Fiber is something we need daily in our diet to maintain proper health. In this article, we will discuss what fiber is, why we need it, and how we can have it in our lives. Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It helps our bodies regulate blood sugar and keeps our hunger levels in check. Fiber has many health benefits and we can obtain fiber through food or supplements.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water. It has been shown to lower glucose and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber will not dissolve in water. It helps food to move more quickly through the digestive system and helps to regulate the body and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber keeps an optimal pH level in the intestines by preventing microbes from producing substances that may cause cancer in the colon.
Typically, Americans only consume 15 grams of fiber per day. Recommendations for adult men is 30 to 38 grams per day. Women should consume at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day. The recommendations for children, ages one to eight, is that children should consume at least 19-25 grams of fiber per day. Young teenage boys, under the age of 18, should consume at least 31-38 grams of fiber per day. Girls, under the age of 18, should consume at least 26 grams per day. Today, children can be given fiber gummies for kids to help meet the daily requirement. Adults can also include fiber gummies daily to meet their fiber requirement.
Having fiber in our diets helps reduce the risk of conditions. Daily intake of fiber can protect against heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Type 2 diabetes can be regulated with fiber by controlling blood sugar levels. Diverticular disease, or inflammation of the intestine, and constipation can be controlled with fiber intake by helping to speed up the elimination of toxins in the intestines. Research has been conducted and shows great promise for those who have asthma might have incurred fewer symptoms with increased fiber intake. Increasing fiber will also help to achieve a healthy weight and possibly live a longer life.
Fiber can be found in beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pears, avocados, bananas, beets and carrots and fortified foods such as cereals. Soluble fiber can be found in oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, and apples. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat, brown rice, legumes, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Supplements can be added to daily diets to help increase fiber intake. These supplements can bump up the levels in addition to food consumption.
The ways to obtain more fiber in our diets start with eating breakfast with at least 5 or more grams of fiber per day. Just adding some wheat bran to the morning breakfast cereal or oatmeal will help. Whole grains should be added to the daily diet by having at least 2 grams per serving. This can be switching to whole grain loaves of bread or cereals instead of white loaves of bread or sugared cereals. We should incorporate more legumes, lentils, fruits, and vegetables into our daily diets. It is recommended that at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables should be in our daily diet. Baked foods can be “bulked up,” with using whole grain flours, bran, or oatmeal in place of white flours and helps to increase our fiber intake. Snacking on nuts or dried fruits will also increase fiber intake. With all this increased fiber intake, drinking lots of water is encouraged to help aid the fiber through our systems. This helps to clean our digestive systems of the harmful substances that cause diseases.
By increasing the fiber in our diets, whether through food or supplements, fiber can help regulate our bodies and improve our health. Ideally, getting the proper fiber levels through consuming fiber-rich food is what we should be getting on a daily basis. This can be achieved by concentrating our diets on fiber-rich foods and using supplements as needed to obtain better health.
A new study, published in the journal Cell, showed that the pancreas can be triggered to regenerate itself through a type of fasting diet.
Restoring the function of the pancreas – which helps control blood sugar levels – reversed symptoms of diabetes in animal experiments.
According to the American researchers, the diet reboots the body.
Experts said the findings were “potentially very exciting” as they could become a new treatment for the disease.
People are advised not to try this without medical advice.
In the experiments, mice were put on a modified form of the “fasting-mimicking diet”.
It is like the human form of the diet when people spend five days on a low calorie, low protein, low carbohydrate but high unsaturated-fat diet.
It resembles a vegan diet with nuts and soups, but with around 800 to 1,100 calories a day.
Image source Wikimedia
Then they have 25 days eating what they want – so overall it mimics periods of feast and famine.
Previous research has suggested it can slow the pace of ageing.
However, animal experiments showed the diet regenerated a special type of cell in the pancreas called a beta cell.
These are the cells that detect sugar in the blood and release the hormone insulin if it gets too high.
Dr. Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California, said: “Our conclusion is that by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back – by starving them and then feeding them again – the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning.”
There were benefits in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the mouse experiments.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying beta cells and type 2 is largely caused by lifestyle and the body no longer responding to insulin.
Further tests on tissue samples from people with type 1 diabetes produced similar effects.
Dr. Valter Longo said: “Medically, these findings have the potential to be very important because we’ve shown – at least in mouse models – that you can use diet to reverse the symptoms of diabetes.
“Scientifically, the findings are perhaps even more important because we’ve shown that you can use diet to reprogram cells without having to make any genetic alterations.”
Separate trials of the diet in people have been shown to improve blood sugar levels. The latest findings help to explain why.
However, Dr. Valter Longo said people should not rush off and crash diet.
He said people could “get into trouble” with their health if it was done without medical guidance.
Obesity is a growing problem in the developing world, and different solutions are being explored to combat this. One of these solutions is found in the different forms of weight loss surgery. Thanks to gastric sleeve surgery, for instance, patients can now lose as much as 75% to 80% of their excess body weight. That is a significant amount of weight loss, particularly when you consider that around 75% of total weight loss is achieved in the first year following the procedure itself. And it gets better, so long as a patient doesn’t experience any complications, and strictly follows the guidelines of their physician and nutritionist, they may lose up to 90% of their excess weight just five years after having had the surgery.
The Benefits of Rapid Weight Loss
We are often told that rapid weight loss is not good for us. While this is true in regular, healthy individuals, it isn’t for the obese. By quickly lowering their weight so that they fall in a normal range of BMI, they made sure that they reduce their chances of development many other diseases, some of which are fatal. Common diseases associated with obesity include:
Shortness of breath.
All of these can be fully resolved by losing weight. Additionally, sustained weight loss prevents people from developing dangerous diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and more. One study looked at 500 individual patients, and it was found that, in 96% of cases, other health conditions were resolved or improved.
Although the gastric sleeve is a procedure that has the potential to save lives, it is not one without risk. Around one in every 300 people who have the procedure will die as a result of surgery. Often, this is due to various complications. This is why the surgery will only be offered to those with a low complications rate, or to those who are so severely obese that they have started to develop dangerous comorbidity disorders like heart problems or type 2 diabetes.
Once you have had surgery, you have to take it easy for a while. You must make sure that the incision site is properly protected. This means, for instance, no heavy lifting for a while, as this could rupture the wound. At the same time, you must remember that you have had surgery, which means there are wounds, and wounds can become infected. Making sure you protect yourself from that is hugely important. Proper hygiene is vital, and some people have even asked people not to enter their homes until they have washed their hands with an alcohol rub. This may seem a bit excessive, but if there is any reason why you may be at increased risk of infection, it may be necessary while your wounds heal.
When reading through potential complications, it often sounds as if the entire procedure is a bad idea (have you ever read the side effects on any medication?). However, if a surgeon agrees that you are a good candidate, it means that the benefits of the surgery by far outweigh the potential risks.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes now affects nearly one in 11 adults.
In a major report, the WHO warned cases had nearly quadrupled to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980.
High blood sugar levels are a major killer – linked to 3.7 million deaths around the world each year, it says.
WHO officials said the numbers would continue to increase unless “drastic action” was taken.
The report lumps both type 1 and type 2 diabetes together, but the surge in cases is predominantly down to type 2 – the form closely linked to poor lifestyle.
As the world’s waistlines have ballooned – with one-in-three people now overweight, so too has the number of diabetes cases.
Failing to control levels of sugar in the blood has devastating health consequences.
Diabetes triples the risk of a heart attack and leaves people 20 times more likely to have a leg amputated, as well as increasing the risk of stroke, kidney failure, blindness and complications in pregnancy.
The disease itself is the eighth biggest killer in the world, accounting for 1.5 million deaths each year.
A further 2.2 million deaths are linked to high blood sugar levels. And 43% of the deaths were before the age of 70.
In the 1980s the highest rates were found in affluent countries.
In a remarkable transformation, it is now low and middle income countries bearing the largest burden.
The Middle East has seen the prevalence of diabetes soar from 5.9% of adults in 1980 to 13.7% in 2014.
More than three quarters of teenagers in the region are doing less than the recommended level of exercise.
The WHO report said the solution required the whole of society to act.
It is only by keeping blood sugar levels in check that the deadly complications of the disease can be contained.
The report showed that two thirds of low income countries were not able to provide blood sugar monitors or drugs such as insulin or metformin for most people.
A research in the journal Plos Medicine suggests glitazone, a type of diabetes drug, may offer a glimmer of hope in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.
According to scientists, people taking glitazone pills were less likely to develop Parkinson’s than patients on other diabetes drugs.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes shaking, rigidity and dementia.
Glitazones is the nickname for a group of drugs used to treat type 2 diaetes, like Actos (pioglitazone) or Avandia (rosiglitazone).
However, they caution the drugs can have serious side-effects and should not be given to healthy people.
Instead, they suggest the findings should prompt further research.
The latest study focuses solely on people with diabetes who did not have Parkinson’s disease at the beginning of the project.
Researchers scoured UK electronic health records to compare 44,597 people prescribed glitazone pills with 120,373 people using other anti-diabetic treatment.
They matched participants to ensure their age and stage of diabetes treatment were similar.
Scientists found fewer people developed Parkinson’s in the glitazone group – but the drug did not have a long-lasting benefit. Any potential protection disappeared once patients switched to another type of pill.
Dr. Ian Douglas, lead researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “We often hear about negative side-effects associated with medications, but sometimes there can also be unintended beneficial effects.
“Our findings provide unique evidence that we hope will drive further investigation into potential drug treatments for Parkinson’s disease.”
Dr. Ian Douglas suggests such therapies would be most useful in the earliest stages of the disease when there is little damage to nerves.
However, as glitazone drugs have previously been linked to serious heart and bladder problems, scientists caution that healthy people should not take the drugs.
B.B. King has been hospitalized for a diabetes-related issue, TMZ reports.
B.B. King, 89, was rushed to hospital in Las Vegas over the weekend as a result of dehydration.
The legendary blues musician has suffered from Type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years. His camp has not issued a statement yet.
In October 2014, B.B. King was forced to cancel a number of concerts after falling ill. During a performance in St. Louis, fans began to leave early because of B.B. King’s reported erratic performance.
Shortly thereafter, B.B. King announced that he was cancelling the remaining eight shows to focus on his health.
According to a large-scale study conducted by researchers at Cardiff University, type 2 diabetes patients treated with metformin live longer than people without the disease.
The surprising benefits of metformin could be expanded for use in non-diabetics.
The study was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Metformin’s attributes had been circulating within the scientific community, and the findings of the Cardiff University study not only build on its benefits but are of particular interest due to the massive sample size of 180,000 participants.
Researchers compared survival rates of type 2 diabetes patients taking metformin, a first-line therapy, with those of patients on a less-prescribed diabetes drug called sulphonylurea, known for undesirable side effects such as weight gain and hypoglycemia.
“What we found was illuminating,” said lead author Prof. Craig Currie from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine.
According to Dr. Craig Currie, patients undergoing metformin treatment exhibited small yet statistically important survival increases by comparison to non-diabetics.
As for those treated with sulphonylureas, their rate of survival was consistently reduced when compared to that of non-diabetics.
Researchers used data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, representing around 10% of the UK population.
They identified 78,241 patients who were prescribed metformin as a first-line therapy and 12,222 patients prescribed a sulphonylurea as a first-line therapy.
Each patient was then compared to a non-diabetic.
Patients with type 2 diabetes are often forced to resort to more aggressive treatment options as their disease progresses, so a long life expectancy is no guarantee, although Dr. Craig Currie plans to concoct a long-term treatment plan for diabetics to circumvent this transition.
Metformin is a cheap drug and has exhibited preventative capabilities in the domains of cancer and cardiac disease.
Dr. Craig Currie points out that it can prevent those at risk for diabetes from actually developing the disease and he says his findings indicate that the drug could be beneficial for those with type 1 diabetes.
A large international study suggests that type 2 diabetes is more common in people who work shifts.
The findings, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, indicated men and those doing rotating shifts were at highest risk.
It is thought that disruption to the body clock affects waistlines, hormones and sleep – which could increase the risk.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to blindness, increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as damaging nerves and blood vessels – dramatically increasing the risk of a foot needing to be amputated.
Studies in a sleep laboratories have shown that making people snooze at the wrong time of day led to the early stages of type 2 diabetes developing within weeks.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who work shifts
Now an analysis of data from 226,652 people strengthens the link with type 2 diabetes.
The study, by researchers at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, showed shift workers were 9% more likely to have type 2 diabetes.
But in men, the figure was 35%. For people chopping and changing between day and night shifts, the risk increased by 42%.
The researchers said: “The result suggests that male shift workers should pay more attention to the prevention of diabetes.
“Given the increasing prevalence of shift work worldwide and the heavy economic burden of diabetes, the results of our study provide practical and valuable clues for the prevention of diabetes.”
Possible explanations include shift work disrupting sleeping and eating patterns. One idea is that eating late at night makes the body more prone to store the energy as fat, increasing the risk of obesity and in turn type 2 diabetes.
The increased risk in men could be down to changes in levels of male hormones, it has been suggested.
Also, because the studies are looking at only one snapshot in time it is impossible to say definitively that shift work causes diabetes as other factors could be at play.
The type of person more prone to type 2 diabetes may be more likely to become a shift worker.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs statins may have fewer side-effects than claimed, researchers say.
Researchers’ review of 83,880 patients, published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, indicated an increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
But it suggested reports of increases in nausea, muscle ache, insomnia and fatigue were actually inaccurate.
A team at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London analyzed data from 29 clinical trials.
They suggested statins did reduce deaths, but contributed to a high rate of type-2 diabetes. One in five new cases of diabetes in people on statins was a direct result of taking the drugs.
Statins may have fewer side-effects than claimed
Their analysis suggested other side-effects appeared at a similar rate in people taking statins and those given dummy (placebo) pills.
One of the researchers, Dr. Judith Finegold, said: “We clearly found that many patients in these trials – whose patients are usually well-motivated volunteers who didn’t know if they were getting a real or placebo tablet – that many did report side-effects while taking placebo.
“In the general population, where patients are being prescribed a statin for an asymptomatic condition, why would it be surprising that even higher rates of side-effects are reported?
“Most people in the general population, if you repeatedly ask them a detailed questionnaire, will not feel perfectly well in every way on every day.
“Why should they suddenly feel well when taking a tablet after being warned of possible adverse effects?”
A new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that eating more fruit, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes, is linked to a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Blueberries cut the risk by 26% compared with 2% for three servings of any whole fruit – but fruit juice did not appear to have the same effect.
The research looked at the diets of more than 187,000 people in the US.
Researchers from the UK, US and Singapore used data from three large studies of nurses and health professionals in the US to examine the link between fruit consumption and the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes.
In these studies, 6.5% of participants (12,198 out of 187,382) developed type-2 diabetes.
The studies used food frequency questionnaires to follow up the participants every four years, asking how often, on average, they ate a standard portion of each fruit.
The fruits used in the study were grapes or raisins, peaches, plums or apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples or pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and blueberries.
The researchers’ analysis of the data showed that three servings per week of blueberries, grapes and raisins, and apples and pears significantly reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes.
Eating more fruit, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes, is linked to a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes
While all fruit was shown to reduce the risk, these fruits appeared to be particularly effective.
The researchers said this could be due to the fact these fruits contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have been shown to enhance glucose uptake in mice. The same fruits contain naturally-occurring polyphenols which are known to have beneficial effects.
In the study paper, they wrote: “Fruits have highly variable contents of fibre, antioxidants, other nutrients, and phytochemicals that jointly may influence the risk.”
But the glycaemic load of different types of fruit – the quality and quantity of carbohydrate they contain – did not fully explain the results, the study said.
When they looked at the effects of fruit juice consumption, the researchers found a slightly increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
The study calculated that replacing weekly fruit juice consumption with whole fruits could bring health benefits.
For example, replacing fruit juice with blueberries could reduce the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes by 33%, with grapes and raisins by 19%, apples and pears by 13% – and with any combination of whole fruit by 7%.
Replacing fruit juice with oranges, peaches, plums and apricots had a similar effect.
Qi Sun, study author and assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health, said, in general, fruit juices contained less of the beneficial compounds found in whole fruits.
“The juicing process gets rid of the fruit, just leaving fluids which are absorbed more quickly, causing blood sugars and insulin levels to rise if they contain sugars.
“To try to minimize the risk of type-2 diabetes as much as possible it is reasonable to reduce fruit juice consumption and increase consumption of whole fruits.”
Experts say the best way to reduce your risk of developing type-2 diabetes is to eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables and to be as physically active as possible.
Diabetes drug metformin has anti-ageing effects and extends the life of male mice, a new research suggests.
Scientists believe metformin may mimic the effects of extreme calorie restriction.
This regime, which is based on eating a very low calorie diet, is thought to promote healthy ageing.
The human implications of the study are unclear, the researchers report in the journal, Nature Communications.
Rafael de Cabo, of the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore, Maryland, said calorie restriction in laboratory animals had been shown to increase their lifespan.
His team is searching for interventions – such as a drug – that can mimic these effects.
Diabetes drug metformin has anti-ageing effects and extends the life of male mice
Metformin is one of the most widely prescribed treatments for type-2 diabetes, which occurs mainly in people above the age of 40. It is also used to treat metabolic syndrome, a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Previous work has shown that metformin can extend the lifespan of simple organisms such as worms, but studies in flies and mammals have given conflicting evidence.
The scientists gave one of two different doses of metformin to middle-aged male mice and found that lower doses increased lifespan by about 5%, and also delayed the onset of age-associated diseases. But they said the higher dose of metformin was toxic and reduced the lifespan of mice.
Further studies were needed to determine if metformin has any effect on human health and lifespan, said Dr. Rafael de Cabo.
“These are very promising results that need to be translated to humans via clinical studies,” he said.
He said the best current advice was to eat a good diet and exercise.
“Right now the best that we can say is probably what your grandmother told you,” Dr. Rafael de Cabo.
“Eat a good diet and exercise are the only two things that we know for sure that they work very well in humans.”
Express Solicitors have begun legal proceedings against British pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline after a number of individuals have been seriously affected by the drug Avandia.
The diabetes drug Avandia was first introduced on to the NHS in the year 2000 and was used primarily to treat people with type 2 diabetes whose glucose levels were not being kept properly under control by the everyday, already in use drugs – a sulphonylurea drug and metformin. Avandia was created to lessen the body’s resistance towards insulin and could be used alone or together with metformin, which is also known as Avandamet.
The drug was banned in 2010 after ten years, due to very serious health concerns surrounding it. The health concerns connected with the drug were issues such as heart failure and heart attacks after a US scientist carried out clinical trials on 28,000 different people.
GSK (a company who produces and sells a large range of prescription and over the counter medicines) faces legal action due to a number of instances where the drug Avandia was prescribed to patients eight weeks subsequent to the European medicines regulator ordering it to be removed. The pharmaceutical firm also admitted to covering up any data which showed the drugs damaging side effects. The National Health Service is too facing difficulties of the same sort for the marketing and sale of the drug even after its ban in Europe.
Since the discovery of Avandia’s side effects, thousands of families have come forward demanding compensation for the death or harm of a close relative but only the US claimants have prevailed. GSK have agreed since to pay out billions of dollars to the US government to cover and settle any claims from people in the US.
However, despite the pharmaceutical company being of British origin, UK families may not be quite as well off, as GSK are not prepared to pay out without a fight to defend themselves. Whilst claimants in the US got it relatively easy, fighters in the UK will be faced with having to produce evidence such as medical expert opinions and reports to stand up in court.
Express Solicitors in Manchester are at present representing four families, with a further 15 on its books and are offering a “no win, no fee” basis for anyone affected by the drug.
Some statins, drugs taken to protect the heart, may increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, according to researchers in Canada.
Their study of 1.5 million people, in the British Medical Journal, suggested powerful statins could increase the risk by 22% compared with weaker drugs.
Atorvastatin was linked to one extra case of diabetes for every 160 patients treated.
Experts said the benefits of statins still outweighed any risks.
Powerful statins increase type 2 diabetes risk by 22 percent
Statins are a group of commonly prescribed drugs that lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. This reduces the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
A team of researchers from hospitals in Toronto said there had been controversy around the risk of diabetes with different statins.
They looked at medical records of 1.5 million people over the age of 66 and compared the incidence of diabetes between people taking different statins.
Their report said: “We found that patients treated with atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, or simvastatin were at increased risk of new onset diabetes compared with those treated with pravastatin.
“Clinicians should consider this risk when they are contemplating statin treatment for individual patients.
“Preferential use of pravastatin… might be warranted.”
Commenting on the study, Prof. Risto Huupponen and Prof. Jorma Viikari, from the University of Turku, in Finland, said: “The overall benefit of statins still clearly outweighs the potential risk of diabetes.”
However, they said, the different statins should be targeted at the right patients.
They said: “The most potent statins, at least in higher doses, should preferably be reserved for patients who do not respond to low-potency treatment, but have a high total risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Researchers have found that a certain type of bacteria that live in the gut have been used to reverse obesity and Type-2 diabetes in animal studies.
Research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that a broth containing a single species of bacteria could dramatically alter the health of obese mice.
It is thought to change the gut lining and the way food is absorbed.
Similar tests now need to take place in people to see if the same bacteria can be used to shed the pounds.
The human body is teeming with bacteria – the tiny organisms outnumber human cells in the body 10 to one.
And there is growing evidence that this collection of bacteria or “microbiome” affects health.
Studies have shown differences between the types and numbers of bacteria in the guts of lean and obese people.
Researchers have found that a certain type of bacteria that live in the gut have been used to reverse obesity and Type-2 diabetes in animal studies
Meanwhile gastric bypass operations have been shown to change the balance of bacteria in the gut.
Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, worked with a single species of bacteria Akkermansia muciniphila. It normally makes up 3-5% of gut bacteria, but its levels fall in obesity.
Mice on a high fat diet – which led them to put on two to three times more fat than normal, lean, mice – were fed the bacteria.
The mice remained bigger than their lean cousins, but had lost around half of their extra weight despite no other changes to their diet.
They also had lower levels of insulin resistance, a key symptom of Type-2 diabetes.
Prof. Patrice Cani, from the Catholic University of Louvain, said: “Of course it is an improvement, we did not completely reverse the obesity, but it is a very strong decrease in the fat mass.
“It is the first demonstration that there is a direct link between one specific species and improving metabolism.”
Adding the bacteria increased the thickness of the gut’s mucus barrier, which stops some material passing from the gut to the blood. It also changed the chemical signals coming from the digestive system – which led to changes in the way fat was processed elsewhere in the body.
Similar results were achieved by adding a type of fiber to diets which led to an increase in the levels of Akkermansia muciniphila.
Prof. Patrice Cani said it was “surprising” that just one species, out of the thousands in the gut, could have such an effect.
He said this was a “first step” towards “eventually using these bacteria as prevention or treatment of obesity and Type-2 diabetes” and that some form of bacteria-based therapy would be used “in the near future”.
Government guidelinessay adults should do at least two and a half hours of moderate activity each week – or one and a quarter hours of vigorous activity – or a combination of the two.
It can be confusing, but that alone probably doesn’t explain why only a third of adults are meeting the recommended amounts.
Much of the research on health recommendations comes from the American College of Sports Medicine, which has been studying levels of public fitness since the 1950s.
The World Health Organization also says physical inactivity is the fourth largest contributor to global deaths, and increases risk of some cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
The UK guidelines were drawn up in 1994, after several national surveys found low levels of activity were contributing to poor health.
But there’s an inherent tension in giving public health advice.
Broad advice can be sold in a single message, but nuance is harder to convey.
Stuart Biddle, professor of physical activity at Loughborough University helped to write the UK guidelines.
He says: “The debate was really around not so much whether the science showed physical activity was good for health, but to come up with sensible and evidence-based guidelines such as how much exercise, how often should we do it, can we break it up into smaller bouts, and it’s really that which was probably the most contentious.”
Few people know how much exercise is recommended
One of his colleagues, Jamie Timmons has been researching high intensity training, and whether health improvements can be found with just three minutes of exercise per week.
“During this year we’ve learned that while regular exercise will reduce your chance of developing or progressing to Type 2 diabetes, it was always expected that would also benefit your cardiovascular system,” he said.
“What we’ve now seen is a major US trial stopped early because essentially there was no benefit.”
He goes on to point out: “The guidelines are really based on one type of evidence – that’s epidemiology – and it’s not really the strongest level of science for cause and effect association.
“People who report that they do more physical activity seem to be better off.
“The question is if you take one individual and put them on a training programme, what benefits can they expect?”
Sir Liam Donaldson was chief medical officer for England from 1998-2010 and introduced the “five-a-day” fruit and vegetable message in 2003.
The following year he called for adults to exercise at least five times a week and suggested that household tasks could count as physical activity.
“At the time, I don’t think it was [oversimplified]. It may have come across as rather rigid.
“But by trying to be flexible and mentioning the housework and the gardening we ended up being lampooned a bit and that’s never good whenever you’re trying to get a serious message across.”
Has it worked?
“I don’t think there was significant progress, no. I do see public health as a long term business and so getting the evidence out – I do see that as a proper achievement.”
The same could be true in the US, where it’s claimed one in three Americans is obese.
Carol Garber, a vice-president of the American College of Sports Medicine, says guidelines could be better understood.
“Part of it is that they are complicated, the other is that we’ve not done a very good job of getting the information out to people in a way that it’s easy to understand and that they can take and implement it in their daily lives.”
The UK guidelines have now been updated to include specific advice for age-groups, strength training and avoiding sedentary behavior – the “silent killer” of sitting in a chair for several hours each day.
The Department of Health says: “Being active can help protect against heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer which is why we have guidance on physical activity tailored to each age group.”
The message to be active is broadly understood, but the other crucial thing – to get up and move around as often as possible – is largely ignored.
“Twenty Plus” campaign: 20 seconds of intense activity when you can (running up stairs, cycling like crazy for short bursts on your bike), a minimum of 20 minutes of walking every day, and no more than 20 minutes of sitting at your computer or in front of TV without getting up and moving around.
Post-menopausal women who have Type 2 diabetes appear to have a 27% greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts say.
An international team, writing in the British Journal of Cancer, examined 40 separate studies looking at the potential link between breast cancer and diabetes.
Being obese or overweight is linked to both conditions.
But cancer experts say there may be a direct connection between the two.
These studies involved more than 56,000 women with breast cancer.
Post-menopausal women with Type 2 diabetes had a 27% increased risk of breast cancer.
But there was no link for pre-menopausal women or those with Type 1 diabetes.
The authors have also suggested that a high body mass index (BMI), which is often associated with diabetes, may be an underlying contributing factor.
Prof. Peter Boyle, president of the International Prevention Research Institute, who led the study, said: “We don’t yet know the mechanisms behind why Type 2 diabetes might increase the risk of breast cancer.
“On the one hand, it’s thought that being overweight, often associated with Type 2 diabetes, and the effect this has on hormone activity may be partly responsible for the processes that lead to cancer growth.
“But it’s also impossible to rule out that some factors related to diabetes may be involved in the process.”
People of South Asian, African or African Caribbean descent living in UK are significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than their European counterparts, British researchers have warned.
Half had developed the disease by the age of 80 in a study of 4,200 people living in London – approximately twice the figure for Europeans.
The researchers said the rates were “astonishingly high”.
The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.
People of South Asian, African or African Caribbean descent living in UK are significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than their European counterparts
Losing control of blood sugar levels increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputations. Type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle and diet.
Some ethnic groups are already known to have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, one of the researchers at Imperial College London, Dr. Therese Tillin, said it may be down to them simply getting the disease earlier in their lives and the figures would even out over time.
But the study showed: “The rates don’t slow down as you get older. The astonishing difference continues,” Dr. Therese Tillin said.
She warned this could be a sign of things to come with the potential for soaring levels of diabetes around the world as more people lived in cities and enjoyed a calorie-rich diet.
The scientists involved said that fat, particularly around the waist, could explain some, but not all of the difference, between the ethnicities.
Fellow researcher, Dr. Nish Chaturvedi, said genetics could not explain the difference either as there were similar levels of “risky genes” across all groups.
She said: “There is something else that puts them at higher risk and we’re not sure what that is.”
Dr. Mike Knapton, from the British Heart Foundation and a GP, said: “Awareness is really low considering the magnitude of the problem, even I’m surprised by the figures.”
He also warned that failing to deal with diabetes would have huge financial consequences for the NHS.
The director of research at Diabetes UK, Dr. Iain Frame, said it was “even more important” for people at high risk to manage their weight.
He said: “People from these communities should be screened earlier than the general population – from the age of 25 rather than 40.
“People need to know their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and get diagnosed as early as possible. We know that people from South Asian backgrounds can often be living with the condition for around 10 years before they are diagnosed, which increases the risk of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.”
A new study suggests that an “early and aggressive” approach to people on the cusp of developing Type 2 diabetes is justified to reduce cases of the disease.
People with “pre-diabetes” have higher than normal blood sugar which has not yet reached diabetic levels.
A US study, published in the Lancet, showed restoring normal sugar levels more than halved the numbers going on to Type 2 diabetes.
Experts said the findings were clinically important.
It is thought that 7 million people have pre-diabetes in the UK and 79 million in the US. They are at heightened risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Many are undiagnosed.
A new study suggests that an "early and aggressive" approach to people on the cusp of developing Type 2 diabetes is justified to reduce cases of the disease
Some measures, such as weight loss and more exercise, can reverse pre-diabetes. The study, by the US Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, tried to determine how effective the treatment was at preventing Type 2 diabetes.
It followed 1,990 people with pre-diabetes. Some were being treated through drugs or lifestyle change, others were not.
It showed patients who reduced their blood sugar levels to normal, even briefly, were 56% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes during the six years of the study.
Lead author Dr. Leigh Perreault, from the University of Colorado, said: “This analysis draws attention to the significant long-term reduction in diabetes risk when someone with pre-diabetes returns to normal glucose regulation, supporting a shift in the standard of care to early and aggressive glucose-lowering treatment in patients at highest risk.”
Dr. Natalia Yakubovich, from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, said the “findings clearly suggest” that restoring normal blood sugar levels was “of clinical relevance”.
She added: “Identification of regression to normal glucose regulation could be an important way to stratify people into those at higher and lower risk of progression to diabetes.
“Such stratification could therefore identify individuals for whom additional treatment might be needed to prevent diabetes or to slow down disease progression.”