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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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March 15, 2013, to April 01, 2013

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Reduce The Risk Of Chronic Disease

A University of Alabama professor of personal health says the body’s natural response to injury – inflammation – is a good thing until it becomes chronic and out of control. That’s when it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Lauren Whitt says inflammation caused by obesity can be controlled through weight loss and eating the right kinds of foods. Among the anti-inflammatory foods she recommends: citrus fruits high in antioxidant vitamins C and E; dark, leafy greens high in vitamin K; tomatoes rich in the potent antioxidant lycopene; and wild-caught salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. She also advised eating more foods straight from the farm and fewer processed and fried foods.

Toddlers’ Meals, Snacks Found To Be Loaded With Sodium

U.S. Centers for Disease Control scientists who tested 1,115 packaged meals and snacks for babies and toddlers found that almost three fourths of toddler foods had more than 210 mg of sodium per serving. Toddler meals tended to have much more salt per serving than baby foods: some had as much as 630 mg of sodium per serving. That’s about 40 percent of the daily amount recommended by the American Heart Association. The researchers said the less salt in a baby’s or toddler’s diet, the less they are likely to want in their foods as they grow older. Studies have shown that consuming excessive amounts of sodium is associated with the development of high blood pressure.

People Who Are Seriously Mentally Ill And Obese Can Still Lose Weight – Study

People with serious mental illness often are overweight or obese. They have mortality rates two to three times higher than the general population. Many get no exercise and take several psychotropic medications that lead to weight gain. But these people can still lose weight, according to a U.S. study. Healthy behavioral changes involving simple nutrition messages, counseling and regular exercise can make a significant difference. The study involved 291 overweight or obese patients with serious mental illness who were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a control group. After 18 months of weight management education and exercise classes, the intervention group lost an average of seven more pounds than the control group.

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March 01, 2013, to March 15, 2013

Sports Nutrition Emerges As Major Growth Category In Retail Food

Sports nutrition has emerged from the shadows of bodybuilding, steroids, banned substances, etc., into mainstream retail, according to researcher Euromonitor. The impact of this transformation on the category has been significant – growth is expected to approach 40 percent by 2017. Producers are developing products that appeal to non-traditional users with worry-free formulations, third-party certifications of safety and purity, convenient formats, emphasis on general fitness, and greater accessibility in supermarkets and other retail channels. Retailers have embraced sports nutrition by creating their own brands. Key example: Walgreen, whose larger stores now feature separate sports nutrition sections in the supplement aisles, offering for example two separate lines of protein powders, one of which is a store brand.

Abdominal Fat Linked To Increased Risk Of Colon Cancer

A U.S. study in mice shows that the risk of cancer is directly proportional to the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity. Scientists have known for some time that obesity boosts the risk of cancer. But in this study, researchers tested three groups of obese mice genetically engineered to be prone to colon cancer. They found that mice who were the most obese due to an unrestricted diet had the most visceral fat and the greatest number of intestinal tumors. When the visceral fat in some obese mice was removed surgically, the mice were still obese, but had significantly fewer tumors.

Natural Fish Oils Work Better Than Supplements To Reduce Blood Pressure In Lab Mice

Omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish like salmon – but not DHA found in fish oil supplements – helped lower blood pressure via vasodilation at ion channels in a mouse study. U.S. researchers showed that fish oil fatty acids regulate how ions such as sodium, potassium and calcium pass in and out of cells, affecting blood pressure. DHA in the dish oils rapidly activated the ion channels and lowered blood pressure in lab mice. In comparison, a dietary supplement, DHA ethyl ester, found in most fish oil pills, did not activate the same channels, and even antagonized the positive effect of DHA from natural sources. The findings emphasize the importance of obtaining omega-3 fatty acids from natural food sources such as oily fish.

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February 15, 2013, to March 01, 2013

Mediterranean Diet Supplemented With Nuts, Olive Oil, Reduces Risk Of Cardiovascular Death

The Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts reduces the risk of a heart, attack, stroke or heart-related death, according to a long-term U.S. clinical study involving 7,447 people in Spain. After five years, scientists proved that participants who followed either of two types of Mediterranean diet – supplemented with either nuts or with olive oil – showed a substantial reduction in risk of suffering a cardiovascular event. The findings prove that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier at a cardiovascular level than a low-fat diet. The diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.

Study Determines Why Aspirin, Omega-3s Do A Body Good

U.S. researchers have figured out how low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids confer so many anti-inflammatory health benefits. Aspirin, they found, triggers the production of molecules called resolvins that are manufactured naturally by the body from omega-3 fatty acids. The resolvins – especially resolvin D3 – shut off the inflammation that is linked to destructive conditions like inflammatory lung disease, heart disease and arthritis. The researchers hope that investigators will now be able to study the pro-resolving and anti-inflammatory actions of resolvin D3 in other systems and eventually be able to tell which inflammation-associated diseases might be treated with D3.

Children Consuming Fewer Calories, According to National Study

Research on childhood food consumption patterns conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that calorie intake for both boys and girls has dropped significantly from 1999 to 2010. Though the declines in daily calorie consumption were small – seven percent to 2,100 calories for boys and four percent to 1,755 calories for girls – researchers said the trend is definitely moving in the right direction. The declines were driven by a drop in carbohydrate consumption, researchers said. Calories from fat were stable, while calories from protein increased. The report is based on data collected through interviews.

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February 01, 2013, to February 15, 2013

Computer Models Show Significant Long-Term Health Benefit Of Reducing Sodium Consumption

U.S. scientists who used three different computer models to project the overall impact of steady annual reductions (totaling 40 percent) of sodium consumption in the U.S. diet found that between 280,000 to 500,000 lives could be saved over 10 years. The optimum scenario would reduce sodium consumption to about 2,200 mg/day. Three research groups took different approaches for their simulations: one used observational cardiovascular outcome follow-up data; the other two inferred the cardiovascular effects of reducing sodium from data about the relationship of blood pressure to cardiovascular disease. “All three methods consistently show a substantial health benefit for reductions in dietary sodium,” the researchers concluded.

Frequent Consumption Of Southern Cuisine Significantly Boosts The Risk Of Stroke – Study

Frequent consumption of fried chicken, fried fish, fried potatoes, bacon, ham, liver and gizzards – foods characteristic of Southern U.S. cuisine – significantly raises the risk of stroke, a U.S. study finds. Researchers who analyzed dietary data on more than 20,000 black and white adults found that the frequency of stroke was directly proportional to how much Southern food they ate. Those who ate Southern foods six times a week had a 41 percent higher stroke risk compared to those who ate it once a month. The Southern diet accounted for 63 percent of the higher risk of stroke among African-Americans above whites. Likewise, those who ate more fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains had a 29 percent lower risk of stroke risk than those who ate these foods less often.

Diet Rich In Fruits And Vegetables Can Help Reduce Acid Build-Up, Control Kidney Disease

A diet that is based on animal and grain products – like the classic Western diet – tends to be highly acidic and can lead to metabolic acidosis, a condition common in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Now a study by U.S. scientists among 71 patients with advanced CKD found that adding either fruits and vegetables or an alkaline solution (bicarbonate) to their diets had a favorable response by reducing urinary kidney injury markers. The study suggests that these interventions in people with too much acid build-up could help maintain kidney health.

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January 01, 2013, to February 01, 2013

Risk Of ALS Can Be Reduced Significantly By Making Your Diet More Colorful

The risk of incurring the devastating degenerative disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can be reduced significantly by adding brightly colored fruits and vegetables to the diet, a U.S. study has found. Researchers examined data collected from five studies involving more than a million people. Individuals who consumed more carotenoids – compounds like beta-carotene that give fruits and vegetables their orange, red and yellow colors – and luteins (found in dark green vegetables) had a lower risk ALS. They were also more likely to exercise, have an advanced degree, have higher vitamin C consumption, and take vitamin C and E supplements. However, long-term vitamin C supplementation was not associated with lower ALS risk.

Early Eaters Are More Likely To Lose Weight Than Late Eaters

Timing is everything when it comes to eating and weight loss, according to a study by U.S. and Spanish researchers. The study followed 420 overweight people in Spain who ate their main meals either early or late each day over 20 weeks. One group comprised early eaters (before 3 p.m.) and the other were late eaters (after 3 p.m.). The researchers found that late-eaters lost significantly less weight than early-eaters, and displayed a much slower rate of weight-loss. Late-eaters also had a lower estimated insulin sensitivity, a risk factor for diabetes. The researchers suggested that therapeutic strategies for weight loss should monitor not only caloric intake but also the timing of meals.

Weight Management Ingredient Green Coffee Extract Available To Functional Food Makers

Riding a wave of new interest in the health benefits of green coffee, NP Nutra has introduced a GMO-free green coffee extract for dietary supplements and functional foods that contains 50 percent chlorogenic acid, a phenolic antioxidant compound that is highly bioavailable in humans. Scientific studies have shown that green coffee extract induces reductions in body weight, body mass index and body fat percentage, probably because of the chlorogenic acid content. The extract comes as a light yellow brown powder, 100 percent water soluble and ready for use in supplements and functional products. It is available in large quantities at a very low price point, according to the company.

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December 15, 2012, to January 01, 2013

Britain’s Celebrity Chefs Are Serving Up Some Unhealthy Fare – Study

Recipes prepared by celebrity chefs on TV – in the U.K. at least – may be delicious but they are a lot less healthy than the ready meals you can be in grocery stores like Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, according to a British study. Researchers randomly selected 100 main meal recipes from cookbooks by UK TV chefs and 100 store brand ready meals. Both sets of recipes tended to be high in protein, fat, saturated fat, and salt, low in carbohydrate, and within the recommended range for sugar. TV chef recipes, however, contained significantly more calories, protein, fat, and saturated fat and much less fiber. Chefs included in the study were Jamie Oliver (shown at left), Lorraine Pascale, Nigella Lawson, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Dietitians Play An Advisory Role In Midwest Grocery Stores

With a growing number of American consumers concerned about eating healthy, nutritious foods, U.S. supermarket chains, especially those located in the Midwest, have hired registered dietitians to advise customers. Iowa chain Hy-Vee has stationed a dietitian in nearly all 235 of its stores. Other stores that have gotten on the dietitian bandwagon include Kroger, Giant-Eagle, H-E-B, Bashas’, Reasor’s Foods, and Meijer. Services provided by the dietitians include: cooking demonstrations and cooking classes; teaching people how to read labels; educating people about the benefits of the produce section; and providing advice on food allergies and food sensitivities.

Baking Industry Responds To Need For Satisfying Gluten-Free Products

The Institute of Food Technologists has issued a statement touting the food industry’s response to the increased awareness of celiac disease, a painful sensitivity to the protein gluten found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten gives baked goods their texture, strength and crumb structure. So gluten-free bakery products tend to have reduced volume and a dry, crumbly, grainy texture that consumers find unsatisfactory. To solve the problem, commercial bakers have begun using flours made from ancient grains like amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff, as well as brown rice, corn and tapioca starch.

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December 01, 2012, to December 15, 2012

Taxes And/Or Subsidies On Foods Could Encourage Healthier Eating, Modeling Studies Suggest

A systematic review of simulation (modeling) studies focusing on the impact of food pricing strategies on dietary patterns has found that taxes on unhealthy foods like carbonated drinks and saturated fat might get people to eat healthier foods. The review, by scientists in New Zealand, also found evidence that subsidizing purchases of fruits and vegetables could have a similar positive effect. Eleven of 14 studies that looked at the impact of taxes/subsidies on lower socio-economic groups suggested that food pricing strategies would be associated with “pro-health outcomes”. The researchers urged that further studies be conducted.

Digestion Of Infant Formula Releases Fatty Acids That Can Be Toxic To Premature Infants

An often deadly condition among premature infants has been linked by U.S. scientists to the digestion of infant formula, but not breast milk. Necrotizing enterocolitis, a severe and often fatal intestinal condition, develops when the “detergent” capacity of free fatty acids cause cellular death by damaging cell membranes. The researchers found that breast milk seems to have a built-in mechanism that prevents cell death, but formula quickly releases high levels of deadly free fatty acids during digestion. Breast milk, however, is digested in a slower, more controlled, process.

Overeating Among Adolescents Can Predict Onset Of Drug Use

A U.S. study involving 16,882 adolescent boys and girls found that overeating, including binge eating, predicts the onset of marijuana and other drug use. Researchers also found that binge eating – eating  much more than normal during a given period of time – predicts the onset of overweight/obesity and depression. Binge eating was more common among females than males, with 2.3 percent to 3.1 percent of females and 0.3 percent to 1 percent of males reporting binge eating between the ages of 16 and 24, according to the study results. Binge eating that involves a loss of control is “amenable to intervention,” researchers said, so physicians should be encouraged to screen adolescents for binge eating.

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November 15, 2012, to December 01, 2012

High Vitamin D Levels Among Pregnant Women Protects Them – But Not Their Babies – From MS

A Swedish study involving 164,000 people found that women who had high levels of vitamin D in their blood were 61 percent less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to those who had low levels of vitamin D. However that protective effect did not extend to their babies. Few of the people in the study, who were generally from the northern half of Sweden, had high levels of vitamin D. In fact, only seven of the 192 people who developed MS had high vitamin D levels, compared to 30 of 384 controls without the disease, or eight percent. The researchers found no association between the mothers' vitamin D level and whether their children would later develop MS.

Vitamin C Deficiency In Pregnant Women Can Lead To Irreversible Brain Damage In Infants

A lack of adequate vitamin C intake by pregnant women can lead to irreversible brain damage, according to a new study by Danish researchers. The problem is global, the researchers said, because population studies show that as many as one in five people around the world do not get enough vitamin C in their diet. Even a marginal vitamin C deficiency in an expectant mother stunts the fetal hippocampus, the important memory center, by 10 to 15 percent. That prevents the brain from developing optimally, and damage cannot be repaired, even when vitamin C is given to the baby after birth. 

Key Protein Molecules Promote Better Wound Healing In Diabetics

New research from France offers some hope for diabetics who suffer from chronic wounds such as foot ulcers that lead to 80 percent of lower leg amputations. The researchers showed in diabetic rats that a high protein diet rich in the molecules arginine and proline leads to better wound healing. Animals fed high protein diets – one with arginine and proline, one without – had better nitrogen balance than those fed the standard diet. But the wounds of the rats on the arginine/proline diet showed more new blood vessel growth by the fifth day. New blood vessel growth is essential to wound healing because blood vessels supply nutrition and oxygen to growing tissue.

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November 01, 2012, to November 15, 2012

High Carbohydrate Diet Increases Risk Of Colon Cancer Recurrence

Diet plays a significant role in whether colon cancer survivors suffer a recurrence of the disease, a U.S. study has found. Researchers gathered dietary data from 1,011 patients with advanced color cancer, finding that those who ate a typical "Western" diet – marked by high intakes of meat, fat, refined grains, and sugar desserts – were three times more likely to have a cancer recurrence than those whose diets were least Western. In particular, eating foods with a high glycemic index increased levels of insulin and in turn increased the risk of cancer recurrence.

Study Finds No Link Between Calcium Intake And Increased Risk Of Calcified Plaque In Arteries

A study by U.S. researchers has found that levels of calcium intake from diet or from supplements have no real effect on the severity of calcified plaque clogging arteries in the heart, a predictor of heart attack. Scientists  examined 1,300  men and women with an average age of 60 for the study. They were asked about their diet and calcium supplement use, and underwent CT scans of their coronary arteries four years later. They found no increased risk of calcified arteries with higher amounts of calcium intake from food or supplements among the study participants.

Children Consume More Nutrient-Poor Calories When They Eat At Fast-Food Restaurants

Kids and adolescents who eat at fast-food and full-service restaurants tend to consume higher amounts of sugar, total fat, saturated fat and sodium than when they eat at home or eat food brought from home, a U.S. study has found. Researchers compared calorie intake, diet quality, and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, particularly soda, on days when children and adolescents ate out and days when they ate at home. The data were from a national health survey that included 4,717 children ages 2 to 11. and 4,699 adolescents ages 12 to 19. When adolescents ate fast food, they consumed an additional 309 calories; young children took in an additional 126 calories.

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October 15, 2012, to November 01, 2012

Legume Diet Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease Among Diabetics

People with type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by eating more legumes as part of a low-glycemic index (GI) diet, a three-month clinical study by Canadian researchers has found. The study tested the effects of eating more legumes – beans, chickpeas or lentils – on 121 type 2 diabetes patients. Patients were assigned randomly to eat either a low-GI legume diet (one cup a day) or a diet with increased soluble fiber in the form of whole wheat products. The low-GI legume diet had a positive impact on glycemic control, blood lipid levels and blood pressure, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Study Finds That Plant-Based Flavonoids Reduce Risk Of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Researchers who analyzed data from questionnaires completed by nearly 2,000 African-American and European men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer found a link between consumption of plant-based flavonoids prior to diagnosis and a reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer. What made the difference was consuming a variety of plant-based foods and beverages, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and tea. The researchers found that no individual subclass of flavonoids worked better than the others. So “it is important to consume a variety of plant-based foods in the diet, rather than to focus on one specific type of flavonoid or flavonoid-rich food."

Kretschmer Launches Web Site Promoting Health Benefits, Versatility Of Its Wheat Germ

Wheat germ brand Kretschmer (Sun Country Foods) believes its “superfood” should play a bigger role in America’s breakfast, lunch and dinner plans. The brand has launched a Web site that provides wheat germ recipes and healthy lifestyle tips designed to upgrade wheat germ’s profile as a nutrition-packed and versatile meal ingredient. Wheat germ is derived from the most nutrient rich part of the wheat kernel and is an excellent – low-calorie – source of vitamin E, the B vitamins, folic acid, protein and fiber. MyWheatGerm.com suggests adding wheat germ to morning yogurt or cereal, a salad or smoothie at lunch, or using it as an alternative to bread crumbs at dinner time.
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