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Period: March 15, 2013 to April 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

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Reduce The Risk Of Chronic Disease

A University of Alabama professor of personal health says the body’s natural response to injury – inflammation – is a good thing until it becomes chronic and out of control. That’s when it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Lauren Whitt says inflammation caused by obesity can be controlled through weight loss and eating the right kinds of foods. Among the anti-inflammatory foods she recommends: citrus fruits high in antioxidant vitamins C and E; dark, leafy greens high in vitamin K; tomatoes rich in the potent antioxidant lycopene; and wild-caught salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. She also advised eating more foods straight from the farm and fewer processed and fried foods.

"Foods Can Help Fight Inflammation", News release, University of Alabama at Birmingham, March 22, 2013

Toddlers’ Meals, Snacks Found To Be Loaded With Sodium

U.S. Centers for Disease Control scientists who tested 1,115 packaged meals and snacks for babies and toddlers found that almost three fourths of toddler foods had more than 210 mg of sodium per serving. Toddler meals tended to have much more salt per serving than baby foods: some had as much as 630 mg of sodium per serving. That’s about 40 percent of the daily amount recommended by the American Heart Association. The researchers said the less salt in a baby’s or toddler’s diet, the less they are likely to want in their foods as they grow older. Studies have shown that consuming excessive amounts of sodium is associated with the development of high blood pressure.

"Most Pre-Packaged Meals Snacks for Toddlers Contain Too Much Salt", News release, presentation at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 scientific sessions, March 21, 2013

People Who Are Seriously Mentally Ill And Obese Can Still Lose Weight – Study

People with serious mental illness often are overweight or obese. They have mortality rates two to three times higher than the general population. Many get no exercise and take several psychotropic medications that lead to weight gain. But these people can still lose weight, according to a U.S. study. Healthy behavioral changes involving simple nutrition messages, counseling and regular exercise can make a significant difference. The study involved 291 overweight or obese patients with serious mental illness who were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a control group. After 18 months of weight management education and exercise classes, the intervention group lost an average of seven more pounds than the control group.

"A Behavioral Weight-Loss Intervention in Persons with Serious Mental Illness", New England Journal of Medicine, March 21, 2013

Way Too Much Salt In The Diet Of The World’s Population, Study Finds

The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 1,500 mg of salt per day; the World Health Organization recommends 2,000 mg. But a new U.S. study finds that 75 percent of the world population consumes an average of 4,000 mg of sodium daily through commercially prepared foods, table salt, and salt and soy sauce added during cooking. The researchers said they hope the findings will encourage national governments around the globe to “develop public health interventions to lower sodium”. Excess sodium intake raises blood pressure and can lead to cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the world.

"Adults Worldwide Eat Almost Double Daily Recommended Amount of Sodium", News release, research presented at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2013 scientific sessions, March 21, 2013

Lower Income People Can Stretch Their Food Dollars By Simply Eating Healthier Foods

A 34-week U.S. study finds that nutritious foods that roughly follow the Mediterranean diet are not only healthier for lower income families, they are significantly more economical. Sixty-three people from emergency food pantries and low-income housing sites attended six weeks of cooking classes, where instructors prepared quick and easy plant-based recipes based on olive oil, whole grain pasta, brown rice and fruits and vegetables. Changing the focus to fruits, vegetables, and healthy starches, and eliminating expensive items –  meats, snacks, desserts and carbonated drinks – was far more cost-effective for families on limited budgets. Participants not only cut their food spending by more than half, about half lost weight.

"A Six-Week Cooking Program of Plant-Based Recipes Improves Food Security, Body Weight, and Food Purchases for Food Pantry Clients", Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, March 20, 2013

How Virgin Olive Oil Helps Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease – Study

Scientists have known for some time that virgin olive oil plays a role in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in Mediterranean countries. Now U.S. researchers have figured out why: a compound known as oleocanthal protects nerve cells from Alzheimer’s damage. In a mouse study, researchers tracked the effects of oleocanthal in the brains and cultured brain cells of lab mice, finding that the substance boosted production of two proteins and key enzymes believed to be critical in removing dangerous beta-amyloid plaque from the brain. The Mediterranean diet – rich in olive oil use – “has the potential to reduce the risk of AD or related neurodegenerative dementias," the researchers concluded.

"Olive-Oil-Derived Oleocanthal Enhances β-Amyloid Clearance as a Potential Neuroprotective Mechanism against Alzheimer’s Disease: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies", ACS Chemical Neuroscience, March 20, 2013

Study Finds That Remembering Recent Meals Helps Reduce Eating

British researchers who analyzed 24 studies on the effects of awareness and memory on food consumption found that remembering meals, being more aware of what’s being eaten, and paying attention to meals leads to eating less. The findings could improve weight loss programs, the researchers said, because simple awareness techniques can be adapted and taught easily. Writing down previous meals, using visual reminders of those meals, and even keeping food wrappers all help the remembering process.

"Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 18, 2013

Vitamin D Deficiency Leads To Muscle Problems At The Cellular Level

A British study has found that low levels of the "sunshine vitamin" -- vitamin D -- affect muscle efficiency at the cellular level, explaining why people with low levels often experience fatigue. Vitamin D deficiency is a major public health problem because it not only impacts bone health, it also creates problems in the cell “power stations” known as mitochondria. The problems center on the use and recovery of the muscle-related compound phosphocreatine, a measure of mitochondrial efficiency. In the study, phosphocreatine recovery significantly improved after the patients took a vitamin D supplement for 10-12 weeks. All patients reported an improvement in symptoms of fatigue following supplementation.

"Vitamin D Replacement Improves Muscle Efficiency", Nutrition Horizon , March 18, 2013

Drinking Skimmed Milk At Age Two Does Not Prevent Obesity In The Preschool Years

Researchers who looked at weight gain trends among 11,000 children at age two and later at age four found no overall differences between those who drank skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and those who drank two percent or full fat milk. At both checkpoints, a third of the kids were  overweight or obese, probably due to TV watching and consuming sugary drinks. Drinking low fat milk didn’t confer any overall advantage, though the researchers said it is possible that overweight kids might have gained more weight had they not drunk it. Nevertheless, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association recommend that all children drink low fat or skimmed milk after the age of two to avoid excess weight gain.

"Longitudinal evaluation of milk type consumed and weight status in preschoolers", Archives of Disease in Childhood, March 18, 2013

Aromatic Compounds In Olive Oil Contribute To Sensation Of Fullness

A German study involving 500 participants found that natural oils and fats do a good job of regulating how full a person feels after eating. Olive oil in particular contributes to the sensation of fullness, primarily because of  aroma compounds. In one part of the study a group was given yogurt with olive oil aroma extracts, while a control group was given plain yogurt. The olive oil group’s calorie intake remained the same, but the control group had been consuming an extra 176 kilocalories per day. The control group had less of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood, researchers said. Aroma compounds could pave the way for the development of more effective reduced-fat – and satiating – food products.

"Olive oil makes you feel full", Technische Universität München, March 14, 2013

Regular Consumption Of Green Tea, Coffee, Reduces Risk Of Stroke

A 13-year study that followed more than 83,000 Japanese adults finds that those who drank at least one cup of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to suffer a stroke. Those who drank two to three cups of green tea had a 14 percent lower risk, and those who drank four cups or more had a 20 percent lower risk. Those who drank at least one cup of coffee and two cups of green tea had a 32 percent lower risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (burst blood vessel in the brain) compared to those who rarely drank either beverage. The researchers surmised that regular tea and coffee drinking benefits cardiovascular health because partly because it keeps blood clots from forming.

"The Impact of Green Tea and Coffee Consumption on the Reduced Risk of Stroke Incidence in Japanese Population", Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, March 14, 2013

Healthier School Lunches Required By State Law Make A Positive Difference

New USDA National School Lunch Program rules require schools to provide healthier lunch options. U.S. researchers wondered if such state mandates make a difference to student eating patterns. In a study using data from the two states (at the time) that mandated a minimum number of servings of fruits and vegetables for high school students, researchers found that kids do eat at least a little healthier. The requirements had the most impact on students who had little or no access to fruits and vegetables at home. At the time the data were collected, the only states in the study that required minimum servings of fruits and vegetables were California and Mississippi.

"State Laws Governing School Meals and Disparities in Fruit/Vegetable Intake ", American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 12, 2013

High-Calorie Sugary Beverages Are Linked To Increased Consumption Of Unhealthy Foods

U.S. researchers who gathered data from a seven-year study of 11,000 children ages two to 18 showed that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) were associated with higher caloric intake generally, and higher caloric intake from unhealthy foods. Both food and SSBs contributed to higher caloric intakes of adolescents who consumed more than 500 kcal of SSBs a day. The findings are troubling because many foods associated with higher SSB consumption (e.g., pizza, cakes/cookies/pies, fried potatoes, and sweets) are also among the main sources of solid fats and added sugars.

"Foods and Beverages Associated with Higher Intake of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages", American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 12, 2013

Study Associates Lack Of Sleep With Over-Eating And Weight Gain

Earlier studies have drawn the connection between lack of sleep and weight gain. But in a new U.S. study, researchers show while that staying awake longer burns a lot of calories, the amount of food participants ate while they’re awake more than compensates for the energy expended. Those who slept less also tended to eat smaller breakfasts and then binge on after-dinner snacks. Participants who slept only five hours a night over five nights – with unlimited access to food – gained on average nearly two pounds. The findings add further credibility to the theory that overeating at night may contribute significantly to weight gain.

"Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 11, 2013

Research Shows Statistical Link Between Caffeine Consumption And Low Birth Weight

A Swedish analysis of health data on more than 59,000 pregnant Norwegian women found a statistical correlation – but no cause and effect relationship – between consuming two cups of coffee a day and low birth weight babies. All of the participants in the study were healthy and had uncomplicated pregnancies. The researchers stressed that the study did not look at whether caffeine itself was responsible for the fetus being at greater risk. Nor did it examine whether the babies had any special health problems shortly after birth. They said more research is needed before drawing any conclusions about what the findings mean for pregnant women and their babies. The study found no relationship between caffeine consumption and premature birth.

"Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy is associated with birth weight but not with gestational length: results from a large prospective observational cohort study", BMC Medicine, March 11, 2013

Weight Loss Can Prevent – And Treat – Inflammation-Related Conditions Like Arthritis

A review of scientific literature on the impact of shedding pounds on patients with arthritis has found that weight loss can lessen pain and restore function and quality of lifes, according to U.S. scientists. In addition, weight loss among obese patients could possibly avert about 111,000 total knee replacements every year. The researchers stressed that weight loss, through reduction of white adipose tissue, reduces an underlying cause of inflammation in the body. It therefore can help treat inflammation-related conditions like hypertension, insulin resistance and arthritis, and can help prevent their onset. Weight loss also reduces the stress on joints that leads to wear and tear and pain.

"Obesity and Osteoarthritis: More Than Just Wear and Tear", Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, March 08, 2013

Natural Appetite Suppressors Are Less Risky Than Pills, Nutrition Experts Says

There are “countless” products on the market these days catering to the desire of overweight or obese people to suppress their appetites as a technique for losing pounds. Unfortunately, says nutrition scientist Timothy Garvey, M.D., there is almost no reliable scientific data on the safety or efficacy of these products. “People buying these products are likely to be wasting money,” he warns. There are better, natural ways to decrease appetite, beginning with a protein-rich breakfast. Egg whites or low-fat yogurt will keep you feeling fuller longer because it takes the body more time to digest and absorb them. Later in the day, unsaturated fats will do the trick. The oleic acid in peanut butter or nuts helps quell hunger.

"Appetite Suppression Pills: Good or Bad?", News release, , March 08, 2013

Could Financial Incentives Be The Key To Solving The Obesity Problem?

A study by U.S. researchers found that rewarding weight loss with dollars not only led to significant weight loss, it kept participants motivated to stick with the program longer. One hundred overweight or obese participants of all ages took part in the year-long study. All were given the goal of losing four pounds a month, then separated into four groups, two with financial incentives, two without. Participants were weighed monthly, and either given $20 for meeting the goal or fined $20 for failing. Sixty-two percent of the incentive groups completed the study, compared to 26 percent of the non-incentive groups. Mean weight loss among the incentive groups was 9.08 pounds, compared with 2.34 pounds for the non-incentive groups.

"Money Talks When It Comes to Losing Weight", News release, presentation at the American College of Cardiology's scientific session, March 07, 2013

Researchers Show Hormonal And Health Benefits Of Weight Loss On Overweight Women

U.S. researchers have found strong evidence that changes in hormonal signaling are among the main culprits in the links between body weight, lifestyle and the risks of developing cancer and other chronic illnesses. Adipose (fat) tissue produces hormones that affect metabolism, the researchers say. Two important ones are the anti-inflammatory hormone adiponectin, which increases the effect of insulin, and leptin, which can promote tumor cell growth. For the study, 439 overweight postmenopausal women were divided into groups that tried dieting, exercising or dieting plus exercising for a year. No matter which program the women followed, the more weight each participant lost, the more adiponectin levels increased and the more leptin levels decreased.

"Effects of individual and combined dietary weight loss and exercise interventions in postmenopausal women on adiponectin and leptin levels", Journal of Internal Medicine, March 06, 2013

Comment & Opinion  

Book Details The Food Industry’s Role In Burgeoning Obesity Epidemic

Food companies have long been aware of people’s ingrained hankering for salt, sugar and fat, and have long profited from their awareness. Many of their unhealthiest products are crafted to appeal to those hankerings, and they are marketed – often to the most vulnerable audiences like children and the poor – without concern for their harmful effects, according to investigative report Michael Moss. His book “Salt Sugar Fat” describes the food industry’s deliberate development and marketing of “craveable” foods loaded with fat and sugar. “If you had any doubt as to the food industry’s complicity in our obesity epidemic,” says Washington Post reviewer Hannah Wallace, “it will evaporate when you read this book.”

"‘Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us’ by Michael Moss", The Washington Post, March 22, 2013

Whole Grains Can Easily Be Incorporated Into The American Diet

The Newton (Iowa) Daily News elaborates on suggestions from the Whole Grain Council on how Americans can easily boost whole grain content – to the recommended three to five servings daily – in their diet. Breakfast, for example, could include whole grain versions of waffles, pancakes, cereals, burritos, or even French toast. Whole grain snacks can include cereal mixes, popcorn or whole wheat tortillas with sliced fruit and peanut butter. A third of the flour in a recipe could be replaced with quick oats or old-fashioned oats; uncooked oats can replace bread crumbs in  meatballs, burgers and meatloaf. Last, and maybe easiest, try whole grain pastas and whole grain breads.

"Finding whole grains in everyday foods", Newton Daily News, March 21, 2013

Research, Studies, Advice  

Americans Should Reduce Salt Intake, But There Is Confusion About Minimum Daily Levels

A U.S. review of studies conducted in the U.K. and Finland has found that national salt-reduction programs led to lower sodium intake, reduced blood pressure, and – in Finland – a 75 to 80 percent decline in death from stroke and heart attack. According to lead author Dr. Theodore Kotchen, Americans consume way too much salt and need to cut back to levels recommended by physicians and national guidelines. Kotchen notes, however, that because sodium is essential for life, it can be difficult to distinguish between what’s a necessary minimum intake and what is excessive. In terms of safety, the lower limit of salt consumption has not been clearly identified.

"Salt in Health and Disease — A Delicate Balance", New England Journal of Medicine, March 27, 2013

Protein-Rich Breakfast Reduces Evening Snacking, Study Shows

Eating a protein-rich – 35 grams of protein – breakfast significantly improves appetite control and reduces unhealthy evening snacking, U.S. researchers report. For the study, 20 overweight and obese women ages 18 to 20 followed one of three dietary regimens. One group skipped breakfast, another consumed a high-protein breakfast of eggs and lean beef, and one ate a normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal. All portions had the same calorie content. Those who consumed the high-protein breakfast felt more full. In addition, there was a reduction in brain activity responsible for controlling food cravings. The high-protein breakfast group also snacked less in the evening on high-fat and high-sugar foods compared to those who skipped breakfast or ate a normal protein, ready-to-eat cereal breakfast.

"Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, 'breakfast-skipping,' late-adolescent girls", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 26, 2013

Pediatrician Author Argues That Sugar –- Not Fat –- Is Making The World Obese

The real villain in the global obesity epidemic is not fat, but sugar, in all its forms, according to pediatrician Dr. Robert Lustig, whose book “Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar”, has caused a stir in the U.S. Lustig has spent 16 years studying the effects of sugar consumption on the central nervous system, metabolism and disease. The oceans of sugary soft drinks that children and adults consume are as complicit as the mountains of burgers – made from corn-fed beef – in the obesity problem. Lustig says cheap sugar is difficult to avoid: it’s found in all kinds of foods. Why? Years ago food manufacturers, under attack for fat content in their products, replaced fat with sugar to make products more palatable.

"Sugar, not fat, exposed as deadly villain in obesity epidemic", The Guardian, March 20, 2013

Study: Foods Can Help Fight Inflammation

Nutrition Horizon , March 25, 2013

Vitamin D Replacement Improves Muscle Efficiency

Nutrition Horizon , March 18, 2013

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

The New England Journal of Medicine, February 26, 2013

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