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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Controlling obesity with potato extract

Controlling obesity with potato extract.

From the 9 December 2014 McGill University press release

Extract of Irish potatoes, rich in polyphenols, reduces weight gain to a surprising extent
Published: 9Dec2014

Take a look in your pantry: the miracle ingredient for fighting obesity may already be there. A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at McGill University.

The results of their recent study were so surprising that the investigators repeated the experiment just to be sure.

Investigators fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. The results soon appeared on the scale: mice that started out weighing on average 25 grams put on about 16 grams. But mice that consumed the same diet but with a potato extract gained much less weight: only 7 more grams. The benefits of the extract are due to its high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component from the fruits and vegetables we eat.

“We were astonished by the results,” said Prof. Luis Agellon, one of the study’s authors. “We thought this can’t be right – in fact, we ran the experiment again using a different batch of extract prepared from potatoes grown in another season, just to be certain.”

The rate of obesity due to over-eating continues to rise in Canada, affecting 1 in every 4 adults. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to this study, potato extracts could be a solution for preventing both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Extract derived from 30 potatoes

“The daily dose of extract comes from 30 potatoes, but of course we don’t advise anyone to eat 30 potatoes a day,” says Stan Kubow, principal author of the study, “as that would be an enormous number of calories.” What the investigators envisage instead is making the extract available as a dietary supplement or simply as a cooking ingredient to be added in the kitchen.

Popularly known for its carbohydrate content, the potato is also a source of polyphenols. “In the famous French diet, considered to be very healthy, potatoes – not red wine – are the primary source of polyphenols,” says Kubow. “In North America, potatoes come third as a source of polyphenols – before the popular blueberries.”

A low-cost solution

“Potatoes have the advantage of being cheap to produce, and they’re already part of the basic diet in many countries,” Kubow explains. “We chose a cultivated variety that is consumed in Canada and especially rich in polyphenols.”

December 12, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Experts Challenge Super Food Claims: Healthy-Giving Properties of Broccoli, Blueberries, May Not Make It Past the Gut

 

broccoli

broccoli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a pharmacology lab technician about 30 years ago.
He was discouraged that drug research did not include studies on how drugs were broken down by digestion, the resultant by-products, and how the by-products worked to “cure” diseases or ameliorate conditions.  I suspect little has changed since then in drug research.

 

 

 

From the 5 October 2012 article at Science Daily

 

They have been the mainstay of the health industry for the best part of a decade, but now researchers at London’s Kingston University are using an approach that allows them to delve deeper into the effectiveness of health-promoting ‘super foods’ and their elixir-giving ilk. While there’s no doubt foods such as broccoli, blueberries and whole grains contain polyphenols – compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – the academic experts contend that little of these health-giving properties actually make it past the gut.

“Polyphenols may well work when cells are exposed to them directly, such as under laboratory conditions, but what needs to be established is how effective they are when consumed as part of a food. If they don’t actually get through the gut membrane and into the rest of the body, then they’re not a super food,” Dr Lucy Jones, Deputy Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, said.

Dr Jones and her colleague Dr Elizabeth Opara have taken a model developed in the early 1980s by US cancer research institute Sloane Kettering and adapted it to see if and how medicinal Chinese herbs, known to limit the growth of cancer cells, are absorbed in the body. Known as the Caco-2, the model mimics the action of the small intestine, the principal place where nutrients are taken up. The Kingston researchers have used it to assess what does and doesn’t make it through the gut…

 

 

October 10, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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