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To fight fatty liver, avoid sugary foods and drinks: study

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By THE NEW YORK TIMES
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Overweight children with fatty liver disease sharply reduced the amount of fat and inflammation in their livers by cutting soft drinks, fruit juices and foods with added sugars from their diets, a rigorous new study found.

The new research, published in JAMA on January 22, suggests that limiting sugary foods and drinks may be a promising lifestyle strategy to help alleviate a devastating condition linked to the obesity crisis that is spreading rapidly in adults and children.

An estimated 80 million to 100 million Americans have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which causes the liver to swell with dangerous levels of fat. Roughly seven million of those are adolescents and teenagers.

Fatty liver disease typically has few symptoms, and many people who have it don’t know it.

But fatty liver disease raises the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can progress to a more severe condition called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, which is a leading cause of liver cancer, cirrhosis and liver transplants.

HEALTHY DIET AND EXERCISE

Current guidelines call for children who have fatty liver disease to exercise and eat a healthy diet though they do not specify particular foods.

But some experts already counsel their fatty liver patients to avoid added sugars, which manufacturers commonly add to heavily processed foods and which are different than the sugars that occur naturally in foods like fruit.

Added sugars are typically high in fructose, which can ramp up the production of new fat when it is metabolised by the liver.

“The current standard of care is very similar to what we would recommend for any child that is overweight,” said Dr. Miriam Vos, an author of the new study and an assistant professor of paediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine.

“Unfortunately, that general recommendation hasn’t improved the disease as much as we would like, and there are no large randomised trials looking at which diet is the best one for fatty liver.”

For the new study, Vos and her colleagues recruited 40 children, about 13 years old on average, who had fatty liver disease.

Most were Hispanic, a group that has a particularly high prevalence of fatty liver disease, with an average of between 21% and 25% liver fat, more than four times the normal limit.

The researchers then randomly assigned the children to one of two diet groups for eight weeks.

One group limited added sugars, and the second group of children, which served as the control, remained on their usual diets. They were not given any special instructions to avoid or lower sugar.

To make the diet easier and more practical for the children in the limited-sugar group to follow, the researchers asked their families to follow it as well.

They tailored the diet to the needs of each household by examining the foods they consumed in a typical week and then swapping in lower sugar alternatives.

If a family routinely ate yogurts, sauces, salad dressings and breads that contained added sugar, for example, then the researchers provided them with versions of those foods that did not have sugar added to them.

Fruit juices, soft drinks and other sweet drinks were forbidden. They were replaced with unsweetened iced teas, milk, water and other non-sugary beverages.

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Dietitians prepared and delivered meals to the families twice a week, which helped them stick to their programs.

Ultimately, the low-sugar diet was not terribly restrictive. It was not low-carb, nor was it limited in calories. The children could eat fruit, starches and pasta, for example, and they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

But the goal was to get their added sugar intake to less than 3% of their daily calories — less than the 5% to 10% limit for adults and children recommended by the World Health Organization.

After eight weeks, the low-sugar group had gotten their added sugar intake down to just 1% of their daily calories, compared to 9% in the control group. They also had a remarkable change in their liver health.

They had a 31% reduction in liver fat, on average, compared to no change in the control group. They also had a 40% drop in their levels of alanine aminotransferase, or ALT, a liver enzyme that rises when liver cells are damaged or inflamed.

“As a practicing hepatologist, I see children weekly with fatty liver, and I would love to see this kind of improvement in my patients,” said Vos. “The exciting part was not only did the fat go down, but their liver enzymes also improved. That suggests that they also got a reduction in inflammation.”
The new study was funded in part by the Nutrition Science Initiative, a non-profit research group that was co-founded by the science and health journalist Gary Taubes, a proponent of low-carb diets. The National Institutes of Health, the University of California, San Diego, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University also provided funding.

Dr. Joel E. Lavine, an expert who was not involved in the study, said it was cleverly done and demonstrated “some important points about what a major constituent of diet contributes to this problem in terms of liver fat and inflammation and cell injury.”

He said the ubiquity of unhealthy foods makes such a diet difficult to follow, but that as a general rule doctors should advise patients and their families to check food labels for added sugars and to avoid or eliminate juices.

“The best diet, to make it very simple, is to shop the outside aisles in supermarkets and stay away from the middle aisles containing processed foods that come in boxes, cans and packages,” said Lavine.

The members of the low-sugar group lost about three pounds during the study, which may have contributed to their improvements in liver health. But Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, an author of the study, said it was unlikely to account for the large changes.

“The children on the low sugar diet did lose a few pounds on average, but that amount of weight loss has never been associated with this degree of improvement,” said Schwimmer, a professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and the director of the Fatty Liver Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. He and his co-authors are doing follow-up analyses to find out more about what accounted for the liver changes.

“This is a step, it’s not the final word,” Schwimmer said. “But based on this, we would envision studies that look at whether this therapy can actually treat the disease well enough to prevent cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease and liver cancer.”



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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