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Journal: Critical reviews in food science and nutrition


Mainstream dietary recommendations now commonly advise people to minimize the intake of red meat for health and environmental reasons. Most recently, a major report issued by the EAT-Lancet Commission recommended a planetary reference diet mostly based on plants and with no or very low (14 g/d) consumption of red meat. We argue that claims about the health dangers of red meat are not only improbable in the light of our evolutionary history, they are far from being supported by robust scientific evidence.


Objective: To examine the relation between the consumption or avoidance of meat and psychological health and well-being.Methods: A systematic search of online databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL Plus, Medline, and Cochrane Library) was conducted for primary research examining psychological health in meat-consumers and meat-abstainers. Inclusion criteria were the provision of a clear distinction between meat-consumers and meat-abstainers, and data on factors related to psychological health. Studies examining meat consumption as a continuous or multi-level variable were excluded. Summary data were compiled, and qualitative analyses of methodologic rigor were conducted. The main outcome was the disparity in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and related conditions in meat-consumers versus meat-abstainers. Secondary outcomes included mood and self-harm behaviors.Results: Eighteen studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria; representing 160,257 participants (85,843 females and 73,232 males) with 149,559 meat-consumers and 8584 meat-abstainers (11 to 96 years) from multiple geographic regions. Analysis of methodologic rigor revealed that the studies ranged from low to severe risk of bias with high to very low confidence in results. Eleven of the 18 studies demonstrated that meat-abstention was associated with poorer psychological health, four studies were equivocal, and three showed that meat-abstainers had better outcomes. The most rigorous studies demonstrated that the prevalence or risk of depression and/or anxiety were significantly greater in participants who avoided meat consumption.Conclusion: Studies examining the relation between the consumption or avoidance of meat and psychological health varied substantially in methodologic rigor, validity of interpretation, and confidence in results. The majority of studies, and especially the higher quality studies, showed that those who avoided meat consumption had significantly higher rates or risk of depression, anxiety, and/or self-harm behaviors. There was mixed evidence for temporal relations, but study designs and a lack of rigor precluded inferences of causal relations. Our study does not support meat avoidance as a strategy to benefit psychological health.


Beneficial effects of vegetarian and vegan diets on health outcomes have been supposed in previous studies.

Concepts: Observational study, Diets, Veganism


There is increasing evidence that the portion sizes of many foods have increased and in a laboratory at least this increases the amount eaten. The conclusions are, however, limited by the complexity of the phenomenon. There is a need to consider meals freely chosen over a prolonged period when a range of foods of different energy densities are available. A range of factors will influence the size of the portion size chosen: amongst others packaging, labeling, advertising, and the unit size rather than portion size of the food item. The way portion size interacts with the multitude of factors that determine food intake needs to be established. In particular, the role of portion size on energy intake should be examined as many confounding variables exist and we must be clear that it is portion size that is the major problem. If the approach is to make a practical contribution, then methods of changing portion sizes will need to be developed. This may prove to be a problem in a free market, as it is to be expected that customers will resist the introduction of smaller portion sizes, given that value for money is an important motivator.

Concepts: Nutrition, Eating, Food, Meal, Energy density


Abstract Skin is the largest organ of the body and is constantly exposed to physical, chemical, bacterial and fungal challenges. It is well known that probiotics are helpful for specific disorders and different clinical studies have indicated that probiotics have special effects in cutaneous apparatus directly or indirectly which can be considerable from versatile aspects. Probiotic bacteriotherapy can have great potentials in preventing and treating the skin diseases including eczema, atopic dermatitis, acne, allergic inflammation or in skin hypersensitivity, UV-induced skin damage, wound protection and cosmetic products. The current article comprehensively reviews the different health effects of probiotics on the skin.

Concepts: Immune system, Gut flora, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Allergy, Atopy, Skin, Eczema


Cumin is a seed spice belonging to the family umbelliferae. Cumin and value added products from cumin are used in food flavoring and perfumery. Cumin contains volatile oil (3-4%), cuminaldehyde, the major active principle, which is present to an extent of 45-50%. Cumin and value added products from cumin, viz., cumin oil and oleoresin are exported. Cumin powder forms the main component of many spice mixes and curry powders. Cuminaldehyde is an important phytochemical and possesses many health benefits. Alcohol and water extract of cumin are reported to possess many nutraceutical properties like antiallergic, antioxidant, anti-platelet aggregation, and hypoglycemic. Cumin and value added products from cumin can be a good source of nutraceuticals with many biological activities. Incorporation of cumin into food products will have the benefits of a flavorant and nutraceutical at the same time. In the present review, the chemistry, processing, and biological activities of cumin and its components are discussed.

Concepts: Nutrition, Value added, Apiaceae, Essential oil, Caraway, Cumin, Coriander, Curry powder


The aim of the present review article is to summarize the available information related to the availability, production, chemical composition, pharmacological activity, and traditional uses of Avena sativa to highlight its potential to contribute to human health. Oats are now cultivated worldwide and form an important dietary staple for the people in number of countries. Several varieties of oats are available. It is a rich source of protein, contains a number of important minerals, lipids, β-glucan, a mixed-linkage polysaccharide, which forms an important part of oat dietary fiber, and also contains various other phytoconstituents like avenanthramides, an indole alkaloid-gramine, flavonoids, flavonolignans, triterpenoid saponins, sterols, and tocols. Traditionally oats have been in use since long and are considered as stimulant, antispasmodic, antitumor, diuretic, and neurotonic. Oat possesses different pharmacological activities like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, immunomodulatory, antidiabetic, anticholesterolaemic, etc. A wide spectrum of biological activities indicates that oat is a potential therapeutic agent.

Concepts: Nutrition, Oat, Rolled oats, Avena


Onion (Allium cepa L.) is found in various regions of Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. It is one of the classic examples of Allium species used not only for culinary preparations but also for medicinal purposes. Onion with a variety of purposes is often used as a raw material in many dishes and accepts almost all of the traditions and culture. Owing to its storage characteristics and durability of shipping, onions have been traded more widely than most vegetables. The pungent fractions of garlic are mostly sulfur-containing moieties while its two chemical groups have marked effect on human health. These are flavonoids and ALK (EN)-based cysteine sulfoxides (ACSOs). Compounds in onions have been reported with a range of health benefits, including anticancer properties, antiplatelet activity, antithrombotic activity, antiasthmatic activity, and antibiotic effects.

Concepts: Medicine, Garlic, Allium, Onion, Alliaceae, Bulb, Shallot, Tree onion


The importance of probiotics and their live delivery in the gastrointestinal tract has gained much importance in the recent past. Many reports have indicated that there is poor viability of probiotic bacteria in dairy based products, both fermented and non-fermented, and also in the human gastro-intestinal system is questionable. In this case, microencapsulation is the most significant emerging and efficient technology that is being used for the preservation of probiotics against adverse environmental conditions. Apart from different techniques of microencapsulation, various types of encapsulating materials are also used for the process, namely, alginate, chitosan, carrageenan, gums (locust bean, gellan gum, xanthan gum, etc.), gelatin, whey protein, starch, and compression coating. Each one of the encapsulating materials has its own unique characteristics of capsule formation and provision of shape, appearance, and strength to microbeads. The type of encapsulating material also influences the viability of probiotics during storage, processing, and in the gastrointestinal tract. The effectiveness of any material depends not upon its capsule forming capability, strength, and enhancing viability but also on its cheapness, availability, and biocompatibility. So, added convenience and reduced packaging costs may also be used to offset the cost of encapsulating one or more ingredients. Encapsulated forms of ingredients provide a longer shelf life for the product.

Concepts: Digestive system, Milk, Polysaccharide, E number, Digestion, Gums, Polysaccharides, Edible thickening agents


Fruits serve as a source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. One of the barriers in increasing fruit and vegetables consumption is time required to prepare them. Overall, fruit bars have a far greater nutritional value than the fresh fruits because all nutrients are concentrated and, therefore, would be a convenience food assortment to benefit from the health benefits of fruits. The consumers prefer fruit bars that are more tasted followed by proper textural features that could be obtained by establishing the equilibrium of ingredients, the proper choosing of manufacturing stages and the control of the product final moisture content. Fruit bar preparations may include a mixture of pulps, fresh or dried fruit, sugar, binders, and a variety of minor ingredients. Additionally to the conventional steps of manufacturing (pulping, homogenizing, heating, concentrating, and drying) there have been proposed the use of gelled fruit matrices, dried gels or sponges, and extruders as new trends for processing fruit bars. Different single-type dehydration or combined methods include, in order of increasing process time, air-infrared, vacuum and vacuum-microwave drying convective-solar drying, convective drying, and freeze drying are also suggested as alternative to solar traditional drying stage. The dehydration methods that use vacuum exhibited not only higher retention of antioxidants but also better color, texture, and rehydration capacity. Antioxidant activity resulting from the presence of phenolic compounds in the bars is well established. Besides this, fruit bars are also important sources of carbohydrates and minerals. Given the wide range of bioactive factors in fresh fruits that are preserved in fruit bars, it is plausible that their uptake consumption have a positive effect in reducing the risk of many diseases.

Concepts: Nutrition, Antioxidant, Food, Dehydration, Vegetable, Food preservation, Dried fruit, Pear