Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Nutrition / 23.06.2016 Interview with: Lindsay Kohler MPH Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Tucson, Arizona What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have reported that following health promotion guidelines for diet, physical activity, and maintenance of a healthy body weight may reduce the risk of getting cancer or dying from cancer. We performed a systematic review to examine the associations between established cancer prevention guidelines for diet and physical activity and cancer outcomes. We found that adhering to cancer prevention guidelines set forth by the American Cancer Society or the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research consistently reduced the risk of overall cancer incidence and mortality (10-61%) in the studies included in this review. In addition, higher adherence to the guidelines consistently reduced the risk of breast, colorectal, and endometrial cancers. Adherence to a pattern of healthy behaviors may significantly reduce cancer incidence and mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Prostate Cancer / 22.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Ying Bao Sc.D., M.D Assistant Professor of Medicine Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nuts are rich in bioactive macronutrients, micronutrients, tocopherols and phytochemicals. Current epidemiological evidence has consistently linked increased nut consumption to reduced risk of several chronic conditions including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation. In contrast, evidence on nut consumption and cancer risk has been insufficient and equivocal. Prostate cancer is the leading cancer among U.S. men, with approximately 220,800 new cases diagnosed in 2015. However, very few studies have investigated the association between nut intake and prostate cancer. Thus, in the current study, we followed 47,299 US men from 1986-2012, and examined (1) whether consuming more nuts prevents getting prostate cancer, and (2) whether consuming more nuts reduces death rates among non-metastatic prostate cancer patients. During 26 years of follow-up, 6,810 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 4,346 of these patients were without metastasis at diagnosis. We found no association between nut intake and being diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, among non-metastatic prostate cancer patients, those who consumed nuts 5 or more times per week after diagnosis had a significant 34% lower rate of overall mortality than those who consumed nuts less than once per month. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Nutrition, PLoS / 15.06.2016 Interview with: Ambika Satija Departments of Nutrition & Epidemiology Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA What is the background for this study? Response: In this study, we followed more than 200,000 male and female health professionals across the U.S. for more than 20 years who had regularly filled out questionnaires on their diet, lifestyle, medical history, and new disease diagnoses as part of three large long-term studies. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition / 14.06.2016 Interview with: Geng Zong, Ph.D. Research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The refining process of grains removes most of fiber, minerals, vitamins, polyphenols and alkyl resorcinols that mainly exist in the outer layer of a kernel, thus enriches grains with carbohydrate and energy. Whole grains, on the other hand, are cereal grains or processed cereal grains that contains bran and germ, in addition to the inner most endosperm, as their natural proportions in the kernel. Observational studies have repeatedly linked whole grain intake with major chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, but findings regarding mortality are inconsistent and have not been quantitatively summarized. By meta-analyzing 14 existing or unpublished prospective cohort studies, our investigation found that whole grain intake is inversely associated with mortality risk from all-causes, CVD, and cancer. Among people with whole grain consumption, estimated all-cause mortality risk was 7% (for 10 grams/day), 16% (for 30 grams/day), 20% (for 50 grams/day), and 22% (for 70 grams/day) lower than people with no whole grain consumption. Similar dose-response relationship was observed for CVD and cancer mortality. (more…)
Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Sugar / 10.06.2016 Interview with: Margaret A. Brennan Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences Lincoln University Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been immense consumer attention recently in terms of the reduction of sugar levels in food products. Most of this attention has stemmed from a nutritional understanding that foods high in sugar and easily digested carbohydrates can increase blood glucose levels and hence potentially lead to weight gain, obesity issues, metabolic diseases (diabetes related illnesses) and even Alzheimer’s disease due to up regulation of genes responsible for amyloid like complexation. Our research over the last 10-15 years has tried to investigate the relationship between food composition – food structure / processing – human nutrition. We have developed a deep understanding of how we can regulate the potential glycaemic index of foods by selective use of non-starch polysaccharides, natural sweeteners and texturizing agents to manipulate the rate of starch and carbohydrate digestion. This study clearly illustrates the great potential of the use of certain natural sweeteners in producing reduced sugar consumer products which have the benefit of reducing glycaemic response in individuals. The utilisation of plant based ingredients to manipulate such a a response offers not only the industry but consumers a powerful opportunity to regulate glycaemia and hence associated metabolic orders. The study also illustrates that sugar is important in modern foods in providing the structure and hence textural characteristics we have grown accustomed to as consumers. Again careful selection of ingredients can minimise any potential negative effects on food structure and texture that sugar reduction may have. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet, Mediterranean Diet, Weight Research / 07.06.2016 Interview with: Dr Ramon Estruch, MD PhD Senior Consultant in the Internal Medicine Department of the Hospital Clinic Barcelona What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Estruch: Although weight stability requires a balance between calories consumed and calories expended, it seems that calories from vegetable fats have different effects that calories from animals on adiposity. Thus, an increase of dietary fat intake (mainly extra virgin olive oil or nuts) achieved naturally in the setting of Mediterranean diet does not promote weight gain or increase in adiposity parameters such as waist circumference. (more…)
Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Antioxidants, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Supplements / 04.06.2016 Interview with: Jennifer Lemon, PhD Research Associate Medical Radiation Sciences McMaster University What is the background for this study? Dr. Lemon: Research with the supplement began in 2000, as part of my doctoral degree; we developed the supplement to try to offset the severe cognitive deterioration and accelerated aging in a mouse model we were working with in the lab. Based on aging research, five mechanisms appeared to be key contributors to the process of aging; those include oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial deterioration, membrane dysfunction and impaired glucose metabolism. The criteria we used for including components in the supplement were as follows: each one of the 30 components had scientific evidence to show they acted on one or more of the above mechanisms were able to be taken orally, and were available to humans over-the-counter. Even then the hope was that if the formulation was successful, this would make it more available to the general public. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition / 18.05.2016 Interview with: Lea Borgi, MD, MMSc Renal Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Borgi:   The association of potatoes intake with the risk of developing hypertension has not been studied. In our analyses of more than 187,000 participants without a diagnosis of high blood pressure at baseline, we observed that higher intakes of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes and French fries were associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension. Indeed, when participants consumed 4 or more than 4 servings per week of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes as compared to 1 or less than one serving per month, the risk of hypertension increased by 11% (and 17% when French fries were consumed 4 or more than 4 times a week as compared to 1 or less than 1 serving per month). We also found that replacing one serving of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes per day with one serving of a non-starchy vegetable was associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension. (more…)
Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 15.05.2016 Interview with: 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 What is the background for this study? Dr. Azad: It is well known that maternal nutrition plays a key role in “programming” fetal development and infant weight gain, but the impact of artificial sweetener consumption during this critical period has not been extensively studied.  Some animal research suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners during pregnancy can predispose offspring to develop obesity, but this has never been studied in humans, until now. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 13.05.2016 Interview with: Maryam Farvid, Ph.D. Visiting Scientist Department of Global Health and Population Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farvid: Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. While we know many breast cancer risk factors, few of them are easily modified. Further, evidence suggests that exposure to carcinogens and anti-carcinogens in early life may play an important role. According to this study, what women eat as teens or young adults could affect their breast cancer risk in the future. Teenage girls who eat a lot of fruits may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life. The risk of breast cancer among women who reported the highest amount of dietary fruits during high school, about 2.9 servings of fruit a day, was 25 percent lower, compared with those who had eaten the lowest amount, about 0.5 serving of fruit a day. We also analyzed individual fruit and vegetable intake and risk of breast cancer: greater consumption of apple, banana, and grapes during adolescence, as well as oranges and kale for young adult was significantly associated with a reduced risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition / 12.05.2016 Interview with: Danielle E. Schoffman PhD Candidate Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior Arnold School of Public Health University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years, there has been large growth in the fast casual (e.g., Panera, Chipotle) restaurant sector, and there is a general perception among consumers that these restaurants are a healthier and fresher alternative to fast food. When we encourage participants in our research studies to reduce their fast food intake, they often ask if these fast casual restaurants also count. We were interested in looking at the calorie data for entrees at both restaurant types to see if they lined up with these assumptions. We analyzed the calorie content of entrées at 34 fast food and 28 fast casual restaurants, and found that fast food entrées had an average of 760 calories per entrée compared to 561 for fast food entrées . Also, a greater proportion of fast casual restaurant entrées exceeded the median of 640 calories per entrée. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 05.05.2016 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 28.04.2016 Interview with: Evelyn Parr Research Officer / PhD Candidate | Centre for Exercise and Nutrition Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research Australian Catholic University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Results from previous investigations suggest that compared to a healthy 'control' diet, increased consumption of dairy foods in an energy restricted diet lead to improved body composition (i.e., a loss of fat mass and the maintenance of lean mass). We investigated the effects of manipulating  the type of dairy foods (i.e., low- or high fat) within high protein, energy restricted diets on body composition and selected health parameters. Eighty-nine middle-aged (35-59 y), male and females who were overweight or obese completed a 16 week intervention comprising 3 d/wk supervised resistance training and 4 d/wk unsupervised aerobic -based exercise (i.e. walking). During this time they consumed a diet that was energy restricted by 250 kcal/d comprising either 1) high protein, moderate carbohydrate (4-5 normal fat dairy product servings), 2) high protein, high carbohydrate (4-5 low-fat, carbohydrate sweetened dairy product servings or 3) a control diet of moderate protein, high carbohydrate diet (1-2 dairy servings). We found that in the face of energy restriction, when protein intakes were above the recommended daily intakes (>0.8 g/kg body mass) and regular exercise was completed, there was no difference in the loss of fat mass  (~8 kg) when participants consumed 4-5 serves of dairy products in either low- or high-fat. Furthermore, participants maintained  lean (muscle) mass throughout the energy restricted period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 21.04.2016 Interview with: Juliana F.W. Cohen, ScD, ScM Merrimack College, Department of Health Sciences North Andover MA 01845 Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? Dr. Cohen: Back in 2012, Massachusetts enacted both the updated USDA standards for school meals and healthier standards for snacks in schools that were similar to the upcoming, fully implemented national "Smart Snacks" standards.  We examined the impact of these standards on school food revenues and school meal participation. What are the main findings? Dr. Cohen: After schools had time to acclimate to the changes, schools revenues remained high. While students spent less money on snacks, more children were now participating in the lunch program so school food revenues were not impacted long-term. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Diabetes, NIH, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Rockville, MD 20852 What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhang: Hypertension is one of the most prevalent and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular and kidney diseases, and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. We have previously reported that the cumulative incidence of hypertension for women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) was 26% higher than those who did not have GDM even 16 years after the index pregnancy. Thus, women with a history of GDM represent a high-risk population for hypertension that could benefit from early prevention. While there is extensive literature on how lifestyle factors may influence blood pressure in the general population, no information is currently available on the role of diet and lifestyle in the development of hypertension specifically in this susceptible population. To address these gaps, we prospectively examined the associations between long-term adherence to three healthy diets with subsequent risk of hypertension among women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus, specifically the DASH diet, the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED), and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition / 06.04.2016 Interview with: Man-tian Mi Research Center for Nutrition and Food Safety, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Nutrition and Food Safety, Institute of Military Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University Chongqing  China What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Reply: Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in industrialized societies including the United States, and the incidence is growing in developing countries (1). In recent years, researchers have learned that the gut microbiome plays a role in the build up of plaque inside arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis (2, 3). Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red wine, is thought to have antioxidant properties that protect against conditions such as heart disease (4). Just how resveratrol, a plant compound, does this, however, is unclear. Therefore, we sought to determine whether the anti-atherosclerosis effects of resveratrol were related to changes in the gut microbiota. We found that resveratrol attenuated trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO)-induced  atherosclerosis by decreasing TMAO levels and increasing hepatic bile acid (BA) neosynthesis via gut microbiota remodeling, and the BA neosynthesis was partially mediated through the enterohepatic farnesoid X receptor-fibroblast growth factor 15 axis. These results offer new insights into the mechanisms responsible for resveratrol’s anti-atherosclerosis effects and indicate that gut microbiota may become an interesting target for pharmacological or dietary interventions to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Nutrition, UCSD / 05.04.2016 Interview with: Ruth E. Patterson, PhD Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Associate Director, Population Sciences Program Leader, Cancer Prevention Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego La Jolla, CA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patterson: Our research team was intrigued with studies in mice showing that even when eating a high-fat diet, mice who were subjected to a 16-hour fasting regimen during the sleep phase were protected against abnormal glucose metabolism, inflammation and weight gain; all of which are associated with poor cancer outcomes. We had access to a study conducted in breast cancer survivors called the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study (WHEL).  Participants in this study completed food records, which give the time of eating meals and snacks.  We used the food records to estimate the average nightly fasting interval in 2413 breast cancer survivors.  Overall, we found that women who had a nightly fasting interval of less than 13 hours had a 36% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and a nonsignificant increase in mortality.  We also found that women with a short nightly fast had poorer glucoregulation and worse sleep, both of which might explain the link to breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition / 12.03.2016 Interview with: Noelle R Noyes PhD Department of Clinical Sciences Colorado State University, Fort Collins What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is the increasing concern about antibiotic resistant infections, and what we can do as a society to help minimize the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a natural and ancient phenomenon in bacteria, but we can do things to bacterial populations to increase the amount of resistant bacteria and to promote the spread of resistant bacteria. It behooves us to try to identify specific practices that might be contributing to increases in antibiotic resistance, and to understand how we can change them to minimize risk. Towards this end, our study utilized new methods for investigating the ecology of antibiotic resistance throughout the process of beef production, from the time cattle enter feedlots through slaughter to the beef products that we eventually buy in the grocery store. Livestock production is thought to play a role in antibiotic resistance, although we have very little understanding of how important this role may be compared to other sectors like human hospitals, municipal wastewater treatment, daycare facilities, etc… We wanted to use new DNA sequence-based methods to try to get a high-level picture of what was happening with antibiotic resistance genes in feedlots and slaughterhouses. This high-level picture could then help us to understand how important cattle production may be in the overall ecology of antibiotic resistance, including the food chain and wider environment. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, Sugar, Weight Research / 10.03.2016 Interview with: Euridice Martinez Steele  University of São Paulo, São Paulo What is the background for this study? Response: Several leading health bodies, including the World Health Organization, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have concluded that excess added sugar intake increases the risk not only of weight gain, but also of obesity and diabetes, which are associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay. All reports recommended limiting intake of added sugars. In the US, the USDGAC recommended limiting added sugars to no more than 10% of total calories. To design and implement effective measures to reduce added sugars, their dietary sources must be clearly identified. Added sugars can be consumed either as ingredients of dishes or drinks prepared from scratch by consumers or cook, or as ingredients of food products manufactured by the food industry. According to market disappearance data from 2014, more than three quarters of the sugar and high fructose corn syrup available for human consumption in the US were used by the food industry. This suggests food products manufactured by the industry could have an important role in the excess added sugars consumption in the US. However, to assess this role, it is essential to consider the contribution of manufactured food products to both total energy intake and the energy intake from added sugars, and, more relevantly, to quantify the relationship between their consumption and the total dietary content of added sugars. To address these questions, we performed an investigation utilizing 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Sugar / 08.03.2016 Interview with: Minakshi Trivedi, PhD Professor of Marketing Co-Director CRM University at Buffalo Jacobs Management Center Buffalo, NY 14260 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Trivedi: Consumer health concerns have been on the rise as has the flow of nutritional information and advice from retailers, manufacturers, government agencies and the medical community regarding what and how much consumers should consume. Nevertheless, whether such concerns are reflected in their purchasing and consumption behavior is not quite as certain. With diabetes and obesity showing steady increases of incidence in the population, understanding this apparent disconnect between stated health concerns and actual food consumption becomes a critical objective for policy makers wishing to impact and improve public consumption choice behavior. Drawing from the theory of compensatory or balancing behavior (Fishbein & Ajzen 1975), we posit that consumers also exhibit such balancing behavior across a set of products when limiting the consumption of negatively perceived attributes – that is, attributes which when present, generally contribute negatively to the valuation of a product. We study this balancing behavior in consumer consumption when limiting salt, sugar and fat content across product categories. Depending on the consumer's individual health orientation, then, a healthy choice in some categories may compensate for a less healthy choice in another category. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer, MD Anderson, Nutrition, Sugar / 05.03.2016 Interview with: Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Epidemiology and Dr. Stephanie Claire Melkonian  PhD Epidemiologist, Postdoctoral Research Fellow The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Glycemic index (GI) assigns foods an indexed value to show how quickly and how much carbohydrates in the food cause blood glucose levels to rise after eating and is a measure of overall carbohydrate quality. Glycemic load (GL) is a related measure that is calculated by multiplying Glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrates in grams in that specific food and by the amount consume, then dividing by 100. Previous studies have investigated the association of GI and GL with certain types of cancer, including colorectal, stomach, and pancreatic cancer, but there has been limited research into the association with lung cancer. We conducted a study using patients and control subjects from an ongoing case-control study of lung cancer conducted at MD Anderson. The patients were newly diagnosed and had not received treatment other than surgery. The healthy control subjects were selected from patient lists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinics, a large physician group in the Houston area. The study results encompass 1,905 cases and 2,413 controls. Using data collected from in-person interviews regarding health histories and dietary behaviors, we were able to categorize the study subjects according to their dietary Glycemic index and GL. What we found was that individuals in the highest category of GI were at an almost 50% increased risk for developing lung cancer as compared to those in the lowest group. This association was different based on different subtypes of cancer. Most interestingly, however, among those individuals that never smoked, high Glycemic index was associated with an almost 2 fold increased risk of lung cancer. In other words, we found a more profound association between GI and lung cancer in never smokers in this study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lipids, Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Red Meat / 18.02.2016 Interview with: Professor Chris Seal and Professor Carlo Leifert Nafferton Ecological Farming Group (NEFG),School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University Nafferton Farm, Stocksfield, Northumberland UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2009 an FSA-sponsored study by Dangour et al. was published and concluded that there are no composition differences between organic and conventional crops and animal (meat and dairy) products. This contradicted the results of literature reviews, field experiments and retail surveys that many of the scientists involved in the EU-FP7 project QualityLowInputFoods ( had carried out or were in the process of completing in 2009. We therefore decided to put together an international team of scientists and carry out a larger, updated systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses to determine whether or not the Dangour et al (2009) study was justified in drawing the conclusions they had.  This took 5 years to complete. We reported on crops in 2014 ( and the studies published now report the results on meat ( and milk/dairy products ( Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: 
  • both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products
  • organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats (myristic and palmitic acid) that are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • organic milk contains 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • organic milk contains slightly higher concentrations of iron, Vitamin E and some carotenoids
  • conventional milk contained around 70% more of the essential mineral iodine and slightly more selenium
We feel the most important results in terms of nutrition is that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function. Organic milk had 57% higher concentrations of the nutritionally most desirable, very long chain (VLC) omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Fatty acid profiles in milk are known to change very little during processing in to high fat dairy products such as butter and cheese. Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and better immune function. The European Food safety Authority (EFSA) estimates that average dietary intakes of VLC omega-3 fatty acids account for less than half of what we need for optium health. The finding of substantially higher concentrations of iodine in conventional milk is also important information, especially for UK consumers, where iodized table salt is not widely available and dairy products are an important source of this nutrient. However, it should be pointed out that the Organic Milk Marketing Co-operative (OmsCo) has recently increased iodine fortification of organic dairy feeds and reports that levels of iodine in organic milk are now similar to those found in conventional milk ( (more…)
Author Interviews, Lipids, Nutrition / 18.02.2016 Interview with: Sachin A. Shah, Pharm.D. Residency Director & Regional Coordinator - Travis AFB Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice TJ Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University of the Pacific Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shah: The link between serum cholesterol and cardiovascular mortality has been well established. Dietary sources of cholesterol can play a major role toward a beneficiary or unfavorable lipid profile. Fatty acids in foods typically fall within one of the four categories: saturated fats (SFAs), common in animal sources, trans fats (TFAs), common in processed foods, polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), both common in plant-derived sources. Although low-fat diets are generally recommended, studies have indicated that altering the types of fats you consume may further modify the risk of dyslipidemia. We performed a meta-analysis of existing studies to determine the impact of avocados on the lipid profile. Ten unique studies incorporating 229 subjects were included. Avocado consumption significantly reduced TC, LDL-C, and TG by 18.80 mg/dL, 16.50 mg/dL, 27.20 mg/dL respectively. HDL-C decreased non-significantly. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 13.02.2016 Interview with: Francis Tayie, PhD, MPhil, MS. BSc(HONS) Food, Nutrition and Dietetics Department of Human Environmental Studies Southeast Missouri State University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Tayie: This article which is the first report to show a positive link between alcoholic beverage consumption and increased moisture intake, also reports increases in calorie intake above what is supplied by alcohol, as well as increased body weight status. The general view is that alcoholic beverages do not contribute to moisture intake. This view is generally due to the diuretic effect of the ethanol in alcoholic beverages, specifically depression of vasopressin resulting in increased loss of moisture via the kidneys. Nevertheless, much of the water in alcoholic beverages, especially in light drinks such as beer and wine may be retained, as indicated in this study. Alcoholic calories count!! The view that alcoholic beverages do not contribute calories to the intake of drinkers is largely debatable. Most of the confusion results from the complex metabolism of the ethanol in alcoholic beverages. Metabolism of ethanol utilizes specific metabolic pathways different from the metabolism of macronutrients. Notably, the
  • 1) alcohol dehydrogenase system,
  • 2) MEOS (microsomal ethanol oxidizing system),
  • and 3) the catalase system.These metabolic systems variably yield some calories but some calories are lost as body heat. It is likely that all of these pathways are not activated simultaneously, and their activities depends on drinking experience. Some calories become available via the alcohol dehydrogenase system, and to a lesser extent via the MEOS. In addition, alcoholic beverage consumption associates with decreased self-restraint, one consequence of which is increased food intake. The promoting effects of alcohol on food intake is multipronged, from social components, to alterations in the effects of appetite regulating neuropeptides.
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 12.02.2016 Interview with Tine Rask Licht, Professor Head of Research Group on Gut Microbiology and Immunology Technical University of Denmark National Food Institute Søborg Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  During childhood, the intestinal microbiota is under establishment. This period thus represents a ’window’, where the microbiota is likely to be more susceptible to be affected by external factors such as diet. Currently, it is well known that breast feeding has a major impact on the microbiota of young infants, but only very few studies have addressed the effect of the ‘next step’ in diet exposure, represented by complementary feeding. We studied two cohorts of children, born to normal-weight and obese mothers, respectively, and mapped the composition of bacteria in their fecal microbiota at age 9 months and 18 months.  We found that at 9 months, the microbiota was clearly affected by the composition of the complementary diet, but not by maternal obesity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition / 05.02.2016 Interview with: Lea Borgi, MD Joint Fellowship Program in Nephrology Brigham and Women’s/ Massachusetts General Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Borgi: Hypertension is one of the most common diseases in the United States and in the world. It is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Even when hypertension is well-controlled with anti-hypertensives, these individuals are at an increased cardiovascular risk. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle is critical for normotensive individuals. This usually includes dietary patterns. However, if we could restrict dietary patterns to specific foods, then we would be able to provide better advice to our patients. In this study, we analyzed the association of fruits and vegetables with the incidence of hypertension. We were also interested in studying the change in consumption of fruits and vegetables over time and the incidence of hypertension. We used data from 3 large prospective cohort studies: the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Health Professional Follow-up study (total of 187,453 participants). Information about health and food intake was updated every 2 and 4 years, respectively. We found that participants who consumed ≥4 servings/day of fruits (not including fruit juice) had a lower risk of developing hypertension (follow-up was more than 20 years), when compared to participants whose consumption was ≤4 servings/weeks (Hazard ratio=0.92; 95%CI= 0.87-0.97). However, the association of vegetable intake with hypertension was different; indeed, we found no significant association with a HR of 0.95(0.86-1.04). To better understand these associations, we further analyzed individual fruits and vegetables with the incidence of hypertension. We found lower risks of developing hypertension when these individual fruits and vegetables were consumed ≥4 servings/week as compared to <1 serving/month: broccoli, carrots, tofu or soybeans, raisins and apples. In contrast, we found that eating more string beans or brussel sprouts was associated with an increased risk of hypertension with HRs of 1.11(1.05-1.17) and 1.23(1.04-1.46), respectively. In all of our analyses, we adjusted for potential cofounders (such as age, gender, body mass index and more). Finally, we also found that increasing total fruit (but not total vegetable) consumption by ≥7servings/week in the preceding 8 years was associated with a lower risk of hypertension with a pooled HR 0.94(0.90-0.97). (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 02.02.2016 Interview with: Dr. Maryam S. Farvid, PhD Takemi Fellow Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farvid: Previous studies of fiber intake and breast cancer have almost all been non-significant, but none of them examined diet during adolescence or early adulthood, a period when breast cancer risk factors appear to be particularly important. Current study supports protective role of dietary fiber intake on breast cancer. The women who reported the highest amount of fiber consumed during high school, about 28 grams daily, had a 16% lower risk of overall breast cancer compared with those who said they consumed an about 15 grams a day. Also highest verses lowest intake of fiber during early adulthood was associated with a 19% lower risk of overall breast cancer. The associations were more apparent for premenopausal breast cancer than postmenopausal breast cancer. Each 10 grams increase in adolescent fiber intake may lead to a 20% lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer, as was a 15% for overall breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mineral Metabolism, Nutrition / 30.01.2016 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 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). (more…)