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Thinking Nutrition

Thinking Nutrition

Author: Dr Tim Crowe

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Thinking Nutrition is all about presenting the latest nutrition research in plain language and then translating this into what it means for your health. Dr Tim Crowe is a career nutrition research scientist and an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian. Tim has over 25 years of research and teaching experience in the university and public health sectors, covering areas of basic laboratory research, clinical nutrition trials and public health nutrition. He now works chiefly as a freelance health and medical writer and science communicator.
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My top nutrition myths

My top nutrition myths

2020-06-2917:291

Can a slow metabolism be blamed for most people's weight gain? Is celery a negative calorie food? Does microwaving food destroy nutrients? The answer to all of the questions I just posed is 'no'. Welcome to the world of nutrition myths. Nutrition is a field where someone can be seen by the public as an ‘expert’ simply because of the way they eat and the benefits it has had for them. So, is it any wonder that nutrition is also an area that is ripe for the propagation of all manner of myths and falsehoods? Some of these myths are born from a base of science, but as science advances, these myths should be called out for what they are. In this podcast, I’ll go over some of the more popular myths I’ve come across and explain where the truth really lies. Links referred to in the podcast Review on exercise and food intake https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17310855 Perceived healthiness of a food and amount eaten https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28389137 
You are what you eat, but when it comes to your mental health, what you eat can have a profound impact on your mood and how you feel. Welcome to the rapidly moving world of nutritional psychiatry which is uncovering the key links between diet and mental health. And it could just be that it is our gut microbes, by acting as psychobiotics, that are the stars of the show here; so long as they are kept fed well. Links referred to in the podcast Fruits and vegetables consumption and life satisfaction https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303260 Nutrition intervention in depression: the SMILES study https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y Nutrition intervention in young people with depression https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222768 Meta-analysis of diet in depression and anxiety https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30720698/ Meta-analysis of fish oil in depression https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5 Meta-analysis of fish oil in anxiety https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2702216 Meta-analysis of vitamin D in depression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6515787/ 
Antioxidants. They’re a food marketer’s dream. With promises of helping to keep your waistline slim, your heart healthy, and your brain sharp, is there anything these wonder molecules can’t do? Blueberries, dark chocolate, green tea and whatever happens to be trendy in the juice bar scene makes for a great reason to eat something delicious that can also be good for your health. But the time of antioxidants has come and gone. Nutrition science has moved on and now promotes the benefits that thousands of other natural chemicals found in foods can have – most with nothing to do with their antioxidant activity. In this podcast, I’ll outline the role antioxidants play in the body and explain why food is much more than antioxidants when it comes to health. Links referred to in the podcast Antioxidants in the prevention of cancer: meta-analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19622597 Shift work and the risk of obesity https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/obr.12621
Magnesium. It is a key mineral in our body and needed for more than 300 different chemical reactions. It is also essential for muscle contractions and nerve transmission while keeping your heart beating steadily and your immune system strong. In this podcast, I’ll outline the key functions of magnesium as well as cover the different health conditions where magnesium is thought to play a role such as heart disease and high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle cramping and poor sleep quality. And then I’ll look at the main food sources and critique the merits of the many different supplemental forms of magnesium. Links referred to in the podcast Cochrane review of magnesium and muscle cramps https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7025716/ Magnesium L-threonate in people with Alzheimer’s disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6242385/ Cooking skills in young adults and later life diet behaviours https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6086120/  
Eating only raw foods has emerged as a popular dietary trend. Proclaiming an emotive health message, it is enough to make you think twice before next adding heat to your food. But fear not because on the scales of health, there is little to tip the balance in either direction. In this podcast, I look at the claims made about raw food diets and put these into context for the many health benefits that cooking food offers. Links referred to in the podcast USDA Nutrient Retention Database https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400535/Data/retn/retn06.pdf Study on how cooking preserves antioxidant content of foods https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/jf072304b Review of cooked and raw vegetable consumption and cancer risk http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/13/9/1422.long Early life eating habits https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/obr.12658
The sports supplement market is big business, but the reality is that most of these supplements have little evidence for a benefit. It is not all negative news though because there is a small group of supplements that are backed by science and which can play a performance-enhancing role in some athletes. In this series on sports supplements, I will profile this group of supplements and for this podcast, the spotlight is on beta-alanine. Links referred to in the podcast IOC consensus statement on dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/7/439 Sports Dietitians Australia  www.sportsdietitians.com.au
The sports supplement market is big business, but the reality is that most of these supplements have little evidence for a benefit. It is not all negative news though because there is a small group of supplements that are backed by science and which can play a performance-enhancing role in some athletes. In this series on sports supplements, I will profile this group of supplements and for this podcast, the spotlight is on sodium bicarbonate. Links referred to in the podcast IOC consensus statement on dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/7/439 Sports Dietitians Australia  www.sportsdietitians.com.au
 The sports supplement market is big business, but the reality is that most of these supplements have little evidence for a benefit. It is not all negative news though as there is a small group of supplements that are backed by science and which can play a performance-enhancing role in some athletes. In this series on sports supplements, I will profile this group of supplements and for this podcast, the spotlight is on beetroot juice. Links referred to in the podcast IOC consensus statement on dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/7/439 Sports Dietitians Australia  www.sportsdietitians.com.au
The sports supplement market is big business, but the reality is that most of these supplements have little evidence for a benefit. It is not all negative news though as there is a small group of supplements that are backed by science and which can play a performance-enhancing role in some athletes. In this series on sports supplements, I will profile this group of supplements and for this podcast, the spotlight is on caffeine. Links referred to in the podcast IOC consensus statement on dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/7/439 Sports Dietitians Australia  www.sportsdietitians.com.au
The sports supplement market is big business. And it is no wonder that athletes gravitate to the pills, powders and potions on the market for the promises they make of enhancing training and race day performance and allowing them to get the jump on their competitors. The reality is that most of these supplements have little evidence for a benefit. It is not all negative news though as there is a small group of supplements that are backed by science and which can play a performance-enhancing role in some athletes. In this series on sports supplements, I will profile this group of supplements and for this podcast, the spotlight is on creatine. Links referred to in the podcast IOC consensus statement on dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/7/439 Sports Dietitians Australia  www.sportsdietitians.com.au
Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

2020-04-2019:471

How much water do you really need, and is possible to drink too much? In this podcast, I explain why the advice to drink ‘8 glasses of water each day’ is a myth that needs to be busted. And then I’ll outline that while even though it is very rare, it is possible for a healthy person to drink too much water with the consequences of this being potentially life-threatening. So, endurance athletes take note, this could apply to you. Links referred to in the podcast Hyponatraemia in marathon runners http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa043901 Frozen fruits and vegetables and diet quality https://europepmc.org/article/med/29290348
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for health. It is central in the functioning of the immune system and building strong bones, skin, and blood vessels. Yet despite vitamin C being abundant in fruits and vegetables, it is also one of the most popular supplements taken, despite widespread deficiency in the population not being an issue. In this podcast, I’ll look closer at the roles of vitamin C and uncover the evidence for some of the many health claims made about it. Links referred to in the podcast Cochrane review of vitamin C and the common cold https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full Eating speed, weight gain and metabolic syndrome https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/circ.136.suppl_1.20249 
Want to know what the one food that is truly deserving of the title ‘superfood’ is? It is legumes. Packed with nutrients, offering a host of health benefits and good for the environment too, you’ve probably been overlooking these foods for years. It is time to give them another look. Oh, and they also store really well, making them ideal doomsday prepping foods which is on-trend in today’s times. In this podcast, I’ll talk about the foods that make up the legume family, uncover those health benefits and give you tips on how you can get more of them in your diet. Links referred to in the podcast Legumes and heart disease risk meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898241 Legumes and body weight meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27030531 Legumes and blood pressure meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24014659 Posture and food perception https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/46/4/708/5488173 
Drink tea and carry on

Drink tea and carry on

2020-03-3018:511

People all over the world have been drinking tea for centuries, and for good reason. A growing field of research has shown that tea has a role to play in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases. And on top of that, a good cup of tea has a real calming and relaxing effect – just what we need in these stressful times. So put the kettle on, sit back, and relax, as I explore the health benefits of tea.  Links referred to in the podcast Tea and risk of type 2 diabetes meta-analysis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24331002 Green tea and cancer prevention review http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005004.pub2/abstract Green tea and weight loss review https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008650.pub2/full Tea and risk of depression meta-analysis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25657295 Blueberries and heart health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31136659 
Vitamin D is well-known for its role in building strong bones. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems. Serving a dual role as both a hormone and vitamin, it is the sun that is the main source of vitamin D with few foods being reliable sources of it. In this podcast, I outline the key roles played by vitamin D, profile the growing number of health areas linked to it especially as it relates to immunity, and discuss how you can keep your vitamin D levels up. That last point is especially important in today’s times with self-isolation now trending as 2020’s word of the year. Links referred to in the podcast Vitamin D supplementation and acute respiratory infections www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30675873 Gratitude and health eating https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-43016-001 
Sugar. We eat too much of it, but how worried should you be about what is doing to your health? While there can be considerable debate in many areas of nutrition science, along with conflicting recommendations on what we should eat, sugar is one food that everyone unites on in acknowledging that we eat too much of it. In this episode, I explore the different ways that added sugar can sneak into food, explore the truths (and lies) about some of the health claims made about it, and give you tips on how to eat less of it – all with no ‘12-week sugar detox program’ needed. Links referred to in the podcast Sugar and body weight meta-analysis https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e7492 Sugar and hyperactivity in kids meta-analysis https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/391812 Whole fruit and energy intake https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2019.00066/full
Soy. It’s one of the most polarising of foods. A casual search of the Internet will uncover first one article lauding it for its health benefits, while the next article will class it as food of the devil with eaters of it condemned to a hell of hormone-related disease. To help you make sense of the conflicting messages about soy, I’ll dig deeper into some of the key health areas linked to eating soy foods. And then I’ll clarify just how much credence you should give to both the health claims and the health alarms about it. Links referred to in the podcast Umbrella review of soy and isoflavones consumption and health https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mnfr.201900751 Meta-analysis of soy and cardiovascular disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28067550 Effect of soy on reproductive hormones in men https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19524224 Effect of soy on thyroid function https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16571087 Soy-based infant formula https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-soy-formula/index.cfm Diet and cancer risk https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31360907 
The protein powder supplement market is big business. Popular in the world of sport where muscle growth is a priority, the marketplace is dominated by glossy pictures of cut models and an ever-expanding list of claims for how these products will pack on the muscle. So, do the bros at the gym have it right in that you need these supplements if you’re serious about the gainz, or could plain old boring ‘food’ do the same job? In today’s podcast, I dig deeper into the world of protein and muscle growth and explore what the research says about protein supplements and then put this into context for what it means for the typical sportsperson. Links referred to in the podcast Review and meta-analysis of protein supplementation and muscle growth https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/6/376.long Review of nutrient timing in exercise https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-10-5 Soy protein supplementation in resistance training https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1997115/ Pea protein supplementation in resistance training https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5 Vegetarian versus omnivore athletes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133111/ Diet intervention in young adults with depression https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222768 
Iron. It’s one of our most important essential minerals and sits at the heart of oxygen transport and energy metabolism in the body. In this podcast, I put the spotlight on iron, outline its key functions and explore the food factors that control how much of it we absorb. Because iron deficiency ranks as one of the world’s most common nutritional disorders, I go into detail of the consequences of this, how deficiency is tested for and importantly, how it can be managed with diet and supplements. Links referred to in the podcast Iron status in vegetarians https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6367879/ MJA review of iron and vegetarian diets https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2013/199/4/iron-and-vegetarian-diets Feeding vegetables to fussy eaters https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1499404619308966 
There is nothing bigger in the world of nutrition and health at the moment than the gut microbiota. With potential far-reaching health implications, one of the best ways to keep your gut microbes happy is to feed them well. In this podcast, I’ll look at some of the health areas being linked to the gut microbiota. And then explore in greater depth one area, which is that of body weight regulation as the focus for this episode. And then I’ll drill down into letting you know the types of foods and nutrients that feed your gut microbes best. Links referred to in the podcast Pilot study of faecal transplants in obesity https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/ddw-frc050619.php Probiotic supplementation and weight loss https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156 Change in microbiota with diet changes in African Americans https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7342 Rapid changes in microbiota with diet changes https://www.nature.com/articles/nature12820
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