Science shorts: Saturated fats and male fertility, high chilli intake lowers CKD, and honey’s benefits for weight loss

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

This round-up of the latest scientific studies look at how a diet high in saturated fat can affect male fertility and the benefits of honey in tackling weight loss. ©Getty Images
This round-up of the latest scientific studies look at how a diet high in saturated fat can affect male fertility and the benefits of honey in tackling weight loss. ©Getty Images

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In this round-up of scientific studies, we look at how a diet high in saturated fat can adversely affect male fertility, how high chilli intake lowers the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and the benefits of honey in tackling body fat.
Egg white and whey protein key to boosting male fertility, but slash ‘healthy’ fats and McDonald's muffins

A diet high in egg whites, and to a lesser extent whey protein, could help boost male fertility...but even ‘healthy’ fats appear to have the opposite effect.

Less surprisingly, it appears that a meal high in saturated fat, namely McDonald's sausage, cheese and egg muffins, along with hash browns, should also be shunned by men trying to become dads.

These are the findings highlighted in a new pilot study​ on overweight and obese men undertaken by academics at the University of South Australia and Flinders University.

Hot findings: Higher chilli intake linked to lower chronic kidney disease in Chinese adults

Researchers from China, Qatar, and USA have reported​ that a high chilli intake is associated with a lower risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) among the adult population in China.

The prevalence of CKD was 13.1% in non-chilli consumers and 7.4% among those with chilli intake above 50 g/day.

Current studies on animal models have shown the active component of chilli, capsaicin, has beneficial effects on kidney function and preventing kidney damage, however, this assertion has not been investigated in humans and no population studies have assessed the association between chili consumption and CKD.

Anti-obesity honey: Malaysian professor’s ‘paradoxical’ method to tackle body fat

The bioactives from honey could help tackle obesity by curbing appetite and Malaysian researchers are now making a weight controlling dietary supplement​ on the back of their studies.

Leading the research is associate professor Wan Iryani Wan Ismail from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.

Comparing honey produced in different regions, she found out that the honey produced in Malaysia contains bioactives not present in other types of honey, such as Manuka honey and those from the Middle East.

Korean red ginseng reduces fatigue without increasing ‘heatiness’ – Chinese study

Korean Red ginseng (KRG) is able to reduce fatigue in deficiency syndrome patients without rising “heatiness”.

KRG is commonly perceived as a “heaty”​ ingredient among Asia consumers, which could lead to “fire-heat”​ syndromes such as sore throat, ulcers, and constipation.

Therefore, Chinese researchers embarked on a clinical trial​ to validate the claims, with results published in the peer-reviewed publication Journal of Ginseng Research.

Calcium supplements have ‘little place in modern medicine’ – Controversial review

A new review​ suggests that calcium and vitamin D supplements have little effect in increasing bone density and preventing fractures.

Mark Bolland, an associate professor at Auckland University’s medical and health sciences faculty most recently co-authored with long-time collaborator Ian Reid, a professor at Auckland, a systematic review in Medical Journal of Australia​.

After reviewing the evidence of both efficacy and safety of calcium and vitamin D supplements, the paper bluntly concludes that while vitamin D has a place in the prevention of osteomalacia in individuals with specific risk factors, calcium supplements have “very little place​” in modern medical practice.

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