You must read and accept the disclaimer to use this site. Updated for monthly, 2011

AJCN Apr, 2011 -DETAILS-

FEATURE: This month Science featured an article on free will. I had an interesting exchange about the nature of consciousness and free will. Why consciousness has evolved suggests to me that we may have free will, although I do not understand how it could function in a determinist universe. Read the exchange here.

AJCN This month:
Symposium on Energy, evolution, and human disease - The immune system is often up-regulated by nutrition-related signals, independent of the actual presence of a pathogen. We propose that an overactive immune system, including the “metabolic syndrome,” was adopted evolutionarily in the distant past to help hold out against unconquerable infections such as tuberculosis, malaria, and trypanosomiasis. This immune activation is advantageous in the absence of other disease management methods, especially under conditions in which life expectancy is short. The inflammation has become a major agent of pathology in wealthy populations in whom the pathogens are a minor threat and life expectancy is long.

Anti-inflammatory signals are sent by: Exercise; MUFAs and PUFAs; omega- 3 fats, HDL; plant polyphenols; vitamin D
Inflammatory signals are sent by: Inactivity; trans fats; saturated fats; omega-6 fats; branched chain amino acids; pollution; triglycrides; glucose and AGEs.

1. Exercise prevents weight gain, chronic disease, and premature death in study of almost 300,000 men and women

2. Replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats reduces risk for heart disease - Current dietary recommendations advise reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) risk...the risk of CHD is reduced when SFAs are replaced with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). In populations who consume a Western diet, the replacement of 1% of energy from SFAs with PUFAs lowers LDL cholesterol and is likely to produce a reduction in CHD incidence of ≥2–3%.

3. We tested whether raising plasma free fatty acids by using a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet [like the Atkin's diet] results in alterations in heart and brain in healthy subjects. ..Raising plasma free fatty acids decreased cardiac function and reduced cognition, which suggests that a high-fat diet is detrimental to heart and brain in healthy subjects.

4. Acetyl-Carnitine intake (2 g daily) benefits nerve and mitochondrial health - Patients with hepatic encephelopathy treated with ALC showed a decrease in the severity of both mental and physical fatigue and an increase in physical activity.

5. Folate intake is inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer only during early preadenoma stages.

6. Low carb diet [like Atkins] increases risk of diabetes - A score representing a low-carbohydrate diet high in animal protein and fat was positively associated with the risk of T2D in men. Low-carbohydrate diets should obtain protein and fat from foods other than red and processed meat.

7. The prevalence of obesity have tripled since 1970, as has energy intake. Dietary interventions should focus on decreasing energy intake and potentially by substituting protein for fat or carbohydrates.

8. A price increase for the high-calorie foods reduced the percentage of calories chosen for lunch but only in the absence of calorie information.

9. Fetal brain, immune system, and proper birth weight all developed from proper fish oil intake by mother - An enhanced maternal-fetal n−3 PUFA status was associated with lower childhood adiposity.

10. Breastfeeding was shown to be related to a lower risk of obesity (4–7), less diabetes mellitus (8), and lower blood pressure in childhood...The duration of exclusive breastfeeding in infancy is related to properties of the carotid arterial wall at the age of 5 y, as shown by the greater CIMT in children who were exclusively breastfed for 3 to 6 mo.

11. A low-intensity behavioral intervention during pregnancy reduced excessive gestational weight gains in normal weight (NW) women and prevented postpartum weight retention in NW and Overweight/Obese women. The intervention included one face-to-face visit; weekly mailed materials that promoted an appropriate weight gain, healthy eating, and exercise; individual graphs of weight gain; and telephone-based feedback.

12. 50% of your capacity to drink alcohol is genetic - Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading contributor to preventable death worldwide, contributing to 2.5 million deaths per year (1–3). That alcohol consumption is heritable is well recognized (5, 6). Nearly 50% of the variation in excessive alcohol consumption and problem drinking is attributable to genetic influences (7).

- Roc, Nutrition Investigator

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