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January 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

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Articles

Processed Meats and Cancer: It’s Not Just Nitrates

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meats. While that number pales in comparison to the one million or so global cancer deaths related to smoking, it is significant enough to warrant a hard look at processed meats in our diets, especially because they are also associated with cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.

Possible New Heart Attack Risk Factor Identified

If the results of a new Swedish study are borne out, blood thinners may be added to the arsenal of heart attack prevention measures. The study, published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, tested the blood of 805 individuals under age 75 years admitted to Swedish hospitals for a first heart attack (and an equal number of healthy controls) looking for antibodies related to blood clotting.

Health Benefits of Legumes

Eat more plant foods…increase dietary fiber…choose natural foods over processed…get your nutrients from whole foods, not supplements. For an easy way to follow all of this sound dietary advice at the same time, simply up your intake of foods from the legume family. Legumes, which include beans, lentils, split peas, green peas, and peanuts, are thought to be one of the first cultivated crops and have been consumed by people around the world for over 10,000 years. Unfortunately, legumes are no longer a staple food in most American diets. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume one to three cups of legumes per week (depending on calorie requirements), but average intake is less than one cup weekly.

Diet and Depression —Subscribers Only

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million adults and children. While to date there is no specific diet proven to prevent or cure this condition, research indicates that decreasing depression risk may be yet another reason to aim for a healthy dietary pattern.

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. What is the difference between raw sugar and the regular white sugar I’m used to?

Q. What is the difference between raw sugar and the regular white sugar I’m used to?

Q. Should we be concerned about potentially unsafe amounts of the herbicide glyphosate in oat products?

Q. Should we be concerned about potentially unsafe amounts of the herbicide glyphosate in oat products?

Q. Is it safe for me to eat grapefruit and drink grapefruit juice when I’m taking statins?

Q. Is it safe for me to eat grapefruit and drink grapefruit juice when I’m taking statins?

NewsBites

Omega-3s May Protect Older Adults’ Heart Health

A study led by a Tufts researcher has found an association between levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood over time and healthy aging.

Protein Supplements May Not Help Older Adults Build Muscle

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming protein supplements did not help active older men build more muscle or gain more strength than resistance exercise training alone. Forty-one men with an average age of 70 completed whole-body resistance training three times a week for 12 weeks. Half the group drank a supplement containing 21 grams of protein after exercise and every night before bed. The other half drank a beverage with the same number of calories but no protein. At the end of the study period, while both groups were able to lift more weight and tests showed increased muscle mass, the protein group did not improve any more than the placebo group.

How to Address High Obesity Rates

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2018 State of Obesity report, obesity among American adults and children remains at an all-time high. According to the most recent national survey data, nearly 40 percent of American adults and 18.5 percent of children ages two to 19 are considered obese.

Special Reports

Are Added Fibers Good for Our Health?

It is recommended that adults consume between 25 and 30 grams of dietary fiber a day. The average American currently gets about half that amount. According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary fiber is a “nutrient of public health concern,” meaning this low level of intake could actually be detrimental to our health. So, it’s potentially good news that food manufacturers are adding fiber to processed foods. But is that fiber as good for our health as fiber found naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains?