News you should use: more protein; avoid prediabetes; skinny politicians

Equally Distribute Your Protein Intake Throughout the Day
Most Americans eat a diet that consists of little to no protein for breakfast, a bit of protein at lunch and an overabundance at dinner. As long as we get our recommended dietary allowance of about 60 grams, it's all good, right?

According to research led by Doug Paddon-Jones, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the typical cereal- or carbohydrate-dominated breakfast, a sandwich or salad at lunch and an overly large serving of meat/protein for dinner may not provide the best metabolic environment to promote healthy aging and maintenance of muscle size and strength. Dr. Paddon-Jones believes that a full serving of protein at each meal is needed for maximum muscle health.

His study, appearing in the Journal of Nutrition, shows that the potential for muscle growth is less than optimal when protein consumption is skewed toward the evening meal instead of being evenly distributed throughout the day. According to the study: "Age-related conditions such as osteoporosis (bone weakening) and sarcopenia (muscle wasting) do not develop all of a sudden. Rather they are insidious processes precipitated by suboptimal lifestyle practices, such as diet and exercise, in early middle age. For breakfast consider replacing some carbohydrate, particularly the simple sugars, with high-quality protein. Throw in an egg, a glass of milk, yogurt or add a handful of nuts to get closer to 30 grams of protein; do something similar to get to 30 for lunch; and then moderate the amount of protein for dinner. Do this, and over the course of the day you will likely spend much more time synthesizing muscle protein."

No Matter What Your Weight, You NEED to Exercise to be Healthy and Avoid Diabetes and Heart Disease
Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., found that the best way for someone who is obese to avoid or delay developing risk factors for prediabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease is to engage in regular physical activity. "Our research identified physical activity as the most important factor in slowing the progression from metabolically healthy to at-risk obesity," said the study's lead author, Unab I. Khan, M.D., MS. Basically, even though someone is metabolically healthy, obesity increases risk for disease, and physical activity can help reduce that risk, even if the person is still obese.

Running For Political Office? Lose Weight
Maybe there is a reason the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is trying to lose weight before running for president he'll get more votes. A study co-authored by a Michigan State University weight bias expert found that, "When it came to the voting, both male and female candidates whether obese or simply overweight got a lower share of the vote total than their more slender opponents." While past research has found weight discrimination in schools, businesses, entertainment and other facets of American society, this is the first scientific investigation into whether that bias extends to election outcomes, said Mark Roehling, professor of human resources.

Mix Olive Oil with Your Veggies
Researchers at King's College London report that a diet combining unsaturated fats with nitrite-rich vegetables, such as olive oil and lettuce, can protect you from hypertension. The study also explains why several prior studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet can reduce blood pressure. According to researchers, the Mediterranean diet typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots, which are rich in nitrites and nitrates. "When these two food groups are combined, the reaction of unsaturated fatty acids with nitrogen compounds in the vegetables results in the formation of nitro fatty acids. The study, supported by the British Heart Foundation, used mice to investigate the process by which these nitro fatty acids lower blood pressure, looking at whether they inhibited an enzyme known as soluble Epoxide Hydrolase, which regulates blood pressure."

More Proof that Added Sugar is Not Healthy
Researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago have uncovered evidence that sugar has a direct effect on risk factors for heart disease, and it is likely to affect blood pressure, independent of weight gain. The researchers conducted a review of all studies between 1965 and 2013 that "compared the effects of higher versus lower added sugar consumption on blood pressure and lipids (blood fats or cholesterol) both of which are important cardiovascular risk-factors." The results were tabulated to determine the overall effects. "Our analysis confirmed that sugars contribute to cardiovascular risk, independent of the effect of sugars on body weight. Although the effects of sugars on blood pressure and lipids are relatively modest, our findings support public health recommendations to reduce added sugar in our diets as one of the measures which might be expected to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular diseases."

Are Your Kids Consuming Sports and Energy Drinks? Be Wary.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Duke University, weekly consumption of sports and energy drinks among adolescents is significantly associated with higher consumption of other sugar-sweetened beverages, cigarette smoking and screen media use (i.e., TV, computers, games, smart phones, etc). This doesn't mean that the energy drink is causing these behaviors only that there is an association. So, if your kid is drinking energy or sports drinks, there is a high likelihood that there are associated negative behaviors to be concerned about. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that sports drinks should be consumed by adolescents only after vigorous, prolonged activity, and that energy drinks should not be consumed because they offer no benefit and increase risks for overstimulation of the nervous system."

If They Know it's Good For Them, Will They Eat It?
Children reject healthy food simply because they know it is good for them, and once they know that, they assume the food won't taste good, according to research appearing in the Journal of Consumer Research. Even telling children that food will help them achieve a goal, such as growing strong or learning to read, decreases preschoolers' interest in eating the food, say the researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "The preschoolers seem to think that food can't serve two purposes, that it can't be something that makes them healthier and something that is delicious to eat at the same time. So telling them that the carrots will make them grow tall (or make them smarter) actually makes them not want to eat the carrots. If you want them to eat the carrots, you should just give the kids the carrots and either mention that they are tasty or just say nothing."

Looking for the Fountain of Youth? Get Out and Exercise
Research led by Canadian sports medicine physician Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., suggests that people can slow the speed at which they age by exercising regularly. According to the research, "Regular exercise not only improves the quality of life but can also extend a person's life span by up to five years." Additionally, his research suggests that older adults receive the most benefits when combining endurance exercise with resistance exercise. Try to get in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Walking is great; just walk 60 minutes more than you're doing right now.
CHARLES PLATKIN, Ph.D., M.P.H., THE DIET DETECTIVE is one of the country's leading nutrition and public health advocates, whose syndicated health, nutrition and fitness column, the Diet Detective appears in more than 100 daily newspapers nationally. Dr. Platkin is also the founder of, which offers nutrition, food, and fitness information. Platkin is a health expert and blogger featured on, and Additionally, Platkin is a Distinguished Lecturer at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College in New York City. The information provided is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.