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Early Benefits From Low-Energy Diet Treatment Of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea In Obese Men Can Be Sustained

June 1, 2011: 06:19 AM EST
A Swedish study found that preliminary improvements in obstructive sleep apnoea (also apnea) after a low-energy diet can be sustained after one year in overweight men with moderate to severe degrees of the condition. Results of the single-center, prospective observational follow-up study showed that study subjects who lost the most weight or have severe sleep apnoea at the start of the study benefit most from the treatment. The study focused on 63 men, 30 to 65 years old, with a body mass index of 30-40 and moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea. They were treated with continuous positive airway pressure. 
Kari Johansson, Erik Hemmingsson, Richard Harlid, Ylva Trolle Lagerros, Fredrik Granath, Stephan Rössner, Martin Neovius , "Longer term effects of very low energy diet on obstructive sleep apnea in cohort derived from randomized controlled trial: Prospective observational follow-up study", British Medical Journal , June 01, 2011, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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USDA Replaces Food Pyramid With Simpler Icon Showing Healthy Food Choices

June 2, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has replaced the food pyramid with a new icon – MyPlate – designed to remind Americans about making healthier food choices. The new plate-shaped icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups. Introduced to the country by First Lady Michelle Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the icon was called “an uncomplicated symbol” that drives home the idea that healthier lives begin with a healthier diet. "This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we're eating, Mrs. Obama said. The agency also unveiled an informational Web site, ChooseMyPlate.gov,
to provide tools and resources for individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets.
"Food Pyramid Replaced by MyPlate Icon Emphasizing Fruit, Vegetable, Grains, Protein and Dairy", Press release, USDA, June 02, 2011, via EurekAlert, © USDA
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Infant Formula Enriched With Prebiotics Benefits Babies’ Gut Microflora

June 1, 2011: 04:57 AM EST
Belgian researchers who conducted a clinical trial involving 110 infants found that daily feeding of a formula enriched with prebiotics resulted in an intestinal bacteria profile very similar to that found in breastfed babies. The infants in the trial were fed either 0.4 or 0.8 grams per deciliter of Beneo Orafti Synergy1 – a one-to-one blend of inulin and oligofructose – 0.8 grams per deciliter of a nine-to-one blend of galactooligosaccharides and oligofructose (GOS:FOS), or conventional formula. These infants were all compared against breastfed infants. The researchers found that infants in the prebiotics-fed groups had significantly higher bifidobacterium counts after two and four weeks and were “comparable with the breast-fed group.” Both the Orafti Synergy1 and GOS:FOS mixtures were well-tolerated by the infants as well.
G. Veereman-Wauters, et al. , "Physiological and Bifidogenic Effects of Prebiotic Supplements in Infant Formulae", Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, June 01, 2011, © ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN
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Beneficial Affects Monounsaturated Fatty Acids From Fish Oil Shown On Mice

May 31, 2011: 10:10 AM EST
A study on mice demonstrated the benefit of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in lowering metabolic syndrome risk.  Researchers divided male mice into a control group that was fed a 32% lard diet and another group fed with 27% lard and 5% saury-oil-derived MUFA rich in C20:1 and C22:1 isomers diet for six weeks. Results show mice fed with the MUFA diet had better insulin resistance, with metabolic syndrome risk factors lessened by decreasing blood glucose and lipids. Improvement in adipocytokine profile may account for these beneficial changes.
Z-H Yang, H. Miyahara, T. Mori, N. Doisaki, A. Hatanaka , "Beneficial Effects of Dietary Fish-Oil-Derived Monounsaturated Fatty Acids on Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors and Insulin Resistance in Mice", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 31, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Prunes Shown To Be Particularly Beneficial For Bone Health Among Older Women

May 31, 2011: 12:49 PM EST
After extensive testing of various fruits – including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins – U.S. researchers have found that dried plums (prunes) are particularly beneficial for bone health among older women. The researchers tested two groups of postmenopausal women for one year: one group ate 10 prunes (100 g) a day; the second control group ate 100 g of dried apples. All participants took 500 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily. The prune group had significantly higher bone mineral density in a forearm bone and spine. Dried plums apparently suppressed the rate of breakdown of bone, which exceeds the rate of new bone growth as people age.
Shirin Hooshmand, et al. , "Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women", British Journal of Nutrition, May 31, 2011, © Cambridge University Press
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Eating Foods Made With Fat Substitutes Contributes To Weight Gain

May 28, 2011: 11:38 AM EST
A U.S. study has demonstrated that consuming foods processed with synthetic fat substitutes actually contributes to weight gain and obesity. For the study, rats were fed a diet of either high-fat or low-fat chow. Half of the rats in each group were fed high-calorie, high-fat potato chips, while the other half were fed either high-calorie chips or low-calorie chips made with the artificial fat olestra. Rats fed the high-fat diet who ate both types of chips ended up eating more food, gaining more weight and developing more fatty tissue than rats that ate only the high-calorie chips. The researchers said that their findings indicate that “a diet that is low in fat and calories might be a better strategy for weight loss than using fat substitutes."
Susan E. Swithers, et al. , "Fat Substitutes Promote Weight Gain in Rats Consuming High-Fat Diets", Behavioral Neuroscience, May 28, 2011, © American Psychological Association
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Phenols In Lingonberry Juice Found To Normalize Blood Vessel Function

May 26, 2011: 11:27 AM EST
Finnish researchers who compared the long-term consumption of juices from lingonberries, cranberries and blackcurrants found that of the three lingonberry juice alone has a positive impact on the endothelium of blood vessels. For the study, hypertensive rats consumed diets that included the juices of the three types of berries for eight weeks. Phenol-rich lingonberry intake “normalized the impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation seen in the cranberry, blackcurrant and control rats,” the researchers found, but did not lower blood pressure. The researchers said the high phenolic content of lingonberries probably accounted for the beneficial effect on the bloods vessels. The juice contains more of the phenolic compounds known as flavonols, flavan-3-ols and procyanidins than other juices.
Anne S. Kivimäki, et al. , "Lingonberry juice improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation of mesenteric arteries in spontaneously hypertensive rats in a long-term intervention", Journal of Functional Foods, May 26, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd
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FDA Approves Atopic Dermatitis Health Claim For Infant Formulas Made From Hydrolyzed Whey

May 26, 2011: 10:56 AM EST
Nestlé subsidiary Gerber Products Company said the FDA has approved a qualified health claim for infant formulas made from 100 percent whey, which includes Gerber Good Start milk-based formulas. The FDA said that such partially hydrolyzed formulas may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis in healthy infants from birth to four months whose family history includes allergies. The FDA acknowledged, however, that the relationship between the formulas and reduced risk of atopic dermatitis is “uncertain” due to a lack of scientific evidence. The hydrolyzed formulas are not to be used to feed infants who are allergic to milk or show milk allergy symptoms.
"FDA Grants First-Ever Qualified Health Claim in Infant Nutrition", Press release, Gerber, May 26, 2011, © PRNewswire
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High Caffeine Consumption May Explain Why Some Women Have Trouble Getting Pregnant

May 26, 2011: 07:00 AM EST
A study in mice by U.S. researchers has found that caffeine reduces muscle activity in the Fallopian tubes that carry eggs from a woman's ovaries to her womb and therefore lowers the chances of becoming pregnant. It is generally assumed that tiny hair-like projections (cilia) in the walls of the Fallopian tubes move the microscopic eggs along with the help of muscle contractions. The study found that caffeine stops the actions of specialized pacemaker cells in the tube wall that coordinate tube contractions. When that happens, eggs can't move down the tubes. The finding suggests that the effect of caffeine on the Fallopian tubes “may contribute to the documented delayed conception in women consuming caffeinated beverages,” the researchers concluded.
R.E. Dixon, et al., "Inhibitory effect of caffeine on pacemaker activity in the oviduct is mediated by cAMP-regulated conductances", British Journal of Pharmacology , May 26, 2011, © The authors
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Japanese Study Finds Minimum Folate Level For Reducing Colorectal Adenoma Risk

May 25, 2011: 11:34 AM EST
Researchers in Japan aiming to determine the minimum level of serum folate concentration for cutting the risk of colorectal adonema found that patients with serum folate concentrations higher than 8.0ng/ml are the least at risk. No noteworthy difference was found in the prevalence of adenoma among patients who had folate levels higher than 8.0ng/ml.
Shunji Fujimori, Katya Gudis, Yoko Takahashi, Makoto Kotoyori, Atsushi Tatsuguchi, Yoshiharu Ohaki and Choitsu Sakamoto, "Determination of the minimal essential serum folate concentration for reduced risk of colorectal adenoma", Clinical Nutrition, May 25, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism
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Healthy Gut Flora Associated With Lower Risk Of Obesity

May 26, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Swedish researchers have found in a rat study that daily intake of a lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL19) seems to prevent obesity and reduce low-level inflammation in the body. For the study, two groups of rats were fed a high-energy diet from the time they were in the uterus through adulthood. Animals who were also given a daily supplement of Lactobacillus gained significantly less weight than other rats. The researchers also observed that rats given lactobacilli also had a richer and better composition of  naturally occurring gut bacteria.
Caroline L. J. Karlsson, et al., "Effects on weight gain and gut microbiota in rats given bacterial supplements and a high-energy-dense diet", British Journal of Nutrition, May 26, 2011, © The authors
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Protein Drinks After Strenuous Exercise Keep Aging Muscles Strong And Fit

May 25, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Drinking protein beverages containing as little as 20 grams of protein after aerobic activity boosts the training effect among older exercisers after six weeks, compared to carbohydrate drinks, a U.S. study has found. Researchers tested 16 people age 42 to 58 years. Over a six week period, the participants exercised on treadmills for 45 minutes three times a week. After each exercise session, one group drank a protein beverage, another drank a carbohydrate beverage. Using ultra-sensitive mass spectrometry, scientists analyzed muscle samples at the end of the study period and determined how much of the muscle was new. Endurance exercise in older people, they concluded, does indeed induce positive changes in skeletal muscle structure and keeps muscles strong and fit.
M. M. Robinson, et al., "Long-term synthesis rates of skeletal muscle DNA and protein are higher during aerobic training in older humans than in sedentary young subjects", The FASEB Journal, May 25, 2011, © Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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Increased Calcium Intake Does Not Lower Risk Of Osteoporotic Fractures Among Swedish Women

May 24, 2011: 08:33 AM EST
A Swedish study based on over 61,000 women, including a subcohort of some 5,000, looked at the association of calcium intake over a 19-years period and the risk of bone fractures, and especially hip fractures and osteoporosis. The study found that 14,738, or some 24% had a first fracture of any type. Of these, 3,871 suffered a first hip fracture. In the subcohort, 20% were osteoporotic. The risk patterns with dietary calcium were non-linear in that a gradual increase in calcium intake above that for the first quintile did not result in further reductions in osteoporosis or risk of fracture.
E. Warensjo, L. Byberg, H. Melhus, R. Gedeborg, H. Mallmin, A. Wolk, K. Michaelsson, "Dietary calcium intake and risk of fracture and osteoporosis: prospective longitudinal cohort study", British Medical Journal, May 24, 2011, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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Baked Goods Containing Milk May Help Children Overcome Milk Allergy

May 23, 2011: 12:12 PM EST
Many children who are allergic to cow’s milk can tolerate heated or baked milk in foods like muffins or cheese pizza. U.S. researchers have now found that introducing baked milk into the diets of allergic children increases their tolerance of cow’s milk. Over 37 months, 88 milk-allergic children were introduced to baked milk in various forms. Of 65 children who were tolerant to baked milk, 60 percent became tolerant of unheated milk. The researcher concluded that “the addition of baked milk to the diet of children tolerating such foods appears to accelerate the development of unheated milk tolerance compared with strict avoidance.”
Jennifer S. Kim, MD, et al., "Dietary baked milk accelerates the resolution of cow’s milk allergy in children", The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, May 23, 2011, © Elsevier, Inc.
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African-American MS Patients Have Lower Levels Of Vitamin D

May 24, 2011: 08:58 AM EST
A study conducted by U.S. researchers has found that African-Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of vitamin D in their bodies than non-afflicted African-Americans, mainly because of climate and geography differences. Researchers analyzed health data from 339 MS patients and 342 people who did not have the disease, focusing especially on plasma vitamin D levels, disease severity, exposure to UV rays from the sun, and European genetic ancestry. They found that 77 percent of the MS group were deficient in vitamin D, compared to 71 percent of the non-MS group. Those with MS were also exposed less each month to sunlight than the non-MS group, and tended to liver farther north. People who had more European ancestry in their genes were less likely to have low vitamin D levels.
J. M. Gelfand, et al., "Vitamin D in African Americans with multiple sclerosis", Neurology, May 24, 2011, © AAN Enterprises, Inc.
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To Reduce Risk Of Heart Failure, Eat More Baked/Broiled Fish, Avoid Fried Fish

May 24, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Postmenopausal women who frequently (five or more times a week) ate baked or broiled fish had a lower risk of heart failure than women who ate fried fish, a large-scale U.S. analysis of health data found. Dark fish, like salmon, mackerel and bluefish, were associated with a significantly greater risk reduction than either tuna or white fish (e.g., sole, snapper and cod), the researchers noted. The researches looked at self-reported dietary data from 84,493 postmenopausal women in a women’s health study. Two groups were defined: baked/broiled fish eaters, and fried fish and seafood eaters. “Increased baked/broiled fish intake may lower heart failure risk, while increased fried fish intake may increase HF risk in postmenopausal women,” the researchers concluded.
Rashad J. Belin, et al., "Fish Intake and the Risk of Incident Heart Failure: The Women's Health Initiative", Circulation: Heart Failure, May 24, 2011, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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New Study Says Organic Produce Is Indeed Healthier Than Conventional

May 21, 2011: 09:59 PM EST
British researchers who reviewed the latest scientific literature on nutrient content of organic food report that fruits and vegetables grown without the use of artificial fertilizers are richer in nutrients like vitamin C and in beneficial substances known as secondary metabolites. Phenolics, tannins, flavanones, carotenoids and resveratrol strengthen the immune system and protect against damaging free radicals. The increased levels of these nutrients in organically grown produce helps people live longer, the researchers said. Though the news was welcomed by organic advocates, “the conclusion challenges the (U.K.) Food Standards Agency, which has long dismissed the health gains of organic food,” according to the Daily Mail article.
Sean Poulter, "Organic food 'can help you lose weight and live longer': How natural fruit and vegetables are packed with more nutrients", Daily Mail, UK, May 21, 2011, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Bad Dietary Choices Impact The Entire Society

May 21, 2011: 09:58 AM EST
Most Americans do not base their food decisions on nutritional factors, according to clinical dietitian Timi Gustafson R.D., despite concerns about being overweight. It’s a confusing and contradicting situation. Part of the problem is that Americans are fed up with conflicting dieting and weight loss advice, and have become more accepting of their physical condition. Among the discouraging tends: dietary fat content remains undiminished – cheese is highly popular – and the vast majority of Americans don’t eat recommended daily servings of fresh fruits or vegetables. Almost 20 percent of the calories in the average daily diet come from snacks. Half of young adults skip breakfast every day. This situation is not sustainable, Gustafson says, because the consequences of the obesity lifestyle will be a huge burden on the healthcare system.
Timi Gustafson, RD, "Despite of the Obesity Crisis, the Eating Habits of Most Americans Remain Unchanged", Seattle Pi, May 21, 2011, © Hearst Seattle Media, LLC
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Health Canada Knew About Fortified Foods Problems In 2009

May 20, 2011: 08:21 PM EST
In 2009, Health Canada determined there would be some "safety and consumer confusion" issues arising from a 2005 compromise giving manufacturers of food and beverages, including junk food, discretion to fortify their products with nutrients. According to the memo written by a senior adviser to the director general of Health Canada's food directorate, the agency needed to address some issues about food companies' use of a loophole in the regulations to sell fortified food and drinks as natural health products. These concerns include the risk of too much intake of individual nutrients, which in the case of vitamin A in the retinol form might lead to liver diseases and, in cases of pregnant women, birth defects. Newly released documents also revealed that food companies are divided over how to go about food fortification, while the government has yet to propose new regulations.
Sarah Schmidt, "Health Canada saw problems with fortified junk food two years ago: Documents", Montreal Gazette, May 20, 2011, © Postmedia Network Inc.
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Bitter Cumin Provides Plenty Of Natural Antioxidants

May 20, 2011: 08:07 AM EST
Results of a study have revealed that bitter cumin is a good source of natural antioxidants. Researchers extracted bitter cumin seeds using a mix of acetone, methanol, and water, and then determined the traits of the antioxidant functions of bitter cumin extracts in different in vitro model systems, including DPPH radical, reducing power, and ABTS radical scavenging. At microgram concentration, the phenolic extracts of bitter cumin highlighted noteworthy scavenging of DPPH and ABTS radicals, showing a direct link between phenolic acid content and antioxidant activity.
V. Ani, K.A. Naidu , "Antioxidant potential of bitter cumin (Centratherum anthelminticum (L.) Kuntze) seeds in in vitro models", BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, May 20, 2011, © Ani and Naidu; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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Selenium Seems To Prevent Cell Oxidation In Overweight People Who Exercise

May 19, 2011: 08:59 AM EST
Overweight people who work out may benefit from a daily supplement containing the macronutrient and antioxidant selenium because it significantly decreases levels of lipid hydroperoxides, an indicator of oxidative damage to cells, after exercise, a British study has found. Ten normal weight and ten overweight people participated in the randomized double-blind study in which they took 200 micrograms of sodium selenite or a placebo every day for three weeks. After three weeks the groups switched regimens. Selenium supplementation was associated with a 0.25 micromole per liter decrease in lipid hydroperoxide levels in the overweight group following exercise.
L.A. Savory, et al. , "Selenium Supplementation and Exercise: Effect on Oxidant Stress in Overweight Adults", Obesity, May 19, 2011, © The Obesity Society
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Indonesia Is A Model For Sustainable Palm Oil Production – RSPO

May 19, 2011: 09:14 PM EST
An organization fostering standards for sustainable palm oil production has given a nod of approval to Indonesia’s accomplishments. The country, largest palm oil producer in the world, employs 3.7 million people in the sector, which accounts for seven percent of Indonesia’s  gross domestic product. Certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) production in Indonesia quadrupled to 800,000 metric tons in 2010 over 2009, and has increased to 1.2 million metric tons  through April 2011, a 600 percent increase. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said  “Indonesia is in a strong position to be a benchmark for new emerging markets to adopt sustainable practices.”  RSPO said many Indonesian member companies have implemented “world class standards and practices” for achieving CSPO production.
"Indonesia: Benchmark For Sustainable Palm Oil In Emerging Markets", The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSBO), May 19, 2011, © The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSBO)
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Omega-3s From Plants And Marine Animals Seem To Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

May 18, 2011: 05:40 AM EST
Studies conducted in China and the U.S. comparing the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids derived from different sources have found that increased levels of any form of omega-3 were associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Scientists compared omega-3s from plants (alpha-linoleic acid, or ALA) and marine animals. The two Chinese studies came to different conclusions: one said only plant-derived omega-3s reduced diabetes risk, and the other said only marine-derived omega-3s reduced the risk. The U.S. study, however, found that both forms reduced diabetes risk. The researchers said that evidence suggests that both forms are protective, but more studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions.
L. Djoussé, et al. , "Plasma omega-3 fatty acids and incident diabetes in older adults", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 18, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Diet Rich In Fruit/Vegetables Leads To Less Weight Gain Among African American Women

May 18, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
African American women whose diet was rich in vegetables and fruit gained less weight over a 14-year period than those whose diet was high in red meat and fried foods, U.S. study has found. For the prospective study, researchers analyzed data collected from 59,000 African-American women beginning in 1995. They identified two significant dietary patterns: a "vegetables/fruit" pattern high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish and whole grains; and a "meat/fried foods" pattern high in red meat, processed meat, french fries and fried chicken. The associations between weight gain and a meat/fried foods diet were stronger among women younger than 35 years, who gained the most weight: an average of 29 pounds during the 14-year study period.
D. A. Boggs, et al., "Dietary patterns and 14-y weight gain in African American women", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 18, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Coffee Consumption Lowers Risk Of Prostate Cancer

May 17, 2011: 10:34 AM EST
A prospective analysis of 47,911 men who participated in the Health Professional Follow-up Study revealed a strong inverse relationship between coffee consumption and risk of having prostate cancer. Researchers employed Cox proportional hazards models to evaluate the link between coffee consumption and prostate cancer. Results of the study showed men who on average consumed six or more cups of coffee per day had a decreased risk for overall prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers. Also, the researchers discovered that the link, which was "similar for regular and decaffeinated coffee," was stronger for lethal prostate cancer.
Kathryn M. Wilson, Julie L. Kasperzyk, Jennifer R. Rider, Stacey Kenfield, Rob M. van Dam, Meir J. Stampfer, Edward Giovannucci and Lorelei A. Mucci, "Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study", Journal of the National Cancer Institute, May 17, 2011, © The Authors, Oxford University Press
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Both Plant And Animal Protein Are Effective At Controlling Appetite

May 11, 2011: 10:33 AM EST
The source of protein in a person’s diet, whether from animals or plants, makes no difference to whether it is effective in controlling appetite or promoting weight loss, according to a review of scientific literature. Studies have shown that a diet high in protein contributes to feelings of fullness or satiety, energy burning and fat loss. Consumption of protein also helps keep weight off, the researchers noted. The review by Danish and Canadian researchers found that animal proteins, particularly dairy proteins, are superior to plant proteins for building muscle, but found no evidence indicating that the source of the protein made any difference in weight loss.
J-A. Gilbert, et al. , "Effect of proteins from different sources on body composition", Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases , May 11, 2011, © Elsevier B.V.
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Drinking Sweet Beverages Desensitizes People To Sweetness, Causing Overconsumption

May 12, 2011: 08:46 AM EST
Frequent consumption of sugary drinks dulls the sensitivity to sweetness, leading people to seek more sweet foods and drinks and a “vicious cycle” of consumption, according to a British study. For one part of the study, researchers assessed 22 lean and 11 overweight participants on the intensity of sweet taste, finding that overweight and obese people tended to rate identical drinks as being less sweet than lean people. The authors concluded that sweet “treats” become less rewarding over time, pushing people to look for even sweeter foods and drinks. In the second study, 12 lean people who rarely drank sugary beverages consumed soft drinks for four weeks along with their regular diet. The sugary drinks altered sweet intensity/pleasantness ratings and increased the preference for sweetness in these “sucrose dislikers.”
F. Sartor, et al. , "Taste perception and implicit attitude toward sweet related to body mass index and soft drink supplementation", Appetite, May 12, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Study Finds That Drinking Caffeinated Coffee Is Not A Risk Factor For Cardiovascular Disease

May 11, 2011: 11:46 AM EST
A multinational team of researchers who studied health data from 11,697 women with cardiovascular disease found that drinking a few cups of caffeinated coffee each day does not increase or lower the risk of dying from a second heart attack or stroke. Over 24 years of follow-up (1980-2004) the researchers documented 1,159 deaths, 579 of which were caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, caffeine intake was not associated with the total number of deaths, nor with the deaths from CVD. "Our results suggest that coffee drinking is okay for patients with cardiovascular disease,” the researchers concluded, but cautioned that it would be best to conduct similar studies in other populations.
Esther Lopez-Garcia, et al., "Coffee consumption and mortality in women with cardiovascular disease", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 11, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Broccoli Sprout Powder Significantly Lowers Levels Of Oxidative Stress Biomarkers

May 11, 2011: 08:23 AM EST
Researchers in Iran have found that consuming five to ten grams of broccoli sprout powder increased the total plasma antioxidant levels and reduced levels of a reactive carbonyl compound that is a marker of oxidative stress. The findings from a randomized clinical trial suggest the possibility that broccoli could reduce oxidative stress in diabetics. The eighty-one diabetics who participated in the study were divided into two groups that received either five or 10grams of broccoli sprout powder or a placebo each day for four weeks. Both broccoli groups showed lower levels of two oxidative stress markers: malondialdehyde (MDA) and oxidized LDL cholesterol. The researchers, who acknowledged that the ideal dose of broccoli sprout powder is still unknown, recommended further studies.
Z. Bahadoran, et al. , "Broccoli sprouts reduce oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind clinical trial", European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 11, 2011, © Nature Publishing Group
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Study Says Resveratrol Helps Prevent Formation Of Fatty Tissue

May 10, 2011: 11:22 AM EST
A study that looked at effects of the polyphenol resveratrol on adipose tissue found that resveratrol's influence in reducing body fat is at least partly due to its capacity to reduce the uptake of fatty acid in circulating triacylglycerols as well as in de novo lipogenesis. The researchers fed the rats a fattening diet and, after six weeks, white adipose tissues were scrutinized and lipoprotein lipase activity was evaluated. There was no difference in final body weight between the groups of rats, but the group treated with resveratrol showed significantly less adipose tissue. Resveratrol also reduced lipogenic enzyme activity, and that of heparin-releasable lipoprotein lipase.
G. Alberdi, V.M. Rodriguez, J. Miranda, M.T. Macarulla, N. Arias, C. Andres-Lacueva, M.P. Portillo , "Changes in white adipose tissue metabolism induced by resveratrol in rats", Nutrition & Metabolism , May 10, 2011, via BioMed Central Ltd, © BioMed Central Ltd
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Kraft Seeks To Expand Its BOCA Range Of Soy-Based Meat Alternative Products

May 10, 2011: 11:44 AM EST
Gary Berger, BOCA brand manager at Kraft Foods, said that U.S. retailers are re-locating meat alternatives in the store and giving them more shelf space as more consumers buy non-meat options and the category becomes increasingly mainstream. BOCA is looking to get new consumers to try non-meat products and is working with Weight Watchers to position the brand as a healthy weight management food option. BOCA is facing a growing number of competitors, but believes its healthy soy-based products will enable it to retain its leadership in the meat alternatives market. It defends the safety of its products but has introduced a non-GMO soy range to address concerns of consumers worried about GMO ingredients.
Elaine Watson, "Kraft: Weight-conscious consumer is key to growth in meat alternatives", NutraIngredients-USA, May 10, 2011, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Diet Fortified With Prebiotic Fiber Improves Bone Health

May 9, 2011: 04:38 AM EST
U.S. researchers examining the effects of different doses of the prebiotic fibers known as galactooligosaccharides (GOS) on bone health found in a rat study that GOS was associated with increased absorption of calcium and magnesium and, in turn, increased bone density. The rats were fed a normal diet enriched with two, four, six or eight percent GOS, or no GOS, for eight weeks. The GOS was found to decrease pH in the upper large intestine and increase bifidobacteria concentrations. As the dose of GOS increased, so did absorption of calcium. Absorption of magnesium also increased, but this was not dose-dependent. Analysis of bone density found increases at several skeletal sites. The researchers concluded that “GOS seem to have potential to contribute to improved peak bone mass and strength.”
Connie M. Weaver, et al., "Galactooligosaccharides Improve Mineral Absorption and Bone Properties in Growing Rats through Gut Fermentation", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 09, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Expectant Mothers Who Eat Peanuts May Be Protecting Their Children From Future Allergies

May 7, 2011: 11:33 AM EST
Pregnant mothers who consume peanuts may be protecting their unborn child from future peanut allergies, according to a study in mice by U.S. researchers. For the study, researchers fed some pregnant mice peanuts and others a placebo. They found that the offspring of peanut-fed mothers had lower peanut-specific immunoglobulin-E (IgE) levels. They also showed lower peanut-stimulated immune responses than the offspring in the placebo group. Administration of cholera toxin boosted these responses in the peanut-fed group. “Our study demonstrated that maternal feeding of peanuts alone had a protective effect against peanut sensitization of the progeny, which was enhanced by co-administration of a mucosal adjuvant (cholera toxin),” the researchers concluded.
I. López-Expósito, et al. , "Maternal peanut consumption provides protection in offspring against peanut sensitization that is further enhanced when co-administered with bacterial mucosal adjuvan", Food Research International, May 07, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Pfizer Targets Obesity Problem In Young Children With New Child Nutrition Products

May 6, 2011: 09:00 PM EST
Noting that 43 million children under age five were overweight in 2010, Pfizer has launched a new range of child nutrition products – infant and follow-on formulas, and “growing-up milk” – “developed to meet the changing nutritional and feeding needs of young children.” The GOLD range of products provides nutrients needed for health, growth and development in growing children, the company said. The GOLD range provides older infants and young children with 100 percent of the U.S. Daily Reference Intakes of vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc, recommended levels of vitamin D, less protein to support healthier rates of growth, and the soluble fiber oligofructose to promote gut health.
"Pfizer Launches New Advanced GOLD Range of Early Child Nutrition Products", Press Release, Pfizer Nutrition, May 06, 2011, © Pfizer
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Milk With Cocoa Found To Reduce Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease

May 6, 2011: 05:04 AM EST
A clinical study in Spain has found that drinking milk fortified with cocoa was associated with a five percent boost in HDL cholesterol levels and a 14 percent drop in oxidized LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Drinking only milk had no such effect. Study participants, whose mean age was 70, drank 500 ml of skimmed milk fortified with 40 g of cocoa powder every day for four weeks. Scientists said regular consumption of cocoa would be a “useful tool against risk factors” for cardiovascular disease because cocoa is rich in polyphenols that may prevent LDL molecules from being oxidized.
N. Khan, et al., "Regular consumption of cocoa powder with milk increases HDL cholesterol and reduces oxidized LDL levels in subjects at high-risk of cardiovascular disease", Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, May 06, 2011, © Elsevier B.V.
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Dairy Intake Does Not Increase Risk Of Heart Attack

May 5, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed health data from 3,630 Costa Rican adults found that the amount of dairy products consumed did not correlate with heart attack risk. The men and women studied were participants in epidemiological research conducted between 1994 and 2004. They were divided into groups: those who had suffered nonfatal heart attacks and those who hadn’t. The researchers took into account their self-reported dairy intake and at measurements of dairy fat biomarkers in their bodies. They found that the dairy intake of people who had suffered heart attacks was not statistically different than the intake of the rest of the people. “It is possible that the adverse effect of saturated fat in dairy products on cardiovascular health is offset by presence of beneficial nutrients,” the authors concluded.
S. Aslibekyan, et al., "Biomarkers of dairy intake and the risk of heart disease", Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, May 05, 2011, © Elsevier B.V.
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Protein-Rich Breakfast Increases Satiety, Reduces Hunger Throughout The Day

May 5, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Eating a healthy breakfast high in protein increases feelings of fullness and reduces hunger throughout the day, according to a U.S. study. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine that eating a protein-rich breakfast dampens brain signals controlling food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior. For the study, researchers assessed hunger and satiety in 10 teenaged girls who either skipped breakfast or ate breakfasts with either normal or high levels of protein. They measured perceived appetite sensations and hormonal markers combined with psychological reward-driven motivation to eat. fMRI was used to identify brain activation in specific regions related to food motivation and reward. They found that, when compared to breakfast skipping, breakfast meals led to increased fullness and reductions in hunger throughout the morning.
Heather J. Leidy, et al., "Neural Responses to Visual Food Stimuli After a Normal vs. Higher Protein Breakfast in Breakfast-Skipping Teens: A Pilot fMRI Study", Obesity, May 05, 2011, © Nature Publishing Group
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Change In Nutrient Load Has Prompt Effect On Gut Bacterial Community Structure

May 4, 2011: 12:08 PM EST
Researchers have found that change in nutrient load can have immediate impact on the gut (fecal) bacterial community structure. The study focused on how gut bacterial community structure reacts to changes in the nutrient load in lean and fat subjects, as well as on the possible correlation between the subjects' microbiota and the efficacy of dietary energy harvest. Pyrosequencing bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA genes present in the feces of study subjects enabled researchers to study dynamic changes in gut microbiota during changes in caloric content of diets.
R. Jumpertz, D. Son Le, P.J. Turnbaugh, C. Trinidad, C. Bogardus, J.I. Gordon, J. Krakoff , "Energy-balance studies reveal associations between gut microbes, caloric load, and nutrient absorption in humans", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 04, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Children Who Eat Family Meals Eat Healthier Foods, Have Less Risk Of Being Overweight

May 2, 2011: 11:46 AM EST
U.S. researchers have found that children and teens who eat with their families a minimum of three times a week are less likely to be overweight or have other nutritional health problems than other children. The researchers looked at data from 17 recent studies that examined eating patterns and child nutrition among 182,000 children between the ages of three and 17. Five of the studies that assessed the link between family meals and nutrition found children who ate with their families three times a week were 24 percent more likely to eat healthier foods and maintain healthy eating habits, the researchers found. Other benefits: a reduction in the odds for overweight (12 percent), eating unhealthy foods (20 percent), and disordered eating (35 percent).
Amber J. Hammons, PhD and Barbara H. Fiese, PhD, "Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents?", Pediatrics, May 02, 2011, © American Academy of Pediatrics
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Decreasing Snack Food Sizes – But Not Numbers Of Snacks Eaten – Might Help In Weight Loss

April 29, 2011: 04:28 AM EST
Smaller portions could lead to eating fewer calories, a U.S. study has found. Researchers offered undergraduate psychology students an unlimited supply of candy while they performing an unrelated experiment. For half of the participants, the candies were cut in half. The researchers then tallied the intake of candy in weight, calories and number of pieces. They found that when the size of the candies was decreased, the students ate the same number of pieces (portion), but consumed 50 percent less by weight and much fewer calories (60 kcal on average). The researchers suggested that a “cognitive bias” might be at work: people may feel that 10 pieces of candy is enough, no matter the size. A “simple dietary strategy” might be to decrease snack sizes but not portions.
David Marchiori, et al., "Smaller Food Item Sizes of Snack Foods Influence Reduced Portions and Caloric Intake in Young Adults", Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 29, 2011, © Elsevier Inc.
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New Research Finds A Hike In Use Of Term “Proven” In European Food Health Claims

April 28, 2011: 02:40 AM EST
Market researcher Innova Market Insights reports a 36 percent increase in 2010 in the number of products in Western Europe with health claims that use the word “proven." A possible reason for the increase in the use of the buzzword may be the April release of the fourth set of generic EU health claim opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which seemed more inclined to grant successful opinions to companies that use words like “proven" and “scientific support" in their health claims. But as uncertainty regarding wording continues, manufacturers are choosing softer or passive claims (e.g., “low and light"). Innova identified several other emerging trends affecting new nutritional and functional foods, including relaxation drinks, out-of-the-box weight loss, joint health boosters, etc.
Innova Market Insights, "‘Proven’ Proves to be Hit in EU Health Claims", Natural Products Insider, April 28, 2011, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Calcium-Vitamin D Supplementation Increases Risk Of Urinary Tract Stones

April 27, 2011: 11:19 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed seven years of data from more than 36,000 postmenopausal women who participated in a placebo-controlled clinical trial found that daily supplementation with calcium and vitamin D significantly increased the risk of urinary tract stones. About half of the women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative study received 1,000 mg of calcium carbonate plus 400 of IU vitamin D3 twice daily. The rest of the women received a placebo. The researchers found that 449 women in the calcium-vitamin D group reported urinary tract stones, which was almost 18 percent more than the placebo group. “These findings have implications for [calcium-vitaminD] supplement use,” the researchers concluded. But they cautioned that the self-reported occurrence of stones was not confirmed by clinical evidence.
R.B. Wallace, et al., "Urinary tract stone occurrence in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) randomized clinical trial of calcium and vitamin D supplements", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 27, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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Four Out Of Five Americans Consider Themselves “Weight Conscious” – Survey

April 27, 2011: 04:59 AM EST
Eighty percent of men and women aged 18 and older – 186 million Americans – consider themselves “weight conscious”, and half of these want to lose weight, according to a November 2010 survey of 1,203 males and females sponsored by the Calorie Control Council. Weight loss methods most frequently cited were: cutting back on foods high in sugar, eating smaller portions, consuming low-calorie or sugar-free foods and beverages and exercising. Least often cited methods included meal skipping, diet pills and restrictive weight loss diets. "Many have taken the first step – admitting they want to lose weight for overall better health," says Beth Hubrich of the Calorie Control Council, and half of those surveyed said they wanted to lose at least 10 pounds.
"Survey: Most Americans are Weight Conscious", Press release, Calorie Control Council, April 27, 2011, © Calorie Control Council
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Prebiotics Found To Reduce Gastrointestinal Discomfort Associated With Psychological Stress

April 27, 2011: 11:23 AM EST
College undergraduates suffering from colds, flu, and stomach distress because their immune response was lowered by academic stress benefited from prebiotic supplementation in a randomized double-blind clinical study conducted at the University of Florida. The eight-week study, which coincided with fall final exams, involved 427 students variously diagnosed with gastrointestinal problems (i.e., diarrhea, indigestion, reflux syndromes, abdominal pain) and colds or flu. The students were given either 2.5 g or 5.0 g of prebiotic galactooligosaccharides, or a placebo.  Using measurements of stress and gastrointestinal symptoms, the researchers found a positive correlation between stress and sickness. They found further that supplementation with the prebiotics lowered gastrointestinal symptom scores and reduced the number of days of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system.
Christine Hughes, et al., "Galactooligosaccharide supplementation reduces stress-induced gastrointestinal dysfunction and days of cold or flu: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial in healthy university students", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , April 27, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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L-theanine Supplement Improves Concentration Among Highly Anxious People

April 19, 2011: 04:13 AM EST
Researchers in Japan who studied the effects of the amino acid L-theanine on students with either low or high anxiety ratings found that a daily supplement of the compound may improve concentration among anxious people. Found in tea, L-theanine is “directly or indirectly involved at the neurochemical level and thus it is impacted by a number of neurotransmitter systems,” the researchers wrote. Eighteen healthy participants were divided into two groups, depending on their anxiety levels. Groups received either water alone or water with L-theanine, and were then tested. Highly anxious students who consumed the L-theanine had a slower heart rate, improved attention and better reaction times, compared to the placebo group. One student with low anxiety showed no benefit from the supplement.
A. Higashiyama, et al. , "Effects of L-theanine on attention and reaction time response", Journal of Functional Foods, April 19, 2011, © Elsevier Ltd
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Cocoa Extracts Show Potential As Weight Management Ingredients

April 17, 2011: 08:49 AM EST
U.S. scientists have found that the polyphenols in cocoa extracts inhibit the action of enzymes essential for digesting carbohydrates and lipids. The findings suggest the possibility that cocoa may someday play a role in weight management products. The researchers tested the effect of three cocoa extracts on various enzymes, including pancreatic lipase, secreted phospholipase A2, and pancreatic alpha-amylase, all of which are important for digestion of fats and carbohydrates. The minimally processed levado cocoa extract, which is high in flavanols, exerted the most inhibitory effect on the enzymes, the researchers found, and is most likely due to their polyphenol content.
Y. Gu, et al., "Inhibition of Key Digestive Enzymes by Cocoa Extracts and Procyanidins", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, April 17, 2011, © American Chemical Society
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Dietary Supplement Use Is Common In U.S., National Surveys Confirm

April 13, 2011: 08:59 AM EST
Data from U.S. health and nutrition surveys has found a significant increase in the use of dietary supplements among adults over the last two decades. According to the surveys, more than 40 percent of American adults were using dietary supplements such as multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D and folic acid from 1988 to 1994. The number increased to more than 50 percent in the years 2003 to 2006, with multivitamins being the most prevalent supplement. In that same time period, 61 percent of women aged 60 and over were taking a calcium supplement, up from 28 percent in 1988 to 1994. Intake of folic acid supplements did not increase among childbearing age women: folic acid is widely available in vegetables, beans and legumes, and in processed foods fortified with folate.
Jaime Gahche, M.P.H., et al., "Dietary Supplement Use Among U.S. Adults Has Increased Since NHANES III (1988–1994)", NCHS Data Brief, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, April 13, 2011, © CDC
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Apple Consumption Reduces Biomarkers For Cardiovascular Disease

April 12, 2011: 10:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has found that eating 75 grams of dried apples a day for a year led to a reduction in so-called bad (LDL)  cholesterol, an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and an average weight loss of 3.3 pounds among 160 postmenopausal women. Earlier animal studies had shown that apple pectin and polyphenols improved lipid metabolism and lowered production of pro-inflammatory molecules. The study randomly assigned the women to two groups: one that ate dried apples daily and one that ate dried prunes every day. Analysis of blood samples found that the apple-eating women experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol and a lowering of other biomarkers for cardiovascular disease. The weight loss benefit may be a result of eating apple pectin, which contributes to satiety, researchers guessed.
"‘Apple a Day’ Advice Rooted in Science", Experimental Biology 2011/ASN, April 12, 2011, © Experimental Biology 2011/ASN
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Substituting Healthy Choice Meals Leads To Weight Loss, Sense Of Well-Being – Studies

April 12, 2011: 09:33 AM EST
ConAGra Foods recently reported on the results of two 30-day clinical studies it sponsored in which participants ate 10 frozen control-portion Healthy Choice meals a week instead of their normal meals. In one study participants ate Healthy Choice meals for lunch, in the other for dinner, while also walking for exercise. According to the researchers, participants lost an average of six pounds and reduced waistlines by an inch. Though they ate fewer calories, participants “significantly improved the quality of their overall diets by increasing dietary fiber, reducing saturated fat intake by 50 percent, and by consuming 30 percent less cholesterol and sodium,” according to ConAgra. Other benefits reported: increased sense of well-being, more energy and feeling healthier.
"New Research Shows Portion-Controlled Frozen Meals Can Support Weight Loss, Improve Dietary Quality", Press Release, ConAgra, April 12, 2011, © ConAgra
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Companies Form Joint Venture To Market Stevia In Europe After Official EU Approval

April 12, 2011: 09:51 AM EST
As they await the European Union’s approval later this year of natural sweetener stevia, German sugar supplier Nordzucker and Malaysian stevia producer PureCircle have formed a joint venture to sell stevia in Northern and Eastern Europe. The equally-owned venture, NP Sweet, will be headquartered in Denmark, where development and marketing of “steviasucrose” sweeteners will be managed. U.K. consultant firm Zenith International says  stevia has enjoyed a “meteoric rise in popularity” since it’s approval as a sweetener in the U.S. in 2008. The company says stevia’s global market value is $285 million. The European Food Safety Authority ruled last year that stevia is safe to use in foods and beverages.
Richard Clarke, "New joint stevia venture ready for European approval", Functional Ingredients, April 12, 2011, © Penton Media Inc
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