohol than adults. This includes effects on their developing brain. We also know the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960066/">earlier</a> someone starts drinking, the more likely they will experience problems, including dependence.</p> <p>The idea that if you give teenagers small sips of alcohol it will reduce risk of problems later has now been <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180220094247.htm">debunked</a>. Teens that have been given even small amounts of alcohol early are more likely to have problems later.</p> <p><strong>What’s the risk for pregnant and breastfeeding women?</strong></p> <p>The guidelines recommend women who are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant or breastfeeding not drink any alcohol, for the safety of their baby.</p> <p>We now have a much clearer understanding of the impacts of alcohol on the developing foetus. <a href="https://www.nofasd.org.au/alcohol-and-pregnancy/what-is-fasd/">Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder</a> (FASD) is a direct result of foetal exposure to alcohol in the womb. Around <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/national-fasd-strategic-action-plan-2018-2028.pdf">one in 67</a> women who drink while pregnant will deliver a baby with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.</p> <p>Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder is characterised by a range of physical, mental, behavioural, and learning disabilities ranging from mild to severe – and is incurable.</p> <p><strong>Worried about your own or someone else’s drinking?</strong></p> <p>If you enjoy a drink, stick within these recommended maximums to limit the health risks of alcohol.</p> <p>If you have trouble sticking to these limits, or you are worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, call the National Alcohol and other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015 to talk through options or check out <a href="https://hellosundaymorning.org">these resources online</a>.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicole-lee-81635">Nicole Lee</a>, Professor at the National Drug Research Institute (Melbourne), <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cap-your-alcohol-at-10-drinks-a-week-new-draft-guidelines-128856">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Ex-MasterChef judge Matt Preston reveals dramatic weight loss

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Matt Preston has shown his <em>MasterChef</em> sabbatical has done wonders for his figure and has shared on social media his dramatic weight loss.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 58-year-old food critic admitted while chatting with</span><em><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/matt-preston-exmasterchef-judge-reveals-incredible-weight-loss/news-story/85356d0fa7d2d7173d71bc0e25a1d2ab"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Sydney Confidential</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that he had “dropped a bit of weight and put on a bit of muscle”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Preston revealed his transformation included overhauling his diet in a “general lifestyle change”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve been eating less, mainly plants but not restricting myself from anything. It is about having time, that moment when there are no more excuses,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the British-born TV star is a self-proclaimed moderate eater in order to maintain his newfound figure, he admitted he is still going to treat himself to an “occasional” burger or pizza.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While he hasn’t revealed just how much weight he has lost – with no intention to do so in the near future either – Preston says he measures his weight success against different sighs, such as “if people notice and whether your clothes fit”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Logie Award winner is gearing up to begin filming for his new show he will be co-hosting, Channel 7’s </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Plate of Origin</em>, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">in 2020.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Viewers will see Preston reunite with fellow former </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">MasterChef</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> judge Gary Mehigan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Matt and Gary’s old colleague George Calombaris has remained noticeably absent from the program which will see a team of cooks from different cultural backgrounds battle it out for the top prize.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plate of Origin</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is expected to hit TV screens after the Tokyo Olympics wraps up in early August 2020.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Season 12 of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">MasterChef Australia</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will feature a new judging line up that includes Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scroll through the gallery to see former <em>MasterChef</em> star Matt Preston’s dramatic weight loss. </span></p>

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Why it can be hard to stop eating even when you're full

<p>All foods are not created equal. Most are palatable, or tasty to eat, which is helpful because we need to eat to survive. For example, a fresh apple is palatable to most people and provides vital nutrients and calories.</p> <p>But certain foods, such as pizza, potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, are almost irresistible. They’re always in demand at parties, and they’re easy to keep eating, even when we are full.</p> <p>In these foods, a synergy between key ingredients can create an artificially enhanced palatability experience that is greater than any key ingredient would produce alone. Researchers call this <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22639">hyperpalatability</a>. Eaters call it delicious.</p> <p>Initial studies suggest that foods with two or more key ingredients linked to palatability – specifically, sugar, salt, fat or carbohydrates – can activate brain-reward neurocircuits similarly to drugs like <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2519">cocaine</a> or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01031.x">opioids</a>. They may also be able to bypass mechanisms in our bodies that make us feel full and tell us to stop eating.</p> <p>Our research focuses on <a href="https://fazzinolab.drupal.ku.edu/publications">rewarding foods</a>, <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=odLm9LkAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">addictive behaviors and obesity</a>. We recently published a study with nutritional scientist <a href="http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-health-professions/dietetics-and-nutrition/our-people/sullivan.html">Debra Sullivan</a> that identifies <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22639">three clusters of key ingredients</a> that can make foods hyperpalatable. Using those definitions, we estimated that nearly two-thirds of foods widely consumed in the U.S. fall into at least one of those three groups.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aCUbvOwwfWM?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">Documentaries like “Fed Up’ (2014) have linked obesity to food industry practices and American eating habits.</span></p> <h2>Cracking the codes</h2> <p>Foods that are highly rewarding, easily accessible and cheap are everywhere in our society. Unsurprisingly, eating them has been <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.12.002">associated with obesity</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home">Documentaries</a> in the last 15-20 years have reported that food companies have developed formulas to make palatable foods so enticing. However, manufacturers typically guard their recipes as trade secrets, so academic scientists can’t study them.</p> <p>Instead, researchers have used descriptive definitions to capture what makes some foods hyperpalatable. For example, in his 2012 book ”<a href="https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781596438316">Your Food Is Fooling You: How Your Brain Is Hijacked by Sugar, Fat, and Salt</a>,“ <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_A._Kessler">David Kessler</a>, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>"What are these foods? …. Some are sweetened drinks, chips, cookies, candy, and other snack foods. Then, of course, there are fast food meals – fried chicken, pizza, burgers, and fries.”</p> </blockquote> <p>But these definitions are not standardized, so it is hard to compare results across studies. And they fail to identify the relevant ingredients. Our study sought to establish a quantitative definition of hyperpalatable foods and then use it to determine how prevalent these foods are in the U.S.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305478/original/file-20191205-38993-1imt92a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305478/original/file-20191205-38993-1imt92a.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">In 2018, 31% of U.S. adults aged 18 and over were obese.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/2018-overall-obesity-prevalence-map-508.pdf" class="source">CDC</a></span></p> <h2>Three key clusters</h2> <p>We conducted our work in two parts. First we carried out a literature search to identify scientific articles that used descriptive definitions of the full range of palatable foods. We entered these foods into standardized nutrition software to obtain detailed data on the nutrients they contained.</p> <p>Next we used a graphing procedure to determine whether certain foods appeared to cluster together. We then used the clusters to inform our numeric definition. We found that hyperpalatable foods fell into three distinct clusters:</p> <p>– Fat and sodium, with more than 25% of total calories (abbreviated as kcal) from fat and at least 0.30% sodium per gram per serving. Bacon and pizza are examples.</p> <p>– Fat and simple sugars, with more than 20% kcal from fat and more than 20% kcal from simple sugars. Cake is an example.</p> <p>– Carbohydrates and sodium, with over 40% kcal from carbohydrates and at least 0.20% sodium per gram per serving. Buttered popcorn is an example.</p> <p>Then we applied our definition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s <a href="https://data.nal.usda.gov/dataset/food-and-nutrient-database-dietary-studies-fndds">Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies</a>, or FNDDS, which catalogs foods that Americans report eating in a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/about_nhanes.htm">biennial federal survey on nutrition and health</a>. The database contained 7,757 food items that we used in our analysis.</p> <p>Over 60% of these foods met our criteria for hyperpalatability. Among them, 70% were in the fat/sodium cluster, including many meats, meat-based dishes, omelets and cheese dips. Another 25% fell into the fat/simple sugars cluster, which included sweets and desserts, but also foods such as glazed carrots and other vegetables cooked with fat and sugar.</p> <p>Finally, 16% were in the carbohydrate/sodium cluster, which consisted of carbohydrate-dense meal items like pizza, plus breads, cereals and snack foods. Fewer than 10% of foods fell into multiple clusters.</p> <p>We also looked at which of the USDA’s food categories contained the most hyperpalatable foods. Over 70% of meats, eggs and grain-based foods in the FNDDS met our criteria for hyperpalatability. We were surprised to find that 49% of foods labeled as containing “reduced,” “low”, or zero levels of sugar, fat, salt and/or calories qualified as hyperpalatable.</p> <p>Finally, we considered whether our definition captured what we hypothesized it would capture. It identified more than 85% of foods labeled as fast or fried, as well as sweets and desserts. Conversely, it did not capture foods that we hypothesized were not hyperpalatable, such as raw fruits, meats or fish, or 97% of raw vegetables.</p> <h2>Tackling obesity</h2> <p>If scientific evidence supporting our proposed definition of hyperpalatable foods accumulates, and it shows that our definition is associated with overeating and obesity-related outcomes, our findings could be used in several ways.</p> <p>First, the FDA could require hyperpalatable foods to be labeled – an approach that would alert consumers to what they may be eating while preserving consumer choice. The agency also could regulate or limit specific combinations of ingredients, as a way to reduce the chance of people finding foods that contain them difficult to stop eating.</p> <p>Consumers also could consider the role of hyperpalatable foods in their own lives. Our team needs to do further work validating our definition before we translate it for the public, but as a first step, individuals can examine whether the foods they eat contain multiple ingredients such as fat and sodium, particularly at high levels. Recent surveys show increased interest among U.S. consumers in <a href="https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2019/what-food-related-causes-do-us-consumers-care-about-today/">making informed food choices</a>, although they often <a href="https://foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-FHS-Report-FINAL.pdf">aren’t sure which sources to trust</a>.</p> <p>One starting point for people concerned about healthy eating is to consume foods that are unlikely to be hyperpalatable – items that occur naturally and have few or no additional ingredients, such as fresh fruit. As food writer Michael Pollan <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/305288/food-rules-by-michael-pollan/">recommends</a>, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126729/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tera-fazzino-882302">Tera Fazzino</a>, Assistant Professor of Psychology; Associate Director of the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-kansas-1588">University of Kansas</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaitlyn-rohde-887872">Kaitlyn Rohde</a>, Research Assistant, Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment., <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-kansas-1588">University of Kansas</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-it-can-be-hard-to-stop-eating-even-when-youre-full-some-foods-may-be-designed-that-way-126729">original article</a>.</em></p>

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This is what really happens when you go under the knife

<p>We’ve all seen the TV dramas – <a href="http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy">Grey’s Anatomy</a>, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108757/">ER</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8wd">Casualty</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mhd6">Holby City</a> – and most of us like to think we have a pretty good idea of what happens in an operating theatre. The doctors and nurses will be clad in blue scrubs, <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/music-surgery_n_6310842">operatic music will be playing</a>, with intermittent calls of “scalpel” or “swabs”, right?</p> <p>For those readers, who’ve ever had an operation – whether it was <a href="https://theconversation.com/seven-body-organs-you-can-live-without-84984">planned or an emergency</a> – things in the real world probably felt very different to those familiar TV drama medical emergency scenes. In part, this is because <a href="https://theconversation.com/greys-anatomy-is-unrealistic-but-it-might-make-junior-doctors-more-compassionate-92040">TV programmes often portray the staff</a> who work on the wards also working in the operating theatre – but this isn’t the case.</p> <p>In fact, it’s not just doctors and nurses that make up part of the team involved in an operation, there is also a group of professionals, known as <a href="https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/roles-allied-health-professions/operating-department-practitioner">operating department practitioners</a> (ODPs), who are trained specifically to look after you when you’re under the bright lights of the operating theatre.</p> <h2>What happens when I arrive?</h2> <p>Having an operation can be highly stressful. You might have been told not to eat before. It all feels a bit unknown, and you aren’t exactly sure what will happen. But the staff at the hospital are on hand to try and make things easy for you.</p> <p>As you are arrive on the ward, a whole team of staff are busy preparing for your surgery. You’ll be asked to confirm who you are and what you’re being admitted for. You will also be asked to change into a very fetching hospital gown. Someone will also sit down and talk you through what’s happening and check you have not eaten – this is so you don’t vomit <a href="https://theconversation.com/science-lesson-how-anesthetics-work-and-why-xenons-perfect-83744">during your anaesthetic</a>.</p> <h2>Who looks after me?</h2> <p>The team looking after you has three sub teams working as one. They are the anaesthetic team, the surgical team and the post anaesthetic team. These teams work like cogs and your care and treatment is seamless. As a minimum, this would mean you would have nine health professionals caring for you at any one time.</p> <p>Your operating team on the day will have doctors – who are the anaesthetist, and the surgeon – but the rest of the team could be made up nurses, ODPs and healthcare assistants. ODPs are generally a graduate professional and they train through university in partnership with the hospital operating theatres.</p> <h2>When do I have the anaesthetic?</h2> <p>When the team is ready and it’s time for your surgery, you have your anaesthetic. This will be delivered by an anaesthetist, but there always has to be trained assistance – normally an ODP.</p> <p>On arrival in the <a href="https://theconversation.com/scientists-find-way-to-predict-who-is-likely-to-wake-up-during-surgery-53217">anaesthetic room</a>, it is the ODP that greets you with a big smile and often a cheesy joke. After all, they have minutes to get to know you and for you to trust them with your life. They will attach you to the monitoring equipment and measure your baseline pulse and blood pressure readings.</p> <p>You will need a cannula (a plastic tube) inserting into a vein, so the anaesthetist can give you the drugs. This is the point where you may be asked to start counting back slowly from ten – you won’t even get to seven.</p> <h2>What happens during surgery?</h2> <p>While the anaesthetic team continue to look after you, the surgical team carry out your operation. The surgeon will have at least one assistant – I have known more than ten people to be part of this team for major head and neck cancer surgery. The first assistant and other assistants scrub up with the surgeon and help with the surgery.</p> <p>Adding to this team there is a scrub practitioner and their role is to provide the swabs, needles and equipment to the surgeon and the assistants. They are the ones who also count everything to make sure you don’t leave the operating theatre with any unwanted extras.</p> <h2>When can I go home?</h2> <p>Once your <a href="https://theconversation.com/will-you-feel-better-after-surgery-now-you-can-find-out-using-this-online-tool-72758">surgery is complete</a> your wounds will be dressed by the surgical team. Your anaesthetic will be reversed and you will be taken to the post anaesthetic care unit – which used to be called recovery. Here you will be looked after until you are ready to be discharged back to the ward. Here, you wounds will be inspected, and whoever’s looking after you will make sure your <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthill-19-pain-87538">pain is under control</a> and you are not feeling sick.</p> <p>Once you are awake and comfy, you will be taken back to the ward where your relatives may be waiting and you should be able to have something to eat and drink. Depending on your surgery and who you have at home to look after you, you may even be allowed to go home the same day.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/95719/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-robinson-469372">Deborah Robinson</a>, Senior Lecturer and Head of Health and Social Work School, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hull-1191">University of Hull</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/this-is-what-really-happens-when-you-go-under-the-knife-95719">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What your poo says about your health

<p>Opening your bowels is a basic function of life. But despite the fact we all do it, pooing is not often thought to be a topic suitable for polite conversation. However, recent <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43674270">popular interest in gut health</a> and the composition of poo – as well as the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/26/the-human-microbiome-why-our-microbes-could-be-key-to-our-health">bacterial populations that live within it</a> – have helped to put bodily functions more on the map. And these days, more and more people are wondering how often you should go, what happens if you don’t go enough and how you can influence the composition of what is passed.</p> <p>In the late 1980s, Professor Ken Heaton and colleagues conducted a <a href="http://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/33/6/818.full.pdf">survey of the population</a> in East Bristol, in the UK. They reported the common wisdom that “99% of people defecate between three times per week and three times per day” which was revealed in an earlier study of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1846921/">factory workers and GP patients</a>. In Bristol, they noted that although the most common bowel habit was once daily, it only occurred in 40% of men and a third of women.</p> <p>How often we go for a number two can differ from person to person. We all have what’s known as a “<a href="https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/0016-5085(78)90864-8/abstract">gastro-colic reflex</a>” – which means that each time we eat food, our large bowel responds and we should go to the toilet. Through a range of hormones we will experience a “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12870774">call to stool</a>”. Most of us, however – from the time we can walk – suppress this call, so once a day or less has become the new norm.</p> <p>Urgency, diarrhoea, and constipation can all be features of not going to the toilet enough. And associated with this “relative” constipation are symptoms of bloating, pain and variability of bowel habit. A simple test of how your bowels are working is the “sweetcorn test”. By swallowing a handful of raw sweetcorn – which is not absorbed by the body – the brightly coloured kernels can be easily seen in your motions. This is an easy way to assess your own mouth-to-anus transit time. It should probably be about eight hours.</p> <h2>The composition of poo</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26246784">Poo is made up of 75% water</a>. The rest, which is the solid stuff, is up to 50% microbes plus cells that are shed from the bowel lining and food residue. The collective name for the microbes that live inside us is the microbiome and at one time, it was thought that the bugs outnumbered our cells by ten to one.</p> <p><a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533">Recent data</a> suggests this may be closer to a ratio of 1.3 to 1 but this will obviously depend on how often you go. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and single cell microbes make up the microbiome and all <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4181834/">may be critical</a> to our health and well-being.</p> <p>From a positive perspective, the bugs in our guts not only breakdown undigestible foodstuffs, but they also produce critical nutrients, prevent certain infections and contribute to the development of our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095809917301492">immune defence systems</a>. However, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature05414">obesity</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23023125">type two diabetes</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25870193">high blood pressure</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17699621">inflammatory bowel disease</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23370376">autoimmune disorders</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22968153">mental health problems</a> have all been linked to dysbiosis – or change of the microbiome.</p> <h2>Gut feelings</h2> <p>Establishment of our <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24503132">microbiome starts at birth</a> and is influenced by the way we are born – either vaginally or by Cesarean – and initially fed. By the time we start eating solid food, we are well on the way to establishing our adult microbiome. What we subsequently <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303825/">eat can have an impact on the composition</a>, although this effect may be modest.</p> <p>Our diets also may influence the metabolic products of our microbiome – these are the chemicals that the individual organisms produce – which can also have an impact on us as the host. Fibre, fat, sugars, artificial sweeteners have all been shown to modulate the composition of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303825/">gastrointestinal microbiota</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21767445">Experimental data</a> suggests that prebiotic fibres change gut microbiota and increase hormones that tell us that we are full. <a href="https://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/emma-beckett">Current ongoing research</a> has also shown that antibiotic induced microbial imbalance is associated with changes in bitter taste expression – which influences the foods we prefer to eat. All these relationships are complex, and scientists are just beginning to understand their full impact.</p> <p>The ultimate way to alter our microbiome is a <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002503">faecal transplant</a>, where you take on board the poo from someone else. Unpleasant as this may sound, encouraging data is emerging on the use of poo in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections such as clostridium difficile, early diabetes, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. But it may still be a while before you can buy prized poo over the counter in your local supermarket.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/95724/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/martin-veysey-469454">Martin Veysey</a>, Programme Director MBBS at Hull York Medical School, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hull-1191">University of Hull</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-your-poo-says-about-your-health-95724">original article</a>.</p>

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Why we shouldn’t all be vegan

<p>After decades in which the number of people choosing to cut out meat from their diet has steadily increased, 2019 is set to be the year the world changes the way that it eats. Or at least, that’s the ambitious aim of a major campaign under the umbrella of an organisation simply called <a href="https://eatforum.org/">EAT</a>. The core message is to discourage meat and dairy, seen as part of an “over-consumption of protein” – and specifically to target consumption of beef.</p> <p>The push comes at a time when consumer behaviour already seems to be shifting. In the three years following 2014, according to research firm GlobalData, there was a <a href="https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4959853/top-trends-in-prepared-foods-2017-exploring-trends-in-meat-fish-and-seafood-pasta-noodles-and-rice-prepared-meals-savory-deli-food-soup-and-meat-substitutes.html">six-fold increase</a> in people identifying as vegans in the US, a huge rise – albeit from a very low base. It’s a similar story in the UK, where the number of vegans has increased by 350%, compared to a decade ago, at least according to <a href="https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/vegan-society-poll">research</a> commissioned by the Vegan Society.</p> <p>And across Asia, many governments are promoting plant-based diets. New government dietary guidelines in China, for example, call on the nation’s 1.3 billion people to reduce their meat consumption <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/20/chinas-meat-consumption-climate-change">by 50%</a>. Flexitarianism, a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional inclusion of meat, is <a href="https://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Article/2017/08/15/Flexitarianism-almost-a-third-of-Brits-carve-meat-intake">also on the rise</a>.</p> <h2>‘Conquering the world’</h2> <p>Big food companies have noticed the shift and have jumped onto the vegan wagon, the most prominent ones tightly associated with EAT through its <a href="https://eatforum.org/initiatives/fresh/">FReSH program</a>. Unilever, for instance, is a very vocal partner. Recently, the multinational announced it was acquiring a meat-substitute company called “The Vegetarian Butcher”. <a href="https://www.unilever.com/news/press-releases/2018/unilever-acquires-the-vegetarian-butcher.html">It described</a> the acquisition as part of a strategy to expand “into plant-based foods that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact”. Currently, Unilever sells just under 700 products under the “V-label” in Europe.</p> <p>“The Vegetarian Butcher” was conceived in 2007 by farmer Jaap Kortweg, chef Paul Brom and marketer Niko Koffeman, a Dutch Seventh-Day Adventist who is vegetarian for religious and ideological reasons. Koffeman is also at the origin of the <em>Partij voor de Dieren</em>, a political party advocating for animal rights in The Netherlands. Like EAT, the Vegetarian Butcher seeks to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/19/unilever-joins-meat-free-revolution-after-buying-the-vegetarian-butcher">conquer the world</a>”. Its mission is “to make plant-based ‘meat’ the standard” – and the alliance with Unilever paves the way.</p> <p>The dietary shift would require a remarkable turn around in consumer habits. Of course, there is much that both can and should be done to improve the way that we eat, both in terms of consumer health and environmental impact. And yes, a key plank of the strategy will be shifting consumers away from beef. But the extreme vision of some of the campaign’s backers is somewhat startling. Former UN official Christiana Figueres, for example, thinks that anyone who wants a steak should be banished. “How about restaurants in ten to 15 years start treating carnivores the same way that smokers are treated?”, Figueres <a href="https://www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/vill-forbjuda-kott-pa-restauranger-kottatare-ska-behandlas-som-rokare-pa-krogen">suggested</a> during a recent conference. “If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.”</p> <p>This statement is typical of what social scientists call “<a href="https://www.learnliberty.org/videos/bootleggers-and-baptists/">bootlegger and Baptist</a>” coalitions, in which groups with very different ideas – and values – seek to rally under a common banner. And this is what worries us. The campaign to “conquer the world” can be rather simplistic and one-sided, and we think this has some dangerous implications.</p> <h2>A skewed view?</h2> <p>EAT, for example, describes itself as a science-based global platform for <a href="https://eatforum.org/">food system transformation</a>. It has partnered with Oxford and Harvard universities, as well as with the medical journal The Lancet. But we have concerns that some of the science behind the campaign and the policy is partial and misleading.</p> <p>It is long on things that we all know are bad, such as some excesses of factory farming and rainforest clearing to raise beef cattle. But it is mostly silent on such things as the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0309174012003385?via%3Dihub">nutritional assets</a> of animal products, especially for <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/4/1119/4664672">children</a> in rural African settings, and the <a href="http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/home/en/news_archive/2017_More_Fuel_for_the_Food_Feed.html">sustainability benefits</a> of livestock in areas as diverse as sub-Saharan Africa to traditional European upland valleys. And, if vegetarian diets show that traditional markers for heart disease, such as “total cholesterol”, are usually improved, this is not the case for the more predictive (and thus valuable) markers such as the triglyceride/HDL (or “good” cholesterol) ratio, which even <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3996202/">tend to deteriorate</a>.</p> <p>More importantly, most nutritional “evidence” originates from epidemiology, which is not able to show causation but only statistical correlations. Not only are the associations <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0309174015300218">weak</a>, the research is generally confounded by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5574618/">lifestyle</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn201563">other dietary factors</a>. Not to mention that part of the epidemiological data, such as the <a href="https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2018/08/22/14/15/tues-515am-pure-esc-2018">PURE study</a>, show that the consumption of meat and dairy can be associated with less – rather than more – chronic disease.</p> <h2>Not so simple</h2> <p>In any case, even if plant-based diets can in theory provide the nutrients people need, as long as they are supplemented with critical micronutrients (such as vitamin B12 and certain long-chain fatty acids), that is not to say that in practice shifting people towards them will not result in a great many people following poorly balanced diets and suffering ill health in consequence. And when a vegan diet fails, for instance due to poor supplementation, it may result in serious physical and cognitive impairment and <a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/70/4/582">failure to thrive</a>.</p> <p>The approach seems particularly risky during pregnancy and for the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2018.1437024">very young</a>, as also documented by a long list of clinical <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407531/">case reports</a> in medical literature. Animal products are exceptionally nutrient-dense dietary sources – removing them from the diet compromises metabolic robustness. Without sufficient insight in the complexities of nutrition and human metabolism, it is easy to overlook important issues as the proportion of nutrients that can be absorbed from the diet, nutrient interactions and protein quality.</p> <p>The same <a href="https://www.efanews.eu/en/item/6053-the-eat-lancet-commission-will-launch.html/">debate needs to be had</a> when it comes to consideration of the environmental question. Too fast or radical a shift towards “plant-based” diets risks losing realistic and achievable goals, such as increasing the benefits of natural grazing and embracing farming techniques that reduce the wasteful feeding of crops to animals, lower climate impact and enhance biodoversity.</p> <p>A shift towards a radically plant-based planetary diet loses the many benefits of livestock – including its deployment on land that is not suitable for crop production, its contribution to livelihoods, and the many other benefits that animals provide. It mistakenly assumes that land use can be swiftly altered and ignores the potential of farming techniques that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X17310338">may even have mitigating effects</a>.</p> <p>Sustainable, ecological and harmonious animal production really should be part of the solution of the “world food problem”, considered from both the nutritional and environmental scenarios. The Earth is an extraordinarily complex ecosystem – any one-size-fits-all solution risks wreaking havoc with it.</p> <p><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/martin-cohen-406203">Martin Cohen</a>, Visiting Research Fellow in Philosophy, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hertfordshire-799">University of Hertfordshire</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-leroy-659117">Frédéric Leroy</a>, Professor of Food Science and Biotechnology, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/vrije-universiteit-brussel-2958">Vrije Universiteit Brussel</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-shouldnt-all-be-vegan-109308">original article</a>.</p>

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How to wash your hands properly

<p>It’s something most people do everyday, often without really thinking about it, but how you wash your hands can make a real difference to your health and the well-being of those around you.</p> <p>Washing your hands is the one most <a href="https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(04)00172-9/fulltext">effective method</a> to prevent cross-contamination which can cause the spread of illness and infections. And many research studies have shown how improvements in hand hygiene have resulted in reductions in illness.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004265.pub3/information">A look at research from around the world</a> on the promotion of washing hands with soap, found that such interventions resulted in a <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01568.x">30% reduction</a> in diarrhoea episodes and respiratory illnesses such as colds. <a href="https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(17)30041-X/fulltext">Hand hygiene interventions</a> at elementary schools in the US similarly helped to reduce sick days associated with acute gastrointestinal illness by 31%.</p> <p>The impact of good hand hygiene is even greater among people that have an increased risk of infection. A <a href="https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/jmm/10.1099/jmm.0.46867-0#tab2">study</a> from 2007, for example, found that patients with AIDS who washed their hands more frequently got ill less often.</p> <p>But as <a href="https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-378">our recent research shows</a>, despite awareness of the importance of washing your hands, people often fail to do it properly. In our study, we observed how adults over the age of 60 prepared food in a domestic kitchen set up with CCTV cameras, and found that only 30% of people properly washed and dried their hands before preparing food.</p> <p>We found that 90% of people failed to wash and dry their hands properly immediately after handling raw chicken. And that 62% failed to rub hands, palms and between fingers when washing hands. We also discovered that 47% of people in our study failed to use soap during one or more hand washing attempt.</p> <p>We also swabbed the kitchen and found that those who adequately washed their hands, had significantly lower levels of microbiological contamination levels in the kitchen following food preparation sessions. <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/00070700510606873/full/html">Other studies</a> have also determined that failing to wash hands adequately after handling raw poultry can transfer bacteria to domestic kitchen surfaces – such as the handles of taps and refrigerators. All of which highlights the importance of properly washing your hands.</p> <h2>How to wash your hands</h2> <p>The World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/manual_keys.pdf">recommends</a> that to wash your hands effectively, it needs to be done with clean water and soap. Hands should be rubbed together for at least 20 seconds, followed by rinsing. Hands must also be dried using either disposable kitchen paper or a clean hand towel.</p> <p>The use of soap is particularly important for hand washing to be effective. Indeed, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037063/">research</a> has shown that washing with soap significantly reduced the presence of bacteria on hands.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1XVhNEoxtN8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>The soap doesn’t have to be antibacterial to be effective – though antibacterial soap works on reducing the number of bacteria not just removing them. And research has <a href="https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2007.124610">shown</a> that the use of non-antibacterial soap is successful for preventing both gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses.</p> <p>You should spend 20 seconds washing and drying your hands. Here’s how to do it properly: wet your hands with clean water, use soap, rub palm to palm, rub back of hands, rub between fingers, rub fingernails, rinse your hands. Then dry them using a clean towel or kitchen paper.</p> <h2>Dry them properly too</h2> <p>Hand drying is also very important to prevent contamination from hands to food, surfaces and equipment as the transmission of bacteria is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809004/">more likely</a> to occur from wet skin than from dry skin. So the proper drying of hands after washing should be an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538484/">integral part</a> of hand hygiene.</p> <p>Drying your hands properly also removes a significant number of bacteria following hand washing – drying with a towel removes pathogens by means of friction, on top of the removal of moisture. Though this means that a hand towel can become a site for cross-contamination. Indeed, in <a href="https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-378">our study</a> we found that 37% of people used the same towel for drying hands and equipment.</p> <p>It is essential to wash hands on occasions when they may be contaminated such as before, during, and after preparing food – particularly after handing raw meat and poultry – after using the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and after touching an animal.</p> <p>This is important, because washing our hands properly can mean the difference between sickness and health. And for people with compromised immune systems it can even mean the difference between life and death – so make sure you do it properly. If in doubt follow the tips above and sing “<a href="https://tools.cdc.gov/medialibrary/index.aspx#/media/id/302345">Happy Birthday</a>” twice to allow enough time to remove and rinse away any germs.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125330/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ellen-w-evans-326143">Ellen W. Evans</a>, Junior Research Fellow, <em><a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/cardiff-metropolitan-university-1585">Cardiff Metropolitan University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/most-people-dont-wash-their-hands-properly-heres-how-it-should-be-done-125330">original article</a>.</p>

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