We use our own and third-party cookies to optimize your experience on this site, including to maintain user sessions. Without these cookies our site will not function well. If you continue browsing our site we take that to mean that you understand and accept how we use the cookies. If you wish to decline our cookies we will redirect you to Google.
Already have an account? Sign in.

 Remember Me | Forgot Your Password?

This is a general newsletter - click here to create something specific to your interests

Search criteria:
  • Ready-to-go newsletters on topics you choose, in your template
  • We prepare the content for you
  • You review, edit and click Send. Easy!
Read more about SmartNews360
  • A competitive intelligence leader for 20 years
  • Helping top corporations with research and analysis
  • From quick projects to ongoing support and outsourced services
Read more about Business360
Period: April 15, 2014 to May 1, 2014
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

Unilever May Shed Its Weight Loss, Pasta Sauce Brands

Unilever acknowledged it is reviewing the sales performance of its SlimFast weight loss brand as well as its pasta sauces unit, which includes the Ragu brand. A company spokesman said the review could lead to a divestiture of the product lines, but “it doesn’t necessarily have to”. Purchased in 2000 for £1.4 billion, the SlimFast line was badly bruised by the rise of the Atkins low-carb products starting in 2003, and has recently felt the impact of Kellogg’s refocus of some of breakfast cereals as weight loss products. Industry experts say Unilever’s plan is to focus more tightly on its health and beauty businesses.

"Unilever puts SlimFast and US pasta sauce range up for sale", The Guardian, April 24, 2014

Meta-Study Finds No Evidence That Vitamin D Prevents Falls Among Seniors

Previous studies have reported evidence of a correlation between vitamin D supplements and a reduced risk of falls among older people. But a new meta-study of 20 clinical trials involving 29,535 people found no evidence at all that vitamin D reduced falls. But because most clinical trials report on only the total number of falls, not the number of falls per person, it cannot be established whether vitamin D might reduce falls in particularly vulnerable older people – i.e., those who fall often. The researchers acknowledged they are not sure whether a large clinical trial “in this vulnerable population” would be feasible.

"Vitamin D supplementation and falls: a trial sequential meta-analysis. ", The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, April 23, 2014

Vitamin D Deficiency Among Seniors Linked To Cognitive Decline

A U.S. study adds to the mounting evidence that vitamin D deficiency in seniors is associated with cognitive decline over time. The researchers looked at 2,777 well-functioning adults aged 70 to 79 whose cognitive performance was measured at the start of the study and again four years later. Vitamin D levels were measured at the 12-month follow-up visit. Low vitamin D was associated with worse cognitive performance on one of the two cognitive tests used. The researchers were careful to point out they could not determine a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but there was enough associative data to support a campaign to increase vitamin D supplementation among the elderly.

"Relationship Between 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. ", Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 22, 2014

Advisories To Pregnant Women About Persistent Contaminants Are Mostly Ineffective

Canadian and Swedish researchers have found that advising pregnant women about the potential dangers to infants of exposure to quickly eliminated contaminants in fish – e.g., mercury – are generally effective. But advisories don’t work well when it comes to “persistent organic pollutants”: chemicals such as DDT and PCBs banned long ago but still in the environment and the food chain. Persistent pollutants can remain in the body for years, even decades because the human body has a difficult time eliminating them. Women who stop eating fish shortly before or during their pregnancy may only lower their child's exposure to persistent pollutants by 10 to 15 percent.

"Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Consumption Advisories: Modeling Prenatal, Postnatal, and Childhood Exposures to Persistent Organic Pollutants. ", Environmental Health Perspectives, April 17, 2014

Data Confirm That Iron Supplements Improve Exercise Performance In Women

An Australian study that examined data collected and merged from 22 small clinical trials confirmed that women who take iron supplements improved their exercise performance and efficiency at all levels of exertion. The researchers saw the effect mainly among women who had been iron deficient or anemic at the start of studies, and in female athletes who were in training. The study also confirmed that iron deficiency impairs exercise performance in women. Iron deficiency also produces fatigue and lethargy,  and often results in iron deficiency anemia.

"Iron Supplementation Benefits Physical Performance in Women of Reproductive Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. ", Journal of Nutrition, April 16, 2014

Compound In Green Tomatoes Strengthens Muscles, Prevents Atrophy

A Harvard University researcher has determined that a compound found in green tomatoes helps build muscle and protect against muscle atrophy caused by cancer, heart failure and orthopedic injuries. Using a systems biology tool called the Connectivity Map, the researcher discovered that tomatidine changes gene expression in ways opposite to changes that occur in muscle cells affected by atrophy. They found that tomatidine stimulates growth of cultured muscle cells from humans, and that healthy mice supplemented with tomatidine grew bigger muscles, became stronger, exercised longer, and avoided muscle atrophy. The compound may also have potential for treating obesity.

"Systems-Based Discovery of Tomatidine as a Natural Small Molecule Inhibitor of Skeletal Muscle Atrophy. ", Journal of Biological Chemistry, April 16, 2014

Chromium Supplements Do Not Improve Fasting Blood Sugar

A U.S. researcher who analyzed 30 years of data on chromium supplementation has concluded that chromium has no effect on the fasting blood sugar levels of either healthy or diabetic individuals. It has been suggested that chromium might help the 26 percent of Americans whose fasting glucose is impaired, a precursor of type 2 diabetes. But after combing through 16 studies published from 1985 to 2012, involving 809 adults of all ages (to 67 years), the researchers found no positive effect from chromium chloride, chromium picolinate, chromium nicotinate, chromium dinicocysteinate or chromium yeast at doses ranging from 200 to 1,000 μg a day.

"Improved Meta-Analytic Methods Show No Effect of Chromium Supplements on Fasting Glucose. ", Biological Trace Element Research, April 16, 2014

Eating More Slowly Helps You Lose Weight, Study Suggests

A Swiss study comparing satiety between normal weight and obese people found that the obese tend to eat faster, take less time to feel full, spend less time eating and yet consume more calories. For the study, obese and normal weight people consumed as many nutritional drinks as they wanted, as fast as they wanted, in the morning on an empty stomach. They then reported when they felt full. On average, the obese people reported feeling sated after just ten minutes, four minutes earlier than those of normal weight. But during those ten minutes they consumed about 85 cal a minute, compared with 50 cal a minute by normal weight participants. The solution? "Eating slowly is not only healthy, but it should also help you lose weight," one researcher said.

"Gastric and intestinal satiation in obese and normal weight healthy people. ", Physiology & Behavior, April 15, 2014

New Research Contradicts Report That Said U.S. Children Are Less Obese

All classes of obesity in American children have crept upward over the last 14 years, according to national survey data collected on 26,690 children (ages 2 to 19) between 1999 and 2012.  Applying several definitions of obesity based on height and weight measurements (the body mass index), the researchers found that 17.3 percent of U.S. children ages 2-19 were obese in 2011-2012. At the same time, eight percent met criteria for the two most severe forms of obesity (Class 2 and Class 3). The findings contradict a recent report showing a drop in obesity among young children in the last decade.

"Prevalence and Trends in Obesity and Severe Obesity Among Children in the United States, 1999-2012. ", JAMA Pediatrics, April 14, 2014

Companies, Organizations  

Not Exactly Diet Donuts, But Definitely “Guilt Free”

A Manhattan bakery is selling a donut that contains only a fraction of the fat, cholesterol and calories of regular donuts. While Holey Donuts does consider the new made-to-order product a “premium guilt free” treat, it stops short of calling it a diet donut. Second-generation donut entrepreneur – his dad became a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in 1958 – Frank Dilullo experimented with lower-fat recipes in the back of one of his dad’s stores. The innovative cooking process results in donuts – sold at $3.95 apiece – with only three to five grams of fat, compared to 15 to 40 grams in traditional donuts, are only150-200 calories each, and contain no artificial sweeteners or non-natural flavors.

"Is this the first 'guilt-free' donut? A new bakery is offering made-to-order confections with just THREE GRAMS of fat. FEMAIL puts them to the test...", Mail Online, April 16, 2014

Dieters, Who Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Shun “Diet” Foods And Beverages

Once fixated on calories and weight loss, dieters have taken a new tack. They still want to lose weight, but they don’t want to feel deprived. They’re tired of foods that provide only short-lived satisfaction. They’re thinking that eating foods with more protein or fat will keep them from binge eating later, even if they might be higher in calories. The trend is seen in so-called diet foods: sales of Special K cereal are down seven percent since 2012; sales of Nestle's Lean Cuisine dropped 27 percent in the past four years; and sales of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi fell seven percent in 2013. All of these brands are making adjustments to their product lines to counter the trend.

"Dieters move past calories, food makers follow", The Big Story, April 10, 2014

Research, Studies, Advice  

Obesity Society Weighs In On Impact Of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages are contributing to the obesity epidemic in the U.S., particularly among children, the Obesity Society said in an official report based on a review of current research. The society recommended that children should minimize drinking sugary beverages and adults should reduce or avoid sugary drinks as part of an overall strategy to reduce calories. Evidence from studies shows that individuals with a higher BMI consume more sugary beverages than leaner individuals, and decreasing their consumption “may reduce overall calorie intake and help individuals with obesity or overweight reach healthy weight goals”.

"Reduced Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Can Reduce Total Caloric Intake", Position Statement: The Obesity Society, April 23, 2014

Study Determines How Bariatric Surgery Leads To Health Benefits

U.S., Danish and Swedish scientists report that bariatric surgery leads to weight loss, but for very different reasons than once thought. The procedure, which also has positive effects on diabetes and heart disease, apparently causes an increase in bile acids in the blood. It is the increase in these acids – not the shrinkage of the stomach – that leads to the health benefits. The findings indicate that bile acids could be a new target for treating obesity and diabetes.

"FXR is a molecular target for the effects of vertical sleeve gastrectomy. ", Nature, April 22, 2014

Study Associates Drop In Salt Intake With Fewer Heart Disease Deaths In U.K.

An analysis of data from 31,500 health surveys conducted in the U.K. over eight years finds a connection between a drop in salt consumption and in heart disease deaths. Between 2003 and 2011, daily salt intake fell by an average of 1.4 g, or about 15 percent. During the same period, stroke deaths fell by 42 percent and coronary heart disease deaths fell 40 percent. In addition, risk factors for cardiovascular disease also fell, including average cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking. Average weight (body mass index) rose, and fruit and vegetable consumption rose slightly.

"Salt reduction in England from 2003 to 2011: its relationship to blood pressure, stroke and ischemic heart disease mortality. ", BMJ Open, April 21, 2014

Study Data Show Significant Link Between High-Fat/Sat-Fat Diet And Breast Cancer

A study by Italian researchers has found an association between a high-fat – including saturated fat –  diet and two types of breast cancer as well as human epidermal growth factor disease. Researchers analyzed data from epidemiological and case-control studies involving nearly 350,000 women. High total and saturated fat intake were associated with greater risk of estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-positive (ER+PR+) breast cancer (BC), and human epidermal growth factor 2 receptor-negative (HER2-) disease.

"Dietary Fat Intake and Development of Specific Breast Cancer Subtypes. ", JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute, April 16, 2014

Meta-Analysis Of Clinical Trials Proves Vitamin D Supplements Are Safe For Elderly Women

Despite a flurry of contradictory reports in recent years, a new U.S. and European study finds that calcium supplements, with or without vitamin D, for osteoporosis are probably safe for older women. The researchers searched clinical trial databases for research conducted between 1966 and 2013, finding 18 (of 661) involving nearly 64,000 postmenopausal women that met stringent inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis showed that calcium supplementation with or without vitamin D does not increase coronary heart disease or increase the risk of death in elderly women.

"The effects of calcium supplementation on coronary heart disease hospitalization and death in postmenopausal women: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.", News release, study presented at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases, April 12, 2014

Junk Food Diet, Obesity, Lead To Lethargic Behavior

Diet experiments conducted in rats found that, as expected, animals who ate highly-processed junk food for three months gained considerably more weight than those who ate standard, unprocessed foods. Researchers at UCLA also found that the obese rats appeared lazier than the  lean  rats, taking substantially longer to return to assigned tasks after breaks. After switching the diets for several days, there was no significant change in weight or performance in the two groups: the lean rats did not suddenly get fat, nor did the fat rats get lean. This finding suggests that the long-term pattern, not the occasional binge, is responsible for obesity and cognitive impairments.

"Food quality and motivation: A refined low-fat diet induces obesity and impairs performance on a progressive ratio schedule of instrumental lever pressing in rats. ", Physiology & Behavior, April 11, 2014

Developed by Yuri Ingultsov Software Lab.