Search Health Studies

Cooking Skills in Young Adulthood Linked with Healthier Eating Habits Later in Life

Child and teen cooking programs are growing in popularity, and researchers wonder if equipping people with cooking skills earlier in life may have a lasting benefit into adulthood. In this study, researchers surveyed young adults (ages 18-23) about their cooking skills, then followed up with them over a decade later (ages 30-35) to ask about their eating habits. Those who reported having “very adequate” cooking skills in young adulthood had more nutritious habits later in life, including cooking vegetables more often, eating at least 3 servings of vegetables per day and eating fast food less often.
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2018 May;50(5):494-500. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2018.01.021. (Utter J et al.)

Olive Oil and Fruit Linked with Less Depression in Elderly

Study after study links a healthy body with a healthy mind, especially in aging populations. To see if diet relates to depressive symptoms, researchers evaluated the eating habits and mental health of nearly 400 Italian adults in their 90s. Those consuming more olive oil and fruit were significantly less likely to have depression than those not getting much olive oil or fruit, though the relationship between higher Mediterranean diet scores and lower risks of depression was not strong enough to be statistically significant.
Journal of Nutrition, Health, & Aging. 2018 May;22(5):569-574. (Pagliai et al.)

Following a Mediterranean-Inspired Diet Linked with 30% Lower Risk of Hearing Loss in Women

Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US, so scientists wonder if there might be a relationship between diet and hearing over time. To test this relationship, researchers followed more than 81,000 women for 2 decades, tracking their eating patterns and health outcomes. Those most closely following a Mediterranean-inspired diet were 30% less likely to develop hearing loss over the 20-year study than those not following a Mediterranean diet. Similarly, people whose diets closely adhered to a DASH diet or the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (both of which also prioritize vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and limit red meat and sweets), were also less likely to develop hearing loss over time.
Journal of Nutrition. 2018 May 11. (Curhan SG et al.) [Epub ahead of print]

Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Coconut Oil Produce Lowest Level of Harmful Polar Compounds Upon Heating

Compared with other cooking oils, olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, leading some to wonder how this might impact its healthfulness. In this study, researchers analyzed 10 common cooking oils by heating them up across different temperatures and for different periods of time and analyzing their stability and the production any potentially harmful compounds (such as polar compounds). Interestingly, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil produced significantly lower levels of harmful polar compounds than the other oils, while refined vegetable oils (canola, grapeseed, and rice bran oils) produced the most. Since these experiments were done on the oils themselves, without food, more research is needed to see how cooking different foods in different oils might impact the production of harmful compounds.
ACTA Scientific Nutritional Health. 2018 May 5;2(6):2-11. (Guillaume C et al.)

Not Getting Enough Whole Grains, Nuts, Seeds Linked with Billions of Dollars in Healthcare Costs

Many public health campaigns focus on fruit and vegetable intake, but perhaps a wiser approach would be to expand the focus to whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Researchers analyzed Canadian eating habits against dietary recommendations, and then calculated the disease burden attributable to not meeting specific dietary guidelines. From there, they were able to calculate the direct (hospital visits, medicine, etc.) and indirect (labor) costs associated with not meeting specific dietary recommendations. They found that $13.8 billion (in CAD) per year can be attributed to an unhealthy diet, which is more than the economic burden of not getting enough exercise (at $9.3 billion). Additionally, they found that not getting enough whole grains and not getting enough nuts and seeds were the two biggest contributors to this cost, at $3.3 billion each.
PLoS One. 2018 Apr 27;13(4):e0196333. (Lieffers JRL et al.)

Switching to Whole Grains Can Reduce Abdominal Fat

Visceral fat is a dangerous type of abdominal fat that can surround vital organs like the liver. To see if grain choices might play a role in this fat distribution, researchers randomly assigned 50 Japanese men with a BMI of 23 or greater (midway through the “healthy weight” range or heavier) to a diet with whole grain bread or white bread for 12 weeks, and had their visceral fat estimated using tomography scans. After the 12-week study, the whole grain group lost 4 cm of visceral fat around their middle, while the white bread group showed no significant changes.
Plant Foods and Human Nutrition. 2018 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print.] (Kikuchi Y et al.)

Oat Noodles (Instead of Refined Noodles) Can Help Reduce Cholesterol, Blood Pressure

Refined wheat and rice noodles are common staple foods throughout Asia today, so replacing some of these foods with whole grain versions could go a long way in improving health. To test the impact, researchers randomly assigned 84 healthy adults (some with mildly high cholesterol) in Taiwan to an oat noodle group or a refined wheat noodle group, providing them with 100 grams (about 1 ½ cups cooked) of their respective noodles across 1 or 2 meals each day for 10 weeks. After the 10-week study, the oat group reduced their total cholesterol by 17% and LDL-c (“bad”) cholesterol by 19% compared with the wheat noodle group. The oat noodle group also significantly lowered their blood pressure by 7-11%, but the wheat noodle group did not. The benefits tended to be stronger in people who started the study with slightly high cholesterol, but the results were still statistically significant for the group as a whole.
Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. 2018 April. [Epub ahead of print.] (Liao MY et al.)

Low GI Pasta Meals Can Lead to Weight Loss

Keep the pasta, lose the pounds! Pasta is a low Glycemic Index food, meaning that it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. To see how low glycemic diets with pasta relate to weight, researchers analyzed 32 randomized clinical trial comparisons involving 2,448 adults (who were mostly middle aged and overweight or obese). Compared with high Glycemic Index diets, the low Glycemic Index diets with pasta (about three ½ cup servings per week) were linked with modest weight loss (0.63 kg, or 1.4 pounds), even without cutting calories.
BMJ. 2018 April 4;8(3):1-13. (Chiavaroli L et al.)

Cruciferous Veggies Linked with Less Plaque Build Up in Arteries

If you want to keep your arteries in tip-top shape, you may want to add an extra helping of broccoli or Brussels sprouts to your meals. In a study of more than 900 older women (ages 70+), those consuming 3 or more servings of vegetables each day had lower levels of plaque in their arteries (as measured by CCA-IMT). When looking at the different types of vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy) had the strongest relationship, as each 10 gram serving was linked with 0.8% less plaque (as measured by CCA-IMT).
Journal of the American Heart Association. 2018 Apr 4;7(8). (Blekkenhorst LC et al.).

Protein from Nuts and Seeds Linked with Less Death from Heart Disease than Protein from Meat

Protein is important for our muscles, enzymes, and numerous essential body processes, but not all protein is created equal. To see how different protein sources relate to heart disease deaths, researchers carefully analyzed the diets of 81,337 men and women. Those getting more protein from nuts and seeds were significantly less likely to die from heart disease than those not getting as much protein from nuts and seeds. On the other hand, those getting more protein from animal sources had a higher risk of dying from heart disease. The relationship between heart disease death and these foods was so strong, even after controlling for other diet and lifestyle factors, that the researchers concluded that the link “could not be ascribed to other associated nutrients considered to be important for cardiovascular health.”
International Journal of Epidemiology. 2018 Apr 2. [Epub ahead of print] (Tharrey M et al.)

Common Healthy Eating Pattern Across Different Asian Ethnic Groups Linked with Better Cholesterol, BMI, Waist Size

Researchers analyzed the eating habits of 8,433 adults in Singapore who were of Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnicity. Despite the wide variety in food preferences among these different ethnic groups, researchers were able to identify a common healthy eating pattern based on fruits, vegetables, dairy, wholegrain breads, breakfast cereals, unsaturated cooking oils; and low in fast food, sweetened beverages, meat, and flavored rice. Those most closely following the healthy eating pattern were more likely to have a lower BMI, smaller waist size, and lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides (another type of fat in the blood).
Journal of Nutrition. 2018 Apr 1;148(4):616-623. (Whitton C. et al.)

Mediterranean Diet Linked with Less Fat in Liver

Fatty liver is most commonly associated with alcoholism, but obesity and excess body fat can be risk factors for fatty liver as well (which can eventually develop into liver disease). In a study of 1,521 adults, those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to have fatty liver in the following year. Specifically, each 1-point increase on the Mediterranean diet score was linked with 26% lower odds of developing fatty liver the next year. Diets reflecting the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (another diet scoring tool that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limits red meat and sweets) were also linked with a smaller, but still significantly lower risk of fatty liver.
Gastroenterology. 2018 Mar 28. [Epub ahead of print]. (Ma J et al.)

Pages