July 2014

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Research Roundup: July 2014

Subscribers Only Sugar increases risk of heart disease-related death. Adults who consumed 17 to 21 percent of their total daily calories from added sugar compared to those who consumed only eight percent were 38 percent more likely to die from heart disease, according to a study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers used data from over 40,000 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. More than 71 percent of adults consumed more than the recommended 10 percent of added sugar calories, and 10 percent consumed 25 percent more. The study showed that the risk of heart disease-related death increased with the increase in added sugar.

A Lot to Like about Pluots

Subscribers Only The folklore. Pluots, relative newcomers to the spectacular lineup of summer fruits, are among the most tantalizing, yet difficult to identify—because each of the many plum-apricot hybrids, from pluots and plumcots to apriums and apriplums, include dozens of varieties that are both similar and unique. Developed in the late 1980s, sweet, juicy and nutritious pluots have quickly become a sought-after summer treat.

For Optimal Health, Increase Fiber-rich Foods

Subscribers Only Dietary fiber has long been touted for its digestive benefits, but the scientific research is booming on fiber’s ability to boost immune health and reduce risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

EN’s Guide to Reading Food Labels

Subscribers Only We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but can we judge a food by its label? Nutrition and health experts hope so, and with 20 years now under its belt, research on the iconic Nutrition Facts label reveals that it can be both helpful and confusing.

Yo Yo, It’s Time For Fro Yo!

Subscribers Only When frozen yogurt first came out—in ice cream shops, restaurants, and supermarkets—it was widely considered a super healthy alternative to ice cream, and it sold like, well, ice cream. Unfortunately, many frozen yogurts were high in fat and sugar, and thus, weren’t much different, nutritionally speaking, from their ice cream counterparts.

Top Culinary Tips for Health

Subscribers Only If you stay out of the kitchen, chances are your diet—and health—will suffer. Several studies show that dining out often is linked with higher body weight, body fat, and obesity. What’s the antidote? It’s easy: Wholesome, home-cooked meals that feature fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. After all, it’s much easier to produce meals with more healthful ingredients and cooking techniques when you do the cooking yourself.

For A Healthy Brain, Control Blood Glucose through Diet

Subscribers Only Poor dietary choices, being overweight, and being inactive often lead to blood glucose problems. And research suggests that elevated blood glucose levels—in people with or without diabetes—may be linked with cognitive problems. In a study published in the August 8, 2013 issue of New England Journal of Medicine, researchers followed more than 2,000 adults, with and without diabetes, for an average of almost seven years. At the start of the study, all of the participants were free of dementia, a group of disorders that includes Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Among the participants who did not have diabetes, risk for dementia increased with glucose levels. And among the participants with diabetes, risk for dementia rose along with glucose levels.

Genetically Engineered Salmon Update

Subscribers Only Genetically engineered (GE) salmon may soon be heading to market, pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. AquaBounty Technologies Inc. has genetically engineered Atlantic salmon (known as AquAdvantage® salmon) to overexpress a growth-hormone gene, resulting in a fish that grows to full size in about 18 months rather than 3 years. The company applied for FDA approval for the GE salmon in 1995 and has been in regulatory limbo ever since. In March 2014, the FDA reported they are still deciding whether or not to approve the GE fish. The GE salmon, if approved, would be the first GE animal product to reach the plates of consumers in the U.S.

Ask the EN Experts: July 2014

Subscribers Only Recent headlines proclaimed that saturated fat is no longer “bad.” These were based on a March 2014 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, which concluded that the evidence does not support our current heart health guidelines that encourage polyunsaturated fats, found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, over saturated fats, found in animal fats. The study was based on a pooled analysis of 72 individual studies, which looked at how different fats influence risk of cardiac events. There was no clear difference in heart risk depending on whether people consumed low or high amounts of polyunsaturated or saturated fat.

Multis Don’t Prevent Heart Disease or Cancer

Subscribers Only In an updated recommendation on vitamin and mineral supplementation to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concludes that “current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms” of the use of multivitamins, as well as the use of single or paired nutrient supplements, for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer. It does, however, recommend against the use of beta-carotene or vitamin E supplements for prevention of the diseases.

Top 5 Sustainable Food Habits

Sustainable food habits—practices that support a more environmentally and socially responsible food system—are a growing interest in our efforts to protect the environment and our communities from the potentially damaging effects of agriculture, such as soil erosion and the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Adopting even one seemingly small and simple sustainable food habit can make a huge difference in promoting a more sustainable food system. Here are EN’s top 5 sustainable food habits.