A diet containing complex carbs – read ‘lots of dietary fibre’ – makes rats with a dodgy pancreas slimmer and more muscled, we wrote a few days ago. A similar diet has the same effect on mice with a normal pancreas, researchers at the Children’s Hospital Boston discovered. What’s more, carbohydrates that are difficult for the body to absorb made the animals more physically active.

The researchers divided a group of male mice into two groups. Both groups were given a diet that consisted for 60 percent by weight of starch for a period of 40 weeks. In the control group the starch used consisted entirely of amylopectin; and in the experimental group it consisted of 40 percent amylopectin and 60 percent less easily absorbed amylose.

The difference between amylose and amylopectin lies in their structure. Amylopectin is a branched chain. The digestive enzymes can loosen the glucose molecules from the amylopectin at different locations at the same time and absorb them. This process goes pretty fast. Amylose, on the other hand, is a straightforward chain of glucose units.

To be digested the units have to be loosened one by one, and that takes time. Most of the glucose molecules are not absorbed by the body.

The sugar chains that are not absorbed form an ideal medium for beneficial micro-organisms in the large intestine to feed off. These convert glucose into short-chain free fatty acids. Researchers suspect that the positive effects of fibre – fibre is a collective noun for all carbohydrate chains that your small intestine can’t digest, and which are partially or wholly fermented in the large intestine by micro-organisms – are partly a result of the work of the short-chain fatty acids. These are thought to boost the metabolism a little.

The starch combination had no effect on body weight, but it did affect fat mass. That means that they built up more lean body mass.

The researchers came up with two partial reasons for the positive body recompositioning effect of the slow carbs. The respiratory quotient [RQ] of the mice that ate slow carbs was lower. That means that they burned a little more fat and less carbs. But perhaps a more important factor was that the mice moved more.

The researchers registered the mice’s movement by placing light-sensitive sensors in their cage, and the mice that ate slow carbs moved more. So they were more physically active. “Higher levels of physical activity are characteristically associated with greater lean body mass”, the researchers suggest cautiously. Between the lines you can see that they don’t think that that little bit of extra exercise in the SAC mice doesn’t explain their different body composition. Nevertheless, the increase in physical activity is in itself interesting.

“A low glycemic diet could increase spontaneous physical activity level, a possibility that might have important implications for the prevention and treatment of obesity and promotion of physical fitness”, the researchers conclude.

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Source:
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov;295(5):E1126-31.

Source: http://www.ergo-log.com/slowcarbsmuscular.html

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have shown that people with a good vitamin D supply are at lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study, which was conducted in cooperation with the German Diabetes Center and the University of Ulm, will be published in the October edition of the scientific journal Diabetes Care.

New tests performed on participants of the KORA study have shown that people with a good supply of vitamin D have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus, while individuals with lower concentrations of vitamin D in their blood have a higher risk. This effect could be attributable, amongst other things, to the anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin D. The result of the study, which was conducted at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in cooperation with Dr. Christian Herder of the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf and Dr. Wolfgang König, Professor of Medicine/Cardiology at the University of Ulm, could have direct consequences for the prevention of this common disease.

“Vitamin D deficiency is relatively widespread due to our modern way of life and the geographical latitude of Germany. In the winter months, in particular, people often do not receive adequate supplies of the vitamin because of the lack of sunlight,” explains Dr. Barbara Thorand of the Institute for Epidemiology II at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. “If follow-up studies confirm our results, a targeted improvement in the supply of vitamin D to the general public could at the same time reduce the risk of developing diabetes.” The human body can produce vitamin D itself if it has sufficient exposure to sunlight. The UVB radiation in natural daylight splits the precursor of vitamin D, 7-dehydrocholesterol, in the skin and forms provitamin D3. Further vitamin D synthesis occurs in the liver and kidneys. In addition, the supply can be improved by eating specific foods, such as oily fish, eggs and milk products, or by taking vitamin D supplements.

More than six million people in Germany suffer from Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the number of undiagnosed cases could be equally high. Up to now, there has been no cure for this common disease. Type 2 diabetes is a disorder of glucose metabolism. It is characterized by a loss of insulin action and a drop in the levels of the hormone produced by the body. The mechanisms that trigger the disease have not yet been fully clarified. However, it is known that diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. The objective of the Helmholtz Zentrum München is to understand the mechanisms that cause common diseases and to develop new approaches with regard to their diagnosis, therapy and prevention.

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Story Source:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen – German Research Centre for Environmental Health.

Journal Reference:
B. Thorand, A. Zierer, C. Huth, J. Linseisen, C. Meisinger, M. Roden, A. Peters, W. Koenig, C. Herder. Effect of Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D on Risk for Type 2 Diabetes May Be Partially Mediated by Subclinical Inflammation: Results from the MONICA/KORA Augsburg study. Diabetes Care, 2011; 34 (10): 2320 DOI: 10.2337/dc11-0775

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111004132813.htm