Nutrition

Does Industry Sponsorship of Nutrition Research Influence Study Outcomes?

In 111 scientific articles on nonalcoholic beverages, articles with all industry funding were more than 7 times more likely to have favorable conclusions compared with articles with no industry funding.

Much of the money available for doing medical research comes from companies, as opposed to government agencies or charities. There is some evidence that when a research study is sponsored by an organization that has a financial interest in the outcome, the study is more likely to produce results that favor the funder (this is called “sponsorship bias”). This phenomenon is worrying, because if our knowledge about effectiveness and safety of medicines is based on biased findings, patients could suffer. However, it is not clear whether sponsorship bias extends beyond research into drugs, but also affects other types of research that is in the public interest. For example, research into the health benefits, or otherwise, of different types of food and drink may affect government guidelines, regulations, and the behavior patterns of members of the public. Were sponsorship bias also to exist in this area of research, the health of the wider public could be affected.

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Does Funding Source Bias Conclusions of Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles?

Industrial support of biomedical research may bias scientific conclusions, as demonstrated by recent analyses of pharmaceutical studies. However, this issue has not been systematically examined in the area of nutrition research. The purpose of this study is to characterize financial sponsorship of scientific articles addressing the health effects of three commonly consumed beverages, and to determine how sponsorship affects published conclusions.

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Sustained Self-Regulation of Energy Intake: Initial Hunger Improves Insulin Sensitivity

In industrialised countries, most people regulate their energy expenditure poorly. Individual energy expenditure may differ up to 20-fold between resting conditions and high physical activity, but such differences have until now been weakly correlated to energy intake at subsequent meals [1]. Frequent episodes of positive energy balance can lead to insulin resistance, overweight, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease [1, 2]. Dietary regimes that attempt to restrain eating have been only marginally successful [3, 4] and the feasibility of self-regulation of energy intake regimes has been questioned [5]. A key reason for this lack of success may be that most dietary methods rely on weekly or monthly measurements of weight. These measurements provide no immediate feedback to dieters, who usually ingest food at least three times daily.

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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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