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Period: April 1, 2011 to April 15, 2011
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Anti-inflammatory Dietary Supplement Promotes Cardiovascular Health, Study Finds

Two studies conducted by researchers from TNO Quality of Life (The Netherlands), one in transgenic mice and the other in overweight men, have found that intake of an anti-inflammatory dietary mix noticeably reduced signs of inflammation and atherosclerosis and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The mixture contained vitamins E and C, resveratrol, catechins from green tea extract, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and lycopene from tomato extract C. In the placebo-controlled human study, 36 overweight men consumed the anti-inflammatory supplement over five weeks. Researchers found that the volunteers had less inflammation and a better metabolism at the end of the study.

"Right diet substantially lowers cardiovascular risk", Press Release, TNO, March 30, 2011

High Levels Of Dietary Vitamin K Linked To Improved Bone Density In Elderly Men And Women

A study by Spanish researchers has found that a diet rich in vitamin K found in leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach, and also from dairy and meat, is associated with increased bone mineral density (BMD) in both elderly men and women. The study included 200 elderly people “with healthy dietary habits” whose bone density was measured using quantitative ultrasound assessment (QUS). The researchers found that for every 100 microgram increase in vitamin K intake there was a 0.008 g/m2 increase in BMD. “High dietary vitamin K intake was associated with superior bone properties,” the researchers concluded.

"Dietary vitamin K intake is associated with bone quantitative ultrasound measurements but not with bone peripheral biochemical markers in elderly men and women", Bone, March 27, 2011

Controversies & Disputes  

Food Companies Can Expect A Spate Of Class Action Suits Over Health Claims

High-profile food companies that make strong, but possibly questionable, health claims for their products should brace themselves for a deluge of class action lawsuits from consumer lobby groups. Legal experts told NutraIngredients that companies should expect an “explosion” of suits similar to the one targeting General Mills over its claims of digestive health for Yo-Plus yogurts. The suit was recently allowed to proceed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals despite the company’s efforts to torpedo it. Part of the litigation problem may be aggressive lawyers looking for settlement opportunities with big companies. Dannon and Wrigley, for example, both settled class action challenges related to health claims for products. But perhaps the real root cause is overeager food company marketing departments with a penchant for health claim hyperbole.

"Class action lawsuits set to ‘explode’ in health claims arena", NutraIngredients USA, April 01, 2011

Study Finds That Candy Is Dandy For Your Health

A study by U.S. researchers who analyzed the impact of candy, chocolate and sugar  consumption on weight and other health measures found no link between candy intake and increased weight or body mass index. The data, drawn from a five-year national health survey among 15,000 adults, showed that candy did contribute modestly to caloric intake on days when it was consumed, but that consumers balanced longer-term caloric intake. The study also found that candy consumers were: 14 percent less likely to have higher diastolic blood pressure and lower C-reactive protein, a biomarker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease; had better values of "good" cholesterol; and were 15 percent less likely to have metabolic syndrome, a precursor of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

"Candy consumption was not associated with body weight measures, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or metabolic syndrome in US adults: NHANES 1999-2004", Nutrition Research, April 01, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Apple Consumption Reduces Biomarkers For Cardiovascular Disease

A U.S. study has found that eating 75 grams of dried apples a day for a year led to a reduction in so-called bad (LDL)  cholesterol, an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and an average weight loss of 3.3 pounds among 160 postmenopausal women. Earlier animal studies had shown that apple pectin and polyphenols improved lipid metabolism and lowered production of pro-inflammatory molecules. The study randomly assigned the women to two groups: one that ate dried apples daily and one that ate dried prunes every day. Analysis of blood samples found that the apple-eating women experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol and a lowering of other biomarkers for cardiovascular disease. The weight loss benefit may be a result of eating apple pectin, which contributes to satiety, researchers guessed.

"‘Apple a Day’ Advice Rooted in Science", Experimental Biology 2011/ASN, April 12, 2011

Intake Of Omega-3, Omega-6 Fatty Acids Do Not Reduce Depression Risk In Older Women

U.S. researchers who analyzed data from a health study involving 54,632 women ages 50–77 years old found that intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids did not reduce the risk of clinical depression. The researchers documented 2,823 cases of depression over ten years (1996-2006) among the study group. Study findings did support the hypothesis that higher intakes of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 found in plants, and lower intakes of linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) reduce depression risk, but the researchers said further study was needed.

"Dietary intake of omega−3 and omega−6 fatty acids and the risk of clinical depression in women: a 10-y prospective follow-up study", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 06, 2011

Caffeinated Coffee After High-Fat And High-Carb Meals Spells Trouble

Researchers at Canada’s University of Guelph have found that insulin has less of an effect on blood sugar levels after a high-fat meal followed by a high-carb meal and the problem is compounded when caffeinated coffee is added to the mix. According to the researchers, saturated fat interferes with insulin’s ability to clear sugars from the blood and distribute it to muscles. But when combined with caffeinated coffee, the negative impact doubles. Participants in the study consumed a beverage high in fat followed six hours later by a sugar drink. Blood sugar levels were 32 per cent higher after the fat and sugar beverages, but were 65 percent higher after intake of the fat, sugar and caffeinated coffee. “The results of the study are particularly important for people at risk for metabolic diseases and Type 2 diabetes,”  researchers said.

"An Oral Lipid Challenge and Acute Intake of Caffeinated Coffee Additively Decrease Glucose Tolerance in Healthy Men", Journal of Nutrition, April 01, 2011

Osteoporosis Foundation Develops Interactive Global Vitamin D Deficiency Maps

Fractures resulting from osteoporosis caused by vitamin D deficiency cost the European economy €25 billion annually, the International Osteoporosis Foundation says. But osteoporosis remains low on the list of health care priorities in many countries, though it is a major public health concern. To spotlight the problem, the IOF and DSM Nutritional Products (DSM) have developed interactive vitamin D deficiency maps to be used as a tool to educate the public and inform policymakers and health care professionals. A prototype of the European map highlights the differences in vitamin D levels across Europe and pinpoints missing data in each region for specific population groups. “The scientific evidence on the low vitamin D status in Europe clearly calls for action,” the IOF says.

"Vitamin D deficiency", International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), March 29, 2011

Researchers Find No Link Between Mercury Consumption And Risk Of Heart Disease

A U.S. study of two large cohorts of men and women in the United States found no link  between mercury exposure from fish consumption and increased cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers set out to determine the validity of speculation that exposure to methylmercury from fish increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Earlier clinical studies were small and results were inconsistent. For their research, scientists looked at cases of coronary heart disease and stroke and analyzed toenail clippings provided by participants for mercury and selenium concentrations using neutron-activation analysis. “We found no evidence of any clinically relevant adverse effects of mercury exposure on coronary heart disease, stroke, or total cardiovascular disease,” researchers concluded.

"Mercury Exposure and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Two U.S. Cohorts", New England Journal of Medicine, March 24, 2011

Junk Food Diet During Pregnancy Increases Risk That Babies Will Be Junk Food Junkies

The babies of pregnant mothers whose diet is high in sugar and fat have an increased risk of becoming addicted to junk food, according to new Australian research. The study conducted in rats found that a junk food diet alters the fetal brain's reward pathway and, in turn, food preferences. Researchers studied two groups of rats that were either fed a standard diet or a junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation. Rats whose mothers ate the junk food diet had higher levels of the receptor for “feel good” opioids and chose to eat more fatty foods compared to those whose mothers ate standard rat chow. The researchers said their findings may explain why some people easily resist fatty and sugary foods, while others seem hopelessly addicted.

"Maternal “junk-food” feeding of rat dams alters food choices and development of the mesolimbic reward pathway in the offspring", The FASEB Journal, March 22, 2011

White Bean Extract Reduces Calorie Intake From High-Carb Foods, Supports Weight Loss

The alpha-amylase inhibitor called Phase 2, a white bean extract made by Pharmachem, seems to cut the rate of carbohydrate absorption and, in turn, effectively decreases the glycemic index (GI) of starchy and other high-carb foods, according to a review of clinical trial results. “The evidence also indicates that Phase 2 promotes weight loss when taken concurrently with meals containing carbohydrates,” the study’s authors said. Phase 2 works by neutralizing alpha-amylase before it transforms starch into glucose and fat. The carbohydrates then pass through the digestive system without adding calories. Ten clinical trials reported on the effectiveness of Phase 2, and three showed efficacy compared to a placebo.

"A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): A review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control", Nutrition Journal, March 17, 2011

Neural Correlates of Food Addiction

Archives of General Psychiatry, April 04, 2011

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