A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Celebrity chef hits out at calorie count menu plan
CELEBRITY CHEF Derry Clarke has rounded on Minister for Health James Reilly’s plans to introduce calorie count on restaurant menus. Clarke, owner of L’Ecrivain restaurant in Dublin, last week went on the offensive against the MInister’s latest proposals to provide consumers with information about the calorie content of the meals they eat. “We have enough enforcement and enough red tape. Business is finding it hard enough already,” he said.
Clarke first attacked proposals for calorie labelling on menus earlier this year, but Dr Reilly since promised assistance for food businesses implementing the change. Last week, Clarke was still opposed to the proposal, which he said would cost businesses like his own €5,000 to implement. While calorie labelling might work in chain-type and fast-food outlets where meals were regular and standardised, he said, it wasn’t possible to introduce it in high-end restaurants such as his own. This was because menus changed daily, as did the ingredients used in them, and customers came out looking for a treat. Clarke pointed out that the number of calories needed by different people varied hugely.
He also took issue with the portion sizes recommended by health experts. “The portion size recommended is 5oz, but if I served up a 5oz steak, my customers wouldn’t accept it.” Clarke was speaking at a lunch in his restaurant hosted by Unilever Food Solutions to promote its Seductive Nutrition package which, ironically, claims to make it easy for food businesses to calculate the calories content of the meals they serve.
Healthy option to live beside seaside
People living near the coast tend to be healthier than those who live inland, a group of scientists in Britain have found.
A study published by the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter’s Peninsula College of Medicine says people are more likely to have good health the closer they live to the sea. The analysis also showed that the link between living near the coast and good health was strongest in the most economically deprived communities.
Sleep pattern changes may spark Alzheimer's
Too little or too much sleep increases the rate of mental decline among older women and may contribute to Alzheimer’s, a study has shown.
Researchers in the US studied sleep duration in more than 15,000 women aged 70 and older.
Those who slept for five hours or less a night performed less well in mental tests than those who slept for seven hours.
But spending too long in bed was not good for the brain either. Nine hours or more of sleep also led to reduced mental performance.
Sleeping less or more than seven hours had an effect equivalent to ageing by two years.
The women, participants in the Nurses Health Study, had their mental functioning assessed every other year for six years from the age of 70 onwards.
Average sleep duration was recorded twice, when the women were aged 40 to 65, and again at 54 to 79.
Women who changed the amount of time they slept by two hours or more from mid to later life suffered more mental decline than those whose sleep pattern stayed the same.
This effect was seen irrespective of initial sleep duration.
Sleep time also appeared to alter on a molecular biomarker of Alzheimer’s, suggesting that sleeping too little or too much might increase the risk of the disease.
Study leader Elizabeth Devore, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said: “Our findings support the notion that extreme sleep durations and changes in sleep duration over time may contribute to cognitive decline and early Alzheimer’s changes in older adults.”