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Diet News Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

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October 01, 2012, to October 15, 2012

Proprietary Resveratrol Supplement Improves Circulatory Function In Obese People

An Australian clinical study found that a proprietary resveratrol supplement improved the circulatory function of obese individuals with mild hypertension. For the placebo-controlled study, 28 people took 75 mg of DSM’s Resvida each day for six weeks. The researchers found a 23 percent increase in vasodilator function. Decreased vasodilator function is a biomarker for cardiovascular risk and is associated with obesity and high blood pressure. According to DSM, the best results would be  achieved with doses starting at 30 mg of Resvida a day to see any health benefits.

Nutrition Bars Fortified With Fish Oil Are Shelf Stable And Have No “Fishy” Odor

Scientists at the University of Maine have developed oat- and soy-based nutrition bars fortified with fish oil that are not only shelf stable, they taste good and have no fishy odor. Fish oil is rich in nutritious omega-3 fatty acids. However, food companies have been reluctant to include fish oil in products because of the fishy smell. The researchers tested four levels of fish oil content – partially replacing canola oil – and found that the lowest (20 percent) replacement level delivered 178 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per 35 g serving. Moreover, “The fortified bars were oxidatively stable over 10 weeks and acceptable to consumers.”

Discovery Could Lead To Development Of Vaccine To Treat Celiac Disease

A study by an international team of researchers has visually determined how T-cells of the immune system interact with gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley that causes celiac disease. A chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine, the disease affects approximately 1 in 133 people. The researchers said this is the first time the intricacies of the interaction between gluten and two proteins that initiate immune responses have been visualized at a sub-molecular level. The finding will help the company ImmusanT develop a blood test and a therapeutic vaccine, Nexvax2, that could restore immune tolerance to gluten and allow patients to again include gluten in their diet.

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September 15, 2012, to October 01, 2012

Time To Dispel Myths About The Purported Adverse Effects Of White Bread

The tide may be turning in the controversy over whether white bread is beneficial or detrimental  to health. A new study from a U.K. researcher takes “health campaigners and TV nutritionists” to task for “demonizing” white bread in recent years. Dr. Aine O’Connor stresses that “bread is an important source of nutrition” and “health professionals need to dispel the myths.” One such myth is that consuming bread contributes to obesity. She notes that though bread consumption in the U.K. has fallen steadily, the country has the worst obesity problem in Europe. Bread is loaded with nutrients, and though it has been high in salt, manufacturers have taken steps to cut sodium content. 

Nestlé Tackles The Health And Wellness Market Again With Anti-Obesity, Anti-Diabetes Foods

In an attempt to convince countries around the world that it is cheaper to prevent than treat diabetes and obesity, Nestlé SA is marketing products that target those chronic conditions. Boost shakes, for example, were formulated to help diabetes patients control blood sugar. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Nestlé’s offerings mark the third attempt to crack the health and wellness market. Success in the latest endeavor depends on whether Nestlé can convince regulators that its products are scientifically sound. The company also needs to “persuade doctors to prescribe them and show they can do something drugmakers’ offerings can’t”.

Study Shows That Drinking Low-Cal Cranberry Juice Reduces Blood Pressure

An eight-week placebo-controlled U.S. study of the effects of drinking diet cranberry juice has found a significant positive impact on blood pressure. Researchers measured blood pressure of study participants at the beginning, mid-point and end of the study. They found that blood pressure dropped from an average of 121/73 mmHg to 118/70 mmHg among the cranberry juice drinkers, but found no change among the placebo group. According to the researchers, cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants that have been associated with blood pressure reduction. The study was funded by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

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September 01, 2012, to September 15, 2012

One Million Americans Now Using USDA’s Diet Planning/Tracking Tool

A free online diet planning and tracking tool developed by the USDA has garnered more than a million registered users, according to Secretary Tom Vilsack. SuperTracker, unveiled in December 2011 along with the My Plate icon, features updated food and physical activity databases, a tool that allows users to set personal calorie goals and a system for tracking personal physical activity. SuperTracker incorporates both the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines and is designed to help Americans put the guidelines into practice in day to day activities.

Soluble Corn Fiber Shown To Be Beneficial For Health, And Well-Tolerated In High Amounts

New research sponsored by U.K. food ingredients provider Tate & Lyle provides evidence that diets rich in soluble corn fiber can be both well-tolerated and healthful. One study in adolescents showed that soluble corn fiber significantly increased beneficial bacteria in the gut and increased calcium absorption. A second study among adults found that 40 grams of soluble corn fiber consumed in a single dose, or up to 65 grams consumed in multiple doses throughout the day, were well-tolerated. The doses exceeded daily recommendations for fiber, and far exceeded average actual daily intake. Neither children nor adults consume anywhere near the recommended 19-38 grams per day.

“Scheduled” High-Fat Feedings Prevent Obesity

Animal-based research conducted in Israel has found that the timing of consumption of a high-fat diet is important to its impact on weight loss. A carefully scheduled high-fat diet can reduce body weight and induce changes metabolism: ingested fat is not stored but is used as energy between meals. For 18 weeks, mice fed a high-fat diet on a fixed schedule were compared to mice that ate scheduled and unscheduled low-fat diets, and a high-fat diet on a fixed schedule. The mice on the scheduled high-fat diet had a lower final body weight than mice on an unscheduled high-fat diet, as well as mice on the unscheduled low-fat diet, though both consumed the same number of calories.

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August 15, 2012, to September 01, 2012

Believing The Mythology Surrounding Prostate Cancer Can Be Dangerous For Men

A mythology has grown up around the causes, preventive measures and treatment of prostate cancer, according to a U.S. expert. For example, consuming lycopene – the nutrient that gives tomatoes their red color – does not prevent prostate cancer. Nor does fish oil, with its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, or selenium or vitamin E. In fact, studies have shown that selenium and vitamin supplements actually increase the risk of prostate cancer. As to PSA diagnosis, one in ten men screened for prostate cancer using PSA tests actually do benefit from treatment, not one in 50 as reported by some researchers.

Diet Plan Advocates Eating Whole Wheat Bread

Losing weight – and losing an obesity problem – is the goal of The Healthy Way, a weight loss video program that advocates eating nutritional whole grain bread, which is much higher in fiber than white bread. The higher fiber content “helps your body eliminate toxins, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and has been found to lower risk of heart disease and cancer.” The diet plan suggests replacing butter and mayo with ketchup, mustard, or homemade hummus. Likewise, spreading olive oil on bread and adding natural herbs and spices is a great substitute for butter.

Microgreens Found To Have Higher Concentrations Of Micronutrients Than Mature Plants

Many of the currently trendy seedlings – known as microgreens – of green vegetables and herbs are actually more nutritious than the mature versions, according to U.S. research. Microgreens have gained popularity in recent years, a culinary trend that has blossomed in many upscale markets and restaurants. Seedlings of spinach, lettuce, red cabbage and other vegetables are usually one to three inches tall and harvested 14 days after germination. The researchers found that microgreens generally have higher concentrations of healthful vitamins and carotenoids than their mature counterparts.

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August 01, 2012, to August 15, 2012

Natural Therapies May Be Effective In Treating Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – an almost constant feeling of being stressed out and exhausted – affects more than a million Americans, and is most common among people aged 40 to 59. Believed to follow an infection or a period of high stress, the symptoms may last for years, are usually not relieved, even with bed rest, and can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gastrointestinal distress, and depression of the immune system. Some natural and alternative therapies have been found effective in managing the condition: ginseng, kiwi fruit, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils, and relaxation techniques, including meditation.

Obesity Prevention Requires A Blend Of Strategies

Though obesity is a growing problem among children in the U.S. – 17 percent are considered obese – many parents continue to pack their cupboards and refrigerators with junk food. And the food industry continues to supply it. But mental health professional Diane Girardot reports that obesity can be prevented. It takes a combination of strategies: individual lifestyle changes, environmental and governmental policy changes, tighter regulation of the food industry and possibly litigation. Unfortunately, however, many parents refuse to deprive their children of junk food. And many people believe that obesity is a personal choice and the government has no business regulating what and how much they eat and drink.

Dietitian Recommends “Super-Food” Tofu

A registered dietitian says substituting tofu for animal protein once a week is fairly risk-free and has many health benefits. For example, it helps lower overall cholesterol and so-called “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. As a soy product, tofu does have a down side: studies have linked intake of large amounts of soy to increased breast cancer risk. But in moderation, tofu is a “super-food” that has little saturated fat, zero cholesterol and lots of protein. Another benefit: it’s very versatile as a cooking ingredient and can be successfully added to any number of dishes.

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July 15, 2012, to August 01, 2012

Reducing Obesity In Canada Would Help Relieve The Strain On The National Health System

A Canadian economist who studied the relationship between obesity and the number of doctor visits found that if obesity – and related complications, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease – were eliminated, doctor visits would drop by more than ten percent. That, in turn, would relieve some of the stress on the already overburdened national health system. The economist analyzed data on 60,000 Canadians from a national health survey. He suggested that reducing obesity might be achieved through economic incentives (such as higher health insurance premiums) and through tighter regulation of the fast food industry.

Herbs And Spices Can Play A Role In The Global Fight Against Obesity

Presenters at a scientific meeting of the research arm of spice manufacturer McCormick & Company recently reviewed scientific research on the potential weight management benefits of culinary herbs and spices. A University of Colorado scientist said small changes in lifestyle and diet, like eating spices “that increase satiety,” could be both beneficial and sustainable. A Dutch scientist noted that consuming red pepper containing capsaicin induces feelings of fullness. And a University of Illinois researcher listed  the health benefits of compounds found in Latin American herbs, spices and herbal tea.

Study Of Modern Hunter-Gatherers Upends Theories About Global Obesity Problem

There is no difference in energy expenditure among modern hunter-gatherers and Westerners, according to new U.S. research that suggests eating too much, not exercising too little, might be the big problem. Scientists studied the Hadza of the savannah regions of northern Tanzania, who spend their days hunting and foraging for wild plants. Taking precise measurements and accounting for effects of body weight, etc., they found that the Hadza burned no more calories in a day than the average adult in the U.S. and Europe. The findings seem to indicate that the rise in obesity is due to increased food consumption, not decreased energy expenditure.

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July 01, 2012, to July 15, 2012

“Natural” Stimulant Found In Nutritional Supplements Is Actually Synthetic – And Dangerous

A substance known as DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine), which is marketed as a “natural” stimulant in a variety of pre-workout and nutritional supplements, is actually a synthetic compound, U.S. researchers have found. Some DMAA products claim the compound is derived from geranium plants. But the deaths of two U.S. soldiers after using DMAA-based supplements led to closer scrutiny. Investigators not only found no DMAA in geranium plants, they determined that DMAA comprises four synthetic compounds called stereo-isomers. They recommended that the FDA either regulate or ban “products in which significant amounts of pharmacological compounds are added.”

Menopausal Symptoms May Be Reduced By Losing Weight, Eating Low-Fat Diet

Hot flashes and night sweats are frequently experienced by women before or after menopause as their estrogen levels decline. But U.S. researchers who looked at the effects of a low-fat diet and weight loss on nearly 49,000 postmenopausal women found that those who lost ten or more pounds (or 10 or more percent of their weight) were more likely to eliminate hot flashes and night sweats after a year. It especially helped if their diet was low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. “Weight loss or weight gain prevention may offer a viable strategy to help eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause," the researchers said.

Daily Iron Supplements Not Necessary To Prevent Anemia In Pregnant Women

Pregnant women need not take iron supplements every day to get the same health benefits, according to a review of clinical studies. In addition, they experience  fewer side effects. Iron supplements are taken during pregnancy to prevent anemia, a condition that harms not only mothers but their infants. But an analysis of 18 clinical trials involving more than 4,000 women found that iron supplements taken only two or three times a week were just as beneficial; and women were less likely to experience side effects like nausea, constipation and high hemoglobin levels.

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June 15, 2012, to July 01, 2012

The Sandwich Trend: Convenience, Economy, Health, And Exotic Varieties

Americans have discovered – or re-discovered – the convenience and economy of sandwiches, and restaurants have caught on to the trend. Pizza Hut, for example, has added sandwiches to their menu, but with a twist. They package sausage, pepperoni, ham, Italian steak and Buffalo chicken into a rolled pizza crust sandwich. A Technomic report found that 41 percent of consumers ages 25 to 34 want restaurants to offer mini-sandwiches that can be eaten as a snack or light meal, like McDonald's wrap sandwiches. The most popular sandwich in the U.S. these days? According to a food consultant, it’s the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, a concoction of grilled pork, chicken or beef, pickled vegetables and cilantro.

Lupin-Based Breakfast Cereal: Healthier Than Wheat-Based Products?

An Australian university professor has developed a breakfast cereal based on the traditional feed grain lupin that, he says, is healthier than wheat-based breakfast cereals. The cereal is gluten-free, high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and cholesterol free. In addition, the cereal has a low glycemic index, so it takes longer for the digestive system to process, helping people to avoid hunger pangs and snacking.

Researcher Forecasts Increased Growth For “Healthier” Breads

The trend away from white bread toward “healthier” breads continues, according to recent industry sales stats. IBISWorld reports that white bread still accounts for 45 percent of total bread sales, but it’s losing ground to whole-grain, organic, gluten-free, seeded and artisan breads. The latter two offer significant growth opportunities for smaller players. In general, IBISWorld believes that breads that promote a healthy image will flourish though manufacturers will be “forced to accelerate innovation to keep up with changing consumer preferences.”

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June 01, 2012, to June 15, 2012

New Technology Makes It Easy To Test For Celiac Disease

Scientists in Europe say they have developed a quick, effective and cheap “lab-on-a-chip” method to test for gluten intolerance, the main characteristic of celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour. The diagnostic and monitoring system will soon be tested in clinical trials in Slovenia and could be available to doctors, hospitals and clinics in Europe and elsewhere within a few years. The system is the result of a convergence of innovative technologies such as microfluidics, nanotechnology and genetic testing. The researchers say the technology can be adapted for use in other autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, spondylitis, thyroiditis, and even cancer.

Company’s Gelatin-Free Multivitamin With Vitamin D3 Targets Muslim Women

Nutrition Enhancement has introduced a halal-certified gelatin-free multivitamin product with nutrients supporting the health of both men and women of all ages. Nutrition Enhancement Multivitamin is equivalent to leading brands in the market, the company says, but is formulated without gelatin, making it the only halal-certified multivitamin with 1000 IU of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D deficiency problems arise when people do not get enough sun exposure, a problem for Muslim women because of a dress code that requires wearing a scarf or Hijab. The company also makes Halal Omega-3 fish oil.

High-Fat/Low-Carb Diets Increase Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

A Swedish study has found that low carbohydrate/high fat diets help short term weight loss, but the loss is not maintained over the long term. In fact, the diet increases blood cholesterol, which has a major impact on risk of cardiovascular disease. The study looked at 25 years of data from a regional and national dietary intervention to reduce fat intake. The intervention decreased cholesterol levels. The program then switched to a popular high fat/low carbohydrate diet that, in turn,  raised cholesterol levels. Body mass index (BMI) increased over the 25 years, regardless of either diet; both the increase in BMI and cholesterol levels increased cardiovascular risk.

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May 15, 2012, to June 01, 2012

Serving Size Reminder In Potato Chip Tubes Curbs Over-Eating

Cornell University researchers report that they have discovered a way to help people curb the nearly insatiable appetite for potato chips packaged in tubes. An experiment involving 98 college students found that placing edible serving size markers – dyed red – placed in the tubes serve as subconscious stop signs. Unaware of why some of the chips were red, students served potato chip tubes consumed about 50 percent less than their peers: 20 and 24 chips on average for the seven-chip (one serving) and 14-chip (two servings) segmented tubes. This compared with 45 chips in the control group.

California Bakery Produces High-Fiber Breads Whose “Net Carb” Content Is Zero

A California bakery has developed a line of breads for bread lovers who are trying to cut down on carbs. Julian Bakery of La Jolla offers low-carb and carb-free breads that it claims are "compatible with any diet plan" whose overall goal is a reduction in carbohydrate intake. Julian’s Carb Zero Bread is also gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, low in calories, and contains no sugar, yeast, or preservatives. The concept – identical to the Atkins “net carb” idea – is that fiber-based carbs can be subtracted from total carbs because they are not metabolized or stored in the body as fat. Julian’s bread has an equal amount of carbohydrates and fiber, leading to a net carb level of zero.

Physical Activity And Fruit/Vegetable Consumption Lower Mortality Rates For Older Women

Univ. of Michigan researchers who studied 713 women aged 70 to 79 years found that those who were most physically active and ate the most fruits and vegetables were eight times more likely to survive the five-year follow-up period than women with the lowest rates. Information for the study was gathered from participant questionnaires about physical activity and from measurements of blood levels of carotenoids, beneficial pigments from fruits and vegetables that the body turns into antioxidants. Key findings: women in the most active group at baseline had a 71 percent lower five-year death rate than the women in the least active group; women in the highest carotenoid group had a 46 percent lower five-year death rate.
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