Hot Right Now: Morbid obesity in vegetarianism, hemp-derived omega-3, and steroid controversy among our hottest stories on social media

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Hot Right Now: Morbid obesity in vegetarianism, hemp-derived omega-3, and steroid controversy among our hottest stories on social media
What's been trending on social media this past month? A $10m donation from Blackmores, higher obesity risk in Indian vegetarians, anabolic steroids in Aussie and Kiwi sports supplements, and more.

Southern Cross University reveals how $10m Blackmores Foundation donation will help transform naturopathy education

Southern Cross University (SCU) has provided NutraIngredients-Asia with more details on how the $10m donation made by Blackmores boss​ Marcus Blackmore and his wife Caroline will be used to fund a new centre, courses and research.

This funding represents the largest single donation SCU has received, as well as the largest personal gift the Blackmore Foundation has given to a university.

With this donation, Blackmore also wishes to honour his late father Maurice Blackmore, who wished that naturopathy would be recognised and respected as a legitimate profession.

Meat and morbidity: Why are Indian vegetarians more likely to be obese than their omnivorous counterparts?

Vegetarian diets in India are more often linked to a higher rate of morbid obesity​ than non-vegetarian diets, according to a cohort study published in The Journal of Metabolic Surgery and Allied Care​.

India has the world's largest vegetarian population, with 40% of the country adhering to vegetarian diets. While many believe a vegetarian diet is generally healthier than a non-vegetarian diet, the reverse has been observed when it comes to morbid obesity.

The main reason for this is a 'nutrition transition', which involves whole plant foods being replaced by processed and fried foods, as well as refined carbohydrates.

Will hemp replace fish as the king of omega-3?

As decades of unjustified prohibition and persecution continue to lose their grip, hemp is rapidly regaining the popularity it held​ for millennia as a primary and sustainable source of life's necessities — including omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.

From a nutritional standpoint, the leaves, flowers and seeds of hemp plants provide essential organic nutrition that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Interest in the oil from its flowers and seeds is at an all time high and showing no sign of slowing down.

Hemp seeds are incredibly nutrient-dense. Besides containing arguably the highest-quality protein in concentrations that exceed that of most other food sources, hemp seeds rule the world when it comes to polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 and 6, among others.

Undeclared anabolic steroids discovered in sports supplements sold in NZ and Australia

Anabolic steroids have been found in six sports supplements​ sold in Australia and New Zealand, according to researchers from the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Otago.

Their findings on the steroids, which were not listedd on the supplement labels, were published​ in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism​.

Anabolic steroids, or androgens, pose a possible health risk to their users. Athletes who use them are likely to fail doping tests and therefore, be banned from competition.

Omega-3 for ocular health: How dietary intake can help fight allergic conjunctivitis — Japanese study

Dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate allergic conjunctivitis (AC)​ in both its early and late stages through their anti-inflammatory activity, according to a study by Japan's Juntendo University.

AC is one of the world's most common ocular surface diseases, and T helper type 2 (Th​2) immune responses are crucial to orchestrating inflammatory responses associated with the disease.

The roles of lipid mediators in the onset and progression of AC, however, have not been fully investigated. Furthermore, although omega-3 fatty acids have previously been found to benefit those suffering from asthma or atopic dermatitis, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear.

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