In this section, we feature scientific publications of new research from Europe and the rest of the world, that may be of interest to EUFIC readers. EUFIC was not involved in this research, unless stated otherwise.
A team of researchers from Canada conducted a large study on the health effects of both saturated and trans fatty acid consumption. They combined data from 70 previously conducted observational studies and looked at the associated roles of these fatty acids in increasing the risk of death, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Overall findings suggested that eating higher amounts of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk in comparison to lower amounts for these health outcomes. The consumption of higher amounts of trans fat was associated with an increased risk. The authors are cautious drawing conclusions and point to methodological limitations of the included studies and to the fact that these observational studies cannot provide evidence for a cause and effect relationship. Moreover, they warn that one must carefully consider the effects of alternative foods before amending dietary guidelines for saturated and trans fatty acids.
American researchers from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, have concluded that, in sedentary, overweight women and men, the combination of calorie restriction (eating fewer calories than normally consumed) and exercise has additive effects on the regulation of blood sugar levels after a meal. The effect is greater than obtained by either calorie restriction or exercise alone, with the same percentage of weight loss. Moreover, the time required to reach the intended weight loss was significantly shorter when combining the two interventions.
On 4 June 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released its scientific opinion on acrylamide in food. The conclusion was that based on evidence from animal studies, dietary exposure to acrylamide potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups. Acrylamide forms particularly in plant-based, carbohydrate-rich foods during high temperature cooking (usually above 120 °C) as a consequence of the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is a reaction between a reducing sugar and an amino acid that results in the “browning” and characteristic flavours of certain foods, cooked at high temperatures. Besides these sensory changes, the Maillard reaction can also result in the formation of undesirable substances such as acrylamide.
Researchers from the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) found that an increase in physical activity (PA) reduced the risk of mortality, particularly when comparing inactive people with those that were moderately inactive. The researchers concluded that these findings provide evidence that even a small increase in the amount of PA by the most inactive members of society should be encouraged. It has the potential to greatly improve public health-related outcomes.