Monthly Archives: November 2015

Could pesticides in food lead to obesity?

pesticides, pesticides in food, obesity, chemicals in food, obesity risks, obesity causes, health news, india news Numerous studies have stated that chemicals such as pesticides DDE, HCB, organo-phosphates, heavy metals and solvents cause weight gain, possibly by interfering with weight regulating hormones, neurotransmitters and altering the nervous system.

Chemicals including chemical pesticides and solvents in our food have been associated with increased risk of cancers, auto-immune diseases, neurological problems, reproductive and birth defects. However, what is new is the role for chemical toxins in the development of obesity and associated conditions including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

For the first time, a novel idea published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2002, postulated the role of chemical toxins in the development of obesity. This hypothesis led to the review of data showing that the current epidemic of obesity coincides with the marked increase in the industrial use of chemicals in the last 40 years. Numerous studies have stated that chemicals such as pesticides DDE, HCB, organo-phosphates, heavy metals and solvents cause weight gain, possibly by interfering with weight regulating hormones, neurotransmitters and altering the nervous system. These chemicals are also being included in the obesogen category, which refers to molecules that inappropriately regulate fat and lipid metabolism to promote obesity.

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The fact that obesity is undoubtedly related to faulty eating, sedentary lifestyle and is a complex interaction between genetic behaviour and environmental factors, is well established. However, the relationship between toxic chemical components in the food chain contributing to the escalation of the obesity epidemic is believed to begin even before birth. It suggests that perinatal and early developmental exposures to environmental chemicals may play a role in the development of obesity later in life. A study published in 2007 in the journal ‘Environmental International’ measured concentrations of widely used pesticides and chemicals in blood samples of 700 pregnant mother–child pairs in Greece. A 10-fold increase in the mothers’ pesticide concentrations was associated with higher risks of generalized and abdominal obesity, higher blood pressure and increased body weight in the children.

The scientific hypothesis that adult health and risk of diseases begins in fetal or early neonatal periods is not unique and new. Increasing number of studies now report that exposure to chemicals during critical periods of development at low doses alters developmental programming resulting in obesity. Increasing evidence also links the widespread exposure to pesticides to the global epidemics of type-2 diabetes and obesity. A 2015 animal study published in the journal ‘Environmental Research’ reported that mice exposed to a commonly used pesticide (organophosphate), showed increase in food ingestion, blood glucose, cholesterol and body fat regulating hormones including ghrelin, leptin and insulin.

Identification of these obesogens, originating from pesticides and chemicals in our food and gene-environmental interaction is an exciting area of future research in the wake of the growing uncapped epidemic of obesity. Meanwhile, a healthy diet, regular physical activity, stress management, along with ‘adopting organic’ is surely a prudent approach to safeguard our well being.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of  http://www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/could-pesticides-in-food-lead-to-obesity-2/

Seven out of 10 diabetics have carb-heavy diet: Survey

diabetes If we are what we eat, then seven out 10 people with diabetes in urban India seem to be paying little attention to what and how much they eat (Source: Thinkstock Images)

If we are what we eat, then seven out 10 people with diabetes in urban India seem to be paying little attention to what and how much they eat, according to findings from the Abbott Food, Spikes and Diabetes survey.

Ahead of World Diabetes Day November 14, Abbott commissioned Ipsos India, a market research agency to reach out to over 4,100 people with diabetes (Type 2, diagnosed for over eighteen months) between the ages of 36 – 65 years, across socioeconomic classes. The objective was to gain insights on what they eat, the meal plate’s role on blood sugar variability and impact on overall diabetes management.

Through in-depth interviews, respondents shared details of their diet, monitoring and exercise. The frequency of meals and the quantity was measured through customised bowls, glasses, which were then converted to grams and calories.

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An official release issued November 5 said eight Indian Cities were covered in the survey which found that 62 per cent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) reading in excess of 22.9 (the normal cut-off for Indians). 46 per cent of people with diabetes are classified as obese. Men had an average BMI value of 24.1, which is classified as overweight and women had an average BMI of 25.3, indicating obesity. 65 per cent have uncontrolled blood sugar levels, with their last blood sugar readings outside the target range for fasting or postprandial (post meal) 62 per cent suffer from other medical conditions. Hypertension (40 per cent) comes out as the most common co-morbidity. At least 70 per cent of respondents having diabetes for more than five years reported one or more co-morbidity. Eye disorders (retinopathy) and nerve disorders (neuropathy) are relatively high in this group.

“Unlike in the West, where fasting blood glucose is important, in India post-meal blood glucose is more important due to higher glycemic load in the Indian diet,” says Professor Shashank R Joshi, President, Indian Academy of Diabetes and Senior Endocrinologist, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai. Roti and rice are two main sources of carbohydrates in the Indian meal plate. Upma, observed to be a popular breakfast item particularly in South India, is seen to add the maximum amount of calories, compared to other regular breakfast items. The biggest challenge for a patient with diabetes is the huge variation in the time interval between meals. Typically, Indians have a three to four hour gap between wake-up time and breakfast, which is detrimental for these patients. Therefore, they should have a shorter time gap with breakfast comprising whole grains or balanced meal replacements with diabetes-specific nutrition powders,” says Joshi.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/seven-out-of-10-diabetics-have-carb-heavy-diet-survey/

All about wrinkles and what to look for in an anti-wrinkle cream

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How our skin ages depends on a number of external and internal factors like hormonal changes, diet, genes, lifestyle, medications, stress and even the pollution level, sun exposure and climate of the place where we live. Surprisingly, the cosmetics and skin products that promise to treat our wrinkles, meddle with our skin and accelerate ageing, especially those containing ingredients like alcohol, menthol, rough scrubbing agents, harsh cleansing agents, thick emollients and pore clogging waxes.

We believe their claims, thanks to the bombardment of the advertisements that try to convince us to use these products with the so-called ‘studies and clinical trials’ published in some obscure medical journals. The models that sell these to us are mostly celebrities, looking at their best under the layers of carefully done makeup to conceal their own skin flaws and wrinkles. With each shot so carefully edited that these models looks ridiculously perfect to be humans.

But we are humans after all, made of organic matters that decay. We do not need the brain of Albert Einstein to know that a healthy skin is a beautiful skin at any age. A healthy skin not only glows but also performs at its best to keep us healthier.

How our skin protects us
Skin has many functions than just make us look nice. It acts as our frontiers and protects us from the outside world. It intercepts and cuts ultraviolet radiation with the help of specialised pigment cells, called melanocytes. It even turns into a laboratory to manufacture all important vitamin D3 with the help of sunlight.

It acts as our thermostat. In cold weather the skin triggers shivers making the blood vessels contract to retain body heat and keep warm. In warm weather, the sweat glands in the skin produce sweat that evaporates and keeps the body cool. It offers unique advantages for drug input into the body. Trans-dermal (via skin) delivery represents an attractive alternative to oral delivery of drugs and in certain cases, provides an alternative to hypodermic injection too. It finally creates our appearance, elastic tissues such as the skin require a strong structural framework called the extracellular matrix (connective tissue), of adipose (fat cells), cartilage, bone, tendons, and ligaments beneath the skin make us look the way we look. And this contributes to our confidence and in many cases, our self esteem.

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Signs of skin ageing
Ageing of the skin starts as early as 25, by 35, the skin starts losing its firmness and fine wrinkles appear, and usually, the ‘ageing’ shows and if there is a loss of muscle tone, sagging of the skin takes place in the 40’s. In the 50’s, the lines of expression become prominent and there appear to be further sagging on the cheeks as well as the neck. The process accelerates if we a) don’t exercise, b) eat unhealthy, c) smoke, d) drink excessively e) are stressed f) have hormonal disturbances g) suffer from a chronic disease and so on. With good diet, exercise and the right attitude, one can keep looking as elegant as possible till the ripe old age. Some good products that protect the skin from sun exposure also help.

Ageing signs can be classified into four main categories: wrinkles/texture, lack of firmness of cutaneous tissues (sagging), vascular disorders, and pigmentation heterogeneities (spots).

Premature ageing
An interesting study* shows that photoaged (exposed to sun) women look older than women who protect themselves from the sun. This factor is higher when one is younger. Pigmentation and wrinkles/texture, especially wrinkles around lips, are signs that make a person look older earlier. It is an important observation from this study that the signs of photoaging influence age appreciation through the eyes of other people. Thus, the term “premature skin” could correspond very well to description of photoaged skin, which is actually prematurely aged skin.

Wrinkles
An interesting article** had appeared in the British journal of Dermatology about the anatomy of linear wrinkles – “crow’s feet’ and temporal frown lines. The subject of fine criss-cross wrinkles of the face and wrinkling of the general body surface was studied by light and scanning electron microscopy. No histological (study that deals with minute body structures) features distinguished the various wrinkles from surrounding skin. It was concluded that the wrinkle is a configuration change, like the grooves worn into an old glove, without specific structural alterations at the histological level. As regards pathogenesis (changes that lead to a disease), the common setting was found to be deterioration of the elastic tissue network. The skin becomes looser, excessive, and loses the ability to snap back to its original state after being deformed.

Based on above findings one more research paper was published in the same journal in 2010 (G G Hillebrand et al sponsored by P&G Company). Among their findings, the researchers observed that the subjects’ unique pattern of persistent facial wrinkling observed with a neutral expression at 8 years was predicted by the pattern of expression lines observed with smiling at baseline. Having lighter skin colour or having a drier, more alkaline stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis, consisting of dead cells) baseline was predictive of more wrinkling at year 8. They also found that wrinkling was associated with becoming menopausal, but not necessarily with being menopausal.

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What’s different about Indian Skin
Recently the same P&G Company carried out a ‘first-of-its-kind, global study called the Olay Study, that includes Indian skin. The study was conducted across 3 ethnicities, researched amongst 739 women aged 10-48 years and introduced a new study Multi Ethnic Study. It is all about the four pillars of difference between Indian and Western skin. The more we know about different skin types the better because it enables us to design better products that are targeted at specific populations and problems. For example knowing that Indian women have on an average a weaker skin barrier, increasing the level of niacinamide (a barrier-building active) in skin care products would help, or adding new ingredients that one can combine with niacinamide to make it even more effective.

What to look for in an anti-ageing skin product?
The study looked well-designed without tall claims. Some more reading on niacinamide (1 – Bissett D et al. A B vitamin that improves ageing facial skin appearance) threw in some surprises. Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, niacinamide is a potent cell-communicating ingredient (cell-communicating ingredients have the ability to tell a skin cell to look, act, and behave more like a normal, healthy intact skin cell would) that offers multiple benefits for ageing skin. Assuming skin is being protected from sun exposure, niacinamide can improve skin’s elasticity, dramatically enhance its barrier function, help erase discolorations, and revive skin’s healthy tone and texture. Topically applied niacinamide has been shown to increase certain substances in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis. It also has a growing reputation for being able to treat an uneven skin tone.

Now we know what ingredients to look for in an anti-ageing skin product but regular exercise, healthy lifestyle and good diet as well as capacity to keep that child like enthusiasm alive in us, keeps us looking young and beautiful at any age.
* Clin. Cosmet. Investig. Dermatol. 2013; 6: 221–232, Published online 2013 Sep 27 – (Frederic Flament et al)
** British Journal of Dermatology (A M Kligman et al, Volume 113, Issue 1, pages 37–42, July 1985)
*** Dermatol Surg. 2005; 31(7 Pt. 2):860-5; Discussion 865. 2 – Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004; 3(2):88-93)

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/all-about-wrinkles-and-what-to-look-for-in-an-anti-wrinkle-cream/

Depression can damage your memory

depression-main Once they enter memory, depressive thoughts can linger for long in affected people (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Once they enter memory, depressive thoughts can linger for long in affected people, and this extended duration may reduce the amount of information that these individuals can remember, suggests new research.

The findings have far-reaching implications for understanding how depression damages memory, as well as how depression develops and persists over the course of an individual’s lifetime.

“People with depression or even healthy people with a depressed mood can be affected by depressive thoughts,” explained researcher Bart Rypma from The University of Texas at Dallas in the US.

“We have known that negative thoughts tend to last longer for those with depression. However, this study is unique in showing that these thoughts, triggered from stimuli in the environment, can persist to the point that they hinder a depressed person’s ability to keep their train of thought,” Rypma noted.

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For the study, researchers recruited 75 university undergraduate students; thirty students were classified as having depressive symptoms and 45 participants were categorised as not exhibiting depressive symptoms.

All participants were asked to respond to a sentence featuring depressive thoughts, such as “I am sad,” or “People don’t like me,” or neutral information. They were then asked to remember a string of numbers.

Individuals with depressed mood forgot more number strings than people without depressed mood when responding to a sentence with negative information.

“We all have a fixed amount of information we can hold in memory at one time,” lead author of the study Nick Hubbard from the University of Texas at Dallas explained.

“The fact that depressive thoughts do not seem to go away once they enter memory certainly explains why depressed individuals have difficulty concentrating or remembering things in their daily lives,” Hubbard noted.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/depression-can-damage-your-memory/

Standing six hours a day can prevent you from obesity

Standing for at least one-quarter of the day is linked to to 32 per cent reduced likelihood of obesity (Source: Thinkstock Images) Standing for at least one-quarter of the day is linked to to 32 per cent reduced likelihood of obesity (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Standing for at least one-quarter of the day is linked to to 32 per cent reduced likelihood of obesity, new research has found.

While sedentary behaviour (such as watching TV and commuting time) has been linked to negative health effects, it is unclear whether more time spent standing has protective health benefits.

To investigate further, a research team led by Kerem Shuval from American Cancer Society examined reported standing habits in relation to objectively measured obesity and metabolic risk among more than 7,000 adults between 2010 and 2015.

Specifically, the association between standing time and obesity was determined through three measures: body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and waist circumference.

The association between standing and metabolic risk was assessed via metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors that increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

The study found that among men, standing a quarter of the time was linked to a 32 percent reduced likelihood of obesity (body fat percentage).

Standing half the time was associated with a 59 percent reduced likelihood of obesity. But standing more than three-quarters of the time was not associated with a lower risk of obesity.

In women, standing a quarter, half, and three quarters of the time was associated with 35 percent, 47 percent, and 57 percent respective reductions in the likelihood of abdominal obesity (waist circumference).

No relationship between standing and metabolic syndrome was found among women or men.

The study appeared in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/standing-six-hours-a-day-can-prevent-you-from-obesity/