Re fatty liver: Ice Cream!!!
- Finally, Ice Cream Is Good for You
Additive in the low-fat flavors may make kids' bones
stronger, say researchers
By Pat Curry
THURSDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthScoutNews) -- The additive
that makes low-fat ice cream smooth may also make
kids' bones stronger, a group of researchers think.
Baylor College of Medicine scientists are beginning a
year-long study to see if they can duplicate the
results they saw in an earlier study on inulin, which
is an additive that also gives sauces and gravies
better "mouth feel" and makes meat juicier.
Inulin is a carbohydrate found naturally in such foods
as asparagus, garlic, bananas, onions and several
grains. Partially digestible, it is high in soluble
fiber and has only 1.5 calories per gram, compared to
9 calories per gram in fat and 4 per gram in fully
digestible carbohydrates like sugar. It's used to add
texture to a variety of low-calorie foods. (On
ingredient labels, it may be listed as inulin,
oligofructose or chicory root fiber.)
"It's classically found in Jerusalem artichoke, which
is not very popular among teen-agers," says Dr. Steven
Abrams, a pediatrics professor at Baylor College of
Medicine and the researcher who is leading the study.
In 2000, Abrams reported that adolescent girls whose
high-calcium diets were supplemented with inulin
increased their calcium absorption by almost 80
milligrams, which would be the equivalent of drinking
an extra 7 ounces of milk. That study, sponsored by a
company that manufactures a brand of inulin, ran for
two months. Now, the researchers are expanding the
study to 9- to 12-year-old boys and girls to see what
happens when inulin is added to calcium-fortified
orange juice for a year.
Adolescence is the most important time in a person's
life for calcium absorption, Abrams says. Adolescents
absorb more calcium -- between 30 percent and 40
percent, depending on their diet -- than adults or
younger children because of the hormonal changes that
occur during puberty.
Teen-age girls, however, rarely eat the calcium-rich
diet needed to get the recommended daily intake of
1,300 milligrams, which is roughly the equivalent of
four 8-ounce glasses of milk. The National Women's
Health Information Center reports that eight out of 10
adolescent girls don't get enough calcium -- at a time
in their lives when they're building their lifetime
measure of bone mass.
"It's more problematic with girls than boys because
they're more aware about their weight," says Dr.
Douglas Rogers, a pediatric endocrinologist at
Cleveland Clinic. "They stop drinking milk because
they think it's fattening."
The effect can be devastating as women age, he adds.
When the body stops producing estrogen after
menopause, calcium quickly leaches out of the bones
and contributes to osteoporosis.
"The vast majority of calcium laid down in our bones
is done during adolescence," he says. "If teen-age
girls miss that opportunity, it's gone forever. It's
very hard after about age 20 to actually get more
calcium into the bones naturally. There are medical
things we can do to force that, but naturally, it's
very difficult to build up or increase the amount of
calcium in the bone. After 20, [we're] just trying to
slow down the rate of loss."
Although the Baylor study is looking at the impact of
inulin on high-calcium diets, Abrams says he's hopeful
that inulin also can help increase calcium absorption
in those whose diets are too low in calcium.
"We know that even though the recommended intake of
calcium is 1,300 milligrams per day, kids have a lot
of trouble reaching that goal," Abrams says. "We're
looking for other ways to do that."
What To Do
For more information on calcium and teens and a list
of high-calcium foods, visit the Center for Young
Women's Health at Children's Hospital Boston. You can
read more about why young women should care about
osteoporosis at the National Women's Health
Information Center. For details on inulin, visit the
Food and Drug Administration Web site. This article
deals specifically with hydrolized inulin syrup as an
unlisted food additive, but explains the FDA's
position on the safety of inulin as an additive.
For information on enrolling in the BoneMax study,
visit the Children's Nutrition Research Center at
Baylor College of Medicine.
These links are paid for by individual sponsors. They
are carefully reviewed by our editors to assure
validity and consumer interest.
For information on clinical trials being conducted on
a variety of diseases and conditions,please go to
SOURCES: Interviews with Steven Abrams, M.D.,
professor of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine,
Houston, Texas; Douglas Rogers, M.D., pediatric
endocrinologist, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; information
from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Copyright � 2001 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
Last updated 11/29/2001.
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