Canker Sore Ointment may be the Next Revolutionary Weight Loss Drug

Canker Sore Ointment may be the Next Revolutionary Weight Loss Drug

Some people are prone to getting canker sores from time to time. These are small mouth ulcers that manifest inside the mouth. While the sore normally heals within a week or so, those who get it can expect agonizing pain whenever they eat, brush their teeth or even touch it with their tongue. A drug known as amlexanox is normally used to numb the pain. Amlexanox, however, may also prove to be an effective weight loss supplement.

A study conducted by the University of Michigan shows that the drug contains properties that make obese laboratory mice thin even without diet or exercise. So far, the test has only been performed on mice, and what works on rodents may not necessarily work on humans.

In the study, mice were given a high-fat diet, which ballooned their weight. The obese mice were then injected with amlexanox and subsequently lost weight, even though they were continually fed the same diet and did not exercise. When taken off the drug, the weight quickly came back.

If amlexanox has the same effect on humans, then it could potentially be one of the biggest breakthroughs since Viagra, which was originally intended as a drug for treating chest pain but was later found to be effective for correcting erectile dysfunction.

Amlexanox has been sold in drug stores for the past 15 years as an ointment for canker sores. The research, however, shows that it can also alter the genes that control metabolism.

The reason a low calories diet tends to be ineffective is because the body adjusts to the calorie restriction by slowing metabolism. Amlexanox has shown – for mice at least – that it has the capabilities of speeding up metabolism regardless of diet.

Researchers are already making arrangements to test the effectiveness of the drug on humans, which is expected to take place later this year.

America Earns Number 1 Spot as the Unhealthiest Nation

America Earns Number 1 Spot as the Unhealthiest Nation

If America is your home sweet home, then you may need to be worried about your health as well as the health of your children. According to a new study, America has the highest mortality rate where people die younger than those from other non-developing nations.

The study was conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council and consisted of experts in the field of public health, economics, social science and medicine. When compared against other nations, such as Canada, Britain, Japan, Australia and Scandinavian countries like Austria and Switzerland, America comes in dead last in terms of the health of its citizens.

The study reveals that American-born babies are more likely to die before reaching their first birthday or even their fifth birthday. American adolescents have a higher mortality due to death from causes like automobile accidents, homicides and sexually transmitted diseases. Among adults over 20 years of age, Americans have the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and deaths from drug overdose.

The high mortality rates are not only concentrated in poverty-stricken areas of the nation. The study also shows that those from affluent neighborhoods with a college education and health insurance are in worse health than their counterparts from other wealthy countries.

The mortality rate is largely believed to be in part due to poor individual choices. This includes lack of exercise, poor diet, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Studies also suggest the reason is partly due to social factors like income inequality and lack of safety nets provided by the government.

However, America is not in last place in every sector of health. Americans who live to see their 75th birthday do have the longest life expectancy.

While the study reveals grim figures, it is important to remember that the statistics are just numbers and it is largely up to the individual and the choices they make that dictate their health and how long they remain on Earth before kicking the bucket.

Coca-Cola Joins Fight Against Obesity Epidemic

The estimate that two-thirds of Americans are obese is a statistic that doesn’t even need to be repeated anymore because it has been echoed over and over. In fact, the problem has become such a large epidemic that even Coca-Cola of all companies has joined the anti-obesity crusade.

Coca-Cola, the manufacturer of the world’s most popular and sugar-laden soft drink, has pledged its commitment to curb the rising rate of obesity among adults and children by launching an ad campaign to reinforce its efforts to work with the government and communities to find real-world solutions to reducing America’s growing waistline.

The ad points out that of its 650 beverage products, 180 of them offer zero or reduced calories. The ad was a response to increased attacks made by health advocates against the beverage company, which was led mostly by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Back in October, the CSPI released its own animated short film known as “The Real Bears,” which was aimed at mocking Coca-Cola’s polar bear mascot and urged Americans to ditch sodas and other sugary beverages.

Coca-Cola refuted CSPI’s video and stated that the real key to combating obesity is to cut back on calories, no matter where the source of the calories comes from. CSPI, however, fired back and said that Coca-Cola only released its own ad to protect its own image and has no real intention or interest of fighting national obesity.

CSPI did, however, concede that soda, if consumed in moderation, can be a part of a healthy diet. It added that the problem is the fact that people are now guzzling soda in huge containers on nearly a daily basis. This is something that even Coca-Cola has agreed on and has pledged to address through the release of new portion-controlled sizes.

Chewing Foods for Longer Periods may Help Curb Appetite

Christmas is normally one of those rare moments when you allow yourself to indulge whatever is on the dinner table. This means scarfing down that extra helping of turkey and following up with a large plate of pie with a scooping of ice cream. Now that Christmas is over and New Year’s is approaching, dieting may be a part of your resolution for 2013. If so, then you may want to consider chewing your food for longer periods as a way of reducing appetite.

New research suggests that chewing every mouthful of food for a minimum duration of 30 seconds can serve as a powerful appetite suppressant. This means less snacking after a meal, which means less calories consumed.

The experiment was conducted at the University of Birmingham and consisted of 43 student volunteers who were all given identical meals of the same type and portion. A third of the participants were simply instructed to eat as they usually would without any deviation. Another third was told to pause for 10 seconds between each swallowing of food and the final third told to chew for 30 seconds with each bite.

Two hours after the meal, they were given a plateful of sweets and were monitored on the amount they consumed. The results showed that those that ate the meal in their normal manner and those that paused between bites ate twice the amount of sweets on their plate as those that chewed their meals for 30 seconds.

However, further analysis showed that chewing foods for prolonged periods also came with a price. Those in the study that were instructed to chew their foods for 30 seconds also reported less enjoyment of the food as it felt more like a chore.

Nevertheless, chewing your foods for longer duration may be worth a try if you are trying to fit into a new dress of pair of jeans for 2013.

Changes in the Nutrition Label for 2013

Maybe you look at them, maybe you don’t. However, for health buffs, the nutrition label is an integral piece of information that determines whether a particular type of food should go in their shopping cart. Some experts, however, agree that the nutrition label is outdated and needs to be revamped. As 2013 approaches, some changes may be made to the nutrition label that we are so accustomed to seeing on food packages.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the changes should place more emphasis on the total calories and remove the section that indicates the amount of calories from fat. CSPI also expressed the need for changes in the food itself. This includes pressuring manufacturers to put an end to the use of partially hydrogenated oils.

In addition, it also added that labels should use the word “high” to indicate when a food is high in cholesterol, sodium, added sugar and saturated fat. Also, the CSPI is recommending that nutrition labels be moved to the front of the package rather than being on the back or the side.

On top of the changes, CSPI is also mounting an effort to put a halt to labeling that is deemed to be deceptive. This includes using terms like “heart healthy,” “natural,” “antioxidants” and “0g trans-fat.” That last one is especially deceptive as any food that contains partially hydrogenated oils contains some level of trans-fat.

Other health experts have all echoed similar sentiments and believe that the nutrition label should actually contain less information as this makes it easier for consumers to skim and read.

Even with changes in the label, a lot of it still comes down to common sense. If you are trying to slim down, then it is not rocket science to know that a bag of potato chips or cookies is not going to do you any favors regardless of what the label says.

Study Suggests Hunger May be Tied to Memory More so Than Biological Factors

Hunger seems to be a straightforward logic. We eat whenever we are hungry and consume a portion amount in relation to the size of our appetite. This will normally stave off hunger until it is time for the next meal. However, a new research suggests that it may not always be our stomachs that dictate the level of our hunger.

Recent study shows that our perception of the amount of food on our dinner plate may have a huge influencing factor. Additional findings also suggest that other factors like eating while watching television or while browsing the Internet can cause one to eat more than usual.

The most recent research
shows that short-term memory may also determine appetite levels and that hunger can be predicted not by the amount of food consumed but by how much one believes he has eaten.

The experiment was conducted in the U.K. and consisted of 100 adult participants. Each volunteer was given either a 10-ounce or 17-ounce bowl of soup and told to consume the entire portion. However, unbeknownst to the participants, the bowls actually contained a concealed tube that would either refill or drain the amount of soup that was in the bowl. This meant that those who eaten from the 10-ounce bowl may have actually consumed more and those with the 17-ounce bowl may have eaten less.

As expected, those who consumed more soup reported feeling more full. However, when asked again three hours later, the level of fullness was only dictated by the amount of soup that was believed to be consumed. Regardless of how much soup they really had, those who ate from the 17-ounce bowl reported feeling more stuffed than those that ate from the 10-ounce bowl.

The conclusion definitely seems to suggest that hunger and volume of food consumption is something that is dictated more by our eyes and perception rather than what our stomach actually feels.

New App Acts as a Digital Fitness Coach

Practically everything has gone digital these days. Daily activities like work, corresponding with family and friends, paying bills and making purchases are increasingly being completed in a digital format. It looks like even our health, diet and fitness is taking a digital turn.

A new app is being released in conjunction with a wristband that will help one monitor his health and activity levels. The new app is called Larklife and acts as a digital personal coach that keeps tabs on your fitness level as well as your diet and the amount of sleep you are getting.

Larklife comes with a wristband, which gathers data about activities within your body and transmits the information to your mobile device. The app will let you know if you are not getting enough exercise, are not consuming enough fruits and veggies or if you are not getting in your eight hours of sleep each day.

The app will provide advice throughout the day depending on what you are doing with your body. If you wake up in the morning with minimal sleep, for example, then the app may recommend that you consume an extra helping of protein for breakfast to help improve focus, which is often lacking when someone is fatigued from a poor night’s rest. Likewise, if you complete an intense exercise session, it may advise you to consume extra H2O to stay hydrated. The wristband will even remind you to stand up and stretch if you have been sitting for an extended period of time.

For serious dieters, the app and wristband will record and log your meal times as well as keep track of the foods you consumed and provide advice on the foods you should prepare for your next meal.

Larklife was created with information gathered from a team of experts in the field of fitness, nutrition, sleep and neuroscience.

Yoga for Stress and Back Pain

Most people who work don’t need anyone to tell them that the environment can be stressful. Having to deal with rude customers and a boss that is breathing behind your neck and constantly critiquing you can certainly raise your anxiety levels. Depending on the environment, work can also be bad for your posture. If you work at an office cubicle and sit behind a desk and pound away at a keyboard all day, then your back is going to ache.

While there are all sorts of recommendations for relieving stress in the workplace, one study found that yoga is a good remedy for reducing anxiety and can also combat back pain. The study consisted of 74 workers between the ages of 25 to 64 who reported on a questionnaire that they experience moderate levels of stress and backaches. The participants were divided into two groups, one of which practiced yoga for eight weeks.

The yoga group took a yoga class during their lunch break or right after work once a week. Every participant was asked about their overall well-being after the study. When the research began, 10 in the yoga group reported back pain, compared to eight for the no yoga group. When the study concluded, only four in the yoga group reported back aches, while the number of those with back pain in the control group increased to 13. The yoga group also reported less stress and anxiety than the control group by the end of the study.

While the study definitely provides strong evidence that yoga is a strong stress and back pain reliever, researchers admit that the yoga group may simply feel less stress due to the placebo effect. The majority of the participants were also women, which means that it may not be applicable to men.

Video Games can have a Healthy Impact on Children

Some parents have told their children millions of times that video games will rot their brain. Like watching television or spending hours online, video games have often been linked to weight gain and obesity. While these activities don’t cause an unhealthy lifestyle directly, those who spend more time doing these things tend to spend lesser time exercising or on activities that involve physical movement.

Parents have often been urged to limit their children’s time behind a television screen. However, new research suggests that allowing your children to spend more time playing video games may not actually be a bad thing after all. Video games may actually help to increase the amount of energy your child expends daily.

By video games, the study is referring to games like the Wii, which requires the player to get off the couch and mimic movements on the screen. Children who engage in active video games increase their heart rate and oxygen intake.

The study consisted of 18 children who either played an active video game or a normal one that used a traditional controller with a directional pad and buttons. Those who played the active video games increased their energy expenditure by as high as 263 percent and burned nearly twice as many calories as those who played the traditional games.

While it is unlikely that these types of video games alone is enough to meet a child’s recommended daily physical activity, it can certainly contribute to a child’s physical activity levels in the short run. This is certainly positive news given the fact that obesity among children has skyrocketed within the last three decades. About one-third of children and teens in the U.S. are now classified as overweight or obese.

While playing the Wii may qualify as exercise, children should still be encouraged to get exercise outdoors. Health experts recommend that an hour or so of moderate exercise is ideal for young children and teens.