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The role of meat in the diet has come under scrutiny recently due to an increased public emphasis on providing healthy diets from sustainable food systems and due to health concerns relating to the consumption of red and processed meat. The present review aimed to summarise dietary guidelines relating to meat, actual meat intakes and the contribution of meat to energy and nutrient intakes of children, teenagers and adults in Europe. The available literature has shown that food-based dietary guidelines for most countries recommend consuming lean meat in moderation and many recommend limiting red and processed meat consumption. Mean intakes of total meat in Europe range from 40 to 160 g/d in children and teenagers and from 75 to 233 g/d in adults. Meat contributes to important nutrients such as protein, PUFA, B vitamins, vitamin D and essential minerals such as Fe and Zn; however, processed meat contributes to significant proportions of saturated fat and Na across population groups. While few data are available on diaggregated intakes of red and processed meat, where data are available, mean intakes in adults are higher than the upper limits recommended by the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (70 g/d) and the World Cancer Research Fund (500 g/week). While there are no recommendations for red and processed meat consumption in children and teenagers, intakes currently range from 30 to 76 g/d. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of the role of meat in the European diet which may be of use to stakeholders including researchers, policy makers and the agri-food sector.
Ergothioneine (ERG) is an unusual thio-histidine betaine amino acid that has potent antioxidant activities. It is synthesised by a variety of microbes, especially fungi (including in mushroom fruiting bodies) and actinobacteria, but is not synthesised by plants and animals who acquire it via the soil and their diet, respectively. Animals have evolved a highly selective transporter for it, known as solute carrier family 22, member 4 (SLC22A4) in humans, signifying its importance, and ERG may even have the status of a vitamin. ERG accumulates differentially in various tissues, according to their expression of SLC22A4, favouring those such as erythrocytes that may be subject to oxidative stress. Mushroom or ERG consumption seems to provide significant prevention against oxidative stress in a large variety of systems. ERG seems to have strong cytoprotective status, and its concentration is lowered in a number of chronic inflammatory diseases. It has been passed as safe by regulatory agencies, and may have value as a nutraceutical and antioxidant more generally.
In the current post-antibiotic era, botanicals represent one of the most employed nutritional strategies to sustain antibiotic-free and no-antibiotic-ever production. Botanicals can be classified either as plant extracts, meaning the direct products derived by extraction from the raw plant materials (essential oils (EO) and oleoresins (OR)), or as nature-identical compounds (NIC), such as the chemically synthesised counterparts of the pure bioactive compounds of EO/OR. In the literature, differences between the use of EO/OR or NIC are often unclear, so it is difficult to attribute certain effects to specific bioactive compounds. The aim of the present review was to provide an overview of the effects exerted by botanicals on the health status and growth performance of poultry and pigs, focusing attention on those studies where only NIC were employed or those where the composition of the EO/OR was defined. In particular, phenolic compounds (apigenin, quercetin, curcumin and resveratrol), organosulfur compounds (allicin), terpenes (eugenol, thymol, carvacrol, capsaicin and artemisinin) and aldehydes (cinnamaldehyde and vanillin) were considered. These molecules have different properties such as antimicrobial (including antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiprotozoal), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, as well as the improvement of intestinal morphology and integrity of the intestinal mucosa. The use of NIC allows us to properly combine pure compounds, according to the target to achieve. Thus, they represent a promising non-antibiotic tool to allow better intestinal health and a general health status, thereby leading to improved growth performance.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder characterised by recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort and transit disturbances with heterogeneous pathophysiological mechanisms. The link between food and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms is often reported by patients with IBS and the role of fructose has recently been highlighted. Fructose malabsorption can easily be assessed by hydrogen and/or methane breath test in response to 25 g fructose; and its prevalence is about 22 % in patients with IBS. The mechanism of fructose-related symptoms is incompletely understood. Osmotic load, fermentation and visceral hypersensitivity are likely to participate in GI symptoms in the IBS population and may be triggered or worsened by fructose. A low-fructose diet could be integrated in the overall treatment strategy, but its role and implication in the improvement of IBS symptoms should be evaluated. In the present review, we discuss fructose malabsorption in adult patients with IBS and the interest of a low-fructose diet in order to underline the important role of fructose in IBS.
Worldwide obesity is increasing at an alarming rate in children and adolescents, with the consequent emergence of co-morbidities. Moreover, the maternal environment during pregnancy plays an important role in obesity, contributing to transgenerational transmission of the same and metabolic dysfunction. White adipose tissue represents a prime target of metabolic programming induced by maternal milieu. In this article, we review adipose tissue physiology and development, as well as maternal influences during the perinatal period that may lead to obesity in early postnatal life and adulthood. First, we describe the adipose tissue cell composition, distribution and hormonal action, together with the evidence of hormonal factors participating in fetal/postnatal programming. Subsequently, we describe the critical periods of adipose tissue development and the relationship of gestational and early postnatal life with healthy fetal adipose tissue expansion. Furthermore, we discuss the evidence showing that adipose tissue is an important target for nutritional, hormonal and epigenetic signals to modulate fetal growth. Finally, we describe nutritional, hormonal, epigenetic and microbiome changes observed in maternal obesity, and whether their disruption alters fetal growth and adiposity. The presented evidence supports the developmental origins of health and disease concept, which proposes that the homeostatic system is affected during gestational and postnatal development, impeding the ability to regulate body weight after birth, thereby resulting in adult obesity. Consequently, we anticipate that promoting a healthy early-life programming of adipose tissue and increasing the knowledge of the mechanisms by which maternal factors affect the health of future generations may offer novel strategies for explaining and addressing worldwide health problems such as obesity.
The purpose of the present review is to describe how human physiology at very low carbohydrate intakes relates to the criteria for nutritional essentiality. Although we did not limit ourselves to one particular type or function of carbohydrates, we did primarily focus on glucose utilisation as that function was used to determine the recommended daily allowance. In the general population, the human body is able to endogenously synthesise carbohydrates, and does not show signs of deficiency in the absence of dietary carbohydrates. However, in certain genetic defects, such as glycogen storage disease type I, absence of dietary carbohydrates causes abnormalities that are resolved with dietary supplementation of carbohydrates. Therefore, dietary carbohydrates may be defined as conditionally essential nutrients because they are nutrients that are not required in the diet for the general population but are required for specific subpopulations. Ketosis may be considered a physiological normal state due to its occurrence in infants in addition to at very low carbohydrate intakes. Although sources of dietary carbohydrates can provide beneficial micronutrients, no signs of micronutrient deficiencies have been reported in clinical trials of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets. Nonetheless, more research is needed on how micronutrient requirements can change depending on the dietary and metabolic context. More research is also needed on the role of dietary fibre during a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet as the beneficial effects of dietary fibre were determined on a standard diet and several studies have shown beneficial effects of decreasing non-digestible carbohydrates.
Knowing the biological signals associated with appetite control is crucial for understanding the regulation of food intake. Biomarkers of appetite have been defined as physiological measures that relate to subjective appetite ratings, measured food intake, or both. Several metabolites including amino acids, lipids and glucose were proposed as key molecules associated with appetite control over 60 years ago, and along with bile acids are all among possible appetite biomarker candidates. Additional metabolites that have been associated with appetite include endocannabinoids, lactate, cortisol and β-hydroxybutyrate. However, although appetite is a complex integrative process, studies often investigated a limited number of markers in isolation. Metabolomics involves the study of small molecules or metabolites present in biological samples such as urine or blood, and may present a powerful approach to further the understanding of appetite control. Using multiple analytical techniques allows the characterisation of molecules, such as carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, bile acids and fatty acids. Metabolomics has proven successful in identifying markers of consumption of certain foods and biomarkers implicated in several diseases. However, it has been underexploited in appetite control or obesity. The aim of the present narrative review is to: (1) provide an overview of existing metabolites that have been identified in human biofluids and associated with appetite control; and (2) discuss the potential of metabolomics to deepen understanding of appetite control in humans.
The mammary gland, a unique exocrine organ, is responsible for milk synthesis in mammals. Neonatal growth and health are predominantly determined by quality and quantity of milk production. Amino acids are crucial maternal nutrients that are the building blocks for milk protein and are potential energy sources for neonates. Recent advances made regarding the mammary gland further demonstrate that some functional amino acids also regulate milk protein and fat synthesis through distinct intracellular and extracellular pathways. In the present study, we discuss recent advances in the role of amino acids (especially branched-chain amino acids, methionine, arginine and lysine) in the regulation of milk synthesis. The present review also addresses the crucial questions of how amino acids are transported, sensed and transduced in the mammary gland.
Increasing clinical and experimental evidence accumulated during the past few decades supports an important role for dietary advanced glycation endproducts (AGE) in the pathogenesis of many chronic non-infectious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, CVD and others, that are reaching epidemic proportions in the Western world. Although AGE are compounds widely recognised as generated in excess in the body in diabetic patients, the potential importance of exogenous AGE, mostly of dietary origin, has been largely ignored in the general nutrition audience. In the present review we aim to describe dietary AGE, their mechanisms of formation and absorption into the body as well as their main mechanisms of action. We will present in detail current evidence of their potential role in the development of several chronic non-infectious clinical conditions, some general suggestions on how to restrict them in the diet and evidence regarding the potential benefits of lowering their consumption.
While medical nutrition therapy is an essential part of the care for critically ill patients, uncertainty exists about the right form, dosage, timing and route in relation to the phases of critical illness. As enteral nutrition (EN) is often withheld or interrupted during the intensive care unit (ICU) stay, combined EN and parenteral nutrition (PN) may represent an effective and safe option to achieve energy and protein goals as recommended by international guidelines. We hypothesise that critically ill patients at high nutritional risk may benefit from such a combined approach during their stay on the ICU. Therefore, we aim to test if an early combination of EN and high-protein PN (EN+PN) is effective in reaching energy and protein goals in patients at high nutritional risk, while avoiding overfeeding. This approach will be tested in the here-presented EFFORTcombo trial. Nutritionally high-risk ICU patients will be randomised to either high (≥2·2 g/kg per d) or low protein (≤1·2 g/kg per d). In the high protein group, the patients will receive EN+PN; in the low protein group, patients will be given EN alone. EN will be started in accordance with international guidelines in both groups. Efforts will be made to reach nutrition goals within 48–96 h. The efficacy of the proposed nutritional strategy will be tested as an innovative approach by functional outcomes at ICU and hospital discharge, as well as at a 6-month follow-up.