Exercise in the Morning or Evening?

The time of day you choose to exercise may have a great deal to do with control of blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol. Our internal clock mechanism is controlled and synchronized by not only sleep and light but also by the type of food we consume. Most past studies dealt with the time of day we ate and presented very different results. Some encouraged exercise before breakfast while others showed the benefits by working out later in the day on both blood sugar levels and heart rate. Most of these studies did not factor in the type of meals being eaten. A new study published in “Diabetologia” was performed at The Mary Hopkins Institute of Health Research in Australia. It involved 24 sedentary, overweight men who had all their vital statistics recorded before the experiment began.  They were placed on a diet of 65% fat for five days and were then invited back to have all their vitals recorded once more. This was a diet that included extreme amounts of fat to concentrate on how the body would use fat during exercise.  They were then divided into three groups. One group started their exercise routine at 6 AM, the next at 6 PM and the last remained sedentary. The exercise routine was identical. After five days they were again tested. Both, the sedentary and the 6 AM workout group had dangerous increases in cholesterol levels as well as the markers for heart disease. The group that worked out at 6 PM showed less of an impact of the poor diet. Their cholesterol, blood sugar levels as well as the molecules which are markers for heart disease were all lower. The study did not reveal how or why the time of day affected fat metabolism. This study did not encourage the intake of high fat diets which have been proven to be extremely unhealthy.

The Trusty Banana…

The average American consumes about 27lbs. of bananas a year. What happens to all that waste? Since the 13th century Japan has made use of the silky fibers of the unfurled leaves to make fabric. A banana plant will produce fruit only once in its lifetime which leaves the rest of the plant available to make yarn. It is referred to as Musa fabric and has a texture as soft as cotton and as silky as silk. Yet it is both water and tear resistant. More recently it is now being used to make sneakers and light summer dresses. Clothing from this fabric has been used by H&M. The world of fabrics made from food waste is expanding rapidly. You can now find items such as eye glass frames made from spud waste, silk lace from orange rinds, sneakers made from apple core waste and a leather substitute constructed from mushrooms.

Taxing Junk Food…

One in three members of the Navajo Nation is diabetic or prediabetic. This is also a reflection on the health of the American population in general. In 2015 the leaders of the Navajo Nation levied a 2% tax on all food classified as “Junk Food”.  The money was put back into the community to promote healthy living education. The tax has averaged $1.5 million dollars a year with 85% of it going to developing vegetable gardens, greenhouses, farmers markets, food preparation classes as well as exercise programs. What it has encouraged is the return to traditional cooking and a reduction in sickness. Following the Navajo Nation’s example and adding an additional tax to our junk food is one way we will be able to help the population maintain a healthy weight.

Flat Pasta that changes into 3-D Shapes:

Researchers at The Carnegie Mellon University Lab have designed a pasta that starts out flat but bounces into a 3-D shape when it is boiled.  This pasta not only uses less packaging but cooks faster then traditional pasta. It is fun for the younger members of your family to watch the transformation and introduce them to some basic science. The process begins with semolina flour and water. The dough is flattened into sheets. Then a series of holes are punched into the dough which allow the dough to take on different shapes expanding and contracting according to the flat and grooved areas. Teng Zhang is an aerospace engineer who worked on the project. His feelings are that this way of making pasta could prove extremely useful in disaster sites, astronauts in space stations or just simple hiking trips. However, since it cannot hold its shape if it is overcooked, it is a perfect pasta for all the al Dente lovers.