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Period: June 15, 2013 to July 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

Labeling Food As “Low Fat” Is A Powerful Inducement For Consumers

In a study involving 175 female college students, researchers at the University of Hawaii found that the label “low fat” on candy (M&M's) conveyed an impression that the food was not only healthier but better tasting than regular M&M's. (All of the M&M's in the study were regular versions.) They also found that participants significantly underestimated the caloric content of candy labeled as low fat. Those who did not know the calorie content underestimated the calories of supposedly low fat M&M's by an average of 71 calories, and  overestimated the caloric value of regular M&M's by an average of 38 calories. “The study findings may be related to the ‘health halo’ associated with low fat foods,” the researchers concluded.

"Is less always more? The effects of low-fat labeling and caloric information on food intake, calorie estimates, taste preference, and health attributions ", Appetite (Volume 68, 1 September 2013, Pages 92–97), September 01, 2013

Food Addiction Associated With Consumption Of Highly-Processed Carbohydrates

There is a definite connection between food intake and the dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain, according to a new brain imaging study that supports the idea of food addiction. U.S. researchers measured blood glucose levels and hunger in 12 overweight or obese men, while also using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity during the four hours after a meal. That crucial time period influences eating behavior at the next meal. They found that consumption of highly-processed carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise quickly, then drop sharply soon after, sparking food cravings. The drop in blood sugar was associated with intense activation of a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors.

"Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 26, 2013

Cocoa Reduces Obesity-Related Inflammation

A study by Penn State researchers has found that obese mice fed cocoa along with a high-fat diet experienced less obesity-related inflammation than mice not fed cocoa. The mice were fed the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa (about four cups of hot cocoa) each day for 10 weeks. The cocoa-fed mice had about 27 percent lower plasma insulin levels, an indicator of diabetes. The cocoa-fed mice also had 32 percent lower levels of liver triglycerides, an indicator of fatty liver disease, inflammation and diabetes.

"Dietary cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice", European Journal of Nutrition, June 19, 2013

Study Finds That High-Fructose Diet Damages The Liver

A study in monkeys has found that a diet high in fructose – the main ingredient in high fructose corn syrup – prevents the intestines from keeping bacteria away from the liver, causing liver damage. For six weeks, two groups of monkeys ate either a calorie-controlled diet consisting of 24 percent fructose or the same diet with a negligible amount of fructose. At the end of the six weeks, the U.S. researchers were surprised at how quickly the liver was affected and how extensive the damage was, especially without weight gain. Something about the high fructose levels caused the intestines to be less protective than normal, allowing the bacteria to leak out at a 30 percent higher rate.

"Dietary fructose induces endotoxemia and hepatic injury in calorically controlled primates", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 19, 2013

Therapeutic Nutrition Drink Treats Age-Related Muscle Wasting

A U.S. study testing the impact of a dietary supplement beverage (Juven) on 29 healthy adults over age 65 found that participants who drank the supplement twice a day had significant increases in lean body mass. Those who drank a placebo beverage did not have any change in muscle mass. Juven, manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, contains three amino acids required for cell growth and repair. The amino acid arginine also increases production of growth hormone and, in turn, a growth factor called IGF-1. Participants who took Juven had increased blood concentrations of IGF-1. Previous studies have shown that Juven successfully treats muscle-wasting in patients with cancer and AIDS.

"Dietary Supplement Linked to Increased Muscle Mass in the Elderly", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013

Study Pinpoints Biochemical Reason Why Insufficient Sleep Can Lead To Weight Gain

Getting too little sleep at night increases the blood levels of an endocannabinoid molecule that stimulates the appetite, a U.S. study finds. Researchers tested the effects of less sleep and normal sleep on nine healthy men (average age 23 years). Participants who slept only 4.5 hours had a higher daytime level of the molecule (2AG) in the blood; those who slept 8.5 hours had lower levels of the molecule. The study provides a biochemical reason why insufficient sleep has been associated in previous studies with increased appetite and weight gain.

"Too Little Sleep May Trigger the Munchies by Raising Levels of an Appetite-Controlling Molecule", News release, presentation at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013

Gluten-Free Food, Beverage Market Continues To Boom

Though there are only 1.8 million people in the U.S. with extreme digestive sensitivity to gluten (celiac disease) – and 78 percent of those don’t know it – somehow the market for gluten-free food products hit $4.2 billion in 2012. According to Packaged Facts, the main reason for this phenomenon – a CAGR of 28 percent between 2008 and 2012 – is the perception among consumers that gluten-free products are healthier. The food industry has certainly responded to that perception. People looking for gluten-free foods and beverages are finding a huge diversity of products in the marketplace, and numerous new product introductions within the past year.

"Gorging on Gluten-free", Prepared Foods, June 13, 2013

Main Ingredient In Green Coffee Bean Weight Loss Supplements Is Ineffective – Study

U.S. researchers have determined in an animal study that higher doses of the main ingredient found in popular green coffee bean weight loss supplements – a polyphenol known as chlorogenic acid, or CGA – does nothing to prevent weight gain. Obese mice fed a high-fat diet alone and a high-fat diet plus CGA gained the same amount of weight. In addition, the CGA mice were more likely to develop disorders that can lead to type 2 diabetes, and they accumulated more fat in their livers. The researchers concluded that CGA supplementation in a high-fat diet “does not protect against features of the metabolic syndrome”.

"Supplementation of a High-Fat Diet with Chlorogenic Acid Is Associated with Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Lipid Accumulation in Mice", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 12, 2013

Prunes Are Officially Recognized BY The EU As Beneficial For The Digestive System

After six years of study, the European Food Safety Authority has ruled that scientific evidence confirms the beneficial effect of prunes on digestive health because of the amount of natural fiber they deliver. The ruling makes prunes the only natural, whole and dried fruit to achieve an authorized health claim in the EU. The application was pursued by the California Prune Board. Nutritionists recommend that people eat 25 grams of fiber every day. In the UK, however, only 20 percent of the population eats enough fiber. Three prunes provide one of the five-a-day fruit and vegetable requirements necessary for a healthy and balanced diet, the Board says.

"California Prunes Benefit Digestive Health Says European Food Standards Agency", News release, California Prune Board, June 12, 2013

Research, Studies, Advice  

Hormones With Vitamin D And Calcium Reduce Risk Of Fractures In Postmenopausal Women

A U.S. study that analyzed health data from 30,000 postmenopausal women provides evidence that women should take calcium and vitamin D supplements after menopause for bone health, especially if the women are taking hormone supplements. According to the researchers, vitamin D and calcium supplements had a synergistic effect, providing much greater protection against hip fractures than with either therapy alone. Women who took only the supplements – without the hormone therapy – were as much at risk for fractures as women who took neither the supplements nor the hormones.

"Women's Health Initiative clinical trials: interaction of calcium and vitamin D with hormone therapy", Menopause, June 26, 2013

Study Finds Evidence That Vitamin D Reduces Depression Among Women With Diabetes

A small U.S. pilot study has found evidence that vitamin D supplementation lowered blood pressure, improved mood and even led to weight loss among women with type 2 diabetes who were also depressed. According to the researchers, women with type 2 diabetes have worse health than men, probably because of depression, which affects more than 25 percent of women with diabetes. Depression makes it tougher for people to manage diabetes by eating right, exercising, taking medications, etc. The researchers have just received funding for a larger clinical study to see if vitamin D really does have an impact on depression.

"Vitamin D Improves Mood and Blood Pressure in Women With Diabetes", News release, study presented at the American Diabetes Association scientific sessions, June 25, 2013

Eating Fatty Fish – In Moderation – Reduces Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation

Studies have shown that eating oily fish rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) –an irregular, often rapid heart rate leading to poor blood flow. But a new Danish study found a U-shaped association between eating oily fish and reduced risk of AF: eating too little – or too much – both raise the risk of AF. Data from a long-term study beginning in 1993 and 1997 involving 57,000 Danes (ages 50 to 64) found that the most benefit came when people consumed around 0.63 grams of fish-derived omega 3 fatty acids a day, or about two servings of fatty (oily) fish a week.

"U-Shaped Curve Revealed for Association Between Fish Consumption and Atrial Fibrillation", News release, study presented at the EHRA EUROPACE congress, June 24, 2013

Weight Loss Does Not Reduce The Risk Of Heart Attack Among Overweight Type 2 Diabetics

A large multicenter U.S. clinical trial that assessed the effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention program found that overweight and obese type 2 diabetics in the program who lost weight were just as likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes as those in the control group. The trial, begun in 2001, involved more than 5,000 people at 16 clinical centers. The researchers said their findings should not discourage overweight people with type 2 diabetes from losing weight. On the contrary, they said, though weight loss did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, it did provide many other health benefits.

"Cardiovascular Effects of Intensive Lifestyle Intervention in Type 2 Diabetes", New England Journal of Medicine , June 24, 2013

A Good Night’s Sleep Leads To Healthier Teen Food Choices

A study by U.S. researchers has found that well-rested teens tend to make healthier food choices than teens with poor sleeping habits. The study examined the association between sleep duration and food choices in a national representative sample of 13,284 teenagers. Sleep duration had an independent effect on healthy food decisions when compared with other factors including age, gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status amongst others.  The research team concluded that addressing sleep deficiency may be effective in obesity prevention and healthier life choices in general.

"Sleep Deprivation in Teens Linked to Poor Dietary Choices", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, June 20, 2013

Antidepressants + Stress + High-Fat Diet = Long-Term Weight Gain

Taking antidepressants even for a short period of time can lead to significant weight gain when combined with stress and a high-fat diet, according to an Australian study in rats. The finding is significant because millions of prescriptions for antidepressants are written each year -- at the same time that obesity rates are climbing. For the study, male rats were treated with the antidepressant fluoxitine after induced stress. These animals had significantly higher weight gain than control animals. Researchers concluded that short-term exposure to stress and antidepressants – rather than a high-calorie, high-fat diet alone – leads to long-term body weight gain.

"Relationship Between Short-Term Antidepressant Use, Stress, High-Fat Diet And Long-Term Weight Gain", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society annual meeting, June 19, 2013

Excessive Salt Consumption Puts Older Women At Higher Risk Of Bone Fractures

A Japanese study has determined that postmenopausal women who consume a diet high in sodium have a much greater risk of suffering nonvertabral bone fractures. Past research has shown a link between excess sodium consumption and increased bone breakdown and decreased bone mineral density. The new study followed 213 postmenopausal women who had undergone osteoporosis screening. Participants with the highest sodium intake (an average of 7,561 mg per day) were four times likelier to have an existing nonvertebral fracture, compared with the groups who had lower sodium intakes. The researchers concluded that excessive sodium is a risk factor for bone fragility and is important to consider in dietary therapy for osteoporosis.

"Excessive Salt Consumption Appears to Be Bad for Your Bones", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013

Diet High In Saturated Fats Can Be Harmful To The Developing Brain

Adolescents whose diet is high in fat are at greater risk of learning and memory problems as adults, according to a study in mice by Spanish researchers. Mice fed a normal calorie but high-fat diet became moderately obese and showed significantly impaired spatial memory. The same diet did not affect adult mice. The researchers concluded that normal calorie diets high in saturated fats “have deleterious and long-lasting effects on the developing brain, even in the absence of diabetes”.

"Adolescents' High Fat Diet Impairs Memory and Learning", News release, presentation at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013

Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Risk Of Allergies Among Overweight Children

Scientists have discovered a link between vitamin D deficiency in obese or overweight children and a higher risk of asthma and allergies. The clinical study was conducted in Maryland among 86 adolescents ages 10 to 18. Fifty-four were overweight or obese; the rest were at a healthy weight. All of the overweight/obese participants were vitamin D deficient. The investigators found that vitamin D seems to regulate the levels of certain hormones and some biochemical measures of allergic disease. The lower the level of vitamin D, the greater the risk of asthma and allergies.

"Vitamin D Deficiency May Raise Allergy and Asthma Risk in Obese Children, Teens", News release, study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, June 17, 2013

Large Genetic Study Proves The Link Between Low Vitamin D Levels And Hypertension

British researchers who analyzed data from 35 studies involving 155,000 people found a strong causal link between low levels of vitamin D and high blood pressure. The researchers said that observational studies had already detected the link, but the large-scale genetic study nailed down the cause and effect relationship. The findings strongly suggest that some cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented through vitamin D supplements or food fortification, the authors said.

"Genetic Research Clarifies Link Between Hypertension and Vitamin D Deficiency", News release, presentation at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics, June 10, 2013

Eating Healthy Vegetable Fats Reduces Risk Of Developing Lethal Prostate Cancer

U.S. researchers who collected data on 4,600 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer found that substituting healthy vegetable fats in the diet for animal fats significantly reduced the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer. Healthy vegetable fats include those found in olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds and avocados. Researchers followed the men from 1986 to 2010, during which time 1,064 men died from cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and other cancers. The authors found that men who replaced 10 percent of their total daily carb calories with healthy vegetable fats had a 29 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.

"Fat Intake After Diagnosis and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer and All-Cause Mortality Fat Intake After Lethal Prostate Cancer", JAMA Internal Medicine, June 10, 2013

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