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Period: August 15, 2013 to September 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

Whole Fruits, But Not Fruit Juices, Reduce The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

The first study to examine the impact of individual fruits on the risk of type 2 diabetes has found that blueberries, grapes and apples are particularly effective at preventing the disease. However, the U.S. study found, drinking fruit juices significantly increased the risk. Researchers examined diet and health data gathered between 1984 and 2008 from 187,382 participants in threMore than 12,000 participants developed diabetes during the study period. People who ate at least two servings a week of certain whole fruits reduced their risk 23 percent compared to those who ate less than one serving a month. Those who consumed one or more servings of apple, orange, grapefruit, or other fruit juices each day increased their risk by 21 percent.

"Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies", BMJ, August 29, 2013

Broccoli Compound Seems To Improve Joint Health

The compound sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and particularly broccoli, slows the destruction of cartilage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, a British study in mice has found. Earlier research suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. But in this study researchers showed that sulforaphane blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. The researchers are launching a small clinical trial to test the impact of sulforaphane on the joints of patients slated to have knee replacement surgery.

"Sulforaphane represses matrix-degrading proteases and protects cartilage from destruction in vitro and in vivo", Arthritis & Rheumatism, August 27, 2013

Caffeine Shown To Have Therapeutic Effect On Fatty Liver Disease

Researchers in the U.S. and Singapore have found evidence that increasing caffeine intake could reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Results from lab culture and animal tests showed that caffeine stimulates the metabolism of lipids stored in liver cells, decreasing the fatty liver of lab animals. The U.S. researchers said that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may help prevent and protect against the progression of NAFLD in humans. Their findings may lead to the development of caffeine-like drugs that do not have caffeine side effects, but do retain the therapeutic effects on the liver.

"Caffeine stimulates hepatic lipid metabolism via autophagy-lysosomal pathway", Hepatology, August 16, 2013

Diet Rich In Vegetable Oils May Reduce Risk Of Blindness Caused By Retinopathy

Incubating retinal cells with vegetable oils, particularly olive oil, induces biochemical and biophysical changes in the cell membrane that seem to prevent and slow development of retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness. Vegetable oil fatty acids are absorbed into cells of the retina, increasing plasma membrane fluidity. This in turn increases the flexibility of the membrane and makes it easier for light to pass through the eye. A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids and olive oil may reduced the risk of retinopathy, they said. 

"Effects of vegetable oils on biochemical and biophysical properties of membrane retinal pigment epithelium cells", Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, August 15, 2013

Watermelon Juice Rich In Specific Amino Acid Relieves Muscle Soreness After Exercise

Researchers in Spain who tested the effects of watermelon juice on people who exercised found that it actually reduced post-exercise muscle soreness. The effect is probably due to an amino acid known as L-citrulline in the juice. Researchers tested natural juice, juice enhanced with L-citrulline and a placebo drink. Both the natural and enhanced versions of the juice relieved muscle soreness, but the L-citrulline in the natural juice seemed to be more bioavailable – i.e., in a form the body can use more easily.

"Watermelon Juice: Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, August 14, 2013

Proactive Consumer Healthcare Trend Drives Increases In Nutritional Supplement Intake

A study by market researcher NMI finds that over the past five years American adults have steadily increased their use of nutritional supplements. About 73 percent now use them, compared to 62 percent in 2009. Millennials are also jumping on the nutritional supplement bandwagon – they show the highest increases in supplement use over the past several years. According to NMI, the increase in supplement use – a sign of the consumer directed, proactive  healthcare trend – is driven by several factors, including the aging population, the desire for “anti-aging” remedies, and the uncertainty of the healthcare system.

"Nutritional Supplement/OTC/Rx Consumer Insight & Market Opportunity Report", NMI, August 13, 2013

Soda Consumption Linked To Aggressive Behavior Among Five-Year-Olds

Five-year-olds who drink a lot of soft drinks are more likely to have serious behavioral problems, a new U.S. study has determined. Researchers found a distinct correlation between higher soda consumption – more than one soda a day up to four or five a day – and aggression, attention problems and withdrawn behavior. The researchers acknowledged that they were unable to determine which ingredients in soft drinks –  carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sodium benzoate, phosphoric or citric acid, or caffeine – caused the behavior problems. But the association was definite: “Children with higher soda consumption … were more likely to destroy other people’s belongings, get into fights, and physically attack people”.

"Soft Drinks Consumption Is Associated with Behavior Problems in 5-Year-Olds", The Journal of Pediatrics, August 13, 2013

Market News  

Europeans Feel Personalized Nutrition Programs Are Better For Health And Fitness

A European focus group study has found that consumers believe personalized nutrition – whereby diets are customized for individuals – is better for their health and fitness. Researchers at the Food4Me project also found that consumers liked the programs because they are convenient and payment-based. But at the same time the 126-person group worried about the security of the health data gathered by regulators and nutrition service providers. Personalized nutrition takes into account genetic differences among individuals, including how certain genes affect the risk of diet-related diseases. The goal  of the Food4Me project, funded by the European Commission, is to find the best ways to deliver information and services.

"Personalized Nutrition Perceived Positively by Consumers", Nutrition Horizon , August 21, 2013

Vegan Mexican Dish Finds A Place On Chipotle’s Fast-Food Menu

It may be hard to believe, but the vegan culinary culture that shuns all animal products is inching its way into the world of fast food. Chipotle Mexican Grill, whose menu includes organic ingredients and naturally raised meats, is now selling vegan Sofritas in its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia. The chain had been offering the item – basically shredded, organic tofu braised with chipotle chilies and roasted poblanos in burritos, tacos or bowls – only in California. If the $6.50 vegan dish is a hit, the company says it will it out across all of its 1,450 restaurants.

"Chipotle unwraps vegan burrito", USA TODAY, July 29, 2013

Research, Studies, Advice  

Healthy Diet, Adequate Exercise – Plus Twice The RDA Of Protein – Prevent Muscle Loss

Eating twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein while regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet prevents muscle loss and promotes fat loss, according to a U.S. study. The caloric intake and exercise levels of the men and women in the study were tightly controlled. In addition, they were assigned to groups that ate the normal RDA of protein, twice the RDA and three times the RDA. The researchers concluded that eating twice the RDA of protein helps prevent muscle loss when trying to lose fat, along with adequate exercise and a well balanced diet.

"Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial", The FASEB Journal, August 29, 2013

Animal Study Finds That Omega-3 Supplements Reduce ADHD Symptoms

A Norwegian study in young rats with hyperactivity, poor ability to concentrate and impulsiveness – all symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in humans – has found that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids led to a decline in the symptoms. The rats were given omega-3 supplements while in the womb and from the earliest stages of life. Monitoring of the animals found substantial differences in the behavior of those given the omega-3 supplements as fetuses and as baby rats and those that had not. Male rats showed improved ability to concentrate, while all of the omega-3 rats showed reduced hyperactivity. The researchers cautioned that these findings might not translate to human beings for a variety of reasons.

"Marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids induce sex-specific changes in reinforcer-controlled behavior and neurotransmitter metabolism in a spontaneously hypertensive rat model of ADHD", Behavioral and Brain Functions, August 23, 2013

Exercise Can Prevent Some Unhealthy Results Of A Junk Food Diet

A U.S. study  finds a link between the Western junk food diet – high in saturated fat, vegetable oil fats and sugar – and erectile and coronary artery dysfunction , particularly with a sedentary lifestyle. The study was conducted in rats who ate either a healthy diet or a fat-rich diet, and who either exercised or remained sedentary. The findings showed that rats who ate the Western diet but stayed sedentary developed erectile dysfunction and poorly relaxing coronary arteries. But those who ate a junk food diet – and exercised – were able to prevent these problems. Animals who ate a healthy diet avoided both erectile and coronary artery dysfunction.

"Exercise prevents Western diet-associated erectile dysfunction and coronary artery endothelial dysfunction: response to acute apocynin and sepiapterin treatment", AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, August 20, 2013

Healthy Diet Associated With Lower Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer

U.S. researchers who analyzed questionnaire data from an NIH-sponsored diet and health study involving 537,218 people found a 15 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer among those who ate a healthier diet. The authors evaluated how closely study participants' diets matched the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2005). The  association between a higher HEI score (indicating a healthier diet) and lower incidence of pancreatic cancer was stronger among overweight or obese men compared to men of normal weight, researchers said. But there was no difference for normal vs. overweight or obese women.

"Potential to Link Dietary Patterns in the Food Supply and Populations to Health", JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, August 15, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Coupled With Low GI Carbs Reduces Risk Of Diabetes

Italian researchers who studied more than 22,000 Greek patients for 11 years found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet more closely – and especially ate more low glycemic index foods – were 12 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who followed the diet less closely. Those whose diet was more rich in high glycemic index carbohydrates were 21 percent more likely to develop diabetes. The researchers said the Mediterranean diet was not associated with weight loss, but with “dietary characteristics”. They suggested that a Mediterranean diet whose foods were low on the glycemic index “may reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes".

"Mediterranean diet and glycaemic load in relation to incidence of type 2 diabetes: results from the Greek cohort of the population-based European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)", Diabetologia, August 15, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Affects Gene Associated With Type 2 Diabetes And Stoke Susceptibility

A new study by U.S. and Spanish researchers has found a genetic reason to follow the Mediterranean diet: the food apparently interacts with a gene variant associated with type 2 diabetes and eliminates increased stroke susceptibility. The diet puts people who carry the gene variant on an even playing field with people with one or no copies of the variant. The randomized, controlled trial enrolled more than 7,000 men and women who ate either a Mediterranean or low fat control diet and monitored them for cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack for almost five years. Researchers said the findings boost the science of nutrigenomics, the study of the links between nutrition, gene function and human health.

"Mediterranean Diet Reduces the Adverse Effect of the TCFL2-rs7903146 Polymorphism on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Stroke Incidence", Diabetes Care, August 13, 2013

Sugar-Rich Diet Proves Deadly For Mice In Experiments

In a study in mice, U.S. researchers found that a 25 percent increase in sugar – half dextrose and half fructose – in the diet caused serious health problems. That sugar increase, comparable to three cans of sugary soda added to an otherwise healthy human diet, caused a higher rate of mortality and reduced fertility, the researchers said. The same unhealthy results were seen when mice were inbred and when they consumed the added sugar. To conduct the study, researchers used 377-square-foot "mouse barns" enclosed by 3-foot walls to closely approximate the actual living conditions – and breeding, feeding, and competitive behavior – of house and field mice.

"Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice", Nature Communications, August 13, 2013

Healthy Diet, Moderate Alcohol, Reduce Risk Of Chronic Kidney Disease With Type 2 Diabetes

Patients with type 2 diabetes who ate a healthier diet and drank moderate amounts of alcohol reduced their risk of chronic kidney disease, according to a Canadian study. For the study, researchers examined the association of a healthy diet, alcohol, protein and sodium in 6,213 patients. A lower risk of developing chronic kidney disease and mortality was associated with: higher quality diet (including at least three servings of fruit a week), higher intake of animal protein, and moderate intake of alcohol. Sodium intake was not linked to kidney disease.

"Diet and Kidney Disease in High-Risk Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus", JAMA Internal Medicine, August 12, 2013

Transparent Packaging Has An Effect On Snack Eating, Depending On Different Factors

A new study confirms that transparent food packages influence snacking habits in different ways, but it depends on the size, visual appeal and healthiness of the food. Participants were placed in a room with snacks – nuts, cookies, M&Ms, Cheerios and Fruit Loops packaged in either transparent or opaque bags –  to watch episodes of “The Office”. The participants were told they would be evaluating ads, but the researchers were only interested in their food consumption. The results? Participants ate fewer large, visually appealing snack foods from transparent packages, ate more small foods (like M&Ms) from transparent packages, and ate fewer carrots from transparent packages. "The health food results were somewhat surprising to us," one researcher said.

"The See-Food Diet: How Transparent Packaging Affects Eating", News release, American Marketing Association, August 05, 2013

Beating Blindness With Vegetable Oil

Nutrition Horizon , August 16, 2013


Gluten-Free Baked Goods Among Best New Products At Fancy Food Show

Food writer Ruth Taber sampled a lot of innovative foods and beverages at last month’s Fancy Food Show in New York City, but was especially fond of some tasty gluten-free baked snacks. Among her  favorite products: Barry Novick’s award winning All Parmesan Gourmet Wafer Crisps made entirely of cheese; Just The Crumbs – created by a woman with celiac disease – combining brown rice, quinoa, flax, and sesame seeds and suitable for any recipe calling for crumbs; and Israeli firm Osem’s Gratify gluten-free pretzels made with rice and soy flour (and wheat, milk, casein and egg free).

"Ruth Taber: Food finds", El Paso Times, August 15, 2013

Only 7 Percent Of US Consumers Say They're Vegetarian, 36 Percent Use Meat Alternatives

While only 7 percent of consumers in the United States identify themselves as vegetarian, 36 percent say they use meat alternatives, according to a research from Mintel. Half of consumers who use meat alternatives are using them to replace real meat and 16 percent say they use the products together with meat products. Data also showed health concerns are a major factor encouraging consumers to use meat alternatives, with one-third of consumers say they are using meat alternatives because they are healthy. Also, 31 percent of respondents said they are trying to cut their meat consumption, while another 31 percent said they like the taste of meat alternatives.

"More than one-third of Americans consume meat alternatives, but only a fraction are actually vegetarians", Mintel, August 12, 2013

Analyst Pulse: Trends in Global Weight Loss Diets

Euromonitor International, August 16, 2013

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