Study: Cottage Cheese (paneer), an Ideal Late-night Snack
Paneer lovers are in luck. The findings of a new study suggest that a protein-filled late-night snack, like cottage cheese (paneer), can have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism and overall health. More importantly, for those who have sworn off eating at night, there is no apparent gain in body fat by consumption of paneer
 
Generally, nutritionists and weight-loss experts advise staying away from late-night snacking as our metabolic system is least active at night. Traditionally, eating at night has been considered to induce weight gain. However, this new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, by researchers of the Florida State University (FSU), seems to contradict this belief. In the study, participating active young women in their early-20s were asked to consume samples of cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. The researchers specifically wanted to see if this late-night snack may have an impact on metabolic rate and muscle recovery. 
 
Associate professor of nutrition, food and exercise sciences, Michael Ormsbee, and former FSU graduate student Samantha Leyh, were surprised to learn that consuming protein as a late-night snack might actually be good for your health. This is the first time that participants in a study were asked to consume whole foods, instead of a protein shake or some form of supplement. “Until now, we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence,” Prof Ormsbee said. “This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles.”
 
Ms Leyh, who now works with the Air Force as a research dietitian, says the results serve as a foundation for future research on precise metabolic responses to whole food consumption. “While protein supplements absolutely have their place, it is important to begin pooling data for foods and understanding the role they can play in these situations,” she said. “Like the additive and synergistic effects of vitamins and minerals when consumed in whole food form such as fruits or veggies, perhaps whole food sources may follow suit. While we can’t generalize for all whole foods as we have only utilized cottage cheese, this research will hopefully open the door to future studies doing just that.”
 
Prof Ormsbee believes that “there is much more to uncover in this area of study,” and is hoping to lead his research team in examining more pre-sleep food options. The researchers are hoping to conduct longer-term studies in the future to learn more about the optimal food choices that can aid individuals in recovery from exercise, repair and regeneration of muscle and overall health. 
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COMMENTS

Ankur Bamne

2 days ago

Paneer has no fiber, zero fiber. It is high in protein and fats. High calorie food without fiber at night is inviting trouble. Welcome diabetes, heart disease, obesity, ... if there is one principle in nutrition it is that have no food without fiber.

Dr. Rakesh Goyal

1 week ago

It would be interesting to know - who funded this study. Quite possible cheese industry.

Ramesh Poapt

1 week ago

Awaiting Dr. Hegde

Diets Rich in Fish Oil May Curb Spread and Growth of Breast Cancer Cells
New research published in the scientific journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis states that a diet rich in marine omega-3 fatty acids helps in slowing the growth and spread of breast cancer cells in female mice. Diets enriched with omega-3 also improved the survival of mice in cases of breast cancer. Reportedly, the fatty acids were said to have delayed tumours from forming and further blocked cancerous cells from spreading to other organs in mice.
 
Research, in the past, has hailed the numerous benefits of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Such fatty acids are generally found in fish, seafood, nuts and seeds, as well as in fish oil, plant oils and some fortified foods. Researchers have explored the link between omega-3 and cancer; their observational studies have linked diets rich in marine omega-3 fatty acids with a lower risk of breast cancer. Recent studies have also suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may stop cancer by activating the body’s natural pain-killers. “Our study emphasizes the potential therapeutic role of dietary long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in the control of tumor growth and metastasis,” explained lead author Saraswoti Khadge, of the University of Nebraska Medical Centre (USA). By conducting experiments in mice, this new study has added to the mounting evidence that dietary omega-3 may have cancer-fighting properties.
 
The research team fed two groups of adult female rodents nearly identical liquid diets for which the calorie count and percentage of fat contained were same. However, the main difference was that one group ate a diet contained plant oils rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats while the other diet contained fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers then injected the mice with 4T1 breast cancer cells which spread quickly to form aggressive tumours in the breast glands. These cells are known to spread spontaneously to other parts of the body, such as bones, the lungs and liver, but less frequently to the heart, kidneys and ovaries. After a period of 35 days, the researchers autopsied the mice to uncover the effects of the two diets.
 
The research team found that, in the group of mice that were fed omega-3 rich diet, breast cancer cells were significantly less likely to have spread to the breast glands. In these mice, the tumours that did develop in the breast glands also grew a lot more slowly which affected their size. Specifically, the tumours in the omega-3 group were 50% smaller than those in the omega-6 group. The likelihood of the cancerous cells growing and spreading to other organs in the omega-3 group was also lower and these mice also had better survival rates. 
 
Furthermore, relatively more T-cells were found in the tissue of the mice in the omega-3 group than in the tissue of omega-6 group; this correlates to dying tumour cells. T-cells are anti-inflammatory white-blood cells that play a crucial role in keeping the immune system strong and healthy. Interestingly, the mice fed an omega-3 diet also had less inflammation. Hence, Ms Khadge has hypothesised that a diet rich in fish oil may help in suppressing the type of inflammation that can trigger the rapid development and spread of tumours as well as promote T-cell responses to tumours. However, she cautions that this does not necessarily mean that the diet would also prevent breast cancer from forming in the first place. 
 
This study was based entirely on dietary consumption during adult life. Its findings, however, are in line with previous studies that showed that eating fish oil-based diets during pregnancy, and as a child, markedly suppress the development and spread of breast cancer. 
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Brain’s Internal Reward System Affects Our Judgements
We, generally, tend to make judgements based either on reason or on a ‘gut feeling’. Our judgements are based not only on experience and relevant information but also on our preferences. The question of whether human reasoning is biased by desires and goals is crucial for everyday social, professional and economic decisions. Although how much of our belief formation is influenced by what we want to believe is still debated, a new study confirms that belief updates are, indeed, optimistically biased. The study, conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research (Cologne) successfully shows that a reward system in our brain conveys judgements affected by one’s own desires. 
 
Published in The Journal of Neuroscience, the study asked volunteers to estimate the average and personal risk of various negative events. During the survey, the scientists recorded brain activity of volunteers using magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), an imaging technique that is able to show the alteration of tissue structure and function with very low risk for the patient. This was followed by informing the participants of the actual average risk associated with a particular event, at which point, they were asked to adjust their own risk estimates accordingly. 
 
“In complex, confusing situations, we run the risk of making a biased judgement as soon as we prefer one conclusion over another,” explains Dr Bojana Kuzmanovic, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research. She has investigated the process by which people’s judgement is influenced by their wishful thinking. Dr Kuzmanovic explains the occurrence using an example: “By ignoring unpleasant information, we avoid drawing threatening conclusions. For example, we could neglect federal statistics, which indicate a higher risk of heart attack, because we think we have a particularly healthy lifestyle.” 
 
The MRT imaging scans showed that preferred judgements activate brain regions that otherwise react particularly strongly to rewards such as food or money. Additionally, for the first time, scientists were able to show that the reward system, in turn, influenced other brain regions involved in conclusion processes. The stronger this neuronal influence, the more strongly judgements were determined by volunteers’ wishes.
 
The research indicates that our desires and preferences influence our judgement without any conscious realisation on our part. It seems that the same brain systems that reinforce our efforts to maximise rewards, such as food and money, would also reinforce specific strategies for constructing judgements. Dr Marc Tittgemeyer, the lead scientist on the study, says, “The influence of preferences is independent of expertise. We can benefit from this pleasant self-strengthening effect as long as our judgements do not have serious consequences. However, when making important decisions, we should be aware of our tendency to distort judgement and apply strategies to increase objectivity.”
 
In future, the research team plans to investigate whether these and other reward-dependent behaviours are different in patients with metabolic diseases than in healthy individuals. It is believed that reward-dependent brain circuits are closely linked to homeostatic circuits that regulate energy demand and metabolism, based on saturation and hunger signals. Hence, if homeostatic networks are altered by disease, it could affect reward-dependent brain areas and, possibly, lead to more impulsive behaviour.
 
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