Exercising to Lose Weight Is Not for Every ‘Body’

This first item comes from the “You’ve got to be kidding” section of LOTME’s supersecret topics-of-interest file.

Investigators at the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Roehampton noticed that some people who enrolled in exercise programs to lose weight did just the opposite: they gained weight.

Being scientists, they decided to look at the effects of energy expenditure and how those effects varied among individuals. The likely culprit in this case, they determined, is something called compensatory mechanisOne such mechanism involves eating more food because exercise stimulates appetite, and another might reduce energy expenditure on other components like resting metabolism so that the exercise is, in effect, less costly.

A look at the numbers shows how compensatory mechanisms worked in the study population of 1,750 adults. Among individuals with the highest BMI, 51% of the calories burned during activity translated into calories burned at the end of the day. For those with normal BMI, however, 72% of calories burned during activity were reflected in total expenditure.

“People living with obesity cut back their resting metabolism when they are more active. The result is that for every calorie they spend on exercise they save about half a calorie on resting,” the investigators explained.

In other words, some bodies will, unconsciously, work against the conscious effort of exercising to lose weight. Thank you very much, compensatory mechanisms, for the boundarylessness exhibited in exceeding your job description.

When It Comes to the Mix, Walnuts Go Nuts

When it comes to mixed nuts, walnuts get no love. But we may be able to give you a reason to not pick them out: Your arteries.

Participants in a recent study who ate about a half-cup of walnuts every day for 2 years saw a drop in their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The number and quality of LDL particles in healthy older adults also improved. How? Good ol’ omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 is found in many foods linked to lower risks of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and lower blood sugar levels, but the one thing that makes the walnut a front runner for Miss Super Food 2021 is their ability to improve the quality of LDL particles.

“LDL particles come in various sizes [and] research has shown that small, dense LDL particles are more often associated with atherosclerosis, the plaque or fatty deposits that build up in the arteries,” Emilio Ros, MD, PhD, of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and the study’s senior investigator, said in a written statement.

The 708 participants, aged 63-79 years and mostly women, were divided into two groups: One received the walnut diet and the other did not. After 2 years, the walnut group had lower LDL levels by an average of 4.3 mg/dL. Total cholesterol was reduced by an average of 8.5 mg/dL. Also, their total LDL particle count was 4.3% lower and small LDL particles were down by 6.1%.

So instead of picking the walnuts out of the mix, try to find it in your heart to appreciate them. Your body already does.

Begun, the Clone War Has

Well, not quite yet, Master Yoda, but perhaps one day soon, if a study from Japan into the uncanny valley of the usage of cloned humanlike faces in robotics and artificial intelligence, published in PLOS One, is to be believed.

The study consisted of a number of six smaller experiments in which participants judged a series of images based on subjective eeriness, emotional valence, and realism. The images included people with the same cloned face; people with different faces; dogs; identical twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.; and cloned animated characters. In the sixth experiment, the photos were the same as in the second (six cloned faces, six different faces, and a single face) but participants also answered the Disgust Scale–Revised to accurately analyze disgust sensitivity.

The results of all these experiments were quite clear: People found the cloned faces far creepier than the varied or single face, an effect the researchers called clone devaluation. Notably, this effect only applied to realistic human faces; most people didn’t find the cloned dogs or cloned animated characters creepy. However, those who did were more likely to find the human clones eerie on the Disgust Scale.

The authors noted that future robotics technology needs to be carefully considered to avoid the uncanny valley and this clone devaluation effect, which is a very good point. The last thing we need is a few million robots with identical faces getting angry at us and pulling a Terminator/Order 66 combo. We’re already in a viral apocalypse; we don’t need a robot one on top of that.

Congratulations to Our New Favorite Reader

The winner of last week’s inaugural Pandemic Pandemonium comes to us from Tiffanie Roe. By getting her entry in first, just ahead of the flood of responses we received – and by flood we mean a very slow and very quickly repaired drip – Roe puts the gold medal for COVID-related insanity around the necks of Australian magpies, who may start attacking people wearing face masks during “swooping season” because the birds don’t recognize them.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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