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Period: February 1, 2016 to March 1, 2016
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

High Price Of Cauliflower Infuriates Some Dieters

Cold weather in the cauliflower-growing regions of California and Arizona has led to a shortage and a rise in prices that has dieters around the U.S. in a frenzy. Cauliflower has become a favorite of low-carb devotees because a medium-size head has fewer carbs than a single potato, is rich in vitamin C and low in calories. Creative cooks have found many ways to prepare it, even to disguise it to substitute for other foods in recipes (e.g., the “mac” in mac and cheese, faux mashed potatoes, and even ersatz rice). But the scarcity of the vegetable has driven prices to prohibitive levels: up 30 percent from a year ago, according to the USDA, with some stores charging as much as $8.00 a head.

"Why Carb Counters Are Running for the Cauliflower", The Wall Street Journal, February 01, 2016

“Most Innovative” German Food/Drink Launches

Euromonitor analysts picked ten German food and drink launches from 2015 as the “most innovative.” At the top of the list is Knorr (Unilever) Dry Seasoning for Lasagna, which touts its “naturalness” and “fewer, simpler” ingredients. The product shows that the “natural” food claim is important in Germany. Second is a no-carb pasta substitute from The Netherlands (Konjac root noodles), an example of another trend: low-carb claims doubled from 2014 to 2015. Other innovations from Germany: a gluten-free snack drink made with quinoa and matcha tea; a cheese wheel (Leerdammer Schnittkäse) that claims “deli fresh” and “cut from the loaf;” and a low-calorie soft drink (Helga) based on freshwater microalgae chlorella.

"Ten Innovative Food And Drink Launches In Germany", Blog, Mintel, February 04, 2016

“Healthy” Foods In The U.K. No Longer Means “Diet”

Britons are cutting way back on their sugar intake, and are paying closer attention to other ingredients as well, researcher Kantar Worldpanel says. As part of a trend in the U.K. toward healthy food selections, a full 93 percent say cutting back on sugar consumption is a priority. But perceptions of what constitutes “healthy” foods is changing. In fact, sales of healthy private label foods are down 3.3 percent, as consumers shift away from “diet” foods to fresh, “free-from,” less processed  more natural, or functional foods. Kantar advises retailers to “revisit and relaunch and reposition their healthy ranges.”

"Sugar now the UK’s number one ‘nutrient concern’", Report, Kantar UK, February 17, 2016

Reduce Sodium In Cooking By Adding Fish Sauce

Adding Vietnamese fish sauce to foods like chicken broth reduces the amount of sodium chloride by as much as 25 percent without loss of salty flavor, according to a study by Malaysian scientists. A standard ingredient in Asian cuisines, fish sauce adds umami flavor to foods. The researchers found that fish sauce can partially substitute for salt in tomato sauce, coconut curry, etc., to cut sodium without diminishing palatability. The researchers said chefs and food manufacturers could create foods lower in sodium content that would meet the requirements of consumers, healthcare providers, governmental organizations, and consumer advocacy groups without compromising taste.

"Using Fish Sauce as a Substitute for Sodium Chloride in Culinary Sauces and Effects on Sensory Properties. ", Journal of Food Science, February 23, 2016

Advice To Women: To Lose Weight And Improve Cholesterol, Eat Walnuts

A U.S. study analyzing the impact of different diets on women found that eating higher amounts of walnuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fats, leads to weight loss, but also significantly lowers blood fat levels, especially in women who are insulin-resistant. For the year-long study, overweight and obese adult women were randomly assigned to one of three diets: low-fat and high-carbohydrate; low-carbohydrate and high-fat; or a walnut-rich, high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. Women lost about the same amount of weight on all three plans. The walnut-rich diet, however, had the most effect on cholesterol levels by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol), and increasing beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

"Effects of Diet Composition and Insulin Resistance Status on Plasma Lipid Levels in a Weight Loss Intervention in Women. ", Journal of the American Heart Association, February 24, 2016

BMI Alone Does Not Accurately Determine A Person’s Health

A study by researchers at UCLA finds that body mass index (BMI) by itself is a highly inaccurate way to determine whether people are healthy or unhealthy. In fact, BMI incorrectly categorizes millions of so-called “obese” people as unhealthy. BMI, a ratio of a person’s height and weight, is often used by employers to determine health care costs, and could soon be used to mandate higher health insurance premiums. For the study based on national data, scientists linked BMI with other health indicators, including blood pressure and glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Nearly half of Americans considered "overweight" because of their BMIs (47.4 percent, or 34.4 million people) were actually healthy, as were 19.8 million who are considered "obese." Lastly, nearly a third of those with “normal” BMIs – about 20.7 million people – were unhealthy based on other health data.

"Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012. ", International Journal of Obesity, February 24, 2016

Lima Bean Compound Extends Lifespan In Lab Experiments

German researchers experimenting with fruit flies found that an isoflavone found in lima beans extended lifespan, increased fitness levels, and improved glucose balance – but only in males. Though a lot more research needs to be done in animals and humans to prove any connection between longer life and the isoflavone prunetin, the results suggest that the plant bioactive could someday help slow the aging process, in men at least. 

"The phytoestrogen prunetin affects body composition and improves fitness and lifespan in male Drosophila melanogaster. ", The FASEB Journal, February 24, 2016

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