Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Black tea 'combats bacteria linked with tooth decay and gum disease'

As you will see from the abstract below, this is a very shaky finding.  I quote:  "Epidemiological studies indicate that tea drinking in general may protect against tooth loss, certain oral/digestive cancers and Helicobacter pylori infection, although the studies were few in number with differing methodologies."

A comforting cup of tea brings a smile to most people’s faces.  And now, according to scientists, it might make that smile just a little bit brighter.  Researchers have claimed that drinking at least three cups of tea a day can help keep your teeth in good condition, reducing the risk of decay.

A review of existing studies found that black tea helped combat two types of bacteria – Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus – that are both associated with tooth decay and gum disease.

The most effective ‘dose’ of tea was three to four cups a day, according to study leader Dr Carrie Ruxton.

And scientists found that black tea continued to fight decay, even if it had some sugar added to it.

Green tea appeared to have a similar effect – and also helped prevent bad breath by neutralising sulphur compounds that contribute to the condition.

Dr Ruxton, whose review is published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin, said there was good evidence that tea drinking protects against tooth loss.

‘Evidence specific to black tea suggests that three to four cups a day could help to reduce levels of bacteria in the mouth,’ she said.

‘I’m sure this news is set to be welcomed by dentists and hygienists alike as they continue to educate the nation on the need for greater oral care.’

She said when bacteria in the mouth reacts to carbohydrates, it produces acid that dissolves tooth enamel, resulting in damage that leads to fillings or tooth loss.

Black and green teas appear to reduce inflammation and prevent the adhesion and growth of bacteria that start the chain reaction, she said.

Tea contains antioxidant ingredients known as flavonoids and catechins, tannin-type substances, that have an anti-microbial effect.

The review also shows green tea could aid weight loss, by boosting energy expenditure and burning up more fat.

Regular consumption increases energy expenditure by four to five per cent, while fat oxidation - the elimination of fat that would otherwise be stored - goes up by 10 to 16 per cent.

Dr Tim Bond, spokesman for the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel, said ‘A relatively little known benefit of tea until recently has been its potential for reducing the risk of dental caries.

'This benefit is thought to be due to a reduction in inflammation in the oral cavity and prevention of the adhesion and growth of bacteria linked to periodontal disease.

‘In terms of weight management, Dr Ruxton’s published review found further supporting effects for green tea when consumed by overweight and obese adults.

‘How green tea might contribute to weight management needs further research, but this latest research review suggests that the catechin ingredients could impact on satiety and thermogenesis and may counter the reductions in metabolism seen when body weight falls.

‘This latest research review already adds to the many health benefits associated with the humble cup of tea including heart health benefits and links with reduced risk of cancers.

'As a result, British people should continue to enjoy their traditional life long habit of drinking tea to help enjoy the many proven and emerging health benefits’ he added.

Emerging evidence for tea benefits

By C. Ruxton


Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, after water. Associations between regular tea drinking and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease are well established. The mechanism may relate to bioactive compounds found in tea, which exert anti-arteriosclerotic, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. However, evidence for other diverse health benefits is emerging. The aim of this review was to evaluate research on three new areas of interest in relation to tea drinking: (1) weight management (and glycaemic control); (2) oral health; and (3) gut health. Databases were searched for meta-analytical, human intervention and epidemiological studies published between 1990 and 2013. For weight management, modest, positive effects were found for green tea when ingested by overweight/obese adults, possibly related to thermogenic effects. Epidemiological studies indicate that tea drinking in general may protect against tooth loss, certain oral/digestive cancers and Helicobacter pylori infection, although the studies were few in number with differing methodologies. A growing body of mechanistic studies suggests that tea has anti-cariogenic, anti-adhesive, anti-bacterial and possible pre-biotic effects – all with the potential to impact positively on the pathogenesis of chronic diseases. Clearly, larger trials are needed to confirm these effects in humans and establish optimal intakes. In the meantime, tea drinking appears to be a simple and beneficial way to support health.


Don't quit sugar: nutritionist hits out at top-selling book

A Sydney nutritionist has hit out at top-selling food author Sarah Wilson, claiming her sugar-free diet is dangerous and can damage the body.

"Three years ago I quit sugar, watched my body slowly deteriorate, and then had to claw my way back to health," Cassie Platt said before the release of her own book, Don't Quit Sugar, which she wrote to debunk myths about eating sugar.

"Sugar is our cells' preferred source of energy and is absolutely critical to proper metabolic function. Eliminating it from the diet will do you harm."

Wilson's I Quit Sugar has been on best-seller lists since it was released in January. Random House and Penguin have engaged in a bidding war for the US rights to the book.

Platt, whose philosophy is grounded in clinical research and human physiology, said she wrote her book in direct response to Wilson's, to warn of the dangers of quitting sugar and the long-term effects of doing so.

The nutritionist said eating habits should never be about what you can't have and that approach could lead to trouble.

"Your food choices should be based on biological and metabolic needs. What we eat should fuel our cells, facilitate growth, repair and reproduction and, most importantly, enable your body to function at its very best."

A spokeswoman for publisher Hachette Australia said Don't Quit Sugar showed "exactly how you can use sugar to keep [your] body performing at its peak".

"Through her own experience Cassie leapt aboard the 'quitting sugar' train with horrible results," the spokeswoman said. "Her hair fell out and she had bizarre [menstrual] cycles."

She removed sugar from her diet and "found the results... horrible."

The sweet stuff Platt advocates is natural sugars, the spokeswoman said. The book introduction specifies: "This doesn't green-light soft-drink consumption or a daily candy fix. It simply means that natural sources of sugar - fruit, honey, sweet root vegetables - need to be incorporated into the diet.''

For nutritionist Rosemary Stanton there are grey areas when it comes to the white stuff.  While the body has ''no need for sugar'' there is ''a social need for sweet food'', she said.

''For 45 years I've been telling people to eat less sugar,'' Dr Stanton told Fairfax Media. ''In my experience, going to no [sugar] doesn't work for very long.

"I definitely support eating less sugar - our dietary guidelines since 1979 in Australia have always told us that. But when people go to an extreme and have none - my experience is, they will often break out and blow it.

"If they had allowed themselves a small portion in the first place, that wouldn't happen. You can't go through life happily without having a slice of birthday cake.''

Dr Stanton says there is no harm in stopping eating biscuits, dessert, cake and soft drinks and emphasises that ''36 per cent of adults' calories are from junk foods and soft drinks.

"They are the foods I want to attack - especially when kids' diets are filled with junk with no nutritional value."

Dr Stanton does warn against the danger of stopping eating fruit, though: ''I think that's ridiculous - there's plenty of evidence fruit actually reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and other things. I worry if anyone takes the 'no sugar' message to that extreme.''

For the record, Wilson, who Fairfax Media has attempted to contact, eats fruit. Earlier this year she posted on her blog in response to a report on Channel Nine's A Current Affair story: ''I eat fruit. One of the ACA grabs sees me listing the high-fructose fruits, as requested by the journalist at the time (during an interview a while back).

"I recommend eating the low-fructose fruits where possible: kiwi, berries, grapefruit and so on. If you're doing my eight-week program, I advise cutting out fruit for six weeks. This is to break the sugar addiction and to recalibrate our bodies, just for that short period. I then, at the week-seven mark, invite everyone to reintroduce fruit and read how their bodies take to it.''

Don't Quit Sugar; Why Sugars Are Important For Your Health will be released on November 26.


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