December is to wrap up the year of news in the nutrition world. In this edition, we are talking about diet and hearing health, perceptions about nutrition and how our genetics influence our taste sensors.
Here is this month's, Nutrition in the News brought to you by Harriet Smith from surreydietitian.co.uk.
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Having a healthy diet may reduce risk of hearing loss
A recent study found that following a healthy diet may help to reduce the risk of hearing loss.
The study analysed data from 3,135 Caucasian, female healthcare professionals across 19 locations within the USA. Over 20 years of dietary intake data, taken at four-year intervals, was combined with hearing sensitivity data. Researchers identified well-established healthy dietary patterns (such as the DASH diet or a Mediterranean diet) and determined how similar the participant’s diets were.
Participants whose diets were most similar to the healthy dietary patterns were up to 30% less likely to experience a decline in hearing sensitivity compared to those whose diets did not resemble the healthy dietary patterns.
Further research is required in more diverse populations, however, this research suggests that an additional benefit of following a healthy diet could be hearing maintenance.
Dislike of vegetables maybe down to genetics
The researchers were looking at factors that influence dietary adherence for heart health and how genetics influence taste receptors. They found that variations in a taste gene called TAS2R38 can make certain compounds taste bitter in some people.
The taste gene TAS2R38 has two variants – AVI and PAV. Around 25% of people have two copies of PAV, and this group are known as “super-tasters”. Their genetic make-up means that they are very sensitive to bitter flavours, such as those in green, leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and sprouts. In fact, super-tasters are 2.6 times more likely to eat fewer vegetables than the rest of the population.
Food scientists are trying to develop ways to reduce bitterness in vegetables. In the meantime, super-tasters can roast vegetables with a little bit of fat or combine with strong flavours like garlic and spices to help mask their bitterness.
Half of UK adults have "No idea" about nutrition
A recent poll has found that half of British adults describe themselves as having “no idea” what they are supposed to eat.
Over 2,000 people completed the poll, which was commissioned by the Food Advisory Board; a group of nutritionists, diet and health professionals, researchers, and agricultural experts.
Half of the respondents said they didn’t know how much protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, dairy, fruit, and vegetables they should be eating or correct portion sizes. 90% felt their diet lacked balance, whilst a third said they don’t eat any fruit in a typical week.
A representative for the Food Advisory Board suggested that the vast amounts of conflicting nutrition information are confusing the public, meaning people are unsure of what to eat and making poorly-informed dietary choices.
Diet pills linked with eating disorder diagnoses
A recent study has found that using diet pills and laxatives is associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with an eating disorder (ED).
The study examined 15 years of data from over 10,000 US women aged between 14- to 36-years-olds. The researchers concluded that young women who used diet pills or laxatives for weight loss were more likely to receive a diagnosis of an ED within one to three years than those who did not.
Women who used diet pills were twice as likely to receive an ED diagnosis compared to those who did not. Women who used laxatives were over four times more likely to receive an ED diagnosis compared to those who did not.
The study authors suggested that the use of diet pills or laxatives is a gateway behavior to an ED diagnosis and should be treated as a warning sign that an intervention may be necessary.
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