Suggested Move to Plant-based Diets Risks Worsening Brain Health Nutrient Deficiency

The momentum behind a move to plant-based and vegan diets for the good of the planet is commendable, but risks worsening an already low intake of an essential nutrient involved in brain health, warns a nutritionist in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

To make matters worse, the UK government has failed to recommend or monitor dietary levels of this nutrient–choline–found predominantly in animal foods, says Dr Emma Derbyshire, of Nutritional Insight, a consultancy specialising in nutrition and biomedical science.

Choline is an essential dietary nutrient, but the amount produced by the liver is not enough to meet the requirements of the human body.

Choline is critical to brain health, particularly during fetal development. It also influences liver function, with shortfalls linked to irregularities in blood fat metabolism as well as excess free radical cellular damage, writes Dr Derbyshire.

The primary sources of dietary choline are found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken, with much lower levels found in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli.

In 1998, recognising the importance of choline, the US Institute of Medicine recommended minimum daily intakes. These range from 425 mg/day for women to 550 mg/day for men, and 450 mg/day and 550 mg/day for pregnant and breastfeeding women, respectively, because of the critical role the nutrient has in fetal development.

In 2016, the European Food Safety Authority published similar daily requirements. Yet national dietary surveys in North America, Australia, and Europe show that habitual choline intake, on average, falls short of these recommendations.

“This is….concerning given that current trends appear to be towards meat reduction and plant-based diets,” says Dr Derbyshire.

She commends the first report (EAT-Lancet) to compile a healthy food plan based on promoting environmental sustainability, but suggests that the restricted intakes of whole milk, eggs and animal protein it recommends could affect choline intake.

And she is at a loss to understand why choline does not feature in UK dietary guidance or national population monitoring data.

“Given the important physiological roles of choline and authorisation of certain health claims, it is questionable why choline has been overlooked for so long in the UK,” she writes. “Choline is presently excluded from UK food composition databases, major dietary surveys, and dietary guidelines,” she adds.

It may be time for the UK government’s independent Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to reverse this, she suggests, particularly given the mounting evidence on the importance of choline to human health and growing concerns about the sustainability of the planet’s food production.

“More needs to be done to educate healthcare professionals and consumers about the importance of a choline-rich diet, and how to achieve this,” she writes.

“If choline is not obtained in the levels needed from dietary sources per se then supplementation strategies will be required, especially in relation to key stages of the life cycle, such as pregnancy, when choline intakes are critical to infant development,” she concludes.

Source: BMJ

Peruvian-style Quinoa Tamales with Sarza Criolla

Ingredients

2 cups of quinoa rinsed
1/4 cup rice flour
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp turmeric or 2 tbsp aji panca paste
2 tsp ground garlic
1/4 cup grape seed oil or oil of preference

Filling

1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic
1/4 cup of grape seed oil
1 small size yellow onion diced
1 medium size zucchini, diced small
1 medium size goose-neck squash, diced small
1 pint diced mini portabella mushroom
2 roasted and diced poblano or hatch peppers

Sarza Criolla

1 med size red onion thinly sliced and rinsed
1 large lime
salt to taste

Wrap

Softened banana leaves or soaked corn husks

Method

  1. Cook the quinoa until soften making sure not to overcook about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain but do not rinse.
  3. In a pot heat the oil and add the turmeric or aji, and the garlic and sauté lightly being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa, add the salt and pepper and continue to cook together for about 3 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and incorporate the rice flour.
  6. To make the filling, Heat a medium size pot and add the oil.
  7. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
  8. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  9. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and cook until tender but careful not to overcook.
  10. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. To assemble the tamales place about a 1/4 of a cup of quinoa in the center of the husk or banana leaf and put a spoon full of the filling in the center. Carefully wrap the husk to form the tamale and wrap them individually tightly in aluminum foil and set aside. Once all the tamales are done place them in a pot and cover them in water and place the lid on the pot. Cook the tamales for 30 minutes and remove them from the water. Allow the to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving them.
  12. To make the sarza simply put the onions in a bowl and add the salt and lime juice and allow them to cure for about 5 minutes. If you prefer to make spicy add a slice of pepper to the onions.
  13. Plate the tamale out of the wrap on a plate and top it with the sarza. Enjoy!

Makes 12 servings.

Source: Chef Karla Flores-Ybaceta

Food Giant Makes Jumbo Bet on Shrimp Made from Plants

Laura Reiley wrote . . . . . . . . .

Tyson Foods is riding the new wave. Literally. On Thursday, the world’s second- largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork announced it is moving in a whole new direction: plantbased shellfish. Tyson has invested in New Wave Foods, a San Franciscobased start-up that will debut plantbased shrimp early next year.

“I was introduced to New Wave by a venture capital friend of mine, and I flew out and had the product prepared for me by a chef, and I didn’t even know it wasn’t shrimp,” says Tom Mastrobuoni, chief financial officer of Tyson Ventures.

This is a new entry into the plantbased protein revolution led by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, a heady world of products that cook, bleed and chew like real flesh.

Since Beyond’s stratospheric IPO in May, plant-based debuts have been the talk of the food world, with establishment companies such as Smithfield, Perdue and Nestlé jumping on board.

Tyson was an early adopter, owning a 6.52 per cent share in Beyond Meat, only to hop out pre-public offering to announce its own plant-based meat brand, Raised & Rooted.

This, however, is something largely unprecedented, according to New Wave chief executive Mary McGovern.

“This is the first disrupter in this particular kind of protein, and there’s a clear advantage to coming in and being the first disruptive shrimp.”

Shrimp are the most-consumed seafood on the planet and No. 1 in the United States by a factor of two. If a product that tastes like the real thing can be debuted at a similar price point, there’s the potential for big business.

Once established, the company intends to follow with plant-based versions of crab and lobster.

McGovern says plant-based shrimp will be rolled out in restaurants.

Eighty per cent of shrimp are consumed in food service, and she says the advantages for a restaurateur are consistency.

Consistency of size and shape, as well as consistency in price. Farmed and wild shrimp vacillate in seasonal pricing between US$4 and US$11 per pound wholesale, which can make menu pricing frustrating.

Convenience and consistency mean very little, however, if the taste and essential “shrimpiness” aren’t there. The job fell to Michelle Wolf, co-founder and chief technology officer of New Wave. With seaweed extract as a main ingredient and a plant protein augmented by two other proprietary ingredients, the sham shrimp’s biggest challenge was texture.

“We have been wholly focused on making this a product for the flexitarian,” Wolf said.

“It has to provide the bite and texture and characteristic snap of shrimp. It was critical to get the texture, so much of the work has gone into that.”

Wolf says the product looks like a peeled, deveined and tailless cooked shrimp but is hypoallergenic, lower in calories and cholesterol, and higher in fibre.

Not everyone is bullish about how a plant-based shellfish will be received in the marketplace.

“What’s worked so well for the plantbased burger is that it’s disguised, it’s masked with sauces and condiments, and there’s not a compromise with texture and taste,” said Eddie Yoon, founder of Eddie Would Grow, a think tank on growth strategies.

“If you think about meatballs, you’re drowning them in tomato sauce, cheese. Chicken nuggets get breading. From a seafood perspective, there’s not a lot of disguising going on,” Yoon said.

If Tyson is smart, he says, it will roll out the product in areas where seafood plays a bigger role in regional cuisine. No matter what, he says, its reception is likely to be slower, partly because shellfish is more niche than burgers and nuggets.

“And you’ll need restaurants chefs to get excited about this.”

Some already are.

Chef Spike Mendelsohn debuts his newest plant-based restaurant concept, PLNT Burger in Silver Spring, Md., next week.

He says Tyson’s decision to invest in New Wave’s plant-based shellfish is a savvy one.

“I think there’s room for anything right now, to be honest. We’re experiencing a universal shift in how we think about food.”

He says customers will be reassured by the use of seaweed as a central ingredient, as people have been eating it for centuries. Consumers will also be drawn to New Wave’s smaller environmental footprint, he argues, as well as its lack of involvement in overfishing or unfair labour practices.

The positioning of this new product is crucial, according to Mendelsohn. This new array of plant-based products is largely targeting omnivores aiming for the occasional meat alternative.

“Beyond Meat wanted to be in the meat aisle, not the veggie burger aisle, and that was brilliant.”

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Eating More Vitamin K Found to Help, Not Harm, Patients on Warfarin

When prescribed the anticoagulant drug warfarin, many patients are told to limit foods rich in vitamin K, such as green vegetables. The results of a new clinical trial call that advice into question and suggest patients on warfarin actually benefit from increasing their vitamin K intake–as long as they keep their intake levels consistent.

Warfarin is widely used to prevent the dangerous blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. The drug’s dosage must be carefully calibrated to balance the risk of clots against the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. Because warfarin counteracts the activity of vitamin K in the blood, large swings in vitamin K intake can disrupt this balance.

The current recommendation to keep daily vitamin K intakes consistent often translates into patients limiting vitamin K intake. According to the new trial, patients would be better advised to increase the amount of vitamin K in their diet.

“I think all warfarin-treated patients would benefit from increasing their daily vitamin K intake, said lead study author Guylaine Ferland, professor of nutrition at Université de Montréal and scientist at the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre. “That said, given the direct interaction between dietary vitamin K and the action of the drug, it is important that (higher) daily vitamin K intakes be as consistent as possible.”

Ferland will present the research at Nutrition 2019, the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, held June 8-11, 2019 in Baltimore.

“Our hope is that healthcare professionals will stop advising warfarin-treated patients to avoid green vegetables,” said Ferland. She explained that eating plenty of green vegetables and other nutritious vitamin-K rich foods can help stabilize anticoagulation therapy and offers many other health benefits.

The study is the first randomized controlled trial to test how patients on warfarin respond to a dietary intervention aimed at systematically increasing vitamin K intake. Researchers enrolled 46 patients with a history of anticoagulation instability. Half attended dietary counseling sessions and cooking lessons that provided general nutrition information, while half attended counseling sessions and cooking lessons focused on increasing intake of green vegetables and vitamin-K rich oils and herbs.

After six months, 50 percent of those counseled to increase their vitamin K intake were maintaining stable anticoagulation levels, compared with just 20 percent of those who received the general nutritional counseling, a significant improvement. The results suggest patients taking warfarin would benefit from consuming foods that provide a minimum of 90 micrograms of vitamin K per day for women and 120 micrograms per day for men, Ferland said.

Source: American Society for Nutrition

Going Vegetarian Good for Your Heart, But May Up Stroke Risk

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Vegetarianism is all the rage these days, but a new study suggests that slicing meat from your diet might raise your risk of stroke slightly.

While vegetarians had a 22% lower risk for heart disease, they had a 20% higher risk for stroke, British researchers found. Meanwhile, people who ate fish but no other meats (pescatarians) had a 13% lower risk of heart disease, with no increased stroke risk.

“The lower risk of heart disease is likely at least partly due to lower weight, lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and lower rates of diabetes linked to pescatarian or vegetarian diets,” said lead researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford.

Tong cautioned that this study can’t prove that not eating meat reduces the risk for heart disease or increases the risk for stroke, only that there seems to be a connection.

And the absolute reduction in the risk for heart disease and increased risk for stroke is modest, she said.

“When translated into absolute numbers, this was equivalent to 10 fewer cases of heart disease in the vegetarians than the meat eaters in every 1,000 people eating these diets over 10 years,” Tong said.

As for stroke, three more strokes would be seen among vegetarians compared with meat eaters over the same time, she said.

Why?

Recent evidence suggests that very low cholesterol levels might be linked to a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, Tong noted. Vegetarians and vegans might also have low levels of some nutrients, such as vitamin B12, which is only naturally available from animal foods, she added.

“Some research has suggested there may be a link between B12 deficiency and higher stroke risk, but the evidence is not conclusive,” Tong said.

Tong also said that only heart disease and stroke were studied, but other chronic conditions need to be looked at to show the total benefit of a vegetarian diet.

The report was published in the BMJ journal.

Mark Lawrence, a professor of public health nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, said that dietary guidelines have the best advice for vegetarians as well as for fish and meat eaters.

That’s because they consider dietary associations with multiple health outcomes — not just heart disease and stroke, said Lawrence, who co-authored an accompanying journal editorial.

“Shifting towards a plant-based diet can have personal and planetary health benefits, though it does not necessarily mean becoming a vegetarian,” he said.

For the study, Tong and her colleagues collected data on more than 48,000 men and women, average age 45, with no history of stroke or heart disease.

Among the participants were more than 24,000 meat eaters, about 7,500 pescatarians and more than 16,000 vegetarians and vegans.

During the 18 years of the study, nearly 3,000 people developed heart disease and more than 1,000 suffered a stroke. About 500 of the strokes were caused by blood clots in the brain (ischemic stroke) and 300 resulted from bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

The researchers accounted for factors such as medical history, smoking, use of dietary supplements, and physical activity, which can affect the risk for heart disease and stroke.

One U.S. dietitian noted that there are benefits to vegetarian diets — as long as you include vitamins that may be lacking.

“Vegans and strict vegetarians need to be mindful of obtaining certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from their diet and supplements,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Not getting enough of these nutrients may increase the risk of certain health problems, she said.

“That said, a more plant-based approach to eating helps reduce the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes,” Heller said.

“You can’t go wrong cutting back on red and processed meats such as beef, pork and ham and adding lentils, chickpeas, tofu, broccoli, spinach or cauliflower to your meals,” Heller advised.

Source: HealthDay


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