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December 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

Download The Full Special Supplement PDF —Subscribers Only

Download The Full Issue PDF —Subscribers Only

Articles

Healthy Fast Food Choices?

Fast food restaurants are relatively inexpensive, consistent, quick, familiar, and, for the most part, challenging places to eat if one wants to follow a healthy diet.

Leptin Discovery —Subscribers Only

More than 20 years after the discovery of the so-called “obesity hormone” leptin, a team at Tufts may have at last found this important compound’s target in the brain. In the 1960s, researchers made a surprising discovery: There was a biological mechanism behind the ravenous appetites of obese mice. Labs around the world immediately set out to find out what was making these mice so hungry.

Body Weight and Heart Health —Subscribers Only

Excess body weight increases risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and many other illnesses. However, not everyone who is overweight or obese develops these illnesses; and simply having a “normal” body weight or body mass index (BMI)–a measure of body weight relative to height–is no guarantee of low risk. “The relationship between BMI and risk for CVD and death is complex,” says Edward Saltzman, MD, academic dean for education at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Elevated BMI does increase CVD risk, but risk is also impacted by things like body-fat percentage, waist circumference, age, duration of obesity, race, ethnicity, gender, and other genetic factors,” as well as lifestyle elements such as smoking and level of physical activity.

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. Are flaxseed crackers nutritious, and can they help lower cholesterol?

Q. Are flaxseed crackers nutritious, and can they help lower cholesterol?

Q. I just heard that the latest recommendations say we don’t have to worry about how much cholesterol we eat. Is that true? Why the big change?

Q. I just heard that the latest recommendations say we don’t have to worry about how much cholesterol we eat. Is that true? Why the big change?

Q. My spouse keeps telling me I eat too quickly. Is this really a concern?

Q. My spouse keeps telling me I eat too quickly. Is this really a concern?

NewsBites

It’s Never too Late to Improve Your Diet

A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that following a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern was associated with a longer life. This association has been seen before, but this research, along with a meta-analysis of similar studies conducted by the authors, looked specifically at individuals aged 65 years and older.

Gum Disease May Raise Cancer Risk

Periodontitis, advanced gum disease caused by bacterial infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth, may be linked to higher risk of certain cancers, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study, led by Tufts’ epidemiologist Dominique Michaud, ScD, analyzed data from dental exams of nearly 7,500 black and white older adults, and compared periodontal disease severity with incident cancers and cancer deaths during an average of 15 years of follow-up.

Too Much Sitting at Home Linked to Risk of Death

A recent review of prospective data published in the American Journal of Epidemiology provides one more excellent reason to get up and get moving. The study analyzed data from over 127,000 American men and women with a median age of around 20 years and followed up for 21 years.

Special Reports

The Gut Microbiota

The gut microbiota—a community of trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the human digestive tract—may have a powerful impact on human health. The study of the microbiota (or microbiome) is a major frontier in nutrition research, as scientists work to understand how these organisms interact with our bodies and the foods we eat. While work is just beginning in this exciting new field, it is hoped that someday soon we will understand how to take care of our gut microbes, so they can take care of us.

Preparing for a Healthy, Happy New Year

According to surveys, the two most popular New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight and getting fit—and for good reason. Moving toward a healthier dietary pattern and being more physically active are crucial steps toward achieving well-being—with or without weight loss.