Author Archives: selamawit joseph

Do you have control over your weight loss?


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There’s always a new dieting trend around the corner. Photo Source: Flickr Commons By: Alan Cleaver

Dieting pills, the latest workout trend, juice and tea cleanses, there’s a lot of advertising claiming a certain method is a surefire way for you to lose weight. Countless people fall for these claims, joining the latest bandwagon in the hopes of achieving their dream beach body.

Then there are those who feel like they are losing the never-ending battle against their genes. Yes, their genes – and not their jeans. They don’t even bother trying the latest weight loss trend because they feel like their weight is at the mercy of their genes.

Benjamin Cheung and the members of his research team sought to answer the question “Can merely learning about obesity genes affect eating behaviour”, which is the title of their upcoming research paper. Our video highlights the main points of his research.

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Video Source: UBC SCIE 300 212 Scientific Outreach Project Group 4

Although they mainly studied the implications of beliefs about obesity, Cheung also connects his research to weight loss. Take a look at what he has to say:

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Video Source: UBC SCIE 300 212 Scientific Outreach Project Group 4

The weight loss industry and the media are hugely influential when it comes to physical activity, weight loss, and the genetic vs. environmental debate regarding obesity. Since the media is part of why people have been led to believe their weight is controlled by their genes, our podcast covers the media’s influence.

Podcast Source: UBC SCIE 300 212 Scientific Outreach Project Group 4    Podcast Photo Source: Flickr Commons By: Yutaka Tsutano

Some have indicated there is a strong evidence for specific genes causing obesity. Knowing that certain mutations can be responsible for a lack of fulness after eating a meal and craving of fatty foods, there is good support for a genetic source of weight loss struggles.


Craving fatty foods can come along with those who have the so called ‘fat gene’. Photo Source: Flickr Commons By: reynermedia

However, there is a huge environmental impact on your ability to lose weight. In fact, it has been proposed that very little of our weight can be blamed on our genes. The main question is: do we really believe we can lose weight?

While there are influences on both sides suggesting weight loss is genetic or environmental, from Cheung’s work we realize it isn’t that simple. We simply don’t know how much genes and the environment  control your weight loss. So for those out there seeking to shed some pounds, don’t loose hope!

– SCIE 300 212 Group 4                                                                                                 Selamawit Joseph, Samantha Mee, Manpreet Takhi, Kevin Nand

Has daylight savings left you feeling tired?

Every autumn when Daylight Saving Time (DST) rolls around, most of us tend to appreciate the extra hour of sleep. When spring comes around however, many tend to suffer from the loss of sleep. Since there are a number of health risks that accompany the time change, we must be proactive in making sure the time change doesn’t negatively affect our health.

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The days after DST begins can leave many feeling dazed. Image Source: Flickr Commons by: Zeek_

Every spring we turn our clocks one hour ahead to allow for brighter evenings. DST started during the world wars to save energy, as less lighting was needed in the evenings because the evenings were brighter.

The reason we suffer when the clocks turn ahead by an hour is related to our “biological clock“. This clock tells us when to sleep based on our bodies natural 24 hour cycle. When we lose an hour of sleep, our internal clock can be thrown off, resulting in a variety of negative affects.

The overwhelming benefit of DST is the brighter evenings we get in the warmer months, but just what are the drawbacks? Consider this videos response:

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Video Source: Harvard Public Health

As mentioned in the video above, there have been reports of increased risk for heart attacks after the time change, as well as an increased number of deaths due to car accidents. What seems like a little sleepiness can have a huge impact on many.

Interestingly, Washington state is considering getting rid of DST due to the risks associated with the time change. Although the removal of DST could be very beneficial health-wise, British Columbia is not likely to do the same. Even if we can’t get rid of DST, we can find a way to better adapt to the change.

Take a look at this video that provides a great solution to the abrupt change of DST:

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Video Source: Sleep Number

Regardless of whether you are for or against DST, it’s likely to stay. So even if the start of DST has left you tired, make sure to plan for a regular daily sleep schedule and be prepared for next springs time change.

-Selamawit Joseph




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