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Teens high on caffeine likely to do drugs

A new study has revealed that adolescents who consume high-caffeine energy drinks or “shots,” are more likely to indulge in alcohol, cigarette, or drug use.

The same characteristics that attract young people to consume energy drinks- such as being “sensation-seeking or risk-oriented”- may make them more likely to use other substances as well, suggests the new research by Yvonne M Terry-McElrath, MSA, and colleagues of the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The researchers analysed nationally representative data on nearly 22,000 US secondary school students (eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders).

In response to questionnaires, about 30 percent of teens reported using caffeine-containing energy drinks or shots. More than 40 percent said they drank regular soft drinks every day, while 20 percent drank diet soft drinks daily.

It was found that boys were more likely to use energy drinks than girls. Use was also higher for teens without two parents at home and those whose parents were less educated. Perhaps surprisingly, the youngest teens (eighth graders) were most likely to use energy drinks or shots.

Students who used energy drinks or shots were also more likely to report recent use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs. Soft drink consumption was also related to substance use. However, the associations were much stronger for energy drinks.

Mediterranean diet lowers risk of heart disease

A new research has revealed that greater adherence to Mediterranean-style diet was associated with lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The study led by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is the first to assess the effects of Mediterranean-style diet among a group of young, working US adults.

“Our study adds more evidence showing the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, even after adjusting for exercise and body weight,” Stefanos Kales, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH and chief of occupational and environmental medicine at CHA, said.

US firefighters are known to have a high prevalence of obesity and risk factors for CVD. A Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, has been shown in previous studies to lower risk of CVD. The researchers analysed medical and lifestyle data, including dietary habits, from an existing cohort of 780 male firefighters in the Midwest.

The firefighter group with greatest adherence to Mediterranean-style diet showed a 35 percent decreased risk in metabolic syndrome, a condition with risk factors that include a large waistline, high triglyceride level, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

The group with the highest mMDS also had a 43 percent lower risk of weight gain compared with the lowest mMDS group. Additionally, greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet was significantly associated with higher HDL cholesterol and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Shivering may be secret to losing weight

A new study has revealed that shivering and bouts of moderate exercise are both capable of converting energy-storing ‘white fat’ into energy-burning ‘brown fat’. The study has suggested that regular exposure to mild cold may be a healthy and sustainable way to help people lose weight.

First author of the study said that they hypothesize that the thermal environment affects human health and more specifically that frequent mild cold exposure can significantly affect our energy expenditure over sustained time periods.

Marken Lichtenbelt and his colleagues from Maastricht University started studying the effects of mild cold about 10 years ago, because it had received so little attention and found the evidence to suggest that a more variable indoor temperature- one that is allowed to drift along with temperatures outside- might be beneficial, although long-term effects await further investigation.

After six hours a day in the cold for a period of 10 days, people increased brown fat, felt more comfortable and shivered less at 15 degree Celsius.

In young and middle-aged people at least, non-shivering heat production can account for a few percent up to 30 percent of the body's energy budget, they said. That means lower temperatures can significantly affect the amount of energy a person expends overall.

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