Discover five recent scientific articles from our food, health and sustainability watch.
Oxidative damage and inflammation mechanisms are likely to link obesity to diabetes. A recent study evaluated the effects of increased fruit and vegetable consumption on these parameters. A total of 965 participants were recruited and then stratified based on their daily fruit and vegetable intake. Metabolic risk factors were then compared for each consumption group. The results showed that 30% of the participants were overweight and 62% were obese. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables was associated with a significant decrease in inflammatory markers and oxidative stress markers such as TBARS, as well as an increase in antioxidant enzyme levels. The benefits were independent of changes in body weight and waist circumference in obese subjects and remained constant during follow-up.
Family meals provide an important setting for shaping children’s food choices and preferences. An intervention study examined the effect of longer meals on children’s fruit and vegetable intake. Two groups of participants were followed: a control group for which the meal duration was usual and an intervention group for which this duration was extended by 50%. The results show that the consumption of fruit and vegetables as well as the state of satiety were significantly higher among children in the intervention group. This work suggests that increasing the duration of family meals would improve the quality of the diet and eating behaviours in children.
Redesigning food systems according to the principles of circularity could lead to numerous environmental benefits. A recent study assessed the effects of adopting three food production scenarios on food systems in Europe and the UK. According to this work, second scenario would reduce agricultural land use by 71% and greenhouse gas emissions per capita by 29%. Should there be a food shortage, the savings in agricultural land would allow to feed an additional 767 million people (+149 %)outside the European Union, while increasing global greenhouse gas emissions by 55%. This work demonstrates that the shift to circular food systems involves sequential changes among all its components and would preserve human and planetary health.
A recent review examines the available data on the association between diet quality and the risk of miscarriage in women of childbearing age. A total of 20 studies were included in this work. Based on the analysis of the data, adherence to a whole-food diet consisting of healthy food or foods with a highdietary antioxidant index was associated with a reduced risk of miscarriage. In contrast, a diet rich in ultra-processed food was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. There is insufficient evidence regarding the consumption of meat, fat, and sweeteners to establish an association with risk of miscarriage.
An American study compared the greenhouse gas emissions, cost and diet quality of 5 restrictive diet models. The results show that low-fat diet had the best diet quality, while the time-restricted diet had the lowest diet quality score. The plant-based diet was the least expensive and generated the least greenhouse gas emissions. The restricted carbohydrate diet had the highest cost but intermediate diet quality and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, this work demonstrates that most dietary patterns are associated with sustainability trade-offs. The nature of these trade-offs could help inform food policy discussions in the United States.