To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Hypertension is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. High dietary salt intake is one of the key risk factors for hypertension and in 2017, it was one of the three leading dietary risk factors for death and disability adjusted life years globally. Despite the efforts to change this behaviour, salt consumption still exceeds the recommendations. One of the main determinants of food intake, and potentially salt, is taste. Taste perception may be genetically determined, however research exploring the associations between genetics, salt taste perception and salt intake is scarce. This may be of special importance in younger adult populations where increased preference for salt is suggested. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the associations between genetics, salt taste perception (taste threshold and preference) and salt intake in young adults.
This study was approved by the St Mary's University Ethics Sub-Committee. Forty-two participants (18–35 years, 67% female and 33% male) completed the study. Salt taste thresholds were identified using the British Standards Institution sensory analysis method (BS ISO 3972:2011) and preference for salty taste by asking participants how salty they usually prefer to eat their food using a Likert scale. Salt intake, expressed as mg sodium/1000 kcal, was measured using a five-step multiple pass 24-hour recall for one day of the week and one weekend day. Participants were genotyped for two genetic variants in the SCNN1B and TRPV1 genes, which code for ion channels expressed in taste cells. Multiple regression analysis was performed including SCNN1B and TRPV1 variants, salt taste threshold and preference as predictor variables and sodium intake (mg/1000 kcal) as the dependent variable. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
Participants were normal weight (Body Mass Index 23.8 ± 3.7 kg/m2), predominantly Caucasian with salt intake 7.5 ± 2.7 g per day, reflecting current intakes in the UK. Regression model including genetics, thresholds and preference for salty taste explained 54% of the variance (p = 0.028). In this model, TRPV1 variant rs8065080 [β = 422, confidence interval (50, 794), p = 0.030] and salt preference [β = 618, confidence interval (258, 978), p = 0.004] were indicated as predictors of sodium intake. These findings suggest that genetics and preference for salty taste may be drivers of salt intake in younger populations. If replicated, this information may in the future be used in designing more personalised approaches in changing this behaviour.
As the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension is the leading cause of preventable, premature mortality globally. Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure (BP), has a number of well-established risk factors, including genetics. A common C677T polymorphism in the gene encoding the folate metabolising enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) affects 10–12% of UK and Irish populations and has been linked with 24–87% increased risk of hypertension globally. Evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) conducted at this Centre has shown BP to be highly responsive (by 5–13 mmHg) to supplementation with riboflavin (MTHFR co-factor), an effect confined to homozygous individuals (TT genotype). To date, our trials have focused on peripheral BP; however, additional measures of vascular health such as central pressure are reported to be more closely correlated with CVD risk. Investigation of central BP, augmentation index (AIx) and pulse pressure amplification (PPA) may thus offer further insight into the role of this gene-nutrient interaction in blood pressure. The present study aims to investigate BP, and measures of vascular health in healthy adults stratified by MTHFR 677 genotype. Apparently healthy adults aged 18–60 years were recruited from workplaces across Northern Ireland and screened for MTHFR genotype via buccal swab. Clinic BP, anthropometry and blood sample were measured in TT individuals (n 209) and age and sex-matched CC (n 98) and CT (n 102) controls. AIx and central BP were assessed using SphygmoCor® (AtCor Medical, Australia). Preliminary results demonstrate higher BP in individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype compared to non-TT controls (systolic BP 134.7 ± 13.8 mmHg vs 129.7 ± 12.4 mmHg, P < 0.001; diastolic BP 81.6 ± 9.5 mmHg vs 79.7 mmHg ± 8.9 mmHg, P = 0.023, respectively). The MTHFR 677TT genotype group had significantly higher central systolic BP (119.4 ± 11.8 vs 116.7 ± 10.9 mmHg, P = 0.018), central pulse pressure (P = 0.006) and central mean pressure (P = 0.011) compared to the non-TT group. No significant differences for central diastolic BP, pulse pressure amplification, pulse pressure ratio and augmentation index were observed. This study confirms the phenotype of elevated BP in individuals with the C677T polymorphism in the gene encoding MTHFR. For the first time, this study reports that individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype have higher central systolic BP, central mean pressure and pulse pressure. Further investigations through RCTs investigating the effect of the MTHFR cofactor, riboflavin, on central blood pressure in these genetically at-risk adults are warranted.
Meta-analyses of epidemiological data report that adults who carry a common polymorphism, the MTHFR 677C→T, in the gene encoding the folate-metabolising enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) have a 40% increased risk of CVD and an 87% increased risk of hypertension. Riboflavin (vitamin B2), in its co-enzymatic form flavin adenine nucleotide (FAD), is required as a co-factor by MTHFR and previous trials in hypertensive patients have shown a blood pressure lowering response to riboflavin supplementation that is specific to individuals homozygous for this polymorphism (TT genotype). Low folate status is commonly reported in adults with the TT genotype however the effect of this genetic variant on riboflavin status has not previously been investigated. The aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate dietary intake and biomarker status of riboflavin by MTHFR genotype in Irish adults using data from the National Adult Nutrition Survey (2008–2010) (www.iuna.net).
It was found that 12% of the population had the TT genotype. As expected, there was no significant difference in riboflavin intake across the genotype (CC, CT or TT) groups. Similarly, no significant genotype differences in riboflavin status (EGRac) were observed (1.36 vs 1.37 vs 1.38 respectively). Overall, 61% of the total population had EGRac values > 1.3, indicative of low/deficient status with no significant difference observed between the genotype groups (60%,61% and 61%, respectively).
These data suggest that riboflavin status is not influenced by the C677T polymorphism in MTHFR in this cohort of nationally representative Irish adults. Further research is needed to see the impact of riboflavin status on blood pressure across the genotype groups in this nationally representative cohort of Irish adults.
Newly available data from big scale studies conducted in the UK, such as the UK Biobank, offers the possibility to further explore the prospective association between a diet-quality score and health outcomes after accounting for the effect of important confounding factors. The aim of this work, therefore, was to investigate the association between a diet-quality score, with the incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer and all-cause mortality.
Material and methods
This study includes 345,343 participants (age range: 39–73, 55.1% women) from the UK Biobank, a prospective population-based study. Using 21 standardised variables of diet (alcohol, bread, bread type, cereal, dried fruit, water, coffee, tea, cheese, oily fish, non-oily fish, salt added to food, spread type, fresh fruit, cooked vegetable, raw vegetables, milk type, poultry, beef, lamb, and pork) we created a diet-quality score (very healthy, healthy, unhealthy and very unhealthy) using principal-component factor analysis. Associations between the dietary-quality score (very unhealthy individuals were the reference group) and health outcomes (all-cause mortality, CVD and cancer incidence) were investigated using Cox-proportional hazard models. All analyses were performed using STATA 14 statistical software.
In comparison to individuals with a very unhealthy diet, those with a better diet-quality had a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cancer as well as incidence of CVD and cancer. For example, individuals classified in the very healthy group had a 12% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 0.88 [95% CI: 0.82 to 0.95]), 12% lower risk of CVD incidence (HR: 0.88 [95% CI: 0.80 to 0.98]), 17% of all-cancer mortality (HR: 0.83 [95% CI: 0.75 to 0.93]), and 10% lower risk all-cancer incidence (HR: 0.90 [95% CI: 0.85 to 0.94]). Those in the healthy group had a 12% lower risk of all-cause (HR: 0.88 [95% CI: 0.83 to 0.93]) and 15% lower risk of all-cancer mortality (HR: 0.85 [95% CI: 0.78 to 0.93]). There was no significant association between CVD mortality and any diet-quality group. These findings were independent of major confounding factors including socio-demographic covariates, prevalent of diseases and lifestyle factors.
Our findings indicate that individuals with a healthy diet in the UK biobank cohort are associated with a lower risk of premature mortality, and incidence of CVDs and cancer independently of major confounding factors.
It has been speculated that vegetarians or vegans may have higher risks of fractures than meat eaters, but there is limited evidence from prospective cohorts. We aimed to assess the risks of total and site-specific fractures in people of different diet groups, in a prospective cohort with a large proportion of non-meat eaters.
Materials and methods
In EPIC-Oxford, dietary information was collected at baseline (1993–2001) and at follow-up around 14 years later (≈2010). Participants were categorised into five diet groups (≈20,106 regular meat eaters: ≥ 50 g of meat per day, ≈9,274 low meat eaters: < 50 g of meat per day, ≈8,037 fish eaters, ≈15,499 vegetarians and ≈1,982 vegans, with minor variations in numbers for each outcome after pre-specified exclusions) at both time points. Using multivariable Cox regression adjusted for socio-demographic, lifestyle, and physiological confounders, we estimated the risks of total and site-specific fractures (arm, wrist, hip, leg, ankle, and other main sites i.e. clavicle, rib and vertebra) in the different diet groups, with outcomes identified through record linkage.
Over an average of 17.6 years of follow-up, we observed 3,941 cases of total fractures, 566 arm fractures, 889 wrist fractures, 945 hip fractures, 366 leg fractures, 520 ankle fractures, and 467 other main site fractures. Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians had marginally higher risks of total fractures (hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals: 1.10; 1.00–1.20) and arm fractures (1.28; 1.01–1.63), while vegans had significantly higher risks of total fractures (1.44; 1.21–1.72) and leg fractures (2.06; 1.22–3.47), and marginally higher risks of arm fractures (1.60, 1.01–2.54). For hip fractures, the risks were higher in fish eaters (1.28; 1.03–1.59), vegetarians (1.27; 1.05–1.55) and vegans (2.35; 1.67–3.30, p-heterogeneity < 0.0001) than regular meat eaters. There were no significant differences in risks of wrist, ankle or other main site fractures by diet groups. Overall, the significant associations appeared stronger without adjustment for body mass index (e.g. 1.52; 1.27–1.81 in vegans for total fractures), and were slightly attenuated with additional adjustment for total protein (1.41; 1.17–1.69) or dietary calcium (1.32; 1.10–1.59).
In conclusion, non-meat eaters, especially vegans, had higher risks of either total or some site-specific fractures, particularly hip fractures. The higher risks might be partly explained by the lower body mass index in these diet groups, but differences in dietary intakes of protein and calcium are likely relevant as well. Given the observational design of this study, causality and potential mechanisms should be further investigated.
Cognitive impairment among the elderly is an important concern worldwide. Evidence suggests that certain lifestyle behaviours may have a protective effect against cognitive decline. In this study we examined the relationship between a 5-component protective lifestyle behaviour score and cognitive function to determine whether the number of protective lifestyle behaviours is related to cognitive decline.
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional analysis of the Mitchelstown Cohort Rescreen study, a random sample of men and women aged 51–77 years recruited from a single primary care centre. Cognitive function was assessed using the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) and cognitive data were available for 1,022 participants. Cognitive impairment was classified as an upper 75th percentile reversed MMSE score value for the study sample. We defined 5 low-risk protective lifestyle behaviours as never smoking, moderate alcohol intake, moderate to vigorous physical activity, a high-quality diet score (upper 40%) and a body mass index between 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to test associations between a protective factor score and the MMSE.
There was a linear relationship between the number of protective lifestyle behaviours and mean cognitive score values and a significant inverse association was observed between a protective lifestyle score and the MMSE cognitive score (β = -0.20, 95% CI: -0.30, -0.10). Logistic regression suggested a dose-response relationship, with odds ratios of having poorer cognitive functioning being noticeably increased in subjects with 0 or 1 PLBs (OR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.06, 4.52) when compared to participants with 4 or 5 PLBs in multivariable analysis.
These data imply that a combination of healthy lifestyle behaviours protects against cognitive impairment. As all of the examined factors are modifiable, small behavioural changes may help in preventing cognitive decline in an elderly population.
Many clinical trials showed favorable effects of high-doses supplemental n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on cardio-metabolic risk factors. However, limited studies examined the prospective associations of circulating n-3 PUFA with body fat and its distribution, metabolic syndrome (MS), carotid atherosclerosis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in subjects with habitual diets containing low levels of n-3 PUFA.
Materials and Methods
This community-based prospective study enrolled 4048 participants (40–75 years) at baseline (2008–2010, 2013) from Guangzhou, China. They were followed-up approximately once every 3 years. Fatty acids in erythrocyte membranes were measured at baseline. We determined metabolic syndrome factors, body fat by DXA scanning, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and NAFLD by ultrasound at the visits. General information, anthropometric indices, habitual dietary intake and other covariates were assessed at each visit.
Among the total 4048 subjects, 3075 and 2671 subjects had erythrocyte n-3 PUFA data and completed the first and second follow-ups. Generally, erythrocyte n-3 PUFA were favorably associated with body fat (particularly at abdomen) and its changes, and with the presence and incidence of MS, type 2 diabetes, carotid IMT thickening. The participants with the highest (vs lowest) quartile of n-3 PUFA were associated with -5.81% fat mass (p < 0.001) and -2.11% of fat mass change at the abdomen (Android) area. The adjusted hazards ratios (95% CI) for the highest (vs. lowest) group were 0.74 (0.61, 0.89) (total n-3 PUFA), 0.71 (0.59, 0.86) (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA), 0.78 (0.65, 0.95) (docosapentaenoic acid, DPA), 1.96 (1.60, 2.40) (gamma-linolenic acid, GLA) for MS; 0.70(0.55, 0.90) (total n-3 PUFA), 0.67(0.52,0.87) (DHA) and 0.73(0.57,0.93) (DPA) for bifurcation IMT thickening, 0.57(0.38, 0.86) (eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) and 0.63 (0.41, 0.95) (DPA) for type 2 diabetes, and 1.18 (1.09, 1.33) (DHA) for alleviated NAFLD. Both higher levels of total and individual marine n-3 PUFAs (DHA, EPA and DPA) were associated with lower blood pressure at baseline and lower changes in diastolic and systolic blood pressure over the follow-up period. Plant n-3 PUFA (α-linolenic acid, ALA) largely had less significant association with the above-mentioned indices as compared with marine n-3 PUFAs.
Higher proportions of erythrocyte n-3 PUFA (particularly marine sources) was associated with lower body fat, blood pressure and their changes, and lower risks of MS, type 2 diabetes and bifurcation IMT thickening, but higher chance of alleviated NAFLD in middle-aged and older adults.
Dietary supplements (DS) containing nutrients found mainly in animal products might be useful for individuals following specific type of vegetarian diet. However, the nutritional quality of the overall diet has been reported better in vegetarians compared to meat eaters, nuancing this potential interest. Little information is available about DS use according to the different types of vegetarian diets. This cross-sectional study aimed to describe DS use among fish eaters, vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters and to investigate its impact on nutritional inadequacy and its association with sociodemographic characteristics. Potentially at-risk DS use which include DS-drugs contraindicated associations; use of DS pointed out by safety authorities; and excess of tolerable upper intake levels were also described.
Material and methods
76,925 participants to the NutriNet-Santé cohort who completed a quantitative DS questionnaire and three 24 h dietary records were classified into 4 diet groups: 74,558 meat eaters, 1,126 fish eaters, 793 strict vegetarians and 448 vegans. A composition database including > 8000 DS was used. The prevalence of nutritional inadequacy was determined based on usual dietary intakes corrected by variance reduction, and analyses were weighted according to the French census data. Multivariable logistic regression models were performed to estimate the associations between sociodemographic characteristics and DS use.
The proportion of DS users (at least one DS during the last 12 months) was 42.4% in meat eaters, 65.7% in fish eaters, 61.7% in strict vegetarians and 76.7% in vegans. As compared to food intake alone, DS use lead to low decrease in nutritional inadequacy (< 5%), except in vegan for whom substantial decrease in inadequacy was observed for zinc (-5%), riboflavin (-11%) and vitamin B12 (-28%). Compared to meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians DS users showed highest proportions of DS-drugs contraindicated associations, use of DS pointed out by safety authorities, and subjects exceeding tolerable upper intake. Vegan DS users showed the lowest proportions of DS-drugs contraindicated associations and use of DS pointed out by safety authorities. DS use was associated with higher education in fish eaters, higher education and being non-smoker in vegetarians, and higher income in vegans (all p < 0.001).
Our results suggest that DS contribute to reducing the risk of inadequate intake for specific animal product-related nutrients mostly in vegans. DS use was associated with different sociodemographic characteristics depending on the vegetarian diet type. Potential benefits or risks associated with DS use in vegetarians should be assessed in further longitudinal studies.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a serious condition predisposing both the mother and child to health complications. Key means for treatment are lifestyle related, primarily adherence to a healthy diet and increase in physical activity. The aim of the study was to evaluate dietary quality and physical activity in early pregnancy of women reporting history of GDM compared to healthy women participating in a population-based study. Pregnant women were enrolled to the study by announcements in social media. The interested women (n = 1034) filled in an electronic questionnaire on their background data, validated Index of Diet Quality (IDQ) and index of leisure-time physical activity (MET-index) in early pregnancy. The protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Turku, Finland. The study population characteristics were representative of the Finnish pregnant women as compared with values reported in national perinatal statistics, except for overrepresentation of primiparas (54% compared to 41%) and underrepresentation of smokers during pregnancy (2.2% compared to 13%). Of the multiparas, 18.3% reported having been diagnosed with GDM in a previous pregnancy, which is in accordance to that in the general population (19%). Having a history of GDM was not reflected in the dietary quality in the present pregnancy. The IDQ score of the women with history of GDM (adj. mean 9.5) did not differ from those with no history (adj. mean 9.3, NS). When evaluating the categorized values, 45.8% of the women with the history of GDM and 45.4% of those without had a good dietary quality (IDQ score 10 or above). Similarly, the MET-index of the women with history of GDM (4.8 hrs/wk) did not differ from that of the women with no history (4.8 hrs/wk). Also, the categorized MET-index did not differ between the groups. The physical activity level of the women with history of GDM was light in the majority (52%) of the women, moderate in 41% and vigorous in 7%. Despite the known risks that GDM induces to health of the pregnant women and their babies, the dietary quality and physical activity of the women with a history of GDM did not differ from that of the women who were not previously affected. The results indicate that new means are needed alongside with the traditional counselling practices to motivate healthy lifestyle changes in pregnant women, particularly those at risk for recurrent GDM.
In the UK 21% of pregnant women are categorised as obese(1). Women who enter pregnancy with a high body mass index (BMI) are at greater risk of gestational weight gain (GWG) above that recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and are less likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight compared to women with a healthy BMI(2). Pregnancy can therefore alter a woman's weight gain trajectory across the life course, through retention of gestational weight gained. Given the increase in prevalence of obesity among women of reproductive age, the aim of this study was to identify antenatal and postnatal modifiable determinants associated with successful postpartum weight loss in women who participated in UPBEAT; a multi-centre randomised controlled trial comparing a lifestyle intervention of diet and physical activity to standard care during pregnancy.
710 women completed the 6-month postpartum follow-up visit, 464 (65%) of which provided complete data for the analysis. Using regression analysis, we examined the relationship between postpartum weight retention (PPWR; calculated by subtracting pre-pregnancy weight from six-month postpartum weight) and modifiable determinants including: reported glycaemic index and smoking status at baseline (15–18 weeks’ gestation), GWG within the IOM recommendations, self-reported postpartum physical activity (categorised as low, moderate or high) and mode of infant feeding (breastfed, formula or mixed). Women were excluded if they gave birth < 37 weeks gestation or they were pregnant at the 6-month visit. Results were adjusted for age, BMI, ethnicity, socio-economic status, parity and randomisation arm.
In this cohort of obese women 52% were at or below their pre-pregnancy weight by 6 months postpartum. Overall, there was a reduction in PPWR of -0.23 ± 6.7 kg [-23.5 to 23.0 kg]. In an adjusted multiple regression model, women who breastfed for ≥ 4months, had moderate or high levels of physical activity and appropriate GWG, were more likely to be at or below their pre-pregnancy weight by 6-months postpartum (all p < 0.02). In a mutually-adjusted multivariate model, for each additional factor women lost a further -1.5 kg (95%CI -2.3 to -0.68; p < 0.001) compared to their pre-pregnancy weight.
This study has shown that there is an incremental association with postpartum weight loss and the identified modifiable determinants. These findings support initiatives which target any or all these factors during the antenatal and postnatal periods to help support women with returning to their pre-pregnancy weight.
The high prevalence of maternal deficiency and the low vitamin D content of breastmilk places newborns and infants at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency. In response to an increase in the incidence of nutritional rickets, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland published an interim infant vitamin D supplementation policy in 2007, which was implemented by the Health Service Executive in Ireland in May 2010. This recommends that all infants be given a 5μg exclusive vitamin D3 supplement daily from birth to 12 months. As adherence is not monitored nationally and the policy has not been evaluated, the aim of this study was to conduct a detailed evaluation of supplementation practices across two maternal-infant cohort studies. Data from the prospective BASELINE (recruited 2008–2011) and COMBINE (recruited 2015–2017) birth cohorts, based in Cork, Ireland, were used to examine supplementation practices. After supplementation policy implementation, BASELINE collected vitamin D supplement use data (n = 1528) at 2, 6 and 12 months. In COMBINE, 7 study visits from birth to 12 months allowed continuous collection of detailed longitudinal supplementation data in 364 participants. Use of supplemental vitamin D was higher in COMBINE than BASELINE at 2 (93 vs. 49%), 6 (89 vs. 64%) and 12 (72 vs. 44%) months (all P < 0.001). In COMBINE, 92% initiated vitamin D supplementation at birth and the median supplementation duration was 51 (40, 52) weeks, although there was a wide range (3–52 weeks). 94% of COMBINE parents used a vitamin D3 only supplement and 88% used the recommended 5μg dose. Half (51%) always supplemented daily; a further 33% supplemented at least 3–6 times/week. Full policy adherence was defined as the provision of a 5μg vitamin D3 supplement daily from birth; 64% adhered fully to 2 months and 52% did so to 6 months. By 12 months, 30% had adhered fully to the policy and a further 16% gave 5μg frequently for the full 12 months. This data indicates a high level of awareness of the supplementation policy amongst new mothers, with substantially higher rates of supplementation in our current cohort compared with BASELINE. While most parents gave an exclusive 5μg vitamin D3 supplement, frequency and duration were the key barriers to full policy adherence. Given the lack of a maternal vitamin D supplementation policy in Ireland and high prevalence of low vitamin D status at birth, supplementation of infants with vitamin D remains a vital public health policy.
A longstanding issue in the field of nutrition is the potential inaccuracy of methods traditionally used for dietary assessment (i.e. food diaries and food frequency questionnaires). It is possible to overcome the limitations and biases of these techniques by combining them with analytical measurements in human biofluids. Metabolomic technologies are gaining popularity as nutritional tools due to their capacity to measure metabolic responses to external stimuli, such as the ingestion of certain foods. This project performed both LC-MS and 1H-NMR metabolomic profiling on serum samples collected as part of the NICOLA study (Northern Irish Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Aging) in order to discover novel dietary biomarkers. A dietary validation cohort (NIDAS) was incorporated within NICOLA, involving 45 males and 50 females, aged 50 years and over. Participants provided detailed dietary data (4-day food diary) and blood samples at two time-points, six months apart. Serum samples were processed on two analytical platforms. 1H-NMR spectra were acquired using a Bruker 600 MHz Ascent coupled to a TCI cryoprobe and processed using Bayesil (University of Alberta, Canada). A Waters TQ-S coupled with an Acquity I-class UPLC was used in combination with a targeted commercially available kit (AbsoluteIDQ p180 kit, Biocrates). Mass spectra obtained were processed with MetIDQ and verified using MassLynx (v4.1). Data were tested for normality, and metabolite concentrations were correlated with recorded dietary intake of each food type using SPSS. Additional tests (PCA, PLS-DA, ROC Curves) were performed on MetaboAnalyst 4.0 (University of Alberta, Canada). More than 50 statistically significant (P < 0.05) food-metabolite correlations were detected, 15 of which remained significant after eliminating potential confounding from sex, age and BMI. The strongest correlations were between fruit consumption and acetic acid, and between dairy consumption and certain glycerophospholipids (e.g. LysoPC aa C20:3). Stratifying the cohort by gender yielded further correlations, including PC ae C38:2 (dairy; males), PC aa C34:4 (dairy; females), PC aa C36:4 (dairy; females) and trans-4-Hydroxyproline (meat; males). A number of potential blood-based food biomarkers were detected, many of which are gender-specific, and some are corroborated by previously published studies. However, further validation work is required. For example, biological plausibility needs to be established, and the findings need to be reproduced in other cohorts to demonstrate their applicability in larger and more diverse populations. These results contribute greatly to the ongoing efforts to discover and validate reliable nutritional biomarkers as an objective and unbiased measurement of food intake.
Elderly patients are at risk of malnutrition and need an appropriate assessment of energy requirements. In the clinical setting, predictive equations are widely used to estimate the Resting Energy Expenditure (REE). Although easy to use, these equations are not always validated in the elderly and, even if validated, they often provide different outputs of energy requirements for the same subject. The aim of the present work is to develop a web-based application helping clinicians in finding out the most appropriate equation for estimating the REE for each subject. The web-based application is based on a systematic review of the equations for the estimation of REE in the elderly. The systematic review was carried out on PubMed and Scopus following the PRISMA guidelines. Studies in subjects older than 65 years of age that tested the performance of a predictive equation for the estimation of REE vs. a gold standard (indirect calorimetry or doubly labeled water) were included in the review. Studies performed in critically ill elderly patients were excluded. The initial search identified 2035 studies. The final review included 50 studies. Included studies were mainly observational, conducted in healthy elderly subjects enrolled in the outpatient setting, and using indirect calorimetry as the gold standard. The 50 studies included in the review corresponded to 189 different equations. Several parameters were included in the equations, and they can be divided as following: anthropometric characteristics, body composition parameters, environmental measures, laboratory tests, the presence of comorbidities, and physical activity frequency. The equations retrieved were tested on a sample of 88 subjects aged > 65 years enrolled in an Italian nursing home. Based on the systematic review and the pilot testing of the equations, it has been developed a web application (http://r-ubesp.dctv.unipd.it:3838/equationer) that allows for the estimation of REE using the equation most appropriate according to the subject's characteristic and parameters available. The assessment of the energy requirements in the elderly is crucial for the management of nutritional problems in this population group since nutritional problems are related to worse health outcomes. The present study showed a wide use of different type of equations for the estimation of REE in the elderly highlighting the need of choosing the most appropriate predictive equation according to the subject characteristics and health status. The web application will help clinicians in doing that.
Fatty acids (FA) are highly active molecules involved in different metabolic pathways. Several FA have direct tumorigenic effects in animal and cell-line models and recent epidemiological studies also suggest associations with cancer risk. Some of these health effects are associated with the phospholipid (PL) FA composition of cell membranes what may be related to dietary FA intake. This study aims to assess the correlation between FA intake and the plasma PL FA status in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.
Dietary intake of individual FA was estimated using centre-specific validated dietary questionnaires and the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference of the United States. Circulating levels of 60 individual PL FA were measured in baseline venous plasma phospholipid samples in nested case-controls studies within the EPIC cohort (n = 9,996). The fatty acid composition in the phospholipid fraction was measured by gas chromatography in plasma samples. Spearman rank correlations were calculated to determine associations between FA intakes and plasma PL levels.
Results indicated low to moderately high associations between FA intake and plasma levels. Low correlations were found between intakes of total saturated FA or total monounsaturated FA and plasma levels. Moderate positive correlations were particularly found for long-chain n-3 poly-unsaturated FA (r = 0.35) with the highest (r = 0.41) for n-3 PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Moderately high correlations were found for the exogenous trans-FA (r = 0.53 for total trans-FA; r = 0.48 for industrial trans-FA (elaidic acid)). Sensitivity analysis showed some attenuation of most correlations among cancer cases compared to controls.
Our findings suggest that dietary FA intake influences the plasma PL FA status to a certain extent for several FA isomers, particularly those that are not or less efficiently endogenously produced. As diet is a modifiable risk factor, these findings are important for future public health strategies focusing on cancer prevention. Although the level of detail in dietary questionnaires is rather limited, these results are showing their potential to assess the intake of FA isomers in large-scale populations where biological measurements are not feasible for the full cohort.
Approximately one quarter of children living in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese. Intelligent personal systems (IPS) such as Amazon Echo and Google Home have become increasingly integrated into the home setting and therefore, may facilitate behaviour change via novel interactions or as an adjunct to conventional interventions. However, little is currently known about their potential role in this context; therefore, the aim of this feasibility study is to assess the effect of a home-based technology intervention (delivered using Amazon Echo) on physical activity (PA) and dietary habits in families attending the Safe Wellbeing Eating & Exercise Together (SWEET) project, a community-based health promotion programme. Recruitment to the study is ongoing with the aim of recruiting up to 16 families. Families are randomly assigned to receive an IPS (n = 8) or assigned to control (n = 8) i.e. attend the SWEET project as usual, for 12 weeks. Individualised prompts and reminders, aligned with the content of the SWEET project, are regularly delivered to families via the IPS and normal interaction with the device is also encouraged. The primary outcome measure is PA, which will be objectively measured using an Actigraph accelerometer, and secondary outcome measures include body mass index (BMI) and family eating and activity habits. Process evaluation data from focus groups and device interaction will be used to determine the feasibility of using IPS to promote healthy behaviours within the home setting. To date, 11 families have been recruited (11 adults, 90.9% F; 16 children, 56.3% F), mean age 40.4 ± 5.5 years and BMI 34.9 ± 6.7 kg/m2 for adults and 8.9 ± 2.1 years and BMI z-score 2.61 ± 1.23 for children. Average moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was dichotomised to determine the percentage of adults and children meeting the UK (2011) PA guidelines for health. In total, 62.5% of adults reached the recommended level of 150 minutes MVPA per week before the intervention (n = 8;191.50 ± 81.10 minutes), with 40% of children reaching the recommended level of 60 minutes MVPA each day of the week (n = 10; M = 52.83 ± 31.07 minutes). Follow-up measurements will be taken at the end of the intervention and acceptability and usability of such devices within the context of promoting healthy behaviours will be assessed. The findings from this feasibility study will demonstrate whether the use of IPS can increase PA in adults and children, as well as provide novel insights into the feasibility of using these devices to facilitate behaviour change.
Smartphone technology has the potential to facilitate dietary assessment in epidemiological studies. Measurement error might be reduced by real time recording being more feasible with mobile methods. Our aim was to develop NutriDiary, a smartphone app for conducting three-day weighed dietary records. It provides a digital version of the established pen-and-paper method in the Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) study, an open cohort study from infancy to adulthood. NutriDiary was developed as a text-based app including brand specific recording of food products. Usability of the beta version of NutriDiary was evaluated in the DONALD study. Participants or their parents were offered to test the app for the annual dietary record and were asked to fill in an app-integrated evaluation questionnaire. Usability was assessed by the System Usability Scale (SUS) and in-app behavior recordings. In the beta version of NutriDiary, a consumed food item is selected using a free-text search from the integrated in-house database LEBTAB. To ease the process of recording, NutriDiary offers some usability features such as a recipe editor, an integrated help mode and a photo function for collecting information on branded food products. In total, 32 mostly female participants (69%) used the app with 21 subjects recording their own dietary intake and 11 subjects conducting a record for their child. However, a relatively large proportion of DONALD participants also refused using the app because they preferred the traditional pen-and-paper method as being easier. Among participants of the feasibility study, subjective usability of NutriDiary was “good” but considerable differences in individual ratings were observed (median SUS = 80, IQR = 23.75, minimum = 45). Although 38% of participants reported technical issues, 88% stated they would use the app again. Technical problems included issues related to setting the time, editing of entered food items and the photo function. In-app behavior recordings showed that the help mode and recipe function were well-used (72% and 63%, respectively). Feedback from the study staff revealed that the post-processing of the dietary data obtained with NutriDiary was still time-consuming. Overall, the beta version of the NutriDiary app was well-received by most participants. Some aspects for improvement such as a barcode scanning function and extension of the database were identified. Moreover, NutriDiary will be further optimized by implementing an automated recipe simulation function.
We describe a novel dietary assessment strategy to estimate usual food intake in the ongoing large-scale multi-center German National Cohort (GNC). The dietary assessment is based on three 24 h food lists (24h-FL) and a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) enriched by information from the representative German National Nutrition Survey II (NVS II). The novelty of this dietary assessment strategy is based on separating the probability of food intake from daily consumption amounts. The probability of consumption is estimated from 24h-FLs used in the GNC. To estimate daily consumption amounts, the already collected data of the NVS II are used. The 24h-FL simplifies the question on food consumption for all foods asked to consumption or not and so the questionnaire can be completed in about 10 minutes, reducing the burden on study participants. As proof of concept, we applied the assessment strategy to pretest data collected in 2012 to 2013 to assess the feasibility of the instruments. In brief, the novel dietary assessment strategy comprises three steps. First, the individuals’ consumption probability is estimated by three 24h-FLs and one FFQ applying a logistic linear mixed model adjusted for characteristics of the participants. Second, person-specific daily consumption amounts are estimated from the NVS II applying a linear mixed model taking the characteristics of the participants into account. Third, usual food intake is estimated by the consumption probability multiplied by person-specific daily amounts. Usual intake of 41 food groups in 318 men and 377 women were estimated. Of those participants who completed the first 24h-FL, 84.4, and 68.5% completed the second and third 24h-FL, respectively. No associations were observed between probability to participate and lifestyle factors. The estimated usual food intake distributions were in a plausible range as shown by comparing the estimated energy intake to the energy needs approximated by estimated total energy expenditure. Total energy was estimated to be 2,707 kcal/day for men and 2,103 kcal/day for women. With a few exceptions, the estimated food-based consumption probabilities did not differ considerably between men and women. The differences in energy intake between men and women were mainly due to their differences in the estimated person-specific daily amounts. As a conclusion, plausible but not validated values for usual food intake were derived in the pretest study, so that the combination of three repeated 24h-FLs, an FFQ and person-specific daily amounts from an external source is a feasible strategy for dietary assessment.
Dietary pattern analyses have most commonly used food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) data for large population studies, whilst food diaries (FD) tend to be used with smaller datasets and followed up for shorter terms, restricting the possibility of a direct comparison. Studies comparing dietary patterns derived from two different assessment methods, in relation to diet and disease are limited. The aims of this study are to assess the agreement between dietary patterns derived from FFQ and FDs and to compare the associations between the Mediterranean dietary pattern and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) dietary pattern in relation to colorectal cancer incidence.
The study population included 2276 healthy middle-aged women – participants of the UK Women's Cohort Study. Energy and nutrient intakes, derived from 4-day FDs and from a 217-item FFQ were compared. A 10 and an 8-component score indicating adherence to the Mediterranean diet and to the 2007 WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations respectively were generated. Agreement was assessed by weighted Kappa statistics and the Bland-Altman method. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for colorectal cancer risk for both the FD and the FFQ patterns, for each score separately.
The Bland-Altman method showed that the FFQ gave a higher energy intake compared to the FD with a bias of -525 kcal (95% CI -556, -493) between the two methods. Agreement was slight for the Mediterranean diet score (Κ = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.14, 0.16) and fair for the WCRF/AICR score (Κ = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.37, 0.39). A total of 173 incident cases of colorectal cancer were documented. In the multi-variable adjusted models, the estimates for an association with colorectal cancer were weak: HR = 0.94 (95% CI: 0.83 to 1.06) for a 1-unit increment in the Mediterranean diet score using FD and HR = 1.01 (95% CI: 0.83 to 1.24) for a 1-unit increment in the WCRF/AICR score using FD. For scores derived from the FFQ, estimates were inverse, but weak (HR = 0.80 (95% CI: 0.90 to 1.00) for a 1-unit increment in the Mediterranean diet score using FFQ and HR = 0.84 (95% CI: 0.67 to 1.05) for a 1-unit increment in the WCRF/AICR score using FFQ.
There is insufficient evidence of an association of colorectal cancer risk with the Mediterranean dietary pattern or with the WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations, irrespective of the dietary assessment method in this sample. Further studies with larger sample sizes, using FD for diet assessment are warranted.
A key problem in all weight-loss programs to fight obesity is the extent to which the body weight is maintained on a long-term basis. The study examines whether the 1-year consumption of healthy Nordic foods can result in better sustainable weight control compared to a control diet.
Material and methods
After a successful 6-week VLCD period in obese subjects (n = 80, 52 ± 10y, BMI 34.4 ± 3.1 kg/m2, 69% female; 93% completers, -10.9 ± 3.0 kg, p < 0.001), the subjects were randomized to a new Nordic diet (NND) and a traditional Nordic diet (TND) group. The following 1-year period was a body weight maintenance period where the diets were implemented ad libitum. Weight, BMI, waist circumference and sagittal abdominal diameter were measured at 0 (immediately after VLCD), 6 and 12 months. Results are reported as mean ± SEM. Differences in the anthropometric parameters between the diets at different time points compared to the start of the dietary intervention were statistically evaluated using a general linear model (GLM-ANOVA, Minitab Inc.).
Forty-three subjects were randomized to NND and 37 to TND. In the NND group, 31 subjects completed the 6-month visit and 30 subjects 12-month visit. In the TND group, 24 and 21 completed 6-month and 12-month visit, respectively. We observed a non-significant difference in weight change at 6 months between NND (0.04 ± 0.87kg) and TND (2.65 ± 1.08kg). At 12 months, the weight change was significantly different between the diets (NND 1.94 ± 0.99 kg and TND 5.69 ± 1.41 kg, p = 0.029, R2 = 9.39). Change in the BMI at 12 months was significantly lower for NND (0.65 ± 0.33 kg/m2) compared to TND (1.87 ± 0.46 kg/m2, p = 0.034, R2 = 8.87) but not at 6 months (0.01 ± 0.30 kg/m2 for NND and 0.84 ± 0.36 kg/m2 for TND). Differences in waist circumference (at 6 months 0.26 ± 0.93 cm for NND and 3.30 ± 1.45 cm for TND; at 12 months 1.04 ± 1.01 cm for NND and 3.85 ± 1.79 cm for TND) were not statistically different. The sagittal abdominal diameter was borderline statistically different at 6 months (NND -0.28 ± 0.29 cm and TND 0.49 ± 0.22 cm, p = 0.049, R2 = 7.09) but not at 12 months (NND 0.41 ± 0.38 cm and TND 1.23 ± + 0.42cm).
Results show a tendency that the type of diet has an impact on successful weight maintenance, with a benefit for the NND. Further statistical analyses including dietary compliance and biomarkers are needed and will be performed. Moreover, the study is ongoing with a total of 2-year follow-up.
Introduction: Postpartum weight management is difficult for many mothers due to the demands of parenthood. Women have highlighted a need for support but experience barriers to engaging with lifestyle interventions hence more adaptable approaches are required. This work examined participants’ engagement with a 12-month, theory-based, automated, text message (SMS) delivered, intervention supporting postpartum weight management.
Methods: SMS content was informed by: 1) the ‘Health Action Process Approach’ (HAPA)1; 2) behaviour change techniques associated with effectiveness in weight management interventions2; 3) women's accounts of postpartum weight-related experiences; and 4) personal and public involvement. A two-arm pilot RCT recruited women within two years postpartum, with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2, through community sources and social media. Women were randomised via a secure remote system to receive the intervention or an active control delivering child development messages. Participants received 353 messages during the 12 month intervention. Two-way messages were used to assess engagement: 50 messages prompted women to respond with their weight; 36 interactive messages requested participants’ to respond ‘Yes/No’ to a question which then triggered a feedback message. Participant engagement with two-way messages was calculated as a percentage of replies sent by women and was categorised as ‘high’ or ‘low’ according to the median number of replies sent. Weight was measured at 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.
Results: 51 of 100 women recruited were randomised to receive the intervention. In months 0–6, (47%) and (95%) of participants responded to the weight messages and the ‘Yes/No’ messages respectively. In months 7–12, the responses were (77%) and (86%) respectively. Participants who were high engagers with weight messages had greater mean weight loss compared with low engagers at all time points: at 12 months high engagers (n = 18) lost -2.66 kg and had a reduction in waist circumference at 12 months of -8.9 cm, compared to changes in low engagers (n = 18) of -0.84 kg and -3.6 cm. Likewise, high engagers with ‘Yes/No’ messages had greater mean weight loss compared with low engagers at all time points: at 12 months high engagers (n = 16) lost -2.87 kg and had a reduction in waist circumference of -9.4 cm, compared to changes in low engagers (n = 20) of -0.86 kg and -3.6 cm.
Discussion: The use of two-way text messages was a useful way to encourage engagement with this SMS-delivered intervention. Higher engagement resulted in more weight loss compared to low engagement.