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Research Roundup #9: This Week’s Fasting News from Around the Web

by | Dec 4, 2020 | FAST NEWS


Welcome to the Fast Insider News Roundup

Every week, we’re bringing you a round-up of the latest fasting, health, and wellness news to hit the wire. There are many ways that fasting converges with lifestyle to improve change day to day life as we know it. This week, we look at how exercise can stave off the harms of prolonged sitting, how a key compound in chocolate helps your brain, and how guidelines for coronavirus quarantining have been reduced.

Parked in front of a computer all day? Pay attention

Sitting may be the new smoking but there is an effective way to offset its harmful effects, according to new first-of-their-kind guidelines from the World Health Organization.

Exceeding the weekly recommended levels for exercise and physical activity can prevent the disease and premature death associated with sitting for long periods each day.

The new research – published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine – followed more than 44,000 people wearing fitness trackers in four countries.  Those who sat for 10 hours or more a day were at heightened risk of premature death, particularly those who were inactive.

But those getting 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity – of any kind – brought down that risk to levels associated with very low amounts of sedentary time.

The WHO’s weekly recommendation for adults is 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75-100 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic movement. 

Read more…

Yes, chocolate can be brain food

The main ingredient in chocolate – cocoa – might help supercharge your brain, according to a small but promising study out of Britain.

In the study, 18 healthy young men were given a cocoa drink packed with high levels of flavanols, a phytochemical compound found in significant amounts in cocoa, grapes, apples, teas, and berries.

Then, they underwent brain scans and mental acuity tests to determine if a single dose of cocoa flavanols could improve brain oxygenation levels. Each man was tested twice, once with a high-flavanol cocoa mix and another with a low-flavanol mix.

Two hours after each drink participants were given a “vascular challenge” by breathing in 5 percent carbon dioxide, an amount 100 times the normal concentration which is known to trigger dizziness, exhaustion, and an inability to focus. The body’s typical response is to send more blood flow to the brain to supply it with more oxygen and force out the carbon dioxide.

Researchers found that after drinking the flavanol-rich cocoa, 14 of 18 men saw their oxygenation response rise more than three times higher than it had following the low-flavanol drink, and this flavanol-rich cocoa triggered a one-minute faster response than the drink with low levels. Moreover, when posed challenging problems to solve, the more concentrated cocoa helped the men respond an average of 11 percent faster.

This is not an excuse to binge on Snickers, scientists said, because it’s difficult to determine the flavanol content of most commercial chocolate. However, consuming a diet rich in flavanols from grapes, green tea, apples, and berries (and maybe a little bit of chocolate) can benefit the brain in the same way.  

Read more

CDC says shorter coronavirus quarantine times OK for those exposed

The standard 14-day quarantine time could be shortened to 10 days or even seven, according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which aims to boost compliance to limit viral spread.

Previous guidance was designed to reflect the incubation period before symptoms might appear. But it also caused many to ignore it for fear that they would lose a job or two weeks of income.

While the new 14-day quarantine recommendation is still in effect, the new guidance offers public health agencies two ways to shorten it.

  1. If testing is available, a person can quarantine for just seven days if they test negative (via a rapid response antigen test or PCR test) in the last two days of that period.
  2. Without testing, the quarantine can end in 10 days if a person monitors symptoms such as fever daily and reports none. However, the exposed individual must continue wearing a mask and monitoring symptoms for the full 14 days.

CDC scientists calculated transmission risk at about 5 percent after the seven-day quarantine, and 1 percent for the 10-day quarantine. 

Editor’s Note is committed to investigating and reporting on the many ways fasting, health, nutrition, and wellness can help all of us rise to meet the challenges we face in life and, in doing so, liberates us to live our lives, longer and better. Together, especially when we are healthy and happy, we can address the world’s greatest problems.

Check-in weekly for our research round-up and look forward to even more in-depth fasting science coverage, analysis, and takeaways in the near future.

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