Sunday, September 01, 2013

More fresh fruit deters diabetes while juice boosts risk (?)

This is just data dredging, with the usual weak and contradictory results

EATING more whole fresh fruit, especially blueberries, grapes, apples and pears, is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but drinking more fruit juice has the opposite effect, says a study.

British, US and Singaporean researchers pored over data from three big health investigations that took place in the United States, spanning a quarter of a century in all.

More than 187,000 nurses and other professional caregivers were enrolled.

Their health was monitored over the following years, and they regularly answered questionnaires on their eating habits, weight, smoking, physical activity and other pointers to lifestyle.

Around 6.5 per cent of the volunteers developed diabetes during the studies.

People who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes and apples, reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 per cent compared to those who ate less than one serving per month.

"Our findings provide novel evidence suggesting certain fruits may be especially beneficial for lower diabetes risk,'' said Qi Sun, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

On the other hand, those who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice each day saw their risk of the disease increase by as much as 21 per cent.

Swapping three servings of juice per week for whole fruits resulted in a seven-per cent reduction in risk, although there was no such difference with strawberries and cantaloupe melon.

The paper, published on Friday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), says further work is needed to to explore this "significant'' difference.

It speculates that, even if the nutritional values of whole fruit and fruit juice are similar, the difference lies with the fact that one food is a semi-solid and the other a liquid.

"Fluids pass through the stomach to the intestine more rapidly than solids even if nutritional content is similar,'' says the paper.


The glass really IS half full: Realistic optimists are happier and more successful than other personality types

Conceptual confusion here, I think.  I see realism as half way between optimism and pessimism.  So a realistic optimist is a contradiction

A scientist has discovered it is beneficial to be a glass-half-full person.  Sophie Chou has found people who have a realistic sense of optimism are more likely to be happy and successful than people who are pessimistic or wildly optimistic.

The psychology researcher believes realistic optimists' positive outlook, combined with their rational perspective on life tend to be very successful.

A realistic optimist is defined as someone who looks on the bright side of life but has a realistic grasp on the present and what to expect in life.

She said realistic optimists use their realism to perform well at work and in exams, while their positive outlook enables them to dodge periods of depression and helps them spot opportunities.

Ms Chou, an organisational psychology researcher at National Taiwan University, shared her findings at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in Hawaii this month.

While past research has shown optimists value thoughts that make them feel good,  pessimists have a more 'truthful' view of themselves and a realistic view can sometimes lead natural pessimists to suffering depression, LiveScience reported.

Another study concluded that optimists tend be in better health and live longer.

However, Ms Chou noticed that some people were both optimistic and realistic as well as being very successful, leading her to question whether a sense of optimism and pessimism are in opposition to one another.

She questioned 200 college and graduate students about the 'positive illusions' they held as well as whether they were motivated by reality or becoming a better person.

Ms Chou found optimists could be divided into idealists and realists.  She said: 'Realistic optimists tend to choose accuracy over self-enhancement; the unrealistic optimists tend to choose self-enhancement.'

The realistic optimists got better grades than their more forward-thinking aspirational peers, perhaps suggesting those lacking a realistic outlook deluded themselves they could do well without working hard, Ms Chou said.

Her study challenges conventional beliefs that a realistic outlook goes hand-in-hand with greater depression and instead shows realistic optimists are happy people.

Ms Chou thinks this might be the case as realistic optimists believe they have more control over themselves and their destinies, including in relationships and at work.

She said: 'Every time they face an issue or a challenge or a problem, they won't say "I have no choice and this is the only thing I can do." They will be creative, they will have a plan A, plan B and plan C.'

The psychology researcher said their balanced outlook allows optimistic realists to stay upbeat about the future, while recognising and overcoming present challenges.

However, Ms Chou warned people with this personality type are more prone to anxiety than more unrealistic people, probably because they recognise the chance of failure.

The research also suggests that realistic and unrealistic optimists might have very different personality types.



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