We hope you are all safe and well and either masked, vaccinated or both as we hope and wish for the COVID-19 pandemic to end its havoc. In any event, we have some excellent reading material for the dog days of summer .
If you didn't get a chance, before you read the excellent piece by Dr. Nicola McKeown and her coauthors on comparisons of the modern-day Paleo diets to the Dietary Reference Intakes and MyPlate, take a look at the excellent historical review in our last issue on the history and origins of Paleo. Taken together, these two articles represent the kind of detailed analysis I for one wish all of the popular diets that often promise so much and deliver so little should be subject to. And before you start eating Paleo, be sure of what you are getting into.
A few issues ago we took a deep dive into the food science associated with psyllium, one of those fiber rich seeds with interesting physiological properties. Now we are pleased that Dr. Johnson McRorie and colleagues have put together an authoritative review on how it is that psyllium exerts its physiological effects. Psyllium is just one of many fibers that have positive health benefits, and one for which the mechanisms for its effects are well worked out.
By now I think we are all aware of the enormous number of older adults in the world. One critical task for nutritionists in the 21st century is to help them stay healthy for as long as possible. There is much for Americans to learn from other countries, and at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2020 meeting, a panel explored some programs from Canada and Ireland as well as an excellent home-grown one from Massachusetts that have much to offer. Drs. Shirley Chao RDN, Clare Corish, and Heather Keller outline them in their piece on “Are you prepared for the decade of healthy aging 2020-30?"
For me, biochemistry always goes down mixed with a little history, and Dr. Carolyn Berdanier has done this again in her article on “Hens to humans: the history of thiamin discovery". Actually thiamine has a remarkably interesting history which I know you will enjoy reading, and Carolyn throws in the relevant biochemistry as a nice bonus.
We can't forget the herbs and spices. Our resident expert on food science, Keith Singletary, provides us with an article on bay leaf that includes a little history and a few culinary details as well as some of the work being done on the herb to investigate its possible health benefits. As a person who loves several dishes that taste better with a bay leaf or two in them, I really enjoyed reading that.
Finally we turn to international nutrition, with two pieces from Iran. Soccer is a favorite sport in Iran, and so there is much concern about keeping soccer players in tip top shape. Aliyu Tijani Jibril and colleagues provide some interesting work they have done on diet and body composition not only of the soccer players but of coaches in Iran.
We wind up with another article from the same country but a different group, which focuses on adults living in Tehran when they eat a Nordic-like diet. The article reports the associations between Nordic-style diet scores, metabolic syndrome and obesity, and suggests that there is still lots of room for improvement left.
Have a safe and happy end of summer
Johanna Dwyer, DSc,RD
Editor, Nutrition Today