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Concurrent Session: Diet and lifestyle profile to prevent obesity: a role for yogurt?

Saturday, May 7, 2016
10:45am - 12:00pm


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This symposium will emphasize the research of investigators having recently obtained awards pertaining to the profile of yogurt consumers and to the control of appetite and energy intake. The first lectures will feature Vicky Drapeau and Shirin Panahi, winners of the 2015 Research Grant for Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative (YINI). Dr. Panahi's presentation (Dietary and lifestyle determinants of obesity) will highlight relevant literature pertaining to the dietary and lifestyle determinants of obesity with a focus on the healthy patterns in yogurt consumers. Dr. Drapeau's lecture (Healthy eating for metabolic fitness and health) will feature the metabolic effects of yogurt and relate them to overall health. The third lecture (Appetite control and obesity management in a disturbed environment) will be related to the control of appetite and energy intake. It will be presented by Angelo Tremblay, winner of the 2015 Canadian Nutrition Society-APNM Award for Nutrition Translation. Dr. Tremblay will describe basic concepts related to appetite control and demonstrate that a modern disturbed environment may negatively influence appetite control and obesity management. Overall, the symposium will broadly describe the diet and lifestyle characteristics needed to help prevent obesity.

Initiatives to promote healthy eating in adults and children
Vicky Drapeau, Dt.P., Ph.D.

Obesity is a global health issue that has been associated with several unfavourable physiological and psychosocial consequences in both adults and children. While the causes of obesity are complex and multi-factorial, unhealthy eating habits have been implicated as one of the causative factors. Moreover, some individuals appear more susceptible to express unhealthy eating habits than others. In this context, there is a need to develop new dietary strategies to help both adults and children adopt healthy eating without increasing restriction. This presentation will discuss some strategies/initiatives that may help adults and children to adopt and maintain healthy eating habits. Moreover, this presentation will present a recently funded research program that could help to identify other determinants related to body weight and metabolic profile in children more susceptible to obesity. Specifically, this research program aims to examine the association between yogurt intake, body weight and metabolic profile as a function of susceptibility to obesity in cross-sectional and longitudinal cohorts of children and adolescents. If our hypotheses are confirmed, this research program will contribute to help shape new initiatives that target yogurt consumption particularly in children and adolescents at risk of obesity.

Yogurt consumption and metabolic health: Findings from the Québec Family Study
Shirin Panahi, PhD

Yogurt consumption has been suggested to reduce the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes and exert beneficial effects on body weight and composition, although it remains unclear if this apparent single food effect is explained by a global effect of diet quality. The objective of this study was to compare the anthropometric and metabolic profile of yogurt consumers and non-consumers and to determine if the observed differences persist after adjustment for diet quality and related variables. Using cross-sectional and prospective data collected in men and women from the Québec Family Study, yogurt consumers (n=269) and non-consumers (n=570) were classified and their anthropometric measurements and metabolic profiles were compared. The cross-sectional data revealed that both men and women yogurt consumers had a lower body weight, % body fat and waist circumference as well as a lower plasma glucose, insulin and C-peptide concentrations in response to an oral glucose tolerance test compared with non-consumers (P<0.05). After adjustment for the Nutrient-Rich Foods (NRF) index, a marker of diet quality, these differences persisted in both sexes. Interestingly, the additional adjustment for physical activity participation and % body fat did not abolish the significant differences observed between yogurt consumers and non-consumers for plasma insulin and C-peptide responses in women only (P<0.05). The longitudinal data (6-year follow-up) of the study reinforced these observations since both men and women yogurt consumers had improved glycemic variables, lower triglycerides and higher HDL-cholesterol compared with non-consumers after adjustments for age and NRF (P<0.05). After further adjustments for physical activity and % body fat, only HDL-cholesterol was significantly higher in male yogurt consumers compared with non-consumers (P<0.05). In conclusion, yogurt consumption is associated with metabolic health benefits that are not entirely explained by a global effect of diet quality.

Appetite control and obesity management in a disturbed environment
Dr. Angelo Tremblay

Even if the concept of obesity remains complex to understand, the first law of thermodynamics is still  the best recognized principle to describe this problem by emphasizing the inadequate balance between energy intake and expenditure that results in a long term increase in body energy stores as fat. Research evidence also suggests that appetite control is a key factor determining the ability to maintain the equilibrium between energy intake and expenditure over time. In this regard, the new way of living that has been promoted by industrialization and computerization appears to be a source of stimuli that disturbs the normal balance between satiety and energy intake. Moreover, some environmental factors also seem to perturbate the harmony that should exist between appetite sensations and energy consumption. Globally, this represents a huge problem for health professionals treating obesity since inadequate sleep duration and quality, excess cognitive demand related to the use of computer devices and to abundant mental work as well as socially-driven inadequate feeding behaviors all appear to be involved in the appetite-energy intake mismatch. This ultimately leads to body fat gain and resistance to lose body fat in the context of a weight-reducing program. This issue may become even more complex if the hypothesis for the role of atmospheric CO2 on appetite control and energy intake is confirmed by standardized laboratory studies and clinical trials. Taken together, these observations suggest that a modern disturbed environment may negatively influence appetite control and obesity management.

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