In the News – Health and Nutrition Research

In this week’s article we look at some of the most pertinent health and nutrition stories to reach the news in recent weeks, four items comprising;

  • ‘Parents urged to get free sugar app to check products’
  • ‘Early-life exercise alters gut microbes, promotes healthy brain and metabolism’
  • ‘Study links Irritable Bowel Syndrome with vitamin D deficiency’
  • ‘How eating fish can stop middle-age spread: Foods rich in omega-3 found to help burn off calories’


Parents urged to get free sugar app to check products

“Parents are being urged to sign up for a free app which tells them the sugar content of food and drink.

The “sugar smart app“, from Public Health England, works by scanning barcodes and revealing total sugar in cubes or grams.

Officials hope it will help combat tooth decay, obesity and type two diabetes and encourage families to choose healthier alternatives.

PHE says young children are eating three times more than the sugar limit.

Its new Change4Life advertising campaign, which includes the sugar app, suggests that on average children aged four to ten years old are consuming 22kg of added sugar a year.

That’s about 5,500 sugar cubes – more than the weight of an average five-year-old child.

The app has been developed to raise awareness of how much sugar is contained in everyday food and drink.

It works on more than 75,000 products, offering a quick guide to help parents to assess potential purchases that may harm their children’s health.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

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Early-life exercise alters gut microbes, promotes healthy brain and metabolism

“The human gut harbours a teeming menagerie of over 100 trillion microorganisms, and researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered that exercising early in life can alter that microbial community for the better, promoting healthier brain and metabolic activity over the course of a lifetime.

The research, which was recently published in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology, indicates that there may be a window of opportunity during early human development to optimize the chances of better lifelong health.

Exercise affects many aspects of health, both metabolic and mental, and people are only now starting to look at the plasticity of these gut microbes,” said Monika Fleshner, a professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Integrative Physiology and the senior author of the new study. “That is one of the novel aspects of this research.

Microbes take up residence within human intestines shortly after birth and are vital to the development of the immune system and various neural functions. These microbes can add as many 5 million genes to a person’s overall genetic profile and thus have tremendous power to influence aspects of human physiology.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Dr Rangan Chatterjee – A talk on ‘Good Gut Health’

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Study links Irritable Bowel Syndrome with vitamin D deficiency

“The majority of people living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) could well be deficient in vitamin D, severely affecting their quality of life, a study has found.

The study sheds light onto an often forgotten condition that affects 10–15% in the industrialised world and highlights the need for nationwide screening programs as well as possible vitamin D supplementation for IBS sufferers.

IBS refers to a relapsing condition that has a large social impact and is associated with significant health care costs, both direct through IBS symptoms and associated disorders and indirect through time taken off work. Estimates have placed annual direct and indirect management costs to be $8bn (€7.44bn) and $25bn (€23.27bn) respectively.

The study used a randomised, double blinded, three-arm parallel design trial of vitamin D, placebo or a combination of vitamin D and probiotics. 51 IBS patients were enrolled. Tests revealed that vitamin D deficiency was high across different IBS symptoms: 81.8% of those with IBS with constipation, 70% of IBS with diarrhoea and 81.6% of IBS with mixed bowel habits.

Results also revealed a significant association in the baseline data between circulating vitamin D level and quality of life. Supplementation was found to significantly improve vitamin D level versus placebo.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Vitamin D – A Timely Reminder on its Importance

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How eating fish can stop middle-age spread: Foods rich in omega-3 found to help burn off calories

“Eating fish could help prevent middle-age spread.

In what will be welcome news for those who are planning to ditch their diet over Christmas, it seems that fish oil can melt away unwanted fat.

The number of these ‘good’ fat cells starts to fall around middle-age – meaning the finding could be of particular value to those whose waistlines are becoming larger as they grow older.

The Japanese research centred around two types of body fat.

The troublesome white variety that we are all too familiar with soaks up extra calories and stores them in big bellies, love handles and saddlebag thighs.

But adults also have ‘beige’ fat cells, which burn off calories and generate heat.

Experiments on mice showed that fish oil transforms white fat cells into beige ones.

Study author Teruo Kawada of Kyoto University said: “We knew from previous research that fish oil has tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of fat accumulation. We tested whether fish oil and an increase in beige cells could be related.

The team tracked the weight of mice fed fatty food for four months.

When their food was supplemented with fish oil, the mice put on up to 10 per cent less weight and up to 25 per cent less fat.

High doses of DHA and EHA, compounds found in omega-3 oils, were particularly beneficial, according to the journal Scientific Reports.

The discovery could help explain why people from nations like Japan, who have fish-rich diets, tend to have exceptionally long lives.

The researchers said: “People have long said that food from Japan and the Mediterranean contribute to longevity, but why these cuisines are beneficial was up for debate.

‘Now we have better insight into why that may be.”

Read the full article here.

Related Cytoplan blogs

Omega 3 Supplements – Fish, Krill or Algae?

Essential Fatty Acids – Omega 3 & Conversion Efficiency Inhibitions

The Truth about ‘Trans Fats’


If you have any questions regarding the health topics that have been raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time.

amanda@cytoplan.co.uk, 01684 310099

Amanda Williams and the Cytoplan Editorial Team: Joseph Forsyth, Simon Holdcroft and Clare Daley


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