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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nutrition Bytes

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Orthodontic Appliance Effect on Nutrition

Orthodontic appliances have been used for many years to treat malocclusions and poor jaw relationships, but their effects on the nutritive intake of the patient have not been extensively documented. This paper aims to consolidate the findings of three studies on the effects of appliances on nutrition by Riordan DJ, Shirazi et al., and Al Jawad et al. Based on a review of these studies, nutrition intake is altered as well as ability to consume the nutrients. Studies showed that copper, manganese, and lipid levels were decreased notably while total fat, cholesterol, saturated fat, monosaturated fat, polysaturated fat, linoleic fat, linolenic fat levels increased. The message conveyed through all three studies is that appliances will acutely alter the patient’s diet. This review of the current literature highlights several of the key nutritional changes once orthodontic appliances have been applied to patients.

Daily Coffee: Safeguard Against Liver Injury?

A growing body of epidemiological and experimental evidence suggests that coffee may exhibit protective effects on the liver, and thus prevent or reduce the risk of liver damage. The aim of this research was to identify and review original investigations, which characterize the association between coffee consumption and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a common marker of liver injury.  A literature search was conducted via an electronic search of the PubMed database between years 1993 and 2015. Twelve observational studies were identified, eleven of which demonstrated a significant inverse association between coffee intake and serum ALT. In contrast, three experimental studies from one week to 6 months in duration report a rise in serum ALT with coffee consumption. In summary, many current research findings appear to support that consistent and/or high coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of elevated serum ALT. Additional experimental research is warranted to further explore possible contributors of the underlying mechanism of protection, which is poorly understood.

Are There Healthy Sweeteners: The Effects of Sugar Substitutes on the Gut Microbiome

Objective: This study was designed to examine the effects of sugar substitutes on the gut microbiome.

Methods: PUBMED was used to find articles that studied the gut microbiome after consumption of a sugar substitute in humans. Both observational and interventional studies were selected for this review.

Results: Starting with 31 articles found on PUBMED, 5 articles were included to be reviewed after 26 articles were excluded. Three natural sugar substitutes and four categories of artificial sweeteners were studied. Maltitol, lactitol, and isomalt were the natural sugar substitutes, and aspartame, acesulfame-K, non-caloric artificial sweeteners, and saccharin were the artificial sweeteners. The outcomes for Bifidobacteria, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Lactobacilli, Fusobacterium prausnitzii, and Enterobacteriaceae were addressed. Natural sugar substitutes were seen to increase bacterial populations that are believed to be beneficial to humans while artificial sweeteners established bacterial populations that are considered harmful to health.

Conclusions: The studies examined suggest cautious use of artificial sweeteners due to its effects on the gut microbiome while natural sugar substitutes could have potential health benefits