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Browsing by study line "Human Nutrition"

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  • Tammi, Rilla (2021)
    Added sugar intake has been associated with several adverse health issues, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. However, the knowledge of added sugar intake’s associations with overall diet quality and population subgroups is currently scarce. Our objective was to examine the association of added sugar intake with overall diet quality and population subgroups formed by sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, and obesity measures in the Finnish adult population. We also explored whether the association between added sugar intake and overall diet quality differs in the population subgroups. We applied the data from the cross-sectional population-based national FinHealth 2017 Study, and our analytical sample comprised 5094 Finnish adults. Dietary intake was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire and added sugar intake was estimated by a newly developed calculation method utilizing food item disaggregation based on the national food composition database Fineli ®. Overall diet quality was assessed by the modified Baltic Sea Diet Score (mBSDS), depicting a healthy Nordic diet. The analyses were established separately for women and men, and associations were calculated by chi-square tests and linear and logistic regression analyses, adjusting for age, education level, smoking, physical activity, BMI, and energy intake. Interactions were investigated with interaction terms and stratified analyses. Added sugar intake was inversely associated with education (P = 0.032 women; P = 0.001 men), smoking (P = 0.002 women; P < 0.0001 men), and physical activity (P < 0.0001) in both sexes. An inverse association was found with BMI in men (P = 0.003). Higher added sugar intake was associated with lower overall diet quality (P < 0.0001) and lower consumption of healthy perceived mBSDS components (P ≤ 0.001). An inverse association was also found with red and processed meat consumption in men (P = 0.011), while there was no association in women. Of the studied population subgroups, a significant interaction was found in physical activity subgroups in men (P = 0.005), the inverse association between added sugar intake and overall diet quality being stronger among active men compared with moderately active and inactive men. In conclusion, our findings suggest that high added sugar intake was associated with lower overall diet quality, lower education, and unhealthy lifestyle habits. The findings of this study can be utilized as background information when establishing new incentives to reduce added sugar intake or maintain a satisfactory intake level in the Finnish adult population. More research, especially longitudinal studies, is needed of added sugar intake’s associations with sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, obesity measures, and overall diet quality in the population and population subgroups.
  • Leinonen, Jasmin (2023)
    Background: The effects of vegan and vegetarian diets on children's health are not yet well-understood due to limited research, and the relationship between plant-based diets and children's serum amino acid levels remains unclear. Amino acids play a vital role in growth and well-being, particularly for children. Objectives: The primary objective of this study is to investigate potential differences in serum amino acid concentrations among children following vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous diets. The secondary objective is to explore whether the diet of a child can be inferred based on their serum amino acid profiles. Methods: Conducted as part of the MIRA2 research, the study involved 69 children from Helsinki day care centers, following vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore diets, with dietary data gathered from parents and validated by 3-day food diaries. Serum amino acid concentrations were analyzed using UHPLC in a laboratory, and group comparisons were conducted using Kruskal-Wallis tests with post-hoc analyses. A decision tree model was constructed based on amino acid concentrations to classify children as vegan or non-vegan. Results: Serum amino acid median concentrations of glycine, arginine, cysteine, conditionally indispensable amino acids, sulfur amino acids and amino acids participating in urea cycle were higher in vegans compared to omnivores. Concentrations of lysine were lower in vegans and vegetarians compared to omnivores. The decision tree model, based on amino acid concentrations, successfully classified 70,3% of children as vegan or non-vegan. Conclusions: Plant-based diets appeared to influence serum amino acid concentrations of children to some extent. Further research, especially regarding the health implications and reference values for amino acid levels, particularly in children on plant-based diets, is still needed. Tausta: Vegaani- ja kasvisruokavalioiden vaikutukset lasten terveyteen eivät ole vielä täysin ymmärrettyjä rajallisen tutkimustiedon vuoksi, ja yhteys kasvipohjaisten ruokavalioiden ja lasten seerumin aminohappopitoisuuksien välillä on epäselvä. Aminohapot ovat keskeisiä kasvun ja hyvinvoinnin kannalta, erityisesti lapsille. Tavoitteet: Tutkimuksen ensisijainen tavoite oli selvittää mahdollisia eroja seerumin aminohappopitoisuuksissa lapsilla, jotka noudattavat vegaani-, kasvis- tai sekasyöntiruokavaliota. Lisäksi tutkittiin, voiko lasten ruokavalion päätellä heidän seerumin aminohappoprofiilinsa perusteella. Menetelmät: Tutkimus tehtiin osana MIRA2-tutkimusta, ja siihen osallistui Helsingin päiväkodeissta yhteensä 69 lasta, jotka noudattivat vegaani-, kasvis- tai sekaruokavaliota. Tieto ruokavaliosta kerättiin vanhemmilta ja validioitiin 3 päivän ruokapäiväkirjoilla. Seerumin aminohappopitoisuudet analysoitiin laboratoriossa UHPLC-menetelmällä, ja ryhmävertailut suoritettiin Kruskal-Wallis -testeillä post-hoc-analyyseineen. Päätöspuumalli luotiin aminohappopitoisuuksien perusteella lasten luokittelemiseksi vegaaneiksi tai ei-vegaaneiksi. Tulokset: Vegaaneilla glysiinin, arginiinin, kysteiinin, ehdollisesti välttämättömien aminohappojen, rikkipitoisten aminohappojen ja ureasykliin osallistuvien aminohappojen mediaanipitosuudet olivat korkeammat verrattuna sekasyöjiin. Lysiinin pitoisuudet olivat alhaisemmat vegaaneilla ja kasvissyöjillä verrattuna sekasyöjiin. Aminohappopitoisuuksiin perustuva päätöspuumalli luokitteli onnistuneesti 70,3 % lapsista vegaaneiksi tai ei-vegaaneiksi. Johtopäätökset: Kasvipohjaiset ruokavaliot vaikuttivat jossain määrin lasten seerumin aminohappopitoisuuksiin. Lisätutkimusta tarvitaan erityisesti terveysvaikutusten ja aminohappopitoisuuksien viitearvojen suhteen, erityisesti kasvipohjaisilla ruokavaliolla olevilla lapsilla.
  • Suihko, Ella Luna Maria (2023)
    Background and aim: Formula fed (FF) infants show consistently higher rates of infections, and accelerated growth rate during the first year of life compared to breastfed (BF) infants. Lipid components of bovine origin, such as the lipid membrane structure, and phospholipids have been suggested as promising in narrowing the gap in health and development between FF and BF infants. The aim of this master’s thesis was to identify differences in the development and health of infants primarily fed with either milk-fat (MF) or vegetable-oil (VO) based formula, during the first year of life, and to elucidate the relativeness of lipid source and structure in currently commercially available formulas for infant growth and infectious morbidity. Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of the observational, longitudinal Health and Early Life Microbiota (HELMi) cohort data, collected among healthy, term infants and their families during 2016 and 2019 in the capital region of Finland. FF infants were divided into two groups (MF, VO), and observational BF group was included as a reference. Infant growth was analysed with general linear model for repeated measures of WHO z-scores: weight-for age (WFA), weight-for-length (WFL), BMI-for-age (BMIFA), and length-for-age (LFA). Infectious morbidity was assessed as the odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for doctor visit and antibiotics use during the first year of life based on parental reports and using binary logistic regression model. Results: Type of feeding (FF vs BF) was significantly (p<0.001) associated with the pattern of growth during the first year of life. FF groups showed slower weight gain for age during the first 3 months of life, but MF were then characterized with rapid catch-up growth (≥0.67 mean change in z-score) from 3 to 12 months of life, compared to BF infants. After inclusion of formula, the adjusted OR of doctor visit for respiratory infections was 2.58 (CI 1.14-5.86, p=0.024) from 3 to 6, and 3.25 (CI 1.46-7.25, p=0.004) from 6 to 9, among MF, compared to BF infants. For the antibiotics use the adjusted OR was 2.98 (CI 1.03-8.64, p=0.043) among MF infants from 6 to 9 months, compared to BF. No significant differences were detected between the two formula groups in any of the outcome parameters. Conclusions: Type of feeding is significantly associated with infant growth pattern and infectious morbidity during the first year of life, but no significant association could be determined with the lipid source of formula. Infant feeding is certainly an area of high importance and based on the current findings commercially available formulas are lacking in terms of health outcomes and growth compared to BF infants.
  • Peltonen, Henna (2021)
    Background: Preschoolers suffer frequently from infections. Large group sizes and varying hygiene practices may enhance pathogen transmission within preschool settings. Preschool-attributable infections cause economic consequences for society, which is why identifying the related risk factors is of importance. One such may be diet. Appropriate immune defence requires sufficient intakes of energy, protein, polyunsaturated fat, dietary fibre, and numerous micronutrients, whereas excess sugar and saturated fat may be harmful. However, previous nutritional research examining preschoolers’ infections has mainly focused on probiotics. Little research has been done on the role of whole-diet in preschoolers’ susceptibility to infections. Aim: The present study aimed to investigate the associations of dietary patterns with common colds, gastroenteritis, and antibiotic courses among Finnish preschoolers. Methods: The study sample included 721 children aged 3-6 years attending the cross-sectional DAGIS survey. The parents reported retrospectively how many common colds, gastroenteritis, and antibiotic courses their children had experienced during the past year. Children’s food consumption was recorded using a 47-item food frequency questionnaire filled in by the parents. The parents also reported background factors of their children and family. The following three dietary patterns were identified based on the food consumption frequencies using principal component analysis: 1) sweets-and-treats pattern (high loadings of e.g. biscuits, chocolate, and ice cream); 2) health-conscious pattern (high loadings of e.g. nuts, natural yoghurt, and berries); and 3) vegetables-and-processed meats pattern (high loadings of e.g. vegetables, colds cuts, and fruits). Dietary pattern scores were calculated for each child to describe the strength of adherence to each identified dietary pattern. The distributions of the dietary pattern scores were divided into thirds that were labelled low, moderate, and high adherence groups. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to examine the associations between thirds of the dietary pattern scores and the prevalence of common colds and antibiotic courses. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the associations between thirds of the dietary pattern scores and a chance of experiencing at least one gastroenteritis. Results: Prevalence of common colds was lower in moderate and high adherences to the sweets-and-treats pattern compared to low adherence (PR=0.89, 95% CI=0.80-1.00; and PR=0.88, 95% CI=0.79-0.99, respectively) and higher in high adherence to the health-conscious pattern compared to low adherence (PR=1.13, 95% CI=1.01-1.27) after adjusting for age, sex, number of children living in the same household, frequency of preschool attendance, probiotic use, and the highest educational level in the family. Moderate adherence to the sweets-and-treats pattern was associated with a lower chance of at least one gastroenteritis (OR=0.63, 95% CI=0.44-0.92) and lower prevalence of antibiotic courses (PR=0.77, 95% CI= 0.59-1.00) compared to low adherence. No significant associations were observed between the vegetables-and-processed meats pattern and the infectious outcomes. Adjustments for the background factors did not modify the associations. Conclusion: The results were unexpected. The associations observed would suggest that favouring unhealthier foods but avoiding healthier foods was linked to better immunity, which is difficult to accept as true. Parents who were most health-conscious of their children’s diet might also have been more conscious of their children’s illness conditions than less health-conscious parents, which may explain the results. Further research with longitudinal designs is needed to determine whether dietary habits play a role in preschoolers’ susceptibility to infections.
  • Hentilä, Annukka (2022)
    Background and objectives: It is important for human’s health and environment that red meat consumption decreases, and legume consumption increases in diet. To develop more tailored and effective interventions, it needs to be studied which food motives affect red meat and legume consumption across different population groups. Our aim was to study the associations between food motives and red meat and legume consumption and whether these associations differ between men and women and age groups. Material and methods: Ten food motives (health, mood, convenience, sensory appeal, natural content, price-cheap, price-value, weight control, familiarity and ethical concern as measured using the Food Choice Questionnaire) were studied among 3 079 adults who participated in the DILGOM 2014 study. Red meat and legume consumption was assessed with the Food Frequency Questionnaire. The associations between food motives and red meat and legume consumption were tested with linear regression analyses. The interactions between gender/age groups and food motives were studied by linear regression analyses and when the interaction was statistically significant the gender and age group stratified analyses were done. P value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. The research protocol of the DILGOM 2014 were approved by the Ethics Committee of Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District. This study was part of the Leg4Life (Legumes for Sustainable Food System and Healthy Life) project. Results: The highest relative importance was for price-value, sensory appeal and health motives and the lowest for weight control, ethical concern and familiarity motives. Higher importance of health (std. β=-0.052), natural content (std. β=-0.071) and ethical concern (std. β=-0.088) were associated with lower red meat consumption. In contrast, rating mood (std. β=0.039), convenience (std. β=0.042,), sensory appeal (std. β=0.106), price-cheap (std. β=0.061) and price-value (std. β=0.035) motives as more important were associated with higher red meat consumption. The size of the association between food motives and red meat consumption was the most prominent, but small, for sensory appeal, natural content, price-cheap and ethical concern. Regarding legume consumption, higher importance of health (std. β=0.093), natural content (std. β=0.048), weight control (std. β=0.039) and ethical concern (std. β=0.054) were associated with higher legume consumption. On the contrary, higher appreciation of convenience (std. β=-0.112), price-value (std. β=-0.070) and familiarity (std. β=-0.084) were associated with lower legume consumption. The size of the association between food motives and legume consumption was the most prominent, but small, for health, convenience, price-value and familiarity. Conclusion: The present findings suggest that people with higher red meat consumption are more appreciative of convenience, taste and monetary aspects of food while people with higher legume consumption value more health and ethic related aspects of food. Based on our results the food motives that should be in the center when developing and implementing actions to decrease red meat consumption and increase legume consumption are convenience, sensory appeal, price-cheap and familiarity. Knowledge on the most valued food motives regarding red meat and legume consumption, may help alter individuals’ food consumption towards healthier and more sustainable direction.
  • Koponen, Kari (2020)
    BACKGROUND: Diet has a major influence on the human gut microbiome, which has been linked to health and disease. However, epidemiological studies on the association of a healthy diet with the gut microbiome utilizing a whole-diet approach are still scant. OBJECTIVES: To assess associations between healthy food choices and human gut microbiome composition, and to determine the strength of association with the functional potential of the microbiome. DESIGN: The study sample consisted of 4,930 participants in the FINRISK 2002 study. Food intake was assessed using a food propensity questionnaire. Intake of food items recommended to be part of a healthy diet in the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations were transformed into a healthy food choices (HFC) score. Microbial diversity (alpha diversity) and compositional differences (beta diversity) and their associations with the HFC score and its components were assessed using linear regression and permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA). Associations between specific taxa and HFC were analyzed using multivariate associations with linear models (MaAsLin). Functional associations were derived from KEGG orthologies (KO) with linear regression models. RESULTS: Both microbial alpha (p = 1.90x10-4) and beta diversity (p ≤ 0.001) associated with HFC score. For alpha diversity, the strongest associations were observed for fiber-rich breads, poultry, fruits, and low-fat cheeses. For beta diversity, most prominent associations were observed for vegetables followed by berries and fruits. Genera with fiber-degrading and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) producing capacity were positively associated with the HFC score. HFC associated positively with KO-based functions such as vitamin biosynthesis and SCFA metabolism, and inversely with fatty acid biosynthesis and the sulfur relay system. CONCLUSIONS: These results from a large and representative population-based survey confirm and extend findings of other smaller-scale studies that plant and fiber-rich dietary choices are associated with a more diverse and compositionally distinct microbiome, and with a greater potential to produce SCFAs.
  • Niemi, Paula (2023)
    Introduction In addition to families and home environments, preschools can shape children’s eating habits. Children’s fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption remains below recommendations. Nutrition interventions should be aimed at young children when eating habits develop and be implemented in influential settings, like preschools. The preferred method to study and measure consumption is by weighing foods. However, weighing is hardly used in preschool-settings especially in group-level research. Aims The aim was to examine the effect of the DAGIS intervention on the consumption of FV in preschool meals. The secondary aim was to determine whether the results differed from the impact of DAGIS intervention on the FV consumption at group level when the amount of plate waste was considered. Materials and methods The DAGIS intervention was a randomized controlled trial (2017–2018) aiming to promote lifestyle and self-regulation skills affecting the energy-balance of Finnish 3–6-year-old. The 23-week intervention included 32 preschools. Vegetable consumption was measured at group level for three days in preschool before and after the intervention by weighing vegetables served, serving waste and plate waste. Data analyses were performed using Chi-square test, t-test, Wilcoxon signed-rank test and linear regression. Results In the follow-up, the median consumption of fresh FV, salad mixes, warm vegetables as a side dish and canned FV (25th; 75th quartile) per child was 81.3 g (55.2; 120.6) in the control group and 72.1 g (65.7; 119.3) in the intervention group. The total consumption of FV per child in the intervention group was not higher than in the control group after intervention. The inclusion of plate waste did not change the results adjusted by municipality. Conclusions There was no increase in FV consumption in the intervention group after intervention compared to the control group. Apart from highlighting FV consumption, future group-level interventions should be targeted at serving of vegetables. They should also critically consider the necessity of collecting plate-waste, especially if it increases research cost and burden.
  • Luiskari, Lotta (2021)
    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological disease impacting over six million people in the world. In addition to the motor symptoms of the disease, the disorder is accompanied with gastrointestinal problems. These include delayed transit time, disturbances in the microbial composition of the gut, inflammation in the intestine, structural changes in the epithelial lining and increased intestinal permeability. Paracellular permeability is regulated by tight junctions (TJ) which are complexes formed by proteins such as claudins, occludin and zonula occludens proteins. Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered have beneficial effects on the host. Probiotic bacteria can modulate intestinal permeability and the expression of TJ proteins. These microbes are also able to improve the gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, in PD patients. As a part of a larger study, the aim was to examine whether the expression of TJ proteins is altered in the lactacystin-induced mouse model of PD and to investigate whether probiotic supplementation elicits changes in their expression. The study was conducted in eight- to nine-week-old C57Bl/6JRccHsd mice, to which PD symptoms had been induced by lactacystin injection to the substantia nigra. Starting at one to two weeks after the injection, four groups of mice were treated with one out of four specific probiotic strains (A, B, C and D) for two weeks. At the end of the experiment, jejunal and colonic samples were collected from the mice. These samples were analyzed using Western Blot to determine the expression of TJ proteins claudin-1, claudin-4 and occludin. Based on the WB results, the jejunal gene level expression of these proteins in one probiotic group (D) was compared to the untreated group with reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The expression of TJ proteins was not altered as a result of the lactacystin injection in jejunum or colon, suggesting that lactacystin model is not optimal for investigating PD-related alterations in TJ proteins. Supplementation with microbe D increased the jejunal expression of claudin-1 on both protein and gene level, whereas in the colonic protein expression there was no change. Clear effects were not detected on claudin-4 or occludin nor when treated with microbes A, B or C. Therefore, microbe D might influence intestinal TJ function and permeability through regulating the expression of claudin-1.
  • Lundberg, Maj (2022)
    Abstract Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. More than 60% of IBS patients report that certain foods, such as legumes, trigger intestinal symptoms. Legumes contain α-galacto-oligosaccharides (α-GOS), which belong to FODMAP-carbohydrates, that are not absorbed in the small intestine. When they pass to large intestine, α-GOS are fermented by gut microbiota, causing abdominal bloating and aggravated intestinal symptoms in IBS patients. Enzymatic processing could reduce the amount of α-GOS in food. Oral α-galactosidase enzyme has been reported to effectively reduce gas production and relieve gas-related symptoms in healthy individuals and pediatric IBS patients. The effects of enzymatic treatment of foods on gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms have not been previously studied. Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate whether α-galactosidase treated pea-based crackers, compared to control crackers, will reduce GI symptoms in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional bloating (FB). The second aim of the study was to investigate the associations between nutrient and food intake and GI symptoms. Methods: This was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled two-period crossover study. Participants, were aged 22 -– 57 years. who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome or functional bloating based on the Rome IV criteria (n=24). Each participant received a three-day portion of either α-galactosidase-treated or control, pea-based crackers on each study week. The participants reported their GI symptoms throughout the study weeks and kept a food diary on the cracker eating days and during the run-in period. Maximum values of symptoms, symptom sum scores, as well as the average intake of nutrients and foods were analyzed. Statistical analyses were performed with the Wilcoxon signed rank test, Friedman's dependent samples test, correlation analyzes and linear regression. Results: No significant statistical difference was seen in between the maximum values of the symptoms during the study weeks. However, maximum values of abdominal bloating, flatulence, stomach noise, nausea and heartburn were consistently higher during the control week. Several nutrients and foods such as fiber, fat, glucose, fructose, and maltose, were significantly related to the GI symptoms during the study weeks. Conclusions: Since the enzyme-treated product was not better tolerated than the control product, it is possible that other components in the crackers or diet have overshadowed the possible benefits of α-galactosidase treatment. There is some evidence of beneficial effects ofSupplementation with α-galactosidase supplementation, but has shown some beneficial effects, however the results of α-galactosidase in alleviating GI symptoms in adult patients suffering from IBS are inconclusive. More studies on the effects of enzyme-treated food are needed in people suffering from IBS and FB are needed.
  • Simpura, Lyyra (2021)
    Background: Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are common diseases characterized by disturbing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in the absence of structural or biochemical changes in GI tract. Well identified group of compounds responsible for GI symptoms are FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols). Legumes contain α-galacto-oligosaccharides (α-GOS), unabsorbed, osmotically active and rapidly fermented fibres, known for colonic gas formation. The role of phytic acid (PA) and its effects on GI symptoms as complex-forming agent is not fully understood. These antinutrients can be removed by enzymatic treatments. However, usefulness of these treatments on reducing GI symptoms is not known. Aims: The aim of this research was to investigate whether two different enzymatic treatments of pea-based products have an impact on experienced GI symptoms. α-GOS and PA content was reduced in the test products. Material and methods: This was a 3–week randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over-designed study. Participants (n=26) were healthy males and females aged 21–70 who claimed to experience GI symptoms after consuming legumes. Each participant received weekly two portions of either α-galactosidase-treated, double-enzyme-treated or control, spoonable pea-based product. They reported severity of nine GI symptoms within 72–hour time period via web-based survey using visual analog scale (VAS). Maximum values, the time for experiencing the maximum values, maximum values in 8 time points and symptom sum scores were analyzed. To study differencies in GI symptoms caused by the study products, data was analyzed statistically using mainly non-parametric Friedman’s test. Dependence of baseline symptoms and symptom scores were examined using crosstabulation and analyzed statistically with Fisher’s exact test. Results: Participants’ median symptom scores were rather low throughout the intervention, indicating that the participants were after all not very sensitive for legume GOS. Maximum pain score was significantly higher with the double-enzyme-treated product compared to the control product (p=0,038). At time point 5 bloating score was significantly higher with the α-galactosidase-treated product than with the double-enzyme-treated product (p=0,051), and flatulence score was significantly higher with the α-galactosidase-treated product than with the control product (p=0,021). There were no statistically significant differencies in any other examined variables between the study products. Although there was a slight trend towards more severe symptoms with the enzyme-treated products compared to the control product. Conclusions: The enzyme-treated pea-based products were not better tolerated than the control product, but that may be due to the fact that the experienced GI symptoms were rather mild in general. There are some evidence on the use of α-galactosidase supplement to alleviate GOS-induced GI symptoms. In future, the products should be tested in specifically α-GOS- and/or PA sensitive population.
  • Kinnunen, Salla (2024)
    Legumes are a good source of protein, and they have recently grown in popularity as a substitute for meat due to their lower environmental impact. Reducing meat consumption and replacing it with plant-based foods, such as legumes, is also known to be beneficial for health. Nevertheless, legume consumption in Finland is relatively low, and they are not yet a part of the typical diet for adults or children. Food education and role modeling play an important role in encouraging children towards healthy and sustainable food choices. This thesis investigated whether different food education methods can increase the acceptability of legumes in early childhood education. The thesis is part of the "Food Step" research project, and the data was collected from intervention daycares. The study surveyed early childhood education professionals' attitudes towards legumes using questionnaires. The questionnaires aimed to determine the acceptability of legumes before the intervention and how the food education materials used during the intervention affected it. Among early childhood educators, the use of legumes and related attitudes varied greatly. Most respondents reported using legumes in both the baseline and follow-up surveys, but they showed varying prejudices towards their nutritional properties, structure, and taste. Only attitudes towards the nutritional content of legumes changed significantly between the time points. In summary, the study did not observe significant positive changes in adult attitudes towards legumes. Food behavior begins to form in early childhood, and these patterns are known to be relatively stable. Food behavior-related patterns are learned, for example, in early childhood education. Therefore, it would be important to consider in the future how the attitudes of adults working in early childhood education could be positively changed for them to be better role models.
  • Smolander, Noora (2024)
    Abstract Background Household food insecurity and hunger are associated with undernutrition of children under five years of age. Stunted, wasted and underweight young children are often living in food insecure households in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Low socioeconomic status is associated with both, food insecurity and malnutrition. Interestingly, children’ undernourishment and adults’ overweight occur sometimes in the same family. Aims The purpose was to investigate the prevalence of food insecurity, by two different assessment scales, among households with children at the age of 6–23 months in Nairobi and Chuka in Kenya. Differences in household food insecurity between the two living areas and households’ wealth, and an association between household food insecurity and nutritional status of mothers and children were examined. Methods The data from households (n=412) was cross-sectional and a part of InnoFood Africa project in 2021. Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and Household Hunger Scale (HHS) were used for analysing the prevalence of food insecurity. Sociodemographic background, housing characteristics, nutritional status indicators and HHS were used for the Chi2 -test and linear regression analysis. Results The prevalence of food insecurity by HFIAS and HHS were 63% and 15.5%, respectively. No difference in HHS was found between the living areas. The least wealthy households were more often moderately or severely hungry than the wealthiest households. Statistically significant association was found between HHS and lower maternal MUAC. No association was found between HHS and maternal BMI and any of child’s nutritional status indicators. Conclusion Household hunger was not associated with nutritional status of mothers and children. Further studies are needed to examine the prevalence of double burden of malnutrition in households living in urban and developing societies to understand better the causes for malnutrition.
  • Salo, Tuuli (2022)
    The current definition for dietary fibre was adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in 2009, but implementation still requires updating food composition databases with values based on appropriate analysis methods. The Finnish National Food Composition Database Fineli is among the first to be updated with CODEX-compliant values of total dietary fibre (TDF), insoluble dietary fibre (IDF), dietary fibre soluble in water but precipitated in 78 % aqueous ethanol (SDFP) and dietary fibre soluble in water and not precipitated in 78 % aqueous ethanol (SDFS). Previous data on population intakes of dietary fibre fractions is sparse. The aim of this study was to assess intakes and sources of dietary fibre and dietary fibre fractions in Finnish children based on updated values of the national food composition database Fineli. In addition, associations of sociodemographic factors with energy adjusted total dietary fibre intake were assessed. Our sample included 5206 children at increased genetic risk of type 1 diabetes from the Type 1 Diabetes Prediction and Prevention birth-cohort, born between 1996 and 2004. We assessed the intakes and sources based on 3-day food records collected at the ages of 6 months, 1, 3, and 6 years. Associations of child’s age, sex, breastfeeding status and sociodemographic factors were assessed with independent samples t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, and univariate analysis of variance. Food sources of dietary fibre were assessed with source analysis. Older children and boys had higher intakes of absolute dietary fibre. The highest energy-adjusted intake of TDF was however observed in 1-year-olds (2.85 g/MJ in boys; 2.77 g/MJ in girls). At the age of 6 months, non-breastfed girls and boys had higher energy-adjusted intake of TDF than their breastfed counterparts, while at the age of one the setting reversed. Children of older parents, parents with a higher level of education, non-smoking mothers, and children with no older siblings had higher energy-adjusted intakes of total dietary fibre. Cereal products, fruits and berries, potatoes, and vegetables were the major food sources of total dietary fibre as well as the dietary fibre fractions. IDF was the major dietary fibre fraction followed by SDFP and SDFS. Proportions of IDF and SDFP decreased with age, while the proportion of SDFS increased. Our study based on updated CODEX-compliant food database values found that on average the TDF intake of Finnish children met the recommendations. The proportions of dietary fibre fractions as well as the roles of different foods as dietary fibre sources shifted with the child’s age, reflecting age related changes in the child’s diet.
  • Paavolainen, Sanna (2024)
    Background: Recent findings in adults and children suggest that vegetarians, and particularly vegans, are at risk of iodine deficiency. As an increasing number of individuals adhere to plant-based diets, it is important to investigate the current iodine nutrition in children and adults. Aim: The aim was to examine whether iodine intake from food and supplements differs in children and adults who follow vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore diets, and to describe the main sources of iodine in these diets. Furthermore, the objective was to investigate the median urinary iodine concentration and determine whether these diets are associated with inadequate iodine status. Materials and methods: Cross-sectional data for children (n=73) and adults (n=79) were drawn from participants in the MIRA2 study. Iodine intake from food and supplements was assessed using a 3-day food record and a background questionnaire. The iodine status was assessed using spot urine samples. Results: Among children, there were no between-group differences in total iodine intake from food and supplements. In adults, vegetarians had a significantly lower total iodine intake than vegans and omnivores, but only vegan adults had a median urinary iodine concentration below 100 μg/L. Iodine supplements were the main sources of iodine in the vegan diet for both children and adults, whereas grain products were an important source of iodine regardless of diet. No association was found between plant-based diets and inadequate iodine status, defined as a median urinary iodine concentration below 100 μg/L. Conclusions: This study found no association between plant-based diets and inadequate iodine status. However, sufficient iodine intake may be compromised in adults who follow vegan and vegetarian diets. These results highlight the importance of iodine supplementation in the vegan diet.
  • Karonen, Vilja (2023)
    Background and aim Limited global research is available on the nutritional status of preschool-aged children following a vegan diet. Significant disparities in the absorption of animal and plant-based iron call for an investigation into the iron status of vegan children. The aim of the study was to assess the iron status of preschool-aged children and their caregivers following vegan or vegetarian diets compared to their omnivorous counterparts using multiple iron biomarkers. An additional aim was to capture the variation of dietary intake within the diet groups by constructing a dietary variable and exploring its association with iron biomarkers. Methods In a cross-sectional MIRA 2 study 2-6-year-old children following either a vegan, vegetarian or mixed diet, and their family members, were recruited from daycare centres in Helsinki. Parents reported their own and their children's diets and completed a short screener of dietary intake. Haemoglobin, transferrin receptor and ferritin concentrations were analysed from blood samples. The data used in this study included children (N=61) and parents (N=72) who provided a blood sample and answered the background questionnaire. Diet groups were formed based on the screener. Iron biomarker distributions were examined by diet groups with the Kruskal-Wallis test and iron deficiency prevalence was examined using the Fisher’s exact test. Dietary variables were constructed by principal component analysis and linear regression models were used to assess the association between the variables and iron biomarkers. Results Compared to omnivorous children, children following a vegan diet had lower haemoglobin concentrations (median -7 g/L), and children following a vegetarian diet were found to have haemoglobin values below the reference value (<112 g/L) more often. Vegan men had lower ferritin concentrations compared to omnivorous men (median -55 µg/l). Animal-based dietary pattern was associated with higher haemoglobin concentrations in children and ferritin concentrations in men. In women, a negative linear association was found between animal-based dietary pattern and ferritin concentrations. Of all children and women, 26% and 28 % had ferritin concentrations below the reference value (<12/15 µg/L). Conclusions Iron biomarker concentrations of vegetarians and vegans were lower compared to omnivores. While the popularity of plant-based diets is increasing, studies assessing the long-term effects of childhood vegetarian diets are warranted.
  • Jouhki, Ida (2022)
    Many athletes, goal-oriented exercisers, and normal-weight adults are interested in pursuing weight loss and a more aesthetic appearance. However, research on the association between body composition changes and cardiometabolic health is relatively scarce in metabolically healthy adults, whose body mass index is below 30. Thus, the current study observed, how the serum cardiometabolic profile of fitness competitors changes in response to an intensive weight loss period prior to competitions, and whether these changes persist during competition week and a post-competition recovery period. In addition, the association between android fat mass and serum cardiometabolic profile was investigated. The study was part of University of Jyväskylä and National Institute for Health and Welfare’s study that followed the competition preparation of 23 fitness athletes (13 men, 10 women) prior to the Finnish National Championships and their subsequent recovery from the pre-competition weight loss. The results of the competitor group were compared to a control group (10 men, 12 women) that strived to maintain their baseline body composition, energy intake, and exercise levels throughout the study period. Participants’ serum cardiometabolic profile (250 serum metabolites), body composition, energy intake, and energy expenditure of weekly exercise were measured in four time points: six months pre-competition (PRE), one week pre-competition (MID), one day post-competition (COMP), and six months post-competition (POST). Changes in the serum cardiometabolic profile and their associations with android fat mass, energy intake, and exercise levels were analyzed with Generalized Estimation Equations models. During the weight loss period (PRE-MID), the competitors’ body weight decreased by 8,0 ± 3,5 kg (false discovery rate, FDR = 0,02) and 12,0 ± 3,4 kg (FDR < 0,001), and total fat mass decreased by 10,7 ± 2,1 kg and 9,7 ± 1,5 kg (FDR < 0,001) in women and men, respectively. The competitors’ serum HDL-cholesterol, HDL-phospholipid and apoA-1 concentrations, and HDL particle size and number increased (FDR < 0,01), while serum total and VLDL-triglyceride concentrations, VLDL particle size, and concentrations of glucose and glycoprotein acetyls decreased (FDR < 0,001). Decreased android fat mass (~-79%, FDR < 0,001) explained the majority of the metabolic changes during the weight loss period. Increased energy intake during the competition week (women: ~18%, FDR = 0,19; men: ~41%, FDR < 0,001) was associated with increases in serum HDL- and VLDL-triglyceride concentrations (FDR < 0,05). In the end of the recovery period (POST), the competitors’ body composition and most (n = 64) of the serum metabolite concentrations had reverted back to baseline levels (FDR > 0,05), except for lipids in large VLDL particles and a few (n = 7) HDL-related metabolites (FDR < 0,05). The current results suggest that weight loss and loss of android fat mass are associated with anti-atherogenic changes in fitness competitors’ HDL and VLDL particle composition and in concentrations of serum glucose and inflammation markers. Increased energy intake after weight loss may lead to acute increases in HDL- and VLDL-triglyceride concentrations, but weight-loss-related changes in the serum cardiometabolic profile are not substantially dissipated until body weight and fat mass are regained. Further longitudinal research with larger sample sizes is warranted to confirm potential causal relationships.
  • Suomi, Juho (2021)
    Introduction: Fitness athletes change their nutrition a week before competition during “peak week” in the hope of achieving a better physique in competition. There is little evidence of the benefits of peaking in fitness sports and current literature suggests that these peaking methods might even be harmful to athletes’ condition or pose a risk to their health. Aim of the study: The aim of this study was to investigate the nutritional strategies of fitness athletes during the peak week and the effects of these strategies on body composition, anthropometry, and hormonal markers. Materials and methods: Participants consisted of 6 female and 10 male fitness athletes preparing for the 2019 Finnish championships. The participants’ hormone levels (cortisol, estradiol, T4, FSH, T3, insulin, free testosterone, leptin, and ghrelin) were measured from blood samples collected before the beginning of the peak week and on the day after the competition. Body composition and anthropometric measurements (weight, fat mass, fat free mass, intracellular water, total body water, chest circumference, waist circumference, vastus lateralis CSA) were taken at the same time points. The energy and nutrient intake of the athletes was estimated based on self-reported food diaries. The associations between nutritional factors and changes in body composition and hormonal markers were investigated with regression analysis. Results: The competitors were found to significantly (p < 0,05) increase their energy intake, carbohydrate and sodium intake, and to decrease their protein intake when transitioning to peak week. During the peak week body weight, fat free mass, intracellular and total body water, waist circumference and vastus lateralis CSA increased statistically significantly (p < 0,05). A statistically significant decrease was found in cortisol, estradiol, free testosterone and ghrelin levels, whereas T4, FSH, T3, insulin, and leptin levels increased significantly (p < 0,05). Conclusions: We found that fitness athletes change their nutrition a week before the competition in the hope of achieving a better competition physique. The changes in energy and nutrient intake were not associated with changes in body composition, but they may be connected to hormonal changes. The hormonal changes detected during the peak week indicate that athletes start to recover from a long period of energy restriction, which may lead to a better competition physique.
  • Mustakallio, Meri (2022)
    Background: Replacing animal protein with plant-based protein has health and environmental benefits, but new plant protein-based products have shown a high salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) content. Objectives: 1) To investigate the effects of replacing animal protein sources with plant-based protein sources on sodium (Na) intake in a 12-week ScenoProt intervention. 2) To gather information on NaCl contents of plant-based protein and meat alternative products available in Finland and to compare them with equivalent meat products. Methods: 1) 136 participants were randomized into different protein diets (G1: animal 70%/plant 30%; G2: animal 50%/plant 50%; G3: animal 30%/plant 70%). Na intake was measured with 4-day food records and 24h urine excretion using analysis of (co)variance. 2) An audit for plant protein and meat products was done. NaCl content in product categories was compared using t-tests and non-parametric tests. Results: 1) Na intake was highest in G1 (3.7±0.9 g/d), while the intakes in G2 and G3 were 3.1±0.9 and 3.1±0.6 g/d (p<0.001). Urinary Na was highest in G1 vs. G2 and G3 (p≤0.018; adjusted for baseline). Plant-based foods accounted for 28,5 % of sodium intake in G3. 2) Of 347 plant-based products, 89 % were salted/seasoned and mean NaCl content was 1.29±0.63 g/100 g. Plant-based mince and chicken strips were higher in salt than their meat equivalents (1.22±0.49 vs. 0.24±0.35 and 1.61±0.33 vs.1.16 ±0.63 g/100 g, p≤0.017), whereas meat sausages and meat salamis had higher salt content than the plant alternatives (1.94±0.23 vs. 1.64±0.33 and 4.04±0.39 vs. 2.12±0.60 g/100 g, p<0.001). Conclusion: Na intake and urinary excretion were lower when 50-70% of dietary proteins were from plant-based sources compared to a diet containing 70% animal-based proteins. However, plant-based dishes were a significant source of sodium in the plant-based diets and some plant-based products have high NaCl contents, which may question their healthiness, especially if consumed frequently.
  • Serasinghe, Nithya (2021)
    The socioeconomic status (SES) of the family is associated with the food consumption of the children and this association is mediated by different mediators. This study had two aims; firstly, to determine the associations between the determinants of SES and children’s food consumption, secondly to assess the mediating effects of food availability and parental role-modeling of the above associations. Parental educational level and relative income of the family were studied as the determinants of SES. Children’s food consumption was measured under two categories; fruits & vegetables (FV) and sugary food & drinks (SFD). Data was obtained from the baseline data collection of the DAGIS intervention study in 2017 which was conducted in 32 preschools in Salo (N=29) and Riihimäki (N=3). A FFQ filled by the parents was used to determine children’s food consumption. Information on parental educational level, family income, food availability, and parental role-modeling was extracted from the self-administered parental questionnaire. Parents of 698 preschool children aged from 3 to 6 years filled the parental questionnaire. Spearman’s correlations tests were conducted to determine the associations between SES determinants and children’s food consumption. Mediating roles of food availability and parental role-modeling were assessed through mediation analysis using PROCESS version 3 macro for SPSS. Parental educational level was a statistically significant predictor of children's FV consumption. Family relative income did not predict FV or SFD consumption of the children. The multiple mediators model revealed that the association between the parental educational level and children’s consumption of FV was partially mediated by three mediators: the availability of FV, parental role-modeling of FV, and the availability of SFD. The association between the relative income of the family and children's consumption of FV was fully mediated by two mediators: home availability of FV, and parental role-modeling of FV. This study suggested parental educational level is a better predictor of children’s food consumption compared to family income. The mediation roles of food availability and parental role-modeling should be taken into account in developing interventions to improve the FV and SFD consumption of children in Finland.
  • Markkanen, Marianna (2024)
    Ikääntymiseen liittyvä lihasmassan määrän väheneminen ja lihasten toiminnan heikentyminen ovat merkittävimpiä gerastenialle altistavia tekijöitä. Gerastenia on kliininen oireyhtymä, jolle on ominaista alentunut stressinsietokyky, sekä fysiologisten ja neurologisten toimintojen kumulatiivinen heikentyminen. Proteiini yhdistettynä liikuntaan on tutkimuksissa parantanut ikääntyneiden liikunta- ja toimintakykyä ja siten gerastenian oireita ikääntyneillä. Maidossa luontaisesti esiintyvä, MFGM (Milk Fat Globule Membrane) -yhdiste, on tutkimuksissa osoittanut lupaavia terveyttä edistäviä vaikutuksia ikääntyneiden fyysiseen suorituskykyyn. Pro gradu -tutkielmani ensisijaisena tavoitteena oli selvittää, vaikuttaako MFGM-yhdistettä ja proteiinia sisältävien välipalatuotteiden käyttö yhdistettynä kevyeen liikuntaharjoitteluun ikääntyneiden naisten gerastenian asteeseen. Toisena tavoitteena oli selvittää, eroaako tutkittavien proteiininsaanti tutkimuksen alussa eri gerastenian asteen omaavien henkilöiden välillä. Voimapala-tutkimus oli 12-viikon satunnaistettu kontrolloitu tutkimus. Osallistujat olivat yli 70-vuotiaita, kotona asuvia naisia, joiden proteiininsaanti lähtötilanteessa oli alle 1,2 g/painokilo/pv. Osallistujat satunnaistettiin interventio- (n=51) ja kontrolliryhmiin (n=50). Interventioryhmä nautti päivittäin yhden välipalatuotteen, joka sisälsi 23 grammaa maitoproteiinia ja 3,6–3,9 grammaa MFGM-yhdistettä. Molempia ryhmiä ohjeistettiin suorittamaan kotona kevyt liikuntaohjelma päivittäin koko tutkimuksen ajan. Gerastenian asteen arviointiin käytettiin Friedin fenotyyppimallia, jossa on viisi kriteeriä: Tahaton laihtuminen, uupumus, vähäinen fyysinen aktiivisuus, hitaus ja heikkous. MFGM-yhdistettä ja proteiinia sisältävien välipalatuotteiden käytöllä ei havaittu tilastollisesti merkitsevää vaikutusta yli 70-vuotiaiden naisten gerastenian asteeseen. Tutkittavista 3 %:lla oli gerastenia ja 46 %:lla esigerastenia tutkimuksen alussa. Proteiinin saanti lisääntyi interventioryhmässä 0,2 g/kg/pv (p<0,001) tutkimuksen aikana. Tutkittavien proteiininsaannissa ei havaittu tilastollisesti merkitsevää eroa gerastenian asteiden välillä. Vaikka MFGM-yhdisteellä ja proteiinilla ei tässä tutkimuksessa havaittu olevan vaikutusta ikääntyneiden gerasteniaan, muutamien aiempien tutkimusten perusteella MFGM-yhdisteellä on havaittu ikääntyneiden liikunta- ja toimintakykyä edistäviä ominaisuuksia. MFGM-yhdiste sisältää useita bioaktiivisia yhdisteitä, jotka voivat vaikuttaa gerasteniaan eri mekanismeilla. Gerastenia on monitekijäinen oireyhtymä, joten MFGM-yhdisteen, ravitsemuksen ja liikunnan yhdistävillä monikomponentti-interventioilla, voitaisiin saavuttaa hyviä tuloksia gerastenian hoidossa. MFGM-yhdistettä on tutkittu ikääntyneillä toistaiseksi hyvin vähän, joten lisää tutkimuksia aiheesta tarvitaan erityisesti niillä ikääntyneillä, joilla on jo gerastenia.