Holidays are a double whammy when it comes to gaining weight. Not only do many of us overdo it in the calorie department this time of year, but now Israeli researchers have also uncovered another potential cause of holiday-related weight gain: the jet lag you suffer while traveling.
So how exactly are a growing belly and your red-eye flight to visit your aunt across the country connected? Your gut bacteria.
You know how jet lag prompts your body to feel like it's 6 a.m. even when the clock says it's noon? That travel-related clock chaos is throwing off your gut bacteria, too. And that impacts a lot, considering researchers are now calling the gut the "second brain" because it regulates everything from mood to weight and weight-related issues.
According to the researchers, disrupting your natural circadian clock (through both changing light-dark cues and altered eating habits) also changes the rhythms and compositions of your gut bacteria.
The researchers first tested their theory on mice and found that disrupting the mice's microbiomes by inducing jet lag led to weight gain and diabetes-like metabolic issues in the animals. These findings were echoed in a case study of two jet-lagged humans making the trek from the U.S. to Isreal. The researchers found that the humans' gut microbiome had shifted to favor the growth of bacteria that have previously been associated with weight gain.
"These findings provide an explanation for a long-standing and mysterious observation that people with chronically disturbed day-night cycles due to repetitive jet lag or shift work have a tendency to develop obesity and other metabolic complications," says Eran Elinav, MD, researcher with the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to get over jet lag quickly, says Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, author of The Supplement Handbook. First, forget the sleeping pills. "While these medications do cause drowsiness, they don't necessarily promote deep sleep or improve the quality of sleep," he says.
Also, keep in mind that not all jet lag is created equal. "Flying east is usually worse because you lose time," he says. "Going from Michigan to Europe or the Middle East, you lose five to eight hours, which means bowel habits, meals, and other daily rituals get thrown off. Flying west, you gain time, so it is usually easier to adjust because there's still time during the day for your body to take care of its normal rituals."
Here, we have Dr. Moyad's seven tricks to get over jet lag faster:
Adapted from The Supplement Handbook
Every year in the United States, there are more than 1 billion upper respiratory tract infections and colds. In addition, 5 to 25 percent of Americans get the flu, which results in 200,000 hospitalizations and anywhere from 20,000 to 36,000 deaths, depending on the year.
When you are otherwise healthy and get sick, your immune system pumps out protein molecules called cytokines, which help battle the virus and lead to many of the symptoms you experience—sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, and puffy eyes. It's the body's immune response to the virus that makes you feel so bad, not the virus itself. That's why it makes no sense when supplements claim they can "boost" your immune system. It's already boosted! (How Healthy Is Your Immune System?)
If you have symptoms that come on gradually and are primarily above the neck—sneezing, sore throat, watery or itchy eyes—you probably have a cold. If you have symptoms that come on quickly, are severe, and are above and below the neck—fever (a key symptom of the flu), shivering, sweating, achy muscles and limbs—you've probably caught the flu. I like to say: "One is a nuisance and the other is a knockout."
Here's what works:
Oreo maker Mondelez Global LLC has recalled two flavors of the popular sandwich cookie due to an undeclared allergen.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the national recall last Friday after an inspection, found that the Oreo Fudge Crème and the Oreo Fudge Crème Mint were manufactured on equipment that processes milk.
Here's what you need to know about the recall:
- It applies to 11.3-ounce packages of the Oreo Fudge Crème with the UPC code "0 44000 02694 3" with "Best When Used By Dates" of: Aug. 19, 2016; Aug. 20, 2016; Sept. 14, 2016; Oct. 13, 2016; Oct. 14, 2016; and Oct. 17, 2016.
- The recall also applies to the 11.3-ounce packages of the Oreo Fudge Crème Mint with the UPC code "0 44000 02696 7." Best dates of: Aug. 20, 2016, Aug. 21, 2016; Sept. 14, 2016; Sept. 15, 2016; Sept. 16, 2016; Oct. 17, 2016; and Oct. 18, 2016.
The FDA is urging consumers who have a milk allergy and have purchased the items to throw them out or return them to the store for a full refund.
For more information on the recall, click here.