MIND Diet Repeatedly Ranked Among Best

Food.Diet.ListA diet created, studied and reported on by researchers at Rush University Medical Center has been ranked the easiest diet to follow and the second best overall diet (tying in both categories) for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report. The MIND diet also tied for third for best diet for healthy eating and was ranked in the top five in five categories.

Now in its sixth year, the annual “Best Diets” list provides the facts about 35 chosen eating plans and ranks them on a range of levels, from their heart healthiness to their likelihood to help with weight loss. To create the annual rankings, U.S. News editors and reporters spend months winnowing potential additions to the diet roster and then mine medical journals, government reports and other resources to create in-depth profiles. Each profile explains how the diet works, whether or not its claims are substantiated, scrutinizes it for possible health risks and examines what it’s like to live on the diet, not just read about it.

Eating away at Alzheimer’s risk

The MIND diet is a research-based diet developed by Martha Clare Morris, ScD, a Rush nutritional epidemiologist, and her colleagues. In recent studies, the MIND diet showed that it helped lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well.

“One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for Alzheimers,” Morris says. The researchers also have found that adhering to the diet may slow cognitive decline among aging adults, even when the person is not at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

The name of the MIND diet is short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both diets have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Some researchers have found that the two older diets provide protection against dementia as well.

A wine and no cheese party

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” and five unhealthy groups – red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet, a person would need to eat at least three servings of whole grains, a green leafy vegetable and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine — snack most days on nuts, have beans every other day or so, eat poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. In addition, the study found that to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of cognitive decline, he or she must limit intake of the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), sweets and pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three).

Berries are the only fruit specifically to be included in the MIND diet. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” Morris says, and strawberries also have performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function.

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Source: ScienceDaily January 5, 2016.

Take Heart: Mediterranean Diet Combats Type 2 Diabetes, Study Says

Food.FruitsAdhering to a so-called Mediterranean diet may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, especially if you’re at high risk for heart disease.

That’s the finding of researchers who reviewed 19 studies that included more than 162,000 people in different countries for an average of 5.5 years.

The analysis revealed that a Mediterranean diet – which is rich in fish, nuts, vegetables and fruits – was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with other eating patterns.

A Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of diabetes even more – by 27 percent – among people at high risk for heart disease. Diabetes prevention is especially important for people at risk of heart disease, according to the authors of the study, which is to be presented Saturday at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting, in Washington, D.C.

“Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race or culture,” lead investigator Demosthenes Panagiotakos, a professor at Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, said in a college news release. “This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high-risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet.”

Read the full story.

Source: MedicineNet.

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Paleolithic Diet ‘Does not Suppress Hunger,’ Study Suggests

Comic.NotRightThe “paleolithic diet” is based on the hypothesis that eating the same food groups as our Stone Age ancestors – such as cultivated plants and unprocessed meats – suppresses appetite. But new research led by Imperial College London in the UK finds this may not be the case.

According to the background of the study, the diets of ancestral human populations incorporated higher levels of indigestible plant material, compared with modern-day diets, which tend to be high in fat and sugar.

Past research has suggested that one of the reasons there has been such an increase in obesity is that the mechanisms behind appetite suppression in humans have evolved to adapt to a higher intake of plant material than what is found in present-day diets.

The researchers explain that when plant fibers are fermented by gut bacteria, this produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs trigger appetite-suppressing hormones, known as peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1).

According to the investigators, these findings suggest the idea that a paleo diet suppresses appetite is “flawed.” In essence, they believe high-fiber, plant-based diets do not increase SCFA production or reduce appetite.

“We found that diet does play a major role in affecting gut bacteria and the production of a hormone that suppresses appetite but not in the direction predicted by the ancestral diet hypothesis. Also, bacterial products were correlated with hormone release that were different from those normally thought to play this role.”

Check the full article.

Source: Medical News Today.

Study Further Illuminates Heart-Healthy Benefits of Mediterranean Diet

Food.Diet.ListNew research further illuminates the heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet, tying the eating plan to lower levels of platelets and white blood cells, two markers of inflammation. Inflammation has an association with greater risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Mediterranean diet, characterized by generous servings of foods such as greens, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, has long been hailed as a heart-healthy eating plan. While the link between the diet and a reduction in inflammation has been established, the connection between the eating plan and levels of platelets and white blood cells, two specific inflammatory markers in the body, has remained unclear. Specifically, high platelet counts are associated with both vascular disease and non-vascular conditions such as cancer, and a high white blood cell count is a predictor of ischemic vascular disease.

“An important finding of this study is that it indicates that the Mediterranean diet as a whole, and not just a few specific ingredients, is likely responsible for the beneficial health outcomes among the healthy population and should be encouraged as part of healthy eating habits,” said lead study author Marialaura Bonaccio.

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Source: Medical News Today.

Healthy midlife diet may prevent dementia later

Support.Healthy.LivingHealthy dietary choices in midlife may prevent dementia in later years, according a doctoral thesis. The results showed that those who ate the healthiest diet at the average age of 50 had an almost 90 per cent lower risk of dementia in a 14-year follow-up study than those whose diet was the least healthy. The study was the first in the world to investigate the relationship between a healthy diet as early as in midlife and the risk of developing dementia later on.

The researchers assessed the link between diet and dementia using a healthy diet index based on the consumption of a variety of foods. Vegetables, berries and fruits, fish and unsaturated fats from milk products and spreads were some of the healthy components, whereas sausages, eggs, sweets, sugary drinks, salty fish and saturated fats from milk products and spreads were indicated as unhealthy.

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Source: University of Eastern Finland. “Healthy midlife diet may prevent dementia later.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2014.

Tip to dieters: Beware of friends and late night cravings

Food.Diet.ListThere’s more to dieting than just sheer willpower and self-control. The presence of friends, late night cravings or the temptation of alcohol can often simply be too strong to resist. Research in the UK monitored the social and environmental factors that make people, who are following weight management programs, cheat. Eighty people who were either part of a weight-loss group or were dieting on their own participated in the one-week study. They were given mobile phones on which they kept an electronic diary of all the temptations that came their way, and the situations during which they gave in to these temptations. This helped the researchers to make a complete real-time record, known as ‘ecological momentary assessment,’ of participants’ dietary temptations and lapses.

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Source: Springer Science+Business Media. “Tip to dieters: Beware of friends and late night cravings.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014.