Health and Science Update

Low Calorie Cranberry Juice for Health

New research in the June 2015 issue of the Journal of Nutrition showed a positive health benefit for adults who consume low calorie cranberry juice. The study entitled “Cranberry Juice Consumption Lowers Markers of Cardiometabolic Risk, Including Blood Pressure and Circulating C-Reactive Protein, Triglyceride and Glucose Concentrations in Adults,” showed that drinking two cups of low calorie cranberry juice a day significantly improved risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke in an eight-week double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel-arm study (one group was given cranberry juice and one group was given a placebo).  Compared to those given a placebo, subjects who drank two cups of low calorie cranberry juice sweetened with sucralose exhibited lower levels of fasting serum triglycerides, serum C-reactive protein, diastolic blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose. Researchers think polyphenols, which are rich in cranberry juice are responsible for this protective effect.

This study, which was conducted by researchers with the US Department of Agriculture and Ocean Spray adds to a growing body of research showing the health benefits of drinking juice above and beyond good nutrition.  For an abstract of the study, click here.

Pediatricians Weigh in on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity

Parents rely on pediatricians to provide guidance for raising a healthy child, and proper nutrition is key to overall good health.  In June 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a clinical report:  The Role of the Pediatrician in Primary Prevention of Obesity authored by Dr. Stephen Daniels, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition and Dr. Sandra Hassink, 2014 President of AAP. The report encourages pediatricians to take an active role in obesity prevention by identifying early those children who may be at risk for obesity and recommend proactive measures to reduce high risk dietary behaviors in families and promote active lifestyles.

What does this report say about juice consumption?  The report supports consumption of appropriate daily servings of 100% juice for children age 1 and older.  For children 1 to 6-years-of-age, AAP recommends a daily serving of 4 to 6 ounces. For children ages 7 to 18, juice consumption should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces daily.  AAP’s daily juice recommendations can be found online here.

Overall, the AAP report aligns with the recommendations regarding juice consumption that were included in the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report issued in February 201

Understanding the Research About Citrus and Melanoma

Don’t skip the citrus but do keep slathering on the sunscreen. That’s the assessment of health professionals who reviewed a single observational study published online in theJournal of Clinical Oncology claiming there is a link between consuming citrus and risk of melanoma.

Marianne A. Berwick, PhD, MPH, of the University of New Mexico Department of Dermatology, is among those who have identified a number of flaws in the research.  In an article, “Dietary Advice for Melanoma: Not Ready for Prime Time, also published in theJournal of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Berwick points out that study subjects are not representative of the general population, there was a major inconsistency in the risks associated with the form of citrus consumed and the study ignored intermittent UV exposure such as that obtained on weekends and holidays.  MedPage Today also analyzed the study and put together a short video on the topic in its article entitled, “Grapefruit and Melanoma: What’s Happening Here? An association, yes. But is there a real risk?”

Based upon current research, there is no evidence to recommend people modify their diets when it comes to citrus consumption, but it’s always wise to use sun protection when outdoors.