Science Shorts: Sugar-sweetened drink studies, red meat mortality research, cell-based meats and more feature in our round-up

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A New Zealand study has revealed that sugar-sweetened beverages appears to contain higher health risks than sugar-containing foods. ©Getty Images
A New Zealand study has revealed that sugar-sweetened beverages appears to contain higher health risks than sugar-containing foods. ©Getty Images

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Sugar-sweetened drink studies, red meat mortality research, cell-based meats and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts.

Beverages blow: Researchers find sugar in drinks carries higher health risks than that in food

A New Zealand study has revealed that sugar-sweetened beverages appears to contain higher health risks than sugar-containing foods​, especially when it comes to metabolic syndrome development.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Auckland, the study was done based on a comprehensive review of PubMed scientific literature pertaining to sugar and sucrose.

The researchers identified studies using the keywords ‘liquid sugar and solid sugar’ and ‘liquid sucrose and solid sucrose, in addition to a nonexhaustive review using the keywords ‘fruits and fruit juices’. Over 200 articles from across the globe resulted, which were included in the review.

All in all, they found that liquid added sugars in the diet carry greater risk than solid added sugars, in terms of the ability to induce features of metabolic syndrome such as weight gain and insulin resistance.

We believe this is related to the rapid absorption of fructose in liquid form resulting in greater concentration of fructose in the portal vein, which transports nutrients from the gut to the liver,” ​study co-researcher Dr Simon Thornley told FoodNavigator-Asia.

‘Convincing’ research links increasing red meat intake with heightened risk of death

Another major study has come out to suggest eating increasing amounts of processed red meat could lead to a heightened risk of death​.

It also found that reducing red meat intake while increasing healthy protein sources, such as eggs and fish, whole grains and vegetables, may lower the risk over time.

High intake of beef, pork and lamb has been previously linked with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers and premature death. But little is known about how changes in red meat intake may influence risk of death.

To explore this, researchers from China and the United States looked at the link between changes in red meat consumption over eight years, and then assessed mortality over a further eight years.

Just half a serving of sugary drinks per week heightens obesity risk in diabetics: Study

An intake of more than 0.5 servings per week of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may potentially increase the risk of metabolic syndrome in diabetic patients​, according to a study from the Middle East.

A higher SSB intake was associated with hypertension, obesity, and overall higher risk of metabolic syndromes, stated academics in Iran.

Diabetes affects 4.6 million people in Iran and the Middle East is expected to see the greatest rise in diabetes cases, with an increase of 103.8% by 2040.

Health and sustainability: Why cell-based meat is crucial to help meet APAC’s protein needs – CEO

The development of cell-based seafood and meats, and shrimp in particular, should be prioritised​ in order to meet the protein needs of Asia’s growing, and ageing population, in a healthy and sustainable manner.

“There are only so many shrimps available, a very limited supply – we are catching these at a very fast rate, and the shrimp can’t reproduce fast enough to keep up with demand,”​ said Shiok Meats CEO and co-founder Sandhya Sriram at our second Healthy Ageing APAC Summit in Singapore.

“A lot of shrimp consumed today is also grown or bred in [very unhygienic conditions] like in sewage water – this is because shrimp are bottom-feeders, and will feed on the the waste in this waste water.”

“It is also very common to find shrimp breeding grounds near slaughter farms, for example, where the shrimps are bred in the run-off from these farms, cleaned with antibiotics, and processed with hormones to make them look bigger.”

Nestlé expert: More data, research and NPD needed for Asia’s ageing population

There is a need for more research and funding for elderly nutrition​ as the world’s population rapidly ages, executive leading academic from Nestlé’s Institute of Health Science told our Healthy Ageing APAC Summit in Singapore.

By 2030, about 900m of the population in Asia will be over the age of 60.

Even so, there has been a lack of research and industry interest in elderly nutrition, with current research placing more weight in other areas, such as pharmacology. 

Against this backdrop, Dr Jörg Hager, head of Metabolic Health Department at Nestlé Institute of Health Science, advocated the need to pump in more effort on elderly nutrition research when speaking at the second edition of Healthy Ageing APAC Summit organised by NutraIngredients-Asia​ and FoodNavigator-Asia.

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