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An update from the Dietary Science Foundation:
Six years, six vital dietary studies


The Dietary Science Foundation was founded six years ago, and has since helped finance six different research projects. Some are the largest of their kind in their fields. It’s time to summarize what’s been happening, and we also want to share some good news: the results of the study of diet and fatty liver have been submitted for publication.  Soon we’ll know how it went!

At the beginning of October six years ago we announced we had started the Dietary Research Foundation. Since then we’ve made a total of 49,300 euros in contributions to important studies. Fantastic, isn’t it? Thank you to everyone who has made donations that support this vital research.

For those of you who are not yet monthly donors: join us! We need to start preventing disease, and the use of more effective dietary treatments can lower the risk of everything from cancer and type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular disease and high-risk pregnancies. Click on this link if you want to help us reach our goals. You can also start a fundraiser on Facebook or become a company partner.

Soon we’ll be able to reap the fruits of our some of our efforts. Here’s an update on all the studies.

2015 Diet and IBS

The Dietary Science Foundation’s first venture was a study of diet for IBS. More than a tenth of the population suffers from recurrent stomach pain. Many people have to take sick leave and better dietary treatments are needed. The study at Sahlgrenska hospital in Gothenburg is the largest, most ambitious of its kind. The researchers are comparing a strict low-carbohydrate diet with a low-FODMAP diet and medication.

The study was supposed to conclude at the beginning of 2021, but the corona pandemic has caused some complications. When the first wave of infections reached Gothenburg this spring, participants could no longer go to the clinic to be examined. But the good news is that the project is under way again, in a faster tempo. Every day the researchers screen 3-4 potential new participants. Of the 300 people who will take part in the study 208 have been recruited. The study should be finished next year. Very exciting!

2016 Diet and type 1 diabetes

The Dietary Science Foundation’s second venture was a study of diet for type 1 diabetes. There is a scarcity of good quality studies of how people with type 1 diabetes should eat for optimal blood sugar control. For that reason the Dietary Science Foundation decided in 2016 to back an investigation that will give sufferers this crucial information.

The study is being conducted at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, and is yet another project that is the largest and most ambitious ever done on the subject. The researchers are comparing a strict low-carbohydrate diet with a more moderate low-carbohydrate diet and a traditional low-fat diet. The goal is for paticipants to achieve lower and more stable blood sugar levels. To date around 70 of the 150 participants have been enlisted in the study.

The corona pandemic has the researchers doing everything in their power to keep the study going. They have even gone to participants’ homes to do important testing! When finished, the study will provide essential knowledge that is needed worldwide. Type 1 diabetes leads to serious complications for many people, and maintaining more stable blood sugar levels saves lives.

2018 Diet and fatty liver

The Dietary Science Foundation supported two studies in 2018, one of which was about fatty liver disease. It’s an increasingly common disease that follows in the wake of the epidemic of abdominal obesity, and it increases the risk of liver cancer, among other things.

It’s known that food and drink affect the disease, but researchers don’t know what diets lead to a reduction in the amount of fat in the liver. Therefore, they’re testing three different dietary treatments: a strict low-carbohydrate diet, a 5:2 diet and a traditional dietary treatment.

As good luck would have it, the researchers were able to do the final examinations of the 75 participants just before the corona pandemic struck this spring. They analyzed all the data during the summer and recently sent the results to be published. The article will be peer-reviewed, which means it will be scrutinized by other scientists who are experts in the same field. We’ll be able to see the results as soon as they are published.

 2018 Diet and obesity

The second project we contributed to in 2018 was a study of diet for obesity that was conducted in Bergen. That study also just managed to finish before Norway closed down because of the corona pandemic.

150 participants were recruited and followed for two full years, which is a long time for a controlled diet study. The researchers have compared three different dietary treatments: a strict low-carbohydrate diet where almost a third of the calories are comprised of saturated fat; a traditional low-fat diet according to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations; and a minimally processed low-fat diet where sugar and wheat flour have been minimized.

The researchers are currently analyzing all the tests and compiling the data. Their goal is to publish the first results in the spring. The study is highly interesting because it will address two hotly debated issues: how blood lipids are affected by a high dose of saturated fat in the diet, and how weight is affected by a high dose of refined carbohydrates.

2019 The role of sugar consumption in obesity

In 2019 we backed a project that aims to find a method to objectively measure the amount of sugar someone consumes. One of the challenges of dietary science is that study participants sometimes omit reporting quite a lot of what they eat, especially candy and other foods that are seen to be unhealthy. To better estimate how much sugar a person eats, researchers at Lund University are measuring the amount of sugar (sucrose and fructose) in participants’ urine instead. The aim is to see if there’s a link between body weight and the amount of sugar consumed (you can read more about the study here).

The researchers will analyze samples taken from the international PREVIEW study, which aims to prevent type 2 diabetes. The analyses are being done in Denmark and the researchers got started last spring. Work had to stop temporarily when the University of Copenhagen closed to stop the coronavirus. The analyses of the amount of urinary sucrose are finished, but some analyses of fructose remain to be done. If nothing unexpected happens the work should be completed this spring.

 2018-2022 Diet and type 2 diabetes

And now our latest, greatest venture so far: the world’s second largest study ever done on diet for type 2 diabetes. In 2018 the Dietary Science Foundation contributed 10,000 euros for the planning of this international study. We made it possible for researchers from different countries to convene. The first meeting was attended by researchers from Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Researchers from Germany and Scotland have subsequently joined the project.

The researchers have agreed to compare a strict low-carbohydrate diet to a very-low-calorie diet (you can read more here). In the spring, the insurance company Skandia decided to contribute 450,000 euros to the study, and the Dietary Science Foundation will give 400,000 euros. We’ve already raised almost half the money, and we won’t stop until we reach our goal!

The researchers are currently applying for ethical approval. Their plan is for the Swedish and Norwegian parts to get started by the beginning of next year. The Danish, German and Scottish researchers are still applying for grants for their parts. It’s a well-designed study that will answer many questions, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the project will soon have all the necessary financing.

 Tell others about us

We can’t say it often enough: thank you to all the wonderful people who make the donations that enable the Dietary Science Foundation to help start up so much important research. Many of these studies would never have gotten off the ground without your help. Dietary research lacks status both commercially and in the world of research, so we all need to pitch in to finance the large studies necessary to establish new dietary recommendations in health care. Make a contribution so we can move towards a healthier future. Thank you!

Photo by FOODISM360 on Unsplash

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