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UK’s Supermarket Chains Quietly Launching GM Foods Campaign?

September 1, 2009: 07:42 PM EST
Big supermarket chains, backed by the British government and farmers groups, may be in the early stages of a publicity campaign to win public support for supposedly high-yield genetically-modified (GM) foods as a solution to the world hunger crisis, according to reports. Controversial GM foods are vilified by environmentalist critics, who say claims of high GM crop yields are false. Also, GM crops have sinister ramifications: “Once these GM crops are released into the environment, they will spread, and transfer GM traits to related native plants. They can never be recalled,” a GM food critic says.
Sean Poulter, "Supermarkets in 'secret talks to introduce GM foods to the shelves'", Daily Mail (UK), September 01, 2009, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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U.S. Advisory Council Strongly Suggests State/Local Taxes On Junk Food, Sodas

September 1, 2009: 05:33 AM EST
A Washington-based nonprofit advisory organization has urged that state and local governments target the childhood obesity epidemic by implementing an array of initiatives, including imposing taxes on junk food and soft drinks. Emphasizing the soaring obesity rates among U.S. children – 18% of adolescents are considered obese – the National Research Council suggested other options, including requiring restaurants to list the calorie content of menu items. On the subject of taxation, a university dietician said that "a 10 percent increase in the price of a sugar-sweetened beverage could reduce consumption by 8 to 10 percent," Reuters reported.
Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, "Tax Junk Food, Drinks to Fight Child Obesity: Report", Reuters , September 01, 2009, © Thomas Reuters
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Researchers See Greater Risk Of Diabetes With Increased Fish Consumption

September 1, 2009: 01:02 AM EST
A study of fish consumption by 195,204 adult American men and women over an 18-year period found that eating two or more servings a week of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids slightly increased, rather than decreased, the risk of diabetes. People who ate fish – which has proven cardiovascular benefits – two to four times a week were 1.17 times more likely to contract diabetes than people who ate fish less than once a month. Those who ate fish at least five times a week were 1.22 times more susceptible to diabetes than those who consumed lesser amounts.
Manas Kaushik, Dariush Mozaffarian, et al., "Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 01, 2009, © The American Society for Nutrition
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Health Researchers Continue To Shed Light On The Benefits Of Natural Compounds In Grapes

September 1, 2009: 01:02 PM EST
Grapes and grape products like raisins, juice, and wine, all contain natural compounds that researchers are studying for their potential beneficial health effects. According to a coalition of growers, processors, wineries, and academics, an increasing amount of scientific evidence suggests that grapes and grape products could have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, cognitive function in the elderly, cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and dental health. In a press release to highlight the study, Jean-Mari Peltier, President of the National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI) said "The interest in grapes and health is very strong and there is no doubt that research in this area will continue at full force".
John Pezzuto, Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Mazen Hamad and Kenneth Morris, "Unraveling the Relationship between Grapes and Health", Journal of Nutrition, September 01, 2009, © American Society for Nutrition
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Reducing Dietary Salt Intake Would Save Billions In U.S. Medical Costs - Study

September 1, 2009: 12:35 PM EST
A recent RAND Corporation study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that "large benefits to society may result from efforts to lower sodium consumption on a population level by modest amounts over time". Adults in the U.S. on average consume nearly twice the recommended maximum of dietary sodium, most of it from processed foods and high sodium consumption often contributes to hypertension and related complications such as heart and kidney disease. Reading food packages and having lower-sodium alternatives in their diet could help Americans cut salt intake to healthier levels. The study estimates that if Americans were able to lower sodium intake to a healthy 2,300 mg per day, the cost of treatment for blood pressure and related disorders would drop by $18 billion. The saving would be $26 billion if average daily sodium intake decreased to 1,500 mg.
Kartika Palar, Roland Sturm, "Potential Societal Savings From Reduced Sodium Consumption in the U.S. Adult Population", American Journal of Health Promotion, September 01, 2009, © American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.
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Earlier Estimates Of Lactose Intolerance Found To Be Grossly Erroneous

September 1, 2009: 05:14 AM EST
Previous studies have overestimated lactose intolerance among three ethnic groups by huge margins: 15 percent of European Americans, 50 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 80 percent of African Americans, according to a study in Nutrition Today. But lactose intolerance is not that widespread a problem. Using data from a U.S. sample, researchers found the actual overall rate of self-reported intolerance is 12 percent, while in EAs it is 7.72 percent,in HAs 10.05 percent, and in AAs 19.5 percent. The findings are important because people limiting dairy intake because of perceived lactose intolerance are depriving themselves of essential nutrients.
Nicklas, Theresa A. DrPH; Qu, Haiyan PhD; Hughes, Sheryl O. PhD; Wagner, Sara E. MPH; Foushee, H. Russell PhD; Shewchuk, Richard M. PhD, "Prevalence of Self-reported Lactose Intolerance in a MultiethnicSample of Adults", Nutrition Today, September 01, 2009, © Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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FDA Supports SweetLeaf’s Glycoside Safety Claim

September 1, 2009: 05:47 AM EST
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has signed off on the safety claims of the stevia-based artificial sweetener SweetLeaf. The agency granted the whole leaf steviol glycosides used in the product extract the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status. SweetLeaf, made from the stevia plant harvested in Central and South America and 300-350% sweeter than sugar, is marketed as a safe and pure alternative for weight-conscious consumers, and for food and beverage companies. The company says its brand not only substitutes well for sugar in recipes, it lacks the bitter aftertaste of competitor stevia sweeteners.
"U.S. Food & Drug Administration Issues “No Questions” Letter Supporting Safety Of SweetLeaf Sweetener®", NewsGuide.us, September 01, 2009, © NewsGuide.us
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Cost-Conscious Americans Find Salty Snacks A Bargain, Boost Sales Growth

September 1, 2009: 03:52 AM EST
Americans looking for a good food value during stressful economic times have turned to potato chips and other salty snacks, fueling big increases in sales, according to a Mintel market report. The potato chip market soared 22 percent, followed by tortilla chips (18 percent), popcorn (17 percent) and cheese snacks (20 percent). Analysts see the growth trend waning with the recession, but not disappearing entirely, thanks to product innovation and changes in eating habits. Though Americans are not likely to abandon their love of salty snacks, Mintel said, two-thirds surveyed are “interested in healthier snacks.”
"Potato chip sales pop with recession, but growth expected to slow in economic recovery", Mintel , September 01, 2009, © Mintel International Group Ltd
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NYC Ad Campaign Warns Of Link Between Sugary Drinks And Obesity

August 31, 2009: 07:26 PM EST
New York City subway commuters are the targets of a graphic quarter-million-dollar public health ad campaign that warns of the connection between high-sugar sodas and obesity. Displayed on fifteen hundred subway cars, the ads were partly paid for by a private organization. A spokesman for a trade group representing soda companies criticized the “Don’t drink yourself fat” campaign as “sensational” and ultimately harmful. But a food expert applauded the effort as “dramatic,” and urged consumers to stay away from sweetened sports and energy drinks as well as sodas.
Sewell Chan, "New Targets in the Fat Fight: Soda and Juice ", NY Times, August 31, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Adjusting Certain Soybean Cultivation Factors Can Boost Antioxidant Concentrations - Study

August 31, 2009: 07:05 AM EST
In a bit of good news for functional food makers, Canadian scientists have found that tinkering with various key environmental and management factors in the cultivation of soybeans can boost the already high concentrations of beneficial antioxidants known as tocopherols. Functional foods such as soybeans need to have consistently high concentrations of the health-beneficial compounds, scientists said in an article published in Agronomy Journal. By identifying high performing soybean genotypes and growing environments, the concentration of alpha-tocopherol, which has the greatest antioxidant activity and is converted to vitamin E in the human body, can be increased.
Seguin, Turcotte, Tremblay, Pageau and Liu, "Tocopherols Concentration and Stability in Early Maturing Soybean Genotypes", Agronomy Journal, August 31, 2009, © American Society of Agronomy
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Non-GMO Label Campaign Gains Ground With Support Of Natural Foods Heavyweights

August 28, 2009: 11:02 AM EST
An organic/natural foods industry watchdog has launched a campaign to gain acceptance of a package label guaranteeing that foods have been rigorously tested and found free of “genetically modified organisms” (GMO). As more U.S. corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar are produced from gene-altered seeds, the Non-GMO Project believes organic/natural foods consumers need to know what they are buying. Long opposed by the biotech industry and questioned as perhaps misleading by the FDA, GMO labeling is gaining momentum as natural foods retailers like Whole Foods Market and Nature’s Path throw their weight behind the campaign.
William Neuman, "Non-GMO’ Seal Identifies Foods Mostly Biotech-Free ", NY Times, August 28, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Marketers See Coconut Water As Next Big Trend In The Drinks Business

August 27, 2009: 06:46 PM EST
Drink makers large and small are revving up their marketing engines for what may be the next big trend: coconut water. The product, already a big hit in Brazil and grabbing attention in the United States, thanks to athletes and celebrities, is low in calories and high in potassium, making it a healthy, natural drink choice, experts say. Small companies like Zico and O.N.E World Enterprises have the early lead among the athletic crowd, but Pepsi and Coca-Cola are expected to broaden the pitch to the average consumer in the near future, either new brands or acquisitions they can roll through their distribution systems.
Suzanne Vranica, "Coconut Water Bubbles", Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Heart Association Urges Strict Limits On Daily Sugar Use To Battle Obesity

August 26, 2009: 09:10 PM EST
The American Heart Association has issued a statement blaming the widespread occurrence of obesity and cardiovascular disease, and several other metabolic disorders, on big increases in the amount of sugars consumed over the last four decades. Half of the increases come from sweetened soft drinks. As part of an “overall healthy diet,” the AHA recommends that women limit consumption of added sugars to 100 calories a day from all sources, including soft drinks. Men should limit daily consumption to 150 added sugar calories.
Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, et al, "Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health", American Heart Association Journal, August 26, 2009, © American Heart Association, Inc
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“Personalized” Foods Target Different Stages Of Men’s And Women’s Lives

August 25, 2009: 09:29 AM EST
Food formulators are taking advantage of scientific advancements to develop “personalized” foods that meet the nutritional needs of men and women at different life stages. One company’s supplement drink, for example, is formulated to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes for pregnant women. Other companies are providing better tasting omega-3 fatty acid supplements for children and teens, nutrient-packed breakfast cereals and soy-based supplements for men, and special energy drinks for women. On the horizon: weight management foods made with blueberries and conjugated linoleic acid.
Donna Berry, "Personalized Foods", Food Product Design, August 25, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC.
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Though On The Decline, Sugar Is Still King In The American Diet

August 25, 2009: 09:48 AM EST
Are American consumers taking seriously messages from groups like the American Heart Association who warn that added sugar intake should be limited to between 100 and 150 calories a day, about the caloric content of a 12-oz. can of Coke? Maybe, since statistics from various sources show that carbonated soft drink sales fell in 2007 (2.3 percent) and again in 2008 (3 percent). But despite a growing trend away from sugary sodas to juices, teas, and vitamin waters, fully a third of the sugar consumed each year in the United States comes from regular soft drinks.
"U.S. soft drink consumption on the decline", Reuters , August 25, 2009, © Thomson Reuters
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Global Recession Not Hurting Natural Ingredients Supplier

August 25, 2009: 09:13 AM EST
The worldwide demand for natural flavorings and colorings for food, and plant extracts for cosmetics, has actually grown, perhaps because of the recession, an ingredients supplier says. Contrary to what you might expect, France's Naturex has experienced an increase in product sales to food and nutraceutical makers that it attributes to consumers’ desire to take good care of themselves, especially in a bad economy. “The industry hasn't taken a step backwards, quite the contrary," the company CEO says. Success is pushing Naturex to seek a market presence beyond Europe and North America.
"Appetite for Natural Products Boosts Naturex", Flex News, August 25, 2009, © FLEXNEWS
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Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Foods Do Help Keep The Weight Off, Study Finds

August 25, 2009: 11:38 AM EST
Food and beverage manufacturers should be encouraged by the results of a new study showing that people who had shed pounds were able to maintain the loss by eating low-fat foods and artificially-sweetened drinks. The study, published in a peer-reviewed journal, compared normal weight people with weight-loss maintainers who had dropped at least 10 percent of their flab and kept it off for at least 12 years. Both groups had similar body mass indexes. “Ways to promote the use of fat-modified foods and artificial sweeteners merits further research,” one of the researchers said.
Stephen Daniells, "Low calorie drinks and low-fat foods effective for weight loss", Food Navigator, August 25, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Obesity Leads To Brain Shriveling, Study Finds

August 25, 2009: 11:53 AM EST
Add brain shrinkage to the list of negative effects of obesity, a new study says. It’s common knowledge that overweight and obese people, whose diet often includes too much processed food, suffer more from cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Now scientists have found that the brains of fat people are eight percent smaller than those of normal weight people, putting them at risk for several neurological disorders. "The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than the brains of those who were lean, " a study author says.
, "Obese People Have 'Severe Brain Degeneration'", LiveScience, August 25, 2009, © Imaginova Corp.
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Scientists Intrigued By Potential Health Benefits Of Gluten-Free Chickpea Flour

August 24, 2009: 11:09 AM EST
The rapidly-growing $1.6 billion gluten-free market is being driven not only by the gluten-intolerant but by those just trying to avoid wheat-based products. With that in mind, scientists looking for tasty, healthy alternatives to wheat flour recently discovered that chickpea flour makes a flavorful and iron-rich cracker. The cracker formulated by Canadian researchers rated highly with consumers, and was nutritionally equivalent to wheat crackers, with one exception: it contained as much as six times more iron. Other pulse foods, like lentils and navy beans, were tested, but chickpeas showed the best potential for industrial scale-up, scientists said.
Stephen Daniells, "Chickpea crackers offer iron-rich gluten-free options", Food Navigator, August 24, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Extreme Low-Acid Diet Not Necessarily The Prescription For Better Bone Density

August 24, 2009: 11:48 AM EST
Scientists agree that a protein-rich, high-acid diet does reduce calcium in bones, contributing to loss of bone density. And they agree that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – primary components of the “low-acid” diet – reduce that possibility, at least a little. But that’s where the agreement ends. An extreme low-acid diet is just not as healthy as one that balances the protein and calcium intake from dairy products and meat with the numerous nutrients, and lower pH, of grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Elena Conis, "Fruits and vegetables, good for the bones?", Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2009, © The Los Angeles Times
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Will “Fat Taxes” Help In War Against Obesity?

August 23, 2009: 11:05 AM EST
Everybody agrees that something has to be done to curb the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S., but would a tax on high-calorie junk foods, like “sin” taxes on tobacco products, make any difference? Experts debate the idea, and surveys have found some consumer acceptance. But studies have shown that taxes on snack foods do more to annoy people than to improve their diets. An alternative? Cut prices on healthier foods, like low-fat or low-sugar snacks, fruits and salads. In one experiment, high school cafeteria sales of fruit and salad tripled when prices were cut in half.
Karen Kaplan, "Calls to tax junk food gain ground", The Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2009, © The Los Angeles Times
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Functional Foods Success: It's Not Accidental

August 22, 2009: 11:56 AM EST
A new study notes that the functional foods industry generally has a rosy future in terms of growth. Nevertheless, some products are more successful than others, for a variety of carefully thought out reasons. Products offering a short-term benefit (e.g., quick energy boost) are more attractive. Packaging that helps a product stand out from the crowd, and warrants higher prices at the same time, leads to greater success. One of the biggest differentiators is specificity: linking a functional product to a specific health benefit. An example is Kraft’s LiveActive nutritional probiotics bars that don’t need refrigeration.
Karlene Lukovitz, "What Makes Functional Foods Click? ", MediaPost, August 22, 2009, © MediaPost Communications
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KidStrong Battles Childhood Obesity With Unique Hydration Drink

August 21, 2009: 09:39 AM EST
KidStrong Enterprises says it’s battling the childhood obesity epidemic with a new hydration drink that is low in sugar, and packed with vitamins, nutrients, and electrolytes. Offered in natural orange and grape flavors – there are no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners – KidStrong is targeted at children 4-13 years old. Suggested retail price for a 12-oz. bottle is $0.99 to $1.39, or up to $4.99 for a 4-unit case. "We developed KIDStrong with growing kids in mind,” says Dr. George Murphy, molecular biologist and the scientist behind KIDStrong.
"Strong Enterprises Introduces First-of-its-Kind Hydration Beverage for Children", KIDStrong Enterprises, August 21, 2009, © BevNET.com, Inc.
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Antioxidants From Food, Not Supplements, Cut Risk Of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

August 21, 2009: 02:41 AM EST
A twenty-year study of more than 35,000 women aged 55 to 69 found that eating antioxidant-rich vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli reduces the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. Vitamin C, alpha-carotene, and proanthocyanidins from yellow/orange and cruciferous vegetables – but not supplements – cut the risk of lymphatic cancer in the study group by as much as 30 percent. The study also found that higher intake of manganese from foods was associated with a forty percent reduction in cancer risk.
Stephen Daniells, "Antioxidant-rich fruit, veg may prevent lymph cancers", Food Navigator-USA, August 21, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Action Of Prebiotic Sugar May Spawn New Probiotic Products

August 21, 2009: 08:25 AM EST
A new generation of pre- and probiotic products may be in the offing, now that scientists have discovered that genetically modified bacteria can be activated by a prebiotic sugar. Treating Bacteroides ovatus with a natural tree bark sugar known as xylan stimulates production of proteins that activate the intestinal immune system. That procedure turned out to be an effective treatment for colitis in test animals. “This is the first time that anyone has been able to control a therapeutic protein in a living system using something that can be eaten,” said a lead researcher.
Stephen Daniells, "Could GM offer the next generation of probiotics?", Food Navigator, August 21, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Food Shoppers Still Buying Organic, But The Budget Is A Big Concern

August 20, 2009: 11:38 AM EST
A multimillion-dollar educational campaign by the organic and all-natural food industries has made consumers fairly savvy when it comes to the differences between, and benefits of, the two food categories. But they still want the truth when it comes to manufacturers’ claims. And they want those claims to be worth the price. “The best news is that the desire to purchase remains high,” says a marketing expert about a recent study, “as long as it doesn’t break the budget.”
"Consumers Skeptical of Organic, All-Natural Claims But Still Buy: Study", Progressive Grocer, August 20, 2009, © Nielsen Business Media, Inc
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Nutritionists: Adding Vitamins To Food Doesn’t Necessarily Make Them Healthy

August 20, 2009: 09:11 AM EST
Nutritionists warn that “functional foods” whose ingredients promise certain health benefits – a $27 billion market in the United States alone – are nothing more than a marketing gimmick: junk foods bolstered with nutrients whose value may be negligible. Food manufacturers, however, say foods enhanced with fiber, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and folic acid are better for you. Not so, say food experts. "People are going to be deceived into thinking a lot of these products are especially healthy for them when there's little evidence they are," a nutritionist said.
Red Orbit Staff and Wire Reports, "Food Experts Blast 'Junk Food' Spiked With Nutrients", Red Orbit, August 20, 2009, © redOrbit.com
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Refiners Launch Ad And PR Campaigns To Boost Image Of Corn Syrup

August 20, 2009: 07:49 PM EST
Food manufacturers are responding to a growing consumer demand for products without high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). And as they do, corn refiners are stepping up efforts to combat the negative image HFCS has acquired in recent years. The refiners have launched advertising and PR campaigns telling consumers, dieticians, and physicians that HFCS has about the same number of calories as sugar. But some experts say that argument misses the key point. "Neither HFCS nor refined sugar is good for us,” says author Rory Freedman.
Emily Bryson York and Natalie Zmuda , "Marketers Answer Call to Eliminate High-Fructose Corn Syrup", Advertising Age, August 20, 2009, © Crain Communications
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Caffeinated Powder Confronts The Quick Energy Boost Market

August 20, 2009: 11:18 AM EST
Rather than muscle its way into the overcrowded 2-oz. energy shot market, a product called Eboost is taking a different packaging approach: energy powders in foil pouches. The crystals are dissolved in 8 ounces of water to create a personalized energy boost. The powders have a few built-in advantages over canned or bottled beverages. They store easier and longer and can be carried around comfortably. For the manufacturer, the powders cost less to make and package. Eboost’s version has the caffeine content of a cup of coffee, is vitamin-enriched, slightly carbonated, and comes in orange and pink lemonade flavors.
"Eboost energy a great product to dominate the caffeinated powder market", Examiner.com, August 20, 2009, © Clarity Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com
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Chinese Scientists Unearth A Hidden, And Dangerous, Cholesterol

August 20, 2009: 03:22 AM EST
Add a heretofore unknown cholesterol to the list of potentially injurious substances lurking in your body. Discovered by Chinese scientists, oxycholesterol swells levels of harmful cholesterol that in turn promote hardening of the arteries and boost the risk of heart attack. To reduce the oxycholesterol threat people should avoid the usual suspects: fried and processed junk foods. Oxidation of fats and oils produces oxycholesterol in the body. Instead, eat antioxidant-rich foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. They seem to reduce levels of dangerous oxycholesterol, according to the researchers.
"Little known type of cholesterol may pose the greatest heart disease risk", American Chemical Society, August 20, 2009, © American Chemical Society
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Will Tastier High-Fiber Foods Break Down Consumer Resistance?

August 19, 2009: 08:03 PM EST
Consumers traditionally have been resistant to bland high-fiber foods, despite evidence of fiber’s many nutritional benefits. Now food makers are tackling that resistance by adding fiber to a wider array of good-tasting, good-for-you foods, including yogurt, snack bars, and soups. They’re using better grinding technology, improved ways of cooking, and new types of fiber, all of which combat the “cardboard” taste and texture reputation that keeps consumption of fiber among Americans to half the recommended daily intake.
Ilan Brat , "High-Fiber Foods May Be Easier to Stomach This Time Around ", Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2009, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Research Finds That Comfort Foods Are For Comfortable, Not Tough, Times

August 19, 2009: 03:57 AM EST
Contrary to popular wisdom, people choose “comfort foods” – those calorie-rich or nostalgically familiar eats – not in times of upheaval and uncertainty, but in times of, well, comfort. Familiar foods apparently don’t provide the same psychological reassurances one gets from a security blanket. In fact, researchers found that in times of stressful change, people actually seek out new things, including new foods, songs, and movies. The researchers concluded that the ideal time for people to shed old patterns of behavior and adopt new ones is when the times they are a changin’, as the troubadour sang.
"No Comfort in Comfort Foods During Tough Economic Times, Study Finds", Food Ingredients First, August 19, 2009, © CNS Media BV
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Dannon Promotional Campaign Seeks To Boost U.S. Awareness, Consumption Of Product Line

August 19, 2009: 11:35 AM EST
Although yogurt is a steadily-growing $3.8 billion industry in the U.S., per capita consumption still lags far behind European countries. France-based Dannon wants to change that. Its “Dannonomics” advertising and promotional campaign is designed to make it easier on American wallets to stock up on the company’s probiotics-packed product line, which includes Activia, DanActive, Danimals, Light & Fit and Dan-o-nino. The new coupon-based promotional campaign rewards larger quantity purchases. Industry analysts see yogurt as a leading growth item in the food industry over the next ten years, along with salty and savory snacks.
Elaine Wong, "Yogurt Giant Offers Course in 'Dannonomics'", Brandweek , August 19, 2009, © Nielsen Business Media
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New Natural Meat Culture For Cooked Ham Speeds Processing, Preserves Taste

August 19, 2009: 03:19 AM EST
Chr. Hansen, a Danish company that develops natural ingredients for food, pharmaceutical, nutritional and agricultural firms, has come up with a meat culture that not only reduces processing costs for producers of sausages and cooked meats, but improves taste and appearance. Bactoferm CS-300 blends two bacterial strains with a high nitrate reductase activity, resulting in faster, less expensive processing without sacrificing taste, texture, or color, according to the company. “Producers can add value by the use of a natural ingredient and at the same time ensure a short ingredient list,” a spokesman says.
"Improved taste and color with new meat culture from Chr. Hansen", Chr. Hansen, August 19, 2009, © Chr. Hansen
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Allergic Reaction To Dairy Products Not Necessarily A Permanent Condition, Study Finds

August 18, 2009: 09:39 AM EST
The immune systems of children whose bodies react to milk allergens with hives, abdominal pain, sneezing or coughing, can be trained to tolerate dairy products over time, according to a new study that tested 18 children ages six to 16. The key is gradual but constant exposure to milk. At first, the tested children experienced allergic symptoms, but the symptoms grew milder and even disappeared over time. “This may mean that some patients are truly cured of their allergy, while in others the immune system adapts to regular daily exposure to milk,” the study’s leader said.
Robert Wood, M.D , "Milk Safe, Even Encouraged, For Some After Treatment For Milk Allergy", Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, August 18, 2009, © The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System
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Whole Grain Snacks, Breakfast Cereals Found Rich Source Of Antioxidants

August 18, 2009: 11:30 AM EST
A new study says whole grain hot and cold breakfast cereals and snack foods are a good source of polyphenols, those beneficial antioxidants also found in fruits, vegetables, etc., that reduce the chances of falling victim to heart disease and cancer. Whole grains are a great source of fiber, but until now no one suspected their antioxidant content was similar to fruits and vegetables. Whole grain wheat, corn, oats and rice cereals have the highest polyphenol content, the study found.
Michael Bernstein, "Whole grain cereals, popcorn rich in antioxidants, not just fiber, new research concludes ", American Chemical Society, August 18, 2009, © American Chemical Society
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U.S Stressing Better Nutrition In Transforming School Lunch Policies

August 18, 2009: 11:54 AM EST
With the backing of Pres. Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, U.S. policy toward federally-subsidized school lunches is moving quickly to an emphasis on health and nutrition. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is expected to raise nutrition standards, for example. Congress might boost the school lunch subsidy to a level that would permit a shift away from processed foods toward cafeteria-prepared menus. Nutrition experts are optimistic that change for the better is in the offing. “I really have never seen such opportunity before,” a USDA official said.
KIM SEVERSON, "Stars Aligning on School Lunches ", The New York Times , August 18, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Processed Meat Should Be Sliced From Children’s Menus, Anti-Cancer Charity Warns

August 17, 2009: 09:18 AM EST
A global network of charities whose goal is to prevent cancer with a healthy diet and physical activity has issued a warning to parents to eliminate processed meats like ham and salami from the lunch boxes of school children because of the future risk of bowel cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund suggests substituting poultry or fish, low-fat cheese, hummus, or lean meat. The group also recommends avoiding sugary drinks and high-calorie snacks from kids’ diets to avoid health problems associated with obesity, a growing problem in the U.K. and around the world.
"Parents urged to take ham off menu", World Cancer Research Fund, August 17, 2009, © World Cancer Research Fund
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UK Supermarket Chain Gives “Green” Light To Carbon Footprint Labels On Milk

August 17, 2009: 08:22 PM EST
UK supermarket heavyweight Tesco says it is making it easier for its customers to buy “green” by sticking “carbon footprint” labels on its own-label non-organic milk. The company says its market research has found that many of its customers increasingly understand the term “carbon footprint” and would buy products with a lower footprint. The company says it is also researching cattle feed to find formulas that reduce methane from cows, a major source of carbon emissions in the dairy industry.
Rebecca Smithers, "Tesco becomes UK's first retailer to display carbon footprint on milk", guardian.co.uk, August 17, 2009, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Food Makers, Restaurants Slowly Responding To Consumer Concerns About Sodium’s Health Risks

August 17, 2009: 08:08 PM EST
Food makers and restaurants are certainly aware of consumers’ growing concerns about the health risks associated with high salt content in packaged and processed foods. But that awareness has been slow to translate into formulation and labeling changes, according to a new survey from a consumer trends researcher. Food makers have done the most so far to improve salt content labeling and cut sodium content. Restaurants, however, are dawdling, perhaps because diners simply haven’t put much pressure on eateries. A key finding: two-thirds of consumers would pay attention to better content information if it’s posted.
Karlene Lukovitz, "Mintel: Sodium Becoming 'The New Trans Fat' ", MediaPost, August 17, 2009, © MediaPost Communications
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Far Eastern Algae Seen As “Superfood” With Extraordinary Health Benefits

August 17, 2009: 03:33 AM EST
A species of green algae bursting with protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals is poised to burst onto the health food scene. So far known only by a select few of knowledgeable devotees, chlorella’s reputation in the U.K. as a “superfood” has been boosted recently by new research in Japan and the U.S. Apparently, chlorella, grown in the Far East, cuts body fat, reduces blood glucose levels, and helps type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease patients.
Victoria Lambert , "Chlorella: the superfood that helps fight disease", Telegraph.co.uk, August 17, 2009, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Careful Diet, Weight Loss, Help Control An Unruly Immune System

August 17, 2009: 02:36 AM EST
Adjusting one’s diet to include, or avoid, certain foods might reduce the chances of damaging inflammation and the risk of diseases triggered by inflammation, scientists are finding. An anti-inflammatory diet would include vegetables, whole grains, nuts, oily fish, ginger, turmeric, and blueberries. At the same time, the diet would avoid certain inflammatory foods: saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, sugars, etc. But in the end, some scientists suggest, the simplest way to quiet a haywire immune system is to eat healthy and keep the weight off. "If you lose weight, inflammation is dramatically improved," an obesity specialist says.
Shara Yurkiewicz, "Battling inflammation through food", Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2009, © The Los Angeles Times
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“Sorry,” Cadbury Tells NZ Customers: Replacing Coca Butter With Palm Oil Was A No-No

August 17, 2009: 02:53 AM EST
Cadbury New Zealand has apologized to its Kiwi customer base for substituting palm oil, a common cooking oil in Asia that is high in beta carotene and saturated fats, for cocoa butter in its dairy milk chocolate. The company had apparently made the switch for environmental reasons, but customers turned out to be palm oil-intolerant and demanded a return to the use of coca butter. “At the time, we genuinely believed we were making the right decision, for the right reasons,” a Cadbury spokesman said. “But we got it wrong ... I am really sorry.”
Bill Bruce, "Cadbury Dairy Milk returns to Cocoa Butter only recipe ", Cadbury New Zealand, August 17, 2009, © Cadbury Ltd
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Smart Coca-Cola Machine Mixes, Dispenses, Reports Data Back To HQ

August 17, 2009: 02:48 AM EST
Southern California is the testing ground for a new Coca-Cola beverage dispenser that mixes up to a hundred different drinks on demand and then relays purchasing details back to marketing headquarters. The new machine, dubbed “Coca-Cola Freestyle,” uses special computer chips to power radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that forms the heart of the system. Freestyle’s technical wizardry allows real-time testing of new flavors and vitamin combinations. The company hoped to have as many as 75 Freestyles in operation in California by October, with marketing supported by Twitter and Facebook pages.
Laurie Sullivan, "Coca-Cola 'Freestyles' A Smarter Soda Machine", Washington Post, August 17, 2009, © MediaPost Communications
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Coconut Products Gain Attention, And Shelf Space, As Health Benefits Are Revealed

August 16, 2009: 07:38 AM EST
The coconut continues to gain attention as a health food, thanks to proponents who see many benefits in the various edible parts of the palm tree “fruit.” Once shunned by dieters because of high saturated fat content, coconut milk and oils are now known to contain a kind of fatty acid that is good for the digestive system. Coconut water, meanwhile, offers an electrolyte combo, no fat, more potassium than bananas, and less sugar than your average fruit juice. "I like to call coconut water 'nature's Gatorade,'" says one dietician.
SHANA RIGBY, "Coconuts May Be Nature's Gatorade", ABC News, August 16, 2009, © ABC News Internet Ventures
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Natural Food Dye Makers See Benefit From Worries Over Artificial Dyes

August 15, 2009: 11:15 AM EST
Health professionals have long been concerned about the apparent negative effects of petroleum-derived food dyes, especially on children. The dyes have been linked, for example, to hyperactivity and attention problems. Alternatives to artificial dyes exist in the natural world, and companies that produce them anticipate a boost to their marketing efforts, thanks to emerging regulatory activity related to artificial food dyes in the U.K. and European Union. Noting that the trend is heading toward the U.S., a representative of a Calif.-based natural dye maker says, "It was dumb luck and we stepped into it."
David Gutierrez, "Purple Carrots in High Demand as Natural Food Coloring", Natural News, August 15, 2009, © Natural News Network
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Fatty Foods Lead Quickly To Cognitive, Physical Decline, Scientists Find

August 13, 2009: 09:01 AM EST
The nutrition community has long been aware that eating fatty foods leads to weight gain, cardiovascular troubles and cognitive declines. But if food makers needed further incentive to reduce fat content, here it is: researchers have found in a rat study that a fatty diet actually leads to physical and cognitive decline much faster than it leads to obesity. Within days, lab rats fed a high-fat diet performed significantly worse when navigating mazes from memory and while on a treadmill. “It was really striking how quickly these effects happened,’’ a researcher said.
TARA PARKER-POPE, "Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise", The New York Times, August 13, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Formulators Seek Flavorful Combinations For New One-Shot Drinks

August 13, 2009: 10:55 AM EST
The growing demand among time-pressed consumers for fast, simple, and convenient 2-4oz. nutritional and energy drinks offers a huge marketing opportunity for beverage makers worldwide. So far, that demand has been met by drinkable yogurts and one-shot drinks promising weight management help, as well as bone, cognitive, and cardiovascular health. But as formulators seek tasty new ways to deliver these benefits in the one-shot package, they are finding that certain combinations of ingredients don’t work too well. Combinations of omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals like copper and iron, for example, can trigger rancidity and objectionable odors.
Ram Chaudhari, Ph.D., "Formulating Nutritional Shots", Food Product Design, August 13, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Would Addition Of “Green” Information To Product Labels Amount To “Overload”?

August 12, 2009: 02:57 AM EST
The British government is considering a proposal to add environmental impact information to food packages to supplement the nutritional information provided. The idea would be to give eco-conscious consumers background on production chemicals, packaging procedures, treatment of animals, and the distance the product journeyed to market. Advocates say such labels should be provided on products marketed as “green.” But skeptics argue that unless such labels clarify product content, they risk being burdensome and confusing. It might just “lead to information overload,” said a Yoplait representative.
Camille Alarcon, "Green labelling could overwhelm shoppers with data", Marketing Week, August 12, 2009, © Centaur Communications
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Americans Aware Of “Functional” Foods, But Unsure About Fitting Them Into Their Diet

August 12, 2009: 03:37 AM EST
Nine out of ten Americans believe some foods provide health benefits beyond just good nutrition, a survey by the Food Information Council has found. Consuming these so-called “functional” foods – fruits and vegetables, fish, yogurt, poultry, and herbs – leads to healthy bones, less risk of heart disease, better childhood brain development, and improved immune and digestive health. But consumers says it’s difficult to include these foods in their diet. “The key,” says a nutrition book author, “is to identify and take every opportunity to incorporate these beneficial foods as part of your usual routine.”
"New Research Reveals Americans’ Strong Desire to Use Food to Improve Health", International Food Information Council (IFIC), August 12, 2009, © IFIC Foundation
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