News for the Week (2/1/2019)

Canada Rules That Bankrupt Energy Companies Must Clean Up Their Environmental Damages Before Paying Creditors

oilImage Credit: The Canadian Press / LarryMacDougal

Paralyzed Person Regained Upper Body Movement After Stem Cell Treatment

Winter Monarch Butterfly Population in Mexico Increases by 144%

monarchsImage Credit: Getty Images

Investors Worth $6.5 Trillion Urge KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King to Implement Low-Carbon Emission Plans

News for the Week is posted every Friday. Click here to read last week’s news.

Asthma and Dietary Fats

Image Credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi/Pexels

I was entertaining a hypothesis that those suffering from asthma may benefit from a higher fat diet that includes plenty of saturated fat. My reasoning to explore the hypothesis is that there is a layer in the lungs composed of almost entirely saturated fats that helps with the breathing process and clearing out of a variety of bacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens. I went online and googled “saturated fat and asthma.”

The first result was “High-fat meals a no-no for asthma patients, researchers find.” Well, it looks like I was wrong… I clicked the link and read on… “Individuals with asthma who consumed a high-fat meal showed increased airway inflammation” I kept reading: “Asthma prevalence has increased dramatically in westernized countries in recent decades, suggesting that environmental factors such as dietary intake may play a role in the onset and development of the disease. Westernized diets are known to be relatively higher in fat than more traditional diets.”

After 5 paragraphs, I got to the study specifics: “Researchers recruited 40 asthmatic subjects who were randomized to receive either a high-fat, high-calorie “food challenge,” consisting of fast food burgers and hash browns containing about 1,000 calories, 52 percent of which were from fat; or a low-fat, low-calorie meal consisting of reduced fat yogurt, containing about 200 calories, and 13 percent fat.”

So… this study didn’t compare high fat to low fat diets. It compared binging on pure junk food to a eating a snack-sized portion of reduced fat yogurt and concluded that dietary fat is the enemy to asthma. Far too often, this is the status quo for research on fats, especially saturated fats.

Don’t get me wrong, there are bad fats out there and wrong ways to eat fat:

– Trans fats

– Any type of damaged fats (fried foods, cooking with polyunsaturated fats, or using refined vegetable oils like corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc.)

– Consuming large amounts of polyunsaturated fats

– Over-consuming fats AND carbs at the same time.

– Etc.

I kept searching for evidence to support my hypothesis. This was the 2nd Google search result: “Dietary fat and asthma: is there a connection?” (Link)

“The last two decades have seen an increase in the prevalence of asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis in developed countries. This increase has been paralleled by a fall in the consumption of saturated fat and an increase in the amount of polyunsaturated fat in the diet. This is due to a reduction in the consumption of animal fat and an increase in the use of margarine and vegetable oils containing ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as linoleic acid. There is also evidence for a decrease in the consumption of oily fish which contain ω-3 PUFAs, such as eicosapentaenoic acid.”

The research article goes on to talk about how asthma is more prevalent in those of HIGHER socio-economic status. They found that non-manual workers consumed significantly more linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fat). I have to wonder if this could be because people in higher socio-economic classes may be more concerned about health and diet and more likely to listen to the “experts” who have been telling us to avoid saturated fats and eat more polyunsaturated fats, which results in eating things we now know are bad like margarine, Crisco, salad dressings made from refined vegetable oils, snack foods made with soybean oil, etc.

Food for thought,

MK Gus

PS: After doing more research, the following conclusion seems accurate:

Don’t replace natural fats (even if they are saturated) with processed fats.

– A Finnish study found that children who ate the most margarine were more likely to develop asthma compared to healthy kids who ate more butter.

– An Australian study found that children who ate large amounts of margarine and foods fried in polyunsaturated vegetable oils were twice as likely to development asthma.

– Don’t eat trans fats. Trans fats can take the place of saturated fats in the body but fail to perform the necessary roles of saturated fats, which leads to disease.

– Don’t overeat polyunsaturated fat. High levels of polyunsaturated fat in the diet cause inflammation in the body. Keep the balance of omega 6 to omega 3 about equal and no more than 4 to 1. Omega 3’s are found in fatty fish like salmon and omega 6’s are found in some nuts and seeds, flaxseed oil and in high levels in polyunsaturated oils. (The average American consumes a ratio of 16:1 to 25:1 – far too high).

News for the Week (1/25/2019)

Carbon Capture System Turns CO2 into Electricity and Hydrogen

Scientist at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and at Georgia Tech have developed and successfully tested a new type of carbon capture system. The system reacts carbon dioxide (CO2) with sodium (Na) to produce electricity, hydrogen fuel, and baking soda. The reaction runs at 50% efficiency and was tested at 1,000 hours without any damage to the electrodes. (Link)

Image Credit: UNIST

Vancouver Declares Climate Change an Emergency

The Vancouver city council passed a motion to declare a state of emergency in regards to climate change. City staff will set targets and work on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Link)

Image Credit: Tourism Vancouver

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News for the Week (1/18/2019)

Google’s Data Centers will Run on 100% Carbon Free Energy

Google is building new data centers in Tennessee and Alabama and wants them to run on 100% renewable energy. In order to accomplish this, Google will purchase solar energy output from nearby solar farms from 1.6 million solar panels. (Link)

Image Credit: Google

Saturn’s Rings Are Young

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft plunged between Saturn and its rings and collected data on the age of its rings. Scientists determined that the rings formed 100 million years ago. While this may seem like a long time ago, both dinosaurs and mammals were on the Earth when Saturn’s rings formed. For reference, the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. This means Saturn has had these rings for only 2% of the Earth’s lifespan. (Link)

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Book Sales are Up, as are Physical Book Sales

In the UK and the United States, book sales are rising. In the US, physical book sales have increased every year since 2013. (Link)

Image Credit: Reuters

Guardian Newspaper Wrappings to be Made from Potato Starch

The Guardian will now wrap its newspapers in material made from potato starch, instead of polyethylene. These new wrappings are compostable and will biodegrade. There are plans to roll this out in all of the UK in the coming months. (Link)

Image Credit: BBC

News for the Week is posted every Friday. Click here to read last week’s news. To sign up for a weekly mailing list, click here.

News for the Week (1/11/2019)

Solar Power Plant With Energy Storage Goes Live in Iowa

A new solar power plant with energy storage went online in Fairfield, Iowa at the Maharishi University of Management. The system uses sun-tracking solar panels and vanadium-flow battery energy storage. The plant is the first of its kind in the Midwest and one of the most advanced installations in the country. (Link)

Image Credit: PR Newswire

Former CEO of Insys Pleads Guilty to Bribing Doctors to Prescribe Opioids

The former CEO of Insys Pharmaceuticals, Michael Babich, pleaded guilty to participating in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe opioid medications by paying them kickbacks in the form of fees to participate in speaking programs. The opioid crisis is now claiming more lives per year than cigarettes. The situation is being made worse by the overprescribing of these dangerous, FDA-approved drugs by some doctors. (Link)

New Solar Panel Pulls Clean Drinking Water Out of the Air

The startup, Zero Mass Water, is making solar panels that generate clean drinking water from moisture in the air. The startup is backed by $1 billion from a fund ran by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. The technology could go a long ways towards improving the global water crisis, in which more than 2 billion people don’t have access to safe and clean water. (Link)

Image Credit: Zero Mass Water

News for the Week is posted every Friday. Click here to read last week’s news.

News for the Week (1/4/2019)

China Lands a Probe on the Far Side of the Moon

China’s Chang’e 4 mission successfully landed a probe on the far side of the Moon on Thursday. The robotic lander will study the surface and subsurface and determine the composition of the South Pole – Aitken basin; a giant dent on the far side of the Moon of mysterious origin that happens to be the largest basin in the solar system. Landing on the far side of the Moon is a first for humanity as all previous missions have gone to the near side. (Link)

spa basinImage Credit: EPA/CNSA

The Hole in the Ozone Layer Should Heal Within Our Lifetimes

A recent UN report has determined that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is healing up nicely and could be back to “pre-hole” conditions with 40 years. The ozone hole was created by the release of manmade chemicals into the atmosphere, especially chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). After scientists identified the problematic chemicals, policy makers took action and passed the Montreal Protocol, curtailing the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. (Link)

China Builds a Giant Air Purifier to Tackle Smog

An experimental tower was built in China and has demonstrated that it can improve air quality over an area of more than 3 square miles. The 328 foot tall tower is the world’s largest air purifier. Air is driven through the tower by heating it up with sunlight. It requires very little power to function. (Link)

China Air Purifier.jpgImage Credit: VCG/Getty Images

News for the Week is posted every Friday. Click here to read last week’s news.