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Feb 17

Massive National Health Study Looks to Tailor Your Diet to Your Genetic Makeup – Singularity Hub

Like taxes and death, nutrition is something we cant escape. Eating should be easy. Yet its also massively confusing, prone to misinformation, and utterly personal.

Take competitive eaters who regularly chow down on thousands of calories without gaining weight. Compare them to people who pack on pounds just looking at a French fry. Or compare people who can tolerate any food to those who are sensitive or allergic to entire food groups. Or people who thrive on a high-fat diet like keto, to unfortunate souls whowith the same dietneed to stay close to the bathroom.

You get the idea: no one diet fits all. Yet nutrition science has long relied on averages to make dietary recommendations. From the 80s fat is bad paradigm to todays sugar is horrible trend, its always been easy to vilify one food component, without digging into how each of us interact with the foodstuff we eat.

Now, thanks to a massive new project led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nutrition science is about to get the precision treatment. With a price tag of $156 million, the five-year-long study will examine how 10,000 Americans process food. The program, Nutrition for Precision Health, isnt pulling punches. Each person will be given a highly controlled diet to reduce variability. Theyll then be thoroughly monitored for everything from blood sugar levels to their genes, proteins, and gut microbiome composition. Using the massive dataset, the program can then develop AI-based algorithms to predict individual responses to foods and diets.

If successful, we may soon have a scientifically-proven way of optimizing our diet and health based on our genes and gut microbes. While the culinary astronauts among us may cringe at the idea, for those with metabolic disorders or food intolerances, the algorithms are a powerful tool to aid nutritionists in prescribing diets to those who seek help.

Nutrition science has had a bit of a fuzzy reputation. But its not through any fault of its own. The field faces two major unenviable challenges: one, the results are the average of entire study populations, and two, humans hate sticking to a strict diet for long enough to get consistent results. Ever tried a 14-day diet? Now imagine doing it for five years.

As Paul Coates, vice president of the American Society of Nutrition puts it, were all free-range eaters, which mucks up the resulting data.

Thats not to say classic nutrition science hasnt had major wins. Take the Framingham Heart Study, which launched in 1948 with over 5,000 people to better understand heart and blood vessel health. The study was a first population-level triumph in linking diet to cardiovascular diseases, which remains one of the top killers today.

But to NIHs director Dr. Francis Collins, its high time to bring nutrition science into the 21st century. In May 2020, the agency released a 10-year plan to dig into the nitty-gritty of nutrition, tackling the what, when, why, and how to eat to optimize health and reduce chronic health plagues such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Its looking to be a wild ride. For example, the ambitious effort doesnt just focus on the gut. Thanks to new research showing intimate connection between the gut and the braindubbed the gut-brain connectionthe plan also embraces neuroscience as a component. Given the link between longevity and diet, itll also study the role of nutrition across our lifespans, or even how to use food as medicine.

And underlying all these fundamental questions? Personalization: how each of us responds to the food we eat.

The new program will be housed under the NIHs flagship health project, All of Us. The research program aims to recruit one million people under its banner to build a Google Earth-style database of biology, health, lifestyle, and disease. The key is individuality: forget average treatments, personalization is the future.

To Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDKK), now is the perfect time to explore precision nutrition. In a presentation last September, he laid out why. Were beginning to understand how the microbiome influences health. We can rapidly perform multi-omics studiesthat is, look at a persons whole system of genes, proteins, and metabolism. AI and machine learning make it easier to analyze these massive datasets. Finally, digital health tech, offered through smartphones or smartwatches, makes everyday health tracking simple and affordable.

The project is planned in three stages. Roughly 10,000 volunteers from All of Us will wear various monitorssimilar to Fitbitsto track their usual diets, physical activity, and blood sugar levels, creating a baseline. In the second stage, a subset of participants will regularly visit a clinic. There, theyll be given a controlled, specific meal, and be monitored for a series of biomarkers such as how their blood sugar levels change.

Another subset of volunteers will be given three different types of diets, one following another with a washout perioda breakin between. The prepared study foods will be eaten at home, so the participants can go about their daily lives.

Finally, up to 1,000 volunteers will stay at a clinic for three two-week-long holidays. Here, their three meals will be strictly controlled, and outside food not allowed. While seemingly harsh, going from free range to controlled is the gold standard for nutrition science, because it weeds out other variables.

While on the diet, all three groups will undergo a series of clinical tests, ranging from genetics and microbiome composition to blood sugar levels, metabolism, and urine. Psychology and behavior measures will also be assessed. Further on the docket are socioeconomic factors, such as zip code.

With these comprehensive measures, we are removing a lot of that noise that we had for years, created by the factors that we were not measuring before, said Dr. Jos Ordovs, a nutrition scientist at Tufts University.

As the study gathers data, on the back end, software engineers will begin building an infrastructure for storing, organizing, and searching the datasets. This library of data is then passed on to AI scientists to create models and algorithms that predict a persons individual response to a diet. Finally, another five-year period will validate those models in clinical trials.

Its not the first time a study has linked precision nutrition with AI. In 2015, an Israeli study of 800 people monitored their blood sugar levels and microbiome to parse out how individuals respond to different types of sugar intake. Using machine learning, the study built a software program to predict diets best suited for someone who is diabetic or hoping to lose weight.

But Nutrition for Precision Health is larger and far more sweeping than anything previously attempted. For now, the program is still at the planning stage, with a full launch expected in early 2023.

To Rodgers, the study isnt just about generating a wealth of data to fuel discovery science for years to come. The resulting tools, methods, and paradigm shift will have the potential to truly transform the field of nutrition science, he said.

Image Credit: bestbrk/

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Massive National Health Study Looks to Tailor Your Diet to Your Genetic Makeup - Singularity Hub

Feb 17

Fad diet doesn’t work | | – The Times and Democrat

DEAR HARRIETTE: I did one of those popular diets for the month of January, and I am so mad. I did it because I need to lose weight; sitting around at home during COVID-19 and eating whenever I want to has not helped me at all. But starving myself for a month didn't help either. My stomach was constantly upset, and I didn't even lose much weight. I did notice what my cravings are because my patterns were disrupted. But still, I'm left in the same position that I started in: I need to lose weight. What should I do? -- Need To Lose

DEAR NEED TO LOSE: Go get a physical from your doctor. Figure out the status of your health, and ask for a referral to a nutritionist. You can work with this person to assess your current eating habits and consider healthier options. You should also incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Incorporate a few modifications into your daily life, and track your success.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I don't have any friends. When I was out and about, working and socializing, it felt completely different. I was always the belle of the ball, so to speak. My work was very social, and I knew a lot of people who acted like they wanted to be around me. Now that we can't go anywhere, I realize that most of those people have disappeared. I have one girlfriend who I have talked to consistently over all these months. When I have reached out to some of the people I thought were my friends, it fell flat. Should I just let them go? I feel like such a loser. -- No Friends

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Fad diet doesn't work | | - The Times and Democrat

Feb 17

Here’s What Dieting Actually Does to Your Metabolism, According to Scientists – ScienceAlert

When it comes to dieting, research shows the majority of people will regain some if not most of the weight they've lost.

While there are many reasons why this weight regain may happen, some popular claims online are that it's because dieting permanently wrecks your metabolism. But while it's true that dieting slows your metabolism, it also improves your metabolism in many positive ways.

When we talk about metabolism, we're typically referring to your metabolic rate. This is the number of calories your body burns at rest. Of course, the more activity we do, the more calories we burn.

In order to lose weight through dieting, you need to consume fewer calories than you're using. This forces the body to use its energy stores like fat to meet the shortfall. Your metabolic rate will also change as a result.

The loss of lean tissue (muscle) when you diet which burns around 15-25 calories per kilogram each day lowers resting metabolic rate, meaning you need fewer calories than you previously did. But the body also deliberately slows down metabolism to preserve energy stores and minimise weight loss.

When the body senses depleted fat stores it triggers adaptive thermogenesis, a process which further reduces resting metabolic rate and may stunt weight loss despite strict dieting.

Adaptive thermogenesis can kick in within three days of starting a diet, and is suggested to persist way beyond dieting even hampering weight maintenance and favouring weight regain.

One example of adaptive thermogenesis's effect was seen in a widely publicised 2016 study which looked at former contestants of US reality TV show The Biggest Loser.

It showed that participants had a significant decrease in their metabolic rate, even several years after initial weight loss. Participants needed to eat up to 500 calories less than expected daily.

Other studies have also shown metabolic slowing with weight loss, but with much smaller decreases (around 100 calories fewer a day to maintain weight). However, there's less certainty whether this slowing persists once people are weight stable.

Research seems to show that most adaptive thermogenesis happens in the actual dieting phase as a temporary response to the amount of weight being lost. Overall, we don't have conclusive evidence to support the notion that metabolic rate remains slowed over the long term (over a year post-diet).

It's worth noting many factors can affect metabolic rate, so changes to it after dieting may vary between people. For example, one study on fasting diets showed metabolic rate indeed decreases as a result but those who had the the greatest decrease in metabolic rate already had a higher metabolic rate to begin with.

Overestimaing metabolic rates at the start of a study or errors in predicting metabolic rate after weight loss could both also affect study results.

It's agreed that metabolic rate slows because of weight loss, due to both decreasing body size, and as a way of preserving key tissues and fuel reserves. But there's currently no consensus on how much it slows by.

Quantifying and predicting this slowing is something we're currently researching at the University of Surrey.

A decrease in metabolic rate is just one change that occurs with weight loss, however.

When we lose weight, the main change we see is a decrease in body fat. This decrease is actually our fat cells shrinking in size they don't actually disappear. This shrinking of fat cells signals the body's fuel stores are emptying, causing a drop in the hormone leptin.

Ordinarily leptin inhibits appetite and increases metabolic rate but when leptin levels plummet, metabolic rate slow and hunger increases.

The gut also releases fewer incretins (hormones which regulate appetite) when we lose weight, which could persist beyond dieting. Less leptin and fewer incretins may make us feel hungrier and can lead to over eating.

When fat cells shrink, they're able to take up glucose and store fat more efficiently to help restore lost fuel. Your body also creates more fat cells so that you can store more fat in the future to better cope with this calorie "crisis" the next time it happens.

But as contradictory as it sounds, all these changes actually result in a more efficient and ultimately healthier metabolism.

For example, smaller fat cells are better for our health, as over-inflated "sick" fat cells don't work as well in getting rid of surplus sugar and fat. This can lead to high levels of sugar and fat in the blood, increasing risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

So dieting doesn't technically ruin your metabolism but rather improves it by helping it work better. But without care, this metabolic improvement can conspire against you to regain the weight, and even overshoot your original weight.

Studies show exercise (or simply physical activity) may be one way to prevent weight regain, by improving our ability to maintain our weight and can potentially minimise metabolic slowing. Exercise can also help regulate appetite and fuel burning in the short term, and may make weight loss more sustainable in the long term.

Adam Collins, Principal Teaching Fellow, Nutrition, University of Surrey and Aoife Egan, PhD Researcher, Mathematical Modelling of Weight-loss, University of Surrey.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Here's What Dieting Actually Does to Your Metabolism, According to Scientists - ScienceAlert

Feb 17

One Major Effect of Drinking Diet Soda Every Day, Says Science | Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

In many ways, diet soda is a healthier alternative to its sugar-filled counterpart. It's lower in added sugar and calories, both of which contribute to obesity and chronic health issues like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, it's still not the perfect solution. In fact, you may be better off just choosing a low-sugar soda alternative over one that's completely sugar-free.

Here's why: one of the most popular diet sodas out there, Diet Coke, uses an alternative sweetener called aspartame. The artificial sweetener has been under fire since its debut in the 1980s for its potential cancer-causing effects. While the American Cancer Society states that research around those effects is inconclusive, there may be another reason to be skeptical of the alternative sugar. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work).

According to a 2008 study published inThe Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, people who drank aspartame-sweetened Diet Coke were more likely to experience moderate to severe fatty infiltration in their livers than those who drank non-diet sodas, including Sprite and Fanta. Why is this an issue? This infiltration can lead to a condition called, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) where fat builds up in the liver and causes cirrhosis, otherwise known as late-stage liver scarring.Cirrhosis can eventually lead to liver failure if not addressed early on.

There are other known health issues associated with the artificial sweetener typically found in diet soda. A 2017 Nutrition Reviews special article that reviewed nearly two decades worth of data on aspartame concluded that consuming aspartame in quantities even within recommended safe levels may "disrupt the oxidant/antioxidant balance, induce oxidative stress, and damage cell membrane integrity, potentially affecting a variety of cells and tissues and causing the deregulation of cellular function, ultimately leading to systemic inflammation."

Another reason not to reach for diet soda daily? One study suggests drinking just one of the artificially sweetened beverages daily was linked to an 8% higher risk of type 2 diabetes; however, the meta-analysis looked at observational studies, which can only show correlation, not causation. And another study indicated that consumption of artificially sweetened drinks was associated with a 21% percent higher risk of developing the condition in older women (again, the study showed a correlation, not causation).

At the end of the day, there is research that supports both sides of the argument on whether or diet soda is harmless or harmful for your body. Our advice? Cut down on your intake to play it safe. If you can't shake the craving, consider limiting yourself to three servings of diet soda a week and then try, eventually try to drop it down to just one serving a week.

For more, be sure to read29 Most Popular Diet SodasRanked!

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One Major Effect of Drinking Diet Soda Every Day, Says Science | Eat This Not That - Eat This, Not That

Feb 17

Keto Diets Cause Scarring Of Heart Tissue And Inhibit Mitochondria Production In Rats – IFLScience

Ketogenic diets, which forgo carbohydratesto replace them with fats, have becomeextremely popular in recent years,rising to the top as themost-searched-for diet of 2020.Whilst these diets are effective in treating epilepsy and have applications in various other diseases, the evidence for use as a tool for weight loss in healthy individuals remains disputed.

In a recent study performed on rats,researchers have suggestedthat keto diets are having a dramatic impact on peoples hearts.The results showedthe high-fat-diet-induced changes within the rats hearts, reducing the production of mitochondria and creatingscar tissue.Their work was published in the journal Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy.

The basis of ketogenic diets revolves around bringing the body into a state of ketosis through consuming mostly fats.Ketosis is a normal metabolic response that kicks in when the body doesnt have enough glucoseto ensure enough energy is provided. The liver begins turning fat molecules into ketones, which are released into the bloodstream and used as an alternative energy source.

As this process consumes fat molecules and lowers blood glucose and insulin levels, the diet has become popular amongpeople looking for weight loss.The jury is still out on whether ketogenic diets are safe andeffective for long-term weight goals,with many swearing by the success they have had and others disputing it as an alternative to traditional weight-loss methods.

In the latest piece of research, a collaboration between Fudan University, Shanghai, andSichuan University, Chengdu, the researchers delveddeeperintothe cellular impacts of ketosis on the heart. The most abundant ketone body formed during ketosis is-OHB (70 percent of all ketones), which has been thought to have multiple secondary benefits for the immune system. However, researchhas suggested that elevated -OHB is linked with poorer cardiac health, alongside variousother concerning correlations between ketosis and mortality.

The study involvedthree groups of six rats that were fed either a ketogenic diet, normal diet, or calorie-restricteddiet over a period of four months.After the four months, the rats hearts wereanalyzedto look for cellular changes between each diet. In the ketogenic group, the rats demonstrated an increase in the ketone -OHB levels and a resulting activation of the geneSirt7, inhibiting the biogenesis of mitochondria. Furthermore, when this pathway was translated to human cultured cells, it led to apoptosis (celldeath) of cardiac cells and fibrosis (scarring).

These results do not provide clear evidence that ketogenic diets damage the human heart, nor that all ketogenic diets should be stopped. Cellular and animal models were used and there is no data onthe long-term effectsof ketosis on human organs, which would require more extensive testing and clinical trials. However, it does highlight an avenue of inquiry that should be followed to ensure ketogenic diets are safe for use as a weight-loss tool. The authors call for further trialsover a longer period, but in the meantime suggest ketogenic diets should be avoided for weight loss unless required by a health condition.

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Keto Diets Cause Scarring Of Heart Tissue And Inhibit Mitochondria Production In Rats - IFLScience

Feb 17

Join the Journey: Your brain health and your diet – The Westerly Sun

I can imagine that the last word you want to hear about in these times of trying to stay loyal to your New Years resolutions is the D word, or diet. That said, your diet can and does play an important role in brain health. I went to to learn more about diet and brain health, and what I found made a great deal of sense.

You may recall from a previous installment that I mentioned that the brain and the heart are both vascular organs, so what youre doing thats good for your heart and cardiovascular system is also good for your brain. Clearly, a heart-healthy diet benefits your brain and your body.

Although there is not a huge amount of research in the area of diet and cognitive funtion, the focus appears to be on two recommended diets. Theres the D.A.S.H. Diet, or Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, and the Mediterrainean Diet. Both diets have been given credit for reducing heart disease, and as a result may be responsible for reducing dementia. So lets take a look at these two diets and what makes them special.

The DASH diet is known to reduce your blood pressure, which is always a good thing under any circumstances. It recommends food low in saturated fats and total fats and suggests a diet high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy.

The Mediterrainean Diet is a little more complicated, as it incorporates different principles of healthy eating that are tyically found in areas bordering the Mediterranian Sea. Now for those who didnt master geography, that includes 22 countries, some of which you may have a tough time finding on a map. Youll also notice some similarities with the DASH diet, as they recommend enjoying fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Along with that, they recommend replacing butter with olive oil, limiting your intake of red meat (everything in moderation), use herbs for flavor instead of salt, and make it a point to consume fish and poultry at least twice a week.

Id love to be able to tell you that there was one super food or pill that we could all eat or take that would eliminate any chance that we develop dementia, but I cant, because there isnt one. Its interesting to note, however, that eating foods like fish that contain fish oil or Omega 3 have consistently shown benefits, while many of the supplements and vitamins you may have been taking have mixed results as to their effectiveness.

Theres no shortage of books out there that can cover the dos and donts of smart eating, but as always, before you begin this journey, consult with your family physician or a dietician to insure you get off on the right track. Taking the do it yourself approach to dieting can get you in trouble. Likewise be careful when it comes to supplements. Ive seen these catalogs that offers these pills that make incredible claims, e.g. Well clean out your arteries, improve your hearing, detox your liver and on and on it goes. I have seen situations where a senior was taking a certain vitamin because they were told it would help them avoid sclerosis. If 400 units a day are good, then 1,000 units has to be even better right? WRONG. They had no idea that one of the charateristics of this vitamin was that it worked as a blood thinner.

Once again, Ill refer you to the site for more information as well as to the AARP website ( for more insight as well as some pretty good recipes. Im not suggesting you incorporate an entire lifestyle change here, unless of course your diet consists of white sausage gravy for breakfast, double cheeseburgers for lunch and fried chicken for dinner seven days a week. As my wife says to me ... make good choices.

Questions? Email me at Join the Journey.

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Join the Journey: Your brain health and your diet - The Westerly Sun

Feb 17

Report: We urgently need to move to plant-based diets – World Economic Forum

Switching en masse to a plant-based diet is essential to protect wildlife habitats and prevent the loss of numerous species currently facing extinction, according to a new report.

At the root of the problem is cheap food. While cut-priced comestibles may seem like a good thing, especially for low-income households, market pressure to continually reduce food production costs forces many farmers to adopt unsustainable, intensive methods that harm the land and overuse valuable resources like energy, land and water.

The study by researchers at UK think tank Chatham House, supported by the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme, notes that the race to lower prices increases food waste and degrades soils and ecosystems, making available land less productive.

As more forests and wild lands are cleared to grow crops and raise livestock, the feeding, breeding and living habitats of numerous species also disappear. Unless we change what we eat and how it is produced, the report says, the planets ability to support humans could come under threat.

Gut instinct

During the past half century, conversion of natural wild land for crop production or animal pasture has been the principle cause of habitat and biodiversity loss, the report, called Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss, says. Agriculture poses a threat to 24,000 of the 28,000 species documented as at risk of extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

But what happens next to the worlds endangered wildlife populations rests in human hands, and the rise in popularity of plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products offers hope for the future.

Rearing crops in place of animals uses land and other scarce resources more efficiently, the report notes. While raising livestock adds to greenhouse gas emissions, switching to plant-based foods would free up grazing land that could be used for other purposes. A global switch to a predominantly plant-based diet would boost dietary health, help reduce food waste and eliminate the need to keep clearing new land for grazing. Switching the global populations diet to plant-based foods, for example, would free up 75% of the worlds cropland for other uses.

Alongside changing dietary behaviour, the report recommends protecting and setting aside more land for nature, avoiding converting it for agriculture. As well as preserving wildlife habitats from being destroyed, forests and wilded land serve as a natural carbon store absorbing pollution from the atmosphere, which helps counter the impact of the climate crisis.

Todays high-intensity chemical-reliant farming methods must be replaced by nature-friendly practices that support biodiversity and value sustainability over ever lower farm door prices.

Its important to note that the report is advocating a dramatic reduction in meat intake rather than replacing meat with plant-based foods. And, as the World Bank says, livestock farming supports the livelihoods and food security of almost 1.3 billion people. The Chatham House report says incentivising more diverse agriculture could lead to more resilient farmer livelihoods.

Two billion people in the world currently suffer from malnutrition and according to some estimates, we need 60% more food to feed the global population by 2050. Yet the agricultural sector is ill-equipped to meet this demand: 700 million of its workers currently live in poverty, and it is already responsible for 70% of the worlds water consumption and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

New technologies could help our food systems become more sustainable and efficient, but unfortunately the agricultural sector has fallen behind other sectors in terms of technology adoption.

Launched in 2018, the Forums Innovation with a Purpose Platform is a large-scale partnership that facilitates the adoption of new technologies and other innovations to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food.

With research, increasing investments in new agriculture technologies and the integration of local and regional initiatives aimed at enhancing food security, the platform is working with over 50 partner institutions and 1,000 leaders around the world to leverage emerging technologies to make our food systems more sustainable, inclusive and efficient.

Learn more about Innovation with a Purpose's impact and contact us to see how you can get involved.

Planting the seeds of change

Despite the compelling arguments for moving to plant-heavy diets, persuading the global population to abandon its love of meat will be no easy task. Around 80 billion animals are killed for their meat each year, UN figures show.

Many farmers are increasingly adopting unsustainable practices to create cheaper meat.

Image: UN FAO/Our World in Data

In 2018, almost 70 billion chickens, 1.5 billion pigs and more than 300 million cattle were slaughtered to serve our love of meat.

In general, meat consumption increases as incomes rise so the richer the country, the more meat is consumed, according to figures from the UN and the World Bank.

But for some the role of meat is beginning to change as awareness grows of the health benefits of plant-based foods and the impact of business-as-usual farming on the environment.

Consumer demand for plant-based food is growing.

Image: The Good Food Institute

The US plant-based food market was worth more than $5 billion in 2019, up 11% on the previous year and 29% over two years. Sales of plant-based meat substitutes increased by 18% year-on-year.

Demand for plant-based foods could see annual growth of almost 12%, reaching a market value of more than $74 billion by 2027, according to a Meticulous Research forecast. While plant-based demand is increasing in most global markets, takeup in Asia-Pacific is expected to outstrip other regional markets.

Changing consumer aspirations and a growing appetite among investors to back plant-based ventures are among the drivers of global plant-based market growth, the research showed. How far, how fast and how much demand for plant-based foods increases in the coming years remains to be seen, but the future of myriad species depends on it happening quick enough.

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Report: We urgently need to move to plant-based diets - World Economic Forum

Feb 17

Improve your health with the Mediterranean diet – Idaho Press-Tribune

Eating a nutritious diet is important to improving your heart health. Pohley Richey, a registered dietitian and health coach with Saltzer Health, says that the Mediterranean diet is one way to minimize processed foods and sugar while increasing fiber in your daily meals.

The diet has evolved over the last 5,000 years in the Mediterranean region, she said.

It really came into popularity in the 1960s when people from the region were studied and shown to

have a lower incidence of heart disease, Richey said.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional foods that people have eaten for generations in Italy,

Greece and other Mediterranean countries with an emphasis on:

Whole, unprocessed, natural foods

Less sugar

Local, seasonal fruits and vegetables

Whole grains

Heart healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, and other seeds

Protein from legumes, lentils, chickpeas, and seafood

Its not necessarily about a specific food per se but about this overall style of eating, Richey said.

Research has shown that the diet promotes wellness and decreases the risk of heart disease, cancer,

diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Richey describes the Mediterranean diet as super versatile.

It is super easy to implement. Its delicious. There is a lot of variety involved. It can be really simple,

easy, and a fun way to eat, she said.

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With any diet, Richey recommends starting small. If you are looking at making a complete revamp it

gets a little bit overwhelming, she said. Think of very specific things that you can pull from this dietary

pattern and implement.

To get started, she recommends:

Try going one meal a week meatless

Eat more legumes

Experiment with new foods like chickpeas or lentils

Shop at local farmers markets

Pohley Richey, RD, is a culinary instructor and health coach with Saltzer Health based at PIVOT. To learn more, visit and

A resident of Nampa, Martinez is a senior at NNU majoring in biology/pre-med and healthcare communications. He is a resident of Nampa. Martinez is a communications intern at Saltzer Health.

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Improve your health with the Mediterranean diet - Idaho Press-Tribune

Feb 17

This Is the Best Diet for Weight Loss and Cholesterol Control, Says Science | Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

If you're trying to implement healthier eating habits, it can be tough to figure out where to start. Maybe one of your friends has been trying to get you to cut added sugars for years now while another swears that going gluten-free changed her life. Thankfully, emerging research is here to make your choice easier.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition compared two of the most popular diets right now, the vegan diet and the Mediterranean diet, to see how they affected participants' weight as well as other risk factors for heart disease. The results? Sticking to a low-fat vegan diet is better for your health than going with the Mediterranean diet.(Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now).

"The evidence is clear that a plant-based diet is a great way to manage weight and that all the side effects are good onesfrom boosting heart health and improving cholesterol to lowering the risk for diabetes," corresponding author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, MBA, Director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine told Eat This, Not That! in an interview.

More specifically, the study found that the vegan diet can lower "bad" cholesterol levels known as LDL, improve insulin sensitivity, and lead to more weight loss. The Mediterranean diet's only win was that it led to an even greater blood pressure decrease than the low-fat vegan diet, though both diets yielded positive effects. It is also worth noting that the study did not require participants to count calories or track nutrients.

"We weren't surprised to see that people saw improvements on the plant-based diet," said Kahleova. "But, because the Mediterranean diet is often touted for weight loss, it was surprising to see that participants experienced very small changesif any at allwhen it came to their weight."

"We hope that this study will inspire people to see that a vegan diet may benefit them in many ways and will decide to try it out," she adds.

Still not convinced? To learn about more ways cutting out animal products can make you feel better, check out our 28 Top Health Reasons to Go Vegan.

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This Is the Best Diet for Weight Loss and Cholesterol Control, Says Science | Eat This Not That - Eat This, Not That

Feb 17

Finding the right diet can be the hardest part of weight loss – KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) All diets are not equal.

Losing weight is never easy, and finding the best diet for you can be harder than you think.

Ariana Chao, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, looked at many of the different types to determine how to select the best eating plan. She found some that did well for a while.

There are some short-term benefits, she said, to lower-calorie and lower-carbohydrate types of diets, typically seen around six months or so. However longer-term, at about 12 months or greater, we tend to see that these tend to deteriorate. So there tends to not really be a difference in terms of long term.

When choosing a personalized diet based on markers like insulin levels, for example, there has been no proof of real success. Chao said exercising and finding a diet you can sustain long-term is still the best plan.

It just may take a few tries to determine if a low-carb, low-fat or plant-based diet works best for you.

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Finding the right diet can be the hardest part of weight loss - KYW Newsradio 1060

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