Ditch the artificial sweetener. It may increase risk of obesity and heart disease

Artificial sweeteners are substitutes for sugar that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Previous research has found that consuming artificial sweeteners may up diabetes risk. Many believe that it helps you minimise your calorie intake, but it has also been proven that instead of cutting back calories, it makes you eat more. Now, new research has linked artificial sweeteners with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity.

The findings showed that artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite. Thus, individuals consuming artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, may also be at risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease, the researchers from University of Manitoba in Canada, said.

The long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are not yet fully known.

According to researchers, the use of artificial sweeteners which is widespread and increasing is linked with the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases. For the study, published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), the team conducted a randomised controlled trials involving 1,003 people followed for six months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

“We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management,” said Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. “Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterised,” added Meghan Azad, assistant professor, at the University.

NEET admissions: 3 cases of students submitting fake marksheets raise alarm

Ahead of the online allotment of MBBS and BDS seats in NEET counselling on July 21, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, has issued an advisory to colleges to ensure that result marksheets that candidates submit are checked against the original document available on the CBSE website.

The move comes after the varsity detected three fake forged marksheets submitted to it with marks inflated on Tuesday. The varsity has uploaded the merit list and students who had forged the NEET were foolhardy enough to approach the varsity claiming that the merit list had mistakes, a senior official with the varsity said.

“A female candidate who scored 477 marks in NEET approached us on Tuesday with a forged marksheet that recorded her marks at 577. She created a scene in the admission office, claiming that the merit list was wrong. On verification, the marksheet was found to be fabricated. When confronted, she fled. Students must refrain from such tricks,” the official added. Two similar cases were also reported on Tuesday.

HT Representative Image

Now, the BFUHS has issued strict instructions to colleges to verify the NEET-2017 marks of candidates and not rely on the hand out results submitted by the students.

“NEET-2017 marks of the candidates should be verified by original login on computer from the website cbse.neet.nic.in. This should be minutely matched and verified with the result card of the exam that candidates submit,” the university’s note adds.

BFUHS V-C Dr Raj Bahadur said, “Before allotting a seat, the eligibility of each candidate shall be verified. In case, somebody submits a forged certificate, he/she will be in trouble as the documents will be again verified. We will report the cases to the police and seek the registration of a FIR.”

Meanwhile, of 9,200 students who applied for admission, 3,000 had submitted their online preferences of colleges till Tuesday.

Officials said students should consider the seats matrix uploaded at the website of the university as that will help them to decide their preference of college.

A fresh coat of paint, better plumbing and drinking water: How 5 teachers gave a Rajasthan school, and its students, a new life

When she joined the Girls’ Upper Primary School (GUPS) in Alwar’s Shivaji Park in December 2016, Hemlata Sharma, 47, had been teaching for 27 years. This was her first posting as head teacher and never before had she been so appalled by the condition of the school.

Classrooms leaked in the rain, plaster peeled off the wall. The entire building was in a state of disrepair and housed just 100 students from classes 1 to 8.

Sharma took up a challenge to bring the school back to life before the next academic session in July and roped in four other teachers for support.

Pleasing seating areas, space for interaction: The old school now is all bright and cheerful (HT Photo)

Within four months, things changed – the walls were painted in bright colours, the classrooms spruced up and a lawn laid out in front. An underground rainwater recharge tank, an RO plant for drinking water, and new furniture in all classrooms were also added. Leakages were plugged.

Just 15 days after schools opened, enrolment went up to 202. Some admissions were pending clearance for lack of Aadhaar and birth certificates.

Sharma was also determined to do something about Rajasthan’s high school dropout rate. The 2016 Annual Status of Education Report survey of schooling and learning levels in rural India ranks the state among the top three with the highest dropout rates in children aged 11 to 14 (5% among all-India average of 3.5%). To get more children to her school, she turned to her family for donation to start repairs.

A garden has been laid out for the children to play in. (HT Photo)

“I asked my sisters, brother and father for money and collected Rs 40,000 from them. After that I went to my teachers,” said Sharma, who added Rs 11,000 from her savings into the school renovation kitty.

Manju Rani Sharma, who retired on May 31, donated Rs 21,000 as a parting gift to the school. Three other teachers – Sanika Sharma, Sashi Singhal and Kavita Sharma – also donated to take the teachers’ contribution Rs 51,000.

After collecting about Rs 1 lakh, the teachers began work. For changing the infrastructure, Sharma met district Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan officials, who, impressed by her efforts, sanctioned Rs 2 lakh more.

Sanika Sharma, who will retire in June next year, said they approached philanthropists in town for furniture in classrooms and free uniforms for students.

On June 8 this year, the teachers distributed among 170 students a new uniform set and a pair of shoes and socks.

Clean water, waste disposal – the school has now got new, upgraded facilities. (HT Photo)

“It was on that day that I proposed to my colleagues that teachers should wear uniform to school to enforce discipline – and the teachers agreed,” said Sharma.

Now the students wear brown trousers and skirts and light brown shirts, and the teachers wear off-white salwar and dupatta and maroon kurta.

Two teenagers who passed Class 12 recently come in regularly to teach junior school students to make up for shortage of teachers. “Parul and Priyanka, twin daughters of school management committee president Kusum Rohilla, are coming to school since June 22 after two of the five teachers got transferred out,” the head teacher said.

The two girls are in the first year of college.

Recently, Imran Khan from Alwar, who was lauded by PM Narendra Modi at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2015 for creating apps for the benefit of students, got the school four computers and a printer.

Delhi Police, college students and authorities brace for day one of Delhi University

The new academic session at Delhi University (DU) begins on July 20. And freshers have mixed feelings — nervousness about whether they’ll ‘fit in’ and excitement to step into a more chilled-out phase of their lives. Some even fear being bullied. But here’s what: From the various college authorities and societies to student political parties and even the Delhi Police, everyone is working towards ensuring a smooth run for the anxious fuchchas.

“We’ll welcome the freshers with chocolates and roses, and brief them about the syllabus and course details, as there are minor changes in the syllabus every year that freshers don’t usually know of,” says Shauryaveer Singh, a student of Campus Law Centre and a member of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).

Picture for representational purpose only.

For safety and a ragging-free campus, the student political wing has made a list of locations where CCTV cameras are required. “University is planning to install cameras in the campus premises and have asked for recommendations as to where they should be installed. We have noted down 23 locations to ensure security, especially for the girls,” adds Singh.

Some drama always helps! So, besides orientation programmes, fuchchas can expect anti-ragging plays on campus. Dr Rama, principal of Hans Raj College, shares, “The seniors students will stage plays on the anti-ragging theme. A committee of teachers will also monitor the college premises.” She adds, “No one will be able to bully anyone and if any student faces any issue, they can contact me without any hesitation.”

Above all, Delhi Police plans to tighten vigilance. “We will deploy more female officers, dressed in casuals, in the campus. Women helpdesks will be established at Arts Faculty, Miranda House, Ramjas College, Kirori Mal College and Hans Raj College. We will coordinate with the anti-ragging committees of each college and department,” says Jatin Narwal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North).

More so, “the Delhi Metro has been requested to make announcements in trains and stations about DU being intolerant towards ragging,” reads a release issued by the varsity.

Centre depriving Chandigarh schools of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan funds

With the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) releasing just half of the budget allocated under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), child-centred activities in UT government schools have been suffering.

Implementation of self-defence training, remedial teaching and other components that are given the go-ahead by the Project Approval Board (PAB) were affected last year due to fund crunch.

Sources say this year, too, children will have to suffer too.

In 2015-16, the PAB, which is under the MHRD, released only 60% of the approved budget to UT. Against the allocation of Rs 59 crore, only Rs 35 crore were disbursed. The balance, Rs 24 crore, never came.

In 2016-17, the PAB had approved Rs 65 crore budget under the SSA. But the amount disbursed to UT was just 50%: Rs 33 crore. Now, in 2017-18, once again the UT has received only 45% of the sanctioned Rs 68 crore in the first instalment, even as it had requested for at least 60%.

Due to fund crunch, implementation of self­-defence training, remedial teaching and other child­-centred components under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are being hampered at various government schools in Chandigarh.


Till 2015-16, the Centre and state/ UT used to share the SSA burden in the ratio of 60:40.

In October 2015, the Centre revised the sharing pattern and decided to take 100% responsibility of UTs. It was also decided that the notification will be applicable from start of the financial year: April 1, 2015.

However, the MHRD released only 60% of the amount.

As a result, many child-centric activities could not be performed at UT government schools.

The education department, in fact, had to release salaries of 1,000 teachers working under the SSA out of the state budget. For it, it had to take Rs 23-crore loan from the Chandigarh Housing Board and Chandigarh Renewal Energy and Science & Technology (CREST).

The SSA teachers welfare association protested twice and also sent a legal notice to the UT administration, finance ministry and MHRD in February 2017. The association also took up the issue with the member of Parliament Kirron Kher.

In March 2017, the UT administrator wrote to the HRD minister to release 100% of the allocated budget to Chandigarh.


The MHRD ministry promised to give 60% of the budget for meeting the SSA expenses up to October 2017.

But in the first instalment only Rs 31 crore of Rs 68 crore were released.

UT education secretary KK Jindal said: “the Centre has assured us of the release of the remaining amount. None of the activities will suffer. Funds have already started coming in.”

Already, teachers are awaiting their salaries for May and June besides 10% of the dues for April.

If MHRD fails to release the remaining amount before October, 850 teachers may suffer in September and October as well.

“Now the education department will have to pick and choose: whether to give the salaries or to organise activities for children,” said Arvind Rana, president of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teachers’ welfare association. “Both can’t be done with just 45% of the amount. Last year, too, children were deprived of important activities, including remedial classes in Classes 6-8.”

Rana said with the next instalment being released in November, the department will have to struggle again.


Intro: Earlier 60%, the Centre’s share under SSA was enhanced to 100% in 2015

Fiscal Allocated Released Share

2015-16 ₹59 cr ₹35 cr 60%

2016-17 ₹65 cr ₹33 cr 50%

2017-18 ₹68 cr ₹31 cr 45% (first instalment)

Caption: Due to fund crunch, implementation of self-defence training, remedial teaching and other child-centric components under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are being hampered at government schools in Chandigarh. HT file

SC to see if IIT can withhold result of student accused of sexual harassment

The Supreme Court has said it will examine whether an IIT can withhold the results of a final-year student, who was terminated after being held guilty in a sexual harassment case.

A bench of justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao issued notice to the Centre and IIT Kanpur on the plea of the student, who challenged the Allahabad High Court order dismissing his plea.

Advocate Manu Shanker Mishra, appearing for the petitioner, said the results of the final semester should be given to the student as the delay is jeopardising his career.

The petitioner, before being terminated, was a final-year student of Department of Physics after being admitted to the institute in July 2012.

He was expelled from the institute in April 2016 after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a girl student.

The 23-year-old BSc Physics girl student had accused her senior of sexually harassing her for two years after which the college administration had forwarded the matter to the Women’s Cell. The cell found the accused guilty and he was expelled later.

A final-year student of IIT Kanpur was terminated after being held guilty in a sexual harassment case. (HT file photo / Representational)

He claimed that the Women’s Cell never gave the copy of the complaint made by the girl to him and did not even consider his reply.

“The charges levelled against the petitioner were absolutely vague and were incapable of being replied properly. However, the petitioner gave replies to all the charges and he also tried to support his defence by introducing a large number of documents and a list of students who would appear as witnesses in the inquiry in support of his defence,” he said.

The student claimed that the findings of the Internal Complaint’s Committee were also not made available to him by the Women’s Cell.

He said that the report of the Women’s Cell together with the minutes of the meeting of the Senate Students’ Affairs Committee of March 30, 2016 were placed before the Academic Senate for its consideration on April 5, 2016 and were ratified and he was terminated.

“The Academic Senate did not give a copy of the report to the petitioner and it also did not give him any show-cause notice asking him to appear before the Senate for hearing.

“No opportunity of hearing of any kind whatsoever was afforded to the petitioner either by the Senate Students’ Affairs Committee or by the Academic Senate before the aforesaid decision of terminating the academic programme of the petitioner was taken by them,” he said.

The student claimed that his defence was not considered at all by the authorities at any stage of the proceedings and “there was sufficient material supplied by the petitioner so as to demonstrate that the complaint that was made against him by the female student was malicious”.

He said that single judge bench of the Allahabad High Court had ordered that the petitioner will submit a written unconditional apology before the institution and had directed the IIT to declare the petitioner’s result, if he has passed the examination.

IIT Kanpur, however, challenged the order of the single- judge bench which the division bench on February 3, set aside.

Poor sleep may point to onset of Alzheimer’s disease: study

Poor, disrupted sleep may indicate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in people who are otherwise healthy, a study warns. Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US found that people who reported worse sleep quality, more sleep problems and daytime sleepiness had more biological markers for Alzheimer’s disease in their spinal fluid than people who did not have sleep problems. Those biological markers included signs of the proteins amyloid and tau and brain cell damage and inflammation.

“It’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s given that estimates suggest that delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in people by a mere five years could reduce the number of cases we see in the next 30 years by 5.7 million,” said Barbara B Bendlin, PhD student at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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While some of these relationships were strong when looking at everyone as a group, not everyone with sleep problems has abnormalities in their spinal fluid.

There was no link between biological markers in the spinal fluid and obstructive sleep apnea, researchers said.

“It is still unclear if sleep may affect the development of the disease or if the disease affects the quality of sleep,” Bendlin said.

Researchers recruited 101 people with an average age of 63 years who had normal thinking and memory skills but who were considered at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

They either had a parent with the disease or were a carrier of a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease called apolipoprotein E or APOE.

Participants were surveyed about sleep quality. They also provided spinal fluid samples that were tested for biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

Tall, obese men at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer

Men who are tall and obese may be at an increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer as well as death from the condition, according to a study.

The findings showed that with every additional ten centimetres (3.9 inches) of height the risk of aggressive prostate cancer and death from it increased by 21 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. Higher BMI was also found to be associated with increased risk of aggressive tumours as well as increased risk of death from prostate cancer.

This may be due to changes in hormone levels in obese men, which in turn may increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Waist circumference, which is seen as a more accurate measure of obesity than BMI in older adults, was associated with an 18 per cent greater risk of death from prostate cancer. With every ten centimetres (3.9 inches) increase in waist circumference, there was a 13 per cent greater risk of aggressive cancer, the researchers said.

“The finding of high risk in taller men may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development, for example related to early nutrition and growth,” said lead author Aurora Perez-Cornago from the the University of Oxford in the UK.

“We also found that a healthy body weight is associated with a reduced risk of high grade prostate cancer and death from prostate cancer years later,” Perez-Cornago added in the paper published in the journal BMC Medicine. For the study, the team included a cohort of 1,41,896 men collected from eight countries — Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Germany and Greece.

The data included 7,024 incident prostate cancers, 726 high-grade and 1,388 advanced stage prostate cancers, and 934 prostate cancer deaths.

Enjoy the goodness of strawberries with these two delightful recipes

Strawberries with whipped cream or chocolate syrup is always a favourite. But don’t you ever want to move ahead and try something new in your kitchen? Simply watching MasterChef won’t help you. You need to get out there and try your hands at making something new. These recipes by Chef Jitendra Upadhyay, Pastry Chef, Renaissance Lucknow Hotel are worth trying. You will thank us once you master it.


Fresh Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone Cream

For the Tart base
100g – Unsalted butter
50g – Icing/ Confectioners’ sugar
1 pinch – Salt
2 tbsp – Milk
150g – All-purpose flour
A few drops of vanilla extract

For the Mascarpone Cream filling
100g – Whipped topping cream
100g – Mascarpone cheese
A few drops of vanilla extract

For the Fruit topping and garnish
Fresh strawberries
Chocolate /Nuts (Optional)

* Sieve flour and salt together and keep it aside.

* Cream butter and sugar in small bowl.

* Make the dough for the tart by mixing all the ingredients and keep it in the refrigerator for an hour.

* Remove dough from the refrigerator, roll it out and place it into a greased tart pan. Press it down and up the sides until it is even. Refrigerate tart for at least 10-15 mins.

* Preheat oven to 170 degree celsius. Remove tart from the refrigerator, dock it with a fork and bake for 15-18 mins.

* Allow to cool completely before filling.

* Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients carefully with a spatula and cover the insides of the tart with it.

* Garnish the tart with fresh strawberry/chocolate/sliced pistachio.


Strawberry Chocolate Brownies

250g – Dark chocolate
250g – Unsalted butter
360g – Caster sugar
5 – Eggs
5ml – Vanilla extracts
100g – Strawberry chocolate (chopped)
50g – Chopped nuts
65g – All-purpose flour
1 tsp – Baking powder

For Garnish
Fresh strawberries
Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate garnish

Preheat the oven to 170 degree celsius.

* Line a 24cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

* Melt the dark chocolate and butter into a large bowl and place it on a pan of simmering water.

* Sift the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and add nuts and strawberry chocolate chunks to it.

* Beat the eggs and sugar until you reach a silky consistency.

* Beat the eggs and add the chocolate mixer and all the dry ingredients to it.

* Pour the brownie mix into the greased baking tin.

* Bake at 180 degree celsius for 25-30 mins.

* Allow to cool, then cut into chunky squares.

* Serve with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries.

Tired of Chocolate Cakes? Try out this delicious Raspberry Cheese Cake recipe

You might have a problem with us telling you to lay your hands off that Chocolate Cake for a while but don’t you think life is too short and you should experiment while you can? Try out something new in your kitchen the next time you have a yearning for making a dessert. This Raspberry Cheese Cake recipe by Chef Ashish Rai, Head – Culinary, Barbeque Nation will blow your mind away!

Move over Chocolate Cakes. Try out this Raspberry Cheese Cake recipe.

7 – Biscuit crumbs
450g – Cream cheese
½ kg – Fresh raspberries
¼ tsp – Cinnamon powder
4 tbsp – Butter
½ cup – Whipped cream
¾ cup – Confectionery sugar
A few drops of vanilla essence
1 sheet – Unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp – Brown sugar

For the crust
* Grind the biscuits, and then add butter, brown sugar to it and mix it well.

* Take a 8 inch pan and layer it with the biscuit mixture evenly on to the bottom and the sides of the pan. Rest it for 30 mins and then bake for 5 mins, till it turns crusty.

For the topping
* Take half of the raspberries in a pan with ¼ cup sugar and 2 tbsp water and cook till the raspberries are quite soft.

* Remove from heat and blend it to form a puree. Put it over slow flame once more. In the meanwhile, add water to the gelatin sheet and let it rest for a few mins. Then add gelatin to the raspberry puree until it has dissolved. Remove it from heat.

For the cheesecake
* In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the vanilla extract.

* Now, add the raspberry topping, except the 3/4 cup you have reserved for the top layer.

* In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until the medium peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the rasberry cheesecake batter just until it’s all combined.

* Pour this mixture into the crust pan and set it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until set.

* Remove it from the pan and serve it with some fresh raspberries on top.

* You can also use a little desiccated coconut for the flavour.