Calcium supplements have no effect on weight, study says
People who eat more dairy products have lower weights and seem to lose weight more easily, several observational studies published in recent years have suggested. But new research - perhaps the best study to date on the issue - found that calcium supplements have no effect on weight. The study involved 340 obese or overweight adults, most of whom were women. They were assigned to take either 1,500 milligrams of calcium or a placebo with meals for two years. After the two years were up, there were no differences between the two groups in terms of total body weight or body fat mass. The dairy diet has been an especially popular topic in recent years, heavily promoted by the dairy industry. Some scientists had suggested that calcium can combine with fatty acids in the intestine to form insoluble soaps that are not absorbed. Others theorized that low calcium intake in the diet leads to more fat deposits. But the new study, by researchers at the Office of Dietary Supplements and Intramural Research at the National Institutes of Health, cast serious doubt on those ideas.
- Los Angeles Times
Gluten allergies may be linked to changes in American diet
A Minnesota study using frozen blood samples taken from Air Force recruits 50 years ago has found that intolerance to wheat gluten, a debilitating digestive condition, is four times more common today than it was in the 1950s. The findings contradict the prevailing belief that a sharp increase in diagnoses of wheat gluten intolerance has come about because of greater awareness and detection, and raises questions about whether dramatic changes in the American diet have played a role. "It's become much more common," said Dr. Andrew Murray, the Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist who led the study. No one knows why, he said, but one reason might be rapid changes in eating habits and food processing over the last half century. "Fifty years is way too fast for human genetics to have changed," Murray said. "Which tells us it has to be a pervasive environmental influence." Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota who conducted the study also found that the recruits who had the undiagnosed digestive condition, called Celiac disease, also had a fourfold increase in the risk of death. Today an estimated 1 out of 100 people suffer from the inherited disorder, though most of the time people don't know they have it.
Skip the flip-flops when heading for a long walk
Summer has officially arrived. And that means it's time to break out the flip-flops. Or is it? According to the American College of Sports Medicine, wearing flip-flops as primary footwear is harmful to your feet and legs. Though they may seem comfortable, flip-flops lack the support that sneakers and other shoes give you. Then there's all the extra work you have to do to keep them on your feet. The ACSM found that flip-flops force people to change their gait, which may explain the foot and leg pain that comes from wearing them for too long. This doesn't mean you should never wear flip-flops - just not all the time or when walking long distances. And replace them often, the ACSM says. But in the end, when it comes to sneakers and flip-flops, sneakers are the better choice.
- The Washington Post