Sunday, May 08, 2011

Study: Fat Rats Live Longer‏

Since the 1930s scientists have proposed food restriction as a way to extend life in mice. Though feeding a reduced-calorie diet has indeed lengthened the life spans of mice, rats and many other species, new studies with dozens of different mouse strains indicate that food restriction does not work in all cases.

Diet and fat loss

Researchers at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio's Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, with colleagues at the University of Colorado, studied the effect of food restriction on fat and weight loss in 41 genetically different strains of mice. The scientists then correlated the amount of fat reduction to life span.

The answer: Mice that maintained their fat actually lived longer. Those that lost fat died earlier.

Contrary to view

"Indeed, the greater the fat loss, the greater the likelihood the mice would have a negative response to dietary restriction, i.e., shortened life," said James Nelson, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute. "This is contrary to the widely held view that loss of fat is important for the life-extending effect of dietary restriction. It turns the tables a bit."

The results are expected to be published in the June issue of Aging Cell.

More study needed

Dr. Nelson's graduate student, Chen-Yu Liao, who will soon receive his Ph.D. and advance to a postdoctoral fellowship at California's Buck Institute for Research on Aging, cautioned that the new findings cannot be directly applied to people until similar studies are done in humans.

People are best advised to adopt a moderate approach, not losing all fat but definitely not keeping unhealthy amounts of fat, either. "None of the mice in this study were what we would consider to be obese," Liao said.

Genes impact effect

The findings bear out what geneticists long have said: there is nothing that works for every genotype, which is an organism's specific and unique set of genes.

"We know that humans respond to diet very differently as individuals based on their genetics," Dr. Nelson said. "Some have great difficulty losing weight while others have difficulty maintaining weight. If these results translate to humans, they would suggest that individuals who have difficulty losing weight may benefit from the positive effects of dietary restriction more than those who lose weight easily."

More information: "Fat Maintenance Is a Predictor of the Murine Lifespan Response to Dietary Restriction". Chen-Yu Liao, Brad A. Rikke, Thomas E. Johnson, Jonathan A.L. Gelfond, Vivian Diaz, James F. Nelson DOI:10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00702.x


Mired in the socialist muck

Dependance on the State leads to control by the State

A controversy over food stamps in New York City shows what happens when people plunge into the muck of socialism.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to prohibit food-stamp recipients from using their food stamps to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages.

The mayor’s rationale? You guessed it! Paternalism, the ism that goes perfectly with socialism. The mayor says that sugar is bad for people and, therefore, as mayor of New York he wants to serve as the daddy for every food-stamp recipient in New York. He wants the local government to prevent people from ingesting sugar because, he says, sugar is bad for people.

Not surprisingly, lobbyists have arrived onto the scene. They represent the soft-drink industry. They say that the government shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what they should and shouldn’t buy. (No, the lobbyists didn’t issue a peep about the drug war.) The lobbyists say that they’re fighting for “preservation of choice” in the food-stamp program.

Why are the lobbyists and their clients really so concerned? You guessed it! There is lots of money involved here. According to an article in the New York Times about the controversy, an estimated $75 million to $135 million is spent on sugared beverages in New York City each year.

Needless to say, no one is challenging the existence of the food-stamp program itself. Most everyone (libertarians excepted) has come to simply accept this socialistic program as a given (just as they do with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants, farm subsidies, corporate bailouts, and other socialistic programs).

How extensive is the food-stamp program? According to the Times, “More than 44 million people — one in seven Americans — receive aid through the program.”

Public-health groups and academics are also weighing into the controversy, taking the side of the mayor. Their argument? They say that government has a legitimate role in controlling people’s diet because obesity and diabetes cost taxpayers billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid expenses.

Are you getting a sense of how insidious socialism is? It’s like a cancer that continues to metastasize over the body politic.

Think about how many Americans have become dependent on Medicare and Medicaid (and Social Security), most of them unable to fathom life without these socialistic programs. It’s no different with those 44 million Americans on food stamps. Most of them (and their supporters) are convinced that they would die of starvation without the stamps.

The government then expands its paternalistic control over the food-stamp recipients, citing concern over their health, while statist supporters offer support for the paternalism by citing how obese or sick people place a burden on Medicare and Medicaid.

Meanwhile, the soft-drink industry sends its lobbyists into the fray, who purport to defend “freedom of choice” by fighting for the right of food-stamp recipients to spend their tax-collected loot on whatever they want. Of course, the last thing the lobbyists acknowledge is that their clients have become as dependent on the welfare-state largess as the food-stamp recipients themselves.


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