Past Week in Nutrition Science (Nov 13th–Nov 20th)


Past Week in Nutrition Science: This is an overview of interesting nutrition studies published from Friday, Nov 13th, to Friday, Nov 20th.


Past Week in Nutrition Science (Nov 13th–Nov 20th)

Research Reviews

This week, we reviewed two articles: one published in PLoS One, and the other from the International Journal of Obesity.

Science of Diet Review: Everything in Moderation: Helpful or Harmful Advice?

Study: Everything in Moderation — Dietary Diversity and Quality, Central Obesity and Risk of Diabetes.

Summary: This was an observational study that examined how dietary diversity or quality is linked with the risk of weight gain and diabetes.

The study doesn’t support the idea that eating many types of food promotes better health. It suggests that people should focus on dietary quality, rather than diversity.

Science of Diet Review: Slow Down! Eating Too Fast May Cause Weight Gain.

Study: Association Between Eating Rate and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Summary: This was a meta-analysis of observational studies examining the association between the speed of eating and obesity.

The study concluded that eating quickly may increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. However, randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm this findings.

New Research From Around the World

Currently, we follow over 100 journals in the field of nutrition and medicine, sifting through the headlines and bringing you summaries of the most interesting papers.

As usual, we organize the week’s selection by subject.

Obesity and Weight

Mediterranean and Nordic diet scores and long-term changes in body weight and waist circumference: results from a large cohort study.

This prospective observational study suggests that adhering to the Nordic diet or the Mediterranean diet, at one point, does not predict future changes in body weight or waist circumference.

Sweet taste of saccharin induces weight gain without increasing caloric intake, not related to insulin-resistance in Wistar rats.

This rat study showed that yogurt sweetened with saccharin caused greater weight gain, compared to non-sweetened yogurt. This was despite a similar calorie intake.

This finding suggests that saccharin may lead to greater weight gain, without increasing calorie intake. There were no differences in leptin, peptide YY or insulin resistance between groups. However, the results need to be confirmed in humans.

Diabetes and Blood Sugar Control

A Randomised Crossover Trial: The Effect of Inulin on Glucose Homeostasis in Subtypes of Prediabetes.

This 2-week controlled crossover trial in people with pre-diabetes indicates that taking 30 grams of inulin per day may improve insulin sensitivity, compared to an equal amount of cellulose.

Supporting previous studies, these findings suggest that fermentable carbs, such as inulin, may help treat type 2 diabetes.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial on probiotic soy milk and soy milk: effects on epigenetics and oxidative stress in patients with type II diabetes.

This randomized controlled trial showed that drinking 200 ml of probiotic soy milk each day, for 8 weeks, improved antioxidant status and decreased DNA methylation in type 2 diabetics. This indicates that probiotics may help treat type 2 diabetes.

Heart Health

A Systematic Review of High-Oleic Vegetable Oil Substitutions for Other Fats and Oils on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Implications for Novel High-Oleic Soybean Oils.

This scientific review concludes that replacing saturated fat or trans fat with high-oleic acid oil may benefit the blood lipid profile and reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats may have similar effects.

Impact of Nutrients and Food Components on Dyslipidemias: What Is the Evidence?

This scientific review discusses the evidence about the beneficial effects of nutrients on the blood lipid profile. These include polyphenols, plant proteins, soluble fiber, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Plant Protein and Animal Proteins: Do They Differentially Affect Cardiovascular Disease Risk?

This study indicates that a diet rich in plant protein may reduce heart disease risk, compared to a diet high in animal protein. However, this review also shows that the evidence supporting this is inconclusive.

Red Blood Cell Dysfunction Induced by High-Fat Diet: Potential Implications for Obesity-Related Atherosclerosis.

This mouse study indicates that a high-fat diet may have negative effects on red blood cells. In turn, these cells may promote the development of heart disease.

Pro-inflammatory dietary intake as a risk factor for CVD in men: a 5-year longitudinal study.

Previous studies have shown that inflammation contributes to atherosclerosis. This observational study indicates that a pro-inflammatory diet may raise the risk of atherosclerosis, compared to an anti-inflammatory diet.

Cardiovascular Responses to Energy Drink Consumption in Adults.

This small randomized trial compared the health effects of an energy drink and a placebo drink. The energy drink contained caffeine, taurine, and extracts of guarana seed, milk thistle and ginseng root.

After drinking the energy drink, blood pressure increased temporarily by an average of 6.4%. The authors suggested that these changes may promote an increased risk of heart disease.

Mediterranean diet score and total and cardiovascular mortality in Eastern Europe: the HAPIEE study.

This observational study suggests that adhering to the Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of heart disease in Eastern European populations.


Potential for Dietary ω-3 Fatty Acids to Prevent Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Reduce the Risk of Primary Liver Cancer.

This scientific review concludes that consuming docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid, may be useful in preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This, in turn, may reduce the risk of liver cancer.

Vitamins in Pancreatic Cancer: A Review of Underlying Mechanisms and Future Applications.

This scientific review suggests that vitamins A, C, D, E and K may help treat pancreatic cancer. However, this needs to be confirmed in clinical trials before any strong conclusions can be made.

The favourable effects of long-term selenium supplementation on regression of cervical tissues and metabolic profiles of patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia is the abnormal growth of cells on the surface of the cervix. A small amount of cases may turn into cervical cancer, if left untreated.

This randomized controlled trial found that selenium supplements — 200 mcg daily for 6 months — may help treat this condition.

Increased dietary levels of α-linoleic acid inhibit mammary tumor growth and metastasis.

This mouse study suggests that alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) may help prevent breast cancer.

Isoflavone and Soyfood Intake and Colorectal Cancer Risk: A Case-Control Study in Korea.

This observational study indicates that a high intake of soy foods, or dietary isoflavones, may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer — especially rectal cancer.

Green tea consumption and glutathione S-transferases genetic polymorphisms on the risk of adult leukemia.

Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in bone marrow, causing abnormal numbers of white blood cells. This observational study in Chinese adults suggests that drinking green tea every day may reduce the risk of leukemia.

Fitness, Diet and Sleep

The Effects of Pre-Exercise Caffeinated-Coffee Ingestion on Endurance Performance: An Evidence-Based Review.

This review concludes that coffee, containing 3 to 8.1 mg/kg of caffeine, may temporarily help improve endurance performance.

Vegetarian and Omnivorous Nutrition – Comparing Physical Performance.

This systematic review discusses the results of 7 randomized controlled trials, and one observational study, comparing the effects of vegetarian and omnivorous diets on physical performance.

It concludes that vegetarian diets did not improve or worsen physical performance in athletes, compared to omnivorous diets.

Health and dietary traits of organic food consumers: results from the NutriNet-Santé study.

This observational study showed that organic food consumers in France were more likely to be vegetarian.

Organic food consumers had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, but this only applied to men. Conversely, organic food consumers were more likely to report food allergies.

The effects of moderate energy restriction on apnoea severity and CVD risk factors in obese patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that is associated with snoring, pauses in breathing and sleep disturbances, leading to daytime fatigue.

This 16-week randomized trial shows that moderate calorie restriction may reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea.

Women’s Health

Western dietary pattern is related to premenstrual syndrome: a case–control study.

Premenstrual syndrome may occur one or two weeks before women have their period. The symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, headache, emotional sensitivity and mood swings.

This observational study suggests that the Western dietary pattern may increase the risk of premenstrual syndrome.

Are Dieting and Dietary Inadequacy a Second Hit in the Association with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Severity?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a group of adverse symptoms caused by a hormonal imbalance in women. The symptoms may include irregular or no periods, acne and excess body hair.

This observational study indicates that going on a diet, especially a diet that is nutritionally inadequate, may increase the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Early pregnancy vitamin D status and risk for adverse maternal and infant outcomes in a bi-ethnic cohort: the Behaviors Affecting Baby and You (B.A.B.Y.) Study.

This observational study suggests that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may decrease the birth weight of the child. Additionally, women who were vitamin D deficient were more likely to become diabetic during pregnancy.

Maternal obesity and gestational weight gain are risk factors for infant death.

This observational study indicates that high body mass index before pregnancy, and high weight gain during pregnancy, may increase the risk of infant death. However, very low weight gain during pregnancy was also a risk factor.

Influence of obesity on vertebral fracture prevalence and vitamin D status in postmenopausal women.

This observational study found that obese, postmenopausal women had a higher bone mineral density and a lower risk of osteoporosis, compared to lean women.

The risk of fractures was significantly associated with higher age, lower body weight, lower bone mineral density and vitamin D deficiency.

Brain and Mental Health

Consumption of garlic positively affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour.

This experimental study indicates that women are more attracted to the body odor of men who have recently eaten garlic, compared to those who haven’t.

Individual differences in bitter taste preferences are associated with antisocial personality traits.

This study suggests that those who generally like bitter-tasting foods and drinks are more likely to have antisocial personality traits.

Digestive Health

Efficacy and safety of a natural mineral water rich in magnesium and sulphate for bowel function: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

This randomized controlled trial showed that drinking natural mineral water, rich in magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate, reduced constipation and improved regularity, compared to a placebo.

Kidney Function

Probiotics and chronic kidney disease.

This review discusses the potential of using probiotics in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. Test-tube experiments and animal studies have provided some promising evidence, but clinical trials are still lacking.

Excess 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 exacerbates tubulointerstitial injury in mice by modulating macrophage phenotype.

This mouse study indicates that too much vitamin D may have adverse effects on kidney function.

Inflammation and Blood

Effect of Nutritional Status and Dietary Patterns on Human Serum C-Reactive Protein and Interleukin-6 Concentrations.

C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are inflammatory markers involved in the development of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

This scientific review discusses the association of CRP and IL-6 and dietary factors. The Mediterranean diet appears to be very effective against inflammation. The DASH diet and vegetarian diets may also be beneficial.

Dietary isoflavone intake is associated with a reduced risk of myelodysplastic syndromes.

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a group of diseases that adversely affect the production of blood cells in bone marrow.

This observational study in Chinese adults suggests that a high intake of isoflavones, which are found in high amounts in soy foods, may reduce the risk of myelodysplastic syndrome.

Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients

Dietary intake and food sources of choline in European populations.

This study estimated the dietary intake of choline in Europe and identified its main dietary sources. The average daily intake of choline in adults was 291–468 mg. The main dietary sources of choline were meat, milk, grains, eggs and fish.

Increase in Adipose Tissue Linoleic Acid of US Adults in the Last Half Century.

This study in US adults indicates that linoleic acid (LA) in fat tissue has increased by 136%, on average, during the last half century. This is linked to an increase in dietary LA, but the health implications are unclear.

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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