Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Author: Karen Collins
Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, is AICR’s Nutrition Advisor. Karen is a speaker, writer and consultant who specializes in helping people make sense of nutrition news. You can follow her blog, Smart Bytes®, through her website and follow her on Twitter @KarenCollinsRD.
Q: I don’t get home until late. Is eating a late dinner hurting my health?
A: Emerging research suggests that eating too late in the evening may lead to weight gain and increased health risks. So far, the studies raising concerns are mainly animal studies, human observational studies (which don’t prove cause-and-effect) and small clinical trials. And studies of dramatic shifts in eating time, as seen in people working night shifts, do not necessarily apply to people who only eat dinner a few hours past the norm.
But putting the pieces of the puzzle together does suggest that it may be worth exploring options for readjusting habits.
This booming field of research in meal timing involves “circadian misalignment,” when biological clocks in the body do not match up with each other. Our internal clocks produce biological rhythms driven mainly by a light-dark 24-hour cycle.
Q: I’m suddenly seeing pea protein everywhere. What is it and is it healthy?
A:Pea protein is an extract from split peas, and food manufacturers are adding this protein to a variety of foods like energy bars, meal-replacement shakes, veggie burgers and even cereals. You can also find it as a powder to add when making smoothies.
With protein getting a lot of attention right now, pea protein offers a healthy option. Traditional approaches to boosting protein might have involved larger meat portions, yet evidence is strong that excess red and processed meats increase risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Read more… “HealthTalk: Pea protein is everywhere, is it healthy?”
Q: Do I need a certain type of dietary fiber or should I just aim for the recommended total?
A: Current research most strongly supports aiming to meet recommendations for total dietary fiber, yet different types of fiber offer unique benefits. So to get the most overall health protection, include a wide variety of foods that provide dietary fiber every day.
You probably are familiar with soluble and insoluble fiber. Research has now moved forward to identifying fiber that is more specifically based on the way it seems to work in the body. Here are three major types:
Viscous fibers form a gel in the intestinal tract. These fibers can lower LDL cholesterol – known as the ‘bad’ type – and reduce blood sugar surges after meals by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates. Some evidence suggests that these gel-forming fibers may support weight management by increasing satiety.