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This Highly Popular Oil Might Be Linked to Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, Anxiety, And Depression

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Photo: United Soybean Board
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We’re looking at you, soybean oil!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the United States. New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.

In all fairness, the study was conducted on male mice. Still, the conclusion is stern and alarming: “given its ubiquitous presence in the American diet, the observed effects of soybean oil on hypothalamic gene expression could have important public health ramifications.”

The same UCR research team found in 2015 that soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Then in a 2017 study, the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.

In the study released this month, researchers found pronounced effects of the oil on the hypothalamus.

“The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress,” — Margarita Curras-Collazo, UCR associate professor of neuroscience and lead author on the study

The scientists discovered roughly 100 other genes affected by the soybean oil diet, including the one that produces oxytocin, the “happiness” hormone. In soybean oil-fed mice, levels of oxytocin in the hypothalamus went down.

“The dogma is that saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good. Soybean oil is a polyunsaturated fat, but the idea that it’s good for you is just not proven.” — Frances Sladek, UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology

As a matter of fact, coconut oil — which contains saturated fats and it was used as a control oil in the study — produced very few genetic changes in the hypothalamus.

Further investigations are required to determine the exact compounds in soybean oil that are responsible for these negative effects. It is also worth mentioning that the  findings only apply to soybean oil — not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.

Source: EurekAlert!

Article by So Delicious. View the original article here.

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4 Bread Buying Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping

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Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay
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When you get groceries, you wanna make sure the ingredients are all healthy and good for you. With that in mind, what are the bread buying mistakes you might be making? 

Looking at the bakery aisle in the supermarket can be a daunting task. How do you even choose? There are some bread buying mistakes you can make, yes, but those can be avoided if you know what they are. So just read on below to find out.

4 bread buying mistakes to never make again

1. Getting bread with added sugar

When buying bread, one should always look at the label for the bread and look for any hidden sugar. It’s sometimes added to change the flavor and moisture level of the loaves. But you don’t want that in your morning toast, we promise you. But the label won’t be saying ‘sugar’ per se, so look for these keywords: ‘cane juice’, ‘corn syrup’, ‘honey’ even.

2. Buying items with additives

Since we’re on the topic of looking at the label, then make sure to see if the bread has any preservatives so that it keeps longer. You want to get fresh bread, not a loaf with too many additives.

3. Ignoring the salt

Your body doesn’t react very well when it ingests too much salt. So for the purpose of monitoring your sodium intake, also see how much of it there is in the bread you want to buy. So how much should you look for? Something that has 150 mg of sodium per serving, at most.

And if you know that you’re a salt fiend, then it’s time to get that under control. Here’s what to do to lower your sodium intake.

4. Not minding deceptive labels

So you should know that ‘all-natural’ on a label doesn’t tell you much. The white flour could still be unhealthy, and also have sugar. Look for ‘organic’ instead. Make sure you get bread made with whole wheat flour because that has way more nutrients than the regular one.

Another misleading element is the presence of the words ‘multi-grain’. Even if there are multiple grains in the loaf you are getting , that doesn’t mean that they’re whole grains that haven’t been stripped of nutrients through processing.

And the last thing about this, know that whole wheat and whole grain are not the same thing. Whole grain bread could contain other grains, while whole wheat will only contain one grain – wheat.

Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Brown Sugar: How to Make Your Own

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Image Couleur from Pixabay
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We’ve heard time and time again that brown sugar is healthier than white granulated sugar. And it’s probably true. That’s why you might want to learn to make it by yourself, at home. 

The thing about brown sugar that not many people know is that it’s made by combining white sugar and molasses. So the healthy part mostly comes from the idea that there is less white granulated sugar in brown sugar. But molasses is also a type of sugar, so brown sugar is only marginally healthier.

In and of itself, molasses is a viscous product that is obtained in the process of refining sugarcane or beets into sugar. And it’s used for sweetening things. So you can buy it for other purposes, not just for making brown sugar at home. Plus, the molasses adds a bit of texture and moisture to your baked goods.

Making brown sugar

To make your own brown sugar at home you need those two ingredients: white granulated sugar and molasses. And then you’ll need a stand mixer to beat one cup of sugar and one tablespoon of molasses. Use the whisk attachment to beat them together and get the two ingredients evenly mixed. The yield is one cup of brown sugar.

If you don’t have a stand mixer (and honestly, who has all of the kitchen appliances and tools they might need?), then you can do the mixing by hand. Using the same ratio, of course.

Some useful facts about this type of sugar

When you want to use it in baked goods, make sure you measure it by packing it tightly into the cup. Remember, molasses brings some moisture to the sugar. And this type of sugar can contain more air than the white granulated one.

Also, this type of sugar tends to alter the color of whatever it is that you’re making, giving it a darker shade, so use it mindfully.

And finally, this molasses and white sugar mix tends to activate baking soda whenever they come into contact, so don’t forget that.

If you want to learn more about sugar in general, not just how bad it is for you, but also what types of sugar you can find out there, we’ve got you covered. But also, if you want to quit sugar, we fully support you!

Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Red Wine, the Unlikely Cure for a Sore Throat

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Red wine is that wonderful drink that we use to take the edge off a little when we get home after a hard day. We already know that alcohol tends to affect our bodies in many ways. But beyond that, does this particular drink have health benefits? Some scientists tend to think so. 

There are studies that suggest red wine might help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. But in fact, just some compounds in it do. At the same time, some other studies have revealed an unexpected health benefit that comes from drinking a glass, sometimes: it helps fight the bacteria in your throat and so it would seem to be a cure for a sore throat and help with all kinds of teeth problems. Let’s look at the evidence!

Red wine and science

The first study that most people cite comes from 1988. Scientists looked at the time at the antibacterial effects multiple drinks have. Among them: carbonated drinks, wine, beer, skim milk, and water. They took infectious gut bacteria like salmonella, shigella, and E. coli, kept them in those drinks. And indeed, red wine was the worst environment for the bacteria. Beer and carbonated drinks also had an effect, but to a lower degree,

Then came another often-cited study from 2007, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. That time, the research team tried to find out what compounds in red wine have a bacteria-killing effect. They discovered that several of the compounds with antioxidant properties found in red wine managed to kill 99.9 percent of dental bacteria and the germs that cause sore throats.

The caveat to all this

A lot of times, when we look at scientific studies, one part of the result is boosted as phenomenal and life-changing, while some others are omitted. This seems to have happened this time as well. Because the compounds in red wine and other types of alcohol seem to have worked their magic on dental bacteria and the ones that cause a sore throat. But at the same time, consuming alcohol, red wine included, tends to hurt your stomach and your gut. So drinking red wine is like a game of whac-a-mole: you hit one pain or soreness in the head, but another one appears.

The takeaway from all of this is the same as always: drink alcohol responsibly and don’t overdo it on the red wine. Even if you’re very stressed out.

Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Sweet News on the Front Against Sugar

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A study authored by lead researcher Lauren Bandy from University of Oxford reveals a huge drop in the amount of sugar sold in soft drinks in the UK, between 2015 and 2018.

The research looked at carbonated drinks, concentrates, 100% juice, juice drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and bottled water and it was recently published in BMC Medicine. This was an annual cross-sectional study using nutrient composition data of 7377 products collected online, paired with volume sales data for 195 brands offered by 57 companies.

The two biggest companies, Coca-Cola and Britvic, had reduced the total quantity of sugars they sold in drinks by 17% and 26% respectively, although the sugar content of their flagship brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi remained unchanged.

Eight out of the top 10 companies reduced the sugar content of their products by 15% or more. Overall, the amount of sugar sold in soft drinks dropped by 29%! That’s almost a third. Which proves that it can be done, with proper policies, tax included, and a better health education.

As a matter of fact, the rate of change accelerated between 2017 and 2018, when the British government introduced the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL), in April 2018, to help tackle childhood obesity.

It is encouraging to see such a large reduction in sugars sold in soft drinks. This is largely a result of change in the composition of drinks but there have also been shifts in consumer purchasing behaviour, with more consumers choosing drinks with low, or no, sugar content. These changes are likely to be due to a combination of government action, mostly through the SDIL, changes in marketing practices on the part of the soft drinks industry, and greater awareness of the harms caused by sugary drinks amongst consumers. They show that it is possible for improvements in public health to be consistent with successful business practices.” — Lauren Bandy, lead researcher

Article from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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New Study Shows Some Foods Can Really Act as Medicines

Forest Rohwer and Lance Boling

SDSU microbial ecologist and viromics research pioneer Forest Rohwer with molecular biology research associate Lance Boling. Photo: SDSU
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Researchers at San Diego State University proved that foods we eat commonly affect our gut microbiome.

More specifically, it appears that compounds in these foods are triggering the production of bacteriophage – viruses that infect and replicate inside bacteria.

Researchers tested foods and ingredients known to have antimicrobial effects, including honey byproducts, licorice, stevia sweetener, aspartame, Tabasco sauce, oregano, cinnamon, clove, rhubarbs, bear berry, neem extract, and toothpaste. When examining growth curves of bacteria, they observed that while bacteria multiply over time, eventually their numbers plateau. However, when exposed to these antimicrobial foods, phages are activated and bacterial growth not just stops altogether, but their numbers drop dramatically until they’re depleted.

The most potent antimicrobial foods for triggering phage production were determined to be Tabasco sauce, honey byproducts, stevia, aspartame, neem and bear berry. Because some of the products that act as reductive modulators by inducing prophages are surprisingly common ingredients (e.g., aspartame, toothpaste), diet-induced prophage activation is likely a regular occurrence in the gut ecosystem.

“We also found some foods acted as phage inhibitors and could be used to control pathogenic viruses,” said Lance Boling, an SDSU molecular biologist and research associate.

“This shows we could sculpt the human gut microbiome with common dietary compounds,” added Forest Rohwer, an SDSU microbial ecologist and pioneer of viromics research. “The ability to kill specific bacteria, without affecting others, makes these compounds very interesting.”

Recent studies showed that our gut microbiome can affect cognitive ability, metabolism, weight gain or loss, our moods, and even cause depression. It can also cause inflammation that could lead to cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Using just food as medicine to correct such imbalance seems like an amazing option.

Article by So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Cosmic Crisp – a New Super-apple

Cosmic Crisp apples
Cosmic Crisp apples. Foto: Proprietary Variety Management

Are you looking for a large, juicy apple, remarkably firm with a crisp texture and a shelf life of several weeks? Meet Cosmic Crisp – a cross-bred apple due to hit the US shelves this month.

The researchers at Washington State University have patented this hybrid based on the Enterprise and Honeycrisp apples, after a work encompassing more than two decades. Yes, folks, it took more than 20 years of cross-pollinating, tasting, and testing, along with research and development, until the Cosmic Crisp apple was invented.

 

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The new fruit is said to offer naturally heightened levels of acidity and sugar, so we’ll need less added sugar if we decide to use it as an ingredient for our apple recipes. But it would be a shame to spoil this unspoilable apple and cook it instead of consuming it fresh. Because staying fresh is its superpower. According to its creators, the Cosmic Crisp apple can be kept in controlled atmosphere storage for 12 months, in a fridge for six months or longer, and on the shelf at room temperature for several weeks. We’re still waiting for the upcoming time-lapse or live videos to prove it.

It is worth mentioning that the new variety, in addition to being sweet and crisp, it is naturally slow to brown when cut. It just stays fresh and crunchy like a super-apple! Some say it snaps when you bite into it! Can’t wait to try it, right? If it’s that good, the long shelf life will be a completely useless marketing gimmick.

Source: Cosmic Crisp

Article by So Delicious. View the original article here.

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High-Protein Diets May Harm Your Kidneys, Specialists Say

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Image by Benjamin Balazs from Pixabay

High-protein diets may be of great harm to your kidneys, even if they seem to be very ‘in’ right now. 

Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Holly M Kramer and Denis Fouque have co-written a new editorial that speaks about the harm that might come to your body if you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet and replace them with protein. According to the three experts, the people who are most at risk when having a high-protein diet are morbidly obese and people who have diabetes.

Why high-protein diets are bad for you

We already knew that red meat tends to be bad for your kidneys, but this editorial takes matters a step further. The authors say that food items like meat, eggs, cheese, and other high-protein diets staples, when consumed too much, might trigger a host of kidney problems, like glomerular hyperfiltration.

Denis Fouque explained: “To put it in a nutshell: To recommend a high-protein diet to an overweight diabetes patient may indeed result in loss of weight, but also in a severe loss of kidney function. We want one, but we also get the other.”

The elderly, individuals who only have one kidney, obese people, anyone with diabetes, and others are at a particular risk of “ringing the death bell for their kidney health” by eating a high-protein diet, according to Fouque.

People who might have mild kidney disease could be the most affected by high-protein diets because they are unaware that they shouldn’t follow these diets.

This is obviously a nod to the keto diet, which follows these exact rules: high-protein, high-fat and low carbs. So, before you follow these high-protein diets, make sure you do a check on your kidneys and evaluate your health.

Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.