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What Your Mother Didn't Feed You Is Coming Back to Haunt You

A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at girls' eating practices at ages 5, 7, and 9 years. The girls had either low- or high-restrictive eating behavior and were either overweight or not overweight. Higher levels of maternal restriction at age 5 predicted higher eating in the absence of hunger at ages 7 and 9 years of age. Girls who were overweight at age 5 were more likely to eat in response to environmental cues than normal weight girls, despite a lack of hunger. So moms of the world, provide healthy snacks and let your kids munch on in moderation. (Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78:215-220)


Diet May be as Good as Statins in Reducing Cholesterol Count

A 4-week study using 46 healthy adults with hyperlipidemia has found that a diet low in saturated fat and high in viscous fibers, plant sterols, soy, and nuts can reduce cholesterol levels on par with drug therapy. Participants in the study were randomized to receive 1 of 3 diets. The control diet was a low saturated fat diet, the second diet was low saturated fat with the addition of a statin drug, and the dietary portfolio group ate a diet high in plant sterols (1g/1000 kcal) and soy protein (21.4 g/1,000 kcal). Reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was 8% in the control group, 31% in the statin group, and 29% in the dietary portfolio group. Both the statin and dietary portfolio group had a statistically significant different response than the control group. There was no statistical difference between the statin and dietary portfolio group. Of course, the question is whether the dietary portfolio was tasty enough to be sustained long-term; that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it does suggest that with the right motivation, lifestyle changes can have body-altering effects.


(JAMA. 2003;290:502-510, 531-533)


Food Labels to List Trans Fatty Acids Content

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring that food labels list the grams of trans fat so that consumers can compare products on that basis. What the new label won't do is inform consumers about how the amount of trans fat in the product relates to how much they should have in a day (the answer to that is the DRI, which suggest there is no need for any trans at all). Foods low in saturated fats but high in trans fats can still be labeled "low in saturated fat." Most trans fatty acids come from partially hydrogenated oils, which are used to make pastries, cookies, crackers, and other processed foods. The trans fats are formed when liquid oils are transformed into semisolids. Trans fat has the same deleterious heart properties as saturated fat. The new labels are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2006. (CSPI, July 9, 2003)