by Marion Nestle

Search results: peanut

Oct 16 2023

Industry funded studies of the week: Nuts and more nuts

I have so many of these waiting to be posted that I might as well do a bunch of them all at once.

Almonds

The study: Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effects of Almonds on Facial Wrinkles and Pigmentation. Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030785.

Conclusion: “the daily consumption of almonds may contribute to the improvement of facial wrinkles and reduction of skin pigmentation among postmenopausal women with Fitzpatrick skin types I and II.”

Funder: Almond Board of California

Comment: Thanks to Lori Rothman for sending this one.  It’s not the first time I’ve posted an almonds-and-wrinkles study; here’s the other from 2021.   And please note.  It’s not just almonds.  Mangos do this too.  But the Almond Board is working hard on turning almonds into superfoods. Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics were sent an announcement “Exciting new research investigates the link between almonds and these three key areas: Exercise recovery, prediabetes and skin health. That ad sends you to “Dietitian Tools” on the California Almonds website, where you can find a handy link to the study.

Here’s another one:

The study: Almond intake alters the acute plasma dihydroxy-octadecenoic acid (DiHOME) response to eccentric exercise.Front. Nutr., 09 January 2023  Volume 9 – 2022 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.1042719

Conclusions: “In general, the elevated post-exercise plasma levels of 12,13-DiHOME with almond intake support positive metabolic outcomes for adults engaging in unaccustomed eccentric exercise bouts. Other almond-related benefits for exercisers revealed in this study include reduced feelings of fatigue and tension, better leg-back strength during recovery, and decreased muscle damage during the first day of recovery.”

Funding: This work was supported by Almond Board of California, Modesto, CA. The funder had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, the preparation of the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Comment: That’s what they all say.

Macadamias

The study: Macadamia nut effects on cardiometabolic risk factors: a randomised trial  J Nutr Sci. 2023.

Conclusion: “Daily consumption of macadamia nuts does not lead [sic]to gains in weight or body fat under free-living conditions in overweight or obese adults; non-significant cholesterol lowering occurred without altering saturated fat intake of similar magnitude to cholesterol lowering seen with other nuts.”

Funding: This study was funded by Hort Innovation, Sydney, Australia (Project code MC17005).  J. J., K. O. and F. M. – None; J. S., S. R. and C. H. have received research funding through their institution from Hort Innovation, Sydney, Australia.  Note: “Hort Innovation is a grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation with the goal of creating value for horticulture growers and those across the horticulture supply chain. It invests more than $120 million in R&D, marketing and trade programs on behalf of industry.”

Peanuts

The study:  Urinary Phenolic Metabolites Associated with Peanut Consumption May Have a Beneficial Impact on Vascular Health Biomarkers. Antioxidants. 2023; 12(3):698. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox12030698.

Conclusion:  “the present study shows for the first time that regular peanut and peanut butter consumption could have a positive impact on vascular biomarkers in healthy young adults.”

Funding: This research was supported by funding from the Peanut Institute.

Tree Nuts

The study: Tree Nut and Peanut Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Advances in Nutrition.  May 04, 2023  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.advnut.2023.05.004

Conclusion: “The findings of this review provide evidence of a combined effect of tree nuts and peanuts on a range of biomarkers to create an overall CVD risk reduction.”

Funding: “The findings of this review provide evidence of a combined effect of tree nuts and peanuts on a range of biomarkers to create an overall CVD risk reduction.”

Author disclosures: Two of the authors received previous funding from the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council or the California Walnut Commission.

Comment: If you are interested in doing nut research, trade associations will be happy to fund it.  But maybe only if the results come out the way the funder wants them to?

And another one on tree nuts.

The study: Mixed Tree Nuts, Cognition, and Gut Microbiota: A 4-Week, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Crossover Trial in Healthy Nonelderly Adults.  J. Nutrition.   VOLUME 152, ISSUE 12, P2778-2788, DECEMBER 2022.  https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxac228

Conclusions: “These findings indicate a positive effect of nut on cognition following only 4 wk of consumption in a healthy nonelderly sample, as well as upregulation of a microbial taxa associated with gut health.

Funding: This study was supported by funding from the INC (International Nut and Dried Fruit Council).

Walnuts

The California Walnut Commission and the USDA have put out a request for research proposals on the effects of walnuts on sleep and mental health (I learned about this one from a Tweet (oops, X).  Want to do it?  You can get up to $300,000.

Comment: I guess I don’t have much imagination but I cannot think of a reason why walnuts in particular would have anything to do with sleep or mental health.  But I’ll bet enterprising investigators can figure something out.  Stay tuned on this one.

Overall comment

My point about all of these studies is that you can usually predict who paid for them by their titles and if you know who paid for them, you can pretty well predict what they will find.  Nut trade associations want you to eat more nuts, preferably the kind they represent.  Nuts are just fine for health, but watch the calories.  And do not expect miracles—ever—from eating just one healthy food.

Tags: ,
Sep 19 2023

Food companies pay dietitian-influencers to hawk their products

The Examination, a brand-new news outlet, and the Washington Post jointly published a jaw-dropping article last week about dietitians paid by food and supplement companies to defend and promote their products on Instagram and TikTok.

Why jaw-dropping?  Two reasons: the media—videos, posts—embedded in the article (these are amazing to see), and the non-disclosure of payment.

As the World Health Organization raised questions this summer about the risks of a popular artificial sweetener, a new hashtag began spreading on the social media accounts of health professionals: #safetyofaspartame….What these dietitians didn’t make clear was that they were paid to post the videos by American Beverage, a trade and lobbying group representing Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and other companies….The food, beverage, and dietary supplement industries are paying dozens of registered dietitians that collectively have millions of social media followers to help sell products and deliver industry-friendly messages on Instagram and TikTok, according to an analysis by The Examination and The Washington Post.

Here’s just one example:

Registered dietitian Lindsay Pleskot, of Vancouver, British Columbia, has posted videos of herself eating ice cream and peanut butter cups while telling people that denying themselves sugary food will only make cravings worse….These and other posts were paid for by the Canadian Sugar Institute.

You might think that embarrassing revelations like these would induce the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to set firm policies about conflicts of interest with food companies.  No such luck.
Instead, the president of the Academy issued a statement. She attacks one of the reporters on this story.

This same Post reporter has targeted registered dietitian nutritionists before. Last October, he published an article about a misleading report authored by anti-licensure activists seeking to undermine the important work of the Academy and our members and to demonize the industry without any regard for the truth. At that time, we responded strongly to rebut the report and to correct the news article with facts.

She also defends the Academy by saying it has rules in place, but “cannot police individual RDNs’ online activities or personal social media channels; we do have a Code of Ethics process to review and act on questionable practices that are brought to our attention.”

She did not say whether she considered these practices to be questionable or requiring action.  I think they do.

Instead, she says, “If the article seeks to malign or discredit the Academy or the more than 112,000 credentialed practitioners whom we proudly represent, we will reply swiftly and with purpose.”

In other words, take no responsibility, attack, and deny.

This is an important story.  Nutrition advice should not be tainted by commercial influence.

These reporters are not going to let this go, and should not.

  • If you have experience with nutrition influencers, share it with The Examination here.
  • I you want to sign up for The Examination, do so here.
Jul 26 2023

Industry-funded research #3: nuts

Nuts are demonstrably good for health.  They have high proportions of fat and, therefore, calories, and the calories can add up quickly.  But a small handful makes a great healthy snack.

Why their trade associations feel they need to produce favorable research is beyond me, but as far as I can tell, they are all competing with each other for market share.

Here are a few examples of nut studies funded by trade associations to convince you to eat more nuts.

The point: Whenever you see a study showing amazing health benefits from one single food, there’s a good chance its trade association paid for it.

NUTS IN GENERAL

The study: Mixed Tree Nuts, Cognition, and Gut Microbiota: A 4-Week, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Crossover Trial in Healthy Nonelderly Adults.  J. Nutrition.   VOLUME 152, ISSUE 12, P2778-2788, DECEMBER 2022.  DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxac228

Conclusions: These findings indicate a positive effect of nut on cognition following only 4 wk of consumption in a healthy nonelderly sample, as well as upregulation of a microbial taxa associated with gut health. The effects appear to be independent of one another, but further exploration is required in those experiencing cognitive decline and/or gut dysbiosis.

Funding: This study was supported by funding from the INC (International Nut and Dried Fruit Council).

ALMONDS

The study: Almond intake alters the acute plasma dihydroxy-octadecenoic acid (DiHOME) response to eccentric exercise.  Front. Nutr., 09 January 2023. Volume 9 – 2022 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.1042719.

Conclusions: In general, the elevated post-exercise plasma levels of 12,13-DiHOME with almond intake support positive metabolic outcomes for adults engaging in unaccustomed eccentric exercise bouts. Other almond-related benefits for exercisers revealed in this study include reduced feelings of fatigue and tension, better leg-back strength during recovery, and decreased muscle damage during the first day of recovery.

Funding: This work was supported by Almond Board of California, Modesto, CA. The funder had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, the preparation of the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

MACADAMIAS

The study: Macadamia nut effects on cardiometabolic risk factors: a randomised trial  J Nutr Sci. 2023.

Conclusion: Daily consumption of macadamia nuts does not lead to gains in weight or body fat under free-living conditions in overweight or obese adults; non-significant cholesterol lowering occurred without altering saturated fat intake of similar magnitude to cholesterol lowering seen with other nuts.

Funding: This study was funded by Hort Innovation, Sydney, Australia (Project code MC17005).  J. J., K. O. and F. M. – None; J. S., S. R. and C. H. have received research funding through their institution from Hort Innovation, Sydney, Australia.  Note: Hort Innovation is a grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation with the goal of creating value for horticulture growers and those across the horticulture supply chain. It invests more than $120 million in R&D, marketing and trade programs on behalf of industry.

PEANUTS

The study:  Urinary Phenolic Metabolites Associated with Peanut Consumption May Have a Beneficial Impact on Vascular Health BiomarkersAntioxidants. 2023; 12(3):698. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox12030698.

Conclusion:  the present study shows for the first time that regular peanut and peanut butter consumption could have a positive impact on vascular biomarkers in healthy young adults.

Funding: This research was supported by funding from the Peanut Institute

Jul 25 2023

Industry-funded study #2: artificial sweeteners

Thanks to Arjan van Groningen for this one.

The study:  The Effect of Non-Nutritive Sweetened Beverages on Postprandial Glycemic and Endocrine Responses: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Zhang, R.; Noronha, J.C.; Khan, T.A.; McGlynn, N.; Back, S.; Grant, S.M.; Kendall, C.W.C.; Sievenpiper, J.L. Nutrients 2023, 15, 1050. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15041050.

Conclusions: The available evidence suggests that NNS beverages sweetened with single or blends of NNS have no acute metabolic and endocrine effects, similar to water. These findings provide support for NNS beverages as an alternative replacement strategy for SSBs in the acute postprandial setting.

Funding: This work was supported by an unrestricted grant from the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS). The grant was awarded through a competitive request for the proposal process. The sponsor was not involved in the development of the study protocol and design, execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to publish. The protocol and results were presented to the Low- And No-Calorie Sweeteners Scientific Committee of IAFNS on several occasions with an opportunity for scientific dialogue.

Comment:  IAFNS is the new name for ILSI North America, a classic industry front group.  To its credit, the authors disclose the involvement of IAFNS in this review.  Check out the Conflict-of-Interest declarations from this group; they are legendary.

Conflicts of Interest: J.C.N. has worked as a clinical research coordinator at INQUIS Clinical Research. He has also received research support from Glycemia Consulting Inc. T.A.K. has received research support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the International Life Science Institute (ILSI), and the National Honey Board. He has taken honorariums for lectures from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS; formerly ILSI North America). He is funded by the National Honey Board. N.M., was a former employee of Loblaw Companies Limited, and is a current employee of Enhanced Medical Nutrition. She has completed consulting work for contract research organizations, restaurants, start-ups, the International Food Information Council, and the American Beverage Association, all of which occurred outside of the submitted work. S.M.G. has received honoraria from Dietitians of Canada and Diabetes Canada for the development and delivery of educational resources on the glycemic index in the past five years. C.W.C.K has received grants or research support from the Advanced Food Materials Network, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC), the Almond Board of California, Barilla, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canola Council of Canada, the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, the International Tree Nut Council Research and Education Foundation, Loblaw Brands Ltd., the Peanut Institute, Pulse Canada, and Unilever. He has received in-kind research support from the Almond Board of California, Barilla, the CaliforniaWalnut Commission, Kellogg Canada, Loblaw Companies, Nutrartis, Quaker (PepsiCo), the Peanut Institute, Primo, Unico, Unilever, and WhiteWave Foods/Danone. He has received travel support and/or honoraria from Barilla, the CaliforniaWalnut Commission, the Canola Council of Canada, General Mills, the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, the International Pasta Organization, Lantmannen, Loblaw Brands Ltd., the Nutrition Foundation of Italy, Oldways Preservation Trust, Paramount Farms, the Peanut Institute, Pulse Canada, Sun-Maid, Tate & Lyle, Unilever, and White Wave Foods/Danone. He has served on the scientific advisory board for the International Tree Nut Council, the International Pasta Organization, the McCormick Science Institute, and Oldways Preservation Trust. He is a founding member of the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), the Chair of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), is on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee for Nutrition Therapy of the EASD, and is a Director of Glycemia Consulting and the  Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials foundation. J.L.S. has received research support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund, the Province of Ontario
Ministry of Research and Innovation and Science, the Canadian Institutes of health Research (CIHR),  Diabetes Canada, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) Foundation, the National Honey Board (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] honey “Checkoff” program), the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS; formerly ILSI North America), Pulse Canada, the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, the United Soybean Board (USDA soy “Checkoff” program), the Tate and Lyle Nutritional Research Fund at the University of Toronto, the Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by the Alberta Pulse Growers), the Plant Protein Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund which has received contributions from IFF), and the Nutrition Trialists Network Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by an inaugural donation from the Calorie Control Council). He has received food donations to support randomized controlled trials from the Almond Board of California, the California Walnut Commission, the Peanut Institute, Barilla, Unilever/Upfield, Unico/Primo, Loblaw Companies, Quaker, Kellogg Canada, WhiteWave Foods/Danone, Nutrartis, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. He has received travel support, speaker fees and/or honoraria from ASN, Danone, Dairy Farmers of Canada, FoodMinds LLC, Nestlé, Abbott, General Mills, Nutrition Communications, the International Food Information Council (IFIC), the Calorie Control Council, the International Sweeteners Association, and the International Glutamate Technical Committee. He has or has had ad hoc consulting arrangements with Perkins Coie LLP, Tate & Lyle, Phynova, and Inquis Clinical Research. He is a former member of the European Fruit Juice Association Scientific Expert Panel and a former member of the Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI) Scientific Advisory Committee. He is on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committees of Diabetes Canada, the European Association for the study of Diabetes (EASD), the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS), and Obesity Canada/Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons. He serves or has served as an unpaid member of the Board of Trustees and an unpaid scientific advisor for the Carbohydrates Committee of IAFNS. He is a member of the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), an Executive Board Member of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the EASD, and a Director of the Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials foundation. His spouse is an employee of AB InBev. R.Z. and S.B. have no conflicts of interest to declare.

May 1 2023

American Society for Nutrition commissions highly conflicted meta-analysis

I was surprised to see a press release from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN—of which I am a member) announcing publication of a research paper the Society had commissioned and published on sugars and body weight: Important food sources of fructose-containing sugars and adiposity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials.

The paper, the press release said, “Illustrate[s] The Need for Nuance in Public Health Guidance Related to Consumption of Sugars: Findings call into question recommendations that imply all sources of fructose-containing sugars carry the same risk.

The press release notes that “this comprehensive review is timely as the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee currently assesses the latest science to inform updated evidence-based recommendations,” and it quotes the lead author: “There is an opportunity for more food-based guidance around sugars to help ensure Americans don’t inadvertently eat less health-promoting foods containing fructose – especially at a time when most people don’t eat enough of all forms of fruit, which offer significant health benefits.”

Uh oh.  This is an easily misinterpreted message.

My immediate question:  Who wrote the paper ?

No surprise.: authors with extensive conflicts of interest.

I’ve written about some of these authors’ conflicts of interest disclosures previously.  See, for example. this, this, and this.

Just for fun, I’ll post this particular statement of the conflicted interests at the end of this post.

Basically, these authors do not understand the difference between a conflict of interest (financial ties, which are discretionary) and non-discretionary viewpoints (all researchers have them).  In this case, consulting for a sugar company is a conflict; being a vegan or avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages is not.

My second question: Why did ASN commission this paper, and from these particular authors no less?

I contacted John Courtney, the long-time executive director of the ASN.  He said this was a leftover from an initiative started ten years ago.  Since then, the ASN has decided not to commission papers on controversial topics and this will not happen again.

Good.  It shouldn’t.  Commissioning papers like these make the ASN look like an arm of the food industry.  The ASN should avoid even teh appearance of conflicts of interest as much as it possibly can.

You don’t believe this is a problem?  Take a look at this conflict of interest statement.  Enjoy!

Conflict of Interest

JLS is a member of the Journal’s Editorial Board and played no role in the Journal’s evaluation of the manuscript.

LC was a Mitacs-Elevate postdoctoral fellow jointly funded by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Sugar Institute (September 2019–August 2021). She was previously (2010–2018) employed as a casual clinical coordinator at INQUIS Clinical Research, Ltd. (formerly Glycemic Index Laboratories, Inc.), a contract research organization.

AC and AA have received funding from a Toronto 3D MSc Scholarship award.

SA-C was funded by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Canadian Graduate Scholarships Master’s Award, the Loblaw Food as Medicine Graduate Award, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the CIHR Canadian Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award. She avoids consuming NSBs and SSBs and has received an honorarium from the international food information council (IFIC) for a talk on artificial sweeteners, the gut microbiome, and the risk for diabetes.

NM was a former employee of Loblaw Companies Limited and current employee of Enhanced Medical Nutrition. She has completed consulting work for contract research organizations, restaurants, start-ups, the International Food Information Council, and the American Beverage Association, all of which occurred outside of the submitted work.

TAK has received research support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the International Life Science Institute (ILSI), and the National Honey Board. He has taken honorarium for lectures from International Food Information Council (IFIC) and Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS; formerly ILSI North America).

FA-Y is a part-time Research Assistant at INQUIS Clinical Research, Ltd., a contract research organization.

DL reports receiving a stipend from the University of Toronto Department of Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Fellowship, University of Toronto Fellowship in Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto Supervisor’s Research Grant—Early Researcher Awards, and Dairy Farmers of Canada Graduate Student Fellowships; a scholarship from St. Michael’s Hospital Research Training Centre, and a University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies Conference Grant.

AZ is a part-time Research Associate at INQUIS Clinical Research, Ltd., a contract research organization, and has received funding from a BBDC Postdoctoral Fellowship. She has received consulting fees from the GI found.

RJdS has served as an external resource person to the World Health Organization’s Nutrition Guidelines Advisory Group on transfats, saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. The WHO paid for his travel and accommodation to attend meetings from 2012–2017 to present and discuss this work. He has also performed contract research for the CIHR’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Diabetes, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization for which he received remuneration. He has received speaker’s fees from the University of Toronto and McMaster Children’s Hospital. He has held grants from the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, Population Health Research Institute, and Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation as a principal investigator and is a co-investigator on several funded team grants from the CIHR. He has served as an independent director of the Helderleigh Foundation (Canada). He serves as a member of the Nutrition Science Advisory Committee to Health Canada (Government of Canada) and is a co-opted member of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition Subgroup on the Framework for the Evaluation of Evidence (Public Health England).

TMSW was previously a part owner and now is an employee of INQUIS and received an honorarium from Springer/Nature for being an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

CWCK has received grants or research support from the Advanced Food Materials Network, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Almond Board of California, Barilla, CIHR, Canola Council of Canada, International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, International Tree Nut Council Research and Education Foundation, Loblaw Brands Ltd, the Peanut Institute, Pulse Canada, and Unilever. He has received in-kind research support from the Almond Board of California, Barilla, California Walnut Commission, Kellogg Canada, Loblaw Companies, Nutrartis, Quaker (PepsiCo), the Peanut Institute, Primo, Unico, Unilever, and WhiteWave Foods/Danone. He has received travel support and/or honoraria from the Barilla, California Walnut Commission, Canola Council of Canada, General Mills, International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, International Pasta Organization, Lantmannen, Loblaw Brands, Ltd., the Nutrition Foundation of Italy, Oldways Preservation Trust, Paramount Farms, the Peanut Institute, Pulse Canada, Sun-Maid, Tate & Lyle, Unilever, and White Wave Foods/Danone. He has served on the scientific advisory board for the International Tree Nut Council, the International Pasta Organization, McCormick Science Institute, and Oldways Preservation Trust. He is a founding member of the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), Executive Board Member of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, is on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee for Nutrition Therapy of the EASD and is a Director of the Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials foundation.

DJAJ has received research grants from Saskatchewan & Alberta Pulse Growers Associations, the Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program through the Pulse Research Network, the Advanced Foods and Material Network, Loblaw Companies, Ltd., Unilever Canada and Netherlands, Barilla, the Almond Board of California, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Pulse Canada, Kellogg’s Company, Canada, Quaker Oats, Canada, Procter & Gamble Technical Centre, Ltd., Bayer Consumer Care, Pepsi/Quaker, International Nut & Dried Fruit Council, Soy Foods Association of North America, the Coca-Cola Company (investigator initiated, unrestricted grant), Solae, Haine Celestial, the Sanitarium Company, Orafti, the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, the Peanut Institute, Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI), the Canola and Flax Councils of Canada, the Calorie Control Council, the CIHR, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund. He has received in-kind supplies for trials as a research support from the Almond Board of California, Walnut Council of California, the Peanut Institute, Barilla, Unilever, Unico, Primo, Loblaw Companies, Quaker (Pepsico), Pristine Gourmet, Bunge Limited, Kellogg Canada, and WhiteWave Foods. He has been on the speaker’s panel, served on the scientific advisory board and/or received travel support and/or honoraria from Nutritional Fundamentals for Health (NFH)-Nutramedica, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, The University of Chicago, 2020 China Glycemic Index International Conference, Atlantic Pain Conference, Academy of Life Long Learning, the Almond Board of California, Canadian Agriculture Policy Institute, Loblaw Companies, Ltd., the Griffin Hospital (for the development of the NuVal scoring system), the Coca-Cola Company, Epicure, Danone, Diet Quality Photo Navigation, Better Therapeutics (FareWell), Verywell, True Health Initiative, Heali AI Corp, Institute of Food Technologists, SNI, Herbalife Nutrition Institute, Saskatchewan & Alberta Pulse Growers Associations, Sanitarium Company, Orafti, the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, the Peanut Institute, Herbalife International, Pacific Health Laboratories, Barilla, Metagenics, Bayer Consumer Care, Unilever Canada and Netherlands, Solae, Kellogg, Quaker Oats, Procter & Gamble, Abbott Laboratories, Dean Foods, the California Strawberry Commission, Haine Celestial, PepsiCo, the Alpro Foundation, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, DuPont Nutrition and Health, Spherix Consulting and WhiteWave Foods, the Advanced Foods and Material Network, the Canola and Flax Councils of Canada, Agri-Culture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, Pulse Canada, the Soy Foods Association of North America, the Nutrition Foundation of Italy, Nutra-Source Diagnostics, the McDougall Program, the Toronto Knowledge Translation Group (St. Michael’s Hospital), the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Canadian Nutrition Society, the American Society of Nutrition, Arizona State University, Paolo Sorbini Foundation, and the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. He received an honorarium from the United States Department of Agriculture to present the 2013 W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecture. He received the 2013 Award for Excellence in Research from the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council. He received funding and travel support from the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism to produce mini cases for the Canadian Diabetes Association. He is a member of the ICQC. His wife, Alexandra L Jenkins, is a director and partner of INQUIS Clinical Research for the Food Industry. His 2 daughters, Wendy Jenkins and Amy Jenkins, have published a vegetarian book that promotes the use of the foods described in this study, The Portfolio Diet for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction (Academic Press/Elsevier 2020 ISBN:978-0-12-810510-8). His sister, Caroline Brydson, received funding through a grant from St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation to develop a cookbook for 1 of his studies. He is also a vegan. JLS has received research support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Research Fund, Province of Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and Science, Canadian Institutes of health Research (CIHR), Diabetes Canada, American Society for Nutrition (ASN), International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) Foundation, National Honey Board [the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) honey “Checkoff” program], Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS), Pulse Canada, Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, The United Soybean Board (the USDA soy “Checkoff” program), The Tate and Lyle Nutritional Research Fund at the University of Toronto, The Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by the Alberta Pulse Growers), The Plant Protein Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund that has received contributions from IFF), and The Nutrition Trialists Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by an inaugural donation from the Calorie Control Council). He has received food donations to support randomized controlled trials from the Almond Board of California, California Walnut Commission, Peanut Institute, Barilla, Unilever/Upfield, Unico/Primo, Loblaw Companies, Quaker, Kellogg Canada, WhiteWave Foods/Danone, Nutrartis, Soylent, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. He has received travel support, speaker fees, and/or honoraria from ASN, Danone, Dairy Farmers of Canada, FoodMinds LLC, Nestlé, Abbott, General Mills, Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre, Nutrition Communications, International Food Information Council, Calorie Control Council, the International Sweeteners Association, the International Glutamate Technical Committee, Phynova, and Brightseed. He has or has had ad hoc consulting arrangements with Perkins Coie LLP, Tate & Lyle, Phynova, and INQUIS Clinical Research. He is a former member of the European Fruit Juice Association Scientific Expert Panel and a former member of the Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI) Scientific Advisory Committee. He is on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committees of Diabetes Canada, European Association for the study of Diabetes, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and Obesity Canada/Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons. He serves or has served as an unpaid member of the Board of Trustees and an unpaid scientific advisor for the Carbohydrates Committee of IAFNS. He is a member of the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), Executive Board Member of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the EASD, and Director of the Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials foundation. His spouse is an employee of AB InBev.

XYQ, SB, NM, VH, EL, SBM, VLC, and LAL declare no competing interests.

*******

For 30% off, go to www.ucpress.edu/9780520384156.  Use code 21W2240 at checkout.

 

May 9 2022

Industry-influenced commentary of the week: soy foods should not be considered ultra-processed

The commentary: Perspective: Soy-Based Meat and Dairy Alternatives, Despite Classification as Ultra-Processed Foods, Deliver High-Quality Nutrition on Par With Unprocessed or Minimally Processed Animal-Based Counterparts.  By Mark MessinaJohn L SievenpiperPatricia WilliamsonJessica KielJohn W Erdman, Jr.  Advances in Nutrition, nmac026, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmac026

Purpose: “This perspective argues that none of the criticisms of UPFs [ultra-processed foods] apply to soy-based meat and dairy alternatives when compared with their animal-based counterparts, beef and cow milk, which are classified as unprocessed or minimally processed foods (group 1). Classifying soy-based meat and dairy alternatives as UPFs may hinder their public acceptance, which could detrimentally affect personal and planetary health. In conclusion, the NOVA classification system is simplistic and does not adequately evaluate the nutritional attributes of meat and dairy alternatives based on soy.

Conflicts of interest: the statement is so long that I will save it for the end.

Comment: This commentary is a critique of the NOVA classification system, which puts foods in four categories by level of processing:

  • Group 1: Unprocessed/minimally processed (fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, meat, milk with no complicated additives)
  • Group 2: Processed culinary ingredients (oils, fats, butter, vinegars, sugar, and salt eaten with added to Group 1)
  • Group 3: Processed (mix of groups 1 and 2, chiefly for preservation)
  • Group 4: Ultra-processed (industrially produced, cannot be made in home kitchens, chemical additives)

By this time, literally hundreds of studies have linked frequent consumption of ultra-processed (“junk”) foods to weight gain and its associated chronic diseases—type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc—as well as high risk for poor outcome from COVID-19.  One carefully controlled clinical trial has shown that ultra-processed diets induce people to unwittingly take in more calories (“you can’t eat just one.”).

Artificial meats and dairy products made with plant proteins clearly meet the definition of ultra-processed.   Are soy products in a different category from those made with pea protein, for example?  Should plant-based meats in general be exempt from being considered ultra-processed?

I don’t think we know yet whether these products are better for health and the environment.  The issues are complicated and we don’t yet have the research or experience.

These authors report conflicted ties—many such ties—to companies making soy products and other products that might be considered ultra-processed:

Author disclosures: MM is employed by the Soy Nutrition Institute Global, an organization that receives funding from the United Soybean Board and industry members who are involved in the manufacture and/or sale of soyfoods and/or soybean components. JLS has received research support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Research Fund, Province of Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and Science, Canadian Institutes of health Research (CIHR), Diabetes Canada, PSI Foundation, Banting and Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC), American Society for Nutrition (ASN), INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation, National Dried Fruit Trade Association, National Honey Board (the USDA honey “Checkoff” program), International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), Pulse Canada, Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, The United Soybean Board (the USDA soy “Checkoff” program), The Tate and Lyle Nutritional Research Fund at the University of Toronto, The Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by the Alberta Pulse Growers), and The Nutrition Trialists Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by an inaugural donation from the Calorie Control Council). He has received food donations to support randomized controlled trials from the Almond Board of California, California Walnut Commission, Peanut Institute, Barilla, Unilever/Upfield, Unico/Primo, Loblaw Companies, Quaker, Kellogg Canada, WhiteWave Foods/Danone, Nutrartis, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. He has received travel support, speaker fees, and/or honoraria from Diabetes Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada, FoodMinds LLC, International Sweeteners Association, Nestlé, Pulse Canada, Canadian Society for Endocrinology and Metabolism (CSEM), GI Foundation, Abbott, General Mills, Biofortis, ASN, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, INC Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre (CEFS), Nutrition Communications, International Food Information Council (IFIC), Calorie Control Council, International Glutamate Technical Committee, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has or has had ad hoc consulting arrangements with Perkins Coie LLP, Tate & Lyle, Wirtschaftliche Vereinigung Zucker eV, Danone, and Inquis Clinical Research. He is a member of the European Fruit Juice Association Scientific Expert Panel and former member of the Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI) Scientific Advisory Committee. He is on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committees of Diabetes Canada, European Association for the study of Diabetes (EASD), Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS), and Obesity Canada/Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons. He serves or has served as an unpaid scientific advisor for the Food, Nutrition, and Safety Program (FNSP) and the Technical Committee on Carbohydrates of ILSI North America. He is a member of the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), Executive Board Member of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the EASD, and Director of the Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials foundation. His wife is an employee of AB InBev. PW is employed by Cargill, Inc, a global food company headquartered in Wayzata, MN. Cargill produces soy-based food and industrial products. JK is employed by Medifast Inc., a nutrition and weight-management company based in Baltimore, Maryland, that uses soy protein in many of its products. JWE is a scientific advisory to the Soy Nutrition Institute Global.

Apr 25 2022

Conflict-of-interest disclosure of the week

A reader, Effie Schultz, sent this one, with a comment that it comes with the longest conflict of interest statement she had ever seen (I’ve noted one that was two pages long in the first item in a post in 2015).

Association of Low- and No-Calorie Sweetened Beverages as a Replacement for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages With Body Weight and Cardiometabolic Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.  McGlynn ND, and 20 other authors.  JAMA Network Open, March 14, 2022. 2022;5(3):e222092.  doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.2092

The research question: Are low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages (LNCSBs) as the intended substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) associated with improved body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors similar to water replacement?

The conclusion: This systematic review and meta-analysis found that using LNCSBs as an intended substitute for SSBs was associated with small improvements in body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors without evidence of harm and had a similar direction of benefit as water substitution. The evidence supports the use of LNCSBs as an alternative replacement strategy for SSBs over the moderate term in adults with overweight or obesity who are at risk for or have diabetes.

Comment: Research on artificial sweeteners remains controversial.  I think we will be arguing forever about their safety and efficacy in helping people lose weight.  Studies with conflict of interest disclosures like the excessively extensive one here do not help resolve the research questions.

I strongly support revealing conflicted interests that might influence any aspect of research design, conduct, and interpretation.  For this study, I would be interested in financial ties or arrangements with companies that might either gain or lose sales or marketing advantages from results showing artificial sweeteners or diet drinks to be harmless or beneficial, as these do.  At issue here is whether financial ties to companies with corporate interests in the outcome of such research bias results or interpretation, consciously or unconsciously.

You have to search through this mess of unnecessary and distracting disclosures to find the ones that matter.  They are there.  You have to search for them.

Much of what is disclosed is irrelevant and, therefore, not helpful.

You may well disagree with that assessment.  Judge for yourself.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Ms McGlynn reported receiving a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-Masters Award during the conduct of the study and being a former employee of Loblaws Companies Limited outside the submitted work. Dr Khan reported receiving grants from CIHR, International Life Science Institute, and National Honey Board outside the submitted work. Dr Chiavaroli reported being a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellow and receiving joint funding from the Government of Canada and the Canadian Sugar Institute. Mr Au-Yeung reported receiving personal fees from Inquis Clinical Research outside the submitted work. Ms Lee reported receiving graduate scholarship from CIHR and the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre at the University of Toronto outside the submitted work. Dr Comelli reported being the Lawson Family Chair in Microbiome Nutrition Research at the Joannah and Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition, University of Toronto, during the conduct of the study and receiving nonfinancial support from Lallemand Health Solutions, donation to research program from Lallemand Health Solutions, personal fees from Danone, sponsored research and collaboration agreement from Ocean Spray, and nonfinancial support from Ocean Spray outside the submitted work. Ms Ahmed reported receiving scholarship from the Toronto Diet, Digestive tract, and Disease Centre (3D) outside the submitted work. Dr Malik reported receiving personal fees from the City and County of San Francisco, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, and World Health Organization outside the submitted work and support from the Canada Research Chairs Program. Dr Hill reported receiving personal fees from General Mills and McCormick Science Institute. Dr Rahelić reported receiving personal fees from the International Sweeteners Association, Abbott, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Merck, MSD, Salvus, and Sanofi outside the submitted work. Dr Salas-Salvadó reported receiving personal fees from Instituto Danone Spain, nonfinancial support from Danone Institute International, personal fees as director of the World Forum for Nutrition Research and Dissemination from the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation, financial support to the institution from Fundación Eroski, and financial support to the institution from Danone outside the submitted work. Dr Kendall reported receiving grants and/or in-kind support from Advanced Food Materials Network, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, CIHR, Almond Board of California, Barilla, Canola Council of Canada, International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, Peanut Institute, Pulse Canada, Tate and Lyle Nutritional Research Fund at the University of Toronto, and Unilever; receiving nonfinancial support from General Mills, Kellogg, Loblaw Brands Limited, Oldways Preservation Trust, Quaker Oats (Pepsi-Co), Sun-Maid, White Wave Foods/Danone, International Pasta Organization, California Walnut Commission, Primo, Unico, International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), and Toronto Diet, Digestive tract, and Disease Centre (3D) outside the submitted work; receiving personal fees from McCormick Science Institute and Lantmannen; and being a member of the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) Executive Board and Dietary Guidelines, a member of the expert committee of the DNSG Clinical Practice Guidelines for Nutrition Therapy, a member of the scientific advisory board of the McCormick Science Institute, a scientific advisor for the International Pasta Organization and Oldways Preservation Trust, a member of the ICQC, an executive board member of the DNSG, and being the director of the Toronto Diet, Digestive tract, and Disease Centre (3D) Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials Foundation. Dr Sievenpiper reported receiving nonfinancial support from DNSG of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), grants from CIHR through the Canada-wide Human Nutrition Trialists’ Network (NTN), PSI Graham Farquharson Knowledge Translation Fellowship, Diabetes Canada Clinician Scientist Award, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes and the Canadian Nutrition Society (INMD/CNS) New Investigator Partnership Prize, and Banting & Best Diabetes Centre Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award during the conduct of the study; receiving grants from American Society for Nutrition, International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation, National Honey Board (the US Department of Agriculture [USDA] honey checkoff program), Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS; formerly ILSI North America), Pulse Canada, Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, United Soybean Board (the USDA soy checkoff program), Tate and Lyle Nutritional Research Fund at the University of Toronto, Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by the Alberta Pulse Growers), and Nutrition Trialists Fund at the University of Toronto (a fund established by an inaugural donation from the Calorie Control Council); receiving personal fees from Dairy Farmers of Canada, FoodMinds LLC, International Sweeteners Association, Nestlé, Abbott, General Mills, American Society for Nutrition, INC Nutrition Research and Education Foundation, European Food Safety Authority, Nutrition Communications, International Food Information Council, Calorie Control Council, Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre, International Glutamate Technical Committee, Perkins Coie LLP, Tate and Lyle Nutritional Research Fund at the University of Toronto, Danone, Inquis Clinical Research, Soy Nutrition Institute, and European Fruit Juice Association outside the submitted work; serving on the clinical practice guidelines expert committees of Diabetes Canada, EASD, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and Obesity Canada/Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons; being an unpaid scientific advisor for the Food, Nutrition, and Safety Program and the Technical Committee on Carbohydrates of IAFNS; being a member of the ICQC, executive board member of the DNSG of the EASD, and director of the Toronto Diet, Digestive tract, and Disease Centre (3D) Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials Foundation; his spouse is an employee of AB InBev. No other disclosures were reported.

Reference: For a summary of research on the “funding effect”—the observations that research sponsored by food companies almost invariably produces results favorable to the sponsor’s interests and that recipients of industry funding typically did not intend to be influenced and do not recognize the influence—see my book, Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat.

Nov 11 2021

Food prices are going up. Oh, the irony.

FAO says the world food price index is higher than it’s been in years, due to reduced harvests, fuel prices, climate change, and Covid-19.

FAO Food Price Index | World Food Situation | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

According to the New York Times, the prices of foods in the U.S. are also up—and by 15 percent since early 2020.

Steak, ground beef for hamburger, and turkey are especially costly.

The increases are due to supply chain shortages and higher labor costs and there is little relief in sight. In fact, some economists think prices could rise even more, given the increase in energy prices.

These increases may be hard on consumers, but they are also hard on food banks.

A case of peanut butter that was $13 to $14 before the pandemic now costs $16 to $19…Green beans that used to retail for $9 a case now sell for $14.

BUT, the New York Times also reports:

Despite higher prices, McDonald’s, Kraft Heinz and Coca-Cola post solid earnings.

The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s and Kraft Heinz all reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday that were better than expected, despite continuing challenges with the global supply chain and pandemic restrictions in many parts of the world. The enormous scale of each business, as well as their ability to pass on price increases to consumers, appears to have helped them during a time of uncertainty.

Ironic, no?