Past Week in Nutrition Science: This is an overview of interesting nutrition research published from Friday, Dec 11th, to Friday, Dec 18th, 2015.
Past Week in Nutrition Science (Dec 11th–Dec 18th)
This week, we reviewed two articles — one from the International Journal of Obesity, and the other from Clinical Nutrition.
Summary: This randomized, crossover trial compared the effects of breakfast and dinner on metabolic rate. Breakfast caused a greater increase in calories burned, compared to an identical meal eaten in the evening.
Summary: This randomized trial examined the effects of fermented goat’s milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis, compared to milk with Streptococcus thermophilus.
L. acidophilus and S. thermophilus had beneficial effects on blood sugar control and blood lipids.
New Research From Around the World
Many research articles and reviews were published this week. As usual, we selected the most interesting or relevant articles and categorized them by subject.
- Obesity and Weight Loss
- Blood Sugar Control and Diabetes
- Heart Health
- Appetite and Eating
- Brain and Mental Health
- Infections and Immune Health
- Pregnancy Health
- Sports Nutrition
1. Obesity and Weight Loss
Decreasing the number of small eating occasions (<15 % of total energy intake) regardless of the time of day may be important to improve diet quality but not adiposity: a cross-sectional study in British children and adolescents.
This observational study suggests that meal or snack frequency has no effects on body weight in British children and adolescents.
In this study, adolescents were given instructions to eat slower but not change meal size. After one year, those who were given advice to eat slower had lost 3.4% of their body weight, while the control group experienced an 8.2% weight gain.
This mouse study found that a lard-based, high-fat diet promoted weight gain, obesity and insulin resistance more than a high-fat diet based on hydrogenated vegetable shortening.
2. Blood Sugar Control and Diabetes
This observational study suggests that high dietary intake of a type of fat calledalpha-linoleic acid may protect against diabetes during pregnancy.
This randomized crossover trial compared the effects of a dairy meal and a red meat meal on blood sugar and insulin. Both meals contained equal amounts of carbs.
The study found that dairy and red meat had similar effects on the post-meal increase in blood sugar and insulin.
3. Heart Health
This observational study indicates that irregular eating patterns may increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
This randomized controlled trial in kidney transplant recipients found that supplementing with astaxanthin, 12 mg per day for 12 months, had no effects on inflammation, arterial stiffness or oxidative stress.
Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with various chronic diseases, such as heart disease. Fortunately, B-vitamins can help lower these levels.
However, whether homocysteine has any direct role in heart disease is a matter of debate. This observational study did not find any significant links between homocysteine levels and the risk of high blood pressure.
This randomized controlled trial showed that drinking juice containing 300 mg of grape seed extract, every day for 6 weeks, caused a significant decrease in blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension.
This meta-analysis of observational studies suggests that eating a lot of nuts may lower the risk of death from heart disease.
This randomized controlled trial showed that supplementing with both omega-3 fat (4 g/day) and vitamin E (400 IU/day) for two months may improve the health of patients with coronary heart disease.
More specifically, omega-3 and vitamin E reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, and appeared to increase the expression of health-associated genes.
This observational study suggests that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of death from heart disease, neurological diseases and suicide.
This prospective observational study indicates that vitamin D levels are not associated with prostate cancer risk.
However, the study found no significant association between magnesium intake and esophageal cancer.
This observational study indicates that diets promoting inflammation may increase the risk of hepatocellular cancer, the most common type of liver cancer.
5. Appetite and Eating
Inulin is a soluble dietary fiber. Studies on its effectiveness for weight loss have provided conflicting results.
This 8-day, randomized controlled trial showed that eating yogurt containing 6 grams of inulin decreased the participants’ appetite. However, it did not have any significant effects on calorie intake.
6. Brain and Mental Health
This 12-week, randomized controlled trial examined the effects of supplementing with vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fats on behavioral problems and anti-social behavior in adolescents.
The study indicates that supplementation might improve behavior, but the strength of the evidence is poor.
7. Infections and Immune Health
This randomized controlled trial suggests that consuming cow’s milk or rice fermented with a probiotic called Lactobacillus paracasei every day may reduce the risk of common infectious diseases in children.
8. Pregnancy Health
This meta-analysis indicates that omega-3 consumption among pregnant mothers may reduce the future risk of allergies in the baby. However, the available evidence is inconsistent.
Low selenium has been associated with several adverse conditions during pregnancy. This study shows that some women are genetically predisposed to low selenium levels, and supplementation is not as effective for them as for others.
9. Sports Nutrition
This experiment showed that consuming caffeine (4.5 mg/kg) increased physical performance at an altitude of 2,000 meters.
This randomized crossover trial found that 40 grams of dark chocolate may reduce the oxygen cost of short-duration, moderate-intensity exercise.