My collection of professional journals, newsletters and magazines is growing and it's hard to keep up at night. I try to read a little, every night before bed, for it's important to me to keep up with credible research to better serve the public.
Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter Sept 2012, Vol.30, Number 7.
(I include bits and pieces of each article. For more info and references, send me an email)
Salad Oil Choice affects nutrientsThe type of oil you use in your salad dressing might make a big difference in how well your bodyutilizes the nutrients in those leafy greens and other fixings. Monounsaturated fats, like those found in higher amounts in olive and canola oil, are most effective at liberating the fat-soluble nutrients in salad and veggies, according to new Purdue University research published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Salads dressed w/ 3g monounsaturated fat promoted as much carotenoid absorption as those with 20grams of te other typesof fat (polyunsaturated and saturated). The findings also raise a caution about low-fat salad dressings suggesting that you may be losing ut on nutrients as well as cutting fat.
A good night's sleep improves food choices
To eat right tomorrow, get a good night's sleep tonight. Sleep-deprived subjects show brain changes that affect decision making and predispose them to poor dietary choices. When subjects were well rested the scans showed greater frontal-lobe activity in areas indicative of decision making. When sleep deprived, subjects responded to fatty, sugary foods with brain activity much like that in studies of the obese.
Almonds have 20% fewer calories than expected
Snacking on 1 ounce of almonds might add only 129 calories to your diet -24% fewer than previously thought. The recalculation by the USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists, published in the American J. of Clinical Nutrition, may have implications for the calorie counts of other nuts as well as whole grains. The rigid structure of cell membranes in almonds (and possibly other plant foods) may lock in some fats and keep them from being digested. That would explain why, when almonds were fed to 18 volunteers, an ounce didn't deliver the expected 168-170 calories. If some fat in almonds never gets digested, the actual calorie impact would be lower; applies to whole almonds, while ground nuts may be more completely digested. Pistachios contain 6% fewer calories than thought.
Calcium pills linked to heart attacks
A new study linked calcium supplements to an increased risk of heart attackes. Published in Heart journal, those taking calcium supplements were almost twice likely to suffer heart attacks as people taking no calcium supplements of any kind. Participants were studied for 11 years, during the time, 354 suffered heart attacks from 23,980 germans, ages 35-64. Though the observational study couldn't prove that calcium pills contributed to heart attack risk, the findings were enough to conclude that getting calcium in larger dosages from supplements "is not natural, in that it does not reproduce the same metabolic effects as calcium in food. The evidence is also becoming steadily stronger that it is not safe, nor is it particularly effective." "I'd be cautious about drawing firm conclusions with so few cases" says Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD "however, it is another reminder to play it safe - by using calcium supplements only to fill the gap between calcium intake from food and the requirement. Calcium pills have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. A balanced diet is the best and safest way to make sure you are getting enough calcium for your bones. Use supplements as the name impies - to supplement what you are getting from food, not as your first line of defense for bone health. Calcium can be found: dairy products, fortfied milk alternatives (soy), fortified cereals, canned sardines, salmon, spinach, kale, beet grens, beans, okra, soybeans, canned crab, clams and trout.
Protein on your plate:
Protein comes in a wide range of foods, and your best guarantee of getting adequate protein with all essential amino acids is to eat a variety of healthy foods.
Lamb (3 ounces braised) - 30g
Beef round steak (3 ounces braised) - 29g
Soybeans (1 cup broiled) - 29g
Ricotta cheese (1 cup part skim) - 28g
Cottage cheese (1 cup low fat) - 28g
Chicken breast (3 ounces roasted) - 27g
Turkey (3 ounces light meat roasted) - 25g
Tuna (3 ounces, canned in water light) -22g
Trail mix (1 cup) - 21g
White beans (1 cup) - 19g
Lentils (1 cup) - 18g
Pinto beans (1 cup, cooked) -15g
Chickpeas (1 cup, cooked) - 15g
Smart sources of vegetable protein: pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, split peas, garbanzo beans, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, tofu, tempeh, soy.
Fat choices also affect the brain
New findings on 6183 older women participating in the Women's Health Study show that saturated fat may contribute to decline in cognition and memory, while healthy monounsaturated fat could actually protect your rain.
"When looking at changes in cognitive function, what we found is that the total amount of fat intake did not really matter but the type of fat did," explained lead author Olivia Ikereke, MD. "These findings have significant public health implictions since substituting the good fat in place of the bad fat is a fairly simple dietary modification that could help prevent decline in memory."
Consumption of polyunsaturated fat was not associated w/ cognitive change one way or the other, nor were total fat or trans fat intake. "There is a lot of evidence tat consumption of unsaturated fat as opposed to saturated fat is better for both your heart and brain." says Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts' HNRCA Nutrition and Neurocognition Lab. The best recommendation is to replace saturated w/ unsaturated.
Is there any difference in nutritional value of golden flaxseeds vs brown flaxseeds?
Both contain 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, primarily ALA in a 3-tbsp serving, the form of omega-3 in plants that has been touted for its health benefits.
While the jury is still out on ALA's own possible benefits, be aware little ALA converts into DHA and EPA, the omega-3s found in fish oil that have been shown to have positive cardiovascular effects.
Flaxseeds are a good source of dietaryfiber. Golden flax have 9grams in 3tbsp while brown flax has 7grams. The brown contains slightly more potassium and calcium, however, golden have 160 calories per 3 tbsp and brown have 140 calories.
From Nutrition Action Healthletter - July/August 2012
Cancer Rx: Exercise
Exercise may raise your odds of surviving brest or colorectal cancer. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute reviewed 23 studies that tracked 37,500 breast cancer patients and 4000 colorectal cancer patients for 3-13 years. Those who got regular exercise were less likely to die, even if they didn't start exercising until after their diagnosis. Exercise may help by lowering insulin levels, curbing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.
"Adequate physical activity should be standard part of cancer care" - Edward Gioannucci of Harvard Scool of Public Health.
More HDL questions
The HDL (good) cholesterol story isn't as simple as researchers had thought.
Numerous studies have found a higher risk of heart disease in people w/ low HDL levels (under 40 in men and under 50 in women). However, last year a trial that raised HDL evels with niacin (2000mgday) failed to lower the risk of heart disease in people who had low HDL and were also taking statins to lower their bad LDL cholesterol.
Two other HDL-raising drugs - fenofibrate and torcetrapib- also failed to protect the heart in earlier studies (Torcetrapib never reached the market). In May, dalcetrapib (HDL raising drug) trial was halted after it found no evidence that the drug was curbing the risk of heart attacks.
Researchers at Harvard found no loer risk of heart disease in people with HDL raisng versions of an endothelial lipase gene. Danish researchers found no lower risk in people with HDL raising versions of lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase gene.
"This may suggest that low HDL cholesterol levels per se do not cause" heart attacks. But everyone is not convinced.
What to do: losing excess weight and getting more exercise can raise HDL. HDL or not, there's plenty of reason to do both.