Past Week in Nutrition Science (Feb 21th–Feb 27th)


Past Week in Nutrition Science: This is an overview of interesting research articles published from Friday, Oct 16th, to Friday, Oct 23rd.


Past Week in Nutrition Science (Feb 21th–Feb 27th)

Research Reviews

This week we reviewed two research papers, one from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and one from Obesity.


Link: The Paleo Diet May Help Fight Metabolic Syndrome.

Study: Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Summary: This was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared the paleo diet with other dietary patterns.

The study showed that the paleo diet may have moderate benefits for metabolic syndrome, compared to diets based on official nutrition guidelines.


Link: Probiotics May Help Prevent Weight Gain.

Study: Probiotic supplementation attenuates increases in body mass and fat mass during high-fat diet in healthy young adults.

Summary: This randomized controlled trial examined whether a broad-spectrum probiotic supplement could reduce weight gain on a high-fat, high-calorie diet.

The study showed that people who took a probiotic supplement gained significantly less weight than those who took the placebo.

Other New Research From Around the World

Tons of new studies were published this week. Many journals released new papers online and a new issue of the British Journal of Nutrition came out.

Here is an overview of the most interesting nutrition research, categorized by subject.

Obesity and Weight Loss

NMR-based metabolic profiling in healthy individuals overfed different types of fat: links to changes in liver fat accumulation and lean tissue mass.

This paper presented results from the LIPOGAIN study, a randomized trial that compared the effects of eating high amounts of saturated fats (SF) or polyunsaturated fats (PF).

SF caused greater total fat gain and accumulation in the liver and belly than PF, even though the weight gain was the same. It was hypothesized that overfeeding with PF may be associated with higher insulin sensitivity than overfeeding with SF.

Effects of overweight and obesity on motor and mental development in infants and toddlers.

This observational study suggests that obese, young children are more likely to have delays in mental and motor development than their normal-weight counterparts.

Lean and obese dietary phenotypes: differences in energy and substrate metabolism and appetite.

This study examined the effects of a high-fat meal on appetite and metabolic profiles in lean, high-fat consumers; lean, low-fat consumers; and obese, high-fat consumers (OHF).

Appetite ratings were similar for all, but the LHF group had greater fat burning capacity than the LLF group. The hunger/appetite hormones ghrelin and PYY changed more in the lean groups, but this response was weaker in the OHF group.

Dietary Intervention for Overweight and Obese Adults: Comparison of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets. A Meta-Analysis.

This was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy of low-carb and low-fat diets for weight loss. It concluded that both diets lead to significant weight loss. However, low-carb diets seem to be slightly more effective.

Metabolic Syndrome

High serum carotenoids associated with lower risk for the metabolic syndrome and its components among Japanese subjects: Mikkabi cohort study.

This observational study suggests that a diet rich in carotenoids may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in Japanese people.

Vitamin D status is associated with cardiometabolic markers in 8–11-year-old children, independently of body fat and physical activity.

This observational study suggests that good vitamin D status may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, poor blood lipid profile and metabolic syndrome.

Magnesium status and the metabolic syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

This meta-analysis of observational studies showed that high magnesium levels are associated with reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. However, there was a large amount of variability between individuals.

Heart Health

Vinegar decreases blood pressure by down-regulating AT1R expression via the AMPK/PGC-1α/PPARγ pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

This rat study found that vinegar may lower blood pressure. The effect is caused by the acetic acid in vinegar.

Food supplementation with rice bran enzymatic extract prevents vascular apoptosis and atherogenesis in ApoE−/− mice.

This study showed that long-term supplementation with rice bran extract lowers cholesterol levels and prevents clogged blood vessels in mice that are predisposed to atherosclerosis.

Blood Sugar Control and Type 2 Diabetes

The glycaemic outcomes of Cinnamon, a review of the experimental evidence and clinical trials.

This reviewed the evidence of cinnamon’s effect on blood sugar control and type 2 diabetes. It concluded that cinnamon may be useful for treating type 2 diabetes, when combined with mainstream treatment and other healthy lifestyle strategies.

However, the evidence is inconclusive, and the high coumarin content of cassia cinnamon is a health concern. Ceylon cinnamon is a safer option.

The effect of macronutrients on glycaemic control: a systematic review of dietary randomised controlled trials in overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes in which there was no difference in weight loss between treatment groups.

This systematic review concludes that there is no optimal diet for treating type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese people. Losing weight is crucial, but the dietary strategy is less important.

Urinary isoflavonoids and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective investigation in US women.

Isoflavonoids, or isoflavones, are plant compounds found in legumes, especially soybeans. Two of the most common isoflavonoids in soy are daidzein and genistein.

This observational study found that the amount of daidzein and genistein in urine was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes in US women.


Inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell migration by plasma anthocyanins isolated from healthy volunteers receiving an anthocyanin-rich berry juice.

Anthocyanins are antioxidant plant compounds found in many colorful fruits and vegetables. After they are absorbed from the digestive tract, they are metabolized by the liver.

This study indicates that anthocyanin metabolites, isolated from the blood of healthy adults, may help prevent the spread of pancreatic cancer cells.

A Trial of Calcium and Vitamin D for the Prevention of Colorectal Adenomas.

Previous observational studies indicate that high intake of vitamin D or calcium may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

This double-blind, randomized controlled trial found that daily supplementation with calcium (1200 mg), vitamin D3 (1000 IU) or a combination of both did not reduce the risk of recurrent colorectal cancer during a period of 3 to 5 years.

An update on Curcuma as a functional food in the control of cancer and inflammation.

Curcumin is a plant compound found in the Indian spice turmeric. This review discusses recent studies on the potential use of curcumin in the treatment of inflammation and cancer. Overall, its efficacy is considered questionable.

Egg and cholesterol intake and incident type 2 diabetes among French women.

This observational study in French women found that high cholesterol intake was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, egg consumption was not associated with type 2 diabetes.

Digestive Health

Effect of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis , BB-12®, on defecation frequency in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial.

This randomized controlled trial found that supplements of the probiotic bacteriumBifidobacterium animalis can increase the frequency of bowel movements.

This suggests that B. animalis may improve digestive health and reduce the risk of constipation.

Brain Health and Function

Consumption of anthocyanin-rich cherry juice for 12 weeks improves memory and cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate dementia.

Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidant polyphenols responsible for the color of many fruits and vegetables.

This randomized controlled trial found that drinking 200 ml of cherry juice, rich in anthocyanins, daily for 12 weeks, may improve memory in older people with mild or moderate dementia. Juice that was low in anthocyanins did not have similar effects.

Prospective study on the association between diet quality and depression in mid-aged women over 9 years.

This observational study indicates that long-term adherence to an overall healthy diet may reduce the risk of depression.

The impact of gut microbiota on brain and behaviour: implications for psychiatry.

This review suggests that certain psychiatric disorders might be treated by changing the bacterial community in the gut.

Gluten-free and casein-free diets in the therapy of autism.

This review concludes that most studies on the efficacy of gluten-free and casein-free diets for treating autism are poorly designed. There is limited evidence to support the use of gluten-free and casein-free diets in the treatment of autism.

The beneficial effects of berries on cognition, motor behaviour and neuronal function in ageing.

This study of rats suggests that eating berries may improve motor function and cognition, especially memory.

Respiratory Health

Intake of high fructose corn syrup sweetened soft drinks is associated with prevalent chronic bronchitis in U.S. Adults, ages 20–55 y.

This cross-sectional observational study suggests that high consumption of sugary soft drinks, sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, may contribute to chronic bronchitis.

Infections and Immune Health

IgY antibodies in human nutrition for disease prevention.

This review hypothesizes that IgY antibodies, found in egg yolks, may be useful in the treatment or prevention of bacterial infections in the digestive system.

Allergies and Intolerance

B vitamins related to homocysteine metabolism in adults celiac disease patients: a cross-sectional study.

The only known treatment for celiac disease is the gluten-free diet. However, this small, cross-sectional observational study indicates that celiac disease patients adhering to a gluten-free diet had low folate intake and low levels of folate in blood.


Low-fat and low-protein diets are associated with hearing discomfort among the elderly of Korea.

This observational study showed that low protein and fat intake was associated with hearing problems among elderly people.


Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Events Related to Dietary Supplements.

This study estimated that dietary supplements are responsible for 23,000 emergency department visits every year in the US. This includes 2154 hospitalizations. Weight loss supplements were most often involved.

Higher plasma quercetin levels following oral administration of an onion skin extract compared with pure quercetin dihydrate in humans.

Quercetin is one of the most common antioxidant flavonoids found in plant foods. It is also sold as a supplement.

This randomized controlled trial showed that quercetin aglycone, found in the skin of onions, is much better absorbed than quercetin dihydrate, found in many supplements.

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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