USQ scientists set to break the obesity cycle with leading edge findings. Are functional foods better than dieting and exercise…..
Toowoomba takes out the unenviable title of the fattest city in Queensland according to researchers at the Mitchell Institute. Over 83% of the Toowoomba population is overweight or obese, posing major disease risk and a potential public health crisis in the region. But all is not lost for the Garden City with one of its locals possibly holding the key to ending the city’s obesity problem. Professor Lindsay Brown of University of Southern Queensland at Toowoomba has spent more than a decade investigating functional foods and their affect on lifestyle diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and cancer. Professor Brown says that seaweed is showing exceptional effectiveness in reversing obesity related health problems in animal studies and would like to see them in human studies.
Prof Brown and his team of researchers fed rats a junk food diet. The rats, just like humans, gained weight especially around the belly, and also developed fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, pre-type 2 diabetes, arthritis and inflammation of the gut.
But eating as little as 5 gm of seaweed per day completely reversed all of these symptoms. Blood pressure returned to normal and cell damage to the heart and liver was reversed. Fatty deposits in liver and blood vessels disappeared. The body’s response to sugar reverted back to the healthy functioning and diabetes risk was eliminated. Inflammation throughout the body was minimised so joint and heart health was much improved. Professor Brown says the results are highly impressive and somewhat unexpected. He anticipated an improvement in symptoms but not a complete reversal, and a result better than if the patient was taking multiple medicines.
Professor Brown now wants to get the message out to the residents of his home town to help change Toowoomba’s frightening health reputation. He openly provides all the science so residents can judge the effectiveness for themselves. However the media and medical industry have been slow to realise the potential of functional foods.