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Period: December 1, 2015 to January 1, 2016
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Research, Studies, Advice  

“Portfolio Diet” Beats DASH At Reducing Blood Pressure

A diet developed especially to lower cholesterol also fortuitously reduces blood pressure even better than the DASH diet, according to Canadian research. Scientists were taking a second look at a 2011 study of the impact of the so-called “portfolio diet” on cholesterol patients when they discovered by chance its effect on hypertension. The diet lowered blood pressure an average of two percent better than the DASH (dietary approach to stopping hypertension) diet. The diets are similar in that they de-emphasize animal proteins. But the portfolio regimen features mixed nuts, soy protein, plant sterols (from vegetable oils and leafy vegetables) and viscous fiber (from oats, barley and eggplant). DASH emphasizes fruit, vegetables and whole grains, no snack food, and less dairy.

"The effect of a dietary portfolio compared to a DASH-type diet on blood pressure. ", Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, December 06, 2015

High-Heat Meat Cooking Greatly Increases Risk Of Kidney Cancer

High-temperature meat cooking methods, such as barbecuing and pan-frying, create carcinogens (PhIP and MeIQx) that increase the risk of kidney cancer, especially among people with certain gene mutations. For the study, U.S. researchers analyzed eating habits and genetic information of 659 kidney cancer patients and 699 healthy people. Kidney cancer patients were found to eat more red and white meat compared to healthy individuals. But they also had 54 percent higher levels of PhlP and double the levels of MelQx, suggesting the impact of high-heat cooking. Moreover, those with variations in one gene (ITPR2) were more vulnerable to the effects of PhIP, ostensibly confirming the link between high-temperature meat cooking and renal cancer.

"Gene-environment interaction of genome-wide association study-identified susceptibility loci and meat-cooking mutagens in the etiology of renal cell carcinoma. ", Cancer, December 06, 2015

Researchers Make A Weight-Loss Case For Sugar Substitutes

A British review of published studies on artificial sweeteners – i.e., saccharin, aspartame, sucralose and stevia – has found that their use in place of sugar reduces caloric intake and helps people lose weight. For the study, 12 clinical trials, 228 comparative human intervention studies, and 90 animal studies were analyzed. The researchers found that comparisons of the dietary impact of artificially-sweetened drinks and water, for example, showed that they did not increase appetite, as some scientists have argued. Instead, artificially-sweetened beverages reduced weight more than water, perhaps because they may be an easier dietary change to make than switching to water.

"Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. ", International Journal of Obesity, December 06, 2015

Dietary Potassium Seems To Preserve Kidney, Heart Health In Type 2 Diabetics

People with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing kidney failure and heart disease. One of the key reasons, according to this Japanese study, may be low intake of potassium. The study was launched in 1996. A total of 623 patients with type 2 diabetes but normal kidney function were enrolled through 2003, and monitored until 2013. Researchers found that patients whose intake (and therefore excretion) of potassium was higher over those years showed slower kidney decline and fewer incidences of cardiac complications (e.g., heart attacks, angina pectoris, stroke, etc.). The findings point to a possible dietary intervention for type 2 diabetics. Foods rich in potassium include beans, dark leafy greens, fish, mushrooms, and bananas.

"Urinary Potassium Excretion and Renal and Cardiovascular Complications in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Normal Renal Function. ", Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, December 18, 2015

Sweet Foods May Help People Remember Their Meals, Control Eating

A U.S. study has determined that eating sweet foods activates an area of the brain that helps remember specific events, like eating a meal. If that area remains dormant, people are less likely to remember that they’ve eaten, and will tend to eat more. The researchers said that people will make a lunch decision, for example, based on whether they remember that they ate breakfast. "We think that episodic memory can be used to control eating behavior," said one researcher, but more study is necessary to find out if nutritionally balanced diets with protein, fat and carbohydrates have a similar effect on the brain’s ability to remember meals.

"Sweet orosensation induces Arcexpression in dorsal hippocampal CA1 neurons in an experience-dependent manner", Hippocampus, December 18, 2015

“Personalized” Nutrition Plan Could Be Answer To Ineffective Dieting

Because metabolism differs from one person to the next, personalized nutrition, based on individual responses to foods, may be the best way to diet, an Israeli study finds. Researchers tracked blood sugar levels of 800 people who ate the same foods for a week. A key finding was that the glycemic index (GI) – used to track the effect of a food on blood sugar – is not a set value, but depends on the individual. Age and body mass index (BMI) affect blood glucose levels after meals. The researchers also found that different people show markedly different responses to the same food – in one woman’s case, “healthy” tomatoes – even though responses were the same from day to day. A “personalized” nutrition plan would eliminate tomatoes from that woman’s diet because of its effect on her blood sugar.

"Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. ", Cell, December 21, 2015

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