July 28, 2007

The Atkins Diet - Diabetes and Experts Viewpoints

Looking at the Atkins low carbohydrate diet and examining the evidence from the studies that were conducted using such diets, one must keep in mind that weight loss by itself is beneficial in terms of improving insulin sensitivity and correcting the abnormalities associated with the metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.

Also, weight loss has much greater effect on the prevention of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetic patients than pharmacological interventions. This fact was well illustrated in the Diabetes Prevention Program, a large multicenter trial sponsored by the National Institute of Health, where pre-diabetic patients on diet and exercise program had a 58% reduction in the development of diabetes, compared to only 34% reduction with the use of metformin.

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K-Staters give their perspectives on the Atkins diet

MANHATTAN -- The Atkins diet has revolutionized the dieting trend. According to Knight Ridder, an estimated 17 million Americans are currently following a formal low-carb diet and another 42 million are cutting back on carbohydrates. The success of this diet seems to be attributed to a multitude of factors, the most important being that individuals can eat many of the foods that they love and scientific research has shown that the Atkins diet can result in weight loss.

Experts at Kansas State University in psychology, marketing, agricultural economics, grain science, and food and nutrition are available to discuss their various perspectives of this diet trend.

FOODS AND NUTRITION -- Sandy Procter, 785-532-1675, [email protected]

The Atkins diet is an area that is drawing much attention from many within the health industry, said Sandra Procter, registered dietitian and associate with K-State Research and Extension.

"The Atkins diet goes against much established research of how our bodies need and use food for fuel," she said. "While certainly all answers about weight loss and high protein diets are not known, there is ample evidence that carbohydrates are an essential part of a varied, healthy diet.

"Recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine did show that there was greater weight loss on an Atkins-type diet than on a traditional low-calorie diet after three months," Procter said. "At six months and 12 months, there was no difference in weight loss between the two groups."

The potential long-term effects of the diet are of particular focus, both from a health perspective and a weight loss aspect. The Atkins study, Procter said, found that the diet may result in greater initial weight loss, but not long-term weight loss. The diet's long-term safety remains to be seen.

"Most nutrition professionals remain concerned about the health effects of such an unbalanced diet over an extended period of time," Procter said. "If the diet is closely followed for a longer duration, the person may experience health effects including constipation, fatigue, increased risk of heart disease and kidney problems. There is simply no research that supports the safety of a low-carb weight loss diet for any length of time."

Procter said that most Americans don't follow traditional nutrition advice when selecting what to eat.

"We typically don't eat as the Food Guide Pyramid suggests," she said. "So it has become pretty easy to cast that pattern side as not working and embrace the next diet 'brass ring' that has come along. But for weight loss that lasts, that is probably not the route to go."

It seems the Atkins diet will leave a lasting impression. According to Forbes.com, analysts predict that the low-carb movement will continue through 2004 and then gradually decline, but that the number of people limiting carbs will actually rise.

PSYCHOLOGY -- Leon Rappoport, [email protected]

According to Leon Rappoport, emeritus professor of psychology at K-State, it's the availability of what he calls "comfort foods" that has sent this diet to the top.

"In life when we want to reward ourselves, we turn back to the foods we generally find attractive," he said. "Atkins provides a justification and a kind of authorization for people to remain eating the foods that they like and usually in the quantities that they like. I've not seen any other reason for the success of this diet."

The Atkins diet seems to be a product of a mixed-message society, Rappoport said. The government and medical field encourage moderation and a healthy, balanced diet, while the food industry sends out the message of, "Eat and enjoy."

"You're really up against all sorts of powerful social pressures that encourage overeating and indulgence in fatty food," he said. "We have this kind of social and cultural schizophrenia going."

MARKETING -- Swinder Janda, 785-532-5439, [email protected]

The sharing of success stories has also played an important role in the diet's success, according to Swinder Janda, associate professor of marketing at K-State.

"Initial success has been because of the word-of-mouth," he said. "I think that's the best form of advertising."

Most people don't trust television advertisements, Janda said. But they do believe the testimonials they hear from people in the workplace or community around them.

Janda also said the Atkins diet plays into our culture's desire for a quick fix.

"I think the one reason why this diet is more popular than several other diets is because people want to lose weight in our culture and don't want to put time into exercise," he said. "This is an easy way to make a lifestyle change."

Janda also noted the commercial aspects of the diet, using examples of the many restaurants featuring low-carb menus and supermarkets selling low-carb options. According to Janda, the additional support from the commercial industries has only helped to increase the popularity of the diet.

"I think a trend like this has to get into the mainstream -- restaurants, food chains, grocery stores -- to really take off," he said.

AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS -- James Mintert, 785-532-1518, [email protected]

It seems that food distributors are not the only ones profiting from the Atkins diet.

Beef demand in the United States has been increasing in recent years, said James Mintert, professor of agricultural economics at K-State.

Mintert recently calculated that beef demand during the fourth quarter 2003 was 10 percent higher than during fourth quarter 2002. And despite the recent report of bovine spongiform encephalitis, or Mad Cow disease, in Washington state, domestic consumer demand appears to be holding up well.

"Obviously, the beef industry is reaping the benefits of the diet," Mintert said. "The increase in beef demand has helped make producers more optimistic about the future. They love it."

The question, however, is just how much of that increase should be attributed to the Atkins diet.

"It's not the only factor driving the beef demand," he said. "What we're seeing is a reversal of a long-term trend." Mintert said although the Atkins diet has had a positive impact on the trend, other factors include introduction of new easy-to-prepare beef items to the market and the recent rebound of the U.S. economy.

The demand reversal began in 1998 after a nearly 20-year slump that resulted in beef demand declining about 50 percent. Since 1998, beef demand has improved markedly. Beef demand index calculations reveal that beef demand during 2003 was about 16 percent higher than during 1998.

Mintert said growth in the beef industry driven by the Atkins diet is positive, but he remains skeptical as to how long it will last.

"As this continues to spread through the population, the No. 1 question that I have is: How long are people going to stay on this diet?" he said. "That's got to be one of the leading question marks as we move forward."

GRAIN SCIENCE -- Dale Eustace, 785-532-4063, [email protected]

While the beef industry and food distributors are benefiting from the Atkins diet, the grain industry is feeling the effects of waning popularity of carbohydrates.

"In the milling industry we've noticed that the flour consumption per capita has dropped 3-4 pounds in the last three years," said Dale Eustace, professor of grain science and industry at K-State. With more than 300 million people in the United States, this means a decrease in flour demand.

Many people are losing the proven health benefits of whole grains by cutting carbs, Eustace said. Benefits include prevention of heart disease, cancer and liver problems.

Eustace said he believes the diet will be short-lived. But even if this proves true, he said, the grain industry is being forced to take action to keep consumption from continuing to drop.

"The grain industry has got to educate the population and get their perspective out there, too," he said. The Kansas Wheat Commission and Wheat Council are already working on educational programs and advertising, Eustace said.

The grain industry is also adjusting marketing strategies to cater to the low-carb demand.

"Baking companies are working on ways to decrease the carbs in bread," he said. "The big groups, like Sara Lee, are jumping on this.

Sources: Dale Eustace, 785-532-4063, [email protected]
Swinder Janda, 785-532-5439, [email protected]
James Mintert, 785-532-1518, [email protected]
Sandy Procter, 785-532-1675, [email protected]
Leon Rappoport, [email protected] release prepared by: Kira Everhart, 785-532-6415

Used with permission.

July 21, 2007

Dogs with Osteoarthritis and Omega 3 fatty acids

K-State veterinarians research medication and food to improve treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis

MANHATTAN - If your normally healthy, active dog who enjoys trips to the park and long days hunting begins to move a little slower, is unwilling to jump or run as she once did or prefers to sit or lie down rather than stand, a trip to the veterinarian may be in order.

These are all symptoms associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. There are different causes, one of them being injury to a ligament that could be caused by a game of Frisbee or a day hunting.

Dr. James K. Roush, associate professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, is involved in researching medication and food that may change the current methods of treating osteoarthritis in dogs.

"Within six weeks of rupturing a ligament, bone spurs at the edges of joints and loss of joint space are visible on an X-ray. Osteoarthritis develops very fast in dogs after injury to a cruciate ligament, one of the two ligaments in the knee, probably because they stand a little bit bent at the knee instead of straight like a human," Roush said.

Besides sports injuries, osteoarthritis in dogs may be caused by bacterial infections in the joint, and most commonly, growing abnormalities in the joint, Roush said.

Dogs with osteoarthritis may start to get up and move more slowly and be reluctant to bear weight on a limb. Swelling may occur in the joint and they won't move it as freely. They will use other joints to compensate and eventually stop bearing weight on the limb if the arthritis gets bad enough, Roush said.

Common treatments for osteoarthritis include analgesics, anti-inflammatories like aspirin, and chondoprotective agents, drugs that lubricate the joint and protect it to some degree, Roush said.

Analgesics are pain-control agents that can increase the loss of cartilage. Although aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, there are analgesics that are marketed specifically for dogs that cause less gastrointestinal bleeding than aspirin. Human analgesics, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, should never be used in dogs and can be fatal with a single dose, Roush said.

"If you put a dog on analgesics, they may feel better the next day, but you may be increasing how fast the arthritis develops. If you put the dog on chondoprotectives, they don't get that much better quickly, but they'll be better two years from now than they are today," Roush said.

Roush's research is focused on two parts, a new drug that is marketed currently in Europe for people and a dog food that is higher in N3 (omega 3) fatty acids, higher in fish oil.

"There are some reports on dogs with dermatitis where the dogs were given more omega 3 fatty acids to change the way they produce oil on the skin. These supplements also happened to help dogs in the study that had osteoarthritis feel better," Roush said.

In a previous study, dogs who had surgery for osteoarthritis were studied. Some of them were on a normal diet and the others were on a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids. A similar study will be conducted in the next month on clinical patients coming in with osteoarthritis, Roush said.

Roush's current study is testing a medication that doesn't have the side-effects of aspirin on dogs who come in with naturally occurring osteoarthritis and are lame in at least one leg.

In both studies, dogs are walked across a force plate, a 2 foot by 3 foot device embedded into the floor. "It measures how much weight the dog puts on each foot, detecting very subtle changes and lameness by measuring what percentage of their body weight they place on a particular limb," Roush said.

If the studies are successful, further testing by the Food and Drug Administration would be conducted. In the near future, the FDA could potentially approve the first anti-arthritic drug that works at a basic molecular level without the side effects of analgesics, benefiting dogs with osteoarthritis, Roush said.

Roush's orthopedic colleague also involved in the research is Dr. Walter Renberg, department of clinical sciences at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Source: James K. Roush, 785-532-4134, e-mail: [email protected]
News release prepared by:
Jessica Clark, 785-532-6415

Published with permission.

July 11, 2007

Colon Cancer: Does Wheat Bran Reduce the Risk?

K-State, Wichita State collaborative research studies wheat bran from different wheat varieties, effect on suppressing colon cancer

MANHATTAN -- We've heard the conflicting information: Wheat bran can reduce the risk of colon cancer in humans; wheat bran does not reduce the risk in humans.

But which one is true?

Both, sort of.

In the mid-1990s, grain science nutritionists at Kansas State University discovered that bran from one variety of wheat actually suppressed cancer in laboratory tests, while bran from another wheat variety did not.

According to Ronald Madl, director of bioprocessing and industrial value added programs with K- State's department of grain science and industry, the confusion set in because the resulting medical literature really did not appreciate the genetic diversity in wheat -- that not all wheat bran is the same.

"As a consequence, medical literature that followed the initial work sometimes said that wheat bran did suppress cancer," Madl said. "Other medical literature said it did not suppress cancer."

In a cooperative effort that picked up where that previous research left off, Madl and other researchers from K-State -- including Carol Klopfenstein, professor emeritus of grain science and industry, Delores Takemoto, professor of biochemistry, and Weiqun Wang, assistant professor of human nutrition -- joined with John Carter, associate professor of physical therapy at Wichita State, and discovered the diversity of phytochemicals in wheat bran. They tested about 120 varieties, all with different levels of antioxidants, from very high to very low. Further studies showed wheat bran with a higher antioxidant content demonstrated a potential to suppress cancer cells.

Madl said in subsequent testing on human cancer cells, the bran from high antioxidant wheat varieties either actually killed some of the cancer cells or stopped their growth; the medium and low antioxidant varieties had less of or no effect -- the cancer cells kept growing like normal.

Further testing has shown that wheat high in antioxidants demonstrated a significant suppression in both size and number of tumors, while intermediate levels of wheat antioxidants experienced an intermediate level of cancer activity.

"Since then, we have been trying to move this research to the next stage, understanding which particular compounds are responsible for this benefit," Madl said. "Antioxidant activity is expressed by a lot of chemical compounds, but that doesn't mean that all antioxidants express that same beneficial, biological effect. Now, we're trying to determine which antioxidants are actually responsible for cancer suppression."

Madl said K-State wheat breeders would like to enhance the levels of antioxidants in wheat.

"The long-term opportunity is that we could produce new wheat varieties with higher levels of antioxidants, and then carry out research to show that these varieties can reduce cancer risk," he said.

Madl said that once researchers have determined the wheat bran varieties with enhanced levels of antioxidants, clinical studies could be considered for humans to demonstrate if wheat bran could reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Madl said K-State research is currently focused on testing methodology. Development of more rapid screening methods for antioxidants in wheat could make the screening process for wheat breeders, as well as making the wheat selection process for food processors, quicker and more feasible.

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Source: Source: Ronald Madl, , [email protected].
News release prepared by: Keener A. Tippin II,

Used with permission.

July 10, 2007

Cinnamon Eliminates E. coli bacteria

By Kevin Flatt

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and the spice has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives.

Researchers at Kansas State University have found that cinnamon is effective in eliminating E. coli bacteria in apple juice. An outbreak of that E. coli strand in 1996 was traced to unpasteurized apple juice that killed one child and sickened many others.

Daniel Y.C. Fung, a K-State food microbiologist, and Erdogan Ceylan, a research assistant, studied the antagonistic effect different doses of cinnamon alone and in combination with preservatives would have on E. coli bacteria in apple juice. Ceylan added 1 million E. coli bacteria cells to one milliliter of pasteurized apple juice. The number of bacteria cells added to the juice was higher than the amount of bacteria cells that would be found in consumer food products and was done for experimental purposes only. After adding approximately 0.3 percent of cinnamon - roughly over one teaspoon of the spice to a 64-ounce bottle - about 99 percent of the E. coli was killed.

"Nobody expects apple juice to be a problem," Fung said. "But there have been previous outbreaks of E. coli. We found out that some spices can inhibit the growth of E. coli."

"The objective of this research was to study the inhibitory effect of cinnamon on E. coli 0157: H7 in apple juice and reduce the amount of preservatives used in apple juice," Ceylan said. "We can do it with chemicals but we think using natural resources is a better way."

Previously Fung found that several spices, including garlic, clove, cinnamon, oregano and sage killed 99 percent of E. coli bacteria in ground beef. Fung and Ceylan released their findings at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists.

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News release prepared by: Keener A. Tippin II, 785-532-6415. Used with permission.

Copyright 2007 Kevin Flatt. Reproduction of any information on other websites is PROHIBITED.

Disclaimer: The information and opinions on this website is for information purposes only and is believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.