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Period: December 15, 2014 to January 1, 2015
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

Check The Scale Every Day If You’re Serious About Losing Weight

People who are trying to lose weight usually check the scale once in a while to determine their progress. But a new study of 40 people trying to lose weight finds that weight loss is related to the frequency of stepping on the scale. Researchers in Finland were careful to say there is no cause and effect relationship involved. But they observed nevertheless that study participants who weighed themselves more often – at least once a week or even daily -- tended to lose the most weight. The researchers advised dieters: “If you weigh yourself only once a week, do it on Wednesday because that will give you the most accurate reading."

"Are Breaks in Daily Self-Weighing Associated with Weight Gain? ", PLoS ONE, December 30, 2014

Review Of Studies Finds That Fructose – Not Salt – Is Guilty Party In Hypertension

U.S. scientists who analyzed published scientific studies found that added sugar in processed foods – and not sodium content – may be the real culprit in the global increase in cardiovascular disease, the primary cause of premature death. The benefits of restricting salt content in the diet “are debatable”, the authors say. On the other hand, persuasive evidence from basic science, population studies, and clinical trials “implicates sugars, and particularly the monosaccharide fructose” – used in high fructose corn syrup – “as playing a major role in the development of hypertension [high blood pressure]”. The authors stressed that naturally-occurring sugars found in fruit and vegetables are not harmful to health.

"The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease. ", Open Heart, December 20, 2014

Potato Extract-Based Dietary Supplement Could Someday Solve Obesity Problem

A Canadian study in mice found that potato extract can prevent weight gain from a diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates. For the study, the researchers fed the mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. Mice in the control group went from 25 grams to 41 grams. But those fed the potato extract – roughly equivalent to eating 30 potatoes – gained only seven grams. The reason for the difference is the high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component of fruits and vegetable. The investigators don’t advise eating 30 potatoes a day, of course, but instead envisage creating a potato extract dietary supplement or kitchen cooking ingredient.

"Extract of Irish potatoes (Solanum tuberosumL.) decreases body weight gain and adiposity and improves glucose control in the mouse model of diet-induced obesity. ", Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, December 20, 2014

Busting Myths About Bread’s Impact On The Gastrointestinal System

Some major myths are clouding our perception of the benefits and liabilities of eating bread. British dietitian Lucy Jones is determined to bust those myths, especially ones having to do with "bloating". Among the facts she assembles from scientific studies: yeast in bread does not cause bloating; increased fiber intake from bread may cause temporary bloating, but the gut eventually adjusts; a tiny percentage of people are allergic to gluten, but for the rest of humanity, there is no evidence that a wheat-free diet provides long-term health benefits; and there is no evidence to show that artisanal bread has a different gastrointestinal effect – less bloating, for example – than industrial (supermarket) bread, though whole grain flour may be more nutritious.

"Dietitian Explains Why Bread Doesn't Bloat You And How Avoiding It Could Damage Your Health", The Huffington Post UK, December 15, 2014

Fad Coffee Diet Wows Celebrities, But Nutritionists Not So Much

A fad diet that comprises coffee, butter and MCT (medium-chain trigycerides) has won over the usual number of gushing celebrities, but also a lot of detractors. Inventor Dave Asprey, described as a “technology entrepreneur and biohacker”, formulated the drink – dubbed “bulletproof” coffee – based on a yak butter tea he drank in Tibet. He claims the drink full of saturated fat is not only good for the brain, it promotes weight loss. But a nutrition professor says the only food that really helps the brain is carbohydrates, which are absent from the coffee concoction. Joan Salge Blake says the drink is more of a marketing triumph – like the grapefruit diet – and “not a breakfast of champions”.

"The Cult of the Bulletproof Coffee Diet", The New York Times, December 12, 2014

Mindfulness May Have Many Benefits, But Weight Loss Isn’t One Of Them

A review of the findings of 19 studies on the impact of mindfulness on weight loss found 13 that said the impact was positive -- but all were flawed. All of the studies lacked either a measure of the change in mindfulness or a statistical analysis of the link between being mindful and shedding pounds. One study that quantified weight reductions and increased mindfulness found no connection between the two. And one study that recorded the increase in mindfulness found no impact on weight loss. The U.S. researchers concluded that the review showed “we still have a long way to go to provide convincing evidence of the benefits of mindfulness for weight loss”.

"Mindfulness and Weight Loss: A Systematic Review. ", Psychosomatic Medicine, December 11, 2014

Products & Brands  

“Biohacking” May Be The Answer For America’s Picky Eaters

Those Americans who have become ideologically picky eaters – i.e., they adhere to a specific dietary preference as a way of life for one reason or another – are now categorized into “tribes” by nutrition experts. Although the numbers are relatively small – five million vegetarians, 2.5 million vegans, three million paleo dieters, three million gluten-free – the tribes are significant enough to worry dietitians concerned about vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies. One emerging trend, however, tries to take the guesswork out of these tribal leanings by determining, using personalized nutrition or “biohacking” technologies, what an individual really needs to eat to stay healthy. The technologies use blood tests, stool sample tests, even genetic tests to find out precisely what is happening in the body. The service providers then advise on how eating habits can be adjusted to fix any problems.

"Choose your tribe: 4 hot diet trends", Delicious Living, December 22, 2014

Weight Wellness Trend Offers Marketing Opportunities For Big Brands, Entrepreneurs

A new report on food, nutrition, and health trends for 2015 says big food businesses are having a tough time selling “weight wellness” products, but small entrepreneurial brands are flourishing. The key reason for this “tipping point” is that consumers are buying “regular foods” to keep their weight under control, attain a trim figure and improve digestive health. All of this is good news for big brands and entrepreneurs tuned into healthy snacks, protein products, foods that provide “good carbs”, dairy (the “natural whole food”), low or no sugar, and foods that are “free from” a host of undesirable ingredients.

"New Opportunities Emerge as Weight Wellness Hits Tipping Point", Asia Food Journal, December 16, 2014

Research, Studies, Advice  

Wild Blueberries Benefit Blood Pressure, Reduce Damaging Inflammation

The adverse effects of a high-fat diet can be reversed by eating wild blueberries, also known as bilberries, according to a study in Finland. Bilberries were shown to have beneficial effects on both blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses, the researchers found in a mouse study. An integral part of the Nordic diet, bilberries contain polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, in significantly higher proportions than in commercially cultivated blueberries.

"Wild Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) Alleviate Inflammation and Hypertension Associated with Developing Obesity in Mice Fed with a High-Fat Diet. ", PLoS ONE, December 30, 2014

Hunger-Reducing Food Ingredient Developed In The U.K.

British scientists have improved on a naturally-produced gut chemical to create a food ingredient that may more quickly produce satiety when eaten. Propionate is produced in the gut when fiber is fermented by microbes. It triggers release of hormones that convince the brain a person is no longer hungry. The scientists have developed an enhanced version called inulin-propionate ester (IPE) that delivers a much larger dose of propionate. A small clinical trial showed that only one out of 25 volunteers given IPE gained more than three per cent of their body weight over 24 weeks, compared to six out of 24 given inulin.

"Effects of targeted delivery of propionate to the human colon on appetite regulation, body weight maintenance and adiposity in overweight adults. ", Gut, December 20, 2014

Non-Diabetics Can Ignore Glycemic Index When Selecting Foods To Eat

U.S. researchers report that normal, overweight, or obese people – non-diabetics – do not necessarily benefit from eating low-glycemic index (GI) foods that take a long time to raise blood sugar levels. Their five-week controlled feeding study compared the impact of balanced, heart-healthy diets that emphasized low GI foods with diets that featured high GI foods. Low GI diets that were part of a heart-healthy regimen did not improve insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, or systolic blood pressure any more than high GI diets. The researchers concluded that selecting foods based on their ranking on the glycemic index “may not improve cardiovascular risk factors or insulin resistance”.

"Glycemic index shouldn't concern people without diabetes", Reuters.com, December 16, 2014


Demand For Packaged Retail Desserts Plummets, But Still No Change In Ingredients

A U.S. study finds little change in the questionable ingredients contained in packaged retail cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts and pastries sold between 2005 and 2012, despite a trend toward healthful eating. That trend is reflected in a 24 percent drop in consumer purchases of such goods, known as ready-to-eat grain-based desserts (RTE GBDs). Researchers acknowledged that manufacturers of RTE GBDs have to overcome many technical hurdles to bring new products to market that are both healthful and satisfying. Nevertheless, new products released in 2012 generally did not have fewer calories, less sugar, or less saturated fat than existing products.

"Consumer purchases of cakes, cookies and pies have decreased by 24 percent", Elsevier Health Sciences, December 22, 2014

Wellness-Conscious Baby Boomers, Millennials Drive Functional Food Trend

Market researcher Packaged Facts says Baby Boomers, who control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S. are driving the wellness and functional food trends. Also providing the growth impetus for functional foods are Millennials and health/exercise advocates. Functional food marketers need to know that Millennials are looking for food products fortified with calcium, fiber and vitamins and minerals, as well as healthier snacks like yogurt, fresh fruit to nutrition bars. Boomers want to prevent or ease conditions associated with aging, so they’re buying fiber, antioxidants, heart-healthy ingredients, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium and whole grains.

"Millennials, Boomers and Athletes Drive Emerging Functional Food Trends", Nutraceuticals World, December 17, 2014

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