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Mediterranean Diet Linked with Better Health in People with Type 2 Diabetes

The positive effects of the Mediterranean Diet are well-known, but more research is needed on the effects of the diet in people with type 2 diabetes. In this study, researchers looked at the diets of over 2,000 people with type 2 diabetes. Those who more closely followed the Mediterranean Diet had lower BMIs, blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), blood pressure, inflammation, and better blood sugar control than those who did not. Researchers also found that each part of the Mediterranean Diet provided different benefits- eating more fish was associated with lower triglycerides while eating more vegetables was associated with better blood pressure. In other words, the overall Mediterranean Diet pattern is greater than the sum of its parts, and following the Mediterranean Diet may offer big benefits to people with type 2 diabetes.
Nutrients. 2018 Aug 10;10(8). pii: E1067. doi: 10.3390/nu10081067. (Vitale M et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with 51% Lower Arthritis Risk in Men

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause painful swelling of the joints, and researchers wonder if lifestyle choices may help prevent its onset. In this study, researchers analyzed the eating habits of 1,721 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 3,667 healthy controls in Sweden (matched for age, gender, and neighborhood). Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet had a 19% lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis. However, the findings seem to be driven primarily by men, and those with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (a type of arthritis associated with more painful symptoms). Men who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had a 51% lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, while the trend towards lower risk in women was not statistically significant.
Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2018 Aug 9;20(1):175. doi: 10.1186/s13075-018-1680-2. (Johansson K et al.)

For Healthy Teeth, Choose Whole Grains Instead of Refined

Sugar build up between your teeth can cause cavities and other dental problems, but certain food choices can have a protective effect. To see how different carbohydrates play a role, researchers analyzed 28 studies comparing rapidly digestible starches (refined grains) to slowly digestible starches (whole grains). Some evidence suggests that whole grains lower the risk of oral cancer and gum infection (periodontitis), and that refined grains may significantly increase cavities, but more research is needed. The researchers conclude that “the best available evidence suggests that only [rapidly digestible starches] adversely affects oral health.”
Journal of Dental Research.  2018 Aug 3. [Epub ahead of print.] (Halvorsrud K et al.)

Evidence of Ancient Flatbreads Pre-Dates Neolithic Agriculture

Though many Paleo dieters believe that bread is a relatively “new” foodstuff, archeological evidence paints a different picture of what ancient diets were like for our hunting and gathering ancestors. Archeologists analyzed the remains of ancient fireplaces in what is today Jordan, and found the oldest empirical evidence of bread-like products from 14,400 years ago. These ancient flatbreads existed 4,000 years before Neolithic agriculture, and challenge previous assumptions about grains’ role (or lack thereof) in ancient, Epipaleolithic diets.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018 Jul 31;115(31):7925-7930. (Arranz-Otaegui A et al.)

Successful Whole Grain Public Health Campaigns Require Multiple Stakeholders

Around the globe, increasing whole grain intake is widely recognized as an important dietary goal to improve public health. In this study, researchers analyzed 8 whole grain interventions in Australia, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Denmark, to determine the best practices for promoting whole grains. The authors conclude that “successful interventions included multiple stakeholder involvement, specified target intakes in dietary guidelines, and codes of practice for labeling WG foods.”
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2018 Jul 31. pii: S1499-4046(18)30554-2. (Suthers R et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Less Severe Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that causes itchy rashes on the skin. Since the Mediterranean diet has been known to lower inflammation, researchers wonder whether it may also help with psoriasis. In an online survey, researchers analyzed the eating habits of 35,735 French adults, and also surveyed them about psoriasis. Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 22-29% less likely to report having severe psoriasis than those not following a Mediterranean diet. The researchers concluded that “the Mediterranean diet may slow the progression of psoriasis.”
JAMA Dermatology. 2018 Jul 25. [Epub ahead of print.] (Phan C et al.)

Mediterranean Diet in Teens Linked with Better Sleep, Academic Performance

The Mediterranean diet is full of foods that promote brain health, so it stands to reason that this eating pattern may be especially beneficial for students. To see how the Mediterranean diet relates to sleep and brain health, researchers analyzed the eating patterns, sleep quality, sleep duration, school grades, and exam scores of 269 13-year-olds in Spain. Closely following a Mediterranean diet was linked with better sleep quality, as well as higher GPAs, and better grades in math, language, and core subjects. The researchers suggest that better sleep quality may play a role in the Mediterranean’s relationship with improved academic performance.
Acta Paediatrica. 2018 Jul 17. [Epub ahead of print.] (Adelantado-Renau M et al.)

Med Diet Linked with Less Death, Heart Attacks in People with History of Heart Disease

Even if you already have heart disease, it’s never too late to improve your health. Researchers analyzed the eating habits and health status of 3,562 adults with heart disease, to see how different eating patterns relate to further health complications down the road (like death or heart attacks). Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 20% less likely to die from all causes and 22% less likely to have a cardiovascular event (like a heart attack) during the 7-year follow up. On the other hand, a “Southern Diet” (lots of added fats, fried food, eggs, organ meats, processed meats, and sweetened beverages) was linked with a higher risk of death from all causes during the 7-year follow up. 
Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018 Jul 12;7(14). pii: e008078. (Shikany JM et al.)

Mediterranean Diet with Vit D Improves Neck Bone Mineral Density in Adults with Osteoporosis

A traditional Mediterranean diet has frequent but small portions of fermented dairy (like artisan cheeses or Greek yogurt), a food group widely associated with bone health. To see how a Mediterranean diet relates to bone health, researchers randomly assigned 1,142 elderly European adults to a Mediterranean diet with a vitamin D3 supplement, or a control group with pamphlets on healthy eating tips. After 1 year, the Mediterranean diet & vitamin D intervention had no effect on bone mineral density for most participants. However, in the small subset of participants (54 people) who already had osteoporosis, the Mediterranean diet & vitamin D intervention significantly reduced the rate of bone loss at the femoral neck, but had no effect on lumbar spine or whole-body bone-mineral density.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2018 Jul 11. [Epub ahead of print.] (Jennings A et al.)

Processing Corn to Remove Bran & Germ Reduces Nutrients

While some processing methods can improve the nutrition of food, some can also detract from it. To see how the nutrients in corn are impacted as corn is processed into cornflakes breakfast cereal, researchers analyzed the nutrient content at 5 points throughout the process (whole kernel, flaked grit, cooked grit, baked grit, and toasted cornflake). The scientists found that a large drop-off in phenolic acid (healthy phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties) occurred after the whole kernel was milled into flaked grits, when the bran and germ were removed. Smaller losses occurred at other points in the processing method as well, but were not as staggering.
Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2018 Jun 16;(136). (Butts-Wilmsmeyer C et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Healthy DNA in Women

If your DNA is a shoelace, telomeres are the plastic endcaps, that protect it. Shorter telomeres are linked with many age-related diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. To see how diet relates to telomere length, scientists analyzed the eating habits and telomere length of 4,758 adults in the US. Most closely following a Mediterranean diet (or other similar healthy diets, like the DASH diet or Healthy Eating Index) was associated with significantly longer telomere length in women, but not in men. 
American Journal of Epidemiology.  2018 Jun 15. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwy124. [Epub ahead of print] (Leung CW et al.)

Quality Carbohydrates, Like Whole Grains, Linked with Numerous Health Benefits

Not all carbohydrates are created equal. After all, everything from quinoa and blueberries to candy bars and soda have carbohydrates. In this review, researchers examined the links between different types of carbohydrates and health. They concluded that whole grains are linked with numerous health benefits, including lower cholesterol, body fat, and healthier blood sugar management, as well as lower risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, and death from all causes. Given that much of the research on whole grains is done using more processed whole grain products (like breakfast cereals and breads), the authors note that more research is needed to determine if intact whole grains without as much added sugar may have even greater health benefits.
BMJ. 2018 June 13. (Ludwig DS et al.) [Epub ahead of print.]

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