Nutritional Counseling

Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. These Spotlights were not selected because they are the most favorable or the most recent, but to provide you an introduction to the more extensive research you'll uncover searching the four databases found in the “Research” section of this site.

  • Sugary Drinks Linked to Shorter Life Span
    A large, 2019 study from Harvard’s School of Public Health found that drinking sugar-heavy beverages (whether sodas or fruit drinks) was associated with early mortality. One extra 12-ounce serving of a sugary drink daily was linked to a 7% increased risk of death overall, and a 10% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
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  • Eating Junk Food Ups Risk for Numerous Cancers
    A large 2018 study from the French National Institute for Health, analyzing 470,000 participants, found that people who consume on average food with lower nutritional quality (junk food) were at significantly higher risk for cancer overall. Eating junk food was associated with a higher risk of colorectal, digestive tract and stomach cancer - and lung cancer in men and liver and postmenopausal breast cancer in women.
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  • Foods that Mix Fat & Carbs Trick the Brain & Make Us Overeat
    A 2018 study from Yale University showed that foods that combine fats and carbs trigger our brain’s rewards center in ways far beyond what people get from foods that contain either ingredient alone. Modern fat + carb foods like cheeseburgers and donuts befuddle the brain, which evolved when people foraged for food and rarely ate different foods at the same meal. The researchers concluded it helps explain why so many of us are obese, and why we overeat when not hungry.
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  • Children Who Eat Fish Scored Higher on IQ Tests & Sleep Better
    A 2017 study (led by Univ. Of Pennsylvania researchers) indicated that children who eat fish score higher on IQ tests and sleep better. Studying Chinese children aged 9-11, it found that kids who ate fish twice a week or more scored an average of 4.8 points higher on IQ tests than those who ate it twice a month or less.
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  • High Carbohydrate Intake Associated with Higher Risk of Mortality; High Fat Intake with Lower Risk
    A large 2017 study of diet and mortality (based on self-reported data from135,335 people, 18 countries) found that compared with people who ate the lowest 20% of carbohydrates, those who ate the highest 20% had a 28% increased risk of death. People with the highest 20% in total fat intake had a 23% reduced risk of death. Higher fat diets were also associated with lower stroke risk.
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  • Ordering/Choosing Food Before You Plan to Eat It Means Lower-Calorie Diet
    New Carnegie Mellon University experiments indicate that timing matters when it comes to healthier eating. When a solid gap existed between when people ordered or chose their food and when they planned to eat it, they opted for significantly lower calorie meals.
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  • Eating Whole Grains Cuts Risk of Early Death by 17%
    A meta-review of 45 studies from Imperial College London (2016) concluded that eating 90 grams of whole grains a day significantly cut the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Compared with eating no whole grains, it was associated with cutting the risk of early death by 17%. Current guidelines recommend at least 48 grams of whole grains daily, and a slice of 100% whole grain bread contains about 16.
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  • Study Suggest Diets Should Be Personally Tailored, Given How Individual Gut Microbiomes Impact Glycemic Response
    A study from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science revealed that people given identical meals metabolize them very differently, because their individual gut microbiome impacts the glycemic response. An individual's gut bacteria was found to be a key factor in influencing whether a food delivers a long, slow rise in blood sugar, or a short, sharp spike. And if one would expect higher blood sugar spikes from eating ice cream than from eating rice, for a significant number of study participants, the reverse was true. The study suggests that diets should be personally tailored, using personal and microbiome features to enable accurate glucose response prediction.
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  • Mediterranean Diet Helps Mitigate Cognitive Decline, Memory Loss
    Results of a first-of-its-kind University of Barcelona (Spain) clinical, randomized study of 477 subjects revealed a slowing of decline in cognitive functions for those who supplemented their diets with nuts and olive oil versus subjects who followed a typical low-fat diet.
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  • Nutritional Counseling Improves Diet Behaviors
    A National Institute of Health Research systematic review (29 randomized controlled trials) concludes nutritional counseling improves dietary habits, and more intensive counseling aimed at higher risk patients produces even larger changes in behavior.
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  • Insurers Find Success with MNT
    A study of 4,000 overweight/obese patients found that those who participated in medical nutrition therapy (MNT) via their insurer were twice as likely to achieve significant weight loss. They experienced greater mean reductions in weight (3.1 vs. 1.4 kg) and BMI (1.1 vs. 0.4 points), and were more likely to exercise more frequently after the program. The conclusion: MNT is relatively low cost, and warrants serious consideration as a standard inclusion in health benefit plans.
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  • Denmark Study Compares Outcomes: Doctors vs Dieticians
    A Glostrup University Hospital (Denmark) randomized trial (involving 60 doctors and 339 patients) - comparing the effectiveness of nutritional counseling from a doctor (GP) vs. a dietician - found that weight loss was greater in the dietician group, while the reduction of cardiovascular risk scores was higher for GP group, and for obese patients, long-term nutritional counseling by a dietician was superior.
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