Health Bites

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 6:53pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 6:57pm

High-protein weight loss a matter of balance

Scientists have shown that instead of counting calories for weight loss, we should boost the protein content of our diet. Nutritional values of foods are typically given in kilojoules or kilocalories, standard units of energy. But new research on apes and monkeys suggests that this is too simplistic as different macronutrients interact to regulate appetite and energy intake. In these animals, overall energy intake is less important than achieving the correct nutritional balance, Professor David Raubenheimer from the University of Sydney, a nutritional ecologist, says. "Many foods are unbalanced and have a higher or lower proportion of protein to carbohydrate than the animal requires. To obtain the right amount of protein the animal may have to over- or under-eat fats and carbohydrates, says Raubenheimer.

High cholesterol link with breast cancer risk

An association between high blood cholesterol and breast cancer has been found in a study of more than one million patients during a 14-year period in Britain. The research was presented at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting was organised by the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Science of the European Society of Cardiology in collaboration with 13 European cardiovascular science societies. Dr Rahul Potluri, founder of the ACALM Study Unit and lead author, says: "Our preliminary study suggests that women with high cholesterol in their blood may be at greater risk of getting breast cancer. It raises the possibility of preventing breast cancer with statins, which lower cholesterol, but as this is a primitive study, significant time and research is needed before this idea can be tested." Over the past few years, population studies have suggested an association between obesity and breast cancer. Last year a study in mice concluded that lowering circulating cholesterol or interfering with its metabolism may be used to prevent or treat breast cancer.

Let your friends sing your praises

Being open to positive remarks from friends and family is important for self-esteem, according to researchers at Waterloo University and Wilfrid Laurier University. The study, which involved 113 undergraduate students with a mean age of 20.3, indicates that self-esteem is in some way a choice, based on an affinity for the positive. Overly negative views, they say, spark a chain reaction in which rejection from a lover or potential employer can be interpreted as trail markers along the path to worthlessness. "People with low self-esteem want their loved ones to see them as they see themselves," says Professor Denise Marigold, from Renison University College at Waterloo, and lead author of the study. "As such, they are often resistant to their friends' reminders of how positively they see them and reject what we call positive reframing-expressions of optimism and encouragement for bettering their situation."