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Period: February 1, 2012 to February 15, 2012
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
Research, Studies, Advice  

“Baby-Led” Weaning Helps Children Learn To Make Healthier Food Choices

Researchers in the U.K. have found that how a baby is weaned – using either pureed or baby-chosen finger foods – can influence food choices and health later in life. When babies get to choose solid finger food, they are more likely to pick healthier foods to eat as they mature and less likely to become overweight than children spoon-fed pureed food. For the study, researchers analyzed data from 154 children. Some had been allowed to eat solid finger food during the weaning process, the rest had been spoon-fed purees. “Baby-led” weaning had a positive impact on the preference for healthier, more nutritious foods. The method “promotes healthy food preferences in early childhood which may protect against obesity," the researchers concluded.

"Baby knows best? The impact of weaning style on food preferences and body mass index in early childhood in a case-controlled sample", BMJ Open, February 09, 2012

Many Fast-Food Diners Would Rather Choose Smaller Portions Than Heed Calorie Data

Fast-food diners would rather get smaller portions in their restaurant meals than read – and heed – calories postings, according to the U.S. study. When servers asked whether customers would like to “downsize” starchy side dishes at a Chinese fast-food restaurant 33 percent gladly cut back, saving an average 200 calories each meal. The offer of a discount on the down-sized meal had virtually no impact on the decision about smaller portions. The researchers said they hoped the study would help restaurants understand that helping diners exercise portion control won’t alienate customers, a finding that may be “counterintuitive.” It is “an interesting and easy strategy to implement that could help their customers make healthier choices,” they said.

"Inviting Consumers To Downsize Fast-Food Portions Significantly Reduces Calorie Consumption", Health Affairs, February 08, 2012

Genetic Differences Explain Preference For Unhealthy Fatty Foods

People who have some forms of a certain gene tend to prefer higher fat foods – half-and-half, sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon, fried chicken, etc. – putting them at greater risk for obesity compared to those without the gene, a U.S. study involving African Americans has found. The gene, CD36, is necessary in animals to both detect and develop preferences for fat. According to the researchers, their discovery helps explain why some people resist a low-fat diet and may one day assist people in selecting diets that are easier to follow. Food formulators might also use the new insight to develop better tasting low-fat foods.

"Common Variants in the CD36 Gene Are Associated With Oral Fat Perception, Fat Preferences, and Obesity in African Americans", Obesity, February 03, 2012

Vitamin/Mineral Supplements Significantly Reduce Risk Of Colon Cancer In High-Fat Diet

A study by Indian and Saudi scientists has found that lab animals fed a high-fat/low-fiber diet plus daily vitamin/mineral supplements developed 84 percent fewer precancerous colon lesions. In addition, unlike the animals fed the same diet without a vitamin/mineral supplement, the vitamin-fed animals developed no cancerous colon tumors. The authors concluded that multivitamin and mineral supplements together “contribute to the cancer chemopreventative potential” and “regular supplements of multivitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of colon cancer."

"Multivitamin and mineral supplementation in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine induced experimental colon carcinogenesis and evaluation of free radical status, antioxidant potential, and incidence of ACF", Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, February 03, 2012

Shedding Light On Resveratrol’s Biochemistry May Lead To Effective Medicines

A discovery about the biochemistry and cell targeting mechanism of resveratrol may lead to the development of resveratrol-based medicines for combating diabetes, inflammation, Alzheimer’s and cancer,U.S. researchers report. Resveratrol, a naturally occurring chemical found in red wine and other plant products, does not directly activate sirtuin 1, a protein associated with aging. Instead, the compound inhibits certain types of proteins known as phosphodiesterases (PDEs), enzymes that help regulate cell energy. Prior research has shown that about one gram of resveratrol a day, roughly equal to the amount found in 667 bottles of red wine, is needed to confer any major health benefits.

"Resveratrol Ameliorates Aging-Related Metabolic Phenotypes by Inhibiting cAMP Phosphodiesterases", Cell, February 02, 2012

Study Finds That People Mimic Eating Behavior Of Dining Partners, For Better Or Worse

Dutch and Canadian researchers have determined that eating behaviors – both positive and negative – can be influenced by the behavior of dining partners. Seventy female students participated in the study, dining in an imitation restaurant with a female companion whom they had not met before. Both women in every couple tended to synchronize their bites with their eating companion rather than eating at their own pace. The subconscious mimicry behavior is a way to make an impression or ingratiate yourself, particularly when just becoming acquainted, the researchers said. The finding could be used in the war against obesity: eating behavior can be influenced without people realizing it, and that knowledge could help change harmful eating patterns.

"Mimicry of Food Intake: The Dynamic Interplay between Eating Companions", PLoS ONE, February 02, 2012

Coffee Drinkers Are Less At Risk Of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

U.S. researchers who studied the correlation between coffee consumption and the severity of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease confirmed that coffee caffeine cuts the risk of advanced fibrosis. The study involved 306 participants who were asked about their  caffeine coffee habits and were categorized into four groups, each with varying severities of fatty liver, from none to stage four. Analysis showed that the higher the consumption of coffee caffeine, the lower the risk of  hepatic fibrosis. The researchers said that "patients with [fatty liver disease] may benefit from moderate coffee consumption that decreases risk of advanced fibrosis.”

"Association of coffee and caffeine consumption with fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and degree of hepatic fibrosis", Hepatology, February 02, 2012

“Gentle” Controls On Sugar Consumption Would Help Fight Global Obesity Problem

In a world where obesity is contributing to 35 million deaths annually, researchers suggest that sugar’s potential for abuse, along with its toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet, make it a major offender. They argue that sugar is not just a source of empty calories: it changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones, and causes major damage to the liver. Sugar consumption should be controlled, not prohibited, using only “gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient.” The gentle tactics they suggest include levying special sales taxes, controlling access, and tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars

"Public health: The toxic truth about sugar", Nature, February 01, 2012

Eating Small Portions Of Purple Potatoes Reduces Blood Pressure In Overweight People

U.S. researchers who investigated the effects of eating microwaved purples potatoes on blood pressure found that overweight people experienced an average drop of 4.3 percent in diastolic blood pressure and a 3.5 percent drop in systolic blood pressure over eight weeks. Eighteen volunteers ate 6-8 small microwaved purple potatoes (Purple Majesty) twice a day. Blood pressure dropped without weight gain, the researchers noted. The researchers said that the decrease seems small, but is enough to potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. The scientists acknowledged that they did not know what substances in the potatoes caused the drop in blood pressure, nor did they know whether white potatoes would have the same effect.

"High antioxidant potatoes: Acute in vivo antioxidant source and hypotensive agent in humans after supplementation to hypertensive subjects", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 01, 2012

Researchers Find Puzzling Link Between Daily Diet Soft Drink Consumption And Vascular Illness

U.S. researchers who studied ten years of health data from 2,564 participants in an urban stroke study, found that individuals who drink diet soft drinks every day had a 43 percent higher risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular events, including death. However, the researchers found no such correlation among moderate drinkers of diet soft drinks, or among drinkers of regular soft drinks. The researchers acknowledged they don’t know the reasons behind the higher vascular event correlation, but said their results "suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes” that needs further study.

"Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study", Journal of General Internal Medicine, January 31, 2012

Study Finds That Vitamin D Supplements Could Provide Relief From Age-Related Diseases

Vitamin D supplements might be a simple, effective way to fight age-related eye diseases – including macular degeneration – if a discovery in animal research translates to humans. British researchers found that when old mice were given vitamin D for only six weeks, inflammation in the eyes was reduced, along with the debris that accumulates as a result of the retina’s high demand for energy, and vision improved. The researchers also noticed in the vitamin D-treated mice ia reduction in deposits of a toxic molecule called amyloid beta that accumulates with age. They said this discovery may have implications for treatment of cardiovascular disease, another age-related health problem.

"Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes by reducing inflammation, clearing amyloid beta and improving visual function", Neurobiology of Ageing, January 17, 2012

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