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Celiac Patients Tolerate Quinoa Added To Gluten-Free Diet

January 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Despite evidence from lab experiments that the nutritious grain quinoa can cause some digestive problems for celiac disease patients, a new British study in patients themselves shows that the grain, when added to a gluten-free diet, is actually well-tolerated and does not worsen the condition. Celiac is an immune-based reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The new study, which tracked 19 celiac patients over six weeks, shows that eating about 50 grams of quinoa every day led to normal blood test ranges, and even improved the structure of the small intestine. Patients were allowed to cook the grain any way they wished.
Victor F Zevallos et al., "Gastrointestinal Effects of Eating Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) in Celiac Patients", The American Journal of Gastroenterology, January 21, 2014, © The American College of Gastroenterology
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Fortified Mediterranean Diet Cuts Risk Of Artery-Blocking Disease

January 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A seven-year clinical trial conducted in Spain among more than 7,000 men and women over age 55 has found a significant association between a fortified Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD). In peripheral arterial disease plaque – fat, cholesterol, calcium, etc. – builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening). The study confirmed that a Mediterranean diet fortified either with extra virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the risk of PAD in participants.
Miguel Ruiz-Canela et al., "Association of Mediterranean Diet With Peripheral Artery Disease", JAMA, January 21, 2014, © American Medical Association
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Researchers Determine Why A Fiber-Rich Diet Reduces Risk Of Colon Inflammation, Cancer

January 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have determined that a high-fiber diet cuts the risk of colon problems because fiber – which supports good bacteria in the gut – activates a receptor that helps prevent colon inflammation and cancer (while protecting the cardiovascular system).  The same receptor is activated by high levels of niacin, administered by doctors when a patient has abused antibiotics, destroying beneficial bacteria. Good bacteria in the colon thrive on fiber and its digestion produces butyrate, a fatty acid that naturally activates the receptor, Gpr109a. The relationship is limited to the colon, where butyrate levels can soar with a high-fiber diet.
Nagendra Singh et al., "Activation of Gpr109a, Receptor for Niacin and the Commensal Metabolite Butyrate, Suppresses Colonic Inflammation and Carcinogenesis", Immunity, January 16, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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“Diet” Sodas Actually Work Against A Dieter’s Weight Loss Plan

January 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Drinking diet soda is not the answer to losing weight, according to U.S. scientists who analyzed national data and determined that artificial sweeteners activate reward centers in the brain in a way that causes the sweet sensors to malfunction. The brain's sweet sensors can’t gauge energy consumption accurately because the artificial sweeteners disrupt appetite control, resulting in increased food intake overall. Bottom line: overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food than obese or overweight adults who drink regular soda or other sugary beverages.
Sara N. Bleich et al., "Diet Beverage Consumption and Caloric Intake Among US Adults Overall and by Body Weight", American Journal of Public Health, January 16, 2014, © American Public Health Association
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Vitamin D Associated With Milder Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

January 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Higher levels of vitamin D in the blood of Parkinson’s disease patients are associated with less severe symptoms, especially among patients who are not suffering from dementia, a U.S. study finds. Investigators tested  286 patients with Parkinson’s, finding that all patients with higher plasma vitamin D levels had lower symptom severity, better cognition, and less depression, but the relationships were even stronger in those who were not demented. Of the 286 subjects, 61 were considered to be demented. The researchers found that higher levels of serum vitamin D3 in the non-demented patients were associated with greater fluency for naming vegetables and animals, and immediate and delayed recall on a verbal learning test.
Amie L. Peterson et al., "Memory, Mood, and Vitamin D in Persons with Parkinson’s Disease", Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, January 16, 2014, © IOS Press
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More Good News About Omega-3s: Reduced Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

January 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Finnish university study finds that high blood levels of long chain omega-3  fatty acids – found in fish and fish oils – are associated with a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in men. The study collected dietary data on 2,212 men between 42 and 60 years of age, beginning in 1984. Thhose with the highest concentrations of omega-3s in their blood were 33 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Along with weight management, exercise, and a well-rounded diet, the researchers recommended at least two fish meals a week, preferably fatty fish like salmon, rainbow trout, herring, anchovy, sardine or mackerel.
Jyrki K. Virtanen et al., "Serum Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes in Men", Diabetes Care, January 15, 2014, © American Diabetes Association
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Fast Food Diet Is A Symptom Of The Childhood Obesity Problem, Not The Cause

January 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Eating fast food is not the root cause of the childhood obesity problem, as some have suggested, but only a symptom of a deeper problem that begins at home, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina who examined data collected on 4,466 children who two years to 18 years of age. In other words, it’s basically the parents’ fault. Kids do not eat adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables as they’re growing up, chowing down instead on large amounts of processed food and sugar-sweetened beverages. These meal patterns are in turn enforced at school. “This is what is really driving children’s obesity,” concluded one researcher.
J. M. Poti et al., "The association of fast food consumption with poor dietary outcomes and obesity among children: is it the fast food or the remainder of the diet?", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 15, 2014, © American Society for Nutrition
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Algal Culture Extract Shown To Increase Good Cholesterol, Even In High-Fat Diet

January 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A proprietary algal culture – known as “PAZ” or “ProAlgaZyme” – was found to support healthy cholesterol balance by increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL) and reducing non-HDL cholesterol while consuming a high-fat diet. The testing in lab animals showed that PAZ helped remove excess cholesterol from cell storage and transported it to the liver for excretion from the body. Health Enhancement Products, Inc., maker of the algal culture extracts, says  the effects of its product in improving "good" cholesterol, and therefore cardiovascular health, “are significant and potentially wide-reaching”.
Smiti Gupta et al., "ProAlgaZyme sub-fraction improves the lipoprotein profile of hypercholesterolemic hamsters, while inhibiting production of betaine, carnitine, and choline metabolites", Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism, January 09, 2014, © Geamanu et al.
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Conclusions Drawn From Multivitamin Studies Are Useless, Thanks To Flawed Methodologies

January 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Poor methodology used in large clinical studies probing the value of vitamin supplements has rendered them mostly useless, according to U.S. scientists. Whether the studies defend or disparage the use of multivitamin and other micronutrient supplements, flaws in study design torpedo their value. Many studies have tried to analyze nutrients that are naturally available in the human diet the same way they would a powerful prescription drug, leading  to conclusions that have little scientific meaning, even less accuracy and often defy a wealth of other evidence, said one researcher. What is needed are new methodologies that accurately measure baseline nutrient levels, provide supplements or dietary changes only to participants who clearly are inadequate or deficient, and then study the resulting changes in their health.
Alexander Michels et al., "Myths, Artifacts, and Fatal Flaws: Identifying Limitations and Opportunities in Vitamin C Research", Nutrients, January 08, 2014, © MDPI AG
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Weight Loss Supplement Companies Socked With Millions In Penalties In FTC Crackdown

January 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Three companies that claimed – fraudulently – that their weight loss products helped people trim pounds effortlessly have agreed to a $34 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The largest settlement – $26.5 million – was against Sensa Productions LLC, which advertised that its Sensa supplement sprinkled on food would spur weight loss. One of their bogus ads said Sensa would "help you lose 30 lbs. without dieting or spending all your time working out”. A $450,000 settlement was reached with L’Occitane, which promised that its Almond Beautiful Shape cream could “trim 1.3 inches in just 4 weeks” and that it was a “cellulite fighter”. The FTC is setting up a process for distributing the settlement money to consumers who purchased the products.
Jennifer Corbett Dooren, "FTC Cracks Down on Weight-Loss Product Marketers", The Wall Street Journal, January 07, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company Inc
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Higher Levels Of All Forms Of Vitamin E Protect Against Memory Disorders In Elderly

January 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
There are eight natural forms of vitamin E – from tocopherols to tocotrienols. All of them have antioxidant properties and all seem to play a role in memory processes, according to a Finnish study. Researchers in fact found that elderly people with higher levels of the various forms of vitamin E in their blood are less at risk for memory disorders. The eight-year study followed 140 people aged 65 or older who had no memory problems at the start. After eight years, those with higher total serum levels of γ-tocopherol, β-tocotrienol and total tocotrienols, suffered less from memory disorders.
Francesca Mangialasche et al., "Serum levels of vitamin E forms and risk of cognitive impairment in a Finnish cohort of older adults", Experimental Gerontology, January 07, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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Key To Keeping Weight Off Is Maintaining Healthy Behaviors

January 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
It is possible for people to keep off the weight they have lost if they continue to pursue healthy behaviors, especially physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diet and avoiding overeating. The observational U.S. study involved nearly 3,000 participants who had lost at least 30 pounds and had kept it off for at least a year. The participants were followed for ten years. On average, participants kept most of the weight off during the ten years. Decreases in physical activity, dietary restraint and self-weighing along with increases in fat intake were associated with greater weight regain.
J. Graham Thomas et al., "Weight-Loss Maintenance for 10 Years in the National Weight Control Registry", American Journal of Preventive Medicine, January 06, 2014, © American Journal of Preventive Medicine
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Fiber-Rich Diet Reduces Risk Of Asthma, Study FInds

January 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Swiss study finds that the risk of developing asthma rises if a person’s diet lacks the fiber found in fruits and vegetables. The immune response in the lungs is influenced by the fatty acids in the blood stream created when intestinal bacteria ferment dietary fiber. The study conducted in mice shows that a lack of fermentable fibers in the diet paves the way for allergic inflammatory reactions in the lungs. The problem is growing in areas of the world where the Western diet prevails because fruit and vegetables are playing an ever smaller role in people's diets.
Aurélien Trompette et al., "Gut microbiota metabolism of dietary fiber influences allergic airway disease and hematopoiesis", Nature Medicine, January 06, 2014, © Nature Publishing Group
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Organic Milk Shown To Be Much Heart-Healthier Than Conventional Milk

January 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Organic milk contains significantly higher concentrations of heart-healthy fatty acids than milk from cows fed conventionally, U.S. researchers report. The study compared 400 samples of organic and conventional milk over 18 months. The researchers were surprised to find that conventional milk had an average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 5.8, more than twice that of organic milk's ratio of 2.3. The heart-healthier ratio of fatty acids in organic milk is due to a greater reliance on pasture and forage-based feeds – grass and legumes – on organic dairy farms.
Charles M. Benbrook et al., "Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition", PLoS ONE, January 03, 2014, © Benbrook et al.
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Obesity Epidemic Not Just A Western Phenomenon

January 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A British think tank reports that more than a third of adults globally were overweight or obese in 2008, a 23 percent increase from 1980. Adults in the developing world did not escape the phenomenon, of course: over the last 30 years, obese adults in these countries quadrupled to 904 million, more than are found in the developed countries. But the surprise is how the trend has invaded emerging economies. According to the Overseas Development Institute, the increase in  obesity is associated with a "creeping homogenization" of diets globally, thanks to rising incomes, the impact of advertising and globalization.
Sharada Keats and Steve Wiggins, "Future diets: Implications for agriculture and food prices", Overseas Development Institute, January 03, 2014, © Overseas Development Institute
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Fortified Indian Snack May Help Solve India’s Child Nutrition Problem

January 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A nutrient-dense version of a traditional Indian snack could go a long way toward relieving the child malnutrition problem in the country. About 45,000 children die of malnutrition in the state of Maharashtra each year. In a recent pilot study, half of the participating children were diagnosed as severely malnourished. For the study, a researcher developed a recipe for laddoos, donut-hole shaped snacks served at Indian festivals, consisting of whole wheat flour, roasted peanuts, milk, cardamom, butter, sesame seed, and cane juice pressed into cakes. During the study, more than half of the children who regularly ate the fortified laddoos went from severely malnourished to moderately malnourished.
Sydney Brownstone , "A Small, Round Indian Dessert With Hidden Malnutrition-Fighting Powers", Co.Exist, January 02, 2014, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Daily Exercise Erases Deleterious Effects Of Over-Eating, Lounging

December 27, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A British study involving 26 healthy, active young men who were asked to do “a lot of sitting and gorging themselves” for seven days found that those who stopped exercising completely experienced a significant, unhealthy decline in blood sugar control. In addition, their fat cells began over-expressing certain genes associated with unhealthy metabolic changes while under-expressing genes linked to a healthy metabolism. Participants who continued to exercise daily – even though they upped their calorie intake – were not affected the same way. Blood sugar control and fat cell gene expression remained normal, compared to the sedentary men.
Gretchen Reynolds, "The Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise", The New York Times, December 27, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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Anti-Wheat Sentiment Persists, At Least Among America’s Dietitians

December 26, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of more than 500 dietitians finds 14 trends that will make, headlines, influence food purchases and “shape Americans’ waistlines”. At the top of the list is a persistent negative attitude toward wheat. Americans will avoid wheat-based food products, turning instead to diets like the Paleo diet, gluten-free and “wheat belly”, a plan based on a popular anti-wheat book. Other trends highlighted by dietitians include: ancient grains; kale, coconut and chia seeds; low carb diets; eco-conscious eats; and fruits and vegetables.
"14 Top Diet Trends For 2014", News release, Today's Dietitian, December 26, 2013, © Today's Dietitian
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Allergy Rates Lower Among Children Whose Moms Ate Peanuts While Pregnant

December 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Contrary to traditional medical opinion, pregnant women should not worry that eating peanuts will cause a peanut allergy in their child, U.S. researchers report. For years women were advised to avoid highly allergenic foods such as peanuts and tree nuts during pregnancy and while nursing. In addition, it was suggested that children three years old and younger should not be allowed to eat peanuts. The researchers noted that despite the advice, from 1997 to 2007 the number of peanut allergy cases in the U.S. tripled. Researchers analyzed data collected from  8,205 children, finding that peanut allergy rates were significantly lower among children whose mothers ate peanuts before and during pregnancy.
A. Lindsay Frazier et al., "Prospective Study of Peripregnancy Consumption of Peanuts or Tree Nuts by Mothers and the Risk of Peanut or Tree Nut Allergy in Their Offspring", JAMA Pediatrics, December 23, 2013, © American Medical Association
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Harmful Dietary Supplements Contribute To Alarming Rise In Drug-Related Liver Injuries In U.S.

December 21, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Drug-related liver injuries are on the rise, thanks to increased use of dietary supplements, a $32 billion industry in the U.S. largely unregulated and built on often-unproven claims that products will help people lose weight, build muscle or ward off a host of chronic illnesses. According to new U.S. research, dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries serious enough to require hospital care. That’s a seven percent increase, and may actually undercount the total number of cases. Studies show that the market has been deluged with adulterated and mislabeled products, and products packaged in potentially unsafe dosages.
The supplement industry says most products are safe, but acknowledges that harmful, contaminated products – often bodybuilding supplements tainted with steroids – are sold by a “criminal” fringe of suppliers.
Anahad O’Connor, "Spike in Harm to Liver Is Tied to Dietary Aids", The New York Times, December 21, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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CDC Says That, Except For Young Kids, Most Americans Still Consume Too Much Salt

December 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on eight years of data (2003 – 2010) on sodium intake in the U.S. says there were small declines in the prevalence of excess sodium intake among children through age 13, but none in adolescents or adults. “Despite slight declines in some groups, the majority of the U.S. population aged greater than or equal to one year consumes excess sodium,” the CDC notes. The agency adds that reducing sodium intake is a national health priority because excess sodium intake can lead to hypertension, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
"Trends in the Prevalence of Excess Dietary Sodium Intake — United States, 2003–2010 ", Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 20, 2013, © Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Body’s Circadian Rhythms Upset By High-Fat Diet, Causing Metabolic Problems

December 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The circadian clock – the internal body clock that regulates metabolic functions in the liver – can reprogram itself depending on the nutritional content, especially the fat content, of a person’s diet, U.S. researchers report. The day-night pattern of circadian rhythms affects about 15 percent of human genes, including those involved with metabolic pathways in the liver. A high-fat diet reprograms the liver clock, contributing to ailments such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. The researchers noted, however, that returning to a balanced, low-fat diet normalizes the rhythms. The findings could lead to the discovery of drug targets for controlled diets.
Kristin L. Eckel-Mahan et al., "Reprogramming of the Circadian Clock by Nutritional Challenge", Cell, December 19, 2013, © Elsevier Inc.
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African-American Women Need To Exercise More, Eat Less Than Caucasians To Lose Weight

December 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers who looked for metabolic reasons why African-American women don’t lose as much weight as white women when they diet or exercise have found that the African-American women had lower resting metabolic rates and generally expended less energy during activity. That means that to lose weight they need to eat fewer – and burn more – calories than Caucasian women. The U.S. study was conducted among 39 severely obese African-American and 66 Caucasian women who participated in a six-month weight loss program. The African-American women lost about seven pounds fewer than the Caucasian women, even though their starting body mass index, or BMI, measures were comparable and they consumed the same number of calories and exercised the same way.
J P DeLany et al., "African American women exhibit similar adherence to intervention but lose less weight due to lower energy requirements", International Journal of Obesity, December 19, 2013, © Nature Publishing Group
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Tomato-Rich Diet Reduces Risk Of Breast Cancer In Post-Menopausal Women

December 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who conducted a longitudinal cross-over study examining the effects of diet on 70 postmenopausal women found that a tomato-rich diet may help protect against breast cancer. A diet rich in tomatoes had a larger impact on the levels of hormones that regulate fat and sugar metabolism in women who maintained a healthy weight, the researchers said. Breast cancer risk rises in postmenopausal women as their body mass index climbs. With the tomato-rich diet, participants' levels of the hormone adiponectin climbed nine percent.
Adana Llanos et al., "Effects of Tomato and Soy on Serum Adipokine Concentrations in Postmenopausal Women at Increased Breast Cancer Risk", Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, December 18, 2013, © The Endocrine Society
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Skip The Supplements, Stick To Nutrient-Rich Foods, Studies Advise

December 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Dietary supplements may help some people with special nutrient needs, but generally eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods is the best way to get healthy nutrients needed to reduce the risk of chronic disease, U.S. studies have found. The studies, along with an accompanying editorial, say there really is not clear benefit for most healthy people to take vitamin supplements. Choosing foods that provide the most nutrients per calorie “can build a healthier life and start down a path of health and wellness”. Recommendations include a healthy breakfast, whole grains, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, omega 3-rich seafood and fiber- and folate-rich beans.
Eliseo Guallar et al., "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements", Annals of Internal Medicine, December 17, 2013, © American College of Physicians.
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Daily Apple – Or Statin – Equally Likely To Keep The Doctor Away

December 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Eating just one apple a day would prevent or delay around 8,500 vascular deaths such as heart attacks and strokes every year among adults over age 50 in the U.K., a British study has found. The same result could also be achieved, perhaps with more side effects and complications like muscular myopathy, by taking statins each day. The researchers used mathematical models to analyze the effect of eating an apple a day on common causes of “vascular mortality”. Subjects in the study did not already take statins. A daily statin given to 17.6 million more adults would reduce vascular deaths by 9,400 a year, while a daily apple given to 22 million Britons over 50 years would prevent 8,500 vascular deaths.
A. D. M. Briggs et al., "A statin a day keeps the doctor away: comparative proverb assessment modeling study", BMJ, December 17, 2013, © Briggs et al.
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Pediatricians Caution Against Consumption Of Raw Milk By Babies, Pregnant Women

December 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Expectant mothers, babies and young children should not consume unpasteurized (raw) milk or milk products – which can be legally purchased in 30 U.S. states – and should only consume pasteurized products, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Raw milk and milk products are a continuing source of bacterial infections that are especially dangerous to pregnant women, fetuses, the elderly, young children and people with compromised immune systems, the organization says. Raw milk and raw-milk products, such as soft cheeses, have become increasingly popular, because of unfounded claims of health benefits. From 1998 through 2009, there were 93 recorded outbreaks of disease resulting from consumption of raw milk or raw-milk products, causing 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations and two deaths.
Yvonne Maldonado et al., "Consumption of Raw or Unpasteurized Milk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children", Pediatrics, December 16, 2013, © American Academy of Pediatrics
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Multivitamins “Should Be Avoided”, Studies Say

December 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Two new clinical trials testing the health impact of dietary and other supplements found that most, including multivitamins, not only are useless at preventing chronic disease or death, some increase the risk of death among generally well-nourished populations. In an editorial accompanying the studies, clinicians and public health experts said the use of supplements is “not justified, and they should be avoided”. Vitamin industry representatives countered by saying a study reported last year on 15,000 men found that multivitamins reduced cancer risk. Worldwide vitamin industry sales in 2012 were $23.4 billion, up three percent from 2011. Forty percent of Americans say they took multivitamins or minerals between 2003 and 2006.
Jeanne Whalen, "Multivitamins Found to Have Little Benefit", The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2013, © Dow Jones & Co. Inc
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A Healthy Diet Does Cost More, But Is Offset By Much Lower Healthcare Costs

December 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Harvard scientists have figured out that it really is more expensive to eat healthy, but not that much more – only $1.50 a day, or $550 a year. In a meta-analysis of 27 studies across 10 affluent countries that compared the costs of eating healthy versus less-healthy meals, the researchers found that healthier diet patterns – for example, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts – cost significantly more than unhealthy diets (i.e., those rich in processed foods, meats, and refined grains). The researchers said the price difference is very small in comparison to the economic costs of diet-related chronic diseases, “which would be dramatically reduced by healthy diets”.
Mayuree Rao et al., "Do Healthier Foods and Diet Patterns Cost More Than Less Healthy Options? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis", BMJ Open, December 15, 2013, © Rao et al.
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Many Older Germans Taking Far Too Much Vitamin E, Magnesium, Not Enough Vitamin D

December 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
German scientists who investigated the prevalence of dietary supplement use among older people in the city of Augsburg found that those who took magnesium and vitamin were overdoing it. The data from men and women aged 65 and older showed that 54 percent of the women and 34 percent of the men take dietary supplements. In both sexes, scientists found, the ingested doses of magnesium and vitamin E frequently exceeded European Food Safety Authority tolerability standards. The doses were too high in 20 percent of the females and 33 percent of the males regularly taking magnesium and in 8 and 14 percent, respectively. Vitamin D, frequently recommended by doctors for this age group for bone health, was taken by relatively few older people.
S. Schwab et al., "The use of dietary supplements among older persons in Southern Germany — Results from the KORA-age study", The Journal Of Nutrition, Health & Aging, December 13, 2013, © Springer
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Dad’s Diet Prior To Offspring’s Conception Is Important To Fetal Health

December 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
What a man eats prior to the conception of his child can impact fetal and child development, according to a Canadian study in mice. Researchers compared the offspring of fathers with insufficient folate (vitamin B9) in their diets with the offspring of fathers whose diets contained sufficient levels. Paternal folate deficiency was associated with an increase – as much as 30 percent – in birth defects of various kinds in the offspring, compared to the offspring of mice whose fathers ate sufficient folate. Adequate folate – found in green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meats – in a mother’s diet has long been known to prevent miscarriages and birth defects. 
R. Lambrot et al., "Low paternal dietary folate alters the mouse sperm epigenome and is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes", Nature Communications, December 10, 2013, © Nature Publishing Group
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Blood-Brain Barrier Finding Means Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Treat Alzheimer’s

December 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Swedish research finds that omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements can cross the blood-brain barrier in people with Alzheimer's disease, affecting known markers for both the disease itself and inflammation. Earlier studies found evidence that omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain from Alzheimer’s, but the new findings strengthen the argument that omega-3s may benefit patients with certain forms of the seriously debilitating disease. Thirty-three patients participated in the study: 18 received a daily supplement; 15 received a placebo for six months. The results show that the omega-3 group – but not the placebo group – had higher levels of both DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid) in their cerebrospinal fluid and blood.
Yvonne Freund Levi et al., "Transfer of omega-3 fatty acids across the blood-brain barrier after dietary supplementation with a docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich omega-3 fatty acid preparation in patients with Alzheimer's disease", Journal of Internal Medicine, December 08, 2013, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Survey Sheds Light On Top Restaurant Menu Trends For 2014

December 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Local sourcing, environmental sustainability and nutrition – especially children's nutrition – are among the top trends for 2014 on America’s restaurant menus, according to a survey of 1,300 professional chefs. According to survey sponsor National Restaurant Association, these trends have been gaining momentum for several years. Five items gained most in trendiness since last year: nose-to-tail/root-to-stalk cooking, pickling, ramen, dark greens, and Southeast Asian cuisine. Items with the largest drop in “hot trend” rating were Greek yogurt, sweet potato fries, new cuts of meat, grass-fed beef, and organic coffee. Highest rankings as perennial trends went to fried chicken, Italian cuisine, frying, barbeque, and eggs benedict.
"What's Hot in 2014 culinary forecast confirms sourcing, nutrition trends", Report, National Restaurant Association, December 03, 2013, © National Restaurant Association
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Eating Organic Is Affordable, Trade Association Says

December 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The Organic Trade Association and an affiliate organization have published tips and recipes for eating organic affordably. The Organic Center says families of four that eat all-organic on a budget can enjoy the nutritious, sustainable benefits of an organic diet offering three meals a day for less than $25 a day. The main reason families avoid organic foods is the high cost, the OTA notes, but that shouldn’t be a barrier. Tips for saving money while buying organic include: buying in bulk, buying in season, planning for a month (rather than just a week), joining organic buyers clubs, etc.
"The Science and Value of Organic", Organic Trade Association , December 03, 2013, © Organic Trade Association
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Alternating Days Of Low-Calorie And Regular Eating Has Health, Weight Loss Benefits

December 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
People who have tried intermittent food restriction – not quite strict feasting and then fasting – have found some health benefits in the practice, though most evidence so far is anecdotal. Intermittent restriction involves eating between 500 and 650 calories a day, every other day. On alternate days eating is normal. One 41-year-old man who has tried it for about a year – after a month-long “angry, grumpy” adjustment period – has lost 50 pounds, stopped taking medication for diabetes and no longer has stomach ulcers. A British study among three groups of overweight breast cancer patients found that two intermittent restriction groups lost twice as much weight as the daily calorie restriction group.
Shirley S. Wang, "Short Fasts for Weight Loss vs. Traditional Diets", The Wall Street Journal, December 03, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Study Demonstrates How Low Vitamin D Levels Damage The Brain

December 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A new British study shows that vitamin D, which is important for bone health, is also important for the health of other tissues and organs, including the brain. Middle-aged rats fed a diet low in vitamin D for several months developed free radical damage to the brain, and many different brain proteins were damaged as identified by redox proteomics. The rats also showed a significant decrease in cognitive performance on tests of learning and memory. The researchers advised people whose vitamin D levels are low to eat foods rich in vitamin D, take vitamin D supplements, or get at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure each day.
Jeriel T.R. Keeneya et al., "Dietary vitamin D deficiency in rats from middle to old age leads to elevated tyrosine nitration and proteomics changes in levels of key proteins in brain: Implications for low vitamin D-dependent age-related cognitive decline", Free Radical Biology and Medicine, December 02, 2013, © Elsevier Inc.
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Diabetics Benefit More From Mediterranean Diet Without Breakfast

November 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A Mediterranean diet that includes only a cup of coffee for breakfast -- and a calorie-packed but low-carb/low-fat lunch -- is better for type 2 diabetics, according to a Swedish study. The single meal, which includes wine and fats from olives and fish, does not induce higher blood glucose levels than a low-fat diet lunch. The food provided in the study had an energy content from carbohydrates that was intermediate between the low-fat and the low-carbohydrate meals. The researchers noted that a significant aspect of the Mediterranean diet is often forgotten: it usually skips breakfast.
Hanna Fernemark et al., "A Randomized Cross-Over Trial of the Postprandial Effects of Three Different Diets in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes", PLoS ONE, November 28, 2013, © Fernemark et al.
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Further Benefits Of Low-Fat Diet Supplemented With Fish Oil For Prostate Cancer Patients

November 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A low-fat – less than 15 percent – diet combined with regular intake of fish oil supplements (five grams a day) lowered the levels of inflammation-causing substances in the blood of prostate cancer patients. The diet also lowered the cell cycle progression score, a measure used to predict the recurrence of the disease. The study is follows up earlier research that found a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements eaten for four to six weeks prior to prostate removal slowed the growth of cancer cells in human prostate cancer tissue compared to a traditional, high-fat Western diet.
C. Galet et al., "Effect of a Low-fat Fish Oil Diet on Pro-inflammatory Eicosanoids and Cell Cycle Progression Score in Men Undergoing Radical Prostatectomy", Cancer Prevention, November 18, 2013, © American Association for Cancer Research
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Reversing Obesity Also Reverses Premature Aging At The Genetic Level

November 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Stanford University researchers who analyzed genetic data from 51 patients who had undergone bariatric (weight loss) surgery found that telomere length – chromosomal biomarkers that play a role in cellular aging – increased. This was in addition to declines in body mass index, excess weight, bad cholesterol, and inflammation levels. Researchers found a significant positive correlation between weight loss and telomere length and in increases in HDL, the so called "good cholesterol". The findings, which need further study, indicate that premature aging caused by obesity can be reversed at a genetic level through bariatric surgery and other means.
John M. Morton et al., "Study Shows Bariatric Surgery May Turn Back the Effects of Aging", News release, study presented during ObesityWeek 2013, November 15, 2013, © Morton et al.
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Posting Calorie Counts In Fast-Food Restaurants Doesn’t Change Eating Habits

November 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Pres. Obama’s Affordable Care Act mandated that restaurant chains with more than 20 locations nationwide post the calorie content of all regular food and drink items on their menus. The idea, of course, was to encourage healthier food choices. Is the strategy working? Not according to a study by New York University researchers. Posting calorie content does not change purchasing habits or decrease the number of calories customers consume, especially among lower-income and less-educated consumers. The researchers said “more robust interventional policies” should be considered in neighborhoods where obesity is most prevalent.
Brian Elbel et al., "Mandatory Calorie Postings at Fast-Food Chains Do Not Influence Food Choice", News release, study presented at the Obesity Society's annual scientific meeting, November 15, 2013, © Elbel et al.
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“On-The-Go” Society Demands Nutritious Meals – Especially Protein – In A Bottle

November 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The market for ready-to-drink protein-fortified meals is booming, according to beverage industry observers. Mintel reported recently that 74 beverages containing protein were released in the first six months of 2013, compared to only 49 during the same period of 2012. A Wisconsin company that supplies protein ingredients to the beverage industry says America has become an “on-the-go” society that demands nutritious food – including protein – in a quick, convenient format. Consumers are also looking for “wholesome and natural” ways to consume a balanced diet. The basic trend? Beverages are no longer around just to wash down a meal – they’ve become the meal.
Jessica Jacobsen, "Protein-fortified beverages carving out niche in beverage market", Beverage Industry, November 15, 2013, © BNP Media
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Certain Herbs Improve Age-Related Cognitive Decline

November 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. neuroscientist who tested the effect of different herbs on the brains of mice with age-related cognitive decline – a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease – compiled some interesting findings. She found, for example, that enhanced extracts from special antioxidants in spearmint and rosemary improved learning and memory in the test animals. There were also signs of reduced oxidative stress, a sign of age-related mental decline. The researcher acknowledged, however, that while spearmint and rosemary are probably beneficial for humans, there is still no way to tell how much would have to be consumed for people to see the same benefits. “In other words,” she said, “I’m not suggesting that people chew more gum at this point.”
Susan Farr, "Can Certain Herbs Stave Off Alzheimer's Disease?", News release, study presented at the Neuroscience 2013 meeting, November 15, 2013, © Susan Farr
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Mediterranean Sauce Base Is Jam-Packed With Bioactive Micronutrients

November 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A sauce used as a base in Mediterranean, especially Spanish, cooking is rich in bioactive compounds like polyphenols and carotenoids that help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a study conducted in Spain. Researchers at the University of Barcelona identified the healthy antioxidants in sofrito –a blend of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and onion –  using high resolution mass spectrometry. At least 40 polyphenols were found, including vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene. The researchers said eating 120 grams of sofrito a day, added to pasta for example, would provide a total intake of 16 to 24 milligrams of polyphenols per portion and 6 to 10 milligrams of carotenoids.
Anna Vallverdú-Queralt et al., "Bioactive compounds present in the Mediterranean sofrito", Food Chemistry, November 15, 2013, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Coffee Reduces Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes, According To Studies

November 14, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A report summarizing the latest research on the health effects of coffee says basically that drinking a few cups of coffee a day does reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, although there is conflicting evidence on benefits of caffeinated versus decaffeinated coffee. The report said a couple of recent studies showed that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day lowered type 2 diabetes by 25 percent, compared to drinking none or fewer than two cups a day. One study said caffeine was probably not  responsible for the protective effect of coffee, while another found that regular but not decaffeinated coffee was much more protective against type 2 diabetes in women of all ethnic groups than in men.
"Good things in life: Can coffee help in type 2 diabetes risk reduction?", coffee&health, November 14, 2013, © Institute for Scientific information on Coffee (ISIC)
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Protein-Rich Breakfasts Curb Hunger Throughout The Morning

November 14, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study involving women (aged 18-55) found that the type of breakfast eaten has a lot to do with whether hunger pangs are experienced sooner or later in the day. High-protein breakfasts (e.g., sausage and eggs) stave off hunger longer, the U.S. researchers found, compared to low-protein (pancakes and syrup) breakfasts or no breakfast at all. Breakfasts in the tests all had the same number of calories (about 300), but the protein breakfasts contained 30 to 39 grams of protein. Protein eaters reported lower hunger, more fullness and less desire to eat after breakfast, and ate fewer calories at lunch.
Kevin C. Maki et al., "Protein Rich Breakfast Helps Curb Appetite Throughout The Morning", News release, study presented at the Obesity Society's annual scientific meeting, November 14, 2013, © Maki et al.
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Bariatric Surgery Performed At Non-Accredited Centers Is Far More Dangerous, Study Finds

November 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed data from 277,000 weight loss operations performed between 2008 and 2011 found that patients whose surgery was performed at accredited facilities were half as likely to die from the procedure. The mortality rate for bariatric surgery at an accredited surgical center was .08 percent, compared to .19 percent at a non-accredited facility. “This is not a small difference un outcomes,” the lead researcher said, noting that the study “reinforces that accreditation saves lives”. The study was released two months after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services dropped its seven-year-old accreditation requirement for bariatric surgery facilities performing surgery on Medicare patients.
Ninh T. Nguyen et al., "Significantly Higher Risk of Mortality at Non Accredited Bariatric Surgery Centers", News release, research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, November 13, 2013, © American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery
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Make Healthful Snacks Available To Students, And Their Diets Will Improve

November 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Students offered healthful, nutritious snacks in school – whether in vending machines or a la carte – tend to improve their overall dietary intake, according to new research. Michigan State University scientists tested standards similar to the USDA’s new Smart Snacks requirements scheduled to take effect in the summer of 2014. They found that schools that offered healthful snacks at lunchtime boosted students' overall daily consumption of fruit by 26 percent, vegetables by 14 percent and whole grains by 30 percent. Students also increased their consumption of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C.
Katherine Alaimo et al., "Effects of Changes in Lunch-Time Competitive Foods, Nutrition Practices, and Nutrition Policies on Low-Income Middle-School Children's Diets", Childhood Obesity, November 13, 2013, © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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Some Vegetable Oils Do Not Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

November 11, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers who published a study on the content of vegetable oils urge the Canadian government to rethink its advice on the health benefits of corn oil and safflower oil. The two commonly used oils have been on a list of oils recommended because of purported cholesterol-lowering effects. But the researchers found that the two oils contain high levels of omega-6 linoleic acid, but almost no heart-healthy omega-3 α-linoleic acids. Labels on corn oil and sunflower oil products are allowed the claim: “a reduced risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels”. That claim is not warranted in the case of omega-6 linoleic acids, the researchers argue.
Richard P. Bazinet and Michael W.A. Chu, "Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Is a broad cholesterol-lowering health claim appropriate?", Canadian Medical Association Journal, November 11, 2013, © Canadian Medical Association
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Animal-Based Diet Increases “Acid Load”, Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

November 11, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The Western diet, which tends to be rich in animal products and other highly acidic (acidogenic) foods, induces an acid load on the body that can cause chronic metabolic acidosis and reduce insulin sensitivity, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to French researchers. In a study of more than 66,000 women, the researchers found that it didn’t matter where the acid load came from – though fruits and vegetables were not the problem – the higher the overall acidity of the diet, the greater the risk of diabetes. However, contrary to general belief, “Most fruits, such as peaches, apples, pears, bananas and even lemons and oranges actually reduce dietary acid load once the body has processed them.”
Guy Fagherazzi et al. , "Dietary acid load and risk of type 2 diabetes: the E3N-EPIC cohort study", Diabetologia, November 11, 2013, © Diabetologia
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Artificial Trans Fats Are No Longer Necessary, Should Be Banned

November 11, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Advanced technological societies no longer need synthetically produced trans fats, nutrition experts say, and the U.S. FDA was correct in urging that they be removed from the American diet. Trans fatty acids, made by infusing vegetable oils with hydrogen, were helpful at one time because the process increases shelf life and makes products like margarine more like butter. But now, because eliminating trans fats from the Western diet would prevent 10,000 to 20,000 heart attacks and as many as 7,000 heart disease deaths a year, they should be banned.
Henry Pownall et al., "New FDA Proposal Trying to Eliminate Trans Fat", News release, Houston Methodist , November 11, 2013, © Pownall et al.
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