Science Catch-up. Carbohydrates and Health

by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.

Welcome to our Thursday’s Science Catch-up: curated links by The Health Sciences Academy. Get our email updates every other Thursday here (it’s free).

Let’s catch you up with studies and news that recently made the headlines!

Click on your favourite topics to read our summary:

1. PDF. Dietary modulation of gut microbiota contributes to alleviation of both genetic and simple obesity in children

2. PDF. Carbohydrates and Health

3. Tax sugary drinks by 20%, say doctors

4. Science proves what you suspected: hiking’s good for your mental health

5. Few U.S. adults meet fruit, vegetable intake guidelines

6. PDF. Generation Inactive..?

7. Whole Grains Explained

8. Resveratrol, red wine and cancer: what’s the story?


Science Catch-up Links:

PDF. Dietary modulation of gut microbiota contributes to alleviation of both genetic and simple obesity in children • Here’s more proof that obesity genes are not destiny! Even if you have a genetic predisposition to obesity, promoting a healthier composition of your gut microbiome through diet can alleviate food cravings, genetic obesity, and non-genetic obesity. No more excuses, right? If you’d like to understand the ins and outs of this topic, I recommend reading Are your genes, gut microbiome and weight connected?


PDF. Carbohydrates and Health • “Added sugars” should be no more than 5% of your diet (ca. 25 grams a day), says the UK’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. This is in line with the WHO call to halve sugars from 10% to 5%. Just bear in mind that processed foods and sugary drinks often exceed this limit… loaded with corn syrup, sucrose, nectars, fruit juice concentrate, and what not. Have a look at 65 alternative names of sugar here.


Tax sugary drinks by 20%, say doctors • The British Medical Association is pushing for an “extra” 20% tax on sugar-loaded drinks. Why? To lower consumption and use the money raised to subsidise fresh fruits and vegetables. Do you agree with this? Let us know by voting in our poll.


Science proves what you suspected: hiking’s good for your mental health • Walking cheers you up… but “where” you walk also matters! Street walking vs. nature walking may have different brain effects. This is a well-designed brain study showing how long-walking in a natural environment helps dissipate your worrying thoughts and persistent mental rumination. Not a bad idea to bring nature back in your life!


Few U.S. adults meet fruit, vegetable intake guidelines • Data from 50 states shows that less than 14% of adults eat the US recommended amount of vegetables (at least 2-3 cups daily), and less than 18% the US recommended amount of fruit (1.5-2 cups). The WHO recommends a minimum of 5 a day (400 grams of vegs and/or fruit), and the Australian government 2 plus 5 a day (2 portions of fruit and 5 of vegs). Are you meeting your minimum? Have a look at our community stats in our Free Starter Nutrition Course.


PDF. Generation Inactive..? • Concentration and learning may deteriorate if you’re inactive, particularly when you’re still growing up… In case you weren’t aware of the impact of child inactivity on brain growth and health, these stats will open your eyes. Great recommendations at the end. By the way, we’re developing our new Advanced Child and Brain Development Nutritional Advisor course; you can sign up here to be notified when it goes live.


Whole Grains Explained • What does whole grain mean? What’s the nutritional composition? How do whole grains compare to refined grains? What happens to nutrients after processing? What’s the science of whole-grain benefits? How to recognise whole grain foods? All explained in this compact EUFIC report. Worth reading, even if you have an issue with gluten (not all grains have gluten).


Resveratrol, red wine and cancer: what’s the story? • We often hear that resveratrol in red wine helps prevent cancer, but on the other hand acetaldehydes from ethanol are cancer-causing. Then, which one is it? According to Cancer Research UK, alcohol increases cancer risk and outweighs any potential benefits. In any case, resveratrol itself is cancer-preventive and you can get it from alcohol-free sources like red grapes, berries, and even dark raw chocolate. There are other things you can do to prevent the development of cancerous cells, see Why Don’t We All Get Cancer?


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The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right Alex Ruani, Doctoral Researcher, leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where her team of accomplished scientists and PhDs are training a new breed of over 100,000 highly-specialised nutrition professionals who are leveraging the latest personalisation strategies to help their clients. She is a Harvard-trained scientist and UCL Doctoral Researcher who is fanatical about equipping health professionals with the latest science-based tools so they can succeed in their practices – from identifying the unique nutrient needs to building highly personalised nutrition programs. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition biochemistry, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free email updates.

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  • Malcolm Roweth

    Reply Reply July 30, 2015

    The SACN conclusions that total carbohydrate intake appears to be neither
    detrimental nor beneficial to cardio-metabolic health, and that it has no effect on weight gain are interesting.

    When we remove most carbohydrates from our diet and replace our energy source with healthy fats we lose weight, T2 diabetics get healthier, the obese get less obese, and our lipids tend to improve.

    • Hi Malcolm, thanks for commenting! Fibre is a carb and included in the SACN report. Refined carbs and added sugars have different biochemical and hormonal effects in the body than dietary fibre from greens. The glycaemic content also counts. Fibre (low glycaemic, zero-calorie) is a beneficial carb and most people don’t eat enough of it. As you probably already know, lack of fibre has been linked to colon cancer, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions. New studies are showing that fibre intake promotes healthy gut microbiota and the release of hunger-suppressing hormones. Now the SACN recommends to increase fibre intake to 30g per day (a quarter more than before). Refined carbs are the tricky ones :-) In any case, everyone is different, and has a different genetic makeup, even our Paleolithic ancestors, not everyone may tolerate a ketogenic diet. You might enjoy our new Science Report on this: Thanks! Maria (THSA team)

  • anne keyth

    Reply Reply July 30, 2015


    I’m really enjoying these summaries and links. Your notes help me understand things better.

    Love this, thank you!

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