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April 2014

Full Issue (PDF)

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Articles

New Reasons to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough B12 —Subscribers Only

Already a concern for older adults who lack adequate stomach acid to extract natural vitamin B12 from food, B12 deficiency may be more widespread than previously thought. The largest study to date of the effects of popular heartburn and ulcer medications on the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency reports “a potentially serious problem.” The study found patients who took the most popular acid-suppressing drugs, called proton-pump inhibitors or PPIs, for more than two years were 65% more likely to be deficient in vitamin B12.

What’s So Great About Greek Yogurt? —Subscribers Only

Besides the Seahawks and Broncos, viewers of this year’s Super Bowl saw two other fierce competitors: Greek yogurt brands, slugging it out in commercials. That would have been unthinkable only a few years ago—in 2008, Greek yogurt accounted for only 4% of US yogurt sales. But today Greek yogurt makes up 44% of the multibillion-dollar US yogurt market and is responsible for almost all the growth in this part of the grocery aisle. More than half of US households bought Greek yogurt last year, according to retail research firm IRI.

What You Need to Know About Vitamin E and Alzheimer’s —Subscribers Only

Do recent hopeful headlines about vitamin E and Alzheimer’s disease mean you should run out and buy vitamin E supplements? Not unless you or a loved one already has mild to moderate Alzheimer’s—and even then the experts are split. The latest findings, from a study of 613 mostly male veterans at 14 VA hospitals across the country, focused on slowing the progression of the disease, not preventing it in the first place.

Habitual Caffeine Consumption Does Not Increase Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Contrary to long-standing concerns about the stimulant effect of caffeine sparking atrial fibrillation, a new analysis concludes that it’s unlikely habitual caffeine intake from coffee and other dietary sources increases risk. In fact, the pooled analysis found that atrial fibrillation risk fell with increasing caffeine intake.

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. How much green tea should one consume daily to get the benefits I read about in your newsletter? Is there a time span as well of so many years of drinking a certain amount to benefit?

Q. What is the current thinking about the safety of microwaving food covered by plastic? I see vegetables wrapped in plastic or in plastic bags with directions to microwave right in the plastic. I thought plastic when heated released carcinogens?

Q. Does roasting walnuts harm their nutritional value? Is there a reason to prefer unroasted nuts?

NewsBites

Website Gets a Makeover

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a different website address in this newsletter, . That’s because our website is different, too—completely redesigned, easier to navigate and now including our nutrition-smart recipes.

Quinoa OK for Celiac Patients

Quinoa, the ancient grain that’s enjoying renewed popularity, is free of the gluten protein that patients with celiac disease can’t tolerate.

Pennies Plus Info Discourage Soda Sales

mall price changes and point-of-purchase labeling may have big effects on consumers’ beverage choices, according to an experiment in the cafeteria of a large financial institution.

Whole Grains Gaining

Americans are slowly getting the positive message about whole grains, but we still have a ways to go, according to a new University of Minnesota study of data on more than 9,000 people from a national nutrition survey. The study, funded by General Mills, found that ready-to-eat cereals, oatmeal and breads and rolls accounted for about two-thirds of whole-grain intake. Only 7.7% of adults, however, consumed at least the recommended three ounce equivalents daily, and even fewer children were getting enough.

We’re Eating Better, Regardless of Economy

It’s not just the recession that’s led to improvements in the US diet, according to a new analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Beyond merely cutting back for pocketbook reasons, Americans are choosing to consume fewer calories and obesity rates are leveling off. The study used sophisticated statistical tools to control for changing economic conditions over the past decade, including unemployment rates and food prices. Calories declined more in beverages than food choices,…

Special Reports

What Can You Really Do to Feel More Energetic? —Subscribers Only

Who hasn’t wished for more energy at one time or another? Whether you’re feeling the effects of hectic modern life or of aging, it’s only natural to sometimes think your “get up and go” has gotten up and gone. Little wonder, then, that food, beverage and supplement companies have filled supermarket shelves with products promising to “boost energy.” So-called “energy drinks,” introduced only 17 years ago, today represent a $12.5 billion industry. “Energy bars” rack up more than $700 million in annual sales. Dietary supplements promise “timed-release energy,” “energy therapy” and “energy revitalization.”