E-spoons E-zine
November 2012

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DIRTY DANCING 
 

This month we're uncovering a little dirt on the real dangers of cold drinks in cans, and throwing some dirt at the idea that eating too many calories makes you fat.  It might be time to stop worrying about fat and start worrying about timing and pay careful attention to whose genes are coming to dinner. It seems, we could all be zombies dancing to the beat of our resident bacteria, but at least we're now able to dance to the beat using sustainable energy. A little fancy foot work can keep respiratory infections out in the cold and a little fancy paperwork can get your kids eating their vegetables. Cha cha cha !   Don't let a few bone cells stiffen up your arteries and be sure to do the hockey pockey with your hands to get you thinking like a whizz.

The E-spoons E-zine is a monthly compilation of stories appearing on 7 Big Spoons™ blog.  The stories are based on the latest science tit bits and will help you become a little healthier, wealthier and wiser by explaining the why.  As a friend of Spoonful of Science you have been included on our mailing list – should you wish to unsubscribe follow the link at the bottom of the E-zine.

Reading on line is exhausting so if you would prefer to read your copy of E-spoons in the loo -  download the pdf here.    

Cool drinks in cans are more than  cans full of sugar
xenoestrogen dancing on a cold drink canDrinking lots of fizzy cold drinks like Coke and Fanta etc are not a recipe for good body chemistry.  

The list of what is wrong with them includes...

  • Too much sugar. Causing oxidative stress and some serious insulin spikes.   
  • Too much salt. Surprised ?  This is the reason for all that sugar and probably contributes to the NEED to continue to drink another one, and another one.
  • Too much acid.  Dissolving away the top layer of your teeth.
  • Too much caffeine.  Leaving you swinging from the ceiling, which is often a good thing during the day, but not such a good thing when you can’t get to sleep.

People  who indulge in these beverages on a long term basis, tend to be heavier and  have a variety of health issues.  

But here is a thought, maybe the trouble is not actually the contents of the can, but the can itself ?To help keep foods “safe” – foods plopped in an aluminium can, need to be kept separate from the can.  The standard way of achieving this, is to line the tin with bisphenol (BPA). So if you’re drinking cold drinks from a can, you are getting exposed a little each time you crack open that can.  Officially, small levels are not a problem.

But, if you are a big drinker of cold drinks in a can (sugared or diet),  you are being exposed to a lot more, than a little.   And the extra dose of BPA might be contributing to your weight troubles.  Click here to read more about this ubiquitous obesogenic chemical.
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Fat kids are not always just eating too many calories
You’re fat because you eat too much.  Just stop eating all those calories and your “fat” problem will be sorted.  This is the official party line, dished out by “the experts” looking in from the outside. 

But many fat children (and fat adults too), will tell you.  

“I really don’t eat THAT MUCH”.

To which the experts raise a condescending eyebrow and a patronizing reply, 

“Yeah..... right”.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, have confirmed, not all fat children are loading up on excessive calories.   In fact, the study discovered exactly the opposite.  Older fat kids, defined as children over the age of 9,  typically eat fewer calories, than their skinny peers. The research team came to this conclusion, having  counted up the calories consumed by 19 125 children, between the ages of 1-17 years and then comparing their calories in, with their weight.  Click here to read more about this study.

fat kid eating a salad


The finding does put a big dent in the spoke of the wheel.... of the line that obesity is caused by too many CALORIES IN and not enough CALORIES OUT.  And goes along way to explain, why cutting calories, seldom “fixes” the problem.  In kids or adults. 

Physiologically speaking, calories are not created equal, and obesity is more than just a problem of excess fuel, it is a problem with body chemistry.

Better body chemistry begins with better food choices, not just fewer CALORIES IN. 
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Want to lose weight PERMANENTLY
You need more than willpower to tame the sugar gremlin......  Enrol in  “Cheat the Fat Genes” programme, it will help you tame your sugar gremlin using biology, not psychology – so that the weight loss is for keeps.
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Stop worrying about fats and start worrying about timing
Standard health advice.....

Stay away from fat and nibble all day – lots of small meals, at regular intervals, are the key to weight management.

WRONG !

eating high fat dinner A research group from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem managed to upset this paradigm in a group of mice, when they tried several “recipes” to create the FATTEST MOUSE.  Read the full blog post for all the details.

The big surprise – mice fed a high-fat diet, with a twist – ended up the skinniest, most muscular of the lot.  So what was the twist ?  The high fat diners had to eat their high fat dinner, quick-quick, because dinner was only available for a short period of time each day.  

The mice doing what the health gurus tell you to do to lose weight.   Low fat, lots of little meals ALL DAY, were among the fattest !

We have been trained to worry about what is in the bites we eat and to eat, lots of little meals, throughout the day. But.....this paper and others suggests, it’s time to think beyond what is in the bite, as important as this is, to the timing of those bites. 
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It might not be your genes that are causing your fat troubles
Do you blame your genes for those extra pounds ?   Actually it is not only your genes that count, your metabolism includes your genes, plus the genes of the trillion or so bacteria living in your GUT. Could their genes be contributing your weight problems? 
 
Probably....
bacteria eating gut leftoversResearchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, managed to strip away some of the human gene effect and hone in on the bacteria effect, by studying the gut microflora of a group of Amish people living in a closed community in Pennsylvania.
When it came to weight troubles, there was no difference in the bacterial  majority.  But, the bacteria in the  minority mattered.  The team discovered that the levels of  26 species of bacteria correlated with the metabolic troubles associated with obesity.
 
So are you fat because you’ve got “fat” bacteria ?  It would be nice to blame them for those extra layers of fat, but this might be a little unfair. At the end of the day, who moves in is determined by YOUR HABITS.  
Read the full blog post if you suspect you need help eliminating these “bad” guys.
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Could we all be zombies doing the bidding of our resident bacteria ?
hyena dropping off a load of bacteriaThere are only two things that occupy our dalmation’s mind – eating, especially anything that is not labelled DOG FOOD and patrolling “her” territory.  The rest of the time, her mind is rather zombie-like, just a blank – snoozing on her personal couch
 
The Jozie cologne is designed to send out the message...

“Jozie, a psychotic dalmation, with absolutely no sense of humour, lives near here

 
But, if we look to her distant wild and woolly cousins, the hyenas, maybe there is a lot less of Jozie in her cologne, than she thinks.   It turns out, the scent gland which is responsible for producing cologne, is actually home to a collection of rather smelly bacteria. Exactly who takes up residence, depends how much touchy feely stuff happens between scent gland owners.

Translated, this means everyone from a particular hyena clan, smells pretty much the same. 
 
The implications of this arrangement.....
The alpha animal IS actually taking orders, from the little guys in his nether regions i.e. bacteria are the real gang leaders in the hyena turf wars, they rule hyena world.

Maybe they do more than that ?
 
Could we all be zombies doing the bidding of our resident bacteria ?  Hope NOT !  But bacteria sure do a lot.
Read the full story here
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Dancing to the beat using sustainable energy
Ever been at a party where the bass rhythm is SO LOUD, that you can “feel it”, I mean physically feel it in your heart. Your whole chest seems to be vibrating ?
 
It has happened to me – to be honest, as a highly strung and body aware individual, my reaction to the unwanted thudding was not “how cool, the music is rocking my soul”, it was more “OMG, I am going to have a heart attack, let’s get out of here - NOW !”
 
heart beating to musicInspired by beating chests in rap concerts, researchers from Purdue University, wondered if the rhythm couldn’t be harnessed, to quite literally, keep artificial body bits and pieces, powered up.
 
Keeping spare parts powered up can be problematic. Long-life batteries don’t last a LIFETIME – so at some point they need to be changed or charged.
 
At the moment, most of the time, charging is out (plugging into a wall socket is hazardous to one;s health) and changing is in, but changing a battery in a medical device, typically involves surgery – which is always a little risky, costly and never pleasant.
Enter the microelectromechanical system, or MEMS, the brain child of the Birck Nanotechnology Centre – which is uses the musical beat to get a little lever bopping up and down, which keeps  medical devices running on a little SUSTAINABLE ENERGY.  Read more....

In this year of Sustainable Energy for All, we need to be dancing to the beat of a different drummer by thinking and acting a little greener.


Sustainable energy for all logo

Do your bit to use energy in a sustainable way.

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Going dsnotty nose child infecting an unsuspecting adultown with a cold is a numbers game so avoid children
What makes you a sitting duck for a cold ?

  • Experience suggests being “run down” i.e. being a little a lot STRESSED, makes you especially vulnerable to respiratory tract infections.  
  • And logic suggests, anyone who has inherently “weak” lungs, due to underlying lung diseases, such as COPD, is going to be at increased risk of “catching a cold”.
But research published in the Journal of Clinical Virology, concludes the biggest risk factor for going down with a cold,  is neither stress nor lung weakness, but it is spending time with (sick) young children.
Find out why small children are to blame for most respiratory tract infections.
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Need a little help with a health problem
Complete a body audit to pinpoint chemical imbalances which are contributing to your poor health. Then draw up a personalized action plan to improve your overall body chemistry.
To book your body audit, drop me an e-mail at drsandy@spoonfulofscience.com

Need help getting your kids to eat their vegetables ?
xray vision carrotsGetting kids (and husbands) to eat their vegetables is frequently an uphill battle.   Biology doesn’t help, since although vegetables are nutrient dense, they don’t have too much “brain” appeal.  Our brain is wired to seek out calorie dense foods. Foods loaded up with carbs or fats (or both), fit this bill, bitter broccoli, does not. 
 
Resturanteurs know, fancy descriptors make foods more attractive to adults, researchers wondered if the same approach could get the broccoli sliding down.  They tested out a few alternative descriptors of vegetable choices at a school cafeteria. 
 
147 children, aged between 8-11 year olds from 5 different schools descended on a school lunchroom, where they were served carrots on three different occasions.  The carrots were the same, but they were presented as...

  • The “Food of the Day”
  •  “X-ray Vision carrots”
  • “Carrots”
The name seemed to make little difference to the amount of carrots that was ladelled onto the plates.But, when the plates returned to the kitchen, there was a big difference in the amount of carrots that had been consumed. The kids ate 66 % of the X-ray vision carrots, 32 % of the Food of the Day carrots and 35 % of the unnamed carrots.

So load up your little one’s plate with extra special vegetables.   Packaging counts when it comes to vegetables.
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Bone cells are stiffening up your arteries not cholesterol
cholesterol at the scene of the accidentHigh cholesterol is responsible for blocking up blood vessels which leads to GRIEF.  Heart attacks.  Strokes.  Death. 

Wait, not so fast.....

More and more scientists believe that cholesterol is the victim of mistaken identity.  Yes, cholesterol is always found in the thick of things, but it’s presence doesn’t imply culpability.
Ambulances are typically found at the scene of serious accidents, but ambulances don’t cause accidents.

 
Technology has allowed the crash site investigators to dig underneath the atheroscelortic plaque.   A new player has emerged.......  buried in the heart of the  atherosclerotic plaque is a new type of cell,  a multipotent vascular stem cell.   Read more about how researchers from Glastone Institute uncovered these cells.

So what is the big deal ?     As stem cells these little guys can become lots of different things. Yes, they can become smooth muscle cells BUT they can also become nerve cells, BONE cells or fat cells. BONE CELLS !  If bone cells are popping up inside damaged blood vessels, even if they’re there in low numbers, they are bound to stiffen things up !     

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Need a little help with your cholesterol battle plan

High cholesterol is a sign of BAD BODY CHEMISTRY.  If you want a little help bringin your cholesterol level down, schedule a one-on-one health conversation.Phone 083 262 5023 to book an appointment

Do the hokey pokey with your hands so you think like a whizz
gesturing during an examRemember the days when you counted using your fingers ?   Most of us are forced to outgrow the habit, because the powers that be, frown upon it, but hand gestures are often the best way to think.
 
When students are allowed/encouraged to use gestures to solve a few sticky problems,  those using gestures significantly out perform their non-gesturing peers.  So if you’re in the middle of exam season – don’t be afraid to do the hokey pokey to unlock your hidden genius. Click here to read more
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Other stories from the blog this month..............
 
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Thank you for taking the time to read the e-zine. I love hearing from readers, so drop me an e-mail to let me know which story you enjoyed the most,  did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective. 

 Did you catch this month’s Neurotechnology Tips  ?

Neurotechnology tips provides tit bits of science to  help you buzz up your brain performance.

Click here to have a Neurotechnology Tip delivered directly to you in box next week.
Neurotech tips

Navel gazing – a no work strategy to help you remember more Chop stick smiles can help you bear exam stress If you’re about to sit an exam, have a water bottle on stand-by

 

Next month we will  be BASKING UNDER THE SUN.  Look out for the December edition of E-spoons in your inbox on 5 December (the first Wednesday of the month). 
Yours scientifically
Dr Sandy

Phone :       +27 (0)11 452 2207
Cell :           083 262 5023

E-mail :       drsandy@spoonfulofscience.com

The cartoons were drawn by Guy Alain Ngangob – drop him an e-mail if you need a cartoon or two. If you want to access the science articles used to compile the newsletter, visit the relevant pages on the blog and follow the link.     
 
Copyright © 2012 by Sandra Evans.  YOU ARE WELCOME TO COPY the e-Zine's contents for use in your own  newsletter, company or club publication, BLOG or website.  Please give proper credit and a link back to http://www.7bigspoons.com.
 
Disclaimer : The e-zine is provided as a service.  Dr Sandy’s reports and opinions are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe.  For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

  

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