198525 Nov 2011 - BBC News - Unhealthy food 'returning to school' warn caterersunhealthy school meals; school caterers; unhealthy school food;Unhealthy snacks could be returning to schools in England, caterers are warning.25/11/2011
Six years after the Jamie Oliver campaign and the introduction of strict nutritional guidelines, caterers say they are getting requests for fatty foods and sweets.
They say the requests are from some of England's new academy schools, which do not have to follow the guidelines.
The government says it trusts schools to act in their pupils' best interest.
And it says it has no reason to believe that academies will not provide healthy, balanced meals that meet the current nutritional standards
The Local Authority Catering Association, which has 700 members across the UK, said it was concerned that there could be a return to unhealthy eating in schools.
Linda Mitchell, from the association, said: "Our members are telling us that they have been approached by academies to relax the rules and as providers to hundreds of thousands of schools we are concerned.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15875019Read the full BBC News report here7573961.jpgBurger and chips
1984Alcohol, mental health and wellbeingAlcohol, mental health and wellbeingalcohol and mental health, alcohol and wellbeing25/11/2011
Drinking alcohol is linked to both anxiety and depression. A recent British survey found that people suffering from anxiety or depression were twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. Alcohol has also been linked to self-harm, suicide and psychosis.
Apart from having a negative effect on your mental health, consuming alcohol also affects your memory and brain function. Brain processes slow down soon after drinking alcohol. For example, the effect on men's driving skills is measureable after consuming three to four units. At this level of consumption, alcohol is in the bloodstream at around 50mg per 100ml. Women can reach this same concentration by drinking just two or three units.
After a session of heavy drinking, people often feel 'hungover', and experience impaired memory and thinking. Some people, even when they no longer have alcohol in the bloodstream are probably slightly 'slowed' mentally the next day.
The Drink Aware Trust at www.drinkaware.co.uk is an up-to-date, excellent resource where you can find out more about how alcohol affects your short and long-term health, your work and study, social life, relationships and family life.
You can also find out how, as either a professional or a parent, to start a dialogue with the under 18s about alcohol consumption and the consequences of drinking heavily at a young age. Teachers can register for free lesson plans for primary and secondary pupils.
The Trust have produced an excellent set of FREE downloadable factsheets including:
Alcohol, Mental Health and Wellbeing
Alcohol and Accidents
Alcohol and Cancer
Alcohol and Diabetes
Alcohol and Dependence
Alcohol and Heart Disease
Alcohol and Men
Alcohol and Women
Alcohol and Pancreatitis
Alcohol and Pregnancy
Alcohol and Reproduction
Alcohol and Risk-taking
Alcohol and Unprotected Sex
Alcohol and Young People
Alcohol and Your Emotions
Alcohol and Your Health
Alcohol and Your Liver
Alcohol Through The Body
Acute Alcohol Poisoning
http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/Visit The Drink Aware Trust website hereMP900400578.jpgAlcohol
1977Nutrition and Addiction - a handbookNutrition and Addiction - a handbookNutrition and addictionEdited by Martina Watts, MSc Nut Med BA (Hons) DipION15/11/2011
In stock - Price includes p&p. UK ONLY. PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT SHIP OUTSIDE THE UK.
(Price to FAB Associate Members £18.00 inc P&P. Please sign in to purchase).
Nutrition and Addiction - a handbook
Supporting Recovery From Food And Substance Misuse With Nutritional And Lifestyle Interventions
Addiction treatment centres in the UK combine medication, councelling and behaviour modification to tackle cravings and aid recovery, yet relapse rates remain alarmingly high. This practical, in-depth handbook examines newly emerging concepts in the management of addiction. Leading researchers and experienced nutrition practitioners including:
Michael Ash, BSc (Hons) DO, ND, F DipION
Oscar Umahro Cadogan
Antony J Haynes, BA (Hons) DipION BANT NTCC
Capt Joseph Hibbeln, MD
Yvonne Luna, MA
Jane Nodder, MSc Nut Med BA (Hons) DipION NTCC
Dr Alexandra Richardson, DPhil (Oxon) PGCE
Dr Marcus Roberts
Helen Sandwell, MSc Nut Med BSc (Hons) ANutr
Martina Watts, MSc Nut Med BA (Hons) DipION
explore the underlying nutritional and biochemical factors involved in addictive behaviour, and the importance of nutrition in the prevention and management of addiction and its role in sustainable recovery.
Nutrition and Addiction is an up-to-date, fully referenced resource with a glossary and guide to drug terms. It is a useful guide for those with a basic understanding of nutrition, as well as for more experienced practitioners and health care professionals.
Current developments in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependence in the UK
The influence of genetic and environmental factors on craving and reward systems in the brain
Why diet and eating patterns may encourage addictive behaviour
The role of food addictions, eating disorders and food intolerances
How to develop safe, cost-effective and evidence-based nutritional interventions alongside traditional care options
Essential reading for: carers, clinicians, practitioners and therapists working in addiction and mental health within the public, private and voluntary sectors, nutritionists and dietitians, students on nutrition-related courses.
This book shows how nutrition can be fundamental to health and well-being, as well as explaining the science behind nutrition and its impact on all aspects of addictions. This will be an extremely useful and important 'tool' for nutritional therapists to use in their clinic work.
addiction; adhd; anorexia; eating disorders; addictive behavour435.jpgNutrition and Addiction23.0018.00
19723 Nov 2011 - The Telegraph - Could zinc help prevent autism?could zinc help prevent autism?03/11/2011by Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent
Japanese researchers who took hair samples from nearly 2,000 diagnosed autistic children, aged from birth to three, found almost half of them had a zinc deficiency.
The team, from the La Belle Vie Research Laboratory in Tokyo, concluded that zinc deficiency could lead to autism.
They wrote in the journal Scientific Reports: "These findings suggest that infantile zinc deficiency may epigenetically contribute to the pathogenesis of autism and nutritional approach may yield a novel hope for its treatment and prevention."
198231 Oct 2011 - BBC Radio 4 - The Food Programme - Palm OilPalm oil, vegetable oil, hydrogenation, trans fatty acids, trans fats, partially-hydrogenated31/10/2011Produced by Dan Saladino and Rich Ward
Used increasingly by the food industry in a wide array of products from chocolate, crisps, ready meals to sweets, palm oil is both a controversial ingredient and, for many, an unknown one.
Used for centuries as a cooking oil in West Africa, palm oil has properties that make it a highly desirable and affordable component in food production. It is also used widely in animal feed, and in ever-larger quantities in South-East Asia as a cooking oil.
The target of several high-profile campaigns highlighting environmental damage caused by the rapid unchecked spread of palm plantations, it currently does not have to be labelled as palm oil, only 'vegetable fat' or 'vegetable oil'.
Dan Saladino goes on a journey to find out why the global use of this oil is growing so fast, and speaks to some of the key players in the palm oil world.
Tim Hayward meets Lloyd Mensah from Ghanaian street-food caterers Jollof Pot to discover palm oil's use in traditional West-Africa cuisine.
Dan follows the trail of this infamous and ubiquitous substance, ending at the Liverpool refinery of New Britain Palm Oil. Despite all the difficulties that the industry faces he asks if palm oil - actually an incredibly efficient, high-yielding crop - is the future for food?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016kgv1Listen to this programme on the BBC iPlayer here
198323 Oct 2011 - BBC Radio 4 - The Food Programme - The Caloriethe calorieSheila Dillon asks if the calorie is an outdated way of controlling diet and reducing obesity.23/10/2011
The ‘calorie’ took political centre stage recently. Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies, appeared before the cameras to tell us that to turn the obesity tide, we must, as a nation, slash our eating by 5 billion calories a day.
“At least 60% of the population are over-eating and that’s aided by high-calorie or calorie-dense foods, which are heavy in fat, so what we need to do is help people understand what they’re doing, get them to be honest about what they’re doing and reduce what they’re eating and change their diets for the better.”
This announcement came not long after the government’s scientific advisory committee on nutrition published figures showing that all of us who aren’t fat can actually eat more calories than previously thought. Confusing! Now, according to the Department of Health, we just need to be more conscious of what we eat, move more, and cut those calories with a little help from the food industry, and obesity will be on the way out. Easy peasy!
But what is a calorie and will eating fewer really make us a leaner nation?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0167vjtListen to the programme on the BBC iPlayer here
196714 Oct 2011 - Nutraingredients - New review backs nutrient modification for Alzheimer's preventionAlzheimers; alzheimers and omega-318/10/2011Nathan Gray
A diet with an appropriate ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, rich in healthy oils and antioxidants, but low in cholesterol-containing foods, may be a beneficial component in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new review.
Read the full news item on the Nutraingredients website here:
196511 Oct 2011 - Reuters - Folic acid in pregnancy tied to better toddler talkfolic acid in early pregnancy and language delay in children17/10/2011By Genevra Pittman, Reuters Health
Women who took folic acid supplements in the first two months of pregnancy were less likely to have kids with severe language delays in a new study from Norway
Folic acid is already known to reduce the risk of certain types of birth defects, and both the U.S. and Canada fortify grain products with folic acid to make sure pregnant women get enough of it. But that's not the case in some other countries, including Norway, and doctors still worry about pregnant women getting enough of the B vitamin -- especially in the developing world.
"We don't think people should change their behavior based on these findings," said Dr. Ezra Susser from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York, who worked on the study.
"But it does add weight to the public health recommendation to take folic acid early in pregnancy," he told Reuters Health.
And, he added, it shows that "what you do during pregnancy... is not only important for birth but also for subsequent development."
The researchers gave surveys to close to 40,000 Norwegian women a few months into their pregnancies. Those included questions on what supplements women were taking in the four weeks before they got pregnant through eight weeks after conception.
Then, when their kids were three years old, Susser and his colleagues asked the same women about kids' language skills, including how many words they could string together in a phrase.
Toddlers who could only say one word at a time or who had "unintelligible utterances" were considered to have severe language delay. In total, about one in 200 kids fit into that category.
Four out of 1,000 kids born to women who took folic acid alone or combined with other vitamins had severe language delays. That compared to nine out of 1,000 kids whose moms didn't take folic acid before and early in pregnancy.
The pattern remained after Susser's team took into account other factors that were linked to both folic acid supplementation and language skills, such as a mom's weight and education, and whether or not she was married.
The researchers didn't find any link between folic acid during pregnancy and kids' motor skills, measured by how well toddlers could kick or catch a ball.
The study can't prove that folic acid, itself, prevents language delay, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But Susser said the vitamin is known to affect the growth of neurons and could influence how proteins are made from certain genes.
"Clearly it plays a role in development that starts very early in pregnancy," said Usha Ramakrishnan, a maternal and child nutrition researcher from Emory University in Atlanta who wasn't involved in the new study.
However, she added, it's hard to separate out exactly when during pregnancy folic acid supplements would have an effect on later language development -- since women who are taking supplements early are more likely to take them throughout pregnancy.
Susser said the results likely apply in the U.S. and other countries where grains are fortified with folic acid, also called folate, because extra supplements are still recommended during pregnancy. But he added that more research is needed to support the new study.
"The recommendation worldwide is that women should be on folate supplements through all their reproductive years," Susser said. Because of that, "we really need to know what the impact is on children, both benefits and risks."
"I think this adds to what's already known about the benefits of folic acid," Ramakrishnan told Reuters Health. "It gives one more positive message of potential benefit."
This was a purely observational study, and so it cannot provide evidence of causal effects, as the authors rightly emphasise.
Nonetheless, the association of folic acid supplementation in early pregnancy with a reduced risk of severe language delay in the resulting children is consistent with what is already known about the importance of this B vitamin for brain development.
These findings clearly merit further investigation, but meanwhile they add further weight to existing public health recommendations about the importance of folic acid supplementation for the prevention of neural tube defects.
197130 Sept 2011 - British Nutrition Foundation - Weichselbaum & Buttriss 2011 - Nutrition, health and schoolchildrenNutrition, health and schoolchildrennutrition, health and schoolchildrenWeichselbaum E, Buttriss J30/09/2011British Nutrition Foundation - Nutrition Bulletin36, Issue 3295-355
Healthy eating and being physically active are particularly important for children and adolescents. This is because their nutrition and lifestyle influence their wellbeing, growth and development. The nutritional requirements of children and adolescents are high in relation to their size because of the demands for growth, in addition to requirements for body maintenance and physical activity. Data from the National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS) show that the contribution of protein to food energy intake has increased between 1997 and 2008/2009 in both boys and girls aged 4-to-18-years. The contribution of fat to food energy intake has decreased in boys and girls aged 4-to-10-years, and in boys aged 11-to-18-years; saturated fatty acid intakes have decreased in boys and girls of both age groups. A decrease in the contribution of non-milk extrinsic sugars to food energy has been found in the younger age group, whereas it has hardly changed in the older age group. The most recent NDNS data (Year 1 of the NDNS Rolling Programme) on micronutrient intake showed that low intakes of almost all minerals and vitamin A in boys and girls in the older age group, and also of riboflavin and folate in girls in the older age group were evident. In the younger age group, low intake of zinc was evident in boys and girls. Data on micronutrient status is as yet only available from the 1997 NDNS. There was some evidence of poor status of riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C, folate, vitamin D and iron. A comparison of data from the Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey (2003–2005) and the 1997 NDNS showed that children from low-income families tended to have higher intakes of whole milk; fat spreads; meat and processed meats; and non-diet soft drinks compared with children from the general population. Intakes of wholemeal bread; buns, cakes and pastries; semi-skimmed and skimmed milk; vegetables; fruit and fruit juices; and diet soft drinks were lower in children from low-income families.
nutritional requirements, overweight and obesity, physical activity, schoolchildren, school food standardhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2011.01910.x/abstractView this briefing paper at the Wiley Online Library here
196928 Sept 2011 - New Scientist - Obesity expert: Sugar is toxic and should be regulatedobesity and sugar; sugar-addictionIt might taste good, but sugar is addictive and fuelling the obesity epidemic, says Robert Lustig28/09/2011by Tiffany O'Callaghan - New Scientist
Your lecture on sugar has been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube. Why do you think it's had so much attention?
The obesity epidemic just gets worse and people are looking for answers. Diet and exercise don't work and the idea that obesity is about personal responsibility has come into question. Many people have said sugar is bad, but they didn't supply the biochemistry. I supplied that.
Do you think fructose - which along with glucose makes table sugar - drives obesity?
I don't think fructose is the cause of obesity, but I do think it is the thing that takes you from obesity to metabolic syndrome, and that's where the healthcare dollars go - diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
So the idea that "a calorie is a calorie" is wrong?
As far as I'm concerned that's how we got into this mess. If a calorie is a calorie, the solution is eat less and exercise more. Except it doesn't work.
View the rest of this interview at New Scientist here:
Robert H Lustig MD UCSF Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, gave a lecture called 'Sugar - The Bitter Truth' on 26 May 2009. The following July, it was then posted on YouTube and to date has been viewed well over a million times.
In his lecture, Professor Lustig explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that too much fructose and not enough fibre appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic, through their effects on insulin and other hormones that normally help to regulate appetite and satiety.
2079Tangney et al 2011 - Vitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: a cross-sectional examinationVitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measures: a cross-sectional examinationVitamin B12, cognition, and brain MRI measuresTangney CC, Aggarwal NT, Li H, Wilson RS, Decarli C, Evans DA, Morris MC27/09/2011Neurology. 2011 Sep 27;77(13):1276-82
To investigate the interrelations of serum vitamin B12 markers with brain volumes, cerebral infarcts, and performance in different cognitive domains in a biracial population sample cross-sectionally.
In 121 community-dwelling participants of the Chicago Health and Aging Project, serum markers of vitamin B12 status were related to summary measures of neuropsychological tests of 5 cognitive domains and brainMRImeasures obtained on average 4.6 years later among 121 older adults.
Concentrations of all vitamin B12-related markers, but not serum vitamin B12 itself, were associated with global cognitive function and with total brain volume. Methylmalonate levels were associated with poorer episodic memory and perceptual speed, and cystathionine and 2-methylcitrate with poorer episodic and semantic memory. Homocysteine concentrations were associated with decreased total brain volume. The homocysteine-global cognition effect was modified and no longer statistically significant with adjustment for white matter volume or cerebral infarcts. The methylmalonate-global cognition effect was modified and no longer significant with adjustment for total brain volume.
Methylmalonate, a specific marker of B12 deficiency, may affect cognition by reducing total brain volume whereas the effect of homocysteine (nonspecific to vitamin B12 deficiency) on cognitive performance may be mediated through increased white matter hyperintensity and cerebral infarcts. Vitamin B12 status may affect the brain through multiple mechanisms.
Vitamin B12; age-related cognitionhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21947532View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
195825 Sept 2011 - BBC Radio 4 - The Food Programme: Food ads and childrenfood advertising and childrenSheila Dillon explores the issue of advertising junk food to children, and how companies have changed their marketing since the banning of the showing of food advertisements during children's television programmes four years ago.25/09/2011
Ofcom banned advertisements for junk food, high calorie, fat, sugar and salt in 2007. Last year, Ofcom reviewed their ban and proudly announced that children saw 40% fewer of those ads in 2009 than in 2005.
Meanwhile, another band of statisticians tell us that over a third of children under 12 are now overweight or obese, up nearly a percentage point in one year. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that 96% of children don't get enough fruit and veg and are still eating massively too much sugar, fat and salt, all part of what The Lancet last month called The Global Obesity Pandemic, caused by our obesigenic environment - that's food available everywhere, all the time, leading to massive over-eating.
In that context, how important and successful are Ofcom's rules on advertising. The question for this programme.
196423 Sept 2011 - The Conversation - Poor diet linked to teen mental health problemsadolescent diets; teen mental healthAdolescents who eat unhealthily are more likely to develop mental health problems than those with good diets, a new study has found23/09/2011Sunanda Creagh, Editor
However, switching to a better diet could improve mental health, according to the Deakin University study, which was published today in the journal PLoS One.
The researchers analysed the diets and mental health of 3040 Australian teens aged between aged 11 and 18 years in 2005 and 2006 and then again two years later. They found that even after accounting for factors such as socio-economic status, smoking and weight, those with better diets tended to have better mental health after two years, while things deteriorated for those with poor diets.
“This is suggesting that for kids who aren’t getting enough nutrient-rich food, it’s predisposing them to to mental health problems,” said lead researcher Dr Felice Jacka from Deakin University’s Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit.
“This is the first study world wide to suggest the relationship is causal.”
1963Jacka et al 2011 - A prospective study of diet quality and mental health in adolescentsA prospective study of diet quality and mental health in adolescentsA prospective study of diet quality and mental health in adolescentsJacka FN, Kremer PJ, Berk M, de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Moodie M, Leslie ER, Pasco JA, Swinburn BA21/09/2011PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24805. Epub 2011 Sep 21
A number of cross-sectional and prospective studies have now been published demonstrating inverse relationships between diet quality and the common mental disorders in adults. However, there are no existing prospective studies of this association in adolescents, the onset period of most disorders, limiting inferences regarding possible causal relationships.
In this study, 3040 Australian adolescents, aged 11-18 years at baseline, were measured in 2005-6 and 2007-8. Information on diet and mental health was collected by self-report and anthropometric data by trained researchers.
There were cross-sectional, dose response relationships identified between measures of both healthy (positive) and unhealthy (inverse) diets and scores on the emotional subscale of the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL), where higher scores mean better mental health, before and after adjustments for age, gender, socio-economic status, dieting behaviours, body mass index and physical activity. Higher healthy diet scores at baseline also predicted higher PedsQL scores at follow-up, while higher unhealthy diet scores at baseline predicted lower PedsQL scores at follow-up. Improvements in diet quality were mirrored by improvements in mental health over the follow-up period, while deteriorating diet quality was associated with poorer psychological functioning. Finally, results did not support the reverse causality hypothesis.
This study highlights the importance of diet in adolescence and its potential role in modifying mental health over the life course. Given that the majority of common mental health problems first manifest in adolescence, intervention studies are now required to test the effectiveness of preventing the common mental disorders through dietary modification.
adolescent mental health; adolescent diet; obesity; dietinghttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21957462View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text is available online
196012 Sept 2011 - BBC Radio 4 - The Food Programme: Food Povertyfood povertyIn this edition of The Food Programme, Simon Parkes discusses 'food poverty' and looks at food banks and asks if this is the only way.12/09/2011
Across the UK, people are going hungry and not getting enough of the foods that they need. Every week, new food banks - where food is given out for free to those in need - are opening their doors, and established food banks are reporting a sharp rise in demand.
The Trussell Trust is a charity that oversees a nationwide network of food banks in the UK. Simon journeys to Salisbury to the Trust's headquarters where he sees how food boxes are packed, meets those who use the food bank and volunteer there- and talks to Executive Chairman of the Trust Chris Mould about the organisation and its relationship with Government.
In New York City, Rich Ward visits the Union Square Greenmarket and talks to Jan Poppendieck, author of the groundbreaking book Sweet Charity which asked difficult questions about the role of the charitable sector in US domestic food aid in the nineties.
Martin Caraher, Professor of Food and Health Policy at London's City University, discusses what the UK can learn from North America, what the role of the State is, and shares his thoughts on why in a country in which there is enough food to feed everybody, there is this rise in demand for charitable food aid?
What is 'Food Poverty'?
Food poverty can be defined as the inability to obtain healthy affordable food. This may be because people lack shops in their area or have trouble reaching them. Other factors influencing food access are the availability of a range of healthy foods in local shops, income, transport, fear of crime, knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet, and the skills to create healthy meals.
Due to this complex mix of factors, people on low incomes have the lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables and are far more likely to suffer from diet-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and coronary heart disease. Food poverty can also be about an overabundance of “junk” food as well as a lack of healthy food.
195310 Sept 2011 - The Independent - Dying for a burger? Why are trans fats still legal in the UK?Dying for a burger? Why are trans fats still legal in the UK?
The trans fats in junk food are responsible for the deaths of around 7,000 people a year in the UK - and teenagers are most at risk. Elsewhere, these toxic substances are banned. So why are they still legal in this country?10/09/2011
An investigation by Clare Dwyer Hogg.
When the comedian Micky Flanagan reels out his gag about craving chicken from a local takeaway, he always gets a laugh. Desperate for food, he has to run the gauntlet of teenagers outside. "Teenagers love chicken," he says, imitating the hunched-up shoulders, hands in pockets, hood-pulled-low look so beloved of that age group. He does the mandatory teenage walk across the stage, a kind of stiff-legged bounce. They're the "chicken children", he says. "They come at you from the side." His observational humour is spot-on: takeaways have some sort of gravitational pull for a lot of teens as they spurt up, always starving. And if the food is cheap? All the better.
Cheap and greasy aside, it should be a reasonable assumption that the convenience food and snacks British teenagers might be inclined to eat – while not exactly coming top of the healthy eating list – won't contain any substances that are actually toxic. If you're raising your children in Denmark, for instance, or Switzerland, or even New York City, with its plethora of delis and fast-food outlets, you could be pretty sure that this was true: the law says so. But if they're eating food in the UK, it's best not to assume so. Within many shop-bought pastries, cakes, doughnuts, crisps, processed meats, soups, frozen food, biscuits, chocolate bars, breakfast cereals and takeaway food, exists an ingredient that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared toxic in 2009. It's hydrogenated vegetable oil, otherwise known as trans fat, and it doesn't even have to appear clearly on ingredients labels. Have a look, and you might find it called 'shortening', or 'hydrogenated fats', maybe 'hydrogenated vegetable oils' (HVOs), perhaps 'partially hydrogenated vegetable oils' (PHVOs), or... not mentioned at all.
Whatever they choose to call it (there's no regulated terminology) it's one of the food industry's handiest industrial ingredients. The process of hydrogenation, in use since about 1900, works miracles: it hardens up liquid oil, making it last much longer, so that it increases shelf-life; it's significantly cheaper than using butter or non-industrialised ingredients; and it willingly transforms according to what a particular food might need – it can make a doughnut glaze more velvety, increase the bulk of a pastry, or add bite to something crunchy. But when it's ingested, our bodies don't know what to do with it. It's toxic, so it clogs up arteries, raises 'bad' cholesterol, and reduces 'good' cholesterol. Its nutritional values are zero. Experts have compared it to eating candle wax or melted Tupperware.
Which is why trans fats have been banned in Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, Austria, New York City, Seattle, and the state of California. But not in the UK. Here, last year, the NHS watchdog NICE published recommendations that the Government completely eliminate industrialised trans fats from processed food and takeaways. Paul Lincoln, Guidance Developer and Chief Executive of the National Heart Forum, who was on the board, said at the time that, among other things, the recommendations were to "help to promote and protect the health of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We have the public health evidence on how to virtually eliminate these conditions (heart disease and stroke), so it's vital to take action now to save lives." He was making a link between the presence of trans fats in certain types of food and how socio-economics had a real bearing on who would be eating those foods.
That idea holds, if the shops that were first to ban trans fats are anything to go by. Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and the Co-operative are now completely free of trans fats in their own brands, and were so long before the Government initiative. They're undeniably upmarket. And because there isn't an outright ban across the country, it makes sense to conclude that it depends where you shop whether your everyday food will contain trans fats or not.
But that's if you know what they are. Even if you do know, label-reading takes a certain type of dedication. Teenagers are as capable of reading a label as the rest of us, but if most adults don't know what trans fats are, it's fair to say that teenagers just might be thinking about other things. In the light of last month's findings that about 40 per cent of us will be obese by 2030, Lincoln's hopes have an even darker shadow cast over them. The teenagers today are the adults of tomorrow. The NICE report predicted that of the 150,000 cardiovascular disease deaths this year, 40,000 could be preventable, with a combination of eliminating industrial trans fats, and lowering salt and saturated fat intake. That would save the NHS over £1bn. But the recommendations weren't greeted happily by the food industry, represented by the Food and Drink Federation. When the report was published, spokesman Julian Hunt told the BBC, "We're surprised that NICE has found the time and the money to develop guidance that seems to be out of touch with the reality of what has been happening for many years". He explained that big business was already dropping the trans fat levels to below the levels that the WHO recommended. He was referring to the upmost levels of 2 per cent (trans fats do occur in some foods naturally in small amounts) that the food industry were seeking to comply with.
The president of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, responded equally strongly to support the NICE findings, saying the recommendations would cost "the public purse little to nothing" and that "profits of private firms ought not to take precedence when compared with the health of the more than four million people at risk in this country". Regardless, instead of an outright ban, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley launched, on 15 March this year, the Public Health Responsibility Deal, under which signatories sign a voluntary pledge to remove artificial trans fats by the end of the year. Asda, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Tesco, Unilever and United Biscuits are some of 73 businesses who have agreed to do so.
The forerunner to this, a draft health manifesto written by a group Lansley drew together called the Public Health Commission, had already involved private business in the consultation process. Led by David Lewis, chairman of Unilever UK, it was a mix of health professionals and big business, including Tesco, Asda and Diageo. This led to conspiracy theories, and one accusation printed in Private Eye magazine in July 2010, suggesting that until 2009, when he was still in opposition, Andrew Lansley was receiving £134 an hour for his services to an advertising agency that represented Walkers crisps, Pizza Hut, Mars and others. "According to the register of members' interests," Private Eye wrote, "the then opposition health spokesman supplemented his parliamentary salary earning around a £1,000 a month from a London 'Digital Marketing Agency' called Profero for 'attending board meetings and advising on strategy and vision'."Andrew Lansley was not available for interview for this article, but on his role for Profero, an aide said "all these interests were declared before the general election" and Lansley was "not in any client facing role, but was a non-executive director". A spokesperson from the Department of Health answered questions over e-mail about the Public Health Commission. Like the Food and Drink Federation, they pointed to "dramatic reductions in trans fats levels in foods... by UK businesses", and justified a voluntary approach as "more proportionate" than an outright ban. They noted, "intakes of trans fats are well within recommended levels", referring to research that says average intakes for adults and children across the UK (0.8 per cent) are around half the maximum average recommended by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.
But many health professionals are not happy with the voluntary nature of the deal. Simon Capewell, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, was on the NICE body that recommended a ban, and has a problem with using average intakes as a justification. There are pockets of ethnic minorities, young people and those in deprived areas, he says, who will be consistently eating food with higher levels of trans fats. Their intake, when lumped in with the whole country, may produce an average that is apparently low, but that doesn't mean it's representative of what's happening on the ground. "Mr Lansley and the Department of Health have shifted the focus to supermarkets and the big-hitters," he says. "But at the other end, small outlets for fast food, takeaways, kebabs, fry-ups? Heaven knows what's happening. When you measure trans fat, sometimes it's low and sometimes it's high... The Government's current approach is not to measure it at all, but instead pretend it's not happening."
The problem with the little takeaways and local chicken shops is that often the oil they use to fry their food contains trans fats. And the more the oil is heated and reheated, the more trans fats increase. By definition, the more sloppy the practices of the particular café, the higher the content of trans fats. Are these the places that teenagers are likely to shop, or will they choose Waitrose and M&S down the road? "Young folk think they'll live forever," says Capewell. "They have limited money and limited information from government; junk food is cheap and convenient. This is also increasing the inequality between rich and poor."
By contrast, in Iceland, Denmark and Sweden, among others, it doesn't matter where you choose to get snacks or fast food: a very low limit in the amount of trans fats that are legally allowed in cooking oil – less than 2 per cent – means the amount that any one person ingests is trivial. In fact, data shows that in Demark, consumption of trans fats has dropped to around zero. Back in the UK, in a British Medical Journal (BMJ) editorial last year, Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, researching at Harvard University, suggested that industrial trans fats are killing about 7,000 Britons a year. "There's amazing government complacency in the UK," Capewell says. "Trans fat intake is down to 1 per cent on average, yet it's still killing 5,000-7,000 people a year... The link between smoking and lung cancer was discovered in 1952, but tobacco advertising was not banned until 2004. The industry had a 50-year successful run of ... voluntary agreements. Does Mr Lansley want to repeat that for his friends in the food industry?" Dr Mozaffarian, speaking to me over e-mail, agreed: "Voluntary efforts can help but do not work nearly as well as direct limits," he writes. "The influence of industry lobbying is the only plausible reason not to institute a ban. There is no reason to have industrially-produced trans fats in the food supply."
Health professionals seem in no doubt that trans fats are bad news. Dr Pelham Barton, writing in the BMJ on 28 July, believes that "a strategy to reduce consumption of industrial TFAs trans fats by even 1 per cent of total energy intake would be predicted to prevent 11,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths annually in England alone". Barton was concerned, too, at the effects these toxic substances are having on young people. He called for a national policy to "protect all susceptible populations including children and socio-economically disadvantaged sub-groups". This is just one voice among many.
One notable pioneer in the field is Doctor Alex Richardson at Oxford University. A senior research fellow, and founder director of the charity, Food and Behaviour Research, she's interested not just in what happens to the body when trans fat are ingested, but their effects on the brain. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to teenagers, and those with attention-deficit problems. Given that 60 per cent of the brain's dry mass is fat, she says, what type of fat we eat matters. "The problem is the industrialisation of food, when food is turned into a commodity," Richardson says. "Good foods make bad commodities; good commodities make bad foods."
This excellent article explains clearly why young people and others on low incomes are the ones likely to pay the highest price for the UK government's current refusal to ban toxic trans fats from our food supply.
The emphasis added in places is our own, as are the links to some of the research and other information cited.
For further information
View or download our free factsheet about Trans Fats here.
Listen to Sheila Dillon discussing Trans Fats on BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme here.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/dying-for-a-burger-why-are-trans-fats-still-legal-in-the-uk-2351306.htmlView this article in The Independent here7573955.jpgJunk Food
19488 Sept 2011 - Medscape - Omega-3 Effective for Treating Child ADHDOmega-3 Effective for Treating Child ADHD
Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid may decrease symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, a new meta-analysis suggests.
In an evaluation of 10 trials with 699 total children with ADHD, investigators found that those who received omega-3 supplements had a "small but significant" improvement in symptom severity compared with those who were given placebo. This effect was also significant in the children who received supplements that specifically contained higher doses of eicosapentaenoic acid.
"I was actually expecting this treatment to not be effective at all, that we shouldn't expect much from a nutritional supplement that often takes a while to work. So the results were a surprise to me," lead author Michael H. Bloch, MD, assistant professor at the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, told Medscape Medical News.
"However, I would hope that nobody thinks the take-home message is that omega-3s are the answer for everyone in lieu of traditional medications," said Dr. Bloch.
In fact, the investigators note that the relative efficacy of this treatment "was modest compared with currently available pharmacotherapies for ADHD, such as psychostimulants, atomoxetine, or a2 agonists."
Still, because of its "relatively benign side-effect profile," they write, omega-3 supplements may be a reasonable add-on to traditional interventions or an option for families who do not want other psychopharmacologic treatments.
"I think the medication treatments we currently have for ADHD work best. But omega-3 represents a potentially safer alternative, especially in mild cases," said Dr. Bloch.
The study was published online August 16 in the Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Past Research Results "Mixed"
According to the investigators, past research has shown that individuals with ADHD have omega-3 differences in both plasma and erythrocyte membranes compared with their healthy peers.
"Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can alter central nervous system cell membrane fluidity and phospholipid composition," they explain.
Although several studies have looked at how effective omega-3 is in treating ADHD, the results have been mixed, prompting the need for the current meta-analysis.
The researchers examined 10 randomized control trials that compared omega-3 supplements with placebo in children with ADHD. All studies were conducted between 2001 and 2009 and lasted between 7 weeks and 4 months.
ADHD severity improvement, as measured by mean differences in rating scales, was the primary outcome. In secondary analysis, the investigators assessed dosing effects of the following omega-3 fatty acids found within the supplements used: eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and α-linolenic acid.
Efficacy When Studies Combined
Results showed significant efficacy of omega-3 supplementation compared with placebo in only 2 of the trials. Of the remaining studies, 6 showed no benefit at all, and 2 showed benefit only on some of the ADHD rating scales.
Still, the overall analysis did show a significant improvement in ADHD symptoms for the participants receiving omega-3 compared with those receiving placebo (standard mean difference (SMD), 0.31; P < .0001).
"Looking at these studies individually, most did not find that omega-3 was effective. It was only when you combined them that the effect became significant to a small degree," said Dr. Bloch.
Results were similar when parental ratings of ADHD severity were assessed (SMD, 0.29; P = .0002), and when separate evaluations of inattentive (SMD, 0.29; P = .009) and hyperactivity (SMD, 0.23; P = .005) symptoms were conducted.
Omega-3 supplements that included higher doses of eicosapentaenoic acid were also significantly associated with lowering ADHD symptoms (P = .04).
There were no significant differences found for any dose of docosahexaenoic acid or α-linolenic acid, or between omega-3 monotherapy vs augmenting traditional ADHD medications with omega-3.
"No evidence of publication bias or heterogeneity between trials was found," write the researchers.
However, "because of poor quality and potential issues of blinding in many of the included trials," further studies are needed to replicate the results, they write.
"I think this is something that's potentially useful for families who either don't respond to treatment with traditional medications or are hesitant to take them because of side effects," said Dr. Bloch.
He added that he hopes a future multisite trial with at least 400 children will be conducted to finally give "a definitive answer on how much omega-3 might really work."
The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and from the National Center for Research Resources, and by the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education/Eli Lilly and Co Psychiatric Research Fellowship, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Eli Lilly and Co Pilot Research Award, the Trichotillomania Learning Center, and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. The study authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. Published online August 16, 2011.
This study involves the most rigorous and systematic review yet of controlled treatment trials of 'omega-3 for ADHD'. Although most of the 10 small trials published to date were reported individually as 'negative' (i.e. showing no significant differences between omega-3 and placebo treatment), combining their findings into a 'meta-analysis' shows that there are indeed significant benefits of omega-3 for symptoms of ADHD (i.e. inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity).
Importantly, the authors also found
no evidence of heterogeneity (all the individual studies gave broadly similar results)
no evidence of publication bias (i.e. that negative trials may have remained unpublished while positive ones were reported)
no evidence that results were influenced by either 'drop-outs' or the quality and rigour of the trials
no evidence that a formal diagnosis of ADHD made any difference (i.e. the benefits of omega-3 appear to be similar in children with 'ADHD' vs those with other diagnostic labels who also showed symptoms of ADHD)
As with trials of omega-3 for depression to date, the findings also show that higher doses of EPA (rather than other omega-3 such as DHA, or the shorter-chain ALA) are associated with greater reductions in ADHD symptoms.
The overall number of studies is still small - and the authors emphasise that these findings do not support the use of omega-3 from fish oils as a substitute for standard treatments. They do, however, provide a clear rationale for omega-3 either as an additional treatment, or for those children with ADHD-type symptoms for whom drug treatments or behavioural interventions may be inappropriate or inaccessible.
1947Nature Editorial 2011 - Brain BurdensBrain Burdens - Europe's shocking statistics on neurological and mental disorders demand a shift in prioritiesBrain burdens: prevalence and costs of mental illness in Europe08/09/2011Nature477, 132, doi:10.1038/477132a Published online 07 Sep
Research to combat diseases, one would think, would be funded in proportion to the burden inflicted on the population. The reality is very different — witness the disparity between the huge burden caused by diseases in the developing world and the scant resources for research to tackle them.
Another disparity exists, and it is universal: the significant burden of mental and neurological illnesses of the human brain compared with the small proportion of research funds available to understand and treat them. Unlike cardiovascular disease and cancer, in most cases the burdens of brain disorders tend to manifest themselves in disabilities and in effects on the lives of the people afflicted and their carers, rather than in early deaths. That makes the footprint of these conditions harder to quantify.
So it is particularly valuable that a group of brain specialists and statisticians has produced a new quantification of the burden of brain disorders across 30 European countries. Building on a previous study, they assessed more disorders, analysed the literature and consulted national experts to validate emerging perspectives. The result? A conservative estimate that, in a typical year, about 165 million people — 38% of the total population of these countries — will have a fully developed mental illness. (Wittchen et al 2011)
The shocking statistics don't end with prevalence. A good measure of disease burden is the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) — the person-years lost in a population owing to disability and shortened life. The authors establish brain disorders — both mental and neurological — as the greatest health burden on the population, comprising 23.4% of all DALYs among men and 30.1% for women.
Many more men than women have alcohol-use disorders, especially in Eastern Europe; for both dementia and unipolar depression, the ratios of women to men are around two to one. The reasons for these latter gender differences are not understood, although depression among women seems to arise especially during their child-bearing years. The estimated number of people affected by major depression in the 30 countries studied is 30 million — the single greatest burden of all human diseases.
One piece of good news that emerges from the study is that the prevalence of individual conditions, alcoholism apart, has not grown in the past five years. The truly bad news is that only one in two people with a mental condition has ever received any professional attention, and that only 10% receive “notionally adequate” treatment — and then only after much delay following initial contact with health professionals.
What does this mean for research? The message for funding is clear: priorities need to shift. In financial terms, European research on brain diseases is much less-well supported than research on cancer, information technology, agriculture and other areas (see http://go.nature.com/hr2jqp). The state of the science is such that it requires major investment in all aspects, from fundamental neuroscience to psychological therapies.
There are subtler messages too. Research should target not only those brain diseases in which the prevalence in ageing populations will inevitably increase, such as Alzheimer's, but also the brains of young people, both healthy and ill. Many mental disorders emerge or begin to develop in the first two decades of life. Our knowledge of the healthy adolescent brain — a stage of still-active neural development — is rudimentary. The tantalizing prospect of therapeutic or preventive psychological or pharmaceutical interventions at such ages needs to be pursued.
This will give rise to ethical quandaries — probabilistic labels of future psychiatric disorders and over-reliance on drugs are problematic. But understanding how neural circuits develop in the young, and how environmental and innate influences combine to disrupt them, is one of the most fascinating and difficult scientific challenges of our time. The new study re-emphasizes just how urgent it is.
This editorial refers to a recently published and comprehensive review of both the prevalence and the burden of mental health disorders in Europe. (Wittchens et al 2011)
This careful and scholarly review found that in any given year, 38% of Europeans are suffering from a diagnosed mental health disorder.
mental health, mental illness, diagnosis, prevalence, cost burden, disability, treatment, preventionhttp://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v477/n7363/full/477132a.htmlView this editorial on the Nature website here
1946Wittchen et al 2011 - The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010The size and burden of mental disorders and other disorders of the brain in Europe 2010H U Wittchen, F Jacobi, J Rehm, A Gustavsson, M Svensson, B Jönsson, J Olesen, C Allgulander, J Alonso, C Faravelli, L Fratiglioni, P Jennum, R Lieb, A Maercker, J van Os, M Preisig, L Salvador-Carulla, R Simon, C Steinhausen08/09/2011European Neuropsychopharmacology (2011) 21, 655-679
To provide 12-month prevalence and disability burden estimates of a broad range of mental and neurological disorders in the European Union (EU) and to compare these findings to previous estimates. Referring to our previous 2005 review, improved up-to-date data for the enlarged EU on a broader range of disorders than previously covered are needed for basic, clinical and public health research and policy decisions and to inform about the estimated number of persons affected in the EU.
Stepwise multi-method approach, consisting of systematic literature reviews, reanalyses of existing data sets, national surveys and expert consultations. Studies and data from all member states of the European Union (EU-27) plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway were included. Supplementary information about neurological disorders is provided, although methodological constraints prohibited the derivation of overall prevalence estimates for mental and neurological disorders. Disease burden was measured by disability adjusted life years (DALY).
Prevalence: It is estimated that each year 38.2% of the EU population suffers from a mental disorder. Adjusted for age and comorbidity, this corresponds to 164.8 million persons affected. Compared to 2005 (27.4%) this higher estimate is entirely due to the inclusion of 14 new disorders also covering childhood/adolescence as well as the elderly. The estimated higher number of persons affected (2011: 165 m vs. 2005: 82 m) is due to coverage of childhood and old age populations, new disorders and of new EU membership states. The most frequent disorders are anxiety disorders (14.0%), insomnia (7.0%), major depression (6.9%), somatoform (6.3%), alcohol and drug dependence (N4%), ADHD (5%) in the young, and dementia (1–30%, depending on age). Except for substance use disorders and mental retardation, there were no substantial cultural or country variations. Although many sources, including national health insurance programs, reveal increases in sick leave, early retirement and treatment rates due to mental disorders, rates in the community have not increased with a few exceptions (i.e. dementia). There were also no consistent indications of improvements with regard to low treatment rates, delayed treatment provision and grossly inadequate treatment.
Disability: Disorders of the brain and mental disorders in particular, contribute 26.6% of the total all cause burden, thus a greater proportion as compared to other regions of the world. The rank order of the most disabling diseases differs markedly by gender and age group; overall, the four most disabling single conditions were: depression, dementias, alcohol use disorders and stroke.
In every year over a third of the total EU population suffers from mental disorders. The true size of “disorders of the brain” including neurological disorders is even considerably larger. Disorders of the brain are the largest contributor to the all cause morbidity burden as measured by DALY in the EU. No indications for increasing overall rates of mental disorders were found nor of improved care and treatment since 2005; less than one third of all cases receive any treatment, suggesting a considerable level of unmet needs. We conclude that the true size and burden of disorders of the brain in the EU was significantly underestimated in the past. Concerted priority action is needed at all levels, including substantially increased funding for basic, clinical and public health research in order to identify better strategies for improved prevention and treatment for disorders of the brain as the core health challenge of the 21st century.
This report was released at the 24th ECNP Congress (3-7 Sept 11) Paris, France. (ECNP - European College of Neurophyschopharmacy), and is available to read at the foot of the news item on their website here.
Prevalence; Disability; Mental disorders; Neurological disorders; Disorders of the brain;http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924977X11001726View this and related abstracts via Science Direct here
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