Artificial sweeteners may do more than sweeten

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a popular artificial sweetener can modify how the body handles sugar. They analyzed the sweetener sucralose in 17 severely obese people and found it can influence how the body reacts to glucose.

Studies examine diet’s role in prostate cancer

The typical American diet includes nearly twice the recommended daily allowance for protein, and now a team of nutrition researchers, including Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, and urologic surgeons at the School of Medicine, is conducting two studies to investigate a potential link between cancer and excess protein in the diet.  

Restricting calories lowers body temperature, may predict longer lifespan

Nutrition and longevity researchers, including Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, have found more evidence that eating less may help people live longer. They report that individuals who significantly reduce their calorie intake have lower core body temperatures. Mice and rats consuming fewer calories also have lower core body temperatures, and they live significantly longer than littermates eating a standard diet. 

Food price crisis can lead to deteriorating nutrition

As fuel prices soar, food prices are beginning to creep up to crisis levels most recently seen in 2007. “Coupled with the financial crisis, high food prices can take a significant toll on nutrition, especially in developing countries,” says Lora Iannotti, PhD. “The same consequences can be true for wealthier countries, as households opt for less expensive, poor quality foods. Hidden hunger is a problem across the globe.”

Breakfast is an important meal, especially for teen moms and their kids

Teen mothers who eat breakfast have healthier weights and snacking habits and may influence healthy eating habits among their children, says a recent study by obesity prevention expert Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “It’s important to look at dietary patterns among postpartum teens to help reduce weight retention and prevent intergenerational obesity,” she says. “Overall, breakfast consumption among postpartum teens is low and interventions are needed to encourage breakfast consumption among teen mothers.”

One year after Haiti earthquake, Brown School public health expert Iannotti continues work on the ground

On Jan. 12, 2010, Lora Iannotti, PhD, nutrition and public health expert at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, was in Leogane, a seaside town 18 miles west of Port au Prince, Haiti, working with local officials on improving the health of Haitian children. That’s when a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake struck the poverty-stricken country. Its epicenter, Leogane. Iannotti survived, but some 230,000 perished. Haiti was devastated; an estimated 3 million were affected by the earthquake in a country already known as the poorest in the Western hemisphere. Since last January, Iannotti, assistant professor at the Brown School, has returned to Haiti a number of times to continue her work on undernutrition and disease prevention in young children. She is back in Haiti again, one year later.

Key front-of-package nutrition information determined in new report

Nutritional information has popped up on the front of food packages using a wide range of different symbols and rating systems. But without a common form or standards, there’s a risk that consumers could be confused by the new information, says Matthew Kreuter, PhD, a public health expert and professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.  

Making nutrition fun

The School of Medicine’s Public Health Interest Group is holding a class at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club Adams Park Unit to teach children and their parents how to prepare healthy meals. School of Medicine students spend the first hour discussing nutrition with the children and their parents separately, and in the second hour, the families come together to prepare and eat a meal.

Perhaps a longer lifespan, certainly a longer ‘healthspan’

Organisms from yeast to rodents to humans all benefit from cutting calories. In less complex organisms, restricting calories can double or even triple lifespan. But researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and two other centers report in the journal Science that they are less interested in calorie restriction for longer life than for its ability to promote good health throughout life.