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Common sense science: The studies we didn't cover in 2013...

By Caroline Scott-Thomas+

02-Jan-2014

Every day, FoodNavigator scans the scientific journals to bring you the most interesting developments in food science – but there are many that make us wonder why they were conducted in the first place.

Here's a selection of the studies we didn't cover in 2013.

Kids with the worst diets are most likely to become obese adults

Put down that sugar-in-white-bread sandwich, kid. It might make you fat.

It seems that whether children eat healthily or unhealthily may have an impact on their health as adults, proving that the hunch of billions of parents was right all along.

According to a systematic review published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, children who eat a high-energy, low-fibre, high-fat diet are more likely to be obese when they grow up.

The point of the review was to look beyond suggestions that individual nutrients or foods may be responsible for increased childhood obesity risk, and instead to review evidence of whole diet patterns linked to later obesity risk.

Dietary patterns that are high in energy-dense, high-fat and low-fibre foods predispose young people to later overweight and obesity,” the researchers concluded.

Common sense just became scientifically backed common sense.

Sleep deprivation increases hunger and food purchasing

This study in Obesity found that sleep deprived people bought more calories the following day compared to their well-rested counterparts.

One can only imagine that the researchers behind this study have never experienced a disturbed night's sleep in their lives.

For the rest of us, we didn't need a study to tell us that after a sleepless night there is a well-worn path to the vending machine for a chocolatey energy boost the next day.

Higher calorie diets increase weight gain

Our initial reaction to this Eurekalert headline ? “You don't say...”

But it's not quite as simple as that. The study referred specifically to increasing weight gain in anorexic patients – and several professional bodies currently advocate a “start low and go slow” approach to weight gain among this group. The study, conducted by researchers from UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, challenges current wisdom.

This higher calorie approach is a major shift in treatment that looks really promising – not only from a clinical perspective of better weight gain, but from the perspective of these young people who want to get better quickly and get back to their ‘real’ lives,” said led researcher Andrea Garber.

Still, the idea that higher calorie diets lead to faster weight gain seems pretty obvious to us...

Grilling indoors with charcoal is a very bad idea

Anyone who actually does this must surely be a shoo-in for the Darwin Awards , but Germany's BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) clearly think it's a message worth repeating : Don't wheel your charcoal-fuelled grill into the front room for an indoor barbecue!

It's not just the risk of setting your curtains on fire – there's also a major carbon monoxide poisoning risk. As much as it might seem like common sense, the BfR said that it had been informed of eight deaths linked to carbon monoxide poisoning from charcoal grills used indoors.

So, at a time of year when many of us plan to do plenty of (indoor) cooking, it may be a timely warning: Stick to conventional kitchen appliances.

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