Posts Tagged ‘science’

Where Does Fat Go?

January 15, 2016

Congratulations! You’ve been working out, watching what you eat and you are starting to see the some reduction in body fat. Great, but where did it actually go?

Common knowledge often subscribes to the theory that we convert the fat to energy and release it as heat, hence the term “burning fat.” A recent study shows that we don’t burn fat, but exhale most of it as carbon dioxide. A small percentage gets released leaves our body through fluids, such as sweat, urine and tears. Its all very scientific, and this video from SciShow explains the process much better than we ever could.

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Dirty Ice

September 7, 2012

Did you ever wonder how clean the ice in a fast food restaurant is?
Jasmine Roberts, a 12 year old from Benito Middle School in New Tampa, Florida certainly did. She chose her 7th grade science project in an effort to find out.

Roberts states: “ My hypothesis was that the fast food restaurant’s ice would contain more bacteria than the fast food restaurant’s toilet water.”

Roberts set out to test her theory, selecting five fast food outlets within a 10-mile radius of the University of South Florida.

In each restaurant, she flushed the toilet once, and used sterile gloves and a sterile beaker to gather water samples.

She asked for cups of ice from both the drive through windows, and the soda fountains inside the restaurants.
The samples were tested at the Moffitt Cancer Center where she volunteers with a USF professor. The results did not surprise her.

Roberts found that 70% of the time, the ice contained more bacteria than the toilet water. YUK!

Her teacher, Mark Danish, was concerned, yet not surprised.

“It does concern me and I think with any restaurant you have to think twice about what you may get there.” Personally, I’d prefer not to think about it at all.

Jasmine Roberts received first place in the regional science fair and won $800 for her project.

Organic Panic?

September 5, 2012

Health researchers at Stanford University released a study this week casting doubt on the advantages of organic meats and produce. While they concluded that most fruits and vegetables labeled organic were not more nutritious than the conventional versions, the jury is still out on whether or not spending extra for organic products is worth it.

Conventional varieties tested did have more pesticide residue on them, but the levels fall within the allowable limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The question lies in whether or not these levels are in fact safe for humans long term.

Many of the key motivators for buying organic foods are the stringent rules governing the farming of these items.

Organic chicken and pork were found to less likely to be contaminated by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The study also found that organic milk contained higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to the heart. Organic produce also had higher levels of phosphorous, and phenols, believed to help prevent cancer.

Organic foods also have less environmental impact than large-scale conventional farming techniques.

More specific studies have found some added benefits to going organic.  A Washington State University study done in 2010 found organic strawberries contained higher levels of vitamin C than their conventionally counterparts.

Three other studies published last year, from Columbia University, The University of California Berkley and Mount Sinai Hospital, showed that children whose mothers ate organically during pregnancy had a higher I.Q. than those whose mother was exposed to higher levels of pesticides.

While this news is likely to spark controversy among farmers and nutrition experts alike, the facts are still somewhat inconclusive.

For children, pregnant women and those with impaired immune systems, the benefits may still out weigh the expense of purchasing organically grown food.

The choice, as always, belongs to the consumer.

photos:Glasshouse Images

Is Sunscreen Harmful?

June 22, 2012

As the temperature rises our thoughts often turn to tanning. For several years, we have been cautioned to protect our skin from harmful UVB rays, by slathering on high SPF sunscreen.

Sunlight provides us with a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is essential in the development of strong bones. It is also thought to protect us against certain cancers, as well as insulin resistance. Sunlight also enables our natural immunity, promotes the growth and healing of our skin, and stimulates hormone production. Medical guidelines suggest that 15-20 minutes of daily sunlight is good for you.

Over the past 30 years, the incidence of melanoma, or skin cancer has increased dramatically. During this period, the use of sunscreens has increased as well. Researchers are wondering if there is a correlation.

Some of the ingredients in sunscreen are potentially toxic. Avoid products containing retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate and avobenzone, which are known to cause lesions when exposed to the sun, and can interfere with hormone receptors in our bodies. Sunscreens with parabans are also not recommended.

It is not known if UVA or UVB rays cause skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to use a broad-spectrum mineral based product that blocks both.

Fortunately, there are other sources of vitamin D. Look to low fat dairy products and supplements to reap the benefits of without the potential harm.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Exercise: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

June 1, 2012

The New York Times ran a story today about the potential negative effects of exercise on a small part of the population.
In analyzing the data from six different rigorous exercise studies involving 1,687 people, about 10% got worse in at least 1 or more measures related to heart disease. These included insulin levels, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

About 7% of those tested showed a decline in 2 or more factors.

The results were not related to age, race or gender. They also were not affected by how fit the people were at the start of the program, or how much their fitness levels improved. There appears to be no correlation between the decline in health measurements and any other factor.

There is great concern that this gives inactive people an excuse not get moving.

While the article is interesting, yet inconclusive, the 300 comments are more fascinating.

Many are questioning the other factors not followed in the study: diet, sodium intake and what type of exercise was done. There is no reference to these individual’s genetics. There is also concern that the subjects were not followed long enough to know what, if any effect this had on mortality rates.

Most agree on one thing: the benefits seem to out weigh the risks. There are many more pieces of research supporting the positive outcome of exercise, than this small study. Perhaps fitness is another place where “one size” does not fit all.

Stay tuned for more on this controversial topic.


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