Category Archives: diabetes

Can you walk off the negative health effects associated with high-fructose corn syrup?

Pouring a glass of colaWe all know the details of the controversies surrounding high-fructose corn syrup. We all remember the “corn sugar” commercials that tried to convince us that “sugar is sugar.” And we know that just about everyone in the FoodFacts.com community remembers the angrily disputed research linking high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, diabetes and even cancer. There have been some attempts by manufacturers to remove it from a variety of products, but for the most part, high-fructose corn syrup is still a far too popular ingredient in far too many common products, including — and most especially soda.

We’re pretty comfortable with the idea that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup puts people at risk for developing a variety of health problems. But the risk drops substantially if those people get up and move around, even if they don’t formally exercise, two new studies found.

The problem with the sweetener is that, unlike sucrose, the formal name for common table sugar, fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. There, much of the fructose is transformed into fatty acids, some of which remain in the liver, marbling that organ and contributing to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The rest of the fatty acids migrate into the bloodstream, causing metabolic havoc. Past animal and human studies have linked the intake of even moderate amounts of fructose with dangerous gyrations in blood sugar levels, escalating insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, added fat around the middle, obesity, poor cholesterol profiles and other metabolic disruptions.

But Amy Bidwell, then a researcher at Syracuse University, noticed that few of these studies had examined interactions between physical activity and fructose. That was a critical omission, she thought, because movement and exercise change how the body utilizes fuels, including fructose.

Dr. Bidwell sought out healthy, college-aged men and women who would agree to drink soda in the pursuit of science. They were easy to find. She gathered 22.

The volunteers showed up at the university’s physiology lab for a series of baseline tests. The researchers assessed how their bodies responded to a fructose-rich meal, recording their blood sugar and insulin levels, and other measures of general and metabolic health, including cholesterol profiles and blood markers of bodily inflammation. The students also completed questionnaires about their normal diets and activity levels and subsequently wore an activity monitor for a week to gauge how much they generally moved.

Then half of the volunteers spent two weeks moving about half as much as they had before. The other 11 volunteers began moving around about twice as much as before, for a daily total of at least 12,000 steps a day, or about six miles.

After a rest period of a week, the groups switched, so that every volunteer had moved a lot and a little.

Throughout, they also consumed two fructose-rich servings of a lemon-lime soda, designed to provide 75 grams of fructose a day, which is about what an average American typically consumes. The sodas contained about 250 calories each, and the volunteers were asked to reduce their nonfructose calories by the same amount, to avoid weight gain.

After each two-week session, the volunteers returned to the lab for a repeat of the metabolic and health tests.

Their results diverged widely, depending on how much they’d moved. As one of two new studies based on the research, published in May in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, reports, after two weeks of fructose loading and relative inactivity, these young, healthy volunteers displayed a notable shift in their cholesterol and health profiles. There was a significant increase in their blood concentrations of dangerous very-low-density lipoproteins, and a soaring 116-percent increase in markers of bodily inflammation.

The second study, published this month in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, focused on blood-sugar responses to fructose and activity, and found equally striking changes among the young people when they didn’t move much. Two weeks of extra fructose left them with clear signs of incipient insulin resistance, which is typically the first step toward Type 2 diabetes.

But in both studies, walking at least 12,000 steps a day effectively wiped out all of the disagreeable changes wrought by the extra fructose. When the young people moved more, their cholesterol and blood sugar levels remained normal, even though they were consuming plenty of fructose every day.

The lesson from these studies is not that we should blithely down huge amounts of fructose and assume that a long walk will undo all harmful effects, said Dr. Bidwell, who is now an assistant professor of exercise science at the State University of New York in Oswego. “I don’t want people to consider these results as a license to eat badly,” she added.

But the data suggests that “if you are going to regularly consume fructose,” she said, “be sure to get up and move around.”

The study did not examine how activity ameliorates some of the worst impacts of fructose, but it’s likely, Dr. Bidwell said, that the “additional muscular contractions” involved in standing and taking 12,000 steps a day produce a cascade of physiological effects that alter how the body uses fructose.

Interestingly, the young people in the study did not increase the lengths of their normal workouts to achieve the requisite step totals, and most did not formally exercise at all, Dr. Bidwell said. They parked their cars further away from stores; took stairs instead of elevators; strolled the campus; and generally “sat less, moved more,” she said. “That’s a formula for good health, in any case,” she added, “but it appears to be key,” if you’re determined to have that soda.

FoodFacts.com still thinks that avoiding high fructose corn syrup AND soda is really what makes the most sense. What is striking here is that keeping our bodies moving can have such a tremendous effect on our health — and how that effect can be achieved with small efforts. Staying active can sometimes appear daunting — getting to a gym and exercising for a certain period of time each day can seem constricting and time consuming for some. But our bodies seem to appreciate increased activity in even the most basic of forms. Regardless of our dietary habits, it’s in our best interest to get moving and stay moving!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/drink-soda-keep-walking/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Too much salt may spell heart disease for diabetics

iStock_000030596950SmallDiabetes rates have soared in recent decades. For those who suffer with the disease, dietary vigilance becomes a way of life. It’s a condition that requires constant attention in order to maintain health and well-being. Diabetes can lead to any number of serious health problems, including heart disease.

Many have come to relate diabetes with sugar. Diabetics have to be careful of sugar and carbohydrate consumption. But it’s not only sugar that raises alarms for people with diabetes. Eating a high-salt diet may double the risk of developing heart disease in people with diabetes, according to a new study from Japan.

For any person, too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for developing heart disease. To assess how people with diabetes fare in relation to the salt in their diet, the researchers surveyed nearly 1,600 diabetic patients, ages 40 and 70, from across Japan. The study participants answered questions about their diets, including their sodium intake, and were followed for eight years.

Participants with the highest sodium intake (about 6,000 milligrams per day, on average) were twice as likely to develop heart disease over the study period than those with the lowest sodium intake (about 2,800 milligrams per day, on average), the researchers found. Among the 359 people with the highest sodium intake, 41 developed heart disease, compared with 23 of the 354 people with lowest sodium intake. [4 Tips for Reducing Sodium]

“To reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, it is important for people who have Type 2 diabetes to improve their blood sugar control as well as watch their diet,” study researcher Chika Horikawa, of the University of Niigata Prefecture in Japan, said in a statement.

The researchers adjusted the results for other factors that may contribute to people’s heart disease risk, such as their alcohol consumption and total calorie intake, according to the study published today (July 22) in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The findings add to the evidence that consuming less salt could help prevent dangerous complications from diabetes, the researchers said.

The negative effects of salt on blood pressure and heart health has long been established. Even for healthy, young people, dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. A limit of 1,500 mg is recommended for groups at increased risk of heart disease, including African-Americans, people older than 51, and people with high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes.

The average American takes in about 3,300 mg of sodium per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Main sources of salt in people’s diet include salt used in cooking and sodium naturally found in meat, vegetables and dairy, as well as processed foods, which have high levels of sodium.

People with Type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated, and the condition is a risk factor for heart disease. More than 29 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, and another 86 million have high blood sugar levels and could progress to having diabetes, according to the CDC.

In the study, the researchers also found the effects of a high-sodium diet were worsened by poor blood sugar control. But they didn’t find a link between high-salt diet and other complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease or vision problems, or dying.

Sugar and salt. Sugar and salt. It seems we hear disturbing news about either or both more and more consistently. FoodFacts.com wants to remind everyone in our community that Americans consume far too much of each of them on a daily basis. And most importantly, we want to remind everyone that the bulk of the sugar and salt we are consuming does not come from the sugar bowls and salt shakers in our kitchens. Rather, they come from the copious amounts of processed foods it becomes more and more difficult for average consumers to avoid on a daily basis. This research is one more reason to be as conscious as we possibly can be about the quality and content of the foods we consume.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/07/23/high-salt-diet-may-double-diabetics-heart-disease-risk/

More news on the health benefits of fasting — it may reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease

iStock_000025452335SmallJust last week, FoodFacts.com reported on recent research linking fasting to a renewed immune system and the rejuvenation of stem cells. We were excited by those possibilities. So many people are swearing by the benefits of a three-day fast — claiming everything from weight loss to renewed energy. It was intriguing to see research support those claims.

Today, we found new research findings from the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah linking fasting to lowered rates of heart disease and diabetes.

Lead author Benjamin Horne wrote in a news release: “There are a lot of books out there recommending that people fast for two or three days a week,” he added, “but there are risks with fasting and little evidence that these diets are safe.”

The researchers reported that 10-12 hours of hunger prompts the body to initiate the search for food and the body then starts utilizing the stored amounts of bad cholesterol, LDL, which is found in fat cells of the body.

The researchers claimed that this mechanism influences people suffering from diabetes directly. Horne noted that fasting can become an important diabetes intervention in the future.

“Though we’ve studied fasting and it’s health benefits for years, we didn’t know why fasting could provide the health benefits we observed related to the risk of diabetes,” Horne noted.

The study reported that after six week of fasting, the cholesterol level decreases by around 12 percent. Horne said that since we expect that the cholesterol was used for energy during the fasting episodes and likely came from fat cells, this shows that fasting can prove an effective diabetes intervention.

We’ve actually never heard of a six-week fast and don’t actually think we’ll ever find anyone condoning such a time frame. But we continue to be fascinated by the health claims connected with fasting that are coming to light. And we look forward to more research that may help substantiate the views of so many health-conscious individual who truly feel an improved sense of well-being because of the three-day fast.

http://www.delhidailynews.com/news/Fasting-reduces-risk-of–diabetes-and-heart-disease-1402861317/

Here’s a new reason to consider a gluten-free diet

Gluten Free Diet May Help Prevent DiabetesEvery now and again a dietary trend captures the attention of the population. The gluten-free diet has certainly been such a trend. In fact, that trend continues to grow daily, as more and more consumers learn of the benefits so many have already experienced. Keeping in mind that the gluten-free diet’s main and original purpose is to accommodate the dietary needs of those with Celiacs disease or gluten sensitivity, the diet has now been embraced by those not suffering from these conditions.

Gluten-free eating has been credited with weight loss, improved general health and increased energy. While it may appear difficult to incorporate into an existing lifestyle, thousands have attested to the idea that it’s actually a lot easier than it initially appears, especially with the introduction of so many gluten-free food products on our grocery shelves. Now there’s a new reason to consider gluten-free.

New experiments on mice show, that mouse mothers can protect their pups from developing type 1 diabetes by eating a gluten-free diet. According to preliminary studies by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, the findings may apply to humans.

More than 1% of the Danish population has type 1 diabetes, one of the highest incidence rates in the world. New experiments on mice now show a correlation between the health of the pups and their mothers eating a gluten-free diet. Our hope is that the disease may be prevented through simple dietary changes, the researchers say.

“Preliminary tests show that a gluten-free diet in humans has a positive effect on children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. We therefore hope that a gluten-free diet during pregnancy and lactation may be enough to protect high-risk children from developing diabetes later in life,” says assistant professor Camilla Hartmann Friis Hansen from the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Findings from experiments on mice are not necessarily applicable to humans, but in this case we have grounds for optimism, says co-writer on the study professor Axel Kornerup from the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

“Early intervention makes a lot of sense because type 1 diabetes develops early in life. We also know from existing experiments that a gluten-free diet has a beneficial effect on type 1 diabetes,” he says.

Experiments of this type have been going on since 1999, originally initiated by Professor Karsten Buschard from the Bartholin Institute at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, another co-writer on the study.

“This new study beautifully substantiates our research into a gluten-free diet as an effective weapon against type 1 diabetes,” Karsten Buschard explains.

The experiment showed that the diet changed the intestinal bacteria in both the mother and the pups. The intestinal flora plays an important role for the development of the immune system as well as the development of type 1 diabetes, and the study suggests that the protective effect of a gluten-free diet can be ascribed to certain intestinal bacteria. The advantage of the gluten-free diet is that the only side-effect seems to be the inconvenience of having to avoid gluten, but there is no certain evidence of the effect or side-effects.

“We have not been able to start a large-scale clinical test to either prove or disprove our hypothesis about the gluten-free diet,” says Karsten Buschard.

Assistant Professor Camilla Hartmann Friis Hansen is hoping that it will be possible to continue the work.

“If we find out how gluten or certain intestinal bacteria modify the immune system and the beta-cell physiology, this knowledge can be used to develop new treatments,” she says.

FoodFacts.com looks forward to more research on the health benefits of the gluten-free diet. We do think that as research continues, more will be discovered. After all, so many gluten-free consumers who state that they’re enjoying better health, more energy and healthy weight loss can’t simply be imagining their results. We think there’s more than meets the eye for a gluten-free lifestyle and we’re excited to learn more about its positive health effects.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095836.htm

High-protein breakfasts may decrease women’s risk of diabetes

High Protein Breakfasts Lower Women's Risk of DiabetesThere has been some news in the last year regarding the health benefits of a big breakfast. More specifically, there seems to be a link between consuming a bigger meal earlier in the day and lightening up on lunch and dinner and maintaining a healthy weight. It appears most of us here in the U.S. have that a bit backwards. We seem to go light on breakfast and even lunch and then consumer our biggest meal at dinner. Today we read new research linking a woman’s consumption of a high protein breakfast to a decreased risk of diabetes. That’s another vote for the big breakfast.

In healthy individuals, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases after eating. When glucose increases, levels of insulin increase to carry the glucose to the rest of the body. Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase an individual’s risk of developing diabetes over time. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that when women consumed high-protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals.

“For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels,” said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercisephysiology. “If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future.”

Kevin Maki, of Biofortis Clinical Research, completed the study in collaboration with Leidy. They studied women aged 18-55 years old who consumed one of three different meals or only water on four consecutive days. The tested meals were less than 300 calories per serving and had similar fat and fiber contents. However, the meals varied in amount of protein: a pancake meal with three grams of protein; a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 30 grams of protein; or a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 39 grams protein. Researchers monitored the amount of glucose and insulin in the participants’ blood for four hours after they ate breakfast.

“Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast,” Maki said. “Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein.”

These findings suggest that, for healthy women, the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts leads to better glucose control throughout the morning than the consumption of low-protein options, Leidy said.

“Since most American women consume only about 10-15 grams of protein during breakfast, the 30-39 grams might seem like a challenging dietary change,” Leidy said. “However, one potential strategy to assist with this change might include the incorporation of prepared convenience meals, such as those included in this study.”

Leidy said the study provides a good model to initially examine the effect of higher-protein breakfasts on glucose and insulin responses since only healthy, non-diabetic women with appropriate glucose control were included in the study. Based on the study’s findings, the researchers are hopeful that the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts also would benefit individuals with pre-diabetes, although future research is needed to confirm.

The only problem FoodFacts.com has with any of the comments made here is the suggestion about incorporating prepared convenience meals into one’s diet in order to gain the benefits of that high-protein breakfast without consuming additional calories. We don’t particularly like that idea. We can come up with a few others that might work without the help of prepared products. Uncured turkey bacon comes to mind, as well as black beans as healthier, lower-fat protein sources that can work well with eggs for breakfast. Much better idea!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/276169.php

Great news for chocolate lovers — your favorite sweet may help prevent obesity and diabetes

iStock_000013818677Small.jpgEvery chocolate lover carries just a little guilt over indulging in their favorite sweet. As more and more research is released revealing the health benefits of moderate chocolate consumption, that guilt dissipates a bit. But the newest research may prove to be the most surprising of all, unexpectedly linking chocolate to the possible prevention of both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In a mouse study, led by Andrew P. Neilson of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, researchers discovered that a certain antioxidant in cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate – prevented mice from gaining weight and lowered their blood sugar levels.

This is not the only study to suggest that consuming chocolate can prevent such health conditions.

Earlier this year, a study claiming that chocolate, as well as wine and berries, protects against type 2 diabetes, while other research found that teens who eat lots of chocolate tend to be slimmer.

Such studies claim that the reason chocolate may have these health benefits is because of the flavanols it contains. These are types of antioxidants.

But the researchers of this most recent study say that not all flavanols are the same. In fact, cocoa has several different types.

In their study, published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, the investigators set out to determine exactly which flavanol may be responsible for preventing weight gain and lowering blood glucose levels.

For the research, the investigators assigned mice to one of six different diets for 12 weeks.

These consisted of high- and low-fat diets, and high-fat diets supplemented with either monomeric, oligomeric or polymeric procyandins (PCs) – types of flavanols. Mice were given 25 milligrams of these flavanols each day for every kilogram of their body weight (25 mg/kg).

The research team found that a high-fat diet supplemented with oligomeric PCs was the most effective for maintaining weight of the mice and improving glucose tolerance – a factor that could help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Commenting on the findings, the researchers say:

“Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study.  Additional studies of prolonged feeding of flavanol fractions in vivo are needed to further identify the fractions with the highest bioactivities and, therefore, the greatest potential for translation to human clinical applications at reasonable doses.”

The investigators point out that the doses of flavanols used in this study are significantly lower than doses used in past research and are more feasible when translated into flavanol levels for human consumption.

“Therefore, our data suggest that moderate doses of cocoa flavanols or cocoa powder have the potential to be more effective in human clinical trials than previously thought,” they add.

While FoodFacts.com understands that this study is by no means suggesting we all stock up on our favorite candy bars, it is exciting news for chocolate lovers everywhere. It’s also fascinating to understand that chocolate — which has for so long been thought of as an unnecessary source of calories — may actually help prevent the diseases with which it has been associated. Hearing good news about a food we love is always a welcome thing … especially when that food is such a sweet indulgence!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275008.php

Low-fat yogurt linked to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes

There are so many yogurts in the refrigerator section of our grocery stores these days. You can find fruit yogurts, chocolate yogurts, coffee yogurts, yogurts that taste like apple pie, or red velvet cake … the list is endless. Sadly, we seem to have lost sight of the idea that yogurt was one of the original health foods. It didn’t become popular because of calorie content, it became popular because of health benefits. The first record of possible health benefits from yogurt was in the 1500s. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire sent his doctor with yogurt to Francois I, the King of France, to cure his intestinal disorder. It worked.

The majority of yogurts available today, however, don’t resemble the yogurt that was around in the 1500s. Just check the FoodFacts.com database and you’ll find yogurts with numerous controversial ingredients that you’re probably trying to avoid in your diet. There are some, though, that remind us that yogurt is supposed to be a healthy food. A new report has been released that points to the health benefits of low-fat yogurt.

Researchers found that people who ate low-fat fermented dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese slashed their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 24% compared to those who didn’t eat those foods. The 11-year study also showed that yogurt by itself could help ward off the disease. Those who ate low-fat fermented dairy products were 24 percent less likely to develop diabetes.

Eating yogurt and low-fat cheese can cut the risk of developing diabetes by around a quarter compared with consuming none, according to a study of 3,500 Britons published on Wednesday.

The evidence comes from a long-term health survey of men and women living in the eastern county of Norfolk, whose eating and drinking habits were detailed at the start of the investigation.

During the study’s 11-year span, 753 people in the group developed adult-onset, also called Type 2, diabetes. Those who ate low-fat fermented dairy products — a category that includes yogurts, fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese — were 24 percent less likely to develop the disease compared to counterparts who ate none of these products.

When examined separately from the other low-fat dairy products, yogurt by itself was associated with a 28-percent reduced risk.

People in this category ate on average four and a half standard (4.4-ounce) pots of yogurt each week.

Only low-fat, fermented dairy products were associated with the fall in risk. Consumption of high-fat fermented products, and of milk, had no impact.

The new report is a reminder for us all that enjoying a good quality yogurt as part of our regular diet can, indeed benefit our health. Of course, we’d have to assume that would probably remove key lime pie or strawberry cheesecake yogurt from the list of available options. But most of us who are concerned about diet and nutrition probably weren’t eating those anyway!

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/eating-low-fat-yogurt-prevent-type-2-diabetes-study-article-1.1606387#ixzz2tjG2ZHdd

November is American Diabetes Month … Are you aware????

American Diabetes Month is going on right now, throughout November. This national effort by the American Diabetes Association is aimed at raising the general awareness of diabetes, the issues surrounding the disease and the effects it has on the millions who suffer.

Even through 26 million people currently have diabetes in the United States and even though most people believe they have an understanding of the condition, there’s so much to learn here for all of us.

For instance, did you know that 79 million Americans have a condition known as prediabetes. This is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose level is elevated, but it isn’t high enough to be considered diabetes. Of those estimated 79 million people, only 11 percent actually know they have it. And all 79 million of them are 45% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who aren’t prediabetic.

Diabetes costs the United States about $245 Billion every year – that’s Billion … with a B. That’s pretty expensive for a condition that is, in many cases, preventable and is also, in many cases, controllable.

What can all of us do every day to decrease our own risk of type 2 diabetes? Basic lifestyle and dietary choices are key to helping us avoid diabetes.

We can and should:

• Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose fish, lean meats, and poultry without skin.
• Include whole grains with every meal.
• Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.

Let’s go further than these important points, though. FoodFacts.com encourages you to become even more self-aware. Click here: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/?loc=DropDownDB-RiskTest and take this Diabetes Risk Test to guide you in your conversations with your doctors.

The American Diabetes Association (http://www.diabetes.org) has a wealth of really valuable information that will keep you educated, aware and informed on the myriad of issues surrounding diabetes. During American Diabetes Month, we should all make it a priority to stay on top of the things we need to know to keep ourselves and our families healthy, safe and happy.

http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/programs/american-diabetes-month/

Walnuts reduce health risks for overweight adults

While FoodFacts.com understands that we are far from reversing the obesity crisis and reducing the number of those who are overweight or obese globally, we try to keep up with information that may make a difference for those affected. There are many health risks associated with being overweight, mainly diabetes and heart disease. Today we found positive research regarding a simple dietary addition that may help those who are overweight avoid these difficulties.

Medical researchers from the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Connecticut have found evidence suggestive that adding walnuts to one’s diet can protect against diabetes and heart disease in at-risk individuals.

For the study, a sample of 46 adults aged 30-75 were selected. Participants had a Body Mass Index larger than 25, and a waist circumference exceeding 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. They were also required to be non-smokers, and all exhibited one or more additional risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The group was randomly assigned to two 8-week sequences of either a walnut-enriched diet or a diet without walnuts. Those chosen for the walnut diet were instructed to consume 56g of shelled, unroasted English walnuts per day as a snack or with a meal.

“We know that improving diets tends to be hard, but adding a single food is easy,” explained Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and lead author of the research team. “Our theory is that if a highly nutritious, satiating food like walnuts is added to the diet, there are dual benefits: the benefits of that nutrient rich addition and removal of the less nutritious foods.”

The research found that daily intake of 56g of walnuts improves endothelial function in overweight adults. The addition of walnuts to the diet does not lead to weight gain. Further study on the topic is still suggested. “The primary outcome measure was the change in flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery,” wrote the research group. “Secondary measures included serum lipid panel, fasting glucose and insulin, Homeostasis Model Assessment-Insulin Resistance values, blood pressure, and anthropometric measures. FMD improved significantly from baseline when subjects consumed a walnut-enriched diet as compared with the control diet. Beneficial trends in systolic blood pressure reduction were seen, and maintenance of the baseline anthropometric values was also observed. Other measures were unaltered.”

FoodFacts.com knows that there are so many ways to add walnuts to your daily diet. They can be added to hot cereal for added texture and flavor. They’re great in salads for a little crunch. And they’re a great snack. Walnuts bring many health benefits for everyone. But this new research illustrates additional advantages for those who are overweight. What a simple and interesting way to help prevent serious health difficulties!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923101947.htm

The correlation between your brain’s perception of sweetness and carbonation

FoodFacts.com has followed a lot of information that’s come to the forefront about artificial sweeteners and diet soda. We know that artificial sweeteners are chemical concoctions that serve no purpose nutritionally and have been linked to cancer. Interestingly, in the last 12 months, studies have linked drinking diet soda to diabetes and weight gain, negating their original purpose in the food supply.

Today we came across a new study that sheds new light on why artificial sweeteners may be adding to the obesity crisis. Carbonation, an essential component of popular soft drinks, alters the brain’s perception of sweetness and makes it difficult for the brain to determine the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners, according to a new article in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

“This study proves that the right combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners can leave the sweet taste of diet drinks indistinguishable from normal drinks,” said study author, Rosario Cuomo, associate professor, gastroenterology, department of clinical medicine and surgery, “Federico II” University, Naples, Italy. “Tricking the brain about the type of sweet could be advantageous to weight loss – it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink.”

The study identifies, however, that there is a downside to this effect; the combination of carbonation and sugar may stimulate increased sugar and food consumption since the brain perceives less sugar intake and energy balance is impaired. This interpretation might better explain the prevalence of eating disorders, metabolic diseases and obesity among diet-soda drinkers.

Investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor changes in regional brain activity in response to naturally or artificially sweetened carbonated beverages. The findings were a result of the integration of information on gastric fullness and on nutrient depletion conveyed to the brain.

Future studies combining analysis of carbonation effect on sweetness detection in taste buds and responses elicited by the carbonated sweetened beverages in the gastrointestinal cavity will be required to further clarify the puzzling link between reduced calorie intake with diet drinks and increased incidence of obesity and metabolic diseases.

FoodFacts.com has never been a fan of soda consumption. Sugary sodas and diet sodas alike are chemical formulations in cans and bottles. They do nothing to fulfill our nutritional requirements and replace better beverages in our diets. The allure of zero calories for consumers is quite powerful and often people believe that as long as something is “diet” it’s a better choice. We are hopeful that information regarding the many downsides of artificial sweeteners helps consumers to understand that these beverages are not healthier options. While we certainly don’t need the equivalent of a little over 10 teaspoons of sugar in the average can of soda, we also don’t need an artificial substance replacing that sugar – especially since it appears that in the long run, people can gain weight just as easily relying on zero calorie sweeteners. Let’s help others in our network become more nutritionally aware of the health effects of diet sodas!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266292.php