Caffeine May Make Other Foods Taste Less Sweet

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robin Dando, PhD Assistant Professor Director, Cornell Sensory Evaluation Facility Department of Food Science Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study arose from a previous paper I authored in the Journal of Neuroscience, where we found Adenosine receptors in taste. We managed to prove that they were there to amplify sweet signals. This led us to wonder, what about the foods we consume, that would come into contact with these receptors in taste buds. It just happens that a lot of us habitually consume a powerful blocker of adenosine receptors every morning. Caffeine. So is our coffee impairing sweet signals? It turns out when we gave people sweetened coffee containing caffeine, they judged it as less sweet than the same coffee without the caffeine, sampled on a different day. Interestingly, this persisted, and sweet solutions they tested afterwards were still a little less sweet. Finally, just for kicks, we asked them to rate how much caffeine they thought was in either coffee, and how much more alert it made them feel. Turns out, there was no difference. They couldn’t tell which was deacf, and either coffee gave them just as much of an alertness boost. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: Readers should consider that they may be altering how their food tastes when consuming coffee. And perhaps also, they could be drinking decaf, and getting just as good a jolt from it (as long as someone else was preparing it for them, so they didn’t know). MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study? Response: We’re interested in how many factors we encounter in our every day lives change our perception, from the foods we’re consuming themselves, to our own bodies. We’re currently looking into how obesity, pregnancy and sleep can change our sense of taste, and the foods we crave. If you’d like to hear more about what we do, you can follow our work on twitter @DandoLab. MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community. 1.Citation: Ezen Choo, Benjamin Picket, Robin Dando. Caffeine May Reduce Perceived Sweet Taste in Humans, Supporting Evidence That Adenosine Receptors Modulate Taste. Journal of Food Science, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.13836 Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

Dr. Dando

Robin Dando, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director, Cornell Sensory Evaluation Facility
Department of Food Science
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853 

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

Response: The study arose from a previous paper I authored in the Journal of Neuroscience, where we found Adenosine receptors in taste.  We managed to prove that they were there to amplify sweet signals.  This led us to wonder, what about the foods we consume, that would come into contact with these receptors in taste buds.

It just happens that a lot of us habitually consume a powerful blocker of adenosine receptors every morning.  Caffeine.  So is our coffee impairing sweet signals?  It turns out when we gave people sweetened coffee containing caffeine, they judged it as less sweet than the same coffee without the caffeine, sampled on a different day.  Interestingly, this persisted, and sweet solutions they tested afterwards were still a little less sweet.

Finally, just for kicks, we asked them to rate how much caffeine they thought was in either coffee, and how much more alert it made them feel.  Turns out, there was no difference.  They couldn’t tell which was deacf, and either coffee gave them just as much of an alertness boost.

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Mass Media Campaign Can Reduce Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas Farley, MD, MPH Health Commissioner Department of Public Health City of Philadelphia

Dr. Thomas Farley

Thomas Farley, MD, MPH
Health Commissioner
Department of Public Health
City of Philadelphia

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

Response: Messages in the mass media have been used in anti-smoking campaigns, but have not be used much for other health-related behaviors.  Sugar-sweetened beverages are major contributors to the obesity epidemic in the United States, so they are an important public health target.

In this study we evaluated a brief counter-advertising campaign in a rural area of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky designed to reduce consumption of these beverages.  After the campaign, adults in the area were more wary of sugary drinks, and sales of sugary drinks fell by about 4% relative to changes in a matched comparison area.

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Sustained Consumer Response Two Years After Implementing A Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax in Mexico

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shu Wen Ng, Ph.D., FTOS Research Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition Gillings School of Global Public Health Fellow, Carolina Population Center Duke-UNC Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Shu Wen Ng

Shu Wen Ng, Ph.D., FTOS
Research Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
Gillings School of Global Public Health
Fellow, Carolina Population Center
Duke-UNC Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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

Response: The Mexican government enacted a 1 peso per liter tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) after studies showed that more than 70 percent of the country’s population was overweight or obese, and that in excess of 70 percent of the added sugar calories in the Mexican diet were coming from SSBs. We were interested in learning how purchases of SSBs and other beverages changed in the 2 years after the tax was implemented in Mexico. The Health Affairs study titled “In Mexico, Evidence Of Sustained Consumer Response Two Years After Implementing A Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax” found that in the two-year period spanning 2014 to 2015, the tax resulted in a 5.5 percent reduction in the first year and continued to decline, averaging 9.7 percent the second year, with lower socioeconomic households, for whom health care costs are most burdensome, lowered their purchases of sweetened beverages the most. Meanwhile, purchases of untaxed beverages such as bottled water increased 2.1 percent.

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Type of Sugar, Not Just Amount, Influences Metabolic Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Marta Alegret

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Chemistry
Pharmacology Section
School of Pharmacy and Food Sciences
University of Barcelona

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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How Strong is the Scientific Basis of Sugar Intake Guidelines?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bradley C. Johnston, PhD Prevention Lab, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, 686 Bay Street, Room 11.9859 West, Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Bradley Johnston

Bradley C. Johnston, PhD
Prevention Lab, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute
Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning
Toronto, Ontario

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

Response: I am scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children and a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Toronto and McMaster University in Canada. I have a particular interest in research methodology and preventive medicine. As a research methodologist I am interested in how researchers get to their conclusions. In particular I am interested in the “uncertainty” in estimated treatment or exposure effects.

Many guidelines have methodological issues but it was suspected that the nutritional guidelines were especially problematic. Our study in Annals of Internal Medicine set out to document the issues systematically with respect to sugar intake recommendations from authoritative guidelines.

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Americans Aware of Threat of Excessive Sugar Intake, But Aren’t Doing Much About It

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Healthline Sugar Survey

Healthline Sugar Survey

Tracy Stickler, Editor in Chief
Healthline

Ms. Stickler discusses a Healthline survey of over 3000 Americans, regarding “their knowledge of sugar and how it affects the body to gauge their relationship about their own sugar consumption and the effects it has on them”.

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

Response: Our company surveyed over 3,000 Americans from across the country about their sugar consumption habits and awareness about added sugar in food.

What we learned is that while many people are aware of the threat overconsumption of sugar is to their health, they aren’t doing much about it. Why not? They don’t know how and quite often they don’t know how much sugar is contained in certain foods they eat. We have an awareness issue. Two out of 3 respondents answered incorrectly to our questions related to which food item contained more sugar.

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Some Natural Sweeteners and Fiber Can Mute Glycemic Response To High Carbohydrate Foods

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Margaret A. Brennan
Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences
Lincoln University
Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

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Artificial Sugar Aspartamine Linked to Worse Glucose Metabolism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD Associate Professor York University School of Kinesiology and Health Science Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Jennifer Kuk

Jennifer L. Kuk, PhD
Associate Professor
York University
School of Kinesiology and Health Science
Toronto, Ontario

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

Dr. Kuk: Artificial sweeteners are used to help individuals manage their weight, however, individuals who consume aspartame (a type of artificial sweeteners) have worse glucose metabolism than individuals with the same body weight but do not consume aspartame. This observation was only true for adults with obesity. Further, saccharin and natural sugars were not associated with differences in health after considering differences in obesity.

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More Than Half of Calories Consumed in US Come From Ultraprocessed Foods

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Euridice Martinez Steele 
University of São Paulo, São Paulo

MedicalResearch.com: 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).

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Sugar, Processed Meat Raise Risk of Myocardial Infarction

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James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD Associate Editor BMJ Open Heart Cardiovascular Research Scientist Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute

Dr.James DiNicolantonio


MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD
Associate Editor BMJ Open Heart
Cardiovascular Research Scientist
Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. DiNicolantonio: We comprehensively reviewed the literature looking at the cardiovascular effects of saturated fat and compared them with refined sugars (sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup).  Our main finding is that saturated fat per se is not necessarily unhealthy.  Importantly, people eat foods, not saturated fat, and depending on what foods are consumed determines if saturated fat associates with health risk.  For example, the consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, whereas dairy is not.  Importantly, the replacement of saturated fat with refined sugars seems to increase the risk of myocardial infarction.  Hence, reducing added sugars should be the main focus rather than reducing saturated fat, as the latter could translate to reductions in healthy whole foods that just so happen to also be high in saturated fat (but also provide other healthy fats).

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