July 26, 2019

Weekend reads: Breakups stink (even for fish)

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    How much protein do you need each day? High-protein diets get a lot of hype, but how much protein do you actually need each day? According to Janelle Walter, a professor of family and consumer sciences at Baylor University, two meat patties the size of your palm is the right amount for the average adult, and proteins will maintain their nutritional value regardless freezing or canning. "Protein doesn't get destroyed or inactivated with cooking, freezing, or processing," Walter said. However, Walter cautioned that while red meat is the most efficient source of protein, if you eat more than eight ounces of red meat each day, the rest of the protein will be stored as fat.

    Your next prescription? Spend time outside. To help patients with stress, some doctors are replacing conventional prescriptions with a medical referral to a local greenspace. Kristin Anderson, a family physician in Montana and a member of the state's Trails Rx program, explained that when prescribing time outdoors "doctors talk with patients about how far to walk, help them find a space to walk, and set small goals, like going outside three times per week for a half hour per session." Like a prescription for medication, the so-called "park prescription" goes into the patient's EHR.  Research has shown these prescriptions to work, too, linking time outside to lower blood pressure, better immune system function, and lower stress.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    What happens when fish break up? Researchers at University of Burgundy in France recently found that "breakups really suck, even if you're a fish," Sigal Samuel writes for Vox. For the study, scientists examined a monogamous fish species called the convict cichlid. The researchers gave the female fish a chance to choose between two male fish. Once the female huddled close to the male she liked most, the researchers split them up. In some cases, the researchers put the female fish with the male she'd initially rejected. Then, the researchers introduced three clay boxes with different lids: a box with a white lid, which always contained a treat; a box with a black lid, which never had treats; and eventually, a box with a grey lid, which may or may not have had treats. The researchers found that the female fish who lost their mates wouldn't bother lifting the grey lids at all.  

    How much plastic do you eat every year? On average, an American consumes about 70,000 minuscule pieces of plastic per year, according to a new study, or roughly 200 pieces per day. According to the study, about 39,000 to 52,000 of the particles come from food, via packaging and processing, and the rest we inhale as we breathe. Plastics shed the small particles, called microplastics, as they age, and they can stay in the environment for decades, or more. The researchers added that the results likely underestimate of the amount of plastic we actually ingest each day, given the foods researched account for just 15% of the average American's diet. The study did not determine what this meant for human health.


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