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How extra kilos slow you down

Researchers have studied physical activity and its relation to obesity for decades but no one has studied the reverse – obesity’s effect on physical activity.

So BYU exercise science professor Larry Tucker decided to look at the other side of the equation to determine if obesity leads to less activity. The findings, no surprise, confirmed what everyone has assumed for years.

“Most people talk about it as if it’s a cycle,” senior-author Tucker said.

“Half of the cycle has been studied almost without limit. This is the first study of its kind, in many ways, looking at obesity leading to decreases in physical activity over time,” he said.

To study this reciprocal effect objectively, the researchers attached an accelerometer to more than 250 participants.

Accelerometers measure actual movement and intensity of activity. Previous studies have relied on less-dependable self-reported data.

“Roughly 35 percent of the population reports that they’re regularly active,” Tucker said.

Eating more fiber could may cut risk of first-time stroke

Eating more fiber can decrease your risk of first-time stroke, a new study suggests.
Dietary fiber is the part of the plant that the body doesn’t absorb during digestion. Fiber can be soluble, which means it dissolves in water, or insoluble.

Previous research has shown that dietary fiber may help reduce risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol.

In the study, researchers found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk.

One serving of whole wheat pasta, plus two servings of fruits or vegetables, provides about 7 grams of fiber, researchers said.

“Greater intake of fiber-rich foods – such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts – are important for everyone, and especially for those with stroke risk factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure,” Diane Threapleton, M.Sc., and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds’ School of Food Science and Nutrition in Leeds, United Kingdom said.

Even small amount of junk food could affect health

Even the most health-conscious eaters find themselves indulging in junk foods from time to time. 

But small amounts of these occasional indulgences may produce significant changes in gene expression that could negatively impact physiology and health, according to a new research by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS).

A.J. Marian Walhout, PhD, co-director of the Program in Systems Biology and professor of molecular medicine at UMMS, and team described how metabolism and physiology are connected to diet. 

Using C. elegans, a transparent roundworm often used as a model organism in genetic studies, Dr. Walhout and colleagues observed how different diets produce differences in gene expression in the worm that can then be linked to crucial physiological changes.

Walhout said, "Worms fed a natural diet of Comamonas bacteria have fewer offspring, live shorter and develop faster compared to worms fed the standard laboratory diet of E. coli bacteria."

Walhout and colleagues identified at least 87 changes in C. elegans gene expression between the two diets.

Surprisingly, these changes were independent of the TOR and insulin signaling pathways, gene expression programs typically active in nutritional control. Instead, the changes occur, at least in part, in a regulator that controls molting, a gene program that determines development and growth in the worm.

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