Nutrition

Fructose Consumption: What are the Real Health Implications?

Fructose intake has recently received considerable media attention, most of which has been negative. The assertion has been that dietary fructose is less satiating and more lipogenic than other sugars. However, no fully relevant data have been presented to account for a direct link between dietary fructose intake and health risk markers such as obesity, triglyceride accumulation and insulin resistance in humans. First: a re-evaluation of published epidemiological studies concerning the consumption of dietary fructose or mainly high fructose corn syrup shows that most of such studies have been cross-sectional or based on passive inaccurate surveillance, especially in children and adolescents, and thus have not established direct causal links. Second: research evidence of the short or acute term satiating power or increasing food intake after fructose consumption as compared to that resulting from normal patterns of sugar consumption, such as sucrose, remains inconclusive. Third: the results of longer-term intervention studies depend mainly on the type of sugar used for comparison. Typically aspartame, glucose, or sucrose is used and no negative effects are found when sucrose is used as a control group.

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Bone Health and Nutrition in Aging: Calcium and Vitamin D

Bone health is an important issue in aging. Calcium and vitamin D currently have the most focus in published research on nutrition and bone health in aging, although evidence from published research is not conclusive. A systematic review was conducted to determine the impact of dietary and supplemental interventions focused on calcium and vitamin D over the past 10 years. Using key words to search, and search limits (aging population, English), 62 papers were found related to diet, nutrition, and bone; and 157 were found related to calcium and bone. Our review found a positive effect on bone health for supplements; food-based interventions; and educational strategies. Although there may be a publishing bias related to non-significant findings not being published, our results suggest the effectiveness of food based and educational interventions with less economic impact to the individual, as well as less risk of physiological side effects occurring.

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The Effect of Ingested Macronutrients on Post-Meal (Postprandial) Ghrelin Response: A Critical Review

Ghrelin is a powerful orexigenic gut hormone with growth hormone releasing activity. It plays a pivotal role for long-term energy balance and short-term food intake. It is also recognized as a potent signal for meal initiation. Ghrelin levels rise sharply before feeding onset, and are strongly suppressed by food ingestion. Postprandial ghrelin response is totally macronutrient specific in normal weight subjects, but is rather independent of macronutrient composition in obese. In rodents and lean individuals, isoenergetic meals of different macronutrient content suppress ghrelin to a variable extent. Carbohydrate appears to be the most effective macronutrient for ghrelin suppression, because of its rapid absorption and insulin-secreting effect. Protein induces prolonged ghrelin suppression and is considered to be the most satiating macronutrient. Fat, on the other hand, exhibits rather weak and insufficient ghrelin-suppressing capacity. The principal mediators involved in meal-induced ghrelin regulation are glucose, insulin, gastrointestinal hormones released in the postabsorptive phase, vagal activity, gastric emptying rate, and postprandial alterations in intestinal osmolarity.

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Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes: Should You Stop Drinking Them?

A recent investigation on protein drinks has been causing waves of concern or even alarm to ripple through the fitness and bodybuilding world. Supplement companies are up in arms and people are wondering whether they should stop drinking protein shakes after the magazine said they tested 15 protein drinks for heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury) and 3 of them came up above the proposed safe limits…

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The Dangers of Raw Milk and the Claims of its Magical Healing Powers

Recently there has been a great deal of public interest in the health benefits of consuming raw (unpasteurized milk). This has come about because of certain raw milk advocates who have emerged to claim that raw milk is not only safe but has miraculous healing properties. Indeed, as described by these advocates, raw milk is an magical elixir of life. Pasteurization, it is claimed, destroys these wonderful properties in milk.

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Grape Polyphenols and Their Biological Activities

Grapes have a long and abundant history. During the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, grapes were revered for their use in wine making. Nowadays, there are three main species of grapes: European grapes (Vitis vinifera), North American grapes (Vitis labrusca and Vitis rotundifolia) and French hybrids. Grapes are classified as table grapes, wine grapes (used in viniculture), raisin grapes, and so on, with edible seeds or seedless. People often enjoy the various grape products, such as fruit, raisins, juice and wine. Grape fruit contains various nutrient elements, such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, edible fibers and phytochemicals. Polyphenols are the most important phytochemicals in grape because they possess many biological activities and health-promoting benefits [1–3]. The phenolic compounds mainly include anthocyanins, flavanols, flavonols, stilbenes (resveratrol) and phenolic acids [4–6]. Anthocyanins are pigments, and mainly exist in grape skins. Flavonoids are widely distributed in grapes, especially in seeds and stems, and principally contain (+)-catechins, (−)-epicatechin and procyanidin polymers. Anthocyanins are the main polyphenolics in red grapes, while flavan-3-ols are more abundant in white varieties [7–9].

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Changes in Intakes of Total and Added Sugar and their Contribution to Energy Intake in the U.S.

Sugars are a ubiquitous component of our food supply. They are consumed as a naturally occurring component of our diet and as additions to foods during processing, preparation, or at the table. A healthy diet contains at least some amount of naturally occurring sugars, because monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose, and disaccharides, such as sucrose and lactose, are integral components of fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and many grains [1]. Sugars also add desirable sensory effects and promote enjoyment of foods. Over the years, however, sugar intake has been claimed to be associated with several diet-related chronic diseases: diabetes, CVD, obesity, dental caries, and hyperactivity in children [2,3]. One of overwhelming concerns regarding sugars is the potential for excess energy intake from sugars resulting in weight gain and displacement of more nutrient-dense foods [2]. However, little attention has been given to the contribution of sugar and carbohydrates to total energy intake.

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The Role Of Soy In Vegetarian Diets

Soyfoods have long been prized among vegetarians for both their high protein content and versatility. Soybeans differ markedly in macronutrient content from other legumes, being much higher in fat and protein, and lower in carbohydrate. In recent years however, soyfoods and specific soybean constituents, especially isoflavones, have been the subject of an impressive amount of research. Nearly 2,000 soy-related papers are published annually. This research has focused primarily on the benefits that soyfoods may provide independent of their nutrient content. There is particular interest in the role that soyfoods have in reducing risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. However, the estrogen-like effects of isoflavones observed in animal studies have also raised concerns about potential harmful effects of soyfood consumption. This review addresses questions related to soy and chronic disease risk, provides recommendations for optimal intakes, and discusses potential contraindications. As reviewed, the evidence indicates that, with the exception of those individuals allergic to soy protein, soyfoods can play a beneficial role in the diets of vegetarians. Concerns about adverse effects are not supported by the clinical or epidemiologic literature. Based on the soy intake associated with health benefits in the epidemiologic studies and the benefits noted in clinical trials, optimal adult soy intake would appear to be between two and four servings per day.

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Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency has been observed worldwide at all stages of life. It has been characterized as a public health problem, since low concentrations of this vitamin have been linked to the pathogenesis of several chronic diseases. Several studies have suggested that vitamin D is involved in cardiovascular diseases and have provided evidence that it has a role in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. It may be involved in regulation of gene expression through the presence of vitamin D receptors in various cells, regulation of blood pressure (through renin-angiotensin system), and modulation of cell growth and proliferation including vascular smooth muscle cells and cardiomyocytes. Identifying correct mechanisms and relationships between vitamin D and such diseases could be important in relation to patient care and healthcare policies.

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Vitamin E Update: Tocopherol and Tocotrienol

Vitamin E, like tocotrienols and tocopherols, is constituted of compounds essential for animal cells. Vitamin E is exclusively synthesized by photosynthetic eukaryotes and other oxygenic photosynthetic organisms such as cyanobacteria. In order to prevent lipid oxidation, the plants mainly accumulate tocochromanols in oily seeds and fruits or in young tissues undergoing active cell divisions. From a health point of view, at the moment there is a great interest in the natural forms of tocochromanols, because they are considered promising compounds able to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and satisfactory blood cholesterol levels. Some evidence suggests that the potency of the antioxidant effects may differ between natural or synthetic source of tocochromanols (vitamin E).

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Nutrition is Not a Top Ten Proposition and the Lycopene Bust

I'm going to give you three vegetables. You pick the best one.

  • Tomatoes
  • Green (Bell) Peppers
  • Spinach

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The Effects of Alcohol on Athletic Performance and Recovery

Alcohol consumption within elite sport has been continually reported both anecdotally within the media and quantitatively in the literature. The detrimental effects of alcohol on human physiology have been well documented, adversely influencing neural function, metabolism, cardiovascular physiology, thermoregulation and skeletal muscle myopathy. Remarkably, the downstream effects of alcohol consumption on exercise performance and recovery, has received less attention and as such is not well understood. The focus of this review is to identify the acute effects of alcohol on exercise performance and give a brief insight into explanatory factors.

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Dietary Protein and Kidney Function

Recent trends in weight loss diets have led to a substantial increase in protein intake by individuals. As a result, the safety of habitually consuming dietary protein in excess of recommended intakes has been questioned. In particular, there is concern that high protein intake may promote renal damage by chronically increasing glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration. There is, however, a serious question as to whether there is significant evidence to support this relationship in healthy individuals. In fact, some studies suggest that hyperfiltration, the purported mechanism for renal damage, is a normal adaptative mechanism that occurs in response to several physiological conditions. This paper reviews the available evidence that increased dietary protein intake is a health concern in terms of the potential to initiate or promote renal disease. While protein restriction may be appropriate for treatment of existing kidney disease, we find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons after centuries of a high protein Western diet.

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The Other Side Of Dogma - Alternative a Euphemism for Untested?

My last post about strength training and nutrition dogma dealt with the downside of the popular and untested beliefs that we cling to in the face of little to no evidence. Even so I pointed out that not all beliefs which appear to be dogmatic are "bad". Well, it just so happens that I think there are worse things than dogma.

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Nutrition is Not a True or False Proposition

I just came across a "nutrition quiz".

I got eight out of ten correct. Only eight? ME? You have got to be kidding me? I am a nutrition stud. Well, perhaps not exactly a nutrition stud but let's just say I do not get my nutrition information from steroid salesmen on bodybuilding forums.

One of the questions on the quiz involved brown rice. Go figure. I knew they wanted to hear that brown rice was healthier than white rice so that is what I answered but really I refuse to capitulate to the nonsense about brown rice being magical health pellets and white rice being evil little starch monsters.

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