Vegan diet can boost gut microbes and lead to improved body weight and blood sugar control

Vegan diet can boost gut microbes and lead to improved body weight and blood sugar control

New research suggests that a 16-week vegan diet can boost the gut microbes that are related to improvements in body weight, body composition and blood sugar control.

Changes to the gut microbes were associated with a reduction of body weight (an average of 5.8 kg due to the reduction in fat mass and visceral fat) and increases in insulin sensitivity.  The authors say that fibre is the most important component of plant foods that promotes a healthy gut microbiome.

Source: ScienceDaily, 16 September 2019

It’s never too late to start exercising

It’s never too late to start exercising

Older people who have never taken part in sustained exercise programmes have the same ability to build muscle mass as highly trained master athletes of a similar age, according to new research at the University of Birmingham. The research shows that even those who are entirely unaccustomed to exercise can benefit from resistance exercises such as weight training.

“Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” says lead researcher, Dr Leigh Breen.

Source: ScienceDaily, 30 August 2019

Limiting mealtimes may increase your motivation for exercise

Limiting mealtimes may increase your motivation for exercise

A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology suggests that a surge in levels of appetite-promoting hormone, ghrelin, after a period of fasting prompted mice to initiate voluntary exercise.

Dr Tajiri comments, “Our findings suggest that hunger, which promotes ghrelin production, may also be involved in increasing motivation for voluntary exercise, when feeding is limited. Therefore, maintaining a healthy eating routine, with regular mealtimes or fasting, could also encourage motivation for exercise in overweight people.”

(Note that these findings are based on animal studies and more work is needed to confirm that this ghrelin response is also present in people.)

Source: ScienceDaily, 19 October 2019

Bitter sweet facts about sugar

I really don’t eat much sugar. I don’t have breakfast at all (I do 16:8 intermittent fasting), I drink coffee and tea with unsweetened soy milk and no sugar, lunch is a tortilla wrap with lettuce, carrot, cucumber and cheese / roasted sweet potato & feta / tuna / boiled egg and in the evenings…

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Exercising before eating breakfast burns more fat

Exercising before eating breakfast burns more fat

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, health scientists found that by changing the timing of when you eat and exercise, people can better control their blood sugar levels.

The six-week study found that people who performed exercise before having breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after breakfast. The increased fat burn is mainly due to lower insulin levels during exercise when people have fasted overnight, which means that they are able to use stored fat as a fuel.

Source: ScienceDaily, 18 October 2019

Physical activity may protect against new episodes of depression

Physical activity may protect against new episodes of depression

Increased levels of physical activity can significantly reduce the odds of depression, even among people who are genetically predisposed to the condition, according to a new study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  The team reported that individuals who engaged in at least several hours of exercise each week were less likely to be diagnosed with a new episode of depression, even in the face of high genetic risk for the disorder.

Source: ScienceDaily, 5 November 2019