Artificial Sweeteners Linked To Obesity And Diabetes

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People are becoming more health conscious and are bending towards use of artificial sweeteners, especially zero calorie ones. These replacements sugars have been demonstrated to be likely to cause health changes which are associated with obesity and diabetes.

 Worldwide these artificial sweeteners have become one of the most common food additives which are used. They can be found in a wide variety of beverages and food items including diet soda. One of the largest populations was looked at to investigate the effects of these artificial sweeteners and what they are capable of doing within the body, and metabolism of sweeteners and sugar after consumption; and the effects on blood vessel health. Results of this study were presented at the 2018 Experimental Biology Meeting.

 Model rats were fed diets which were high in fructose or glucose or acesulfame potassium, or aspartame; which are natural and zero calorie artificial sweeteners. Differences in concentrations of amino acids, fats, and other blood parameters observed within the animals after 3 weeks of being on the diets, specifically acesulfame potassium was found to be accumulating with in the blood and in higher concentrations damaging the blood vessel wall linings.

There has been a significant rise in diabetes and obesity despite the use of non-caloric artificial sweeteners. Researchers explain that this study shows that both artificial sweeteners and sugar have negative effects on the body which leads to diabetes and obesity, with the mechanisms for the cause of obesity differing for both.

When there was an overload of sugar machinery which handles them breaks down. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners lead to negative changes in metabolism, energy, and fat. More research is required on the subject, but results are enough to show high dietary sugars and artificial sweeteners do have negative health outcomes.

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https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/eb2-wzs041218.php

 

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Do athletes really need protein supplements?

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Protein supplements for athletes are literally sold by the bucketful. The marketing that accompanies them persistently promotes the attainment of buff biceps and six-pack abs.

In 2014, the protein supplement market in Australia was valued at A$545 million dollars, and is predicted to keep growing by about 10% per year. But do athletes really need them?

First, let’s consider what protein is and why we need it. Protein is an essential macronutrient in the diet. This means it provides energy to fuel the body but also has structural properties.

Protein is formed by smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are used by the body to make muscle and other essential body proteins that are used in the immune system, and also to regulate many of the processes in the body.

Protein and amino acids indirectly affect performance by building muscle to improve performance. There is little evidence to suggest consuming extra protein directly aids physical performance in either endurance or resistance exercise.

Protein is fairly ubiquitous in the diet – it can come from animal sources (fish, meat, offal, eggs and dairy), and in smaller amounts from vegetable sources (cereals and legumes).

How much protein do we need?

Protein requirements for Australians are based on our life stage and gender. The estimated average requirement for an adult aged 19-70 is 0.68g per kilo of body weight for women and 0.75g per kilo of body weight for men. This means a 65kg woman will need about 45g of protein per day. An 80kg man will need about 60g a day.

Athletes need more protein as they are building and/or repairing muscle as well as connective tissue. Their requirements are two to three times the amount of protein as normal people, or between 1.4-2g per kilo of body weight per day.

This is a large range, allowing variation for the sort of sport they play. An elite endurance male may be in the lower range, as they have a smaller body frame and less musculature. A power sportsman, such as an AFL player, would require more.

Are we getting enough?

A 2011-12 survey found most Australians were consuming about double the recommended intake of protein per day. Almost all (99%) Australians met or surpassed the required intake.

Evidence also indicates most athletes consume enough, and often more, protein than they require.

But actually it’s the timing of consuming the protein that is most important to building muscle. After any sort of exercise or performance activity that results in muscle resistance, the muscle has to be rebuilt. For maximal synthesis to occur there needs to be adequate levels of amino acids circulating in the blood. It’s been determined that, to achieve this, around 20-30g of protein must be consumed within 1-4 hours after exercise.

This doesn’t mean you need to down a protein shake as soon as you leave the gym. If you’re having a meal within this time frame, you can consume the 20-30g in that meal (which most people would anyway). This amount of protein from animal sources includes enough of the critical amino acid, leucine, that is needed for muscle resynthesis.

This is the equivalent of 120g of beef or chicken, three whole eggs, 70g of reduced fat cheddar cheese or 600ml of skim milk. However if we look at plant-based foods, you would need the equivalent of seven slices of bread, 350g of kidney beans or lentils, or 900ml of soya milk.

So does anyone need protein supplements?

There may be situations where an athlete is travelling or can’t access a meal within a few hours of their training session. So they could either snack on one of the foods listed above, or take a protein supplement. Protein supplements will usually be lower in kilojoules, so if an athlete is on a kilojoule-restricted diet they’ll get more bang for their buck from a protein supplement.

But of course protein supplements don’t have the other nutrients that natural foods contain, such as iron and zinc from red meat, calcium from dairy, or omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

Additionally, one needs to weigh up the risk of potential contamination with banned substances like anabolic agents, stimulants, and diuretics. This may be intentional by the producer (as their product will appear to be more effective in building muscle) or accidental due to an error in the manufacturing process or using ingredients that may have been contaminated.

Analytical studies have also shown there may be contamination with the heavy metals lead, mercury and arsenic. The other consideration for the athlete is the impact on the hip pocket and environment.

Is there any harm in taking extra protein?

The question of “protein overdose” partially depends on exactly how much extra protein is being consumed. We can be reasonably confident levels up to 2-3g per kilo of body weight per day (so around 200g for a 75kg person) have no health risk. But there has always been concern higher levels of protein may accelerate underlying kidney disease (particularly if there is a family history) leading to a progressive loss of kidney capacity.

Athletes and weekend warriors should exercise caution if they’re considering intakes of protein beyond 2-3g per kilo of body weight per day. In these situations, athletes should seek advice from an accredited sports dietitian.

Article Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-athletes-protein-supplements.html

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What Are Normal Testosterone Levels in Men?

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As a society, we tend to place a lot of significance on certain words. The word “normal” is one of them. With that in mind, one of the most often asked questions in the field of men’s health is “what are normal testosterone levels in men?” Both the media and health professionals are capitalizing on this question by talking about “low T” and urging men to turn to hormone replacement therapy to boost their testosterone levels.

But before men should even consider taking steps to raise their testosterone levels (which can be done in a number of natural ways), we return to the basic question: what are normal testosterone levels in men? Here is the not-so-simple answer.

 

What are the forms of testosterone?

First of all, there is more than one form of testosterone:

  • One is bonded with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is the most common type and makes up about 65 percent of total testosterone. The testosterone attached to SHBG typically cannot be separated from the hormone, so this T is not considered to be bioavailable. Testosterone that is bioavailable is the form that is used by the body.
  • One is bonded to the protein albumin, making up about 35 percent of your total testosterone. This testosterone is considered to be potentially bioavailable because it can be “coaxed” away from the protein.
  • One is free, which means it is not attached to any protein. Free testosterone makes up about 2 percent of total T and is the form that is completely bioavailable to be used by the body. Free testosterone travels throughout the bloodstream and can bind to receptors in the muscles, brain, and other organs.

Getting your testosterone levels checked

After you undergo the simple blood test that measures your testosterone levels, your doctor will give you the results represented by three different numbers:

  • Total testosterone. This represents the total amount of testosterone that is circulating throughout your body, so it includes both types of bonded T plus free T
  • Bioavailable T, which consists of testosterone attached to albumin plus free T
  • Free T

Now comes the complicated part. The definition of “normal” testosterone varies, depending on the expert and the testing lab used. The good news is that there are general guidelines for “normal” testosterone. Here are the generally accepted normal ranges of total, free, and bioavailable T, given in nanograms of testosterone per deciliter (ng/dL) for different age groups:

Total T:

  • 240 to 950 ng/dL for men age 19 years and older

Free T:

  • 5.05 to 19.8 ng/dL for men 25 to 29
  • 4.86 to 19.0 ng/dL for ages 30 to 34
  • 4.65 to 18.1 ng/dL for ages 35 to 39
  • 4.46 to 17.1 ng/dL for ages 40 to 44
  • 4.28 to 16.4 ng/dL for ages 45 to 49
  • 4.06 to 15.6 ng/dL for ages 50 to 54
  • 3.87 to 14.7 ng/dL for ages 55 to 59
  • 3.67 to 13.0 ng/dL for ages 60 to 64
  • 3.47 to 13.0 ng/dL for ages 65 to 69
  • 3.28 to 12.2 ng/dL for ages 70 to 74

Bioavailable T:

  • 83 to 257 ng/dL for men 20 to 29
  • 72 to 235 ng/dL for men 30 to 39
  • 61 to 213 ng/dL for men 40 to 49
  • 50 to 190 ng/dL for men 50 to 59
  • 40 to 168 ng/dL for men 60 to 69

No ranges have been determined for men age 70 and older. Clinically low total testosterone levels are recognized as less than 220 to 300 ng/dL.

Bottom line on normal testosterone levels in men

Here is the bottom line when it comes to answering the question, what are normal testosterone levels in men.

  • The range of “normal” is wide, which accommodates the fact that every man’s needs are different.
  • While men’s total testosterone level can be within the normal range, their free T levels can be low, which can result in symptoms of low T.
  • The testosterone level men should be most interested is in the bioavailable number. If men can boost their bioavailable testosterone level, they should expect an increase in energy, sex drive, and muscle strength as well as better mood and well-being.

Article Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-are-normal-testosterone-levels-in-men_us_5968d687e4b06a2c8edb45e9

Written By: Craig Cooper

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Hormone imbalance may explain higher diabetes rates in sleep-deprived men

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Studies have found an association between insufficient sleep and the development of insulin resistance, one of the factors that cause type 2 diabetes, and now researchers have discovered a biological reason for this relationship, at least in men: an imbalance between their testosterone and cortisol hormones. The study results will be presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

“Our highly controlled sleep study showed that even one night of restricted sleep can cause insulin resistance and that we can dampen this effect by controlling levels of these two important hormones,” said senior investigator Peter Y. Liu, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., a professor of medicine with the Los Angeles Biomedical (LA BioMed) Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body does not properly use the hormone insulin. Testosterone is the main anabolic, or muscle-building, hormone, whereas cortisol—often called the “stress hormone”—helps catabolism, or breaking down energy and fat stores for use, Liu explained. Past research shows that sleep loss reduces a man’s testosterone levels and increases cortisol levels.

Liu and his fellow researchers conducted five nights of sleep studies in 34 healthy men with an average age of 33. They controlled what the subjects ate and how much they slept, giving them 10 hours of sleep the first night and restricting them to four hours of sleep the remaining nights. The study received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Clinical and Translational Research Center at LA BioMed.

In this “crossover” study, the men served as their own controls. In one series of sleep studies, they received three medications: ketoconazole, which switches off the body’s production of testosterone and cortisol; testosterone gel; and oral hydrocortisone, a synthetic form of cortisol. The doses of testosterone and hydrocortisone were in the midrange of levels that the body normally produces, according to Liu. This arm of the study was called a dual “clamp” because it stopped the body’s production of these two hormones and then gave them a fixed amount of the hormones, thus clamping levels in a normal hormonal balance, he said.

In another set of experiments, the men received inactive placebos that matched the medications. The order of when they received the clamp and the placebo was random, with a two-week interval between the study conditions. The morning after the first and last nights of each part of the study, all men took the oral glucose tolerance test, in which they gave blood samples while fasting and again after drinking a sugary drink. This test result allowed the researchers to calculate each man’s insulin resistance using standard measures, including the Matsuda Index.

After sleep restriction, this index reportedly showed greater insulin resistance with both the clamp and the placebo. However, Liu said this increase was significantly dampened, or less severe, with the dual-clamp, demonstrating that testosterone and cortisol reduced the negative effects of sustained sleep restriction on insulin resistance.

“Maintaining hormonal balance could prevent metabolic ill health occurring in individuals who do not get enough sleep,” he said. “Understanding these hormonal mechanisms could lead to new treatments or strategies to prevent insulin resistance due to insufficient sleep.”

Article Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-03-hormone-imbalance-higher-diabetes-sleep-deprived.html

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Low sperm count not just a problem for fertility

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A man’s semen count is a marker of his general health, according to the largest study to date evaluating semen quality, reproductive function and metabolic risk in men referred for fertility evaluation. The study results, in 5,177 male partners of infertile couples from Italy, will be presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

“Our study clearly shows that low sperm count by itself is associated with metabolic alterations, cardiovascular risk and low bone mass,” said the study’s lead investigator, Alberto Ferlin, M.D., Ph.D. He recently moved as associate professor of endocrinology to Italy’s University of Brescia from the University of Padova, where the study took place in collaboration with professor Carlo Foresta, M.D.

“Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives,” said Ferlin, who is also president of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine. “Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.”

Specifically, Ferlin and his colleagues found that about half the men had low sperm counts and were 1.2 times more likely than those with normal sperm counts to have greater body fat (bigger waistline and higher body mass index, or BMI); higher blood pressure (systolic, or top reading), “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides; and lower “good” (HDL) cholesterol. They also had a higher frequency of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of these and other metabolic risk factors that increase the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the investigators reported. A measure of insulin resistance, another problem that can lead to diabetes, also was higher in men with low sperm counts.

Low sperm count was defined as less than 39 million per ejaculate, a value also used in the U.S. All the men in the study had a sperm analysis as part of a comprehensive health evaluation in the university’s fertility clinic, which included measurement of their reproductive hormones and metabolic parameters.

The researchers found a 12-fold increased risk of hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, in men with low sperm counts. Half the men with low testosterone had osteoporosis or low bone mass, a possible precursor to osteoporosis, as found on a bone density scan.

These study findings, according to Ferlin, suggest that low sperm count of itself is associated with poorer measures of cardiometabolic health but that hypogonadism is mainly involved in this association. He cautioned that their study does not prove that low sperm counts cause metabolic derangements, but rather that sperm quality is a mirror of the general male health.

The bottom line, Ferlin stressed, is that treatment of male infertility should not focus only on having a child when diagnostic testing finds other health risks, such as overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

“Men of couples having difficulties achieving pregnancy should be correctly diagnosed and followed up by their fertility specialists and primary care doctor because they could have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality,” he said.

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/tes-lsc031418.php

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These two economists used ‘meta rules’ to drop 120 pounds

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“Meta-rules” are a small but powerful way to change your eating habits and keep off unwanted pounds, according to former obese economists Christopher Payne and Robert Barnett. The friends, who once worked together at Bloomberg, used the philosophy to drop a combined 120 pounds.

Payne and Barnett have written a book about their weight loss journey: “The Economists’ Diet.” They say their philosophy, which they adopted from behavioral economist Dan Ariely, applies their knowledge about economics to mindful eating.

“There’s a glut of food, we’re eating too much,” Payne tells NBC News BETTER. “This is how we have to impose eating austerity in order to get our bodies back.”

“META-RULES” ARE SMALL RULES YOU ESTABLISH THAT DICTATE HOW YOU EAT

Whether you make it a rule to only eat dessert once a week, or to ban sugary drinks, “meta-rules” help you lose weight because they reduce decision making about what goes in your stomach, Payne and Barnett say.

“It’s almost like an oath to yourself to take decision and choice out of it,” Payne says. “But in another sense, what we’re talking about is just habits.”

The men give the following tips in addition to applying “meta-rules” to weight loss.

  • Weigh yourself every morning. This will force you to be conscious of how your eating habits are affecting your weight.
  • Never waste calories on food you don’t love.
  • Have two light meals and one square meal per day.
  • If you know you’re going to eat a large meal later, skip a meal earlier in the day.
  • Become calorie conscious. You may even want to keep a food ledger and count your calories.

LOSING WEIGHT TAKES TIME

Payne and Barnett insist “meta-rules” are not a fad diet: they won’t help you lose weight quickly.

“It’s a long-term process about changing behavior for the good,” Payne says.

You do something quick, and then you almost toss it out and go back to your old ways.

You do something quick, and then you almost toss it out and go back to your old ways.

Payne says it took him 18 months to lose 45 pounds, or about 2.5 pounds a month. Barnett says it took him over a year to lose 75 pounds.

“We would generally caution against [losing weight quickly] because we don’t think it gives you enough time to instill the habits you’re going to need to [keep the weight off] for the rest of your life,” says Barnett. “You do something quick, and then you almost toss it out and go back to your old ways.”

DEVELOPING MINDFUL EATING HABITS IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN EXERCISE

You might think that exercise is enough to maintain a healthy weight, the authors say, but developing positive eating habits through “meta-rules” outperforms the gym.

“For many of us, [exercise] is not something we’re going to keep up forever,” Payne says. “You need to be able to keep up the sustainable habits.”

“META-RULES” ARE ABOUT CHANGING YOUR BEHAVIOR FOR THE LONG-HAUL

Both men say “meta-rules” helped them lose weight and keep it off.

“There’s plenty enough to worry about in life, and it just so happens for me the one thing I don’t have to worry about is my weight,” says Payne. “But it’s not that I have some perfect physique — far from it — it’s just good enough, and that’s great.”

Barnett says his blood pressure has gone down and he no longer takes medication.

“I think whenever you can sort of naturally control something like that as opposed to needing a pill, that’s great,” says Barnett. “So hopefully I’ll be around for my children for more years and that kind of thing because of losing weight.”

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS WITH “META-RULES”

  • Make some rules: Creating “meta-rules” for mindful eating will help reduce decision making about what you’re going to eat. For example, you might make a rule that you’re only going to drink your coffee black, or that you will only eat out twice a month.
  • Practice patience: “Meta-rules” are not a fad diet. Losing weight is a slow process. Remember: it’s not about being thin, but rather, changing your behavior, which will help keep the weight off.
  • Eat well first, exercise second: While exercise is great, it probably won’t help you stay in shape if you’re not also watching what goes in your mouth. “Meta-rules” help keep the weight off even when you can’t make it to the gym.
  • You have to be in it to win it: Whether you’re tired of being overweight or just want to be healthier, “meta-rules” will help you develop healthier habits for the rest of your life.

Article Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/these-two-economists-used-meta-rules-drop-120-pounds-ncna855206

by Julie Compton / 

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Is testosterone replacement therapy the right thing for aging males?

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Testosterone (T) is a naturally occurring hormone in men, and most of it is produced in the testicles.

At puberty, T production escalates, bringing about masculinizing changes in muscle mass.  also promotes sex drive, sperm and red blood cell production, bone mass and determines how men store body fat.

It can impact quality of life issues as well, like mood, energy and motivation.

Beginning at about age 30, T production begins to decline on average by about 1 percent per year, plummeting late in life. This causes all sorts of problems, including lack of sex drive, inability to sleep, loss of muscle and bone mass, increased belly fat, the list goes on. Reversing these symptoms and improving the quality of life is the reason T replacement therapy (TRT) clinics supervised by physicians have sprung up around the country.

Although it is considered a male hormone, women also produce a modest amount of T in the ovaries. After menopause, estrogen production declines, which alters the ratio of estrogen to T, explaining why women begin taking on some male characteristics, like storing more fat around the midsection, rather than on the hips, thighs and buttocks as occurs earlier in life.

TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

Is TRT a good thing? It can be when managed responsibly. If you are older, and your T level is very low and falls below the normal range, it makes sense to address it with TRT because it can negatively impact health, increasing risks associated with diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. Low T also may shorten life, but this is controversial because when TRT raises T levels it has not been shown to extend life.

More is not always better, and many TRT clinics are viewed with suspicion because they advertise that it’s possible to feel like you are 25 years old again, even though you are decades older. Perhaps this is possible, but at what price, and if you are taking huge doses of T, could you be damaging your health?

Research studies in 2013 and 2014 indicated that TRT increased the risk of heart disease in men 65 and older, and in younger men with a history of heart disease. However, subsequent studies refute these findings and some show a deceased risk of heart disease. Another area of concern is an increased risk of prostate cancer, but this, too, is controversial. There does appear to be solid evidence that TRT can increase the risk of blood clots and stroke, plus sleep apnea, acne and breast enlargement.

All in all, some experts believe the benefits outweigh the risks, while others are more cautious because TRT hasn’t been around long enough or impacted enough men to draw meaningful conclusions. Time will tell. In the meantime, like most things in life, moderation is the best approach.

ANABOLIC STEROIDS

Anabolic steroids (AS) are synthetic steroid hormones that resemble T. AS require a doctor’s prescription and were developed to promote muscle mass in postsurgical patients, particularly older patients. Unfortunately, AS use spilled over to strength athletes who wanted the advantages associated with increased muscle mass, and AS delivered as promised. This, in turn, inspired gross overdosing with AS as a means to producing freaky muscular proportions and super human strength.

AS can cause a long list of negative side effects, the most serious being growth of tumors in the liver and acceleration of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries). AS suppress HDL (good cholesterol) production, which leads to a ratio of bad to good cholesterol that is out of whack, promoting clogged arteries and ultimately leading to a heart attack. Worse, because a doctor’s prescription is required, AS often are obtained illegally from foreign countries through the mail, with no sense of the quality of the product or the dangers involved.

When I was young, I was an enthusiastic weight lifter, working out hours every day. Some of my friends went the AS route and developed amazing physiques. Recently, I have endeavored to track them down to see how they are doing, and I was saddened to learn that too many have died prematurely, in their fifties and sixties, some even earlier. The most likely cause was a heart attack.

THE BOTTOM LINE

TRT has a place and can be beneficial if managed prudently. Just be careful of extreme approaches and promises that seem too good to be true. As for AS, there is no justifiable reason for athletes to be taking them. Ever!

Article Source: https://www.courier-journal.com/story/life/wellness/health/2017/09/07/testosterone-replacement-therapy-aging-males/569708001/?cookies=&from=global

Written BY: Bryant Stamford

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