Can obesity be reduced by choice of calories and spermidine supplementation?
There are important differences in terms of how the 3 sources of calories are metabolized. Dietary fat has long been recognized for its detrimental health effects, but diets high in sugar have also been implicated in increased risk of a variety of chronic diseases. Diet also has a strong influence on the complex microbial ecosystem that resides in the gut. Naturally occurring compounds called polyamines have been found to influence body fat accumulation and support activity-induced weight loss. Therefore, polyamines such as spermidine may have the potential to enhance these activity-induced beneficial effects. A recent study by Julia Schipke and colleagues tested if spermidine supplementation and voluntary activity exert differential effects against fat- and sucrose-induced systemic and gut microbiota changes. The study results, published in the March 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, reveal that spermidine supplementation may have beneficial effects, particularly for sucrose-induced obesity. The combination of activity and spermidine supplementation affected energy intake and reduced body weights of active, spermidine-supplemented mice fed a high-sugar diet compared with inactive mice fed the high-sugar diet. The results of this study suggest that dietary sucrose and fat cause diverse metabolic and microbiota changes that were differentially susceptible to physical activity. Although further studies are needed, these promising results suggest that spermidine has the potential to augment physical activity‒induced beneficial effects, particularly for sucrose-induced obesity.

Reference: Schipke J, Vital M, Schnapper-Isl A, Pieper DH, Mühlfeld C. Spermidine and voluntary activity exert differential effects on sucrose- compared with fat-induced systemic changes in male mice. J Nutr 2019;149:451‒62.
For More Information: To contact the corresponding author, Julia Schipke, please send an e-mail to

Cardiovascular health benefits associated with high-oleic acid oils used to replace trans unsaturated fatty acids in processed foods
To reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, healthy eating guidelines recommend a reduction of dietary saturated fatty acids and replacement with unsaturated fatty acids. Oils such as high‒oleic acid canola oil are a reasonable substitute for trans unsaturated fatty acids given their favorable fatty acid profiles and adherence with dietary guidelines. There is widespread consumption of high‒oleic acid oils, particularly in processed foods; however, there is limited knowledge of their cardiovascular impact. A study published in the March 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition conducted by Penny Kris-Etherton and colleagues compared the effects of diets containing canola oil, high‒oleic acid canola oil, and a control oil blend on cardiovascular disease risk factors, including lipids, lipoproteins, and apoliproteins. A total of 119 middle-aged adults with 1 or more risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome participated in this 6-week double-blind, randomized, controlled feeding trial. During the feeding periods, participants were provided with an isocaloric, weight-maintenance base diet with one of the following oils: canola oil, high‒oleic acid canola oil, or a control oil. Compared with the control, canola and high‒oleic acid canola oil diets resulted in lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, with no differences between canola diets. Study results suggest that replacing sources of saturated fatty acids with high-oleic acid and/or conventional canola oils into the diet is an effective strategy to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk. 

Reference: Bowen KJ, Kris-Etherton PM, West SG, Fleming JA, Connelly PW, Lamarche B, Couture P, Jenkins DJA, Taylor CG, Zahradka P, et al. Diets enriched with conventional or high‒oleic acid canola oils lower atherogenic lipids and lipoproteins compared to a diet with a western fatty acid profile in adults with central adiposity. J Nutr 2019;149:471‒8.

For More Information: To contact the corresponding author, Penny Kris-Etherton, please send an e-mail to

Adverse impacts of energy drinks cannot be attributed to a single ingredient
Energy drinks are marketed as stimulants that can improve both physical and mental performance. Acute adverse effects, including fatalities, have been associated with consumption of energy drinks, especially when mixed with alcohol. Adverse symptoms can include chest tightness, rapid, irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal discomfort, and neurological responses such as irritability, nervousness, panic attacks, hallucinations, and seizures. However, it is unclear which of the components or combinations contributes to the reported adverse effects. A study conducted by Stephan Bischoff and colleagues examined cardiovascular and metabolic effects of energy drinks and mixtures providing relevant ingredients of energy drinks compared to a control beverage without these components. The study results, published in the March 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, show for the first time that the effects of energy drinks cannot be attributed to the single components of caffeine, taurine, or glucuronolactone. Based on the study results, the researchers concluded that a single high-volume intake of energy drinks caused adverse changes in blood pressure, ventricular activity, and insulin sensitivity in young, healthy individuals. The clinical impact of the adverse changes could be of relevance to individuals at risk for cardiovascular or metabolic disease.

Reference: Basrai M, Schweinlin A, Menzel J, Mielke H, Weikert C, Dusemund B, Putze K, Watzl B, Lampen A, Bischoff SC. Energy drinks induce acute cardiovascular and metabolic changes pointing to potential risks for young adults: a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr 2019;149:441‒50.
For More Information: To contact the corresponding author, Stephan Bischoff, please send an e-mail to

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