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Period: July 1, 2011 to July 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
Companies, Organizations  

“General Wellbeing” Foods/Beverages Are Booming In U.S.

Retail sales of  health and wellness foods and beverages in the U.S. totaled $153 billion in 2010, accounting for one fourth of global sales in the category, according to Euromonitor International. “General wellbeing” comprises the largest subcategory, accounting for 40 percent of U.S. health and wellness sales. Euromonitor says general wellbeing is popular because “it does not make any overt allusions to ‘disease’.” In fact, marketers of health and wellness products are advised to avoid mentioning disease because that “needlessly narrows down a potential mainstream audience to a select target group.” Weight management products remain the second largest sales category, but growth is stagnant; energy boosting products and products to improve digestion are being well received; but beauty-from-within foods and beverages have not yet caught on in the U.S.

"Health and Wellness by Prime Positioning: The US", News release, Euromonitor International, June 29, 2011

Sen. Durbin To Introduce Bill To Tighten FDA Regulation Of Dietary Supplements

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced he will introduce a bill requiring the FDA to regulate the number of beverages and foods being marketed as dietary supplements, often taregting young adults. The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act would improve the information available to consumers and “curb the prevalence of drinks and foods that are masquerading as dietary supplements” that may contain potentially dangerous ingredients not approved by the FDA. Durbin said makers of dietary supplements that contain additives currently do not have to prove their products are safe before putting them on the market. A key provision of the bill is a requirement that the FDA define what a conventional food is so foods marketed as health aids could be better regulated.

"Durbin to Introduce Legislation Designed to Protect Consumers of Dietary Supplements", Press release, Sen. Dick Durbin, June 27, 2011

Omega-3-Rich Krill Oil Changes Expression Of Genes Associated With Fat Production

Researchers from a U.S. genomics company and a Norwegian supplier of krill oil report that a diet supplemented with omega-3-rich krill oil seems to control genes in the liver associated with cholesterol metabolism and the production of glucose and fat. Scientists fed three groups of lab mice either a normal diet with soybean oil, a normal diet plus fish oil and soybean oil, or a normal diet plus Aker Biomarine’s krill oil and soybean oil. After three months, the researchers assayed 20,118 genes, finding that 4,892 genes associated with obesity and insulin resistance were significantly changed in the krill oil group, but only 192 genes in the fish oil group. Further study is needed to determine “if the gene expression patterns observed in this study have effects on metabolic disease,” they concluded.

"Differential effects of krill oil and fish oil on the hepatic transcriptome in mice", Frontiers in Genetics , June 25, 2011


Fast Food Is Preferred By Young People, Whether Healthy Food Is Nearby Or Not

Scientists in the U.S. who studied fast food consumption data from 5,115 young adults found that having fast-food restaurants in the neighborhood is strongly associated with the amount of fast food consumed. However, living near grocery stores and supermarkets has no impact on healthy diet choices, a finding that tends to belie assumptions – often inspiring federal policies on food – that lower income people often eat unhealthy diets because they have less access to healthy foods, and greater access to junk foods. The researchers said classifying restaurants and food stores as healthy or unhealthy “may provide little understanding of how the food environment impacts diet and may overlook innovative policy solutions."

"Fast Food Restaurants and Food Stores: Longitudinal Associations With Diet in Young to Middle-aged Adults: The CARDIA Study", Archives of Internal Medicine, July 12, 2011

Children Turn To Junk Food To Ease Stress, Boredom, Depression, Etc.

Many children and teens, especially females, overeat to ease stress, boredom and depression, according to a ten-year U.S. study. And they often become addicted to these unhealthy foods, making it difficult to lose weight or keep from gaining weight. The study involved 29,406 young people who ranged in age from eight to 21 years (ninety-four percent were females). Information was collected on a Web site through bulletin board posts, etc. Thirty-two percent of the participants said they chose sugar-sweetened beverages, junk food, and fast food when sad, depressed, stressed, nervous, lonely, tired or bored. The solution to the problem? “Taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages, and possibly junk food and fast food, and restriction of such outlets to children, would seem warranted and even embraced by some children.”

"Addiction to Highly Pleasurable Food as a Cause of the Childhood Obesity Epidemic: A Qualitative Internet Study", Eating Disorders, June 21, 2011

Controversies & Disputes  

No Evidence That “Moderate” Reduction In Salt Intake Offers Health Benefits

A systematic review of the results of seven studies involving more than 6,000 participants found little evidence to conclude that a moderate reduction in salt intake cuts the risk of dying or experiencing cardiovascular disease, though there was evidence that it reduces blood pressure. The researchers said moderate reductions in salt intake in the studies were perhaps too little to have a significant health benefit. They acknowledged that they would be more comfortable drawing conclusions regarding clear health benefits if the pool of participants were at least triple the number they examined. Larger studies should be conducted “to get a full understanding of the benefits and risks of reducing salt intake," said British researcher Rod Taylor.

"Reduced Dietary Salt for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials (Cochrane Review)", American Journal of Hypertension, July 05, 2011

Harvard Got It Wrong; Nutritious Potato Can Help Fight Obesity

A Harvard study that claims eating potatoes on a regular basis contributes to weight increase and was published by the New England Journal of Medicine failed to adequately study potato's dietary importance, according to an opinion from the Governor of Idaho. Results of the study covered by the Los Angeles Times and other media organization ignored potato's historical and practical contributions to human nutrition and survival. The United Nations declared 2008 as the International Year of the Potato in recognition of its nutritional value and environmentally-friendly cultivation. The potato contains 110 calories per serving, offers 620 grams of potassium (more than a banana), and provides up to 45% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Other studies over the years have highlighted the potato's nutritional characteristics, as well as its role in weight reduction.


Innovation & New Ideas  

European Companies Unveil Products Based On Chr. Hansen’s Probiotics+Fiber Formulation

European dietary supplement companies have begun to launch retail products based on Chr. Hansen’s probiotic-plus-fiber formulation designed to fight constipation. The Chr. Hansen product is a stick with a powder blend of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium BB-12 and fiber. It is sifted over breakfast cereals or poured into a glass of water once or twice a day. In February, the product Yovis Regola was unveiled in Italy; British firm Wren Laboratories Ltd. has just introduced a consumer version of the product in the UK under the brand OptiBac Probiotics. Chr. Hansen said it is working with other companies in other countries on probiotics-plus-fiber products to “help people tackle constipation.”

"Shortly after the launch of Chr. Hansen’s powerful probiotics + fiber supplements concept, consumer products are available in European markets", Press release, Chr. Hansen, July 07, 2011

New System Makes Measurements Of Food's Impact On Blood Sugar More Accurate

A Swedish researcher has developed a way to measure a food’s impact on blood sugar levels – the glycemic profile or GP – that provides a more accurate picture when combined with the glycemic index (GI) system because it takes the shape of the blood sugar curve into account. The flatter the curve over time the better the GP. Food that produces an even and reasonably low curve scores the highest GP values because it delivers energy for a long time. Using the GI system alone is inaccurate because it only takes into account short-term fluctuations in blood sugar. The best foods have a low GI and a high GP score. To calculate GP, blood glucose is measured for three hours after a meal, rather than two hours used in GI.

"New measurement important complement to GI", News release, Lund University in Sweden, June 28, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Some People Become Addicted To Delicious Foods, Leading To Compulsive Eating, Obesity

People can become addicted to delicious foods and become compulsive about consuming them, in much the same way as drug addicts and alcoholics, according to unpublished Canadian research. For the study, researchers analyzed the answers to a questionnaire completed by a group of obese people to diagnose substance dependence. People were then classified as either food addicts or non-addicts. The two groups were compared in three areas associated with conventional addiction disorders. Food addicts were more likely to show evidence of binge-eating disorder and depression, as well as symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. "These findings advance our search for clinically relevant subtypes of obesity that may possess different biological and psychological vulnerabilities to environmental risk factors,” researchers said.

"Evidence for Food Addiction in Humans", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, July 12, 2011

Substituting Nuts For Carbs Improves Blood Sugar Control In Type 2 Diabetics

People with type 2 diabetes who replace carbohydrates in their diet with as few as two ounces of nuts daily showed better control of blood sugar and lipids, new Canadian research has found. The researchers tested three diet supplements on type 2 diabetics: muffins only; a mixture of a variety of nuts; and a mixture of nuts and muffins. Those who ate the nuts-only supplement showed the greatest improvement in blood glucose control and the greatest reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. "The study indicates that nuts can provide a specific food option for people with type 2 diabetes wishing to reduce their carbohydrate intake," the researchers concluded. Nuts used in the study included raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias.

"Nuts as a Replacement for Carbohydrates in the Diabetic Diet. Diabetes Care", Diabetes Care, July 12, 2011

Study Shows EpiCor Consumption Strengthens Immune Defense

Researchers found that intake of a 500-milligram dose of the EpiCor (EP) immunogen from Saccharomyces cerevisiae exhibits a fast and temporary effect on the flow and activation status of certain lymphocyte subsets and increases antioxidant protection. Researchers used a placebo-controlled randomized crossover study method to evaluate the 12 healthy adults selected as study subjects. Results showed that EP consumption raised the subjects' erythrocyte hematocrit levels, enhanced mucosal immune protection, reduced cold and flu symptoms, as well as seasonal allergy symptoms. Also, EP intake increased salivary secretion of immunoglobulin A.

"Antioxidant Bioavailability and Rapid Immune-Modulating Effects After Consumption of a Single Acute Dose of a High-Metabolite Yeast Immunogen: Results of a Placebo-Controlled Double-Blinded Crossover Pilot Study", Journal of Medicinal Food, July 07, 2011

Study Shows High Folate Intakes Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

Increased intake of folate may help cut the risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study published in the Gastroenterology journal of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute. Researchers focused on the link between folate consumption and colorectal cancer among 99,523 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Results showed no significant association in the first two years of follow-up studies, but discovered significantly inverse relations in the following years. Findings supported epidemiological evidence that increased folate intake cuts colorectal cancer risk and eased worries that high intakes of the water-soluble B vitamin may actually increase risk of cancer.

"High Folate Intake May Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer", American Gastroenterological Association, July 05, 2011

High Levels Of Folate Intake Are Associated With Reduced Colorectal Cancer Risk

U.S researchers who analyzed eight years of data from a large (nearly 100,000 participants) cancer prevention study found an association between consuming high levels of the water-soluble B vitamin known as folate and a reduction in colorectal cancer risk. Folate occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables and other foods, and is also available as folic acids in supplements. The researchers found that the best results came from total folate and folic acid intake, from both natural and fortified foods, and from supplements. The study period was from 1999 to 2007, after folate fortification began. Researchers found neither higher nor lower risk of cancer during the first two years of follow-up (1999 to 2001), but found statistically significantly reductions in colorectal cancer during the subsequent years (2002 to 2007).

"High Levels of Folate From Supplements and Fortification Are Not Associated With Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer", Gastroenterology, July 05, 2011

Resveratrol Prevents Harmful Effects Of Lack Of Physical Activity

A study by French researchers has found that resveratrol curbs insulin resistance and prevents bone density loss associated with spaceflight weightlessness and lack of physical activity. Experiments with rats in which the weightlessness experienced by astronauts was simulated showed that animals who were not fed resveratrol lost soleus muscle mass and strength, developed insulin resistance, and lost bone mineral density and resistance to breakage. Animals who received resveratrol experienced none of these effects. “[Resveratrol] could thus be envisaged as a nutritional countermeasure for spaceflight but remains to be tested in humans,” the researchers concluded.

"Resveratrol prevents the wasting disorders of mechanical unloading by acting as a physical exercise mimetic in the rat", The FASEB Journal, June 29, 2011

More Frequent Meals And Bigger Portions Lead To Elevated Energy Intake Of American Adults

A study revealed that changes in eating and drinking occasions (EOs) and portion size (PS) are the main causes of changes in total energy (TE) intake of American adults over a period of 30 years. Researchers used cross-sectional data from the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (1977–1978), Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals (1989–1991), and National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1994–1998 and 2003–2006) for adults aged 19 years and above to analyze TE and its components (PS, EO, and energy density). Results showed an increase in TE intake and the number of daily EOs between 1977–1978 and 2003–2006, while average PS rose between 1977–1978 and 1994–1998.

"Energy Density, Portion Size, and Eating Occasions: Contributions to Increased Energy Intake in the United States, 1977–2006", PLoS Medicine, June 28, 2011

Norway Finds No Adverse Effects From Consuming Large Amounts Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Any adverse effects reported for taking large amounts of omega-3 fatty acid supplements are probably due to problems with the intake of oily substances, rather than with the intake of EPA or DHA, a Norwegian food safety (VKM) has ruled. The panel reviewed safety data on EPA and DHA , two forms of omega-3 fatty acids, finding that levels as high as 6.9 grams a day led to no unfavorable effects. Scientists looked at dosages and effects for an array of conditions such as bleeding times, lipid peroxidation, inflammation and immunity, glucose metabolism and gastrointestinal disturbances. “Negative health effects regarding gastrointestinal function … have been reported, but seem to be associated with intake of an oily substance” rather than with EPA or DHA,” the committee concluded.

"Evaluation of negative and positive health effects of n-3 fatty acids as constituents of food supplements and fortified foods", Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM), June 28, 2011

Strawberry Flavonoid Reduces Complications From Diabetes

U.S. researchers have found that fisetin, a flavonoid that occurs abundantly in strawberries and in other fruits and vegetables, lessens complications of diabetes and could be used to treat other medical conditions. Earlier research has shown that fisetin promotes survival of neurons grown in culture and enhances memory in healthy mice. The new study demonstrates in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes that fisetin prevents both kidney and brain complications. Diabetic mice fed a fisetin-enriched diet remained diabetic, but acute kidney enlargement seen in untreated mice was reversed. High urine protein levels, a sign of kidney disease, also fell. Researchers said the therapeutic effect was associated with reduced levels of proteins known as advanced glycation end-products-or AGEs.

"Fisetin Lowers Methylglyoxal Dependent Protein Glycation and Limits the Complications of Diabetes", PlosOne, June 27, 2011

Plant Foods Help Children And Adolescents Lower Risk Of Obesity

Regular consumption of plant foods may prevent obesity among children and adolescents, according to a study in the United States. Researchers used a non-quantitative food frequency questionnaire from the 1980 Child-Adolescent Blood Pressure Study to determine the link between the risk of being overweight and consumption of food groups. Results showed that the frequency of consumption of plant foods including grains, nuts, vegetables, and low nutrient-dense foods was inversely related to the risk of obesity. Also, researchers found that dairy consumption increased the risk.

"The risk of child and adolescent overweight is related to types of food consumed", Nutrition Journal, June 24, 2011

Beetroot Juice “Shots” Deliver A Powerful Dose Of Antioxidants, Polyphenols – Study

Researchers in the U.K. have found that a 70 ml (2.4 oz.) “shot” of beetroot juice delivers a large number of bioavailable antioxidants and polyphenols “in a small convenient volume.” Beetroot contains pigments known as betalains that comprise betacyanins, betaxanthins and other healthful phenolic compounds. In addition to these biologically accessible antioxidants, beetroot contains nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folic acid, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, niacin, biotin, vitamin B6 and soluble fiber. Consuming beetroot juice offers a more convenient alternative to eating the vegetable, the authors wrote, adding that their findings “clearly demonstrate that antioxidants [in the beetroot juice] become more accessible following digestion than those in other vegetable juice products.”

"A beetroot juice shot is a significant and convenient source of bioaccessible antioxidants", Journal of Functional Foods, June 22, 2011

Higher Folic Acid Intake During Pregnancy Does Not Cause Childhood Atopic Diseases

A study revealed that folic acid supplementation and higher intracellular folic acid (ICF) levels during pregnancy are not associated with atopic diseases, such as asthma and wheeze, in childhood. Researchers conducted multivariable logistic and linear regression analyses of data gathered via the KOALA Birth Cohort Study. They also defined folic acid use as standalone and multivitamin supplements based on the period of use before and during pregnancy. Results of the study showed that increased ICF levels during pregnancy slightly decreased risk for developing asthma.

"Folic Acid Use in Pregnancy and the Development of Atopy, Asthma, and Lung Function in Childhood", Pediatrics, June 20, 2011

Soluble Fibre Supplementation May Help Reduce Abdominal Fat

A study revealed that increased consumption of soluble fibre may help lower the amount of deep belly fat or abdominal fat that humans accumulate. Researchers examined possible links between lifestyle factors — such as smoking, physical activity, calorie intake, and fat intake — and five-year change in abdominal fat as measured by computed tomography in the Insulin Resistance and Atherosclerosis Family Study. Results showed that soluble fiber intake and vigorous physical activities were inversely related to change in visceral adipose tissue, but soluble fiber played no role in change in subcutaneous adipose tissue.

"Lifestyle Factors and 5-Year Abdominal Fat Accumulation in a Minority Cohort: The IRAS Family Study", Obesity, June 16, 2011

Very Low-Calorie Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes In Clinical Trial

An extremely low-calorie diet reversed Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes in a clinical trial conducted in the U.K. All eleven people who participated experienced diminished symptoms of the disease –  a chronic condition caused by excessive glucose in the blood – by limiting their food intake to 600 calories a day for eight weeks. Their diet during the trial consisted of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables. Pre-breakfast blood sugar levels were normal after one week; eventually the pancreas recovered the ability to produce insulin and post-meal blood sugar levels improved. After two months, the volunteers returned to a normal diet. In a three-month follow-up of ten participants, seven were still free of diabetes.

"Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol", Diabetologia, June 09, 2011

Calcium-Vitamin D Supplementation Increases Risk Of Urinary Tract Stones

U.S. researchers who analyzed seven years of data from more than 36,000 postmenopausal women who participated in a placebo-controlled clinical trial found that daily supplementation with calcium and vitamin D significantly increased the risk of urinary tract stones. About half of the women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study received 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate plus 400 of IU vitamin D3 twice daily. The rest of the women received a placebo. The researchers found that 449 women in the calcium-vitamin D group reported urinary tract stones, which was almost 18 percent more than the placebo group. “These findings have implications for [calcium-vitaminD] supplement use,” the researchers concluded. But they cautioned that the self-reported occurrence of stones was not confirmed by clinical evidence.

"Urinary tract stone occurrence in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) randomized clinical trial of calcium and vitamin D supplements", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 27, 2011

Omega-3 Supplements Not Effective In Reversing Age-Related Cognitive Declines – Study

A U.S. study in rats has found that there are fewer benefits to taking omega-3 supplements as one ages. The researchers fed omega-3s to young and old rats for four months, finding no impact on age-related decline in cognitive function among the older rats, but a “small but positive” improvement in heart function, especially diastolic function. The younger rats, however, showed improvements in spatial memory. In the older rats, the fish oil supplements were not associated with any reversal of the age-related memory deficits or increases in inflammation in the brain, the researchers wrote. They said more studies are needed to determine whether omega-3 “supplementation may need to occur prior to the accumulation of inflammatory damage to be effective in the brain and in the heart.”

"Dietary Fish Oil Modestly Attenuates the Effect of Age on Diastolic Function but Has No Effect on Memory or Brain Inflammation in Aged Rats", Journal of Gerontology: Biological Science , March 10, 2011

Reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, July 06, 2011

Acute Dietary Nitrate Supplementation Improves Cycling Time Trial Performance

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 01, 2011

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