FOOD BITES: APRIL 2018

DNA Diet Matching Doesn’t Work

A new study finds it doesn’t matter whether people try low-fat or low-carb diets for weight loss, even when their DNA suggests otherwise. The study’s results shed doubt on claims about diets that purport to be tailored to people’s specific genetic needs or predispositions.

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FOOD BITES: MAY 2018

Food, Mood and Aging

Young and mature adults require different foods to improve their mental health, say researchers from the State University of New York at Binghampton. The researchers used an anonymous Internet survey, asking people around the world to complete the Food-Mood Questionnaire, which includes....

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FOOD BITES: JUNE 2018

Vegetables Harvested in Antarctica Without Sun, Soil or Pesticides

Scientists in Antarctica have harvested the first crop of vegetables grown without soil, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets. Researchers at Germany’s Neumayer Station III say eight pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes....

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FOOD BITES: NOVEMBER 2016

Cancer and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Link Better Defined


A study by researchers at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans suggests age is an important factor in the association between cancer and sugar-sweetened beverages. Based on their results, the researchers recommend focusing intervention programs that seek to reduce consumption of added sugar on people of lower socioeconomic status, young males and cervical cancer survivors. Sugary beverages have been associated with obesity, diabetes, cardio metabolic diseases and some cancers. The consumption of sugar is an important risk factor for cancer survivors. The study was published in the October 2016 issue of the journal Translational Cancer Research.


Cool Cinnamon

Adding cinnamon to your diet can cool your body by up to 2 degrees, say researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. It may also contribute to a general improvement in overall health, according to the report’s authors. It is noted that when pigs feed at room temperature, carbon dioxide gas increases in their stomachs. “Cinnamon in their food reduces this gas by decreasing the secretion of gastric acid and pepsin from the stomach walls, which in turn cools the pigs’ stomachs during digestion,” said

project leader Kourosh Kalanter-zadeh with RMIT’s School of Engineering. This research is part of a larger RMIT gut health study using swallowable gas sensor capsules, or smart pills. Gut gases are a byproduct of digestion and could provide valuable insights into the functioning and health of the gut, said Kalanter-zadeh.


Contaminated Chicken Could Be Cause of Spread of Superbug MRSA

A new study from George Washington University shows a form of superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can spread to humans through the consumption and handling of contaminated poultry. “We’ve known for several years that people working directly with livestock are at increased risk for MRSA infections, but this is one of the first studies providing compelling evidence that everyday consumers are also potentially at risk,” said Lance Price, PhD, director of both the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center based at the Milken Institute School of Public Health and the Translational Genomics Research Institute Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health in Santa Monica. “This poultry-associated MRSA may be more capable of transmitting from food to people,” said the paper’s lead author, Jesper Larsen, PhD, a scientist and veterinarian at the Statens Serum Institut, Denmark’s equivalent of the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control. The researchers found 10 urban Danes who did not work on farms and didn’t have direct contact with food animals that were infected or colonized with this newly discovered strain of MRSA. The strain of poultry-associated MRSA was not found in Danish livestock but could be traced to poultry meat imported from other European Union countries. Further, the MRSA strains in these urban Danes were virtually identical to each other, suggesting they were all exposed to a common source, most likely the contaminated poultry meat. “Our findings implicate poultry meat as a source for these infections,” said Robert Skov, MD, head researcher of this study. “At present, meat products represent only a minor transmission route for MRSA to humans, but our findings nevertheless underscore the importance of reducing the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals as well as continuing surveillance of the animal-food-human interface.” Other research has suggested modern farming practices have led to the rising tide of super- bugs like this new strain of MRSA. Currently, food inspectors do not test poultry and other food products for MRSA contamination; instead, they focus on salmonella and other food-borne pathogens. “We need to expand the number of pathogens that we test for in our food supply, and we need international leadership to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics on industrial farms around the world,” said Price. “This isn’t a problem unique to the EU or Denmark. Superbugs don’t respect political or geographical boundaries, so we have to work together to address this public health threat. I’m not sure our international trade agreements are prepared to handle the specter of superbugs in meat.”

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover