Trending Topics pieces (Article Analyses, Evidence Clips and Other Topics) are published in timely response to recent media and journal articles, position statements, clinical guidelines, etc. Since they are based on the most recent evidence/publications, they may not be consistent with PEN evidence in other PEN content areas. As soon as possible, when this occurs, the PEN content will be reviewed and updated as needed.
Should Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) Values be Developed for Lutein?
Lutein has been studied for its role in eye health and for preventing or delaying macular degeneration. Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant found in high amounts in dark green, orange, red and yellow vegetables and fruits. According to the article by Ranard, et al., Dietary
guidance for lutein: consideration for intake recommendations is scientifically
supported, there is enough evidence to establish DRIs for lutein. This is based on lutein meeting nine criteria as described by Lupton, et al. The criteria help to determine if dietary recommendations should be established for bioactive substances such as lutein, lycopene, isoflavones, etc. For more information on eye health, including lutein, see the Eye Health Knowledge Pathway.
Additionally, the National Academies
of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has recently published a consensus
report that outlines principles for developing Dietary Reference Intakes for nutrients and other food substances that incorporate chronic disease considerations.
Trending Topics: Plant-based Beverages – Are They Really Healthier for Young Children? (Reposted from Aug 29, 2017)
Banning Trans Fat
Australia: See Trans Fat: How Does Australia Shape Up? and Trans Fatty Acids from Food Standards Australia New Zealand for more information.
Canada: Canada's Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced the ban of partially hydrogenated oils in all foods sold in Canada. The ban will be enforced starting on September 15, 2018, to give the food industry a year to prepare. This ban will apply to all foods sold in Canada including imported products and foods prepared and served in restaurants and food service establishments. For more information see Health Canada's Backgrounder: Prohibiting the Main Source of Industrially Produced Trans Fat in Food and watch this free podcast: Canada's Trans Fat Ban with Dr. Mary Labbé.
United Kingdom: See U.K. Ban on Trans Fats 'Would save Thousands of Lives' and Trans Fat - Overview of Recent Developments from the European Parliament for more information.
Assessing Recent Reporting on Water Fluoridation and Children’s IQ
A recently published observational study on the effect of prenatal fluoridation exposure on cognition of children in Mexico has drawn media attention and has raised concerns regarding a potential link of water fluoridation and lower IQ in children. In an opinion piece written for journalists writing stories about the research, Health News Review has suggested that many of the media reports have been inaccurate. Using the fluoride story as an illustrative example, they suggest there are four questions that people should be asking to determine if the study has been accurately reported on:
- Does the headline overstate the evidence?
- Does the story discuss the limitations of the study?
- Does the story explain the size of the effect?
- Does the story explain the potential benefits of fluoridation?
For further information on oral health care and children, including the use of fluoride, see PEN Knowledge Pathway Oral Health - Pediatrics/Paediatrics.
Carbohydrate, Fat and Mortality
The study, Associations of Fat and Carbohydrate Intake with Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality in 18 Countries from Five Continents (PURE): A Prospective Cohort Study, stemming from the PURE macronutrient studies, has been getting a lot of press across the globe (e.g. Canada, U.K.). This is a very large international cohort comprising high, middle and low income countries. It is an observational analysis with dietary intake collected by self-reported food frequency questionnaires (FFG) at baseline only. After looking at a range of carbohydrate (46-77% of energy) and saturated fat (2.8-13.2% of energy) intake (not a typical range seen in North America or Europe) the authors found that high carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher risk of total mortality, and non-cardiovascular disease mortality (e.g. cancer, respiratory diseases).
For analysis on the study, see: NHS Choices - Behind the Headlines
For further analysis on the study, see The Conversation: New Study Finding Fat Isn't as Bad as Carbs Misses the Point
For more information, see PEN Additional Content:
Practice Question: Is a Reduced Saturated Fat Diet Recommended for Primary or Secondary Cardiovascular Disease Prevention?
Evidence Clip: Butter, Margarine, Saturated and Trans Fats - Making Sense of Research Reported in the News
Fresh, Fresh-stored and Frozen Vegetables and Fruit
A two-year study (2011-2013) compared L-ascorbic acid, folate and trans-B-carotene (pro-vitamin A) in three different process states of products: fresh, fresh-stored (held for five days in the refrigerator) and frozen produce (blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green beans, green peas, spinach and strawberries). Produce was purchased from six supermarkets within a 40-km radius of Athens, GA in the U.S. Within the majority of comparisons, the authors found no significant differences in the three nutrients between fresh, fresh-stored and frozen produce. Where significant differences were noted, the nutrient content of fresh and frozen varieties tended to be greater than fresh-stored produce. Exceptions included fresh versus frozen blueberries, green beans and spinach, with fresh having a greater content of trans-B-carotene, and frozen broccoli and green beans, which were lower in folate than their fresh counterparts. The authors suggest consumers consume their fresh produce as soon as possible after purchase. Authors declared this research was supported by a grant from the Frozen Food Foundation.
Article Analysis: Plant-based Diets and Chronic Disease
Food Insecurity and Chronic Disease
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes the negative impact poor nutrition can have on an adult's health. The report, Food Insecurity, Chronic Disease, and Health Among Working-Age Adults used 2011-2015 data obtained from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a source for national statistics on the health of the U.S. population. The report examined food insecurity as a predictor of health among working adults (41,854 total adults from households; ages 19-64 years) living at or below 200% of the U.S. federal poverty line. The differences in health outcomes (related to 10 chronic diseases) across the range of household food insecurity: high, marginal, low and very low were examined. Food insecurity was found to be significantly associated with all 10 of the chronic diseases studied. Individuals with low and very low food insecurity had higher rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, hepatitis, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These changes in disease prevalence rates by food insecurity status were statistically significant for all of the conditions studied. For all of these diseases, an individual's food insecurity predicted chronic illness rates in a dose-response way. As food security changed from food secure through to highly food insecure, the disease prevalence was higher as food insecurity worsened, with the highest rates for each of these diseases most prevalent among individuals with very low food security.
For country-specific positions see:
Article Analysis: Dementia, Stroke and Sugary and Artificially Sweetened Drinks
Article Analysis: Intensive Lifestyle Counselling and Improving Glycemic Control