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      Perspective: Reductionist Nutrition Research Has Meaning Only within the Framework of Holistic and Ethical Thinking

      1 , 1

      Advances in Nutrition

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Abstract

          <p id="d467641e104">Today, it seems that nutrition is in a state of great confusion, especially for the general public. For decades, some nutrients (e.g., cholesterol, saturated fats, sugars, gluten, salt) and food groups (e.g., dairy, cereals, meats) have been regularly denigrated. In this position paper, we hypothesize that such a state of confusion is mainly the result of the reductionist paradigm applied to nutrition research for more than a century, and by being pushed to its extreme, this perspective has led to accusations about some nutrients and foods. However, the real issue is about foods taken as a whole and therefore about their degree of processing, which affects both the food matrix and composition. Indeed, we eat whole foods, not nutrients. Therefore, the objectives of this article are to emphasize the need for more holistic approaches in nutrition to preserve our health, animal welfare, and planet. We propose to first redefine the food health potential on a holistic basis and then to show that reductionism and holism are interconnected approaches that should coexist. Then, we try to explain how extreme reductionism has been disconnected from reality and ethical considerations and has ultimately led to environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity, notably through very specific crops, and to an increased prevalence of chronic diseases. Furthermore, to address the confusion of the general public and to simplify nutritional messages, we propose 3 holistic golden rules based on scientific evidence to protect human health, animal welfare, and the environment (climate and biodiversity). Finally, we try to show how these 3 rules can be easily applied worldwide while respecting the environment, cultural traditions, and heritage. </p>

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          Most cited references 68

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          Ultra-Processed Food Products and Obesity in Brazilian Households (2008–2009)

          Background Production and consumption of industrially processed food and drink products have risen in parallel with the global increase in overweight and obesity and related chronic non-communicable diseases. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between household availability of processed and ultra-processed products and the prevalence of excess weight (overweight plus obesity) and obesity in Brazil. Methods The study was based on data from the 2008–2009 Household Budget Survey involving a probabilistic sample of 55,970 Brazilian households. The units of study were household aggregates (strata), geographically and socioeconomically homogeneous. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between the availability of processed and ultra-processed products and the average of Body Mass Index (BMI) and the percentage of individuals with excess weight and obesity in the strata, controlling for potential confounders (socio-demographic characteristics, percentage of expenditure on eating out of home, and dietary energy other than that provided by processed and ultra-processed products). Predictive values for prevalence of excess weight and obesity were estimated according to quartiles of the household availability of dietary energy from processed and ultra-processed products. Results The mean contribution of processed and ultra-processed products to total dietary energy availability ranged from 15.4% (lower quartile) to 39.4% (upper quartile). Adjusted linear regression coefficients indicated that household availability of ultra-processed products was positively associated with both the average BMI and the prevalence of excess weight and obesity, whereas processed products were not associated with these outcomes. In addition, people in the upper quartile of household consumption of ultra-processed products, compared with those in the lower quartile, were 37% more likely to be obese. Conclusion Greater household availability of ultra-processed food products in Brazil is positively and independently associated with higher prevalence of excess weight and obesity in all age groups in this cross-sectional study.
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            Ferulic Acid: Therapeutic Potential Through Its Antioxidant Property

            There has been considerable public and scientific interest in the use of phytochemicals derived from dietary components to combat human diseases. They are naturally occurring substances found in plants. Ferulic acid (FA) is a phytochemical commonly found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet corn and rice bran. It arises from metabolism of phenylalanine and tyrosine by Shikimate pathway in plants. It exhibits a wide range of therapeutic effects against various diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative. A wide spectrum of beneficial activity for human health has been advocated for this phenolic compound, at least in part, because of its strong antioxidant activity. FA, a phenolic compound is a strong membrane antioxidant and known to positively affect human health. FA is an effective scavenger of free radicals and it has been approved in certain countries as food additive to prevent lipid peroxidation. It effectively scavenges superoxide anion radical and inhibits the lipid peroxidation. It possesses antioxidant property by virtue of its phenolic hydroxyl group in its structure. The hydroxy and phenoxy groups of FA donate electrons to quench the free radicals. The phenolic radical in turn forms a quinone methide intermediate, which is excreted via the bile. The past few decades have been devoted to intense research on antioxidant property of FA. So, the present review deals with the mechanism of antioxidant property of FA and its possible role in therapeutic usage against various diseases.
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              Greenlandic Inuit show genetic signatures of diet and climate adaptation.

              The indigenous people of Greenland, the Inuit, have lived for a long time in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, including low annual temperatures, and with a specialized diet rich in protein and fatty acids, particularly omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). A scan of Inuit genomes for signatures of adaptation revealed signals at several loci, with the strongest signal located in a cluster of fatty acid desaturases that determine PUFA levels. The selected alleles are associated with multiple metabolic and anthropometric phenotypes and have large effect sizes for weight and height, with the effect on height replicated in Europeans. By analyzing membrane lipids, we found that the selected alleles modulate fatty acid composition, which may affect the regulation of growth hormones. Thus, the Inuit have genetic and physiological adaptations to a diet rich in PUFAs.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Advances in Nutrition
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                2161-8313
                2156-5376
                November 2018
                November 01 2018
                September 10 2018
                November 2018
                November 01 2018
                September 10 2018
                : 9
                : 6
                : 655-670
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Université Clermont Auvergne, INRA, UNH, Unité de Nutrition Humaine, CRNH Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France
                Article
                10.1093/advances/nmy044
                6247347
                30204836
                © 2018

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