Tag Archives: #diet

Low Glycaemic Diet Shows Meaningful Improvements For People With Diabetes (Food)

For people with diabetes, sticking to a low glycaemic diet results in small but important improvements in blood sugar levels, cholesterol, weight and other risk factors, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

These improvements were seen over and above existing drug or insulin therapy, suggesting that a low glycaemic diet might be especially helpful as add-on treatment to help those with diabetes better achieve their targets, say the researchers.

The glycaemic index (GI) rates how quickly different foods affect blood sugar levels and research has shown that low-GI foods, such as vegetables, most fruits, pulses and wholegrains, can help keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.

A low GI or GL (glycaemic load) diet is therefore recommended for people with diabetes by clinical guidelines across the world. However, the last European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) guidelines were published over 15 years ago and several trials have been published since then.

So researchers set out to summarise the effect of low GI/GL dietary patterns on blood sugar control and other known risk factors in diabetes to help inform the update of the EASD guidelines for nutrition treatment.

Their results are based on 27 randomised controlled trials published up to May 2021 investigating the effect of diets with low GI/GL in diabetes for three or more weeks.

The trials involved a total of 1,617 participants with type 1 or 2 diabetes, who were predominantly middle aged, overweight or obese with moderately controlled type 2 diabetes treated with drugs or insulin.

The trials were of varying quality, but the researchers were able to assess the certainty of evidence using the recognised GRADE system.

The results show that low-GI/GL dietary patterns were associated with small but clinically meaningful reductions in blood sugar levels (HbA1c) compared with higher-GI/GL control diets.

Reductions also occurred in other risk factors including fasting glucose (blood sugar levels after a period of fasting), LDL cholesterol, body weight, and C-reactive protein (a chemical associated with inflammation), but not blood insulin levels, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference, or blood pressure.

The certainty of evidence was high for reduction in blood sugar levels and moderate for most other outcomes, suggesting the available evidence provides a good indication of the likely benefit in this population.

The researchers point to some limitations that may have affected their results, such as imprecision in the evidence for the effect of low GI/GL dietary patterns on LDL cholesterol and waist circumference, and the small number of available trial comparisons for blood pressure and inflammatory markers.

However, they say their findings show that low GI/GL dietary patterns “are considered an acceptable and safe dietary strategy that can produce small meaningful reductions in the primary target for glycaemic control in diabetes, HbA1c, fasting glucose, and other established cardiometabolic risk factors.”

“Our synthesis supports existing recommendations for the use of low GI/GL dietary patterns in the management of diabetes,” they conclude.


Reference: Effect of low glycaemic index or load dietary patterns on glycaemic control and cardiometabolic risk factors in diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, BMJ (2021). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.n1651


Provided by British Medical Journal

Low-fiber Diet May Lead to Gut Infection Even if You’re Not Overweight (Food)

Diet, more than body mass, may play a role in the risk for gut infection, and eating more fiber could be the key to prevention. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

“One takeaway from this study is that people who are leaner may have similar risks of gut infection to obese adults if they don’t eat enough fiber.”

Obesity is associated with developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease. Previous research suggests being overweight can also raise the risk and severity of bacterial infection. However, less is known about whether following a diet that tends to cause obesity is enough to increase bacterial infection risks without being obese.

Researchers from Canada examined the effects of diet and obesity on a mouse model of a bacterial infection caused by excess adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) in the intestinal tract. AIEC is a microorganism that may cause harm only under certain circumstances. People who have the inflammatory bowel disorder Crohn’s disease may have too much AIEC (called an expansion) in their digestive tract, which can be exacerbated by antibiotic use. Previous studies have found that obesity and related factors, such as a high-fat and high-sugar diet, may change the composition of the gut microbiome enough to increase the risk of inflammation and infection. The typical Western diet containing highly processed foods also tends to be low in fiber. However, it’s not clear if this type of diet is enough to predispose people to bacterial infection.

Obese mice followed two high-fat (60% and 45% fat), low-fiber diets. All of the animals developed AIEC expansion in the colon. The mice on the 60% fat diet had a higher body mass than those eating the 45% fat chow, but there was no significant difference in the amount of AIEC (AIEC burden) in their systems. “These data suggested that an aspect of diet composition rather than the magnitude of host obesity was sufficient to promote intestinal AIEC expansion,” the researchers wrote.

The research team fed lean mice a high-fat diet on a short-term basis before significant obesity occurred to explore the effect of diet on AIEC burden. After the animals were exposed to AIEC, the lean mice eating the high-fat diet had more AIEC expansion than the controls (lean mice on a normal diet). These results “indicate that diet can regulate AIEC infectious burden independent of changes in body mass leading to obesity,” the researchers wrote. Finally, the research team found that mice on a low-fat, low-fiber diet had higher AIEC burden than those eating a normal diet, suggesting that dietary fat was not the key ingredient, but “ingestion of lower dietary fiber is sufficient to promote expansion of AIEC throughout the gut.”

One takeaway from this study is that people who are leaner may have similar risks of gut infection if they don’t eat enough fiber. “Our data show that dietary fiber is a standalone factor,” the researchers wrote.

Read the full article, “Low dietary fiber promotes enteric expansion of a Crohn’s disease-associated pathobiont independent of obesity,” published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.


Provided by American Physiological Society

Millet-based Diet Can Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes And Help Manage Blood Glucose Levels (Food)

A new study has shown that eating millets can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps manage blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, indicating the potential to design appropriate meals with millets for diabetic and pre-diabetic people as well as for non-diabetic people as a preventive approach.

Drawing on research from 11 countries, the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that diabetic people who consumed millet as part of their daily diet saw their blood glucose levels drop 12-15% (fasting and post-meal), and blood glucose levels went from diabetic to pre-diabetes levels. The HbA1c (blood glucose bound to hemoglobin) levels lowered on average 17% for pre-diabetic individuals, and the levels went from pre-diabetic to normal status. These findings affirm that eating millets can lead to a better glycemic response.

The authors reviewed 80 published studies on humans of which 65 were eligible for a meta-analysis involving about 1,000 human subjects, making this analysis the largest systematic review on the topic to date.

Dr. S Anitha, the study’s lead author and a Senior Nutrition Scientist at ICRISAT said:

“No one knew there were so many scientific studies undertaken on millets’ effect on diabetes and these benefits were often contested. This systematic review of the studies published in scientific journals has proven that millets can keep blood glucose levels in check and reduce the risk of diabetes. It has also shown just how well these smart foods do it.”

Millets, including sorghum, were consumed as staple cereals in many parts of the world until half a century ago. Investments in a few crops such as rice, wheat and maize, have edged nutritious and climate-smart crops like millets out of the plate.

Professor Ian Givens, a co-author of the study and Director at University of Reading’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) said:

“Awareness of this ancient grain is just starting to spread globally, and our review shows millets having a promising role in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. In the largest review and analysis of research into different types of millet compared to other grains such as refined rice, maize and wheat we found that millets outperform their comparison crops with lower GI and lower blood glucose levels in participants.”  

According to the International Diabetes Association, diabetes is increasing in all regions of the world. India, China and the USA have the highest numbers of people with diabetes. Africa has the largest forecasted increase of 143% from 2019 to 2045, the Middle East and North Africa 96% and South East Asia 74%. The authors urge the diversification of staples with millets to keep diabetes in check, especially across Asia and Africa.

Strengthening the case for reintroducing millets as staples, the study found that millets have a low average glycemic index (GI) of 52.7, about 36% lower GI than milled rice and refined wheat, and about 14-37 GI points lower compared to maize. All 11 types of millets studied could be defined as either low (<55) or medium (55-69) GI, with the GI as an indicator of how much and how soon a food increases blood sugar level. The review concluded that even after boiling, baking and steaming (most common ways of cooking grains) millets had lower GI than rice, wheat and maize.

Dr. Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT said:

“The global health crisis of undernutrition and over-nutrition coexisting is a sign that our food systems need fixing. Greater diversity both on-farm and on-plate is the key to transforming food systems. On-farm diversity is a risk mitigating strategy for farmers in the face of climate change while on-plate diversity helps counter lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Millets are part of the solution to mitigate the challenges associated with malnutrition, human health, natural resource degradation, and climate change. Trans-disciplinary research involving multiple stakeholders is required to create resilient, sustainable and nutritious food systems.” 

Professor Paul Inman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) of the University of Reading, said:

“The rapidly accelerating threats of climate change and global health crises, including obesity and diabetes, require everyone to pull together in action. The partnership between ICRISAT and the University of Reading is doing exactly this, bringing together our world leading expertise in human nutrition with ICRISAT’s long established role as a leader in agricultural research for rural development.”

The study also identified information gaps and highlighted a need for collaborations to have one major diabetes study covering all types of millets and all major ways of processing with consistent testing methodologies. Structured comprehensive information will be highly valuable globally, taking the scientific knowledge in this area to the highest level.

Ms. Joanna Kane-Potaka, a co-author from ICRISAT and Executive Director of the Smart Food initiative said:

“This study is first in a series of studies that has been worked on for the last four years as a part of the Smart Food initiative led by ICRISAT that will be progressively released in 2021. Included are systematic reviews with meta-analyses of the impacts of millets on: diabetes, anemia and iron requirements, cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases and calcium deficiencies as well as a review on zinc levels. As part of this, ICRISAT and the Institute for Food Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading have formed a strategic partnership to research and promote the Smart Food vision of making our diets healthier, more sustainable on the environment and good for those who produce it.”

This research is part of a special edition and theme section in the Frontiers journal – Smart Food for Healthy, Sustainable and Resilient Food System. 

Full citation:

Anitha S, Kane-Potaka J, Tsusaka TW, Botha R, Rajendran A, Givens DI, Parasannanavar DJ, Subramaniam K, Prasad KDV, Vetriventhan M and Bhandari RK (2021) A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Potential of Millets for Managing and Reducing the Risk of Developing Diabetes Mellitus. Front. Nutr. 8:687428. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.687428


Provided by University of Reading

Study Shows Diet Causes 84% Drop in Troublesome Menopausal Symptoms—without Drugs (Food)

A new study, published by the North American Menopause Society in the journal Menopause, found a plant-based diet rich in soy reduces moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 84%, from nearly five per day to fewer than one per day. During the 12-week study, nearly 60% of women became totally free of moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Overall hot flashes (including mild ones) decreased by 79%.

Hot Flashes Completers

The study, called the WAVS trial—the Women’s Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms–shows that diet changes can be much more powerful for treating hot flashes than scientists had thought. Vasomotor symptoms refer to night sweats, hot flashes, and flushes.

The study used no hormone medications or extracts. Instead, the research team tested a combination of a low-fat plant-based diet plus 1/2 cup of ordinary soybeans added to a salad or soup each day.

“This is a game changer for women aged 45 and over, most of whom we now know can get prompt relief from the most severe and troubling menopause symptoms without drugs,” says lead researcher Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee and adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

As many as 80% of postmenopausal women suffer from hot flashes. Heat wells up from the chest, causing flushing, sweating, and chills. At night, hot flashes interfere with sleep. Estrogen-based medications were once routinely used to treat hot flashes but have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and other serious problems. Isoflavoneextracts from soybeans work only modestly, leaving women and their doctors with few effective options.

Study Details

Postmenopausal women reporting two or more hot flashes per day were randomly assigned to either an intervention group—consisting of a low-fat, vegan diet, including half a cup of cooked soybeans daily—or to a control group that made no diet changes for 12 weeks. Frequency and severity of hot flashes were recorded using a mobile application, and vasomotor, psychosocial, physical, and sexual symptoms were assessed using the Menopause Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MENQOL).

Each participant was given a digital self-calibrating scale to track body weight day by day, a mobile app to track hot flashes in real time, and an Instant Pot to prepare soybeans at home. Each week, the group got together with the research team via Zoom.

“Previous studies have shown that soy could be beneficial, so we decided to put a diet change to the test,” says study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. “We believe that the combination is what is important. By the end of the study, the majority of women on a plant-based diet rich in soy reported that they no longer experienced moderate-to-extreme hot flashes at all and that they experienced significant improvements in their quality of life.”

Key Findings

hot flashes graph

Total hot flashes decreased by 79% and moderate-to-severe hot flashes decreased by 84% in the intervention group. At the study’s conclusion, 59% of intervention-group participants reported becoming free of moderate and severe hot flashes. There was no change in this variable in the control group.

In previous randomized trials, soy products have been shown to modestly reduce the frequency of hot flashes. The researchers theorize that the effect may be a result of soy products containing isoflavones, which can be metabolized by gut bacteria into equol—a nonsteroidal compound that has been shown in some studies to reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes. Previous studies have also shown that those following vegetarian or vegan diets produce higher levels of equol. The new study showed a more robust response, using the combination of a plant-based diet plus soy.

Many study participants also reported improvements in sexual symptoms, mood, and overall energy.

 “This was basically a lifesaver for me,” said one study participant. “I’ve got my quality of life back.” Another said, “I am sleeping better, and my hot flashes diminished tremendously.” Several participants also noticed significant weight loss and better digestion.
“Before you jump to any kind of medication, I would try this route, because it’s easy,” a study participant said. “Anybody can do it.” 

The study was based on the new approach to menopausal symptoms described by Dr. Barnard in his book Your Body in Balance. After the book was released in 2020, a reader contacted Dr. Barnard to let him know that his method eliminated her hot flashes within five days. Rather than using isoflavone extracts or soy foods such as soy milk or tofu, she used whole soybeans.

Featured image credit: Gettyimages, others: PCRM


Reference: Barnard, Neal D. MD, FACC1,2; Kahleova, Hana MD, PhD1; Holtz, Danielle N. BS1; del Aguila, Fabiola PhD1; Neola, Maggie BS, RD1; Crosby, Lelia M. BA, RD1; Holubkov, Richard PhD3 The Women’s Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms (WAVS), Menopause: July 12, 2021 – Volume – Issue –
doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001812


Provided by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

New Dietary Treatment For Epilepsy Well Tolerated and Reduced Seizures (Food / Neuroscience)

The first clinical trial of a new dietary treatment for children and adults with severe forms of epilepsy, co-developed by UCL researchers and based on the ketogenic diet, has been successfully completed.

For the study, published in Brain Communications, clinicians evaluated the use of K.Vita®,  (also known as Betashot), an oral liquid dietary supplement developed by UCL in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, and Vitaflo International Ltd.

The ketogenic diet (KD) consists of high-fat, low-carbohydrate and adequate protein consumption and mimics the fasting state, altering the metabolism to use body fat as the primary fuel source. This switch from carbohydrates to fat for body fuel is known as ketosis.

It is widely used to treat drug resistant epilepsies. However, the highly restrictive diet, which can cause constipation, low blood sugar, and stomach problems, can have poor compliance and is not suitable for everyone. Some KD supplements are also known to be unappetising.

K.Vita is based on novel findings by UCL researchers*, who discovered a different underlying mechanism to explain why the KD is effective against epilepsy; in developing a new treatment, researchers also sought to reduce the adverse side effects caused by KD.

Corresponding author Professor Matthew Walker (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) said: “The ketogenic diet has been used for 100 years to treat epilepsy, helping reduce seizures in both children and adults.  

“It has long been thought the diet was effective due to its production of ketones**, however we now believe the increase in levels of the fatty acid, decanoic acid, also produced by the diet, may provide the powerful antiseizure effects.

“In this study we evaluated a newly developed medium chain triglyceride (type of dietary fat) supplement, designed to increase levels of decanoic acid, while also reducing the adverse side effects, and to be more palatable.”

For the feasibility trial, researchers wanted to establish participants’ tolerance (side effects such as bloating or cramps) to the treatment, acceptability (flavour, texture, taste) and compliance (how easy it is to use K.Vita at the advised quantity, as part of their daily diet). 

As secondary outcomes, they also monitored the frequency of epileptic seizures or paroxysmal events (fits, attacks, convulsions) and whether ketone production was decreased.  

In total, 35 children (aged 3 to 18) with genetically caused epilepsy and known to be unresponsive to drugs, and 26 adults with drug-resistant epilepsy*** (DRE), were given K.Vita liquid supplements (a drink), to be taken with meals. They were also asked to limit high-refined sugary food and beverages from their diets.

The trial lasted 12 weeks with K.Vita treatments increasing incrementally over time, taking into account individuals’ tolerance to the treatment.

In total, 23/35 (66%) children and 18/26 (69%) adults completed the trial i.e they were continuing to take K.Vita at 12 weeks. Gastrointestinal disturbances were the primary reason for discontinuation, and their incidence decreased over time

Over three-quarters of participants/caregivers reported favourably on sensory attributes, such as taste, texture and appearance, and ease of use.

In regards to the secondary outcomes, there was a mean 50% reduction in seizures or paroxysmal events, and fewer than 10% of people on the diet produced significant ketones.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Walker, who is also a consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, said: “Our study provides early evidence of the tolerability and effectiveness of a new dietary supplement in severe drug-resistant epilepsies in adults and children and provides a further treatment option in these devastating conditions.

“It also offers an alternative, more liberal, diet for those who cannot tolerate or do not have access to ketogenic diets.”

He added: “While this study was not designed to include enough patients to fully assess the supplement’s effects on seizures, it is exciting to report that there was a statistically significant reduction in the number of seizures in the group overall after three months of treatment.

“Furthermore, high ketone levels were not observed in over 90% of the participants. This indicates that the effect of the diet was independent from ketosis; this is important because high ketone levels in the ketogenic diets contribute to both short- and longer-term side effects.”

First author, Dr Natasha Schoeler, Research Dietitian at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, commented: “This novel dietary approach for epilepsy management involves following the principles of a healthy balanced diet alongside use of K.Vita, allowing greater dietary freedom compared to ketogenic diets. Our approach also requires much less input from a specialist dietician than is required by traditional ketogenic diets, and so may allow more widespread access to people with drug-resistant epilepsy.”

Researchers say larger, controlled studies of K.Vita are now needed to determine the precise epilepsies and conditions in which the supplement is most effective.

Patients were recruited from Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy and The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, part of UCLHThe study was funded by VitaFlo International Ltd.

*It has been traditionally thought that the KD helps prevent seizures through the breakdown of fats, mimicking starvation. However, over the last decade, researchers at UCL and Royal Holloway, University of London, have shown that the fats themselves in the diet can prevent seizures. This has enabled the development of a novel dietary treatment for epilepsy that does not depend on a strict dietary regimen. Review published in Lancet Neurology

**Ketone is the chemical that your liver produces when it breaks down fats. The body uses ketones for energy typically during fasting, long periods of exercise, or when you don’t have as many carbohydrates

*** Drug resistant epilepsy (DRE) is a term used to describe when adequate trials of two anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have failed to control a person’s seizures. Some people also refer to this as “refractory”, “intractable” or “uncontrolled” epilepsy. 

Links

Image

‘Old woman helping a fainted girl to get back on her feet’, Credit, Madrolly on iStock


Reference: Natasha E Schoeler, Michael Orford, Umesh Vivekananda, Zoe Simpson, Baheerathi Van de Bor, Hannah Smith, Simona Balestrini, Tricia Rutherford, Erika Brennan, James McKenna, Bridget Lambert, Tom Barker, Richard Jackson, Robin S B Williams, Sanjay M Sisodiya, Simon Eaton, Simon J R Heales, J Helen Cross, Matthew C Walker, K.Vita Study Group, K.Vita: a feasibility study of a blend of medium chain triglycerides to manage drug-resistant epilepsy, Brain Communications, 2021;, fcab160, https://doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab160


Provided by UCL

Plant-Based Diets Best for Diabetes Prevention and Treatment, New Review of Scientific Literature Confirms (Food)

Plant-based diets are best for diabetes prevention and treatment, according to a new review published in Advances in Nutrition. Researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reviewed studies looking at the evidence for type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment with a plant-based diet, as well as research that seeks to explain the mechanisms that make this approach so effective.

The research shows eating patterns that emphasize fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and remove animal products improve risk factors for diabetes, including blood sugar, cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Reduced fat intake and increased high-fiber carbohydrate intake improve diabetes and heart disease risk factors and reduce the need for medication for blood sugar control.

“Our review of decades of scientific literature confirms what I’ve seen in practice over and over: Plant-based diets are a powerful prescription for preventing and reversing type 2 diabetes,” says Caroline Trapp, DNP, ANP-BC, CDE, FAANP, DipACLM, a co-author of the study and director of diabetes education and care for the Physicians Committee.

The review looked at several studies that show a plant-based diet can reduce type 2 diabetes risk, while eating meat, including poultry, can increase the risk. The authors cite an analysis of Adventist Health Study-2 participants who did not have diabetes: Vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarians had a 77% and 54% reduction in risk of developing diabetes, respectively, compared to nonvegetarians. A Harvard study that looked at participants from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Nurses’ Health Study II found that increasing meat by half a serving per day was associated with a 48% increase in diabetes risk over a four-year period.

Several studies, including a 2003 study by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, found that plant-based diets, particularly vegan diets, are also effective at treating type 2 diabetes. The Physicians Committee’s 22-week clinical trial compared a low-fat, vegan diet, which got 75% of its calories from carbohydrates, to a conventional portion-controlled diet that followed 2003 American Diabetes Association guidelines. Among participants who made no medication changes, the vegan group had a significantly greater reduction in HbA1c, a measurement of blood sugar control. 

Plant-based diets are also beneficial for complications of type 2 diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, neuropathy, and diabetic retinopathy, according to research cited in the paper.

The review also highlights the benefits of a plant-based diet compared with other dietary approaches for treating type 2 diabetes, including very-low-calorie diets, metabolic surgery, Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches for Stopping Hypertension (DASH) diets, and a low-carbohydrate eating pattern, which has several safety concerns. Plant-based dietary patterns improve body weight, insulin sensitivity and the function of the cells of the pancreas that make insulin, getting at key underlying causes of hyperglycemia. 

The authors suggest clinicians recommend plant-based diets to those who have or are at risk for diabetes and communicate the acceptability, nutritional adequacy, and benefits to overall health of this eating pattern.


Reference: Meghan A Jardine, Hana Kahleova, Susan M Levin, Zeeshan Ali, Caroline B Trapp, Neal D Barnard, Perspective: Plant-Based Eating Pattern for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Treatment: Efficacy, Mechanisms, and Practical Considerations, Advances in Nutrition, 2021;, nmab063, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmab063


Provided by PCRM

Plant-Based Diets Linked to Less Severe Illness from COVID-19 (Food)

Plant-based diets are linked to less severe illness from COVID-19, according to a study published in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

Researchers surveyed health care workers with high exposure to COVID-19 patients across six countries on their dietary habits and COVID-19 outcomes. Participants who followed plant-based diets had a 73% lower chance of moderate to severe COVID-19 illness, whereas those who followed low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets were 48% more likely to have moderate to severe COVID-19 illness.

Those who followed plant-based diets had higher intakes of legumes, nuts, and vegetables rich in fiber and vitamins A, C, and E that support the immune system and overall health.

The authors recommend a plant-based diet that avoids pro-inflammatory foods such as red and processed meat associated with negative health outcomes to help protect against severe COVID-19.


References

Kim H, Rebholz CM, Hegde S, et al. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. Published online June 7, 2021. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272


Provided by PCRM

Diets That Promote Inflammation Could Increase Breast Cancer Risk (Food)

Analysis of dietary patterns for over 350,000 women suggests eating more anti-inflammatory foods helps lower risk

A new study of more than 350,000 women found that women with diets incorporating more foods that increase inflammation in the body had a 12% increase in their risk of breast cancer compared to women who consume more anti-inflammatory diets. The new findings are being presented at NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE.

The study authors found that moving from a more anti-inflammatory diet toward one that increases inflammation upped breast cancer risk in an almost linear manner. Foods that increase inflammation include red and processed meat; high-fat foods such as butter, margarines and frying fats; and sweets including sugar, honey and foods high in sugar. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, tea and coffee all have potentially anti-inflammatory properties.

“Most studies examining diet and breast cancer risk have focused on single nutrients or foods rather than the whole diet,” said the study’s first author Carlota Castro-Espin, a predoctoral fellow at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain. “People consume food not nutrients, thus examining overall dietary patterns, rather than single components of diets can lead to more accurate conclusions when analysing associations with a health outcome such as breast cancer.”

The new results are based on data from the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, a prospective study that recruited more than 500,000 participants across 10 European countries starting in the mid-1990s. The study included more than 13,000 breast cancer diagnoses during approximately 15 years of follow-up.

The typical diet for EPIC participants was measured for a year using food frequency or diet history questionnaires. The researchers used this information to calculate an inflammatory score for each study participant based on their intake of 27 foods.

The researchers examined dietary patterns linked with inflammation because long-term, low grade inflammation has been linked with the development of breast cancer. The large number of women in the study allowed the researchers to take a more nuanced look at the relationship between dietary patterns and breast cancer risk.

Their analysis showed that the increase in breast cancer risk due to pro-inflammatory diets appears to be more pronounced among premenopausal women. They also found that the association did not vary by breast cancer hormone receptor subtypes.

“Our results add more evidence of the role that dietary patterns play in the prevention of breast cancer,” said Castro-Espin. “With further confirmation, these findings could help inform dietary recommendations aimed at lowering cancer risk.”

As a next step, the researchers plan to evaluate the association of the inflammatory potential of diet and other dietary patterns with breast cancer survival using participants in the EPIC study.

Castro-Espin will present this research on-demand during NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE from noon on Monday, June 7 through 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 10 (abstractpresentation details).

Featured image: A new study of more 350,000 women found that women with diets incorporating more foods that increase inflammation in the body had a 12% increase in their risk of breast cancer compared to women consuming more anti-inflammatory diets. © Carlota Castro-Espin, Catalan Institute of Oncology and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute.


Provided by American Society for Nutrition

People Who Eat A Plant-based Dinner Could Reduce Their Risk of Heart Disease by 10% (Food)

People who eat too many refined carbs and fatty meats for dinner have a higher risk of heart disease than those who eat a similar diet for breakfast, according to a nationwide study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Cardiovascular diseases like congestive heart failure, heart attack and stroke are the number one cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. Eating lots of saturated fat, processed meats and added sugars can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Eating a heart-healthy diet with more whole carbohydrates like vegetables and grains and less meat can significantly offset the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Meal timing along with food quality are important factors to consider when looking for ways to lower your risk of heart disease. Our study found people who eat a plant-based dinner with more whole carbs and unsaturated fats reduced their risk of heart disease by ten percent,” said study author Ying Li of the Harbin Medical University in Harbin, China. “It’s always recommended to eat a healthy diet, especially for those at high risk for heart disease, but we found that eating meat and refined carbs for breakfast instead of dinner was associated with a lower risk.”

The researchers studied 27,911 U.S. adults’ data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and analyzed dietary information collected during interviews with the participants over two non-consecutive days. They examined the association between eating different fats, carbohydrates and proteins at breakfast or dinner with participants’ rates of heart disease. The analysis found eating a plant-based dinner reduced heart disease risk by ten percent.

Other authors of the study include: Wanying Hou, Jian Gao, Wenbo Jiang, Wei Wei, Huanyu Wu, Yuntao Zhang, Changhao Sun and Tianshu Han of the Harbin Medical University.

The manuscript received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program.

The manuscript, “Meal Timing of Subtypes of Macronutrients Consumption with Cardiovascular Diseases: NHANES, 2003-2016,” was published online, ahead of print.


Reference: Wanying Hou, Jian Gao, Wenbo Jiang, Wei Wei, Huanyu Wu, Yuntao Zhang, Changhao Sun, Ying Li, Tianshu Han, Meal Timing of Subtypes of Macronutrients Consumption With Cardiovascular Diseases: NHANES, 2003 to 2016, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2021;, dgab288, https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab288


Provided by Endocrine Society