Study shows yogurt consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that higher consumption of yoghurt, compared with no consumption, can reduce the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes by 28%. Scientists at the University of Cambridge found that in fact higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, which include all yoghurt varieties and some low-fat cheeses, also reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24% overall.Lead scientist Dr Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, commented “this research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and are relevant for public health messages.”Dairy products are an important source of high quality protein, vitamins and minerals. However, they are also a source of saturated fat, which dietary guidelines currently advise people not to consume in high quantities, instead recommending they replace these with lower fat options.Previous studies on links between dairy product consumption (high fat or low fat) and diabetes had inconclusive findings. Thus, the nature of the association between dairy product intake and type 2 diabetes remains unclear, prompting the authors to carry out this new investigation, using much more detailed assessment of dairy product consumption than was done in past research.The research was based on the large EPIC-Norfolk study which includes more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk, UK. It compared a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed over a week at the time of study entry among 753 people who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes over 11 years of follow-up with 3,502 randomly selected study participants. This allowed the researchers to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to the consumption of total dairy products and also types of individual dairy products.The consumption of total dairy, total high-fat dairy or total low-fat dairy was not associated with new-onset diabetes once important factors like healthier lifestyles, education, obesity levels, other eating habits and total calorie intake were taken into account. Total milk and cheese intakes were also not associated with diabetes risk. In contrast, those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products (such as yoghurt, fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese) were 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the 11 years, compared with non-consumers.When examined separately from the other low-fat fermented dairy products, yoghurt, which makes up more than 85% of these products, was associated with a 28% reduced risk of developing diabetes. This risk reduction was observed among individuals who consumed an average of four and a half standard 125g pots of yoghurt per week. The same applies to other low-fat fermented dairy products such as low-fat unripened cheeses including fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese. …

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High BPA levels in children associated with higher risk of obesity and abnormal waist circumference

Aug. 19, 2013 — Children who have higher levels of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical previously used in many products for kids, like baby bottles and plastic toys, had a higher odds of obesity and adverse levels of body fat, according to a new study from University of Michigan researchers.The U-M team studied the levels of BPA found in children’s urine and then measured body fat, waist circumference, and cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors, in a study published today in Pediatrics.BPA was previously widely used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate and epoxy resins used in a variety of products for children, including baby bottles, protective coatings on metal food containers, plastic toys, and dental sealants.”Studies in adults had shown an association between high BPA levels and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but little was known about its effects in children,” says Donna Eng, M.D., lead author of the study and recent graduate of the Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.The study found that higher odds of obesity, defined as a BMI above the 95th percentile on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth curves, was associated with higher levels of urinary BPA. Researchers also found that children with higher BPA levels also were more likely to have an abnormal waist circumference-to-height ratio.The study did not find significant associations of BPA with any other chronic disease factors, including abnormal levels of cholesterol, insulin or glucose levels.”Our study suggests a possible link between BPA exposure and childhood obesity. We therefore need more longitudinal studies to determine if there is a causal link between BPA and excess body fat.” says Eng.Manufacturers have been voluntarily recalling BPA products due to suspicion about the toxic effects on children and other vulnerable populations. Many countries, including Canada and members of the European Union, as well as several U.S. states, have banned BPA use in products frequently used by infants and young children.In July 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain BPA; however, this restriction does not apply to other BPA containing products.”We were surprised that our study did not find an association between BPA and measures of cardiovascular and diabetes risk, which has been established among adults,” says Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H, associate professor of Pediatrics at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.”Based on these results, BPA may not have adverse effects on cardiovascular and diabetes risk, but it’s certainly possible that the adverse effects of BPA could compound over time, with health effects that only later manifest in adulthood,” says Lee, an investigator in U-M’s Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit and assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the U-M School of Public Health.Investigators hope the study will prompt more research into BPA’s effects that can inform future policy regulating children’s consumer products.Additional authors: All of the University of Michigan. Of the School of Public Health: John D. …

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Epigenetic changes to fat cells following exercise

July 3, 2013 — Exercise, even in small doses, changes the expression of our innate DNA. New research from Lund University in Sweden has described for the first time what happens on an epigenetic level in fat cells when we undertake physical activity.”Our study shows the positive effects of exercise, because the epigenetic pattern of genes that affect fat storage in the body changes,” says Charlotte Ling, Associate Professor at Lund University Diabetes Centre.The cells of the body contain DNA, which contains genes. We inherit our genes and they cannot be changed. The genes, however, have ‘methyl groups’ attached which affect what is known as ‘gene expression’ — whether the genes are activated or deactivated. The methyl groups can be influenced in various ways, through exercise, diet and lifestyle, in a process known as ‘DNA methylation’. This is epigenetics, a relatively new research field that in recent years has attracted more and more attention.In the study, the researchers investigated what happened to the methyl groups in the fat cells of 23 slightly overweight, healthy men aged around 35 who had not previously engaged in any physical activity, when they regularly attended spinning and aerobics classes over a six-month period.”They were supposed to attend three sessions a week, but they went on average 1.8 times,” says Tina Rönn, Associate Researcher at Lund University.Using technology that analyses 480 000 positions throughout the genome, they could see that epigenetic changes had taken place in 7,000 genes (an individual has 20-25 000 genes). They then went on to look specifically at the methylation in genes linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity.”We found changes in those genes too, which suggests that altered DNA methylation as a result of physical activity could be one of the mechanisms of how these genes affect the risk of disease,” says Tina Rönn, adding that this has never before been studied in fat cells and that they now have a map of the DNA methylome in fat.In the laboratory, the researchers were able to confirm the findings in vitro (studying cell cultures in test tubes) by deactivating certain genes and thus reducing their expression. This resulted in changes in fat storage in fat cells.

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Obese male mice father offspring with higher levels of body fat

June 16, 2013 — Male mice who were fed a high-fat diet and became obese were more likely to father offspring who also had higher levels of body fat, a new Ohio University study finds.The effect was observed primarily in male offspring, despite their consumption of a low-fat diet, scientists reported today at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Francisco, Calif.”We’ve identified a number of traits that may affect metabolism and behavior of offspring dependent on the pre-conception diet of the father,” said Felicia Nowak, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who is lead author on the study.The researchers point to epigenetics — the way genes are expressed, as opposed to mutations in DNA that are “hard-wired into the genes” — as a possible cause of these inherited traits. Because gene expression is impacted by environmental and lifestyle factors, this finding suggests that individuals with obese fathers may be able to proactively address health concerns.The effect of parents’ diet and weight on children has been well-established in humans, Nowak explained, but scientists have been studying the issue in mice to learn more about the biological mechanisms behind the phenomenon. The Ohio University team studied the impact of the high-fat diet only with male mice parents, as most of the previous research had focused on female mice parents.To conduct the study, the researchers fed male mice a high-fat diet for 13 weeks before mating. (The female mates were fed a matched low-fat diet.) Male and female offspring were fed a standard low-fat diet and studied at 20 days, six weeks and at six and 12 months.Compared with offspring from control mice (who were fed the low-fat diet), the male offspring of paternal mice with diet-induced obesity had higher body weight at six weeks of age. They also were more obese at the six- and 12-month study markers. In addition, the male offspring of obese fathers had different patterns of body fat composition — a marker for health and propensity for disease — than the control mice.The researchers were surprised, however, to find that the offspring of the obese paternal mice also were more physically active. At six weeks, the male offspring voluntarily ran more, and their female siblings demonstrated the same behavior at six and 12 months, the scientists report. Nowak’s team is studying possible causes for this behavior, which might offset the increased body fat and reduce the offspring’s risk of metabolic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.In the next phase of the research, the team will seek to identify the genes responsible for the physiological and behavioral changes. This, in turn, may inform clinicians about possible epigenetic factors in human obesity.”Early detection and prediction of risk for obesity, diabetes and related diseases will enable individuals and health care workers to delay or prevent the related disabilities and increase life expectancy,” Nowak said. The study was funded by the Ohio University Research Council and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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Lab experiments question effectiveness of green coffee bean weight-loss supplements

June 12, 2013 — A major ingredient in those green coffee bean dietary supplements — often touted as “miracle” weight-loss products — doesn’t prevent weight gain in obese laboratory mice fed a high-fat diet when given at higher doses. That’s the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It also linked the ingredient to an unhealthy build-up of fat in the liver.Share This:Vance Matthews, Kevin Croft and their team note that coffee is rich in healthful, natural, plant-based polyphenol substances. They cite evidence from past studies that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other disorders collectively termed the “metabolic syndrome.” Chlorogenic acid (CGA), one coffee polyphenol, is the main ingredient in scores of dietary supplements promoted as weight-loss products. Much research has been done on mixtures of coffee polyphenols. Until now, however, scientists have not checked the effects of higher doses of CGA alone on obesity and other symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. Matthews’ team decided to do that, using special laboratory mice that are stand-ins for humans in such tests.They report that mice on a high-fat diet and mice on a high-fat diet plus CGA gained the same amount of weight. The CGA mice, however, were more likely to develop disorders that often lead to type 2 diabetes. They also accumulated fat inside the cells in their livers. “This study suggests that higher doses of CGA supplementation in a high-fat diet does not protect against features of the metabolic syndrome in diet-induced obese mice,” they say.Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. …

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