Eat a big breakfast for more weight loss

healthy-fried-breakfastWeight loss supplements like Garcinia Cambogia may help a little, but successful weight loss depends on how much you eat and exercise and perhaps also the timing of your meals.

A recent study examined the relevance of meal timing among overweight or obese women on a weight loss program.

The researchers compared the effects of eating a large number of calories either at lunch or dinner on weight loss. Here is a detailed summary of their findings.

Background

Growing evidence from controlled trials suggests that the timing of your meals may affect your health.

For example, eating most of your daily calories late in the afternoon or evening may adversely affect your blood sugar control(123).
Alarm Clock On Plate
Also, some studies show that eating a lot in the late afternoon or evening, relative to earlier in the day, may reduce calorie expenditure and promote weight gain (456).

These findings are supported by studies indicating that consuming more than half of your daily calorie intake at or before midday is associated with a lower risk of obesity, compared to eating that amount in the late afternoon or evening (7).

Article Reviewed

This study compared the effects of eating a high-calorie meal either at lunch or dinner on weight loss success among obese women.

Beneficial effect of high energy intake at lunch rather than dinner on weight loss in healthy obese women in a weight-loss program: a randomized clinical trial.

Study Design

This 3-month, randomized trial compared the effects of eating a high-calorie meal either at lunch or dinner on weight loss and heart disease risk factors in women.

A total of 80 overweight or obese women who were otherwise healthy participated in the study. 86% of them completed the study.

At the beginning of the study, all of the participants started a weight loss program that was designed to promote 7–10% loss of body weight over a 12-week period.

The program involved both diet and exercise and addressed potential difficulties on an individual basis.

The participants were advised to gradually increase physical activity levels up to 60 minutes of moderate activity five days a week.

Additionally, all participants were told to consume 15% of their daily calories at breakfast and 15% from snacks. Their calorie intake at lunch and dinner differed depending on which experimental group they were randomly assigned to:

  • Main meal at lunch: 50% of daily calorie intake at lunch and 20% at dinner.
  • Main meal at dinner: 50% of daily calorie intake at dinner and 20% at lunch.

To improve adherence to the diet, the participants had a meeting with a dietitian twice a week and recieved a phone call every weekday.

At the start and end of the study, the researchers measured the following:

  • Body weight.
  • Waist circumference.
  • Calorie and macronutrient intakes.
  • Fasting blood lipids – total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides.
  • Fasting blood sugar, insulin and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
  • Insulin resistance was calculated using homeostatic model assessment (HOMA).

Bottom Line: This was a randomized trial comparing the health and weight loss effects of eating a high-calorie meal either at lunch or dinner.

Finding 1: A Large Lunch Meal Caused More Weight Loss

The participants lost significant amounts of weight, on average.

However, having a large meal at noon promoted more weight loss (-12.9 lbs or -5.9 kg), compared to eating an equally large meal at dinner (-9.6 lbs or -4.4 kg), as shown in the chart below.

Weight Loss Large Lunch Vs Large Dinner

In contrast, there were no significant differences in waist circumference between groups.

Bottom Line: Eating a large meal at noon led to greater weight loss, compared to an equally large meal at dinner.

Finding 2: A Large Lunch Meal Improved Insulin Sensitivity

The weight loss program improved blood sugar control among all of the participants, but those who ate a large meal at lunch experienced slightly greater benefits.

Fasting insulin levels decreased by 2.01 mIU/mL among those who ate their largest daily meal at noon but only 0.72 mIU/mL among those whose main meal was dinner. Insulin resistance also improved in the lunch group, as shown below.

Insulin Lunch Vs Dinner

On the other hand, there were no significant differences in blood sugar or blood lipid levels between groups.

Bottom Line: Having a large meal at noon had greater benefits for blood sugar control, compared to eating an equally large dinner.

Why Does Eating a Large Meal Early in the Day Promote Weight Loss?

Controlled trials consistently show that eating most of your daily calories early in the day (at breakfast or lunch) may promote weight loss.

Scientists are not entirely sure how this happens, but they have come up with a few plausible theories:

  • Increased fullness: A large early meal may lead to lower calorie intake throughout the day. The current study doesn’t support this hypothesis, as both groups appeared to be eating similar amounts of calories over the day (8).
  • Reduced calorie expenditure: One study showed that an early meal caused a greater increase in metabolic rate and calorie expenditure than an identical meal eaten in the evening (4).

Further studies need to look into the possible physiological mechanisms. Since these effects are time dependent, they might have something to do with the body clock.

Bottom Line: It is incompletely understood why early meals may promote weight loss. Some studies suggest they may increase calorie expenditure.

Limitations

The study was well designed and doesn’t appear to have had any major flaws. However, the authors pointed out a few limitations.

First, the intervention period was relatively short, or just three months. Longer trials are needed to find out if the effects are sustained in the longer term.

Second, the participants were overweight and obese women. Future studies should confirm these findings in other groups.

Summary and Real-Life Application

This study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that meal timing and daily calorie distribution may affect metabolism.

Specifically, the study showed that eating a large meal early in the day, such as at noon, improves the results of a weight loss program, compared to eating a large meal later in the day.

Eating the day’s main meal for lunch also reduced fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance.

If you are trying to lose weight and want to maximize your chances of success, eating your day’s largest meal for breakfast or lunch might be worth a shot

Keto diet proven effective for diabetics

ketogenic-dietMany nutritionalists and dietitians are joining the chorus of fans of ketogenic diet. And certainly it is more effective that even the best diet pills like Garcinia Cambodia.

However, there are some health professionals concerned about the use of ketogenic diets for diabetics.

Addressing this concern, a recent randomized controlled trial investigated the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of a 4-month, very low-calorie ketogenic diet in 89 obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Here is a detailed summary of its findings, in addition to some background information.

 

Background

low-carb-snacks-1200x509The ketogenic diet contains minimal amounts of carbs.

This forces the body to burn fat and leads to ketosis, which is characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood. The ketone bodies partially replace glucose (blood sugar) as fuel for cells.

Reducing sugar intake has multiple health benefits, especially for diabetics.

Additionally, eating sugar, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, may promote overeating. Sugar may also be addictive for some people, making them susceptible to cravings and overeating.

For these reasons, high sugar intake is probably one of the main causes of weight gain and obesity.

A ketogenic diet eliminates most dietary sugar, as well as the health problems associated with it. However, eliminating dietary carbs means that you have to eat more fat or protein instead.

Increasing fat intake doesn’t seem to be a problem if the diet is also calorie-reduced. Studies indicate that high-fat diets are more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets. This is probably because high-fat diets contain much fewer carbs (1).

Additionally, limiting carbs is more beneficial for weight loss and blood sugar control, compared to a low-fat diet or high-carb diet (23).

Yet, some researchers are concerned that a high protein intake on a very low-carb diet may adversely affect diabetic people with kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy) (45).

Others have pointed out that very low-carb or high-protein diets may not be feasible in a real-life setting (6).

In 2008, the American Diabetes Association even concluded that very low-carb diets were of limited use for people with diabetes and should only be considered as part of a structured weight loss program (7).

However, few studies have examined the safety and effectiveness of a calorie-reduced, very low-carb ketogenic diet, compared to a standard weight loss diet.

Article Reviewed

This study examined the safety and effectiveness of a low-calorie ketogenic diet in obese diabetics.

Short-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet interventional weight loss program versus hypocaloric diet in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-8-43-58-am

Study Design

This randomized controlled trial evaluated the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of a low-calorie ketogenic diet in obese people with type 2 diabetes.

A total of 89 men and women, aged 30–65, participated in the study. They followed a 4-month weight loss program, which included lifestyle and behavioral modification support.

The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups:

1. Very Low-Calorie, Ketogenic Diet (VLCK)

This was a commercial weight loss program (DiaproKal Method) based on specific protein supplements provided by Pronokal Protein Supplies in Spain.

The program consisted of three stages:

  1. Active phase: Very low-calorie diet (600–800 calories per day) containing less than 50 grams of carbs from vegetables and 10 grams of olive oil. Protein intake ranged between 0.36–0.55 grams per pound of body weight (0.8–1.2 g per kg).
  2. Metabolic stabilization: When the participants had reached a pre-specified weight loss target, they began a low-calorie diet and gradually started to incorporate different food groups.
  3. Maintenance phase: Finally, the participants went on a weight maintenance diet that was balanced in carbs, protein and fat and ranged between 1,500–2,250 calories per day.

2. Standard Low-Calorie Diet (Control)

This was a standard weight loss diet based on the American Diabetes Association Guidelines (8).

It aimed at reducing calorie intake by 500–1,000 calories per day, depending on the participants’ basal metabolic rate.

The diet provided 10–20% of calories from protein, 45–60% from carbs and less than 30% of calories from fat.


In both groups, the participants attended nine individual support sessions with a dietitian and were contacted by telephone twice a month.

The researchers measured the participants and took blood samples on four occasions: 1) at the start of the study, 2) after 2 weeks, 3) after 2 months, and 4) at the end of the study (after 4 months).

They measured the following parameters:

  • Renal function: Biomarkers of kidney function were measured in blood samples.
  • Liver function: Biomarkers of liver function were measured in blood samples.
  • Ketones: Levels of ketone bodies in blood samples were measured to confirm that those in the VLCK reached ketosis.
  • Body weight, body mass index and waist circumference.
  • Blood sugar control: Fasting blood sugar, insulin and HbA1c were measured in blood samples. Insulin resistance was calculated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA).
  • Blood lipids: Fasting triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
  • Dietary adherence: Assessed using the Eating Self-Efficacy Scale.

Conclusion: This was a randomized controlled trial examining the safety and effectiveness of a calorie-reduced, very low-carb ketogenic diet in obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Finding 1: The Ketogenic Diet Caused Greater Weight Loss

The participants in the VLCK group lost an additional 22 lbs (10 kg) of body weight, compared to the control group.

Specifically, they lost 32 lbs (15 kg) in the VLCK group and 11 lbs (5 kg) in the control group.

They also experienced a greater decrease in waist circumference, as shown in the chart below.

keto-diet-chart

Some researchers have speculated that the ketogenic diet helps people lose weight only because it’s much higher in protein than the standard weight loss diet.

Eating high amounts of protein is known to reduce appetite and increase the amount of calories burned.

One study suggests that going on a ketogenic diet without increasing protein intake has no lasting effect on the amount of calories burned and doesn’t lead to additional weight loss, compared to a standard, high-carb weight loss diet.

Conclusion: The ketogenic diet led to significantly greater weight loss than the standard low-calorie diet.

Finding 2: The Ketogenic Diet Led to Greater Improvements in Blood Sugar Control

Insulin resistance decreased significantly more in the VLCK group, compared to the control, as shown in the chart below.

keto-diet-insulin-charg

Fasting blood sugar levels reduced similarly in both groups.

However, the decrease in HbA1c was significant only in the VLCK group. HbA1c is a marker of blood sugar control that represents the previous 3-month average of blood sugar levels.

These findings are supported by previous studies showing that very low-carb diets improve blood sugar control in diabetics (910).

Conclusion: The ketogenic diet significantly improved blood sugar control, compared to a standard weight loss diet.

Finding 3: Self-Reported Adverse Effects Were More Common on the Ketogenic Diet

The researchers detected no significant differences in safety parameters between groups. However, self-reported adverse effects were more common in the VLCK group.

Mild adverse effects were reported by 80% of the participants in the VLCK group but only 41% of those in the control group. These included headache, nausea, vomiting and weakness.

Additionally, constipation and low blood pressure when standing up (orthostatic hypotension) were more common in the VLCK group at the end of the study. No serious adverse effects were reported.

Adverse effects became less frequent as the study progressed. The authors concluded that the ketogenic diet is a safe, well-tolerated weight loss method for people with type 2 diabetes.

The adverse effects reported in this study are similar to those generally associated with very low-carb diets (11).

Conclusion: Blood analyses revealed no significant differences in biomarkers of liver and kidney function between groups. However, self-reported adverse effects were more common in the VLCK group.

Limitations

Participants in the VLCK group received protein supplements provided by Pronokal Protein Supplies in Spain.

Additionally, five of the nine authors received research grants and advisory board fees from the company, creating a conflict of interest.

Otherwise, the study appears to have been well designed.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In conclusion, a weight loss program based on the ketogenic diet was significantly more effective than a standard weight loss program.

It appeared safe and reasonably well tolerated by people with type 2 diabetes and caused greater weight loss and improvements in blood sugar control.

No, Butter is NOT bad for your heart health

butter-and-knife-on-wooden-chopping-boardFor the past decades, butter has been implicated as a significant cause of heart disease.

However, studies provide mixed results and whether butter truly increases the risk of chronic disease is hotly debated.

A recent meta-analysis examined how eating butter affects heart disease, type 2 diabetes and mortality risk. Here is a detailed summary of the findings.

 

Background

Butter is a dairy product made from cream. It is almost pure milk fat, which mainly consists of saturated fatty acids.

The role of butter in health and disease is uncertain and hotly debated. Several studies show that a high intake of saturated fat is linked with a poor blood lipid profile, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Additionally, one controlled trial showed that a high intake of saturated palm oil, rich in palmitic acid, caused greater gains in belly fat and liver fat, compared to polyunsaturated fat (1).

However, the largest and most recent meta-analyses of observational studies suggest that reducing saturated fat itself has neutral effects on health, whereas replacing it with certain unsaturated fats may have benefits (2).

Additionally, growing evidence suggests that not all saturated fats are the same and demonizing saturated fats as a whole is an oversimplification.

Nevertheless, official dietary guidelines continue to recommend lower intakes of all saturated fat and higher intakes of non-hydrogenated unsaturated fat (3).

Studies suggest that butter is different from other sources of dairy fat. Specifically, the fat in butter is not enclosed in a milk fat globule membrane (MFGM).

Several randomized controlled trials show that eating butter fat has worse effects on the blood lipid profile than other sources of dairy fat with an intact MFGM, such as cream or cheese (456).

Whether these effects translate into an elevated risk of hard endpoints, such as heart attacks, remains unclear.

Article Reviewed

This meta-analysis examined the association between butter intake and heart disease, diabetes and all-cause mortality or death.

Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality.

Study Design

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective observational studies and randomized controlled trials examining the association of butter consumption with heart disease, diabetes and mortality.

The researchers searched scientific databases for all relevant studies that fulfilled the exclusion criteria. When conducting the analysis, they followed the Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines.

A total of 9 publications were selected, including a total of 636,151 participants. No randomized controlled trials with hard endpoints were found.

Bottom Line: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective observational studies investigating the association of butter with the risk of heart disease, diabetes and death.

Finding 1: Butter Was Weakly Linked With All-Cause Death

Two large observational studies assessing the links between butter consumption and all-cause mortality (death) were included in the meta-analysis. These studies included a total of 379,763 participants.

The analysis showed that the risk of death increased by 1% for each tablespoon (14 grams) of butter consumed daily.

Previous, large meta-analyses examining the effects of total saturated fat intake found no significant effects on overall mortality (27).

Bottom Line: The researchers discovered that for each tablespoon of butter eaten, the risk of death from any cause increased by 1%.

Finding 2: Butter Reduced the Risk of Diabetes

The analysis included four studies examining the links between butter consumption and type 2 diabetes. They included a total of 201,628 participants.

Pooling the findings from these studies, the researchers discovered that a higher intake of butter was linked with a modest decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Specifically, the risk of type 2 diabetes decreased by 4% for each tablespoon (14 grams) eaten daily.

Other observational studies have found no association between dairy fat and type 2 diabetes, but a few support the present results, reporting a reduced risk with higher intakes (891011).

Bottom Line: The study showed that each tablespoon of butter eaten daily reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 4%.

Finding 3: Butter Was Not Linked With Heart Disease

Five of the included studies investigated the association of butter with heart disease.

When their results were combined, butter intake was not significantly linked with heart disease, including stroke and coronary heart disease.

These findings are supported by previous meta-analyses (1213).

Bottom Line: The meta-analysis showed that butter was not significantly associated with the risk of developing heart disease.

Limitations

The main limitation of this meta-analysis was the observational design of the included studies. Observational studies cannot demonstrate causality.

Since high butter consumption is generally associated with unhealthy dietary patterns and lifestyle habits, the study might have overestimated the association of butter with mortality, and/or underestimated its links with type 2 diabetes.

Summary and Real-Life Application

This analysis suggests that butter is neutral when it comes to the risk of developing heart disease.

Additionally, it was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but a slightly elevated risk of overall mortality. Since these findings were based on observational studies, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

It should be noted that the elevated mortality risk associated with butter is relatively small compared to many other foods, such as refined grains and sugar.

In conclusion, it seems there is no compelling reason to avoid butter. Moderate amounts should be fine. However, if you eat lots of it, it may be wise to replace some of it with oils that have proven health benefits, such as olive oil.

Does Frequent Snacking affect Weight Loss

pretzels-and-snacks-in-bowlsMany snack foods are unhealthy and easy to overeat.

In many cases, snack foods may contribute to the development of obesity. But does snacking itself affect body weight?

A recent review shows that cutting down on snacks may be as effective as popular weight loss supplements like Garcinia Cambodia. Below is an overview of its main points.

 

Article Reviewed

This review discussed how snacking affects satiety and body weight.

Snack Food, Satiety, and Weight.

What Are Snacks?

Snacks are any foods that are eaten between meals.

They often are ready-to-eat and do not require much preparation. These commonly include candy, chips, crackers, cookies, granola bars, nuts and popcorn.

Although beverages are usually not considered snack foods, they are consumed along with snack foods.

In this review, we place beverages under the broad definition of snack foods.

Bottom Line: Snacking is the act of consuming foods or beverages between meals.

Does Snacking Increase Weight Gain?

Snacking contributes to approximately 27% of the daily calorie intake among children. The percentage has been on the rise in recent decades in both children and adults (12).

The increased popularity of snacking goes hand in hand with increased screen time (watching TV and playing computer games) and less physical activity.

Additionally, highly processed, “unhealthy” snacks are the most popular, and there seems to be limited interest in healthy snacks in the general population (345).

For these reasons, unhealthy snacking often contributes to weight gain.

Bottom Line: Snacking may be largely responsible for weight gain among many people.

Is Snacking Healthy?

In general, nutrient-poor and calorie-rich snacks are considered unhealthy (67).

Unhealthy snacks include candy, chips, cookies and sugary beverages. Healthy snacks may include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

That said, any snacks are unhealthy when snacking goes out of hand and starts contributing to excessive weight gain.

Studies also suggest that irregular eating habits, often associated with snacking, may adversely affect health.

Bottom Line: Healthy snacks can be very nutritious. However, snacking is unhealthy when it gets out of hand or involves unhealthy food.

What Factors Affect Snacking?

Snacking is affected by a variety of factors.

The following factors have been associated with snacking behavior:

  • Poor education: One study showed that snacking was more common among those from poorly educated families (8).
  • Knowledge: Being able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy snacks affects food choice (9).
  • Emotional eating: Some people respond to negative emotions by eating, especially high-sugar, high-fat snacks (10).
  • Stress: Anxiety causes some people to snack, especially emotional eaters (10).
  • Family norms: One study showed that having strict parents reduced snacking among children (11).
  • Social norms: When young adults were led to believe that limiting junk foods was the social norm, their intake of high-calorie snacks decreased (12).
  • Availability: Limited access to healthy snacks affects intake (13).
  • Packaging: Bigger package sizes encourage overeating, regardless of people’s appetite or the taste of the snack (14).
  • Distractions: Mindful eating reduces snack intake, whereas distractions (like watching TV or playing a video game) increases it (15).
  • Variety: Having a wide variety of snacks to choose from can promote overeating (1617).

Bottom Line: Numerous factors influence snacking behavior, including how often people snack, when they do it and how much they eat.

How Do Snacks Affect Appetite?

Some researchers have speculated that eating snacks might promote fullness or satiety, thus reducing the risk of overeating at the next meal (18).

One study found that snacks are generally not very filling. However, of all the snacks evaluated, those with the highest protein content were the most satiating (19).

Another study found that a high-protein afternoon snack delayed the need for dinner, compared to high-fat or high-carb snacks. In fact, the high-carb snack did not delay dinner at all (20).

High-protein snacks that may suppress appetite include:

  • Peanuts and tree nuts (2122).
  • Greek yogurt (2324).

Snacks that are high in fiber may also promote fullness, compared to low-fiber snacks. Popcorn is a good example of a common high-fiber snack food.

Additionally, low-fat (air popped) popcorn is significantly more satiating compared to an equal amount of potato chips (25).

Bottom Line: Snack foods that are high in protein and/or fiber may reduce appetite, compared to other types of snack foods.

Can Snacking Reduce Body Weight?

A few randomized controlled trials have examined how different snack foods affect body weight.

One trial in women showed that snacking on dark chocolate daily reduced body weight and fat mass, compared to fruit-flavored licorice (26).

Other studies comparing a variety of different snack foods found no differences in daily food intake or changes in body weight (272829).

It appears that people may compensate for snacking by eating less food at meals. However, the calorie compensation is often only partial, and regular snacking may lead to weight gain over time (3031).

Additionally, not all snacks are equal. One study showed that eating nut-based snack bars for 3 months reduced body fat and abdominal fat in overweight people, compared to a cereal snack bar (32).

Observational studies have also provided mixed results. Some studies showed no significant links between snack foods and weight or body weight (7).

These findings are partially supported by other observational studies. One important exception is sugary soda, which was significantly linked to obesity (3334).

In general, it seems that snacking on calorie-dense, low-nutrient foods may promote weight gain. This especially applies to sugary soda.

That said, it is still unclear whether traditional snack foods reduce body weight, compared to not snacking. At this point, it seems unlikely.

Bottom Line: There is limited evidence that snack foods reduce body weight. In contrast, high-calorie snack foods may promote weight gain.

Summary and Real-Life Application

Taken together, studies investigating the effects of snack foods on body weight provide mixed results.

In general, high-calorie snack foods are believed to promote obesity, especially sugary soda. In contrast, people seem to partially compensate for consuming healthy snacks by eating less at the next meal.

Overall, there’s limited evidence that traditional snack foods lead to weight loss.

Vegetables are better with Mediterranean cooking

Mediterranean Cooking Makes Vegetables Better Dallas Clouatre

Sometimes lost in the public service messages regarding what to eat is another important component in nutrition—how food is cooked. This is the take home message from a recent article published in Food Chemistry.1 Moreover, it seems that cooking techniques and materials can cut both ways, either depleting nutrients or enhancing them.

Studies have shown, for instance, that using poor quality fats to deep fry fish containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the content of the beneficial omega-3 nutrients.

The Food Chemistry study shows that the opposite also can happen, that deep-frying vegetables in extra virgin olive oil can improve nutritional quality.

There are other reasons cooking can be both friend and foe of nutrition. Over-cooking can destroy nutrients because of heat and oxidation, cause them to be tossed out with cooking water, and so forth.

In contrast, cooking can make available compounds that otherwise digestion normally cannot extract from raw food.

In this particular case, it was found that frying in extra virgin olive oil transferred to vegetables polyphenols from the oil and thereby improved the antioxidant capacity of the vegetables in comparison with either raw or boiled alternatives.

The particular new healthful polyphenols were shown to be from the oil and not found originally in the raw vegetables.

The further implication is that frying in oils of lesser quality will lead to vegetables that are not as nutritious as those fried in extra virgin olive oil.

Frying with Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Extra Nutrition
Nutrients in raw vegetables often are less bioavailable than is true when the same vegetables are cooked. Likewise, cooking sometimes leads to beneficial transformations of nutrients.

The degree to which these claims are true varies from vegetable-to- vegetable and with the cooking method employed. In the present study in Food Chemistry, potato, tomato, eggplant and pumpkin (120 grams each) were deep fried, sautéed and boiled.

Extra virgin olive oil was used for the frying and also added to cooking water to create a water/oil mixture; the third cooked arm employed water only.

The methods used were typical of standard cooking techniques. Deep fat frying used five parts oil to one part vegetable, whereas sautéing used one half as much oil as vegetable; temperatures were approximately 360 °F and 175–212 °F, respectively.

Boiling used five parts water or five parts water/oil to one part vegetable. Cooking lasted 10 minutes; vegetables were drained for an additional five minutes and then refrigerated before being homogenized for testing.

Testing before and after cooking determined fat, moisture, total phenols (or phenolics, referring to the chemical structure of these nutrients), eighteen phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity.

Not surprisingly, deep-frying led to the greatest moisture loss and the greatest gain in fat; sautéing increased fat content less without appreciably changing the moisture content versus the raw state.

Depending on the vegetable, boiling either increased moisture or exercised no significant effect; boiling in the water/oil mixture increased vegetable oil content.

Changes in phenolic nutrients were more complex. Deep-frying increased these significantly for all four vegetables by reducing moisture.

Sautéing led to nutrient increases in potato and pumpkin, but only non-significant increases in eggplant and tomato.

For eggplant, sautéing reduced total endogenous phenolics, primarily chlorgenic acid, apparently because of oxidation from exposure to air due to not being totally covered by the oil.

Total phenolics fell in both potato and pumpkin from either method of boiling. Both frying techniques increased phenolic nutrients typical of extra virgin oil indicating a transfer to the vegetables of oleuropein, pinoresinol, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, p-coumaric acid and hydroxybenzoic acid.

Phenolic nutrients already found in these vegetables, such as chlorogenic acid and rutin, increased except in the eggplant.

Interestingly, all the cooking methods conserved or increased antioxidant capacity in the order of deep-frying, sautéing, and then boiling. The best results with either form of boiling required that the cooking water be consumed along with the vegetable.

About that Olive Oil…
Extra virgin olive oil is oil that has undergone the least processing and that retains the highest levels of naturally occurring polyphenols.

Extra virgin and virgin olive oils are good sources of antioxidants and other healthful compounds.

The study in Food Chemistry shows that not all of these healthful compounds are lost in cooking, not even in relatively high-temperature deep-frying. Instead, significant amounts can be transferred to the food being cooked.

This is an important finding, in part because it extends the range of uses of olive oil beyond, for example, dressings for salads, and also because it indicates that olive oil is important for more than simply being a source of monounsaturated fatty acids.

A quick look at research publications limited even to just 2015 yields papers showing that olive oil polyphenols.

  • Inhibit oxidative damage to lipoproteins, including LDLcholesterol, and at the same time improve the functionality of HDL-cholesterol, including the cholesterol efflux capacity to pick up excess cholesterol from peripheral tissues and return it to the liver for disposal
  • Helps to lower blood pressure in both men and women
  • Improves the physiology of the endothelium, a type of cell that lines the interior surface of blood and lymph vessels
  • As part of the Mediterranean diet, exercise favorable effects on a large range of cardiovascular risk factors

Foods: Raw or Cooked?
As with many such debates, evidence for the raw versus cooked food dispute does not neatly come down to either/ or choices.

Are some nutrients damaged or otherwise lost during cooking? Yes, some are. However, as the study above shows, depending on the food, nutrients can become more concentrated and cooking itself can add nutrients. Digestive enzymes are not particularly good at breaking the cell walls found in many vegetables. In these cases, cooking makes much more bioavailable many nutrients.

The carotenoids from carrots are good examples of this phenomenon. Again, the lycopene in tomatoes is three or more times more bioavailable from cooked tomatoes, especially when cooked with oil, than from raw tomatoes.

Small changes in cooking technique, such as not cooking vegetables in large volumes of water and then tossing the cooking water, can save many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

A judicious balance of raw and properly cooked foods is more likely to yield a full range of healthful nutrients than is either approach alone.

Endnote:

  1. Ramirez-Anaya Jdel P, Samaniego-Sanchez C, Castaneda-Saucedo MC, Villalon-Mir M, et al. Phenols and the antioxidant capacity of Mediterranean vegetables prepared with extra virgin olive oil using different domestic cooking techniques. Food Chem. 2015 Dec 1;188:430—8.

Why AGED Garlic Extract is better

Garlic and Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract Immunity Boosters Carmia Borek

Garlic’s potential as a remedy to prevent and combat a wide range of diseases has been lauded and practiced for thousands of years. By the 21st century medicine has confirmed many of the medicinal benefits of garlic. Among the wide range of remedial and preventive properties, garlic has shown the ability to boost immunity. Other effects that are linked in some ways to immunological mechanisms including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and overcoming fatigue.

The pungent taste of garlic is not to everyone’s liking, as its odor may remain on the breath and skin for days; moreover, large quantities of ingested garlic, potentially needed to boost immunity may cause gastrointestinal disturbances. The supplement Aged Garlic ExtractTM (Kyolic® AGETM) that is odorless, has become a most popular preparation that provides the benefits of garlic, including boosting immunity, without the unpleasant side effects. Moreover, its efficacy and reliable standing as the preferred garlic formulation for research on the health benefits of garlic, has yielded over 700 peer reviewed research publications in scientific and medical journals.

Aged Garlic Extract
The manufacturing of AGE, by Wakunaga of America, consists of harvesting organically grown garlic, and carrying out a procedure of extraction and aging, at room temperature, for 20 months The process converts harsh volatile compounds such as allicin to stable substances, thereby increasing antioxidant levels in AGE above levels found in fresh garlic.

Among the many components in AGE the major ones are organosulfur antioxidants, largely water soluble, and highly bioavailable including S-Allyl cysteine and S-Allyl mercaptocysteine. Also present are lipid soluble organosulfur compounds, carbohydrates, including fructans, which are immuo-boosters, micronutrients such as selenium and other antioxidants such as fructosyl arginine and alixin. The high antioxidant level in AGE prevent the damage induced by free radicals that are generated in metabolism and enhanced by environmental factors, such as radiation of different types including UV light from the sun and UV machines. Free radical damage plays a role in inflammation, and various pathological conditions including heart disease, dementia and cancer, so that the inhibition of free radicals by AGE is part of its action in helping prevent these pathological conditions, in part by boosting immunity.

Our Immune System
A healthy immune system is the secret to good health, protecting against infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi and helping block the development of cancer. A weak immune system exposes us to the damaging effects of infectious bacteria and viruses around us, from direct contact, exposure to a cough or a sneeze, from contaminated food and a wide range of sources that trigger serious illnesses, that may lead to death.

The immune system is complex and multilayered. Inflammation is one of the first responses of the immune system to infection and involves the release of substances called prostaglandins and leukotrienes that attract white blood cells (leukocytes) and interferons, that have anti-viral effects.

Among the white cells, the leukocytes there exist B and T lymphocytes. There are subtypes of T cells: killer T cell that kill cells infected with pathogens and helper T cell that regulate the immune response. Killer T cells kill cells that are infected with viruses (and other pathogens), or are otherwise damaged or dysfunctional. Helper T cells regulate the immune responses directing other cells to perform various tasks. Natural killer cell (NK) have in their power to kill tumor cells. Another group of lymphocytes are ãä-T cells that share the characteristics of helper T cells, killer T cells and NK cells.

AGE Enhances Immunity
Aged Garlic Extract has been shown in preclinical and clinical studies to enhance the immune response, mitigate infectious diseases, and kill cancer cells. AGE intake has been shown to increase the phagocytic (cell-killing) activity of macrophages, the activity of the T lymphocytes and increase the number and action of natural killer cells (NK) and antitumor action; AGE also was found to inhibit the allergy-causing histamine release and have anti-inflammatory effects, suppressing prostaglandins and enhancing interferon.

AGE Increases NK Activity
In a random double-blind clinical trial, Ishikawa and colleagues found that AGE given to patients with colorectal, liver or pancreatic cancer resulted in a significant increase in the number and activity of the NK cells, killing cancer cells.

Advanced-cancer patients with a decline in immune functions and quality of life, with inoperable colorectal, liver, or pancreatic cancer were recruited for the study. In a randomized six month double-blind trial, AGE was given to one group and a placebo to another. The patients consisted of 42 with liver cancer (84 percent), seven patients with pancreatic cancer (14 percent), and one patient with colon cancer (two percent). The study showed that both the number of NK cells and the NK cell activity increased significantly in the AGE group; showing that the administration of AGE to patients with advanced cancer of the digestive system has the potential to improve the anti-tumor NK cell activity.

AIDS patients show lower levels of NK cells. Abdullah and colleagues showed that a six week intake of AGE at 1800 mg/day increased the levels of NK cells to that of healthy individuals; Helper T cells were also increased and patients showed an improvement of several pathological conditions, including herpes virus infection, yeast infections and diarrhea; Comparing the efficacy of AGE to that of fresh garlic, investigators found that AGE was more effective as an immune-stimulator than fresh garlic; NK activity was increased by 160 percent with the intake of AGE capsules compared with an increase of 140 percent in patients taking the fresh garlic preparation.

AGE Helps Reduce Colds And Flu
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study recruited 120 healthy subjects (60 per group between ages of 21 and 50) and evaluated the effect of AGE supplementation (2.56 g/d) on the proliferation of immune cells and cold and flu symptoms.

After 45 days of intake of an encapsulated Aged Garlic Extract, NK and £^£_-T cells rose in number, compared to placebo. Following 90 days of supplementation, diary entries of illness showed that though the incidence of colds and flu, were not statistically different, the group consuming Aged Garlic Extract showed a reduced severity of both colds and flu noted by a reduction in the number of reported symptoms (21 percent fewer) and by a reduction in the number of days (61 percent fewer), and incidences (58 percent fewer) where the subjects¡¦ function was sub optimal.

The investigators concluded that supplementation of the diet with AGE may enhance immune cell function and potentially reduce inflammation, resulting in a reduced severity of colds and flu.

AGE Blocks Ultraviolet-Induced Immunosuppression.
Studies on human volunteers in Australia found that exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) causes immunosuppression resulting in an increase skin cancer frequency. There was a gender difference. UV doses that caused immunosuppression in men were three times lower than those causing immunosuppression in women. The investigators concluded that this phenomenon might underlie the higher incidence of skin cancer and mortality observed in the male population.

In a preclinical study, where the immune response as measured by contact hypersensitivity, Reeve and colleagues found that immunosuppression of 58 percent induced by a moderate exposure to UVB radiation was reduced to 19 percent by a diet containing AGE, at 4 percent of the diet. The preclinical studies suggest that AGE may help protect humans against immunosuppression induced by exposure to UV, and therefore have a potential to reduce the risk of UV induced skin cancer, for example by lengthy exposures to the sun.

AGE Reduces Inflammatory Prostaglandins
Oxidative damage by free radicals and immune-inflammatory activation are considered important factors in the development of cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Prostaglandins are substances associated with inflammation in that the release of local pro-inflammatory prostaglandins takes place, accompanied by the destruction of tissue. Rahman and colleagues have shown that dietary supplementation with AGE for 14 days reduced the plasma and urine levels of prostaglandin 8-iso-PGF (2 alpha) by 29 and 37 percent, respectively in nonsmokers and by 35 and 48 percent, respectively in smokers.

By stopping the intake of AGE, they found that in both groups, smokers and non smokers, the plasma and urine concentrations of prostaglandins reversed to values that were no different from those before ingestion of AGE, within fourteen days after cessation of the dietary supplementation. The study shows that a continuous intake of AGE is required to maintain the reduced levels of inflammatory prostaglandins.

The Bottom Line
Aged Garlic Extract is a powerful wide ranging health supplement that plays a role in helping enhance immunity and thus helping protect against diseases and conditions that involve inflammation and weakening of the immune system; such conditions have been reported to be associated with cancer development, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease as well as aging. In over 700 medical and scientific studies in both preclinical and clinical studies, AGE has shown its capacity to help reduce disease and maintain health.

References

  1. Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE et al Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and Υδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. J Nutr. 2012; 31:337—44.
  2. Borek C. Dietary antioxidants and human cancer. Integr Cancer Ther. 2004;3:333—41.
  3. Reeve VE1, Bosnic M, Rozinova E, Boehm-Wilcox C. A garlic extract protects from ultraviolet B (280¡V320 nm) radiation-induced suppression of contact hypersensitivity. Photochem Photobiol. 1993;58:813—7.
  4. Dillon SA, Lowe GM, Billington D, Rahman K. Dietary supplementation with aged garlic extract reduces plasma and urine concentrations of 8-iso-prostaglandin F(2 alpha) in smoking and nonsmoking men and women. J Nutr. 2002 ;132:168—71.
  5. Ishikawa H, Saeki T, Otani T, Suzuki T, Shimozuma K, Nishino H, Fukuda S, Morimoto K. Aged garlic extract prevents a decline of NK cell number and activity in patients with advanced cancer. J Nutr. 2006;136:816S—820S
  6. Abdullah TH, Kirkpatrick DV, Carter J. Enhancement of natural killer activity in AIDS with garlic. J Oncology. 1989;21:52—3.

Health risks of excessive Red meat consumption


Numerous observational studies have associated a high intake of red meat with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

In contrast, a high intake of fruits and vegetables is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

A recent observational study investigated whether high intakes of fruits and vegetables would counterbalance the link between red meat intake and poor health. Here is a summary of its findings.

Background

Observational studies suggest that eating a lot of red meat may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and premature death (12345).

These associations are quite consistent across studies and populations. However, observational studies have a major weakness — they cannot prove causality.

As a result, scientists are still not entirely sure if high red meat intake itself is harmful or if other factors related to high red meat intake are responsible (16).

The unhealthy lifestyle habits sometimes associated with high red meat intake include:

  • Lower-quality diet (78).
  • Low consumption of fruits and vegetables (9).

Nevertheless, some scientists believe that certain components of red meat, especially in processed red meat or overcooked meat, may at least partially explain these associations.

Accordingly, some observational studies have linked processed meat with adverse health effects but not unprocessed, fresh red meat (51011).

Researchers have hypothesized that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables might partially offset the harmful effects of high red meat intake (9).

This hypothesis is supported by evidence indicating that high meat intake does not increase the risk of death when intake of fruits and vegetable is comparable to that of vegetarians (1213).

Article Reviewed

This observational study investigated the association of red meat intake with the risk of death from chronic disease at different levels of fruit and vegetable intake.

High red meat intake and all-cause cardiovascular and cancer mortality: is the risk modified by fruit and vegetable intake?

Study Design

This observational study examined whether high intakes of fruits and vegetables could offset the adverse health effects of red meat intake.

The researchers evaluated data from two large prospective studies, including a total of 74,645 Swedish men and women.

Food intake was evaluated using self-administered questionnaires asking how often people consumed fruits, vegetables, fresh meat or processed meat.

Fresh meats included fresh and minced pork, beef and veal, whereas processed meat included sausages, hot dogs, salami, ham, processed meat cuts, liver pate and blood sausage.

Bottom Line: This was an observational study investigating whether high intakes of fruits and vegetables can counterbalance the negative health effects of high red meat intake.

Finding 1: Red Meat Was Linked With an Increased Risk of Death

The study showed that eating a lot of red meat increased the risk of death from heart disease by 29% and the overall risk of death by 21%. However, it was not significantly associated with an increased risk of death from cancer.

The chart below shows the percent changes in the risk of death, compared to the lowest quintile of red meat consumption (less than 46 grams per day).

Interestingly, these associations were largely reduced when limiting the analyses to non-processed (fresh) red meat, suggesting that processed meat may be to blame.

Bottom Line: The study showed that a high intake of red meat, especially processed red meat, was significantly linked with an increased risk of death from heart disease or other causes.

Finding 2: Eating Fruits and Vegetables Didn’t Reduce the Health Risks of Red Meat Intake

The researchers discovered that red meat intake was associated with an increased risk of death, irrespective of how many fruits and vegetables people were eating.

The harmful effects of red meat were clearly dose dependent. The higher the intake, the more likely the participants were to die during the follow-up period.

Additionally, this association of red meat with death was independent of education status or unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking or alcohol consumption.

The researchers also found that fruit and vegetable intake was not associated with total red meat intake or the intake of processed meat.

In other words, those who ate a lot of red meat didn’t necessarily eat less fruit and vegetables (FV), as shown in the chart below.

However, a high fruit and vegetable intake wasn’t associated with reduced risk of death from heart disease or other causes.

Bottom Line: High red meat intake was consistently associated with an increased risk of death at all levels of fruit and vegetable intake.

Limitations

The study’s main limitation was its observational design – it couldn’t demonstrate causality.

Second, food intake was self-assessed using food frequency questionnaires (FFQs), which are often inaccurate.

In addition, the questionnaires didn’t ask about lamb and game meat intake, which might have skewed the results.

Third, the study revealed no protective effects from fruit and vegetable consumption. This might explain why they didn’t counterbalance the increased risk associated with red meat intake.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In short, this observational study indicates that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables does not counterbalance the harmful effects of high red meat intake.

However, since the study had a few limitations, its findings should be taken with a grain of salt. The results need to be confirmed in future studies.

Try Magnesium to help lower blood sugar levels

Assortment Of Magnesium Rich FoodsSupplementing with magnesium has been popular in recent years and is claimed to improve health in many ways.

Not all of these claims are backed by science, but there is convincing evidence linking magnesium supplementation to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

A recent meta-analysis examined the effects of magnesium supplementation in diabetics or people at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Here is a summary of its findings.

 

Background

Observational studies suggest that magnesium insufficiency or deficiency is linked with heart disease and several metabolic disorders, including hypertension, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (T2D) (123).

One large meta-analysis of observational studies including more than half a million participants showed that higher magnesium intake was associated with a lower risk of T2D (4).

Other studies have also shown that diabetics tend to have lower levels of magnesium, compared to healthy people (56).

However, the direction of causality is unclear. Diabetes might promote magnesium depletion or, alternatively, magnesium deficiency might increase the risk of T2D.

Randomized controlled trials support the second option. They show that supplementing with magnesium improves the symptoms of T2D, indicating that poor dietary intake of magnesium may, at least partly, contribute to its development (7).

But there is also some evidence suggesting that T2D may increase magnesium depletion, creating a vicious cycle (8).

Article Reviewed

This was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the effects of magnesium supplementation on blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) or those at a high risk of developing it.

Effect of magnesium supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials.

Study Design

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the effects of magnesium supplementation on markers of blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.

The researchers searched for relevant articles using five of the largest scientific databases.

The inclusion criteria were the following:

  • A double-blind, randomized controlled trial.
  • Participants were diabetic or at a high risk of developing T2D.
  • The studies examined oral magnesium supplementation.
  • Outcomes included markers of glucose metabolism or insulin sensitivity.

A total of 18 randomized controlled trials fulfilled all of the inclusion criteria — 12 studies included people with T2D and 6 included people at a high risk of diabetes.

Bottom Line: This was a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials examining the association of magnesium supplementation with blood sugar control in diabetics or people at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Finding 1: Magnesium Reduced Fasting Blood Sugar Levels

The analysis showed that supplementing with magnesium significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with T2D or at a high risk of it, compared to a placebo.

Specifically, the standard mean difference was -0.4, which means that magnesium caused a moderate improvement (decrease) in blood sugar levels.

However, magnesium did not affect fasting blood sugar levels in people who didn’t have type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, levels of fasting insulin, insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR) or HbA1c didn’t change significantly.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with magnesium reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Finding 2: Magnesium Reduced the Rise in Blood Sugar After Eating Sugar

An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) measures the changes in blood sugar after eating a dose of pure sugar (glucose). It is currently the gold standard for diagnosing diabetes.

Three of the included studies investigated the effects of magnesium on blood sugar levels during an OGTT in people at a high risk of developing diabetes.

Based on these studies, the researchers concluded that supplementing with magnesium significantly reduces blood sugar levels after eating sugar.

Specifically, the standard mean difference was -0.35, which is a moderate effect.

These findings were supported by one study that measured OGT in diabetics (9).

Bottom Line: Supplementing with magnesium significantly reduced the rise in blood sugar during an oral glucose tolerance test.

Finding 3: High Magnesium Levels Associated With Lower HbA1c Levels in Diabetics

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is a marker of the previous three-month average in blood sugar levels.

Analyses revealed that high magnesium levels correlated with lower levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in people with T2D, supporting the overall findings of the meta-analysis.

However, supplementing with magnesium did not affect HbA1c levels, probably because changes in HbA1c are slow and many of the studies were short in duration.

Magnesium status was also associated with improved insulin sensitivity in people at a high risk of T2D, but no significant links were detected in diabetics.

Bottom Line: Observational studies showed that high magnesium levels were linked with lower HbA1c levels in diabetics.

How Does Magnesium Deficiency Impair Blood Sugar Control?

The meta-analysis strongly suggests that supplementing with magnesium benefits diabetics and those at a high risk of it.

There are several mechanisms by which magnesium insufficiency could impair blood sugar control.

  • Sustained magnesium deficiency appears to reduce blood sugar uptake (1011).
  • Low magnesium levels may impair insulin release from the beta-cells in the pancreas (1213).
  • Poor magnesium status might increase oxidative stress, possibly increasing insulin resistance (10).

Bottom Line: Magnesium deficiency could impair blood sugar control by reducing sugar uptake (insulin sensitivity), impairing insulin release and/or increasing oxidative stress.

Limitations

This meta-analysis seems to have been designed well, and it followed accepted guidelines.

Although the included trials were generally high-quality, they included few participants and were generally short in duration. Long-term trials are needed.

Finally, the included studies varied in their design. For example, the doses of magnesium, as well as its form, differed considerably across studies.

Bottom Line: The included studies were generally of short duration, and their designs varied.

Summary and Real-Life Application

The researchers concluded that supplementing with magnesium may improve blood sugar control in diabetics, as well as people at a high risk of developing diabetes.

If you are diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes, supplementing with magnesium may be a good idea. However, you can also get all the magnesium you need from whole foods.

Magnesium-rich foods include whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, dark leafy greens and fish. It is also abundant in coffee, cocoa and dark chocolate.

Carrageenan may be BAD for your health

Is Carrageenan Bad For You Gene Bruno

Carrageenan, an extract of red seaweed, is a good source of soluble fiber. It is widely used in the food industry, for its gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.

Carrageenan is a vegetarian and vegan alternative to gelatin in some applications. It has also been the subject of many long-term dietary studies under defined regulatory conditions en route to its current global regulatory status.

While some indicate that carrageenan safely passes through rat GI tracts without adverse effect when it is a dietary ingredient, other animal dietary studies have observed colitis-like disease and tumor promotion. This has caused some people to be concerned about the safety of carrageenan when used in dietary supplements.

The question of safety
So what is the bottom line? Is carrageenan a safe or unsafe dietary ingredient for humans? To answer this question, it is important to consider the amount of carrageenan used in animal studies. In a published scientific review called, “Review of Harmful Gastrointestinal Effects of Carrageenan in Animal Experiments,”1 the author discusses a variety of studies.

When examining those in which the animals consumed carrageenan in water or food, negative effects were observed at levels of 0.2 to 15 grams per kilogram of body weight. That would translate to 15 to 1,125 grams of carrageenan daily for a 165 pound human being. At the high end of that range, that’s the equivalent of eating 4500 calories a day just from carrageenan alone.

My point is, the amounts used in these studies are typically far more than people would likely consume on a daily basis in dietary supplements; and speaking of people, it is important to note that the concerns about the use of carrageenan are based solely upon animal studies, not human studies. Nevertheless, there are human studies on carrageenan, and the results are different than those of the animal studies.

Human studies on carrageenan
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study,2 255 patients with peptic ulcers received 0.75 g of carrageenan or a placebo each day for 22 months.

The results were that, compared to placebo, carrageenan was effective for the treatment of peptic ulcer without noticeable side effects (p<0.025). The global judgment of effectiveness was made based chiefly on the x-ray and gastroscopic findings, and then on the outcome of such subjective symptoms as retching, vomiting, nausea, and anorexia.

Another randomized crossover study3 aimed to determine the effect of carrageenan incorporation into a meal on carbohydrate absorption in human subjects.

The concept being that soluble fiber decreases the amount of carbohydrates that reach the bloodstream by delaying their absorption in the small intestine. This was tested by measuring blood glucose levels, a reflection of carbohydrate absorption.

The total dietary fiber (TDF) content of the carrageenan (2.03 percent) meal was about three times that of the control meal (0.68 percent). The meal provided 14.84g (meal with carrageenan) and 3.45 g of TDF (meal without carrageenan), and were fed to the same ten fasting subjects at different times.

The results showed the average blood glucose levels of subjects were significantly lower after consuming the carrageenan meal than when consuming the regular meal (P <or = 0.05 at 15, 45, and 90 minutes). Likewise, there was a significant lowering of total cholesterol (P <0.0014) and triglyceride (P <0.0006) levels after eight weeks with carrageenan. In fact, levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good cholesterol”) increased significantly (P <0.0071) after eight weeks with carrageenan.

No side effects were reported in the study. The researchers concluded that the blood sugar lowering-effects of carrageenan could prove useful in the prevention and management of metabolic conditions such as diabetes.

There are also some human cell line studies, but I didn’t include data on those because they don’t necessarily reflect what happens in a live human body.

Conclusion
In my opinion, at the doses typically found in dietary supplements, carrageenan is neither potentially beneficial nor potentially harmful—there is just too little of it. Personally, I would not hesitate to use dietary supplements that contain carrageenan as part of their make-up.

References

  1. Tobacman JK. Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environ Health Perspect. Oct 2001;109(10): 983–94.
  2. Yamagata S, Ishimori A, Hachiro S, et al. Clinical Evaluation of Pharmacotherapy for Peptic Ulcer with Antipepsin Agents by Double Blind Technique – Multicenter Clinical Study. Tohoku J Exp Med. 1973;110:377–404.
  3. Dumelod BD, Ramirez RP, Tiangson CL, Barrios EB, Panlasigui LN. Carbohydrate availability of arroz caldo with lambda-carrageenan. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1999 Jul;50(4):283–9.