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T he longest placebo-controlled trial to date to test whether antioxidant vitamins reduce the risk of cataracts has failed to fnd such a beneft for the supplements. Because oxidative damage is a prominent feature of cataracts, one focus of nutrition research has been the link between dietary intake of nutrients with antioxidant potential, particularly vitamins E and C, and the risk of cataract, explained William G. Christen, ScD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and col- leagues, writing in Archives of Ophthalmology.

Vitamins E and C Disappoint in Cataract Prevention

T he longest placebo-controlled trial to date to test whether antioxidant vitamins reduce the risk of cataracts has failed to fnd such a beneft for the supplements. Because oxidative damage is a prominent feature of cataracts, one focus of nutrition research has been the link between dietary intake of nutrients with antioxidant potential, particularly vitamins E and C, and the risk of cataract, explained William G. Christen, ScD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and col- leagues, writing in Archives of Ophthalmology.

Mediterranean-Style Diet Linked to Slower Mental Decline

Heres more evidence that eating like a Mediterranean might help protect your aging brain: In a new study comparing the eating habits and mental abilities of nearly 3,800 older Chicagoans, those who stuck most closely to a Mediterranean-style diet pattern saw a slower rate of cognitive decline with aging. People who ate most like Mediterraneans had brains that functioned as if they were several years younger

The Heat Is on Red Meat Does new research mean farewell to steak and...

hanksgiving is the only American holiday not traditionally associated with eating red meat. But Turkey Day may be a trendsetter if the current onslaught of negative news about the health effects of red and processed meats continues: July 4th grilled fish… Labor Day roast chicken… Christmas tofu…

Extra Sugar Adds 475 Calories a Day

Nutrition experts have been warn- ing us to watch added sugars for at least a decade, but Americans are still struggling to follow that advice. Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, of the Univer- sity of Vermont, incoming chair of the American Heart Associations nutrition committee, told a recent conference that Americans average 475 daily calories from added sugars. Thats far more than the AHAs recommended maximum of 100 daily calories from added sugars for women and 150 for men-and equivalent to a whopping 30 teaspoons a day. So we have a long way to go, Johnson told attendees at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Added sugars and solid fats total about 35% of the calories in the average diet, she added; the recommended maximum is 5%- 15%. To start scaling back on added sugars, Johnson advised simply avoiding sugary soft drinks, the source of about 36% of added sugars in the US diet. But dont worry about naturally occurring sugars, such as in milk or plain versions of cereal or yogurt, she said. Check the label to see if sugar in any form is listed among the ingredients.

People Who Eat More Produce Less Likely to Die of Heart Disease

Eating just one more serving of fruits or vegetables daily cut the risk of dying from heart disease by 4% in an observational study of more than 300,000 Europeans in 10 countries. And people who ate the most produce-eight or more daily portions-were 22% less likely to die of heart disease than those eating two or fewer daily portions of fruits and vegetables

Extra B Vitamins Slow Dementia, May Offer Alzheimers Hope

Supplemental doses of B vitamins were found to slow the progress of dementia in a new British clinical trial, again raising hopes that they may prove to be a defense against Alzheimers disease.

Snorers Risk Metabolic Syndrome

Snoring may be more serious than just keeping your partner awake: A new study says that loud snorers are at nearly double the risk of develop- ing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms associated with diabetes and heart disease. University of Pittsburgh scientists studied 812 patients, ages 45-74, in an ongoing community heart- health study. Over three years, 14% developed meta- bolic syndrome. Those reporting loud snoring, diff- culty falling asleep and unsatisfying sleep were at much greater risk of met- abolic syndrome. Among a subset of 294 patients evalutaed for sleep apnea, however, only loud snoring remained signif- cantly associated with metabolic syndrome once the data were adjusted using the apnea- hypopnea index (AHI). Research- ers concluded that healthcare profes- sionals should consider common sleep problems as possible risk factors when assessing patients. It could also be that this is a case of reverse causation, since obesity- part of metabolic syndrome-can cause snoring and other sleep problems

Mental Energy-Boosting Claims Put to the Test

Can foods, beverages or dietary supplements really increase your mental energy? Scientists at the Life Sciences Research Organization (LSRO) recently reported the results of a review of the scientific evidence for such claims regarding ginkgo biloba, ginseng, glucose and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. They defined mental energy as consisting of mood (transient feelings about the presence of fatigue or energy), motivation (determination and enthusiasm) and cognition (sustained attention and vigilance)

New Heart Trials Put Omega-3s to the Test

What are heart patients to make of two new clinical trials of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil? In one study, patients with early heart failure showed signifcant improve- ments on several markers of cardiovascular health when taking omega-3 supplements, compared to a placebo. But a Dutch clinical trial of heart-attack survivors failed to find any protection against second heart attacks from margarine enriched with omega-3s.

Whole-Grain Products Soar

The US food packagers are getting the whole-grains religion. The market-research organization Mintel predicts that 2010 will wind up being the biggest year ever for whole-grain product launches. Through the third quarter, new products with whole- grain label claims already totaled 651. The Mintel report credited the Whole Grains Councils stamp labeling program as a driving force in con- sumer awareness of whole-grain health benefts: Since the introduction of the Whole Grain Stamp in 2005, more than 3,700 new whole-grain food products have been introduced. The percentage of new products carrying a whole-grain label claim has jumped from 2.3% in 2005 to 5.6% in 2010. The trend is even stronger among foods boasting that theyre all- natural, with nearly one in fve also touting whole grains. (See our complete guide to cooking and using whole grains in this issues Special Supplement.)