Wednesday January 24, 2018

Consumption of Dairy Products Changed the Shape of Human Skull: Study

We all know milk makes our bones stronger. But a new study suggests that the consumption of milk and other dairy products did not make skulls of our ancestors stronger or bigger. Read on to know how!

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Human Skull
The diet consumed during one's growing years has a major impact on our bones, jaws and even the face structure. Pixabay.
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  • According to a new study, change in Human skull structure could be due to the consumption of a specific diet
  • Researchers believe the practice of chewing altered face structures
  • Skull morphology also varies between people of different genders

New York, August 25, 2017: Do you belong to the category of people who read the label on every food item they purchase? Do you count your calories and keep an account of your daily calorie consumption? Are you the person who religiously reads articles on health and nutrition on the internet? Even if not, this article is going to take you by surprise. What if we tell you that an individual’s diet alters the construction of the human skull?

Having processed food that lacks several important nutrients exposes us to an increased risk of various medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. However, recent studies have found that the diet you consume, particularly in your growing years, has a major impact on the development of your bones, jaws and even the face structure/human skull!

ALSO READ: Evolution of Human Proboscis: Nose Shape Influenced by Local Climate, say Researchers

A team comprising of David Katz, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Calgary, Professor Tim Weaver and statistician Mark Gote from the University of California-Davis accessed a collection of 559 crania and 534 lower jaws (skull bones) from different corners of the world that ranged from more than a two dozen population from the pre-industrial era. These bones were then studied to analyze the influence that the diet consumed had on the form, size and shape of the human skull during the time man shifted to consumption of agricultural products.

The research found that the advent of farming practices, especially the consumption of dairy products significantly affected the shape of human skull.

The researchers observed modest changes in human skull morphology for groups that were dependent on cereals, dairy, or a combination of the two. This effect was more evident in populations suspected to consume softer foods like cheese.

According to Katz, for the early farmers of the time, “milk did not make for bigger, stronger skull bones.”

Katz found that the primary difference between the skulls of a hunter-gatherer and that of a farmer “are where we would expect to find them, and change in ways we might expect them to.” This he believes, could happen if the demand of chewing decreased within the farming groups.

According to the study, different foods determined how often or how hard one had to chew. The constant movement of the bones in order to properly chew food is what is believed to have altered the shape.

Chewing on hard foods activates bone cells which promote the growth of strong and big jaws. Alternatively, consumption of softer foods like dairy products led to people having smaller jaws with tooth-crowding.

Apart from dietary consumption, the researches claim human skull morphology was also altered by the gender of the people, or between individuals who consumed the same diet but were from different populations.

The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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New campaign to limit children’s calories to 200 per day

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New campaign to limit children's calories to 200 per day
New campaign to limit children's calories to 200 per day. wikimedia commons

London, Jan 2, 2018: Concerned over the high intake of sugar from unhealthy snacks among young children in England, a new campaign has urged parents to limit the intake of calories to just 200 per day by including foods such as malt loaf, low-sugar yoghurt and drinks with no added sugar.

The suggestions from Public Health England (PHE) — a government agency for preventing ill health — are part of their newly launched campaign “Change4Life”.

The Change4Life campaign wants parents to give their children a maximum of two snacks a day containing no more than 100 calories each, not including fruit and vegetables, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

The eight-week Change4Life campaign will offer parents money-off vouchers towards items including malt loaf, lower-sugar yoghurt and drinks with no added sugar in some supermarkets.

The offer will also be extended on a range of healthier snacks include packs of chopped vegetables and fruit, sugar-free jelly, and plain rice crackers at selected supermarkets.

According to the PHE’s National Diet and Nutritional Survey, children between the ages of four and 10 consumed 51.2 per cent of their sugar from unhealthy snacks, including biscuits, cakes, pastries, buns, sweets and fizzy and juice drinks.

On average, primary school children have at least three sugary snacks a day, which means they can easily consume three times more sugar than the recommended maximum.

Each year children consume, on average, some 400 biscuits, 120 cakes, buns and pastries, 100 portions of sweets, 70 chocolate bars and ice creams and 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink, the findings revealed.

“If you wander through a supermarket you see many more things being sold as snacks than ever before,” Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, was quoted as saying to the BBC.

“What has changed is kids’ lunch boxes are getting full of snacking products. It leads to a lot of calories for lunch,” Tedstone added.

Tedstone hoped that the campaign would help to “empower” parents to make healthier snacking choices for their children”.

The PHE has previously called on businesses to cut sugar by 20 per cent by 2020, and by five per cent in 2017.

The agency said it had also improved its app that reveals the content of sugar, salt and saturated fat in food and drink.

A sugar tax on the UK soft drinks industry has already been announced and will come into force next April, the report said.

Last month, the health body also urged British men and women to reduce their intake of calories to just 1,600 a day, which included 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner, without drinks, the Daily Mail reported.

For those who follow this, 200 calories in form of snacks can be taken. (IANS)