Study: U.S. teens eat too much salt, hiking obesity risk

Feb. 3, 2013, HealthDay

By Alan Mozes

American teens are taking in as much dietary salt as adults, far exceeding guidelines on healthy limits for daily consumption, new research warns.

The investigation tracked the week-long eating habits of more than 760 black and white high school kids. It found that, on average, teens now ingest a whopping 3,280 milligrams (mg) of sodium (salt) every day.

That amounts to more than double the uppermost recommended level of 1,500 mg of sodium per day set forth by the American Heart Association (AHA). Continue reading

Gene mutation tied to higher obesity risk in kids

Oct. 24, 2013, HealthDay

Obesity is on the rise among children, and a particular genetic mutation might play a role for some kids, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Britain conducted genetic analyses of more than 2,100 severely obese youngsters. They found that those with mutations in the KSR2 gene had larger appetites and slower metabolism than those with a normal copy of the gene, according to the study published in the Oct. 24 issue of the journal Cell.

“Changes in diet and levels of physical activity underlie the recent increase in obesity; however, some people gain weight more easily than others,” study author Sadaf Farooqi, of the University of Cambridge, noted in a journal news release. “This variation between people is largely influenced by genetic factors. The discovery of a new obesity gene, KSR2, demonstrates that genes can contribute to obesity by reducing metabolic rate — how well the body burns calories.” Continue reading

Could a gene help make you obese?

July 15, 2013, U.S. News & World Report

By Dennis Thompson

Researchers have discovered a potential genetic explanation for why some people overeat and run a greater risk for obesity.

People who carry two copies of a variant form of the “FTO” gene are more likely to feel hungry soon after eating a meal, because they carry higher levels of the hunger-producing hormone ghrelin in their bloodstream, an international team of scientists found. Continue reading

Can you be addicted to carbs?

June 26, 2013, NPR [the Salt Blog]

By Allison Aubrey

Fresh research adds weight to the notion that certain foods (think empty carbs like bagels and sweet treats) can lead to more intense hunger and overeating.

Fast-digesting carbohydrates can stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Prior studies have shown that highly desirable foods, perhaps a cheesecake or pie, can trigger pleasure centers in the brain. But what’s new about this research is that it shows that even when people are unaware of what they’re eating, the intake of fast-digesting carbs can activate parts of the brain associated with pleasure, reward, and addiction. Continue reading