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Period: May 15, 2011 to June 1, 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
Companies, Organizations  

Kraft Seeks To Expand Its BOCA Range Of Soy-Based Meat Alternative Products

Gary Berger, BOCA brand manager at Kraft Foods, said that U.S. retailers are re-locating meat alternatives in the store and giving them more shelf space as more consumers buy non-meat options and the category becomes increasingly mainstream. BOCA is looking to get new consumers to try non-meat products and is working with Weight Watchers to position the brand as a healthy weight management food option. BOCA is facing a growing number of competitors, but believes its healthy soy-based products will enable it to retain its leadership in the meat alternatives market. It defends the safety of its products but has introduced a non-GMO soy range to address concerns of consumers worried about GMO ingredients.

"Kraft: Weight-conscious consumer is key to growth in meat alternatives", NutraIngredients-USA, May 10, 2011

Danisco Probiotic Strains Help Relieve Intestinal Bloating In Clinical Study

Researchers at the University of North Carolina and food ingredients supplier Danisco have found that two probiotic strains consumed as daily supplements significantly eased the bloating experienced by people with gastrointestinal disorders. The two strains, which are produced by Danisco, are Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07. In combination they cut bloating by 27 percent after eight weeks. Sixty study participants with bowel disorders (but not constipation) were divided into two groups. One received the two probiotic strains, the other a placebo. The participants completed questionnaires rating their bloating on a 17-point scale after four and eight weeks. At eight weeks, the probiotics group rated their bloating at 4.26 on average, while the placebo group rated their symptoms at 5.84.

"Probiotic Bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 Versus Placebo for the Symptoms of Bloating in Patients With Functional Bowel Disorders-a Double-blind Study", Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, March 22, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Healthy Gut Flora Associated With Lower Risk Of Obesity

Swedish researchers have found in a rat study that daily intake of a lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19) seems to prevent obesity and reduce low-level inflammation in the body. For the study, two groups of rats were fed a high-energy diet from the time they were in the uterus through adulthood. Animals who were also given a daily supplement of Lactobacillus gained significantly less weight than other rats. The researchers also observed that rats given lactobacilli also had a richer and better composition of  naturally occurring gut bacteria.

"Effects on weight gain and gut microbiota in rats given bacterial supplements and a high-energy-dense diet", British Journal of Nutrition, May 26, 2011

Protein Drinks After Strenuous Exercise Keep Aging Muscles Strong And Fit

Drinking protein beverages containing as little as 20 grams of protein after aerobic activity boosts the training effect among older exercisers after six weeks, compared to carbohydrate drinks, a U.S. study has found. Researchers tested 16 people age 42 to 58 years. Over a six week period, the participants exercised on treadmills for 45 minutes three times a week. After each exercise session, one group drank a protein beverage, another drank a carbohydrate beverage. Using ultra-sensitive mass spectrometry, scientists analyzed muscle samples at the end of the study period and determined how much of the muscle was new. Endurance exercise in older people, they concluded, does indeed induce positive changes in skeletal muscle structure and keeps muscles strong and fit.

"Long-term synthesis rates of skeletal muscle DNA and protein are higher during aerobic training in older humans than in sedentary young subjects", The FASEB Journal, May 25, 2011

African-American MS Patients Have Lower Levels Of Vitamin D

A study conducted by U.S. researchers has found that African-Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of vitamin D in their bodies than non-afflicted African-Americans, mainly because of climate and geography differences. Researchers analyzed health data from 339 MS patients and 342 people who did not have the disease, focusing especially on plasma vitamin D levels, disease severity, exposure to UV rays from the sun, and European genetic ancestry. They found that 77 percent of the MS group were deficient in vitamin D, compared to 71 percent of the non-MS group. Those with MS were also exposed less each month to sunlight than the non-MS group, and tended to liver farther north. People who had more European ancestry in their genes were less likely to have low vitamin D levels.

"Vitamin D in African Americans with multiple sclerosis", Neurology, May 24, 2011

Increased Calcium Intake Does Not Lower Risk Of Osteoporotic Fractures Among Swedish Women

A Swedish study based on over 61,000 women, including a subcohort of some 5,000, looked at the association of calcium intake over a 19-years period and the risk of bone fractures, and especially hip fractures and osteoporosis. The study found that 14,738, or some 24% had a first fracture of any type. Of these, 3,871 suffered a first hip fracture. In the subcohort, 20% were osteoporotic. The risk patterns with dietary calcium were non-linear in that a gradual increase in calcium intake above that for the first quintile did not result in further reductions in osteoporosis or risk of fracture.

"Dietary calcium intake and risk of fracture and osteoporosis: prospective longitudinal cohort study", British Medical Journal, May 24, 2011

To Reduce Risk Of Heart Failure, Eat More Baked/Broiled Fish, Avoid Fried Fish

Postmenopausal women who frequently (five or more times a week) ate baked or broiled fish had a lower risk of heart failure than women who ate fried fish, a large-scale U.S. analysis of health data found. Dark fish, like salmon, mackerel and bluefish, were associated with a significantly greater risk reduction than either tuna or white fish (e.g., sole, snapper and cod), the researchers noted. The researches looked at self-reported dietary data from 84,493 postmenopausal women in a women’s health study. Two groups were defined: baked/broiled fish eaters, and fried fish and seafood eaters. “Increased baked/broiled fish intake may lower heart failure risk, while increased fried fish intake may increase HF risk in postmenopausal women,” the researchers concluded.

"Fish Intake and the Risk of Incident Heart Failure: The Women's Health Initiative", Circulation: Heart Failure, May 24, 2011

Bitter Cumin Provides Plenty Of Natural Antioxidants

Results of a study have revealed that bitter cumin is a good source of natural antioxidants. Researchers extracted bitter cumin seeds using a mix of acetone, methanol, and water, and then determined the traits of the antioxidant functions of bitter cumin extracts in different in vitro model systems, including DPPH radical, reducing power, and ABTS radical scavenging. At microgram concentration, the phenolic extracts of bitter cumin highlighted noteworthy scavenging of DPPH and ABTS radicals, showing a direct link between phenolic acid content and antioxidant activity.

"Antioxidant potential of bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Kuntze) seeds in in vitro models", BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, May 20, 2011

Diet Rich In Fruit/Vegetables Leads To Less Weight Gain Among African American Women

African American women whose diet was rich in vegetables and fruit gained less weight over a 14-year period than those whose diet was high in red meat and fried foods, U.S. study has found. For the prospective study, researchers analyzed data collected from 59,000 African-American women beginning in 1995. They identified two significant dietary patterns: a "vegetables/fruit" pattern high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish and whole grains; and a "meat/fried foods" pattern high in red meat, processed meat, french fries and fried chicken. The associations between weight gain and a meat/fried foods diet were stronger among women younger than 35 years, who gained the most weight: an average of 29 pounds during the 14-year study period.

"Dietary patterns and 14-y weight gain in African American women", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 18, 2011

Coffee Consumption Lowers Risk Of Prostate Cancer

A prospective analysis of 47,911 men who participated in the Health Professional Follow-up Study revealed a strong inverse relationship between coffee consumption and risk of having prostate cancer. Researchers employed Cox proportional hazards models to evaluate the link between coffee consumption and prostate cancer. Results of the study showed men who on average consumed six or more cups of coffee per day had a decreased risk for overall prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers. Also, the researchers discovered that the link, which was "similar for regular and decaffeinated coffee," was stronger for lethal prostate cancer.

"Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study", Journal of the National Cancer Institute, May 17, 2011

Study Says Resveratrol Helps Prevent Formation Of Fatty Tissue

A study that looked at effects of the polyphenol resveratrol on adipose tissue found that resveratrol's influence in reducing body fat is at least partly due to its capacity to reduce the uptake of fatty acid in circulating triacylglycerols as well as in de novo lipogenesis. The researchers fed the rats a fattening diet and, after six weeks, white adipose tissues were scrutinized and lipoprotein lipase activity was evaluated. There was no difference in final body weight between the groups of rats, but the group treated with resveratrol showed significantly less adipose tissue. Resveratrol also reduced lipogenic enzyme activity, and that of heparin-releasable lipoprotein lipase.

"Changes in white adipose tissue metabolism induced by resveratrol in rats", Nutrition & Metabolism , May 10, 2011

Expectant Mothers Who Eat Peanuts May Be Protecting Their Children From Future Allergies

Pregnant mothers who consume peanuts may be protecting their unborn child from future peanut allergies, according to a study in mice by U.S. researchers. For the study, researchers fed some pregnant mice peanuts and others a placebo. They found that the offspring of peanut-fed mothers had lower peanut-specific immunoglobulin-E (IgE) levels. They also showed lower peanut-stimulated immune responses than the offspring in the placebo group. Administration of cholera toxin boosted these responses in the peanut-fed group. “Our study demonstrated that maternal feeding of peanuts alone had a protective effect against peanut sensitization of the progeny, which was enhanced by co-administration of a mucosal adjuvant (cholera toxin),” the researchers concluded.

"Maternal peanut consumption provides protection in offspring against peanut sensitization that is further enhanced when co-administered with bacterial mucosal adjuvan", Food Research International, May 07, 2011

Protein-Rich Breakfast Increases Satiety, Reduces Hunger Throughout The Day

Eating a healthy breakfast high in protein increases feelings of fullness and reduces hunger throughout the day, according to a U.S. study. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine that eating a protein-rich breakfast dampens brain signals controlling food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior. For the study, researchers assessed hunger and satiety in 10 teenaged girls who either skipped breakfast or ate breakfasts with either normal or high levels of protein. They measured perceived appetite sensations and hormonal markers combined with psychological reward-driven motivation to eat. fMRI was used to identify brain activation in specific regions related to food motivation and reward. They found that, when compared to breakfast skipping, breakfast meals led to increased fullness and reductions in hunger throughout the morning.

"Neural Responses to Visual Food Stimuli After a Normal vs. Higher Protein Breakfast in Breakfast-Skipping Teens: A Pilot fMRI Study", Obesity, May 05, 2011

Dairy Intake Does Not Increase Risk Of Heart Attack

U.S. researchers who analyzed health data from 3,630 Costa Rican adults found that the amount of dairy products consumed did not correlate with heart attack risk. The men and women studied were participants in epidemiological research conducted between 1994 and 2004. They were divided into groups: those who had suffered nonfatal heart attacks and those who hadn’t. The researchers took into account their self-reported dairy intake and at measurements of dairy fat biomarkers in their bodies. They found that the dairy intake of people who had suffered heart attacks was not statistically different than the intake of the rest of the people. “It is possible that the adverse effect of saturated fat in dairy products on cardiovascular health is offset by presence of beneficial nutrients,” the authors concluded.

"Biomarkers of dairy intake and the risk of heart disease", Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, May 05, 2011

Decreasing Snack Food Sizes – But Not Numbers Of Snacks Eaten – Might Help In Weight Loss

Smaller portions could lead to eating fewer calories, a U.S. study has found. Researchers offered undergraduate psychology students an unlimited supply of candy while they performing an unrelated experiment. For half of the participants, the candies were cut in half. The researchers then tallied the intake of candy in weight, calories and number of pieces. They found that when the size of the candies was decreased, the students ate the same number of pieces (portion), but consumed 50 percent less by weight and much fewer calories (60 kcal on average). The researchers suggested that a “cognitive bias” might be at work: people may feel that 10 pieces of candy is enough, no matter the size. A “simple dietary strategy” might be to decrease snack sizes but not portions.

"Smaller Food Item Sizes of Snack Foods Influence Reduced Portions and Caloric Intake in Young Adults", Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 29, 2011

L-theanine Supplement Improves Concentration Among Highly Anxious People

Researchers in Japan who studied the effects of the amino acid L-theanine on students with either low or high anxiety ratings found that a daily supplement of the compound may improve concentration among anxious people. Found in tea, L-theanine is “directly or indirectly involved at the neurochemical level and thus it is impacted by a number of neurotransmitter systems,” the researchers wrote. Eighteen healthy participants were divided into two groups, depending on their anxiety levels. Groups received either water alone or water with L-theanine, and were then tested. Highly anxious students who consumed the L-theanine had a slower heart rate, improved attention and better reaction times, compared to the placebo group. One student with low anxiety showed no benefit from the supplement.

"Effects of L-theanine on attention and reaction time response", Journal of Functional Foods, April 19, 2011

Dark Chocolate Reduces Oxidative Stress Associated With Vigorous Workouts

A multinational team of researchers who examined the effects of eating dark chocolate before  prolonged exercise found that it improves insulin levels, glucose, and antioxidant status, while warding off oxidative stress that can damage muscles. Eating the chocolate boosted insulin levels before the trial and after cycling, an indication of  “better maintenance of plasma glucose concentration.” However, immune response, which has been shown to drop after vigorous exercise, was not affected. For the study, 14 healthy men ate either 100 grams of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa), an energy bar with equivalent macronutrients or neither before bicycling for 2.5 hours.

"The effect of acute pre-exercise dark chocolate consumption on plasma antioxidant status, oxidative stress and immunoendocrine responses to prolonged exercise", European Journal of Nutrition, April 05, 2011

Folic Acid Supplements Do Not Reduce Cancer Risk In Patients With Adenoma History

British and American researchers who examined data from three large trials found that folic acid supplements neither prevented or increased the occurrence of  benign, pre-cancerous colon tumors known as adenomas. However, the researchers did observe a “potential beneficial effect” of the supplements on overall mortality of the participants. The meta-analysis, undertaken because of observations that low folate status was associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, looked at data from 2,632 men and women with a history of adenomas who had taken either  0.5 or 1.0 mg of folic acid a day or a placebo. The researchers concluded that “after up to 3.5 years of folic acid use, there is no clear decrease or increase in the occurrence of new adenomas …”

"Folic acid and prevention of colorectal adenomas: A combined analysis of randomized clinical trials", International Journal of Cancer, April 01, 2011

Palm Oil-Derived Tocotrienol Supplementation Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Supplementation with forms of vitamin E known as tocotrienols was found to reduce levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol, scientists in Malaysia report. For the study, 32 healthy people with high blood cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to groups that were given daily doses of either a soybean oil placebo or a product derived from palm oil known as Tocomin SupraBio, which provided 300 mg of mixed tocotrienols. After four months, total cholesterol levels dropped nine percent; after six months levels dropped by 11 percent. LDL cholesterol decreased by 13 percent after four months, and by 17.5 percent after six months.

"Effect of Mixed-Tocotrienols in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects", Functional Foods in Health and Disease , March 31, 2011

Expectant Mothers Who Eat A High-Fat Diet Predetermine Diabetes In Their Children

Pregnant women who consume a high-fat diet may be setting their children up for the onset of diabetes, according to a study in rats by University of Illinois researchers. Researchers fed obesity-resistant rats either a high-fat diet or a control diet from the start of gestation. The high-fat diet closely mimicked a typical Western diet containing 45 percent fat. When the offspring were born, the blood sugar levels of the high-fat group’s newborns were double those of the newborns in the control group. Diet alone produced the results because the mother rats were not obese at the beginning of the experiment and all had normal blood sugar levels. The high-fat diet offspring also had epigenetic modifications to genes that regulate glucose metabolism.

"Gestational High Fat Diet Programs Hepatic Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (Pck) Expression and Histone Modification in Neonatal Offspring Rats", The Journal of Physiology, March 28, 2011

Children Do Not Lose Weight On Low-Fat Dairy Diet

An Australian study of children who consumed either regular or low-fat dairy products found that intake of saturated fats dropped in those who ate low-fat products, but their weight levels remained the same as those who consumed regular dairy. The 24-week randomized trial involved 145 children ages 4 to 13 years old divided into two groups. One group ate their normal diet, while the other ate reduced-fat dairy. Researchers measured the children’s intake of saturated fats, energy and nutrients, blood fat levels, body mass index and waist circumference at intervals over the six months. They found no significant differences in energy intake or fat measurements between the two groups.

"Changing from regular-fat to low-fat dairy foods reduces saturated fat intake but not energy intake in 4–13-y-old children", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 23, 2011

Vitamin D Has Positive Effect On Sperm Movement – Study

Danish researchers report that they have established a relationship between serum vitamin D and the movement of human sperm. The study conducted among 300 men found a positive association between the percentage of sperm capable of movement and the levels of serum vitamin D in the body. And when they stimulated the sperm in the lab with vitamin D, the forward movement of the sperm increased significantly. The researchers warned, however, that though their findings showed vitamin D was necessary for male reproduction, the findings were “not sufficient in determining whether vitamin D supplements may improve sperm quality in normal or infertile males.”

"Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa", Human Reproduction, March 22, 2011

Cocoa Flavanols Improve Functioning Of Eyes And Brain – Study

A study by researchers in the U.K. has found that cocoa flavanols have a positive impact on some characteristics of eye and brain functions. Intake of cocoa flavanols improved performance on vision tests in young adults while boosting some areas of cognitive performance. For example, cocoa flavanols increased visual contrast sensitivity and reduced the time required to detect motion direction. “In terms of cognitive performance, CF improved spatial memory and performance on some aspects of the choice reaction time task,” researchers said. The study involved 30 young adults (18-25 years old) who consumed high and low levels of dark chocolate and, a week later, the same amounts of white chocolate as a control. The participants were then tested on visual contrast sensitivity, on motion sensitivity, and on cognitive performance.

"Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions", Physiology & Behavior, February 12, 2011

High Omega-3 Levels In Blood Of Expectant Mothers Lowers Risk Of Obesity In Children

A U.S. study has found that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy reduce the incidence of obesity among children at three years old. Scientists measured prenatal omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentrations in umbilical cord blood and later measured their child’s body mass index (BMI) and skinfolds. They found that a higher ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the blood was associated with a lower risk of obesity. About 20 percent of the expectant mothers tested ate more than two fish meals a week at mid-pregnancy, but few ate fish known to be high in omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. The children of women who had a high ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s were two to four times more likely to be obese at age three.

"Prenatal fatty acid status and child adiposity at age 3 y: results from a US pregnancy cohort", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 10, 2011

Dietary patterns and 14-y weight gain in African American women

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 18, 2011

Biomarkers of dairy intake and the risk of heart disease

Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, May 05, 2011

Nutritional Properties of Bamboo Shoots: Potential and Prospects for Utilization as a Health Food

Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, April 06, 2011

Is Caffeine a Good Scavenger of Oxygenated Free Radicals?

Journal of Physical Chemistry, March 25, 2011

Edible Neotropical Blueberries: Antioxidant and Compositional Fingerprint Analysis

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 10, 2011

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