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Jul 8

Western-style diet tied to higher risks of colorectal cancer – Medical News Today

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is any cancer affecting the colon, hence colo, and rectum, hence rectal. It is the third most common and second deadliest diagnosed cancer in the United States, claiming over 50,000 lives every year.

Researchers from Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, MA recently observed that CRC tumors with high levels of pks+ E. coli bacteria correlate with diets rich in red and processed meats and empty calories.

They believe that unhealthy foods may stimulate the cancer-inducing activity of colibactin, a substance deriving from E. coli, in the gut.

Their findings appear in Gastroenterology.

Dr. Shuji Ogino, chief of the Molecular Pathological Epidemiology Program in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Womens Hospital, was the studys corresponding author.

E. coli is a normal part of the gut microbiome. However, certain strains of this bacterium hold a distinct cluster of genes known as the polyketide synthase (pks) island.

These pks+ E. coli strains produce colibactin, a toxic metabolite that can damage DNA and trigger cellular mutations that promote CRC.

Consumption of a typical Western diet also sometimes called an American diet consisting mainly of red and processed meats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, can cause intestinal and systemic inflammation, precursors to colorectal tumors.

A poor diet is also tied to an imbalance of intestinal microbiota, another factor related to CRC. Furthermore, prior studies have linked E. coli and other bacteria to this cancer.

Consequently, Dr. Ogino and his team suspected that a Western diet might induce a stronger risk for tumors with considerable amounts of pks+ E. coli. Up to this point, though, they did not know whether the diets correlation with CRC varies by gut bacteria.

The researchers combed through two nationwide studies to see how Western diets may influence intestinal microbe activity and the odds of CRC occurrences.

The Nurses Health Study included 121,700 women aged 30 to 55 at enrollment in 1976. The Health Professionals Follow-up Study included 51,529 males ages 40 to 75 years at enrollment in 1986.

These studies provided detailed insight into 30 years of medical and dietary history of its subjects. They presented a unique opportunity to examine long-term dietary patterns of individuals who had not known whether they would develop cancers or not in relation to CRC incidence subclassified by pks+ E. coli levels.

The data were adjusted for potential selection bias and factors such as body mass index (BMI), physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and family history of CRC.

A total of 134,775 of the two studies participants provided enough dietary information to be included in this analysis. Among these, the researchers found 3,200 CRC cases.

The team also extracted DNA from archived tissue sections of colorectal tumors to find pks+ E. coli strains.

The researchers admitted that their study comes with several limitations.

More studies are needed to confirm how the overall Western diet or specific foods and pks+ E. coli may work together to promote CRC.

Speaking with Medical News Today, Dr. Ogino acknowledged that the research population was mostly non-Hispanic Caucasian. However, he cited evidence of a growing trend of early-onset CRC among other ethnicities.

Dr. Ogino and fellow scientists found sex-specific differences in pks+ E. coli colorectal cancer occurrences, but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear.

Measurement errors and unintentional mixing of the effects of factors may have skewed some results as well.

While colibactin in CRC tumors encourages cancer growth, some researchers believe that a healthy gut microbiome may halt tumor progression.

University of Michigan scientists recently found that the metabolite reuterin, produced by the bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri, shows potent anticancer potential in CRC cell lines and in vivo.

At the National Comprehensive Cancer Network 2022 Annual Meeting, lead investigator Joshua Goyert, of the University of Michigan Medical School Rogel Cancer Center, said that the gut microbiome, and especially reuterin, can reduce oxidative stress in CRC cells and inhibit tumor proliferation and tumor volume in in vivo models.

Dr. Ogino said that this study is among the first to associate the Western diet with specific disease-causing bacteria in cancer.

Ultimately, he believes that this research demonstrates how dietary choices may help prevent CRC.

Dr. Ogino commented emphatically:

As a society, we do not generally recognize the importance of prevention. Rather, we always regret after harms happen (e.g., cancer occurs). We need to change our mindsets and become proactive. Media is very hot about new treatment for end-stage cancer patients, which may prolong life for a few months. While this is important, it is much better to prevent. If we can prevent 10% of colorectal cancer cases, 150,000 new CRC cases each year in the U.S. would become 135,000 new CRC cases. You can see 15,000 people each year do not need suffer side effects of treatment or surgery. This would be a big impact.

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Western-style diet tied to higher risks of colorectal cancer - Medical News Today


Jul 8

Local diet coach looking to change the way people see nutrition – River Valley Now

Local nutrition coach Tony LoCicero created Get Toned Diet Coaching, a program working to help those who struggle with weight loss/gain, as well as building muscle mass and giving your body a balanced nutritional outlook.

I try to make it a customized diet that can be done long term. Weve got to figure out something that doesnt disrupt your life too much or come across as too extreme, LoCicero says.

I want to help people reach their goals. I want to educate people on food because I feel so many people are lost in what is good for you and what is not. Theres so much information today and it can be misleading. My goal is to help people understand and be there to answer any questions along the way.

Tony emphasizes that in order to understand fitness and nutrition, it has to be a lifestyle. It has to be a long term goal. You have to find ways to make it fit your lifestyle and reach those goals. Often times people set themselves up for failure when they try to set expectations way too high and be hard on themselves.

It doesnt need to be complicated. Its just food. Youre going to have to put in the time. Youre going to have to put in the effort. Theres going to be times where your family is going out for pizza and youre going to not be able to do that. Its all about training your mind.

Its not like a race. So many people are in such a hurry in life and thats not how it has to be. Its going to take time to lose the fat and become who you want to be.

LoCicero also says how he tells people that there really are no bad foods. Youve got to take it in moderation. If you cut out all the things you enjoy, then how long will you last? Not long. The process is understanding that you can have foods you enjoy, but its all about building that lifestyle and understanding what nutrition truly is.

Get Toned Diet Coaching with Tony LoCicero is available on Instagram @get_toned_diet_coaching and Tony is also available by Facebook.

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Local diet coach looking to change the way people see nutrition - River Valley Now


Jul 8

Why diet soda is bad for you and not the answer if you’re looking for quick weight loss – Courier Journal

Bryant Stamford| Special to the Courier Journal

Lately, I have focused on good carbs versusbad carbs, and the champion of bad carbs is soft drinks.

A typical 12-ounce cola contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, which exceeds the full daily allowance of sugar on a healthy diet. Thats bad news, of course, so why do so many Americans continue to indulge in the health destroying habit of consuming garbage colas like theyre going out of style?

One possible answer, according to some experts, is that sugar is addictive, psychologically and possibly physiologically, and the more sugar you take in, especially in high quantities all at once as occurs with soft drinks, the greater the power of the addiction. Another explanation is that folks are unaware of the adverse health impactbecause they have been consuming colas all their life and not paying a price for it yet.

One price associated with too much sugar intake thatis quite high is developing prediabetes. This occurs when the body stores too much fat, especially around the midsection, which can lead to insulin resistance. In other words, your pancreas gland is doing its job and releasing insulin when you consume sugar. In turn, insulin is required to escort sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. When there is resistance to insulin, sugar cannot enter the cells and it accumulates in the bloodstream, leading to a high blood sugar concentration.

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Experts contend that a whopping 35% of the adult American population has prediabetes, and if it worsens over time, which often is the case, it can morph into Type 2 diabetes, when the body has an extreme insulin resistance.

So, what can we do to prevent rising cases of prediabetes?

Its high time we reduced our daily intake of sugar. But we Americans dont give up our guilty pleasures easily, and will do all we can to find an acceptable alternative. In other words, we are not willing to sacrifice much, if at all. This leads us to artificial sweeteners, which are found in thousands of food products, and especially soft drinks.

At first glance, artificial sweeteners seem like a no-brainer, substituting zero calories (kcals) in a soft drink for the fully loaded 150 calories. This, of course, was the sales pitch when Aspartame, one of the leading artificial sweeteners, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more than 40 years ago. Americans are fat and getting fatter year by year, and the biggest cause is excess intake of sugar. Therefore, the assumption was that folks would endeavor to reduce fat accumulation by shying away from sugar and toward diet foods, especially diet soft drinks. This, in turn, would help lessen the accelerating fatty trend in our population.

Oops, not so.

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Many who regularly consume soft drinks merely added a diet drink or two to their daily regimen, thinking that its a freebe with no consequences. Still others bit the bullet and shifted entirely to diet soft drinks, but even so, they kept getting fatter.

Consuming diet drinks and still getting fatter isnt fair, plus it makes no sense. Isnt it true that when you consume excess calories, the body gets fatter, and therefore if you consume fewer calories you should lose body fat? Yes, of course. Its the proverbial calories in versus calories out argument. When the out calories are greater, you enter a negative caloric balance and should lose body fat.

So, what went wrong? The answer may be found in the bodys response to insulin.

Recent research indicates that chronic use of diet soft-drinks can alter certain bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract, which can contribute to insulin resistance. Typically, excess body fatness, especially around the midsection, is the prime factor in insulin resistance. However, chronic intake of diet drinks, even if they reduce calories and body fatness, can still contribute to insulin resistance.

Several years ago, before this topic gained much attention, one of my students conducted her senior thesis research study on this topic. She had two groups of subjects that were very similar (same age, gender, body composition, physical activity level, etc.), except that one group regularly consumed a large amount of Aspartame daily (Consumers), while the other group consumed little or none (Abstainers). Both groups underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) that entailed being fasted for at least 12-hours, then they consumed 50 grams of glucose with blood samples taken every 15 minutes over 90 minutes to trace the impact on blood glucose concentration.

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When you take an OGTT test, the blood sugar (glucose) concentration suddenly spikes upward as sugar rushes from quick digestion into the blood stream. This causes a powerful insulin response from the pancreas gland to move sugar into the cells.In a healthy response, the blood sugar level soon peaks, then comes back down to the resting level. However, with insulin resistance, the blood sugar level remains elevated for a prolonged period.

Results from this study indicated that Abstainers demonstrated a better OGTT, with a lower peak blood glucose concentration and a much faster clearance of glucose from the blood. In other words, Abstainers responded in a healthy way to a glucose challenge, while the response of Consumers was compromised. These findings support the notion that Consumers were, to some degree, insulin resistant when compared with Abstainers.

Over time, this could contribute to increased body fatness that, in turn, could lead to prediabetes, and ultimately to Type 2 diabetes, plus the potential for other negative health implications. Since then, we have conducted several additional research studies on this topic in our lab, and others have as well, and the results support these findings.

The bottom line is, choosing between a sugary soft-drink versus a 'diet'soft-drink is a Sophies choice, meaning neither choice is good. A third and healthier alternative, like drinking water, is a much better way to go.

Reach Bryant Stamford, a professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology at Hanover College, at stamford@hanover.edu.

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Why diet soda is bad for you and not the answer if you're looking for quick weight loss - Courier Journal


Jul 8

Does Urinary pH and Diet Affect the Rate of Urinary Tract Infection Recurrence After Electrofulguration in Women – Physician’s Weekly

For a study, researchers sought to determine if urine acidity can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and if it is altered by diet. They wanted to see how urine pH affected the rate of recurrent UTIs (RUTIs) following electrofulguration (EF) in three groups of women with varied urine pH ranges and the relationship between food composition and urine pH.

Women in a previous IRB-approved prospective trial documented urine pH and nutrition for a week. There are three urine pH groups: never below 6, never above 6, and above and below 6. A 3-day diet analysis was performed in the study, which comprised classifying different meals by acidity using pH food charts and estimating quantities ingested using a nutritional analysis database. The rate of UTIs after EF and urine pH following acidic meal consumption were studied between urine pH groups. Low urine pH, hypothesized, protects against RUTIs.

There was no change in UTI prevalence, rate, or culture features across the groups of 37/69 patients who received EF with a lengthy median follow-up time (4-6 years). There was no statistically significant difference in the mean amount of acidic meals consumed and the urine pH after each meal.

During long-term follow-up, no connection was detected between urine pH groups, acidic food intake, and rates of UTIs after EF, potentially because there is no link between urine pH and UTIs or because EF already causes a significant reduction in UTI rates.

Reference: goldjournal.net/article/S0090-4295(22)00071-1/fulltext

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Does Urinary pH and Diet Affect the Rate of Urinary Tract Infection Recurrence After Electrofulguration in Women - Physician's Weekly


Jul 8

Obesity: How the sight of a meal triggers short-lived inflammation – Medical News Today

Everyone is familiar with the sensation of the mouth watering in anticipation of food, but this is not the bodys only response. At the same time, the pancreas starts to release insulin, ready to deal with the influx of glucose into the blood.

This neurally mediated or cephalic phase response has been recognized for some time, but the mechanisms involved were unclear. Now, a study from the University of Basel has shown that a short-term inflammatory response is responsible for this early insulin release.

However, in people with overweight or obesity, an excessive inflammatory response during the cephalic phase can impair this insulin secretion.

This study highlights the complexity of our individual metabolic responses to food, and why understanding chronic low-grade inflammation over time is key in addressing obesity.

Prof. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at Kings College London and co-founder of Zoe Ltd, a personalised nutrition company, speaking to Medical News Today.

The researchers identified that an inflammatory factor interleukin 1 beta (IL-1) which is usually involved in the response to pathogens or tissue damage, is responsible for much of this early insulin secretion.

First, the researchers identified the role of IL-1. They found that the sight, smell, or taste of food stimulates the release of IL-1 from microglia in the hypothalamus. This then activates the vagus nerve and increases the secretion of insulin that facilitates glucose uptake and metabolism after eating.

In their study, they placed mice that had been fasted overnight in a cage with a food pellet. The mouse was allowed to find the pellet and take a bite. Immediately after the first bite of food, the researchers took blood from the mouse for analysis.

The mouse blood samples showed no rise in glucose but had increased circulating insulin.

As a control, the researchers placed other mice in a cage with an inedible object that looked exactly like the food pellet. Blood taken from these mice showed no increase in insulin, indicating that real food was needed to stimulate the cephalic insulin response.

To test that IL-1 was responsible for the rise in insulin, they then injected mice with a neutralizing antibody against IL-1 before introducing them to the cage with food. These mice showed no increase in circulating insulin.

This led the researchers to conclude that IL-1 was mediating the cephalic phase insulin release (CPIR).

To investigate the implication of the finding for people with overweight or obesity, the researchers performed a secondary analysis of data from a previous meta-analysis on CPIR in people. The primary analysis found this insulin response was markedly reduced in those with overweight or obesity.

To test this finding, they reproduced the human data in the mouse model. After only two weeks on a high fat diet, mice no longer showed CPIR.

Study lead Prof. Marc Donath, chief of the Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Department at University Hospital Basel, told MNT why this might happen:

Obesity and diabetes lead to chronic inflammation beyond which an acute sensory stimulation no longer has any effect. Its like a marathon runner: after 42km, he cant do a fast 100m race.

Prof. Spector agreed: The authors conclusions that cephalic insulin response, which causes insulin secretion before any food is consumed, such as when we see food or smell food, is inhibited in people with obesity due to chronic inflammation associated with obesity is likely to be part of the answer.

IL-1 [] signaling seems to be responsible for some of the vagus nerve stimulation that results in insulin secretion after sensory exposure to food, and a dysfunction in this signaling in people with obesity is likely impacting their cephalic insulin response, he added.

Next, the mice were fed a high fat diet and injected with the anti-IL-1 antibody once weekly for 3 weeks, to prevent the release of IL-1. The researchers subsequently detected insulin in the blood of these mice, showing they had a CPIR.

With higher inflammation in obesity, and specifically adipose tissue inflammation, persistent high levels of circulating IL-1B is responsible for the dysfunction resulting in a lack of cephalic insulin response to sensory inputs.

Prof. Tim Spector

So, could this study have implications for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes? Prof. Donath believes it might, given further research.

IL-1 antagonism is being developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and its complications. A better understanding of the mechanism of action of IL-1 on insulin secretion could guide us in the development of clinical studies, he told MNT.

This view was reinforced in an article in Cell Metabolism, which described the findings as: an exciting avenue for developing IL-1 as a novel and potentially modifiable therapeutic target to correct autonomic dysregulation of CPIS [the cephalic phase of insulin secretion] in obesity.

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Obesity: How the sight of a meal triggers short-lived inflammation - Medical News Today


Jul 8

High Protein Diet: This Green Shakshuka Is The Perfect Nutritious Morning Meal – NDTV Food

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Plus, when it's nutritious and rich in proteins, then nothing like it. However, when it comes to making a protein-rich breakfast, many of us resort to making a variety of egg recipes. After all, eggs are one of the easiest things to cook with. You can make omelettes, boil them, stir fry them, or even grill them. An egg dish hardly takes any time to cook. However, if you are bored of that typical taste, how about you try this new recipe of green shakshuka?! A traditional dish in Arab cuisine, shakshuka is an egg-based meal from Israel and the Middle East. Many regional foods have crossed borders due to global connectedness, and shakshuka, an egg breakfast dish, has gained popularity worldwide.

In a typical shakshuka, poached eggs float over a bed of tomato sauce or puree that has been flavoured with common herbs and spices. However, numerous shakshuka variations cater to the distinct flavour preferences of various geographical areas. For instance, in Turkey, eggs are scrambled for shakshuka rather than poached. To suit their tastes, some individuals also add minced meats, vegetables like bell peppers and mushrooms, and even yoghurt to the dish. Another variety of this dish that you must try is green shakshuka.

As the name suggests, it is made on a bed of greens. You can get creative and add your favourite greens as well. But to keep things simple, here we have an easy recipe for you. Check it out below:

Also Read:5 Poached Egg Recipes To Put Together For Breakfast In Just 10 Mins

First, take a pan and heat some oil. Fry the onion and garlic together. Now add spinach and Brussel sprouts and mix again. Add salt, pepper, and red chilli powder. Combine them well. Break two eggs from the top and let them cook. Adjust the taste of the salt and garnish with green onion. Serve with bread and enjoy!

For the full recipe of this green shakshuka, click here.

Try out this yummy breakfast recipe, and let us know how it turned out for you!

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High Protein Diet: This Green Shakshuka Is The Perfect Nutritious Morning Meal - NDTV Food


Jul 8

Food For Heart: 5 Healthy Items to Add in Your Diet if You Are Suffering From Any Heart Diseases – India.com

You can begin taking care of your heart at any age. This can not only avoid heart diseases but also reduces the chances of having a heart attack or stroke by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Plaque, which is formed of bloods fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other components and supplies the heart muscles with oxygen-rich blood, causes heart disease conditions to develop said by Dr.Preet Pal Thakur Co-founder of Glamyo Health. It can be controlled by healthy habits and most important among all is healthy eating. Here are 5 foods that can help in keeping your heart healthy in long run.Also Read - How to Beat Sugar Craving And Why do Some People Crave Meetha so Much?

Green Vegetables: Leafy green vegetables with a high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants include spinach, kale, and collard greens, their benefit doesnt stop with heart health the vitamins and antioxidants found in them can also prevent many types of cancers and strengthen bones. Theyre a particularly good source of vitamin K, which safeguards your arteries and encourages healthy blood clotting. Also Read - Monsoon Hair Care Tips: 5 Foods You Should Consume to Keep Hair Fall at Bay

Berries: The essential nutrients that are abundant in strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are crucial for maintaining heart health. Antioxidants like anthocyanins, which guard against oxidative stress and inflammation that contributes to the development of heart disease, are abundant in berries. Berries can also be a satisfying snack or delicious low calorie dessert. Also Read - Cranberry Juice Health Benefits: From Reducing The Risk of Urine Infection to Preventing Hair Loss And More!

Seeds: Hemp, flax, and chia seeds are excellent sources of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are all beneficial for the heart. Flaxseed lowers risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease, and it may also benefit gastrointestinal health and diabetes. Numerous heart disease risk factors, including as inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, can be reduced by adding seeds in your diet.

Tomatoes: Tomato is beneficial for heart patients as it contains a powerful antioxidant Lycopene, it has the ability to scavenge free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Other nutrients in tomatoes include antioxidants called flavonoids, vitamins B and E, and vitamin K, which is beneficial for bones. Tomatoes also include potassium, a crucial essential for heart health.

Beans: A diet high in beans and other legumes can increase the flexibility of the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. Beans are a good source of soluble fiber, which can bind cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and eliminate them from the body before they enter the bloodstream. Beans have a number of phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, terpenoids, and anthocyanin, which can lessen oxidative stress and inflammation that can cause heart disease.

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Food For Heart: 5 Healthy Items to Add in Your Diet if You Are Suffering From Any Heart Diseases - India.com


Jul 8

Carrie Underwood Reveals Her Show Day Diet: "Hummus And Veggies Are Always On The Menu" – Music Mayhem Magazine

Carrie Underwood revealed what she eats on the day of a concert during a recent conversation with Audacys Katie Neal. The Pink Champagne singer said she likes to stick to her show day regimen, which includes eating the same thing every time she plays a concert.

The night of a show, Im curious, do you have any pre-show rituals once youve done soundcheck, once youve done glam, once youve done meet and greet, is there anything you like to do every night before you hit the stage that like really puts you in show mode or calms you down or amps you up? Neal asked.

I mean, my show days are like very regimented, Underwood responded. I have a schedule, I know my schedule, I like my schedule. Um, I basically like to eat the same things on every show day, she added.

Whats the same thing you eat every day before a show? Neal questioned Underwood, prompting her to share more about what her meals on show days look like.

Underwood explained that she eats raw, nut butter-based bars for breakfast, hummus and veggies for lunch, and two scrambled eggs and half of an avocado for dinner on show days.

I usually eat like these bars for breakfast. They can be different flavors, but theyre like raw and nut butter kind of based. Lunches are maybe some tu-no not tuna, because I dont eat meat, Underwood said. Something like that or I always eat like Lupini beans, and hummus and veggies are always on the menu.

The Oklahoma native then detailed her decision to keep her show day meals consistent.

You get to a point, where, like if you eat off script in that context, your body doesnt process it as well, or you feel kinda bloaty, or it makes you feel slow or whatever it is, Underwood added. Its like, I know what thats going to do and its good, healthy fats and protein and it gets me through the show without making me feel like I just ate a lot of food, she continued.

Underwood concluded her Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency back in late May at Resorts World. She also shared that shell return to Vegas for more shows next year.

In addition, Underwood will hit the road on her 43-city Denim & Rhinestones Tour in support of her album of the same name, released on Jun. 10. Underwood will kick off the tour, which features support from fellow country singer Jimmie Allen, on Oct. 15 in Greenville, South Carolina.

Most recently, Underwood joined rock band Guns N Roses on stage in London where she joined them in performing Sweet Child O Mine and Paradise City.

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Carrie Underwood Reveals Her Show Day Diet: "Hummus And Veggies Are Always On The Menu" - Music Mayhem Magazine


Jul 8

Japan’s 1 mil. yen monthly allowance to Diet members conceived as free mail privilege – The Mainichi – The Mainichi

This image shows part of a document drafted by GHQ to make recommendations to the Japanese government about Diet reform. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Japan's 1 million yen (roughly $7,400) per month correspondence allowance paid to Diet members is under fire, with calls rising to revise the stipend. But debate on how the money is used has been put off with the end of the ordinary Diet session ahead of the July 10 House of Councillors election. The Mainichi Shimbun reflected on the history and origins of Japanese lawmakers' so-called "second salary," which was originally envisioned as a system to allow them to send mail for free.

The system began in 1947. Though a fixed sum is currently paid in advance to all Diet members, the original vision for the correspondence allowances differed from how it is run today, Graduate School of Social Design professor Jun Kitajima has found. A document created by the occupying Allied Powers' General Headquarters (GHQ) provided the evidence.

The correspondence allowance had been specified in the Diet Law as payments "for mailing official documents and for communications of an official nature." While the amount was 125 yen per month at the outset, it ballooned to 100,000 yen in 1963, and to 1 million yen in 1993. The allowance's name has also changed throughout the years. In effect, there are no limits on how the funds can be used, and lawmakers have no obligation to disclose how they were spent, making the allowances a de facto extra salary.

Moves to reform the system gained momentum after a rookie legislator and others drew attention to the issue following the Oct. 31, 2021 House of Representatives election, when first-time Diet members were paid the full amount for that month even though they had only been in their positions for a single day. Although the correspondence allowance's distribution method was changed so payments would be made on a per diem basis, it also got the new name of "survey, research, public relations and accommodation allowance," allowing legislators to add "interactions with the Japanese public" as objectives for their distribution. Observers have questioned the move, saying that how the money is used will become even more ambiguous.

The allowance system's origins can be traced to 1946, when Japan was under Allied occupation following World War II. Along with the issue of the postwar Constitution, handling of the Diet Law, which specified how the Diet is run among other regulations, was a key concern for GHQ. Historians believe that the root of this concern was the Diet's inability to prevent the Japanese military's rash actions during the Pacific War, and GHQ crafted a draft to improve the country's legislature. On Sept. 3, 1946, Justin Williams, chief of the GHQ government section's legislative division, drafted a document called "Problems of the Diet under the Revised Constitution" as "recommendations as a minimum."

Kitajima found the draft among microfilms in the National Diet Library collection. He was able to find the sentence, "Franking privileges will be accorded Diet members for sending through the mail public documents printed by order of the Diet and any mail matter of an official nature." "Franking" is the right to send mail through the postal system for free. And Kitajima believes the passage is the origin of today's correspondence allowances.

Williams later wrote in a publication that the franking privilege for legislators was "a device for encouraging closer contact between Diet members and their constituents." This means that the system was originally envisioned as a way to make official mail free, instead of an allowance distribution.

The Diet Law was enacted in May 1947, following GHQ's recommendation. Article 38 specifies that members shall "receive allowances, as provided for separately, for mailing official documents and for communications of an official nature during a session," departing from the original vision.

The ambiguous nature of the allowance's use has been deemed problematic before. In 1959, when it was raised at the Constitution Research Commission, the then House of Representatives' Legislative Bureau chief commented, "Since a franked mail privilege took a great deal of effort, a correspondence allowance began to be distributed to Diet members."

However, it was not made clear what was "a great deal of effort" about a franked mail system. Kitajima said, "If they're claiming that making calculations each time is troublesome, this is a conception at the time of the system's onset. Exact costs can be easily identified today, through credit cards, electronic money, and other means." There seems to be room for improvement.

Though campaigning for the upper house election is underway, there has hardly been any debate over the correspondence allowance. Kitajima commented, "Many political parties do not touch on it as a crucial issue, but the public must be watching whether politicians are capable of reform with sacrifice. I'd like people to judge the weight of politicians' words, not limited to discussion on the allowances."

(Japanese original by Akira Iida, Tokyo City News Department)

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Japan's 1 mil. yen monthly allowance to Diet members conceived as free mail privilege - The Mainichi - The Mainichi


Jul 8

Exercise and Proper Diet Has Many Known Benefits on the Brain: Study – Bel Marra Health

Theres been a lot of talk lately about the benefits of exercise and proper diet on the brain. Now, evidence is finally starting to mount up. Researchers suggest that regular physical activity and a balanced diet were linked with better cognitive function later in life. They believe that this is because both of these things help to protect the brain from age-related damage. If you want to keep your mind sharp as you age, stay active and eat well.As we live longer and longer, brain health becomes an increasingly important concern. Unfortunately, cognitive impairment is a natural part of an aging brain for many people. Memory loss, trouble focusing, and slowed thinking are common complaints as we age. Many cognitive difficulties, such as Alzheimers disease, have underlying pathological causes that researchers are still trying to understand.

However, cognitive decline is not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, there are many things we can do to keep our brains sharp as we age. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain. It increases blood flow and helps to keep brain cells healthy. A healthy diet is also important for brain health. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides the brain with the nutrients it needs to function at its best. Social interaction is also crucial for brain health.

As people age, it is also essential to keep the mind active and engaged. Studies have shown that seniors who participate in learning activities and social interactions experience a slower rate of cognitive decline. In addition, active and engaged seniors are more likely to report higher satisfaction levels with their overall quality of life.

There are many ways to encourage healthy brain aging, but one of the most important things is to commit to a schedule that includes learning activities, social interactions, exercising, and eating a healthy diet. Summer is a great time to get outside and get physical activity through gardening or walking. Farmers markets are also a great place to visit this time of year to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. By following these simple tips, you can help to keep your brain healthy and prevent cognitive decline.

While some degree of cognitive impairment is nearly inevitable as you age, this study shows how other factors can take a toll on the ability of the brain to function at peak potential. This can affect memory, concentration, and overall brain function.

The Smart Pill can help to enhance cognitive function and memory through 9 ingredients that help to support, nourish, and maximize brain health. These include ginkgo Biloba, huperzine A, bacopa extract, rosemary extract, and a B vitamin complex. The formulation of these ingredients is an excellent way to help fight free radicals, boost circulation, and provide nutritional support to assist with cognitive function.

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Exercise and Proper Diet Has Many Known Benefits on the Brain: Study - Bel Marra Health



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