We love these hollowed out zucchini boats stuffed with a veggie lasagna filling because zucchini is one of the lowest calorie veggies chock-full of antioxidants and excellent vitamins and it complements just about anything! Plus, a little low fat melted cheese makes this recipe a little extra YUM without all the calories, fat and carbs of regular lasagna! Enjoy in confidence!
For the filling:
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 loose cups baby spinach, chopped
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
4 large basil leaves, chopped plus more for garnish
For the marinara:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed with side of knife
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes (I always use Tuttorosso)
salt and black pepper
1 tbsp chopped basil
For the zucchini boats:
4 (40 oz total) medium zucchini
1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella (Polly-O)
*Preheat oven to 400°F.
*In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, careful not to burn, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes, then add fresh basil.
*Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic and red pepper and season with 1/8 tsp salt. Cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the baby spinach and saute until wilted, about 1 minute.
*In a medium bowl add the ricotta, parmesan cheese and egg, mix well. Add the cooked vegetables and basil and mix.
*Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick.
*Place 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12″ baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up.
*Stuff the zucchini with ricotta mixture (scant 1/4 cup) and top each with 2 tbsp marinara, 2 tbsp mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake 40 to 45 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.
4 Servings, Serving Size: 2 boats
Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Obesity is a global epidemic. The global population is expanding in numbers, but also in weight. Rates of obesity worldwide have more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 600 million were obese. (more…)
The obesity epidemic may be responsible for a spike in cancer cases — especially in women.
The Lancet Oncology
You know that excess weight is hard on your heart, and that obesity and Type 2 diabetes go hand in hand. Now, a new study in The Lancet Oncology adds cancer to the growing list of problems we can blame on our ballooning waistlines.
For the study, researchers gathered body mass index (BMI) data from 2002 for thousands of people in 184 countries. They then examined cancer rates in 2012, focusing on those previously linked to obesity (called high-BMI-related cancers), such as colon, kidney, pancreatic, and postmenopausal breast cancers. Since obesity isn’t thought to directly cause the Big C — only to promote it — the scientists assumed that there’d be a 10-year lag time between being diagnosed with obesity and developing cancer.
Their frightening finding: 3.6 percent of new cancer cases in 2012 (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) could be attributed to obesity. That translates to about half a million new diagnoses worldwide — and that’s in just a one-year period.
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“Family meals may be protective against obesity or overweight because coming together for meals may provide opportunities for emotional connections among family members, the food is more likely to be healthful, and adolescents may be exposed to parental modeling of healthful eating behaviors. As noted by Dr. Berge, “Informing parents that even having 1 or 2 family meals per week may protect their child from overweight or obesity in young adulthood would be important.” Using this information, public health and health care professionals who work with adolescents can give parents another tool in the fight against obesity.”
Increasing rates of adolescent obesity and the likelihood that obesity will carry forward into adulthood, have led to various preventive initiatives. It has been suggested that family meals, which tend to include fruits, vegetables, calcium, and whole grains, could be protective against obesity. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied whether frequent family meals during adolescence were protective for overweight and obesity in adulthood.
Jerica M. Berge, PhD, MPH, LMFT, CFLE, and colleagues from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University used data from a 10-year longitudinal study (2,287 subjects), Project EAT (Eating and Activity among Teens), to examine weight-related variables (e.g., dietary intake, physical activity, weight control behaviors) among adolescents. Questions were asked to assess family meal frequency and body mass index. According to Dr. Berge, “It is important to identify modifiable factors in the home environment, such as family meals, that can protect against overweight/obesity through the transition to adulthood.”
Fifty-one percent of the subjects were overweight and 22% were obese. Among adolescents who reported that they never ate family meals together, 60% were overweight and 29% were obese at the 10-year follow-up. Overall, all levels of baseline family meal frequency, even having as few as 1-2 family meals a week during adolescence, were significantly associated with reduced odds of overweight or obesity at the 10-year follow-up compared with those reporting never having had family meals during adolescence. Results also showed a stronger protective effect of family meal frequency on obesity among black young adults compared with white young adults. However, the limited significant interactions overall by race/ethnicity suggest that the protective influence of family meals for adolescents spans all races/ethnicities.
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They reported that remission of food addiction in 13 of the 14 subjects (93%) and no new cases were identified after surgery
Bariatric surgery-induced weight loss induces remission of food addiction and improves several eating behaviours that are associated with the condition in extreme obesity, according to the study published in the journal Obesity.
Although, bariatric surgery is believed to be one most effective available weight loss therapy for obesity and impacts on patients desire to eat, it is not known whether it can affect food addiction in patients who meet diagnostic criteria for the condition before surgery.
Therefore, researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition and Atkins Center of Excellence in Obesity Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, assessed whether weight loss induced gastric bypass, gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy induced remission of food addiction, as well as normalising eating behaviours associated with the condition.
They recruited 44 obese patients (39 women, mean BMI48 ± 8) before and after bariatric surgery (after they lost ∼20% of their body weight). Twenty five patients had gastric bypass, 11 gastric banding and eight sleeve gastrectomy).
Food addiction was identified in 14 of 44 subjects (32%) before surgery, with no significant differences in factors that could affect the condition such as age, race, level of formal education, and income level.
They reported that remission of food addiction in 13 of the 14 subjects (93%) and no new cases were identified after surgery. The prevalence of food addiction in this study population decreased from 32% to 2% (p< 0.00001) and reduced the median number of symptoms in all subjects (p< 0.0001).
Surgery was found to decrease food cravings in both groups, but the decrease was greater in patients addicted to food. Unsurprisingly, the addicted patients craved foods more frequently before, but not after surgery. Interestingly, surgery decreased cravings for all types of foods but cravings for starchy foods were still more frequent in in the food addicted group (p=0.009).
“Our findings demonstrate that weight loss can induce remission of food addiction, even though subjects are still obese,” the authors write. “These data suggest that obesity itself does not cause food addiction, but that food addiction is a contributing, but modifiable, risk factor for obesity. Additional studies are needed to determine the mechanism(s) responsible for food addiction remission, and to determine whether the presence of food addiction influences the weight loss efficacy of bariatric surgery.”
This article was originally published by BariatricNews
More than 12,000 new cases of cancer every year can be attributed to the patient being overweight or obese, the biggest ever study of the links between body mass index and cancer has revealed.
Overweight and obesity was closely linked to 10 common cancers, researchers said. Every five-point increase in BMI – equivalent to an increase in weight of around 17.5kg – was associated with a 62 per cent higher risk of cancer of the uterus, a 31 per cent increased risk of gallbladder cancer and a 25 per cent increased risk of cancer of the kidney.
Having a higher BMI was also linked with a greater overall risk of liver, colon, ovarian and breast cancer, the study by experts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Farr Institute found.
While it has been known for some time that higher weight increases the chances of contracting certain cancers, risk levels have never been determined in such detail before. The study, which is published in The Lancet medical journal today, analysed the GP records of more than five million patients in the UK.
The researchers estimated that, if current trends in overweight and obesity rates continue, then by the mid 2020s there could be more than 3,500 additional cases of cancer every year.
“The number of people who are overweight or obese is rapidly increasing both in the UK and worldwide,” said study leader Dr Krishnan Bhaskaran, of LSHTM. “It is well recognised that this is likely to cause more diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our results show that if these trends continue, we can also expect to see substantially more cancers as a result.”
Excess weight may account for as many as 41 per cent of uterine cancer cases, and 10 per cent of cancers of the gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon.
The study also found some evidence that, for prostate cancer and for breast cancer in young women, a higher BMI actually reduced the risk.
Precisely how fat could impact upon cancer risk is not fully understood. Dr Bhaskaran said that the variation in its impact across different forms of cancer said it must be affecting risk “through a number of different processes, depending on the cancer type”.
Tom Stansfeld, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “This study of over five million people has found new and stronger links between obesity and several different cancer types, highlighting the number of cancers that obesity causes in the UK.
“Although the relationship between cancer and obesity is complex, it’s clear that carrying excess weight increases your risk of developing cancer. Keeping a healthy weight reduces cancer risk, and the best way to do this is through eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly.”
This information was originally published by The Independent UK which includes an informational video on the site.
Study found older sibling’s obesity was strongest predictor for risk
Obesity is known to run in families, but new research suggests this relationship may be the strongest among siblings.
Although older children in a two-child home with an obese parent are more than twice as likely to be obese, having an obese older sibling may raise the risk more than fivefold for a younger child, whether the parents are obese or not, the researchers reported.
“Siblings have a lot of influence,” said lead researcher Matthew Harding, an assistant professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
“Children often model their behavior on that of their older siblings. Older siblings can have a strong influence on the attitudes and behaviors of younger siblings in relation to nutrition and exercise,” Harding noted.
Although parents play a big role in determining their children’s health, siblings may play an even greater role, he added.
For example, if the siblings are of the same sex, a boy with an obese older brother is 11 times more likely to be obese, Harding said.
“We need to recognize that children form strong bonds with their siblings, and when designing prevention or treatment of conditions such as obesity, we need to think carefully about the ties between siblings,” he said.
While the findings pointed to an association between obesity risk and siblings, they did not prove a cause-and-effect link between the two.
The report was published online July 8 and will appear in the October print issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, was not involved with study but is familiar with the findings. He said, “My reaction to this study is partly as an obesity expert, but largely as a parent. My wife and I have five children, so I have firsthand knowledge of sibling interaction.”
Families share behaviors, values and dietary patterns, he said. “To some extent, this is a study showing that kids exposed to a set of familial patterns and priorities that protect against obesity will be less vulnerable and, of course, vice versa,” he added.
It’s also likely that siblings directly influence one another with regard to diet and activities. “Every parent of more than one child has seen this,” Katz said.
For the study, Harding’s team collected data on over 10,000 American households and found that childhood obesity risk varies with the number of children and their sex.
Specifically, the researchers found that in a single-child home where a parent is obese, the child is 2.2 times more likely to be obese. In families with two children, however, they found an even stronger link between siblings.
The study also found a link between gender and obesity risk. In homes with one child, girls were less likely to be obese than boys.
In homes with two children, Harding’s group found that younger kids are influenced by older siblings, especially if they’re same gender.
The youngest boy in a two-child home is 11.4 times more likely to be obese if the older brother is, they noted. If the older child is a girl, the boy is 6.6 times more likely to be obese.
If the youngest child is a girl, she is 8.6 times more likely to be obese if she has an obese older sister. But if she has an obese older brother she is not significantly more likely to be obese, the researchers found.
Exercise and how much the kids eat both play a key role in the prevention of obesity. Harding’s team found that an only child was less likely to be physically active and more likely to eat fast food than those who had brothers and sisters.
This information was originally published by Consumer Healthday
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Doctors say extra fat, and the extra estrogen it produces, make menopause tougher for heavy women
THURSDAY, July 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Slimming down may help ease the hot flashes that often accompany menopause, new research suggests.
Hot flashes can be debilitating for more than 50 percent of menopausal women, said Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. About one-third of menopausal women experience more than 10 hot flashes a day, and she added that hot flashes are more common in obese women.
“Fat appears to function as an insulator, and interferes with heat dissipation,” explained Shirazian, who was not involved in the study.
Another expert, Dr. Jill Rabin, co-chief of ambulatory care and women’s health programs at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said estrogen can also be produced in fat tissue.
Rabin said she has found that obese and overweight women have, in general, more severe and more frequent hot flash symptoms.
“They have a harder time with the menopausal transition,” she said. “It may be the extra fat that makes heat dissipation more difficult.”
Overweight and obese women may also yo-yo diet, which could mean they have fluctuating estrogen levels, and that could make it harder for their bodies to regulate their internal temperatures, Rabin added.
In the new study, published online recently in the journal Menopause, Rebecca Thurston of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues followed 40 overweight and obese white and black women who experienced hot flashes during menopause. They divided the women into two groups: One group went through a weight-loss program for six months, while the other group (the “control” group) was told they were on a wait-list for a clinical study.
Using physiologic monitoring, diaries and questionnaires, the investigators measured details about hot flashes as they occurred in women who had four or more hot flashes a day. The women were either in the later stages of perimenopause (not having menstrual periods for three months to a year) or postmenopausal (not having a period for a year or more).
The researchers found that three-quarters of the women said easing hot flashes was a huge motivator to shed pounds. The women in the weight-loss program group lost, on average, 10.7 percent of their weight and 4.7 percent of their body fat throughout the study period. There was almost no change in either weight or body fat among the women in the control group. Of the 33 women who completed the study, those in the weight-loss group had a greater reduction in hot flash incidents.
The researchers noted that the findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.
Dr. Robert Taylor, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said he found it interesting that the women who saw the most significant reduction in symptoms were closest to their final menstrual period, while those further along in menopause saw a less pronounced effect.
During perimenopause, a woman’s ovaries still produce estradiol, a potent form of estrogen that can ease hot flashes, he explained. Estrone, another type of estrogen that comes from fat, actually counteracts estradiol’s effects.
“With weight loss, production of estrone decreases, so circulating estradiol is more effective,” Taylor said, and this is why overweight women may have more severe symptoms than women who are thinner.
This information was originally published by Consumer Healthday
Running for as little as five minutes a day could significantly lower a person’s risk of dying prematurely, according to a large-scale new study of exercise and mortality. The findings suggest that the benefits of even small amounts of vigorous exercise may be much greater than experts had assumed.
In recent years, moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, has been the focus of a great deal of exercise science and most exercise recommendations. The government’s formal 2008 exercise guidelines, for instance, suggest that people should engage in about 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Almost as an afterthought, the recommendations point out that half as much, or about 15 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, should be equally beneficial.
But the science to support that number had been relatively paltry, with few substantial studies having carefully tracked how much vigorous exercise is needed to reduce disease risk and increase lifespan. Even fewer studies had looked at how small an amount of vigorous exercise might achieve that same result.
So for the new study, published Monday in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers from Iowa State University, the University of South Carolina, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and other institutions turned to a huge database maintained at the Cooper Clinic and Cooper Institute in Dallas.
For decades, researchers there have been collecting information about the health of tens of thousands of men and women visiting the clinic for a check-up. These adults, after completing extensive medical and fitness examinations, have filled out questionnaires about their exercise habits, including whether, how often and how speedily they ran.
From this database, the researchers chose the records of 55,137 healthy men and women ages 18 to 100 who had visited the clinic at least 15 years before the start of the study. Of this group, 24 percent identified themselves as runners, although their typical mileage and pace varied widely.
The researchers then checked death records for these adults. In the intervening 15 or so years, almost 3,500 had died, many from heart disease.
But the runners were much less susceptible than the nonrunners. The runners’ risk of dying from any cause was 30 percent lower than that for the nonrunners, and their risk of dying from heart disease was 45 percent lower than for nonrunners, even when the researchers adjusted for being overweight or for smoking (although not many of the runners smoked). And even overweight smokers who ran were less likely to die prematurely than people who did not run, whatever their weight or smoking habits.
As a group, runners gained about three extra years of life compared with those adults who never ran.
Remarkably, these benefits were about the same no matter how much or little people ran. Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.
“We think this is really encouraging news,” said Timothy Church, a professor at the Pennington Institute who holds the John S. McIlHenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom and co-authored the study. “We’re not talking about training for a marathon,” he said, or even for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. “Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running,” he said, “no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable.”
The study did not directly examine how and why running affected the risk of premature death, he said, or whether running was the only exercise that provided such benefits. The researchers did find that in general, runners had less risk of dying than people who engaged in more moderate activities such as walking.
But “there’s not necessarily something magical about running, per se,” Dr. Church said. Instead, it’s likely that exercise intensity is the key to improving longevity, he said, adding, “Running just happens to be the most convenient way for most people to exercise intensely.”
Anyone who has never run in the past or has health issues should, of course, consult a doctor before starting a running program, Dr. Church said. And if, after trying for a solid five minutes, you’re just not enjoying running, switch activities, he added. Jump rope. Vigorously pedal a stationary bike. Or choose any other strenuous activity. Five minutes of taxing effort might add years to your life.
This information was originally published in the New York Times
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