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Period: November 15, 2015 to December 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
Market News  

FDA Recommends Limits On Daily “Added Sugar” Intake

The FDA has issued a recommendation that Americans limit "added sugar" consumption to no more than ten percent of daily calories. The agency also wants food labels to distinguish between natural sugar and added sugar. Except for children three and under, that would mean a limit of 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, of added sugar a day, about the same amount as in a can of Coca-Cola. The problem for American consumers is that sugar, honey and high-fructose corn syrup are not only found in obvious things like sodas, cookies and candy. They are also in healthful foods like low-fat yogurt, granola, wholegrain breads, ketchup, pasta sauce, canned fruit, prepared soups, salad dressings and marinades. Food industry skeptics argue that new labels distinguishing between natural and added sugar will only confuse shoppers.

"Placing a Cap on Americans’ Consumption of Added Sugar", The New York Times, November 09, 2015

Shifts In Consumer Eating Preferences Drive New Food Product Development

Clean eating, organic, “free from,” and “flexitarian” (i.e., part-time vegetarian) are some of the key trends in food and drinks for 2016, according to an analysis of product launches by Innova Market Insights. The desire for transparency in food ingredients showed itself in the form of the “clear label" trend, a step up from “clean label.” Though most consumers don't need foods “free from” gluten, wheat, or dairy, they want them anyway, making it a major trend. Part-time vegetarians have reduced meat consumption for health, sustainability or animal welfare reasons, and that’s having an impact on new food products. Consumers are looking for fresh alternatives to preservatives, like fermentation and other ancient techniques. Other new products exploit the newfound desire to eat more vegetables, though in different forms like smoothies and pastas.

"Top Food & Beverages Trends for 2016: "Clean Eating" Trend Inspires a Back to Basics Approach", News release, Innova Market Insights, November 17, 2015

Products & Brands  

Regulate Safety, Not Efficacy, Of Dietary Supplements, Former FDA Official Says

A former FDA official says don’t worry about the efficacy of dietary supplements – at least for now. Pay attention instead to their safety. Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, now at Johns Hopkins University, argues that many dietary supplements – vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, etc. – are spiked with pharmaceuticals, are poorly manufactured, or lack the stated ingredients. Unfortunately, there is gridlock in dealing with the problem at the national level because manufacturers oppose closer scrutiny of efficacy and federal laws handcuff the FDA, keeping it from effectively monitoring the thousands of products on the market. But Sharfstein says that manufacturers would probably support stronger safety controls if they were not tied to analysis of product claims.

"Breaking the gridlock: Regulation of dietary supplements in the United States. ", Drug Testing and Analysis, November 20, 2015

Gastric Balloon May Be Answer To Weight Loss For The Desperate Obese

Swallowing a balloon-pill may prove to be an effective weight loss technique, according to a new study. The “procedureless” gastric balloon is ingested as a capsule – dubbed “Elipse” by manufacturer Allurion Technologies – that is then “inflated” with 550 ml of liquid. In the study, patients who kept the balloon in place for four months lost 37 percent of their excess weight. The device is not considered a permanent solution to weight loss, but it does have the potential to help people who are overweight or obese but are not candidates for bariatric surgery. After four months, a valve opens on its own, releasing the liquid that is then excreted naturally.

"The First Procedureless Gastric Balloon: A Prospective Study Evaluating Safety, Weight Loss, Metabolic Parameters and Quality of Life", Research presented at ObesityWeek 2015, November 20, 2015

Research, Studies, Advice  

Risk Of Death By Heart Disease, Stroke, Etc., Reduced By Coffee Drinking

A large, 30-year study conducted among healthcare professionals found that coffee drinking was linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases and suicide. No association with reduced cancer risk was found, however. The risk of death was reduced by six percent among nonsmokers who drank at least one cup of coffee – either caffeinated or decaffeinated – a day. The greatest reduction in risk – 15 percent – was found among nonsmokers who drank between three and five cups a day. Controlling for age, alcohol consumption, BMI and other health and diet factors did not change the results.

"Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts", Circulation, November 18, 2015

Neither App Nor Coaching Effective At Long-Term Weight Loss

Weight loss programs for young adults that employ smartphone apps – even with personalized coaching – are no more effective at helping shed pounds than instructional fliers, a U.S. study has found. It’s upsetting news, because 35 percent of Americans in the 18-35 age range are obese. The randomized study included 365 people. One group used a free Android app called CITY (Cell Phone Intervention for You), designed for the study by university scientists. On average, participants who used the app lost about two pounds after two years, about the same as a control group that received handouts about exercise and nutrition. A separate arm of the study worked with the app and a personal coach, with the same disappointing results.

" Cell phone intervention for you (CITY): A randomized, controlled trial of behavioral weight loss intervention for young adults using mobile technology. ", Obesity, November 20, 2015

Junk Food May Be Harmful To Health, But It’s Not The Main Cause Of Obesity

Junk food in and of itself may be nutritionally bankrupt, even harmful to health, but it is not the leading cause of obesity, Cornell University scientists say in a new study. It’s more complicated than that. For example,overall diet and amount of physical activity are also key factors. The study reviewed a representative sample of about 5,000 adults in the United States. It found that consumption of soda, candy and fast food is not linked to body mass index (BMI) for 95 percent of the population. Those on the extreme ends of the BMI spectrum – the chronically underweight or morbidly obese – are the exceptions because they are more likely to eat junk food and less likely to eat fruits and vegetables. The simple point is that narrowly targeting junk food is ineffective and self-defeating because “it distracts from the real underlying causes of obesity."

"Fast Food, Soft Drink, and Candy Intake is Unrelated to Body Mass Index for 95% of American Adults", Obesity Science & Practice, November 20, 2015

Inability To Absorb Enough Vitamin E Is A Key Problem For the Obese

Obese people are often afflicted with metabolic syndrome, an array of conditions that include excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, low "good" cholesterol, and high levels of blood sugar and fats. People with metabolic syndrome have one thing in common: they tend to be deficient in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), which the body needs to fight oxidative stress that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. The key problem for obese people is that, while they need higher levels of vitamin E to fight oxidative stress, their obesity is preventing absorption of the vitamin. And, contrary to recent findings, dairy fat does not increase the bioavailability of vitamin E, at least in supplement form.

"α-Tocopherol bioavailability is lower in adults with metabolic syndrome regardless of dairy fat co-ingestion: a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 20, 2015

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