Saturday July 20, 2019

Having a Cup of Coffee Can Help You Fight Obesity, Diabetes

“The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there’s another component helping with the activation of brown fat. We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar,” Symonds added

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A patron holds an iced beverage at a Starbucks coffee store in Pasadena, Calif., July 25, 2013. VOA

Drinking a cup of coffee can be helpful in fighting obesity and diabetes as it stimulates body’s fat-fighting defences, says a new study.

The study, published in Scientific Reports journal, found components which could have a direct effect on “brown fat” functions, an important part of the human body which plays a key role in how quickly we can burn calories as energy.A

Brown adipose tissue (BAT), also known as brown fat, is one of two types of fat found in humans and other mammals. Its main function is to generate body heat by burning calories (opposed to white fat, which is a result of storing excess calories).

People with a lower body mass index (BMI) therefore have a higher amount of brown fat.

“Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold. Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss,” said study’s co-director Michael Symonds, Professor at the University of Nottingham.. A

“This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions. The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them,” he noted.

A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling.
A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. VOA

For the study, the researcehes started with a series of stem cell studies to see if caffeine would stimulate brown fat. After finding the right dose, they then moved on to humans to see if the results were similar.

They used a thermal imaging technique to trace the body’s brown fat reserves. The non-invasive technique helps the team to locate brown fat and assess its capacity to produce heat.

“From our previous work, we knew that brown fat is mainly located in the neck region, so we were able to image someone straight after they had a drink to see if the brown fat got hotter,” he said.

Also Read: Poor Sleep Quality Associated with Reduced Memory in Senior Citizens

“The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there’s another component helping with the activation of brown fat. We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar,” Symonds added.

“Once we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight management regime or as part of glucose regulation programme to help prevent diabetes,” he concluded. (IANS)

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UN: Global Hunger Levels Stabilizing, While Obesity Rates are Skyrocketing

For the first time, the U.N. agencies were able to gather data on world obesity rates, which are hitting record levels

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A man waits to receive food aid outside a camp for displaced survivors of cyclone Idai in Dombe, Mozambique, April 4, 2019. VOA

The United Nations says more than 820 million people around the world are hungry, while at same time, obesity is hitting record levels.

A report released Monday by five U.N. agencies dealing with food, nutrition and health says that while hunger levels have mostly stabilized, more people around the world are anxious about where their family’s next meal will come from.

“People that feel insecure  insecure because they are in areas under conflict, insecure because they are in countries with high levels of inflation, insecure because they are very low paid that they will not have money to buy their food — this number reached 2 billion people around the world,” José Graziano da Silva, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said at the report’s launch. “This is really a big, big number. We were surprised when we found this figure.”

obesity, hunger
FILE – Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). VOA

The report notes the highest hunger rates are in Africa and growing steadily in almost all parts of the subcontinent, where climate and conflict, economic slowdowns and downturns have driven more than 256 million people into a state of food insecurity.

In Asia, more than 500 million people, primarily in the southern part of the continent, are suffering from malnutrition. This sort of hunger has lasting impacts on its victims, especially children, who suffer from stunting and wasting.

“So the question is what are we going to do about it?” asked World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley. “Because if these were your little girls and your little boys, I guarantee you, you’d be doing everything you could to do something about it.”

Beasley said the problem of world hunger is solvable, but is not achievable without ending war and conflicts, which consume a huge portion of the global economy that could be used for development.

obesity, hunger
David Beasley, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) executive director, speaks during a press conference in Seoul, May 15, 2018, after his visit to North Korea. VOA

Obesity a global epidemic

For the first time, the U.N. agencies were able to gather data on world obesity rates, which are skyrocketing. “We have about 830 million obese people in the world,” said the FAO’s Graziano da Silva. “That’s happening in most continents except Africa and Asia.”

He said trends indicate that the numbers of overweight and obese people in Africa and Asia would soon exceed those who are hungry.  Graziano da Silva said obesity rates are rising by 6.3% and 7.5% per year respectively in Africa and Asia, while the global average is 4.8%.

ALSO READ: Scientists Closing in on Blood Test to Screen People for Possible Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

“It’s really a global epidemic issue the way obesity is rising and how fast it is rising,” Graziano da Silva added. The cost of obesity is very high, some $2 trillion a year in related illnesses and other side effects.

Graziano da Silva urged better labeling of foods, reducing the levels of salt, fats and sugars in processed foods and restricting advertising for some products geared toward children. He noted healthy and fresh foods also need to be promoted and access to them needs to be increased for some populations. (VOA)