Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Research Update

Is your breakfast making you hungry?

The Study
48 subjects consumed Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal and Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast on 2 separate occasions in a randomized crossover trial. Both meals contained 363 calories; 250 for the cereal and 113 for the fat free milk. Visual analogue scales measuring hunger and satiety were completed throughout the morning of each test. When the subjects consumed the oatmeal, they reported significantly higher levels of fullness and significantly lower levels of hunger, desire to eat, and prospective food intake than when eating the Honey Nut Cheerios. The oatmeal breakfast was lower in sugar, had a lower glycemic index, and had higher amounts of protein, total fiber, soluble fiber, and beta glucan than the Cheerios. These are all potential mechanisms for the increased satiety. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2013; 32:272-79.

Take Home Message
When it comes to weight loss, a calorie is not a calorie! Some foods increase hunger and subsequent energy intake, and some don’t. The glycemic load is a powerful concept that must be understood if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

What’s more important, the number of fruits and vegetables consumed or the variety?

The Study
71,141 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 42,135 men from the Health Professional Follow-up Study had their quantity and variety of fruit and vegetable consumption measured for a period of 22 years. Subjects consuming 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a 17% lower risk of heart disease compared to those consuming 2 or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Variety, which was measured as the total number of unique fruits and vegetables consumed at least once per week, was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. The authors believed the reduction in risk of heart disease was due to the presence of carotenoids, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and/or antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013; 98:1514-23.

Take Home Message
While it is always good advice to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, it may not be as important as the number of servings, at least when it comes to risk of heart disease. One last note: white potatoes and fruit juices were not considered as servings of fruits and vegetables by the researchers, most likely due to their higher glycemic load.

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