Category Archives: General

Dark chocolate is beneficial for blood vessels health

Dark chocolate is beneficial for blood vessels health

February 27, 2014 Cody Mooneyhan of FASEB —

President Barack Obama
Dark chocolate.
Image by Boz Bros at flickr

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

• Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries.
• Dark chocolate helps to prevent white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.
• 70 grams of dark chocolate.
• Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis.

It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What’s more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect. This discovery was published in the March 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal.

“We provide a more complete picture of the impact of chocolate consumption in vascular health and show that increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health,” said Diederik Esser, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition in Wageningen, The Netherlands. “However, this increased flavanol content clearly affected taste and thereby the motivation to eat these chocolates. So the dark side of chocolate is a healthy one.”

To make this discovery, Esser and colleagues analyzed 44 middle-aged overweight men over two periods of four weeks as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day. Study participants received either specially produced dark chocolate with high flavanol content or chocolate that was regularly produced. Both chocolates had a similar cocoa mass content. Before and after both intervention periods, researchers performed a variety of measurements that are important indicators of vascular health. During the study, participants were advised to refrain from certain energy dense food products to prevent weight gain. Scientists also evaluated the sensory properties of the high flavanol chocolate and the regular chocolate and collected the motivation scores of the participants to eat these chocolates during the intervention.

“The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Until the ‘dark chocolate drug’ is developed, however, we’ll just have to make do with what nature has given us!”


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Meat and cheese have same risk factor as smoking

Meat and cheese have same risk factor as smoking

March 4, 2014 Suzanne Wu of USC —

Quadruple Cheese Burger
Quadruple cheese burger.
Image by Beau96080 at Wikipedia

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

• A diet rich in meat and dairy proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein animal diet.
• Equals the mortality risk factor from smoking.

That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.

“There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?” said corresponding author Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute. Longo has a joint appointment at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, revealed the study published today in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes.



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Yogurt cuts risk of type 2 diabetes

Yogurt cuts risk of type 2 diabetes

Feb 6, 2014  MRCEU of University of Cambridge —

Yogurt
Yogart.
Foto: Schwäbin (Wikimedia) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-by-sa-3.0 de External link icon


Fromage frais
Fromage frais.
Photo by Pancrat (Wikimedia) under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese.
Photo by FASTILY (Wikimedia) under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

    Overview

  • Increase consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products reduces the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes.
  • Examples: low-fat yogurt, fromage frais, and low-fat cottage cheese.
  • Overall risk reduction was 24% and for yogurt 28%.
  • Note: Low-fat fermented dairy products replaces undesirable foods.


Published in the journal Diabetologia, the study showed that eating yoghurt in place of a portion of other snacks such as crisps also reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study found that higher consumption of yoghurt, compared with no consumption, can reduce the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes by 28%, and that higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products – including all yoghurt varieties and some low-fat cheeses – also reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24% overall.

According to lead researcher Dr. Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge: “This research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and are relevant for public health messages.”

The research was based on the large EPIC-Norfolk study, which includes more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk, UK.

It compared a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed over a week at the time of study entry among 753 people who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes over 11 years of follow-up with 3,502 randomly selected study participants.

This allowed the researchers to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to the consumption of total dairy products as well as individual dairy products.

Total dairy, total high-fat dairy or total low-fat dairy consumption was not associated with new-onset diabetes once important factors like healthier lifestyles, education, obesity levels, other eating habits and total calorie intake were taken into account. Total milk and cheese intakes were also not associated with diabetes risk.

However, those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products (such as yoghurt, fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese) were 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the 11 years, compared with non-consumers.

Previous studies on the link between dairy product consumption (high fat or low fat) and diabetes have proved inconclusive, prompting this more detailed assessment of diary product consumption.

Type 2 diabetes is common and its incidence is increasing. In 2013, there were 382 million people worldwide with diabetes and by 2035 that number will increase to 592 million, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

While this type of study cannot prove that eating dairy products causes the reduced diabetes risk, dairy products do contain beneficial constituents such as vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. In addition, fermented dairy products may exert beneficial effects against diabetes through probiotic bacteria and a special form of vitamin K (part of the menaquinone family) associated with fermentation.

“At a time when we have a lot of other evidence that consuming high amounts of certain foods, such as added sugars and sugary drinks, is bad for our health, it is very reassuring to have messages about other foods like yoghurt and low-fat fermented dairy products, that could be good for our health,” said Dr. Forouhi.

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