Quick Studies: A snapshot of the latest research on diet, exercise, and more

Don’t Just Sit There...

woman running

Spending nearly all day seated? That could raise your risk of dying of cancer. Researchers had roughly 8,000 people aged 45 or older wear an accelerometer to measure their movement during their waking hours for a week.

Five years later, those who had been sedentary for at least 12 out of 16 of their waking hours had about a 50 percent higher risk of dying of cancer than those who had been sedentary for less than 12 hours (after accounting for other risk factors). Replacing a half hour of sedentary time every day with a half hour of moderate or vigorous exercise was linked to a 31 percent lower risk of dying of cancer over the next five years.

What to do: Step away from the couch, desk, or car and move. Better yet, go for a brisk walk or bike ride or a game of tennis, golf, or whatever.

JAMA Oncol. 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2045.

Insulin & Memory

stylized human head

Insulin delivered via a nasal spray doesn’t preserve memory, despite promising early results.

Scientists gave either a daily insulin or placebo spray to 240 people with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. After a year, memory tests and Alzheimer’s biomarkers were no different between the two groups.

What to do: Don’t expect insulin to protect your memory.

JAMA Neurol. 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1840.


woman eating salad

A healthy lifestyle may prevent gallstones.

Scientists followed roughly 100,000 people for up to 26 years. Women with the healthiest lifestyles had a 74 percent—and men had an 83 percent—lower risk of gallstones than those who had the least healthy lifestyles.

Lifestyle factors linked to a lower risk were a healthy weight (which had the biggest impact), coffee (at least 16 oz. a day), moderate alcohol intake, exercise, never smoking, and a high score on the Alternate Healthy Eating Index. The index adds points for vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, oils, and seafood and subtracts points for sugary drinks, juice, salt, and red or processed meat.

What to do: Aim for a healthy lifestyle. Though this study can’t prove cause and effect, a similar lifestyle score has been linked to living longer without cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2020. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa154.

Eggspectations & Appetite

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/stock.adobe.com.

Do you eat more at lunch if you think you ate a small breakfast?

Researchers told 26 people that they were being served a larger omelet (made with 4 eggs and 2 oz. of cheddar cheese) on one day and a smaller omelet (made with 2 eggs and 1 oz. of cheese) on another. In fact, they were served a 460-calorie omelet made with 3 eggs and 1½ oz. of cheese on both days.

Participants ate about 70 more calories of an all-you-can-eat pasta lunch on the “small-omelet” day than on the “large-omelet” day.

What to do: Keep in mind that how much you eat may depend on more than hunger.
Appetite 2020. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2020.104717.