This Week's Nutrition News Feed
In this week's news: The produce aisle takes a page from the junk food playbook; breakfast proponents get a wake-up call; and new thinking on salt shakes things up.
Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day, but two new studies have called its lofty status into question. One study determined that skipping breakfast for six weeks had no effect on participants' cholesterol levels, resting metabolic rates and overall blood-sugar levels. The study found that those who skipped breakfast ate fewer calories, not more, over the course of the day, but they also burned fewer calories than those who ate breakfast, making it a wash. Another study of 300 participants also showed that eating or skipping breakfast didn't make a difference in terms of weight gained or lost, leading researcher Emily Dhurandhar to conclude that breakfast "may be just another meal."
Pass the salt; hold the guilt. Writing in the New York Times, Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, cautions that, while eating too much salt appears to be dangerous -- leading to higher rates of heart attack, heart failure and strokes -- numerous studies, including one recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have shown that consuming too little salt may be even more risky. "When compared with those who consumed 3 to 6 grams per day, people who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium per day had an even higher risk of death or cardiovascular incidents than those who consumed more than 7 grams per day," Carroll writes of the NEJM study. He recommends a moderate approach and says current sodium recommendations, which are quite low, may need a shakeup.