From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Source  American Chemical Society. By Brenda Davy 

BLACKSBURG, Va– Has the long-sought magic potion in society’s “battle with the bulge” finally arrived? An appetite-control agent that requires no prescription, has no common side effects, and costs almost nothing? Scientists today reported results of a new clinical trial confirming that just two 8-ounce glasses of the stuff, taken before meals, enables people to shed pounds.

The weight-loss elixir, they told the  National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is ordinary water.

“We are presenting results of the first randomized controlled intervention trial demonstrating that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy,” said Brenda Davy, associate professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, who is senior author on the study.

“We found in earlier studies that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In this recent study, we found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.”

“People should drink more water and less sugary, high-calorie drinks. It’s a simple way to facilitate weight management.”

Davy pointed out that folklore and everyday experience long have suggested that water can help promote weight loss. But there has been surprisingly little scientific information on the topic. Previous studies hinted that drinking water before meals reduces intake of calories.

Lacking until now, however, has been the “gold-standard” evidence from a randomized, controlled clinical trial that compares weight loss among dieters who drink water before meals with those who do not.

The study included 48 adults aged 55-75 years, divided into two groups. One group drank 2 cups of water prior to their meals and the other did not. All of the subjects ate a low-calorie diet during the study. Over the course of 12 weeks, water drinkers lost about 15.5 pounds, while the non-water drinkers lost about 11 pounds.

Davy said water may be so effective simply because it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories. People feel fuller as a result, and eat less calorie-containing food during the meal. Increased water consumption may also help people lose weight if they drink it in place of sweetened calorie-containing beverages, said Davy.

Diet soda pop and other beverages with artificial sweeteners may also help people reduce their calorie intake and lose weight, Davy said. However, she advised against using beverages sweetened with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup because they are high in calories. A 12-ounce can of regular soda pop, for instance, contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Davy noted that that nobody knows exactly how much water people should drink daily. The Institute of Medicine, an agency of The National Academies, which advises the Federal Government on science, says that most healthy people can simply let thirst be their guide. It does not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at about 9 cups of fluids — from all beverages including water — each day, and men at about 13 cups of fluids.

And it is possible to drink too much water, a situation that can lead to a rare, but serious, condition known as water intoxication, Davy pointed out.

The Institute for Public Health and Water Research, a nonprofit, independent science and education organization whose mission is to improve public health through the consumption of quality drinking water, funded the study.

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.


From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Source  Undergraduate Research students Virginia Tech

By Alyssa Haak, sophomore English major

During the  summer, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) junior Kelly Wilson took up the task of researching beverage consumption patterns in middle-aged and older adults, a segment of the population who is particularly prone to weight gain.

Epidemiological studies have shown that beverage consumption in the United States has increased in the past decade, along with the increasing rates of obesity. Meanwhile, older adults are prone to dehydration due to limited water consumption.

Wilson and other HNFE Summer Scholars, colleagues at the Human Integrative Physiology Laboratory, assistant professor Brenda Davy, and associate professor Kevin Davy began research on “Habitual Beverage Consumption Patterns in Older Overweight and Obese Adults.” The researchers are particularly interested in the types of beverages the research subjects consumed, the calorie content of the beverages, and how these may relate to their body weight status.

Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) Summer Scholars were Carmen Byker, an HNFE major; Katharine Asta, a biochemistry major; and Aaron Rudd, Kristin Wahlberg, and Kelly Wilson, all HNFE majors. Bayker is now studying the impacts eating local foods has on diet as a part of an undergraduate research project.

For Wilson, the process began when her mentor, Christina McIntyre, associate director of the University Honors program, encouraged Wilson to apply to become one of five scholars in the first HNFE Summer Scholars research program. Once the scholars were selected, McIntyre and associate professor Deborah Good looked at the participants’ majors and interests in order to place them with the most compatible professors. Since Ms. Wilson is a HNFE major with minors in both chemistry and psychology, she was matched up with Brenda and Kevin Davy at the Human Integrative and Physiology Laboratory.

She was also lucky enough to watch and learn from a Basal Metabolic Rate test, which measures the number of calories your metabolism burns daily if no activity is introduced. She observed a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry scan, which looks at body composition, and a Baroreflex Sensitivity/Muscle Sympathetic Nervous System Activity test.

For the beverage consumption research, Wilson and the team had older overweight, and obese adults record their food and beverage intake for four consecutive days. The records were then analyzed; first by software that documented their energy (calorie) intake from the food and then manually to determine the intake of water, juices, coffee, tea, soft drinks, diet drinks, milk, and alcoholic beverages.

Recommended water intake is three to six cups a day; however, this population of overweight middle-aged and older adults drank only about one cup of water a day. The research subjects were divided into “water consumers” and “non-water consumers” based on the amount of water each consumed.

In the end, it was observed that the “water consumers” had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), than the “non-water consumers.” (BMI is an assessment of whether an individual is underweight, normal weight, or overweight.) It was also evident that the “water consumers” took in fewer calories (deleted ‘less energy’) from beverages. However, the differences were not statistically significant enough to be absolutely conclusive, possibly because of the small sample size and limited BMI range.

Wilson learned an incredible amount from her work, observations, and surroundings. She joked that “The biggest lessons I learned from the summer, ironically, were about research and about myself. I learned I was too impatient and too much of a perfectionist. To work with humans requires a lot of patience. And to work in research means that nothing will seem to go correctly… But when things just got more and more complicated, I just had to laugh. Things work out eventually. And thus is the nature of the beast!”

Human nutrition, foods and exercise students Kristin Wahlberg  and Aaron Rudd examine a chip from an automated electrophoresis station, which analyzes nucleic acids and proteins. Deborah Good (right) coordinated their undergraduate research experience and supervised Rudd’s project.

Once she got into the research mindset, Wilson was able to observe and learn some very interesting things about her research: There seemed to be a trend related to beverage consumption and BMI. However, as stated above, the research results were not statistically significant. She also learned that this population consumed far less water than was recommended, which is consistent with the suggestions of a decline in the natural thirst mechanism with advancing age. This may indicate that health professionals should encourage middle aged and older adults to drink ample amounts of water each day.

Future analyses include the addition of a comparison group of non-obese middle aged and older adults, which could lead to the development of weight loss interventions targeted at habitual beverage consumption patterns in middle aged and older adults.

Wilson has received a Fralin Obesity/Nutrition Undergraduate Research Fellowship. As a fellow she will continue to help with biopsies for the same research project with a larger group of older adults and more variance in BMI.

Kelly Wilson presented early findings of the research group. She plans to become a physical therapist and hopes that this research will help prepare her for research into new exercises and discoveries that could be used to help her future patients. In the meantime, she has made some ever-lasting memories. Talking to other scientists in her field, the friendships and relationships formed through the HNFE Summer Research family, and the socials at bowling alleys and the Davys’ home were unforgettable experiences.

Wilson’s suggestion for others considering this program or research in general is “DO IT. Just do it. It’s worth it.”

Hooray for Adam’s Ale (water) the only drink available to him in the Garden of Eden. As we are talking about water I hope you find this interesting. 


UEA research shows oceans vital for possibility for alien life

From the FMS Global New Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Stone Hearth News

Source University of East Anglia


Researchers at the University of East Anglia have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life.

New research published today in the journal Astrobiology shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets.

Until now, computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres. But the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.

The research team from UEA’s schools of Maths and Environmental Sciences created a computer simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat transport with the presence of oceans taken into account.

Prof David Stevens from UEA’s school of Maths said: “The number of planets being discovered outside our solar system is rapidly increasing. This research will help answer whether or not these planets could sustain alien life.

“We know that many planets are completely uninhabitable because they are either too close or too far from their sun. A planet’s habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water.

“But until now, most habitability models have neglected the impact of oceans on climate.

“Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels.

“We found that heat transported by oceans would have a major impact on the temperature distribution across a planet, and would potentially allow a greater area of a planet to be habitable.

“Mars for example is in the sun’s habitable zone, but it has no oceans – causing air temperatures to swing over a range of 100OC. Oceans help to make a planet’s climate more stable so factoring them into climate models is vital for knowing whether the planet could develop and sustain life.

“This new model will help us to understand what the climates of other planets might be like with more accurate detail than ever before.”

‘The Importance of Planetary Rotation Period for Ocean Heat Transport’ is published in the journal Astrobiology on Monday, July 21, 2014. The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Back tomorrow Jeanne



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