New year, new diet
Resolving (yet again) to eat better and lose some weight this year? Managing your diet is a crucial part of losing weight, but with the sheer variety of popular diets out there, it can be hard to know which diet will work best for you.
One option is the Mediterranean Diet, which has been ranked the best diet to follow for the fourth year in a row. It’s a largely plant-based diet that’s low in fat and can reduce your risk of heart disease, some cancers, and other health conditions.
The issue with restrictive diets
One of the most popular diets around is the keto diet, which calls for high-fat and low-carb foods. Many people have been drawn in by the idea of entering ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy rather than sugar (fried chicken all day, err’day). However, the keto diet actually came in next-to-last in a ranking by US News & World Report. While it does help with quick weight loss, its restrictive nature makes it very difficult to follow — this can lead to yo-yo dieting, or weight cycling, which has been linked to an increased mortality rate.
The best diet is not a diet
Sometimes, just the idea of going on a diet can make the whole process more stressful than it needs to be. Instead, it might be better to just make small changes to your diet and go on from there. Start with having some fruits and vegetables with every meal and drinking more water instead of sugary drinks.
Once you’ve got that down, you can try more elaborate steps like cutting out certain foods, or limiting your eating window, depending on which diet you’ve chosen to follow. Always remember, nutritional content comes first! Want to know more? Here’s our article on nutritional advice from a clinical dietitian!
5 Singaporean stories to catch up on
1️⃣ Still worried about your data privacy? Most of the collected TraceTogether data will be deleted after the pandemic is over.
2️⃣ Attending the World Economic Forum? Be ready to stick to strict public health requirements and safe management measures.
3️⃣ On stockpiling food: A lecturer from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is trying to raise awareness of household food resilience in Singapore.
4️⃣ Tie a silver ribbon: Singapore Management University has been praised for its efforts in maintaining student’s mental well-being.
5️⃣ Outside factors of Covid-19: A team of researchers from NTU is studying how air pollution affects respiratory illnesses like Covid-19.
And 5 facts to spice up your life:
1️⃣ Two for one: A new study shows that exercising just one arm can increase strength in the other.
2️⃣ Do not enter: China has denied entry into its borders for the World Health Organization’s coronavirus investigation team.
3️⃣ Teaching an old drug new tricks: Researchers are using artificial intelligence to see if existing medications can be used to treat illnesses other than the ones they are prescribed for.
4️⃣ Overlooked symptoms: A new study shows that some people with certain genetic disorders show signs of autism although they are not diagnosed with it.
5️⃣ The chief of the World Health Organization is asking for greater global cooperation when it comes to healthcare.
PART HUMAN, PART PIG
When there aren’t enough organs to go around
Once your organs fail, one of the only solutions is to undergo an organ transplant to replace whatever’s not working. Unfortunately, organ donations are hard to come by, and the world has been facing an organ shortage for a long time, with only a small percentage of the needed transplants being performed each year.
Would you get a pig organ transplant?
Some people like to eat pig organs, but a lot of research is going into making sure they have a much more important medical function. You’ve guessed it — one solution to the global organ shortage that’s been making the rounds is to use organs from other species, the most popular being that of pigs.
Another solution would be 3D-printing the needed organs, but this solution is still largely in the research stage.
How soon will this be happening?
For a long time, xenotransplantation was just something out of a science fiction novel. Any attempt to transplant organs from animals to humans ended in the rejection of the organ by the body’s immune system.
But now, Revivicor, the regenerative medicine company based in Virginia, USA, has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to use their pigs for therapeutic purposes. They’ve stated that they hope to start transplants between pigs and humans as early as this year. It sounds a little weird and a lot crazy, but it could save the lives of the thousands of people waiting for an organ donation each year.
Weird & Wonderful
- Chewing bubblegum is the lie that your mouth tells your stomach.
- Salivating because you’re thinking of a drink is your body providing one for you.
- Beef jerky is technically a cow raisin.
- Most people know not to drink salt water — but if the salt water is hot with ingredients, then it’s fine.
- A woman can’t regrow a lost limb for herself. But if she gets pregnant, her body will grow limbs for someone else.
PICTURE OF THE DAY
Image of disease-carrying mosquito taken from Imperial.ac.uk
Our oldest foe: The mosquito
Malaria, dengue, yellow fever, the Zika virus — these are some of the most well-known mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria is the oldest of these, and still kills over 400,000 people every year. Carried by the Anopheles mosquito, it’s thought to have been around for 100 million years — it even affected the dinosaurs!
Malaria has killed countless people since then, and it has a long and dark history of taking lives during humanity’s various wars and battles. During WWII, one of Hitler’s battle strategies began with the destruction of mosquito nets and the sabotage of drainage systems in Italy. Anopheles larvae were then brought into the country to breed mosquitoes and the disease they carried. In 1944, Italy reported 54,929 cases of malaria in a population of 245,000.
The Anopheles mosquito also carries elephantiasis, and encephalitis, although it is the only mosquito to carry malaria. Only two other types of mosquitoes, the Culex and the Aedes, are known to transmit diseases. Here in Singapore, we’re all (uncomfortably) familiar with Aedes mosquitoes and the dengue fever that they can bring — last year, Singapore faced its worst outbreak of dengue fever ever. While it’s mostly seen in tropical countries, studies show that the Aedes mosquito could become a common sight in temperate Europe by 2030.
To aid countries worldwide with their fight against disease-carrying mosquitoes, the World Health Organization (WHO) put together the Global Vector Control Response in 2017. It will run on to 2030, upon which the situation will have to be reassessed. But hopefully, we’ll have come up with a solution to deal with these dangerous pests by then.