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Past Week in Nutrition Science (Dec 11th–Dec 18th)

Past Week in Nutrition Science: This is an overview of interesting nutrition research published from Friday, Dec 11th, to Friday, Dec 18th, 2015.

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Past Week in Nutrition Science (Dec 11th–Dec 18th)

Research Reviews

This week, we reviewed two articles — one from the International Journal of Obesity, and the other from Clinical Nutrition.


Review: Eating Late at Night Burns Fewer Calories.

Study: Is the timing of caloric intake associated with variation in diet-induced thermogenesis and in the metabolic pattern? A randomized cross-over study.

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.


Review: Probiotics May Lower Blood Sugar in Diabetics.

Study: Clinical application of probiotics in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

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.

  1. Obesity and Weight Loss
  2. Blood Sugar Control and Diabetes
  3. Heart Health
  4. Cancer
  5. Appetite and Eating
  6. Brain and Mental Health
  7. Infections and Immune Health
  8. Pregnancy Health
  9. 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.


Control of overweight and obesity in childhood through education in meal time habits. The ‘good manners for a healthy future’ programme.

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.


A comparison of effects of lard and hydrogenated vegetable shortening on the development of high-fat diet-induced obesity in rats.

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

Indices of dietary fat quality during mid-pregnancy is associated with gestational diabetes Quality of dietary fat and gestational diabetes.

This observational study suggests that high dietary intake of a type of fat calledalpha-linoleic acid may protect against diabetes during pregnancy.


Acute effect of red meat and dairy on glucose and insulin: a randomized crossover study.

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

Irregularity of energy intake at meals: prospective associations with the metabolic syndrome in adults of the 1946 British birth cohort.

This observational study indicates that irregular eating patterns may increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.


Astaxanthin has no effect on arterial stiffness, oxidative stress, or inflammation in renal transplant recipients: a randomized controlled trial (the XANTHIN trial).

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is linked to atherosclerosis, which causes the arteries to narrow and stiffen.

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.


Is there a causal role for homocysteine concentration in blood pressure? A Mendelian randomization study.

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.


Effects of grape seed extract beverage on blood pressure and metabolic indices in individuals with pre-hypertension: a randomised, double-blinded, two-arm, parallel, placebo-controlled trial.

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.


A systematic review and meta-analysis of nut consumption and incident risk of CVD and all-cause mortality.

This meta-analysis of observational studies suggests that eating a lot of nuts may lower the risk of death from heart disease.


Beneficial Effects of Omega 3 and Vitamin E Co-Administration on Gene Expression of SIRT1 and PGC1α and serum antioxidant enzymes in patients with Coronary Artery 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.


Association of Coffee Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in 3 Large Prospective Cohorts.

This observational study suggests that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of death from heart disease, neurological diseases and suicide.


4. Cancer

A prospective study of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and prostate cancer risk.

This prospective observational study indicates that vitamin D levels are not associated with prostate cancer risk.


Dietary magnesium, calcium:magnesium ratio and risk of reflux oesophagitis, Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma: a population-based case–control study.

This observational study suggests that high magnesium intake may protect againstreflux esophagitis and Barrett’s esophagus, both of which may increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

However, the study found no significant association between magnesium intake and esophageal cancer.


Inflammatory potential of diet and risk for hepatocellular cancer in a case–control study from Italy.

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

Eight-day consumption of inulin added to a yogurt breakfast lowers postprandial appetite ratings but not energy intakes in young healthy females: a randomised controlled trial.

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

A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial investigating the behavioural effects of vitamin, mineral and n -3 fatty acid supplementation in typically developing adolescent schoolchildren.

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

Cow’s milk and fermented rice with CBA L74 prevent infectious diseases in children: A randomized controlled trial.

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

Omega-3 long-chain PUFA intake during pregnancy and allergic disease outcomes in the offspring: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies and randomized controlled trials.

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.


Genetic polymorphisms that affect selenium status and response to selenium supplementation in United Kingdom pregnant women.

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

Caffeine improves performance in double poling during acute exposure to 2,000-m altitude.

This experiment showed that consuming caffeine (4.5 mg/kg) increased physical performance at an altitude of 2,000 meters.


Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling.

This randomized crossover trial found that 40 grams of dark chocolate may reduce the oxygen cost of short-duration, moderate-intensity exercise.

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