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Quitting smoking leads to people eating more junk food, Study Finds

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Quitting smoking leads to people eating more junk food, Study Finds

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(StudyFinds.org) – Quitting smoking is no easy feat, especially when nicotine withdrawal kicks in. Now, a new study finds one of the immediate side-effects of giving up cigarettes is a craving for junk food. Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School say they’ve discovered a brain link between a person’s addiction to nicotine and poor eating habits.

The study points to the opioid system — the brain functions which regulate both addiction and appetite — being responsible for smokers seeking out high-calorie foods when they’re suffering from nicotine withdrawal. It’s a vicious cycle for people trying to quit, as junk food cravings can lead to weight gain and, in turn, can push people to go back to smoking cigarettes again.

“We looked at whether or not acute nicotine withdrawal increases the intake of junk food — high in salt, fat and sugar — and how the stress-relieving receptors of the opioid system are involved,” explains senior author Mustafa al’Absi, PhD in a university release. “Mitigating these challenges during the treatment process will help patients quit smoking while understanding their eating habits and encourage healthier decisions.”

Craving cigarettes leads to eating fattier foods

The team examined a group of both smokers and non-smokers between the ages of 18 and 75 during two lab experiments. Each group took part in a 24-hour withdrawal from nicotine products, while taking either a placebo or 50-mg dose of naltrexone — a medication doctors prescribe for both alcohol and opioid use disorders. After each session, researchers provided the smokers and non-smokers with a selection of snacks differing in their levels of salt and fat.

The experiments revealed that smokers suffering from nicotine withdrawal consumed more calories than non-smokers. Participants were also less likely to pick high-fat foods if they took naltrexone during the experiment.

“The study’s findings may be related to the use of food, especially those high in calories, to cope with the negative affect and distress that characterizes the feelings people experience during smoking withdrawal,” al’Absi explains. “Results from preclinical and clinical research support this and demonstrate that stress increases proclivity for high-fat and high-sugar foods.”

A possible medication for junk food cravings

The study also finds naltrexone normalized the calorie intake of smokers, dropping them to the same levels of non-smokers. Study authors say the results suggest the opioid system may be what triggers withdrawal-induced calorie cravings.

“This is rather a novel finding in the context of nicotine addiction and has lots of implications for the development of future treatment,” al’Absi says.

“These findings extend earlier studies that indicate the impact of tobacco use on appetite and help identify the influence of an important biological link, the brain opioid system, on craving during nicotine withdrawal,” al’Absi concludes. “The fear of weight gain is a major concern among smokers who think about quitting. The key to removing these barriers is to better understand the factors that increase the urge for high-caloric foods.”

The study appears in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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Max Scherzer pulls himself out of his start with left side discomfort in Mets win over Cards

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Max Scherzer pulls himself out of his start with left side discomfort

An uneasy feeling of anxiety or dread, or maybe both, settled over Citi Field.

Max Scherzer took himself out of his start in the middle of an at-bat against Albert Pujols in the sixth inning of the Mets’ 11-4 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night. Scherzer threw two sliders to Pujols, the latter causing him to pull the plug on his 87-pitch outing.

The Mets later announced that Scherzer left the game with “discomfort in his left side.” The right-hander will go for an MRI on Thursday, the team said.

Scherzer motioned to the Mets dugout, as he appeared to repeatedly say, “I’m done. I’m done.” Manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and an athletic trainer all approached the mound. The meeting was quick. Scherzer departed with the trainer out of his start and into the clubhouse.

The veteran right-hander allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts across 5.2 innings against the Cardinals in his eighth start of the year. The Mets (25-14) picked up Scherzer once he left the game, putting up a five-run rally in the eighth inning courtesy of a three-run home run by Pete Alonso. As the Mets rolled ahead to their 10th win of the month, the mood and atmosphere at Citi Field began to lift.

Winning tends to be the cure for worry. But depending on how much time, if any, Scherzer will be required to miss, the pressure on the Mets to keep winning and adapt that next-man-up mentality will only deepen.

The Jacob deGrom-less Mets rotation surprised everyone to begin the year, posting a fifth-best ERA (3.28) in the major leagues, good for second-best in the National League right behind the Dodgers (2.59). But Scherzer (2.54 ERA) and Tylor Megill are major reasons for that early rotation success. With Megill already on the injured list indefinitely with right biceps tendinitis, and deGrom (stress reaction on scapula) unexpected to return until late June at best, the Amazin’s cannot afford to lose Scherzer just when they need him to step up and carry the starting staff.

In the short time Scherzer has been with his new team, the eight-time All-Star quickly turned into a veteran leader in the Mets clubhouse. Fellow rotation mate Chris Bassitt frequently mentions Scherzer as someone he’s learned from and leaned on to improve his own game. Scherzer can also be seen mentoring younger pitchers in the Mets dugout — when he’s not getting thrown out of games for arguing balls and strikes, of course. In just a few months, Scherzer has become a staple on a 2022 Mets squad that has captured first place in the NL East.

Scherzer, 37, signed a three-year, $130 million contract with the Mets in December, representing a new and thrilling chapter in the Steve Cohen era. Scherzer’s $43 million in average annual value (AAV) topped Gerrit Cole’s deal with the Yankees (nine years, $324 million) for the largest AAV on a contract in MLB history.

The three-time Cy Young winner and future Hall of Famer had just come off an All-Star season between the Nationals and Dodgers. He went 15-4 and posted a career-best 2.46 ERA with 236 strikeouts, the fourth-most in MLB in 2021, across 30 starts. Once he signed the fifth-largest contract in Mets history, Scherzer spent the offseason as a member of the player union’s executive subcommittee, fiercely negotiating with Major League Baseball during the owners’ lockout.

But Scherzer’s time spent at the table did not take away from his usual winter routine. The right-hander ramped up throughout the offseason and showed up to Mets spring training ahead of the others, hurling five innings in his spring debut. He dealt with hamstring tightness in the final week of exhibition games in early April, but he was able to make his first turn through the rotation and avoid missing any time on the IL.

The Mets scored four runs in the fifth inning with an RBI single by Alonso, a sac fly by Eduardo Escobar, an RBI single by Dominic Smith and a sac bunt by Luis Guillorme.

They blew the game open in the eighth, highlighted by Alonso’s three-run blast, his ninth of the season.

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Jordan Lyles pitches deep ‘for the boys,’ but Orioles’ offense continues to struggle in sixth straight loss, 3-2 to Yankees

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Jordan Lyles pitches deep ‘for the boys,’ but Orioles’ offense continues to struggle in sixth straight loss, 3-2 to Yankees

Jordan Lyles came to the Orioles with a reputation. By the standards of this rebuild, yes, he’s been an innings eater throughout his career, but his 2021 season was his only campaign truly deserving of that title by league standards.

His 2022 is trending toward joining it.

The New York Yankees’ big first inning Wednesday night ultimately handed Lyles and the Orioles a 3-2 defeat, their sixth straight overall and to their American League East foes, but the veteran left-hander bounced back from that rough start. Lyles followed the first inning with six scoreless frames, giving Baltimore’s stagnant offense at least the chance to rally against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and a dominant New York bullpen.

Lyles said when he spoke with Orioles manager Brandon Hyde after the top of the seventh, he “asked him nicely” to work the eighth despite having thrown a season-high 106 pitches. It’s been a frequent topic of conversation between manager and veteran pitcher. Lyles, 31, tracked his desire to work an additional inning to his past work out of the bullpen, knowing how valuable starters working deeper into games is to the relievers.

“It’s for the boys,” Lyles said. “That means for the boys out in the bullpen. For the boys, always. When in doubt, try and scratch out another one for the boys.

“Such a long season, when they can count on you to get deep into games and just wear one for the boys out there, it means a lot.”

Lyles threw a career-high 180 innings last year for the Texas Rangers to qualify for the ERA title for the first time in his 11-season career. Of course, qualification does not guarantee quality, as Lyles led the majors in home runs and earned runs allowed. He has not fully reversed that course — though his ERA is now a full run lower at 4.11, including a 2.10 mark at Camden Yards — but he has been largely reliable for Hyde after being given a contract this offseason that made him Baltimore’s highest-paid pitcher.

He has gone at least five innings in all but one of his eight starts, coming an out short in the lone exception. His second start of at least seven innings gave him more than all the Orioles not named John Means collectively threw in 2021. When the outing ended, he ranked fifth in the AL in innings pitched.

“I think he’s doing what we thought he was gonna do,” Hyde said. “This is an extremely tough division to pitch in. He’s answered the bell every time. He’s given us a chance to win every time out. He did that again tonight. He’s an ultra competitor, does not want to come out of the game, feels like it’s his game, and I appreciate that about him.”

Such a performance seemed unlikely in the opening frame. Lyles allowed three straight two-out hits, with Gleyber Torres doubling in the night’s first run. Torres then scored from second on a wild pitch, with catcher Anthony Bemboom making a wild throw toward Lyles to try to get Josh Donaldson at home.

Lyles kept the deficit at three, retiring 17 of the final 18 Yankees he faced, including the last 13. He wanted to push further, but Hyde turned to a bullpen that provided another two scoreless innings.

“He was trying to talk me into going back out there,” Hyde said. “Still got four-plus months to go.”

Another quiet night for the offense

The Orioles (14-24) have gone more than a week since they last scored more than four runs. Even that output would’ve been enough for a victory Wednesday.

They managed to compete early with Cole, who didn’t record a strikeout until striking out the side in the fourth. They finally broke through in the sixth, with Cedric Mullins singling to left and scoring when Austin Hays doubled there.

After advancing to third on a ground ball, Hays scored on another, dragging his mitted left hand across home plate to avoid a tag.

Hays, though, was the only Oriole to reach base the rest of the game. He singled in the eighth for his third hit before being doubled up on Anthony Santander’s line drive to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The ball had an expected batting average of .560, according to Statcast.

The Yankees (28-9) claimed the four-game series and will try for a sweep Thursday. New York has won 23 of 27 games since dropping a series in Baltimore in mid-April.

“We’re just a hit or two away from kind of breaking out a little bit,” Hyde said. “Santander hits that ball, Riz makes a great play. Done that 1,000 times. Possibly rattles around in the corner there.

“Just had an unfortunate first inning and got beat by a good club.”

Around the horn

  • After designating him for assignment over the weekend, the Orioles traded left-handed reliever Paul Fry, their longest-tenured pitcher, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 19-year-old right-hander Luis Osorio. Born in Venezuela, Osorio had a 5.83 ERA in 15 games, six of them starts, in the Dominican Summer League last year. He allowed a .217 batting average and struck out 28.5% of opposing hitters.
  • Top prospect Adley Rutschman caught for Triple-A Norfolk for the second straight night, the second time he’s done so this year as he works his way back from a right tricep strain that delayed the start of his season. In a span of fewer than 10 minutes, Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Colton Cowser — three of Baltimore’s top six prospects — all hit opposite-field home runs for different affiliates.
  • In his first rehabilitation outing with Double-A Bowie, right-hander Dean Kremer (left oblique strain) pitched an immaculate first inning, striking out the side on nine pitches. He finished with five strikeouts and one hit allowed in two scoreless innings.
  • Shortstop Jorge Mateo was back in the Orioles’ lineup after missing two games following a collision on the base paths Sunday that left him with a sore rib cage. He went 0-for-3.

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Walked off again, Saints lose ninth straight road game

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Walked off again, Saints lose ninth straight road game

Alex Kirilloff went 4 for 6 and tied the game with a two-run, bases-loaded single in the eighth inning but the St. Paul Saints extended their franchise-record road losing streak to nine with an 8-7, 10-inning loss on Wednesday at Omaha.

The Twins stranded automatic runner Curtis Terry in the 10th, going down 1-2-3, before Gabriel Cantrel hit the game-winning single off Jake Petricka in the 10th at Werner Park in Omaha, Neb.

The Saints were walked-off for the fourth time on the current road trip and haven’t won a road game since beating Toledo, 9-4, on April 22.

Optioned back to Class AAA on Saturday to get at-bats while he works through an issue with his right wrist, Kirilloff homered, doubled and hit two singles.

Royce Lewis, optioned back to the Saints when the Twins activated shortstop Carlos Correa before a 14-4 victory on Wednesday at Oakland, was unavailable. In his first major league call up, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft hit .308 with three doubles and five runs scored in 11 games.

The Saints took their first lead, 7-6, on a bases-loaded balk by Omaha Brad Peacock, who entered the game in the eighth after Andres Nunez loaded the bases with no outs on singles to Elliot Soto and Mark Contreras, and a walk to Curtis Terry.

After Kirilloff’s two-run single tied the game 6-6, Caleb Hamilton walked to load the bases again before Peacock fanned Jake Cave swinging. After he balked in Terry to give the Saints a 7-6 lead, Peacock got Roy Morales and Jermaine Polacios looking.

But Clay Duggan tied the score 7-7 with a two-out single off Jordan Gore to score Vinnie Pasquantino – who had hit a one-out single off Drew Strotman – in the bottom of the eighth.

The Storm Chasers scored four in the first inning on a single, two wild pitches and a solo home run by Brewer Hicklin off Saints right-hander Jake Faria.

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