Research Roundup: July 2009

  • Beverages sweetened with fructose increased abdominal fat and insulin resistance. Researchers who gave overweight and obese men and women beverages sweetened with either fructose or glucose found that those who consumed the fructose drinks gained fat in their abdominal area, became less sensitive to insulin, and had increases in total and LDL cholesterol. Conversely, those who drank the glucose beverages added less abdominal fat and experienced no significant changes in insulin sensitivity or cholesterol levels. To find out what type of sweetener a beverage or food contains, check the ingredients list. And remember, while glucose appears to do less damage than fructose, the healthiest dietary strategy is to minimize added sugars.

    Journal of Clinical Investigation, April 20, 2009.

  • Cooking methods affect levels of antioxidants in vegetables. Researchers who examined how various cooking methods affected the level of antioxidants in vegetables found that “griddling” (cooking on a flat metal surface with no oil) and microwaving preserved the antioxidant content of most vegetables better than boiling, pressure cooking, frying, or baking.

    Journal of Food Science, April 2009.

  • Certain dietary patterns are strongly linked with heart health, say researchers. When researchers pooled findings from 189 studies, they found strong evidence that vegetables, nuts, and monounsaturated fatty acids?dietary elements commonly found in Mediterranean and prudent dietary patterns?had a protective effect on the heart. Conversely, diets high in trans-fatty acids and foods with a high glycemic index or load (a dietary pattern that is typically referred to as “Western”) were more likely to harm the heart.

    Archives of Internal Medicine, April 13, 2009.

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