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Key point: America is hoping for a small-arms revolution.

Recently, much attention has been focused on the state of the U.S. militarys arsenal of small arms. After the announcement and subsequent cancellation of the U.S. Armys 7.62 Interim Combat Service Rifle project, many were left wondering what the U.S. Armys actual plan was for a future service rifle. One possible answer was demonstrated at the AUSA 2017 by Textron: the use of Cased Telescoped Ammunition (CTA) technology in small arms.

Unlike the use of CTA in vehicular autocannons, CTA in small arms is a rather recent development. While some early cartridge designs could technically be considered CTA (one example is the 7.6238mmR ammunition used in the Russian M1895 revolver), these early designs did not have many benefits that modern CTA technology provides. During the Cold War, small-arms development mostly focused on caseless ammunition. This lead eventually to the H&K G11, a rifle that used caseless telescoped ammunition. The G11 participated in the U.S. Armys Advanced Combat Rifle program and was accepted into service in the Bundeswehr. However, the G11 fell victim to budget cuts following the reunification of Germany, and not many military attempts to pursue caseless ammunition have happened since.

Recommended:Why North Korea's Air Force is Total Junk

Enter the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) program. At first, LSAT was simply an attempt to design lighter-weight small arms. Eventually, due to conflicts with the XM8 program, the LSAT programs scope was limited to light machine guns. While LSAT briefly attempted to use caseless technology to achieve this goal, they eventually settled on the use of CTA. The LSAT program (which focused on 5.56) then became the Cased Telescoped Small Arms Systems (CTSAS) program in 2016. This also expanded the scope of the project to include other calibers. Currently, the CTSAS program, run by Textron, has successfully produced a line of polymer-cased and linked CTA, along with a series of belt-fed machine guns and magazine-fed carbines that fire this ammunition. The ammunition is at technology-readiness level 7, which means it has undergone various environmental durability and endurance tests.

Recommended:Why Doesn't America Kill Kim Jong Un?

So what benefits does CTA have in small arms? The primary selling point for CTSAS CTA is, true to its name, a 41 percent weight reduction and 12 percent volume reduction compared to conventional ammunition. The CTSAS machine gun design itself also weighs less, with the 7.62mm variant weighing in at 14.5 pounds, compared to 21.8 pounds for the M240L, the Armys current lightweight 7.62 machine gun, and 18.1 pounds for the PKP Pecheneg, the Russian militarys current 7.62 machine gun. The LMG also has reduced risk of cookoff, due to the chamber being separated from the barrel. In addition, the CTSAS CTA rounds use compacted propellant, which has better burn characteristics and takes up less case volume compared to traditional loose propellant. (Other CTA rounds, including those used in the CT40, are known to use loose propellant.) The round design also incorporates an end cap that forces the round into alignment with the barrel. This mitigates the possible problem of the round anviling into the barrel and rifling, and causing excess barrel wear. Another theoretical advantage for polymer CTA ammunition is reduced round cost, due to the smaller amounts of material and energy required to create each round; however, this has yet to be seen, due to economies of scale. The CTA round and LMG design have proven versatile, with 5.56-millimeter and 7.62-millimeter versions of the CTSAS machine guns and CTA being produced and tested. CTA has also been produced in a new 6.5 caliber, which is purported to have superior ballistics to current calibers.

Recommended:The F-22 Is Getting a New Job: Sniper

The primary problem that is preventing widespread adoption of CTSAS small-arms technology is one of systemic inertia. Given how hard it is for the U.S. military to standardize on a single rifle magazine, the prospect of switching over to entirely new guns, ammunition links and ammunition is incredibly daunting. This is an up-front cost that the U.S. military is unlikely to be willing to pay at this moment, for the limited gains CTSAS technology provides. CTSAS technology also breaks the rules about how one can traditionally think about small arms. Early versions of the CTSAS carbine that fed from a magazine couldnt be reloaded until the magazine was empty. Indeed, the optimal feeding configuration for any CTSAS weapon is belt feeding. However, the idea of issuing every soldier a belt-fed rifle is a hard pill to swallow for some who assume belt-fed weapons will always take more time to reload than magazine-fed weapons. CTSAS also is not fully mature in its carbine versions, which still weigh more than the current standard-issue M4 Carbine.

Overall, CTA in small arms is a promising technology that could significantly reduce the weight that a soldier carries into battle, while also providing other minor benefits. However, its unclear whether this is enough of an improvement for the U.S. military to adopt it.

The author would like to thank Nathaniel F. at thefirearmblog.com for the informative series of interviews with Kori Phillips.

Charlie Gao studied political and computer science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national-security issues.This first appeared late last year.

Image: Reuters.

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Gonna Carry That Weight: Why The Army Wants To Revolutionize Its Ammunition - The National Interest Online

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Feb 15th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

They dont get too high or too low. They just enjoy each day and I think thats because there are so many new guys. A lot of guys last year had been through a lot of battles and took every game as do or die almost. This team doesnt do that. I dont think its good or bad either way.

SLU has lost its last two games, but Ford saw a big change in the loss at Dayton. He felt the Billikens had more fight than the previous three or four games and gave themselves a chance to win until the final minute.

They are in a tie for seventh place with Davidson in the A-10. Its roughly where the Billikens were picked to finish in the preseason but disappointing after a strong nonconference performance had them thinking big.

Terrence Hargrove Jr. said Ford put the team through a challenging week that included a pair of 6 a.m. weight room sessions.

The days have been long but will pay off in the long run, he said. We cant complain about it because we need these last seven games. Everybodys mindset has changed. Everybody is just locking in because we need these last seven.

As a reflection of Fords challenge in reading this team, he said he wasnt sure about Hargroves assessment. But he hopes its accurate. Ford typically has an idea of what is in store from the Billikens once a game begins, no sooner.

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Ford not sure what to expect after SLU's off week - STLtoday.com

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Feb 15th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

Kamalaya's private outdoor pool is the perfect place to unwind.

Any transformative moments? I realised, when the body is well nourished on a cellular level and not stressed with cortisol, it functions wonderfully and detoxes itself without any harsh detox protocols, so shedding toxic weight and inflammation was easy. Along with a copious and delicious menu, we were given a fibre drink and a light plant protein shake midmorning and midafternoon, while eating vegan meals (theres also fish and meat on the menu if you want). I wasnt on a restricted food diet and I wasnt aiming to lose weight, but the food was so clean and I was so relaxed that I ended up losing quite a bit of weight. I looked fresh and my skin was glowing.

How hardcore were you in your approach? Because the focus of my program was on emotional and physical detoxification, I didnt consume alcohol or coffee, and ate from Kamalayas expansive detox menu. My program also included herbal supplements and a series of holistic therapies, including far-infrared saunas to stimulate circulation, lymphatic drainage massages, colon hydrotherapy, acupuncture and Chi Nei Tsang, a traditional Taoist massage that releases physical and emotional stress.

I did yoga every morning with wonderful instructors in the peaceful breeze in the yoga pavilion high on a hill overlooking the sea. This is what I miss most about Kamalaya.

My program was super busy (no lying around the pool), but I felt relaxed and peaceful all day, going from appointment to appointment drinking lemongrass tea or coconut water in between meals. As I didnt use my phone, I also had plenty of time to reflect and be present in exactly what I was doing, with no multitasking involved.

Elle Macpherson at wellness retreat Kamalaya, in Koh Samui, Thailand.

What did you get out of the trip? I felt truly amazing afterwards, with so much energy and vitality. Im longing to go back. Next time Id like to stay for three weeks.Packing essentials?

Loose clothing. I love kaftans from Pippa Holt, which are unique and handcrafted. I also love my slip dresses from Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott, and Herms Oran sandals. I wear bikinis from Melissa Odabash because she knows my body so well and I love her simple, sexy style. I always take WelleCo Super Elixir and WelleCo [Nourishing] Protein Chocolate powder when Im on the road, because I need the systemic support, and our sleep tea, which is great for jet lag. Reading is also a big part of holiday travel for me and I often have a few books on the go, usually nonfiction, which inspire or educate.

Elle Macphersons capsule suitcase for a week-long wellness escape.

Little Joe Woman dress, $375, littlejoewoman.com. Melissa Odabash bikini top, and briefs, $161 each, at matchesfashion.com. Pippa Holt kaftan, $667, at https://www.pippaholt.com. Herms sandals, $980, hermes.com.

Kamalayas seven-night wellness programs starts from $5500 per person, twin share, kamalaya.com.This article originally appeared in the March issue of marie claire.

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Elle Macpherson's takes us on a Thai wellness retreat - Marie Claire

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Feb 15th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

Rebel Wilson is a beloved Australian actress, best known for her work in comedies such as the Pitch Perfect series. Wilson is outspoken and eccentric, providing a breath of fresh air in an industry where everyone often seems very similar.

Wilson has managed to achieve a great deal of success in the movie business in a relatively short timeframe, surprising critics everywhere. Still, there was a time when Wilson wasnt even sure what her future would hold.

As Wilson admitted in a recent interview, she ended up going into acting purely as the result of a serious illness.

Wilson was born in Australia in 1980. Wilson has two sisters and a brother, and as a child, her mother worked as a professional dog handler.

As a child, Wilson excelled in school and showed a great affinity for mathematics. Wilson attended the University of South Wales, graduation in 2009 with dual Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees.

As a young woman, Wilson visited South Africa with Rotary International. At loose ends regarding what she should choose as a career, Wilson spent her time in South Africa working with local people and trying to plot out her future.

Wilson eventually contracted malaria while in South Africa, a tropical disease that can have some truly serious side effects. As she later described, she was advised by area doctors to take medication to prevent getting the disease in the first place but was disturbed by some of the recommended medications harsh side effects.

Unfortunately, Wilson was hit hard by the disease and ended up having to go to the hospital for treatment. While in the hospital and taking drugs to combat malaria, Wilson recalled having extremely vivid hallucinations.

She later stated: Im just lying there in hospital, cant really hear, cant really watch TV and I was just hallucinating on the drugs that I was an actress.

Wilson even had a vision of herself on a stage making an acceptance speech. The hallucinations changed the course of Wilsons life and she decided to go after a career in the entertainment business.

In the early 2000s, she began studying theater, working with local groups in Sydney. After breaking into the comedy scene in her home country of Australia, Wilson moved to Hollywood in 2011, making a name for herself in America with roles in films such as Bridesmaids and What to Expect When Youre Expecting.

Arguably, Wilsons most popular role has been as the raunchy Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect series. In those films, she was able to show off her comedy skills as well as her natural ability to work well with an ensemble cast.

Wilson has most recently appeared in Isnt It Romantic and The Hustle, opposite Anne Hathaway. She also made an appearance in the much-maligned animated musical Cats, playing Jennyanydots.

Up next, Wilson will be appearing a remake of Goldie Hawns iconic eighties movie Private Benjamin and The Social Life with Amanda Seyfried.

Wilson has also been in the headlines recently for her dramatic weight loss. To lose weight, Wilson committed to a regular exercise routine and started eating healthier, cutting out junk food and processed snacks. Its clear that Wilson has a bright future ahead of her, between her new commitment to health and the incredible success that she has achieved in Hollywood.

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How Rebel Wilson Hallucinated Herself Into Her Acting Career - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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Feb 15th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

13 February 2020, 13:34

The panellist opened up about her breastfeeding struggle when baby Rex was a newborn.

Stacey Solomon broke down in tears on today's episode of Loose Woman after she discussed how "cruel" she felt for continuing to breastfeed her baby boy, Rex.

The 30-year-old revealed that her nine-month-old son, Rex lost a considerable amount of weight as a youngster and she felt guilty because of it.

READ MORE: Stacey Solomon reveals failed breastfeeding attempt caused baby Rex to lose weight

Stacey is a mum to Leighton, 11, and Zachary, eight, with a previous partner and welcomed youngest son Rex into the world with boyfriend Joe Swash, 39, last year.

Speaking on her show, ITV's Loose Women, Stacey revealed to Nadia Swahala, Christine Lampard and Jane Moore that as much as she really wanted to breastfeed, she couldn't.

"I really wanted to breastfeed, and I don't know why I wanted to so much, cause I didn't feel any pressure to... It was the pressure I put on myself I struggled with.

"I just really couldn't do it, I really wanted to, I just didn't know if I was being lazy or just couldn't take the pain."

Stacey continued, getting emotional: "I felt like I wasn't doing a good job."

While Jane suggested that Stacey might've felt a pressure to bond with her child through breastfeeding, Stacey said it wasn't the case, as she'd bottle-fed her two eldest sons.

She admitted the reason for her heartache over the inability to breastfeed Rex was as "I'd romanticised it it my head, I think nowadays it's very out there in a positive warm, glowy 'I'm breastfeeding' light.

"I'd imagined this wonderful experience and when I couldn't I got myself in an emotional, hormonal rut and I couldn't let it go."

Following this, Stacey began to cry as she recalled the trouble she had with Rex's weight during the first few months of his life, with Jane highlighting how "skinny" he was as a child.

READ MORE: Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash praised for candid bikini picture showing off post baby body

Stacey said: "He was also quite small, he ended up losing nearly an entire pound.

"He was born at around five pounds and he did get really small so looking back now I feel almost cruel for carrying on trying."

She broke down as she added: "I could've just given him a bottle!"

The Loose Women all comforted the presenter and reassured her that she'd done all she could and that Rex is now a happy, healthy baby.

READ MORE: Are Joe Swash and Stacey Solomon engaged and what's their relationship history?

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Stacey Solomon breaks down on Loose Women as she admits she felt 'cruel' for struggling to breastfeed Rex - Heart

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Feb 13th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

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The Saturdays Frankie Bridge has spoken out on her mental health battle, which made the singer believe her husband would be happier without her.

To promote her new book Open: Why Asking for Help Can Save Your Life, the 31-year-old appeared on Loose Women alongside her man, Wayne.

Here the duo got candid about their marriage and how the What About Us hitmakers depression affected their relationship.

I didnt really know about [Frankies depression] at the beginning, the famous footballer confessed: It was one particular day.

His wife interrupted: There was quite a build-up, but you bought me the wrong yoghurt and it tipped me over the edge.

I know she was in a band and at times she found it hard, the sportsman added. But it was just one day I was like, you need help, so we called a GP.

The panelists pushed the couple on whether or not Frankie feared for her husband when he was helping her get through a difficult time.

She confessed: For Wayne, I often feel, I love him, of course, hes my husband, but I think his life would have been easier and a lot nicer if he met someone that didnt have mental health problems.

It was a massive learning curve for you, you lost a lot of weight around that time.

Stressing his worry, the 39-year-old admitted: I wanted to help, but I never had the answers, she had to sort it out on her own which was hard because you feel youre not wanted.

He went onto say how he saw Frankies psychiatrist, which helped him navigate his own life during the dark period.

We have been together 10 years now, the pop star said: And Id say really only the last few years weve got good at talking to each other.

The mother-of-two recently spoke to Metro about her mental health, where she told them: I was probably at rock bottom for a while but that was the moment which pushed me over the edge.

Wayne was like, This cant carry on, you need help, and he took the reins for me for a bit. I was lucky to have him to do that because I dont know what I would have done.

Loose Women continues weekdays at 12.30 on ITV.

If you've got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page - we'd love to hear from you.

MORE: Kelvin Fletcher and wife Liz head out together and put on a united front after she unfollowed him on Instagram

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Feb 13th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

NEWARK, N.J. Creightons gritty guards made the decisive plays down the stretch to pull away from No. 10 Seton Hall on Wednesday, and the Bluejays reinserted themselves into the Big East title race with their second top-10 road win in 12 days.

Creighton (19-6, 8-4 Big East) had to use its speed and tenacity with its small-ball lineup to counter the size of the first-place Pirates (18-6, 10-2), who essentially have three 7-footers in their rotation.

But all night, the Bluejays sprinted into their offense to create easy looks, they chased down loose balls and they battled enough defensively to slow down the Seton Hall attack when it mattered most. No. 23 Creighton used a 9-0 run to take a 71-66 lead with five minutes remaining, then closed out the 87-82 victory from there.

It means a lot to win a game on the road, especially in this conference, junior Damien Jefferson said on CUs postgame radio show. To win here, playing a top-10 team like that, its really key for us. Weve got to feed off it.

Jefferson, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, played an integral role Wednesday.

He deflected a pass into the backcourt, chased down the loose ball and dove on it to secure possession before passing off his back to a cutting Marcus Zegarowski for a layup. That play capped Creightons momentum-shifting run late and gave the Bluejays a five-point lead.

Jefferson also had a putback layup and another interior bucket (off a pass from Zegarowski) during the final four minutes both field goals keeping Creightons advantage at five.

Creighton guard Ty-Shon Alexander passes against Seton Hall during the first half of Wednesday's game.

Creighton forward Damien Jefferson shoots over Seton Hall guard Jared Rhoden during the first half of the game.

Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski looks for an open teammate during the first half of a game against Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Creighton guard Ty-Shon Alexander drives to the basket past Seton Hall guard Jared Rhoden during the first half.

Creighton guard Ty-Shon Alexander drives to the basket past Seton Hall guard Quincy McKnight during the first half.

Creighton guard Denzel Mahoney drives to the basket past Seton Hall guard Quincy McKnight during the first half.

Seton Hall guard Myles Cale dunks the ball past Creighton forward Christian Bishop during the first half.

Creighton forward Damien Jefferson steals the ball from Seton Hall guard Myles Cale during the first half.

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Creighton men upset No. 10 Seton Hall on the road - Omaha World-Herald

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Feb 13th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

Nearly three decades ago, when I was an overweight teenager, I sometimes ate six pieces of sliced white toast in a row, each one slathered in butter or jam. I remember the spongy texture of the bread as I took it from its plastic bag. No matter how much of this supermarket toast I ate, I hardly felt sated. It was like eating without really eating. Other days, I would buy a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes or a tube of Pringles: sour cream and onion flavour stackable snack chips, which were an exciting novelty at the time, having only arrived in the UK in 1991. Although the carton was big enough to feed a crowd, I could demolish most of it by myself in a sitting. Each chip, with its salty and powdery sour cream coating, sent me back for another one. I loved the way the chips curved like roof tiles would dissolve slightly on my tongue.

After one of these binges because that is what they were I would speak to myself with self-loathing. What is wrong with you? I would say to the tear-stained face in the mirror. I blamed myself for my lack of self-control. But now, all these years later, having mostly lost my taste for sliced bread, sugary cereals and snack chips, I feel I was asking myself the wrong question. It shouldnt have been What is wrong with you? but What is wrong with this food?

Back in the 90s, there was no word to cover all the items I used to binge on. Some of the things I over-ate crisps or chocolate or fast-food burgers could be classified as junk food, but others, such as bread and cereal, were more like household staples. These various foods seemed to have nothing in common except for the fact that I found them very easy to eat a lot of, especially when sad. As I ate my Pringles and my white bread, I felt like a failure for not being able to stop. I had no idea that there would one day be a technical explanation for why I found them so hard to resist. The word is ultra-processed and it refers to foods that tend to be low in essential nutrients, high in sugar, oil and salt and liable to be overconsumed.

Which foods qualify as ultra-processed? Its almost easier to say which are not. I got a cup of coffee the other day at a train station cafe and the only snacks for sale that were not ultra-processed were a banana and a packet of nuts. The other options were: a panini made from ultra-processed bread, flavoured crisps, chocolate bars, long-life muffins and sweet wafer biscuits all ultra-processed.

What characterises ultra-processed foods is that they are so altered that it can be hard to recognise the underlying ingredients. These are concoctions of concoctions, engineered from ingredients that are already highly refined, such as cheap vegetable oils, flours, whey proteins and sugars, which are then whipped up into something more appetising with the help of industrial additives such as emulsifiers.

Ultra-processed foods (or UPF) now account for more than half of all the calories eaten in the UK and US, and other countries are fast catching up. UPFs are now simply part of the flavour of modern life. These foods are convenient, affordable, highly profitable, strongly flavoured, aggressively marketed and on sale in supermarkets everywhere. The foods themselves may be familiar, yet the term ultra-processed is less so. None of the friends I spoke with while writing this piece could recall ever having heard it in daily conversation. But everyone had a pretty good hunch what it meant. One recognised the concept as described by the US food writer Michael Pollan edible foodlike substances.

Some UPFs, such as sliced bread or mass-produced cakes, have been around for many decades, but the percentage of UPFs in the average persons diet has never been anything like as high as it is today. It would be unusual for most of us to get through the day without consuming at least a few ultra-processed items.

You might say that ultra-processed is just a pompous way to describe many of your normal, everyday pleasures. It could be your morning bowl of Cheerios or your evening pot of flavoured yoghurt. Its savoury snacks and sweet baked goods. Its chicken nuggets or vegan hotdogs, as the case may be. Its the doughnut you buy when you are being indulgent, and the premium protein bar you eat at the gym for a quick energy boost. Its the long-life almond milk in your coffee and the Diet Coke you drink in the afternoon. Consumed in isolation and moderation, each of these products may be perfectly wholesome. With their long shelf life, ultra-processed foods are designed to be microbiologically safe. The question is what happens to our bodies when UPFs become as prevalent as they are at the moment.

Evidence now suggests that diets heavy in UPFs can cause overeating and obesity. Consumers may blame themselves for overindulging in these foods, but what if it is in the nature of these products to be overeaten?

In 2014, the Brazilian government took the radical step of advising its citizens to avoid UPFs outright. The country was acting out of a sense of urgency, because the number of young Brazilian adults with obesity had risen so far and so fast, more than doubling between 2002 and 2013 (from 7.5% of the population to 17.5%). These radical new guidelines urged Brazilians to avoid snacking, and to make time for wholesome food in their lives, to eat regular meals in company when possible, to learn how to cook and to teach children to be wary of all forms of food advertising.

The biggest departure in the Brazilian guidelines was to treat food processing as the single most important issue in public health. This new set of rules framed unhealthy food less in terms of the nutrients it contains (fats, carbohydrates etc) and more by the degree to which it is processed (preserved, emulsified, sweetened etc). No government diet guidelines had ever categorised foods this way before. One of the first rules in the Brazilian guidelines was to avoid consumption of ultra-processed products. They condemned at a stroke not just fast foods or sugary snacks, but also many foods which have been reformulated to seem health-giving, from lite margarines to vitamin-fortified breakfast cereals.

From a British perspective where the official NHS Eatwell guide still classifies low-fat margarines and packaged cereals as healthier options it looks extreme to warn consumers off all ultra-processed foods (what, even Heinz tomato soup?). But there is evidence to back up the Brazilian position. Over the past decade, large-scale studies from France, Brazil, the US and Spain have suggested that high consumption of UPFs is associated with higher rates of obesity. When eaten in large amounts (and its hard to eat them any other way) they have also been linked to a whole host of conditions, from depression to asthma to heart disease to gastrointestinal disorders. In 2018, a study from France following more than 100,000 adults found that a 10% increase in the proportion of UPFs in someones diet led to a higher overall cancer risk. Ultra-processed has emerged as the most persuasive new metric for measuring what has gone wrong with modern food.

Why should food processing matter for our health? Processed food is a blurry term and for years, the food industry has exploited these blurred lines as a way to defend its additive-laden products. Unless you grow, forage or catch all your own food, almost everything you consume has been processed to some extent. A pint of milk is pasteurised, a pea may be frozen. Cooking is a process. Fermentation is a process. Artisanal, organic kimchi is a processed food, and so is the finest French goats cheese. No big deal.

But UPFs are different. They are processed in ways that go far beyond cooking or fermentation, and they may also come plastered with health claims. Even a sugary multi-coloured breakfast cereal may state that it is a good source of fibre and made with whole grains. Bettina Elias Siegel, the author of Kid Food: The Challenge of Feeding Children in a Highly Processed World, says that in the US, people tend to categorise food in a binary way. There is junk food and then there is everything else. For Siegel, ultra-processed is a helpful tool for showing new parents that theres a huge difference between a cooked carrot and a bag of industrially produced, carrot-flavoured veggie puffs aimed at toddlers, even if those veggie puffs are cynically marketed as natural.

The concept of UPFs was born in the early years of this millennium when a Brazilian scientist called Carlos Monteiro noticed a paradox. People appeared to be buying less sugar, yet obesity and type 2 diabetes were going up. A team of Brazilian nutrition researchers led by Monteiro, based at the university of Sao Paulo, had been tracking the nations diet since the 80s, asking households to record the foods they bought. One of the biggest trends to jump out of the data was that, while the amount of sugar and oil people were buying was going down, their sugar consumption was vastly increasing, because of all of the ready-to-eat sugary products that were now available, from packaged cakes to chocolate breakfast cereal, that were easy to eat in large quantities without thinking about it.

To Monteiro, the bag of sugar on the kitchen counter is a healthy sign, not because sugar itself has any goodness in it, but because it belongs to a person who cooks. Monteiros data suggested to him that the households who were still buying sugar were also the ones who were still making the old Brazilian dishes such as rice and beans.

Monteiro is a doctor by training, and when you talk to him, he still has the idealistic zeal of someone who wants to prevent human suffering. He had started off in the 70s treating poor people in rural villages, and was startled to see how quickly the problems of under-nutrition were replaced by those of tooth decay and obesity, particularly among children. When Monteiro looked at the foods that had increased the most in the Brazilian diet from cookies and sodas to crackers and savoury snacks what they had in common was that they were all highly processed. Yet he noticed that many of these commonly eaten foods did not even feature in the standard food pyramids of US nutrition guidelines, which show rows of different whole foods according to how much people consume, with rice and wheat at the bottom, then fruits and vegetables, then fish and dairy and so on. These pyramids are based on the assumption that people are still cooking from scratch, as they did in the 50s. It is time to demolish the pyramid, wrote Monteiro in 2011.

Once something has been classified, it can be studied. In the 10 years since Monteiro first announced the concept, numerous peer-reviewed studies on UPFs have been published confirming the links he suspected between these foods and higher rates of disease. By giving a collective name to ultra-processed foods for the first time, Monteiro has gone some way to transforming the entire field of public health nutrition.

As he sees it, there are four basic kinds of food, graded by the degree to which they are processed. Taken together, these four groups form what Monteiro calls the Nova system (meaning a new star). The first category group 1 are the least processed, and includes anything from a bunch of parsley to a carrot, from a steak to a raisin. A pedant will point out that none of these things are strictly unprocessed by the time they are sold: the carrot is washed, the steak is refrigerated, the raisin is dried. To answer these objections, Monteiro renamed this group unprocessed and minimally processed foods.

The second group is called processed culinary ingredients. These include butter and salt, sugar and lard, oil and flour all used in small quantities with group 1 foods to make them more delicious: a pat of butter melting on broccoli, a sprinkling of salt on a piece of fish, a spoonful of sugar in a bowl of strawberries.

Next in the Nova system comes group 3, or processed foods. This category consists of foods that have been preserved, pickled, fermented or salted. Examples would be canned tomatoes and pulses, pickles, traditionally made bread (such as sourdough), smoked fish and cured meats. Monteiro notes that when used sparingly, these processed foods can result in delicious dishes and nutritionally balanced meals.

The final category, group 4, is unlike any of the others. Group 4 foods tend to consist largely of the sugars, oils and starches from group 2, but instead of being used sparingly to make fresh food more delicious, these ingredients are now transformed through colours, emulsifiers, flavourings and other additives to become more palatable. They contain ingredients unfamiliar to domestic kitchens such as soy protein isolate (in cereal bars or shakes with added protein) and mechanically separated meat (turkey hotdogs, sausage rolls).

Group 4 foods differ from other foods not just in substance, but in use. Because they are aggressively promoted and ready-to-eat, these highly profitable items have vast market advantages over the minimally processed foods in group 1. Monteiro and his colleagues have observed from evidence around the world that these group 4 items are liable to replace freshly made regular meals and dishes, with snacking any time, anywhere. For Monteiro, there is no doubt that these ultra-processed foods are implicated in obesity as well as a range of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Not everyone in the world of nutrition is convinced by the Nova system of food classification. Some critics of Monteiro have complained that ultra-processed is just another way to describe foods that are sugary or fatty or salty or low in fibre, or all of these at once. If you look at the UPFs that are consumed in the largest quantities, the majority of them take the form of sweet treats or sugary drinks. The question is whether these foods would still be harmful if the levels of sugar and oil could be reduced.

The first time the nutrition researcher Kevin Hall heard anyone talk about ultra-processed food, he thought it was a nonsense definition. It was 2016 and Hall who studies how people put on weight at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at Bethesda, Maryland was at a conference chatting with a representative from PepsiCo who scornfully mentioned the new Brazilian set of food guidelines and specifically the directive to avoid ultra-processed foods. Hall agreed that this was a silly rule because, as far as he was concerned, obesity had nothing to do with food processing.

Anyone can see that some foods are processed to a higher degree than others an Oreo is not the same as an orange but Hall knew of no scientific proof that said the degree of processed food in a persons diet could cause them to gain weight. Hall is a physicist by training and he is a self-confessed reductionist. He likes to take things apart and see how they work. He is therefore attracted to the idea that food is nothing more than the sum of its nutrient parts: fats plus carbs plus protein and fibre, and so on. The whole notion of ultra-processed foods annoyed him because it seemed too fuzzy.

When Hall started to read through the scientific literature on ultra-processed foods, he noticed that all of the damning evidence against them took the form of correlation rather than absolute proof. Like most studies on the harmful effects of particular foods, these studies fell under the umbrella of epidemiology: the study of patterns of health across populations. Hall and he is not alone here finds such studies less than convincing. Correlation is not causation, as the saying goes.

Just because people who eat a lot of UPFs are more likely to be obese or suffer from cancer does not mean that obesity and cancer are caused by UPFs, per se. Typically, its people in lower economic brackets who eat a lot of these foods, Hall said. He thought UPFs were being wrongly blamed for the poor health outcomes of living in poverty.

At the end of 2018, Hall and his colleagues became the first scientists to test in randomised controlled conditions whether diets high in ultra-processed foods could actually cause overeating and weight gain.

For four weeks, 10 men and 10 women agreed to be confined to a clinic under Halls care and agreed to eat only what they were given, wearing loose clothes so that they would not notice so much if their weight changed. This might sound like a small study, but carefully controlled trials like this are considered the gold standard for science, and are especially rare in the field of nutrition because of the difficulty and expense of persuading humans to live and eat in laboratory conditions. Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, has praised Halls study published in Cell Metabolism for being as good a clinical trial as you can get.

For two weeks, Halls participants ate mostly ultra-processed meals such as turkey sandwiches with crisps, and for another two weeks they ate mostly unprocessed food such as spinach omelette with sweet potato hash. The researchers worked hard to design both sets of meals to be tasty and familiar to all participants. Day one on the ultra-processed diet included a breakfast of Cheerios with whole milk and a blueberry muffin, a lunch of canned beef ravioli followed by cookies and a pre-cooked TV dinner of steak and mashed potatoes with canned corn and low-fat chocolate milk. Day one on the unprocessed diet started with a breakfast of Greek yoghurt with walnuts, strawberries and bananas, a lunch of spinach, chicken and bulgur salad with grapes to follow, and dinner of roast beef, rice pilaf and vegetables, with peeled oranges to finish. The subjects were told to eat as much or as little as they liked.

Hall set up the study to match the two diets as closely as possible for calories, sugar, protein, fibre and fat. This wasnt easy, because most ultra-processed foods are low in fibre and protein and higher in sugar. To compensate for the lack of fibre, the participants were given diet lemonade laced with soluble fibre to go with their meals during the two weeks on the ultra-processed diet.

It turned out that, during the weeks of the ultra-processed diet, the volunteers ate an extra 500 calories a day, equivalent to a whole quarter pounder with cheese. Blood tests showed that the hormones in the body responsible for hunger remained elevated on the ultra-processed diet compared to the unprocessed diet, which confirms the feeling I used to have that however much I ate, these foods didnt sate my hunger.

Halls study provided evidence that an ultra-processed diet with its soft textures and strong flavours really does cause over-eating and weight gain, regardless of the sugar content. Over just two weeks, the subjects gained an average of 1kg. This is a far more dramatic result than you would expect to see over such a short space of time (especially since the volunteers rated both types of food as equally pleasant).

After Halls study was published in July 2019, it was impossible to dismiss Monteiros proposition that the rise of UPFs increases the risk of obesity. Monteiro told me that as a result of Halls study, he and his colleagues in Brazil found they were suddenly being taken seriously.

Now that we have evidence of a link between diets high in UPFs and obesity, it seems clear that a healthy diet should be based on fresh, home-cooked food. To help champion home cooking among Brazilians, Monteiro recruited the cookery writer Rita Lobo, whose website Panelinha (network) is the most popular food site in Brazil, with 3m hits a month. Lobo said that when she tells people about UPFs, the first reaction is panic and anger. They say: Oh my God! Im not going to be able to eat my yoghurt or my cereal bar! What am I going to eat? After a while, however, she says that the concept of ultra-processed foods is almost a relief to people, because it liberates them from the polarities and restriction created by fad diets or clean eating. People are thrilled, Lobo says, when they realise they can have desserts again, as long as they are freshly made.

But modern patterns of work do not make it easy to find the time to cook every day. For households who have learned to rely on ultra-processed convenience foods, returning to home cooking can seem daunting and expensive. Halls researchers in Maryland spent 40% more money purchasing the food for the unprocessed diet. (However, I noticed that the menu included large prime cuts of meat or fish every day; it would be interesting to see how the cost would have compared with a larger number of vegetarian meals or cheaper cuts of meat.)

In Brazil, cooking from scratch still tends to be cheaper than eating ultra-processed food, Lobo says. UPFs are a relative novelty in Brazil and memories of a firm tradition of home cooking have not died yet here. In Brazil, it doesnt matter if you are rich or poor, you grew up eating rice and beans. The problem for you [in the UK], Lobo remarks, is that you dont know what your rice and beans is.

In Britain and the US, our relationship with ultra-processed food is so extensive and goes back so many decades that these products have become our soul food, a beloved repertoire of dishes. Its what our mothers fed us. If you want to bond with someone who was a child in 1970s Britain, mention that you have childhood memories of being given Findus Crispy Pancakes and spaghetti hoops followed by Angel Delight for tea. I have noticed that Australian friends have similar conversations about the childhood joys of Tim Tams chocolate biscuits. In the curious coding of the British class system, a taste for industrial branded foods is a way to reassure others that you are OK. What kind of snob would disparage a Creme Egg or fail to recognise the joy of licking cheesy Wotsit dust from your fingers?

I am as much of a sucker for this branded food nostalgia as anyone. There is a part of my brain the part that is still an eight-year-old at a birthday party that will always feel that Iced Gems (ultra-processed cookies topped with ultra-processed frosting) are pure magic. But Ive started to feel a creeping unease that our ardent affection for these foods has been mostly manufactured by the food corporations who profit from selling them. For the thousands of people trapped in binge-eating disorder as I once was UPFs are false friends.

The multinational food industry has a vested interest in rubbishing Monteiros ideas about how UPFs are detrimental to our health. And much of the most vociferous criticism of his Nova system has come from sources close to the industry. A 2018 paper co-authored by Melissa Mialon, a French food engineer and public health researcher, identified 32 materials online criticising Nova, most of which were not peer-reviewed. The paper showed that, out of 38 writers critical of Nova, 33 had links to the ultra-processed food industry.

For many in the developing world, the prevalence of ultra-processed foods is making it hard for those on a limited budget to feed their children a wholesome diet. Victor Aguayo, chief of nutrition at Unicef, tells me over the phone that, as ultra-processed foods become cheaper and other foods, such as vegetables and fish, become more expensive, the UPFs are taking up a bigger volume of childrens diets. Whats more, the pleasurable textures and aggressive marketing of these foods makes them appealing and aspirational both to children and parents, says Aguayo.

Soon after the arrival in Nepal of brightly coloured packages that, as Aguayo describes them, look like food for children: the cookies, the savoury snacks, the cereals, aid workers started to see an epidemic of both overweight and micronutrient deficiency including anaemia among Nepalese children under the age of five.

Aguayo says there is an urgent need to change the food environment to make the healthy options the easy, affordable and available ones. Ecuador, Uruguay and Peru have followed Brazils example in urging their citizens to steer clear of ultra-processed foods. Uruguays dietary guidelines issued in 2016 tells Uruguayans to base your diet on natural foods, and avoid the regular consumption of ultra-processed products. How easy this will be to do is another matter.

In Australia, Canada or the UK, to be told to avoid ultra-processed food as the Brazilian guidelines do would mean rejecting half or more of what is for sale as food, including many basic staples that people depend on, such as bread. The vast majority of supermarket loaves count as ultra-processed, regardless of how much they boast of being multiseed, malted or glowing with ancient grains.

Earlier this year, Monteiro and his colleagues published a paper titled Ultra-processed foods: what they are and how to identify them, offering some rules of thumb. The paper explains that the practical way to identify if a product is ultra-processed is to check to see if its list of ingredients contains at least one food substance never or rarely used in kitchens, or classes of additives whose function is to make the final product palatable or more appealing (cosmetic additives). Tell-tale ingredients include invert sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose, lactose, soluble or insoluble fibre, hydrogenated or interesterified oil. Or it may contain additives such as flavour enhancers, colours, emulsifiers, emulsifying salts, sweeteners, thickeners and anti-foaming, bulking, carbonating, foaming, gelling and glazing agents.

But not everyone has time to search every label for the presence of glazing agents. A website called Open Food Facts, run by mostly French volunteers, has started the herculean labour of creating an open database of packaged foods around the world and listing where they fit into on the Nova system. Froot Loops: Nova 4. Unsalted butter: Nova 2. Sardines in olive oil: Nova 3. Vanilla Alpro yoghurt: Nova 4. Stphane Gigandet, who runs the site, says that he started analysing food by Nova a year ago and it is not an easy task.

For most modern eaters, avoiding all ultra-processed foods is unsettling and unrealistic, particularly if you are on a low income or vegan or frail or disabled, or someone who really loves the occasional cheese-and-ham toastie made from sliced white bread. In his early papers, Monteiro wrote of reducing ultra-processed items as a proportion of the total diet rather than cutting them out altogether. Likewise, the French Ministry of Health has announced that it wants to reduce consumption of Nova 4 products by 20% over the next three years.

We still dont really know what it is about ultra-processed food that generates weight gain. The rate of chewing may be a factor. In Halls study, during the weeks on the ultra-processed diet people ate their meals faster, maybe because the foods tended to be softer and easier to chew. On the unprocessed diet, a hormone called PYY, which reduces appetite, was elevated, suggesting that homemade food keeps us fuller for longer. The effect of additives such as artificial sweeteners on the gut microbiome is another theory. Later this year, new research from physicist Albert-Lszl Barabsi will reveal more about the way that ultra-processing actually alters food at a molecular level.

In a two-part blog on ultra-processed foods in 2018 (Rise of the Ultra Foods) Anthony Warner, a former food industry development chef who tweets and campaigns as Angry Chef, argued that Nova was stoking fear and guilt about food and adding to the stress of already difficult lives by making people feel judged for their food choices. But having read Kevin Halls study, he wrote an article in May 2019 admitting: I was wrong about ultra-processed food it really is making you fat. Warner said the study convinced him that eating rate, texture and palatability of UPFs lead to overeating, and ended with a call for more research.

Hall tells me that he is in the process of constructing another study on ultra-processed food and obesity. This time, the people on the ultra-processed diet would also be eating larger amounts of unprocessed foods, such as crunchy vegetables with low energy density, while still getting more than 80% of their calories from ultra-processed food equivalent to adding a side salad or a portion of broccoli to your dinner of frozen pizza. This is much closer to how most families actually eat.

Even if scientists do succeed in pinning down the mechanism or mechanisms by which ultra-processed foods make us gain weight, its not clear what policy-makers should do about UPFs, except for giving people the support and resources they need to cook more fresh meals at home. To follow the Brazilian advice entails a total rethink of the food system.

For as long as we believed that single nutrients were the main cause of poor diets, industrial foods could be endlessly tweaked to fit with the theory of the day. When fat was seen as the devil, the food industry gave us a panoply of low-fat products. The result of the sugar taxes around the world has been a raft of new artificially sweetened drinks. But if you accept the argument that processing is itself part of the problem, all of this tweaking and reformulation becomes so much meaningless window-dressing.

An ultra-processed food can be reformulated in countless ways, but the one thing it cant be transformed into is an unprocessed food. Hall remains hopeful that there may turn out to be some way to adjust the manufacture of ultra-processed foods to make them less harmful to health. A huge number of people on low incomes, he notes, are relying on these relatively inexpensive tasty things for daily sustenance. But he is keenly aware that the problems of nutrition cannot be cured by ever more sophisticated processing. How do you take an Oreo and make it non-ultra-processed? he asks. You cant!

This article was amended on 13 February 2020. An earlier version referred to American friends reminiscing about Tim Tams; it should have said Australian. It also described Melissa Mialon as a Brazilian nutritionist; she is a French food engineer.

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, and sign up to the long read weekly email here.

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Feb 13th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

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Stacey Solomon in tears as she opened up about struggling to breastfeed son Rex.

The Loose Women star welcomed the little one with Joe Swash last year, and has been praised for being honest about motherhood since giving birth.

And, speaking about seeing her son lose weight, she admitted she felt cruel that she continued trying to breastfeed.

When I couldnt, I got myself in an emotional, hormonal rut of not being able to let it go, the 30-year-old told her fellow ITV panelists, while getting visibly emotional.

I didnt want to let it go. He was also really quite small.

He ended up losing nearly a whole pound, he did get really small. Looking back now, I almost feel cruel that I carried on trying.

You do feel like, I could have just given him a bottle.

Stacey admitted she put pressure on herself throughout, as she romanticised breastfeeding throughout her pregnancy but couldnt let it go when she struggled.

I just couldnt do it. I really wanted to do it and I just felt like I didnt know if I was being lazy or I couldnt take the pain.

You just start thinking, This is what my body is made to do, why arent I just pushing through and doing it?

Stacey previously shared a candid post on Instagram, explaining that she felt like a failure when she was forced to stop breastfeeding.

And the reality star admitted she felt jealous when seeing other women having the experience she was desperate for.

I really felt like I failed at breastfeeding and even now I get upset when I see other women breastfeeding (even though Im genuinely so happy for them), she shared on the gram.

I get a knot in my stomach looking back to how much weight he lost and how sad I felt the day my milk dried up.

I wish I knew then what Id learned in this episode, I really wish Id have done more research and not just assumed I could breastfeed and I would automatically know what I was doing.

Although I do believe we are sold a picture that its so natural and easy and its what were made to do which isnt helpful.

She added: I would like to say there are so many different factors and scenarios that can make breastfeeding much more difficult and sometimes impossible for mothers.

If you've got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page - we'd love to hear from you.

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Feb 13th, 2020 | Filed under Loss Weight

When it was put to him that the unbeaten and bang in-form Stormers are salivating at the prospect of coming to Ellis Park this Saturday Lions lock Marvin Orie asked: Does that mean they are excited? Then exciting for us is an understatement.

It has been a tough couple of days for us. Our coaches have been working really hard. It is up to the players to bring the excitement come three oclock on Saturday.

Orie who played some of his youth rugby in the Cape before transferring to the Blue Bulls and then the Golden Lions is as versed at getting under the oppositions skin as he is throwing his weight around in the tight loose.

The lock is perhaps at his best riling South African opposition but stressed the point that his motivation before each game remains the same.

In South African derbies there is something different to playing the overseas teams. Im not saying there isnt motivation playing overseas teams but this is a local derby.

"The Stormers have been playing well and were on an upward curve so it is exciting.

On that score the reputations in the opposing team matters little to him.

I think as a rugby player when you start measure yourself and motivate yourself depending who you are playing against you are venturing into dangerous territory he said when asked about the prospect of playing against a Galactico like Pieter-Steph du Toit.

That doesnt really change for me.

Although the Lions eked out a win against the Reds last weekend they have a few areas that require urgent revision.

The scrum is the most pressing but they also lost the odd line-out albeit in very greasy conditions.

We strive for 100 percent in the line-outs every week. Will we get? I dont think so. We strive for I said Orie.

Fullback Andries Coetzee contends much of last weeks splutter against the Reds was due to the weather throwing them a curveball.

We are hoping for a sunny day on Saturday he said optimistically.

That way the Lions may be able to play a quick tempo game and increase their chances of becoming the first team to record points against the Stormers this season.

The Hurricanes and the Bulls both failed.

We believe so yes he said when asked if they will register points.

We did discuss it. It is a massive achievement. Not a lot of teams can do that in Super Rugby. Well try and put them under pressure.

Coetzee dead-batted the idea of him attempting a sneaky 50m drop goal in the opening minutes.

No not this Saturday.

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