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Period: April 1, 2017 to May 15, 2017
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

Starbucks Unveils Gluten-Free Menu Items

One of the more fascinating phenomena in the food industry in recent years has been the transformation of gluten into a dirty word. A tiny fraction of Americans with celiac disease, a severe intestinal allergic reaction to gluten, needs to avoid the wheat protein. But a whole anti-gluten movement – and a multibillion-dollar industry – has arisen to accommodate people convinced that gluten is generally unhealthful. Researcher Technavio says the gluten-free food market is expected to grow at an annual rate of roughly 12 percent through 2021, Tecnomics advises food companies to go along: "if you're not speaking their language, you risk losing [them]." The latest company to “speak their language” is Starbucks, which is launching gluten-free food options – like the gluten-free smoked Canadian bacon and egg sandwich – in U.S. stores.  

"Starbucks Rolls Out Gluten-Free, Vegan Food Options", CNBC, March 21, 2017

Starbucks Tests Vegan-Friendly, High-Protein Lunch Menu In The Windy City

One hundred Starbucks stores in Chicago are testing the new Mercato lunch menu targeted at diners looking for a vegetarian, protein-based lunch. The new menu items include salads, sandwiches, yogurt and fruit. Salad options, available at $8 or $9, include za'atar (Mediterranean spice blend) chicken and lemon tahini, green goddess avocado, seared steak and mango, and turkey and fire-roasted corn. Sandwiches ($5 to $8) include a Cuban, a burrata and basil pesto, and an almond butter with strawberries and jam. If the new lunch items are successful, the menu will roll out nationally.

"Starbucks Debuts New Lunch Menu at 100 Chicago Stores", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2017

Protein-Rich Diet Contributes To Fatty Liver Disease In Obese People

About a billion people globally have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition most commonly associated with obesity. U.S. researchers who conducted a large epidemiological study found that an animal protein-rich diet is associated with a high risk of NAFLD, and that consumption of fructose may not be as harmful as previously supposed. NAFLD can lead to permanent scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, cancer and liver malfunction. Sometimes the only solution is a transplant. The researchers said their findings jibed with other research indicating that a Western-style diet rich in animal proteins and refined foods may damage homeostasis and glucose metabolism. They also said their studydid not find a harmful association of fructose with NAFLD.

"Can NASH lipidome provide insight into the pathogenesis of obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?", Journal of Hepatology, April 22, 2017

Two Smaller Breakfasts Fit Today’s On-The-Go Lifestyle

Food makers and restaurants have discovered an interesting consumer eating trend: one breakfast isn’t satisfying enough. It seems that people grab a bite to eat as they leave home in the morning, then gobble down a second small meal at their desks or in the car. These meals are generally small, e.g., a bagel, a carton of yogurt, a yogurt drink, a portion of fruit, or a hardboiled egg. But not all the time. Food companies have caught on to the trend, concocting small meals that can be microwaved and eaten while driving or typing. The Jimmy Dean brand (Tyson Foods), for example, offers a line of microwavable hash browns stuffed with sausage, cheese, bacon or veggies especially for the “midmorning meal occasion,” something more than an enhanced coffee break.

"How Many Times Did You Eat Breakfast Today?", The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2017

Looking For A Diet More Primitive Than Paleo? This One Promises The Moon

The latest fad in the dietary category of “primitive eating” is even more primeval than the popular Paleo diet, with its emphasis on meats, fruits, vegetables, and good fats. Moon eating has its origins in Hawaiian observance of lunar cycles in various aspects of life, including farming, fishing and eating. Not to be confused with the ”whack-a-doodle” Lunar (or Werewolf) diet, the moon diet preaches consumption of organic, unprocessed foods locally grown or foraged, including ancient grains. That part is in tune with global food trends. The new wrinkle: timing the eating according to the phases of the moon that theoretically govern the human body and behavior according to monthly loops (think menstrual cycle).

"Tired of the Paleo Diet? Maybe it’s Time to Try 'Moon Eating'", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 28, 2017

Alternate-Day Fasting Has No Advantage Over A Calorie-Restricted Diet

Dieters who switch to one of the popular alternate-day fasting schemes from a simple daily calorie restriction routine may be kidding themselves, a U.S. study finds. Researchers organized 100 participants into three groups for a year: one that tried alternate-day fasting (25 percent of calorie needs on fast days); daily calorie restriction (75 percent of recommended calories every day); or no diet at all. The trial showed that, compared to a simple calorie-restricted diet, alternate-day fasting did not keep people on the diet, did not result in better weight loss or weight maintenance, and did not improve risk indicators for heart disease.  

"Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults", JAMA Internal Medicine, May 03, 2017

Compounds Left In Gut After Wine Digestion Protect Neuronal Cells

Scientists have known for years that drinking wine in moderation seems to delay the onset of brain disorders and cognitive impairment associated with aging. A multinational research team investigating the phenomenon has come up with some tentative insights into why this happens. They didn’t examine the wine itself, but took a close look at the compounds – they’re called wine-derived human gut metabolites – that remain after the wine exits the stomach and enters the gut. Wine metabolites with the right composition were found to protect neuronal cells from stress, but only if the composition of the gut microbiota (i.e., probiotic profile) was just right.

"Neuroprotective Effects of Selected Microbial-Derived Phenolic Metabolites and Aroma Compounds from Wine in Human SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells and Their Putative Mechanisms of Action", Frontiers in Nutrition, May 05, 2017

Osteoporosis Risk Drops When People Eat More Yogurt

A large study – 3,881 women, 2,053 men – by researchers at Trinity College Dublin has determined that people who eat more yogurt tend to have denser hip bones and thus a reduced risk of osteoporosis, a chronic condition leading to weaker bones and more bone fractures. The researchers looked at a wide array of possible risk factors, including BMI, kidney function, physical activity, servings of milk or cheese, calcium or vitamin D supplements, smoking, inactivity, and alcohol use. After adjusting for these, they found that a unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 39 percent lower risk of osteoporosis, and a 52 percent lower risk in men. Vitamin D supplements also helped reduce osteoporosis risk.

"Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults", Osteoporosis International, May 11, 2017

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