Past Week in Nutrition Science (Jan 22nd–Jan 29th)


Past Week in Nutrition Science: This is an overview of interesting nutrition research published from Friday, January 22nd, to Friday, January 29th, 2016.


Past Week in Nutrition Science (Jan 22nd–Jan 29th)

Research Review

We reviewed two research articles in the past week: one from the European Journal of Nutrition, and the other from Advances in Nutrition.

Review: Very High Amounts of Fat May Reduce Insulin Sensitivity.

Article: A high‑fat, high‑saturated fat diet decreases insulin sensitivity without changing intra‑abdominal fat in weight‑stable overweight and obese adults.

Summary: This small, randomized, controlled trial examined the effects of a high-fat diet and a low-fat diet on insulin sensitivity.

The study indicates that a diet very high in fat lowers insulin sensitivity. However, the results may not be of much relevance in a real-life setting, because the amounts of fat on the high-fat diet far exceeded normal intakes.

Review: Changes in Gut Bacteria Are Linked to Diet and Disease.

Article: Can We Prevent Obesity-Related Metabolic Diseases by Dietary Modulation of the Gut Microbiota?

Summary: This review article provides an overview of the evidence linking the gut bacteria with obesity, metabolic diseases and diet.

New Research From Around the World

Numerous papers came out this week, many of which were published ahead of print.

As usual, we provide a summary of the most interesting or relevant papers, organized by subject.

  1. Obesity and Weight Loss
  2. Metabolic Syndrome
  3. Blood Sugar Control and Diabetes
  4. Heart Health
  5. Cancer
  6. Brain and Mental Health
  7. Digestive Health
  8. Kidney Health
  9. Lung Health
  10. Immune Health
  11. Healthy Aging and Longevity
  12. Nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals

1. Obesity and Weight Loss

Whole grain consumption trends and associations with body weight measures in the United States: results from the cross sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2012.

This observational study showed that those who eat the highest amounts of whole grains in the US are less likely to be overweight or obese. Also, they have better nutrient and fiber intakes.

The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight regain in adults with overweight and obesity.

This randomized trial examined whether the speed of weight loss has any effects on weight regain after dieting stops.

Weight regain was similar among those who lost weight rapidly and those who had a slower weight loss. However, losing weight rapidly caused a greater reduction in lean mass, which was associated with weight regain later on.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Is Associated With Change of Visceral Adipose Tissue Over 6 Years of Follow-Up.

This observational study suggests that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increases people’s chance of gaining fat in the abdominal cavity (visceral fat). Drinking diet soda had no such effects.

Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial.

This randomized trial compared the effects of high and low protein intake on changes in mass during 4 weeks of intense exercise and 40% calorie reduction.

Supplementing with high amounts of protein, 2.4 grams/kg (about 2.2 lbs) per day, caused greater fat loss and a higher gain in lean mass, compared to lower amounts of protein, or 1.2 grams/kg per day.

Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years.

Flavonoids are a large group of antioxidants found in plant foods. This observational study suggests that a high intake of flavonoid-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may protect against weight gain.

2. Metabolic Syndrome

Intake of fish and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and incidence of metabolic syndrome among American young adults: a 25-year follow-up study.

This observational study suggests that eating high amounts of omega-3 fats and fish in young adulthood may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome later in life. However, eating fried fish did not seem to have similar effects.

3. Blood Sugar Control and Diabetes

Beneficial role of vitamin K supplementation on insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: A review.

This review discusses the effects of vitamin K supplements on glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Post-prandial glucose and insulin responses of hummus alone or combined with a carbohydrate food: a dose–response study.

This small, randomized trial suggests that eating hummus is better for blood sugar control than eating white bread.

4. Heart Health

Association of Breakfast Intake With Incident Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease: The Japan Public Health Center-Based Study.

This observational study indicates that eating breakfast regularly may protect against stroke in Japanese people. Conversely, skipping breakfast does not seem to increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

5. Cancer

Associations of Red and Processed Meat with Survival among Patients with Cancers of the Upper Aerodigestive Tract and Lung.

This observational study suggests that eating high amounts of red or processed meat increases the risk of death among patients with cancer in the lungs or upper digestive tract. This association was weaker for unprocessed red meat.

Dietary lycopene intake and risk of prostate cancer defined by ERG protein expression.

Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid found in high amounts in tomatoes, guavas and watermelons. This observational study suggests that getting high amounts of lycopene from the diet may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

6. Brain and Mental Health

Trans fatty acid intake is related to emotional affect in the Adventist Health Study-2.

Previous studies suggest that trans fats may increase the risk of depression. This observational study indicates that a high intake of trans fats from margarine and baked products may interfere with the ability to think clearly under emotional stress.

Hazelnut and neuroprotection: Improved memory and hindered anxiety in response to intra-hippocampal Aβ injection.

This rat study showed that eating hazelnuts, 800 mg/kg/day for 1 week, may improve memory, reduce anxiety-related behavior and reduce inflammatory markers. However, human trials need to confirm these findings.

7. Digestive Health

Dietary Patterns and Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Europe: Results from the EPIC Study.

This observational study suggests there are no specific dietary patterns associated with the risk of inflammatory bowel disease. However, a high intake of sugary drinks was a significant risk factor for those who had a low vegetable intake.

Additionally, there was a similar association for cases that occurred in the first two years after dietary assessment.

Distinct Microbiotas are Associated with Ileum-Restricted and Colon-Involving Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract. Some scientists believe that inflammatory bowel disease may be caused by an adverse change in the gut microbiota.

This study indicates that Crohn’s disease is associated with distinct types of bacteria, which vary depending on the location in the digestive tract. For example, high numbers of Fusobacterium were associated with Crohn’s disease in the ileum.

Microbiome–Epigenome Interactions and the Environmental Origins of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) seems to be on the rise among children. This review discusses the available evidence regarding the role of nutrition and environmental factors in the development of IBD in children.

Breast Milk Protects Against Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Infants at High Risk for Autism During Early Development.

Children with autism or related disorders often have digestive problems. This observational study suggests that breastfeeding and late weaning may help prevent digestive problems for infants who are at a high risk of autism-spectrum disorders.

8. Kidney Health

Association between probiotic and yogurt consumption and kidney disease: insights from NHANES.

This observational study indicates that eating probiotic yogurt frequently, or supplementing with probiotics, may reduce the risk of kidney disease.

9. Lung Health

Effect of Prenatal Vitamin D on Asthma in Offspring.

Studies about asthma and vitamin D deficiency early in life have provided inconsistent results. This study suggests that the asthma risk of 3-year-old children is not affected by their mother’s vitamin D intake while pregnant.

Vitamin D 3 Supplementation During Pregnancy and Childhood Wheezing.

This randomized, controlled trial in pregnant women examined the effects of vitamin D supplements on childhood asthma outcomes.

The study showed that 2,800 IU of vitamin D per day did not reduce the risk of asthma symptoms in the children, compared to supplementing with 400 IU/day.

10. Immune Health

Effect of zinc supplementation on serum zinc concentration and T cell proliferation in nursing home elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

An adequate zinc status is essential for the function of the immune system.

This randomized, controlled trial in elderly people showed that zinc supplementation, 30 mg per day for 3 months, improved immune function.

11. Healthy Aging and Longevity

Association between leukocyte telomere length and serum carotenoid in US adults.

Telomeres are sequences of DNA whose lengths are a marker of aging. Previous studies show that oxidative stress speeds up the shortening of the telomeres, whereas antioxidants delay the shortening.

This study in US adults also found that circulating levels of carotenoid antioxidants were significantly associated with longer telomeres in white blood cells.

Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause mortality: evidence from a large Australian cohort study.

This observational study suggests that eating high amounts of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of death from all causes.

12. Nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals

A systematic comparison of sugar content in low-fat vs regular versions of food.

This study confirmed the popular belief that fat-reduced foods generally contain more sugar than their full-fat versions.

Written by Aline Pilani

Hey. I’m Aline Pilani. I am a certified personal trainer and nutritionist and have spent the last 10 years of my life helping people losing weight, increase their health and confidence, and I truly want to do the same for you.

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