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Journal: Nutrition reviews


It is well established in the literature that healthier diets cost more than unhealthy diets.

Concepts: Human, Health, Medicine, Healthy diet, Nutrition


Vegetarians are at risk for vitamin B(12) (B12) deficiency due to suboptimal intake. The goal of the present literature review was to assess the rate of B12 depletion and deficiency among vegetarians and vegans. Using a PubMed search to identify relevant publications, 18 articles were found that reported B12 deficiency rates from studies that identified deficiency by measuring methylmalonic acid, holo-transcobalamin II, or both. The deficiency rates reported for specific populations were as follows: 62% among pregnant women, between 25% and almost 86% among children, 21-41% among adolescents, and 11-90% among the elderly. Higher rates of deficiency were reported among vegans compared with vegetarians and among individuals who had adhered to a vegetarian diet since birth compared with those who had adopted such a diet later in life. The main finding of this review is that vegetarians develop B12 depletion or deficiency regardless of demographic characteristics, place of residency, age, or type of vegetarian diet. Vegetarians should thus take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12.

Concepts: Intentional living, Veganism, Vegetarianism, Vitamin B12


Coconut oil is being heavily promoted as a healthy oil, with benefits that include support of heart health. To assess the merits of this claim, the literature on the effect of coconut consumption on cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes in humans was reviewed. Twenty-one research papers were identified for inclusion in the review: 8 clinical trials and 13 observational studies. The majority examined the effect of coconut oil or coconut products on serum lipid profiles. Coconut oil generally raised total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to a greater extent than cis unsaturated plant oils, but to a lesser extent than butter. The effect of coconut consumption on the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was often not examined. Observational evidence suggests that consumption of coconut flesh or squeezed coconut in the context of traditional dietary patterns does not lead to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, due to large differences in dietary and lifestyle patterns, these findings cannot be applied to a typical Western diet. Overall, the weight of the evidence from intervention studies to date suggests that replacing coconut oil with cis unsaturated fats would alter blood lipid profiles in a manner consistent with a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Concepts: The Canon of Medicine, Coconut, Cholesterol, Cardiovascular disease, Nutrition, Low-density lipoprotein, Atherosclerosis, Fat


This review utilizes current national dietary guidelines and published databases to evaluate the impacts of reasonable shifts in the amount and type of protein intake in the United States on the intersection of human and environmental health. The established scientific basis and recommendations for protein intake as described in the US Dietary Reference Intakes are reviewed. Data on food availability from both the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and data on consumption from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey are used to examine estimates of current US protein consumption. Greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2eq) and blue and green water impacts of US protein consumption resulting from US agricultural practices were obtained from previously published meta-analyses. A 25% decrease in protein intake paired with a 25% shift from animal food to plant food protein intake-from an 85:15 ratio to a 60:40 ratio-would best align protein intake with national dietary recommendations while simultaneously resulting in 40% fewer CO2eq emissions and 10% less consumptive water use. The modeling of this strategy suggests a savings of 129 billion kilograms of CO2eq and 3.1 trillion gallons of water relative to current consumption.


The numbers of vegans and vegetarians have increased in the last decades. However, the impact of these diets on bone health is still under debate.


Vitamin D has been used to prevent and treat dental caries. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of controlled clinical trials (CCTs) assessing the impact of vitamin D on dental caries prevention. Random-effects and meta-regression models were used to evaluate overall and subgroup-specific relative-rate estimates. Twenty-four CCTs encompassing 2,827 children met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-two of the 24 CCTs predated modern clinical trial design, some of which nonetheless reported characteristics such as pseudo-randomization (n = 2), blinding (n = 4), or use of placebos (n = 8). The relative-rate estimates of the 24 CCTs exhibited significant heterogeneity (P < 0.0001), and there was evidence of significant publication bias (P < 0.001). The pooled relative-rate estimate of supplemental vitamin D was 0.53 (95% CI, 0.43-0.65). No robust differences were identified between the caries-preventive effects of vitamin D(2) , vitamin D(3) , and ultraviolet radiation (Prob > F = 0.22). The analysis of CCT data identified vitamin D as a promising caries-preventive agent, leading to a low-certainty conclusion that vitamin D may reduce the incidence of caries.

Concepts: Systematic review, Vitamin D, Evidence-based medicine, Dental caries, Epidemiology, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Clinical trial


This systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) aimed to analyze the effect of fiber intake on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Databases were searched up to November 2012 using the following medical subject headings: diabetes, fiber, and randomized controlled trial. Absolute changes in glycated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose were reported as differences between baseline and end-of-study measures. Pooled estimates were obtained using random-effects models. Of the 22,046 articles initially identified, 11 (13 comparisons; range of duration, 8-24 weeks) fulfilled the inclusion criteria, providing data from 605 patients. High-fiber diets, including diets with foods rich in fiber (up to 42.5 g/day; four studies) or supplements containing soluble fiber (up to 15.0 g/day; nine studies), reduced absolute values of glycated hemoglobin by 0.55% (95% CI -0.96 to -0.13) and fasting plasma glucose by 9.97 mg/dL (95% CI -18.16 to -1.78). In conclusion, increased fiber intake improved glycemic control, indicating it should be considered as an adjunctive tool in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Concepts: Clinical research, Epidemiology, Blood sugar, Pharmaceutical industry, Nutrition, Diabetes, Randomized controlled trial, Diabetes mellitus


Insufficient energy compensation after a preload (meal, snack, or beverage) has been associated with excess energy intake, but experimental studies have used heterogeneous methodologies, making energy compensation difficult to predict. The aim of this systematic review was to analyze the relative contributions of two key variables, preload physical form and intermeal interval (IMI), to differences in energy compensation. Forty-eight publications were included, from which percent energy compensation (%EC) data were extracted for 253 interventions (121 liquid, 69 semisolid, 20 solid, and 43 composite preloads). Energy compensation ranged from -370% (overconsumption, mostly of liquids) to 450% (overcompensation). A meta-regression analysis of studies reporting positive energy compensation showed that IMI (as the predominant factor) together with preload physical form and energy contributed significantly to %EC differences, accounting for 50% of the variance, independently from gender and BMI. Energy compensation was maximized when the preload was in semisolid/solid form and the IMI was 30-120 min. These results may assist in the interpretation of studies assessing the relative efficacy of interventions to enhance satiety, including functional foods and weight management products.

Concepts: Meal, Temperature, Liquid


The impact of timing the consumption of protein supplements in relation to meals on resistance training-induced changes in body composition has not been evaluated systematically.

Concepts: Composition of relations


A preponderance of evidence supports the beneficial effects of whey protein (WP) supplementation on body composition in men; however, there is currently insufficient evidence to make an equivalent claim in women.

Concepts: Effect, Evidence law, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Evidence, Legal burden of proof, Meta-analysis