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4 exciting advances in food and nutrition research

April 22, 2017

Chicago (April 22, 2017) - New discoveries tied to how food affects our body and why we make certain food choices could help inform nutrition plans and policies that encourage healthy food choices. The Experimental Biology 2017 meeting (EB 2017) will showcase groundbreaking research in food policy, nutrition and the biochemistry of food.

Dark chocolate shows protective effects in mouse model of aging

Oxidative stress and inflammation increase with aging and are thought to play an important role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. In a new study, researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine show that the epicatechin, a flavanol found in foods such as dark chocolate, reduced damaging oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in a mouse model of aging. Just two weeks of treatment with epicatechin not only suppressed levels of oxidative stress and neuroinflammation that would normally be increased in this mouse model, but also improved memory and anxiety levels in the mice. The researchers say their results may help explain the beneficial effects on memory seen in people who consume dark chocolate.

Israel Ramirez-Sanchez will present this research at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics annual meeting at 12:30-2:30 p.m. Monday, April 24, in Hall F (poster D49 814.7) (abstract).

Insights into how cinnamon lowers blood sugar

Studies have shown that cinnamon decreases blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but scientists don't fully understand the biological mechanisms responsible for this effect. In a new study, researchers from Ohio Northern University found that compounds in cinnamon likely act on Sirtuin-1 (Sirt-1), an enzyme active in insulin signaling. For the analysis, the researchers examined how strongly several cinnamon phenols interacted with Sirt-1 and compared that with Sirt-1's affinity for resveratrol, a phenol found in wine that is not present in cinnamon but known to activate Sirt-1. Results showed that compared with resveratrol, the cinnamon compounds had similar and sometimes stronger interactions with Sirt-1, suggesting that cinnamon activates this enzyme.

Martin Brennemen will present this research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting at 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, April 24, in Hall F (poster B178 761.25) (abstract).

In developing countries, rising food prices increase obesity risk for some women

The large increases in the price of food that have occurred around the globe in recent years can be devastating for people's diets and their health. A new cross-national study finds that food price inflation is associated with a higher risk of obesity and that this relationship is socially patterned. Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, used global data from 295,984 women from 31 low- and middle-income countries across 14 years. They found a strong relationship between food price inflation and obesity prevalence among women of high socioeconomic status in developing countries, but not among women in the lower socioeconomic status categories. The study identifies women with higher socioeconomic status as the most vulnerable to obesity associated with rising food prices in these countries.

Annalijn Conklin will present this research at the American Society for Nutrition's Scientific Sessions and annual meeting at 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, in Hall F Swing Space and at 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23, in Room S102D (abstract).

Improving taste may reduce school lunch waste

A large amount of school lunch waste comes from healthy food items. This means that, while meals served to children may meet their dietary requirements, that may not be the case after accounting for food that is thrown away. To identify barriers to minimizing school lunch waste, University of Hawaii researchers interviewed adolescents in Hawaii whose parents received federal food assistance benefits. The results showed that improving the taste of food served at lunch may not only help reduce food waste but might also motivate youth to care about wasting food. School policies were also important. For example, presenting students with food choices instead of a standard meal and allowing students to share, compost or feed leftovers to animals may also reduce waste.

Chloe Panizza will present this research at the American Society for Nutrition's Scientific Sessions and annual meeting at 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, in Hall F and at 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday, April 24, Room S104B (abstract).

EB 2017 is the premier annual meeting of six scientific societies to be held April 22-26 at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago. Contact the media team for abstracts, images and interviews, or to obtain a free press pass to attend the meeting.
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About Experimental Biology 2017

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of more than 14,000 scientists and exhibitors from six host societies and multiple guest societies. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for exchange among scientists from across the U.S. and the world who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research. http://www.experimentalbiology.org #expbio

Find more news briefs and tipsheets at: https://www.eurekalert.org/meetings/eb/2017/newsroom.

Experimental Biology 2017

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