Tag Archives: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Fasting Diets Are Gaining Acceptance

Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging in Maryland, has not had breakfast in 35 years. Most days he practices a form of fasting — skipping lunch, taking a midafternoon run, and then eating all of his daily calories (about 2,000) in a six-hour window starting in the afternoon.

“Once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal,” said Dr. Mattson, chief of the institute’s laboratory of neurosciences. “I’m not hungry at all in the morning, and this is other people’s experience as well. It’s just a matter of getting adapted to it.”

In a culture in which it’s customary to eat three large meals a day while snacking from morning to midnight, the idea of regularly skipping meals may sound extreme. But in recent years intermittent fasting has been gaining popular attention and scientific endorsement.

It has been promoted in best-selling books and endorsed by celebrities like the actors Hugh Jackman and Benedict Cumberbatch. The late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel claims that for the past two years he has followed an intermittent fasting program known as the 5:2 diet, which entails normal eating for five days and fasting for two — a practice Mr. Kimmel credits for his significant weight loss.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

 

Poll: Most Americans Believe They Have Not Been Impacted By The ACA

On its “Morning Edition” segment, NPR  (2/29, Kodjak) reports a poll it conducted along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed just “one-third of Americans say the health care they receive is ‘excellent,’” and an even lower number said they “are impressed with the system as a whole.” Some 80 percent of respondents said they have good or excellent care, although “42 percent rate the health care system in their state as fair or poor.” NPR says the poll also found that “74 percent of people believe their health care has stayed about the same since the ACA was implemented.” The article explains that while most respondents believe the ACA has not directly impacted them, most consumers are unaware that the law has increased their access to benefits such as “free screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies,” and the fact that it prevents insurers from denying them coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions.

The Hill  (3/1, Ferris) reports only 15 percent of respondents said “they have personally benefited” from the ACA, “although more than one-third believe it has helped the people of their state.” Meanwhile, 56 percent believe the ACA has not directly impacted them, and of those who said they have been affected, “more people say the law has hurt them than helped them.” Data show 26 percent of respondents said “they have been personally harmed by the healthcare law since its passage – a fraction that likely reflects those in the poll who said they have noticed rising healthcare costs in the last several years.” The Hill points out that these mixed views reflect “the polarization in the country on ObamaCare and healthcare generally.”

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Cutting Sugar Improves Children’s Health in Just 10 Days

Obese children who cut back on their sugar intake see improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol readings and other markers of health after just 10 days, a rigorous new study found.

The new research may help shed light on a question scientists have long debated: Is sugar itself harming health, or is the weight gain that comes from consuming sugary drinks and foods mainly what contributes to illness over the long term?

In the new study, which was financed by the National Institutes of Health and published Tuesday in the journal Obesity, scientists designed a clinical experiment to attempt to answer this question. They removed foods with added sugar from a group of children’s diets and replaced them with other types of carbohydrates so that the subjects’ weight and overall calorie intake remained roughly the same.

After 10 days, the children showed dramatic improvements, despite losing little or no weight. The findings add to the argument that all calories are not created equal, and they suggest that those from sugar are especially likely to contribute to Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases, which are on the rise in children, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Benioff Children’s Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary