The Dietary Science Foundation
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We finally got what we’ve been waiting for: the completion of a study the Dietary Science Foundation has helped finance. And not just one but two studies have crossed the finish line. We will have access to the results after the researchers have analyzed and published the data in scientific journals.
Research is not for the impatient. It can often take a year to start a clinical study, several years to do it, and at least half a year to analyze and publish the data. For the Dietary Science Foundation it has felt like we’ve been waiting for Santa for 100 years. But our presents are soon here! The final testing has now been done on the last participants in two of the studies backed by the Dietary Science Foundation.
The first study is a trial of different dietary treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that the Dietary Science Foundation contributed to in 2018. Fatty liver follows in the footsteps of the epidemics of overweight and obesity, and it increases the risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, among other things.
While it is apparent that diet plays a part in the disease, it has been unclear what kind of diet most effectively helps reduce fat accumulation in the liver. That’s why researchers at Karolinska University Hospital have compared the current standard treatment (advice on eating less, drinking less soda and exercising more) to two different dietary treatments: an intermittent fasting diet and a strict low-carbohydrate diet.
“We’re currently analyzing the results and hope to submit a manuscript to a scientific journal before the end of June,” says Hannes Hagström, the specialist doctor who is leading the study.
After submission, the manuscript will be reviewed by other researcher before it can be published. The researchers hope the study will be published before the end of the year.
The second study that has finished was about diet for obesity. Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway compared three diets: a strict low-carbohydrate diet where 30% of the total calories came from saturated fat; a traditional low-fat diet according to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations; and what is called a cellular low-fat diet, where all carbohydrates are minimally processed and the amount of sugar and wheat flour is minimized.
“We’re ready to analyze the data. It will probably take a year to get the first article published, but more articles will follow,” says the study’s leader Simon Dankel.
The researchers will start by publishing the result of the study’s main purpose, which was to see how body composition and the amount of visceral fat is affected by the different treatments.
“Then we’ll look at appetite and how the hunger hormone ghrelin and ketones affect the appetite over time,” Simon Dankel says.
When the amount of carbohydrates in the diet is minimized, ketones are released into the bloodstream. Previous research indicates that ketones may reduce feelings of hunger and suppress the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
“But the earlier studies have only been short-term. We need more information on how ketones affect the appetite in the long term,” says Simon Dankel.
Reducing hunger is key to losing weight, so these analyses will give us valuable information.
The other two ongoing clinical studies the Dietary Science Foundation has helped fund (IBS and type 1 diabetes) are more or less at a standstill because of the Corona pandemic. Unnecessary hospital visits are to be avoided, so researchers can’t do the testing required by the studies. When the pandemic is over the studies will resume.
In the meantime we will continue to raise funds for our current project on diet for type 2 diabetes. In March we reported that the insurance company Skandia had given the study 450,000 euros and that we will support the study with 400,000 euros over the next few years. Of that 400,000 we have so far raised around 160,000.
So we’re asking for your continued support! You can do Facebook fundraisers, become a monthly donor, or become a company partner. You can also make a donation via our dedicated page on PayPal. (Our Swedish name is “Kostfonden”, which also is the name on our PayPal-page.) Contributions of all sizes help us lay the foundations for more effective dietary treatments in health care. We thank you!