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Period: November 1, 2011 to November 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

Consumer Focus On Shedding Pounds Drives Healthy Retail Sales Of Weight Loss Products

Consumers interested in losing weight are responding to marketing promises, driving healthy weight management product sales, according to a Euromonitor report. Weight loss companies have successfully upgraded their meal replacement lines, introducing new flavors for current products, and launching new powders, soups and bars. All have enjoyed success at the retail level. Palatability and texture have improved markedly, thanks to the application of new ingredient technologies. Meal replacement slimming and weight loss supplements posted the highest sales in the U.S., mainly because of strong promotional efforts from direct sellers Amway and Herbalife. “A combination of high overweight/obesity rates, affluence and the desire for a perfect body helped North America dominate retail value sales of weight management products in 2010,” Euromonitor said.

"An overview of weight management results 2009-2010", Euromonitor International, October 29, 2011

Survey Finds That Americans Believe Canned Foods Are Not As Nutritious As Frozen Or Fresh

A survey conducted by a group representing steelmakers and some food processors found that only 46 percent of Americans know that canned foods count toward U.S. government recommended dietary guidelines; 40 percent believe canned foods are less nutritious than frozen foods; and sixty percent believes canned foods are not as nutritious as fresh. But according to the Canned Food Alliance, food packaged in steel cans “can be just as nutritious (and sometimes more nutritious) than fresh and frozen varieties.” CFA Executive Director Rich Tavoletti said canned foods provide affordable, accessible and convenient nutrition.

"Survey: Consumers Underestimate Canned Foods’ Benefits", News release, Mealtime.org, October 25, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Fish Consumption Is Healthier For The Heart, Reduces Risk Of Diabetes

Researchers in Spain who analyzed the diets of 935 men and women at risk of cardiovascular disease found that red meat consumption was associated with greater weight gain and a higher obesity rate, while fish consumption was linked to lower glucose concentrations and less risk of diabetes. Intake of large amounts of red meat was linked to higher cardiovascular risk, higher blood pressure, diabetes and a moderate decrease in life expectancy, mainly due from cancer or heart disease. Eating both white and oily fish, however, not only had health benefits for the heart, consumption of fish, it was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"Meat and fish consumption in a high cardiovascular risk Spanish Mediterranean population", Nutrición Hospitalaria, November 11, 2011

Nutrient-Dense, High-Fiber Foods Reduce Risk Of Metabolic Syndrome In Teens – Study

Michigan State University researchers have found that as intake of high-fiber, nutrient-dense foods increases among teenagers, the risk of metabolic syndrome drops. The researchers focused on data collected from 2,100 boys and girls aged 12 to 19 as part of a national health survey done from 1999-2002. The study found a three-fold increase in the number of children that had metabolic syndrome – risk factors for diabetes such as high blood pressure and a large waistline – when children receiving the least fiber were compared with those receiving the most. There was not, however, a significant relationship to either saturated fat or cholesterol intake.

"Dietary Fiber and Nutrient Density Are Inversely Associated with Metabolic Syndrome in U.S. Adolescents", Journal of the American Dietetic Association, November 10, 2011

New Test Identifies Fish-Borne Poison Quickly, Reliably

Scientists in Japan have developed a test that quickly and reliably identifies a difficult-to-detect poison, ciguatoxin, that causes as many as 60,000 people a year to become sick from eating warm water fish such as red snapper and sea bass. The source of the toxin is tropical and subtropical marine algae eaten by smaller fish. The presence of the toxin is undetectable: contaminated fish taste, smell and look fine. The current test for the toxin, which uses mice, is time-consuming and often ineffective. The new test was able to identify 16 varieties of the toxin quickly using standard lab instruments.

"Detailed LC-MS/MS Analysis of Ciguatoxins Revealing Distinct Regional and Species Characteristics in Fish and Causative Alga from the Pacific", Analytical Chemistry, November 09, 2011

Dairy Foods, Protein With Daily Exercise Induce Weight Loss While Protecting Bone Health

A diet rich in dairy foods and  protein was associated with improved bone health among obese young women in a study by Canadian researchers. Eating dairy foods and higher-than-recommended amounts of protein resulted in improvements in biomarkers of bone formation and reductions in markers of bone degradation. The 16-week diet- and exercise-induced weight loss program involving 90 premenopausal women and included modest dietary calorie restriction, aerobic exercise and varied intakes of protein and dairy foods. Researchers then tested bone mineral density and blood levels of several bone health biomarkers, finding positive effects on markers of bone turnover, calcium, vitamin D status and bone metabolism.

"Diets Higher in Dairy Foods and Dietary Protein Support Bone Health during Diet- and Exercise-Induced Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Premenopausal Women", Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, November 09, 2011

Reduction In Fat Cells Helps The Body Fight Gum Disease

A U.S. pilot study involving 31 obese people has discovered an association between a reduction of fat cells in the body and an improved ability to fight gum disease. Half of the participants had gastric bypass surgery, had fat cells from the abdomen removed and were treated for gum disease. The other half were also treated for gum disease but did not have the gastric bypass surgery or fat removed. While both groups showed improvement in gum health, the surgery group did better on the measures for periodontal attachment, bleeding, probing depths and plaque levels, researchers said. And most of the surgery group experienced a drop in their glucose levels after the procedure, a result that bodes well for overweight people predisposed to diabetes and insulin-related problems.

"Response to Periodontal Therapy in Subjects Who Had Weight Loss Following Bariatric Surgery and Obese Counterparts", Journal of Periodontology, November 09, 2011

Wearable Device Captures Dietary, Exercise And Other Lifestyle Data For Weight-Watchers

University of Pittsburgh scientists have created a wearable device for weight-watchers that automatically captures a wide variety of data and other information on various health activities, eliminating the need for self-reporting. The eButton can be worn on the chest like a pin. It includes a miniature camera, accelerometer, GPS and other sensors. According to researchers, the eButton extends beyond food and exercise by recording time spent watching TV or sitting at a computer. It tracks where food is bought, how meals are prepared, which restaurants are visited and what items were ordered. The eButton is not yet available commercially: it is being tested in a pilot study estimating the caloric intake and physical activity levels of participants.

"Researchers Develop eButton, an Easier Way to Monitor Food Intake, Exercise, and Lifestyle", News release, University of Pittsburgh, November 09, 2011

Web-based Program Encouraging Healthier Lifestyle Has Little Impact On Adolescents

Dutch researchers who tested a Web-based computer-tailored intervention designed to increase exercise and promote healthy eating among 883 adolescent students (12 to 13 years of age) found that the program did not impact long-term behavior but may have had some positive short-term effects. The program encouraged drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages, eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and increasing physical activity. The researchers concluded that the intervention showed some positive short-term effects on diet but no effect either way on physical activity and sedentary behavior. Moreover, the intervention had no effect on body mass index, waist circumference, or percentage of students being overweight or obese.

"Evaluation of the Web-Based Computer-Tailored FATaintPHAT Intervention to Promote Energy Balance Among Adolescents", Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, November 07, 2011

Adopting An English Diet In Other U.K. Countries Would Save Thousands of Lives

Researchers who analyzed mortality data for various diseases and conditions associated with diet in the U.K. say that thousands of deaths could be prevented each year in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales if people in those countries adopted the average diet eaten in England. According to the study, the English diet includes more fiber, less salt and saturated fat, and more fruits and vegetables. People in Scotland and Northern Ireland consistently eat more saturated fat and salt and fewer fruits and vegetables every day. The differences between Wales and England were less consistent over the three years, the researchers said, noting that 4,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and cancer could be prevented every year by adopting the English diet.

"Differences in coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer mortality rates between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: the role of diet and nutrition", BMJ Open, November 03, 2011

Commercial Weight Management Programs Work Better Than Primary Care Services

British researchers who compared the effectiveness of commercial weight loss programs with primary care-led programs found the commercial programs to be cheaper and more effective. The 12-week study involved 740 obese and overweight men and women. Programs included were Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Rosemary Conley, a group-based dietetics program, general practice one-to-one counseling, pharmacy one-to-one counseling, or a choice of any of the six programs. A control group was given vouchers for free use of a local fitness center. All programs achieved significant weight loss. But the researchers concluded that commercial weight management services were more effective and cheaper than primary care based services led by specially trained staff, which were no more effective than the control group.

"Comparison of range of commercial or primary care led weight reduction programs with minimal intervention control for weight loss in obesity: Lighten Up randomized controlled trial", BMJ.com, November 03, 2011

Diet That Includes Small Amounts Of Nuts Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease

Eating about one ounce of a mixture of raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts daily reduces inflammatory substances in the blood and increases serotonin levels, which in turn decreases hunger pangs, makes people feel happier, and improves heart health, researchers in Spain report. The scientists analyzed the compounds excreted in the urine of 22 patients with metabolic syndrome who consumed a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks. A control group consisted of patients who did not eat nuts during the study period. Nut consumption not only boosted levels of serotonin metabolites in urine, it reduced levels of substances in the body associated with inflammation and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients.

"Metabolomics Unveils Urinary Changes in Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome following 12-Week Nut Consumption", Journal of Proteome Research, November 02, 2011

Mediterranean Diet Helps Improve Sleep Apnea Symptoms In Obese People

A study by Greek scientists has found that eating a Mediterranean diet improves sleep apnea symptoms among obese people compared to a simply prudent diet. The researchers examined 40 obese patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Half of the patients ate a prudent diet, and half followed a Mediterranean diet. Both groups walked for at least 30 minutes each day. While sleeping, all patients also wore a mask that generates an air stream, keeping the upper airway open. People who followed the Mediterranean diet had a reduced number of disturbances, or apneas, during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep (about 25 percent of total sleep). However, patients did not show an overall improvement in severity of the condition, researchers acknowledged.

"Effect of Mediterranean diet vs. prudent diet combined with physical activity on OSAS: a randomized trial", European Respiratory Journal, November 02, 2011

High Doses Of Vitamin D Found Safe, Effective For Obese Adolescents

U.S. researchers who conducted a study among obese adolescents – all of whom were diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency – found that a daily dose of 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3 was a safe and effective way to improve vitamin D levels. Obese adolescents are only about half as efficient at using vitamin D as lean adolescents. For example, lean adolescents need only take about 100 IUs to increase their serum 25OHD levels by 1 ng/ml. Obese adolescents, however, require about 200 IUs to achieve the same increase. The researchers recommended that physicians need to carefully evaluate the vitamin D status of overweight and obese patients.

"Safety and efficacy of using high dose (4000 IU daily) vitamin D supplementation to improve the vitamin D status of obese adolescents", Press release, presentation at the annual meeting of Experimental Biology, November 01, 2011

High Schoolers Motivated To Lose Weight Engage In Counterproductive Behaviors

A study that analyzed survey data on 44,000 Philadelphia high school students found that about 75 percent are trying to lose weight, but their behaviors – playing video games, drinking sugary sodas, not exercising, etc. – tended to be counterproductive. Girls trying to lose weight were more likely to do 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. But they also tended to drink regular sodas daily. Boys trying to lose weight were more likely to do no physical activity, and averaged more than three hours of video games a day. The researchers suggested that teenagers motivated to lose weight may simply not know that their actions are actually a hindrance than a help.

"Overweight Teens Want to Lose Weight, Going About It the Wrong Way", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, November 01, 2011

Vitamin D Improves Bone Health In Older Women, But Does Not Protect Against Mortality

A long-term U.S. study has found that postmenopausal women who took vitamin D supplements were not protected from death due to cancer, cardiovascular disease or other conditions, though vitamin D did improve bone health. Researchers looked at data from 2,429 older women, tracking blood levels of vitamin D and mortality over ten years. A total of 225 of the women died, including 79 from cardiovascular disease and 62 from cancer. What was apparent in the data, researchers said, was that the women with the lowest levels of vitamin D also had a lot of other negative health indicators. After controlling smoking, history of cardiovascular disease, history of cancer, alcohol consumption, and waist circumference, the impact of vitamin D was essentially zero.

"Prospective association of vitamin D concentrations with mortality in postmenopausal women", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 01, 2011

Study Finds That “The Freshman 15” Pounds Of Weight Gain Is A Myth

An Ohio State University study reports that the commonly held belief that college students gain an average of 15 pounds during their freshman year is a myth. Not only do college students not gain anywhere near “the freshman 15” pounds, college has little to do with weight gain, which is more associated with becoming an adult. The average college freshman gains an average of 2.5 to 3.5 pounds, the study found. The study analyzed data from 7,418 young Americans who participated in a survey beginning in 1997 and were interviewed every year after that. Women gained an average of 2.4 pounds as freshmen; men gained an average of 3.4 pounds. Only 10 percent gained 15 pounds or more, and 25 percent actually lost weight.

"The Freshman 15: A Critical Time for Obesity Intervention or Media Myth? ", Social Science Quarterly, October 31, 2011

Obesity And Depression Act Independently To Drive Up Health Costs

Previous research had drawn an association between depression and obesity and higher health care costs, but a new study says the two conditions do not act together to boost costs. Researchers used telephone interviews to determine obesity and depression, then analyzed medical records to calculate health care costs for 4,462 women aged 40-65. Obesity was measured as body mass index (BMI); depression was measured with a 9-item American Psychiatric Association questionnaire. The researchers found that in middle-aged women, health care costs increased 65 percent in women with a BMI of 30-35, and 157 percent in women with a BMI higher than 35. Health care costs increased with higher depression scores, but depression did not significantly impact the obesity cost results.

" Obesity, Depression, and Health Services Costs Among Middle-Aged Women", Journal of General Internal Medicine, October 31, 2011

Cherry juice gives a good night's sleep

Northumbria University, November 01, 2011

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