Hydrogel Injected Into Fat Stores Fights Obesity From Within

Next-generation therapies that fight obesity could come in many forms, but one example from Nanyang Technological University that uses a unique combination of light and metabolic function to break down fat has some unique advantages.

The team’s solution consists of a hydrogel that can be injected into fat deposits and subjected to near-infrared light, with obese mice showing up to a 54-percent fat reduction following treatment.

The function of this new technology hinges on a protein called TRPV1, which plays an important role in our metabolism. This protein can trigger the conversion of white fat, the type that stores excess calories in beer bellies and love handles, into brown fat.

This is the type of fat that the body readily burns for energy and warmth, and as such a lot of anti-obesity research focuses on therapies that can initiate this conversion.


TRPV1 activity also promotes the breaking down of fat droplets into fatty acids that can be used by the converted brown fat to burn calories, or be broken down in the bloodstream through a process called lipolysis. Further, the protein stimulates the secretion of a hormone that improves metabolism of glucose and lipids in the liver and muscles, while also improving insulin sensitivity.

Setting out to develop a therapy that targets TRPV1, the researchers created a hydrogel containing copper sulphide nanoparticles that activates the protein in response to light, and a drug approved by the FDA that can stimulate browning of fat tissues.

A biocompatible polymer was also added to keep the hydrogel in a gel-like state after injection, slowly releasing its contents over several days. Obese mice with hallmarks of metabolic disease had the hydrogel injected into their subcutaneous fat, with near-infrared light then shone onto the site of the injection for five minutes.

This took place each day for three days, followed by four days of rest, for a two-week period, leading to a 5.5-percent reduction in the animals’ body weight, compared to a 9.5-percent increase seen among a control group.  The treated mice also showed a 40-percent reduction in subcutaneous fat, a 54-percent drop in visceral fat, a 54-percent reduction in cholesterol and 65-percent drop in insulin resistance.

“Through lab experiments, we found that this approach not only resulted in 40 to 54 per cent fat reduction in obese mice, but also significantly improved their metabolism, which is key to reducing the risk of metabolic conditions such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes,” said study author Chen Peng.

“Though this method makes use of heat converted from near infrared light to burn subcutaneous fat, we found no thermal injury to the skin.” The scientists still have much to do to convert these promising results into therapies to tackle obesity and metabolic dysfunction in humans.

However, the early signs indicate that it could come to fill a gap in existing treatments for these conditions that carry a risk of side effects or are prohibitively expensive. “All FDA-approved medications for obesity indirectly act on the brain to suppress appetite or on the digestive system to reduce fat absorption,” said Peng.

Most of them have been withdrawn from the market due to their serious side effects. Procedures performed in clinics to remove fat in targeted areas have shown to be effective, but they come with risks and high cost, and do not improve body metabolism. In contrast, our therapeutic approach focuses on remodeling white fat tissue, which is the root of the evil.”

Source: Hydrogel injected into fat stores fights obesity from within

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Diet Culture: Will We Ever Stop Obsessing About Our Weight?

It’s a secret shame that countless women feel, but only rarely admit to. “Am I betraying my feminist self by believing I don’t look good in clothes until I lose weight?” a girlfriend texted me a few weeks ago, after agonizing about the fact that she is now a few kilos heavier than she usually is. “I feel like shit about this. I would die if I had a girl and she said that to me.”I feel the same. My friend only told me this (I’m fairly certain) because I’d previously confided in her my own squirmy thoughts about my weight. Like the shame I feel about having wasted years tallying how much dessert I’ll let myself have or how I feel about myself according to how tight my jeans’ waistband is on any given day.

How is this possible, I’ve long wondered, when I’m intelligent enough to know that my culture has brainwashed me into wanting to look thin? And when I know that spending that time on literally anything else would enrich my life, instead of mentally strangling it?

“It’s super common … and a huge part of the difficulty that some people can have psychologically because they feel it’s mutually exclusive,” says Melbourne-based clinical psychologist Stephanie Tan-Kristanto, who has helped many people work through these feelings. “[They think] ‘I must be really terrible, or a bad person because I’m having these thoughts, and I shouldn’t be having these thoughts because I’m too intelligent to be worrying about body image issues’.”

It is an under-acknowledged water-dripping discomfort that many women – and to a lesser extent, men – experience. Because while the destructive nature of eating disorders has long been studied, the embarrassment and shame that come from an unshakeable desire to have a smaller body – when it isn’t accompanied by disordered eating, obsessive exercising, an inability to focus on vocational studies or career, or other signs of a clinical disorder – has not.

If anything, these feelings are getting harder to battle, says Tan-Kristanto, as an increasing amount of celebrities are giving us the expectation that 50 or 60-year-olds can still look, respectively, 30 and 40.And the impact can be significant, and lifelong.

“I think it’s really bad for one’s self-esteem because I’m constantly saying to myself, ‘I’m not good enough, my body’s not good enough, my legs are too big, my stomach’s too flabby’,” says one friend of mine, a 47-year-old entrepreneur and mother of two who has been fighting these feelings for the last 35 years (since she was 12 and her parents told her she was “chubby”). Though she’s long been a healthy weight, and enjoys a wide variety of activities including surfing and dancing, she says: “I can see the amount of time I’ve wasted in my life dieting, and thinking about food so much and counting calories.”

They’re feelings Tan-Kristanto hears a lot from patients, particularly those who present with depression and anxiety. “The shame is a feeling that you are defective,” she says. But there’s a reason so many of us have these feelings: evolution.

“Our brains are hard-wired to be Velcro for negatives and Teflon for positives, so we’re naturally our own biggest critics, regardless of how intelligent or educated we are in many ways,” says Tan-Kristanto, a director of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association. “Our survival and ability to continue living and thriving as a species requires us to be more aware of the dangers in our life. So we need to look for the threats in our life to be able to survive and reproduce.”

In “caveman days” the risk was a sabre-tooth tiger. In modern times, it’s anything that can threaten our ability to fit in, get our next job and find a great partner.

“And all of those things are absolutely related to our weight, and humans being a social species, you know our survival and our thriving is in many ways related to how well we fit in cultures. Obviously the expectations of how we look or what we weigh varies across different cultures and different time periods. But it’s still a universal thing that our appearance and our weight is associated with society accepting us, and fitting into cultures.”

I’d always assumed this is something I’d inevitably age out of, especially once I hit my 60s or 70s.Turns out, not necessarily. “She was in her 80s,” says one woman I know, of a woman she knew who was in debilitating pain. It had become so bad that this elderly woman could barely walk. There was a remedy. A particular medication that would alleviate her pain and give her back the use of her legs. No dice. “It came with a possible two-kilo weight gain,” says the woman I know, explaining why the woman in her 80s rejected the treatment, citing her appearance.

Intense fear of gaining weight is just one indication, says Tan-Kristanto, that a person has moved away from a “somewhat helpful” focus on being healthy to “mal adaptive” behaviours that require psychological intervention. Others include: extreme dissatisfaction with body image, “really low self-esteem”, feeling depressed as a result of appearance, avoiding social situations that involve food, repetitive dieting, skipping meals or fasting and exercising even when injured.

As for the rest of us? We need to do our best to drop our shame. “You can be really intelligent and educated, and understanding of the pressures that society puts on you, and you can still struggle sometimes with body image,” says Tan-Kristanto. Accepting this, she says, frees us up to focus on other parts of our life.

“It helps us to be a little more understanding and compassionate, so we’re not fighting things as much, and not being as stuck or fused with those thoughts. It helps us to look at the bigger picture of things.” So does fighting the stigma of our feelings, by sharing them with friends. “I wouldn’t underestimate the value of [having a friend] say, ‘Thank god, it’s not just me’.”

Samantha Selinger-Morris

By:Samantha Selinger-Morris

Source: Diet culture: Will we ever stop obsessing about our weight?

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Can Substituting Sugar With Stevia Benefit Weight Loss?

https://i0.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/signs-of-weight-loss-te-main-200727_98506497de17b6072ca7c8c987525d54.jpg?resize=840%2C420&ssl=1

The bottom line is that the only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your body burns for energy. There are many ways to accomplish this, and targeting added sugars and replacing them with stevia is an easy and tasty fix.

Research has shown that subjects given stevia-containing foods or beverages consumed fewer calories throughout the day. (2,3)

The Truth About Added Sugars

It seems like everything we read talks about avoiding carbs and sugar.In the U.S., the average intake of added sugars reaches up to 270 calories or more than 13 percent of calories per day based on an average 2000 calorie diet.

Not surprisingly, the largest source of added sugars in the typical diet is beverages, including soft drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened coffee and tea, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and flavored waters. They account for almost half (47%) of all added sugars consumed by the U.S. population.

The other major source of added sugars is snacks and sweets.(1) Most people don’t realize how much sugar they consume from other sources like marinades, sauces, salad dressings, yogurt, crackers and other items that don’t “seem sweet.”

The 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting added sugars to less than 10% of total calories or about 50 grams per day based on 2000 calories.

If your body needs fewer calories based on size, age, and activity level, the gram limits are even lower.

To take it a step further, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 24g grams per day (6 teaspoons) for women and 36 grams per day (9 teaspoons) for men.

It’s obviously an area of concern in our standard American diet as the term “added sugars” appeared 138 times in the dietary guidelines report!

Knowing Your Limit for Added Sugars

Simply put, consumption of added sugars can make it difficult for people desiring to lose weight to meet their nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits.

Whenever anyone restricts total calories, everything eaten needs to contain more nutrients to make sure you get what you need for proper fueling while limiting total calories. One of the simplest strategies is to limit added sugars.

Why? Because they are more often found in foods that do not provide quality vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that we look for to help prevent lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancers.

That’s where products like stevia fit in.

Can Stevia Help with Weight Loss?

Since stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener with a taste 50-350 times sweeter than sugar, a little goes a long way. By substituting stevia for sugar in your daily routine, there are many ways to cut total calories and sugar grams.

  1. Using stevia to sweeten your coffee or tea (hot or iced), saves 16 calories per teaspoon over sugar. A few cups per day with a few teaspoons each can really add up quickly. Each stevia packet is formulated to equal the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar. Take some with you to your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant and add your own.
  2. Instead of eating pre-sweetened Greek yogurt with up to 20 grams of sugar, start with the plain variety and add your own stevia, vanilla extract, cinnamon and fruit.
  3. Swap stevia for sugar, honey or maple syrup in your oatmeal, homemade salad dressings, baked goods and other recipes that call for sugar. Even subbing in ½ the amount in a recipe can make a big difference.

We would love to hear your sugar swap success stories. How do you enjoy Pyure Organic Stevia?

References:

  1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015- 2018, 8th edition, Added Sugars page 54: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf
  2. Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, Coulon S, Cefalu WT, Geiselman P, Williamson DA. Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite 2010;55:37–43.
  3. Tey SL, Salleh NB, Henry J, Forde CG. Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, stevia- and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intake. Int J Obes (Lond) 2017;41:450–7.

Source: Can Substituting Sugar with Stevia Benefit Weight Loss?

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Is stevia dangerous for our health? Can stevia affect fertility levels? If stevia is safe, what amount is safe for us to eat? What other sweeteners are safe to eat? What sweeteners does Dr Greger recommend? Are there any studies on the safety of stevia? Keep listening as Dr Michael Greger answers these questions…….
This is for educational purposes only and no copyright infringement is intended. Videos; Dr Greger’s Q & A https://www.facebook.com/pg/Nutrition… Stevia vids http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search… Erythritol http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eryth… Studies; Gut bacteria and Stevia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8… World Health Evaluation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Effects of stevia on health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Stevia and Fertility https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2… Dr Greger’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/Nutritio…
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What Parents Need To Know About Eating Disorders In The Time Of Covid-19

In July of 2020, a new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) confirmed what many already knew: Covid-19 has contributed to a mental and behavioral health crisis. With one in four parents reporting worsening mental health, and one in seven reporting an increase in behavioral challenges for their children, this is not an isolated problem.

Families everywhere are struggling right now.

But while the study focused on families with young children, in particular, additional research has pointed to the vulnerabilities adolescents are facing right now. To include an increase in post-traumatic stress, depressive and anxiety disorders.

All of which can also be associated with an increase in eating disorder behaviors.  

The Mental Health Impact on Adolescents

Hina J. Talib, MD, is a board-certified adolescent medicine specialist known for her popular Instagram page, TeenHealthDoc. She says that one of the things she has noticed since the pandemic began is teenagers experiencing a flare in previously identified mental health conditions as well as the presentation of new mental health conditions.

“In teen health, we are calling this the second-wave of the Covid-19 crisis, and it has already arrived,” Talib recently told Forbes.

She said there are a variety of circumstances contributing to this, to include the loneliness and isolation teenagers are reporting as a result of physical distancing and stay-at-home measures.

“During this time of back-to-school, anticipatory anxiety is running high for students, teachers and families. Teens, especially pre-teens, absorb this stress.”

The Risks Teenagers Face

While we don’t yet have any data connecting an increase in eating disorders to Covid-19, experts believe there is reason to be concerned.

“Eating disorders can be triggered by an attempt to gain control,” Anna M. Lutz, MPH, RD, LDN, explained. Lutz is a certified eating disorder registered dietician who co-owns a private practice in Raleigh, NC.

“Right now, all of us, but especially children, have very little control in what we can do,” Lutz said. “Sports seasons, academics as we know them, spring break trips, summer camps and important time with friends have all been canceled—all things that are very important in the lives of teens.”

She said that focusing on weight, exercise and what one allows themselves to eat can be a way of gaining control, particularly in situations where an individual may otherwise feel out of control.

As is the case for so many in the face of our current pandemic.

“Also, there has been a lot of media focus on the potential for weight gain during the Covid–19 pandemic,” Lutz explained. “This message has been directed towards children and can trigger a teen being over-controlled or restrictive with their food.”

While unhealthy, Lutz said that eating disorder behaviors can be coping tools in times of trauma and stress.

“Many people with eating disorders have a history of trauma and the current pandemic situation can trigger this trauma. Isolation, food insecurity (real or perceived), increased time with a family member who may be abusive, grief for what is being lost/missed, and fear about getting sick or your family not having enough money can all trigger an increase in eating disorder symptoms.”

Monitoring Your Teen

All families should be aware of the increased potential for mental health struggles right now, keeping an eye on their young children and teens especially. But for parents concerned about potential eating disorder behavior, Lutz said the following can be signs to look out for:

·     Eating in secret

·     Suddenly eating differently from the rest of the family

·     Becoming extremely focused on exercise

·     Refusing to take time off exercising, even when injured or sick

·     Leaving large amounts of food uneaten

·     Self-isolating

·     Losing weight.

“These are all reasons to be concerned,” Lutz explained. “Children are supposed to be gaining weight and weight loss in children and teens needs to be further assessed.”

Talib said some things your child may be communicating can be indications of a problem as well.

You might hear a teen (or, as Talib thinks of it, the eating disorder itself) say things like:

·     “I am so fat.”

·     “If I gain weight I will be disgusting.”

·     ”My stomach is huge.”

·     “I will do an extra 200 crunches tonight.”

·     “I can say no to unhealthy food even though you can’t.”

All of these should be red flags to parents right now, and anytime really.

Addressing Concerning Behaviors

If you are worried your teenager may be exhibiting eating disorder behaviors, Lutz suggested talking to them first.

“Outside of a meal time or a time when food is around, explain to them what you have been noticing and why you are concerned.”

It’s important to give adolescents a chance to reflect on their behaviors and open up about what they may be going through in a non-judgmental way. Simply let your child know you are concerned and give them a chance to respond.

Keep in mind, plenty of teenagers will try to hide their eating disorder, even when confronted. So don’t necessarily take “nothing’s wrong” as an answer. Pay attention to your child’s body language, reaction, and your own gut feeling and go from there.

“Eating disorders are great at hiding,” Talib said. “If you suspect an eating disorder or disordered eating from anxiety or depression, it is possible it has already been present for some time and it is helpful to find an experienced care team as soon as possible.”

Now is not the time to wait, she explained. “I see so many families who have lost time due to delays in access.”

But she also wants parents to ensure they are getting their children the right kind of help. Which is why she believes they should be empowered to ask providers the following questions:

·     “How many eating disorder cases do you manage here at this practice?”

·     “How confident are you in your diagnosis?”

·     “Do you have a network of therapists, psychiatrists and dieticians that you refer to and how is your family feedback on these referrals?”

·     “If our teen needs more care than we can provide at home, what are you usual next steps in this city?”

“Do not shy away from asking where the nearest specialty care center is and for your doctor to help get you there,” Talib said. “It is not uncommon to have to travel a bit to see an eating disorder team with expertise in adolescents. However the Covid–19 pandemic opening the gates of tele-health has helped this.”

Available Resources

Talib said that parents who are concerned should start by having a conversation with their child’s pediatrician. “Even better, find an adolescent medicine specialist or physician team that is experienced with adolescent eating disorders.”

She suggested looking to AdolescentHealth.org for the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine’s list or The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) helpline (800.931.2237) if you’re having a difficult time finding a provider.

While Talib said it is always best to start with an evaluation by a professional, particularly because each situation is unique and may require tailored advice and treatment, the following resources can be helpful for families trying to better understand what they are dealing with:

·     Nationaleatingdisorders.org

·     Maudsleyparents.org

·     Feast-ed.org

·     Aedweb.org

·     Anad.org

If you’re worried about your child, it’s important to know there is help available. But ignoring eating disorder behavior does not make it go away. Now is the time to act. So if you’re concerned, pick up the phone and call your child’s pediatrician today.

It’s the first step to ensuring your teen will be able to have a healthy tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here

Leah Campbell

Leah Campbell

I’ve been working as a full-time parenting and health writer for over seven years. As a single mom by choice with a chronic health condition, parenting a child with a chronic health condition, I am passionate about ensuring all families have the health coverage they need.

How to Refuel Repair and Recover With Post Workout

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Healthy snacking is an important part of anyone’s diet. But for athletes and active individuals, snacking ensures adequate fuel for exercise, improves muscle recovery, boosts mental performance, and helps maintain healthy body composition.

As a sports dietitian, athletes often ask me: What should I eat before and after a workout? What’s a good sports snack? These are great questions I’ll be happy to answer.

Healthy Snacking During Pre-Workout and Post-Workout

Snacks are “mini-meals” between our main meals and are necessary to get the calories and nutrients our bodies need. The number and type of snacks should be determined by your hunger signals, as well as your work, academic, athletic, or sleep schedules.The key is to make smart snack choices to keep you on track with your nutrition and performance goals. Here are my top tips on healthy snacking:

1. Combine Lean Protein with a Carbohydrate and/or Healthy Fat.

In general, think of balance when looking for snacks to curb hunger. Pair protein-rich foods with a carbohydrate or healthy fat for a balanced snack. It is crucial to have lean protein at every meal and snack to support muscle growth and repair. Protein also promotes fullness, helping ward off hunger until your next meal.

Carbohydrates provide both your body and your brain with energy. Choose whole grains, like whole-wheat bread or crackers or a high-fiber cereal, for long-lasting energy. Healthy fats, like nut butter or avocados, also provide energy with staying power.

Examples of balanced snacks include Greek yogurt with granola, half a turkey sandwich, a fruit smoothie made with Greek yogurt, a banana with peanut butter, string cheese and fruit, and trail mix.

2. Don’t Ignore Your Hunger Cues.

Listen to your body and pay attention to your hunger cues. Common signals include stomach rumbling or growling, fatigue, shakiness or dizziness, and poor concentration.

If you have these symptoms, too many hours have passed without fuel. Being able to recognize these signals is crucial for athletic performance. You’ll need energy to perform your best.

Typically, spacing meals and snacks out every 2-3 hours is adequate timing to avoid hunger pangs and to ensure your body has enough fuel. This amounts to 2-3 snacks in addition to three main meals per day.

3. Fuel Your Exercise with Pre-Workout Snacks.

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel for exercising muscles. Timing is important: prioritize easy-to-digest carbs in your pre-workout snack.

A small amount of lean protein is okay, but limit or avoid fats, as they may cause digestive issues if eaten too close to the time of your workout. Timing will vary, but eating your snack one-hour pre-workout should allow enough time for digestion.

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Examples of pre-workout snacks include a fruit smoothie or applesauce, a handful of dried fruit plus whole-grain cereal, Greek yogurt with berries, a piece of fruit plus a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage, and a piece of whole-grain toast with jam.

4. Refuel, Repair, and Recover with Post-Workout Snacks.

A good post-workout snack should have three components: protein, carbohydrates, and fluids. The goal after exercise is to replace the fuel that was burned, restore fluids lost through sweat, and provide protein to promote muscle repair.

Aim for at least 20 grams of protein in your snack to prevent muscle breakdown and to promote muscle building. Eating your snack within the first hour after exercise is ideal for replenishment and rebuilding.

Examples of good recovery snacks include low-fat chocolate milk, a protein shake, a fruit and Greek yogurt smoothie, trail mix with dried fruit, whole grain bread with nut butter, and banana plus low-fat milk.

5. Snack Mindfully and Avoid Distractions.

Munching mindlessly is an easy way to end up with your hand at the bottom of an empty bag of chips without knowing how it got there.

First, make sure you chose a healthy snack that aligns with your performance and health goals. Then, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes – turn off the TV, put down your phone, and close your laptop – and eat your snack.

Eating without distractions will help you feel more satisfied and you’ll be less likely to overeat.

6. Don’t Get Tricked by Treats.

Distinguish a healthy snack from a treat. Healthy snacks are nutritious and satisfy hunger. Treats, such as sweets, fried foods, and chips lack useful nutrients and provide “empty” calories,” meaning they cannot help your body grow, recover or perform to the best of your ability.

Treats might satisfy a craving, but they rarely satisfy hunger, leaving you to reach for something else soon after. Treats often lead to overeating, which could eventually lead to weight gain. Instead, choose a healthy snack that can satisfy your craving while making you feel full.

7. Choose Healthy, Convenient Snacks to Fill Nutrition Gaps.

Whether you’re fueling for exercise, replenishing energy losses, or building and repairing muscles, your body needs constant nutrition. In my experience, many athletes are consistently hungry and can’t seem to get enough calories throughout the day.

When you’re on-the-go, choose a convenient snack such as a protein bar, fruit, or Greek yogurt. Snacking is a great way for active people to get the extra nutrition they need to achieve body composition and performance goals.

8. Plan Ahead.

Prepare healthy snacks at home to take with you to work, school, or training. Skip the vending machine and avoid buying snacks where healthy options are limited.

You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also get a bigger bang for your nutritional buck by preparing healthy snacks ahead of time. Pack portable snacks in your backpack or sports bag.

Planning ahead and knowing your schedule will keep you from missing your healthy snacks.

BY HERBALIFE NUTRITION

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