IN THE NEWS

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has concluded that eating a large breakfast in the morning can help you burn more calories.

Researchers found that healthy young men with a normal body mass index burned more than twice the number of calories when they ate a bigger breakfast and a small dinner than those who ate a small breakfast and a large dinner.

The study determined that diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), the amount of energy required to process food, was higher in the morning than at night.

“Identical calorie consumption led to a 2.5-times higher DIT increase in the morning than in the evening after high-calorie and low-calorie meals,” the study said. “The food-induced increase of blood glucose and insulin concentrations was diminished after breakfast compared with dinner. Low-calorie breakfast increased feelings of hunger, specifically appetite for sweets, in the course of the day.”

Although the new research suggests the time of food intake is important in preventing obesity, DIT constitutes only a portion of total daily calories burned.

“DIT is clearly higher in the morning than in the evening, irrespective of the consumed calorie amount; that is, this physiological rhythmicity is preserved during hypocaloric nutrition. Extensive breakfasting should therefore be preferred over large dinner meals to prevent obesity and high blood glucose peaks even under conditions of a hypocaloric diet.”

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DISEASES 101

What exactly is Lyme disease?

As spring nears and people spend more time outdoors, it is important to be aware of Lyme disease.

Transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (or rarely by Borrelia mayonii).

Symptoms: Fever, fatigue, headache and a skin rash (erythema migrans). The infections can spread throughout the body (to joints, the heart and the nervous system) if left untreated.

Diagnosis: Most cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings like the skin rash and possible exposure to ticks. Laboratory tests can also be performed to determine whether someone has contracted the disease.

Treatment: If discovered within a few weeks, most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

Prevention: The CDC recommends using insect repellent, applying pesticides and reducing tick habitats. Those who find a tick on their body should remove it as soon as possible.

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STRETCHING TIPS

Open up your upper body with a foam roller

These days most of us sit too long and hunch often. Here are two stretching exercises from Men’s Health to help combat these habits:

Pec stretch with foam roller: Perform this stretch by lying down supine on a foam roller (its length should be parallel with your body) with arms outstretched and palms facing upward. Let gravity pull your hands toward the ground to stretch pectoralis major and minor. Take deep breaths, which will cause your respiratory muscles to shorten and contract. Hold two static stretches for at least 30 seconds each, first with arms out like the letter “T” then like a “W.” This stretch will result in a more “open” chest for the rest of the day.

Upper back stretch with foam roller: After completing your pec stretch, turn the roller perpendicular to your spine and lie back down, with your upper back supported by the roller and hips on the ground. Clasp your hands and place them behind your head. Then, slowly let your upper back stretch backwards over the roller. If you want a more intense stretch, lift your hips and roll back and forth over it. This stretch will extend the thoracic spine backward and combat daily hunching.

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HEALTH STAT

87: 87% of U.S. high school students get less than the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, according to a 2006 survey from the National Sleep Foundation.

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