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Booze could be making you fat

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There’s growing evidence for a link between alcoholism and obesity, but more research is needed.

Why do we drink alcohol? There are so many reasons – and whether you enjoy cracking open a cold beer in summer or indulging in a fragrant glass of wine – the bottom line is, alcohol provides a sense of pleasure.

But at seven calories per gram of alcohol, your daily tipple can wreak havoc on your waistline. We know that we need to lower our alcohol intake and choose our drinks wisely to maintain a healthy weight – but can excessive alcohol intake lead to actual obesity?

The link between alcohol and obesity

Research published in the Current Obesity Reports attempted to establish a direct link between alcohol consumption and obesity. While there are proven factors in alcohol that contribute to weight gain, there were limits in the study that prevented establishing a definite link between alcohol and obesity.

Studies done at the Washington School of Medicine in St Louis looked at data from two large alcoholism surveys. While the first survey showed

no link between obesity and a family history of alcoholism, the second more recent survey did indicate that those with a family history of alcoholism were more likely to become obese.

The researchers suggested that this link could be the result of environmental factors – an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and the consumption of unhealthy food.

Binge-drinking worse than regular consumption

Another study showed that people who binge-drink are more likely to gain weight as opposed to those who drank regularly, but in small quantities.

There are several factors that can lead to weight gain and eventual obesity if you continue to drink heavily:

1. Alcohol is calorie-dense and void of nutrition

Not all calories are the same. While some calories provide beneficial nutrition, the calories in alcohol have no nutritional value. Some alcoholic beverages are also packed with sugar, especially if you prefer cocktails or hard liquor with a soft drink mixer. If you tend to binge-drink, the situation gets even worse as calories add up pretty quickly. When your body gets too much energy from alcohol, it isn’t used and ends up being stored as fat instead. 

2. Alcohol makes us more likely to eat unhealthy and snack impulsively

There’s nothing that makes you throw your inhibitions out the door faster than a booze-filled night. Alcohol makes your blood sugar rise and plummet, leading to the inevitable munchies – and you certainly won’t be craving a salad in your inebriated state. You’re more likely to forget all about your healthy diet and choose the greasiest meal on the menu – on top of the calories you already consumed from alcohol. If you make a habit of this kind of behaviour, it will most certainly lead to weight gain. 

3. Alcohol can get in the way of working out

If you regularly binge-drink over weekends, it’s unlikely that you will feel like training for that marathon or go to the gym. You will feel lethargic and sluggish and it will be easier for you to skip your workout session. While the occasional night of debauchery probably won’t ruin your exercise plan, habitual indulging could certainly turn you into an overweight couch potato. 

4. Alcohol can alter the brain

According to research, there are similarities in the pathways that lead to overeating and dependence on alcohol. Ethanol triggers the brain to signal “starvation mode”, which can lead to an increase in appetite and overeating

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Scams to look out for this Black-Friday

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AS the curtain comes down on the year 2021, the buzz word this week will be Black Friday.

For those who are not up to speed with the concept, Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

Many stores offer highly promoted sales at discounted prices and often open very early, sometimes as early as midnight or even on Thanksgiving Day.

This American concept has fast become a global trend and this coming Friday, the shopping frenzy continues.

This Black Friday comes at the backdrop of dire socio-economic challenges.

While many of us will be shopping around for those crazy deals and discounts, there are some threats and scams one needs to take note of.

According to the Cnet publication, these are some of the things we need to look out for this coming Black Friday:

1. Look out for fake websites and fraudulent apps

According to tech experts, the phishing concept’s goal is for hackers to get their hands on your personal information, like your credit card number, social security or account password. Pretending to be a large retail corporation, the fraudsters send out an official-looking email or text message, usually with a link to a fraudulent website designed to look just like a legitimate site. According to experts, if you receive an email asking you to update your payment method or requesting other personal information, contact the company’s help desk to make sure the email is legit before you do anything else.

2. Card scams can also happen digitally

This, according to experts, happens when a hacker places an object over a card reader, disguised to look like part of the ATM, and then waits for people to swipe their cards. A day or week later, the thief takes the object known as a skimmer back and collects the mountain of stolen card information stored inside, which they can then use to make purchases, withdraw money and more. Tim Mackey, principal security strategist for Synopsis, suggests that people don’t save the card details on retail websites. He also suggests that if possible, one should use a third-party payment method like Apple Pay, Google Wallet or PayPal.

3. Try to wire all your transfers

According to Health Care Family magazine, on this Black Friday, try and use your credit card to purchase goods. It offers you the most protection against purchases that don’t turn out to be what you expected. A debit card can be a good choice, too, if you’re only shopping at stores and sites you trust and frequent often.

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LIFESTYLES

Cellphone exposure may harm-sperm

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Putting your phone in your pocket may harm sperm!

In men with no exposure to cellphones, 50% to 85% of their sperm had a normal ability to move towards an egg – that fell by an average of 8% among men exposed to cellphones.

Men who carry a cellphone in their pants pocket may harm their sperm and reduce their chances of having children, a new review warns.

The research team analysed the findings of 10 studies that examined how cellphone exposure may affect male fertility.

Among men with no exposure to cellphones, 50% to 85% of their sperm had a normal ability to move towards an egg.

That fell by an average of 8% among men exposed to cellphones. Similar effects were seen for sperm viability, which refers to the proportion of sperm that were alive, according to the study published in the journal Environment International.

The effects of cellphone exposure on sperm concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen) were unclear, the investigators noted.

Electromagnetic radiation

Most adults worldwide own mobile phones, and about 14% of couples in middle- and high-income nations have difficulty conceiving, the researchers said. They also noted that previous studies have suggested radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones can harm male fertility.

“Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified,” study leader Fiona Mathews, of the biosciences department at the University of Exeter in England, said in a university news release.

“This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population,” she said.

While the study found an association between cellphone exposure and male infertility, the study was not designed to determine a cause-and-effect relationship.

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Benefits of chewing gum

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WHAT does Gavin Hunt, Rihanna and Katy Perry have in common?

Besides their apparent passion for what they do, all three are popular for always being seen chewing bubblegum.

A lot of people chew gum for various reasons.

Some chew it to keep their mouth fresh, while many sportsmen and women chew it to keep the saliva in their mouth, which in turn prevents them from constantly spitting on the pitch.

According to experts, there are many benefits to chewing gum.

According to Healthline magazine, these are some of the benefits of chewing gum:

1. Chewing gum reduces stress and boosts your memory.

Studies have found that chewing gum while performing tasks can improve various aspects of brain function, including alertness, memory, understanding, and making decisions. The studies found that students who chewed gum over a period of seven or 19 days had reduced scores for depression, anxiety, and stress compared to those who did not. Those who chewed gum also achieved greater academic success.

2. Chewing gum also helps you lose weight.

Bubblegum is sweet and low in calories, giving you a sweet taste without negatively affecting your diet. Some research suggests that chewing gum could reduce your appetite, which could prevent you from overeating. Furthermore, chewing gum between meals decreased feelings of hunger and reduced intake of high carb snacks in the afternoon.

3. Chewing gum protects your teeth and reduces bad breath.

Chewing sugar-free gum could help protect your teeth from cavities. This is because sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your mouth, which can damage your teeth. Studies have found that chewing gums sweetened with xylitol are more effective than other sugar-free gums at preventing tooth decay. This is because xylitol prevents the growth of the bacteria that causes tooth decay and bad breath.

4. It helps in eliminating nausea.

According to WebMd, if you feel sick, the saliva production from chewing gum may help you feel better. This is especially true for motion sickness and morning sickness during pregnancy.

5. It helps you stay alert and awake.

According to Select-Health magazine, if you are struggling to stay alert at work, chewing gum could be the simple solution you’re looking for. One study revealed that chewing gum can fight sleepiness. Anything mint flavoured is the most effective gum to battle midday yawns.

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