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September 2019

Full Issue (PDF)

Download The Full Special Supplement PDF —Subscribers Only

Download The Full Issue PDF —Subscribers Only

Articles

The Good Fat Swap —Subscribers Only

There are many different kinds of dietary fats—the lipids found naturally in the foods we eat. “Choosing the right kinds of fats, rather than avoiding fat altogether, is the healthy choice,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Fruit and Vegetable Rx —Subscribers Only

Your blood pressure, blood sugar, or weight is high. Your doctor takes out a prescription pad and writes a prescription for…fruits and vegetables? It may sound far-fetched, but healthy-food prescription programs are already operating in some doctors’ offices, and emerging research suggests such programs have the potential to improve health—saving lives and money.

Eggs: Good or Bad?

There is no question that eggs are nutritious. The protein in eggs provides all the essential amino acids our bodies need in the proportions we need them. Eggs are also a good source of many essential nutrients, including biotin, selenium, vitamin B12, iodine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A and D. Additionally, egg yolks are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, phytochemicals that may help protect against age-related macular degeneration. Egg yolks are also a major source of dietary cholesterol, and therein lies the source of decades of conflicting and confusing nutrition recommendations.

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. I like to spoil my granddaughter with treats when she is with me. Am I doing any harm?

Q. I like to spoil my granddaughter with treats when she is with me. Am I doing any harm?

Q. Should I wash my poultry before preparing it?

Q. Should I wash my poultry before preparing it?

NewsBites

Q. You’ve said that charred meats may raise cancer risk. Should I skip grilling?

Q. You’ve said that charred meats may raise cancer risk. Should I skip grilling?

Physical Activity is on the Rise

More Americans are meeting recommended physical activity guidelines, but we still have a long way to go. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24 percent of U.S. adults met the combined aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity guidelines in 2017, up from 18 percent in 2008. People who live in urban areas are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines (25 percent) than those in rural areas (20 percent), and no changes were reported among Hispanics and adults living in the South.

Time Outside May Benefit Health

According to a recent British study published in the journal Scientific Reports, spending at least two hours a week outside may be good for one’s health. Nearly 20,000 English people were asked how many hours they spent in natural environments like parks, forests, and beaches in the last seven days; whether they considered their health to be good or poor; and if they felt their well-being was high or low. Those reporting nature contact of at least two hours per week were significantly more likely to report ‘good’ health and ‘high’ well-being compared to those reporting zero. (No additional benefit was seen from spending over 3.5 to 5 hours in nature.)

Irregular Sleep May Be Bad for Health

A study recently published in the American Diabetes Association’s journal, Diabetes Care, suggests that high night-to-night differences in sleep schedules may be associated with higher risk of having metabolic syndrome (a cluster of health problems—including high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, high blood sugar levels, and/or excess body fat around the waist—that increase risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes). The study assessed nighttime movements and sleep-wake cycles of over 2,000 participants for one week using home-based sleep studies.

Americans are Not Cutting Back on Processed Meats

A study from Tufts University researchers recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that Americans are not cutting back on processed meat intake, despite the suggested health dangers of consumption. The study characterized trends in consumption of processed meats, unprocessed red meat, poultry, and fish/shellfish in nearly 44,000 U.S. adults in the past 18 years. Red meat consumption declined over that period. Poultry consumption increased, and fish/shellfish intake remained constant.

Special Reports

Why Do We Overeat?

Humans eat for many reasons, and hunger is just one of them. Overeating contributes to excess weight gain, and subsequently cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, and other problems. “Scientists have been working for decades to try to explain why we overeat,” says Emmanuel Pothos, PhD, an associate professor at Tufts Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Perhaps identifying the biological and psychological factors that contribute to overeating will lead to the discovery of an “off” switch that will make it a thing of the past. More likely, a combination of changes, at the personal, healthcare, and community levels, will be required to curb overeating.

Sugar Substitutes: Helpful or Harmful?

Since the 1980s there has been an explosion of sugar substitutes in the marketplace. These artificial or highly refined “natural” compounds are used frequently in beverages and processed foods to lower total calories (so-called “diet” foods and beverages) or decrease added sugar (as in “sugar-free” or “low-sugar” products). The number of products available for use at the table or in cooking and baking at home has also increased. While these compounds are touted as calorie-cutting weight loss aids and an option to people with diabetes looking for sweet choices while sticking to their diet, questions about efficacy and safety have dogged them from the start.