Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fatty Diets Lead to Daytime Sleepiness, Poor Sleep

Newswise, April 21, 2016 — University of Adelaide researchers have found that men who consume diets high in fat are more likely to feel sleepy during the day, to report sleep problems at night, and are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

This is the result of the Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study looking at the association between fatty diets and sleep, conducted by the University of Adelaide's Population Research and Outcome Studies unit in the School of Medicine and the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men's Health.

The results - based on data of more than 1800 Australian men aged 35-80, including their dietary habits over a 12-month period - have been published this month in the journal Nutrients.

"After adjusting for other demographic and lifestyle factors, and chronic diseases, we found that those who consumed the highest fat intake were more likely to experience excessive daytime sleepiness," says study author and University of Adelaide PhD student Yingting Cao, who is also based at SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute).

"This has significant implications for alertness and concentration, which would be of particular concern to workers," Ms Cao says. "High fat intake was also strongly associated with sleep apnea."

In total, among those with available dietary and sleep data, 41% of the men surveyed had reported experiencing daytime sleepiness, while 47% of them had poor sleep quality at night.

About 54% had mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, and 25% had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, which was assessed by a sleep study among those who did not have a previous diagnosis of sleep apnea.

"Poor sleep and feeling sleepy during the day means you have less energy, but this in turn is known to increase people's cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods, which is then associated with poor sleep outcomes. So the poor diet-and-sleep pattern can become a vicious cycle," Ms Cao says.

"The simple message is a commonsense one, but we need more people to pay attention to it: we need to eat better; a good sleep the night before is best."

Ms Cao says quality of sleep is often not taken into consideration in studies investigating the effects of varying diets on weight loss.

"We hope our work could help to inform future intervention studies, enabling people to achieve healthy weight loss while also improving their quality of sleep," she says.

This study has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the ResMed Foundation

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Study Finds Better Way to Keep Shrimp Juicy, Tasty

Study finds better way to keep shrimp juicy and tasty
Photo by Ramiroja (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Newswise, April 14, 2016 --- When you eat a shrimp, you probably want it to be juicy. That’s why University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are trying to find alternatives to phosphates to lock in that texture and savory flavor.

Normally, phosphate or table salt is used to retain moisture in meat and seafood, said Paul Sarnoski, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food science and human nutrition.

But adding salt to the food puts more salt in a person’s diet, and that’s unhealthy, Sarnoski said. Additionally, phosphates are relatively expensive, he said.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Food Science, Sarnoski and his UF/IFAS colleagues found that phosphate alternatives such as polysaccharides – a type of carbohydrate often used as a food additive – can help retain water in shrimp.

UF/IFAS scientists tested the shrimp using phosphates and polysaccharides. They boiled, froze and dried the crustaceans to see how much water the shrimp lost.
For this study, UF/IFAS researchers tested Atlantic white shrimp, which, in addition to being tasty and nutritious, are a vital component to the United States economy.

In 2012, 118 million pounds of the shrimp were harvested, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additionally, shrimp accounts for almost 30 percent of all the seafood the U.S. imports, according to NOAA.

Atlantic white shrimp are often cited as being popular because of their sweet taste, according to a 2006 study led by the University of Georgia. They’re also a good source of protein, niacin, iron, phosphorus, zinc and a very good source of vitamin B12.

“The study showed there are some polysaccharides that will likely not change the way the shrimp tastes, feels or looks to the consumer,” Sarnoski said. Researchers discovered this through taste tests by consumer panelists at the UF Center for Smell and Taste.

Polysaccharides are usually inexpensive, and in the long run, cost less for the food processor, restaurant operator – and theoretically, the consumer -- than phosphates.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cancer Link Offers Another Reason to Avoid Highly Processed Carbs

So-called “bad” carbohydrates associated with increased risk of prostate and breast cancer

Newswise, April 7, 2016– Recent years have brought more attention to the role of carbohydrates in our diets and the differences between healthy and unhealthy carbs, most often in the context of weight control.

A new study highlights one more reason to avoid sugary beverages, processed foods and other energy-dense carbohydrate-containing foods—cutting them may help reduce your risk of cancer.

In the new study, regular consumption of sugary beverages was associated with a 3 times greater risk of prostate cancer and higher intake of processed lunch foods such as pizza, burgers and meat sandwiches doubled prostate cancer risk.

By contrast, healthy carbohydrate-containing foods like legumes, non-starchy vegetables, fruits and whole grains were collectively associated with a 67 percent lower risk for breast cancer.

“One of the most important findings here is that the type of carbohydrate-containing foods you consume can impact your cancer risk,” said Nour Makarem, a Ph.D. student at New York University and the study’s lead author.

“It appears that healthy carbohydrate sources, such as legumes, tend to protect us from cancer, but non-healthy ones, such as fast foods and sugary beverages, seem to increase the risk of these cancers.”

Makarem will present the research at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2016.

The study is based on the health records of 3,100 volunteers tracked since the early 1970s. Researchers began tracking participants’ diets through detailed food frequency questionnaires starting in 1991.

For the new study, Makarem and her colleagues categorized all of the study participants’ food sources by glycemic index—a measure of dietary carbohydrate quality based on an item’s relative impact on blood sugar levels as compared to a reference food—and glycemic load, a measure of both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates in a given food item. They then analyzed the results in relation to volunteers’ cancer rates.

After taking into account multiple cancer risk factors, the study found that eating foods with a higher glycemic load was associated with an 88 percent higher prostate cancer risk.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men.

“Our study showed very strong associations between certain foods and cancer, in particular with prostate cancer,” said Makarem. “There had not been very many studies on food sources and prostate cancer previously.”

The risk increase was most pronounced for people who regularly consumed processed lunch foods or sugary beverages, a category that includes sugar-sweetened soft drinks in addition to fruit juices, which can be naturally high in sugar and often contain added sugars.

“Americans consume almost half of their added sugars in beverages,” said Makarem. “Sugar-sweetened beverages have been shown to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes, and our study documents that they may also have a detrimental impact on cancer risk.”

By contrast, consuming low-glycemic index foods such as legumes, non-starchy vegetables, most fruits and whole grains was associated with a 67 percent lower breast cancer risk.

Breast cancer risk was also reduced among women who had a higher level of carbohydrate intake overall as a proportion of their total calories. However, in this study participants with in the highest level of carbohydrate intake also had higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

These findings underscore the idea that the type of carbohydrates matters more than the total amount of carbohydrates, said Makarem.

Among individual foods, legumes such as beans, lentils and peas were associated with 32 percent lower risk of all overweight- and obesity-related cancers, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

By nature of the study design, the results point only to associations, not necessarily to cause-and-effect.

Nonetheless, the findings are in line with previous studies, which have shown that malignant cancer cells seem to feed on sugar, and that diets high in refined carbohydrates may lead to a range of adverse health effects primarily due to their impacts on body fatness and on the dysregulation of insulin and glucose, both of which are factors that may increase cancer risk.

“Current cancer prevention guidelines recommend avoiding sugary drinks and limiting the consumption of energy-dense foods, which tend to be high in refined carbohydrates,” said Makarem.

“I think our findings add to the body of evidence behind this recommendation and strengthen the associations between these types of food and cancer.”

One caveat that Makarem noted is that the volunteers involved in the study were 99 percent Caucasian. Further study is needed to determine if these associations hold true in more ethnically-diverse groups.

Blueberries May Offer Benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Blueberries offer benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder
 Research in rats suggests eating blueberries could help regulate genetic and biochemical drivers of depression and suicide

Newswise, April 7, 2016– For many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), available medical treatments offer only limited relief. In a series of studies conducted in rats, researchers have found that eating blueberries could help to reduce the genetic and biochemical drivers behind depression and suicidal tendencies associated with the disorder.

“We need to conduct a clinical trial in people to be certain that this works, but based on our studies in animal models, there is evidence that blueberries may help to mitigate some of the problems associated with PTSD,” said Joseph Francis, Ph.D., the Everett D. Besch Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and the study’s senior author.

“And in the meantime, it seems safe to say that eating blueberries can’t hurt—and may help—in people with PTSD.”
Philip Ebenezer, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Francis’s laboratory at Louisiana State University, will present this research at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2016.

PTSD, an anxiety disorder that can develop after someone experiences a traumatic event, affects an estimated 6.8 percent of Americans at some point in their lifetimes.

 PTSD diagnoses have risen sharply in recent years and the disorder is particularly common among combat veterans. It is associated with a wide range of psychological, behavioral and social problems such as depression, substance abuse, relationship problems and an increased risk of suicide.

To investigate the biological factors that might contribute to PTSD and its effects, the research team developed a process that induces effects analogous to PTSD in rats, such as exhibiting fear instead of curiosity when presented with an unfamiliar object. They then assessed how eating a diet rich in blueberries affects those factors.

In the new study, the team focused on the role of a gene called SKA2, a gene that other researchers have found is expressed at abnormally low levels in people who have committed suicide.

Although it is impossible to know whether a rat is experiencing suicidal thoughts, Francis and Ebenezer found that rats with PTSD-like effects express SKA2 at low levels compared with normal laboratory rats, bolstering the evidence for the role of SKA2 in psychological problems and suggesting the team’s PTSD-like rats can be a useful model for studying the biochemistry behind suicidal tendencies.

The researchers then fed some of the PTSD-like rats a diet rich in blueberries—the equivalent of about two cups per day for a person—and found that SKA2 levels increased compared with rats fed a normal diet, suggesting the blueberries had a beneficial effect.

“In the PTSD animals, there was a decrease in the SKA2 levels in the blood, as well as in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, compared to non-PTSD rats,” said Francis. “Since these levels increased when we fed them blueberries, the findings suggest that a nonpharmacological agent like blueberries can have an effect on the expression of this important gene.”

The work builds on a study released last year, in which Francis and Ebenezer found that rats with the PTSD-like experience fed a blueberry-enriched diet showed increased levels of the signaling chemical serotonin in the brain.

Since serotonin is associated with feelings of happiness and well-being, that study suggested blueberries might help to alleviate depression in patients with PTSD.

The team is now pursuing research into the links between SKA2 and serotonin levels to find out whether blueberries may simultaneously help relieve feelings of depression and reduce suicidal tendencies through a single biological pathway.

There are a number of medications that increase serotonin levels and are used to treat depression. However, these agents, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have shown limited success in treating patients with PTSD, and have even been linked with increased suicidal tendencies in some patients, particularly children and adolescents.

Francis said the team’s research aims to fill the treatment gap for PTSD sufferers who do not benefit from existing medications.

“There is an urgent need to identify novel targets for treating PTSD. Based on our findings, blueberries can not only increase serotonin, but also increase SKA2 levels, thereby potentially protecting against untoward behavior,” said Francis.

The study was funded by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

About Experimental Biology 2016
Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of more than 14,000 scientists and exhibitors from six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for exchange among scientists from across the United States and the world who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research.

About the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
ASPET is a 5,100 member scientific society whose members conduct basic and clinical pharmacological research within the academic, industrial and government sectors. Our members discover and develop new medicines and therapeutic agents that fight existing and emerging diseases, as well as increase our knowledge regarding how therapeutics affects humans.

Eat This, Not That! for A Longer, Leaner, Healthier Life A New Book from Eat This, Not That! and AARP

April 7, 2016, PRNewswire/ -- From the editors of Eat This, Not That! comes a unique book that leverages its vast knowledge of nutrition and how Americans eat: Eat This, Not That! for a Longer, Leaner, Healthier Life! (on sale 4/5/16).

Presented in collaboration with AARP, the special eBook created specifically for people over the age of 50 presents a simple-to-use plan based on making smart and easy decisions about the foods you are already enjoying in ways that lead to a longer, happier life.

Eat This, Not That! for a Longer, Leaner, Healthier Life! provides a program that uses simple swaps to combat belly fat without changing the nature of what you eat.

By introducing its new LONGER LIFE program, readers will see that they can keep eating all of the foods they love—burgers, steaks, bacon, bread, and pasta—to actually turbocharge their metabolism and protect lean muscle no matter where they are:

  • At Home—Packed with more than 25 recipes that incorporate the LONGER LIFE superfoods.
  • At Your Favorite Restaurants—More than 100 smart swaps that keep you covered at your favorite burger joint, Chinese or Italian restaurant, or sandwich shop.
  • At The Supermarket—An aisle-by-aisle guide to getting the most nutrition and fat-fighting power from your weekly shopping trip, no matter where you shop.
In addition to attacking belly fat storage, the LONGER LIFE plan introduced in Eat This, Not That! for a Longer, Leaner, Healthier Life! helps to strip your diet of one of the biggest issues that is the focus of the world's health officials—added sugars.

The most recent suggestions from the panel of experts that create the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends that Americans limit added sugars to less than 10% of daily calories. Today, the average American diet is made up of 16% of added sugars.

"There has never been a better time for a program like this," said Founder and CEO of Galvanized and bestselling author David Zinczenko, who co-created Eat This, Not That!.

"Now is the time to live life to the fullest and Eat This, Not That! for a Longer, Leaner, Healthier Life!  Lets you forget about diet plans by providing a simple, easy and effective way for you to enjoy life's sweet spot."

Jammed with eye-opening research and nutritional breakthroughs, Eat This, Not That! for a Longer, Leaner, Healthier Life! will challenge much of what readers thought they knew about weight loss.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Older Overweight and Obese Adults with Diabetes Benefit From Better Diet and Exercise

Newswise, April 5, 2016— Lifestyle changes that include healthier diet and routine physical exercise help older overweight and obese adults with Type 2 diabetes improve glucose control, body composition, physical function and bone quality, according to preliminary findings of an ongoing clinical trial.

Diet and exercise, known to benefit patients with Type 2 diabetes, are controversial treatments for older adults due to concerns over frailty and age-related loss of muscle mass. No specific guidance is available for effectively modifying the lifestyle of adults with diabetes who are 65 years of age and above.

“Type 2 diabetes is highly prevalent in older adults due to the physical inactivity associated with advancing age as well as the obesity epidemic. Obesity worsens the metabolic and physical complications of aging that impair quality of life,” said lead study author Alessandra Celli, research dietitian and predoctoral fellow in endocrinology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Celli and her colleagues are examining the effects of behavioral weight-loss diet therapy and exercise training in older overweight and obese adults with Type 2 diabetes. Over the past six months, they have been randomly assigning volunteers between 65 and 85 years of age to receive either intensive or limited interventions.

Participants in the intensive intervention group attend 90-minute aerobic and resistance exercise classes three times a week as well as a diet class once a week where they learn healthier eating habits. 

They record all food, drink, calories and proteins consumed and can receive individual weight-loss counseling. Control group participants are not given any exercise program and receive only once-a-month diabetes educational sessions.

At the six-month mark, all study participants have preserved their lean body mass; but the intervention group’s body weight and fat mass have dropped more than the control group’s, and the intervention group’s physical performance test and peak aerobic capacity have improved more.

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), an indicator of blood glucose control, has improved more in the intervention group.

Trabecular bone score, a measure of bone texture that helps predict fracture risk, has improved among those receiving the intervention but not among the controls.

“If our results are confirmed, these encouraging findings may be used to formulate concrete recommendations about healthy lifestyle changes in older diabetic patients. Long-term studies involving a larger sample are needed to follow up on these results and examine underlying mechanisms,” Celli said.

The American Diabetes Association and resources at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center supported the study.

Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society, which is celebrating its centennial in 2016, has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.

More Dietary Calcium May Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, but Not of Stroke and Fracture

Dietary Calcium may lower Heart Disease risk
 Newswise, April 5, 2016  – In older people, higher dietary calcium intake may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, but not of stroke and fracture, new research from South Korea suggests.

“The role of dietary calcium intake in cardiovascular disease, stroke and fracture is controversial. Moreover, participants in previous studies were from populations that had calcium-rich diets.

“We aimed to evaluate whether high dietary calcium intake increases the risk of CVD, stroke and fracture in a population with low calcium intake,” said lead author Sung Hye Kong, MD, resident physician in the Department of Internal Medicine of Seoul National University Hospital in Seoul, South Korea.

Kong and colleagues conducted their research among individuals in Korea’s ongoing prospective community-based Ansung and Ansan Cohort Study that began in 2001.

Of the 4,589 men and 5,042 women in the cohort study’s database who were 40 years of age and above at baseline and were followed up for an average of 13 years, the authors performed their analyses in 2,199 men and 2,704 women over 50 years of age without previous cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The individuals in the study reported their dietary food intake in periodic food frequency questionnaires. Cardiovascular disease, stroke and fractures were recorded during interviews and examinations every two years. In their statistical analyses, the authors made adjustments for age, body mass index, vegetable and fruit intake, protein and sodium intake, physical activity, smoking and drinking, history of hypertension and diabetes, total energy from the diet, and additionally adjusted for menopausal status and hormone replacement therapy in women.

In older women in this population with low dietary calcium intake, higher dietary calcium intake was significantly associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, but not significantly associated with risk of stroke and fracture.

Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers.

The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society, which is celebrating its centennial in 2016, has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.