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Fish oil no help for mom’s mood, baby’s development

Childbirth • • Dieting • • Food & NutritionOct 20 10

Fish oil capsules are a cheap and easy way to get omega-3 fatty acids, but they don’t help pregnant women steer clear of postpartum depression.

Nor do they boost mental development in their babies, according to researchers from Australia who tested the effect of daily supplements during the second half of pregnancy—a period that spans the growth spurt in the fetus’ brain.

The researchers gave more than 2,000 women either vegetable oil or fish oil containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which earlier studies have hinted—but not proved—might improve pregnancy outcomes.

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Right foods aid memory and protect against disease

Dieting • • Food & NutritionOct 15 10

For the first time researchers have found out what effect multiple, rather than just single, foods with anti-inflammatory effects have on healthy individuals.

The results of a diet study show that bad cholesterol was reduced by 33 per cent, blood lipids by 14 per cent, blood pressure by 8 per cent and a risk marker for blood clots by 26 per cent. A marker of inflammation in the body was also greatly reduced, while memory and cognitive function were improved.

“The results have exceeded our expectations! I would like to claim that there has been no previous study with similar effects on healthy subjects”, says Inger Björck, professor of food-related nutrition at Lund University and head of the University’s Antidiabetic Food Centre.

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Children Who Eat Vended Foods Face Health Problems, Poor Diet

Children's Health • • Dieting • • Food & NutritionSep 06 10

School children who consume foods purchased in vending machines are more likely to develop poor diet quality – and that may be associated with being overweight, obese or at risk for chronic health problems such as diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to research from the University of Michigan Medical School.

The study also looked at foods sold in school stores, snack bars and other related sales that compete with USDA lunch program offerings and found that these pose the same health and diet risks in school-aged children.

“The foods that children are exposed to early on in life influence the pattern for their eating habits as adults,” says lead study author Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., clinical lecturer of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

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Food body sets rules for bagged salad, melamine use

Dieting • • Food & NutritionJul 06 10

An international food safety body set new rules on Tuesday on preparing bagged salads and said the chemical melamine that tainted Chinese milk is acceptable only in tiny amounts in infant formula and food.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission decided at its meeting in Geneva that animal manure should not be used to fertilize lettuce and other fresh vegetables sold “ready to eat” to avoid dangerous diseases.

Contaminated water must also be kept away from bagged produce that is not heat-treated, the Codex experts said, fixing new benchmarks that could change production and harvesting norms across the world.

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Gestational Diabetes Linked to Protein in Pregnancy Diet

Diabetes • • Dieting • • PregnancyJun 30 10

It seems like just yesterday I was posting that there was little to no info about the causes of Gestational Diabetes. Today, it seems like there may be a tiny bit more. A new study shows that women with Gestational Diabetes have lower levels of the chemical Serotonin. Serotonin is made from tryptophan, an amino acid found in high protein foods.

So does this mean that women who eat more protein in the first trimester are less likely to get Gestational Diabetes?

The study shows what is described as “a clear link between the amount and type of protein consumed by the mother early in pregnancy and the generation of islet cells needed to protect her against gestational diabetes late in pregnancy”.

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Parents Throw Tantrum over Chocolate Formula

Children's Health • • Dieting • • ObesityJun 12 10

With childhood obesity rates soaring, a new chocolate-flavored toddler formula has sparked outrage from parents and nutritionists and has forced the manufacturer to pull it from the market.

The sugary beverage, marketed under the name Enfagrow Premium, was aimed at children as young as one year of age - especially picky or erratic eaters who need “nutritional support” after being weaned off breast milk or formula, the manufacturer, Mead Johnson, said in a prepared statement.

The company claims the beverage has “a superior nutritional profile to many other beverages typically consumed by toddlers, including apple juice, grape juice and similarly flavored dairy drinks.”

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Dieting alone cannot help cure type 2 diabetes

Diabetes • • DietingMay 28 10

Dieting to shed weight is on its own not enough to stave off diabetes in people with sarcopenia — low skeletal muscle mass and strength, a study has claimed.

Sarcopenia is often found in obese people and older adults and it has been hypothesized that it puts individuals at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

To gauge the effect of sarcopenia on insulin resistance (the root cause of Type 2 diabetes) and blood glucose levels in both obese and non-obese people, UCLA researchers performed a cross-sectional analysis of data on 14,528 people from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III.

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New Strategy for Soda Tax Gives Diet Drinks a Break

DietingMay 20 10

Gov. David A. Paterson is considering a new strategy in his effort to pass a soda tax, hoping to win over reluctant lawmakers and the beverage industry by pairing the proposal with a state sales tax exemption on diet sodas and bottled water.

When put into full effect, the original penny-per-ounce tax on sugary sodas was supposed to garner $1 billion a year, an important sum for a state anxiously trying to close a multibillion-dollar shortfall. But since the Senate and Assembly have been firmly opposed to a soda tax, administration officials seem willing to settle for the $815 million a year they estimate the new proposal, with its exemption for diet drinks, would bring in.

The hope, Paterson administration officials said, is that combining the carrot of sales tax exemptions and the stick of sugary soda taxes may get the beverage companies to relax their opposition — and that Assembly members and senators might follow along. They also argue that the impact the new proposal could have on the epidemic of adult and childhood obesity and diabetes should be another incentive.

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Processed Meat Linked to Heart, Diabetes Risks

Diabetes • • Dieting • • HeartMay 18 10

A new study shows eating processed red meat—such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and cold cuts—is linked to increased risks of heart disease and diabetes.

But the study, published in Circulation, shows no such link for unprocessed red meat.

Eating one serving a day of processed meat—or the equivalent of a single hot dog or two slices of salami—was associated with a 42% increased risk for heart disease and a 19% increased risk for diabetes in the study, conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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High-Fat Ketogenic Diet Effectively Treats Persistent Childhood Seizures

Children's Health • • Dieting • • NeurologyMay 18 10

The high-fat ketogenic diet can dramatically reduce or completely eliminate debilitating seizures in most children with infantile spasms, whose seizures persist despite medication, according to a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study published online April 30 in the journal Epilepsia.

Infantile spasms, also called West syndrome, is a stubborn form of epilepsy that often does not get better with antiseizure drugs. Because poorly controlled infantile spasms may cause brain damage, the Hopkins team’s findings suggest the diet should be started at the earliest sign that medications aren’t working.

“Stopping or reducing the number of seizures can go a long way toward preserving neurological function, and the ketogenic diet should be our immediate next line of defense in children with persistent infantile spasms who don’t improve with medication,” says senior investigator Eric Kossoff, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet program at Hopkins Children’s.

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Avera Medical Minute: Diabetes, Heart Disease and Diet Modification

Diabetes • • Dieting • • HeartMay 07 10

The CDC estimates that nearly 24 million people in this country have diabetes. 18 million have been diagnosed,  but 7 million haven’t.  That’s a real problem because your chances of dying from heart disease and stroke are 2 to 4 times greater when you have diabetes. Here’s more on diabetes, heart disease and diet modification with an expert at the Avera Heart Hospital.

A lot of patients at the Avera Heart Hospital have diabetes which makes sense since it’s a big risk factor for heart disease. Suprisingly a lot of those patients had no idea.  Dietitian and Diabetes Educator at the Heart Hospital Mary Beth Russell helps teach those patients how to modify their diets and learn what foods affect their blood sugar like carbohydrates. 
Mary Beth Russell says, “Lots and lots of foods have carbohydrates in them. They need a clear understanding of those foods and how that affects their blood sugar.  It’s the worst at raising blood sugar levels.”

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Pepsi to cut salt, sugar and saturated fats

Dieting • • Fat, DietaryMar 22 10

PepsiCo Inc said on Sunday it would cut the levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats in its top-selling products.

The company, which owns the Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Quaker brands, said it plans a reduction of 25 per cent the average sodium per serving in major global food brands in key markets by 2015.

It also would reduce the average saturated fat per serving by 15 percent by 2020, and cut the average added sugar per serving in key global beverage brands by 25 percent by 2020.

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High-Fat Ketogenic Diet to Control Seizures Is Safe Over Long Term

Dieting • • NeurologyFeb 16 10

Current and former patients treated with the high-fat ketogenic diet to control multiple, daily and severe seizures can be reassured by the news that not only is the diet effective, but it also appears to have no long-lasting side effects, say scientists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

A study report supporting their conclusion, and believed to be one of the first analyses of the long-term safety and efficacy of the diet, appears online in the February edition of the journal Epilepsia.

The ketogenic diet, consisting of high-fat foods and very few carbohydrates, is believed to trigger biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-causing short circuits in the brain’s signaling system. Used as first-line therapy for infantile spasms and in children whose seizures cannot be controlled with drugs, the diet is highly effective but complicated and sometimes difficult to maintain. It can temporarily raise cholesterol, impair growth and, in rare cases, lead to kidney stones, among other side effects.

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Listing calories on fast-food menus cuts kids’ intake

Dieting • • Fat, DietaryJan 29 10

When nutritional information is available on fast-food restaurant menus, parents are more apt to pick lower-calorie foods for their kids, new research finds.

Often spurred on by legislation, many U.S. restaurant chains are now posting nutrition information about their menu items. But whether this information would translate to healthier eating was unclear.

The new study, conducted with McDonald’s menus, suggests that it does.

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Parents cut kids’ calories when menus are labeled

Children's Health • • DietingJan 26 10

When restaurant menus list calories, parents will limit how much fast food their kids eat, a new report suggests.

But parents don’t restrict their own energy intake, according to the report, which joins a growing body of work on the effects of menu labeling.

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 99 parents of 3- to 6-year-olds to one of two groups. Both were shown McDonald’s-like menus and asked to choose foods for themselves and their kids. However, one group’s menu included the calorie content next to the price for each item.

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