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Healthy ManIt is known that a high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate content in the diet increases insulin levels and can potentially impair fat oxidation. In a new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers theorized that refeeding a low GI, moderate carbohydrate diet would improve chances of weight maintenance.

The study involved 32 healthy young men (average 26 years of age) who were not overweight (average BMI 23 kg/m2). For one week, they were overfed at a level of 50% higher than their caloric needs, followed by a three-week caloric restricted diet (-50% of their energy needs). They were then overfed for two weeks at +50% of energy requirement, and given either a low GI (41) or high GI diet (74) and moderate versus high carbohydrate (CHO) intake (50% vs 65% of energy intake). Fat mass and adaptation of fasting macronutrient oxidation were measured.

During the first overfeeding, the subjects gained an average of 1.9 kg body weight, followed by an average weight loss of 6.3 kg while on caloric restricted diet. During the last overfeeding the subjects gained back an average of 2.8 kg. Subjects eating the higher CHO (65%) diet gained more body weight compared to the 50% CHO diet, especially when eating the high GI meals. Re-feeding the high GI diet impaired fat oxidation compared to the low GI diet. The impairment in fasting fat oxidation was correlated with regain in fat mass and body weight. Metabolic impairment after eating the 50% CHO was not significant.

The results of this study show that both higher GI and higher carbohydrate intake can negatively affect fat oxidation leading to body weight regain in healthy men. A lower glycemic index and glycemic load diet enhances the ability to maintain weight after weight loss.

Source:
J Kahlhöfer et al.; European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2014); 68:1060–1066; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.132.

Preterm birth (defined as delivery before 37 weeks of gestation) is associated with significant short and long-term adverse-health outcomes including death. Infants born preterm are more likely than infants born full term to die during the neonatal period (first 28 days) and infancy (first year), and mortality rates increase proportionally with decreasing gestational age or birth weight.

Previous research has shown a positive correlation between the maternal diet, preterm birth, infant birth weight and healthy infants. A new study has found that eating habits before conception may also play a role in preterm birth and healthy infants.

The results of a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition has shown that women who consistently eat a diet rich in lean protein, fruit, vegetables and some whole grains before and during pregnancy have a decreased risk of preterm birth.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide, investigated the dietary habits of over 300 Australian women, at least 18 years in age, before pregnancy and followed them through the birth of their infant. This small cohort was part of a larger prospective study that assessed the effects of asthma during pregnancy.

Dietary patterns were assessed and categorized into three groups: high-protein/fruit, high-fat/high-sugar/fast food, and vegetarian. Women with higher scores on the high-protein/fruit pattern were less likely to have babies born preterm, while the women with higher scores for the high-fat/high-sugar/fast food diet were more at risk to deliver babies preterm.

These findings suggest that preterm delivery might actually be modified by maternal diet. Eating a healthy diet that includes lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains before pregnancy is important for a pregnant1 and the long-term health of the child.

Source:
Grieger JA et al; J Nutr. 2014 Jul;144(7):1075-80. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.190686.

weight lossA low glycemic index (GI), low calorie diet with moderate amounts of carbohydrates is more effective for controlling hunger, and improving weight loss and insulin sensitivity than a low-fat, high GI diet.

Obesity is one of the most significant health concerns worldwide and is related to health issues such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Low-glycemic index (GI) diets have shown to have beneficial effects in many chronic conditions such as these, but their impact on weight loss, satiety and inflammation are still somewhat inconclusive.

In a new study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers compared the effects of 3 diets on weight loss, satiety, inflammation and other metabolic markers. The randomized controlled study included 122 overweight or obese men and women aged 30 to 60 years. During the study period of 6 months, participants were randomly assigned to one of 3 isocaloric, energy-restricted diets: 1) a moderate carbohydrate and high-GI diet (HGI), 2) a moderate-carbohydrate and low-GI-Low Fat diet (LGI), 3) a low-fat and high-GI diet (LF) patterned after the American Heart Association Diet.

Reductions in BMI were greater in the Low GI group than the LF by week 16 and at the completion of the study. Measurements of insulin sensitivity, fasting insulin and beta-cell function were all significantly better in the LGI group than the LF group. Although the differences in the 3 groups didn’t reach statistical significance, there was a tendency for a greater improvement with a low-GI diet with respect to hunger, satiety, lipid profiles and other inflammatory and metabolic markers.

The results of this study showed that a low-calorie low-GI diet with moderate amounts of carbohydrates is more effective than a high-GI low-fat diet at decreasing body weight and improving markers of insulin metabolism.

Source:
Martí Juanola-Falgarona et al. Am J Clin Nutr June 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.081216.

Research on omega-3 fatty acid levels in women during late pregnancy reveals a connection between low omega-3 intake during pregnancy and higher risk of postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is a relatively common disorder that can lead to unhealthy early mother-infant interaction and potentially poor early childhood development. It is estimated that the disorder may affect as many as 10-15% of women in the first three months after birth. Several previous studies have looked at the possible connection between seafood intake and the incidence of postpartum depression.

In a study published online in PLos One, researchers sought to determine whether a low maternal omega-3 index in late pregnancy was associated with higher levels of postpartum depressive symptoms. The omega-3 index is a measurement of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA in red blood cells, expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids.

The study group included 72 Norwegian women who were pregnant between November 2009 and June 2011. At 28 weeks of pregnancy, blood samples were taken from the mothers to determine the fatty acids status. At the well-baby check-up 3 months postpartum, a regional version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to determine the level of depressive symptoms in the mothers.

The women with a lower omega-3 index had a higher level of depressive symptoms three months after pregnancy. When analyzing percentage of DHA alone, the association was even more significant. In addition to the omega-3 index and DHA content, other measures such as the omega-3/omega-6 ratio were also inversely correlated to higher depressive symptoms. The reported dietary and supplemental intake of fish was highly correlated to the measured omega-3 index.

Since a low omega-3 index during pregnancy may be associated with a higher rate of depression symptoms after childbirth, increasing seafood or omega-3 supplement intake during and after pregnancy should be encouraged, especially in those that eat little to no seafood.

The researchers also suggest that larger and more powerful intervention studies should be completed, since there are currently no established reference values for fatty acid status in pregnant or lactating women.

Source:
Markhus MW et al. (2013). PLoS ONE 8(7): e67617.

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Previous studies have shown that reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids and increasing consumption of omega-3 rich fish oil delay the development and progression of prostate cancer. However epidemiologic and observational studies have yielded mixed results. A recent study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research has found that men with prostate cancer consuming a low fat diet combined with fish oil supplements have a reduced risk of cancer recurrence.

The study included 48 prostate cancer patients assigned either a low-fat diet (15% Kcal from fat) supplemented with fish oil (LFFO), or a high-fat (40% Kcal from fat) western diet (Control). Researchers measured pro-inflammatory compounds in excised prostate cancer tissue and determined the cell cycle progression (CCP) score, which is used to predict cancer recurrence.

Analysis showed that in the LFFO group, there was a decline in the inflammatory marker 15(S)-HETE of 7.2%, but a rise of 24.7% in the control group. Other markers of inflammation (LTB4) were also significantly reduced in the LFFO group but not in the control group. The LFFO group had a significantly lower CCP score versus the control group.

This study found that cancer cell proliferation scores and other markers of inflammation were significantly lower in those who consumed the low-fat fish oil diet compared to men who followed a higher fat Western diet. These results provide strong support for longer term, prospective randomized trials evaluating a low-fat fish oil diet in men with prostate cancer.

Source: Colette Galet et al. Cancer Prev Res; Jan 2014; 7(1):97-104. DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0261.

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A new study found that calcium and vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in facilitating fat loss for people adopting to an energy-restricted diet.

Dietary calcium, a non-energy-supplying nutrient, has been identified as playing a pivotal role in the regulation of energy and lipid metabolism. Observational studies have demonstrated calcium intake is inversely associated with body weight, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Higher vitamin D intake and elevated level of serum 25(OH)D have been reported to be related to lower adiposity and metabolic health

A new study investigated the effect of calcium plus vitamin D3 (calcium+D) supplementation on anthropometric and metabolic profiles during energy restriction in healthy, overweight (BMI>=24) and obese (BMI>=28) adults with very-low calcium consumption (<600mg/day).

Forty-three subjects were randomly assigned in an open-label, randomized controlled trial to receive either an energy-restricted diet (−500 kcal/d) supplemented with 600 mg elemental calcium and 125 IU vitamin D3 or energy restriction alone for 12 weeks.  Repeated measurements of variance were performed to evaluate the differences between groups for changes in body weight, BMI, body composition, waist circumference, and blood pressures, as well as plasma TG, TC, HDL, LDL, glucose and insulin concentrations.

The study showed a significantly greater decrease in fat mass loss in the calcium + D group  than in the control group, and no significant difference in body weight change between the two groups. The calcium + D group also exhibited greater decrease in visceral fat mass and visceral fat area.  No significant difference was detected for changes in metabolic variables.

These results indicate that, among overweight and obese people with very-low intake levels of calcium, calcium plus vitamin D3 supplementation for 12 weeks may assist fat loss when combined with a energy restriction diet with 500 Cal/day of calorie deficit.

Source: Zhu et al. Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:8

 

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There are numerous studies reporting the health benefits of increased fish consumption and higher intakes of the long-chain omega-3  (PUFA) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The National Heart Foundation of Australia recommends that, to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, all adult Australians should consume 500 mg/day of combined EPA and DHA through 2–3 serves (150g serve) of oily fish per week and fish oil supplementation. For older adults, the risk of cardiovascular disease is higher; therefore, dietary strategies including increased intake of fish and omega-3 PUFA to reduce risk are necessary.

In the latest cross-sectional survey, 854 Australians (>= 51 yrs of age) were randomly selected to complete either an online survey or telephone interview. The survey included the quantitative fish frequency questionnaire and open- and closed-ended survey questions on demographics and supplement usage.

The survey found that on average:
•             The frequency of finfish/seafood consumption was 1.7 times per week (median intake 173 g);
•             13% never consumed finfish/seafood, or consumed less than once per month;
•             34% ate any type of finfish/seafood more than two times per week;
•             Only 28% consumed just 500 mg long-chain omega-3 PUFA per day from finfish/seafood alone;
•             The mean daily intake of long-chain omega-3 PUFA was 508 mg;

These data indicate that trends in fish intake in Australia are increasing. Although this is encouraging, the current survey still found that only 44% consumed finfish/seafood at least twice per week.  Among older Australians, the current fish consumption is low and many do not meet the current recommendations. Strategies to enhance intake to meet dietary recommendations in this older age group are required.

Source: Grieger, J A et al. Nutrition & Dietetics 2013; 70: 227–235

 

 

In a recent study of normal weight adults, a meal consisting of low-glycemic carbohydrates improved cognitive function after meals better than a high-glycemic meal.

Glucose is an important sugar for proper brain function, and the rate of glucose delivered to the brain after a meal may influence cognitive performance. In a new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers evaluated the effects of glucose absorption directly after a meal, and how the rate of absorption affects cognitive performance. Individual responses to glucose and insulin (glucoregulation) were also evaluated for potential differences in cognitive function.

The study included 40 healthy adults, aged 49-71 years, with BMIs varying from 20-29.  Test meals included white wheat bread (WWB) as the standard high glycemic food, and a WWB enriched with guar gum (G-WWB) as a low-glycemic food as a comparison.

In a cross-over design, subjects were evaluated for cognitive function (working memory and selective attention) after consuming one of the test meals and during the hours after the meal (postprandial period). The G-WWB meal improved the outcome in the cognitive tests in the later postprandial period (75–225 min) in comparison with the WWB. Subjects with better glucoregulation performed better in cognitive tests compared with subjects with worse glucoregulation.

Researchers suggested that the superior cognitive performance in the group eating the lower GI meal may be due to improved insulin sensitivity, and possibly in combination with an improved neural energy supply. The results of this study support the idea that carbohydrate foods that induce a slow and sustained blood glucose profile may support improved brain function after a meal in comparison to high glycemic foods.

Source: A Nilsson et al. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012) 66, 1039–1043

A recently clinical study, published in Obesity and Weight Management, confirmed that positive lifestyle modification program can significantly improve outcomes in people with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by central obesity and clustering of cardiovascular risk factors including abnormal or impaired glucose tolerance, raised triglycerides, decreased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance. Studies have shown that the numbers for new cases of pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome are on the rise, which will have a major impact on the health of Australians. There is an urgent need to develop lifestyle intervention programs for people with metabolic syndrome to prevent the progression of their disease.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver conducted a clinical study to evaluate the health outcomes of a 12-week lifestyle modification program. Sixty people with metabolic syndrome were recruited and participated in a 12-week online lifestyle intervention program that prescribed a low-glycemic diet including meal replacement and nutrition bars, nutritional supplementation, and moderate exercise.

At the end of the 12-week intervention program, participants lost an average weight of 5.5 kg. Measures of glycemic control are also improved significantly during the study. Fasting insulin was reduced by 32.3% and 120-minute insulin during an oral glucose tolerance test was reduced by 43.6%. Insulin sensitivity was increased as evidenced by a reduction in the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index (by 31.6%) and an increase in the insulin sensitivity index. There were also significant improvements in triglycerides, total cholesterol, and blood pressure, and more than one-third of the participants no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.

This study demonstrates that lifestyle modification program that combines a low-glycemic diet, nutritional supplements, and moderate exercise can successfully produce meaningful weight loss, significant improvements in glycemic control, and significant reductions in risk factors for heart disease in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

Holly Wyatt, a physician and faculty member of the University of Colorado’s Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, oversaw the study. “This is a very promising program that produced some very positive changes in the cardiovascular risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome,” Dr. Wyatt said. “The shifts in dietary habits to calorically restricted low-glycemic meals and the modest increases in physical activity not only were effective but also are realistic behavioral changes many people can make.”

Source:
Holly R. Wyatt et al; Obesity and Weight Management. August 2009:167-173

 

Weight control strategies that are both safe and effective are needed to reduce the rate of the current obesity epidemic. People incorporating fortified meal replacements are more likely to have adequate essential nutrient intakes compared to a group following a more traditional food group diet.

A study published in the Nutrition Journal compared the macronutrient and micronutrient levels in the foods chosen by women following two different weight reduction programs.

Ninety-six generally healthy overweight or obese women randomly placed into two treatment groups:

  • Traditional Food Group (TFG); or
  • A Meal Replacement Group (MRG).

The MRG included the use of 1-2 meal replacement drinks or bars per day. Both groups aimed to restrict energy levels to approximately 1,300 calories per day.

After one year, weight loss was not significantly different between the groups, and both groups had macronutrient (Carbohydrate:Protein:Fat) ratios that were within the ranges recommended. Both groups experienced an improved dietary pattern with respect to decreased saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, with increased total servings/day of fruits and vegetables. However, the TFG had a significantly lower dietary intake of several vitamins and minerals compared to the MRG and were at greater risk for inadequate intake.

Although both groups successfully lost weight while improving overall dietary adequacy, the group incorporating fortified meal replacements tended to have a more adequate essential nutrient intake compared to the group following a more traditional food group diet.

This study supports the need to incorporate fortified foods and/or dietary supplements while following an energy-restricted diet for weight loss.

Source:
Ashley JM et al. Nutr J. 2007 Jun 25; 6:12.

 

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