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November 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

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Articles

Fabulous Fermented Foods

Fermented foods may be the oldest “new” food trend around. The process is as old as civilization itself, and fermented foods are consumed in nearly every culture in the world. While researchers attempt to tease out how the changes caused by fermentation actually impact health, many not-fully-substantiated health claims are being made. Let’s take a look at what we know, and don’t know, about these promising (and tasty) foods.

The Impact of School Food Policies —Subscribers Only

Childhood obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled since the 1970s. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 school-age children and young people (6 to 19 years) in the United States is classified as obese. What’s more, studies show that most children and adolescents don’t meet dietary recommendations, and metabolic problems like diabetes and high blood pressure are showing up earlier than ever before. “Eating healthier from a younger age can help prevent the onset of diet-related disease,” says Renata Micha, PhD, a research associate professor at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy who researches the impact of school food policies. “Most of our eating habits are developed early in life. The sooner you start eating healthier, the greater the health benefits you will accrue over time.”

Nutrition and Plant-Based Milk Substitutes —Subscribers Only

The market for plant-based alternatives to dairy products continues to grow, as lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, veganism, environmental concerns, and other factors lead Americans to look for alternatives to dairy. So where do these beverages fit into a healthy dietary pattern?

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. Potatoes are a vegetable, so why aren’t French fries good for you? Are the nutrients destroyed in the frying process?

Q. Potatoes are a vegetable, so why aren’t French fries good for you? Are the nutrients destroyed in the frying process?

Q. I’ve heard that drinking lemon water can help with my acid reflux. Is this true?

Q. I’ve heard that drinking lemon water can help with my acid reflux. Is this true?

Q. I heard that the heat from cooking makes oil dangerous. Is oil safe to cook with?

Q. I heard that the heat from cooking makes oil dangerous. Is oil safe to cook with?

NewsBites

Chronic Sleep Loss May Impact Body Composition

Studies have found that people who routinely don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight than people who get adequate sleep. Additionally, two recent cohort studies of middle-aged and older community-dwelling adults have found insufficient sleep to be associated with lower muscle mass. A new study published in Science Advances delved into the reasons why.

Walnuts May Lower Cholesterol

A review and analysis published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that eating walnuts could improve blood lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) without causing weight gain or increasing blood pressure.

The Challenges of Nutrition Research

Many nutrition studies rely on self-reported dietary intakes. Surveys ask participants to record everything they eat for a specific period, recall what they ate recently, or indicate what foods (in what amounts) they typically eat. The information these surveys provide is used to determine what dietary components or habits are associated with particular health measures or outcomes. If the self-reported diet information is inaccurate, it will impact study results.

Special Reports

Diet and Cancer Prevention

According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), 20 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are related to poor dietary choices and lack of exercise. So what should we eat, and what should we avoid? News outlets and the internet are full of (sometimes conflicting) reports claiming links between specific foods or nutrients and cancer. Many of these claims are based on a limited number of studies. But when researchers analyze all of the research on cancer and nutrition together, it becomes clear that increasing intake of individual foods or popping dietary supplements doesn’t work. Overall dietary pattern, however, can make an important and significant difference.