European Journal of Nutrition (v.46, #7)

Relationship of abdominal obesity with alcohol consumption at population scale by Helmut Schröder; Jose Antonio Morales-Molina; Silvia Bermejo; Diego Barral; Eduardo Soler Mándoli; María Grau; Monica Guxens; Elisabet de Jaime Gil; Marisol Domínguez Álvarez; Jaume Marrugat (369-376).
The high energy content of alcohol makes its consumption a potential contributor to the obesity epidemic.To determine whether alcohol consumption is a risk factor for abdominal obesity, taking into account energy underreporting.The subjects were Spanish men (n = 1491) and women (n = 1563) aged 25–74 years who were examined in 1999–2000, in a population-based cross-sectional survey in northeastern Spain (Girona). Dietary intake, including alcohol consumption, was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Anthropometric variables were measured.The mean consumption of alcohol was 18.1 ± 20.7 g/d in men and 5.3 ± 10.4 g/d in women. 19.3% of men and 2.3% of women reported alcohol consumption of more than 3 drinks per day. The consumption of alcohol was directly associated with total energy intake in men (P < 0.001) and women (P = 0.001). The proportion of energy underreporting significantly (P < 0.001) decreased with higher amounts of alcohol drinking in both genders. Multiple logistic regression analysis, controlled for energy underreporting, smoking, educational level, leisure-time physical activity, energy, and diet quality, revealed that consuming more than 3 drinks of alcohol (>30 g ethanol) was significantly associated with the risk of abdominal obesity (Odds ratio 1.80; 1.05, 3.09) and exceeding recommended energy consumption (Odds ratio 1.97; 1.32, 2.93) in men. A very small number (2.13%) of women in this population reported high levels of alcohol consumption.Alcohol consumption in elevated amounts was associated with risk of abdominal obesity in men, independent of energy underreporting.
Keywords: waist; alcoholic beverages; energy underreporting

Urinary excretion of total isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables shows high dose–response relationship and may be a useful biomarker for isothiocyanate exposure by Mette Kristensen; Kirstine S. Krogholm; Hanne Frederiksen; Susanne H. Bügel; Salka E. Rasmussen (377-382).
Isothiocyanates (ITCs), hydrolysis products from glucosinolates, are a family of biologically active compounds originating from cruciferous vegetables. Many ITCs are assumed to have cancer preventive effects and to further evaluate these potential health effects, reliable biomarkers of ITC exposure are needed.In this study we investigated the ability of urinary ITC excretion to reflect a low or high daily intake of cruciferous vegetables.The design was a controlled human crossover study (n = 6). Subjects consumed a self-restricted glucosinolate-free diet 48 h before the study-day where a basic diet supplemented with 80 or 350 g of mixed cruciferous vegetables was consumed. All urine was collected in intervals during the 48 h period after ingestion of the cruciferous vegetables. Total ITC in the cruciferous mixture and total ITC and their metabolites in urine was quantified as the cyclocondensation product of 1,2-bezenedithiol by high performance liquid chromatography.The total urinary excretion of ITCs correlated significantly with the two doses of ITC from diets with high or low cruciferous content (r s = 0.90, P < 0.01). The fraction of urinary ITC excreted was 69.02 ± 11.57% and 74.53 ± 8.39% of the amounts ingested for 80 and 350 g cruciferous vegetables, respectively.The results in this study indicate that the urinary excretion of ITCs, measured by use of the cyclocondesation reaction, is a useful and precise tool that may be used as a biomarker of ITC exposure in population based studies.
Keywords: isothiocyanates; urinary biomarker; cruciferous vegetables; biokinetic

Implications of oxidative stress in high sucrose low magnesium diet fed rats by Dharam P. Chaudhary; Ravneet K. Boparai; Devi D. Bansal (383-390).
Magnesium deficiency as well as excess sucrose in the diet have been shown to be associated with the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).In the present study we have investigated the combined effect of low magnesium high sucrose diet on the development of oxidative stress in rats.Male Wistar rats were divided into four groups and fed control (C), low magnesium (LM), high sucrose (HS) and low magnesium high sucrose (HSLM) diet for a period of 3 months. Levels of various antioxidants, viz. ascorbic acid, vitamin E, uric acid, glutathione and non-protein thiols were determined along with malondialdehyde levels (lipid peroxidation marker). Anti-oxidant enzyme activities were determined in livers of experimental diet fed animals.Compared to controls, significantly increased lipid peroxidation was observed in plasma and liver tissue of animals in the three experimental groups, however, the combined HSLM group showed greater lipid peroxidation. Levels of various antioxidants fell significantly in plasma and tissue of LM, HS and HSLM rats. Total thiols as well as liver non-protein thiols followed a similar trend with the greatest drop in anti-oxidant potential seen in the HSLM rats. The activities of the anti-oxidant enzymes viz. SOD, GST and catalase also declined considerably in test animals w.r.t controls, with the HSLM group showing the lowest activities. These findings suggest that a diet low in magnesium and high in sucrose causes oxidative stress in rats, as reflected by increased lipid peroxidation and reduced anti-oxidant potential.
Keywords: sucrose; low magnesium; oxidative stress; lipid peroxidation; anti- oxidant enzymes

Pre-germinated brown rice could enhance maternal mental health and immunity during lactation by Shigeko Sakamoto; Takashi Hayashi; Keiko Hayashi; Fumie Murai; Miyo Hori; Koichi Kimoto; Kazuo Murakami (391-396).
Rice is a dietary staple worldwide, especially pre-germinated brown rice has recently been widely served in Japan because of its abundant nutrition. Relationship between lactation and pre-germinated brown rice has attracted interest in terms of mental health and immunity.To demonstrate that Japanese foods are beneficial for psychosomatic health, the effects of pre-germinated brown rice on the mental status and immunological features during lactation were investigated.Forty-one breast-feeding mothers were recruited, and randomly divided into two groups. One group took pre-germinated brown rice and the other white rice (control) as their staple diet for 2 weeks. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) and salivary amylase activity as psychological indices and secretory IgA (s-IgA) and lactoferrin (LTF) in breast milk as immunological indices were determined before and after dietary intervention, and changes were investigated.In the psychological assessment, the scores of depression, anger-hostility, and fatigue were decreased on POMS analysis in the pre-germinated brown rice diet group, resulting in a significant decrease in total mood disturbance (TMD). The salivary amylase activity measurement suggested that resistance to stress was increased in the pre-germinated brown rice diet group. On the immunological assessment, the s-IgA level was significantly increased in the pre-germinated brown rice diet group.We have shown that pre-germinated brown rice may have beneficial effects on psychosomatic health.
Keywords: pre-germinated brown rice; mental health; POMS; salivary amylase; immunity; secretory immunoglobulin A; Lactoferrin

Improved glucose metabolism in mice lacking α-tocopherol transfer protein by Marc Birringer; Doreen Kuhlow; Paul T. Pfluger; Nico Landes; Tim J. Schulz; Markus Glaubitz; Simone Florian; Andreas Pfeiffer; Markus Schuelke; Regina Brigelius-Flohé; Michael Ristow (397-405).
Conflicting evidence suggests a possible role for vitamin E in mammalian glucose metabolism and the protection from type 2 diabetes. The alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (α-TTP) mediates the transfer of α-tocopherol (α-TOH) from hepatocytes to very-low-density lipoproteins, thereby controlling plasma levels of α-TOH.The aim of this study was to investigate the putative impact of α-TTP knock-out on glucose metabolism in mice.Mice deficient for α-TTP and wild-type control littermates were fed a diet containing 200 mg α-tocopheryl acetate per kg to ameliorate α-TOH deficiency in knock-out mice. We investigated fasting and postprandial plasma glucose, insulin and triglyceride levels of both groups of mice at different ages. All genotypes and age groups were further subjected to glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and number of insulin-producing islets of Langerhans were determined.Plasma α-TOH levels of knock-out mice were 34% the levels of wild-type controls: Any signs of α-TOH deficiency were absent at any age. Unexpectedly, serum glucose levels both in the fasted and in the fed state were lower in α-TTP-deficient mice at any age. Removal rates for intraperitoneally injected glucose were found to be significantly increased in young α-TTP-deficient mice. This improved glucose tolerance was caused by increased insulin secretion in response to an intraperitoneal glucose challenge due to an increased number of pancreatic islets, as well as by increased sensitivity to intraperitoneally injected insulin, both significantly promoting glucose metabolism in α-TTP-deficient mice.Our findings suggest that α-TTP-deficiency in states of α-TOH supplementation unexpectedly promotes glucose tolerance in mice due to both increased insulin secretion and insulin action, suggesting differential roles of α-TTP and α-TOH in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Keywords: alpha-tocopherol transfer protein; alpha tocopherol; glucose metabolism; diabetes mellitus type 2; insulin secretion; insulin sensitivity

Is the fructose index more relevant with regards to cardiovascular disease than the glycemic index? by Mark S. Segal MD, PhD; Elizabeth Gollub PhD; Richard J. Johnson MD (406-417).
The glycemic index (G.I.) is a means for categorizing carbohydrates based on their ability to raise blood glucose, subsequently this index has been popularized as a way for selecting foods to reduce the risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. We suggest that the G.I. is better aimed at identifying foods that stimulate insulin secretion rather than foods that stimulate insulin resistance. In this regard, fructose has a low G.I. but may be causally linked with the obesity and cardiovascular disease epidemic. The reported association of high G.I. with cardiovascular disease may be due to the association of sugar intake which contains fructose, but which has a high G.I. due to its glucose content. We propose the use of a fructose index to categorize foods and propose studies to determine the effect of low fructose diets as a means to prevent obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in the population.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; fructose; metabolic syndrome; obesity; uric acid

Trends in food availability in Portugal in 1966–2003 by Qiaoqiao Chen; Pedro Marques-Vidal (418-427).
Dietary intake has changed considerably in South European countries, but whether those changes were similar between countries is currently unknown.To assess the trends in food availability in Portugal and four other Mediterranean countries from 1966 to 2003.Food and Agricultural Organization food balance sheets from Portugal, France, Italy, Greece and Spain. Trends were assessed by linear regression.The per capita availability of calories has increased in Portugal, France, Greece, Italy and Spain in the past 40 years. Portugal presented the most rapid growth with an annual increase of 28.5 ± 2.2 kcal (slope ± standard error), or +1000 kcal overall. In animal products, Portugal had an annual increase of 20.7 ± 0.9 kcal, much higher than the other four countries. Conversely, the availabilities of vegetable and fruit only showed a slight growth of 1.0 ± 0.1 kcal/year and 2.5 ± 0.4 kcal/year, respectively, thus increasing the ration of animal to vegetable products. Olive oil availability increased in all countries with the notable exception of Portugal, where a significant decrease was noted. Wine supply decreased in all five countries; in contrast, beer supply started to take up more alcohol share. Percentage of total calories from fat increased from nearly 25% to almost 35% in Portugal during the study period, mainly at the expenses of calories from carbohydrates, whereas the share of protein showed just a slight increase. Furthermore, fat and protein were increasingly provided by animal products.Portugal is gradually moving away from the traditional Mediterranean diet to a more Westernized diet as well as France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Noticeably, the trends of diet transition were observed relatively faster in Portugal than in the other four Mediterranean countries.
Keywords: dietary trends; food habits; Mediterranean diet; Food Balance Sheets; dietary transition

C-reactive protein and n–3 fatty acids in patients with a previous myocardial infarction by Trine Madsen MD; Jeppe H. Christensen; Erik B. Schmidt (428-430).
Dietary intake of the marine long-chain n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may reduce mortality after a myocardial infarction (MI). This may partly be attributed to their anti-inflammatory properties.To investigate the effect of n–3 PUFA on C-reactive protein (CRP) in patients with a previous MI.In a double-blind design, forty-one patients (mean age 63 ± 7 years) were randomized to receive daily supplements with 5.2 g of n–3 PUFA or olive oil (control). Serum CRP was measured with a highly sensitive assay (hs-CRP) before and after 12 weeks supplements. Compliance was monitored by measuring the incorporation of n–3 PUFA into platelets.The content of n–3 PUFA in platelets increased significantly in the n–3 PUFA supplemented group, whereas no changes were seen in controls. There was a minor increase in hs-CRP in the n–3 PUFA group (2.46 vs. 2.70 mg/l) and a small decrease in hs-CRP in the control group (2.52 vs. 1.67 mg/l). The changes, however, were not statistically significant (P = 0.30 and 0.43, respectively).Supplementation with 5.2 g of n–3 PUFA for 12 weeks had no hs-CRP lowering effect in patients with a previous MI.
Keywords: coronary heart disease; C-reactive protein; fish oil; inflammation; n–3 fatty acids