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Period: August 15, 2014 to September 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

U.K. Vitamin D Intake Estimates Are Inaccurate, Misleading

British researchers found significant discrepancies between lists of vitamin D-fortified foods and vitamin D data gathered from industry Web sites, trade associations and manufacturers and government vitamin D databanks. They compared 289 foods fortified with vitamin D catalogued by the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Nutrient Databank in 2008 and 2010 to the data they compiled. They concluded that the U.K. should update vitamin D food and supplement content estimations because they underestimate population intake levels of the vitamin by about three percent.

"More vitamin D in UK foods than previously: Study", Food&DrinkEurope.com, August 26, 2014

Eating Gluten-Free? Avoid This Wheat Replacement Ingredient, FDA Warns

The U.S. FDA has issued an alert warning people on gluten-free diets to avoid an increasingly popular food ingredient known as lupin. A legume from the same plant family as peanuts, lupin is used as a replacement for wheat in an increasing number of gluten-free products. Food manufacturers are required to list lupin on the food label. The FDA is urging consumers with peanut and soybean allergies to read labels because of the risk of allergic reactions. Symptoms include hives, swelling of the lips, vomiting, breathing difficulties and anaphylactic shock. Even people without allergies to legume products should be aware of the ingredient.

"New gluten-free ingredient may cause allergic reaction", News release, Kansas State University, August 25, 2014

New Sensor-Packed Cup Helps You Keep Track Of Beverage Calories, Nutrients

A small company has developed a drinking cup packed with sophisticated sensors that can detect the level of certain nutrients in beverages, and then report the calorie content. Vessyl, designed to be used at home or work, displays the type of beverage poured into the cup (i.e., coffee, beer, etc.), the calorie count, and other details, like protein and sugar content. The idea, according to Mark One CEO Justin Lee, is to keep you aware of what you’re ingesting. "If you track what you consume, the likelihood of you achieving your health goal is much higher." A promotional version of Vessyl is available at $99 until next year, when the price will more than double.

"This Cup Tells You How Many Calories You're Drinking", Fast Company, August 19, 2014

Superfoods: A Somewhat Elusive Food Category Despite A Lot Of Publicity

America’s growing love affair with nutrient-rich “superfoods” is apparently grounded in the belief – held by 75 percent of consumers – that health can be managed through nutrition. Marketers of such foods rely heavily on the well-reported findings of scientific and medical researchers. But which foods are superfoods? Nielsen compiled a list of 41 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” that contain at least 10 percent daily value of 17 nutrients per 100 calories. On the list: kale, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, carrots, watercress, Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, and spinach. Excluded were raspberries, tangerines, cranberries, garlic, onions, blueberries, pomegranate, quinoa, and wheat berry.

"The Church of Superfoods Gains More Believers", Bloomberg Businessweek, August 13, 2014

Indifference To Brown Rice Puts Malaysians At Greater Risk For Diabetes

Healthier alternatives to white rice – namely, brown rice, low-carb noodles, etc. – have not caught on in Malaysia and other Asia-Pacific countries, intensifying the risk of obesity and diabetes in the region. A study published in May reported that 48.6 percent of Malaysian women and 43.8 percent of men are either overweight or obese, thanks mainly to a diet based heavily on white rice in the “most obese” country in Asia. Malaysian health officials are urging their countrymen to break the white rice habit. But it’s an uphill battle: Euromonitor sees almost no market in the country for more healthful brown rice.

"White Rice Exacerbates Diabetes Threat in Asia Pacific", Euromonitor International, August 09, 2014

Comment & Opinion  

Bread Is Not A Brain Food, Neurologist Warns

The neurologist author of “Grain Brain” says most if not all of America’s problems with Alzheimer’s and dementia in general are due to over-consumption of carbs, particularly from grain-based products like bread. David Perlmutter advocates eating more fat, and many fewer carbs (60 to 80 grams a day), basically a return to prehistoric times when people ate a high-fat, low-carb, gluten-free diet. He points to recent studies showing that the risk of dementia is 42 percent lower in people who eat more fat and fewer carbs. The rise in blood sugar caused by eating carbohydrates increases the risk of dementia, so type 2 diabetics are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as the general population.

"Grain Brain May Be Killing Us!", Ivanhoe Newswire, August 25, 2014

Enough Testing Already, People Need To Boost Their Blood Vitamin D Levels

Two anesthesiologists writing about a recent observational study say patients who are not deficient in vitamin D are less likely to suffer from complications after surgery. They argue that physicians needn’t wait any longer for evidence of the risk of being vitamin D deficient. There’s enough evidence accumulated – a “cornucopia of improved health outcomes” –  for physicians to advise patients to boost their vitamin D levels. While further testing of the impact of vitamin D supplements on surgical complications would be okay, they say, patients shouldn't wait for the results of clinical trials before taking "reasonable" steps to ensure adequate vitamin D levels.

"Vitamin D and Your Patients. ", Anesthesia & Analgesia, August 21, 2014

Dash of Salt Does No Harm. Extremes Are the Enemy

The New York Times, August 25, 2014


Food Manufacturers Back Away From the “Natural” Claim

For years there has been a “disconnect” between what consumers think of as “natural” foods and what food manufacturers provide, perhaps because there’s no official definition. The disconnect has led to confusion and litigation – more than 200 lawsuits have been filed in recent years. So, industry experts say, manufacturers are turning away from natural, using instead words such as "simply" and "pure" to suggest the idea that a product contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Pillsbury, for example, has "Simply ... Cookies" and Frito-Lay has "Simply Cheetos Puffs". Meanwhile, consumers are being advised to remember that natural should not be confused with healthful. "Natural" potato chips may not have been bleached, but they’re “still a bag of potato chips”.

"Food buyers lean toward 'natural,' a claim that's hard to define", Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2014

Food Industry Loves The Growing American Obsession With Snacking

It’s a little hard to tell whether food companies are reacting to, or creating, the increased interest in snacking. Whichever, the trend is real. Sales of snack bars are up and chain eateries are doing whatever they can to attract the attention of the P.M. snack crowd. A Nielsen survey of 1,139 consumers finds that 91 percent admit to snacking every day. Twenty-five percent said they snack as much as five times a day. Women prefer chocolate, candy or cookies, while men like the salty fare, including pretzels and chips. “Clearly, snacking is a trend, a positive trend,” says General Mills CEO Ken Powell. “We are very focused on the snacking trend.”

"Americans Cannot Stop Snacking", Bloomberg Businessweek, August 04, 2014

Research, Studies, Advice  

Blood Test For Dietary Biomarkers Will Make Future Studies More Reliable

A new form of blood test that measures diet-related biomarkers is more accurate in determining dietary compliance than relying on participant questionnaires, according to a multinational team of Scandinavian researchers. Self-reported dietary data are biased and not reliable, making it difficult to tell whether a specific diet is actually working. Dietary biomarkers are compounds related to certain foods or nutrients that are measurable in bodily tissues and fluids, such as blood. In the Nordic SYSDIET study, for example, participants were supposed to eat berries, vegetables, fatty fish, canola oil, and whole grains. The researchers found that several blood biomarkers showed whether the key dietary components were actually being consumed.

"A Dietary Biomarker Approach Captures Compliance and Cardiometabolic Effects of a Healthy Nordic Diet in Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome. ", Journal of Nutrition, August 21, 2014

Type 2 Diabetics Who Lose Weight Also Reduce Healthcare Costs

U.S. researchers have put a price tag – more than $500 a year in healthcare savings – on weight loss among people with type 2 diabetes. In an evaluation of more than 5,000 obese and overweight adults (45 to 76 years old) who participated in an NIH-sponsored diabetes initiative, the researchers found that people involved in intensive lifestyle changes – dieting and exercise – that led to weight loss had 11 percent fewer hospitalizations,15 percent shorter hospital stays, and used fewer prescription drugs. These benefits translated to an average saving of $5,280 per person in healthcare costs over 10 years, or $528 a year.

"Impact of an Intensive Lifestyle Intervention on Use and Cost of Medical Services Among Overweight and Obese Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: The Action for Health in Diabetes. ", Diabetes Care, August 21, 2014

Researchers Warn Of Health Risks Of Eating Too Much Instant Noodles

U.S. researchers who analyzed the health and diet of 11,000 South Korean adults found that women who ate ramen instant noodles twice a week or more were at higher risk for metabolic syndrome, a set of symptoms that precedes diabetes. No such association was found among men, perhaps because of the effect of sex hormones and metabolism. The reason for the link to metabolic syndrome appears to be the high levels of fat, salt, and calories in the noodles, the researchers said. “The piece to keep in mind is that it's not a healthy product, and it is a processed food."

"Instant Noodles Could Hurt Your Heart", Live Science, August 14, 2014

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