Individualized IBS diets reduce symptoms better than placebo

Individualized elimination diets guided by leukocyte activation tests reduced symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) better than a sham diet in a randomized controlled trial.

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Researchers concluded that this dietary strategy may enable patients with IBS to alleviate their symptoms with fewer food restrictions than those required by the low FODMAP diet, which could improve long-term adherence. “We didn’t expect results like this,” Ather Ali, ND, MPH, MHS, assistant professor of pediatrics and of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said in a press release. “The people who consumed the diet consistent with the test did significantly better than people on the sham diet.” In a parallel-group, double-blind trial, Ali and colleagues analyzed blood samples from 58 adults with IBS (mostly white women) using a leukocyte activation test to measure immune response to individual foods. Then they randomly assigned participants to adhere to a diet restricting meals consistent with the test results, or to a sham diet restricting foods inconsistent with the test results, for 4 weeks.

An average of 13 foods was eliminated among all participants out of a possible 200 that were tested, the most common of which included strawberries and cinnamon (low FODMAP foods) followed by almonds, apples, onions and pears (high FODMAP foods). Additionally, overall diet adherence rates were statistically comparable, and patients reported no adverse effects related to the intervention. Patients on the individualized diet showed significantly more significant increases in IBS Global Improvement Scale (GIS) scores compared with those on the sham diet, which served as the primary endpoint. At 4 weeks, the mean difference in scores between groups was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.05-1.67), and at 8 weeks it was 1.22 (95% CI, 0.22-2.22).

Both groups showed significant improvements in IBS Symptom Severity Scale scores, but those on the individualized diet showed significantly higher reductions relative to the sham diet. At 4 weeks, the mean difference in score change from baseline between groups was –61.78 (95% CI, –4.43 to –119.14), and at 8 weeks it was –66.42 (95% CI, –5.75 to –127.09). Both groups experienced statistically comparable changes in mean IBS Adequate Relief and quality of life scores. Further analysis of plasma samples from strong responders showed that reduced levels of a single protein (neutrophil elastase) were associated with reduced symptoms.

The investigators concluded that this study provides novel data supporting the strategy of using leukocyte activation testing to develop individualized diets for IBS. “If these intriguing results can be replicated in larger and more diverse samples they can provide insight into another way to treat a condition that can often be very frustrating,” Ali said in the press release. “It can be debilitating, and patients are often looking for dietary approaches to it.” – by Adam Leitenberger

Adapted fromAli AWeiss TRMcKee D, et al. Efficacy of individualized diets in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. 

Daily Nutrition Nugget

Eating healthy on a budget can seem difficult…But it can be done! Many fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans and peas) cost less than $1 per serving.

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Sometimes in life we just need a hug ... no words, no advice, just a hug to make you feel you matter.

 

 

Top 5 Detox Foods

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Even the most health-conscious among us can go a little crazy on snacks and drinks during the holidays and at springtime and during the summer months, and before we know it, we are back at the holidays. Really, where does the time go? If we are having fun with people we love and care about, then that may also be another reason for indulging in our favorite snacks and drinks. So, when is it not a perfect reason or season to fall victim of the snack trap?

Thankfully, you can kind of have your cake and eat it, too. It’s OK to indulge a little in the foods you love, as long as you know how to get your body back on track. One of the best ways to help your body feel like it’s working at an optimal level is to support the bodies natural detoxification. Your organs are already incredibly well-suited for detoxing things, such as heavy metals, pathogens, and other deleterious compounds from its system. However, sometimes, especially when it’s overloaded and working overtime, your body can use a little bit of detox support.

Eating these foods regularly will help you feel energized and clear-minded. You’ll also notice that side effects of chronic inflammation caused by toxins will disappear. For many people, common side effects are bloating, indigestion, and weight gain, so in a sense, these are “flat tummy” foods, too!

  1. Beets: The root veggie is available year round, but be sure to grab a few at the farmers market before your next summer cookout. Beets support healthy liver function and help it filter out toxins all thanks to something called betaine. This compound, unique to raw beetroot, encourages the liver to cleanse itself and promotes healthy bile production. Try wrapping beets in foil and throwing them on the grill next time you BBQ!
  2. Grapefruit: Juicy, sweet, and tart, grapefruits are good to keep on hand the morning after a heavy meal. The antioxidants in the citrus fruit protect cells from free radical damage. Grapefruit is also very high in fiber, which acts like a broom for your digestive system, sweeping out the gut and intestines until everything is clean and good as new.
  3. Dandelion Root Iced Tea: Not exactly something you can snack on, but still an excellent detoxifying ingredient to have in your pantry! Dandelion Root promotes the production of bile in the liver. In other words, it helps your liver break down and cleanse your internal organs. Make a big batch and sip on this stuff the morning after a night out.
  4. Asparagus: According to the Journal of Food Science, the amino acids and minerals found in asparagus protect liver cells. Because so much of detoxification happens in the liver, it’s important to support this critical organ however possible.
  5. Avocado: Next time you’re feeling a little woozy after one too many skinny margaritas, whip up some avocado toast. A study published in The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that of all fruits, avocado has the most liver-friendly benefits. It’s even able to reverse liver cell damage!

Daily Nutrition Nugget

Be an advocate for healthier kids! Insist on good food choices at school and childcare centers. Contact public officials and make your voice heard.

Daily Inspirational Nugget

Life is so ironic. It takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence, and absence to value presence.

 

Like it or not: Broccoli may be good for the gut

For the broccoli haters of the world, researchers may have more bad news: the vegetable may also help promote a healthy gut.

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In a study, when mice ate broccoli with their regular diet, they were better able to tolerate digestive issues similar to symptoms of leaky gut and colitis than mice that were not placed on a broccoli-supplemented diet, according to Gary Perdew, the John T. and Paige S. Smith Professor in Agricultural Sciences, Penn State. He added that other vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, may also have similar gut health properties. “There are a lot of reasons we want to explore helping with gastrointestinal health and one reason is if you have problems, like a leaky gut, and start to suffer inflammation, that may then lead to other conditions, like arthritis and heart disease,” said Perdew. “Keeping your gut healthy and making sure you have good barrier functions so you’re not getting this leaky effect would be really big.”

Good intestinal barrier function means that the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is helping protect the intestines from toxins and harmful microorganisms while allowing nutrients to pass into the system, he said. According to Perdew, the key to the process may be a receptor in the gut called Aryl hydrocarbon receptor, or AHR. The receptor helps the body regulate its reaction to certain environmental contaminants, as well as triggers other responses to toxin exposure. The researchers, who released their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Functional Foods, suggest that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage contain an organic chemical compound called indole glucosinolates, which breaks down into other compounds, including indolocarbazole (ICZ) in the stomach.

When ICZ binds to and activates the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) in the intestinal lining, it aids in maintaining a healthy balance in the gut flora and immune surveillance, and enhances host barrier function, according to the researchers. This may help prevent diseases, such as various cancers and Crohn’s Disease, caused by inflammation of the lining of the gut. According to Perdew, hyper-activating the AHR can cause toxicity, but using broccoli to activate the receptor locally, in the gut, rather than systemically might help avoid some of these problems. “Dioxin, for example, activates this receptor, and if you hyper-activate it with dioxin, it will cause toxicity,” said Perdew. “What we were interested in is: Could you locally activate the receptor naturally at a level that would cause only modest AHR activation in the gut, but not cause systemic activation, which could possibly lead to negative effects?”

The researchers used two genetic lines of mice in the study to focus on AHR. One line had a low ability to bind ICZ to AHR, while the other line had a high ability to bind ICZ to AHR. They added 15 percent broccoli to the diets of both groups of mice. After adding a substance that causes digestive problems, the researchers said that the mice with a higher ability to bind ICZ to the AHR were protected from a chemical that induced digestive problems, but the mice with the lower affinity suffered from the toxic insult.

For humans, the amount in the experiment would be equivalent to eating about 3.5 cups of broccoli each day, according to Perdew. “Now, three and a half cups is a lot, but it’s not a huge amount, really,” said Perdew. “We used a cultivar — or variety — with about half the amount of this chemical in it, and there are cultivars with twice as much. Also, brussels sprouts have three times as much, which would mean a cup of brussels sprouts could get us to the same level.”

Because people with certain digestive conditions like colitis, are often warned to avoid too much roughage in their diets, future research may include determining the best ways for people to consume broccoli, or other veggies with similar effects, to receive the same health benefits, without causing any other associated digestive problems from the fibrous vegetables.

Adapted from: Troy D. Hubbard, Iain A. Murray, Robert G. Nichols, Kaitlyn Cassel, Michael Podolsky, Guray Kuzu, Yuan Tian, Phillip Smith, Mary J. Kennett, Andrew D. Patterson, Gary H. Perdew. Dietary broccoli impacts microbial community structure and attenuates chemically induced colitis in mice in an Ah receptor dependent mannerJournal of Functional Foods, 2017; 37: 685 DOI: 10.1016/j.jff.2017.08.038

Nutrition Daily Nugget

Try a meatless meal each week. Think vegetable lasagna or a portabella mushroom burger! Vegetables and beans can add protein, fiber, and other nutrients to a meal.

Daily Inspiration Nugget

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Keto Diet Can Help You Live Longer, Researchers Say

Two recent studies concluded that the low-carbohydrate diet can increase lifespan. However, there is still plenty of controversy surrounding the Keto diet.

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Has the fountain of youth been sitting on your dinner plate? Two new scientific studies independently concluded that a ketogenic diet increased lifespan and preserved memory and motor function in mice. For advocates of the diet, the results are another feather in their cap, but the question remains if the science really outweighs the hype for humans. “The conclusion we draw out of this is that it’s a robust effect,” said Dr. Eric Verdin, president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and senior author of one of the papers, in a press release. “The two studies reinforce each other because they both show the same global effect on healthspan.”

Many are taking notice. This is a really exciting finding and long overdue,” Susan A. Masino, Ph.D., a professor of applied science at Trinity College in Connecticut, told Healthline. “[Ketogenic diets] mimic the metabolic state of fasting or caloric restriction — which has many similar benefits.” Masino has spent years researching the ketogenic diet, metabolism, and brain health — that is, how what we eat affects our brains.

How the studies were conducted

In Verdin’s study, some mice were fed between 70-90% of their daily food calories from fat. That was compared with control groups receiving only 13-17% from fat, with carbohydrate calories making up the bulk of the difference. The mice on higher fat diets had longer lives, lower midlife mortality rates, and performed better on tests pertaining to certain cognitive functioning. The results “clearly demonstrate that lifespan is increased in mice consuming a ketogenic diet,” compared with a control group, the authors wrote.

However, it’s impossible to say that such a conclusion could be reproduced in humans. As such, some experts are more measured in their assessment of these findings. Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, a dietitian and diabetes educator, agrees that the results are promising, but she cautions that it is still “too soon to recommend” the diet to many individuals.

Keto diet is controversial

The ketogenic diet has become pervasive in the United States in both popular culture and fitness circles for its myriad health benefits, but it remains contentious. The diet is based on the simple premise that when carbohydrate intake is drastically lowered or stopped entirely, the body must find a new primary source of energy. That source is fat. Ketosis is different from ketoacidosis, which is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes under 24 years of age.

Ketosis is identified by the presence of ketones in the bloodstream, a chemical that the body produces when it burns stored fat. The ketogenic diet has proven effective in helping to control seizures in some people with epilepsy. Advocates have also hailed its ability to help shed pounds. These new results, Masino said, are further proof of what some researchers, herself included, have believed for years.

However, any time a diet, scientifically backed or not, takes over Americans’ dinner plates, there are bound to be complications. A number of problems individuals can have with the diet have been pointed out in several articles. These include the risk of muscle loss, fatigue, and, of course, the many health issues associated with the yo-yo or fad dieting and with that story, many experts were at odds with each other.

However, Weiner and Masino both agree that for the average American, cutting down on carbs is probably a good thing (BUT, you DO want to make sure the carbs you do intake are whole grains!). “Most adults would benefit from reducing the overall amount of carbohydrate in their diet significantly,” said Masino. “Following a strict ketogenic diet is probably not necessary or realistic for most people unless they have very specific health goals.”

Trying to stay on the Keto diet

The “unrealistic” aspect of the ketogenic diet is that it can actually be difficult to maintain. It requires a strict adherence to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, with little wiggle room for “cheat meals,” and absolutely no sweets or alcohol (O.K. I’m out for sure!). “In any kind of nutrition change there has to be sustainability,” said Weiner. For individuals who are out to lose weight, choosing a difficult diet can be taxing and may cause further setbacks rather than help.

“When you stop short, it does affect people feeling bad about themselves because they can’t keep up with it necessarily at the pace that it’s being recommended,” Weiner said. “So they feel it’s another failure in their trying to lose weight.” The ketogenic diet has been called “antisocial” because dining out becomes difficult, depending on how strictly one is adhering to the diet. “It can be very socially isolating,” said Weiner.

Even when preparing food at home, time management and cost are also factors for individuals who want to cook their own meals. “The social and economic situations affect this decision as well,” said Weiner. The bottom line is that individuals hoping to embark on a nutritional diet should be aware of the multifold ways in which it can impact their lives, beyond potential health benefits or harms. While this new research on the ketogenic diet is exciting, there still remains significant work to be done in human trials. Even then, it may not be beneficial for everyone.

However, as interest in it continues to grow among the general public, and the more informed decision an individual can make about their diet, the better. Weiner said proponents of this diet suggest that our current nutritional habits may lead to an increasing incidence of obesity, prediabetes, cancer and type 2 diabetes. More studies are needed to determine if the ketogenic diet should be recommended for those at high risk for developing these conditions. For most Americans, having to adhere to a strict ketogenic diet is more difficult than taking more simple dietary steps such as eating fewer sweets and carbohydrates, and eating more fresh vegetables.

Nutrition Daily Nugget

Use frozen or canned fish and poultry for a quick and easy meal! Choose the options canned in water and watch sodium content.

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5 Smart Carb Swaps

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Eating fewer carbs does not mean giving up everything you love. A few easy changes can make a big difference in how much you consume. Instead of choosing carb sources loaded with sugar, fat, and calories, opt for more nutrient-dense alternatives filled with fiber, heart-healthy fats, and whole grains. You’ll be surprised at much you love the alternatives below and how delicious eating low-carb can be.

1. BBQ Baked Beans

GOOD: Beans are full of fiber.

BAD: Lots of sugar in the sauce—13g for a total of 32g carbs.

BETTER: Black beans with sautéed red bell pepper, jalapeño, lime, and fresh cilantro. 10g fewer carbs and an additional 1.5g fiber.

2. Salad Dressings

GOOD: You’re eating salad!

BAD: Dressing choices, such as honey mustard (one of my favorites!!) and raspberry vinaigrette contain roughly 7g refined carbs per 2 tablespoons, all from sugar. And most light or fat-free dressings add sugar to make up for fat.

BETTER: Opt for oil and vinegar-based dressings instead; you’ll get zero carbs and lots of heart-healthy fats.

3. Apples with Low-Fat Caramel Dip

GOOD: You’re eating apples—25g balanced carbs and 4g fiber.

BAD: That caramel sauce has 26g carbs in just 2 tablespoons, all from sugar.

BETTER: Swap caramel for 1 tablespoon peanut butter. You’ll add 4g filling protein.

4. Cracker Jacks

GOOD: Whole grains and nuts.

BAD: The caramel adds 30g refined-sugar carbs per cup.

BETTER: Lightly salted oil-popped popcorn and nuts.

5. Mashed Taters

GOOD: More veggies.

BAD: No skin = 2g less fiber.

BETTER: Mashed butternut squash has just 47 calories, 12g carbs, and 4g fiber per ½ cup. Add a teaspoon of butter for 34 calories and 2.4g sat fat.

Not bad alternatives! And if you want to take your health goals to the next step, check out the challenge.

Nutrition challenge: If half of your daily grain intake is not 100% whole grain, I challenge you to “up-your-ante!” If this is old news to you, then what challenge will you take on?

Adapted from: Sidney Fry, MS, RD

Nutrition Daily Nugget 🍏

Get your kids in the kitchen! They’ll be more excited about eating healthy foods when they’ve been involved. Give them age-appropriate tasks and keep a step-stool handy.

Daily Inspiration Nugget

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ASIAN BEEF NOODLE SALAD

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(Serves: 6)

3 c. spring mix salad

3 c. baby spinach

1 c. purple cabbage, thinly sliced

1 med. yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 8-oz. pkg Udon Asian pasta

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 T. low sodium soy sauce (divided)

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 lime, juiced

2 T. rice vinegar

1/2 tsp honey

3 T canola oil

In a large serving bowl, combine first four ingredients and set aside. Cook Udon Asian pasta according to package directions Rinse pasta well under cool water and then add to salad mixture. Brown ground beef in medium skillet over medium heat; drain off fat. Stir cayenne, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and lime juice into beef mixture; remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk remaining soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and canola oil. Pour over salad mixture and toss to coat. Serve salad and top with ground beef.

Nutrition Facts per Serving:

Calories 390, Fat 17g, Saturated Fat 4g, Carbohydrates 33g, Fiber 4g, Protein 27g, Sodium 420mg

Note: Udon noodles are wheat noodle with a neutral flavor found in the Asian aisle of most large supermarkets.

Adapted from: Bernadette Martineau, RD

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Grow fruits and veggies in your own garden! Kids are more likely to try something they’ve grown themselves.

Daily Inspiration 

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7 Foods to Improve Eyesight

Our eyesight is among the conditions underestimated by many people. Usually, people take care of their eyesight only when they start experiencing some problems. However, this should not be the case!

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Our eyes are extremely important and they help us to see the everyday beauty that life offers us, so we should take constant care of them, doing everything in our power to protect them. The care related to our eyes is pretty complex, and our diet is one part that plays an important role in it. The food we consume can help us to protect our eyesight and to prevent numerous health issues related to it.

These are the best foods that can improve your eyesight:

1. Carrots

Carrots are the most beneficial food for the good condition of your eyes. They are abundant with vitamin A that can prevent night blindness and essential for the health of your eyes. Carrots can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and Cataracts due to their rich content of antioxidants, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein.

2. Salmon and sardines

To protect your eyesight, you should regularly consume fish. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that can improve the health of your eyes. The regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can protect the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Make sure to consume fish, such as salmon, sardines, or herring, twice a week.

3. Broccoli

It is a well-known fact that broccoli is extremely beneficial for our overall health. Broccoli can significantly improve the health of your eyes. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and can supply your body with the essential nutrients. By consuming broccoli, you will intake vitamins A, E, and C, all of which work together to protect your eyesight.

4. Spinach

This green plant contains carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Moreover, it is a great source of vitamins E and C which can prevent macular degeneration and night blindness.

5. Eggs

Maybe you will not believe it, but eggs can improve the health of your eyes. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B complex, essential fatty acids, and zinc. It doesn’t matter how you consume them as long as they are included in your diet, so make sure to regularly consume them for your breakfast….or whenever you like to eat eggs!

6. Almonds

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E which can slow down the development of problems that occur as a result of aging. Moreover, they can prevent cataracts.

7. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

These fresh and delicious fruits are abundant with antioxidants which are known to reduce the risk of many eye problems. They are also packed with vitamin C which can significantly protect the health of your eyes. Other foods recommended for improving your eyesight: Milk, avocados, lemons, oranges, dark chocolate, papaya, pumpkin, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and apricots.

Our bodies depend on us to choose the right fuel sources!

Nutrition Tip of the Day

Enjoy fruit for dessert most days and limit traditional desserts to special occasions. Try a delicious smoothie, a mixed berry and yogurt parfait, or a baked spiced apple or pear!

Daily Inspiration 

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