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Mood Disorders Can Be Improved With Vitamins, Minerals

July 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A Canadian researcher who studied 97 adults diagnosed with mood disorders found that those who took more vitamins and minerals over three days showed significantly improved mental functioning. Bonnie Kaplan said vitamin and mineral supplements could be an alternative to increasing psychiatric medicines for relief of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Another researcher noted that 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP), vitamins B and D, as well as ginkgo biloba and omega 3 supplements have been known to enhance mood.
Bonnie Kaplan, "Vitamins and Minerals Can Boost Energy and Enhance Mood", News release, study presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo, July 16, 2013, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Nuts – Especially Walnuts – Significantly Reduce Risks Of Cardiovascular And Cancer Death

July 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Spain who compared the effect of a Mediterranean diet (with extra virgin olive oil and nuts) to a simply low-fat diet among 7,000 older people found that people who eat nuts, especially walnuts, tend to live longer. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet, and ate nuts at least three times a week, had a lower BMI and smaller waist, were less likely to smoke and more likely to be physically active. Nut eaters were less likely to have type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and had a 39 percent lower mortality risk (walnut eaters had a 45 percent lower risk). Those who ate three servings (one ounce per serving) a week of nuts reduced the chances of death due to cardiovascular disease by 55 percent and to cancer by 40 percent.
Marta Guasch-Ferré et al., "Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial", BMC Medicine, July 16, 2013, © Guasch-Ferré et al.
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Mom Was Right: Chew Your Food Thoroughly To Get The Most Nutrient Benefits

July 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
It’s official: what mom said about taking the time to chew your food thoroughly is backed by science. According to a U.S. researcher who conducted a study on chewing and digesting almonds, the smaller the particle size the greater the “bioaccessibility” of the energy from the food being consumed. For the study, participants chewed almonds 10 times, 25 times or 40 times. Researchers measured their fecal fat and energy lost by the number of chews. The fewer the chews, the greater the number of larger particles were eliminated. With more chews, smaller particles were more readily absorbed into the system.
Dr. Roger Clemens, "Chew More to Retain More Energy", News release, panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo, July 15, 2013, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Scientific Evidence That Cranberries Do Inhibit The Bacterium Associated With UTIs

July 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian researchers report that in lab experiments cranberry powder inhibits the swarming and swimming activity ability of bacterium frequently implicated in complicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). The study also shows that higher concentrations of cranberry powder reduce the bacteria's production of urease, an enzyme that contributes to the virulence of infections. The findings may point the way to developing protection against urinary tract and other infections. In another study, the scientists find that cranberry derivatives could someday be used to prevent bacterial colonization in medical devices such as catheters.
"How cranberries impact infection-causing bacteria", EurekAlert, July 15, 2013, © AAAS, the science society
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Sixteen Percent Of Imported Hot Sauces Exceed Safe Levels Of Lead Content

July 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers at the University of Las Vegas who analyzed 25 bottles of hot sauce imported from Mexico and South America found that four brands – 16 percent – exceed 0.1 parts-per-million (ppm) lead content, which is the current standard set by the FDA for unsafe levels of lead in candy. The brands were all from Mexico, but from different manufacturers. Hot sauce as a regular part of a child’s diet, especially in Hispanic cultures, could contribute to unsafe levels of lead exposure. The researchers called for more rigorous screening of hot sauces imported from Mexico, as well as an appropriate FDA standard for dangerous lead levels in hot sauce.
Jennifer A. Berger et al., "An evaluation of lead concentrations in imported hot sauces", Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B, July 15, 2013, © Berger et al.
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Insufficient Vitamin D Often Leads To Functional Limitations Among The Elderly

July 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Elderly individuals who have low levels of vitamin D – available from sunlight or supplementation – are more likely to have mobility limitations and see their physical functioning decline over time, according to researchers in The Netherlands. Older people with these limitations often struggle with routine tasks such as dressing or climbing stairs, making them candidates for nursing home care and earlier mortality. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a decline in bone density, muscle weakness, osteoporosis or broken bones. As many as 90 percent of older people are vitamin D deficient
E. Sohl et al., "Vitamin D Status Is Associated With Functional Limitations and Functional Decline in Older Individuals", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 15, 2013, © The Endocrine Society
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Study Finds Significant Increase In Blood Pressure Levels Among Children, Adolescents

July 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed health data from 3,200 children and adolescents found in two time periods (1988-1994 and 1999-2008) found that the risk of high blood pressure rose 27 percent in 13 years. The researchers suggested that the elevated blood pressure readings were probably due to high body mass, larger waistlines and excess sodium consumption. The elevated readings did not establish that the children were hypertensive, only that the risk of hypertension had risen significantly. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney failure, accounting for about 350,000 preventable deaths a year in the United States.
B. Rosner et al., "Childhood Blood Pressure Trends and Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure", Hypertension, July 15, 2013, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Vitamin D Is Essential To Maintain Calcium Levels, Reduce Bone Fracture Risk

July 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The bone-aging process common among older adults speeds up when there is a deficiency of vitamin D in the blood, a new U.S. study finds. Vitamin D is required by the body to absorb calcium, which is needed to maintain bone health. Normally, the body synthesizes vitamin D in the skin following exposure to sunlight. But when vitamin D serum concentrations drop, the body starts removing calcium from bone to maintain normal calcium blood levels. That hampers the mineralization process required for the formation of new bone. The researchers suggest that physicians check vitamin D levels regularly and make sure they are at well-balanced levels to lower the risk of fractures as people age.
B. Busse et al., "Vitamin D Deficiency Induces Early Signs of Aging in Human Bone, Increasing the Risk of Fracture", Science Translational Medicine, July 10, 2013, © American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Artificially-Sweetened Drinks Can Be Harmful To Health, Too

July 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Dieting Americans who are aware of the adverse health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages often turn to low- or no-cal sweeteners as the more healthy choice. But recent studies in humans have shown that artificial sweeteners are also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. One 12-ounce serving of an artificially-sweetened drink is enough to boost the risk of health problems. According to opinion article author Susan Swithers of Purdue University, “the current public health message to limit the intake of sugars needs to be expanded to limit intake of all sweeteners, not just sugars."
Susan E. Swithers, "The Dark Side of Artificial Sweeteners: Expert Reviews Negative Impact", Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 10, 2013, © Elsevier Inc.
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Study Confirms Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Greater Risk Of Prostate Cancer

July 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Scads of studies in recent years have proclaimed the health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – anti-inflammatory EPA, DHA and EHA from fatty fish and fish oils – so it comes as a shock to hear that they may actually have a darker side. In a second large study using data from 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have confirmed that high concentrations of omega-3s were linked to a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade cancer, a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade cancer and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all prostate cancers. The researchers acknowledged they do not yet understand why.
T. M. Brasky et al., "Serum Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk", American Journal of Epidemiology, July 10, 2013, © Brasky et al.
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Study Links Timing Of Introduction Of Solid Foods In Babies’ Diet To Risk Of Diabetes

July 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Babies who start eating solid foods early (less than four months old) or late (at six months or later) are more likely to have type 1 diabetes, according to a U.S. study. The study found that early exposure to fruit and late exposure to rice/oats was linked to a greater risk of type 1 diabetes, while breastfeeding when wheat or barley were introduced seemed to be associated with a decreased risk. Incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing globally, more rapidly among children younger than age 5, and scientists are focusing more closely on the role of diet. The researchers suggested further research among larger study samples.
Brittni Frederiksen et al., "Infant Exposures and Development of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young", JAMA Pediatrics, July 08, 2013, © American Medical Association
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Foods Enriched With Soy Peptide May Someday Help Treat Metastatic Liver Cancer

July 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Consuming the soy peptide lunasin alone, without supplemental anti-cancer drugs, at 20 mg per kg of body weight cut the number of metastatic liver tumors in mice by 94 percent. The positive results by a U.S. research team followed a similar study in which mice with liver cancer were given lunasin injections along with the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin. That therapy resulted in a six-fold reduction in metastatic tumors to the liver. It would be difficult for humans to consume enough soy foods to reach the 20-30 mg/k levels, researchers said, but food companies could offer lunasin-enriched soy milk or yogurt. Lunasin-enriched flour is already available commercially.
Vermont P. Dia et al., "Potential of Lunasin Orally-Administered in Comparison to Intraperitoneal Injection to Inhibit Colon Cancer Metastasis", Journal of Cancer Therapy, July 08, 2013, © Dia et al.
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Legal Dietary Supplement Enhances Athletic Performance By Six Percent

July 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has determined that a nutrient found in shellfish and beets, and available as a powder or capsule supplement, can enhance athletic performance – legally – by as much as six percent. According to the researchers, who tested 16 college-age cyclists, betaine seems to contribute to creatine synthesis, which in turn improves strength, power and short-term performance. In the study, one week of betaine supplementation increased peak and mean anaerobic power by 5.5 percent compared to baseline measures.
J. Luke Pryor et al., "Effect of betaine supplementation on cycling sprint performance", Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, July 05, 2013, © Pryor et al.
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Organic Milk Found To Be Low In Important Mineral Nutrients

July 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Although organic farming has many benefits, one drawback is the fact that milk from cows on organic farms has lower concentrations of important nutrients, according to a Spanish study. The researchers compared the mineral and toxic elements of organic and conventional milk taken from 30 farms in northeast Spain. They found low levels of zinc, iodine and selenium in organic milk compared with conventional milk, mainly because organic farms do not routinely provide mineral diet supplements. The researchers suggested that organic farms provide animals with natural sources of iodine – an important element for children and pregnant women – such as seaweed.
F. Rey-Crespo et al., "Essential trace and toxic element concentrations in organic and conventional milk in NW Spain", Food and Chemical Toxicology, July 04, 2013, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Benefits Of A Low-GI Diet Need To Be Better Communicated

July 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Although the science is not yet fully understood by the average consumer, the benefits of eating low glycemic index (GI) foods are beginning to gain wider acceptance. The European Union, for example, recently approved the health claim that fructose-containing foods lead to a lower rise in blood sugar – the basic definition of glycemic index – as long as they lower sucrose or glucose in the product by at least 30 percent. Meanwhile, nutrition experts are backing the use of improved graphics on food packages to get the lower GI message across to shoppers. “’Slow releasing energy’ is a message that people understand,” a food company exec says. “Blood glucose management is something that people are starting to buy into.”
Caroline Scott-Thomas, "‘Perfect storm of science’ for low-GI fruit ingredients, says Taura chief", Bakery and Snacks, July 01, 2013, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Following Eight Lifestyle Recommendations Lowers Risk Of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

June 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study of 2,212 African American and white men (aged 40 to 70) newly diagnosed with prostate cancer has found that those who adhere to fewer than four of the eight lifestyle recommendations from the World Cancer Research Fund have a significantly higher risk of an aggressive form of the disease. The recommendations call for lower body mass index, more physical activity, eating foods of low caloric density, more fruits and non-starchy vegetables, lower levels of salt, more legumes and unrefined grains, and less red meat. Men who adhered to fewer than four of the eight recommendations had a 38 percent greater risk of aggressive tumors compared with men who followed four or more recommendations.
Lenore Arab et al., "Eating Right, Exercise May Help Prostate Cancer Patients Reduce Risk of Aggressive Tumors", News release, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, study to be published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, June 29, 2013, © Lenore Arab et al.
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When Deprived Of Sleep, People Tend To Eat More, Gain Weight

June 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. laboratory study of 225 healthy, non-obese adults showed that later bedtimes and restricted sleep – about four hours a night – leads to more eating and greater weight gain (around 2 kg on average for the sleep-deprived sample). Participants in the study slept either four hours or eight hours a night. Meals were served at scheduled times, and food was always available in the laboratory kitchen for snacking. Caloric intake rose during sleep restriction, due to an increase in the number of meals consumed during the late-night period of additional wakefulness. Participants also tended to eat more fatty foods during late-night hours than at other times of day.
Andrea M. Spaeth et al., "Effects of Experimental Sleep Restriction on Weight Gain, Caloric Intake, and Meal Timing in Healthy Adults", SLEEP, June 28, 2013, © Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC
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Hormones With Vitamin D And Calcium Reduce Risk Of Fractures In Postmenopausal Women

June 26, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that analyzed health data from 30,000 postmenopausal women provides evidence that women should take calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause for bone health, especially if the women are taking hormone supplements. According to the researchers, vitamin D and calcium supplements had a synergistic effect, providing much greater protection against hip fractures than with either therapy alone. Women who took only the supplements – without the hormone therapy – were as much at risk for fractures as women who took neither the supplements nor the hormones.
John A. Robbins et al., "Women's Health Initiative clinical trials: interaction of calcium and vitamin D with hormone therapy", Menopause, June 26, 2013, © The North American Menopause Society
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Food Addiction Associated With Consumption Of Highly-Processed Carbohydrates

June 26, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
There is a definite connection between food intake and the dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain, according to a new brain imaging study that supports the idea of food addiction. U.S. researchers measured blood glucose levels and hunger in 12 overweight or obese men, while also using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity during the four hours after a meal. That crucial time period influences eating behavior at the next meal. They found that consumption of highly-processed carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise quickly, then drop sharply soon after, sparking food cravings. The drop in blood sugar was associated with intense activation of a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors.
Belinda S. Lennerz et al., "Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 26, 2013, © American Society for Nutrition
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Study Finds Evidence That Vitamin D Reduces Depression Among Women With Diabetes

June 25, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A small U.S. pilot study has found evidence that vitamin D supplementation lowered blood pressure, improved mood and even led to weight loss among women with type 2 diabetes who were also depressed. According to the researchers, women with type 2 diabetes have worse health than men, probably because of depression, which affects more than 25 percent of women with diabetes. Depression makes it tougher for people to manage diabetes by eating right, exercising, taking medications, etc. The researchers have just received funding for a larger clinical study to see if vitamin D really does have an impact on depression.
Sue M. Penckofer et al., "Vitamin D Improves Mood and Blood Pressure in Women With Diabetes", News release, study presented at the American Diabetes Association scientific sessions, June 25, 2013, © Penckofer et al.
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Weight Loss Does Not Reduce The Risk Of Heart Attack Among Overweight Type 2 Diabetics

June 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A large multicenter U.S. clinical trial that assessed the effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention program found that overweight and obese type 2 diabetics in the program who lost weight were just as likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes as those in the control group. The trial, begun in 2001, involved more than 5,000 people at 16 clinical centers. The researchers said their findings should not discourage overweight people with type 2 diabetes from losing weight. On the contrary, they said, though weight loss did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, it did provide many other health benefits.
The Look AHEAD Research Group, "Cardiovascular Effects of Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Type 2 Diabetes", New England Journal of Medicine , June 24, 2013, © Massachusetts Medical Society
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Eating Fatty Fish – In Moderation – Reduces Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation

June 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Studies have shown that eating oily fish rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) –an irregular, often rapid heart rate leading to poor blood flow. But a new Danish study found a U-shaped association between eating oily fish and reduced risk of AF: eating too little – or too much – both raise the risk of AF. Data from a long-term study beginning in 1993 and 1997 involving 57,000 Danes (ages 50 to 64) found that the most benefit came when people consumed around 0.63 grams of fish-derived omega 3 fatty acids a day, or about two servings of fatty (oily) fish a week.
Thomas Rix et al., "U-Shaped Curve Revealed for Association Between Fish Consumption and Atrial Fibrillation", News release, study presented at the EHRA EUROPACE congress, June 24, 2013, © Rix et al.
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A Good Night’s Sleep Leads To Healthier Teen Food Choices

June 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study by U.S. researchers has found that well-rested teens tend to make healthier food choices than teens with poor sleeping habits. The study examined the association between sleep duration and food choices in a national representative sample of 13,284 teenagers. Sleep duration had an independent effect on healthy food decisions when compared with other factors including age, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status amongst others.  The research team concluded that addressing sleep deficiency may be effective in obesity prevention and healthier life choices in general.
Lauren Hale et al., "Sleep Deprivation in Teens Linked to Poor Dietary Choices", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, June 20, 2013, © Hale et al.
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Study Finds That High-Fructose Diet Damages The Liver

June 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study in monkeys has found that a diet high in fructose – the main ingredient in high fructose corn syrup – prevents the intestines from keeping bacteria away from the liver, causing liver damage. For six weeks, two groups of monkeys ate either a calorie-controlled diet consisting of 24 percent fructose or the same diet with a negligible amount of fructose. At the end of the six weeks, the U.S. researchers were surprised at how quickly the liver was affected and how extensive the damage was, especially without weight gain. Something about the high fructose levels caused the intestines to be less protective than normal, allowing the bacteria to leak out at a 30 percent higher rate.
Kylie Kavanagh et al., "Dietary fructose induces endotoxemia and hepatic injury in calorically controlled primates", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 19, 2013, © American Society for Nutrition
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Cocoa Reduces Obesity-Related Inflammation

June 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study by Penn State researchers has found that obese mice fed cocoa along with a high-fat diet experienced less obesity-related inflammation than mice not fed cocoa. The mice were fed the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa (about four cups of hot cocoa) each day for 10 weeks. The cocoa-fed mice had about 27 percent lower plasma insulin levels, an indicator of diabetes. The cocoa-fed mice also had 32 percent lower levels of liver triglycerides, an indicator of fatty liver disease, inflammation and diabetes.
Yeyi Gu et al., "Dietary cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice", European Journal of Nutrition, June 19, 2013, © Springer
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Antidepressants + Stress + High-Fat Diet = Long-Term Weight Gain

June 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Taking antidepressants even for a short period of time can lead to significant weight gain when combined with stress and a high-fat diet, according to an Australian study in rats. The finding is significant because millions of prescriptions for antidepressants are written each year -- at the same time that obesity rates are climbing. For the study, male rats were treated with the antidepressant fluoxitine after induced stress. These animals had significantly higher weight gain than control animals. Researchers concluded that short-term exposure to stress and antidepressants – rather than a high-calorie, high-fat diet alone – leads to long-term body weight gain.
Suhyun Lee et al., "Relationship Between Short-Term Antidepressant Use, Stress, High-Fat Diet And Long-Term Weight Gain", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society annual meeting, June 19, 2013, via Medical News Today, © MediLexicon International Ltd
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Therapeutic Nutrition Drink Treats Age-Related Muscle Wasting

June 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study testing the impact of a dietary supplement beverage (Juven) on 29 healthy adults over age 65 found that participants who drank the supplement twice a day had significant increases in lean body mass. Those who drank a placebo beverage did not have any change in muscle mass. Juven, manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, contains three amino acids required for cell growth and repair. The amino acid arginine also increases production of growth hormone and, in turn, a growth factor called IGF-1. Participants who took Juven had increased blood concentrations of IGF-1. Previous studies have shown that Juven successfully treats muscle-wasting in patients with cancer and AIDS.
Amy C. Ellis et al., "Dietary Supplement Linked to Increased Muscle Mass in the Elderly", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013, © Ellis et al.
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Diet High In Saturated Fats Can Be Harmful To The Developing Brain

June 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Adolescents whose diet is high in fat are at greater risk of learning and memory problems as adults, according to a study in mice by Spanish researchers. Mice fed a normal calorie but high-fat diet became moderately obese and showed significantly impaired spatial memory. The same diet did not affect adult mice. The researchers concluded that normal calorie diets high in saturated fats “have deleterious and long-lasting effects on the developing brain, even in the absence of diabetes”.
Mariano Ruiz-Gayo et al., "Adolescents' High Fat Diet Impairs Memory and Learning", News release, presentation at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013, © Ruiz-Gayo et al.
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Excessive Salt Consumption Puts Older Women At Higher Risk Of Bone Fractures

June 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A Japanese study has determined that postmenopausal women who consume a diet high in sodium have a much greater risk of suffering nonvertabral bone fractures. Past research has shown a link between excess sodium consumption and increased bone breakdown and decreased bone mineral density. The new study followed 213 postmenopausal women who had undergone osteoporosis screening. Participants with the highest sodium intake (an average of 7,561 mg per day) were four times likelier to have an existing nonvertebral fracture, compared with the groups who had lower sodium intakes. The researchers concluded that excessive sodium is a risk factor for bone fragility and is important to consider in dietary therapy for osteoporosis.
Kiyoko Nawata et al., "Excessive Salt Consumption Appears to Be Bad for Your Bones", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013, © Nawata et al.
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Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Risk Of Allergies Among Overweight Children

June 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists have discovered a link between vitamin D deficiency in obese or overweight children and a higher risk of asthma and allergies. The clinical study was conducted in Maryland among 86 adolescents ages 10 to 18. Fifty-four were overweight or obese; the rest were at a healthy weight. All of the overweight/obese participants were vitamin D deficient. The investigators found that vitamin D seems to regulate the levels of certain hormones and some biochemical measures of allergic disease. The lower the level of vitamin D, the greater the risk of asthma and allergies.
Candace Percival et al., "Vitamin D Deficiency May Raise Allergy and Asthma Risk in Obese Children, Teens", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013, © Percival et al.
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Study Pinpoints Biochemical Reason Why Insufficient Sleep Can Lead To Weight Gain

June 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Getting too little sleep at night increases the blood levels of an endocannabinoid molecule that stimulates the appetite, a U.S. study finds. Researchers tested the effects of less sleep and normal sleep on nine healthy men (average age 23 years). Participants who slept only 4.5 hours had a higher daytime level of the molecule (2AG) in the blood; those who slept 8.5 hours had lower levels of the molecule. The study provides a biochemical reason why insufficient sleep has been associated in previous studies with increased appetite and weight gain.
Erin Hanlon et al., "Too Little Sleep May Trigger the Munchies by Raising Levels of an Appetite-Controlling Molecule", News release, presentation at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013, © Hanlon et al.
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Gluten-Free Food, Beverage Market Continues To Boom

June 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Though there are only 1.8 million people in the U.S. with extreme digestive sensitivity to gluten (celiac disease) – and 78 percent of those don’t know it – somehow the market for gluten-free food products hit $4.2 billion in 2012. According to Packaged Facts, the main reason for this phenomenon – a CAGR of 28 percent between 2008 and 2012 – is the perception among consumers that gluten-free products are healthier. The food industry has certainly responded to that perception. People looking for gluten-free foods and beverages are finding a huge diversity of products in the marketplace, and numerous new product introductions within the past year.
"Gorging on Gluten-free", Prepared Foods, June 13, 2013, © BNP Media
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Prunes Are Officially Recognized BY The EU As Beneficial For The Digestive System

June 12, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
After six years of study, the European Food Safety Authority has ruled that scientific evidence confirms the beneficial effect of prunes on digestive health because of the amount of natural fiber they deliver. The ruling makes prunes the only natural, whole and dried fruit to achieve an authorized health claim in the EU. The application was pursued by the California Prune Board. Nutritionists recommend that people eat 25 grams of fiber every day. In the UK, however, only 20 percent of the population eats enough fiber. Three prunes provide one of the five-a-day fruit and vegetable requirements necessary for a healthy and balanced diet, the Board says.
"California Prunes Benefit Digestive Health Says European Food Standards Agency", News release, California Prune Board, June 12, 2013, © California Prune Board
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Main Ingredient In Green Coffee Bean Weight Loss Supplements Is Ineffective – Study

June 12, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have determined in an animal study that higher doses of the main ingredient found in popular green coffee bean weight loss supplements – a polyphenol known as chlorogenic acid, or CGA – does nothing to prevent weight gain. Obese mice fed a high-fat diet alone and a high-fat diet plus CGA gained the same amount of weight. In addition, the CGA mice were more likely to develop disorders that can lead to type 2 diabetes, and they accumulated more fat in their livers. The researchers concluded that CGA supplementation in a high-fat diet “does not protect against features of the metabolic syndrome”.
Aidilla Mubarak et al., "Supplementation of a High-Fat Diet with Chlorogenic Acid Is Associated with Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Lipid Accumulation in Mice", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 12, 2013, © American Chemical Society
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Small Is Delicious When It Comes To Cakes In The U.K.

June 11, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Cake lovers in Great Britain have latched onto a growing trend: small cakes, according to market researcher Mintel. Sales of small cakes have surpassed those of larger creations, surging 19 percent in the last two years. Small cakes – i.e., doughnuts, cake pops, muffins, macaroons, etc. – have a market value of £492 million ($772 million). Meanwhile, sales of large cakes have dipped three percent since 2011. The trend toward small cakes began with the surge in cupcake popularity in the 2000s and is continuing with the emergence of the “cronut” and possibly the éclair (in the U.K. at least). Two factors are driving the trend, according to experts: low price and the perception that small is healthier, or maybe less unhealthy.
Sarah Rainey, "Bite-sized treats taste all the sweeter", The Telegraph, June 11, 2013, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Large Genetic Study Proves The Link Between Low Vitamin D Levels And Hypertension

June 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers who analyzed data from 35 studies involving 155,000 people found a strong causal link between low levels of vitamin D and high blood pressure. The researchers said that observational studies had already detected the link, but the large-scale genetic study nailed down the cause and effect relationship. The findings strongly suggest that some cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented through vitamin D supplements or food fortification, the authors said.
Vimal Karani S et al., "Genetic Research Clarifies Link Between Hypertension and Vitamin D Deficiency", News release, presentation at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics, June 10, 2013, © European Society of Human Genetics
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Eating Healthy Vegetable Fats Reduces Risk Of Developing Lethal Prostate Cancer

June 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who collected data on 4,600 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer found that substituting healthy vegetable fats in the diet for animal fats significantly reduced the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer. Healthy vegetable fats include those found in olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds and avocados. Researchers followed the men from 1986 to 2010, during which time 1,064 men died from cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and other cancers. The authors found that men who replaced 10 percent of their total daily carb calories with healthy vegetable fats had a 29 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.
Erin L. Richman et al. , "Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality Fat Intake After Lethal Prostate Cancer", JAMA Internal Medicine, June 10, 2013, © American Medical Association
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Preschoolers From Higher-Income Families More Likely To Consume Junk Food

June 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Preschoolers from higher-income families who watch a lot of TV packed with food ads are more likely to indulge in junk food, and are therefore at greater risk of obesity, according to a new U.S. study. The findings come from interviews with more than 100 parents about home characteristics, including time spent viewing commercial TV, prerecorded commercial-free TV, and other media without food ads. Interviews with preschoolers were also conducted to see what they thought was a healthy meal. Interviewees were grouped into food-secure families (higher income) or food-insecure families (lower income). Food-secure families who could afford to give in to cravings when watching food ads were more likely to eat junk food, and their children had “distorted” ideas on what a healthy meal is.
Kristen Harrison and Mericarmen Peralta, "Parents With Heavy TV Viewing More Likely to Feed Children Junk Food", News release, study presented at the annual International Communication Association conference, June 08, 2013, © Harrison et al.
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Top Natural/Organic Food Trends Include Fortified Waters, Faux Meats, Nut Butters

June 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A Colorado consulting firm that analyzed data gleaned from food industry experts, trade shows and publications has compiled a list of the top ten natural food trends for 2013. According to Sterling-Rice Group, the hot trends in natural and organic foods include: wholesome foods for men (high-protein Powerful Yogurt and Tanka Bars); products that promise clarity, calmness and inner peace; salad greens beyond the bowl (teas, snacks and sweets); upscale, fortified water; textured beverages (chewy chia juice); fancy faux meats; allergen-free alternative proteins (pea protein); indulgent nut butters (fruit, chocolate, espresso and seeds and spices); South American superfoods (Brazilian acerola cherries); and nutritional desserts (detoxifying gingersnaps and high-protein frozen yogurt).
Monica Watrous, "Chewy juices and mock meats top natural food trends", Food Business News, June 07, 2013, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING CO
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Study Finds No Reason To Worry About Consuming Vegetable Oils

June 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A new U.S. study debunks claims that daily intake of linoleic acid-rich vegetable oils – e.g., soy, corn and canola – might be harmful to a person’s health. The researchers reviewed 15 clinical trials that studied nearly 500 adults as they consumed various forms of fats, including vegetable oils. They found no link between vegetable oil consumption and indicators of inflammation in the blood that are often associated with heart disease, cancer, asthma and arthritis. Earlier animal studies had found that a diet rich in linoleic acid (LA) boosts inflammation, but humans do not respond to LA in the same way.
Guy H. Johnson & Kevin Fritsche, "Effect of Dietary Linoleic Acid on Markers of Inflammation in Healthy Persons: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, June 07, 2013, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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Study Finds Link Between Vegetarian Diet And Lower Death Rates

June 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Many studies have associated vegetarian diets with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. Now a new U.S. study based on data collected from more than 70,000 Seventh Day Adventists has found a link between vegetarian diets and lower mortality rates. The researchers acknowledged that vegetarian groups tend to be older, better educated, and more likely to be married, to drink less alcohol, to smoke less, to exercise more and to be thinner.
Michael J. Orlich et al., "Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2", JAMA Internal Medicine, June 06, 2013, © American Medical Association
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Eating Cheese May Be A Good Way To Prevent Cavities In Children, Adolescents

June 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study conducted among 68 children ages 12 to 15 finds that eating cheese significantly lowers the risk of dental cavities by lowering the acidic environment in the mouth. The researchers looked at the dental plaque pH in the children’s mouths both before and after eating cheese, milk and sugar-free yogurt. A pH value lower than 5.5. (acidic) puts the teeth at risk for cavities, while a high pH lowers the risk. Drinking milk and eating yogurt had no effect on pH values, but eating cheese rapidly raised pH levels, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.
Ravishankar Lingesha Telgi et al., "In vivo dental plaque pH after consumption of dairy products", General Dentistry, June 05, 2013, © Academy of General Dentistry
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Study Finds That Four Lifestyle Changes Have Big Impact On Health

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Four lifestyle changes – regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, maintaining a normal weight and, most importantly, not smoking – have the biggest impact on heart health, a U.S. study has found. Researchers analyzed data collected over 7.6 years on more than 6,200 men and women ages 44-84 who were white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese. Those who adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors, researchers said.
Haitham M. Ahmed et al., "Low-Risk Lifestyle, Coronary Calcium, Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality: Results From MESA", American Journal of Epidemiology, June 03, 2013, © Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
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Women Who Take Calcium Supplements Live Longer

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Though some research has shown that calcium supplements, which are good for bone health, may be harmful to cardiovascular health, a new study finds that a 1,000 mg calcium supplement taken daily actually lowers the risk of death. Researchers monitored 9,033 Canadians between 1995 and 2007. Nearly 1,200 participants died during that time. The data showed that women who took calcium supplements had a lower mortality risk than those who did not. The researchers said the same benefits were seen among women no matter what the source: dairy foods, non-dairy foods or supplements. No similar effect was found in men, however.
David Goltzman et al., "Calcium and Vitamin D Intake and Mortality: Results from the Canadian Multi-centre Osteoporosis Study", Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (July 2013 issue), June 03, 2013, © The Endocrine Society
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Childhood Abuse Linked To Eating Disorders Among Adult Women

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have found a significant link between physical or sexual abuse during childhood and food addiction among adult women. The study analyzed data from 57,321 adults who took part in a nurses healthy study. Histories of physical and sexual abuse in 2001 and food addictions in 2009 were gathered. They found that women who had experienced physical or sexual abuse before age 18 were twice as likely to have a food addiction in middle adulthood than those without such as history. The researchers suggested that their findings indicate a need for careful screening of women with histories of trauma to help prevent addiction-like eating and treat any psychological impediments to weight loss.
Susan M. Mason et al., "Abuse victimization in childhood or adolescence and risk of food addiction in adult women", Obesity, June 03, 2013, © The Obesity Society
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Eating Ready-To-Eat Cereal For Breakfast Is Healthier For Adults Aged 19 To 50

June 3, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists who analyzed data from a national nutrition survey involving more than 14,000 adults ages 19 to 70 found that eating breakfast, particularly a ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal breakfast, “may contribute to healthy aging through reduced risk of chronic disease”. The study found that RTE cereal – compared to “other breakfasts” or no breakfast – was associated with lower body weight, lower body mass index, reduced abdominal fat and fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome among adults 19 to 50. The study, however, found that neither RTE cereal breakfasts or “other breakfasts” reduced the risk of being overweight or obese among those aged 51 to 70.
C.R. McGill et al., "Breakfast And Ready-To-Eat Cereal Consumption Are Associated With Improved Markers Of Cardiometabolic Health In Adults: Results From The National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey 2001 - 2008", The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice, June 03, 2013, © The Journal of Aging Research & Clinical Practice
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Fish Oil Blunts Adverse Cardiovascular Effects From Mental Stress

June 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study shows that fish oil seems to counteract the detrimental effects of mental stress on the heart. Participants who took fish oil supplements for several weeks had a blunted response to mental stress in several measurements of cardiovascular health, including heart rate and muscle sympathetic nerve activity. Future research might focus on the effects of taking fish oil for longer time periods and examining this effect on older populations or people with cardiovascular disease, the researchers said.
J. R. Carter et al., "Fish oil and neurovascular reactivity to mental stress in humans", AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, June 02, 2013, © American Physiological Society
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Swedish Research Highlights Health Benefits Of A Scandinavian Diet

May 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A “Nordic” diet rich in berries, root vegetables, legumes, whole grains, cabbage, rapeseed (canola) oil, nuts, poultry and fish reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, a Swedish study has found. Participants in the research followed either the Nordic diet or a diet that included butter, fewer berries and vegetables, and more red meat and white bread. The Nordic diet lowered cholesterol levels and inflammation associated with pre-diabetes, researchers reported.
M. Uusitupa et al., "Effects of an isocaloric healthy Nordic diet on insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and inflammation markers in metabolic syndrome - a randomized study", Journal of Internal Medicine, May 29, 2013, © Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine
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Cinnamon Compounds Prevent Neuron Abnormalities That Lead To Alzheimer’s Disease

May 23, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Two compounds found in the common aromatic spice cinnamon seem to prevent the development of the filamentous plaque found in the brain cells that characterize Alzheimer’s disease, according to new U.S. research. The protein tau plays a large role in the structure of the neurons: it is responsible for the assembly of microtubules in a cell. In Alzheimer’s, however, tau starts clumping together, forming insoluble fibers in neurons. The compound cinnamaldehyde prevents the tau knots. Epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant found in cinnamon, interacts with cysteines on the tau protein in a way similar to the protective action of cinnamaldehyde.
Roshni C. George et al., "Interaction of Cinnamaldehyde and Epicatechin with Tau: Implications of Beneficial Effects in Modulating Alzheimer's Disease Pathogenesis", Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, May 23, 2013, © Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
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Most Kids, Teens Ignore Fast-Food Restaurant Calorie Info When Buying Meals

May 22, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study based on a survey of 721 kids and teens ages 9 to 18 found that only four out of ten pay attention to calorie information posted on chain or fast-food restaurant menus. Girls were about 80 percent more likely than boys to say they checked calorie content when choosing food items. Kids who said they ate at a fast food/chain restaurant twice a week were half as likely to report using calorie information. One encouraging sign was that overweight youths were much more likely to pay attention to calorie information when choosing foods. “This may have potential to lead to improved food choices as a way to manage weight,” researchers said.
H. Wethington et al., "Use of calorie information at fast food and chain restaurants among US youth aged 9–18 years, 2010", Journal of Public Health, May 22, 2013, © Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom
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