Science Catch-up. Red Meat And Gut Inflammation: Harvard Study


by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — 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. Red meat and gut inflammation: Harvard study

2. Lack of cooking confidence drives ready-meal buying

3. Every meal triggers inflammation

4. Warning: Obese parents triple obesity risk in children

5. Losing fat releases toxins but reduces oxidative stress

 

Red meat and gut inflammation: Harvard study

Study link

Red meat intake and gut inflammation_The Health Sciences Academy_Alejandra Alex Ruani

Red meat intake and gut inflammation. Statistical significance (Chan et al., 2017)

According this new Harvard study involving 46,500 participants, eating high amounts of red meat daily might be a risk factor for gut inflammation and the development of diverticulitis.

For each daily serving, the risk went up by 18%.

However, replacing a daily portion of red meat with fish or poultry lowered this inflammation risk by 20%.

Fibre, on the other hand, was highlighted as being anti-inflammatory. Eating high-fibre foods, such as vegetables, lowers the chance of diverticulitis.

This shows, once again, that it’s the compounded effect of your overall diet which tips the risk scales one way or another.

Note: The red meat controversy keeps going around, in particular when it comes to cancer risk. If this is a topic you’d like clarification on, from a biological perspective, see Does Read Meat Cause Cancer? (optional resource).

 

Lack of cooking confidence drives ready-meal buying

Study link

Are you a frequent buyer of ready meals? If so, what’s your main reason for buying them?

Well, it appears that the answer is a lot more complicated than “I don’t have time”.

According to this interesting research, our lack of self-confidence in preparing a nutritious meal seems to be the main driver of ready-meal and pre-packaged processed foods purchases.

This shortage of self-efficacy underlies other reasons, such as low cost, preparation speed, or catering for diverse family tastes.

The ready-meal market is huge, valued at about EUR 40 Billion in Europe. And it continues to grow…

On the positive side, more and more healthier ready-meal options are coming to market. This is a sector that many of our students and graduates are making a positive difference in. I love health-conscious start-ups like these, and they tend to be quite successful.

Reasons for buying ready meals_The Health Sciences Academy

Reasons for buying ready meals (Horning et al., 2017)

 

Every meal triggers inflammation

Study link

Every meal triggers inflammation_The Health Sciences Academy

Every meal triggers inflammation (Dror et al., 2017)

Speaking of meals…

No matter how healthily you eat, every meal seems to trigger inflammation.

Some meals more than others. Some less.

Even if your meal is immaculately planned, it will always set off your immune response.

This is because, when we eat, we don’t just take in nutrients. We also take in a lot of bacteria!

At the same time of digestion, the body has to fight these bacteria. And that’s when the inflammatory response kicks in.

Actually, that’s good. We want a little bit of that. Most healthy individuals have this protective effect working to their advantage.

However, in overweight and diabetic individuals, this pro-inflammatory response seems to be exacerbated.

 

Warning: Obese parents triple obesity risk in children

Project link

There are very serious dangers from parental obesity, and not just to themselves, but their children too!

A project involving 36 international research groups, called EarlyNutrition, highlights that parental obesity during pregnancy and during a child’s early years will typically triple their own obesity risk later in life.

As a result, the project consortium recommends that:

  • Both mother and father should achieve a healthy weight prior to conception
  • Parents should eat healthily during the child’s early years, which can help reduce their obesity risk
  • Pregnant women should not “eat for two”
  • Breast-feeding mothers should eat healthily, given that some nutrients in the maternal diet have a direct impact on breast-milk composition

In this graph they summarise other effects of a mom’s diet on her breast milk:

EarlyNutrition Project_nutrients in maternal diet impact milk composition

Nutrients in maternal diet impact breast-milk composition (EarlyNutrition Project, 2017)

 

Losing fat releases toxins but reduces oxidative stress

Study link

PCB concentration following weight loss_The Health Sciences Academy

Total PCB concentration following weight loss (Arciero et al., 2017)

This study conducted by exercise scientists looked at the toxins released from fat tissue during weight loss.

Some of these toxins include PCBs (plastics) and other harmful substances being released into the blood.

One of the many concerns for dieters is the negative effects of those old toxins flooding the body.

However, the scientists found that the body compensates for such effects by increasing the release of antioxidants, which in turn reduces overall oxidative stress.

This means that if your body’s antioxidant mechanisms are working as they should, with all the nutrients needed to manufacture those antioxidants, weight loss might favourably impact your natural detoxification process.

Note: There’s a lot of good science on toxicology and detoxification in our Detox Specialist course, a must-have certification for every nutrition professional in my opinion. You can take a look at the course curriculum here.

 

Science Reports:

Available upon individual purchase. Learn more here!

Does Red Meat Cause Cancer?

How to Heal Your Gut - Part 3

Fasting and Training: Good or Bad?

 

If you want to get the latest science and our tips, make sure you sign up to our Thursday emails HERE.

The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right
Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. She is a Harvard-trained scientific researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups every other Thursday.
Connect with Alex via email.


Every other Thursday we share our research and actionable advice to help you and those you care about. If you enjoyed this, join our FREE updates.

3 Comments

  • Betiana

    Reply Reply January 19, 2017

    Loving this Alex!

    didn’t know that every meal triggers some inflammation, great point!

    keep up the great educational work!

  • Tom

    Reply Reply January 19, 2017

    Alex thanks as always learnt lots. Scary news about obese parents and tripling child obesity risk… to keep in mind. Cool pic with the olympians– they are a great inspiration :)))

  • Alice

    Reply Reply January 28, 2017

    Thank you for these science updates!
    It is very interesting that ‘lack of cooking confidence’ is one of the main reasons why people rely on processed food!
    I’ve always felt that is a real area for development – encouraging home cooking confidence – making it easy, tasty and fun.

Leave A Response

Please enter a valid number to confirm that you are human. *

* Denotes Required Field