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Whole Grains Associated with Lower Risk of Diabetes

Whole grains are healthy carbohydrate foods that may be especially protective against type 2 diabetes. In this study, researchers analyzed the eating habits and health status of 55,465 middle-aged adults in Denmark. Those eating more whole grains were 11% and 7% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes (for men and women, respectively) over the 15-year study period. Rye bread, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and muesli were all significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes for both men and women, indicating a benefit for whole grains in general, rather than just one specific type of whole grain food.
The Journal of Nutrition. 2018 Sep 1;148(9):1434-1444. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy112. (Kyrø C et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Prolonged Survival in Elderly

The Mediterranean Diet is well known for its links with longevity, but researchers wonder if this protective effect might apply to an elderly population as well. In a study of 5,200 older adults in Italy (ages 65+), researchers found that those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to die over the 8-year study period. In fact, each 1-point increase in the Mediterranean Diet Score (0-9 point scale) was linked with a 4-7% lower risk of death from all causes over the 8 years.
British Journal of Nutrition. 2018 Aug 30:1-14. doi: 10.1017/S0007114518002179. [Epub ahead of print] (Bonaccio M et al.)

Strategies to Improve Sensory Qualities of Whole Wheat Asian Noodles

Noodles are a staple of Asian diets, yet many noodles on the market today are made with refined wheat flour, rather than whole grain flour. In this review, scientists share the best practices in making whole wheat Asian noodles (fresh, dried, and instant), and share where more research is needed. With the right techniques, replacing up to 20-72% of the refined white flour with whole wheat flour in Asian noodles can yield a high quality, more healthful product. Products with even higher quantities of whole grain can have even greater health impacts, although their quality may not be directly comparable. Selecting the right wheat variety for the recipe (such as a white whole wheat), milling to a finer particle size, adding complementary ingredients (such as tapioca or soy flour), or using ultrasound treatments to prolong shelf life, are all strategies that can be used to improve whole wheat Asian noodles.
Cereal Chemistry. 2018 Aug 23. doi: 10.1002/cche.10095 (Niu M et al.)

Low Carb Diets Linked with Early Death

There are countless different diets out there, from low carb to high carb to everything in between. But which eating pattern is linked with longer lives? Scientists are on a mission to find out. Researchers analyzed the eating habits and health outcomes of 15,428 adults in the US, following them for 25 years. The “sweet spot” for the lowest risk of mortality was diets that had 50-55% of their calories from carbohydrates, especially those with lots of plant foods, like whole grain bread, nuts, vegetables, and peanut butter. This amount aligns with traditional diets (such as the Mediterranean diet), as well as the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans. On the other hand, low-carb diets that had lots of meat were linked with higher mortality.
The Lancet Public Health. 2018 Aug 16. pii: S2468-2667(18)30135-X. [Epub ahead of print.] (Seidelmann SB et al.)

Gluten Free Kids' Foods No Healthier than Regular Kids' Foods

Many parents buy gluten-free foods for their kids because they think that those foods are healthier. But unless you have a medically-diagnosed reason to avoid gluten (such as celiac disease), evidence suggests otherwise. Researchers in Canada went to 2 major supermarket chains and purchased all foods marketed to kids (with the exception of candy, soda, and a few other “junk foods”) – 374 products total. They then analyzed the nutrition labels of the foods, to see how products marketed as gluten free stacked up to those not marketed as gluten free. For a more direct comparison, they then identified 43 gluten-free foods marketed to kids that had a non-gluten-free counterpart, and compared nutrition between the matched products. Overall, nutrition was poor among all kids’ products, gluten-free or not, and there were few significant differences. Specifically, products marketed as gluten-free had slightly lower levels of sodium, but slightly higher levels of added sugar. Additionally, a higher proportion of gluten-free products had high levels of trans fat. The researchers concluded that “[gluten-free] supermarket foods that are targeted at children are not nutritionally superior to regular child targeted foods and may be of greater potential concern because of their sugar content,” adding that “parents who substitute [gluten-free] products for their product equivalents (assuming [gluten-free] products to be healthier) are mistaken.”
Pediatrics. 2018 Aug;142(2). pii: e20180525. (Elliott C et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Lower Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Because there is no cure or treatment, prevention is especially important. Scientists analyzed the eye health and eating habits of nearly 5,000 older adults in the Netherlands and France for up to 21 years. Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 41% less likely to have incident advanced AMD.
Ophthalmology. 2018 Aug 13. pii: S0161-6420(18)30721-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.08.006. [Epub ahead of print] (Merle BMJ et al.)

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.)

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