Does Red Meat Really Increase Risk of Heart Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wayne W. Campbell PhD Center on Aging and the Life Course Purdue University

Dr. Wayne Campbell

Wayne W. Campbell PhD
Center on Aging and the Life Course
Purdue University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Organizations that promote healthy eating often recommend consuming no more than 3.5-4.5 2-3 ounce servings of red meat per week. This recommendation is mainly based on data from epidemiological studies that observe a cohort of peoples’ eating habits over time and relate those habits to whether or not they experience a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, or cardiovascular-related death.

These studies show associations between dietary choices and health but are unable to determine if a dietary choice is actually causing the disease. Randomized controlled clinical trials are able to determine causality by isolating one dietary variable to see the effects of that variable on certain health risk factors. Therefore, our lab compiled data from randomized controlled trials assessing the consumption of ≤ vs >3.5 servings of total red meat per week on blood lipids and lipoproteins and blood pressures, since these are common measures taken by clinicians to determine the risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

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Hormones in Breast Milk Shape Infant’s Microbiome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacob (Jed) E. Friedman, Professor, Ph.D. Department of Pediatrics, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Director, NIH Center for Human Nutrition Research Metabolism Core Laboratory University of Colorado Anschutz

Dr. Jed Friedman

Jacob (Jed) E. Friedman, Professor, Ph.D.
Department of Pediatrics, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics
Director, NIH Center for Human Nutrition Research Metabolism Core Laboratory
University of Colorado Anschutz

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Scientists have long established that children who are breastfed are less likely to be obese as adults, though they have yet to identify precisely how breastfeeding protects children against obesity. One likely reason is that children who are breastfed have different bacteria in their intestines than those who are formula fed.
The study, published Monday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examines the role of human milk hormones in the development of infants’ microbiome, a bacterial ecosystem in the digestive system that contributes to multiple facets of health.

“This is the first study of its kind to suggest that hormones in human milk may play an important role in shaping a healthy infant microbiome,” said Bridget Young, co-first author and assistant professor of pediatric nutrition at CU Anschutz. “We’ve known for a long time that breast milk contributes to infant intestinal maturation and healthy growth. This study suggests that hormones in milk may be partly responsible for this positive impact through interactions with the infant’s developing microbiome.”

Researchers found that levels of insulin and leptin in the breastmilk were positively associated with greater microbial diversity and families of bacteria in the infants’ stool. Insulin and leptin were associated with bacterial functions that help the intestine develop as a barrier against harmful toxins, which help prevent intestinal inflammation. By promoting a stronger intestinal barrier early in life, these hormones also may protect children from chronic low-grade inflammation, which can lead to a host of additional digestive problems and diseases.

In addition, researchers found significant differences in the intestinal microbiome of breastfed infants who are born to mothers with obesity compared to those born to mothers of normal weight. Infants born to mothers with obesity showed a significant reduction in gammaproteobacteria, a pioneer species that aids in normal intestinal development and microbiome maturation.

Gammaproteobacteria have been shown in mice and newborn infants to cause a healthy amount inflammation in their intestines, protecting them from inflammatory and autoimmune disorders later in life. The 2-week-old infants born to obese mothers in this study had a reduced number of gammaproteobacteria in the infant gut microbiome.

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Zinc Levels Can Be Improved In Nursing Home Patients with Supplementation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Simin Nikbin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D. Director, JM USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University Professor of Nutrition and Immunology Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Sackler Graduate School at Tufts University Boston, MA 02111

Dr. Simin Meydani

Simin Nikbin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Director, JM USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University
Professor of Nutrition and Immunology
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
and Sackler Graduate School at Tufts University
Boston, MA 02111

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Meydani: A significant number of older people are zinc deficient which can result in a compromised immune system which weakens as the body ages, making older adults more susceptible to infections and higher incidence and morbidity from pneumonia. Older adults with impaired immune response, particularly T cell-mediated function, have a higher susceptibility to infections and cancer. Our research team from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging created a small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved adults age 65 or older from three Boston-area nursing homes to determine the feasibility of increasing serum zinc concentrations in older adults. The full findings are published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

These results have a significant public health implication for the older adults because it shows directly that correction of a nutrient deficiency can improve immune response in older adult (a biological function which consistently has been shown to be impaired with aging).

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One Serving of Tree Nuts Daily Linked To Lower Lipid Profile

Liana Del Gobbo PhD Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA; and Life Sciences Research Organization, Bethesda, MD

Dr. Del Gobbo

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Liana Del Gobbo PhD
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA; and
Life Sciences Research Organization, Bethesda, MD

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Del Gobbo: Accumulating evidence suggests that nut intake lowers risk of cardiovascular disease. But the specific mechanisms by which nuts may exert beneficial effects (eg. through lowering blood cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, etc.) were not clear. Two prior reviews on this topic only evaluated one type of nuts, and only a few cardiovascular risk factors.

To address these knowledge gaps, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials to examine the effects of eating tree nuts (walnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts) on major cardiovascular risk factors including blood lipids (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides [TG]), lipoproteins (ApoA1, ApoB, ApoB100), blood pressure (systolic, SBP; diastolic, DBP), and inflammation (C-reactive protein, CRP) in adults 18 years or older without cardiovascular disease.

A daily serving of nuts (1oz serving, or 28g per day) significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL, ApoB, and triglycerides, with no significant effects on other risk factors, such as HDL cholesterol, blood pressure or inflammation. To give you an idea of a 1oz serving size of nuts, it is about 23 almonds, 18 cashews, 21 hazelnuts, 6 Brazil nuts, 12 macadamia nuts, 14 walnut halves, 20 pecan halves, 49 pistachios.

We did not see any differences in cholesterol-lowering effects by nut type.

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No evidence dietary acid load has detrimental effect on childhood bone health

Audry H. Garcia PhD Scientist Department of Epidemiology Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Dr. Garcia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Audry H. Garcia PhD
Scientist Department of Epidemiology
Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Garcia: Mild and chronic metabolic acidosis as a result of a diet rich in acid-forming nutrients, such as cheese, fish, meat and grain products, may interfere with optimal bone mineralization and indirectly increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Previous observational studies in adults have reported inverse associations between dietary acid load and bone mass. However, the evidence in younger populations is scarce; only a few studies have been performed in healthy children and adolescents with inconsistent results, and not much is known on the effects of dietary acid load on bone mass in younger children or in children with a non-European background.

In a prospective multiethnic population-based cohort study of 2,850 children from the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, we found that dietary acid load estimated as dietary potential renal acid load (dPRAL), and as protein intake to potassium intake ratio (Pro:K) at 1 year of age, was not consistently associated with childhood bone health. Furthermore, associations did not differ by sex, ethnicity, weight status, or vitamin D supplementation.

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High Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked To Long Term Increased Maternal Body Fat

Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Nutrition & Department of Epidemiology Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health New York, NY 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Nutrition & Department of Epidemiology
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
New York, NY 10032

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Widen: The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health Mothers and Newborns Study was started in 1998 and is based in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. Pregnant African American and Dominican mothers were enrolled from 1998 to 2006, and mothers and their children have been followed since this time. Pregnancy weight gain and maternal size and body fat was measured at seven years postpartum, allowing us to examine the role of nutrition in pregnancy on long-term maternal health. We found that high pregnancy weight gain, above the Institute of Medicine 2009 guidelines, was associated with long-term weight retention and higher body fat at seven years postpartum among women who began pregnancy with underweight, normal weight and modest overweight body mass index (BMI). These findings suggest that prepregnancy BMI and high pregnancy weight gain have long-term implications for maternal weight-related health, especially among mothers who begin pregnancy with lower prepregnancy BMI values.

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Alcohol Linked To Increased Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Risk

Shaowei Wu, MD, PhD Department of Dermatology, Warren Alpert Medical School Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island Department of Dermatology Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Shaowei Wu

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Shaowei WuMDPhD
Department of Dermatology, Warren Alpert Medical School
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Department of Dermatology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin is the most prevalent cancer in the US, and is responsible for substantial morbidity and billions of dollars of health care expenditures. Knowledge on the modifiable risk factors of BCC is required for targeted prevention of cancer incidence. Alcohol consumption is a well-known risk factor for human cancer and has been linked to a number of cancers, including breast, prostate, pancreatic, and colon cancers. Interestingly, a large epidemiological study has reported a positive association between alcohol consumption and increased prevalence of severe sunburn, an established skin cancer risk factor. It is hypothesized that metabolites of alcohol (e.g., acetaldehyde) can serve as photosensitizers and promote skin carcinogenicity in the presence of UV radiation. However, epidemiological evidence for the association between alcohol consumption and BCC risk has been limited and a few previous studies on this topic have yielded conflicting results. Therefore we conducted a comprehensive prospective study to investigate this question using data from three large cohorts including the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2010), Nurses’ Health Study II (1989-2011), and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010).

We documented a total of 28,951 incident Basal cell carcinoma cases over the study follow-up. We found that increasing alcohol intake was associated with an increased Basal cell carcinoma risk in both women and men. In the combined analysis with all 3 cohorts, those who consumed 30 grams or more alcohol per day had a 22% higher risk of developing BCC when compared to nondrinkers. This increased risk was consistent in people with different levels of sun exposure. We also found that BCC risk was associated with alcohol intake levels more than a decade ago, suggesting that alcohol may have a lagged effect that can persist for a long-term period. Among the individual alcoholic beverages, white wine and liquor were positively associated with Basal cell carcinoma risk whereas red wine and beer were not associated with BCC risk. This difference may be due to some other chemicals accompanying alcohol in the specific beverages. For example, red wine contains higher amounts of phenolic compounds compared to white wine, and these compounds have antioxidant activities which may be beneficial for counteracting the potential carcinogenic properties of alcohol and its metabolites.

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Eggs Not Linked To Heart Attack or Stroke

Susanna C. Larsson | PhD, Associate Professor Associate professor, Nutritional Epidemiology Institute of Environmental Medicine Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, SwedenMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susanna C. Larsson  PhD, Associate Professor
Associate professor, Nutritional Epidemiology
Institute of Environmental Medicine
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Larsson: A high dietary cholesterol intake has been postulated to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Egg is a rich source of dietary cholesterol and has been positively associated with risk of heart failure in previous prospective studies. High consumption of eggs has also been associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction in diabetic patients.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Larsson:  We investigated the association between egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases in two population-based prospective cohort studies of approximately 38,000 Swedish men and 33,000 Swedish women. Findings from our study indicate that egg consumption does not increase the risk of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke. High egg consumption (one or more times per day) was associated with an elevated risk of heart failure in men but not in women. Egg consumption was not associated with an increased risk of heart failure, myocardial infarction, or stroke in individuals with diabetes.

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Folic Acid and B12 May Improve Assisted Reproductive Technology Results

Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D.  Postdoctoral Fellow
Department  of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

 

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gaskins: Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse, is a common reproductive disorder affecting ~15% of couples who attempt to become pregnant. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), which include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), have become the main treatment modalities for couples facing infertility. Pre-conceptional folate and vitamin B12 have been linked to many beneficial early pregnancy outcomes among couples undergoing assisted reproductive technologies treatment in Europe but mixed results have been found in regards to clinical pregnancy and live birth rates. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether higher levels of serum folate and vitamin B12 could increase reproductive success in a cohort of women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies at an academic medial center in the United States.

We found that high concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 in serum are associated with increased chance of live birth following assisted reproduction. Moreover, women with higher concentrations of both serum folate and vitamin B12 had the greatest likelihood of reproductive success. Analysis of intermediate endpoints suggests that folate and vitamin B12 may exert their favorable effects on pregnancy maintenance following implantation.

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High Fiber Diets Linked To Lower Risk of Colon Polyps and Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Andrew Kunzmann & Dr Helen Coleman
Joint first authorsCentre for Public Health
Queen’s University Belfast
Northern Ireland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is now a large amount of evidence to suggest that individuals who consume diets high in fiber tend to be at a lower risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer. However, it is not known whether this association begins at the early stages of bowel cancer development or at later stages, in individuals with polyps (adenomas) that can lead to bowel cancer if left untreated. The best source of dietary fiber (cereals, fruit or vegetables) for bowel adenoma and cancer prevention is also debatable.

We analysed data from individuals taking part in a large U.S trial assessing bowel screening, who completed a dietary questionnaire and received sigmoidoscopy screening at the start of the trial and received further screening 3 to 5 years later. This allowed us to investigate whether individuals with higher fiber diets had a lower risk of developing their first left-sided adenoma, but also for having adenomas recur at a later time, or indeed risk of bowel cancer, than individuals with diets low in fiber. By analysing only the screened participants, everyone had an equal opportunity to have their recurrent adenomas diagnosed – something that previous studies of dietary fiber have been unable to address.

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Active Video Games: Mixed Benefit In Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aidan Gribbon M.Sc., CSEP-CEP
From the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background for the study is that sedentary pursuits, such as video games, are omni-present in the daily lives of adolescents. Manufacturers of active video games (AVG) have been marketing them as a ‘healthy’ alternative to seated video games, with the possibility of preventing/treating obesity in this age group. Although, active video games have been shown to acutely increase energy expenditure over their seated counterparts, no study has examined their compensatory adjustments in energy expenditure or energy intake.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding of this paper was that although active video games are not associated with an increased food intake, they are compensated for by a decrease in physical activity such that their benefit of a reduction in the energy gap underlying weight gain is offset within 24 hours.

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Relatively Small Drop In Price Leads To More Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Kylie Ball PhD
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research,
Deakin University, Australia.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most Australians (95% of adults) do not eat enough fruits or vegetables for good health. This is concerning as low fruit and vegetable intakes are linked with increased risk for a range of adverse health outcomes, including hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

One of the commonly cited barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption is the high cost of these foods. At Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN), we undertook a randomised controlled trial study in a supermarket setting to test whether addressing this barrier would help people to consume more fruits and vegetables.

We found that a fairly small price reduction (20%) was effective in prompting people to buy more fruits and vegetables – about 2-3 more serves of fruit per week, and about 3 more serves of vegetables per week. These findings are exciting, as even small increases in fruit and vegetable consumption across the population can substantially improve the health of Australians.

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B vitamins and Omega-3 May Protect Against Brain Shrinkage

Dr. Fredrik Jernerén PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Pharmacology University of Oxford Oxford, United KingdomMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Fredrik Jernerén PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Pharmacology
University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Jernerén: Development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is associated with an accelerated rate of brain shrinkage. Identifying ways to reduce the brain atrophy rate at an early stage may offer new strategies to prevent or delay the onset of dementia. In this study on elderly subjects diagnosed with Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), who are at increased risk of developing dementia, we investigated whether the effect of B vitamin supplementation on reducing the brain atrophy rate was influenced by circulating levels of omega-3 fatty acids. We have found that this indeed was the case. The higher the baseline concentration of the combined omega-3 fatty acids (DHA+EPA), the greater the protective effect of the B vitamin treatment. In subjects with high omega-3 concentrations who at the same time had elevated homocysteine levels (indicating a lack of B vitamins), B vitamin treatment reduced the brain atrophy rate by about 70% compared with the placebo group.  Continue reading

Trial of Current Dietary Guidelines Reduced Waistlines and Cardiovascular Risk Markers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tom Sanders, PhD DSc

Emeritus Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics, Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division,
King’s College London London, UK

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Sanders:  Controversy surrounds the effectiveness of dietary guideline for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in healthy middle-aged and older men and women. These dietary guidelines are similar in UK and other Western countries and focus on modifying the overall dietary pattern so that food and nutrient targets are met. However, surprisingly the overall impact of changing the dietary pattern has never been tested in a trial. We conducted a 12-wk controlled dietary trial in 165 healthy non-smoking men and women (aged 40-70 years) to compare a diet conforming to current dietary guidelines with a traditional nutritionally balance British diet on well established (blood pressure measured by 24-h ambulatory monitoring and blood lipids) and newer predictors of cardiovascular disease risk (measures of blood vessel functioning and stiffness, inflammation and the body’s sensitivity to insulin). The dietary guideline targets were to reduce total and saturated fat intake to provide no more than 35% and 10% of the food energy, to cut salt to below 6g/day, to meet the 5-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetables, to consume at least 1portions of oily fish a week (i.e. mackerel, salmon, sardines), to obtain half of the cereal intake from wholegrains and to restrict intake of non-milk extrinsic sugar to no more than 10% energy. Subjects were counseled by a dietitian and provided with advice tailored to their individual food preferences and were provided with some foods to assist them following the dietary advice. The control diet was a nutritionally balanced traditional British diet without restriction on salt and sugar intake. It was based around refined cereals (white bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, white rice) and potatoes with meat (red meat, meat products or poultry), but with a limited intake of oily fish (less than once a month) and wholegrain cereals.  Participants allocated to control were supplied with a butter-based spread and a liquid unhydrogenated vegetable oil (palm olein) that contained 40 % saturated fatty acids. They were advised to consume three servings of full-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt and cheese), and at least one serving of fruit and two servings of vegetables each day. Both groups were given advice to limit consumption of confectionery, snack foods (chips, cake, cookies) and drink alcohol within safe limits.

Food intake records showed few differences in micronutrient intakes between diets with the exception of vitamin D where the intake and plasma 25-OH-vitamin D levels were greater on the dietary guidelines diet owing to the higher intake of oily fish. The average body weight in the group who followed the modified diet fell by 1.3 kg whilst that in the control group rose by 0.6 kg after 12 weeks, resulting in an overall difference in weight of 1.9 kg between the two groups; the equivalent difference in Body Mass Index (BMI) was 0.7 kg/m2 between the groups. Waist circumference was 1.7 cm lower in the dietary guidelines group compared to the control group.

The drop-out rate was low, with 80 participants completing on the dietary guidelines diet and 82 on the control. Adherence to the dietary advice was confirmed both with dietary records and by measuring specific biomarkers in the participants’ blood and urine. The latter indicated an increase in potassium and fibre intake in the dietary group along with a drop in sodium (salt) and saturated fat and added sugar intake. However, total sugar intake remained unchanged owing to the increase in sugar intake from fruit.

The primary outcomes were changes in day-time systolic blood pressure, endothelial function measured using the flow mediated dilation technique and total cholesterol: HDL cholesterol ratio. All other outcomes were secondary or exploratory outcomes. Significant falls in systolic blood pressure/diastolic blood pressure of 4.2/2.5 mm Hg for daytime and 2.9/1.9 mm Hg for night time were measured in the dietary group compared with the control group; the average heart rate was found to have lowered by 1.8 beats per minute. Causal mediated effects analysis based on urinary sodium excretion indicated that sodium reduction explained 2.4 mm Hg (95% CI 1.0, 3.9) of the fall in blood pressure There were no changes in endothelial dependent or endothelial independent vasodilation but arterial stiffness measured as carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity was 0. 29 m/sec lower on the dietary guidelines diet compared with the control diet. Total cholesterol:HDL cholesterol ratio was 4% lower on the dietary guidelines diet compared to the control low density lipoprotein and triglyceride concentrations were 10% and 9% lower respectively. The reduction in LDL-C (0.30 mmol/L) was greater than that achieved in most community based studies of dietary advice where the average reduction is 0.16 mmol/L but still modest compared with what can be achieved with statins (1.0 mmol/L). Compared with the control diet, the dietary guideline diet decreased low-grade inflammation (C-reactive protein). No significant change was recorded in markers for 24-h insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity, which predicts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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Young Children May Acquire A Taste For Salt From Common Foods In Infancy

Joyce Maalouf MS MPH Nutrition Epidemiologist CDC, AtlantaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joyce Maalouf MS MPH
Nutrition Epidemiologist
CDC, Atlanta

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although significant research shows U.S. children are eating too much sodium, data on the top dietary sources contributing to that intake is limited – particularly among babies and toddlers. This study identifies the primary sources of dietary sodium consumed by children from birth to 24-months-old, as well as differences in intake and food source broken down by demographic characteristics including age, gender and race/ethnicity.

Overall, our research revealed that after the age of six months, more than 70 percent of sodium intake comes from foods other than breast milk and infant formula. Commercial baby foods, soups and pasta mixed dishes are top sodium contributors for U.S. infants 6 to 11.9 months, while soups, cheese, pasta mixed dishes and frankfurters and sausages are key contributors among toddlers aged 12 up to 24 months. Top sodium sources varied by race/ethnicity within age groups, suggesting that for sodium reduction to be effective, it needs to occur across a wide variety of foods.

In addition, we found that non-Hispanic black toddlers ate more sodium than non-Hispanic white and Mexican-American children. Average sodium intake increased almost 9-fold from children under six months to those between one and two-years-old, while average energy intake only doubled. This suggests that, during the first two years of life, U.S. children increasingly consume sodium-rich foods.

To determine these findings, we examined eight years of data encompassing more than 2,900 participants between birth and two-years-old. The information was pulled from the nationwide NHANES What We Eat in America survey between 2003 and 2010.

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High Fat-Free Mass Linked To Lower Mortality In Men

Dr. med. Laurence Genton, FMH Médecine Interne Médecin adjointe agrégée, chargée de cours Nutrition Clinique Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève GenèveMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. med. Laurence Genton
, FMH Médecine Interne
Médecin adjointe agrégée, chargée de cours
Nutrition Clinique
Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève
Genève

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Several studies have shown that body mass index is linked to mortality through a U- or J-curve, i.e. that a low and maybe a high body mass index are related to a higher risk of mortality in elderly people. However, body mass index consists of fat mass and fat-free mass, and the former studies cannot differentiate the impact of these body compartments. However, this differentiation may be important to guide our public health care strategies. For instance, fat and fat-free mass can both be reduced by hypocaloric diet and endurance exercise, while fat-free mass can be increased with adequate calorie and protein intakes, resistance exercise and anabolic treatments. Thus, this study aimed at evaluating the impact of fat mass and fat-free mass on mortality.

We found that body mass index and body composition did not predict mortality in older women. However, a high fat-free mass was associated with a lower risk of mortality in men, even when adjusting for body mass index. Continue reading

Weight Loss May Be Better For Bone Health in Obese Men

Sue Shapses, PhD Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences Acting Chair, Department of Exercise Sciences and Sports Studies Rutgers, The State University New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8525MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sue Shapses, PhD

Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Acting Chair, Department of Exercise Sciences and Sports Studies Rutgers, The State University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8525

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Shapses: Improving health outcomes through dieting and weight loss is encouraged for the majority of Americans who are either overweight or obese. However, while most studies show that a moderate reduction in body weight decreases obesity related comorbidities, there may also be loss of bone and muscle in older individuals. Specifically in postmenopausal women, intentional moderate weight loss results in a 1-2.5% bone loss when compared to a weight stable group. Studies in men, designed to address the effect of weight reduction at multiple bone sites, compartments and geometry, are currently lacking. In addition, while a higher body weight is associated with higher bone mass, evidence indicates that bone quality, a predictor of fracture risk, is compromised in the obese. It is possible that frequent dieting or weight cycling in these obese individuals may have deleterious effects on bone. Therefore, understanding whether bone quality changes with weight loss, is important to better predict osteoporosis risk in this population. In this controlled trial, the effect of dietary restriction on bone mineral density (BMD), geometry and strength were examined in middle aged and older obese/overweight men. In addition, we addressed whether endocrine changes associated with weight loss explain bone changes.

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Cocoa May Improve Mental and Physical Health

Prof. Giovambattista Desideri Università degli Studi dell'Aquila Direttore  UOC Geriatria e Lungodegenza Geriatrica Scuola di Specializzazione in Geriatria Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina d'Emergenza-UrgenzaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Giovambattista Desideri
Università degli Studi dell’Aquila
Direttore  UOC Geriatria e Lungodegenza Geriatrica
Scuola di Specializzazione in Geriatria
Scuola di Specializzazione in Medicina d’Emergenza-Urgenza

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Desideri: Over the past decade, there has been an accumulating body of evidence that indicates that the consumption of cocoa flavanol-containing products can improve vascular function. Though much research has focused on the cardiovascular system, there is reason to believe that some of the benefits of cocoa flavanol consumption could extend also to the brain which is a heavily vascularized tissue that depends on regular blood flow to meet its metabolic demands. Thus, the current study tested the hypothesis that the regular inclusion of cocoa flavanols for 8 weeks could positively affect cognitive function in cognitively-intact older adults. The effects of cocoa flavanol ingestion on various cardiometabolic endpoints, including blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, were also evaluated given consistent evidence of positive effects of flavanols on these outcomes and the potentially influential role of these outcomes on cognitive function.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Desideri:The study enrolled 90 men and women aged 61-85 years with no evidence of cognitive dysfunction who were assigned to one of three flavanol groups, consuming a drink containing high (993 mg), intermediate ( 520 mg) or low (48 mg) amounts of cocoa flavanols every day for 8 weeks. Among those individuals who regularly consumed either the high-or intermediate-flavanol drinks, there were significant improvements in some measures of age-related cognitive dysfunction.  In the high- and intermediate-flavanol groups, both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced and insulin resistance was significantly improved.   It is not yet fully understood how cocoa flavanols bring about improvements in cognitive function, but the study results suggest that the improvements in insulin resistance and blood pressure could be revealing.
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How Much Caffeine Should Kids and Teens Ingest?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Naman Ahluwalia, PhD, DSc, FACN
Nutrition Monitoring Advisor
Office of the Director
Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, NCHS, CDC
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Ahluwalia: Health Canada has put forth caffeine intake guidelines for children and adolescents in absolute amounts (mg) and in mg/kg body weight for teens. The maximal caffeine intakes of 45, 63, and 85 mg/day are suggested for children ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12 years and for teens (13 y and over) Health Canada suggests that caffeine intake be no more than 2.5 mg/kg body weight/day. Although no such recommendations have been set in the US, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) underlines that “caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children.”

This study provides national estimates of dietary caffeine intake in US children 2-19 y of age, both in absolute amounts (mg) and in relation to body weight (mg/kg), to update estimates that were published in another study in 2005 based on older data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by individuals in 1994-96 and 1998.

The key findings were:

1. Majority (71%) of children in the survey reported consuming caffeine on a given day; over one-half of US children aged 2-5 y and 3 in 4 children ages 6 y and over consumed caffeine on a given day.

2. Certain socio-demographic patterns in caffeine intake were observed. More non-Hispanic white and Mexican American children reported consuming caffeine than non-Hispanic black children; in addition, the amount of caffeine consumed by non-Hispanic white and Mexican American children was higher than that consumed by non-Hispanic black children. Caffeine intake increased with age. For instance, 2-5 year-old caffeine consumers reported 5 mg of caffeine intake on a given day, compared to 9 mg for 6-11 y olds and ~ 40 mg for teens (12-19 y). For reference, a 8 fl oz can of soda contains about 24-50 mg of caffeine.

3. Another finding was that on a given day one in ten children (6-19 y) had caffeine intakes that exceeded the Canadian maximal guidelines.

4. Caffeine intake (mg or mg/kg) stayed relatively constant among teens over the last decade, but trends towards decreased intake were noted in younger (2-11 y old) children.
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Is Pre-Pregnancy Diet Linked to Pregnancy Loss?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Nutrition
Harvard School of Public Health

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Answers: In our  large prospective cohort study, we found that higher adherence to several healthy dietary patterns (e.g. the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010, Alternate Mediterranean Diet, and Fertility Diet) prior to pregnancy was not associated with risk of pregnancy loss.
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Preconception Maternal Diet Linked to Birth Outcomes

Jessica A. Grieger (BSc(hons), R Nutr, PhD) Post-doctoral research fellow Robinson Research Institute, University of AdelaideMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jessica A. Grieger (BSc(hons), R Nutr, PhD)
Post-doctoral research fellow
Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide

 

MedicalResearch:  What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Grieger: The study aimed to identify associations between maternal dietary patterns in the 12 months before conception on fetal growth and preterm delivery. We report that a one standard deviation increase in the scores on the high-protein/fruit pattern was associated with decreased likelihood for preterm birth, whereas a one standard deviation increase on the high-fat/sugar/takeaway pattern was associated with increased likelihood for preterm birth as well as shorter gestation and birth length.
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Dietary Vitamin K Linked to Lower Heart Disease, Cancer Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Mònica Bulló PhD
Human Nutrition Unit Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology
IISPV  School of Medicine
Rovira i Virgili University
Sant Llorenç, Spain

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr Bulló: There is some evidence that different dietary forms of vitamin K could exert varying effects on health, however no study to date has simultaneously evaluated the potential effects of the main vitamin K forms on cancer and cardiovascular mortality. We conducted a prospective, epidemiologic study involving 7,216 elderly subjects at high cardiovascular risk who were followed for about 5 years.The results of the present study show, for the first time that an increase in dietary intake of both forms of vitamin K is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, cancer mortality or all-cause mortality.

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Algorithm and App as Practical Prediction Tools

Chung-Jung Chiu DDS PhD Scientist II, JM USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging Assistant Professor, School of Medicine Tufts University Boston MA 02111MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chung-Jung Chiu DDS PhD
Scientist II, JM USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
Tufts University Boston MA 02111

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In this study, we found that advanced age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) is predictable by using clinically readily available
information. We devised a simple algorithm to summarize the clinical
predictors and showed the validity of our prediction model in both
clinic-based and community-based cohorts. We also develop an
application (App) for the iPhone and iPad as a practical tool for our
prediction model.

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