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Diet News Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:125

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May 15, 2015, to June 01, 2015

Gluten-Free Diet Is No Panacea

Many misconceptions have been spread in recent years by gluten-free guru authors, and their celebrity devotees, whose anti-gluten rhetoric borders on religious fanaticism. The bombast and nonsense has spawned a billion-dollar gluten-free foods industry almost overnight. A gluten-free diet is certainly important for people diagnosed with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerance. But to claim that avoiding gluten will prevent bloating, Alzheimer’s disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism is, as one author calls it, “fear-mongering.” A major misconception is that gluten-free foods are healthier. One nutrition counseling service says sometimes gluten-free foods have more sugar, fat and calories than gluten-containing foods -- to make up for lost taste.

Senior Cognition Improves With Mediterranean Diet Fortified With Olive Oil, Nuts

Adding extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish -- and low in animal fats – improves cognitive performance in older adults, according to a study. But the researchers in Spain cautioned that the findings are preliminary and more research is necessary. The randomized clinical trial included 447 cognitively healthy volunteers who followed a low-fat diet (the control group), a Mediterranean-type diet supplemented with olive oil, or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. After four years, the cognitive functions of the low-fat diet group had declined. But memory improved in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group, and frontal (memory) and global cognition improved in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group.

How To Prevent Muscle Loss Among Elderly Is Still A Mystery

It is fairly common for older people to eat poorly and lead sedentary lives, both of which can speed muscle loss. But what combination of diet, supplements and exercise works best? A review of more than 100 scientific articles about diet and exercise training trials in adults over 65 years old found that results failed to conclusively show what effectively prevents muscle loss (sarcopenia). Some studies did show that a proper diet enhanced the effects of exercise, but much of the research was incomplete or inconsistent. The researchers said “maintaining sufficient levels of physical activity and diet quality to prevent sarcopenia is therefore a priority.” Bottom line: much more research is needed.

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May 01, 2015, to May 15, 2015

Electronic Salt Spoon Eases Transition To Low-Sodium Diet

A three-month U.S. pilot study has found that individuals and families were able to significantly reduce the amount of salt they ate daily by using an innovation known as the electronic salt spoon that measures the exact amount of salt in foods. It can be used in everyday cooking to detect salt levels and to help adjust food portions to keep sodium intake to recommended amounts. The researchers said that consumers who consume too much salt are often surprised to find that vegetables, processed foods and restaurant meals – not table salt – are the leading sources of sodium in the American diet.

Successful Dieting Involves Planning How To Handle Inevitable Negative Feelings

Planning to diet and actually dieting are two very different phases of the weight loss process, and each is guided by unique factors, according to a U.S. study. Planning to diet is a thought process, whereas dieting itself involves feelings. That leads to a disconnect that often dooms the diet to failure. The reaction to deprivation is a feeling, and it’s usually negative. Ignoring food preferences leads to other negative feelings. A key to successful dieting, then, is to plan – not only how to cut calories – but also how to overcome the negative reactions inspired by the diet.

Variety (In Pizzas) Is The Bane Of A Healthy Diet

To avoid overeating, stick to your favorite brands of food, a British clinical study recommends. The researchers looked at the eating behaviors of 200 people who either tried many different brands and types of pepperoni pizza or who tended to stick to a favorite brand. More than 70 types of pepperoni pizzas, available in supermarkets or from famous name pizza shops, were found. Calorie content among the various brands differed by more than 300 percent, from 501 calories per pie to as much as 1909 calories per pie. The researchers found that people who tried a variety of brands and types of pepperoni pizza tended to eat more, believing the pizza to be less filling.

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April 15, 2015, to May 01, 2015

Sugar Relieves Stress, But Amplifies Health Problems

A small U.S. clinical study that tested the impact of beverage sweeteners on the brain found that sugar – but not aspartame – relieves emotional stress. The study involved 19 young adult women whose brain responses were monitored during math tests. Before the tests, women drank beverages sweetened with sugar or aspartame. The response of the hormone cortisol was inhibited in the brains of study participants who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. The sugar actually relieved stress. The problem, researchers said, is that this can lead to increased reliance on sugary drinks and foods at emotionally stressful times, amplifying serious health problems such as obesity.

Eight Nutrients That Can Keep The Aging Brain In Tip-Top Shape

A cognitive specialist has compiled a list of eight nutrients that, according to published studies, protect the brain from the damaging effects of aging. At the top of the list are cocoa flavanols. Research has shown that they not only improve circulation and heart health, they also seem to benefit the dentate gyrus, a part of the brain associated with age-related memory. A mouse study showed that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements result in better object recognition memory, and spatial and localizatory memory that recalls facts and knowledge. Other brain-boosting nutrients and foods included phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid, walnuts, citicoline, choline, magnesium and blueberries.

Most Studies On Weight-Loss Programs Are Useless – Just Like The Programs

Most commercial weight-loss programs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and neither are the studies purportedly proving their effectiveness, according to a U.S. review. The researchers culled just 39 valid clinical trials covering 11 programs – of 32 commercial programs on the market – from 4,200 studies. The worthwhile studies tested Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, HMR, Medifast, OPTIFAST, Atkins, SlimFast, the Internet-based Biggest Loser Club, eDiets and Lose It!. “Gold-standard” data on Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig showed that participants, on average, lost more weight after one year than people on self-directed diets, or people who simply read health information or received other forms of education and counseling.

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April 01, 2015, to April 15, 2015

Vitamin K-Rich Leafy Veggies Shown To Protect Against Dementia

A U.S. study that linked vitamin K consumption to slower cognitive decline found that eating foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene could be a simple, affordable way to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Scientists monitored the diets and cognitive abilities of 954 older adults – average 81 years -- for two to ten years. They noted a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline among study participants who consumed greater amounts of green leafy vegetables. Those who ate one to two servings a day had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.

Peanuts Protect Blood Vessels When Eating High-Fat Meals

Including peanuts in a high-fat meal protects blood vessels, a small clinical trial has found. Researchers monitored the lipid profile, glucose and insulin levels of 15 overweight men who ate meals with or without peanuts. Vascular function was assessed using flow-mediated dilatation (FMD). The researchers found that the peanut meal maintained normal vascular function while the high fat-matched control meal impaired vascular function acutely. Vascular dysfunction plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis, and the formation of coronary plaques and lesions that lead to coronary artery disease.

Omega-3s Lacking In Diet Of Canadian Mothers-To-Be

Most of the first 600 (of 2,000) expectant mothers surveyed in a Canadian pregnancy and nutrition study did not include  enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. It is recommended that healthy adults, including pregnant and lactating women, consume at least 500 mg of omega-3s daily. The European Commission recommends a minimum of 200 mg of DHA daily for pregnant and lactating women. Only 27 percent of women during pregnancy, and 25 percent at three months post-delivery, met the recommendation for DHA. Seafood, fish and seaweed products contributed to 79 percent of overall omega-3 fatty acids intake, with the most coming from salmon.

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March 15, 2015, to April 01, 2015

New Diet Shown To Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

U.S. researchers who tracked the eating habits of nearly a thousand people over ten years have used the data to develop a new diet that reduces the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet is a sort of mash-up of the Mediterranean and DASH (anti-hypertension) diets, but reduces Alzheimer’s risk significantly more than either one alone. To follow the diet you eat 10 "brain-healthy” food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine; and avoid five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

“Traffic Light” Nutritional Labeling Leads To More Healthful Food Buying

German researchers have found that “traffic light” symbols – red, green, yellow – on food labels effectively help shoppers make healthful product choices. For the study, 35 adults (19 women) were shown 100 food products while lying in a brain scanner. Products showed nutritional information in familiar form (numbers, ingredients) or in traffic light format, with green signifying the lowest percentage of fat, salt or sugar. Participants indicated how much they would pay for each product. They were willing to pay significantly more money for the same product when the traffic light label was "green" compared to an information-based label. But if the label was "red," the willingness to pay dropped more compared to the conventional label.

Even With Normal Blood Pressure, Excess Salt Can Be Harmful

Too much salt in the bloodstream is not only bad for blood pressure, it can also damage several organs, a U.S. study finds. But this should also serve as a warning to so-called “salt resistant” people who consume a lot of salty snacks and convenience foods, but still have low blood pressure. Potential effects on the arteries include reduced function of the endothelium, the lining of vessels; on the heart, enlargement of the muscle tissue of the main pumping chamber; on the kidneys, reduced renal function; and on the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight-or-flight response.

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February 15, 2015, to March 15, 2015

Big Breakfast, Small Dinner Benefit Type 2 Diabetics

Researchers in Sweden and Israel show that type 2 diabetics can better control their blood sugar levels by timing their intake of calories. The study was conducted among eight men and 10 women between 30 and 70 years with type 2 diabetes and a normal to high body mass index. Some were being treated with the antidiabetic drug metformin. The study found that a calorie-loaded breakfast and a low-calorie dinner were associated with a significantly lower overall post-meal glucose level over the entire day. The researchers said the pattern may help achieve optimal metabolic control and “may have the potential for being preventive for cardiovascular and other complications of type 2 diabetes”.

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Heart Disease Risk By Nearly Half

A 10-year study conducted in Greece found a strong connection between heart health and the Mediterranean diet, which limits unhealthy fats and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and olive oil. Adults who closely followed the diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease. In fact, the diet was more protective than physical activity, researchers found. They also said the diet has indirect benefits in managing diabetes, hypertension and inflammation.

Athletes Benefit From Nitrate Supplements That Boost Blood Flow

Athletes and fitness fanatics have been taking nitrate supplements for years to increase endurance by improving oxygen use by muscles. A new British study in rats shows that nitrates decrease the viscosity of blood, boosting blood flow, while ensuring proper oxygen delivery. Researchers found that the effects were due to a complex balancing act involving the liver and kidneys, oxygen, hemoglobin in the blood and the hormone erythropoietin. The findings may lead to development of therapeutics for dietary intervention in dangerous blood volume diseases like polycythemia and other conditions that warrant a reduction in red cell mass and improvement in blood flow.

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February 01, 2015, to February 15, 2015

FDA Approves Implantable Electrical Anti-Hunger Device For Obese Patients

The FDA has approved the use of an electrical device to treat obese patients – BMI higher than 35 -- age 18 and older who have not been able to diet away their excess pounds. The Enteromedics Maestro Rechargeable System targets the nerve pathway between the brain and stomach that controls feelings of hunger and fullness. A rechargeable electrical pulse generator, wire leads and electrodes implanted surgically into the abdomen send intermittent electrical pulses to the abdominal vagus nerve. A clinical study testing safety and effectiveness found that after 12 months, the experimental group (with an activated implanted Maestro) lost 8.5 percent more excess weight than the control group (whose Maestro was implanted but not activated).

When Treating Mental Disorders, Don’t Ignore Diet And Nutrition

Australian scientists who systematically reviewed earlier studies show a strong link between nutritional deficiency and mental health that should not be ignored. In fact, psychiatry can only go only so far in treating psychological problems without taking into account diet quality. There is “emerging and compelling evidence”, they argue, that nutrition is as important in diagnosing and treating mental disorders as it is in treating heart or digestive problems. The researchers conclude that “nutrient-based prescription” could help with the management of mental disorders “at the individual and population level”, and even among children and adolescents.

Why Carbs – Refined Or Otherwise – Are Not Necessarily A Dietary Desperado

The current “wisdom” about beneficial versus harmful foods may not be so "wise" after all. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about carbohydrates, the glycemic index (GI), etc. The foodie trend these days is to avoid white bread, pasta, refined sugar and other high GI foods to feel better and live healthier. But the fact is that carbs can be healthful or harmful, “depending on which, and how many, you eat”. The real problem is overconsumption, experts note. There’s no rational reason to avoid bread, pasta and refined sugar – regardless of the GI rating – as long as they are consumed in moderation. Another key fact: low-GI foods like whole grain bread or legumes contain more nutrients. That may be the main reason – not the low GI rating – scientific studies have found that disease risk is lower when you eat them.

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January 15, 2015, to February 01, 2015

Orange Juice Delivers Far More Bioaccessible Nutrients Than The Fruit Itself

German researchers who compared the amounts and bioavailability of nutrients in oranges and processed orange juice found that the juice might actually be better for you. True, the production of pasteurized orange juice slightly lowers the levels of carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin C. But it significantly boosts bioaccessibility (the ability of the body to absorb and use the nutrients.) In fact, though juicing oranges dramatically cuts flavonoids, the nutrients that are left are much more bioaccessible than those in orange segments.

Study Shows Nordic Diet Can Fight Harmful Inflammation In Fat Tissue

The genes of participants in a Finnish clinical study, whose diet comprised whole grains, fruits, vegetables, canola oil, low-fat dairy and fish – the so-called “Nordic diet”, were much less likely to express inflammation factors in subcutaneous fat tissue, even without weight loss. Scientists believe the adverse health effects of being overweight or obese are caused by inflamed fat tissue. The study suggests that the Nordic diet can be used to fight low-grade inflammation in fat that is linked to a number of chronic diseases.

Avocados Should Be Included In Heart-Healthy Diet

A U.S. clinical trial that tested the relationship between avocados and health found that eating just one avocado a day can have significant heart-health benefits. When included in a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet, avocados lowered low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) levels in otherwise healthy overweight and obese individuals. Avocado eaters also had lower total cholesterol and lower triglycerides (fat) in their blood. Avocados are usually eaten in guacamole, but they can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole, researchers said.

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January 01, 2015, to January 15, 2015

Calories, Sodium, Sat Fat Constant In Fast-Food Menu Items Since 1996

USDA researchers who compared menu items from popular fast-food chains from 1996 and 2013 report that average calories, sodium and saturated fat were relatively constant over the 17-year period. The only exception was a consistent drop in trans fat in French fries. The researchers said levels varied from chain to chain, but remained high in most of the menu items analyzed. It was especially true for menu items sold together as meals, “pushing the limits of what we should be eating to maintain a healthy weight and sodium intake”.

Wonder Drug Dupes The Body Into Burning Fat

A multinational team of researchers has developed a drug that – in preclinical testing – stops weight gain, spurs fat burning, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar and minimizes inflammation. According to the scientists from the Salk Institute of Biological Studies, fexaramine is unlike appetite suppressants or caffeine-based diet drugs because it doesn’t dissolve in the blood. It remains in the intestines, acting like an “imaginary meal”. Fexaramine emits the same signals that the body sends out after a heavy meal, “so the body starts clearing out space to store it”. The body thinks it has consumed calories, though it hasn’t, and it starts burning fat, without side effects. Clinical trials are the next step, the scientists say.

Study Finds Possible Cause Of Toxic Immune Reaction When Humans Eat Too Much Red Meat

U.S. scientists report in a mouse study that eating large amounts of red meat triggers a toxic immune response that causes inflammation and eventually cancer. The reaction is caused by a sugar contained in pork, beef and lamb, and present naturally in other carnivores. The human body, however, senses the sugar as a foreign invader, triggering the immune response. The scientists noted that eating small amounts of red meat – say, 2.5 ounces a day – provides good nutrition and should not be considered harmful. “We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22," the researchers said.

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December 15, 2014, to January 01, 2015

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."

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.

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.
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