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Period: February 15, 2013 to March 1, 2013
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

Mediterranean Diet Supplemented With Nuts, Olive Oil, Reduces Risk Of Cardiovascular Death

The Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts reduces the risk of a heart, attack, stroke or heart-related death, according to a long-term U.S. clinical study involving 7,447 people in Spain. After five years, scientists proved that participants who followed either of two types of Mediterranean diet – supplemented with either nuts or with olive oil – showed a substantial reduction in risk of suffering a cardiovascular event. The findings prove that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier at a cardiovascular level than a low-fat diet. The diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.

"Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet", New England Journal of Medicine, February 25, 2013

Study Determines Why Aspirin, Omega-3s Do A Body Good

U.S. researchers have figured out how low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids confer so many anti-inflammatory health benefits. Aspirin, they found, triggers the production of molecules called resolvins that are manufactured naturally by the body from omega-3 fatty acids. The resolvins – especially resolvin D3 – shut off the inflammation that is linked to destructive conditions like inflammatory lung disease, heart disease and arthritis. The researchers hope that investigators will now be able to study the pro-resolving and anti-inflammatory actions of resolvin D3 in other systems and eventually be able to tell which inflammation-associated diseases might be treated with D3.

"Resolvin D3 and Aspirin-Triggered Resolvin D3 Are Potent Immunoresolvents", Chemistry & Biology, February 21, 2013

Children Consuming Fewer Calories, According to National Study

Research on childhood food consumption patterns conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that calorie intake for both boys and girls has dropped significantly from 1999 to 2010. Though the declines in daily calorie consumption were small – seven percent to 2,100 calories for boys and four percent to 1,755 calories for girls – researchers said the trend is definitely moving in the right direction. The declines were driven by a drop in carbohydrate consumption, researchers said. Calories from fat were stable, while calories from protein increased. The report is based on data collected through interviews.

"Children in U.S. Are Eating Fewer Calories, Study Finds", The New York Times, February 21, 2013

Diet Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids Significantly Reduces Risk Of Breast Cancer

A Canadian study in mice shows that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids on a regular basis over a lifetime significantly reduces the occurrence and size of breast cancer tumors. Mice fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids developed only two-thirds as many tumors compared to the control mice. And the tumors were 30-percent smaller. "The fact that a food nutrient can have a significant effect on tumor development and growth is remarkable and has considerable implications in breast cancer prevention,” the researchers concluded.

"Mammary tumor development is directly inhibited by lifelong n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids", The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, February 21, 2013

Report Finds Widespread Mislabeling Of Fish In Markets, Restaurants, Sushi Bars

Nonprofit ocean protection group Oceana reports that about a third of 1,215 fish samples purchased in the U.S. between 2012 and 2012 were mislabeled, in apparent violation of federal guidelines. Samples in the study were bought at restaurants, markets and sushi bars in 12 areas of the country. Of 120 samples labeled red snapper, 28 different species were found, including 17 that were not in the snapper family. The study has implications for public health, as well. In New York, tilefish, which are known for their mercury content, was sold as red snapper, which the report called “one of the most egregious swaps”.

"Survey Finds That Fish Are Often Not What Label Says", The New York Times, February 21, 2013

Study Finds No Link Between Antioxidant Consumption And Stroke Or Dementia

A 14-year U.S./Dutch study of more than 5,000 people over age 55 who had no signs of dementia at the beginning found that total antioxidant levels in the diet were not associated with the risk of developing dementia or stroke. Data – which contradict earlier studies about the link between antioxidant consumption and the risk of stroke or dementia – were gathered from annual questionnaires about how often 170 foods were eaten in the past year. About 600 people developed dementia and about 600 people had a stroke. But researchers found that people with high levels of antioxidants were no more or less likely to develop brain disease than people with low levels.

"Total antioxidant capacity of the diet and major neurologic outcomes in older adults", Neurology, February 20, 2013

Counseling On Diet, Nutrition In The Workplace Pays Significant Dividends

A pilot study conducted by Tufts University researchers found significant benefits to workplace intervention focused on dietary information and weight loss. Overweight and obese employees who participated in the intervention arm of the trial lost an average of 18 pounds over six months compared to members of the control group who gained an average of two pounds. The researchers said their approach is unique because it involves a “strong behavioral component": counselors trained in nutrition and behavior modification met every two weeks with participants to discuss menu planning, portion control, managing hunger, and dealing with stress-related and emotional eating.

"Lifestyle intervention reduces body weight and improves cardiometabolic risk factors in worksites", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 20, 2013

Organic Tomatoes Have Increased Concentrations Of Sugars, Vitamin C, Lycopene

Though some studies have concluded that there is no evidence that organic farming produces more nutritious fruits and vegetables, a new study finds that tomatoes grown on organic farms  amassed more nutrients linked to stress resistance. According to the Brazilian authors, organic farming exposes plants to greater stress than conventional farming. The tomatoes they grew were about 40 percent smaller than conventionally grown tomatoes, but accumulated higher concentrations of sugars, vitamin C and pigment molecules like lycopene, an anti-oxidant compound.

"The Impact of Organic Farming on Quality of Tomatoes Is Associated to Increased Oxidative Stress during Fruit Development", PLoS ONE, February 20, 2013

Carb-Rich Foods And Dairy Products Seem To Influence, Aggravate Acne

Diet plays a significant role in the aggravation of acne, according to new U.S. research. Scientists found that high glycemic load foods (containing higher levels of carbohydrates) and dairy products contribute especially to the problem, which afflicts more than 17 million Americans. Researchers reviewed scientific studies conducted between 1960 and 2012 that investigated diet and acne. The results do not demonstrate that diet causes acne, but seems to influence or aggravate it, the researchers said. They also noted that medical nutrition therapy (MNT) – including dietary intervention – could play an important role in acne treatment.

"Acne: The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, February 20, 2013

Resveratrol Protects Against Hearing Loss Due To Long-Term Exposure To Noise

A U.S. study in rats shows that resveratrol – a powerful antioxidant compound found in red grapes and wine – eases or protects against the long-term effects of exposure to loud noises over an extended period of time. The researchers were studying resveratrol’s effect on bioinflammation, which is suspected of contributing to health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss. The researchers concluded that resveratrol seems to protect against both noise-induced hearing loss and cognitive decline. Noise-induced hearing loss is a growing medical issue among American troops: more than 12 percent return from Iraq and Afghanistan with significant hearing loss.

"Resveratrol Decreases Noise-Induced Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression in the Rat Cochlea", Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, February 20, 2013

“Diet” Is The New Four-Letter Word In Food Industry Marketing

Market researcher Datamonitor’s database of new product launches in the food industry is showing a steady decline in the use of the term “diet” in product names. In 2009, new product labels featured the word diet 10.8 percent of the time. By 2012 that proportion had dropped to 6.6 percent. Food manufacturers are indeed acknowledging the obesity epidemic in the U.S. by “stealthily” introducing products lower in sugar, fat and salt. But in their labeling and advertising they are shunning the dirty word diet – “like the plague” – in favor of ”more positive messages” about food quality, protein, health and wellness, the researcher says.

"Datamonitor: ‘Marketers are avoiding the word ‘diet’ like the plague’ ", Food Navigator USA, February 19, 2013

Resistant Starches May Play A Role In Preventing Bowel Cancer

Indigestible starches – known as resistant starches – found in peas, beans and other legumes that are eaten at room temperature seem to help the body resist colorectal cancer by killing precancerous cells and reducing inflammation, a U.S. study has found. Resistant starches also lower bowel pH and transit time, and boost production of short-chain fatty acids, all of which promote good bacteria and fends off bad bacteria. The study in rats also found evidence that resistant starches may have implications for the prevention of breast cancer.

"Resistant Starch", Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, February 19, 2013

Caffeine During Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight, Longer Gestation Time

New research from Norway and Sweden finds a significant association between caffeine ingestion by pregnant women, longer pregnancies and low birth weight babies. The researchers looked at data gathered about mothers’ diet and birth details over ten years. Caffeine consumption in all forms – coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and foods containing cocoa – was considered. Caffeine intake also increased the length of pregnancy, researchers found. Coffee (but not caffeine) was associated with an even longer gestational length – eight hours extra for every 100 mg caffeine per day. No link was found between caffeine consumption and preterm delivery, however, which is a major problem with expectant mothers who smoke.

"Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy is associated with birth weight but not with gestational length", BMC Medicine, February 19, 2013

Food Authorities In The U.K. Begin Testing For Meat Products Contaminated With Horsemeat

As the horsemeat scandal continues to rock Europe, Nestlé announced that tests on nine processed beef products available in the U.K. – including products from the Jenny Craig weight-loss brand – had found no equine contamination. The company had earlier withdrawn beef and pasta products in Italy, Spain and France because it found traces of horsemeat. Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it will launch DNA testing next week of beef-based foods sold pre-packed or loose, including sandwiches, beef dripping, stock cubes, steak, stewing steak and ready meals that contain beef that is not minced. Officials in Parliament said various meat-based dishes had been withdrawn from eateries used by members, peers and staff.

"Nestlé UK products test negative for horsemeat", The Guardian, February 19, 2013

Restaurant Menus Packed With Calorie Information Influence Least Health-Conscious Diners

Despite legislative directives that restaurants list calorie content on their menus, there has been little agreement as to whether such informative menus have a positive effect on dining choices. In this U.S. study, researchers observed patron behaviors in a full service restaurant that provided three types of menus with varying levels of caloric information. They found that: calorie labels have the greatest influence on people who are the least health conscious; using a symbolic calorie label reduced the caloric intake of even the most health-conscious patrons; and calorie labels were more likely to influence the selection of the main entree rather than drinks and desserts.

"Looking at the label and beyond: the effects of calorie labels, health consciousness, and demographics on caloric intake in restaurants", International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, February 08, 2013


Asian Shirataki Noodles Catching On In West As Zero-Calorie Tummy Filler For Dieters

The world of dieting and weight control is catching on to the benefits of an old Asian food staple – shirataki noodles – as a way to fill one’s stomach without fear of overloading on calories. Marketed in the U.K. as ZeroNoodles and in the U.S. as Miracle Noodles, shirataki has no fat, no sugar and no taste, though before rinsing it has a slight fishy aroma. To make shirataki, tubers from the konjac plant are processed into a product called glucomannan flour. Marketers say a single 200 gram portion can replace rice, pasta or regular egg noodles on your plate, delivering only eight calories. Retailers in the U.K. are having a tough time keeping the store shelves stocked, according to news reports.

"Are 'no calorie' noodles the Holy Grail of dieting? Filling, healthy food with fewer calories than you burn to eat it sounds too good to be true...", Daily Mail Online, February 24, 2013

When It Comes To Eating, “Smaller” Has Less To Do With Size Than With Source, Freshness

American consumers, especially aging baby boomers, are driving the trend toward “smaller” eating, which can mean literally smaller portions but also implies smaller in terms of locally grown, fresh, healthy, and easy-to-pronounce ingredients. In short, says one researcher, “pure and simple” with “transparency” in their food choices. Shoppers read labels and select foods “holistically” based on taste, ingredients, source, manufacturer and nutritional composition. All of these present a challenge for food manufacturers, who will need to re-align old business models to keep up with demands.

"Food trends to keep - small, simple, fresh and healthy", Mercer Island Reporter (Washington), January 29, 2013

Children in U.S. Are Eating Fewer Calories, Study Finds

The New York Times, February 21, 2013

Products & Brands  

Will Advanced Technology Someday Come To The Aid Of Dieters?

Whether or not the patent applications of inventors from The Netherlands, Israel and India ever reach the marketplace as viable products, they nevertheless provide some insight into the future of technology and weight control. The Dutch inventors came up with a video/computer system  that detects when a person is eating and announces “You are now eating”. This instant feedback is supposed to help them stop eating sooner. The Israeli inventors developed a sensor that detects the digestive process, alerts stomach muscle tissue, and induces satiation, vertigo or nausea. The Indian innovators built a refrigerator that monitors eating and drinking and offers obese people diet advice.

"Coming soon: the fridge that helps you diet", The Guardian, February 18, 2013

Beyond Whole-Grain Cereal And Bread: The Emergence Of Whole-Grain Pasta

Whole grains are prominently featured in numerous dietary recommendations – including those from the U.S. government – because studies have linked eating whole grains with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders and some forms of cancer. People tend to think of cereals and breads as the main sources of whole grains, forgetting that pastas can be another. But shoppers can now find a variety of whole-grain pastas at the supermarket that feature the texture and taste of refined pastas. They include traditional whole-wheat, whole-grain blends and fiber-rich white pasta. A serving of whole-grain pasta provides six grams of fiber, compared to refined pasta’s two grams.

"Heart Smart: Whole-grain pasta a rich source of fiber", Detroit Free Press, January 27, 2013

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

New York Times, February 20, 2013

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