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Period: September 15, 2013 to October 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

Walnut-Enhanced Diet Reduces Risk Of Diabetes And Heart Disease

A small American clinical study among adults with a higher-than-healthy body mass index (BMI) finds that consuming walnuts can improve blood vessel dilation and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Participants had a BMI larger than 25, and a waist circumference exceeding 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. All had one or more risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The group was randomly assigned to two 8-week sequences, eating either a walnut-enriched – 56 grams a day – regular diet or a regular diet without walnuts. Those on the walnut-enhanced diet showed improved blood flow in the brachial arterly and lower systolic blood pressure. And eating the walnuts did not lead to weight gain.

"Effects of Walnuts on Endothelial Function in Overweight Adults with Visceral Obesity", Journal of the American College of Nutrition, September 23, 2013

Study Finds That The Brain Needs Sweets, But Not The Fake Kind

The brain likes sweets, and is not fooled by the artificial varieties, according to new U.S. research. The study in mice discovered a physiological brain signal critical for determining choice between sugars and sweeteners. The signal regulates dopamine levels, the chemical necessary for reward signaling in the brain, and is activated only when sugar is broken down into a form usable as fuel for cells to function. In other words, greater reward in the brain is attributed to sugars than to artificial sweeteners. To sidestep the obesity problem associated with sugar intake, the researchers suggest combining sweeteners with minimal amounts of sugar. That way energy metabolism doesn't drop, and caloric intake is minimized.

"Glucose utilization rates regulate intake levels of artificial sweeteners", The Journal of Physiology, September 22, 2013

Men Much More Likely To Suffer Serious Health Consequences Of Binge Eating

A Yale University study involving 190 people – 26 percent of whom were men – who had sought treatment for obesity and binge eating disorder found that men are much more likely to suffer serious health consequences than women. Binge eating disorder involves repeatedly eating large amounts of food in a short time without any compensating activity, like the vomiting associated with bulimia. After adjusting for race and body mass index, men in the study were three times more likely than the women to meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Sex differences in biopsychosocial correlates of binge eating disorder: a study of treatment-seeking obese adults in primary care setting", General Hospital Psychiatry, September 17, 2013

Compounds In Red Grapes, Blueberries, Seem To Give The Immune System A Boost

U.S. scientists who studied the impact of more than 400 compounds on the human immune system report that only two – one found in red grapes, one found in blueberries – had a positive effect. The compounds, known as stilbenoids, include resveratrol and pterostilbene. Working in synergy with vitamin D, the compounds raised the expression of the CAMP gene involved in immune function. The researchers acknowledged that their findings were made in Petri dish cell cultures and would not necessarily be duplicated in dietary intake.

"Synergistic induction of human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide gene expression by vitamin D and stilbenoids", Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, September 17, 2013

ConAgra Sells LightLife Foods Unit To Private Equity Fund

ConAgra Foods has sold its Lightlife brand to a private equity fund that invests in North American lower middle market consumer companies. The Lightlife brand, founded 34 years ago, includes products such as vegetarian-based burgers, hot dogs and other meatless frozen and refrigerated foods. Brynnwood Partners also acquired the Lightlife manufacturing operation in Turners Falls, Mass. Terms and conditions of the transaction, which closed today, were not disclosed. Brynwood Partners in the past has acquired Sun Country Foods, Balance Bar Company, Richelieu Foods, Lincoln Snacks Company and Signature Snacks Company.

"Brynwood Partners VI L.P. Acquires the Lightlife Brand from ConAgra Foods", Brynwood Partners, September 16, 2013

Market News  

“Skinny Bitch” Author Provides 80 Vegan Recipes For Baked Treats In New Book

“Skinny bitch” vegan author Kim Barnouin has branched out into the world of baking, publishing a book with 80 vegan recipes for cakes, pies, cookies, savories, breads, cold treats and gluten-free items that are all dairy- and egg-free. “Skinny Bitch Bakery” lists simple rules for vegan baking, vegan baking substitutions, healthy sugar alternatives, and necessary vegan pantry staples. Barnouin says the baked goods made from her recipes are as light and fluffy as conventional products, but are healthier and “cruelty free”.

"Decadent Baked Goods for Holidays and Every Day Without Milk, Butter or Eggs", News release, HarperOne Books, September 24, 2013

Consumption Of Whole Grain Bread, Rice, Rises Under Revised WIC Program For Poor Families

Low-income families who rely on the federal WIC program have begun to choose healthier foods now that the vouchers include whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain cereals, according to a new study. Prior to the change, most of the bread and rice purchased by WIC’s low-income households – with pregnant women or children under five – were made from refined grains. After the change, whole grain bread purchases went from eight percent to 24 percent; brown rice purchases rose to 30 percent. The WIC program also includes a new monthly $10 voucher for fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Yale study: WIC changes mean low-income families eat more whole grains", New Haven Register, September 18, 2013

Research, Studies, Advice  

Scarcity Has A Profound Impact On The Brain, Resulting In Bad Decisions

A Harvard economics professor makes the case that dealing with scarcity – of food, money, time, etc. – clogs the brain. People on diets tend to be so distracted by thoughts of calories that they end up making bad food decisions. The impact of scarcity on the brain extends beyond calorie counting. A similar impairment occurs whenever people must make do with less time or money. Poor people don’t make bad choices because they are inherently incapable. The real problem is “the mental strain that poverty imposes on anyone who must endure it”. As to dieting, the professor says the Atkins diet is probably popular because it simply bans certain foods: it doesn’t require mentally taxing calorie counting.

"The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less", The New York Times, September 21, 2013

Diet Has A Significant Impact On Depression

Depression has been associated with a poor diet and low-quality nutrient intake. New research from Finland finds that a healthy diet may cut the risk of severe depression. Researchers said a healthy diet comprises fruits, vegetables, berries, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat cheese. These foods are associated with a high level of folate intake. The follow-up study of more than 2,000 men in Finland showed that weight loss with lifestyle intervention was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms.

"Diet and depression", Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. Dissertations in Health Sciences, September 16, 2013

Low Levels Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Children Linked To Learning And Behavior Problems

British scientists have found a link between low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in children and problems concentrating and learning. For the study, blood samples were taken from 493 schoolchildren between seven and nine years old. Parents also reported on how often their children ate fish. On average, about 2.45 percent of the children's total blood fatty acids were omega-3 DHA and EPA, well below the recommended minimum of four percent. The low levels significantly predicted a child's behavior and ability to learn, the researchers found. Higher levels of omega-3 – DHA in particular – were associated with better reading and memory, as well as with fewer behavior problems as reported by parents and teachers.

"Docosahexaenoic Acid for Reading, Cognition and Behavior in Children Aged 7–9 Years: A Randomized, Controlled Trial", PLoS ONE, September 13, 2013

Chloride Levels In Blood Seem To Play A Role In Hypertension

Scientists are finding that the other, often overlooked, element in table salt – namely, chloride – plays an important role in blood pressure. A U.K. study shows that low chloride levels in the blood signals an increased mortality and cardiovascular disease risk in people with hypertension. That is the opposite of what is known about sodium levels. The study analyzed data from 13,000 patients with high blood pressure, finding that people with the lowest levels of chloride in their blood were 20 percent more likely to die than people with normal levels. The researchers said it is too early to draw “any conclusions about relating this finding to salt intake and diet”.

"Serum Chloride Is an Independent Predictor of Mortality in Hypertensive Patients", Hypertension , September 08, 2013

Obese Teenagers Who Lose Weight Often Experience Eating Disorders

Formerly overweight adolescents tend to have more medical complications from eating disorders, according to a Mayo Clinic study, and it takes longer to diagnose the disorders. The researchers said adolescents with a history of being overweight or obese make up a substantial portion of adolescents who are treated for eating disorders. The study looked at two examples of eating disorders that developed after obese adolescents reduced their weight. Both examples showed how difficult it was to identify eating disorders in formerly obese children and the subsequent delay in getting appropriate medical help.

"Eating Disorders in Adolescents With a History of Obesity", Pediatrics, September 05, 2013

Eating Disorders in Adolescents With a History of Obesity

Adolescent patients with obesity are at significant risk of developing an eating disorder (ED), yet due to their higher weight status their symptoms often go unrecognized and untreated. Although not widely known, individuals with a weight history in the ov, September 09, 2013

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