I often spend days at a time wading through PubMed articles in my lab that are incredibly specific to my little niche of research. Occasionally though, I put those same skills to use answering some of my own questions about topics near and dear to my heart: health outcomes, fitness and athletic injuries, and effects of diet on behavior and body weight.
Here are the top 5 articles and reviews I’ve enjoyed reading this week. If you have any questions on these topics or others, I love doing research!
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Coffee and Sweet Tastes. This paper that just came out looks at how caffeine reduces our ability to taste sweet foods. I’m not sure whether that means we eat more sugar just to get the flavor we miss post-coffee or if sugary foods will be less appealing once caffeinated, but it’s interesting to see how our daily habits have unexpected effects.
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Corn Yogurt. From corn-on-the-cob to high fructose corn syrup, this plant shows up pretty much everywhere in the modern diet. If you’re in Northern China, you might be seeing it show up as a non-dairy yogurt alternative soon, complete with probiotics.
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To Salt or Not to Salt, That Is the Question. This review on the health outcomes of a high salt diet is done regularly to refine and really suss out the real effects of one of the big health bogeymans. Research is still finding a few mixed results on the negative side effects of too much sodium, though there do appear to be some downsides that are standing the test of time such as kidney disease and high blood pressure.
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Heavy Weights at Low Reps or Light Weights at High Reps. This recent review comes down pretty hard on the side of using heavy weights at lower reps to increase strength. And if you’re concerned about the appearance of muscles, it looks like there’s no difference between the two options in terms of hypertrophy (aka the visible size of your muscles). That being said, it’s not like high reps at low weights does nothing for you, so if that’s your jam you don’t have to just ditch what works for you.
Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash
Omega-3 and Cognitive Effects. It can be easy to think about behavior as being determined by your genes from your parents or the physical environment you grow up in, but sometimes we forget how important the food we eat can be as well. This article goes into some of the positive links scientists have found between omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive tasks as well as motivated behaviors.
I hope this helps you navigate the world of health and fitness science, I know it can be a strange and even contradictory land sometimes. If you want to check out more health science myths, check out some of my other Feeling Fine Friday posts. See you again Sunday!