Science Catch-up. Weight gain through plasticisers?

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by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

Welcome to our Thursday’s Science Catch-up: curated links by The Health Sciences Academy. Get our email updates every other Thursday here (it’s free).

Let’s catch you up with studies and news that recently made the headlines!

Click on your favourite topics to read our summary:

1. Weight gain through plasticisers?

2. Neurons in your gut help immune system keep inflammation in check

3. Extinctions of good bacteria from low-fibre diets cannot be reversed?

4. Fibre-rich diet may reduce lung disease

5. What you eat can influence how you sleep

6. Mindful food enjoyment to reduce appetite and food intake?

7. Pre-pregnancy potato-rich diet increases gestational diabetes risk?

8. Obesity puts children at higher risk of deadly blood clots


Weight gain through plasticisers?

News link

Plasticisers such as phthalates are always found in plastics. They can get into your body through your skin or your diet, mainly transferred from the packaging of fatty foods, like cheese or sausages.

Because plasticisers can interfere with your hormone system and your metabolism, they may pave the way to weight gain, as confirmed by this research.

Note: There are several detrimental metabolic processes triggered by toxicants which can lead to fat gain. You’re invited to learn this science in our Detox Specialist course. Toxicology and detoxification are the two long-established fields of scientific research you’ll gain expertise on (DIFFERENT FROM the made-up fallacies circulating the internet these days).


Neurons in your gut help immune system keep inflammation in check

News link

Your immune system must protect you against potential infections, and inflammation is one of the steps in this process. However, over-vigilant inflammatory reactions and chronic inflammation can cause problems.

This new research shows that neurons in your intestines send signals to immune cells to lower inflammation. Pretty fascinating! Learn more about your “second brain” (i.e. your gut!) in our Science Report: How Are Your Brain and Gut Connected? (premium subscription needed).


Extinctions of good bacteria from low-fibre diets cannot be reversed?

Study link

If your diet is low in fibre, some of the trillions of microorganisms that live in your gut can be pushed to extinction, also damaging the microbiotic profile of your future children.

Even when the scientists switched subsequent generations back to a high-fibre diet, this shift failed to restore their microbiotic diversity. But why does diversity matter?

Lack of microbiotic diversity is a serious problem. It not only leads to gastrointestinal symptoms, but also a lowered immune system, neurological distress, metabolic complications, increased food cravings, and even a predisposition to obesity. Not ideal.

You can learn about ways to prevent this in our special Science Report series “GI Restoration: How To Heal Your Gut” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and soon Part 4 and Part 5 (premium subscription needed).


Fibre-rich diet may reduce lung disease

News link

Talking about fibre… here’s another unexpected finding! What do fibre and your lungs have in common?

Well, a diet rich in fibre may not only protect against diabetes, heart disease and microbiota damage, it may also reduce your risk of developing lung disease. Our next question is: how?

A high-fibre diet reduces inflammation in your body, and the researchers noted that inflammation underlies many lung diseases. Also, since fibre changes the composition of your gut microbiota, this may in turn reduce infections and release natural lung-protective chemicals to your body.


What you eat can influence how you sleep

News link

This new study found that eating less fibre, more saturated fat, and more sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep.

In contrast, the results show that greater fibre intake predicted more time spent in the stage of deep, slow wave sleep – the restorative kind!

Upping your fibre intake seems to be the theme of this week’s Science Catch-up, wouldn’t you agree?


Mindful food enjoyment to reduce appetite and food intake?

Study link

This study suggests that mindful attention to the pleasurable properties of food (i.e. hedonics!) may help reduce your calorie intake by lowering your appetite.

You can also learn which factors influence how much pleasure you get from your food (and how this impacts cravings! in our recent Science Report: Craving Control: How Taste Makes Us Overeat (premium subscription needed).


Pre-pregnancy potato-rich diet increases gestational diabetes risk?

News link

This observational study suggests that a high consumption of potatoes before pregnancy may increase a woman’s risk of gestational diabetes mellitus. On the other hand, eating other vegetables, whole-grain foods, or legumes may reduce the risk.

But before you bin that potato salad, here are some things I’d like you to keep in mind:

  1. Although this study found an association between potatoes and diabetes, it cannot prove “cause and effect”.
  2. The researchers looked at potatoes because they have high glycaemic content (GI), and therefore release a lot of glucose into the blood shortly after being eaten, which might increase the chances of hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, predisposing some women to develop diabetes.
  3. These findings don’t imply that you should stop eating potatoes all together! You can actually decrease the GI of a potato meal by adding fibre-rich plant foods, like artichoke, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, okra, beans, peas, lentils, spinach, cabbage, and so on. This way, glucose is released into your bloodstream more slowly and gradually, without causing an insulin spike. Consider this in your next groceries shopping!


Obesity puts children at higher risk of deadly blood clots

News link

For the first time, researchers found a link between obesity and the formation of blood clots in children and adolescents.

Blood clots are dangerous because they can block the flow of blood to major organs, like your brain, heart, or lungs. This increases your risk of heart attack, brain stroke, lung collapse, and even death.

So, how can you prevent blood-clot formation? By maintaining a healthy weight, moving your body, and hydrating well during the day!



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What has inspired you this week? What are your thoughts on some of these topics? Leave a comment and let us know!

Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. She is a Harvard-trained scientific researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups every other Thursday.
Connect with Alex via email.

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