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Diet & Lifestyle

Things to do with beer

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On my morning walk through the Internet, I stumbled across this.

Here's my favorite (although it's hard to pick just one):
According to Andrew Lopez, a professional gardener, the fermented sugars in beer stimulate plant growth and kill fungi. He recommends spraying either home brew or Rolling Rock (both are chemical-free) on those annoying brown spots in your lawn. (Either that, or just stop peeing there.) "The grass will absorb the sugar in the beer and draw energy from it," Lopez explains.
Via John Scalzi's By The Way blog.

Long-term study shows Atkins diet is best

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Despite the best efforts of the nutrition community, the Atkins diet racks up more scientific support:

Overweight women on the Atkins plan lost more weight over a year than those on the low-carb Zone diet. And they had slightly better blood pressure and cholesterol readings than those on the Zone; the very low-fat, high-carb Ornish diet, and a low-fat, high-carb diet similar to U.S. government guidelines.

Stanford University researcher Christopher Gardner, the lead author, said the study shows that Atkins may be more healthful than critics contend.

. . .
At the end, Atkins women had slightly higher levels of HDL cholesterol, the good kind, and slightly lower blood pressure than those on the other three diets. Gardner said differences in weight loss likely contributed to those results.
As is usual in modern journalism when the conclusion disagrees with the conventional wisdom, the article spends more time trying to discount the findings of the study than it does reporting the study's findings.

Wheat makes you stupid

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From Science Daily:
Mayo Clinic researchers have uncovered a new link between celiac disease, a digestive condition triggered by consumption of gluten, and dementia or other forms of cognitive decline. The investigators' case series analysis -- an examination of medical histories of a group of patients with a common problem -- of 13 patients will be published in the October issue of Archives of Neurology.

"There has been very little known about this connection between celiac disease and cognitive decline until now," says Keith Josephs, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and study investigator. "This is the largest case series to date of patients demonstrating cognitive decline within two years of the onset of celiac disease symptom onset or worsening."

Says Joseph Murray, M.D., Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and study investigator, "There has been a fair amount written before about celiac disease and neurological issues like peripheral neuropathy (nerve problems causing numbness or pain) or balance problems, but this degree of brain problem -- the cognitive decline we've found here -- has not been recognized before. I was not expecting there would be so many celiac disease patients with cognitive decline."
No more Wheaties, Wheat Beer, shredded wheat, bread, . . . (I'm being facetious, of course.  At least I think so.  I'm so confused!)

Coffee good. Very good.

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Early in the morning, I really need some help getting started.

Help spelled c-o-f-f-e-e.

The New York Times (via the South Dakota Politics blog) confirms the black goodness which is coffee:

Coffee is not usually thought of as health food, but a number of recent studies suggest that it can be a highly beneficial drink. Researchers have found strong evidence that coffee reduces the risk of several serious ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

Among them is a systematic review of studies published last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which concluded that habitual coffee consumption was consistently associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Exactly why is not known, but the authors offered several explanations.

Coffee contains antioxidants that help control the cell damage that can contribute to the development of the disease. It is also a source of chlorogenic acid, which has been shown in animal experiments to reduce glucose concentrations.

Caffeine, perhaps coffee’s most famous component, seems to have little to do with it; studies that looked at decaffeinated coffee alone found the same degree of risk reduction.

Larger quantities of coffee seem to be especially helpful in diabetes prevention. In a report that combined statistical data from many studies, researchers found that people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day had a 28 percent reduced risk compared with people who drank two or fewer. Those who drank more than six had a 35 percent risk reduction.

Fat folk say they're eating ok

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Survey shows most obese people say they're eating healthy:
ATLANTA - More than three-quarters of obese Americans say they have healthy eating habits, according to a survey of more than 11,000 people.

About 40 percent of obese people also said they do "vigorous" exercise at least three times a week, the telephone survey found.

"There is, perhaps, some denial going on. Or there is a lack of understanding of what does it mean to be eating healthy, and what is vigorous exercise," said Dr. David Schutt of Thomson Medstat, the Michigan-based health-care research firm that conducted the survey.
Explanation #1:  fat people are lazy, they lie, and are not good people.  We hate them.

Alternative Explanation:  "Eating healthy" doesn't work and is the root cause of the obesity epidemic.

Coffee and Alcohol

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Good news for those drinking way, way, way too much beer to stave off cancer!

CNN reports that coffee limits liver damage from too much alcohol.

"Coffee is a complex substance with many potentially biologically active ingredients," the study said. "The fact that coffee is also frequently taken with added cream, milk, sugar or other substances adds more possibilities for health effects."

Other studies with similar findings have led to speculation that caffeine could play a role. However, the protective effect was not found among tea drinkers, though the authors said they were not nearly as numerous in the study as coffee users.

First beer, now pizza fights cancer

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Previously reported here, beer fights cancer. Now we learn (according to BBC News):
Italian researchers say eating pizza could protect against cancer.

Researchers claim eating pizza regularly reduced the risk of developing oesophageal cancer by 59%.

The risk of developing colon cancer also fell by 26% and mouth cancer by 34%, they claimed.

The secret could be lycopene, an antioxidant chemical in tomatoes, which is thought to offer some protection against cancer, and which gives the fruit its traditional red colour.

Who knew that all those late nights in college were so healthy?

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt.

Fight Cancer! Drink Beer!

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Yahoo News Reports!

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A main ingredient in beer may help prevent prostate cancer and enlargement, according to a new study. But researchers say don't rush out to stock the refrigerator because the ingredient is present in such small amounts that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to benefit.

Oregon State University researchers say the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a specific protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland.

The protein acts like a signal switch that turns on a variety of animal and human cancers, including prostate cancer.

Geez, 17 beers is a bit much though for a single dosage. maybe you can spread them out over a few days and still get the benefit?

Lileks Celebrates June

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James Lileks, that is . . . intrepid columnist for some Minnesota newspaper or another . . . and just generally odd in that unique Minnesota way . . .

When everyone comes home from soccer and grocery shopping you do this and that and putter around, and everyone stays up a bit too late, and your kid can’t get to sleep because she’s exciting about the plane trip she’s taking this Friday. You will not be going. You will be staying home for R & R and other duties both small and unavoidable. You don’t mind. But right now you have to write something, so: the laptop goes on the kitchen table, the evening cigar is lit, the cordial poured, the DVD popped in the player so you can look at the menu screen for “24” and be reminded that the rote joys of the night are still ahead. A little popcorn, a little pudding, some bad guys shot by the Inerrant Gun of St. Jack the Brave, and then bed. Thursdays are always good; this should be no exception. And it’s June!

The Appendix

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OK So I'm Not Really A Cowboy meditates upon the (supposed) uselessness of the appendix:

The gut is a highly specialized and complex organ system. It has its own separate nervous system, an amazing range of hormonal functionality, forms an important part of the immune system, and, of course, digests our food. The appendix has lost the latter function, but retained the rest. Which doesn’t necessarily make it an important part of the body, just means that it’s only truly vestigial in one respect.