–Latest headlines in nutrition news–
A handful of nuts is good for your health
A handful of nuts a day may be enough to reduce the risk for death from heart disease and other ills.
In a review combining data from 20 prospective studies, researchers found that compared with people who ate the least nuts, those who ate the most reduced the risk for coronary heart disease by 29 percent, for cardiovascular disease by 21 percent and for cancer by 15 percent.
There was also a 52 percent reduced risk for respiratory disease, 39 percent for diabetes and 75 percent reduced risk for infectious disease in those who ate the most nuts.
Most of the risk reduction was achieved by eating an average of about one ounce of nuts a day, the amount in about two dozen almonds or 15 pecan halves. There was little decrease in risk with greater consumption. The study is in BMC Medicine.
Fat is good for you
Current dietary advice says foods containing high levels of saturated fats such as cream, butter, red meat, eggs and cheese should be avoided because they increase the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.
But a study published in a leading medical journal has found the opposite is true, with a diet full of natural fats improving the health of people taking part.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found overweight middle-aged men who ate high levels of saturated fat and low levels of carbohydrate became slimmer and healthier.
Researchers also saw reduced blood pressure and glucose levels, which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, in the patients.
Diet drinks are not healthy and could trigger weight gain
Sugar-free and diet drinks are not helpful for weight loss and could even cause people to pile on the pounds, researchers at Imperial College have claimed.
A review of dozens of studies dating back 30 years found that there is no solid evidence that sugar-free alternatives prevent weight gain, type 2 diabetes or help maintain a healthy Body Mass Index. (BMI)
Although artificially-sweetened beverages contain fewer calories than sugary versions, researchers say they still trigger sweet receptors in the brain, which may make people crave food. Coupled with the fact that most people view diet drinks as healthier, it could lead to over-consumption, the researchers argue.
Big Sugar’s secret ally? Nutritionists
The first time the sugar industry felt compelled to “knock down reports that sugar is fattening,” as this newspaper put it, it was 1956. Papers had run a photograph of President Dwight D. Eisenhower sweetening his coffee with saccharin, with the news that his doctor had advised him to avoid sugar if he wanted to remain thin.
The industry responded with a national advertising campaign based on what it believed to be solid science. The ads explained that there was no such thing as a “fattening food”: “All foods supply calories and there is no difference between the calories that come from sugar or steak or grapefruit or ice cream.”
More than 60 years later, the sugar industry is still making the same argument, or at least paying researchers to do it for them. The stakes have changed, however, with a near tripling of the prevalence of obesity in the intervening decades and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures reveal to be an almost unimaginable 655 percent increase in the percentage of Americans with diabetes diagnoses. When it comes to weight gain, the sugar industry and purveyors of sugary beverages still insist, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source, so guidelines that single out sugar as a dietary evil are not evidence-based.
Surprisingly, the scientific consensus is technically in agreement. It holds that obesity is caused “by a lack of energy balance,” as the National Institutes of Health website explains — in other words, by our taking in more calories than we expend. Hence, the primary, if not the only, way that foods can influence our body weight is through their caloric content.