PEN eNews 11(1) January 2021
eNews is a monthly e-newsletter shared with the global PEN Community and created to help dietitians position themselves as leaders in evidence-based nutrition practice. In addition, users of the PEN System will find articles on the new evidence, resources and features available and how to maximize one's use of PEN.
Raw Food Diets - What is the Latest?
The QuestionAre there any positive or negative health outcomes associated with following a raw food diet compared to following vegetarian, vegan or non-vegetarian diets?
For those committed to following a raw food diet, the following are areas that may benefit from attention:
- ensuring that energy and nutrients needs are being met to support body functioning, bone health and general health
- designing the diet to support the bioavailability of the nutrients ingested (such as adequate fat to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients and phytochemicals such as lycopene and carotenoids)
- ensuring products chosen for consumption are food safe.
Cross-sectional research studies on individuals who have followed a raw food diet for a number of years found low BMIs and high rates of underweight amenorrhea. There was also some evidence of lower bone mineral content and bone mineral density among raw foodists versus controls. Energy intakes tend to be low and fruit and vegetable intakes are very high (few kg per day) and fibre intakes are generally high at a mean of 60 g/day. While the diet is very high in carotenoids and rich in lycopene, this intake has not always translated into higher levels in the plasma, potentially due to the lower fat intakes and higher fibre intakes that could impact bioavailability. Folate and vitamin B6 intakes are generally good though vitamin B12 intakes and status can be low depending on the diet. It should be noted that the raw food diet is not necessarily vegetarian or vegan and in fact anywhere from approximately 25-57% of those following the raw food diet ate animal products (smoked, raw or semi-cooked). Serum lipid profiles tended to be in the desirable ranges. Microbiological analysis of buckwheat cookies made for the raw food diet (prepared with soaking and then drying between 40 and 60°C) indicated microbial risks with the end product.
To see the full practice question, including the Evidence Statements and References, click here
Want to know what else is new and updated? Bookmark these pages:New Knowledge Pathway Content
(Knowledge Pathways, Practice Questions, Summary of Recommendations and Evidence, Practice Guidance Toolkits, Backgrounds)Tools and Resources
The Infant Colic Knowledge Pathway is Updated!
The Gastrointestinal System - Infant Colic Knowledge Pathway was just updated. Do you know the answer to these questions?
Looking for more information related to infant nutrition? There are:
- 10 Knowledge Pathways
- 102 Practice Questions
- 125 Handouts
Enter the search term “infant nutrition” in the PEN Search and check out the results!
Open Access to COVID-19 Content Continues
Although the Open Access to the entire PEN® System is now closed, we continue to make COVID-19 information, Trending Topics and PEN® eNews available to all with no PEN subscription or access credits required:
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The PEN Team
Surprising Findings: GRADE meets the Nutrition Media
A colleague recently alerted me to an article, Nutrimedia: a novel web-based resource for the general public that evaluates the veracity of nutrition claims using the GRADE approach (1). Very intriguing!
Many of us have heard of GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation), a transparent approach for evaluating the certainty of evidence for each outcome of an intervention (i.e. high, moderate, low or very low). Clinical practice guidelines can use this graded evidence to report the strength of recommendations (i.e. strong or conditional). Not all systematic reviews and guidelines use this approach, so PEN® evidence reports if GRADE evaluation has been done and uses the PEN GRADE Process to develop the evidence and recommendations for some PEN questions (e.g. cardiovascular disease, ketogenic diet and diabetes, malnutrition, oral health, osteoarthritis).
What is unique about Nutrimedia?
Nutrimedia is a Spanish-based initiative designed to evaluate the accuracy of various nutrition claims for the public. (It is a Spanish website so has limited capacity for English translation). It is a joint project between Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre and Pompeu Fabra University. To develop Nutrimedia, the Spanish researchers examined some nutrition claims (e.g. common beliefs reported in the media or in advertising and those collected from the public from an online survey). After assessing the certainty of the body of evidence using the GRADE approach, they classified the veracity of these claims into seven categories: true, probably true, possibly true, false, probably false, possibly false and uncertain. Claims supported by high certainty evidence were described as true or false. Lower certainty evidence was communicated using language modifiers: probably true/false for moderate certainty evidence, possibly true/false for low certainty evidence, uncertain for very low certainty evidence. They also developed plain language summaries of the evidence and engaging online tools to explain the evidence for the end user.
How does Nutrimedia stack up against PEN Recommendations?
In the published article, the authors summarize 30 nutrition claims (up to May 2019), almost half of which were classified as uncertain (1). Most evaluations (70%) were about specific food products.
Table 1. Comparison of Nutrimedia and PEN recommendations on selected topics
Table 1 shows that the assessment of the quality of evidence for the selected topics was similar between the two tools. Nutrimedia evaluates the veracity of the nutrition claim. The PEN System provides an overall recommendation for practitioners that considers benefits and risks based on important outcomes of a nutrition intervention.
Where do we go from here?
Nutrimedia is a Spanish website that uses the GRADE approach to evaluate nutrition media claims for the public using an easily understood classification system (e.g. true, false). It also provides online plain language summaries and web-based tools to support the message. The authors report good traffic to their website; however, they have not tested how well the seven-point scale communicates uncertainty to the public. Limitations include the challenges in translation, that few nutrition claims have been evaluated, and that there is no system in place to monitor and update the evaluations.
Like Nutrimedia, the PEN System also dispels nutrition myths through practice-based nutrition questions using a rigorous evidence grading system including GRADE, but the PEN System is a robust database that examines evidence for thousands of nutrition questions relevant to dietetic practice. The PEN System translates evidence into recommendations for nutrition professionals considering important outcomes of interventions; in turn these recommendations are translated into evidence-based advice in PEN handouts. The PEN database is dynamic and strives to maintain currency and incorporate high quality evidence that impacts practice recommendations in a timely manner.
It is great that researchers are investigating ways of communicating GRADE results directly to the general public and I look forward to expansion of this work.
Dawna Royall MSc, RD, FDC
PEN® Senior Evidence Analyst
- Rabassa M, Alonso-Coello P, Casino G. Nutrimedia: a novel web-based resource for the general public that evaluates the veracity of nutrition claims using the GRADE approach. PLoS One. 2020 Apr 30;15(4):e0232393. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232393. PMID: 32353048; PMCID: PMC7192410. Abstract available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32353048/
What are the Top 10 Content Alerts and the Top 10 Favourites of 2020?
What are the PEN® Content alerts and My Favourites features?
The Content Alerts feature sends out an email alerting you to upcoming PEN content, newly posted Trending Topics and specific content topics. You can even choose the frequency in which you receive the alert emails: weekly, monthly or quarterly.
My Favourites allows you to save your favourite practice questions, practice guidance toolkits, summaries of recommendation and evidence, backgrounds and tools & resources, so they are all conveniently located in one place.
Both features are customizable to information that is relevant and important to you and your practice and can be found on your home page.
Top 10 Content Alerts (as of Dec 31, 2020)
Gastrointestinal System - Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Gastrointestinal System - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: FODMAP
Gastrointestinal System - Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Child and Youth Nutrition
Gastrointestinal System - Probiotics
Top 10 My Favourites (as of Dec 31, 2020)
International Alcohol Guideline Collection
PEN Handout Collection - Health Conditions
Weight/Obesity Practice Guidance Toolkit
Food Sources of Iron
Pregnancy Summary of Recommendations and Evidence
Sports Nutrition Summary of Recommendations and Evidence
Eating Guidelines for People with High Blood Cholesterol Levels
PEN Handout Collection - Food Sources and Nutrients (Canada)
Eating Guidelines for Increasing Your Energy and Protein Intakes
Eating Guidelines for Managing Reflux
to subscribe to PEN Content Alerts or to learn more about My Favourites, click here
January 2021 Volume
A Publication of the PEN® System Global Partners,
a collaborative partnership between International Dietetic Associations.
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