Turmeric as well as one of its main ingredients, curcumin, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory activity. A new study from the journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluates curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. In this randomized controlled clinical trial 117 participants, who had already been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, were split in half to either receive one gram of curcumin or placebo for 8 weeks. The researchers measured levels of three inflammation blood markers at the beginning and end of the study. They found the participants who took curcumin had improved blood levels of all three inflammatory biomarkers as well as reduced fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of long term blood sugar levels. “The findings of our studies, along with clinical findings reported by other groups, indicate the usefulness of daily use of curcumin supplement for the prevention and treatment of several diseases,” the study’s senior author states. Curcumin has strong antioxidant and antiinflammaotry properties which give the compound its therapeutic effects. The authors advise that even at high doses curcumin is a very safe natural supplement, but should be avoided in pregnant and lactating women. How do you incorporate curcumin and turmeric into your diet?
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Recognizing that they are a part of the obesity problem in the United States, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co, and Dr.Pepper Snapple Group have come to an agreement with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to pledge to cut calories consumed by beverages by 20% by the year 2025. Their plan is to create smaller portion sizes, as well as promote water and non-calorie options more effectively. Due to a cap on sugary drink portions now in effect in New York, a soda ban in schools, and a possible tax on these soft drinks in San Francisco in the near future, this may be their attempt to stay appealing to customers. Since the peak of soda sales in 1998, the amount of calories consumed by Americans from sugary drinks has decreased by 23 percent due to an increased concern with our health. As the general population has become more conscious of disease states such as diabetes, they have started to opt for healthier options, including water and beverages that do not contain aspartame. Still, experts agree that more needs to be done in order to decrease obesity rates.
How do you feel about more aggressive government-instituted restrictions on these products? How comfortable would you be with instituting potential penalties on these companies if they cannot fulfill their promise by 2025?
To read more, please visit WSJ.
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A fight wages on between US sugar and corn companies where tens of millions of dollars have been spent to influence public opinion and capture market share. The Corn Refiners Association, the producers of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has campaigned to change HFCS name to “corn sugar” claiming HFCS as a natural product that is equivalent to sugar. The FDA denied the change in name from HFCS to ‘corn sugar’ since dextrose-a solid, dried, crystallized pure glucose product has already coined the term ‘corn sugar’, while HFCS is an aqueous mixture of glucose and fructose. Also ‘corn sugar’ has been used for individuals who have an intolerance to fructose therefore the name change from HCFS to ‘corn sugar’ would put individuals at risk for health concerns. The Sugar Association urges food industries to replace HFCS with sucrose due to adverse effects like diabetes, elevated triglycerides and obesity stemming from the introduction of HFCS to the market in the 1970s. What are your thoughts about possible false and misleading campaigns used by the food industry to capture market share? What recommendations do you have for your patients in terms of sweeteners?
For additional information please see BMJ.
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Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the diets of more than 187,000 people in the US. People eating three servings of fruit per week, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes had a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes. The researchers believe this is because fruits contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have been shown to enhance glucose uptake in mice. However, when researchers looked at the effects of fruit juice consumption, they found a slightly increased risk of type-2 diabetes. The study recommended that replacing weekly fruit juice consumption with whole fruits could bring health benefit. What are your thoughts on this study? What do you recommend as part of a balanced and healthy diet?
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A study published in the recent Journal of Nutrition followed 58,603 women aged 52-77 years and evaluated a relationship between reduced risk of Type II diabetes in Women and walnut intake. The study suggests that the higher walnut intake was related to a significantly lowered risk of type II diabetes in women. What nuts and seeds do you incorporate into your diet? What are your favorite health related benefits for doing that?
For additional information, please go to Journal of Nutrition
A study published in the Nutrition Journal concluded that patients consuming a diet of two or less pieces of fruit daily showed no difference in weight loss or HbA1C versus those who did not restrict their fruit intake. The study consisted of 63 patients who were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and wanted to see how fruit restriction affected glycemic control. Patients were randomized to a high-fruit or low-fruit diet in this parallel design, open-label trial. What dietary changes do you recommend in patients with type 2 diabetes?
For more information, please visit the Nutrition Journal.
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A prospective cohort study published in Circulation has shown that a heart- healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, or death in high risk individuals receiving medication therapy. This international study followed 31,546 people aged 55 years or older with a history of coronary, peripheral, or cerebrovascular disease, or diabetes with end-organ damage who were enrolled in 2 clinical trials. Participants were followed for 5 years and completed food frequency questionnaires asking how often they consumed 20 food items in the past 12 months. Those who ate a heart-healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts were found to have a 35% lower risk of cardiovascular death, a 14% lower risk of MI, a 28% lower risk of heart failure, and a 19% lower risk of stroke. How will this research help you to promote already well accepted notions about healthy food with your patients?
A study published in the journal Global Health, compared the diabetes rate in 43 countries related to the average availability of high-fructose corn syrup. One half of the countries use high-fructose corn syrup in their food supply. Researchers found 20% higher rates of diabetes incountries using high fructose corn syrup, even after considering differences in body size, population, and wealth. Are your patients familiar with the majority of high fructose corn syrup sources in their food? How do you counsel them in terms of avoidance of HFCS?
A recent animal study from Penn State University revealed that a green tea compound may be helpful to reduce blood sugar spikes in mice fed a high starch diet. According to Dr. Joshua Lambert, an antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may inhibit ability of enzymes to break down the starch into sugar decreasing blood glucose level spikes by 50%. What are your favorite foods and beverages to recommend to your patients for controlling theirblood sugar level?
For more information, please see the article.
Although implicated in other disease states, trans fats are not associated with insulin resistance and diabetes
Consumption of trans fatty acids has been linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A number of government agencies put a ban on consumption of trans fatty acids after a recommendation from the American Heart Association. A recent meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) evaluated the association between consumption of trans fats and its effects on blood glucose levels, diabetes, and insulin resistance. Researchers concluded that increased trans fatty acid intake is not associated with changes in insulin sensitivity and glucose levels. What dietary counseling do you provide to patients with insulin resistance or diabetes?
To find out more, please read the full article in the AJCN.