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Bear Squeeze Stakes Future Of Its Ketogenic Meal Powder On Non-GMO Claim

January 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Budding meal replacement company Bear Squeeze is differentiating itself from major competitor Soylent by touting its non-GMO nutrient profile. Billing itself as a “higher-end, cleaner Soylent,” the drinkable ketogenic meal product contains medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, kale, pumpkin seed protein, and probiotics. The ketogenic diet trend is gathering steam – searches have increased steadily on Google since 2016 – as consumers look for products that are low in carbs and high in fats like MCT oil. The California-based company, which raised more than $100,000 on the Indiego funding platform and was a prizewinner at BevNet Live recently, says Bear Squeeze is sold only online and only in bottled powder form for the time being.
Adi Menayang, "‘The Meal Replacement Category is On Fire,’ Says Founder of Ketogenic Beverage Brand Bear Squeeze", FOODnavigator-USA.com, January 25, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Desire For Skillfully-Cooked Veggies Transcends Vegetarianism

January 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Diners looking for restaurants that serve good vegetarian or vegan cuisine can now thank WalletHub for its list of the best cities for veggie-based cuisine. (Top of the list: New York City, but there are many others.) Chefs in New York once thought of vegetarianism as a fad, but now acknowledge it is “becoming a concrete cultural shift," as Sean McPaul of New York’s High Street on Hudson put it. But the shift encompasses much more than veganism and vegetarianism. An increasing number of diners simply want to eat more vegetables that are cooked well. The shift includes other concepts as well, including the farm-to-table movement, which supports local farmers. The end result: chefs are getting very skilled at cooking fresh vegetables well.   [ Image credit: © Wikimedia  ]
Melissa Kravitz, "There's Something Big Shifting in American High Cuisine", AlterNet, January 07, 2018, © Independent Media Institute
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No Evidence Linking Whole Grains To Lower Heart Disease Mortality

September 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A review of previous studies found that none tested whether eating whole grains influences the risk of death from heart disease, or the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. They did assess the impact of whole grains on risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. But none found any differences based on the types of grains people ate. A large, undisputed body of evidence associates whole grains with other health benefits, however, including lower weight gain, better cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels, which are risk factors for heart disease. They are also a source of cereal fiber that has been linked to lower risk for heart disease, obesity and cancer. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Lisa Rapaport, "What Can Studies Tell Us About Whole Grains and the Heart?", Reuters, September 20, 2017, © Reuters
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Commercial Success Expected In U.S. For Reformulated Weight Loss Supplement

August 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new dosage version of an herbal weight loss supplement is now on sale in the U.S. Weighlevel is a blend of extracts from the leaves of Lady’s Mantle, olives, mint, and cumin, plus a fiber developed by a Japanese company. Two clinical studies have been conducted in Denmark on the extended release formulation; the first will be submitted for publication this fall. The supplement, developed by a Danish company and researchers at the University of Copenhagen, is taken once daily instead of the three times recommended in an earlier fiber-less version. The once-a-day formulation could make the supplement commercially viable in North America.  [ Image credit: © Sprunk Jansen  ]
Hank Schultz, "Extended Release Form of Herbal Weight Loss Ingredient Could Be Winner in US Market, Supplier Says", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, August 25, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Study Links Vegetarian Diet In Men To Depression Symptoms

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. and British researchers report that data collected from 9,668 adult male partners of pregnant women in a longitudinal study showed that vegetarian men are more likely to report “significant depressive symptoms.” Overall, the NIH-University of Bristol researchers found male vegetarians had higher depression scores than non-vegetarians after adjusting for an array of socioeconomic factors. Nutritional deficiencies (e.g., in cobalamin, iron, vitamin B12) could explain the findings. Other potential contributors include increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids, and higher blood levels of phytoestrogens from soy or vegetable-based foods. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Dan Flynn, "Men Who Go Vegetarian More Likely to Have Serious Depression", Food Safety News, August 24, 2017, © Food Safety News
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Delicious Plant-Based Meal Options Could Reduce Dependence On Meat

August 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food industry watchers wonder whether a perceived trend toward plant-based eating represents a paradigm shift in American dietary habits, or is just a lot of hype. Certainly “reducetarianism” – plant-based eating driven by environmental and animal welfare concerns – is a real thing. But a wide variety of vegan diet options exist only in a few geographic pockets, and that needs to change. People are not likely to give up meat as a dietary choice in the near future. And not until the reducetarian movement succeeds at broadening the availability of delicious plant-based meal options.  [ Vegetarian meal, image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Niamh Michail, "'We’re at the Start of an Exciting Transition Towards a Plant-Based Revolution,' Says Reducetarian Founder", FOODnavigator.com, August 03, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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FDA Allows Heart Health Claim For Soybean Oil

July 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has approved a soybean producer’s health claim that soybean oil consumption cuts the risk of heart disease. According to industry analyst Hartman Group, heart health leads the list of health concerns among American consumers. Bunge, the world’s largest producer of soybean oil, said its FDA filing included summaries of clinical studies showing the potential benefits of soybean oil to heart health. Those benefits are based on soybean oil’s positive effect on cholesterol levels and its high concentration of polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids versus other oils and fats. The FDA decision means companies can now claim that soybean oil as an ingredient replacing saturated fat may reduce heart disease risk and lower LDL-cholesterol. [ Image credit: © Bunge  ]
"FDA Approves Bunge Soybean Oil Heart Health Claim", News release, Bunge, July 31, 2017, © Bunge Limited
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Cauliflower Pizza Crusts Are A Hit At ESPY Party

July 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Cali’flour Foods says its plant-based, vegan cauliflower pizza crusts garnered rave reviews from athletes and celebrities attending the recent pre-ESPYs sports awards party in Beverly Hills, Calif. According to company founder Amy Lacey, current Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay ordered a year's worth of the crusts after sampling. The company offers two gluten-free varieties made with cauliflower, cheese, eggs, and spices. A new variant is the plant-based Italian crust containing no eggs or dairy. Lacey was inspired to create the new pizza crusts after her own lupus diagnosis and her discovery that certain foods triggered inflammation. The crusts are available nationwide and online. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
"Cali'Flour Foods Serves Up Their Cauliflower Pizza Crusts to World's Best Athletes and Celebrities at GBK Pre-ESPYS 2017 Party", News release, Cali’flour Foods , July 14, 2017, © Cali’flour Foods
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Protein Bar Company Unveils Line Of Plant-Based Protein Bars, Powders

July 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Protein bar company thinkThin has expanded its product line to include a range of plant protein-based nutritional bars and powders. All of the bars and protein and probiotic powder mixes are soy-free, GMO-free, gluten-free and vegan. Products include Sea Salt Almond Chocolate High Protein Bar, Chocolate Mint High Protein Bar, Belgian Chocolate Protein & Probiotics Powder Mix, and Madagascar Vanilla Bean Protein & Probiotics Powder Mix. They will be sold at Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Target and Walmart nationwide. [ Image credit: © thinkThin  ]
Michael Johnsen, "thinkThin Launches Line of Plant-Based Protein Products", Drug Store News, July 07, 2017, © Drug Store News
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Customized Dietary Supplements, Thanks To 3D Printing Technology

July 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company funded by the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund has figured out a way to use 3D printing technology to mix several ingredients and print customized dietary supplements. An example of the ingredient combinations – and one of the more popular among its test customers – is vitamin D, omega-3 and caffeine. The caffeine is released later in the day, “something a mass-produced pill cannot do,” one of the researchers said. The 3D technology permits small batches, which in turn permits personalization of a customer’s order after a dietary nutrient analysis. Other FDA-approved ingredients that the Multiply Labs technology can mix include calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and folic acid. [ Image credit: © Multiply Labs  ]
Stephen Daniells, "MIT Spin-Off Gets Closer to Launch of 3D Printed Supplements", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, July 03, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Study Warns That Too Much Vitamin D Can Be Harmful

June 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Vitamin D supplements are beneficial for bone health, but a new study that analyzed data on more than 39,000 adults finds that Americans may be overdoing it. The number of U.S. adults taking daily vitamin D supplements between 1999 and 2014 increased by more than 17 percent, with three percent of the population exceeding the recommended upper dosage limit. Too much vitamin D poses a risk of adverse effects, including abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood and soft tissue, leading to vascular calcification. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU/d for adults 70 years or younger and 800 IU/d for those older than 70 years. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Mary R. Rooney et al., "Trends in Use of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplements Exceeding 1000 or 4000 International Units Daily, 1999-2014", JAMA, June 26, 2017, © American Medical Association
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Olive Oil Protects Memory, Learning Ability

June 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. and Italian researchers have determined in an animal study that extra virgin olive oil, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Olive oil reduces brain inflammation but most importantly activates a process known as autophagy, the process by which cells break down and clear out intracellular debris and toxins. The researchers now plan to see whether olive oil added to the diet after the onset of brain disease will stop or reverse it. [ Image credit: © Simple Wikipedia  ]
Elisabetta Lauretti et al., "Extra-virgin olive oil ameliorates cognition and neuropathology of the 3xTg mice: role of autophagy", Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, June 26, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Arthritis Patients Who Frequently Eat Fish Experience Reduced Symptoms

June 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. clinical study involving 176 rheumatoid arthritis patients who completed food frequency questionnaires found that those who ate fish at least twice a week had lower disease activity, including fewer swollen or tender joints. In fact, the more fish patients ate, the lower the levels of disease activity were. The researchers believe fish consumption lowers levels of inflammation that lead to arthritis symptoms. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Sara K. Tedeschi et al., "The relationship between fish consumption and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis", Arthritis Care & Research, June 26, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Vegetarian Diet And Exercise Reduce Fat In Thighs

June 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in the Czech Republic have determined that a vegetarian diet combined with exercise are more effective than a calorie-reduction diet at reducing subfascial fat in the thighs, a significant contributor to type 2 diabetes. Both subfascial and intramuscular fat are markers of insulin resistance in obesity. The study, conducted among 74 people with type 2 diabetes, found an association between changes in total leg area and subcutaneous fat and subfascial fat on the one hand, and markers of glucose and lipid metabolism on the other hand. Further research is needed to determine how different dietary interventions might affect fat in thighs. [ Image credit: © Whiteman Air Force Base  ]
Hana Kahleova et al., "The Effect of a Vegetarian vs Conventional Hypocaloric Diabetic Diet on Thigh Adipose Tissue Distribution in Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Study", Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 18, 2017, © American College of Nutrition
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Coffee, Herbal Tea Consumption Linked To Lower Risk Of Liver Disease

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch researchers have shown that drinking coffee and herbal tea could protect against the liver stiffness (fibrosis) associated with extensive scarring of the liver caused by unhealthy lifestyles. These include Western-style processed food diets and heavy alcohol consumption. However, coffee and herbal teas are popular, widely available, and inexpensive, and could become important in the prevention of advanced liver disease. The data were gathered on 2,424 adults in the Rotterdam study, a large population-based cohort study whose participants were 45 years or older. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Louise J.M. Alferink et al., "Coffee and herbal tea consumption is associated with lower liver stiffness in the general population: The Rotterdam study", Journal of Hepatology, June 11, 2017, © European Association for the Study of the Liver
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U.S. Households Are Buying Packaged Foods/Drinks With Less Sodium

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has found that the amount of sodium households acquired from packaged food and beverages decreased between 2000 and 2014 by 396 mg/day per person, from 2,363 mg/day to 1,967 mg/day. In addition, the amount of sodium relative to the amount of food purchased also declined 12 percent (49 mg/100 g). The researchers analyzed data acquired from food and beverage barcode scanning from 2000 to 2014 among a sample of 172,042 U.S. households. The data are somewhat flawed because consumers did not report how much of the food purchased was actually consumed. So there is no way to tell if sodium intake was reduced as well. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Jennifer M. Poti et al., "Sodium Reduction in US Households’ Packaged Food and Beverage Purchases, 2000 to 2014", JAMA Internal Medicine, June 11, 2017, © American Medical Association
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Vitamin K: Not Just Found In Leafy Greens

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
USDA nutrition researchers have shown that the relatively obscure vitamin K, once thought to exist only in leafy green vegetables, is also present in significant amounts in dairy products containing fat, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. Vitamin K, which helps the blood to clot, is found in two natural forms: phylloquinone, which is plant-based, and menaquinones, found in animal products and fermented foods, and produced by bacteria in the human gut. The researchers say more research is needed to determine the role of microbes used in production of dairy products, and their impact on menaquinone content. There is also a need to determine the bioavailability of all menaquinone forms, considering their abundance in the U.S. diet. [ Collard greens, image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Xueyan Fu et al., "Multiple Vitamin K Forms Exist in Dairy Foods", Current Developments in Nutrition, June 11, 2017, © Fu et al.
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Zinc Could Provide A Simple Way To Prevent Liver Disease

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australian researchers have determined that adequate levels of zinc in the blood inhibit the inflammatory and antiviral effects of a protein associated with tissue damage caused by chronic liver disease, including infections like hepatitis C and influenza. Without adequate zinc in the bloodstream, the protein IFN-λ3 binds to the interferon lambda receptor, which results in decreased antiviral activity and increased viral replication. Zinc also blocks the inflammatory activity of IFN-λ3, which has been strongly linked to liver cirrhosis in viral and non-viral liver disease. The researchers said their findings support the use of zinc as a simple, effective preventative measure against acute and chronic inflammation in the liver. [ Image credit: © NIH  ]
Scott A. Read et al., "Zinc is a potent and specific inhibitor of IFN-λ3 signaling", Nature Communications, June 11, 2017, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Low-Fat Dairy Products Linked To Higher Risk Of Parkinson’s

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed 25 years of diet and health data on nearly 130,000 men and women found that three servings of low-fat dairy products a day were linked with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. No such association was found with whole milk or other full-fat dairy products. People who consumed at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day had a 34 percent greater chance of developing Parkinson's than people who consumed less than one serving a day. Consuming more than one serving of skim and low-fat a day was associated with a 39 percent greater chance of developing Parkinson's. The researchers acknowledged that early Parkinson's symptoms may have affected the dietary behaviors and questionnaire responses of study participants. [ Image credit: © Clover Sonoma  ]
Ali H. Rajput et al., "Baseline motor findings and Parkinson disease prognostic subtypes", Neurology, June 11, 2017, © Rajput et al.
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Study Adds To Evidence Of Health Benefits Of Vegetable-Rich Diet

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Spanish scientists who analyzed long-term questionnaire data from more than 16,000 study participants found that those following a vegetarian style diet reduced their risk of obesity by half compared to those whose diet was rich in meat and animal fat. The researchers concluded that a “pro-vegetarian” diet tends to shield its adherents from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The researchers acknowledged, however, that their study was observational and, while it supports current recommendations regarding plant-based diets, does not confirm a cause-and-effect relationship. [ Image credit: © USDA,MyPlate.gov  ]
Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, "Eating a Diet Rich in Fruit and Vegetables Could Cut Obesity Risk", News release, study presented at the European Congress on Obesity (Porto, Portugal), May 18, 2017, © European Association For The Study Of Obesity
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High-Protein, Natural Ingredient Spheroid Snacks Available In U.K.

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British company has launched a new natural food brand – Boostball – that features six high-protein spheroidal snacks made with only seven natural ingredients. The snacks are rich in fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, B, E, B12, calcium, iron and zinc. They are made with raw, cold-pressed ingredients such as natural sugars found in fruits and plants, and produced without baking or refining. The product range includes two vegan varieties. [ Image credit: © Boostball  ]
Leia Taing, "Boostball Launches New Range of Natural Protein Balls", The Food & Drink Innovation Network, May 18, 2017, © Food & Drink Innovation Network
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Osteoporosis Risk Drops When People Eat More Yogurt

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
E. Laird et al., "Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults", Osteoporosis International, May 11, 2017, © International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation
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Compounds Left In Gut After Wine Digestion Protect Neuronal Cells

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
A. Esteban-Fernández et al., "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, © Esteban-Fernández et al.
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Alternate-Day Fasting Has No Advantage Over A Calorie-Restricted Diet

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.   [ Image credit: © Atkins  ]
John F. Trepanowski et al., "Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults", JAMA Internal Medicine, May 03, 2017, © American Medical Association
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Juice Maker Creates Profit From Waste

May 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The problem for the high-pressure processed juice maker was, What to do with all that leftover pulp? The Forager Project came up with a profitable solution that also helps reduce food waste. Instead of dumping the pulp by-product, also known as pomace, into a landfill, it found a way to press it into different kinds of vegetable-based snack chips. It was a departure – actually quite a leap – for the juice company, but it has worked. It produces three chip varieties (greens, beets and roots). The most-popular green variety will soon be offered in three flavors: chipotle barbecue, (vegan) cheesy and wasabi. [ Image credit: © Forager Project  ]
Rachel Cernansky, "With expanding chip line, Forager Project proves food waste can be a valuable resource", New Hope, May 01, 2017, © Penton Media
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Looking For A Diet More Primitive Than Paleo? This One Promises The Moon

April 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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). [ Moon phases, image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Brandon Presser, "Tired of the Paleo Diet? Maybe it’s Time to Try 'Moon Eating'", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Two Smaller Breakfasts Fit Today’s On-The-Go Lifestyle

April 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Image credit: © Janine ]
Ellen Byron, "How Many Times Did You Eat Breakfast Today?", The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2017, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Protein-Rich Diet Contributes To Fatty Liver Disease In Obese People

April 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Human liver, image credit: © MedlinePlus.gov  ]
Aybike Birerdinc, Zobair Younossi, "Can NASH lipidome provide insight into the pathogenesis of obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?", Journal of Hepatology, April 22, 2017, © European Association for the Study of the Liver
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Starbucks Tests Vegan-Friendly, High-Protein Lunch Menu In The Windy City

April 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [ Seared steak, mango salad, image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Samantha Bomkamp, "Starbucks Debuts New Lunch Menu at 100 Chicago Stores", Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2017, © Chicago Tribune
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Family Meals Without TV Watching Are Linked To Lower Obesity Rates

March 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study of data collected in phone surveys of nearly 13,000 Ohioans – a third of whom were obese – found that those who ate home-cooked family meals, regardless of how often, were less likely to be obese. More than half said they eat family meals on most days, 35 percent on some days, and 13 percent on few days per week. A third watched TV or videos most of the time during family meals; 36 percent said they never did. Especially important was what the families were doing during their dinnertimes. The odds of obesity were much lower among adults who never watched TV or videos during family meals, and who prepared their own dinners, at least a couple of times a week. [ Image credit: © USDA  ]
Rachel Tumin, Sarah E. Anderson, "Television, Home-Cooked Meals, and Family Meal Frequency: Associations with Adult Obesity", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 31, 2017, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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Company Renovates Factory To Ramp Up Production Of Plant-Based Burgers

March 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A company that makes plant-based burgers wants to place its product in a thousand restaurants by the end of 2017. To achieve that goal, Impossible Foods is rapidly renovating a former baked-goods factory in Oakland, Calif., to scale up production of the Impossible Burger, a plant-based patty that looks and tastes enough like the real thing that meat eaters and vegetarians will want to order it. The Impossible Burger is already available at 11 restaurants, but the company wants to supply 1,000 eateries, and has even signed a contract feature the faux burgers at the San Francisco Giant’s baseball stadium. [ Image credit: © Impossible Foods  ]
Adele Peters, "In its New Factory, Impossible Foods Will Make 12 Million Pounds of Plant-Based Burgers a Year", Fast Company, March 29, 2017, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Eight Servings Of Fruits, Vegetables Daily Is Better For You

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Norwegian and British scientists report that nearly eight million deaths a year could be prevented if people ate eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day. The researchers scoured 142 publications from 95 population studies that examined the relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables and the risk of chronic diseases. Each analysis included information on several hundred thousand people. They found that the risk of dying prematurely from all causes was reduced by almost a third, and the risk of cardiovascular disease by about a quarter in people who ate 800 grams of fruit and vegetables every day. The greatest benefit came from eating apples, pears, citrus fruit, fruit juice, green leafy vegetables, and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons ]
Dagfinn Aune et al., " Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality–a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies", International Journal of Epidemiology, March 23, 2017, © Oxford University Press
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Starbucks Unveils Gluten-Free Menu Items

March 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.   [ Image credit: © Starbucks  ]
Lauren Thomas, "Starbucks Rolls Out Gluten-Free, Vegan Food Options", CNBC, March 21, 2017, © CNBC LLC
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Handbook On Brain Health Encourages Older Adults To Focus On Healthy Eating

March 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Healthy eating is associated with retention of cognitive function among older people. But there is a lot of misinformation out there about what constitutes healthy eating, so scientists at a Canadian center for brain health put together a handbook for people over 50. The book encourages older adults to eat berries or cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, rather than a specific type of berry, vegetable or other “superfood.” It’s the overall pattern of healthy eating that improves brain health, such as fish, beans, olive oil, nuts, and stir-fried foods. Beans or legumes should be added to soups and stews.[ Image credit: © Harvard University ]
"Canadian Scientists Create Food Guide for Brain Health in Older Adults", Nutrition Insight, March 17, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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People Who Eat Healthy Diet Don’t Benefit Much From Probiotic Supplements

March 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New findings from Australian research suggest that supplementing a healthy diet with probiotics may do more harm than good. Rats in the study were fed either a healthy diet or one high in saturated fat and sugar, both with a probiotic supplement. The probiotics improved the bacterial make-up in the “grossly disregulated” digestive tract of obese rats eating the junk food diet. They also improved brain function: spatial memory loss was prevented. Not so for the rats on the healthy diet. The probiotics had almost no impact on microbial diversity and actually impaired recognition memory. [ Image credit: © Ryan Snyder ]
J. E. Beilharz et al., "Cafeteria diet and probiotic therapy: cross talk among memory, neuroplasticity, serotonin receptors and gut microbiota in the rat. ", Molecular Psychiatry, March 14, 2017, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Consortium To Accelerate Technology That Turns Plant Protein Into “Beefsteak”

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Several food companies, including Unilever, have formed a consortium with a Dutch university to advance a technology that transforms vegetable protein into a layered fiber structure that mimics the taste, texture, and appearance of beefsteak. The Plant Meat Matters consortium comprises Swiss flavor house Givaudan, French agri-food giant Avril, and plant protein supplier Ingredion. Wageningen University researchers developed the shear-cell technology that can use protein from soy, wheat, pea, rapeseed or corn. The consortium hopes to scale the technology to produce industrial quantities, and to make it available to industry as well as chefs and consumers. Global sales of meat substitutes increased from 163,000 tons in 2015 to 183,000 tons in 2016, according to Euromonitor. [ Image credit: © Beyond Meat, Wikipedia ]
Niamh Michail, "Plant Meat Matters: Unilever, Givaudan and Ingredion Invest in Vegetarian Steak", FOODnavigator-USA.com, March 13, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Gluten-Free Diet Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small percentage of Americans cannot tolerate the protein gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) due to Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But a multibillion-dollar industry has sprouted up in recent years because many people believe eating gluten-free foods is healthier, though they are often less nutritious and more expensive. Harvard University researchers now report that gluten-free diets may actually be less healthful. In a 30-year observational study that took into account the potential effect of cereal fiber, individuals in the highest 20 percent of gluten consumption had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in comparison to those with the lowest daily gluten consumption (less than four grams). [ Image credit: © theimpulsivebuy ]
"Low gluten Diets may be Associated with Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes", American Heart Association, March 09, 2017, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Lower-Carb Diet Provides An Effective Way To Manage Diabetes - Study

March 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Diabetics who follow a lower-carb diet will manage their disease more effectively, according to a study that reviewed previous intervention research. The British researchers focused on changes to participants’ glycated hemoglobin levels – a measurement of long-term blood glucose levels – after changing to a lower-carb diet. Glycated hemoglobin dropped when carbs were limited to 120 g a day, and fell the most when limited to 30 g a day. The researchers suggest that the findings warrant new guidelines for diabetes management that promote lower-carb diets. [ Image credit: © Amontillado  ]
M.R. McKenzie, S. Illingworth, "Should a Low Carbohydrate Diet Be Recommended for Diabetes Management? ", Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, March 07, 2017, © McKenzie & Illingworth
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It’s Really Not More Expensive To Eat Healthful Foods

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Are poor diets and obesity the direct result of the unaffordability of healthful food? According to one analyst, the answer is no, though many people believe it. One reason for that is that some studies have looked at food prices on a price-per-calorie basis, which makes many high-calorie foods seem inexpensive. For example, a low-calorie yogurt would appear more expensive than an identical high-calorie yogurt even though their retail prices are the same. Christopher Snowdon says his report compares directly the prices of healthy and less healthy food substitutes and also compares them by “edible weight.” He found almost no difference between the price of regular food products and their healthier substitutes. Analyzing by edible weight, healthier supermarket food tends to be cheaper than less healthy food. [ Image credit: © Peg93, Wikimedia  ]
Christopher Snowdon, "Cheap As Chips", Report, The Institute of Economic Affairs, March 01, 2017, © The Institute of Economic Affairs
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Company Launches Crisp Ingredient That Is 60 Percent Pea Protein

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food ingredients supplier PGP International has launched a snackcrisp that is 60 percent pea protein. The new crisp is targeted at food manufacturers developing snacks and other foods that will meet consumer demand for protein and clean foods. The company says the new chip can be incorporated into cereals, snack bars, energy foods and confectionery. The company uses an advanced extrusion technology that ensures the chips contain high levels of protein but are free from hexane, a neurotoxic petrochemical solvent. The chips are gluten free, vegan, kosher, easily digested, and hypoallergenic for those intolerant to animal-based proteins or soy. [ Image credit: © PGP International  ]
"PGP International Launches New 60% Pea Protein Crisp", News release, PGP International, February 28, 2017, © PGP International
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EC Urges Schools In Member States To Help Curb Rising Childhood Obesity Rates

February 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The EurActive media network reports that the European Commission, responding to an alarming increase in childhood obesity rates, is calling on member states to take action in the procurement of healthy food for schools. The EC advises its members to focus on improving student eating behaviors in schools, where children eat at least one main meal a day. Better access to healthy food in schools would lead to development of better childhood dietary habits, lower rates of childhood obesity, and better school attendance and performance, the EC said. [ Image credit: © USDA ]
Hannah Black, "EU Urges Member States to Target Childhood Obesity in Schools", Report, EurActiv.com, February 24, 2017, © EurActiv.com plc
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Study Demonstrates How Fasting-Mimicking Diet Suppresses Diabetes

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have developed a diet food available commercially that imitates the effects of fasting and appears to reverse diabetes. Earlier studies have shown that periodic cycles of fasting reprogram pancreatic cells and restore insulin production. The new study in mice shows that a fasting-like diet (using a food product called L-Nutra) promotes the growth of insulin-producing pancreatic cells. The researchers placed diabetes-model mice on the L-Nutra diet for four days each week. The diet switched on genes that spur production of a protein (neurogenin-3) that, in turn, generated healthy, insulin-producing beta cells. The mice regained healthy insulin production, reduced insulin resistance and demonstrated more stable levels of blood glucose. The researchers look forward to a clinical trial of L-Nutra among diabetics. [ L-Nutra/Prolon diet package, image credit: © Prolon ]
Chia-Wei Cheng et al., "Fasting-Mimicking Diet Promotes Ngn3-Driven b-Cell Regeneration to Reverse Diabetes", Cell, February 23, 2017, © Cheng et al.
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Online Weight Loss Support Forums Help Dieters Keep Up Their Spirits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Norwegian researcher who studied the diary of an online weight loss forum has determined that participants who are active in such groups, actually “confessing” to their diet failures, receive a form of “forgiveness” from other forum participants. In other words, the “self-blaming posts elicited absolutional replies.” The encouraging replies to reports of “challenges, problems and failures” seem to make the long and stressful road to shedding pounds a little easier to follow. In many cases, a dieter’s confessional post elicits a large number of responses because users support each other, and hope to get support when they need it. Researcher Ingeborg Grønning says: “Losing weight is a long process, you have to work hard and persistently to succeed. Encouragement from others helps keep spirits up.” [ Image credit: © BreakingMuscle.com ]
"Online Weight-Loss Groups Can Be Beneficial", Nutrition Insight, February 07, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Study Throws Cold Water On Assumptions About Exercise And Weight Gain

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Regular exercise offers many health benefits – reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and improved mental health and mood – but preventing weight gain or boosting weight loss are not among them, according to a new U.S. study that collected data from the U.S. and four other countries. The study among young adults of African descent also found that sedentary time was not associated with weight gain. At the first visit, Ghana participants had the lowest average weights, and were also fitter than Americans. Ghanaians were more likely to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week (U.S. guidelines). The researchers were surprised to find, however, that total weight gain in every country over two years was actually greater among participants who met the physical activity guidelines.   [ Image credit: © Public Domain ]
Lara R. Dugas et al., "Accelerometer-measured physical activity is not associated with two-year weight change in African-origin adults from five diverse populations. ", PeerJ, February 07, 2017, © Dugas et al.
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Scientists Find Dangerous, Illegal Substances In Herbal Supplements

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British chemist and a team of scientists who have been examining ways to detect illegal ingredients in herbal supplements have come up with some disturbing findings. Many over-the-counter supplements labeled as fully herbal often include potentially dangerous pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label. For example, the scientists found that weight loss supplements often contain sibutramine (once sold as Reductil). The substance was taken off the market in 2010 in Europe and the U.S. because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Another example: tadalfil and sulfoaildenafil were frequently found, but not listed on the label, in herbal supplements for erectile dysfunction. When taken with other medicines containing nitrates, they can lower blood pressure drastically and cause serious health problems.   [ Image credit: © Virilis Pro ]
Michael J Walker et al., "A Review of Methods for the Simultaneous Detection of Illegal Ingredients in Food Supplements", The Journal of the Association of Public Analysts, February 07, 2017, © Association of Public Analysts
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A Pasta-Rich Mediterranean Diet Is A Healthful Diet

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A pasta-rich diet is an indicator of a more healthful diet generally, according to a study presented at a recent scientific meeting. Pasta eaters tend to consume more minerals and nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber. All of these help reduce blood cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Because it is a low glycemic index food, pasta, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Pasta consumption is also associated with less intake of saturated fat and sugar that adds calories but no essential nutrients.  [ Image credit: © Travis K. Witt, Wikimedia  ]
"Here's Why You Should Eat More Pasta", The Express Tribune, February 07, 2017, © The Express Tribune
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Europe’s Soft Drink Makers To Lower Sugar Content Another Ten Percent

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Responding to evolving consumer preferences regarding sugar consumption, European soft drink manufacturers have agreed to cut sugar levels another ten percent within three years. The decision is also a response to pressure from Member States and the European Commission for coordinated product reformulation. UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, which represents European makers of nonalcoholic drinks such as carbonates, fruit-based beverages and dilutables, announced the decision. UNESDA members say they will try various approaches to achieving the goal, including innovation, reformulation, using smaller pack sizes and encouraging consumers to choose low- and no-calorie drinks. UNESDA represents 80 percent of the European soft drinks industry by value. [ Image credit: © Orangina  ]
Robin Wyers, "European Soft Drinks Sector Commits to Reduce Added Sugars by a Further 10%", Food Ingredients 1st, February 07, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Foods Rich In Resistant Starch Offer Several Health Benefits

February 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Resistant starch, found in bananas, potatoes, grains, and legumes, is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a form of dietary fiber. Over the last decade, resistant starch has been the subject of numerous studies showing it has a significant impact on post-meal blood sugar metabolism, satiety, and intestinal health. This new comprehensive review of these studies summarizes the effects of resistant starch consumption and looks at potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. One possible conclusion is that resistant starch foods may be particularly useful for managing diabetes. However, the British researchers found no evidence of an impact on other metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and blood lipids.  [ Peruvian potatoes, image credit: © Wikipedia ]
S. Lockyer et al., "Health effects of resistant starch. ", Nutrition Bulletin, February 07, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Clean Label Frozen Treats May Lead To Sales Growth

February 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The food industry has gotten the message from consumers that sugary, nutrition-free and calorie-packed ice cream is no longer acceptable They are now making healthier, “yet still decadent,” frozen treats, says researcher Packaged Facts. Today there are a growing number of ice creams and frozen desserts that eschew soy, gluten, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, not to mention much less fat and sugar. Some of the new products are organic. Consumers are apparently pleased with the results. Ice cream and other frozen treats are a mature market – 85 percent of households buy ice cream routinely. Sales have been steady in recent years. But Packaged Facts says the new attention being paid to clean label frozen desserts could spark a revival of sales growth.  [ Organic ice cream brand, image credit: © theimpulsivebuy ]
""Free From" Ice Cream Trending in $28 Billion Market", News release, Packaged Facts, February 06, 2017, © Packaged Facts
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Government Food Consumption Report Shows Shifting Patterns Since The ‘70s

February 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new USDA report based on U.S. food availability data (adjusted for food loss) shows that Americans are eating more of the major food groups today than in the 1970s. But within that broad conclusion are some interesting shifts and new patterns. The avocado supply, for example, is up by a whopping 1,342 percent and the lime supply is up 1,654 percent. How about a margarita with your guacamole? Mango consumption is up 3,200 percent, but grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and plums are down. (Apples, melons, and bananas are constant.) Broccoli and mushrooms are way up, though potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are constant. Lastly, people are eating more fat, but less animal fat (lard and butter). Salad and cooking oils like canola and olive are up 248 percent. [ Image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Julia Belluz, "Americans are Eating Way More Fat. But it’s Not Butter.", Vox Media, February 02, 2017, © Vox Media, Inc.
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