Blake Waltrip, CEO of the U.S. branch of the A2 Milk Co., poses for a portrait on Aug. 26, 2016 in Glendale, Calif. He says his milk, with an heirloom protein, will bring people back to dairy. (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Francine Orr/TNS
Photo: Francine Orr/TNS

Sleep and weight gain

Oh, those early mornings and late nights. They may be contributing to a little weight gain, according to a study done in South Korea and reported in the journal, Sleep.

The antidote? Sleep a little later on weekends. Those extra hours on the weekend may help people keep their weight down. 

Not getting enough sleep can disrupt hormones and metabolism and is known to increase the risk of obesity, according to the South Korean researchers. 

"Short sleep, usually causing sleep debt, is common and inevitable in many cases, and is a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, coronary heart disease, as well as mortality," wrote lead author Dr. Chang-Ho Yun of the Seoul National University Budang Hospital. 

The researchers found that sleeping in a little more on the weekends may be more effective than napping -- as the sleep is deeper and follows the body's sleep-wake rhythms more closely. 

To determine how weekend sleep is related to body weight, the researchers used data from a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 people who ranged in age from 19 to 82 years old. In face-to-face interviews, researchers asked participants about their height and weight, weekday and weekend sleep habits, mood and medical conditions. The study team used this information to determine body mass index and whether participants engaged in catch-up sleep on weekends. Weekend catch-up sleep was defined as sleeping more hours on weekend nights compared to weekday nights. 

On average, the participants slept 7.3 hours per night and had BMIs of 23, which is considered in the normal or healthy range. About 43 percent of study participants slept longer on weekends by nearly two hours than they did on weekdays. People who slept in on weekends tended to sleep shorter hours during weekdays, but slept more hours overall across the week. 

The researchers' analysis found that those who slept in on weekends had average BMIs of 22.8 while those who didn't engage in catch-up sleep averaged 23.1, which was a small but statistically meaningful difference, researchers said. In addition, the more catch up sleep a person got, the lower their BMI tended to be, with each additional hour linked to a 0.12 decrease in BMI. 

The reason? Short sleepers tend to eat more meals per day, snack more, engage in more screen time and may be less likely to move due to increased sensations of fatigue when not rested. 

So go ahead, take an extra hour on a Saturday morning -- it may just help keep your weight in check. 

Q and A 

Q: What are the benefits of drinking A2 milk? 

A: Many people complain of digestive issues, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea, associated with consuming dairy products, including milk. This intolerance is usually blamed on lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk. There are people, however, who still suffer gastro-intestinal issues even when consuming lactose-free milk. So, lactose may not be to blame for everyone. In addition to sugar, cow's milk is a source of protein, particularly casein. The casein can be either in the form of A1 or A2. Some cow breeds, like Jersey and Guernsey cows, produce A2 milk, whereas milk from Holsteins is mostly A1. Interestingly, breast milk is a source of A2 casein. Researchers have hypothesized those who suffer bloating from cow's milk may not be experiencing lactose intolerance but a reaction to the A1 casein, which is a common form of milk in the U.S. If this is the case, then drinking A2 milk, (now available in supermarkets) will mitigate those symptoms. (In many, but not all cases, it does.) The scientific evidence is not yet strong enough to be convincing, but it is promising. A2 milk tastes the same, is safe, and may offer relief for those who have problems with milk. -- Environmental Nutrition. 

RECIPE 

Summer is officially here, and that means the grills are busy. Try this simple summer salad as a side to whatever meat you might be grilling. It's from Eating Well magazine. 

Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad 

2 ears corn, husked 

2 large bell peppers, quartered 

2 cups baby zucchini (8 ounces) 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano 

Preheat grill to medium-high. Toss corn, peppers and zucchini with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Oil the grill rack. Grill the vegetables, turning often, until lightly charred and tender, about 6 minutes for the peppers and zucchini and about 8 minutes for the corn. Coarsely chop the peppers into 1-inch pieces. Cut the zucchini in half. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Drizzle with vinegar and oregano and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Serves 5 (3/4 cup each). 

Per serving: 135 calories, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 9 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 242 mg sodium. 

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