Category Archives: Nutrition

Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality study: validating a whole-food, plant-based diet

A study in the August publication of the Lancet aimed to investigate the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.  The meta-analysis included 432,179 participants who were followed for a median of 25 years. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality.  Researchers also assessed whether the substitution of animal or plant sources of fat and protein for carbohydrate affected mortality.

P_WFPBBoth low carbohydrate consumption (<40%) and high carbohydrate consumption (>70%) conferred greater mortality risk than did moderate intake. However, results varied by the source of macronutrients: mortality increased when carbohydrates were exchanged for animal-derived fat or protein and mortality decreased when the substitutions were plant-based. Low carbohydrate dietary patterns favouring animal-derived protein and fat sources, from sources such as lamb, beef, pork, and chicken, were associated with higher mortality, whereas those that favored plant-derived protein and fat intake, from sources such as vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, and whole-grain breads, were associated with lower mortality, suggesting that the source of food notably modifies the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality.

Short Sleep May be a Newly Identified Modifiable Risk Factor for Obesity

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that short sleep duration may be a newly identified modifiable risk factor for obesity.

Experimental evidence investigating the effects of sleep deprivation on insulin resistance, glucose levels, appetite hormone dysregulation, and weight gain has indicated that poor sleep is potentially detrimental to overall health.

image credit: Mariah Aro Sharp @mightymooseart

The aim of this research was to assess the feasibility of sleep extension (SE) by using a behavioral change approach through sleep hygiene under free-living conditions in healthy adults who are habitually short sleepers. If it was shown to be feasible to extend sleep duration in this population, it was hypothesized that SE would lead to changes in secondary outcome measures that are conducive to weight maintenance.  To test this hypothesis, the secondary aim of the study was to conduct a pilot investigation on the effects of SE on dietary intake and indicators of energy balance.

The study results show that short sleepers were able to extend their sleep through personalized behavior modification. Sleep extension led to reduced free sugar intakes and may be a viable strategy that helps to limit excessive sugar consumption in an obesity-promoting environment.

Interview: Gut bacteria leads to child obesity, says Mexican researcher

Mexican scientists have found evidence that bacteroidetes, firmicutes and other gut bacteria can lead to obesity in children.  “Through a study, we were able to verify that there is an imbalance of bacteria, that is to say that these microbes are abundant in the digestive tract of a child suffering from obesity, compared to minors that are at their ideal weight,” said Jaime Garcia Mena, a scientist at Mexico’s Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV). The findings are part of a study, called the “Genetics of obesity in infancy and adolescence,” that was undertaken to help understand Mexico’s growing problem of obese youngsters.  Garcia, who works in CINVESTAV’s department of genetics and molecular biology, said nutrition plays an important part in regulating gut bacteria and determining weight, with children who consume more meats, simple sugars and starches developing a digestive environment that favors obesity. (Published on XinhuaNet.)