Research Roundup: Body Satisfaction; Diet & Depression; More Fiber, Better Health

News and views from the nutrition front.

Exercise and avoidance of “diets” linked with body satisfaction in older women

According to a survey of 1,700 women over the age of 50, 12 percent said they are satisfied with their body. These women were more likely to have been slender over the years than the women who didn’t like their bodies, and they also did not engage in frequent dieting, weighed themselves often, and exercised an average of five hours a week, about two more hours than women who disliked their figures.

(Journal of Women & Aging, October 11, 2013)

Refined grains, soft drinks, and red meat may lead to depression

A diet pattern high in foods that cause inflammation, such as refined grains, soft drinks, and red meat, may increase the risk for depression in women. Findings are based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed 43,685 women ages 50 to 77 who did not have depression, for 12 years. Women who ate the most inflammatory foods, including lots of refined grains (pasta, bagels, white rice), soft drinks, red meat and margarine, had up to a 41 percent higher risk of depression compared to women who ate the lowest amounts of these foods.

(Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, October 1, 2013)

Eat more fiber for better health

Not eating enough fiber may increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome or inflammation. Researchers studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included 23,168 people. They found that among subjects in the lowest 20 percent of fiber intake, 35 percent had metabolic syndrome, 44 percent had high inflammation, and 36 percent were obese. Subjects who ate the most fiber had lower rates of these conditions. Researchers conclude that Americans are not eating enough fiber, found in grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. The recommended intake for adults over 50 years is 38 grams (g) per day for men and 25 g per day for women.

(American Journal of Medicine, October 16, 2013)

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