Could a Low-Gluten Diet During Pregnancy Protect Offspring from Diabetes? Interview with:
Knud Josefsen, senior researcher
Bartholin Institute, Rigshospitalet,
Copenhagen K, Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In a large population of pregnant women, we found that the risk of the offspring being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 15.6 years (the follow up period) was doubled in the group of women ingesting the highest amounts of gluten (20-66 g/day) versus the group of women ingesting the lowest amounts of gluten (0-7 g/day). For every additional 10 grams of gluten ingested, the risk for type 1 diabetes in the child increased by a factor of 1.31.

It the sense that it was a hypothesis that we specifically tested, we were not surprised. We had seen in animal experiments that a gluten-free diet during pregnancy protected the offspring from diabetes, and we wanted to see if we could prove the same pattern in humans. There could be many reasons why we would not be able to show the association, even if it was there (sample size, low quality data, covariates we could not correct for and so on), but we were off course pleasantly surprised that we found the association that we were looking for, in particular because it is quite robust Continue reading

Mediterranean Diet Linked To Stroke Risk Reduction in Women Interview with:
“Vegetables” by Wagner T. Cassimiro "Aranha" is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint MBBS MD FRCP(Edin) FRCP(Lond)
Clinical Chair in Medicine of Old Age
Academic Lead: Ageing Clinical & Experimental Research &
Director of Clinical Academic Training Development
The Lead Academic, Aberdeen Clinical Academic Training (ACAT) Programmes
School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition
College of Life Sciences & Medicine, University of Aberdeen What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: While Mediterranean Diet has been linked to reduced stroke risk it remains unclear
(1) its impact on populations within non-Mediterranean countries;
(2) its specific impact on different gender;
(3) the effect observed when using more robust dietary assessments; and (4) which specific components of the diet are most protective.

We therefore studied more than 23 thousand men and women (mainly British Caucasian) aged 40 years or older in Norfolk, UK as part of EPIC-Norfolk study and we found that the greater adherence to Mediterranean dietary pattern is linked to a significant reduction in stroke risk in women but not in men. This benefit was seen across the whole middle and older age population (particularly for women) regardless of their existing risk factors such as high blood pressure.

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When Should Children in Pediatric Intensive Care Receive Parenteral Nutrition? Interview with:

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD Pediatric intensivist Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital

Dr. Verbruggen

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD
Pediatric intensivist
Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital What is the background for this study?

Response: In critically ill children treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) are often difficult to feed. The subsequent macronutrient deficit was found to be associated with impaired outcomes in the PICU. Furthermore, being undernourished in the PICU has also been associated with poor outcome of critical illness in children.

These associations formed the basis for guidelines recommending initiation of parenteral nutritional support early when enteral feeding is insufficient. However, the multicenter randomised controlled trial (RCT) ‘Pediatric Early versus Late Parenteral Nutrition in Critical Illness’ (PEPaNIC), including 1440 critically ill children, showed that withholding PN for one week (Late-PN) resulted in fewer new infections and reduced the duration of PICU stay as compared to initiating PN at day 1 (Early-PN). However, withholding PN for one week in critically ill children, who are already undernourished upon admission to the PICU, raised concerns among experts.

Therefore we set out to investigate the impact of withholding supplemental PN in a subgroup of critically ill children who were acutely undernourished upon admission to the PICU.  Continue reading

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Anxiety Interview with:
“omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yutaka MATSUOKA, MD, PhD

Division Chief of Health Care Research,
Behavioral Sciences and Survivorship Research Group,
Center for Public Health Sciences,
National Cancer Center Japan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Anxiety is the most commonly experienced psychiatric symptom. We have now two major treatment options that include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy.  However, CBT is time-consuming, costly, and limited in availability. And there is concern over potential side effects in pharmacotherapy. Evidence-based and safer treatment options are required. Omega-3 fatty acids have potential preventive and therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety. Clinical and preclinical studies support the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for anxiety disorders. Despite the largely positive findings of these trials, the clinical application of the findings is unfortunately limited by their small sample size.

Improvement in anxiety symptoms were associated with omega-3 fatty acids treatment compared with controls. The anxiolytic effects of omega-3 fatty acids were also stronger in patients with clinical conditions than in subclinical populations.  Continue reading

Study Finds Protective Effect of Caffeine in Chronic Kidney Disease Interview with:

Coffee Wikipedia image

Wikipedia image

Miguel Bigotte Vieira  MD
Nephrology and Renal Transplantation Department
Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte
Lisbon, Portugal What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: An inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality has been reported in the general population. However, the association between caffeine consumption and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains unclear. We examined the association between varying levels of caffeine consumption and mortality among 4863 patients with CKD in a prospective nationwide cohort, using the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2010.

Our study showed a protective effect of caffeine consumption among patients with chronic kidney disease. The reduction in mortality was present even after considering other important factors such as age, gender, race, smoking, other diseases, and diet.  Continue reading

Cardiac Stimulant Found in Some OTC Supplements Interview with:

Pieter Cohen, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Cambridge Health Alliance Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School

Dr. Cohen

Pieter Cohen, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Cambridge Health Alliance
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School What is the background for this study?

Response: Dietary supplements lead to an estimated 23,000 emergency department visits each year in the United States (US), and weight loss and sports supplements contribute to a disproportionately large number of these emergency department visits. It is not known which ingredients in weight loss and sports supplements pose the greatest risk to consumers, but there are stimulants found in botanical remedies that might pose risks.

In the current study, we investigated the presence and quantity of higenamine a stimulant found in botanicals and available in sports and weight loss supplements sold in the US.

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Sucralose Metabolites Accumulate in Body Fat Over Time Interview with:

Volker Bornemann, Ph.D. President and CEO Avazyme, Inc. Durham, North Carolina 27703

Dr. Bornemann

Volker Bornemann, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Avazyme, Inc.
Durham, North Carolina 27703 What is the background for this study?

Response: Since the approval of sucralose in 1998 by the US FDA and by the European Union in 2004, there have been numerous independent reports that suggest sucralose is metabolized in the body and is metabolically active.

These independent studies contradict information submitted to regulatory agencies by sucralose manufacturers who claimed sucralose is safe because it quickly passes through the body unchanged.  In light of these conflicting results, we decided to conduct an experiment to settle the question of whether sucralose is metabolized by the body and determine if it is retained in body fat using the state-of-the art analytic techniques at Avazyme. What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings are that sucralose is indeed metabolized in the intestinal tract, and the metabolites are more fat soluble than sucralose itself.  Furthermore, sucralose accumulated in body fat over time. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Sucralose is retained in body fat and is also metabolized contrary to claims by the manufacturer.  A risk assessment of these findings should be performed by regulatory agencies to determine if the metabolites or retention of sucralose in adipose tissue adversely affect human health. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The levels of sucralose and its metabolites in body fat and cell membranes of human consumers of sucralose products should be determined.  In addition, the DNA in fat cells and epithelial cells lining the alimentary tract should be assessed for any adverse changes in DNA.  Further scientific studies should be performed to determine the hazard potential of bioaccumulation of sucralose and the toxicity of the acetylated metabolites. 

Disclosures: This research was supported independently and not by any company associated with the sweetener industry. 

Citation: Volker Bornemann, Stephen C. Werness, Lauren Buslinger & Susan S. Schiffman (2018) Intestinal Metabolism and Bioaccumulation of Sucralose In Adipose Tissue In The Rat, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, DOI: 10.1080/15287394.2018.1502560

Sep 1, 2018 @ 10:53 pm

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Antiinflammatory Probiotics Isolated From Baby Diapers

Hariom Yadav, PhD Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Center on Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism Redox Biology & Medicine Ctr Sticht Center on Aging

Dr. Yadav Interview with:
Hariom Yadav, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Center on Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism
Redox Biology & Medicine Ctr
Sticht Center on Aging What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Currently, the use of probiotics is increasing for health benefits of consumers, however the source of probiotics available in the market remains scarcely known. According to scientific community and regulatory standpoint, human-origin probiotics are highly recommended. Hence, we isolated these probiotics from baby diapers, because infant microbiome carries large number of beneficial bacteria.

In addition, we optimized our probiotics to produce higher amount of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs; beneficial metabolites produced by the gut microbiome), because the levels of SCFAs decreases in several human diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory bowel diseases. Hence, our probiotics can be used to bring back SCFAs levels and may benefit people suffering from these diseases.

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Does Your Morning Coffee Really Make You Eat Less? Interview with:
Coffee being poured Coffee pot pouring cup of coffee. copyright American Heart Association
Leah Panek-Shirley, PhD

Assistant Professor
Buffalo State College
Health, Nutrition, and Dietetics
Houston Texas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

The findings of existing previous research evaluating the effects of caffeine on appetite and eating are equivocal.

This study evaluated the effects of no (0 mg/kg body weight, e.g. placebo), low (1 mg/kg body weight), and moderate (3 mg/kg body weight) doses of caffeine in juice on appetite and eating in the laboratory and under free-living conditions.

While this study identified a small decrease (about 70 calories) in caloric intake after consuming the low (1 mg/kg) dose of caffeine in the laboratory at breakfast, this difference did not persist throughout the entire day.  In addition, there were no differences in hunger, fullness, thirst, or desire to eat as a result of caffeine.

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Early Dinner May Lower Cancer Risk Interview with:
“Christmas Roast and Ham Dinner. Had Tamales for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. #Roast #Ham #ChristmasDinner #Christmas #Champagne #Dinner #Foodstagram” by Yvonne Esperanza is licensed under CC BY 2.0Manolis Kogevinas, MD, PhD

Research Professor
NCDs & Environment Group
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) – Campus MAR
Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) (office 194)
Barcelona, Spain What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We did the study for two main reasons.

(i) breast and to a less extent prostate cancer are the cancers that have been associated with night shift work and resulting circadian disruption (disruption of the natural day-light cycle);

(ii) experimental studies in animals indicate that timing of diet is important. For example, giving an hypercaloric diet to mice during the day results in obesity, while giving the same diet during the night does not. Mice are nocturnal animals and this means that there normal eating time is the night when they can metabolise what they eat. So, would something similar affect humans? When we eat in late hours at a time when “normally” (normally in the sense of evolution) we would be resting.

In this study we show that adherence to a more diurnal eating pattern and specifically an early supper and a long interval between last meal and sleep are associated with a lower breast and prostate cancer risk. Specifically having super before 9pm and having an interval of 2 hours between the last big meal and sleep, were both associated with an approximately 20% prevention of breast and prostate cancer) compared to those who have supper after 10pm or those who eat and then sleep very close after supper.

Also, the strongest protection was found in “morning types” as compared to “evening types”. Morning types are expected to function worse than evening types in late evening so late suppers may have more adverse effects on them.

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Cystic Fibrosis: Antioxidant-Enriched MVI May Decrease Respiratory Illnesses Interview with:

Scott D Sagel MD PhD Professor of Pediatrics University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, Colorado

Dr. Sagel

Scott D Sagel MD PhD
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, Colorado What is the background for this study?

Response: Inflammation is an important feature of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease and contributes to lung damage and lung function decline in CF. We need safe and effective anti-inflammatory treatments in CF. Anti-oxidant therapy has been an area of promise, but with mixed results in CF.

This clinical trial, conducted at 15 CF centers affiliated with the cystic fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Development Network, enrolled 73 patients who were 10 years and older (average age 22 years), with pancreatic insufficiency, which causes malabsorption of antioxidants. Subjects were randomized to either a multivitamin containing multiple antioxidants including carotenoids such as beta(β)-carotene, tocopherols (vitamin E), coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and selenium or to a control multivitamin without antioxidant enrichment. The antioxidants used in the study were delivered in a capsule specifically designed for individuals with difficulties absorbing fats and proteins, including those with cystic fibrosis.

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Study Finds Capsaicin (Metabocin) in Chili Peppers Prevents Weight Gain, Promotes Weight Loss Interview with:
“Home-Grown Chilis” by barockschloss is licensed under CC BY 2.0Baskaran Thyagarajan, M. Pharm., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics and Neuroscience
Molecular Signaling Laboratory
University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy
Laramie, Wyoming 82071 What is the background for this study?

Response: The culinary benefit of chili peppers is known for decades. Previous research works have identified the benefits of chili peppers for treating pain and metabolic diseases.  Recently, we have discovered that CAPSAICIN, the chief ingredient in natural chili peppers, triggers the conversion of energy storing white adipocytes into energy expending brown like (Beige or brown in white, BRiTE, cells). This increases thermogenesis and counters  high fat diet-induced obesity without modifying energy intake (in other words, without causing appetite suppression).

Our published research clearly demonstrates the expression of capsaicin receptor in the white and brown adipose tissues and activation of these receptors (TRPV1, transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 1) by capsaicin underlies its anti-obesity effect. Since capsaicin is pungent, we have developed a polymer coated orally bioavailable formulation of capsaicin. This polymer coating decreases the burst release of capsaicin, which reduces its pungency. Also, the polymer coating sustains the release of capsaicin for longer period of time, which will enhance its (capsaicin’s) bioavailability in the body.

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Study Finds No Link Between Dairy Fats and Heart Disease or Mortality Interview with:
“Milk” by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, PhD, FAHA
Assistant Professor
Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
University of Texas
Houston, TX 77030-3900 | What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our research adds to a growing body of evidence showing no harm in relation to heart disease or overall mortality associated with consumption of whole-fat dairy foods.

The findings also indicate that one of three fatty acids present in dairy fat was linked to lower risk of stroke among older adults. To the best of our knowledge, ours was the first large study to use repeated measures of fatty acids over time and evaluate association with mortality in older adults, which allowed us to expand and contribute to this important debate regarding fat intake and health.

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Perinatal Folic Acid May Protect Against Serious Mental Illness in Young People Interview with:

Joshua L. Roffman, MD Department of Psychiatry Mass General Hospital

Dr. Roffman

Joshua L. Roffman, MD
Department of Psychiatry
Mass General Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Autism, schizophrenia, and other serious mental illness affecting young people are chronic, debilitating, and incurable at present.  Recent public health studies have associated prenatal exposure to folic acid, a B-vitamin, with reduced subsequent risk of these illnesses.  However, until this point, biological evidence supporting a causal relationship between prenatal folic acid exposure and reduced psychiatric risk has remained elusive.

We leveraged the rollout of government-mandated folic acid fortification of grain products in the U.S. from 1996-98 as a “natural experiment” to determine whether increased prenatal folic acid exposure influenced subsequent brain development.  This intervention, implemented to reduce risk of spina bifida and other disabling neural tube defects in infants, rapidly doubled blood folate levels among women of childbearing age in surveillance studies.

Across two large, independent cohorts of youths age 8 to 18 who received MRI scans, we observed increased cortical thickness, and a delay in age-related cortical thinning, in brain regions associated with schizophrenia risk among individuals who were born during or after the fortification rollout, compared to those born just before it.  Further, delayed cortical thinning also predicted reduced risk of psychosis spectrum symptoms, a finding that suggests biological plausibility in light of previous work demonstrating early and accelerated cortical thinning among school-aged individuals with autism or psychosis.

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Anti-Cancer Mechanism of Curcumin Outlined Interview with:

Ulrich Pfeffer, PhD Head of the Functional Genomics lab IRCCS AOU San Martino - IST Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro Genova, Italy

Dr. Pfeffer

Ulrich Pfeffer, PhD
Head of the Functional Genomics lab

IRCCS AOU San Martino – IST Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro
Genova, Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Curcumin is well known as a dietary integrator and in alternative medicine. Many previous studies showed its anti-cancer and many other beneficial activities. We and others had shown that these activities rely on its ability to reduce inflammation, which is an important factor in cancer development. This activity had also been described in much detail. It appears that curcumin inhibits the master regulator of the inflammatory program, the so called Nuclear factor kappa B, NFκB.

In the present study, we asked whether Curcumin also affects tumor cell metabolism and if so, how. We show that curcumin inhibits a central enzyme of the cell metabolism, the ATP-Synthase, that stands at the end of the chain that burns sugar and produces energy. In tumor cells, this also leads to the production of reactive oxygen species, ROS, that kill the cancer cell. Continue reading

What is the Role of Diet in Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis? Interview with:

Adam Ford, BS Research fellow with Dr. April Armstrong Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California

Adam Ford

Adam Ford, BS
Research fellow with Dr. April Armstrong
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California What is the background for this study?

Response: Our psoriasis patients have long asked us about the role of diet on psoriasis. Previously, there was a lack of evidence synthesis on the relationship between psoriasis and diet. As such, providers were mostly unable to address their patients questions on the role of diet on psoriasis.

This pivotal effort from the National Psoriasis Foundation has been a few years in the making. We looked at the role of diet on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis based on a careful synthesis of the scientific studies available to us currently.

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Accurate Measurements Suggest High Salt Intake Leads To Higher Death Rate Interview with:
Dr. Feng J He PhD
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine,
Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry,
Queen Mary University of London,
London What is the background for this study?

Response: Studies have shown that there is a strong linear relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure and raised blood pressure is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

The current mean population sodium intake among adults in most countries is approximately 4,000 mg/d (10 g/d salt). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a 30% reduction in sodium intake by 2025 with an eventual target of less than 2,000 mg/d (5 g/d salt) for all countries. Several recent cohort studies have challenged the WHO’s recommendations, as these studies suggested that there was a J or U-shaped relationship between sodium and risk, i.e. lower and higher sodium intake both were associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and deaths.

However, these studies have several severe methodological problems, one of which is the use of a biased or unreliable estimate of individual’s usual sodium intake, e.g. a single spot urine with the Kawasaki formula.

Our study, for the first time, has compared the relationship of sodium intake and mortality, based on various methods to assess usual sodium intake, including estimates based on the Kawasaki formula (single and average of multiple days) and a single measured 24-hour urine, with the gold standard method, i.e. the average of multiple non-consecutive measured 24-h urines.

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No Evidence Probiotics Will Reduce Your Anxiety Interview with:

Daniel Reis MA Graduate Student Clinical Psychology University of Kansas

Daniel Reis

Daniel Reis MA
Graduate Student
Clinical Psychology
University of Kansas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Probiotics have generated considerable interest as a possible treatment for numerous forms of physical and mental illness. Preliminary evidence from both preclinical and clinical studies suggest that probiotics may be able to reduce anxiety. Our goal was to comprehensively review and summarize existing preclinical and clinical studies.

Overall, probiotic administration reduced anxiety-like behaviors in rodents, but only in those with some form of experimentally-induced disease (such as early-life stress or socieal defeat). Probiotics did not reduce anxiety in humans.

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Amgen Tests IL-Blocker To Treat Symptoms of Hidden Gluten Consumption in Celiac Disease Interview with:

Markku Mäki, MD, PhD Professor (emeritus) at the University of Tampere and Presently research director at the Tampere University Hospital Tampere, Finland

Prof. Mäki

Markku Mäki, MD, PhD
Professor (emeritus) at the University of Tampere and
Presently research director at the
Tampere University Hospital
Tampere, Finland What is the background for this study?

Response: The only treatment for this life-long gluten-induced autoimmune systemic disease is a strict avoidance of wheat, rye and barley, the food cereals which contain gluten, the environmental trigger and driving force in celiac disease.  Gluten causes intestinal
inflammation, usually with (but sometimes without) gastrointestinal or
nutritional symptoms or signs, and with frequent extra-intestinal
diseases. However, it is impossible for celiac disease patients to
avoid gluten entirely and indefinitely and a third of patients report
symptoms on a strict gluten-free diet. Gut mucosal healing is not
optimal in half of the patients, and inflammation and injury is
detected for years after starting the diet, presumably due to
contamination with gluten in the diet. This is why patients are
requesting, and academia and industry are looking for novel adjunct
therapies for celiac disease. Initially, these therapies are tested to
prevent the consequences of hidden gluten; the ultimate goal being
that also celiacs could one day eat safely wheat, barley and rye
products. Some 20 novel experimental therapies are at present actively
being investigated (modifying wheat or different drugs, devices and

The present study investigated whether blocking interleukin 15, an
important mediator of celiac disease, reduces or prevents
gluten-driven ill health, both the inflammation and injury at the
small intestinal mucosal level and gluten-induced symptoms. The
experimental drug used was Amgen’s AMG 714, a human monoclonal
antibody, used at a low and high dose, in the presence or absence of a
high-dose gluten challenge. Continue reading

Think Vitamin Supplements Improve Your Heart Health? Think Again! Interview with:
“Pills Vitamins Macro April 22, 2012 4” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0David J.A. Jenkins, MD, PhD, DSc
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism
Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Toronto What is the background for this study?

Response: The study was requested by the editor of JACC (Dr. Valentin Fuster) due to the widespread use of vitamin and mineral supplementation by the public and the requirement to know if there were any benefits or harms for cardiovascular disease.

Our study was a follow-up to the US Preventive Services Task Force 2013 recommendations.

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More Protein Associated With Moderate Increase in Heart Failure in Men (except for fish and eggs) Interview with:
“mmmm Meat” by Glen MacLarty is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Jyrki Virtanen, PhD
Adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology
Heli Virtanen, MSc

University of Eastern Finland
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition
Kuopio, Finland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous studies have found that animal sources of protein may have an adverse impact on the risk of cardiovascular diseases, like myocardial infarct, whereas plant sources of protein have had an opposite impact.

In this study we investigated that how protein intake from different dietary sources is associated with developing heart failure in men during the study’s follow-up. During the mean follow-up time of about 22 years, 334 men developed heart failure.

The main finding of the study was that higher protein intake was associated with a moderately higher risk of heart failure and the findings were similar with protein from most dietary sources, although the association was stronger with protein from animal sources. Only protein from fish and eggs were not associated with the risk in our study. Continue reading

Study Finds Plant-Based Diet Can Reduce Cardiovascular Death by 40% Interview with:
“Vegetarian Skewers” by Geoff Peters is licensed under CC BY 2.0Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of clinical research
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Washington, DC 20016 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In this study, my research team and I reviewed multiple clinical trials and observational studies to determine the links between diet and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. We found that a healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart attack by more than 80 percent—something no drug has ever accomplished.

We also found strong and consistent evidence that plant-based dietary patterns (with few or no animal products and rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes) can prevent and even reverse atherosclerosis and decrease other markers of CVD risk, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. We found that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by about 40 percent overall.  Continue reading

No Link Found Between Autism and Maternal Fish Ingested During Pregnancy Interview with:
“Fish” by Dhruvaraj S is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Caroline M Taylor
Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
Centre for Child and Adolescent Health
Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol What is the background for this study?

Response: Mercury is a toxic metal that is widespread in the environment. In pregnancy, mercury in the mother’ bloodstream is transferred through the placenta to the fetus, where is can affect development of the nervous system. Mercury from vaccines has been the focus of attention particularly in regard to a link with autism in children. However, the amount of mercury used in the vaccines is small in comparison with mercury from the diet and atmospheric pollution, and in the EU at least, childhood vaccines no longer contain this preservative. The fear that mercury is linked to autism has persisted, despite increasing evidence that this is not the case.

The aim of our study was to look at mercury from the diet rather than vaccines – specifically from fish – in pregnant women. We measured the women’s mercury levels in their blood and asked them about how much fish they ate. We then followed up their children for 9 years and recorded how many of them had autism diagnosed within that time. We also measured how many of them had autist traits by measuring their social and communication difficulties.  The data were part of the Children of the 90s study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – ALSPAC), which is based in Bristol, UK.

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Preterm Infants Need Optimized Nutrition For Maximal Brain Growth Interview with:
Katherine Ottolini MD, lead study author

Children’s National Health System and

Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., senior study author

Dr. Limperopoulos

Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., senior study author and
Director of Developing Brain Research Laboratory
Children’s National Health System What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nutrition is an important modifiable factor for brain development in premature infants, however few studies have evaluated the impact of nutritional interventions in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on structural brain development in very premature infants using advanced, quantitative MRI techniques.

The goal of this study was to utilize quantitative MRI to evaluate the impact of macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and energy intake throughout the duration of the NICU stay on brain volumes and white matter development in very premature infants at term-equivalent age (TEA).

We prospectively enrolled 68 very low birthweight infants (< 1500g) admitted to Children’s NICU within the first 7 days of life. We found significant negative associations between cumulative macronutrient and energy intake on both the brain’s white matter microstructural development (in the superior cerebellar peduncle, corpus callosum) and regional brain volumetric growth (cortical gray matter and cerebellum).

In contrast, when evaluating average nutritional intake, we found significant associations between lipid and energy intake and regional brain volumes in the cortical gray matter, brainstem and cerebellum.  Continue reading

Not All Calories Affect Health Equally Interview with:
“Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kimber L. Stanhope, Ph.D., M.S., R.D.
Research Nutritional Biologist
Department of Molecular Biosciences: SVM
University of California, Davis What are the main findings of this study?

Response: Sugar-sweetened beverages increase risk factors for cardiometabolic disease compared with calorically-equal amounts of starch.

We are not the first group of experts to reach this conclusion. The Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group reached a similar conclusion last year (Micha, 2017). Yet very different conclusions/opinions are being still being published by other researchers. (Latest example: Archer E., In Defense of Sugar: A Critique of Diet-Centrism. Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, May 1, 2018).

These conflicting conclusions confuse the public and undermine the implementation of public health policies, such as soda taxes and warning labels, that could help to slow the epidemics of obesity and cardiometabolic disease. We hope that the careful review of the evidence and the discussion of issues that can lead to conflicting opinions in nutrition research in this paper will help to clarify this issue.

Consumption of polyunsaturated (n-6) fats, such as those found in some vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts, lowers disease risk when compared with equal amounts of saturated fats.

It is important to note however, that the effects of saturated fat can vary depending on the type of food. Dairy foods such as cheese and yogurts, which can be high in saturated fats, have been associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk.

The non-caloric sweetener aspartame does not promote weight gain in adults.

Aspartame is the most extensively studied of the non-caloric sweeteners. None of the dietary intervention studies that have investigated the effects of aspartame consumption have shown it promotes body weight gain.

This includes studies in which the adult research participants consumed aspartame for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years.

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