July was an excellent month for chocolate lovers and advocates of the Mediterranean diet. Even though studies have found that weight stigma affects men as much as it affects women.
Here is this month's, Nutrition in the News brought to you by Harriet Smith from surreydietitian.co.uk.
Weight Stigma in Men Has Harmful Health Consequences
Weight stigma impacts our health, but research in men specifically has been lacking up until recently.
A newly published study of 1,753 men measured self-reported height, weight, demographics, weight stigma (experienced and internalised), psychological well‐being, health behaviours and self‐rated health.
The results showed that experienced weight stigma and weight bias internalisation were associated with poor health, increased dieting, increased likelihood of depressive symptoms and increased risk of binge eating.
The researchers concluded that experienced and internalised weight stigma and weight bias are associated with poorer indices of health in men.
Dark Chocolate Associated with Lower Risk of Depression
Good news for chocolate lovers! A cross-sectional survey of over 13,000 US adults found that dark chocolate consumption may be linked with reduced risk of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
The study analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007–08 and 2013–14. They measured daily chocolate consumption using two 24-hour dietary recalls, whilst depressive symptoms were measured using a Patient Health Questionnaire.
Those who regularly ate dark chocolate had 70% lower odds of developing depressive symptoms. Additionally, participants who ate high amounts of chocolate (104-454g/day) had 57% lower odds for developing depressive symptoms compared with those who didn’t eat any chocolate (after adjusting for dark chocolate consumption).
Remember that we need high-quality interventional studies before we can conclude whether or not dark chocolate is good for our mental health.
Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) Publish Updated Review on Saturated Fats and Health
The report concluded that the dietary reference value for saturated fats should remain unchanged since previous recommendations were made in 1994. Saturated fats should make up no more than ten percent of our total daily energy intake for children and adults aged 5 and over.
Additionally, they confirmed that there is still sufficient evidence to support the recommendation that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (especially polyunsaturated fats) is beneficial for our health.
Good sources of polyunsaturated fats include: oily fish, nuts and seeds, flaxseed and cooking oils such as soybean, corn and safflower oil.
Mediterranean-style Diet During Pregnancy May Help to Reduce Risk of Gestational Diabetes
An exciting new study has found that a simple, Mediterranean-style diet during pregnancy has the potential to reduce gestational weight gain and risk of gestational diabetes.
The randomised controlled study was conducted in five maternity centres in the UK. Over 1,200 inner-city pregnant women who had metabolic risk factors were assigned to a Mediterranean-style diet or usual care. They received dietary advice at regular intervals throughout their pregnancies.
Although the study didn’t show that a Mediterranean-style diet reduced risk of adverse complications in mother and baby, they found that there was an apparent reduction in the odds of gestational diabetes by 35% and an average reduction in gestational weight gain of 1.5kg in the intervention group compared to the control.
A Mediterranean-style diet is typically rich in fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and pulses, with moderate to high consumption of fish and low to moderate intake of lean meat and dairy products.
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