Here are some interesting stories to pay attention to. As a professional in the field, how will you apply the latest news?
The Licensing Effect
– an article in the New York Times Sunday Review October 23 describes research on healthy lifestyle choice patterns, like food selection, that indicate people who make “healthy” choices rebound and balance the pattern out with unhealthy choices. For example, people who bought kale had a higher chance of also buying beer or ice cream. Researchers stated that “our choices are contingent: Since we each have a fairly stable self-concept of how good/bad, healthy/unhealthy or selfish/altruistic we are, when one decision swings too far from this self-concept, we automatically take action to balance it out.” According to the article, tactics to avoid the licensing effect are to 1. Focus on living healthfully as opposed to being health, 2. Home in on process not outcome, 3. Weight the pros and cons of each decision in isolation, 4. Stick to the basics of healthy choices and avoid being influenced by the commercial health-promotion industry. How Salad Can Make Us Fat by Alex Hutchinson, New York Times, October 23, 2015.
Processed Meat and Cancer
– the World Health Organization found sufficient evidence that processed meats like bacon and hotdogs, and red meat could cause cancer. This conclusion was drawn by a committee of 22 experts from 10 countries after reviewing 800 studies. Processed meat was defined as “transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.” Of course many people disagree like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Meat Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk, W.H.O. Report Finds by Anahad O’Connor, New York Times Health, October 26, 2015.
Reduced dietary sugar improved metabolic markers in obese children
– A study published in the journal Obesity, reported restriction of dietary fructose and substitution of complex carbohydrate improved metabolic syndrome “in children with obesity with high habitual added sugar consumption who evidenced co-morbidity, so as to obviate concerns of dose, caloric equivalence, or effects on adiposity.” Researchers are trying to discover why some chronic diseases are now occurring in children and don’t think it is related to calories alone. “It has been hypothesized that changes in dietary composition associated with the Western diet are responsible for biochemical alterations which promote insulin resistance and foment these diseases, known collectively as metabolic syndrome. Fructose has attracted particular concern, due to several unique metabolic and neuroendocrine properties: 1) it is metabolized almost exclusively in the liver; 2) it serves as a substrate for de novo lipogenesis and drives hepatic triglyceride (TG) synthesis and accumulation; 3) it engages in non-enzymatic fructation and reactive oxygen species formation which causes cellular dysfunction; 4) it does not suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, resulting in excessive consumption; and 5) it stimulates the nucleus accumbens resulting in increased reward and continued ingestion. “Isocaloric fructose restriction and metabolic improvement in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome” Lustig, RH et al., Wiley Online Library, October 26, 2015.