Artificial Sweeteners May Be Bad For Your Waistline and Your Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Azad

Dr. Azad

Meghan Azad PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study
Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; co-Lead, Population Health Pillar, Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases in Children Network

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

Response: Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing.  Emerging data indicate that artificial, or non-nutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that collectively followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

Only 7 of these studies were randomized clinical trials (the gold standard in clinical research), involving 1003 people followed for 6 months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

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Study Finds Diet Not Connected to GI Problems in Children With Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD University of Missouri School of Medicine

Dr. Ferguson

Bradley James Ferguson, PhD
University of Missouri School of Medicine 

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

Response: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal pain, but the cause of these GI issues is not currently known. Previous research from our laboratory showed a significant positive relationship between cortisol levels and GI problems, especially for constipation. However, it is possible that other factors such as diet may affect GI functioning, especially since many children have altered diets. This study examined 32 different nutrients in the children’s diets, as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire that assessed the participant’s diet over the past month, and how each nutrient was related to upper and lower GI tract symptom scores over the past month created from the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms – Rome III. The results showed no significant relationships between any of the nutrients and GI symptoms, suggesting that diet was not associated with GI symptoms in this sample.

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Healthy Diet Translates Into Longer Life

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mercedes Sotos Prieto PhD Research Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health 

Dr. Sotos-Prieto

Mercedes Sotos Prieto PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

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

Response: Previous research have found that adherence to the 2010 Alternate Heathy Eating Index, the Mediterranean Diet pattern, and DASH pattern is associated with health benefits, but none of those studies have examined dynamic changes in diet quality over time and subsequent risk of mortality.

This is the first study to demonstrate that improvement in these three diet scores over time is associated with reduced risk of total and cardiovascular mortality. In contrast, worsening diet quality over 12-years was associated with 6%-12% increased mortality.

In addition, not only improvement in diet quality but maintaining a high adherence to any of the three dietary patterns over 12 years was significantly associated with 9%-14% lower total mortality.
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Moderate Coffee Drinking Linked To Lower Risk of Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marc J. Gunter, PhD 

From International Agency for Research on Cancer
Lyon, France

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

Response: U.S. and Japanese studies have previously found that drinking more coffee was related with a lower risk of death. However, in European populations, where coffee consumption and preparation methods are more varied, the relationship was less certain as relatively small studies had previously been conducted. Our analysis was undertaken in ~500,000 men and women from 10 European countries, the largest study to date investigating the coffee and mortality relationship.

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BLISS – Baby Led Introduction To Solids – May Make Feeding Less Fussy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Anne-Louise M. Heath and

Professor Rachael Taylor
Co-Principal Investigators for the BLISS study.

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

Response: Conventional approaches to complementary feeding generally advise parents to spoon-feed their infant pureed foods, gradually progressing to greater variety and texture so that by the time the infant is one year of age, they are eating more or less what the family does.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an alternative approach where the infants feeds themselves right from the start of complementary feeding. Because children of this age cannot use utensils, this means hand-held foods are necessary. Advocates of BLW suggest that children have a lower risk of obesity because they remain in control of their own food intake, but research examining this issue directly is scarce. Health professionals have also expressed concern that BLW might put the infant at increased risk of iron deficiency (parents might avoid red meat for fear of the infant choking, and iron-fortified cereals are not easy for the infant to feed themselves), growth faltering (if only low energy foods are offered) and choking (from the infant feeding themselves ‘whole’ foods).

Our study therefore examined a version of BLW that had been modified to address these issues (called BLISS – a Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS). Two hundred families took part in our 2-year intervention, with half following traditional feeding practices and half receiving guidance and support to follow our BLISS approach. We found that BLISS children were not less likely to be overweight than those following traditional feeding practices, nor was growth faltering an issue. BLISS child ate about the same amount of food as control children, and their ability to eat to appetite was not different either.

However, it seems that children following a baby-led approach to complementary feeding are less fussy about food, and have a healthier attitude to food, which might make a difference to their health long term.
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Fewer Refined Grains During Pregnancy May Reduce Obesity Risk In Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20817 

Dr. Zhang

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD
Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20817 

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

Response: Refined grains with a high glycemic index and reduced fiber and nutrient content have been linked to increased adiposity and higher risk of metabolic syndrome among adults. Despite these differences and the growing body of literature on the link between maternal diet/nutrition during pregnancy and subsequent offspring health consequences throughout the lifespan, little is known about the intergenerational impact of refined-grain intake during pregnancy on long-term cardio-metabolic outcomes in the offspring.

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When Should Babies Be Introduced To Peanuts, Eggs and Cow’s Milk?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor  MB, ChB, FRACP, FRCPC, FAAAAI Co-director of the CHILD Study Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, McMaster Universi

Dr. Sears

Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor
MB, ChB, FRACP, FRCPC, FAAAAI
Co-director of the CHILD Study
Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine,
McMaster University

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

Response: The Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study is a longitudinal birth cohort study commenced in 2008 with 3,495 families across Canada.  We recruited the mothers during pregnancy and are following their children to age 5 with the intent of determining the underlying developmental causes of allergy and asthma.

In the current analysis, we have looked at the relationship between the timing of first introduction of three “allergenic” foods (milk products, egg and peanut) and the likelihood of sensitization to these foods at age 1 year.  We found that earlier introduction was associated with a reduced risk of sensitization, which is consistent with some recent randomized controlled trials.  For instance, infants who avoided cow’s milk product in their first year of life were nearly four times as likely to be sensitized to cow’s milk compared with infants who did consume cow’s milk products before age 12 months.  Similarly, infants who avoided egg or peanut in the first year were nearly twice as likely to be sensitized to those foods compared to infants who consumed them before 12 months of age.

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Which Diet Is Best For You? It Depends On Your Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD Post-doctoral Associate Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology Cornell University thaca, NY

Dr. Kaixong Ye

Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD
Post-doctoral Associate
Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology
Cornell University
thaca, NY

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

Response: Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are critical for human brain development, cognitive function, immune response, and cardiovascular health. Physiologically active forms of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, such as AA, EPA, and DHA, are readily available in meat and seafood, but are absent in most plant-based foods (e.g. fruits and vegetables). Instead, plant-based foods contain two precursor fatty acids, LA and ALA, which could be metabolized in our body and converted into physiologically active forms. Fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genes encode key enzymes for this biosynthesis.

We hypothesized that genetic variations in FADS genes that enhance the biosynthesis efficiency were adaptive to plant-based diets in traditional farming populations and thus became more frequent over time. Our study compiled a huge data set of genetic information (DNA) from both present-day and ancient individuals. For the first time, we examined the action of natural selection on humans for the past 30,000 years in Europe.

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Elegant Descriptions of Healthy Foods Encourages Consumption

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley P. Turnwald

Bradley Turnwald

Bradley P. Turnwald MS
Stanford University, Department of Psychology
Stanford, California

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

Response: This study tested an intervention to encourage people to consume healthier foods. Encouraging healthy eating is difficult because many people think that healthy foods do not taste good, and most people prioritize taste over health when choosing what to eat. In fact, lab studies suggest that people rate foods as less tasty, less enjoyable, and less filling when they are labeled as healthy compared to when the same foods are not labeled as healthy. A recent study from the Stanford Mind & Body Lab published last month in Health Psychology showed that healthy foods are even described with less tasty, exciting, and indulgent descriptions compared to standard items on the menus of top-selling chain restaurants in America. This led us to ask the question, what if healthy foods were described with the tasty and indulgent descriptions that are typically reserved for the more classic, unhealthy foods?

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Vegetarian Diet More Effective For Weight Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD</strong> Director of Clinical Research at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Charles University in Prague

Dr. Kahleova

Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD
Director of Clinical Research at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Charles University in Prague

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

Response: The vegetarian diet was found to be almost twice as effective in reducing body weight, resulting in an average loss of 6.2kg compared to 3.2kg for the conventional diet. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we studied adipose tissue in the subjects’ thighs to see how the two different diets had affected subcutaneous, subfascial and intramuscular fat.

We found that both diets caused a similar reduction in subcutaneous fat. However, subfascial fat was only reduced in response to the vegetarian diet, and intramuscular fat was more greatly reduced by the vegetarian diet.

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