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Foods Made With Yellow Pea Flour May Help Diabetics Manage Their Disease

September 30, 2009: 07:00 AM EST
Cheap, readily available whole yellow pea flour can be used to make functional low-glycemic foods that may help diabetics, according to a study by Canadian researchers. Managing glycemic responses – changes in blood sugar levels after eating – has become an important research issue with diabetes on the rise. In the study, the glycemic responses of 19 healthy people were monitored after eating banana bread, biscotti, and pasta made with pea flour or whole wheat flour. The foods made with pea flour uniformly reduced glycemic responses more than the whole wheat foods, and were found to have satisfactory taste and texture.
Christopher P.F. Marinangeli , Amira N. Kassis, et al., "Glycemic Responses and Sensory Characteristics of Whole Yellow Pea Flour Added to Novel Functional Foods", Journal of Food Science, September 30, 2009, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Swedish Study Finds Surprising Correlation Between Drinking Whole Milk And Lower BMI

September 30, 2009: 02:25 AM EST
A researcher studying 92 eight-year-olds in Sweden was surprised to find that those whose diet included whole milk had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who drank skim milk. The researcher suggested two reasons in the unpublished study for the unexpected results: children who drank whole milk might also eat fewer high-calorie snacks and sweet drinks; or, their eating habits might just be generally healthier. The U.K.’s NHS Knowledge Service said more research is necessary and “people should not give their children full-fat milk to reduce their BMI on the basis of this research.”
Susanne Eriksson, "Studies on nutrition, body composition and bone mineralization in healthy 8-yr-olds", Ph.D. thesis (not yet published), September 30, 2009, © Göteborgs University (Sweden)
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Women Overweight At 50 Have Much Greater Chance Of Unhealthy Old Age

September 29, 2009: 11:13 AM EST
A study of 17,000 U.S. women who lived at least to age 70 found that being overweight at age 50 correlated with a greater chance of health problems later in life, including multiple chronic diseases, and impaired cognitive function, physical function and mental health. The study found that obese women (with a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher) at age 50 had a 79 percent lower chance of healthy survival than lean women. Women who were overweight at age 18 and gained more than 22 pounds by mid-life had the worst odds of healthy survival.
Qi Sun, Mary K. Townsend, et al., "Adiposity and weight change in mid-life in relation to healthy survival after age 70 in women: prospective cohort study", British Medical Journal, September 29, 2009, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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FDA Approval Of Antioxidant-Rich Baobab Expected To Fuel Demand As Food Ingredient

September 28, 2009: 11:40 PM EST
Industry experts believe the U.S. FDA’s letter affirming baobab dried fruit pulp as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) will spur demand for the product among food processors and ingredient makers. Harvested in Africa, baobab is said to be much richer in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than pomegranates, blueberries, and other fruits. The trade organization PhyloTrade Africa sees the product as an ingredient in fruit drinks, fruit cereal bars, jams, and sauces that will appeal to health-conscious consumers and the general public. The organization says 12 companies have already indicated interest, according to this Prepared Foods report.
"Baobab Approved as U.S. Food Ingredient ", Prepared Foods, September 28, 2009, © BNP Media
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Will Vitamin D Supplement In Pregnant Asthmatics Reduce Risk Of Kids’ Asthma?

September 28, 2009: 12:30 PM EST
Childhood asthma has doubled since 1989, while suspicion has grown over the link between vitamin D levels and prenatal lung development. Now scientists plan to study whether boosting vitamin D in pregnant women with asthma might reduce asthma incidence in their children. A multi-center U.S. study of 870 women 10–18 weeks pregnant will test the normal daily prenatal vitamin D dose against that dose plus a significantly increased supplement. Their children will then be tested for asthma symptoms. If the supplemental dosage works, says an asthma specialist, “that would be a huge impact on child health."
Beth Miller and Diane Duke Williams , "Vitamin D's role in preventing asthma studied in pregnant women ", Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, September 28, 2009, © Washington University in St. Louis
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U.S. Government, General Mills Collaborate To Boost Small African Agribusinesses

September 28, 2009: 08:33 AM EST
A public-private partnership spearheaded by the U.S. government will attempt to enhance the ability of about 200 small and medium-sized mills and food processors in 15 sub-Saharan African countries to produce affordable, good-quality, nutritious, and safe food. With a potential value of $21 million, the partnership of General Mills, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Pres. Obama’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) could also benefit an estimated 1.6 million smallholder farmers who supply these businesses. Food scientists, process engineers, and operations managers from project partners will work to make the African agribusiness operations more efficient.
"PEPFAR, USAID and General Mills Partner to Improve Food Processing in Africa ", USAID, September 28, 2009, © USAID
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General Mills Program Encourages Healthy Eating In Hispanic Communities

September 28, 2009: 07:34 AM EST
A three-year community-relations initiative designed by General Mills, Inc., last year to encourage Hispanics to eat tasty and nutritious foods has grown into an important resource for the communities it serves in California, Illinois, and Texas, according to the company, which launched the second year of Mente Sana en Cuerpo Sano (Sound Mind, Sound Body) with an awards dinner for community-based partners. The company's broader Hispanic platform, Que Rica Vida, creates materials in Spanish and English that help Hispanics combine their healthy food traditions with “the realties of life in the U.S.”
"General Mills Renews Commitment To Help Latino Families Eat Right", PR Newswire, September 28, 2009, © PR Newswire Association LLC.
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Freeze-Dried Strawberry Powder Lowers Cholesterol Levels In Obese Women – Study

September 28, 2009: 02:36 AM EST
The novel dietary supplement freeze-dried strawberry powder (FSP), which provides a concentrated source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, seems to lower cholesterol – including the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – in women with signs of metabolic syndrome such as hypertension and high trigyceride levels. According to the U.S. study in Nutrition Journal, participants aged 39 to 71 years drank two cups of a 25-gram FSP-water mixture daily. After four weeks, total cholesterol levels dropped by five percent, while LDL-cholesterol levels declined six percent. The researchers say their findings warrant larger controlled studies.
Arpita Basu, Marci Wilkinson, Kavitha Penugonda, Brandi Simmons, Nancy M Betts, and Timothy J Lyons , "Freeze-dried strawberry powder improves lipid profile and lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome: baseline and post intervention effects", Nutrition Journal 2009, September 28, 2009, © BioMed Central Ltd
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Blood Tests For Cholesterol Levels Give Women More Heart Disease Treatment Options

September 28, 2009: 01:37 PM EST
With heart disease now the leading cause of death in American women, experts are urging them to get the appropriate blood tests to determine “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels. As reported by CNN, early awareness of levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL, the “good” cholesterol) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) gives women better options than open heart surgery for dealing with heart disease. These options can include weight control, eating a healthier diet (i.e., fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy), getting more exercise, and taking medication.
Val Willingham, CNN Medical Producer, "Knowing cholesterol numbers could ward off heart disease", CNN, September 28, 2009, © Cable News Network
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Despite Technical Problems, Probiotics Formulators See Many New Applications On The Horizon

September 28, 2009: 02:49 AM EST
Research into the potential health benefits of numerous probiotic formulations shows great promise. Already being marketed and used successfully to regulate digestion and to promote oral health, probiotics, or "good" bacteria, are being tested for applications ranging from allergies, autism, and arthritis, to inflammatory diseases, cholesterol reduction, stress management, gene expression, and immune system strengthening. This Natural Products Insider report outlines the research into potential new probiotics applications and discusses the technical problems facing formulators and marketers whose goal is to deliver the correct amount of beneficial bacterial strains in stable foods and drink appealing to consumers.
Steve Myers, "Probiotics Populate New Markets", Natural Products Insider, September 28, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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UK Study To Examine Issue Of Aspartame Sensitivity

September 25, 2009: 03:33 AM EST
European food safety authorities ruled long ago that the aspartame is safe for use in diet beverages and other food products. But an ongoing concern about whether some people are overly sensitive to the artificial sweetener has prompted a scientific study by researchers at the University of Hull. According to this BBC News report, some people have reported headaches, dizziness, and vomiting after ingesting the sweetener. One hundred people, half of whom have voiced complaints about aspartame, will participate in the 18-month study.
"Sensitivity to aspartame probed", BBC News, September 25, 2009, © BBC
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Folate-Rich Diet Seems To Protect Women, But Not Men, From Colorectal Cancer

September 24, 2009: 11:27 AM EST
Women participants in a South Korean study who ate the most folate-rich diet lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by two-thirds. Folate is a B vitamin found in green, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. The study, which involved both colorectal patients and healthy individuals, did not find the same correlation between folate intake and colorectal cancer in men. Researchers guessed that low folate intake may increase the chance of genetic mutations that lead to colorectal cancer. From a broader perspective, the findings are important because they link diet to cancer risk.
"Folate-rich diet cuts women's colon cancer risk", Reuters, September 24, 2009, © Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited.
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Early Diagnosis, Plus Gluten-Free Diet, Can Help Children With Celiac Disease

September 24, 2009: 05:07 AM EST
Researchers in Brazil who examined scientific studies found evidence that a gluten-free diet (GFD) promotes rapid increase in bone mineral density and complete recovery of bone mineralization in children with celiac disease, an inherited intestinal disorder characterized by life-long intolerance to the ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. However, though a gluten-free diet does improve bone mineral density in adults, it only rarely normalizes it, according to the study published in Nutrition Reviews. The scientists suggest that children may attain normal peak bone mass, and prevent adult osteoporosis, with pre-pubescent diagnosis and treatment.
Vanessa D Capriles, Ligia A Martini, et al. , "Metabolic osteopathy in celiac disease: importance of a gluten-free diet", Nutrition Reviews, September 24, 2009, © 2009 International Life Sciences Institute
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Consumers, Regulators Seek The Truth In Functional Food Claims

September 24, 2009: 08:49 AM EST
Food manufacturers who have been jumping on the $78 billion functional foods bandwagon with products promising an array of healthy ingredients and benefits are now being stung by two kinds of backlash: consumer skepticism and regulatory disapproval. Consumer groups sued food giants Coca-Cola (over vitamin water health claims) and Danone (over yogurt claims). The USFDA acted against General Mills for a claim that breakfast cereal Cheerios reduces cholesterol. But, this Economist article indicates, with the global market expected to hit $128 billion by 2013, the rush to add – and trumpet – miracle food ingredients is not likely to subside soon.
"The fad for functional foods", The Economist, September 24, 2009, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Experts Say Food Ads Targeting Kids Need To Improve Along With The Foods Themselves

September 23, 2009: 07:47 AM EST
With nearly 17 percent of American children aged two to 19 obese, food manufacturers are not only working to make their products healthier for children – a $10 billion market in the U.S.- they are also trying to improve ad messages, a major part of the problem, according to this report. One recent study found that 34 percent of kids' food ads tout candy and snacks, 28 percent push cereal, and 10 percent fast foods. Of the 8,854 ads reviewed, none was for fruits or vegetables. Other advertising challenges for food makers: "redefining" breakfast and addressing portion control.
Joysa Winter, "Marketing to kids ", Functional Ingredients, September 23, 2009, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Americans Becoming Cagier Grocery Shoppers, A Trend Not Likely To End Soon

September 24, 2009: 02:25 AM EST
Nearly three-fourths of 4,000 Americans across all income levels polled in a recent IBM survey said quality was more important than price when it came to grocery shopping. More than two-thirds said nutrition was the most important consideration. The findings are significant because Americans buffeted financially by the recession say they are not forgoing health, value, or quality, they are simply getting cagier about their purchases. Moreover, the trend will continue into the future: 90 percent of those polled said they would still focus on value and nutrition after the recession ends.
"IBM Survey: Three in Four Americans Choose Quality over Lowest Price in Food Aisles", IBM, September 24, 2009, © IBM
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Researcher Discovers Cellular Mechanism That Permits Spread Of Food-Borne Bacteria

September 20, 2009: 11:25 AM EST
New research has uncovered a cellular mechanism that plays a key role in spreading a deadly food-borne bacterium linked to outbreaks of listeriosis traced to food processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes can cause pregnant women to lose their fetuses. It also has triggered fatal cases of meningitis in people with weak immune systems and in the elderly. The previously unknown process involves the bacterium spreading from a host cell to a second cell, where it overwhelms that cell's ability to defend against infection. The discovery may be relevant for other similar bacterial pathogens.
Tina Rajabian, Balramakrishna Gavicherla, et al., "The bacterial virulence factor InlC perturbs apical cell junctions and promotes cell-to-cell spread of Listeria", Nature Cell Biology, September 20, 2009, © Nature Publishing Group
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Packing Fiber Into Pasta Products Is Doable, But A Little Tricky

September 20, 2009: 11:13 AM EST
Pasta manufacturers have a number of good options for adding healthy fiber to their offerings, beyond the traditional use of whole-grain flours, which tend to result in coarser, darker colored products - although adding lighter-colored wheat fiber can lighten the result. Pasta formulators are experimenting with digestion-resistant maltodextrin, resistant starch, polydextrose, and the chicory fiber extracts inulin and oligofructose. Each of these ingredients, of course, adds different flavors and textures, and requires different processing and cooking procedures. Also, by adding fiber, “the protein content of the formulation will be reduced,” a fiber company executive says.
Cindy Hazen, "High-Fiber Pasta Solutions", Food Product Design, September 20, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Some Organic Purists Resist Lure Of Selling Out To The Food Industry Biggies

September 19, 2009: 11:06 AM EST
The lure may be strong and persistent, but some die-hards in the organic/natural foods industry are resisting the temptation to be gobbled up by food industry giants. Eden Foods and Nature’s Path, two prominent examples, prefer to stick to their original mission of staying small and delivering genuinely organic foods. By doing so, consumers can rest assured they are getting natural when they buy natural, they argue. That’s not as certain when consumers unwittingly buy products sold under trusted brand names absorbed quietly by industry heavyweights like Kellogg’s and General Mills.
Steve Mills, "Organic foods: Big companies swoop in to capitalize on lucrative market", Chicago Tribune , September 19, 2009, © Chicago Tribune
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Multivitamins, Antioxidants Do Not Increase Risk Of Melanoma, Study Finds

September 19, 2009: 11:34 AM EST
A 10-year study involving nearly 70,000 men and women in western Washington State who “self-reported” their daily intake of multivitamins and supplemental antioxidants, such as selenium and beta carotene, found no evidence of increased risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the leading cause of death from skin disease. Participants in the study, divided roughly equally between men and women, took nutritional doses of multivitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta carotene, selenium and zinc. The study was controlled for lifestyle, health history, diet, personal characteristics, and cancer risk factors.
Maryam M. Asgari, et al, "Antioxidant Supplementation and Risk of Incident Melanomas", Archives of Dermatology, September 19, 2009, © American Medical Association
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Campbell’s Builds On Success Of Natural Soups

September 18, 2009: 11:27 AM EST
With the addition of 12 new varieties to its Select Harvest soup line, Campbell Soup Company (Camden, N.J.) now has 50 all-natural soups that contain lower-sodium sea salt, natural chicken and chicken stock, no MSG, and no artificial flavors. Touting the new line as its most successful soup intro in years, Campbell's says its new marketing campaign features print, television and online ads touting wholesome ingredients, great taste and a simpler label. An exec says the soup line is successful because it offers women consumers “ingredients they would find in their own kitchens.”
"Campbell Builds on Success of Select Harvest® Soups with New 100 Percent Natural Varieties", WEBWIRE , September 18, 2009, © WebWire
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Pricey Tea Brands Buck The Trend, Thrive In Tough Economic Times

September 17, 2009: 12:57 PM EST
Thanks to the perceived health benefits of drinking tea, global consumption has risen steadily in recent years. But the real eye-opening trend is the growth of expensive specialty and luxury tea brands in sagging world economy. Gourmet tea producers and specialty retailers offering a broad array of flavors and unique blends are reporting double-digit increases in sales. Encouraged by that growth, retailers such as Mariage Frères of France are opening boutiques all over the globe. Whether the growth trend lasts depends on whether the tea connoisseur market will expand. Maybe, with some education, says an expert, but “it will be a slow build.”
SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOP, "Despite Their Prices, Gourmet Teas Thrive as Global Economy Sags", The New York Times, September 17, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Natural Ingredient Supplier Creates Breakthrough White Food Color

September 17, 2009: 12:27 PM EST
Denmark’s Chr. Hansen says it has plugged a big gap in the food coloring market created by consumer aversion to products tainted by synthetic dyes. The company has unveiled a natural white food color based on calcium carbonate, rather than the synthetic titanium dioxide. Consumers are wary of synthetic food dyes because of scientific studies associating them with childhood hyperactivity disorders. A Chr. Hansen exec says the creation of the natural white food color is evidence the company is powering a major trend: “converting the food color market from synthetic to natural solutions.”
"Chr. Hansen launches groundbreaking natural white food color", Chr. Hansen, September 17, 2009, © Chr. Hansen A/S
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Calif. Hearings To Probe Relation Between Sugary Drink Consumption And Obesity

September 17, 2009: 10:25 AM EST
The Calif. Senate will conduct hearings in November probing the connection between burgeoning childhood obesity and sugar-sweetened drinks. Sen. Alex Padilla, fresh from a campaign calling for restaurant chain menus to list the calorie content of meals, now wants to ensure that Californians know how many calories kids are consuming when they drink sugary drinks. The beverage industry opposes regulation of sugar-sweetened drinks, arguing that there are plenty of other low-calorie choices. Padilla is undaunted, however. "I don't think that most parents truly appreciate the role soda pop has in causing weight gain," he said.
Lisa Baertlein, "UPDATE 1-Calif. lawmaker plans hearings on soda-obesity link", Reuters , September 17, 2009, © Thomson Reuters
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California’s Obesity Epidemic Fueled By Consumption Of Sugary Sodas - Study

September 17, 2009: 12:52 AM EST
Examining data amassed from interviews with 40,000 Californians, university researchers confirmed a strong correlation between consumption of sugary sodas and the state’s $41 billion a year obesity epidemic. Soda drinkers of any ethnic group or income are 27 percent more likely to be obese than non-soda drinkers, the study found. Since the 1970s, Americans have added 278 calories a day to their diet, with 43 percent of the added calories coming from sugary soft drinks, according to California’s Center for Public Health Advocacy. To combat obesity, “cutting back soda consumption has to be the top priority," a researcher says.
"New Research Shows Direct Link Between Soda and Obesity ", California Center for Public Health Advocacy, September 17, 2009, © California Center for Public Health Advocacy
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Scientists Find 'Modestly Increased' Risk Of Death From Gluten-Induced Disease

September 16, 2009: 11:53 AM EST
A new study in Sweden has found that celiac disease, an intestine-damaging ailment that restricts intake of nutrients, is associated with a higher risk of mortality, perhaps because of that nutrient restriction. The authors found that those with small intestine inflammation who had not been diagnosed with celiac disease likely had a worse prognosis because following a gluten-free diet often normalizes the condition. Compared to a control group the study found that patients with inflammation had a 72 percent increased risk of death; patients with celiac disease had a 39 percent increased risk. Celiac disease is induced by exposure to the wheat protein gluten. Because the disease often occurs with other disorders that assault the immune system, such as diabetes and arthritis, it can go undiagnosed and untreated, according to the study reported by Agence France-Presse. "The study … reinforces the importance of celiac disease as a diagnosis that should be sought by physicians,” says an American expert.
Jonas Ludvigsson, Scott Montgomery, Anders Ekbom, Lena Brandt, Fredrik Granath, "Small-Intestinal Histopathology and Mortality Risk in Celiac Disease", The Journal of the American Medical Association, September 16, 2009, © American Medical Association
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Food Manufacturers Have Time-Saving Resource For Researching Healthy Ingredients

September 16, 2009: 12:48 PM EST
Food, drink, and supplement makers looking for healthy ingredients for their products will have an easier search, thanks to a Danish company’s subscription database of 200 antioxidants, fibers, omega fatty acids, phospholipids, etc. Screened across various benchmarks, the database is searchable by product type, as well as by health categories. A subscription to the database can cost as much as US$3,300, and there are no customers yet, but Bio2com believes it’s only a matter of time: "We have a lot of data … which can save companies a lot of time and resources," says a company exec.
"Danes debut healthy ingredients database", 21food.com , September 16, 2009, © Food & Beverage Online
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Nano-capsules Boost Potential Of Spice Ingredient As Disease Treatment

September 16, 2009: 06:08 AM EST
The potent antioxidant known as curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, is being tested for safety and effectiveness in treating colon cancer, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s disease. A key problem, however, is the fact that digestive juices in the gastrointestinal tract quickly destroy curcumin, allowing very little into the blood. Now researchers in Japan say they have developed nano-size capsules, called liposomes, that can boost the body’s uptake of curcumin. The scientists fed the encapsulated curcumin laboratory rats and more than quadrupled curcumin absorption. Antioxidant levels in the blood were also raised significantly.
Makoto Takahashi, et al., "Evaluation of an Oral Carrier System in Rats: Bioavailability and Antioxidant Properties of Liposome-Encapsulated Curcumin", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, September 16, 2009, © American Chemical Society
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UK Government Should Provide Guidance To Food Industry On Healthy, Sustainable Diet

September 15, 2009: 11:21 AM EST
The first report of the UK’s new Council of Food Policy Advisors recommends that the government provide consumers information on a healthy diet as well as offer guidance to the food industry on how it can help create a more sustainable food system. In what is seen as a worrying trend, Government figures reveal that UK self-sufficiency in fresh fruit halved between 1988 and 2007 to just above 10 per cent. At the same time, self-sufficiency in fresh vegetable production fell by 20 per cent to 55 per cent and continues to fall. The panel called on the government to create an “overarching vision” and cross-government strategy whose priorities would include an environmentally sustainable diet and a strategy for increasing the country’s production of fruits and vegetables. Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium, Nigel Jenney, said UK growers had a ‘significant opportunity’ to increase the sustainable production of indigenous crops.
William Surman, "Benn’s food policy advisers target fruit and veg", Farmers Guardian, September 15, 2009, © UBM Information Ltd.
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Clinical Study Finds Melon Juice Concentrate May Reduce Stress Symptoms

September 15, 2009: 01:03 PM EST
A clinical study conducted in France has found that a daily dose of melon juice concentrate rich in superoxide dismutase (SOD) seems to have reduced the symptoms of stress and fatigue in healthy subjects. Scientists tested 70 people, ages 30 to 55, using the concentrate Extramel and a placebo. Four psychometric scales were used to measure stress and fatigue. However, the scientists seem not to have been convinced totally by the results. According to the abstract of the Nutrition Journal article, “a proprietary melon juice concentrate rich in SOD may have a positive effect” on stress and fatigue symptoms.
Marie-Anne Milesi, Dominique Lacan, Herve Brosse, Didier Desor and Claire Notin, "Effect of an oral supplementation with a proprietary melon juice concentrate (Extramel) on stress and fatigue in healthy people: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial", Nutrition Journal 2009, September 15, 2009, © BioMed Central Ltd.
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Funktional’s “Red Stuff” Pitched As Hybrid Energy and Appetite Control Beverage

September 15, 2009: 11:41 AM EST
Texas-based Funktional Beverages, which a year ago introduced a purple-colored relaxation/anti-anxiety drink, has unveiled a red-colored hybrid that promises to suppress the appetite, while boosting energy and metabolism. According to the company, Red Stuff contains a unique fiber that expands 200 times its normal size when it hits the stomach, inducing a feeling of fullness that controls the appetite. The drink also contains vitamins, L-theanine, and “other ingredients,” the company says, adding that the fiber, dubbed LuraLean, has been clinically tested, tolerates high temperatures and is all natural.
"Funktional Beverages, Inc. Creates a Weight Management Sports Drink", PR Newswire, September 15, 2009, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Food Processors Face Major Challenges As Demands For Lower Sodium Foods Grow

September 14, 2009: 12:51 PM EST
Feeling pressure from both sides – nutritionists urging lower, healthier levels of sodium in processed foods and consumers who crave it (the average American consumers nearly 50% more than the 2005 recommended level) – U.S. food processors are trying to find a solution that keeps everyone happy. But it’s not an easy task: simply eliminating salt doesn’t work, and there isn’t one all-purpose substitute for salt. Morton Salt has been working to lower sodium content for over 30 years, with limited results. Sea salt and other formulas are functional in one manufacturing application, but not others. Some are expensive or don’t taste good. Ultimately, some observers say, a solution may have to be worked out among processors, the government, and consumers.
Diane Toops, "Demonizing Salt: America’s Assault on Salt", Food Processing, September 14, 2009, © Food Processing
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Study Finds Bottle Labels Underestimate Vitamin C Content Of Fruit Juices, Soft Drinks

September 15, 2009: 04:28 AM EST
There’s a lot more of the natural antioxidant Vitamin C in many fruit juices and soft drinks than the manufacturer labels indicate, according to a Chilean study. Thanks to a highly sensitive chromatographic measuring technique, researchers found that only two of the 17 drink samples corresponded to what the label said about vitamin C levels. The drink with the highest vitamin C content was an apple juice (840 mg/l), which was higher than the orange juices tested (352-739 mg/l). The researchers also found that vitamin C content of tea drinks falls after six days by 54 percent at 4ºC (39.2ºF).
A. Rodríguez-Bernaldo de Quirós, M. Fernández-Arias, al., "Fruit juices contain more vitamin C than their labels indicate", Food Chemistry, September 15, 2009, © Elsevier B.V.
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Signals From Fat May Be Telling Body Cells To Ignore Appetite Suppressors

September 14, 2009: 08:55 AM EST
Researchers at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found in a rat study that fat, notably the saturated fat palmitic acid in dairy products and beef, may send messages to the body’s cells telling them to ignore the normal appetite-suppressant signals of leptin and insulin. The scientists believe saturated fat actually lowers the body’s own natural defenses against overeating. The results may strengthen the case that consumers reduce sat fat content in their diets, and that producers reformulate food products with less saturated fat. Their findings were reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Christopher Kemp, Stephen Benoit et al, "Palmitic acid mediates hypothalamic insulin resistance by altering PKC-? subcellular localization in rodents", The Journal of Clinical Investigation, September 14, 2009, © American Society for Clinical Investigation
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Study Finds Chocolate Eaters Have Better Heart Attack Survival Rates

September 14, 2009: 10:29 AM EST
Chocolate makers can add another marketing arrow to their quiver, thanks to a new study by Swedish researchers who found that chocolate eaters have higher survival rates after a heart attack. The somewhat flawed study – it controlled for various factors like age and smoking but was observational rather than clinical – followed heart attack patients for eight years. It reinforced other studies that found that chocolate’s flavonoid antioxidants reduce blood pressure and in turn the risk of further heart disease. The good news for the chocolate industry? Researchers found that the more chocolate consumed, the higher the survival rates.
NICHOLAS BAKALAR, "In One Study, a Heart Benefit for Chocolate ", NY Times, September 14, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Researchers Taking A Closer Look At Potential Health Benefits Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

September 14, 2009: 02:26 AM EST
Already proven to cut the risk of heart disease, the unsaturated fatty acids known as omega 3s, found in some fish and seeds, and sold as supplements, are being examined by scientists in several countries to uncover possible beneficial effects on other ailments. While research into heart-related benefits of omega 3s continues, scientists are also exploring potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and inflammation-related disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease. According to this Wall Street Journal article, omega 3s are also being tested for their ability to reduce harmful triglyceride levels, a contributory factor in heart disease.
Jeanne Whalen, "Probing Health Benefits From Eating Omega 3s", Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2009, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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ZICO Sees Investor Interest A Sign That Its Coconut Water Is On Right Track

September 14, 2009: 12:30 PM EST
The California maker of a coconut-water sports drink says the recent $15 million investment from a group that includes Coca-Cola “validates the broad potential” of its product, which has gained favor among runners, cyclists, etc. ZICO Beverages plans to use the cash to introduce the electrolyte-rich drink to a wider consumer audience. According to this Beverage World report, the Venturing and Emerging Brands unit of Coca-Cola will provide brand building expertise as ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water seeks to push beyond its current marketing base of major grocery and natural foods stores, gyms, yoga studios, and online.
"Coca-Cola Among Companies to Invest $15M in ZICO Beverages", Beverage World, September 14, 2009, © Beverage World Publications Group
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Kids Don’t Need What Sports Drinks Offer

September 13, 2009: 04:22 AM EST
Dietitians in the U.S. are warning schools and parents that sports drinks, which are mostly sugar water and some electrolytes, contribute significantly to childhood obesity and are not a healthy substitute for sweet sodas. Replenishment of electrolytes is important after strenuous exercise that lasts more than an hour. But most children don’t need to replenish electrolytes, which are already plentiful in food. So kids end up consuming massive amounts of sugar, contributing to obesity. "Unless they're running marathons, which we do not recommend for kids, water is the best choice for quenching their thirst," a Harvard sociologist says in this report.
Julie Deardorff, "Sports drinks: For kids, they're not a healthful alternative to soda", Chicago Tribune, September 13, 2009, © Chicago Tribune
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WILD Boosts Health Ingredient Line With New Product Platforms

September 11, 2009: 05:48 AM EST
Natural ingredients producer WILD Flavors has strengthened its product platforms with ingredients containing antioxidants and two types of vitamin microemulsions. The lingonberry platform is an antioxidant offering an array of benefits for the skin. The U.S. company also offers a water-soluble CLA microemulsion that may aid in weight loss and weight maintenance. A second new microemulsion contains vitamins D3 and K2, which have been shown to promote healthier bones. WILD’s line of health ingredients also includes antioxidant-rich grape seed extract, theaflavins, omega-3 fatty acids, tea polyphenols and chlorogenic acid.
"Wild Flavors Expands Health Ingredient Technology & Solutions Platform", Nutrition Horizon, September 11, 2009
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Food Manufacturers Hope To Cash In On Probiotics Craze With Wider Array Of Offerings

September 11, 2009: 09:42 AM EST
Food manufacturers are catching on to the fact that young and middle-aged health conscious women are driving demand for foods containing pre- and probiotics, such as yogurt and juices. Look for the healthy “good for you” bacteria to show up in a range of foods enjoyed by women, including fruit and vegetable juices, cottage cheese, gum, mints, chew, and snack bars. New market possibilities include pregnant and nursing women. Men will also be courted, though they’re harder to nail down. Marketers might try probiotic sports bars and chewing gum to attract the guys.
Ewa Hudson, "Trends in Probiotics and Prebiotics", Food Product Design, September 11, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC.
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Work Conditions, Time Demands, Affect Food Choices Of Working Parents

September 9, 2009: 11:34 AM EST
Work conditions coupled with competing demands on the time of employed American parents exert a major impact on the food choices made for themselves and their families, according to a study of 50 parents in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. For example, fathers who work long or nonstandard hours are more likely to use take-out meals, miss family meals, purchase prepared entrees, and eat while working. Better work conditions may lead to better strategies for feeding families, including less meal skipping, preparing more meals in the home, eating with the family, and keeping healthful food at work, researchers said.
Carol M. Devine, Ph.D., R.D., Tracy J. Farrell, M.S., et al., "Work Conditions and the Food Choice Coping Strategies of Employed Parents", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, September 09, 2009, © Elsevier, Inc.
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New Version Of Wheaties “Fuels” Athletic Performance

September 9, 2009: 01:27 AM EST
Eighty five years after a serendipitous accident led to the creation of the original Wheaties breakfast cereal, General Mills says it has blended advanced nutritional science with the developmental help of several top athletes to create a new version “designed specifically to help fuel athletic performance.” Wheaties FUEL, consumer tested for three months, is a 200-calorie-per-serving sweetened whole wheat flake with granola and rice that provides all of the RDV of five B-vitamins, five grams of fiber, plus calcium and vitamin D, according to the company. Listed among the co-creators were football’s Peyton Manning, basketball’s Kevin Garnett, and baseball’s Albert Pujols.
"General Mills Unveils Wheaties Fuel – The New Breakfast of Champions", General Mills, September 09, 2009, © General Mills, Inc.
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Calls For Healthier School Lunches Create Market Opportunity For Food Service Suppliers

September 4, 2009: 10:42 PM EST
ConAgra Foods, whose school foodservice sales total $100 million a year, continues to expand its line of healthier school lunch foods as industry experts forecast increased market opportunities in that space. The company’s latest offering, currently being tested in one school district, is a pizza quesadilla made with mozzarella and a cheese substitute that has no unhealthy trans fat. Though U.S. sales of food and nonalcoholic beverages outside the home will fall 2.6 percent in 2009, sales to schools will increase three percent, Bloomberg News reports. Rising unemployment, driving more kids into federally-subsidized lunch programs, is a key factor.
"ConAgra seeks school lunch edge with healthier pizza quesadilla", BLOOMBERG NEWS, September 04, 2009, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Regulators Getting Serious About Scrutinizing Functional Food Health Claims

September 4, 2009: 01:10 AM EST
Do probiotic bacteria in yogurts really improve your health? Does the addition of vitamins to sugar water really make the beverage healthier? These are the types of questions being asked of functional food makers by regulators who are looking closely at health claims. So far, the European Food Safety Authority and the FDA have found a lot of hot air in the health claims and very little science. This World Health Organization article summarizes the controversy that pits regulators and consumer groups against functional food manufacturers that have been making bold claims about the health benefits of their products.
"Europe puts health claims to the test", World Health Organization (WHO), September 04, 2009, © WHO
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Scientist’s Work Advances Potential Of Cotton Seeds As Major Source Of Food Protein

September 4, 2009: 10:36 AM EST
A Texas biotechnologist has solved a key problem blocking the use of cotton seeds as a source of food protein. He was able to engineer the cotton to reduce a toxic substance known as gossypol to levels tolerable for human consumption, yet high enough elsewhere in the plant to ward off pests and disease. For every pound of fiber, cotton produces about 1.6 pounds of seed, which is about 22 percent protein. "The entire cotton industry has a vested interest in expanding the uses of the cotton plant," said an exec from Cotton, Inc., a funder of the research.
Kathleen Phillips, "Safe seed - Researchers yielding good results on food cotton in field", EurekAlert, September 04, 2009, via EurekAlert
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“Positive Is Back” Is Theme Of Carrefour’s Campaign To Become The Favorite In France

September 4, 2009: 05:04 AM EST
French Carrefour is pitching a new image to consumers, one that conveys a commitment to improving the lives of customers who, according to the company, want simple, accessible solutions. The solutions Carrefour promises to provide include high quality discount products, easier shopping, accessible organic goods, new technologies, and eco-friendly products. “We are more determined than ever to provide our customers with concrete and innovative solutions to improve their quality of life," says an executive at Carrefour, whose overriding goal is to become “France’s favorite retailer.”
"Carrefour is back", International Supermarket News , September 04, 2009, © International Supermarket News
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Store Brands Are Cheaper, At Least As Tasty As The Nationals, Study Finds

September 2, 2009: 07:36 PM EST
Only six of 29 national-brand food items tested in blind taste tests fared as well as or better than store-brand counterparts, Consumer Reports found. Products tested included cookies, salsas, whipped toppings, fudge, brownies, and mustard. National brands scored higher in items like cranberry-raisin juice, barbecue sauce, pre-cooked bacon, certain cereals, and toaster snacks. On average, store brands cost 27 percent less than their national-brand equivalents. Families of four could trim nearly $1,200 from their dinner bill by sticking to them, the organization said.
"Store Brands Hold Their Own Against National Brands in Taste Tests", Progressive Grocer, September 02, 2009, © Nielsen Business Media, Inc
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Novel Bacteria Strain Gives Blueberry Juice Obesity Fighting Powers In Mouse Study

September 3, 2009: 12:41 AM EST
Blueberry juice “biotransformed” with a newly-developed strain of blueberry skin bacteria reduced the glycemic index of mice by as much as 35 percent, according to a Canadian university study. Researchers said the mice, who were genetically modeled for obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and hypertension, ate less and lost weight after ingesting the juice. The new strain of bacteria, Serratia vaccinii, increases the fruit's antioxidant effects, the scientists said, adding that the findings “may result in the discovery of promising new antiobesity and antidiabetic molecules.”
"Fighting Fat And Diabetes With Biotransformed Blueberry Juice", Medical News, September 03, 2009, © MediLexicon International Ltd
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Insufficient Vitamin C Intake Tied To Impaired Neonatal Brain Development

September 2, 2009: 01:03 AM EST
A Danish university study in guinea pigs has found that a deficiency of vitamin C leads to underdevelopment of neurons in the brain. Previous studies have shown that vitamin C is critical to neonatal brain development: it is even conserved by the brain when in short supply. In this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, young guinea pigs given insufficient levels of vitamin C had 30 percent fewer neurons and worse spatial memory than animals fed normally. The researchers wonder whether learning disabilities in humans may in some cases be traceable to insufficient vitamin C intake.
"Vitamin C deficiency impairs early brain development ", University of Copenhagen, September 02, 2009, © University of Copenhagen
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Dark Chocolate’s Flavanols Protect The Skin From Sun Damage

September 1, 2009: 08:22 PM EST
Science has been gradually uncovering the health benefits of dark chocolate’s flavanol antioxidants: lowering the risk of blood clots, protecting against colon cancer, reducing the chances of dying from heart disease, etc. A new U.K. study has added another benefit – namely, protecting the skin from the aging effects of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For three months, 15 participants ate dark chocolate very high in flavanol each day and 15 others ate chocolate low in flavanol. All were exposed regularly to UV light. Those who ate high-flavanol chocolate tolerated lengthier doses of UV light before their skin became sunburned.
Stefanie Williams, MD, et al. , "Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light", Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, September 01, 2009, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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