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August 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

Download The Full Issue PDF —Subscribers Only

Download The Full Issue PDF

Articles

The Facts About Fasting Diets

So-called “fasting” diets have recently received a lot of buzz in the media and attention from researchers as a possible means to promote weight loss and improve health. Data from animal studies are promising on several fronts, but data on humans are limited and short-term. Let’s take a closer look at the current science on this increasingly-popular diet trend.

Diet and Blood Cholesterol Levels —Subscribers Only

We cannot survive without cholesterol in our bodies. It is an essential part of cell walls, is used to make bile acids (which are critical in fat digestion), and is necessary for the production of vitamin D and a number of hormones. But too much LDL cholesterol and not enough HDL cholesterol in the blood is associated with increased risk for heart attack and stroke. While the liver can produce all the cholesterol the human body needs, we also consume it in the form of animal-based foods like meat and dairy.

Could Healthy Gut Microbes Help Preserve Muscle as We Age? —Subscribers Only

As we age, the strength and size of our muscles tend to decrease. This loss of muscle mass and function, called sarcopenia, is associated with decreased independence and reduced quality of life. Staying active (and purposefully incorporating muscle-strengthening exercises) is essential, but emerging data suggest that nourishing our gut microbes could be important as well.

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. You seem to write a lot about supplements not being necessary. Aren’t multivitamins a good thing?

Q. You seem to write a lot about supplements not being necessary. Aren’t multivitamins a good thing?

Q. Do the proteins in milk limit the absorption of antioxidants from berries?

Q. Do the proteins in milk limit the absorption of antioxidants from berries?

Q. What are some substitutes for dairy (including milk powder) in recipes?

Q. What are some substitutes for dairy (including milk powder) in recipes?

NewsBites

Energy Drink Dangers

A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that energy drinks can cause abnormal heart electrical activity and increase blood pressure. Forty healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40 were given two unmarked 16-ounce bottles of different commercially available caffeinated energy drinks or a placebo drink on three separate days and were instructed to consume them within a 60-minute period.

More Bad News on Sweet Drinks

The intake of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) like sodas, sweetened teas, and fruit drinks has consistently been associated with elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and body weight. A new research study published in the journal Circulation provides strong prospective data that SSB intake is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, with greater risk with a higher number of SSBs consumed.

Physical Fitness Important for Longevity, Regardless of Weight

A prospective cohort study recently published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that a self-reported brisk walking pace was associated with longer life expectancy across all weight categories—from underweight to obese, compared with those who reported being slow walkers.

Some Supplement Ingredients Not Lawful

The FDA recently unveiled the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, designed to alert consumers to unlawful ingredients identified in products marketed as dietary supplements. Unlike drug companies, supplement manufacturers do not need to prove that a product is safe or effective before marketing it. Under current law, dietary supplements may include substances such as vitamins, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, and ingredients commonly found in the food supply. Manufacturers wishing to include any ingredients not meeting these qualifications must demonstrate that the ingredient “will be reasonably expected to be safe.”

Special Reports

Sustainable Eating: The Key to a Healthy Future

Since you are reading this newsletter, you clearly care about your health, and it’s likely you care about the health of the planet as well. It should come as welcome news that you can help the earth and the rest of its inhabitants while helping yourself—by making health-promoting dietary shifts that support sustainability. …