Wellness Check: Nutrition | 2 Minute Medicine

Plant-based diets may be associated with lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer

1. In this prospective cohort study, greater consumption of healthy plant-based foods was associated with lower risk of aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

2. Furthermore, a higher healthful plant-based diet index was associated with decreased risk of total, lethal, and fatal prostate cancer in men younger than 65 years old, but not in older men.

Evidence rating level: 2 (Good)

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death, among men in the United States. Previous animal studies have shown that a diet containing more plant protein compared to animal protein slowed tumor growth in prostate cancer. However, the relationship between plant-based protein consumption and prostate cancer in human populations is unclear. This study investigated the association between plant-based diets and prostate cancer risk.

This prospective cohort study included 47,239 male health professionals who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up study (1986-2014). Men were excluded from the study if they had a history of cancer, consumed <800 or >4200 calories per day, or had more than 70 items missing on the reported food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Data regarding lifestyle, medical history, and disease outcomes were collected every 2 years. Dietary information was collected every 4 years with a validated FFQ and was used to calculate overall plant-based diet index, healthful plant-based diet index, and unhealthful plant-based diet index. Self-reported cancer diagnosis and clinical features were confirmed through medical records or state tumor registries. The primary outcome was prostate cancer incidence and severity of disease.

The results of the study demonstrated an overall significant association between higher plant-based diet index and lower risk of fatal prostate cancer, but not total prostate cancer or localized disease. When patients were stratified by age, results showed that higher healthful plant-based diet index was associated with lower risk of total, lethal, and fatal prostate cancer in men younger than 65 years old, but not in older men. However, this study was limited by its use of diet indices developed for diabetes and cardiovascular disease which may misclassify certain foods as healthy or unhealthy contrary to epidemiological studies specific to prostate cancer. Nonetheless, these results suggested a potential benefit of plant-based food as an environmental risk reduction strategy for prostate cancer.

High-protein supplementation improves linear growth in infants

1. In this randomized controlled trial, infants who received milk-cereal mix with a high-protein supplementation from 6 to 12 months of age had better length-for-age scores compared to those who received no supplementation.

2. Protein supplementation did not modify risk for comorbid diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, or fever.

Evidence rating level: 1 (Excellent)

Many infants are at risk for stunted growth during the first two years of life, especially those born in low- and middle-income countries. Early stunting can lead to worse cardiometabolic health and intellectual learning later in life. It is unknown whether nutritional protein supplementation can effectively combat stunted growth. Therefore, this randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of milk-cereal mixes with modest and high-protein supplementation on length-for-age z score (LAZ).

This study was conducted in Delhi and included 1548 infants. Infants were included if they were 6 months old and breastfed. Those who were severely malnourished or had major congenital malformations were excluded. Participants were randomized 1:1:1 at 6 months old to either of the 2 interventions (high or modest protein) or a no supplement control group. The intervention groups consumed 1 packet of supplemented milk-cereal mix for 180 days. Counseling on continued breastfeeding and optimal infant care was provided to all groups. The primary outcome was LAZ at 12 months of age.

The results demonstrated that at 12 months of age, infants in the high-protein group had a significant improvement in LAZ compared to those who received no supplementation. No significant differences were observed between the modest protein and control group or between the high and modest protein groups. Additionally, there were no significant differences in the number of participants with comorbidities among the three groups. This study was limited by potential bias due to lack of blinding between intervention and control, as well as the inability to ensure consumption of supplement in the intervention group. Nonetheless, this study offered insight into a potential range of effective protein supplements for preventing stunted growth in infants.

Online cooking education may improve perceived cooking and motor competencies in children

1. In this prospective cohort study, participation in an online cooking camp was associated with increased perception of cooking competence, movement competence, and well-being in children aged 9-12 years old.

2. The predictors of post-intervention perceived cooking competence included age, well-being, and perceived cooking and movement competence prior to the intervention.

Evidence rating level: 2 (Good)

Physical inactivity and poor dietary intake in children have worsened over the past few years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased perceived cooking competence has been thought to positively influence diet quality and mental wellbeing. However, it is unknown what forms of intervention are most effective in improving cooking engagement in children. This study assessed the effectiveness of an online cooking camp, called ‘Cook Like a Boss’, on well-being and various perceived competencies in children.

This prospective cohort study included 210 children aged 9-12 years old from Ireland. Participants were included if they were within the stated age range and had not started second level school. Siblings within the same household were excluded. The intervention was a virtual camp that consisted of 5 daily videos designed to introduce children to a range of food and skills. The primary outcome was perceived cooking competence measured by the CooC11 survey, movement competence measured by a previously validated 12-item scale, and well-being measured by Stirling Children’s Well-being scale.

The results demonstrated an improvement in perceived cooking competence, perceived movement competence and well-being following the program. In addition, pre-intervention perceived cooking competence, perceived movement competence, well-being, and age were all significant predictors of perceived cooking competence following the intervention. However, this study was limited by the lack of a control group which limits the conclusions that can be drawn from the findings. Nonetheless, this study highlighted a novel strategy for improving cooking competencies and diet quality in children.

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