Author Interviews, Autism, Gastrointestinal Disease, Nutrition / 14.07.2017 Interview with: Bradley James Ferguson, PhD University of Missouri School of Medicine 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. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Coffee / 11.07.2017 Interview with: Marc J. Gunter, PhD  From International Agency for Research on Cancer Lyon, France 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 19.06.2017 Interview with: Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20817 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. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 19.06.2017 Interview with: Dr. Malcolm Sears, Professor MB, ChB, FRACP, FRCPC, FAAAAI Co-director of the CHILD Study Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, McMaster University 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acids / 16.06.2017 Interview with: Kaixiong (Calvin) Ye, PhD Post-doctoral Associate Dept. of Biological Statistics & Computational Biology Cornell University thaca, NY 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Stanford / 12.06.2017 Interview with: Bradley P. Turnwald MS Stanford University, Department of Psychology Stanford, California 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? (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Exercise - Fitness, Nutrition, UCSF / 06.06.2017 Interview with: Dr. Erin Van Blarigan, ScD Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics UC San Francisco What is the background for this study? Response: There are over 1.3 million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States. Cancer survivors often seek guidance on what they can do to lower their risk of cancer recurrence and death. In response to patient interest and the need for improved survivorship care, the American Cancer Society (ACS) published guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer survivors. The guidelines are to: 1) achieve and maintain a healthy body weight; 2) engage in regular physical activity; and 3) achieve a dietary pattern that is high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Salt-Sodium / 05.06.2017 Interview with: Jennifer Poti, PhD Research Assistant Professor Nutritional Epidemiology Gillings School of Global Public Health University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill What is the background for this study? Response: Although strong evidence links excessive sodium intake to hypertension, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the majority of American children and adults have sodium intake that exceeds the recommended upper limit for daily sodium intake. To lower sodium intake at the population-level, the Institute of Medicine has recommended that reducing sodium in packaged foods will be essential and has emphasized the need to monitor sodium in the US food supply. However, little is known about whether sodium in packaged foods has changed during the past 15 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 07.05.2017 Interview with: Sari Niinistö, PhD Senior Researcher, Public Health Solutions, Nutrition Unit National Institute for Health and Welfare Helsinki, Finland What is the background for this study? Response: Previous prospective studies have observed protective association between fish-derived fat and type 1 diabetes related autoimmunity in older children. Also some other fatty acids have been associated with the risk for type 1 diabetes associated autoimmunity. We wanted to study very young children, because type 1 diabetes associated autoimmunity often begins early, already in infancy. Therefore, we investigated whether serum fatty acid levels during infancy or the main dietary sources of fatty acids (breast milk and infant formula) were related to the development of autoimmunity responses among children at increased genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Mineral Metabolism, Nutrition, Social Issues, Transplantation / 25.04.2017 Interview with: Ms. Shifra Mincer Medical Student in the class of 2019 SUNY Downstate Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hypophosphatemia is commonly encountered in the post-transplant setting. Early post-transplant hypophosphatemia has been ascribed to excess FGF23 and hyperphosphaturia. Many patients remain hypohosphatemic months or even years after their transplant and the mechanism was assumed to be the same, however, our group recently reported that patients with late post-transplant hypophosphatemia had very little phosphorous in their urine (Wu S, Brar A, Markell, MS. Am J Kidney Dis. 2016,67(5): A18). We hypothesized that they were not eating enough phosphorous to compensate for the acute phosphorous losses they experienced immediately post-transplant. In this study, using both 3-day diet journals and 24-hour diet recall questionnaires, we found that mean intake of phosphorous and protein was barely at the Recommended Daily Allowance, and that despite 70% of the patients using EBT, 30% of those patients still reported concerns regarding food security. Patients who reported that the cost of food influenced their dietary choices ate 43% less protein (average 48,5 gms vs. 85.8 gms) and 29% less phosphorous (average 887 mg vs 1257 mg). When ability to rise from a chair over a 30 second period was evaluated, only patients who expressed food cost concerns were unable to complete the test. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Nutrition / 21.04.2017 Interview with: Leyuan Liu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Center for Translational Cancer Research Institute of Biosciences and Technology Texas A&M University Houston, Texas 77030 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research team has been working on the question why people develop cancers and how we can prevent or cure them. In contrast to public views, we concluded from our studies that cancers, similar to our age-related diseases, originate from inefficiencies of our body to clean up cellular wastes accumulated during our lifespan. The most important pathway to clean up those wastes is called autophagy, or cellular self-eating behavior. We study how autophagy is regulated, how autophagy causes cancers, and whether we can control autophagy to prevent or cure cancers. Previously we found autophagy is regulated by a protein called MAP1S and mice without MAP1S are more likely to develop liver cancer. We have been seeking ways to improve MAP1S-mediated autophagy to prevent liver cancer. Our current study show that spermidine, a natural component existing in many foods, can increase the stability of MAP1S proteins and activate MAP1S-mediated autophagy. Concurrent with the benefits of expand mouse lifespans ours also reported, spermidine can suppress the development of liver fibrosis and liver cancer specifically through MAP1S if we add spermidine into the daily drinking water of mice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Nutrition, PLoS / 19.04.2017 Interview with: Huaidong Du Senior Research Fellow China Kadoorie Biobank Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health Oxford UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This research article describes findings from the China Kadoorie Biobank study which is a large population based prospective cohort study including about 0.5 million adults recruited from 10 areas in China. The main reason for us to perform this study is because previous evidence on potential benefit of fruit consumption in diabetes prevention and management is very limited. The sugar content of fruit has led to concerns in many parts of the world (e.g. China and several other Asian countries) about its potential harm for people with (high risk of) diabetes. This has consequently Chinese people diagnosed with diabetes tend to restrict their fruit intake. With the rapid increase of diabetes incidence in China and many other Asian countries, it is critically important to investigate the associations of fruit consumption with the incidence diabetes and, among those with diabetes already, diabetic macro- and microvascular complications. Through analysing data collected during 7 years of follow-up, the study found that people who eat fresh fruit more frequently are at lower risk of developing diabetes and diabetes related vascular complications. Compared with non-consumers, those who ate fresh fruit daily had a 12% lower risk of developing diabetes. Among participants with diabetes at the start of the study, higher fresh fruit consumption also showed health benefits, with a 100g portion of fruit per day associated with 17% lower overall mortality, 13% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications affecting large blood vessels (e.g. ischaemic heart disease and stroke) and 28% lower risk of developing complications affecting small blood vessels (e.g. kidney and eye diseases). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids, Nutrition, Stroke, Yale / 13.04.2017 Interview with: Eric J. Brandt, MD Yale University Cardiovascular Disease Fellow What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: From previous studies we know that industrial trans fatty acid (trans fat) consumption is linked to elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. Even small amounts of consumption can be deleterious to cardiovascular health. In New York state, there were 11 counties that restricted the use of trans fatty acids in eateries. We compared hospitalization for heart attacks and stroke from 2002 through 2013 in counties that did and did not have restrictions. Our study found that when comparing populations within New York state that restricted the use of trans fat, compared to those that did not, there was an associated additional decline beyond temporal trends for heart attacks and stroke events combined by 6.2%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 24.03.2017 Interview with: Brandon Auerbach, MD, MPH Acting Instructor Division of General Internal Medicine University of Washington What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The question of whether 100% fruit juice causes poor health outcomes in children, such as weight gain, has been a subject of controversy. On one hand, 100% fruit juice contains vitamins and nutrients that many children lack, is often cheaper than whole fruit, and may help kids with limited access to healthy food meet their daily fruit requirements. On the other hand, leading nutrition experts have expressed concern that fruit juice contains amounts of sugar equal to or greater than those of sugary drinks like regular soda. Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics warn that 100% juice can be a significant source of calories and contribute to obesity if consumed excessively. Our main finding was that consuming 1 serving/day of 100% fruit juice was not associated with weight gain in children. Children ages 1 to 6 years gained a small amount of weight, but not enough to negatively impact health. Children ages 7 and older gained no weight. We did not study amounts of 100% fruit juice higher than 1 serving/day. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition / 19.03.2017 Interview with: Lillian MacNell PhD Assistant Professor Department of Public Health Campbell University What is the background for this study? Response: There’s been a lot of research done on how to define and measure food deserts (areas with limited access to supermarkets), and some other studies on the dietary and related health effects of living in a food desert. But there’s been a lot less attention paid to how the people who live in those food deserts deal with this—how do they feel it affects them? How and where do they shop for food? In this study, we wanted to get a better understanding of the daily reality of living in a food desert and the strategies that people use to respond to low access to food. We interviewed 42 low-income mothers and grandmothers of young children in one urban food desert about this, and we also profiled the available food stores in the neighborhood to get a sense of what’s available for these families. One thing we found is that most of the food stores in the neighborhood were small corner and convenience stores; these rarely offered fresh fruits and vegetables, and only a few carried canned produce or other nutritious options like low-fat milk and wheat bread. When we did see those items in the neighborhood, they cost about 25% more than they did at the nearest supermarkets. So in terms of the environment, these women were working with fewer options at a higher price, unless they traveled outside of their neighborhoods to reach large supermarkets. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sugar / 08.03.2017 Interview with: Marlene B. Schwartz PhD Director, Rudd Center for Obesity & Food Policy (Principal Investigator) Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies University of Connecticut Hartford, CT 06103 What is the background for this study?  Response: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a community-wide campaign to reduce consumption of sugary beverages in Howard County, Maryland. We measured the retail sales of sugary drinks in supermarkets in the target community and a set of matched control supermarkets in another state. The campaign included multiple components over three years, including television advertising, digital marketing, direct mail, outdoor advertising, social media and earned media, creating 17 million impressions. The community partners successfully advocated for public policies to encourage healthy beverage consumption in schools, child care, health care and government settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Nutrition, Sleep Disorders, Weight Research / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Mirkka Maukonen MSc (nutrition), PhD Candidate the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Public Health Solutions Helsinki, Finland What is the background for this study? Response: Recent literature has highlighted the importance of sleep and circadian rhythms in development of obesity and metabolic dysfunctions. Furthermore, it has been suggested that in addition to quality of the diet also meal timing may play role in development of obesity. For example, skipping breakfast and eating at later times in the evening have been associated with higher BMI. However, little is known about how the timing of circadian rhythms (chronotype) affects timing of energy intake and its association with metabolic health. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CMAJ, Lifestyle & Health / 23.02.2017 Interview with: Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc. Affiliate scientist Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, ON What is the background for this review? Response: As a medical oncologist who has treated breast cancer patients for over 30 years, I have found that most of the women in my practice are desperately looking for things they can do beyond standard surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc. to increase their chance of cure.  Unfortunately, many fall prey to false claims they read over the Internet or hear from well-meaning friends and relatives.  As a result they turn to absurdly restrictive diets (eg. No meat, dairy or sugar) or to ‘supplements’ with unproven effectiveness or even safety. So I thought it would be helpful to review the literature to determine what evidence-based lifestyle changes these women could make that would at least improve their overall health and, ideally, reduce their risk of dying of recurrent breast cancer.  For this review I thought it would be great to team up with Julia Hamer, a pre-med student with a degree in nutrition who just happens to also be an Olympic level athlete! (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Microbiome, Nutrition, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 23.02.2017 Interview with: Akira Sekikawa, Ph.D. Associate professor of epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We found that Japanese men who are able to produce equol—a substance made by some types of “good” gut bacteria when they metabolize isoflavones (micronutrients found in dietary soy)—have lower levels of a risk factor for heart disease than their counterparts who cannot produce it. All monkeys can produce equol, as can 50 to 70 percent of people in Asian countries. However, only 20 to 30 percent of people in Western countries can. Scientists have known for some time that isoflavones protect against the buildup of plaque in arteries, known as atherosclerosis, in monkeys, and are associated with lower rates of heart disease in people in Asian countries. It was surprising when a large trial of isoflavones in the U.S. didn’t show the beneficial effects on atherosclerosis. My colleagues and I recruited 272 Japanese men aged 40 to 49 and performed blood tests to find out if they were producing equol. After adjusting for other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and obesity as well as dietary intake of isoflavones, we found that the equol-producers had 90-percent lower odds of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than the equol non-producers. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Nutrition / 14.02.2017 Interview with: John C. Price, Ph.D Asst. Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry Brigham Young University Provo, Utah What is the background for this study? Response: Since 1930 it has been known that the rate of biological aging could be modified by the diet.  In mice for example if you let them eat as much as they want they will live almost 3 years.  Providing essentially the same diet but controlling the number of total calories, there is an almost linear increase in lifespan as you restrict calories.  The studies in mice and rats have been repeated hundreds of times since that time.  There have been a lot of somewhat conflictive observations, like increased formation of new mitochondria, and increased autophagy which targets organelles for degradation, during stable reduced calorie intake. This expectation, that a restricted diet with fewer calories available to the animal could support increased protein synthesis and degradation and result in increased lifespan, is what got us interested in studying Calorie Restriction.  So we measured the relative synthesis rates for several hundred proteins in 18 month old calorie restricted mice which were experiencing the benefits of improved health and lifespan.  We found overwhelmingly that the calorie restricted mice had reduced synthesis rates down to as low as 25% of the age matched control group.  This observation has now been independently confirmed by multiple groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 07.02.2017 Interview with: Xiyuan Zhang PhD and Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD Professor of Oncology Georgetown University Research Building, Room E407 Washington, DC 20057 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Breast cancer is the most common cancer type in women and it also is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the United States. Every year, over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the US and this number reached over 1.5 million worldwide in 2012. Asian women exhibit much lower risk of breast cancer than Caucasian women, accounting for about one fifth of the breast cancer incidence in Western women. Therefore, researchers have been intensively studying and aiming to decipher the difference between these two populations. Results of previous research from our laboratory and by others, in animal models and humans, indicate that higher intake of soy foods or soy isoflavone genistein during childhood is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. However, findings done using human breast cancer cells indicate that soy isoflavones stimulate growth of breast cancer cells. Thus, there is an apparent controversy regarding soy isoflavones and breast cancer. 70% of all breast cancer cases are estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and are therefore treated with endocrine therapy, including with tamoxifen. Although these treatments effectively prevent recurrence in half of the ER+ breast cancer patients, the other half are resistant or develop resistance to the endocrine therapy and recur. Intriguingly, several studies done using human breast cancer cells in culture or in mice found that soy isoflavone genistein negates tamoxifen’s effects. However, observational studies in women suggest that those patients who consume most soy foods have the lowest risk of breast cancer recurrence. The present study was designed to address these conflicting findings using a preclinical animal model and to determine if lifetime isoflavone intake has different effect on tamoxifen’s ability to treat breast cancer than intake that starts when cancer is detected. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, Nutrition, Weight Research / 31.01.2017 Interview with: Ruopeng An, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Kinesiology and Community Health College of Applied Health Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 61820 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Coffee and tea are among the most widely consumed beverages in U.S. adults.1,2 Unlike other popular beverages including alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages that are typically consumed in isolation, many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with add-ins like sugar or cream. These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value. Drinking coffee and tea with add-ins on a regular basis might impact an individual’s daily energy/nutrient intake and diet quality.3 The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that “coffee, tea, and flavored waters also can be selected, but calories from cream, added sugars, and other additions should be accounted for within the eating pattern.”4 To our knowledge, no study has been conducted to assess consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins in relation to daily energy and nutrient intake at the population level. Bouchard et al. examined the association between coffee and tea consumption with add-ins and body weight status rather than energy/nutrient intake, and consumption was measured by a few frequency-related questions instead of a 24-hour dietary recall.5 The purpose of this study was to examine consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins (e.g., sugar, cream) in relation to energy, sugar, and fat intake among U.S. adults 18 years of age and above. Data came from 2001-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), comprising a nationally-representative (biennially) repeated cross-sectional sample of 13,185 and 6,215 adults who reported coffee and tea consumption in in-person 24-hour dietary recalls, respectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 23.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Marta Alegret Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Chemistry Pharmacology Section School of Pharmacy and Food Sciences University of Barcelona What is the background for this study? Response: In humans, an excessive intake of sugars has been linked to the development of metabolic disturbances, and therefore to an increase in the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Specifically, increased consumption of simple sugars in liquid form, as beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or sucrose, has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, two questions remain unresolved: what is/are the underlying molecular mechanism(s) linking these metabolic alterations to cardiovascular diseases? Are the adverse cardiovascular and metabolic effects of sugar-sweetened beverages merely the consequence of the increase in caloric intake caused by their consumption? To answer to these questions, we performed a study in female rats, which were randomly assigned to three groups: a control group, without any supplementary sugar; a fructose-supplemented group, which received a supplement of 20% weight/volume fructose in drinking water; and a glucose-supplemented group, supplemented with 20% weight/volume glucose in drinking water. (more…)
Author Interviews, NIH, Nutrition, Weight Research / 20.01.2017 Interview with: Janet M. de Jesus, M.S., R.D. Program Officer, Implementation Science Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute What is the background for the DASH diet? What are the main components? Response: The DASH eating plan was created for a clinical trial funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The goal of the original DASH trial was to test the eating plan compared to a typical American diet (at the time in the 1990s) on the effect of blood pressure. The DASH eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages and high-fat meats. The eating plan is a good source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The DASH eating plan was shown to reduce blood pressure and improve lipid profiles. A second DASH trial, “DASH-sodium,” showed that adding sodium reduction to the DASH eating plan reduced blood pressure even more. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 13.01.2017 Interview with: Nicholas V. DiPatrizio, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences University of California, Riverside School of Medicine Riverside, California, 92521 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Endocannabinoids are a group of lipid signaling molecules that serve many physiological roles, including the control of food intake, energy balance, and reward. Previous research by my group found that tasting specific dietary fats drives production of the endocannabinoids in the upper small intestine of rats, and inhibiting this signaling event blocked feeding of fats (DiPatrizio et al., Endocannabinoid signaling in the gut controls dietary fat intake, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011). Thus, gut-brain endocannabinoid signaling is thought to generate positive feedback to the brain that promotes the intake of foods containing high levels of fats. We now asked the question of what role peripheral endocannabinoid signaling plays in promoting obesity caused by chronic consumption of a western diet (i.e., high levels of fats and sugar), as well as the role for endocannabinoids in overeating that is associated with western diet-induced obesity. When compared to mice fed a standard low-fat/sugar diet, mice fed a western diet for 60 days rapidly gained body weight and became obese, consumed significantly more calories, and consumed significantly larger meals at a much higher rate of intake (calories per minute). These hyperphagic responses to western diet were met with greatly elevated levels of endocannabinoids in the small intestine and circulation. Importantly, blocking elevated endocannabinoid signaling with pharmacological inhibitors of cannabinoid receptors in the periphery completely normalized food intake and meal patterns in western diet-induced obese mice to levels found in control lean mice fed standard chow. This work describes for the first time that overeating associated with chronic consumption of a Western Diet is driven by endocannabinoid signals generated in the periphery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Red Meat / 11.01.2017 Interview with: Wayne W. Campbell PhD Center on Aging and the Life Course Purdue University 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Dr Stacey Lockyer BSc(hons) MSc PhD RNutr Nutrition Scientist British Nutrition Foundation Imperial House 6th Floor London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This in depth review examines the potential health benefits of resistant starch, a form of starch that is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a type of dietary fibre. Some forms of resistant starch occur naturally in foods such as bananas, potatoes, grains, and pulses, and some are produced or modified commercially and incorporated into food products as a functional ingredient. There has been increasing research interest in resistant starch, with a large number of human studies published over the last 10 years looking at a variety of different health outcomes such as postprandial glycaemia, satiety and gut health. The review summarises reported effects and explores the potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. There is consistent evidence that consumption of resistant starch in place of digestible carbohydrates can aid blood glucose control and this has resulted in an approved health claim in the European Union. There is also some evidence that resistant starch can support gut health and enhance satiety, though much more research is needed in these areas. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lipids, Nutrition, Weight Research / 13.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Koji Ishiguro National Agriculture and Food Research Organization Japan What is the background for this study? Response: -Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) roots are not only used for human consumption, they are used to make starch materials, processed foods, and distilled spirits in Japan. Starch use accounts for about 15% (131,500 tons) of total sweet potato production. Starch residues are discharged during starch production and are mainly used in animal feed and compost. Large amounts of the wastewater, which can cause serious environmental problems, are discarded after clarification. Investigation into the uses of the by-products of the sweet potato starch industry would benefit both the environment and industry. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Imperial College, Nutrition / 10.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Dagfinn Aune Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics School of Public Health Imperial College London St. Mary's Campus London  UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that intake of nuts may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but the relation between nut intake and other diseases like cancer and stroke, and the relation with mortality and less common causes of death is not clear. Also it is not clear how much nuts are needed to reduce the risk. So our current meta-analysis reviewed the data from 20 studies (29 publications) on nut intake and different health outcomes. We found that a nut intake of approximately one serving per day (28 g/d or a handful) was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease (by 30%), total cancer (15%), all-cause mortality (22%) and mortality from respiratory disease (50%), diabetes (40%), and infections (75%), although there were few studies in the latter three analyses. We found that most of the benefit was observed up to an intake of around 20 grams per day. Similar results were found for total nuts, tree nuts and peanuts (which are botanically defined as legumes), but peanuts were also associated with reduced risk of stroke, while only tree nuts were associated with reduced cancer risk. We also calculated the number of deaths that potentially could be avoided, under the assumption that the observed associations are causal, and arrived at 4.4 million deaths in North and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific (unfortunately we did not have data on nut intake from West Asia and Africa so we were not able to include those areas). (more…)