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Russia to accept female candidates for air force’s pilot training program

“There are many young women who would like to become military pilots. We have received hundreds of letters,” he said, according to a ministry statement.

“That’s why we’ve decided that this year we will enroll a first group of women at the military academy of Krasnodar,” in southern Russia, he said.

“There will be few of them, 15 in all. But given the quantity of applications that we receive, we can’t ignore them. From October 1, the first group of women will start to train to become pilots,” he said, adding that he hoped they will be qualified in five years.

Since 2009, the Krasnodar flying academy has accepted female students but not for pilot training, according to the TASS news agency.

In 2014, a senior defense ministry official, Ruslan Vassilev, told Echo Moskvi radio that some 45,000 women serve in the Russian army, although they are barred from some functions, notably combat roles.

In total Russia’s armed forces numbered nearly 2 million people this year, including 1 million on active service, according to official figures.

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How being cold may one day help people lose weight and protect against diabetes

Could shivering in the cold be a way to shed pounds and possibly prevent diabetes?

Exposure to cold is the most well-known and well-studied mechanism for switching on energy-burning brown fat, which seems to protect mice from developing obesity. It remains to be seen whether the same process can help people.

Humans have three kinds of fat. White adipose tissue, or white fat, comprises the majority of fat in our bodies; its purpose is to store energy for future use. Brown fat is different: Its function is to generate heat to maintain body temperature. Until recently, it was thought that adults did not have brown fat, that it only existed in babies to help them stay warm before they could move around and then essentially vanished. But beginning in 2009, studies have found that many adults have brown fat and that people with more of it tend to be leaner and have lower blood sugar levels.

The third kind of fat, beige fat, appears to convert from white to brown when stressed by exposure to cold, and then back to white. This process is encouraging for scientists trying to figure out how to increase brown fat to improve healthy functioning of the body.

“A balanced diet and regular exercise are the cornerstones of healthy metabolism, but sustaining either is difficult for most people. Understanding how brown fat could benefit our health opens up a new direction in obesity research,” says Paul Lee, an endocrinologist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, where he leads the Brown Fat Physiology Group. “It is not a solution to obesity, but it is an opportunity to explore an alternative strategy for curbing the obesity epidemic.”

When the body senses cold, Lee says, the brain releases nor­epinephrine, a chemical that essentially ignites the fat-burning process within brown fat. When there is not enough brown fat, the body has to turn to less-efficient heat-generating models, such as shivering.

Aaron Cypess, a clinical investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, calls brown fat the principal organ responsible for generating heat in laboratory animals.

“In mice and rats,” Cypess says, “chronic activation of brown fat [by exposing them to low temperatures or to drugs that target brown fat] . . . is associated with a reduction in liver fat, a resistance to diet-induced obesity and improvement in insulin release.” All of these benefits and others may also apply to people, but it will take much longer to prove because studies in humans have to be conducted differently, he says.

He adds, “While white fat is easy to spot in humans — think abdomen, hips, buttocks and thighs — brown fat tends to be located around the neck and above the collarbone, along the spine and near the kidneys.” Additionally, Cypess says, humans are genetically more diverse than lab mice, which produces results with much higher variability.

Lee says that when people are cold and begin to shiver, their muscles release irisin, a hormone that turns white fat into brown fat. The more a person shivers, the more irisin is released into the bloodstream.

A 2014 study by Lee — dubbed “the ICEMAN study” — found that after a month of sleeping at cool temperatures, five men increased their stores of brown fat by 30 to 40 percent and metabolized sugars more efficiently after a meal, which could be helpful for people with diabetes. When the sleeping temperature was raised, the brown stores dropped.

(Interestingly, another recent study found that brown fat also may be stimulated by taking a drug used to treat overactive bladder.)

Cypess says that this research makes it clear that activating or increasing brown fat stores might prevent weight gain, lead to weight loss and provide a new avenue for treating diabetes and obesity.

Can the average person embark on a “shiver diet” to lose weight?

Lee says he believes the current evidence does not support the notion that shivering may be a route to losing weight. (Despite the study’s name, ICEMAN — the Impact of Chronic Cold Exposure in Humans — exposed participants to only mild cold, not shiveringly low temperatures.)

Cypess says that shivering to lose weight is an interesting idea, but there are many unknowns.

First, is it safe?

Lee says that “shivering causes stress and could harm the body, which explains why the human body has evolved mechanisms to turn on brown fat or to turn white fat into brown fat.”

In most people, Cypess says, shivering causes increases in blood pressure that over the years could damage blood vessels in the brain, heart and kidneys.

Additionally, Cypess says, there is no evidence to prove that a low-temperature regimen could be effective long-term. One of the biggest limitations of weight-loss interventions is that the body learns to compensate to maintain itself, and that might be true with a shiver diet. Lee and Cypess agree that no weight-loss regimen should be recommended without a great deal of evidence that it will work for more than a few weeks or months and that the weight loss can be sustained — evidence that doesn’t exist.

Finally, Cypess says, being cold is extremely uncomfortable. “While suggestions exist that long-term activation of brown fat could be beneficial to weight loss and diabetes reduction, this has yet to be proven,” he stresses.

Francesco Celi, chair of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, said in an email that he expects “future research will include conducting studies in humans that will test various interventions (drugs or environmental modifications) to expand and activate brown fat to help scientists determine what kind of metabolic improvements can occur. And by studying the various responses to interventions, researchers will be able to determine which patients respond better to brown-tissue expansion and perhaps why they do.”

Cypess says he expects scientists to focus on determining to what extent adult brown fat contributes to getting rid of excess calories, how brown fat could be used to bring down blood sugar levels and how brown fat interacts with other organs to keep people healthy.

But even with all that, he adds, “Basically, the issue of losing weight is about controlling the amount of food we put into our mouths.”

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Fitterfly app to track diet, exercise of children

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Bluffs woman develops healthy cookbook by cooking for husband

There’s a story behind Linda Vergamini’s cookbook, “It Took a Catastrophe to Stop the Cheating or LindaV’s Healthy Cookbook.” It contains recipes she developed to help her husband, Bob, battle diabetes and heart problems during the past two decades.

How the 80/20 Rule Helped This Woman Lose Weight

A diet doesn’t need to be 100 percent healthy to be healthy, according to Work Week Lunch founder Talia Koren. The blogger lost 10 pounds following the 80/20 rule, which involves focusing on eating healthy foods 80 percent of the time, and less healthy foods the remaining 20 percent.

“I wasn’t restraining myself and I think that’s the key to what makes it work,” Koren tells NBC News Better. “You can have what you want, but you have to have more of the healthy stuff.”

Image::Talia Koren lost 10 pounds by changing up how she eats.|||[object Object]
Talia Koren lost 10 pounds by changing up how she eats.

The 25-year-old says she put on a few extra pounds in college. Her eating habits worsened after she started working for a busy New York City media company, where “pizza days” and free bagels were the norm. Shedding the weight seemed impossible.

“When you’re not eating well, your energy levels are affected, and that’s what I found,” Koren said. “I was really sluggish. I didn’t like the way my clothes fit. I just didn’t feel good about myself.”

Koren tried numerous diet fads, none of which seemed to help her lose weight. Exercise didn’t seem to help either. In 2015, while researching online, she learned about the 80/20 rule and decided to try it.

Daily Vs. Weekly Approach

Koren approached the 80/20 rule using what she calls the “week-long” approach. She eats about 21 meals in a week, 80 percent of which make up about 17 meals. She prefers this to the “day-long” approach, which means 80 percent of her daily meals are healthy.

“If 20 percent [of what you eat] is sweet potato fries every day, that’s going to add up,” she explains.

The week-long approach, however, forces her to have more self-restraint. While about 17 of her meals are healthy during the week, just four are less healthy.


What to eat and not eat

Koren began cooking her meals at home. Her healthy meals consist of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and nutrient dense carbs.

For example:

  • Breakfast: Two slices of wheat toast with peanut butter and blueberries
  • Mid-morning snack: A piece of fruit (whole apple, whole plum, whole peach)
  • Lunch: Salmon, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
  • Mid-afternoon snack: Sliced pepper with hummus, or a handful of almonds with dates
  • Dinner: Scrambled eggs with veggies

She decided to reserve her less healthy meals for when she eats out with friends. But she’s careful not to pick menu items that are too unhealthy.

“I love Mediterranean food,” she says. “So I would get falafel, which is fried, and maybe some cole slaw — there would be mayo in there — that type of thing, where it’s not totally unhealthy but not super strict either.”

You should never use your 20 percent “less healthy” meal allowance as an excuse to binge eat, she warns.

“That doesn’t mean you’re going to an extreme opposite like you’re just going to eat pizza 20 percent of the time,” she says. “It just means caring a little less.”

Prepare your meals in advance

What’s Koren’s secret to keeping her healthy lifestyle consistent? She prepares her meals in advance.

“Meal prepping is a huge, huge reason why I was able to stay so consistent, because no matter what diet or plan you’re on, you need to prepare,” she says.

The blogger meal preps twice a week. On Sunday she’ll prepare her meals for Monday through Wednesday, and on Wednesday she’ll prepare her meals for Thursday through Sunday. For example, she’ll cook broccoli, sweet potatoes, and salmon, and divide them into three portions for her lunch for the next three days. She says these prepared dishes prevent her from making unhealthy excuses.

“You want to beat your brain to the punch and just have the healthy meal in front of you, so you don’t even have to think about a decision — it’s just there,” says Koren.

Focus on the process, not the goal

After six months of following the 80/20 rule, Koren went from about 130 to 120 pounds.

“This is what I would call my happy weight,” she says. “I’m not trying to lose more, I don’t want to gain more either.”

The blogger says losing the weight “felt awesome,” but notes it was a result of focusing on healthy lifestyle changes, not an obsession with slimming down.

“I was focusing on the process — on the cooking process — and all of a sudden I realized my clothes started fitting better, my energy levels were very balanced throughout the day,” she says.

“It just made life a lot easier,” Koren concluded.

How to use the 80/20 rule

  • Will it be weekly or daily? On the week-long approach, 80 percent of your weekly meals are healthy. The daily approach, on the other hand, means 80 percent of your daily meals are healthy. Koren found the weekly approach more effective, since it forced her to eat more healthy meals.
  • Educate yourself. Healthy meals should consist of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and nutrient dense carbs. Your less healthy meals should be an opportunity for you to eat what you enjoy, but not an excuse to binge eat junk food.
  • Invest time in meal prep. Meal prepping is an important way to ensure you always have healthy options available, and will prevent you from making unhealthy excuses when hungry.
  • Focus on the small stuff. When you focus on changing your eating habits and lifestyle, your body and energy levels will change too.

Being healthy is just another part of the hustle my friends. I hope you guys CRUSH this week. 👊🏻Here’s my super easy spin on @minimalistbaker’s general tso’s tofu (I baked it instead of cooking it in a skillet) with roasted asparagus, baby carrots and quinoa. For snacks I have @thinkthinbars, mixed nuts and Granny Smiths! You can watch my meal prep on my story. 😊 . . . . . #healthylifestyle #fitfam #fitchickscook #fitgirl #tiufam #bbgfam #feedfeed #foodgawker #food52 #buzzfeast #minimalistbaker #tofu #foodphotography #wellness #instagood #eeeeeats #fromscratch #homemade #foods4thought #bgbcommunity #feedyoursoull #foodie #protein #iamwellandgood #healthnut #droolclub

A post shared by Talia Koren (@workweeklunch) on Mar 26, 2017 at 5:25pm PDT

Celebs Over 40 Are Obsessed With The Keto Diet. Here’s Everything You Need To Know Before Trying It.

There was once a time when low-fat cookies, chips, and peanut butter were considered “healthy choices.” Oh, how times have changed!

Ever since studies began surfacing showing that low-carb, high-fat diets can be more effective for weight loss than low-fat plans, more and more health-conscious folks have fully embraced fat. Sales of whole-fat milk and yogurt have soared in recent years, and most nutritionists now tell their clients to incorporate fatty foods like fish, avocado, and olive oil into their diets. The reemergence of all this creamy goodness has led to a century-old diet making a major comeback: the ketogenic diet. Celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Mick Jagger are both rumored to have taken the plan for a test drive.

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Those following the keto diet plan eat a lot of fat and just a few carbohydrates. More specifically, 80% of the diet is comprised of fat, 15% is protein, and a mere 5% of calories come from carbohydrates. For someone on a 1,500-calorie diet, that translates to 19 grams of carbohydrates per day, which is less than what you find in a cup of green peas. (For some context, most people’s diets contain 55% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 15% protein.) The idea is that if you deplete yourself of carbohydrates, the brain’s preferred fuel source, your body will start breaking down fat for energy. When this occurs, the body goes into a state of ketosis.

But does this really fuel weight loss or make us healthier? According to one Spanish study of 20 obese adults, the answer is yes. For the study, participants were put on a low-calorie keto diet and lost an average of 40 pounds over four months. Another small experiment had a similar outcome. In a six-month Experimental Clinical Cardiology study of 83 obese adults, those on the keto diet lost an average of 33 pounds, while lowering their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increasing their good (HDL) cholesterol.

MORE: Exactly What One Woman Ate To Get Off Her Cholesterol Meds

But not all studies on the keto diet are as promising. One American Society for Clinical Nutrition study of 20 participants found that those on the diet didn’t lose more weight than those on a non-keto diet. But they did have fouler moods and higher levels of inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

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Since research on the keto diet is fairly limited and inconclusive, it’s important to educate yourself about the potential risks before trying it. Here, five things you should know before going keto:

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