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You Dont Need to Go Full Vegan to Get the Health Benefits

Cutting meat and dairy out of your diet is hard. Staying healthy while you do it can be harder. 

The wrong kind of exclusively plant-based diet, one that includes a lot of refined grains and sweetened beverages, can actually increase the risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study from Harvard University. On the other hand, reducing your intake of animal products while boosting your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and continuing to indulge modestly in animal foods, can do you nearly as much good as a healthy vegan diet—and even more good than one that includes a lot of French fries and pasta.

"Less healthy plant foods and animal foods were both associated with increased risk, with a potentially stronger association for less healthy plant foods," according to the study, published in the  

By now, many people have heard that diets with lots of healthy plant foods can have major benefits, including significantly lowering the risk of coronary heart disease. But going vegan can lead to trouble if you overindulge in the bad stuff. And just try finding something to eat at the airport. 

So veganism alone may not help you and could hurt you.

The study, which the authors say is "one of the largest prospective investigations of plant-based diet indices and incident coronary heart disease in the world," reviewed data from two iterations of the Nurses' Health Study and one from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Each involved tens of thousands of adults who tracked their lifestyles, health behaviors, and medical histories through questionnaires completed every two years. This gave the researchers, at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, more than 4.8 million person-years of follow-up data to analyze.

Using these data, the authors created three diet indices. One was an overall plant-based diet index in which plant foods got a positive score and animal foods got a negative score. Another was a healthy plant-based diet index, assigning positive scores to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, oils, tea and coffee, and negative scores to juices and sweetened beverages, refined grains, potatoes and fries, and sweets. Then there was an unhealthy plant-based diet, with positive scores for the unhealthy plant foods and negative scores for the healthy plant and animal foods.

The researchers found that the people with a higher adherence to the general plant-based diet index had an inverse association with coronary heart disease, and that this relationship got even stronger for the healthy plant-based diet index. The unhealthy plant-based diet index had a positive association with coronary heart disease. The results track those of an earlier study in which the same researchers studied the relationship between plant-based diets and type 2 diabetes.

"When we examined a diet that emphasized both healthy plant and healthy animal foods, the association with coronary heart disease was only slightly attenuated relative to that with the healthy plant-based diet index," the authors wrote. "Thus … moderate reductions in animal foods … can be largely achieved by lowering intake of less healthy animal foods such as red and processed meats."

In an editorial appearing alongside the study, Dr. Kim Allan Williams Sr. of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago translated the findings for cardiologists in the real world. Instead of pushing an "'all-or-none'" diet, he wrote, start with "smaller dietary tweaks."

In other words, he wrote, quoting Michael Pollan, " 'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' "

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-18/you-don-t-need-to-go-full-vegan-to-get-the-vegan-benefits

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    How a father-daughter duo is bringing joy to people’s lives by doing what they love.

    Each holiday season, father-daughter team Ty and Vicky Shen pull out their trusty map and deliver delicious meals to people in need.

    Vicky (left) and Ty Shen. Image via Vicky Shen, used with permission.

    Once they’ve planned out their route, they load up their station wagon with all the hot meals and holiday baskets they can fit and then drive around Massachusetts going door to door until their car is empty. They do this over and over all day until there’s nothing left to be delivered.

    “I’ve been a firm believer that those who can help, should,” writes Ty in an email. “Regardless if it’s time or other resources, helping our fellow man is our responsibility.”

    That’s why, in 2001, Ty and Vicky decided to start this tradition in the first place. They loved volunteering, and Community Servings, a local nonprofit food program, was the perfect choice since they could share the open road together and, most importantly, bring joy to people’s lives.

    Community Servings provides medically tailored meals to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses.

    With 15 different medical diets on their menu, clients across Massachusetts and Rhode Island receive the perfect nutrition combination for their specific health conditions right on their doorstep. On top of that, Community Servings also provides supplementary meals for caregivers and dependent children to make sure every tummy in the house is filled up daily.

    Volunteers happily hard at work. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

    Vicky fell in love with the cause when she first entered their kitchen some 16 years ago as a corps member of City Year Boston an education-focused student support organization. Once she learned about the holiday deliveries, she knew she needed to get her family involved right then and there. After all, the spirit of helping others, Ty says, runs in Vicky’s veins.

    “Volunteering with [Community Servings] with my dad is one of my favorite things to do,” writes Vicky. “I get to spend time with my dad, and the people at [Community Servings] who are so wonderful, and really do something that on a daily basis helps people’s lives be a little bit better. ”

    And since they’ve started, they’ve done everything from chopping cabbage to chatting up guests to prepping the actual baskets. Whatever’s needed, they’re right there, ready to push the mission forward.

    Delivering holiday meals in style. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

    Community Servings offers an important and much-needed service and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of all their volunteers.

    “Each year, our volunteers give more than 55,000 hours of service, which is the equivalent to almost 30 full time employees,” explains Community Servings CEO David Waters in an email. “There’s no way we’d be able to serve the 1,850 individuals and families we do each year without their generous efforts.”

    In fact, thanks to their volunteers, Community Servings is able to prep 2,200 made-from-scratch meals every day. And just this past January, they celebrated their 7 millionth meal. (That’s right. 7 million!)

    8 million meals, here we come. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

    For everyone who hits the road for Community Servings, it’s all about bringing joy to as many people as possible.

    So whether you’re a college student, retiree, parolee, or corporate professional, all Community Servings asks for is a shared passion for service. That’s the heart of their mission and exactly why Ty and Vicky got involved to begin with.

    Vicky goes on to add, “My involvement in [Community Servings] has been one of the pieces of my life that has made me realize how important it is to try to make a difference and make the world a better place every day.”

    Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/how-a-father-daughter-duo-is-bringing-joy-to-peoples-lives-by-doing-what-they-love

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    Hunger by Roxane Gay review how the world treats fat people

    A catalogue of horrors and public humiliations, Gays memoir responds to societys condescension and disgust about her body size

    This is a book its author Roxane Gay has, over many years, earned the right not to publish. Even though she has found great success as an essayist, writer of fiction and university teacher, and attracted a large, passionate online following, its clear from her account that her weight is still the first thing strangers notice about her, and that she must spend much of her time dealing with their unsolicited responses to it. These range from rude to abusive, encompassing all sorts of casual mockery, faux concern and outright aggression along the way.

    Shopping for clothes or food, visiting a restaurant or getting on a plane frequently involve a humiliating ordeal. Doctors not only patronise her but routinely refuse her basic care. Simply leaving the house means navigating a physical and emotional obstacle course. No doubt Gay is thoroughly sick of being reduced to her body and of enduring constant inquiries, prejudices and criticism, and she has evidently worked hard to make space for herself to talk and write about other things. People asking those kinds of questions dont deserve an answer, and yet here Gay has decided to give them one.

    Hunger comprises at least two stories: a partial but more or less linear telling of Gays life so far, and a more halting, spiralling description of her everyday experience as a fat woman. The first of these hinges on the horrifying rape visited on her as a 12-year-old by her boyfriend and several of his friends. Gay blames herself, and her suffering is compounded when the boys report their version of events to their peers at school; she keeps hers quiet, unable to say anything about it to her family. The brief evocation of her childhood before this point conjures an almost fairytale-like atmosphere of love and optimism, peopled with adoring parents and siblings. I fell asleep most nights, Gay writes, flush with the joy of knowing I belonged to these people and they belonged to me.

    Afterwards, everything changes: she begins to overeat and her weight gain is swift and dramatic, to her familys dismay. Various attempts to reverse it, some undertaken willingly, others under parental pressure, never last long, and both the traumatic event and her highly visible response to it overshadow everything else that happens to her. Gays mother and father are well-to-do Haitian Americans who clearly have high expectations of their children. Gay, who attends an elite boarding school followed by Yale, drops out and moves to another state without letting anyone know where she is. She eventually completes a PhD and garners acclaim as a writer, but this book is still a catalogue of horrors large and small: there are abusive relationships and public humiliations. Particularly striking are the depictions of what its like for Gay to go to the gym or on a date. Unable to fit on a restaurant chair and denied a more comfortable booth, she spends an entire meal holding herself up in an excruciating squat. At the supermarket, random people entitle themselves to remove foods they deem unsuitable from her cart.

    Gays tone shifts between a breezy, conversational style and something harsher, and she recounts painful events in short, almost incantatory sentences: There was a boy. I loved him. His name was Christopher. Thats not really his name. You know that. She occasionally makes light of the cliches that surround public discussion of weight loss (though she herself cant avoid some of these). Scoffing at Oprah Winfreys metaphor of the cheerful, skinny alter ego lurking inside every fat person, she notes, I ate that thin woman, and she was delicious but unsatisfying.

    But in general theres not much to laugh about. Gay alludes to or summarises difficult conversations, but rarely recounts them in full, and the overall effect is often one of claustrophobic intensity, as if the reader is trapped inside her head much the way she describes feeling caged in her flesh. Some of the books repetitions may be due to its origin in shorter pieces written for various publications, but most reflect the near-constant frustrations of living in a body the world both fixates on and refuses to accommodate. One of the few scenes rendered in detail is the gruesome early description of her father taking her to a group consultation with a doctor who performs gastric bypass surgeries. They must watch a video of patients steamy red and pink and yellow insides being carved up in an exorbitantly expensive and devastating procedure that even in the best case scenario will leave them permanently malnourished.

    Though Gay does not owe anyone a single explanation of her size, she gives her readers an abundance of them. If some can seem a little too neat and familiar, that effect is complicated by how many accumulate, often directly contradicting each other. She characterises her initial weight gain as an attempt to take up more space, growing bigger and more powerful, but also as an effort to disappear and avoid ever attracting male attention again. She deliberately eats to create a protective shield of flesh, or simply cannot resist using food to soothe unbearable emotions. Gays mixed feelings often feel inevitable, though, in a culture that gives fat women no safe place to stand: you must feel bad about your size, but not enough to make anyone else uncomfortable; you must feel good about yourself as you are, but not too good. I am a product of my environment, she writes, explaining why her feminist convictions cant protect her from the cycle of selfblame, from longing to be thinner and accusing herself of weakness or lack of discipline when her body doesnt change.

    Elna
    Elna Bakers 2016 account of her own extreme weight loss sheds light on Hunger.

    Most of what Gay endures is neither her fault nor within her control, but since she believes society will not change fast enough, if at all, she makes no apology for yearning to adjust herself to it. And of course, much of the more or less veiled fear and disgust expressed by others is a self-fulfilling reaction to their own conditioning: People know how they see and treat and think about fat people and dont want such a fate to befall them. The book is crammed with agonising ironies, some more strongly emphasised than others. Gay gains weight as an outward expression of her unhappiness, but those around her dont get the message, and only make her more miserable in their reactions to her changing body. In trying to develop a defence mechanism after her rape, she inadvertently invites half a lifetime of invasive threats to her physical autonomy and violations of her consent. When her parents want her to go on a liquid diet or to a fat camp, she agrees because I had learned that saying no meant nothing.

    As she has before, in her hit essay collection Bad Feminist, Gay proclaims her refusal to represent anyone but herself. Among other things, that means she isnt interested in trying to make anyone feel better including other people of size who would rather not hear that she hates her body and blames herself for her inability to change it. This is not, as she notes repeatedly, a story of triumph neither of triumphant weight loss nor triumphant self-acceptance.

    Stories that skirt those two possibilities are far rarer than they should be, and the exceptions, whatever their individual failings, stick in the mind. Reading Hunger reminded me of radio producer Elna Bakers 2016 account of her own extreme weight loss and its aftermath, which in some ways holds up a funhouse mirror to Gays experience. Its only after losing a huge amount of weight that Baker fully discovers the miseries the world inflicts on fat people. As a thin woman, she finds her love life, job prospects and everyday existence suddenly transformed. And she encounters head-on the stubborn denial that enables other people to enforce sadistic norms: when Baker insists to her husband that hed never have fallen for her at her previous weight, he tries to weasel out of it, suggesting that all the benefits Baker derives from being thin are simply due to how much happier and more confident she must now feel. But that isnt true, she says she was fine before, whereas now she must live with the knowledge that her new life and relationship require her to keep up an unnatural (and unhealthy) struggle with her weight for ever. Bakers story helps shed light on one of the most intractable knots in Hunger. Gay knows that losing the weight would not solve everything or grant her happiness, and yet she longs for the entirely different, less painful life she imagines she could have had without it.

    Early in the book, Gay characterises it as a confession, that term so often flung as an insult at women who write about themselves. These, she writes, are the ugliest, weakest, barest parts of me. Its more a provocation than a promise. There are certainly flashes of confession, passages in which Gay lays out, say, the precise effects her rape has had on the formation of her sexual desires. But mostly she is not prepared to be so bare and weak as all that. Its the world around her that comes off as out of control in its appetites hate-filled, obsessed with womens body parts, eager to punish what it helps create.

    Hunger is published by Harper. To order a copy for 11.89 (RRP 13.99) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/19/hunger-by-roxane-gay-review

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    The Man Who Got Americans to Eat Trash Fish Is Now a Billionaire

    Chuck Bundrant was a college freshman with $80 in his pocket when he drove halfway across the country to Seattle to earn a few bucks fishing. The year was 1961.

    He hasn’t stopped fishing since.

    Chuck Bundrant

    Source: Trident Seafoods

    And today, Bundrant, the founder and majority owner of Trident Seafoods, is worth at least $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His wealth is due to a fair measure of pluck. Back in the early 1980s, he persuaded Americans to eat pollock, then considered a trash fish, at fast-food restaurants and, to this day, Trident ships it — along with salmon and cod — to chains including Costco and Safeway.

    Along the way, Bundrant cultivated politicians who would pass legislation that aided Trident’s business by keeping foreign fisheries at bay. These days, Trident also is benefiting from health-conscious consumers gravitating to seafood.

    The Bloomberg index calculates that Bundrant owns 51 percent of privately-held Trident, which had $2.4 billion in revenue last year, based on information compiled from trade groups. It’s valued by the Bloomberg index at about $2.1 billion, using comparisons to five publicly traded peer companies, including Clearwater Seafoods Inc. and Oceana Group Ltd. Trident operates about 16 processing plants and 41 fishing vessels — and remains defiantly independent.

    “We don’t answer to investment bankers like some other seafood companies,’’ the company writes on its website. “We only answer to our customers, our fishermen, and our employees.”

    Bundrant declined to comment. He named his son, Joe, chief executive officer in 2013 and is not involved in day-to-day operations, but longtime friend Brent Paine, executive director of trade association United Catcher Boats, recalls him as a "huge risk-taker, someone with an open mind for opportunity."

    Knew Nothing

    Chuck Bundrant’s story is the stuff of industry legend. “He knew nothing about fishing boats, or catching and processing crab and salmon,’’ son Joe said in a corporate video two years ago. “He’d only watched a movie with John Wayne in it called ‘North to Alaska.’ And he heard there was money to be made on the fishing grounds, thousands and thousands of miles from home.’’

    As told to Seattle publications and on Trident’s website, Bundrant was taking a break from a pre-veterinary medicine program in Tennessee when he traveled to Seattle, making his way to Bristol Bay, Alaska, where he slept on the docks and took any work he could get.

    After a few years, Bundrant was looking for a way to start a business in the industry. He met two other crab fishermen — Kaare Ness and Mike Jacobson — and in 1973 the three put their money together and built the Billikin, a 135-foot boat that changed the seafood industry, according to Trident’s corporate history.

    Crab Meat

    At the time, most fishermen took their haul back to the docks where processing companies pulled the crab meat out before sending it to market, leaving them with less time on water. Bundrant outfitted the Billikin with crab cookers and freezing equipment on board, allowing workers to remain at sea. 

    Alaska Pollock

    Source: Getty Images

    By the early 1980s, crab stocks had begun to dwindle and Bundrant decided to turn to pollock, a so-called groundfish that was swarming in the Bering Sea. Pollock was popular in Asia but not so much in the U.S. Bundrant thought Americans would like the taste once exposed to it.

    His first sale was to the Long John Silver’s chain, as the story was recounted in a 2013 article in Evansville Business magazine. Bundrant, on a sales call, served it to the restaurant’s CEO, who remarked that he loved the cod — except it was pollock.

    That later opened the door to business with McDonald’s and Burger King, as well as with retailers like Costco, all using the less-expensive pollock in sandwiches, fish-and-chips and imitation crab dips.

    Canned Salmon

    Access to the broad retail market transformed Trident into a major fish company. Bundrant went on to build a vertically-integrated company that now does everything from harvesting and mass processing fish to selling value-added products such as canned salmon and pollock fish sticks.

    “He realized that he needed to be vertically integrated to be able to deliver a large quantity of processed fish to large retailers and institutional-scale consumers,’’ said David Fluharty, an associate professor in marine and environmental affairs at the University of Washington.

    Trident teamed up with other U.S. companies and turned to Congress to help limit foreign competition. With the backing of then-Washington Senator Warren Magnuson and Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, Congress passed a law that pushed the boundary where foreign fishing boats could freely operate, to 200 miles offshore from 12 miles.

    In 1998, Congress ended the practice of foreign companies getting around the 200-mile restriction by registering as a U.S. business. The law required 75 percent American ownership for companies operating in the Pacific.

    "One of the bill’s architects was Bundrant,’’ said Paine of United Catcher Boats. “It helped his business thrive."

    Today, Trident’s business is buttressed by a surging market for fish as consumers seek to add healthy protein to their diets, according to research from the United Nations. An index of fish prices, the Oslo Seafood Index Global, has jumped more than 300 percent over the past five years, propelled by rising salmon demand and higher prices.

    Chuck Bundrant has always been fond of Henry Ford, according to Paine. "He told me once: ‘Every industry needs a strong leader, it helps smaller businesses. I am that big leader.’"

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-19/fisherman-turns-80-into-1-1-billion-by-popularizing-trash-fish

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      You Dont Need to Go Full Vegan to Get the Vegan Benefits

      Cutting meat and dairy out of your diet is hard. Staying healthy while you do it can be harder. 

      The wrong kind of exclusively plant-based diet, one that includes a lot of refined grains and sweetened beverages, can actually increase the risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study from Harvard University. On the other hand, reducing your intake of animal products while boosting your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and continuing to indulge modestly in animal foods, can do you nearly as much good as a healthy vegan diet—and even more good than one that includes a lot of French fries and pasta.

      "Less healthy plant foods and animal foods were both associated with increased risk, with a potentially stronger association for less healthy plant foods," according to the study, published in the  

      By now, many people have heard that diets with lots of healthy plant foods can have major benefits, including significantly lowering the risk of coronary heart disease. But going vegan can lead to trouble if you overindulge in the bad stuff. And just try finding something to eat at the airport. 

      So veganism alone may not help you and could hurt you.

      The study, which the authors say is "one of the largest prospective investigations of plant-based diet indices and incident coronary heart disease in the world," reviewed data from two iterations of the Nurses' Health Study and one from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Each involved tens of thousands of adults who tracked their lifestyles, health behaviors, and medical histories through questionnaires completed every two years. This gave the researchers, at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, more than 4.8 million person-years of follow-up data to analyze.

      Using these data, the authors created three diet indices. One was an overall plant-based diet index in which plant foods got a positive score and animal foods got a negative score. Another was a healthy plant-based diet index, assigning positive scores to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, oils, tea and coffee, and negative scores to juices and sweetened beverages, refined grains, potatoes and fries, and sweets. Then there was an unhealthy plant-based diet, with positive scores for the unhealthy plant foods and negative scores for the healthy plant and animal foods.

      The researchers found that the people with a higher adherence to the general plant-based diet index had an inverse association with coronary heart disease, and that this relationship got even stronger for the healthy plant-based diet index. The unhealthy plant-based diet index had a positive association with coronary heart disease. The results track those of an earlier study in which the same researchers studied the relationship between plant-based diets and type 2 diabetes.

      "When we examined a diet that emphasized both healthy plant and healthy animal foods, the association with coronary heart disease was only slightly attenuated relative to that with the healthy plant-based diet index," the authors wrote. "Thus … moderate reductions in animal foods … can be largely achieved by lowering intake of less healthy animal foods such as red and processed meats."

      In an editorial appearing alongside the study, Dr. Kim Allan Williams Sr. of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago translated the findings for cardiologists in the real world. Instead of pushing an "'all-or-none'" diet, he wrote, start with "smaller dietary tweaks."

      In other words, he wrote, quoting Michael Pollan, " 'Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.' "

      1. The researchers didn't compare actual vegan diets, because they didn't have enough data for that. Instead, they compared diets to how closely they tracked these three indices.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-18/you-don-t-need-to-go-full-vegan-to-get-the-vegan-benefits

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      Butternut Box raises 1M for its algorithm-driven natural dog food startup

      Youve probably heard of HelloFresh-style businesses where you are given tailored ingredients for your meals. Well now the concept has come, literally, to dog food.

      Butternut Box is a London startup now bringing tailored, delivered meals to British dogs. Its aiming at dog owners who want high-quality ingredients put into meals for their precious pooches.

      The company is led by Goldman Sachs alumni Kevin Glynn and David Nolan (aged 27 and 30 respectively), and is now announcing a 1 million Seed round of investment from a leading London early stage investor, Passion Capital.

      Estimates for dog and cat food snacks in the UK is currently 3.1 billion per annum, but only a tiny minority of these products are cooked fresh. Plus, only two companies dominate an estimated 77% of the UK pet food market.

      However, they are not alone, competing with Lilys Kitchen, Tails.com and Natural Instinct for this lucrative new market.

      That said, they say that unlike other brands, their proprietary algorithm identifies how many kcals each individual dog needs on a daily basis. They then remove the hassle by pre-portioning this kcal amount into daily servings. They even taste test all their food with humans.

      Glynn says Pet owners are left choosing their dog food in an aisle cluttered with washing powder and bin bags and dominated by a few unhealthy choices. Butternut Box makes it easy and convenient to ensure dogs get the very best diet tailored for each individual.

      They appear to be pushing at an open door. Just as in humans, obesity and related issues are said to be costing British dog owners over 200 million in vets fees. Overfeeding, and unhealthy food is leading to obesity. But Butternut Boxs algorithms might be one answer. Nolan says: We know their age, weight, breed, activity levels and body condition. With this information, we can develop meals that meet the dogs specific needs. Meet the Quantified Dog.

      Why create this tailored approach? Well, a scientific study found that dogs who were fed a natural, home-made diet had a longer life capacity than those dogs who were fed industrial canned products. The difference which is mentioned in the study between those two diets is three years, a long time in dog years.

      After starting out in a family kitchen, with daily early morning trips to Londons Smithfield meat market, Butternut Box is now based in a kitchen in West London and sources all its meat direct in Ireland and Britain. So far its cooked over 250,000 individual meals since it launched in April 2016.

      Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/17/butternut-box-raises-1m-for-its-algorithm-driven-natural-dog-food-startup/

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      Why are these countries the most obese? Walking is just one reason

      (CNN)The world is in the middle of a major obesity epidemic, and current trends indicate that it’s only going to get worse.

      A recent study found that more than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of that — but this is nothing new.
      There are, however, pockets of the global population who remain somewhat unaware of this public health crisis, despite the growth of waistlines all around them, and this lack of awareness is just one of the underlying problems, according to Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
        “Different countries have different issues,” Hu said. “You need to mobilize (their) whole society to tackle the problem. … it’s not just a medical problem.”
        The Pacific Islands, Middle East and Americas lead the way in terms of regions with the greatest obesity rates. In 2014, more than 48% of the population of the Cook Islands was classified as obese. Qatar led the way in the Middle East with 34%, followed closely by the United States at 33%, according to the World Health Organization.
        Obesity is defined using a person’s body mass index, the ratio between weight and height, with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 considered overweight and over 30 obese.

        When assigning blame, two factors are common: diet and physical activity, namely poor diets and a lack of physical activity. But a number of smaller factors combine to fill these two large umbrellas, and those need to be understood to truly tackle the problem, Hu believes.
        What is behind the obesity problem among countries at the top of the table?

        1. Activity inequality

        A study published this week in the journal Nature used data from smartphones to analyze the number of steps taken on average each day among people across 111 countries.
        Using the Azumio Argus app, which tracks physical activity, researchers monitored the steps of more than 700,000 individuals and ranked countries based on their level of movement in the form of steps — and those numbers varied quite significantly.
        Hong Kong topped the rankings with 6,880 average daily steps, followed closely by China with 6,189 steps. At the bottom of the list was Indonesia, with 3,513 steps.

        However, the researchers calculated another statistic that they believe is a stronger predictor of obesity within a country, a calculation they called “activity inequality.”
        “Activity is not distributed uniformly across a country,” said Scott Delp, professor of bioengineering and mechanical engineering at Stanford University, who led the study.
        The larger the difference between the top and bottom walkers within a population, the greater their rates of obesity are likely to be, he explained. “It means there is a subset of a population that is activity-poor.”
        When focusing on activity inequality, the list changed, with Saudi Arabia and Australia ranking first and second. The US came in fourth, with levels of activityinequality greatest in more car-oriented cities like Houston and lowest in more walkable cities like New York.

        1. Saudi Arabia

        2. Australia

        3. Canada

        4. Egypt

        5. United States

        The team also found this inequality to disproportionately affect women, meaning more women would be in the “activity-poor” subset of the population. “Targeting the activity-poor (could) have a public health impact,” Delp said.

        2. Perceptions of exercise

        While physical inactivity is said to be aiding the growing rate of obesity worldwide, for example as urbanization leads to more sedentary lives, experts point out that in some populations, exercise simply isn’t a priority.
        This is evident in the Middle East and China, they say, namely through perceptions of exercise and its place on residents’ list of priorities.
        In Kuwait, focus groups from the World Health Organization found that locals consider exercise as sport rather than something done with a group of friends or at home, according to Temo Waqanivalu, team leader of population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases at the WHO. “There’s a whole cultural barrier,” he said.
        In addition, in the Middle East overall, it’s not considered the norm for women to take part in outdoor exercise or physical activity for leisure. “Having women exercise openly is a cultural issue,” he said.
        Across Asia and the Middle East, Hu thinks there is a great deal of misunderstanding. “Most people are not aware of the benefits of being physically active on their health,” he said.

        3. Poor prioritization of exercise

        In China, however, and other parts of East Asia, an extensive focus on academic achievement can often mean physical education is left behind. Students “are under tremendous pressure for academic achievement,” Hu said. Physical education “classes are often used for academic studies.”
        Hu further cites Japan and the countries of Scandinavia, where exercise is a common part of daily life in terms of commuting and socializing. In Japan, he said, “it’s encouraged … in older age.”

        4. Environmental factors

        Another factor hindering exercise in many places is the outdoor environment. In the Middle East, that means temperature.
        “It’s typically very hot to do outdoor activities,” Hu said. The same is true in many developing regions near the equator, and when combined with poor perception of exercise and lack of awareness of its importance for health, the impact is more significant.
        In China, the issue is pollution. “Pollution has become a burden to exercise outdoors,” Hu said. This is particularly problematic for children and the burgeoning childhood obesity epidemic, studies have shown.
        But Waqanivalu believes that people’s eating behaviors are in more dire need of attention.
        “It’s now understood that … food and diet is a bigger contributor (to obesity) than a lack of physical activity,” he said. And within this comes a combination of culture and environment fueling poor dietary behaviors — and therefore overweight and obesity.

        5. The value of (processed) food

        The value placed on food varies significantly among populations, but one thing most have in common is gifting and an expression of generosity using food — and, therefore, value placed on the type of food given.
        In the Pacific, where obesity rates are highest, processed foods hold high stakes.

        “For every ceremonial function in the Pacific, you bring food,” said Waqanivalu, himself a native of Fiji. “There has been a shift in the types of food in that exchange.”
        Offerings would once be freshly caught fish or fresh fruit, but they are now canned or processed foods. “You hear … people would go and fish, sell their fish and buy cans of tuna,” he said, adding that being surrounded by fish seems to lessen their value.
        “Canned foods come with prestige in some way,” he said. But he believes that education and awareness efforts by the government in recent years may now slowly be paying off.
        Similar attitudes have been noted in parts of the Americas — such as Brazil, where soft drinks and processed foods also carry weight as signs of wealth and success — as well as Africa. “They have an abundance of local food (in some places) but have cultural value attached to (processed foods),” Waqanivalu said.
        In the Middle East, extreme wealth means people are consuming greater amounts of high-calorie foods, adding to weight gain. “The abundance of energy-dense foods is remarkable,” Hu said.

        6. The value of obesity

        Societal perceptions of being overweight or obese are also key in determining how effectively an obesity epidemic may surge and in turn be controlled.
        Hu uses the example of China and other regions within Asia as well as Africa, where having a larger, more robust figure remains a sign of wealth. The idea of a chubby baby being a sign of wealth and health in China, for example, “hasn’t fully gone away yet.”
        “There is less social stigma about being obese,” Hu said. “May don’t consider obesity as a major problem.”

        7. An obesogenic environment

        “The food and physical environment are key factors that we have created,” Waqanivalu said, adding that while initial blame was placed on individuals, experts have now agreed that as a society, we have created environments that aid people in gaining weight.
        “The environment created determines the choices individuals make,” he said. Sitting most of the day, taking fewer steps, having greater access to fast food and having less time to cook are just a few examples.
        The US is a prime example of this and has been for 30 years. “The US is still the superpower of obesity,” Hu said, highlighting the availability of cheap, highly processed foods and urban design focused on driving — particularly in the South and Midwest. “The obesity trend has been very stubborn over the past three decades, despite efforts.”
        But today, as developing regions rapidly urbanize and adopt a lifestyle like the West has had for decades, individuals are directed to make the same decisions: They need to try harder to take more steps and go in search of healthy food, ignoring the unhealthy options bombarding them on the way.
        “In Africa, it’s certainly true … and the Americas,” Waqanivalu said. “Why do we bring these foods in and then teach the population not to eat them?”

        Tackling the causes

        Waqanivalu and Hu agree on this point and the fact that interventions are needed to counter decisions previously made on environmental design as well as highlight the true extent of today’s obesity epidemic and its future consequences to those not taking an interest.

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        Hu believes that obesity is truly a societal, not individual, problem and that national and international policies are needed to create settings in which it is easy for people to be healthy.
        Waqanivalu believes the priority should be children.
        The number of overweight or obese infants and children under the age of 5 increased from 32 million in 1990 to 42 million in 2013, according to the World Health Organization, with numbers increasing from 4 million to 9 million in the African region alone over that period.
        “(Children) cannot be blamed for the environment they are raised in,” Hu said. “Governments must intervene to create an environment that aids them to make the right decision.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/14/health/why-countries-are-obese-culture-exercise-diet/index.html

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        Why a Cure to Obesity Could Be in Your Poop

        Discussions about weight loss may soon take a dramatic turn. At issue will be the microbiome, a collection of bacteria that lines the intestine, nose, throat, skin, and genital tract.

        Although people are blissfully unaware of its existence, humans have about 10 times more bacteria lining the surface of their bodies (about 100 trillion) than they have cells in their bodies (about 10 trillion). In many ways, we live in peace with our microbiome, which helps to digest food and balance glucose levels. But the microbiome has also been associated with various problems, including asthma, allergies, eczema, and diabetes. The microbiome also helps to store fat, which can lead to obesity.

        Obesity isnt a trivial problemit affects life-expectancy, quality of life, and health-care costs. The problem is far more common than most people realize. More than 44 percent of the worlds population is obese; 300 million people are morbidly obese. In the United States, about 35 percent of the population battles obesity.

        So how can you know whether you have a good microbiome or a bad microbiome?

        Microbiomes are acquired when babies leave the womb (which is sterile) and enter the birth canal (which isnt). This is the moment when people inherit a set of bacteria that will later determine whether they are more likely to be thin or obese. So what do we do? We fight back with diet and exercise. As a consequence, many people successfully lose weight. Unfortunately, about 80 percent of those who lose weight will regain it within 12 months. The yo-yo effect occasionally exceeds the original weight. Researchers have now shown that both the propensity for obesity and the demoralizing weight rebound can be predicted by the type of bacteria that comprise the intestinal microbiome.

        Can the microbiome be manipulated away from the obese phenotype and toward the thin phenotype? Recently, scientists have performed a series of studies that offer a ray of hope.

        In 2013, Jeffrey Gordon and coworkers at the University of Washington studied three sets of female fraternal twins and one set of identical twins. In each case, one twin was obese and the other thin. The researchers then took fecal samples from an obese twin or a thin twin and transferred them into the intestines of mice that were sterile (so-called germ-free mice). Although all of the mice ate the same amounts of food, those that had received intestinal bacteria from obese women stored more fat and grew heavier than those that had received microbiomes from thin women.

        When Gordon and his colleagues put the thin mice and obese mice into the same cage, they found something that surprised them. The obese mice became thin. The reason was that mice are coprophagic, meaning that they eat feces from other mice. In this case, the obese mice ate the feces from the thin mice. (Its unclear whether it is more disgusting that mice eat the feces of other mice or that there is actually a word for it.)

        In 2016, Eran Elinav and coworkers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovat, Israel, advanced Gordons studies by determining exactly what was happening in the intestines of thin mice that allowed them to remain thin.

        First, they repeated Gordons studies, finding that germ-free mice that received the feces from obese mice became obese and those that received the feces from thin mice remained thin. Then they studied the yo-yo effect. They found that when obese mice lost weight, they were much more likely to regain the weight and regain it quickly if they retained the microbiomes of obese mice. On the other hand, if obese mice received fecal transplants from thin mice, they would not only lose weight, they wouldnt regain it. The researchers had eliminated the yo-yo effect.

        Then the Israeli researchers compared the metabolites produced by the bacteria in obese mice with those produced in the intestines of the thin mice. One thing jumped out: Mice that were obese no longer produced certain flavinoids, specifically apigenin and narigenin. (Flavinoids are a byproduct of certain plants and fungi.) Then they found out why. The bacteria from obese mice made enzymes that destroyed apigenin and narigenin, so less of these flavinoids were available. They also found that high-fat diets promoted the growth of bacteria that destroyed the flavinoids.

        Why was this important? Flavinoids are critical to the storage of fats. Also, apigenin and narigenin increase energy expenditure. Because they had lost apigenin and narigenin, obese mice expended less energy and stored more fats.

        The next experiment was encouraging. Researchers found that administering apigenin and narigenin to obese mice not only caused them to lose weight; it also eliminated the yo-yo effect.

        What does this mean for people? Hard to know. Mice arent people. But studies are underway to determine whether obesity can be treated with fecal transplants from thin people or by administering flavinoids like apigenin and narigenin. Time will tell. But discussions about losing weight might soon shift from miracle diets to something entirely different.

        Paul A. Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and the author of Pandoras Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong (National Geographic Press, 2017).

        Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/why-a-cure-to-obesity-could-be-in-your-poop

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        I Got A Spray Tan Like Khlo Kardashian And I Feel More Confident Than Ever

        I am a sucker for every new trend. I can’t wait to try diets, clothing, beauty tricks, and exercise regimes that celebrities tell me about.

        It’s no surprise I worship the ground Khlo Kardashian walks on and am willing to try any of her beauty tips. She is goals in every possible way.

        On her app, she had a post about getting bikini ready in seven days. Obviously, getting a banging bod like KoKo’s takes longer than a week and to be honest, if you want to get bikini ready, just put on your bathing suit and boom! You’re bikini ready. However, I was open to trying her suggestions. One of her tips was getting a spray tan. She said,

        Spray tans give me life and I’m not sorry about it! Self-tanner can camouflage all kinds of sh*t. When skin is darker, light doesn’t reflect off it as much, making it appear smoother all around!

        Good enough for me! My only previous experience with a spray tan was in the old school booth before a dance in high school. Remember, like, 10 years ago when you would stand in a box and it would paint you like a car? It was streaky, orange, and did not look good.

        My skin is extremely fair and I don’t tan easily. Sometimes, I feel a bit self-conscious (especially in the winter) because people can see every vein and flaw on my body.

        I am not down with tanning beds we should all be wise to the negative effects but still want a gorgeous glow. Plus, I had some crazy tan lines on my shoulders and back that I wanted to smooth out.

        I wasn’t going to cheap out on this. I wanted the real Kardashian experience a contouring spray tan done by hand. I learned spray tans have come a very, very long way.

        I went to a highly recommended studio in Boston called Pure Glow Organic Sunless Tanning. I got the works by founder, Lauren.

        Obvi the end result is a gorgeous glow, but I got so much more than that. The result was this insane boost of confidence I received from the amazing tan. Who knew something so small could make such an impact?

        ThePrep

        Before a spray tan, you want your skin to be clean. Exfoliate and shave everything you want to be smooth for the next couple of days. Be sure to plan ahead because everyone is going to want a piece of you, you tanned up princess. Do not put any lotions or sprays on before your tan.

        Also, wear loose, dark clothing you wouldn’t mind getting a little spray tan on. Most studios provide disposable thongs, but, if you’re not comfortable with that, bring a pair of swimsuit bottoms.

        The Experience

        The cool thing about being hand-sprayed is the custom contouring. The weird thing is being practically naked in front of a stranger. I went for the disposable thong and nothing else.

        Although Laurenspray tans people for a living, for some reason I yelled, Look out, I’m naked! when she walked in.

        She was very nice and didn’t seem surprised by my nudeness. Once we got to talking, it wasn’t awkward at all. Actually, I felt very free. The only pose I had to giggle at was the backwards squat to get the under-butt region. Ah, the things I do for beauty.

        Once again, this is what these spray tanners do. You should not at all feel embarrassed in front of them they do not care.

        The Tan

        I remember spray tans needing time to develop over a couple of hours. You would leave the place looking the same, then two hours later, look like you just rolled around in dirt.

        That’s not the case anymore. The color you see at the salon is what you go home with.It just feels like you’re being sprayed with a cooling mist. The contouring comes in handy in the stomach region. Lauren did a nice job accentuating my abs.*

        *Disclaimer: I don’t actually have abs, but the spray tan made it look like Ihad some definition. Ayyyy.

        Laura Rizzo

        Obviously, the lighting wasn’t great at the spray tan place. The image on the left is before. As you can see, I am so fair skin, the light was literally reflecting off my chest.The image on the right was immediately when I got home.

        I had some gnarly tan lines from running in a sports bra and was hoping to fully cover them up. It turns out, the spray is so natural that it tans like the sun. You can see in the pics above and below, the tan lines weren’t able to fully mesh with my tanner skin.

        Laura Rizzo

        However, the color difference was definitely improved. I didn’t mind the unevenness because it made my tan look more natural.

        You would think I would feel self-conscious comparing myself in a swimsuit to the flawless Khlo Kardashian, but I think KoKo would encourage me to be comfortable in my own skin.

        The Aftercare

        After the tan, you’re not supposed to sweat or get wet. I (stupidly) did some laundry when I got home and got a little splotchiness on my chest from sweating. Listen, guys, I have to climb three flights of stairs to get to my laundry room not easy with a heavy basket.

        In hindsight, I will probably get my next spray tan in the evening so all I have to do is go home and watch Netflix.

        At first, I was a bit discouraged because the tan looked great, but I felt like everything I did was making it splotchy.

        My favorite moment of the spray tan was after my first shower I waited about 48 hours. Any minor blotchiness smoothed out and the color looked awesome and super natural.

        The Bad

        This custom spray tan definitely hit my budget a little hard. Tip included, I topped off right near $100.

        Considering they have to be redone every eight to ten days, I definitely cannot live like a Kardashian. Pure Glow did have monthly unlimited packages for $165, which seemed pretty reasonable.

        The Good

        I felt like a freaking kween. Ugh, I loved it. My whole body looked super smooth and I felt a lot better when I wasn’t wearing makeup. Confidence truly is priceless. Plus, I got the tan done before spending a weekend on the water with friends and I received rave reviews about it.

        Advice And Final Thoughts

        Lauren at Pure Glow gave me some great advice. First off, ask to see pictures of real clients. Those will be the best indication of the kind of work the salon does.

        Second, take a look at the ingredients in the spray tan formula. Go for natural and organic formulas so you’re not spraying your skin with chemicals.

        All in all, I would definitely do this again. I loved the result, and will definitely return. Considering the cost, it will probably be more of a special occasion thing than my daily slay game.

        I will keep taking Khlo Kardashian’s advice on everything, thanks for asking.

        Read more: http://elitedaily.com/entertainment/celebrity/do-spray-tans-work-khloe-kardashian/2012519/

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        Ecological Collapse Didn’t Kill The People Of Easter Island After All So What Did?

        Everyone loves an unsolved ancient mystery, dont they? What caused the disappearance of the Roman Empires Ninth Legion? What were the hidden tunnels dug beneath Mexicos Pyramid of the Moon used for? What happened to the civilization on Easter Island?

        The last question is one of the most tantalizing of them all. The island, made famous by the moai those ominous stone statues of peoples faces was once home to a thriving people a millennium or so ago. As it is one of the worlds most isolated islands, little is known about the Rapa Nui culture that existed here, which suddenly disappeared back in the 1860s.

        There have been plenty of hypotheses to explain this population crash, from disease to overzealous deforestation to internal conflict. The most popular idea is that they committed ecocide they ravaged the natural environment to such an extent that it became uninhabitable and they perished. Now, a new study says that this is probably not true either.

        The ecocide theory goes as follows. Originally canoeing over from what is now Polynesia, they settled on the island around 1200 CE. Around the time Europeans first encountered the Rapa Nui people in the early 18thcentury, a lot of deforestation had taken place.

        These trees were mainly used to build canoes in order to allow them to catch fish. Without enough trees growing, they ran out of canoes and could no longer feed themselves via the sea. They then turned to rely more on terrestrial food sources, but uncontrolled farming led to significant soil erosion. This caused an agricultural collapse, and without any food left, the Rapa Nui people died out.

        However, researchers at Binghamton University (BU) thought that the evidence for this ecological catastrophe was too circumstantial.


        The island is now owned by Chile. Amy Nichole Harris/Shutterstock

        Analyzing the chemistry of the botanical, human, and faunal remains found at various Rapa Nui archaeological sites, they found that at least half of the protein in their diets always came from marine sources. As explained in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, this suggests they never stopped fishing.

        “We also learned that what they did get from terrestrial resources came from very modified soils, that they were enriching the soils in order to grow the crops, coordinating author Carl Lipo, a professor of anthropology at BU, said in a statement.

        This means that the Rapa Nui people were actually quite knowledgeable when it came to farming, which suggests that there was no agricultural collapse either.

        So what happened on Easter Island, if it wasnt ecocide? At this point, its anyones guess.

        Its worth pointing out that trashing the environment is still a solid way to ensure the downfall of a civilization. Right now, when it comes to climate change, the entire world is committing ecocide.

        Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/ecological-collapse-didnt-kill-the-people-of-easter-island-after-all-so-what-did/