Pinto beans may help lower cholesterol
Elevated blood lipid levels increase risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Although cholesterol-lowering drugs are typically prescribed, a recent study by Schlegel and colleagues suggests that whole pinto beans may also effectively lower cholesterol. By supplementing diets rich in saturated fat with whole pinto beans and their hulls, the researchers investigated changes in cholesterol metabolism and the molecular mechanisms responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects. The study results suggest that pinto beans effectively lower cholesterol by decreasing cholesterol synthesis in the liver and cholesterol absorption in the small intestine.  

Reference Nguyen AT, Althwab S, Qiu H, Zbasnik R, Urrea C, Carr TP, Schlegel V.  Pinto Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Lower Non-HDL Cholesterol in Hamsters Fed a Diet Rich in Saturated Fat and Act on Genes Involved in Cholesterol Homeostasis . JNutr . 2019;149(6):906-1003.
For More Information To contact the corresponding author, Dr. Schlegel, please send an e-mail to

Household food insecurity, stress and insulin resistance: Is there a connection?
A recent study by Bermudez-Millan and colleagues examined the association between food insecurity and insulin resistance among low—income Latinos with type 2 diabetes and tested whether inflammation and stress hormones mediated this association. The study results suggest that among Latinos with type 2 diabetes, food insecurity is associated with insulin resistance that is partially mediated through inflammation and stress hormones. 

Reference Bermudez-Millan A, Wagner JA, Feinn RS, Segura-Perez S, Damio G, Chhabra J, Perez-Escamilla R.  Inflammation and Stress Biomarkers Mediate the Association between Household Food Insecurity and Insulin Resistance among Latinos with Type 2 Diabetes . JNutr . 2019;149(6):982-88.
For More Information  To contact the corresponding author, Dr. Bermudez-Millan, please send an e-mail to

Commercial prenatal supplements: Are new clinical trials needed?
Iron deficiency is common in the United States and is the leading cause of diet-related anemia. Nationwide studies suggest that a significant portion of women in the US consume insufficient amounts of dietary iron. Because iron requirements increase during pregnancy, women are advised to increase their intake of iron-rich foods or take an iron-containing prenatal dietary supplement. Published data on the amounts and chemical forms of iron used in formulating prenatal supplements are not available. Not only does product formulation affect iron bioavailability, the chemical forms of products on the market may also differ from those tested in clinical trials. A recent study by Saldanha and colleagues used two National Institutes of Health’s Dietary Supplement Label Databases to examine amounts and chemical forms of iron listed on the labels of all iron-containing nonprescription and prescription prenatal supplements.

Reference Saldanha LG, Dwyer JT, Andrews KW, Brown LL.  The Chemical Forms of Iron in Commercial Prenatal Supplements Are Not Always the Same as Those Tested in Clinical Trials . JNutr . 2019; 149(6):890-93.
For More Information To contact the corresponding author, Dr. Saldanha, please send an e-mail to

Read full summaries here .