This morning’s cook-up: a kabocha squash and a garnet sweet potato (in foil). Kabocha are only available (where I live in PA) for a short time right around Thanksgiving. Something to give thanks for.
All rice, both organic and conventional, contains arsenic. There’s no getting around it. Right now, I cook my rice using the “excess water” method. Similar to cooking pasta, you bring a large amount of water (just a few cups more than normal) to a boil, add washed rice, cook, pour through strainer, cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. I’m happy with this method, but it does discard more nutrients than just allowing rice to absorb all its fluid.
Here’s an alternative. Parboil for 5 minutes then allow rice to absorb fresh water:
New Way Of Cooking Rice Removes Arsenic And Retains Mineral Nutrients, Study Shows, PhysOrg, 2 November 2020
Improved Rice Cooking Approach To Maximise Arsenic Removal While Preserving Nutrient Elements, Science of the Total Environment, 29 October 2020
I haven’t tried it yet. The only drawback is that extra step of adding fresh water and waiting for it to heat up. So, a little more time and attention but perhaps a healthier product.
Thanks to David.
Association Between SARS-CoV-2 Infection, Exposure Risk And Mental Health Among A Cohort Of Essential Retail Workers In The USA, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 29 October 2020
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in May 2020 in a single grocery retail store in Massachusetts.
Results: Among 104 workers tested, 21 (20%) had positive viral assays. Seventy-six per cent positive cases were asymptomatic.
Conclusions: In this single store sample, we found a considerable asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among grocery workers. Employees with direct customer exposure were five times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.
As to mental health, the prevalence of anxiety and depression was 24% and 8%, respectively. Those able to practice social distancing consistently at work had odds of 0.3 and 0.2, respectively.
CNN covered it:
About 20% Of Grocery Store Workers Had Covid-19, And Most Didn’t Have Symptoms, Study Found, CNN, 29 October 2020
These workers likely became a “significant transmission source” for Covid-19 without even knowing it because most in the study were asymptomatic.
The analysis … is the first to demonstrate the significant asymptomatic infection rate, exposure risks and psychological distress grocery workers have felt during the pandemic.
Workers who dealt with customers were five times as likely to test positive for Covid-19 as colleagues in other positions. But three out of four of those who tested positive had no symptoms.
Dr. Justin Yang, study author: “This is definitely very alarming as it means that retail grocery store employees are exposed to customers and sort of serve as a middleman for the virus – like a super spreader almost.”
Non-union grocery workers often have little to no healthcare coverage, meaning they could potentially face expensive health care bills if they contracted Covid-19.
An infection rate of 20% is crazy high. Yang said the infection rate in the surrounding community was less than 2%. And this was in early May, a time when cases were lower than they are today.
Buying groceries has become risky.
From Wikipedia: Claude Monet:
Oscar-Claude Monet was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which was exhibited in 1874.
The Rose Walk is one of his later paintings (1920-1922). He was suffering failing eyesight at the time, cataracts. They became so bad that shortly after he painted this he underwent operations for them. “The paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims.”
Dr. Greger just posted this video about water and metabolism. The concept is new to me. Beneath the video are 9 studies I pulled from his presentation and a quote or paraphrase about each. Beneath that is the video’s transcript if you’d prefer to read. Greger does a great job of summing this all up in 5 minutes. At the very end are my comments.
1. Water-induced Thermogenesis And Fat Oxidation: A Reassessment, Nutrition & Diabetes, December 2015
The increases in REE [resting energy expenditure] over 90 min post drink found in the two studies conducted in the laboratory of Boschmann et al. [they are the following 2 studies] using the same fixed water volume (500 ml) and same water temperature (21–22°) are uniquely spectacular.
2. Water-Induced Thermogenesis, The Journal of Clinical Endorinology and Metabolism, December 2003
Drinking 500 ml of water [16 ounces or 2 cups] increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 min and reached a maximum after 30–40 min.
In men, lipids mainly fueled the increase in metabolic rate. In contrast, in women carbohydrates were mainly used as the energy source.
The increase in energy expenditure with water was diminished with systemic β-adrenoreceptor blockade. [So, taking a beta-blocker – say, for high-blood pressure – would defeat this increase in metabolism.]
3. Water Drinking Induces Thermogenesis Through Osmosensitive Mechanisms, The Journal of Clinical Endorinology and Metabolism, August 2007
Context: Recently, we showed that drinking 500 ml water induces thermogenesis in normal-weight men and women.
Objective: We now repeated these studies in a randomized, controlled, crossover trial in overweight or obese otherwise healthy subjects (eight men and eight women), comparing also the effects of 500 ml isoosmotic saline or 50 ml water.
Results: Only 500 ml water increased energy expenditure by 24% over the course of 60 min after ingestion, whereas isoosmotic saline and 50 ml water had no effect. Heart rate and blood pressure did not change in these young, healthy subjects.
Conclusions: Our data exclude volume-related effects or gastric distension as the mediator of the thermogenic response to water drinking. Instead, we hypothesize the existence of a portal osmoreceptor, most likely an ion channel.
4. Influence Of Water Drinking On Resting Energy Expenditure In Overweight Children, International Journal of Obesity, July 2011
A subsequent rise in REE [resting energy expenditure] was observed, which was significantly higher than baseline after 24 min and at most time points thereafter. Maximal mean REE values were seen at 57 min after water drinking which were 25% higher than baseline.
5. The Osmopressor Response To Water Drinking, American Journal of Physiology, January 2011
Indeed, water drinking raises resting energy expenditure in normal weight and obese subjects. The stimulus setting off the response is hypoosmolarity rather than water temperature or gastrointestinal stretch.
The increase in metabolic rate with water drinking could be systematically applied in the prevention of weight gain and associated metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors. In essence, water drinking provides negative calories.
6. Drinking Water Is Associated With Weight Loss In Overweight Dieting Women Independent Of Diet And Activity, Obesity, September 2012
Results: Absolute and relative increases in drinking water were associated with significant loss of body weight and fat over time, independent of covariates.
7. Effect Of ‘Water Induced Thermogenesis’ On Body Weight, Body Mass Index And Body Composition Of Overweight Subjects, Journal of Clincal and Diagnositic Research, September 2013
This was an odd study. 50 young women drank 2 cups of water 3 times a day, before meals, in addition to any other beverages. After 8 weeks, the women lost weight, their BMIs went down, they lost body fat. However, you don’t know if all that water before meals affected calorie intake. Also no control group. Nonetheless, they drank water and lost weight without dieting.
Weight loss was ~2 kg greater in the water group than in the nonwater group, and the water group showed a 44% greater decline in weight over the 12 weeks than the nonwater group.
Thus, when combined with a hypocaloric diet, consuming 500 ml water prior to each main meal leads to greater weight loss than a hypocaloric diet alone in middle-aged and older adults. This may be due in part to an acute reduction in meal EI following water ingestion.
After adjustment, the water preloading group (500 ml 30 min before meal) lost about 1.2 kg (2.6 pounds, not much) more than the comparison group over 12 weeks. Barely reached significance: P = 0.063. However, those who actually DID drink the water 3 times a day lost about 9.5 pounds from baseline.
Here’s the transcript:
Given the 60 percent surge in the adrenal hormone noradrenaline within minutes of just drinking two cups of plain water, might one get the weight-loss benefits of noradrenaline-releasing drugs, like ephedra, without the risks? You don’t know until you put it to the test. Published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, the results were described as “uniquely spectacular.” Drinking two cups of water increased the metabolic rate of men and women by 30 percent. The increase started within 10 minutes and reached a maximum within an hour. In the 90 minutes after drinking a single tall glass of water, the study subjects burned about an extra 25 calories. Do that four times throughout the day and you could wipe out 100 extra calories— more than ephedra! You’d trim off more calories drinking water than taking weight loss doses of the banned substance, ephedrine—the active component of ephedra—three times a day. And we’re just talking about plain, cheap, safe, and legal tap water!
Using the 10-Calorie Rule I explained previously, unless we somehow compensated by eating more or moving less, drinking that much water could make us lose 10 pounds over time. “In essence,” concluded one research team, “water drinking provides negative calories.”
A similar effect was found in overweight and obese children. Drinking about two cups of water led to a 25 percent increase in metabolic rate within 24 minutes, lasting at least 66 minutes until the experiment ended. So, just getting the recommended daily “adequate intake” of water—about 7 cups a day for children ages 4 through 8, and for ages 9 through 13, 8 cups a day for girls and 10 cups for boys—may offer more than just hydration benefits.
Not all research teams were able to replicate these findings, though. Others only found about a 10 to 20 percent increase, a 5 percent increase, or effectively none at all––pouring cold water, one might say, on the whole concept. What we care about, though, is weight loss. The proof is in the pudding. Let’s test the waters, shall we?
Some researchers suggest, “The increase in metabolic rate with water drinking could be systematically applied in the prevention of weight gain….” Talk about a safe, simple, side-effect-free solution—in fact free, in every sense. Drug companies may spend billions getting a new drug to market; surely a little could be spared to test something that, at the very least, couldn’t hurt. That’s the problem, though. Water is a “cost-free intervention.”
There are observational studies suggesting those who drink, for example, four or more cups of water a day appear to lose more weight, independent of confounding factors such as less soda or more exercise. But you don’t really know until you put it to the test.
And finally, in 2013, “Effect of ‘Water Induced Thermogenesis’ on Body Weight, Body Mass Index and Body Composition of Overweight Subjects.” Fifty overweight “girls” (actually women, ages 18 through 23) were asked to drink two cups of water, three times a day, a half hour before meals, over and above their regular water intake, without otherwise changing their diets or physical activity. And, they lost an average of three pounds in eight weeks. What happened to those in the control group? There was no control group, a fatal flaw for any weight loss study due to the “Hawthorne effect,” where just knowing you’re being watched and weighed may subtly affect people’s behavior. Of course, we’re just talking about water; so, with no downsides one might as well give it a try. But I’d feel more confident if there were some randomized, controlled trials to really put it to the test. Thankfully, there are!
Oh, I hate it when the title ruins the suspense. Overweight and obese men and women randomized to two cups of water before each meal lost nearly five pounds more body fat in 12 weeks than those in the control group. Both groups were put on the same calorie-restricted diet, but the one with the added water lost weight 44 percent faster. A similar randomized controlled trial found that about 1 in 4 in the water group lost more than 5 percent of their body weight compared to only 1 in 20 in the control group.
The average weight loss difference was only about three pounds, but those who claimed to have actually complied with the three-times-a-day instructions lost about eight more pounds compared to those only did the extra water once a day or less. This is comparable to commercial weight loss programs like Weight Watchers, and all they did was drink some extra water.
Not cited by Greger but related:
The Pressor Response to Water Drinking in Humans, Circulation, February 2000
Conclusions — Water drinking significantly and rapidly raises sympathetic activity. Indeed, it raises plasma norepinephrine as much as such classic sympathetic stimuli as caffeine and nicotine.
In sum … Drinking a cup or two of water on an empty stomach raises metabolism. Less than that or drinking tea, soda, beer, or other beverage won’t work. Mechanism: When a dilute solution passes over a cell (possibly in digestive tract, liver, or hepatic portal vein), a receptor on the cell’s surface senses that extracellular hypoosmolarity (water is hypoosmotic).
It’s vital that a cell be able to sense what’s going on around it, because:
Extracellular hyperosmolarity causes cell shrinkage, whereas extracellular hypoosmolarity causes cell swelling.
Either of those sets off a chain of events, e.g.
Indeed, osmotic cell swelling activates anabolic processes including glycogen and protein synthesis in the presence of suitable substrates.
Also, Did you notice? If your metabolic rate goes up and you produce heat, you need to be burning a fuel. What’s the fuel? It’s different for men and women:
In men, lipids mainly fueled the increase in metabolic rate. In contrast, in women carbohydrates were mainly used as the energy source.
There is a whole lot going on here, a whole lot to learn.
The single most important thing you can do to prevent diabetes is lose weight. It almost doesn’t matter how – diet, exercise, fasting, surgery. I advocate a low-fat, plant-based diet because it improves health in so many other ways. But it’s not the only way to lose weight.
There are other factors that increase risk for diabetes besides being overweight … family history, having diabetes while pregnant, air pollution, exposure to endocrine disruptors (like BPA) and other environmental pollutants. And now, taking PPIs:
Conclusions: Regular use* of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and the risk increased with longer duration of use. Physicians should therefore exercise caution when prescribing PPIs, particularly for long-term use.
* Regular use was defined as 2 or more times a week
Regular Use Of Acid Reflux Drugs Linked To Heightened Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes, BMJ Newsroom, 28 September 2020
PPIs are used to treat acid reflux, peptic ulcers, and indigestion. They are among the top 10 most commonly used drugs worldwide. Long-term use has been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures, chronic kidney disease, gut infections and stomach cancer.
A mounting body of evidence suggests that changes in the type and volume of bacteria in the gut (the microbiome) may help explain the associations found between PPI use and an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Examples of PPIs:
Putting this up here because I like it so much. She’s so young and talented.