Diabetes :: Highlights from the December 2006 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

The December 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month’s articles.

Preparing Food Helps Young Adults Eat Better
Young adults who often purchase their own food and prepare meals at home eat fast food less often, eat more fruits and vegetables and have better overall diet quality than those who are not involved in planning and cooking their meals, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota.

The study surveyed more than 1,500 people ages 18 to 23 about their food purchasing and preparation habits and the quality of their diets. The researchers found 31 percent of those surveyed who reported high involvement in meal preparation also consume five servings of fruits or vegetables daily, compared with three percent of those who reported very low involvement in meal preparation. Eighteen percent of the “high participation” group met guidelines for consuming servings of deep-yellow or green vegetables, compared with just 2 percent of the “very low involvement” group.

The researchers found the young adults most likely to be involved with food preparation and purchasing in association tend to be female; Asian, Hispanic or white; and eating at fast-food restaurants fewer than three times per week. Still, even among study participants who were very involved in food preparation, the study found many young adults do not meet recommended dietary guidelines in what they eat. “Cooking skills, money to buy food and time available for food preparation were perceived as inadequate by approximately one-fifth to more than one-third of the sample.” The researchers conclude: “To improve dietary intake, interventions among young adults should teach skills for preparing quick and healthful meals.”

Effects of Increased Beverage Size on Calories Consumed at a MealPeople who are served large portions of drinks at meals tend to drink more of the beverage, and drinking a large sweetened beverage such as soda can increase the total calories consumed at the meal by more than 25 percent, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

With national consumption of sweetened beverages such as soda increasing by more than 100 percent since the late 1970s, paralleling increases in weight among both adults and children in that time, the researchers were examining whether portion sizes of drinks have an effect on people’s total food and calorie intake at meals.

In the study of 33 men and women, participants ate lunch in a laboratory once a week for six weeks. At each meal, the same foods were served, but the beverage varied among cola, diet cola and water. Portion sizes of the drinks ranged between 12 ounces and 18 ounces.

The researchers found that being served a larger drink significantly increased the amount of the beverage the participants consumed at the meals, regardless of the type of beverage. Similarly, the amount of food the participants ate at each meal stayed the same no matter what type or size drink they were served, resulting in a significant increase in the total number of calories they consumed.

When served an 18-ounce soda, total calorie intake increased by 10 percent for women and 26 percent for men. “These results suggest that drinking caloric beverages is associated with excess energy intake at a meal, and that consuming larger portions of caloric beverages will result in increased energy intake from the beverage,” the researchers write. “Replacing caloric beverages with low-calorie or noncaloric beverages can be an effective strategy for decreasing energy intake.”

Diet and Physical Activity among Adolescents Who Take SupplementsAdolescents who take multiple-vitamin supplements also tend to follow more healthful dietary and lifestyle behaviors than those who do not take vitamins, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota.

The researchers looked at the use of multiple-vitamin supplements among 2,761 12th-graders who participated in the fourth Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Healthy (CATCH) study, compared with the adolescents’ weight, food intakes, physical activity and lifestyle behaviors.

The researchers found 25 percent of the adolescents reported using multiple-vitamin supplements. They tended to have higher average daily intakes of most food groups than those who did not use supplements, but ate less total fat and saturated fat. Supplement users were also more likely to be physically active, have more healthful diets and participate in team and organized sports, and were less likely to be overweight and to watch more than an hour of television per day.

While concluding that “adolescents may benefit from taking vitamin/mineral supplements to augment dietary intakes that are inadequate,” the researchers add: “Supplements are not substitutes for healthful dietary patterns, and adolescents should be encouraged to adopt healthful patterns rather than rely on dietary supplementation for adequate nutrient intake.”

American Dietetic Association Issues Position Statement on “Nutrition Intervention in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders”Eating disorders dramatically affect people’s health status, potentially in a life-threatening manner. The nature of eating disorders requires a collaborative approach by an interdisciplinary team of psychological, nutritional and medical specialists, according to an ADA position statement published this month:It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that nutrition intervention, including nutritional counseling, by a registered dietitian is an essential component of the team treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders during assessment and treatment across the continuum of care.

Additional research articles in the December Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:”Dietary Supplement in a National Survey: Prevalence of Use and Reports of Adverse Events””Vitamin/Mineral Supplement Use among U.S. Medical Students: A Longitudinal Study “”Beverage Consumption in the U.S. Population””Predictors for Research Involvement among Dietitians.”

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