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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.

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August 15, 2013, to September 01, 2013

Whole Fruits, But Not Fruit Juices, Reduce The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

The first study to examine the impact of individual fruits on the risk of type 2 diabetes has found that blueberries, grapes and apples are particularly effective at preventing the disease. However, the U.S. study found, drinking fruit juices significantly increased the risk. Researchers examined diet and health data gathered between 1984 and 2008 from 187,382 participants in threMore than 12,000 participants developed diabetes during the study period. People who ate at least two servings a week of certain whole fruits reduced their risk 23 percent compared to those who ate less than one serving a month. Those who consumed one or more servings of apple, orange, grapefruit, or other fruit juices each day increased their risk by 21 percent.

Broccoli Compound Seems To Improve Joint Health

The compound sulforaphane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and particularly broccoli, slows the destruction of cartilage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, a British study in mice has found. Earlier research suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. But in this study researchers showed that sulforaphane blocks the enzymes that cause joint destruction by stopping a key molecule known to cause inflammation. The researchers are launching a small clinical trial to test the impact of sulforaphane on the joints of patients slated to have knee replacement surgery.

Caffeine Shown To Have Therapeutic Effect On Fatty Liver Disease

Researchers in the U.S. and Singapore have found evidence that increasing caffeine intake could reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Results from lab culture and animal tests showed that caffeine stimulates the metabolism of lipids stored in liver cells, decreasing the fatty liver of lab animals. The U.S. researchers said that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may help prevent and protect against the progression of NAFLD in humans. Their findings may lead to the development of caffeine-like drugs that do not have caffeine side effects, but do retain the therapeutic effects on the liver.

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August 01, 2013, to August 15, 2013

Poor Food Choices Linked To Sleep Deprivation

A U.S. study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the brain regions that control food choices found unusual activity patterns in the brains of sleep-deprived individuals. Activity in the frontal lobe of sleep-deprived individuals – the area involved in complex decision making – was impaired, while activity in areas deeper in the brain that respond to rewards increased. The researchers said that high-calorie foods become significantly more desirable when participants are sleep-deprived, “which may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese”.

Scientists Report On A Simple Way To Revive Frozen Broccoli’s Anti-Cancer Benefits

U.S. scientists who earlier reported that frozen broccoli lacks the anti-cancer properties of fresh broccoli have now reported that there’s a simple, inexpensive way to fix the problem. In one study, the researchers showed how the process of freezing broccoli – heating to high temperatures to inactivate damaging enzymes – removes the ability of the vegetable to form a cancer-fighting phytochemical known as sulforaphane. But in a new study, the same researchers demonstrated that food processing companies can still blanch and freeze broccoli, but they can then sprinkle it with a minute amount of a cruciferous vegetable – radish, cabbage, etc. That process joins two chemicals that create sulforaphane, reviving broccoli’s cancer-fighting benefits.

Eating A Large Breakfast Is Much Better For Weight Loss And Waist Reduction

Israeli researchers report that women who eat the largest meal of the day at breakfast are much more likely to lose weight and reduced their waist lines than those who eat large dinners. The study was conducted with 93 obese women who consumed 1,400 calories a day, eating either 700 calories at breakfast and 200 calories at dinner, or 200 calories at breakfast and 700 calories at dinner. Those who consumed the large breakfast and light dinner had lower insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels during the day, which translates to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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July 15, 2013, to August 01, 2013

New Gadget Measures Acetone Expelled From Lungs When Fat Is Burned

Japanese scientists have developed a pocket-sized breathalyzer that measures -- not alcohol -- in the breath, but acetone, an indicator of fat metabolism. Acetone is expelled through the lungs when fat is broken down. The new device can detect acetone at concentration sin  the range of 0.2 to 50 parts-per-million. It weighs only 4.5 ounces and uses two AA batteries. It uses a pressure sensor to detect exhaled breath and two types of semiconductor-based sensors to detect acetone. The researchers believe their device will be useful in estimating fat loss from changes in breath acetone concentrations and determining whether diets are really working.

Consumers Should Be Careful About Eating Seafood, But Should Not Ignore Its Health Benefits

Consumers should be concerned about whether the seafood they eat is safe, but nutritionists say the health value of seafood far outweighs the risks. Eating two 3- to 5-ounce servings a week of fish such as salmon, oysters and rainbow trout provide an average of 250 mg/day of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. A professor at the University of Southern California said consumers can safely eat 12 ounces of a variety of cooked seafood a week, so long as they heed local seafood advisories “and limit their intake of large, predatory fish like shark”.

Nuts – Especially Walnuts – Significantly Reduce Risks Of Cardiovascular And Cancer Death

Researchers in Spain who compared the effect of a Mediterranean diet (with extra virgin olive oil and nuts) to a simply low-fat diet among 7,000 older people found that people who eat nuts, especially walnuts, tend to live longer. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet, and ate nuts at least three times a week, had a lower BMI and smaller waist, were less likely to smoke and more likely to be physically active. Nut eaters were less likely to have type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and had a 39 percent lower mortality risk (walnut eaters had a 45 percent lower risk). Those who ate three servings (one ounce per serving) a week of nuts reduced the chances of death due to cardiovascular disease by 55 percent and to cancer by 40 percent.

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July 01, 2013, to July 15, 2013

Artificially-Sweetened Drinks Can Be Harmful To Health, Too

Dieting Americans who are aware of the adverse health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages often turn to low- or no-cal sweeteners as the more healthy choice. But recent studies in humans have shown that artificial sweeteners are also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. One 12-ounce serving of an artificially-sweetened drink is enough to boost the risk of health problems. According to opinion article author Susan Swithers of Purdue University, “the current public health message to limit the intake of sugars needs to be expanded to limit intake of all sweeteners, not just sugars."

Vitamin D Is Essential To Maintain Calcium Levels, Reduce Bone Fracture Risk

The bone-aging process common among older adults speeds up when there is a deficiency of vitamin D in the blood, a new U.S. study finds. Vitamin D is required by the body to absorb calcium, which is needed to maintain bone health. Normally, the body synthesizes vitamin D in the skin following exposure to sunlight. But when vitamin D serum concentrations drop, the body starts removing calcium from bone to maintain normal calcium blood levels. That hampers the mineralization process required for the formation of new bone. The researchers suggest that physicians check vitamin D levels regularly and make sure they are at well-balanced levels to lower the risk of fractures as people age.

Study Confirms Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Greater Risk Of Prostate Cancer

Scads of studies in recent years have proclaimed the health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – anti-inflammatory EPA, DHA and EHA from fatty fish and fish oils – so it comes as a shock to hear that they may actually have a darker side. In a second large study using data from 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have confirmed that high concentrations of omega-3s were linked to a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade cancer, a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade cancer and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all prostate cancers. The researchers acknowledged they do not yet understand why.

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June 15, 2013, to July 01, 2013

Labeling Food As “Low Fat” Is A Powerful Inducement For Consumers

In a study involving 175 female college students, researchers at the University of Hawaii found that the label “low fat” on candy (M&M's) conveyed an impression that the food was not only healthier but better tasting than regular M&M's. (All of the M&M's in the study were regular versions.) They also found that participants significantly underestimated the caloric content of candy labeled as low fat. Those who did not know the calorie content underestimated the calories of supposedly low fat M&M's by an average of 71 calories, and  overestimated the caloric value of regular M&M's by an average of 38 calories. “The study findings may be related to the ‘health halo’ associated with low fat foods,” the researchers concluded.

Food Addiction Associated With Consumption Of Highly-Processed Carbohydrates

There is a definite connection between food intake and the dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain, according to a new brain imaging study that supports the idea of food addiction. U.S. researchers measured blood glucose levels and hunger in 12 overweight or obese men, while also using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity during the four hours after a meal. That crucial time period influences eating behavior at the next meal. They found that consumption of highly-processed carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise quickly, then drop sharply soon after, sparking food cravings. The drop in blood sugar was associated with intense activation of a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors.

Cocoa Reduces Obesity-Related Inflammation

A study by Penn State researchers has found that obese mice fed cocoa along with a high-fat diet experienced less obesity-related inflammation than mice not fed cocoa. The mice were fed the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa (about four cups of hot cocoa) each day for 10 weeks. The cocoa-fed mice had about 27 percent lower plasma insulin levels, an indicator of diabetes. The cocoa-fed mice also had 32 percent lower levels of liver triglycerides, an indicator of fatty liver disease, inflammation and diabetes.

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June 01, 2013, to June 15, 2013

Study Finds No Reason To Worry About Consuming Vegetable Oils

A new U.S. study debunks claims that daily intake of linoleic acid-rich vegetable oils – e.g., soy, corn and canola – might be harmful to a person’s health. The researchers reviewed 15 clinical trials that studied nearly 500 adults as they consumed various forms of fats, including vegetable oils. They found no link between vegetable oil consumption and indicators of inflammation in the blood that are often associated with heart disease, cancer, asthma and arthritis. Earlier animal studies had found that a diet rich in linoleic acid (LA) boosts inflammation, but humans do not respond to LA in the same way.

Study Finds Link Between Vegetarian Diet And Lower Death Rates

Many studies have associated vegetarian diets with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. Now a new U.S. study based on data collected from more than 70,000 Seventh Day Adventists has found a link between vegetarian diets and lower mortality rates. The researchers acknowledged that vegetarian groups tend to be older, better educated, and more likely to be married, to drink less alcohol, to smoke less, to exercise more and to be thinner.

Eating Cheese May Be A Good Way To Prevent Cavities In Children, Adolescents

A U.S. study conducted among 68 children ages 12 to 15 finds that eating cheese significantly lowers the risk of dental cavities by lowering the acidic environment in the mouth. The researchers looked at the dental plaque pH in the children’s mouths both before and after eating cheese, milk and sugar-free yogurt. A pH value lower than 5.5. (acidic) puts the teeth at risk for cavities, while a high pH lowers the risk. Drinking milk and eating yogurt had no effect on pH values, but eating cheese rapidly raised pH levels, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

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May 15, 2013, to June 01, 2013

Cinnamon Compounds Prevent Neuron Abnormalities That Lead To Alzheimer’s Disease

Two compounds found in the common aromatic spice cinnamon seem to prevent the development of the filamentous plaque found in the brain cells that characterize Alzheimer’s disease, according to new U.S. research. The protein tau plays a large role in the structure of the neurons: it is responsible for the assembly of microtubules in a cell. In Alzheimer’s, however, tau starts clumping together, forming insoluble fibers in neurons. The compound cinnamaldehyde prevents the tau knots. Epicatechin, a powerful antioxidant found in cinnamon, interacts with cysteines on the tau protein in a way similar to the protective action of cinnamaldehyde.

Sugary Beverages Linked To Higher Risk Of Kidney Stones

For years, doctors have advised kidney stone patients to drink more fluids to prevent a recurrence. But new research shows that not all fluids offer that benefit. Consumption of sugar-sweetened soda and punch is linked to a higher incidence of kidney stones, according to data compiled from three ongoing studies involving more than 194,000 participants over eight years. Those who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened cola servings a day had a 23 percent higher risk of developing kidney stones, compared to those who drank less than one a week. Some beverages – coffee, tea and orange juice – were associated with a lower risk of stone formation.

Study Shows “Fat Talk” Makes Women Less Likeable

Women who make self-disparaging remarks – “fat talk” – about eating, exercise or their bodies are less liked by their peers, according to a U.S. study. For the study, researchers showed photos to participants of women with various body types engaging in either “fat talk” or positive body talk. Overweight women in the photos who made positive statements about their bodies were the most liked. It was once thought that “fat talk” behaviors by women helped create and strengthen social bonds, but the study showed that “fat talk” is actually a turn off and “far from innocuous”.

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May 01, 2013, to May 15, 2013

Scientists Confirm Heart-Healthy Benefits Of Walnuts

Scientists have known for some time that eating walnuts in a heart-healthy diet reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Now a new U.S. study explains what component of walnuts is responsible. For the study, 15 participants with high cholesterol levels were fed one serving of whole walnuts, defatted nutmeat, walnut skin or walnut oil. Biochemical and physiological tests were conducted before, during and after. The one-time consumption of walnut oil improved vascular health. Eating whole walnuts helped HDL (good cholesterol) and helped the body effectively transport and remove excess cholesterol from the body. The researchers suggested that the beneficial effects come from the alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-tocopherol and phytosterols in walnut oil.

New Foodservice Company Tackles A Tough Problem: Providing Healthy – And Tasty – School Meals

Nearly everyone – school administrators, Michele Obama, nutritionists, the U.S. Congress, etc. – agrees that school lunches need to be healthier. Kids themselves are apparently okay with healthy as long as it’s also tasty, and that has been a problem. Entering this $16 billion market is a new school meals company – Revolution Foods – determined to provide healthy choices using locally produced foods that kids would eat because they taste good. The company develops its meals with the help of kids, using tastings, focus groups and constant feedback. Revolution, which is not yet profitable, recently won a contract to provide meals to 114 schools in San Francisco, and the number of children choosing to eat the company’s offerings leaped 12 percent.

Tart Cherries May Someday Help People At Risk For Diabetes, Heart Disease

New research from the University of Michigan finds that eating tart cherries provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of prescription fat and glucose regulation drugs, and may also reduce the risk of stroke, even when eaten with the drugs. According to the researchers, Montmorency tart cherries activate certain receptors in many body tissues. Researchers believe that anthocyanins – the pigments that give the fruit its red color – could be responsible for this activation. The research shows that rats who ate only tart cherries had the best results, but those who ingested a combination of tart cherries and the drug  Actos also did better than those who only took the drug.

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April 15, 2013, to May 01, 2013

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Up By 22 Percent From Drinking One Sugary Drink A Day

British researchers who analyzed data from nearly 29,000 European participants in a cancer and nutrition study – about 12,000 of whom had type 2 diabetes – found that drinking one 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent. The risk dropped to 18 percent when total energy intake and body mass index were taken into account. The increased risk of diabetes from sugary drinks in Europe is similar to that found in a meta-analysis of studies conducted mostly in North America that found a 25 percent increased risk. Little or no association with diabetes risk was found among drinkers of artificially sweetened drinks or pure fruit juice and nectar (diluted fruit juice) drinks.

Vitamin E Relieves Symptoms Of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

An accidental discovery in mice by researchers at Case Western Reserve University finds that the essential nutrient vitamin E can alleviate symptoms of liver disease brought on by obesity. The researchers were originally studying the effect of vitamin E deficiency on the central nervous system, using liver tissue to practice surgical techniques. They were surprised to find that the mice were in the advanced stages of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and were deficient in vitamin E. Supplementation with vitamin E averted most of the disease symptoms, confirming the relationship between vitamin E deficiency and liver disease.

Three Studies Provide Evidence That Tree Nuts Are A Very Healthy Addition To The Diet

Researchers recently presented three studies associating tree nuts with a better nutrient profile, better diet quality, lower body weight, lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, and a decrease in cardiovascular risk factors. Nuts included in the studies were almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. One study involving 803 adults found that eating one ounce (one serving) of tree nuts weekly was associated with a seven percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Another study showed that nut consumption was associated with a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, blood pressure, and coronary heart disease risk.

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April 01, 2013, to April 15, 2013

Carnitine Found In Red Meat, Energy Drinks, Promotes Hardening Of The Arteries

A compound added to energy drinks and dietary supplements – and abundant in red meat – has been shown to promote hardening of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Beneficial bacteria in the gut convert carnitine into a metabolite (trimethylamine-N-oxide, or TMAO ) that has been linked in a previous study to atherosclerosis. A diet rich in red meat actually promotes the growth of the bacteria that metabolize carnitine, compounding the problem. The study further found that vegans and vegetarians have much less ability to synthesize TMAO from carnitine, “which may explain the cardiovascular health benefits of these diets”.

Canada Approves Stress Reduction/Weight Management Supplement For Sale

Next Pharmaceuticals, a maker of natural raw materials for dietary supplements, announced that its weight management supplement Relora has been licensed by Health Canada for sale in the country. Sold in the U.S. since 2000, Relora purportedly alleviates stress, curbs stress-related eating and promotes weight management by “quieting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis without causing drowsiness”. The product’s ingredients include Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense bark extracts used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Relora is a powder available for use in capsule form for oral administration.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish Oils Shown To Bolster Immune System

Scientists have known for some time that the omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) in fish oils can reduce harmful inflammation, but a new U.S. study shows they actually boost the immune system. The study in mice found that DHA-enriched fish oil enhanced white blood cell activation and antibody production. This bolsters immune responses associated with pathogens, and possibly dampens the entire inflammatory response. The immune-enhancing properties of fish oils could benefit people whose immune systems have been compromised, such as those with AIDS or with cancer undergoing radiation treatment.
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