Food & Nutrition Research

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ISSN / EISSN : 1654-6628 / 1654-661X
Published by: SNF Swedish Nutrition Foundation (10.29219)
Total articles ≅ 890
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Kristine E. Illøkken, Berit Johannessen, Mary E. Barker, Polly Hardy-Johnson, Nina Cecilie Øverby, Frøydis Nordgård Vik
Food & Nutrition Research; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.7702

Background: There are no national arrangements for free school meals provision in Norway despite this being an important opportunity to improve children’s and adolescents’ nutritional status and ultimately their physical and cognitive development. During a one academic year (2014–2015), a group of Norwegian sixth graders were served a free healthy school meal in a project called ‘The School Meal Project’. Objective: To explore students’ and teachers’ experiences of receiving free school meals after the free school meal in 2015 and 5 years later. Design: In-depth, semi-structured interviews with separate groups in 2015 and in 2020 were conducted face to face or via telephone or digital platforms. The findings are based on 13 students (aged 12–16) and 5 teacher interviews. Findings: Thematic analysis identified four main themes that describe the perceived benefits of receiving free school meals: 1) the meal as a social event where students made new friends and learned new skills; 2) as an aid to forming healthy eating habits; and as an opportunity to 3) improve school functioning and 4) increase social equality among students. Discussion: Our analysis suggests that the free school meal may influence healthy behaviors not only at the individual level but also at the social-, physical-, and macro-levels. Methodological limitations, including self-selection bias, should be considered when interpreting our findings. Conclusion: This study provides unique insights into the social benefits for students of receiving free school meals. Our findings illustrate the potential of free school meals: eating healthy foods, sharing a meal together, and interaction between students and teachers at mealtime, to promote health, learning, and equality. In order to maximize these benefits through national implementation of free school meals, more understanding is needed of possible facilitators and barriers related to the provision and uptake of free school meals.
Xueliang Zhu, Zhichao Bi, Chen Yang, Yanhui Guo, Jieli Yuan, Longjie Li, Yanjie Guo
Food & Nutrition Research; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.6263

Background: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play beneficial roles in metabolism and health. Little is known about the effects of different doses of omega-3 PUFAs on gut microbiota. Objective: In this study, we focus on the effects of different doses of omega-3 PUFAs on gut microbiota and immunity. Design: BALB/c mice was first treated with ceftriaxone sodium for 7 days, and then they received saline or different doses of omega-3 PUFAs (30, 60 and 90 mg omega-3 PUFAs) via daily gavage for 21 days. Alterations of cecum microbiota; the tight junction proteins, zonula occludens 3 (ZO3) and occludin, in the ileal wall; serum lipopolysaccharide (LPS); Interleukin-10 (IL-10), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and Tumour Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α) ; mucus SIgA levels were measured. Results: Compared with the ceftriaxone sodium administration group, significant increases in bacterial richness and diversity were observed in the 60- and 90-mg omega-3 PUFA groups, while only a slight increase was observed in the 30-mg omega-3 PUFA group. A higher percentage of several genera, including Lactobacillus, Helicobacter, and Ruminococcus, and a lower percentage of Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Prevotella were observed in the 60- and 90-mg omega-3 PUFA groups when compared with those in the 30-mg group. The expression of ZO3 and occludin proteins increased in 60- and 90-mg omega-3 PUFA groups compared with the natural recovery group. The mucus SIgA and serum IL-10 levels were increased, and serum levels of LPS, IL-1β, and TNF-α were decreased in the 60- and 90-mg omega-3 PUFA groups when compared with those in the ceftriaxone sodium-treated group. Conclusion: Different doses of omega-3 PUFAs have different therapeutic effects on the intestinal microbiota. The 60- and 90-mg omega-3 PUFA supplementation had better recovery effects on the gut microbiota and immunity than those of the 30 mg omega-3 PUFAs supplementation.
Yuan Cao, Guofeng Ren, Yahui Zhang, Hong Qin, Xin An, Yi Long, Jihua Chen, Lina Yang
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.5689

Background: Insulin resistance, defined as a diminished ability to respond to the stimulation of insulin, is the main line for a variety of metabolic-related diseases. Punicalagin (PU), a hydrolyzable tannin of pomegranate juice, exhibits multiple biological properties, including anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activities. Objective: This research study aimed at determining the protective effect of PU on insulin resistance and to uncover the underlying mechanism based on the gut microbiota, IKKβ/NF-κB pathway, and autophagy. Design: An insulin resistance animal model was established using C57BL/6 mice fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) for 8 weeks. The model included two groups continuing a HFD for 12 weeks with or without administering via gavage with PU 20 mg/kg/day. Changes in fasting plasma glucose levels, fasting serum insulin levels, glucose and insulin tolerance, glycolipid metabolism, gut microbiota composition (16S rRNA gene sequencing), inflammatory responses, and autophagy in the liver were evaluated. Body weight gain, glycolipid metabolic disorder, liver injury, as well as systemic and hepatic insulin sensitivity, were significantly attenuated after supplementing with PU. Results: This research study revealed that PU alleviated HFD-induced glucose and lipid disorders, liver injury and insulin resistance; decreased the Firmicutes/Bacteroides ratio, decreased the abundance of Coprococcus and Anaerotruncus, and increased Rikenellaceae; and decreased serum and liver tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1β levels, inhibited liver IKKβ and NF-κB phosphorylation; and increased liver autophagy-related proteins LC3-II, P62, and Beclin1, and increased the number of liver autophagosomes. Conclusion: PU can improve HFD-induced insulin resistance, improved liver glucose and lipid metabolism disorder and liver injury, and the potential mechanism is that PU inhibited the IKKβ/NF-κB inflammatory pathway by regulating gut microbiota homeostasis and up-regulating liver autophagy
Tingting Miao, Yun Yu, Jin Sun, Aiguo Ma, Jinran Yu, Mengjun Cui, Liping Yang,
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.5781

Background: Pre-eclampsia (PE) can result in severe damage to maternal and fetal health. It has been reported that gut microbiota (GM) had important roles in regulating the metabolic and inflammatory responses of the mother. However, investigations on GM in PE are rare. Objective: The objective of the present study was to investigate the changes of GM in PE and how to alter the GM composition in PE by dietary or dietary supplements. Design: We analyzed the composition changes in GM as well as the relationship between bacteria of different genera and clinical indices by amplifying the V4 region of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene in 12 PE patients and eight healthy pregnant women in East China. Results: In the PE group, the Observed Species Index was lower than that in the control group, indicating that the α-diversity of the microbiome in the PE group decreased. At phylum, family, and genus levels, the relative abundance of different bacteria in PE patients displayed substantial differences to those from healthy women. We noted a decreased abundance of bacteria of the phylum Actinobacteria (P = 0.042), decreased abundance of bacteria of the family Bifidobacteriaceae (P = 0.039), increased abundance of bacteria of the genus Blautia (P = 0.026) and Ruminococcus (P = 0.048), and decreased abundance of bacteria of the genus Bifidobacterium (P = 0.038). Among three enriched genera, bacteria of the genus Bifidobacterium showed a negative correlation with the systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and dyslipidemia, which involved glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and the oxidative-phosphorylation pathway. The increased abundance of bacteria of the genera Blautia and Ruminococcus was positively correlated with obesity and dyslipidemia, which involved lipid metabolism, glycosyltransferases, biotin metabolism, and the oxidative-phosphorylation pathways. Moreover, women in the PE group ate more than women in the control group, so fetuses were more prone to overnutrition in the PE group. Conclusion: There is a potential for GM dysbiosis in PE patients, and they could be prone to suffer from metabolic syndrome. We speculate that alterations in the abundance of bacteria of certain genera (e.g. increased abundance of Blautia and Ruminococcus, and decreased abundance of Bifidobacterium) were associated with PE development to some degree. Our data could help to monitor the health of pregnant women and may be helpful for preventing and assisting treatment of PE by increasing dietary fiber or probiotics supplement.
Breanna Weigel, Natalie Eaton-Fitch, Rachel Passmore, Hélène Cabanas, Donald Staines, Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.5730

Background: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex, multisystem illness without a currently recognized pharmacological treatment. Dietary supplementation and modification have been posited as potential management strategies; however, their efficacy is controversial. Objective: This study aimed to assess the nutritional intake and supplement use of Australian ME/CFS patients and the perceived effect on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for the first time in an Australian patient population. Design: Between February 2019 and January 2020, ME/CFS patients across Australia volunteered in this cross-sectional study in response to online advertisements. Eligible respondents were invited to complete three online self-administered questionnaires investigating their supplement use, nutritional intake, and HRQoL. The study participants’ supplement use and nutritional intake were summarized and compared with the population data returned from the Australian Health Survey (2011–2012). Multiple linear regression analysis was also performed to determine the effect of participants’ supplement use and nutrient intake on HRQoL. Results: Twenty-four eligible ME/CFS patients (54.2% meeting the International Consensus Criteria, 79.2% female, mean age = 43.4 ± 10.5 years) completed the online questionnaires. Supplement use was highly prevalent among the study sample (87.5%) and considerably more common when compared with population data (31.9%). Daily total fats and caffeine intakes were significantly higher among ME/CFS patients when compared with the Australian population (P = 0.009 and P = 0.033, respectively), whereas daily intakes of total carbohydrates and alcohol were significantly lower (both P < 0.001). No consistent trends between nutrition and supplement use with patients’ HRQoL could be identified. Conclusions: The daily diet and supplement use of ME/CFS patients appear to vary considerably from those of the general Australian population. Although the role of nutritional intake and supplement use on ME/CFS patients’ HRQoL remains unclear, dietary changes and the use of supplements appear to be of value to ME/CFS patients.
, Noha M. Almoraie, Israa M. Shatwan
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.5481

Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a main cause of mortality and disability worldwide. One of the key factors in the soaring prevalence of CVD globally has been nutrition transitions and changes in dietary patterns. Objective: This study investigated the association between two diet scores, namely, a high-fat dietary (HFD) pattern score and a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) score, and CVD risk factors (obesity, hypertension, total cholesterol, and blood glucose) and serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D (25[OH]D) levels. Methods: Three hundred twenty-one participants were included in this study. Fasting blood tests were collected from all participants for biochemical measurements. Blood pressure and anthropometric measurements were also taken. A validated, semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was used to collect data on participants’ dietary intake. Dietary scores for the HFD pattern were calculated based on recommended food groups. MedDiet scores were calculated based on a previously validated method that contains 14 questions related to MedDiet. Both diet scores were classified into tertiles. Linear regression analyses were performed to assess the statistical significance of the tertile groups. Result: A significant association was found between HFD score and obesity when comparing the lowest tertile (27.3±4.6 kg/m2) of HFD scores with the medium tertile (29.2±5.7 kg/m2; P = 0.02). A higher HFD score was significantly associated with lower 25(OH)D levels (P = 0.02). In addition, a significant association was observed between MedDiet scores and 25(OH)D levels, with an increase in MedDiet score resulting in an increase in 25(OH)D levels (P = 0.01). Furthermore, a significant negative association between MedDiet scores and low-density lipoprotein levels was reported only in participants with CVD (P = 0.03). Conclusion: The results of this study revealed that HFD and MedDiet scores might have a role in the development of CVD and vitamin D deficiency among the Saudi Arabian population. Further studies are required using diet scores to assess the quality of dietary patterns and their association with an increased risk of diseases in Saudi Arabians.
, Wenche Barth Eide, Kristin R. Kardel, Per Ole Iversen, Ane C. Westerberg
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.7686

Background: The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (‘Zero Hunger’) aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Thus, a range of different strategies are needed to facilitate the achievement of SDG 2 to overcome challenges and enable synergies between various SDG targets. Objective: The aim of this review is to highlight Africa’s progress toward SDG 2, including targets, strategies, synergies and challenges. Methods: We scrutinized published research articles in peer-reviewed journals, UN reports and in-country Africa reports (between 2015 and 2020) that were relevant to the current topic. Results: Several hunger indicators are showing slow progress or even deterioration in Africa. The prevalence of undernourishment in the general population was 19.1% in 2019 and is expected to increase to 25.7% by 2030. Improvements in child stunting in several regions in Africa are slow, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where about 34% of under-fives were stunted in 2012 and 31% in 2019. In Eastern Africa, stunting prevalence decreased from 38% in 2012 to 34% in 2019. Major drivers of hunger are poor governance and state fragility, war and conflicts, increasing inequality, weak economic development, climate change, biodegradation – and now lately the Covid 19 pandemic – factors that all increase food insecurity. Conclusion: Africa is off track to reach SDG – ‘Zero Hunger’ – by 2030. Current efforts and progress are insufficient. Africa must champion the SDG agenda on a national, regional and global level to facilitate synergies to unlock the potential for reaching ‘Zero Hunger’ throughout the continent.
Sasikala M. Chinnappan, Annie George, Pragya Pandey, Govinda Narke, Yogendra Kumar Choudhary
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.5647

Background: Low testosterone levels cause physiological changes that compromise the quality of life in ageing men. A standardised water extract from the root of Eurycoma longifolia (EL), known as Physta®, is known to increase testosterone levels. Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of Physta® in improving the testosterone levels and quality of life in ageing male subjects. Design: This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 105 male subjects aged 50–70 years with a testosterone level <300 ng/dL, BMI ≥ 18 and ≤30.0 kg/m2. The subjects were given either Physta® 100 mg, 200 mg or placebo daily for 12 weeks. The primary endpoints were changes in serum total and free testosterone levels. The secondary endpoints included changes in the level of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), thyroid function tests (T3, T4, TSH and Free T3) and cortisol. Changes in Ageing Male Symptoms (AMS) score, Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) score and muscle strength are other secondary endpoints. The safety of the intervention products was measured by complete blood count, lipid profile, liver and renal function tests. Results: There was a significant increase in the total testosterone levels at week 12 (P < 0.05) in the Physta® 100 mg group and at weeks 4 (P < 0.05), 8 (P < 0.01) and 12 (P < 0.001) in the Physta® 200 mg group compared to placebo. No significant between-group differences in free testosterone levels were observed but a significant within-group increase occurred at weeks 4 (P < 0.01), 8 (P < 0.001) and 12 (P < 0.001) in the Physta®100 mg group and at weeks 2 (P < 0.01), 4 (P < 0.01), 8 (P < 0.001) and 12 (P < 0.001) in the Physta® 200 mg group. The AMS and FSS showed significant reduction (P < 0.001) in total scores at all time-points within- and between-group in both Physta® groups. DHEA levels significantly increased (P < 0.05) within-group in both Physta® groups from week 2 onwards. Cortisol levels significantly (P < 0.01) decreased in the Physta® 200 mg group, while muscle strength significantly (P < 0.001) increased in both Physta® groups at week 12 in the within-group comparison. There were no significant changes in SHBG. No safety related clinically relevant changes were observed. Conclusion: Supplementation of Physta® at 200 mg was able to increase the serum total testosterone, reduce fatigue and improve the quality of life in ageing men within 2 weeks’ time. Trial registration: This clinical study has been registered in (CTRI/2019/03/017959).
Ge Song, Wentao Qi, Yong Wang, Shaojie Pang, Yong Li
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.5589

Aims: To study the metabolic effects of fructose, glucose and saccharose in a moderate dose by analyzing changes of blood indicators, pancreas inflammation, liver fat accumulation and intestinal microbiota in normal Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Subjects and methods: Six-week-old rats were assigned to four groups (n = 10), which were gavaged with normalsaline (Con), glucose dissolved in normal saline (Glu), saccharose-glucose dissolved in normal saline (Sac), and fructose dissolved in normal saline (Fru) for 20 weeks. Results: No significant differences in body weight and blood parameters including total cholesterol (TC), total triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), lipase (LPS) and free fatty acid (FFA) among the Con, Glu, Sac and the Fru group. The fructose can significantly (P < 0.05) decrease fasting and postprandial blood glucose increase compared to glucose, and the risk of pancreas inflammation and liver fat accumulation induced by fructose is lower than glucose in rats. We found there were no significant differences in intestinal microbial diversity. At the family level, rats in the Glu group had a relatively higher abundance of Peptostreptococcaceae and rats in the Fru group had a relatively higher abundance of Bacteroidaceae. Moreover, the proportions of Peptostreptococcaceae romboutsia and Staphylococcus lentus in the Glu group were significantly higher than in the Fru group, while the proportions of Lachnospira; Lachnospiraceae blautia, Bacteroides and Cellulosilyticus in the Fru group were significantly higher than in the Glu group. The concentration of isobutyric acid was relatively lower in all the sugar treated groups than in the Con. A significant decrease in isobutyric acid was found on comparing the Fru group to the Con group (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Fructose, glucose and sucrose made no significant changes on rats in body weight, blood indicators, organ index and bacterial diversity. Moreover, fructose can potentially attenuate fasting and postprandial blood-glucose increase, pancreas inflammation and liver-fat accumulation when compared to glucose in mild doses. The relative abundance of six kinds of bacterial genera was found significantly different between rats fed on fructose and glucose.
Lin Zhou, Wenwen Gu, Fuguang Kui, Fan Gao, Yuji Niu, Wenwen Li, Yaru Zhang, Lijuan Guo, Junru Wang, , et al.
Food & Nutrition Research, Volume 65; doi:10.29219/fnr.v65.7526

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an important risk factor for developing lung cancer. Aged citrus peel (chenpi) has been used as a dietary supplement for respiratory diseases in China. Objective: To explore the mechanism and candidate compounds of chenpi preventing COPD and its progression to lung cancer. Methods: The active components and potential targets of chenpi were retrieved from the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systems Pharmacology (TCMSP) database. Disease-associated targets of COPD and lung cancer were collected in the Gene Cards and TTD database. The component-target network and PPI network were constructed using the Cytoscape 3.8.0 software. David database was used for GO and KEGG enrichment analysis. The main active components were verified by using the autodock Vina 1.1.2 software. Mouse lung cancer with COPD was induced by cigarette smoking (CS) combined with urethane injection to confirm preventing the effect of hesperetin (the candidate compound of chenpi) on COPD progression to lung cancer and its underlying mechanisms. Results: The network analysis revealed that the key active components of chenpi (nobiletin, naringenin, hesperetin) regulate five core targets (AKT1, TP53, IL6, VEGFA, MMP9). In addition, 103 potential pathways of chenpi were identified. Chenpi can prevent COPD and its progression to lung cancer by getting involved in the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway and MAPK signaling pathway. Molecular docking indicated that hesperetin had better binding activity for core targets. In mouse lung cancer with COPD, treatment with hesperetin dose-dependently improved not only lung tissue injury in COPD but also carcinoma lesions in lung cancer. Meanwhile, hesperetin could suppress the protein expression of AKT1, IL6, VEGFA, MMP9 and up-regulate the protein expression of TP53, and thus reduced the risk of COPD progression to lung cancer. Conclusion: Hesperetin is a candidate compound of chenpi that helps in preventing COPD and its progression to lung cancer by regulating AKT1, IL6, VEGFA, MMP9 and TP53.
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