Welcome to your Wednesday Savvy blog post, filled with a potpourri of interesting news on foods, diets and more … ENJOY!
Heads up on what’s coming for you on Fridays. I’m hoping to share interesting websites, interviews with researchers and other influencers in the diabetes world and articles on coping and lifestyle issues. Please feel free to let me know if you want more of something or something completely new. Happy reading!
I couldn’t tell this delicious lab-grown ice cream didn’t come from a cow was reported by Adele Peters for FastCompany.com, 11 July 2019. Perfect Day uses yeast to make the protein that traditional ice cream gets from milk. WHAT?! Really?!
Perfect Day, a Bay Area-based startup, has spent the last five years developing technology to make protein that is genetically identical to dairy protein through fermentation. The founders, bioengineers who happen to be vegan, both saw the need for animal-free dairy products that tasted better than alternatives on the market with plastic-like textures or cardboard-like flavors.
The company engineered yeast with DNA to make it produce casein and whey, the same proteins found in dairy. It’s lactose-free and avoids the environmental footprint of raising cows, from the land used for grazing or growing cattle feed to the greenhouse gas footprint from cow belches and manure. But it has the same nutrition as dairy protein and the same taste. Combined with plant-based fats and sugar, it’s possible to make ice cream that is indistinguishable from the real thing.
There Is No Such Thing as a Sugar Rush, as reported by Adam Popescu for Medium/Elemental+, 12 July 2019. Scientists are debunking the link to hyperactivity
Contrary to decades of popular belief (and anecdotal evidence from generations of parents), a new study has found that there is no such thing as a sugar rush. That’s right. The sugar rush is a myth. Rather than making people feel energized and hyped, the new research suggests eating sweet foods actually causes people to experience the opposite: fatigue and a lack of alertness.
The results — which were published in June in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews —showed that sugar consumption has virtually no effect on how people act and feel, regardless of how much sugar is consumed or whether people engage in demanding activities after consuming it. Meaning sugar doesn’t give us a jolt of energy or affect the way people think or process situations — it doesn’t even make people do better in sports, a common misconception, researchers say.
Rather, the study authors write that sugar provided “higher levels of fatigue compared with placebo across these studies.” Specifically, the researchers found that sugar consumption actually lowers people’s alertness within 60 minutes after consumption, and it increases feelings of fatigue within 30 minutes after eating.
Read more: There Is No Such Thing as a Sugar Rush
How diet quality affects the colon’s microbiome was published by Ana Sandoiu for MedicalNewsToday.com, 16 July 2019.
New research has examined the effect of dietary quality on the composition of the colon’s microbiota. The study suggests that following a high quality diet may increase the number of beneficial bacteria, whereas following a low quality diet may raise that of harmful bacteria.
Dr. Li Jiao — an associate professor of medicine gastroenterology and a member of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX — led the scientists to analyze bacteria in the human colon in a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Jiao and team used a gene sequencing technique called “16s RNA sequencing. We looked at [the] colon mucosa associated microbiome because we know that this microbiome is different from that in the fecal samples, and it is said to be more related to human immunity and the host–microbiome interaction than the microbiome in fecal samples.”
The researchers assessed the quality of the participants’ diets using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI). This is “a measure of diet quality, independent of quantity, that can be used to assess compliance with the [United States] Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
Using the HEI, the researchers established that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but low in added sugar, alcohol, and solid fats is a high quality diet. Following this diet correlated with having a higher level of beneficial bacteria — that is, bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties.
How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink? was reported by Robert Roy Britt for Medium/Elemental+, 16 July 2019.
The well-known “8 x 8” rule — you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day — is not only daunting, it’s unfounded. In fact, nobody is sure where the idea came from, and science doesn’t support it. “It has no basis in fact,” says Michael Farrell, a professor at Monash University in Australia, who studies how the brain responds to thirst and other sensations. Likewise, the old advice to “drink before you’re thirsty” is countered by the latest research, as scientists finally figure out how the brain knows when you’re thirsty, and when you’ve had enough.
There is no official U.S. government recommendation for how much water to drink. But there are guidelines for total fluid intake from independent groups. The average adult woman should consume about 11.4 cups of fluid per day (a cup equals 8 ounces) and men should consume 15.6 — be it straight from the tap, in other beverages, or in food, according to a widely cited 2004 report from the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies. People get about 20% of their water from food, the report states. Fruits and vegetables are particularly water-laden — both tomatoes and watermelon are 90% or more water. Along with regular water, milk, juice, and other non-alcoholic beverages count towards your fluid intake, according to the Mayo Clinic and other experts. Even coffee counts (the idea that caffeine dehydrates the body is a myth).
Read more: How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink?
Nutrition Science Is Broken. This New Egg Study Shows Why, as reproted by Timothy F. Kirn for Undark.org, 18 July 2019. The humble egg is an example of everything wrong with nutrition studies.
So which is it? Is the egg good or bad? And, while we are on the subject, when so much of what we are told about diet, health, and weight loss is inconsistent and contradictory, can we believe any of it?
Quite frankly, probably not. Nutrition research tends to be unreliable because nearly all of it is based on observational studies, which are imprecise, have no controls, and don’t follow an experimental method. As nutrition-research critics Edward Archer and Carl Lavie have put it, “’Nutrition’ is now a degenerating research paradigm in which scientifically illiterate methods, meaningless data, and consensus-driven censorship dominate the empirical landscape.”
Paleo diet may be bad for heart health was written by Maria Cohut for MedicalNewsToday.com, July 2019. New research has found that people who follow the Paleolithic, or Paleo, diet have high levels of a blood biomarker tied to heart disease. The finding raises some red flags about this type of diet, which, the researchers suggest, is not balanced enough to ensure good health.
Investigators from four different research institutions in Australia reported their findings in the European Journal of Nutrition.The researchers found that, across Paleo groups, individuals presented heightened blood levels of a compound that specialists associate with heart disease: trimethylamine N-oxide. Trimethylamine N-oxide first forms in the gut, and its levels depend on a person’s diet and the bacteria that populate their gut, among other factors.
Many Paleo diet proponents claim the diet is beneficial to gut health, but this research suggests that, when it comes to the production of [trimethylamine N-oxide] in the gut, the Paleo diet could be having an adverse impact in terms of heart health,.” said Angela Genoni, Ph.D. “We also found that populations of beneficial bacterial species were lower in the Paleolithic groups, associated with the reduced carbohydrate intake, which may have consequences for other chronic diseases over the long term,” she added.
Read more: Paleo diet may be bad for heart health
How Do Vegans Survive? was written by Aphinya Dechalert (a nonvegan whose curiousity led her to explore the animal-free diet) for Medium/Elemental+, 7 May 2019.
Many of us are familiar with the USDA’s food pyramid, which has grains at the bottom, fruit and vegetables on the second tier, topped by fish and dairy, followed by meats, and then fats and oils. What the food pyramid fails to include is the concept of macro- and micronutrition — which is an important concept if you want to be nutritionally balanced.
Macronutrients refers to the “big” nutrients—as in the long chains of molecules that are measured in large quantities in our food. The three basic macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Everything you consume is a combination of at least two macronutrients. Macros are what the body uses for fuel and bodily functions, and they are usually measured in grams.
Micronutrients are trace elements, vitamins, and minerals the body uses to help regulate metabolism, heartbeat, cellular processes, and more. If a person is eating a wide variety of macros, then their range of micros should be well-balanced. Iron, for example, is a micromineral often found in red meat. But it is also present in beans, cashews, and dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach..
The author concludes: You don’t really need a massive amount of food if you’re eating the right things. The most successful and healthy vegan eaters tend to consume a wide range of grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. It’s not all just green salads and more green salads.
Read more: How Do Vegans Survive?