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Ice cream laws face revamp in the battle against obesity in Ireland

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Irish ice cream laws dating back to 1952 are being revised in an effort to fight national obesity levels.

Health Promotion Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has proposed to revoke the current Food Standards (Ice Cream) Regulations dating from 1952.

The planned changes will revise the content of milk-fat, milk solids and sugar content in ice cream.

One of the stipulations in the 1952 regulations states that ice cream must contain at least 10pc by weight of sugar.

This obviously presents problems for any company wishing to reduce the sugar content of its ice cream products, according to the FSAI.

It says the purpose of the proposed regulations is to revoke these compositional standards as soon as possible.

Having consulted other relevant Government departments and official agencies, it is considered that it is no longer fit for purpose and has largely been superseded by EU legislation, Ms Corcoran Kennedy said.

Recent research found that Ireland has the third highest consumption of ice cream per capita in Europe

Source: Ireland’s ice cream laws face revamp in the battle against obesity – Independent.ie

Why Jet Lag Is Worse than You Think

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If you’re traveling cross-country to run a race or participate in a sporting event, you may want to prepare for the time change in advance. A new study of professional baseball players shows that jet lag doesn’t just affect mental performance—it can also affect physical performance, as well. The authors say their findings can have implications for all types of athletes, and they offer strategies for lessening the impact.

The new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from researchers at Northwestern University, looked at Major League Baseball data from more than 40,000 games spanning 20 years, including teams’ travel schedules and players’ performance in hitting, running, pitching and more.

Traveling two or more time zones before a game affected play in subtle but detectible ways, the authors found. For example, teams from eastern states who had just returned home from a game out west tended to have fewer stolen bases, doubles and triples, and were subject to more double plays, than those who hadn’t traveled as recently.

Pitchers from both home and away teams also gave up more home runs after traveling eastward. The effects are enough to erase a team’s home-field advantage, the authors say. They speculate that jet lag may have even played a role in Game 6 of the 2016 National Championship Series, in which the home-team Chicago Cubs scored five runs off the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.

The effects of west-to-east travel were stronger than those of east-to-west travel, supporting the argument that they are due to the body’s circadian clock—not just time on an airplane or scheduling issues in general, says Dr. Ravi Allada, associate director of Northwestern’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology.

The study isn’t the first to show that jet lag can impact athletic performance. Allada says the new findings add to the evidence that jet lag isn’t just all in one’s head. “We know, based on studies in animals and humans, that when you misalign your internal biological clock with your external environment, there can be a lot of consequences in terms of health,” Allada says. “And the circadian clock is present in muscle cells, too, so it makes sense that one might see an impairment in muscle activity or muscle efficiency, as a result of this misalignment.”

Based on these findings, Allada recommends that baseball teams send their starting pitchers to games across the country a day or two early, when possible, so that their internal clocks can adjust to the local environment.

Similar advice could also apply to anyone traveling for athletic events—especially eastward—he adds, like runners going to a destination marathon or adventure race. That also includes people who have been away and are heading home for an event: an aspect of jet lag that people don’t often think about, says Allada.

“The rule of thumb is that the body clock can shift about one hour a day, so if you’re traveling across three time zones, you’d want to ideally give yourself three days to adjust,” he says.

If your schedule won’t allow for an earlier trip, he recommends faking it for a few days by trying to wake up and go to bed according to the time-zone of your event, even while you’re still at home. If you’re traveling west-to-east, exposing yourself to bright light earlier in the morning can help, as well.

Allada says there’s not yet a lot of research to back up the effectiveness of these strategies, but he believes they could benefit anyone looking to optimize their performance. “That’s something we’d love to study in the future,” he says, “to work with athletes and see if these interventions actually have real impacts.”

via Why Jet Lag Is Worse than You Think — TIME

Sugar is the ‘alcohol of the child’, yet we let it dominate the breakfast table 

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With kids consuming half their sugar quota first thing, it’s no wonder they’re getting diabetes and liver disease. We have to fight corporate interests

Breakfast is considered by most nutrition experts, including Public Health England, to be the most important meal of the day. It gets your brain and your metabolism going, and it suppresses the hunger hormone in your stomach so you won’t overeat at lunch. But in our busy lives, it’s easy to turn to what is quick, cheap, or what you can eat on the go. Cold cereal. Instant oatmeal. For those die-hard “I’m gonna serve something hot for breakfast” types, it’s microwaveable breakfast sandwiches. Gotta get out the door now? Granola bars. Protein bars. Yoghurt smoothies.

Sadly, as the National Diet and Nutrition Survey found, what you’re really doing is giving your children a huge sugar load while sending them on their way: half of their daily intake on average. There’s a reason that the World Health Organisationand the United States Department of Agriculture have provided upper limits of sugar – because dietary sugar fries your kids’ liver and brain; just like alcohol.

Alcohol provides calories (7kcal/g), but not nutrition. There’s no biochemical reaction that requires it. When consumed chronically and in high dose, alcohol is toxic, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. Not everyone who is exposed gets addicted, but enough do to warrant taxation and restriction of access, especially to children. Clearly, alcohol is not a food – it’s a dangerous drug, because it’s both toxic and abused.

Dietary sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Fructose, while an energy source (4kcal/g), is otherwise vestigial to humans; again, there is no biochemical reaction that requires it. But fructose is metabolised in the liver in exactly the same way as alcohol. And that’s why, when consumed chronically and at a high dose, fructose is similarly toxic and abused, unrelated to its calories or effects on weight. And that’s why our children now get the diseases of alcohol (type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease), without alcohol. Because sugar is the “alcohol of the child”. Also similar to alcohol, sugared beverages are linked to behavioural problems in children

Source: Sugar is the ‘alcohol of the child’, yet we let it dominate the breakfast table | Robert Lustig | Opinion | The Guardian

A Month Without Sugar 

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It is in chicken stock, sliced cheese, bacon and smoked salmon, in mustard and salad dressing, in crackers and nearly every single brand of sandwich bread. It is all around us — in obvious ways and hidden ones — and it is utterly delicious.

It’s sugar, in its many forms: powdered sugar, honey, corn syrup, you name it. The kind you eat matters less than people once thought, scientific research suggests, and the amount matters much more. Our national sugar habit is the driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemics and may be a contributing factor to cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Like me, you’ve probably just finished a couple of weeks in which you have eaten a whole lot of tasty sugar. Don’t feel too guilty about it. But if you feel a little guilty about it, I’d like to make a suggestion.

Choose a month this year — a full 30 days, starting now or later — and commit to eating no added sweeteners. Go cold turkey, for one month…

Sunshine and proposals at finishing line on record day – Independent.ie

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A view of the start of the Dublin MarathonA view of the Dublin Marathon as runners make there way down Fitzwilliam Street Upper

A view of the Dublin Marathon as runners make there way down Fitzwilliam Street Upper

Peter Joseph Singhatey, from Dublin, gets some help at the end. Photos: Damien Eagers

Under glorious blue skies, 19,500 runners took advantage of Ireland’s Indian summer yesterday to compete in the Dublin City Marathon.

Now the fourth largest marathon in Europe, a record number of runners wound their way through the capital, with approximately 17,000 crossing the finishing line at Merrion Square.

Exhausted runners were given a hero’s welcome by family, friends and supporters at the finish line and were presented with a special medal commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Rising and the 37th annual run.

Among the competitors, aged between 18 and 86, it was a triumvirate of Ethiopians who crossed the finish line in record time.

Read more: Up to 17,000 turn out for Dublin marathon spectacular

Source: Sunshine and proposals at finishing line on record day – Independent.ie

Obesity costs global economy an estimated €2tn a year

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Obesity costs global economy an estimated €2tn a year.

The global cost of obesity outweighs that of alcoholism, drug use or road accidents and closely rivals that of armed conflict and smoking, according to a new study.

The cost of obesity is estimated at $2 trillion – equivalent to 2.8 per cent of the world’s economic output, the study found. This makes it one of the top three global social burdens behind smoking and armed violence, war and terrorism..

The research, which was carried out by consultancy firm McKinsey, reveals that obesity is now responsible for about 5 per cent of all deaths a year worldwide.

More than 2.1 billion people – equivalent to nearly 30 per cent of the global population- are overweight or obese. That is almost two and a half times the number of adults and children who are undernourished.

A number of studies conducted in Ireland show that two out of three Irish adults, and one in four primary school children, are overweight or obese.

“Obesity is a major global economic problem caused by a multitude of factors. Today obesity is jostling with armed conflict and smoking in terms of having the greatest human-generated global economic impact,” the report said…

The Ethics of Infection – NYTimes.com

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The Ethics of Infection – NYTimes.com.

“PRIMUM NON NOCERE” or “First, do no harm” is supposed to be the guiding principle of health care workers. And within civil societies, at least, not harming others is considered every person’s moral, ethical and even legal responsibility.

The heated debate over whether it’s responsible for health care workers who treated Ebola patients to go grocery shopping or bowling or get on a cruise ship before the end of the disease’s 21-day incubation period raises a larger question: What is everyone’s duty to prevent transmission of infectious diseases?

Is it ethical to go to the gym when you have a cold, visit a nail salon when you have a foot fungus or board an airplane with a stomach bug? What about the morality of sending your kids to school when they have, say, a green runny nose or were not vaccinated? Are you a bad person if you don’t get a flu shot?

When it comes to “do no harm,” the problem is defining harm and the risk of inflicting it, as well as what constitutes reasonable measures to impose on someone to minimize that risk.

“Risk is a function of two things — probability that harm will occur and severity of that harm, should it transpire,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of law at Georgetown University who specializes in public health law and human rights.

And those two factors, he said, have a rough inverse relationship. That is, the more severe the potential harm, the less probability, or risk, we are willing to assume — much less allow someone else to assume on our behalf…

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