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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Study: Fiber-rich diets encourage weight loss

New evidence suggests losing weight is as simple as eating more fiber -- sort of.
Anyone familiar with the world of nutritional science knows there's an overwhelming amount of conflicting evidence to sort through. So many of the strategies are both complex and contradictory, at least part of the reason dieting is so hard. Not to mention, the tenets are ever-changing.

All that is to say that simple formulas are especially cherished. When the goal is straightforward -- eat healthier, lose weight -- why shouldn't the approach be, too?

A new study found there is a simple strategy that works: eating more fiber. Adding just 30 grams of daily fiber to study participants' diets, said researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, matched or bested the effects of the diet proffered by the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA's diet includes 13 components, and even though study participants following it lost slightly more weight than fiber-focused dieters, the discrepancy was negligible.

"The more complex AHA diet resulted in slightly larger (but not statistically significant) weight loss, but a simplified approach emphasizing only increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for individuals who find it difficult adhering to a more complicated diet," lead researcher Dr. Yunsheng Ma, associate professor of medicine, explained in a press release.

Participants who employed the fiber diet were able to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve their insulin response. All 240 of the volunteers participating in the study had symptoms of metabolic syndrome, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol, and were overweight.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Would you take a one way trip to Mars?

No, this is not an episode of The Twilight Zone. Non-profit organization Mars One just announced the 100 finalists for its 2025 mission to colonize the Red Planet.

Mars One, an organization that plans to put the first humans on Mars has narrowed its applicant pool from 200,000 to 100. The goal of the Netherlands-based non-profit is to start a permanent colony on Mars – if the mission is launched, the colonists will never return to Earth.

The final group will consist of 24 individuals who will be split into six groups of four. One mission is scheduled to launch every two years starting in 2025.

The finalists will spend the next decade in training. The first phase of the process will focus on the candidates' ability to work together. The training process will be televised to raise money for the expensive mission. With a projected $6 billion price tag for each of the six planned launches, Mars One will need all of the funding it can muster. The non-profit plans to raise additional money through sponsorship and crowd-funding

“Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and word together in the upcoming challenges,” Dr Norbert Kraft, chief medical officer of Mars One, said in a press release.

Once on Mars, the astronauts will have to be completely self-sufficient with limited supplies. Therefore, training will not only test their physical and emotional readiness, but teach them everything from medical care to basic plumbing.

Finalist Maggie Leiu is excited by the idea of humans starting a civilization on another planet.

“There’d be no legal system or parliament so it would be really fascinating to see how we work out our lives,” Lieu told The Independent.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Yoga’s Popularity Grows Among Adults And Children

Yoga studios are popping up across the country as more and more Americans find benefits in the ancient art, and as more Western doctors recommend it for relaxation and exercise. The percentage of US adults practicing yoga has increased from 5.15% in 2002 to 9.5% in 2012 and in 2012, about 21 million adults practiced yoga as revealed in the survey conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

While yoga alone is not a proven cure for any particular disease, more support for such mind-body therapy is coming from an even more authoritative source – doctors.

Previously, medical sceptics would not acknowledge the glowing testimonials of practitioners because yoga’s presumed benefits evaded — and still do — measurement by conventional medical standards.

But now, some general practitioners recommend yoga to their patients.