Microbiota affects diet effectiveness

Positive changes in your diet, may not lead to an immediate positive response. This is the finding of a new mouse study exploring the gut microbiota (gut bacteria). It found that “mice who switch from an unrestricted American diet to a healthy, calorie-restricted, plant-based diet don’t have an immediate response to their new program”. This was due to the fact that certain species of gut bacteria take longer to transition out, than the new colonies, which have been triggered by the dietary changes, to colonise. This is yet further reason to maintain positive dietary changes for an extended period of time. Not only will there be a shift in the gut microbiome, but also in cellular metabolism as it takes time for these changes to be incorporated fully by the body. For more information on a long-term, healthy, balanced diet to generate a permanent lifestyle shift, view our Food4Health guidelines.

Low dopamine linked to diet

Why are people who fall into the obese category less active? Could it be due to the excess body weight they are carrying? A new study has answered these questions and their findings may surprise you. The study's senior author Alexxai V Kravitz explains, “There’s a common belief that obese animals don’t move as much because carrying extra body weight is physically disabling.”. However, contrary to this belief, their findings show differently. They found that in obese mice, a decreased motivation to move resulted from altered dopamine receptors, rather than the excess weight they are carrying. Kravitz adds that “If we begin to decipher the physiological causes for why people with obesity are less active, it may also help reduce some of the stigma that they face”. We would add that whilst neurotransmitter insufficiency may be one facet in the condition, obesity is a multi-factorial disease requiring a multi-faceted strategy.

Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis improves with diet

Dr. David Suskind explains that, “For decades or longer, medicine has said diet doesn’t matter, that it doesn’t impact disease”, but he, along with so many others was not satisfied with this bold statement. In a recent study, Suskind questioned whether diet alone could be used to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. His conclusion was yes. In his study children were put on a specific carbohydrate diet, removing grains, dairy, processed foods and all sugars with the exception of honey, for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 week period, eight out of 10 of the patients who finished the trial showed significant improvement and even achieved remission from the dietary treatment alone. "This changes the paradigm for how we may choose to treat children with inflammatory bowel disease”, concluded Suskind.

GMO Crops failing

GM Bt corn that has been modified to withstand pest attack by making it toxic to particular insects, is now in widespread use across the world. New research shows that the effectiveness of these strains of GM corn is reducing and insects are increasingly developing resistance. This adds to previous research such as that in 2013 and 2015, which showed the increasing problem of resistance in pests against these crops. We were writing about this back in 2010 and not a lot has changed. As we said previously, "a fundamental shift to organic farming practices may be the only salvation".

Artificially sweetened drinks no better for weight loss

With the increased focus on the problems caused by high levels of sugar in our food, food manufacturers are increasingly switching to the use of artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are marketed as being a healthier option due their ability to add sweetness to foods without adding to its energy content. What is often overlooked is the fact that most sweeteners are unnatural, chemically altered substances that are not recognised by the body, which in turn generates a raft of adverse metabolic responses. Even so-called natural sweeteners, such as Stevia, (a plant based sweetener) are becoming more and more highly processed to conform to regulatory standards. A new study has concluded that there is an absence of evidence to support the increasing use of artificial sweeteners to prevent weight gain and recognition of their long-term, adverse, impacts to health. Additionally, recent data suggests that artificial sweeteners may actually contribute to the development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to insulin resistance, by changing the make-up of our gut microbiota.

Fasting may aid weight loss

In a report (ahead of publication of the study) ScienceDaily discusses new research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham released at The Obesity Society 2016 Annual Meeting where researchers have tested the use of early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) in humans to see if it can help people lose weight and burn fat. Previous mouse studies have looked at the benefits of TRF in preventing obesity, but this is the first time benefits have been shown in human studies. eTRF involves people eating their first meal at breakfast and their last meal by mid-afternoon. They then don't eat again until breakfast. It was found that this way of eating reduced feelings of hunger and changed fat and carbohydrate metabolism, which may help with weight loss. The researchers found that, although eTRF did not reduce the number of calories eaten, it did reduce participants levels of hunger and improved the body's metabolic flexibility. This is a subject that we have written fairly extensively about due to the fact that intermittent fasting with caloric restriction most closely resembles the eating patterns with which we have evolved. There are numerous health benefits when making this lifestyle shift a permanent one in your life.