New evidence is emerging for how important it is for pregnant women to eat good, nutritious food. Expecting mothers who eat vegetables every day seem to have children who are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes, is revealed in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The study was performed in collaboration with Linköping University, which is conducting a population study called ABIS (All Babies in Southeast Sweden). The results have been published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.
“This is the first study to show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developing type 1 diabetes, but more studies of various kinds will be needed before we can say anything definitive,” says researcher and clinical nutritionist Hilde Brekke from the Sahlgrenska Academy.
Blood samples from almost 6,000 five year-olds were analyzed in the study. In type 1 diabetes, certain cells in the pancreas gradually get worse at producing insulin, leading to insulin deficiency. Children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes have antibodies in their blood which attack these insulin-producing cells.
Of the 6,000 children tested, three per cent had either elevated levels of these antibodies or fully developed type 1 diabetes at the age of five. These risk markers were up to twice as common in children whose mothers rarely ate vegetables during pregnancy. The risk was lowest among children whose mothers stated that they ate vegetables every day.
“We cannot say with certainty on the basis of this study that it’s the vegetables themselves that have this protective effect, but other factors related to vegetable intake, such as the mother’s standard of education, do not seem to explain the link,” says Brekke. “Nor can this protection be explained by other measured dietary factors or other known risk factors.”.
The term “Vegetables “in this study included all vegetables except for root vegetables.
Type 1 Diabetes
Around 50,000 Swedes have type 1 diabetes, a chronic disease which normally emerges before the age of 35. It is not yet known what causes type 1 diabetes, but some of the factors believed to play a role are:
- various immunological mechanisms,
- environmental toxins and
- genetic variations.
Type 1 diabetes is found throughout the world but is most common in Finland and Sweden.
At some point on the journey toward optimal health, the importance of our food becomes predominant. Nancy Ryerson
has given us a short cut to understanding some of the labels used for our food supply. This partial list will get you started but beware, this could turn into a deeper inquiry into food and food labeling. The good news is that the old adage of “buyer beware” will put you in the category of buyer that has confidence and power when making your food choices.
Shopping at your local farmers market is a great way to support farmers and food practices you believe in — and often pay less for fresher, tastier produce and meat. But all of those little labels poking out of crates of corn and stuck on egg cartons can be confusing or even misleading. Use this glossary for your next shopping trip, and be sure to ask the farmers at the stand if you have any questions about their methods.
Animal Welfare Approved: Available only to family farms, this certification requires that animals be hormone-free and given continuous access to the outdoors. Cattle must be at least 70% grass-fed, and chickens must be cage-free.
Cage-Free: Chickens with this label do not live in cages and have enough space to walk and spread their wings, but don’t generally have access to the outdoors. They may still be put through processes like beak cutting, which is done so chickens in tight quarters don’t violently peck at each other.
Certified Organic: Products deemed “organic” have been given the label by a certification body of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To get it, farms must provide a production plan that the USDA inspects for sustainability. Meat labeled organic comes from animals that were given organic food and access to the outdoors, and organic produce is farmed without synthetic pesticides or chemicals.
Certified Naturally Grown: Some smaller farms choose not to go through the process of becoming certified organic because it can be expensive, opting instead for this label, which has similar guidelines to the USDA organic label. The certification is offered by a grassroots organization formed to help small farms.
Conventional: A farm with this label doesn’t have any special certifications but may have introduced some sustainable practices. Ask the farmer.
Free-Range: This term is regulated by the USDA and means that the farmer must prove that poultry have access to the outdoors, though for an unregulated amount of time. The term does not regulate eggs.
Grass-Fed: To get this label, the majority of an animal’s feed must be from grass or forage. In addition to giving meat a different taste, a “grass-fed” label means that the farm did not have to ship in soy or corn feed, reducing the farm’s carbon footprint. However, the label does not mean that the animals were given the chance to graze outside.
Heirloom and Heritage: These labels, often seen on foods like multicolored tomatoes and twisty squash, refer to varieties of plants and animals that have been passed through the generations to preserve unique colors, textures and tastes. These lines are not mass-produced because they tend to me more delicate.
Locally Grown: Refers to products that come from the surrounding area. There is not a standard for how far away “local” food comes from.
Natural: This refers to a product containing no artificial ingredients or added color that’s only minimally processed, according to the USDA. This claim doesn’t need to be certified, however, and only applies to meat and poultry.
On everything else, natural is often more confusing than helpful. This is one label to definitely be wary of. Marketers have long ago realized the word “natural’ will influence purchases.
How To Tell The Difference Between Natural and Organic
Why Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods Won’t Cost Consumers a Dime
Sweeteners In Milk Lead To Another Labeling Fight
Childrenâ€™s networks exposed young viewers to 76% more food commercials per hour than other networks
St. Louis, MO, November 4, 2009 â€“ Childhood obesity in the United States is reaching epidemic proportions. With more than one fourth of advertising on daytime and prime time television devoted to foods and beverages and continuing questions about the role television plays in obesity, a study in the November/December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior examines how food advertising aimed at children might be a large contributor to the problem.
Researchers at the University of California-Davis examined the types of food advertisements seen by children watching English and Spanish language American television programs on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons, prime time viewing times for children.
Recordings were made of programs on twelve networks including highly rated childrenâ€™s cable channels Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Kidsâ€™ WB, networks that appeal to older youths (MTV, BET), mainstream English-language channels ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and UPN, and Univision and Telemundo, the two highest rated Spanish language channels.
Out of 5,724 commercials recorded, 1,162 were food-related, with 91.2% of food promotions in English, and 8.7% in Spanish.
Only 1 commercial was bilingual.
Overall, nearly 1 in 5 advertisements was for a food or nutrition-related product, with 5.2 food advertisements presented every hour. Fast-food restaurants, sugary food, chips/crackers, and sugar-added beverages collectively accounted for more than 70% of food commercials; 34% were for â€˜â€˜food on the run,â€™â€™ fast-food restaurants and convenience food.
Childrenâ€™s networks had the highest percentage of food-related commercials. Food advertisements were predominately for sugary cereals and sweets, high fat food, convenience or fast-food restaurant food, and chips/crackers. When compared to television for a general audience, childrenâ€™s networks in this study exposed young viewers to 76% more food commercials per hour than did the other networks, with the Saturday morning 7-10 AM time slot being more saturated with food commercials. Approximately 7.7 food commercials per hour appeared in programming on the childrenâ€™s networks, which is approximately 1 food commercial every 8 minutes.
As children move into adolescence and begin to watch more youth programming, such as the music video programming offered by BET and MTV, they continue to be exposed to advertisements for food in less-healthful categories. Eighty percent of MTV food commercials were for fast food restaurants, sugar-added beverages, and sweets.
A Healthy Snack Resource Guide
This is the first study of food advertising in Spanish-language American programming. Although the likelihood of an advertisement being for a food product did not differ between English- and Spanish- language networks, commercials on Spanish-language programming were more likely to be for alcohol and fast-food restaurants, which together account for a majority of the food commercials on these networks. These messages are being presented at a time when Hispanics in America are becoming increasingly obese.
In contrast, fruits, vegetables, and juices were advertised in only 1.7% of the commercials. Only one nutrition-related public service announcement was found for every 63 food ads.
Writing in the article, the authors state, â€œStudy after study has documented the adverse health effects of food advertising targeting children and adolescents. Health educators need to develop and evaluate comprehensive nutrition programs that augment nutritional education with media use reduction strategies to lessen exposure to ads. School- and family-based programs that have attempted to reduce childrenâ€™s media use have shown promise.
Reduced media use is insufficient by itself, for food advertising has increased in other types of media children use, such as the Internet. Thus efforts should also be made to introduce media literacy training into nutrition programs. Evaluations of nutrition-focused media literacy interventions have been rare. Such literacy training can help children and adolescents understand both the economic motivations behind food advertising and the strategies used by industry to increase desire for their products. Greater awareness of the potential influence of industry may immunize young people from food advertisingâ€™s deleterious effects.â€
The article is â€œFrequency and Types of Foods Advertised on Saturday Morning and Weekday Afternoon English- and Spanish-Language American Television Programsâ€ by Robert A. Bell, PhD; Diana Cassady, DrPH; Jennifer Culp, MPH, RD; and Rina Alcalay, PhD. It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 41, Issue 6, (November/December 2009) published by Elsevier.