High-sugar diet in children tied to lower cognitive development

Study also found children whose mothers ate large amounts of processed foods and drank sugary sodas during pregnancy scored lower on tests.

Children who had similar dietary habits, usually passed down from their parents, were found to be less intelligent. (Photo: Pexels)

 Children who had similar dietary habits, usually passed down from their parents, were found to be less intelligent. (Photo: Pexels)

A new study has found that children score lower in cognitive tests if they are on a high-sugar diet or their mothers consumed too much sweet during pregnancy.

A new Harvard University study found children whose mothers ate large amounts of processed foods and drank sugary sodas during pregnancy scored lower on tests relating to learning, memory, problem-solving and verbal skills.

Similarly, children who had similar dietary habits, usually passed down from their parents, were found to be less intelligent.

On the other hand, mums and children on high-fruit diet scored significantly better.

On the flip side, when mothers and children ate diets that were high in fruit, which contains so-called healthy sugars, scores were significantly improved.

This study is one of the first to draw a link between the substance and early brain development.

According to the American Heart Association, one should not consume more than 10 teaspoons of sugar each day.

However, average daily consumption usually rakes up 350 calories.

Health officials have been warning Americans to cut their sugar intake for the last three decades, but research shows that consumption habits haven’t changed much.

High-sugar diets have been linked to a host of health issues including obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Notably, the study, published this week in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, suggests that the harmful effects of a high-sugar diet begin before a child is even born.

The findings revealed that moms who consumed more than 50 grams of sugar daily had children with lower cognitive scores when it came to memory and problem-solving ability than moms who ate a more natural diet.

Drinking sugar-sweetened sodas in particular during pregnancy was linked to poorer scores for both verbal knowledge and nonverbal skills.

Also, children who drank sugary sodas were found to have poorer verbal intelligence at age seven, whereas children whose ate more fruits were found to have better cognitive scores in several areas, especially when it came to vocabulary.

Fruit-consumption was also associated with improved visual motor abilities in early childhood and verbal intelligence in mid-childhood.

Interestingly, fruit juice was not found to have the same benefits as whole fruit, which may suggest that the benefit was from phytochemicals, the researchers said.

[“Source-deccanchronicle”]

Dementia: This diet delays Alzheimer’s by three years and could prevent it ALTOGETHER

Image result for Dementia: This diet delays Alzheimer’s by three years and could prevent it ALTOGETHER

An estimated 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of the brain disorder, affecting 62 percent of those diagnosed.

Patients suffer memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

A new study has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by up to three years.

Even more promising, the findings suggest that the Mediterranean style of eating could even stop the disease occurring altogether.

Lisa Mosconi at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York scanned the brains of 70 healthy adults, half who followed the Mediterranean diet, and half who followed a typically Western diet. The findings were published in New Scientist magazine.

The brain images of two women were displayed side by side. They were both in their early 50s and ate very different diets.

The first was an MRI scan of a women who has eaten a Mediterranean-style diet most of her life.

“Her brain takes up most of the space inside the skull,” she observed. “The ventricles, those little butterfly-shaped fissures in the middle of the brain, are small and compact.

“The hippocampus – the memory centre of the brain – is well-rounded and in close contact with the surrounding tissues.”

The Mediterranean diet can prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring GETTY

The Mediterranean diet can prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring

A diet rich in fish, olive oil, fruit and vegetables could delay dementia

The second scan was of a women who has eaten a Western-style diet for many years, including processed meat, dairy and sweets.

The image showed that her brain had developed signs of brain atrophy, or shrinkage, which Mosconi said indicated neuronal loss. “As the brain loses neurons, the space is replaced by fluids instead, which show up as black on an MRI,” she explained.

“There are more black areas present in the brain that has been fed a typical Western diet than in the brain that consumed a Mediterranean diet. These are all signs of accelerated ageing and increased risk of dementia.”

Research presented by Alzheimer’s Association International in 2017 supports these findings. It found that healthy older adults who followed a Mediterranean-style diet reduced their chance of getting dementia by a third.

“Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30-35 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment during ageing,” said Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.

The Mediterranean diet’s high level of antioxidants could have a protective effect

The Mediterranean diet’s high level of antioxidants could have a protective effect

A Mediterranean-style diet is fairly simple and focuses on fruit and vegetables, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil and fish.

Meat isn’t a staple in a typical Mediterranean diet. It does feature, though not as often as seafood, poultry and eggs.

There is very little refined sugar or flour in the diet, and aside from olive oil, fats such as butter are rarely consumed.

It’s thought the diet’s high level of antioxidants could have a protective effect.

It is also very high in protein, which may help to prevent brain inflammation and lower cholesterol, which could be linked to memory and cognitive problems.

[“Source-express”]

Nutritional Supplements Don’t Improve Heart Health, Study Finds

Photo: LaChrome (Pixabay)

People who use vitamin and mineral supplements to keep their heart in tiptop shape probably aren’t getting much out of it, suggests a new review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study found that most popular supplements, such as vitamin C and calcium, seemed to provide no benefits in preventing cardiovascular disease or early death. Some even appeared to slightly raise the risk of death.

Researchers analyzed more than 150 randomized clinical trials published from 2012 to 2017. In total, they looked at trials of 15 vitamin and mineral supplements, including multivitamins. The four most commonly used supplements in the US—vitamins C and D, calcium, and multivitamins in general—were found to have no significant effects on any cardiovascular health outcomes, or on the chances of dying prematurely.

Across 43 studies, for instance, there were 2,908 deaths among 18,719 people who took vitamin D, compared to 2,968 deaths among 18,831 people in control groups.

“We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said lead author David Jenkins, a professor in the department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto in Canada, in a statement. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm—but there is no apparent advantage either.”

Jenkins and his team also found there was a very small but noticeable risk of early death from trials of vitamin B3, or niacin, as well as combined supplements containing two or more antioxidants such as Vitamin A, E, β-carotene, selenium, and zinc.

This isn’t the first review to find that most supplements do nothing to help heart health. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government-appointed but independently staffed panel of experts that guide nationwide screening and preventive care practices, came to a similar conclusion in 2014. But their takeaway wasn’t entirely the same as this new study’s.

Back then, the USPSTF found that taking vitamin B9, or folic acid, supplements didn’t prevent cardiovascular problems. But their conclusion was based on a single study. Looking at other trials, including new research published since 2014, the current review found that taking folic acid supplements was associated with a lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, as was taking supplements that had folic acid in combination with B6 and B1.

Jenkins and his team say there’s still more research that needs to be done in studying folic acid’s possible benefits. Even if it does help the heart, it might not be worth taking in supplement form for people in the US, since many products here are already fortified with it. The single new study after the USPSTF review that found a heart-boosting effect was conducted in China, where most products aren’t fortified with folic acid. And taking it as a supplement might not be entirely risk free, because some research has suggested folic acid could raise the risk of certain cancers.

It’s estimated that around 50 percent of Americans regularly take at least one vitamin supplement, and around 30 percent take a multivitamin. And while most of these products aren’t doing any damage, the researchers think their findings offer a clear lesson on priorities.

“In the absence of significant positive data—apart from folic acid’s potential reduction in the risk of stroke and heart disease—it’s most beneficial to rely on a healthy diet to get your fill of vitamins and minerals,” he said. “So far, no research on supplements has shown us anything better than healthy servings of less-processed plant foods including vegetables, fruits, and nuts.”

[“Source-gizmodo”]