Tag Archives: surprising

Should you choose butter or margarine? Dr Michael Mosley shares surprising verdict

If you ever wonder to yourself whether butter or margarine is the healthiest option, Dr Mosley has settled the debate. Once placed on a pedestal for being a “healthy version” of butter, scientific evidence now suggests otherwise. “Margarine itself is processed and made from vegetable oil,” explained Dr Mosley. “As vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature, a process called hydrogenation takes place, which resultantly creates trans-fat.”

Trans fats “should be avoided where possible”, urged Dr Mosley.

“There is a plethora of scientific evidence linking increased intake of trans fats with inflammation, heart disease, stroke and poor cholesterol”.

While margarine does have less saturated fat than butter, Dr Mosley pointed out that “saturated fat is not necessarily a bad thing”.

In the past, margarine was linked to raised cholesterol and heart disease, but new research has turned this on its head.

READ MORE: Daily morning showers may ‘do more harm than good’ – expert warning

Dr Mosley cleared up some other healthy food myths, making it clear that you may not be making the best dietary choices after all.

If you’ve ever opted for vegetable crisps over a regular packet of salt and vinegar, for example, you could doing yourself a disservice.

“There may be real vegetables on their ingredients list,” Dr Mosley pointed out, but those thin slices of veggies are “far too small to provide any real nutritional value”.

In addition, vegetable crips are fried in sunflower oil to get that crunchy texture.

Dr Mosley set the record straight: “Vegetable crisps, in reality, are no healthier than a standard packet of potato crisps.”

If you’re looking to satisfy your craving for a crunch, Dr Mosley advises you eat:

  • Raw vegetables dipped in homemade guacamole or hummus
  • Nuts and seeds sprinkled over Greek yoghurt
  • Sauerkraut and kimchi into your salads or alongside eggs.

If you’re a vegan, don’t assume that what you eat is always the healthiest option.

“Just because the label says ‘vegan’, [it] doesn’t mean [it’s] instantly healthy.”

The best way to ensure you’re eating as healthy as possible is to follow the Mediterranean diet.

However, if you do opt for pre-packaged foods now and again, “always read the ingredients carefully”.

“If you wouldn’t find the ingredients in your cupboard, or you’re not entirely sure what they are, it’s best to leave the item firmly on the shelf!” Dr Mosley stated.

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High blood pressure: Surprising sauces, condiments and flavourings increasing your reading

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and is a major component in the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Millions of people around the world suffer with the condition with most being none the wiser as to the hidden dangers lurking in some of your favourite condiments, sauces or flavourings and how it can increase the risk of hypertension.

Parmesan cheese

When Parmesan cheese is used it’s rarely used sparingly, and because of that it easily adds a lot of unwanted calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium to one’s diet.

Parmesan cheese is high in salt with 1.7g per 100g.

It is also high in fat and should be avoided if concerned about your blood pressure reading.

Better options include feta or mozzarella.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce is high in sodium which is an essential nutrient that your body requires to function properly.

For one tablespoon of soy sauce, it contains roughly 902 mg of sodium.

This makes it high in salt, providing 38 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).

While soy sauce has a relatively high amount of protein and carbohydrates by volume, it’s not a significant source of those nutrients.

 In addition, the fermentation, ageing and pasteurisation processes result in a highly complex mix of more than 300 substances that contribute to the aroma, flavour and colour of soy sauce.

Blood Pressure UK states eating too much salt is the biggest cause of high blood pressure and an adult should eat no more than 6g of salt a day.

Most of the salt we eat every day is hidden’ which means it’s already in processed foods like bread, biscuits and breakfast cereals, and prepared ready meals or takeaways, and frozen pizzas are another surprising food people with high blood pressure should avoid.

According to the charity, this hidden salt accounts for around 75 percent of the salt we eat – only 25 percent comes from the salt we add while cooking or at the table.

Nutritionists at Healthline say, as a rule, tomato products are problematic for people with hypertension.

The site states: “Canned tomato sauces, pasta sauces, and tomato juices are all high in sodium. A 1/2 cup serving of classic marinara sauce can have more than 550mg of sodium. A cup of tomato juice comes in at 615mg.”

Author: Jessica Knibbs
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health
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How to live longer: Two surprising foods that help fight decline in later life

“I was pleasantly surprised that our results suggest that responsibly eating cheese and drinking red wine daily are not just good for helping us cope with our current COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps also dealing with an increasingly complex world that never seems to slow down,” Willette said.

“While we took into account whether this was just due to what well-off people eat and drink, randomised clinical trials are needed to determine if making easy changes in our diet could help our brains in significant ways.”

What else did the researchers find out?

Weekly consumption of lamb, but not other red meats, was shown to improve long-term cognitive function.

Excessive consumption of salt is invariably bad, but only individuals already at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease may need to watch their intake to avoid cognitive problems over time, the study suggested.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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‘Alito was just pissed’: Trump’s Supreme Court breaks down along surprising lines

“We’re arguing about the battles among the conservatives and when that coalition breaks and where it goes,” lamented Harvard Law School lecturer Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge. “It’s a dramatic difference from only two or three years ago.”

Leading the charge from the right in both cases Thursday was Justice Samuel Alito, who penned caustic opinions taking his colleagues to task for issuing narrow rulings that seemed to him to be aimed at defusing political tensions rather than interpreting the law.

“After receiving more than 2,500 pages of briefing and after more than a half-year of post-argument cogitation, the Court has emitted a wisp of a decision that leaves religious liberty in a confused and vulnerable state. Those who count on this Court to stand up for the First Amendment have every right to be disappointed—as am I,” Alito wrote in the foster-care case, notwithstanding the Catholic charity’s unanimous victory.

In the Obamacare dispute, Alito sarcastically accused the majority of repeatedly indulging in flights of legal sophistry to avoid the politically unpalatable step of striking down the landmark health care law.

“No one can fail to be impressed by the lengths to which this Court has been willing to go to defend the ACA against all threats,” Alito wrote. “A penalty is a tax. The United States is a State. And 18 States who bear costly burdens under the ACA cannot even get a foot in the door to raise a constitutional challenge. Fans of judicial inventiveness will applaud once again. But I must respectfully dissent.”

While Alito observed the court’s traditional decorum by railing at “the majority,” there was little doubt his criticism was aimed primarily at Chief Justice John Roberts, who provided the pivotal vote to uphold Obamacare nine years ago and voted Thursday to leave the law intact by concluding that the Republican-led states seeking to overturn it lacked legal standing to sue.

In the latest Obamacare case, the chief justice left authorship of the majority opinion to the court’s second-longest-serving justice, Stephen Breyer, but the result was vintage Roberts: a largely-technical, 7-2 decision finding a lack of standing for the states and individuals challenging the law, while pushing aside more fundamental questions about the law’s constitutionality.

Roberts was the author of the opinion the court issued Thursday finding very narrow grounds to strike down Philadelphia’s ban on Catholic Social Services due to its policy against vetting same-sex couples for foster care.

Alito complained that Roberts’ reading of the Philadelphia ordinance and a similar state law was so Talmudic that it meant nothing in other cases and could quickly be evaded by the city through minor changes.

“This decision might as well be written on the dissolving paper sold in magic shops,” Alito wrote derisively.

Despite the obviously tense Alito-Roberts dynamic, what unfolded Thursday at the court was not simply a one-on-one grudge match. It was more like a tag-team wrestling event, with Justice Neil Gorsuch repeating much of Alito’s criticism and the court’s newest conservative justices — Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh — coming to Roberts’ defense.

“Perhaps our colleagues believe today’s circuitous path will at least steer the Court around the controversial subject matter and avoid ‘picking a side,” Gorsuch wrote in the foster-care case, in an opinion joined by Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas. “Dodging the question today guarantees it will recur tomorrow. These cases will keep coming until the Court musters the fortitude to supply an answer. Respectfully, it should have done so today.”

Roberts seemed intent on not taking the bait. His majority decision made only a single, passing reference to Alito’s hulking dissent and chose to focus more on Gorsuch’s, which the chief curiously called “the concurrence.”

Roberts said the way the anti-discrimination ordinance and policy applied left the case open to resolution on that basis and meant the court had “no occasion” to use the case to reconsider a 21-year-old precedent that Alito views as hostile to religious freedom.

Barrett chimed in to say that while she agreed with Alito that the precedent is flawed, there was “no reason” to overrule it now. Kavanaugh seconded that view, also throwing in with the chief on the point.

Will the split among conservatives persist?

It’s not yet clear whether the internecine fighting among the high court’s conservatives has any long-term impact in other cases. The cases the court took this term are generally considered to be middling in significance, but the justices have accepted an abortion case to be heard in the fall that could upend or cut back the constitutional right to abortion the court found in the landmark 1973 case, Roe v. Wade.

Still, some scholars doubt that precedent is truly in jeopardy and insist that the tendency of justices like Kavanaugh and Barrett to side with Roberts in some contentious cases undermines the idea of a six-justice conservative majority.

“I think you have a three-three-three court,” said South Texas College of Law Professor Josh Blackman. “I disagree with the notion that we have a six-member conservative majority on many of these divisive issues.”

Some analysts suspect the vocal public tiff the conservatives aired Thursday may be, in part, due to gripes about horse-trading done by Breyer.

The unusual length and painstaking detail in Alito’s opinion in the Philadelphia case made some courtwatchers wonder if it might have been drafted as a majority opinion, but later lost that status due to a shift from the court’s initial vote. A similar scenario played out in the Obamacare case back in 2012, according to reports from CBS News and elsewhere.

Alito’s lament Thursday about more than six months of “post-argument cogitation” in the same-sex foster case dispute also fuels suspicion that something more than the routine exchange of opinions went on.

“Alito’s 77-page Fulton concurrence has me thinking that Roberts did actually assign him the original majority decision and himself the Obamacare decision until Breyer engineered a bipartisan coup in Fulton that Roberts took for himself while reassigning Obamacare to Breyer,” Mike Sacks, an attorney and legal reporter for WNYW-TV in New York, wrote on Twitter.

Blackman said he, too, thinks something unusual played out in the foster-care case.

“I got that vibe,” the professor said. “I think Alito was just pissed. He was frustrated.”

Author: Josh Gerstein
This post originally appeared on Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

Surprising Percentage of Biopsy Samples Retained in GI Endoscopes

Researchers examining GI endoscopes after colonoscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) procedures found a “startingly high” rate of retained biopsy samples in the endoscope accessory channel or cap.

Investigators found 64% of 105 total endoscopies featured retained biopsy samples, including 76% of EGDs and 50% of colonoscopies examined.

“The take-home message would be that retained biopsies are much more common than most endoscopists would think. In our institution, many endoscopists guessed 10% to 15%, while the actual number was 64%,” Gregory Toy, MD, told Medscape Medical News.

Raising awareness about the high proportion of retained biopsy samples “could help change behavior to make this happen less often,” added Toy, an internal medicine resident at the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City.

“Another finding of this study was that there were significantly more retained biopsies found in EGDs compared to colonoscopies,” Toy said.

Toy presented the findings during the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2021 virtual meeting.

“Very Surprising” Findings

“The study is very important as it points out a significant rate of tissue retention in the biopsy channel at the conclusion of endoscopic procedures,” session moderator Serge Sorser, MD, told Medscape Medical News in an email when asked to comment. 

The high rate of tissue retention “is very surprising,” added Sorser, a gastroenterologist at Ascension Michigan Providence Hospital in Novi, Michigan.

“Not only does this mean that not all tissue is submitted for pathologic review, but also brings to light the need for diligent endoscope processing between procedures,” he said.

Because biopsy specimens during GI endoscopy procedures must pass through the device’s biopsy channel and cap, Toy and colleagues decided to examine the rate of potentially retained samples.

Endoscopists “have noted anecdotally that retained biopsies can be found in the accessory channel and/or cap,” Toy said during his presentation at DDW. “However, this has not been formally studied.”

After 55 EGDs and 50 colonoscopies, each a standard outpatient procedure, the researchers removed the cap and the male end where the cap attaches. They brushed these areas for residual tissue. Next, they applied a new suction trap and cleared the channel using water and suction. They then brushed the channel and repeated the water and suction procedure. As a final check, they visually inspected the cleaning brush.

They sent any recovered tissue — designated from either the cap or channel — to pathology for evaluation. “The new pathology reads from these retained biopsies changed or added to the diagnosis in only five of our patients. All of these changes were minor, and patients were already on appropriate treatment,” Toy said.

Interestingly, Toy and colleagues found no differences between EGDs and colonoscopies with and without retained biopsy samples according to procedure time, doses of propofol or fentanyl, and age or gender of the patient. Likewise, the number of samples collected did not appear to influence the retention rates.

Of retained samples discovered after 42 EGDs, 71% were in the cap, 35% were in the channel, and 29% were found in both locations. Of the 25 colonoscopies with retained samples, 40% were in the cap, 34% were in the channel, and 24% were found in both places.

“The overall incidence of retained biopsies during standard upper and lower endoscopy is high,” the researchers noted.

Inclusion of multiple endoscopists and a hospital outpatient setting were strengths of the study. Limitations included a single center study with a relatively small sample size.

Toy and Sorser have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Digestive Disease Week 2021: Abstract 136. Presented May 21, 2021.

Damian McNamara is a staff journalist based in Miami. He covers a wide range of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology and critical care. Follow Damian on Twitter:  @MedReporterFor more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn

This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Millennium- old poop reveals the surprising diversity of our ancestors’ microbiomes

Human gut microbiomes are intimately linked to health and wellbeing, but how our bowel buddies today differ from those in early humans had been a mystery. Now, new research and analysis of ancient preserved feces reveal that the humans of a thousand years ago had much more diverse colonies of bacteria thriving in their digestive tracts. 

Researchers gathered samples from eight coprolites (preserved feces) taken from caves around northern Mexico and the southwestern US. Each was between 1,000 and 2,000 years old. They then moved their samples to the lab for DNA analysis and dating. To ensure no new bacteria would contaminate the paleofeces (that’s archeological speak for fossilized human dung), the scientists donned “clean suits” and sterilized gear to extract DNA from each coprolite and sequence the genomes present in the poop. Their analysis found 181 genomes that were likely from ancient human microbiomes. Of those genomes, 39 percent had never been seen before. 

The large proportion of novel bacterial genomes in these coprolites suggests that, sometime over the last thousand or so years, there was an “extinction event” in the human gut that eliminated dozens of bacterial species, lead author and Harvard microbiologist Aleksandar Kostic told Science. “These are things we don’t get back.”

[Related: Gut bacteria might flip the effects of a common cancer-causing mutation in an unexpected way]

In their findings, published in Nature, the study authors also show that the gut microbiomes of our ancestors more closely resembled those of people living today in non-industrial societies versus more industrialized populations. These findings give scientists greater understanding of how industrialization and urbanization have contributed to lasting changes in our microbiome diversity and gut health. 

“When we study people today—anywhere on the planet—we know that their gut microbiomes have been influenced by our modern world, either through diet, chemicals, antibiotics or a host of other things,” one of the study authors, University of Montana anthropologist Meradeth Snow, said in a statement. “So understanding what the gut microbiome looked like before industrialization happened helps us understand what’s different in today’s guts.”

The microbiomes of ancient humans had fewer genes related to antibiotic resistance and intestinal degradation, for example—healthier qualities that scientists hope to recover in the future.

It’s important to note that these coprolite samples almost certainly came from Indigenous populations. Feces aren’t considered human remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, but some tribes were upset and concerned that they hadn’t been consulted early enough in the research process, as the samples are links to their ancestors, another co-author told Science
In addition to sequencing, scientists also attempted to reconstruct the genomes of the ancient microbes. While synthetic biology is not quite at the level where we can “reseed” people with these ancient gut microbes, Kostic told CNN, future science based on “recovered” microbes could lead to therapies that help with conditions like obesity or autoimmune diseases.

Author: Monroe Hammond
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

Elvis Presley: Surprising contents inside The Jungle Room’s treasure chests at Graceland

As for why the items haven’t been removed in almost 40 years, Angie said it’s so the items that Elvis once owned didn’t lose their authenticity.

As for what was found inside The Jungle Room treasure chests, the contents were surprisingly what you’d expect from a regular household rather than that of a megastar.

There were wires, a lightbulb, old batteries and a mystery padlock. Although, not all the contents of the drawers inside Graceland are so ordinary.

By the kitchen is a secret drawer featuring a 1993 phone book that was used by Elvis’ Aunt Delta, who continued to live at Graceland until her death that year.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Best and worst UK broadband revealed and there's a very surprising winner

Sky also performed well when dealing with issues and scored top marks for its complaint handling.

Eight in ten broadband customers reported that they were satisfied with their service overall and satisfaction levels were broadly similar across all providers.

Of course, it’s not all good news for the UK’s broadband.

ISPs that didn’t perform so well include TalkTalk with a low satisfaction when it came to speeds and handling complaints.

Vodafone also scored badly when it came to generating the most complaints to Ofcom – that’s the second year in a row for Vodafone.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

Mortal Kombat review: Somehow surprising and fatally disappointing

Video game movies have long been a point of contention for video game lovers. The generally accepted notion is that “video game movies just don’t work”. Warner Bros have attempted to shift this opinion with the latest in a long line of Mortal Kombat films, most notably following on from the 1995 film of the same name and 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. And while Warner Bros have – genuinely – done a pretty good job at creating a new Mortal Kombat world, it has sacrificed a lot of what makes the video games so great.
The Mortal Kombat video games have long put the fate of the world in the hands of a group of supernaturally-powered fighters.

Mortal Kombat 2021 doesn’t break from this norm but rather changes the flavour in which it delivers the story.

Instead of the fighters from Earth simply being the best of the best, any “chosen” warrior would have a dragon scar on their body, granting them superpowers, and the privilege to fight in the cross-universe tournament, Mortal Kombat.

However, the evildoers from Outworld (another “realm” of existence) decide against fighting fairly and look to murder the fighters before the tournament begins.

These evildoers, led by malevolent wizard Shang Tsung (Chin Han), begin chasing down Cole Young (Lewis Tan), an MMA fighter with a mysterious past and a hidden dark side.

Some tongue-in-cheek moments are certainly a little over-the-top, but can be easily forgiven considering the writers and director (Simon McQuoid) were almost certainly having fun with the video game concept.

Another huge draw for the Mortal Kombat video games was its excessive and downright comical gore.

I am pleased to say the Mortal Kombat film capitalises on this trope, and frequently shows off people being obliterated in physically impossible ways, with bountiful buckets of blood along the way.

Furthermore, mainstays from the video game series, Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), are exceptional.

Their all-too-brief screen time is the most memorable portions of the movie and will be the moments viewers will excitedly talk about in pubs.

The special effects surrounded in both Scorpion’s fire abilities, and Sub-Zero’s ice powers looked top-notch and were a thrill to witness.

Unfortunately, not enough time is spent with them. Instead, the focus is placed on the aforementioned Cole Young.

Cole is a wholly original character who hasn’t appeared in any of the video games thus far.

His main aim in the movie is to keep his family safe and figure out where he has come from.

However, the character is completely moronic. Not only does he put his family in danger multiple times, he shrugs off the literal fate of the planet when things get tough for him. If the world ends, your family will die too, Cole! Just think about it!

What’s more, the powers he is granted towards the end of the film are laughable at best. Most of the time I was waiting for him to leave the screen so I could watch more of Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) and Kano (Josh Lawson).


Mortal Kombat is a lot of fun. The fight scenes, bombastic characters, fantastic special effects and video game homages are spectacular, however, it falls drastically short with its characterisation. The stars of the movie – Scorpion and Sub-Zero – are used sparingly, while some of the franchise’s bigger characters – including Liu Kang and Kung Lao – feel sidelined. The protagonist, Cole, is frustrating to watch, and idiotic. Although the plot takes some risks by avoiding a Mortal Kombat tournament, not all of it land. Fans of the video games will be able to enjoy this film and see its strengths, but newcomers to the franchise may want to turn off before the film is over.

Mortal Kombat is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed