Liver fat accumulation: alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, or both?
Fatty liver disease, characterized by abnormal accumulation of fat within the liver, covers a broad spectrum of clinical concerns including a buildup of fibrous tissue, liver cirrhosis, and increased risk of end-stage liver disease. Furthermore, it has been linked to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is therefore important to better understand dietary factors that increase fatty deposits in the liver. Alcohol consumption is a well-established risk factor associated with fatty liver disease. However, dietary factors not related to excessive alcohol consumption can cause hepatic fat accumulation as well. Referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, energy-containing nonalcoholic beverages can also lead to the buildup of fat in the liver. Findings from a recent study conducted by Esther van Eekelen (Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands) and colleagues and published in the April 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition reveal that consumption of both alcoholic and sugar-sweetened beverages contributes to fatty liver disease.

Reference: van Eekelen E, Beulens JWJ, Geelen A, Schrauwen-Hinderling VE, Lamb HJ, de Roos, A, Rosendaal FR, de Mutsert R. Consumption of alcoholic and sugar-sweetened beverages is associate d with increased liver fat content in middle-aged men and women. J Nutr 2019;149:649-58.
For More Information: To contact the corresponding author, Esther van Eekelen, please send an e-mail to E.van_Eekelen@lumc.nl .

Healthful plant-based diets favorably change adiposity-related biomarkers
Plant-based diets are associated with reduced risk of weight-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Yet, it is also clear that plant foods can vary in terms of nutritional quality. Whereas some plant foods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, others are not. Those high in simple sugars, refined starch, and unhealthy fats are considered to be of lower nutritional value, and therefore can be detrimental to health. As such, there is growing interest in plant-based diets and their association with weight-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Yet, questions remain as to what extent healthful plant-based diets are associated with adiposity-associated biomarkers. To better understand the relation between healthful plant-based diets, a research team lead by Megu Baden (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and colleagues tested associations between adiposity-associated biomarkers and 3 plant-based diet indexes: an overall plant-based diet index; a healthful plant-based diet index; and an unhealthful plant-based diet index. The study results, published in the April 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition , reveal that adherence to healthful plant-based diets is associated with favorable long-term changes in adiposity-associated biomarker concentrations in women. 


For More Information: To contact the corresponding author, Megu Baden, please send an e-mail to mbaden@hsph.harvard.edu . To contact the corresponding author of the commentary, Maria-Luz Fernandez, please send an e-mail to maria-luz.fernandez@uconn.edu  

Can fish oil supplementation during pregnancy improve birth outcomes?
Maternal nutritional status profoundly influences birth outcomes, such as duration of pregnancy and fetal growth. These 2 factors are important because both are associated with increased morbidity and impaired development in children. That is why it is particularly important for women to be aware of their nutritional needs during pregnancy. Although research has helped to identify factors that influence pregnancy-related outcomes, there is still much to learn. A recent study by Hans Bisgaard (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and colleagues provides new information pertaining to beneficial effects of fish oil supplementation during pregnancy. The study results, published in the April 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition , suggest that supplementing pregnant women with omega-3 fatty acids during the third trimester impacts both pregnancy duration and fetal growth.

Reference: Vinding RK, Stokholm J, Sevelsted A, Chawes BL, Bø nnelykke K, Barman M, Jacobsson B, Bisgaard H. Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy increases gestational age, size for gestational age, and birth weight in infants: a randomized controlled trial . J Nutr 2019;149:628-34.
Commentary: Makrides M. omega-3 Fatty acids in pregnancy: time for action . J Nutr 2019;149:549-50.

For More Information: To contact the corresponding author, Hans Bisgaard, please send an e-mail to bisgaard@copsac.com . To contact the corresponding author of the commentaty, Maria Makrides, please send an e-mail to maria.makrides@sahmri.com .

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