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Some Commercial Diets Succeed At Improving Blood Sugar Control

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Several commercial weight loss programs seem to improve control of blood sugar in diabetics, but more rigorous research is needed to actually prove the benefit, a new U.S. study has found. The researchers looked at published clinical studies that carefully evaluated the effects of various commercial weight loss programs on blood sugar in overweight and obese individuals. Eighteen studies focused on people with type 2 diabetes. Among the 764 individuals who participated in ten weight loss programs, the Jenny Craig program reduced blood sugar concentrations significantly more than weight loss counseling alone at 12 months. Nutrisystem and Optifast reduced blood sugar more than counseling alone at six months.
Z. W. Chaudhry et al., "A systematic review of commercial weight loss programs’ effect on glycemic outcomes among overweight and obese adults with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus. ", Obesity Reviews, June 08, 2016, © World Obesity
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Dietary Supplement Formula Reverses Brain Cell Loss, Cognitive Decline

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A research team in Canada has created a dietary supplement from commonly available nutrients that reverses brain cell loss and cognitive decline. The team has been testing the concoction since 2000 in both normal and rapidly aging mice bred to experience severe declines in cognitive and motor function in only a few months. The mice lose more than half of their brain cells by one year of age, the human equivalent of severe Alzheimer's disease. The formula of 30 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and nutraceuticals includes vitamins B, C and D, folic acid, green tea extract, and cod liver oil. It was fed to the mice daily over several months and completely eliminated the severe brain cell loss and cognitive decline.
J.A. Lemon et al., "A multi-ingredient dietary supplement abolishes large-scale brain cell loss, improves sensory function, and prevents neuronal atrophy in aging mice.", Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, June 08, 2016, © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Aspartame Users May Lose Weight, But Have A Higher Risk Of Diabetes

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian researchers who studied U.S. health data report that use of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can lead to poor glucose management in obese individuals. Because artificial sweeteners are not digested by the body, they do help overweight people lose pounds by cutting calorie intake. However, bacteria in the gut seem to be able to break down aspartame, resulting in negative health effects, particularly an increased risk of diabetes.
Jennifer L. Kuk et al., "Aspartame intake is associated with greater glucose intolerance in individuals with obesity. ", Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, June 06, 2016, © Kuk et al.
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Portion-Controlled, Prepackaged Meals Prove More Effective For Weight Loss

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New research funded by Nestlé USA, Inc., which makes the Lean Cuisine frozen meals brand, found that a dieting program that includes behavioral counseling as well as portion-controlled meals is more effective for weight loss than a self-selected diet. The researchers assigned 183 participants equally to three groups: one that ate two low-calorie prepackaged meals a day (lunch and dinner), one that ate two low-calorie prepackaged higher-protein meals a day, and a control group that chose their own meals. After three months, participants who ate twice-daily prepackaged meals lost about eight percent of their initial weight, while the control group lost only six percent. In addition, the prepackaged meals groups also experienced a drop in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Meal satisfaction was similar among all groups.
Cheryl L. Rock et al., "Randomized clinical trial of portion-controlled prepackaged foods to promote weight loss. ", Obesity, June 06, 2016, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Growing Frequency Of Food Allergies, Plus Health Concerns, Drive “Free-From” Market

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
There is a growing list of foods and food ingredients that people deem unhealthy or, for some, are actually allergenic. The food industry has responded by marketing packaged food products that are “free from” these ingredients, which include grain (especially wheat), dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, and shellfish. These eight account for 90 percent of allergic reactions to food, which have been on the rise. The CDC says food allergies now affect approximately one in 13 children. The free-from trend has grown into a $190 million market, with sales in the year ending January 24 surging 26.5 percent in the combined conventional and natural channels. Gluten-free, meanwhile, by itself is a $25 billion market. Allergies don’t account for all these sales. Healthy people who buy free-from products account for a sizeable chunk.
Jenna Blumenfeld, "Free-from foods rise to the occasion", New Hope Network, June 06, 2016, © Penton
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Study Finds Strong Link Between Fiber Consumption And Healthy Aging

June 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Australian researchers who analyzed dietary and health data from 1,600 people over 50 years of age found a surprising connection between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging. They looked at several key factors over ten years: total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake. They found that high fiber intake – from breads, cereals, and fruits – made the biggest difference to what they called "successful aging." People who regularly consumed fiber were likely to be disabled or depressed, or suffer from respiratory ailments or chronic diseases such as dementia, diabetes, cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke. In fact, the researchers found, people in the research sample who ate the most fiber had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life.
Bamini Gopinath et al. , "Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 Years. ", The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, June 06, 2016, © Gopinath et al.
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Growth In World’s Muslim Population Ensures Halal’s Continued Prosperity

June 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The global halal market is growing rapidly. Deloitte estimates the market leapt past $1 trillion in 2015. Food accounted for 61 percent of halal trade, pharmaceuticals 26 percent, and cosmetics 11 percent. Western multinationals have customized products for the halal market, while new companies are developing innovative items. The main driver behind the surging market is the rapid growth in the global Muslim population, and the need to comply with Sharia restrictions on diet. But Sharia is not the only force driving halal’s growth. Halal certification is also seen as a mark of safer, healthier, higher-quality products. Described as the “organic option” for the 21st century, the designation appeals to both Muslims and non-Muslims, ensuring continued growth.
Jun Suzuki, "Asia's growing halal demand spurs innovation, profit", Nikkei Asian Review, June 02, 2016, © Nikkei Inc
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Chick Pea Flour Grows In Popularity In Era Of Restricted Diets, Allergies

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour has been used in European and Asian cooking for centuries, but is now getting heightened attention because of its unique advantages in an era of dietary restrictions and food allergies. Foods made from the flour are gluten-free, rich in fiber, protein, and micronutrients like iron, folate and manganese. Dishes made with garbanzo flour include the crepe-like rounds called farinata (Italy) or socca (France) whose rich aroma suggests olive oil, black pepper and rosemary. In western India the flour is mixed with yogurt and water, then spiced with ginger, chili, turmeric and herbs and spices. The paste is simmered, cooled and spread into thin sheets, then cut and rolled into tight bundles.
Paul Stephen, "Dietary restrictions help bring new attention to chickpea flour", Star News Online, May 31, 2016, © Gatehouse Media, Inc.
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Dark Chocolate Linked To Reduced Risk Of Insulin Resistance, Diabetes

May 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A multinational study of health data from 1,153 adult participants in Luxembourg found that eating about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of dark chocolate a day was associated with reduced risk of diabetes and insulin resistance. Eighty percent of participants claimed to eat an average of 24.8 g of chocolate a day. Those who claimed to eat chocolate daily tended to be younger, more physically active and had higher levels of education than those who did not. The researchers said they adjusted their data to take into account those factors.
Ala’a Alkerwi et al., "Daily chocolate consumption is inversely associated with insulin resistance and liver enzymes in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg study. ", British Journal of Nutrition, May 25, 2016, © Alkerwi et al.
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New Food Nutrition Facts Labels Finalized

May 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA finalized changes to food nutrition facts  labels on May 20, but gave food companies until July 2018 – smaller companies until 2019 – to begin using them. The agency kept the basic look (old and new labels shown at left), but increased the type size for “calories” (bold), “servings per container,” and the “serving size” declaration (bold). The actual amount, in addition to percent daily value, of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium is required. The label will include “added sugars” in grams, vitamin D (but not vitamin A or C), potassium, calcium, iron, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat (but not calories from fat), and daily values for sodium and dietary fiber. Serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people actually eat, not on what they should be eating.
Mary Clare Jalonick et al., "Makeover coming for food nutrition labels", Associated Press, May 20, 2016, © Associated Press
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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Reverses Fructose-Caused Genetic Damage

May 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study finds that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) reverses the harmful changes to hundreds of genes, especially in the brain, caused by consumption of the common sugar fructose. Diseases linked to fructose-induced genetic changes include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). DHA, however, changes the entire gene pattern back to normal, researchers said, and strengthens synapses in the brain associated with learning and memory. DHA occurs naturally in brain cells, but there is not enough of it to ward off diseases. So it has to come through diet. It is abundant in wild (not farmed) salmon and some other fish and fish oil, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, fruits, and vegetables.
Qingying Meng et al., "Systems Nutrigenomics Reveals Brain Gene Networks Linking Metabolic and Brain Disorders. ", EBioMedicine, May 18, 2016, © Meng et al.
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Flavonoid Found In Hops Could Someday Treat Metabolic Syndrome

May 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has identified specific intake levels of a natural flavonoid found in hops and beer that significantly improved the underlying markers of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and also reduced weight gain. The findings on xanthohumol suggest a possible new approach to issues such as human obesity, high cholesterol and elevated glucose. These problems are linked to some of the major health issues and causes of death, especially cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted in obesee mice who were fed different levels of xanthohumol in a high-fat diet. Further research is needed to determine safety and effectiveness in humans.
Cristobal L. Miranda et al., "Xanthohumol improves dysfunctional glucose and lipid metabolism in diet-induced obese C57BL/6J mice. ", Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, May 18, 2016, © Elsevier B.V.
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Dietitian Recommends P&G Probiotic Product For Gut Health

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble’s Align probiotic supplement brand announced it is partnering with a registered dietitian to teach people with occasional digestive imbalance how to avoid “triggers.” Ashley Koff said summer activities tend to prompt changes that can disrupt the natural balance of good gut bacteria. To mitigate the problem, she recommends Align, which contains the probiotic strain Bifantis, to add good bacteria to the digestive system for intestinal balance. She also recommended staying hydrated, avoiding excess salt, eating potassium-rich foods, and shunning junk food.
"Align Probiotic Teams Up with Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff to Offer Helpful Tips to Bolster Your Digestive Wellness This Summer", News release, Procter & Gamble, May 11, 2016, © Procter & Gamble
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Purveyors Of Nutrition Information Are Changing America’s Mind About Food

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of a thousand American adults discovered that many have changed their minds or behaviors about food and nutrition in the past year, to a great extent because of information obtained from news or other media. Sponsored by the Food Information Council, the survey found an average of 31 percent had changed their minds about at least one dietary component, “for better or worse.” Media information turned many people against enriched refined grains, saturated fat, added sugars, and low-calorie sweeteners. At the same time, the media helped persuade consumers of the healthfulness of whole grains, protein from plant sources, and natural sugars. Forty-four percent indicated that reading a book or article, or watching a movie or documentary, had altered their beliefs about diet.
"2016 Food and Health Survey", International Food Information Council Foundation, May 11, 2016, © International Food Information Council Foundation
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Vegan Creativity Leads To An Alternative To Egg Whites

May 9, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Vegans have found it fairly easy to create substitutes for meat and other animal products. Their tinkering has led to almond milk, soy-based cheese, etc. Egg whites, however – an essential ingredient in so many baking delicacies, including meringues, macarons, angel food cake, etc. – were trickier to mimic, until last year’s discovery by a vegan software engineer of the wondrous abilities of chickpea water. Dubbed “aquafaba,” chickpea water and sugar can be whipped into a convincing substitute for egg whites. An instant Internet sensation ensued, spawning recipe books and websites. Now chefs all over the globe – and not just vegans, either – are using aquafaba in everything from pancakes to purées.
Jane Black, "Vegans Whip Up a Secret Weapon: Aquafaba", The New York Times, May 09, 2016, © The New York Times Company
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Higher Levels Of Vitamin D Correlate With Lower Cancer Risk

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Studies have shown that people with higher levels of “sunshine” vitamin D tend to be less at risk for a variety of cancers. A new U.S. study reports that reduced cancer risk becomes measurable at 40 ng/ml (1,200 IU daily) of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, with additional benefit at higher levels. The researchers combined data from two earlier studies: a randomized clinical trial of 1,169 women and a prospective cohort study of 1,135 women, providing a larger sample size and a greater range of blood serum levels of vitamin D. It didn’t matter whether the vitamin came from sun exposure, diet or supplements.
Sharon L. McDonnell et al., "Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml Are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study. ", PLOS ONE, May 04, 2016, © McDonnell et al.
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Fast Food Fans Are Highly Exposed To Dangerous Chemicals

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study that looked into whether eating fast food exposes people to harmful chemicals found fast foodies had 40 percent more harmful phthalates in their bloodstream. Phthalates are industrial chemicals used in making food packaging, tubing for dairy products, and other items used in the production of fast food. Grain and meat items were the biggest contributors to phthalate exposure. Studies have suggested that phthalates – also found in personal care products, toys, and perfume – can damage the reproductive system and may lead to infertility. The findings were based on U.S. data from 8,877 people who completed questionnaires about their diet in the previous 24 hours.
Susanna D. Mitro et al., "Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A and Phthalates Exposures among the U.S. Population in NHANES, 2003–2010. ", Environmental Health Perspectives, May 04, 2016, © Mitro et al.
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Study Finds A Ray Of Hope For Brain Cancer Patients

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The low-carb/high-fat “ketogenic” diet has been used for 90 years to control seizures in epileptic patients. But a new U.S. study in mice shows that the diet also slows the growth of an extremely aggressive type of brain tumor. There is no effective treatment for glioblastoma, and patients live only 12 to 15 months after diagnosis. A glioblastoma tumor needs huge amounts of energy to grow. The diet works by drastically reducing the amount of glucose available for tumor growth. The researchers are encouraged enough to continue testing in humans, though they caution it has not been shown to be a cure.
R. T. Martuscello et al., "A Supplemented High-Fat Low-Carbohydrate Diet for the Treatment of Glioblastoma. ", Clinical Cancer Research, May 03, 2016, © American Association for Cancer Research
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Compound In Dark Chocolate Boosts Athletic Endurance

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers found that cyclists who substituted dark chocolate for their regular energy snack used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and also covered more distance in a two-minute flat-out time trial. Dark chocolate contains a compound known as epicatechin, which acts on the circulatory system by converting nitrates to nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and reduces oxygen consumption. The effect is similar to that provided by beet juice, which is rich in nitrates. Nine amateur cyclists participated in the experiments, which compared the benefits of dark chocolate to white chocolate on athletic endurance.
Rishikesh Kankesh et al., "Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling. ", Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, May 03, 2016, © Kankesh et al.
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Egg Marketers Need To Get The Health Message Across To American Consumers

April 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sales of eggs in the year ended in February declined by 3.6 percent, the fourth year of declines in a row, according to Nielsen. This despite solid scientific evidence that eggs are an extremely healthful, and economical, addition to the diet. Nielsen suggests that to reduce sagging sales trends, egg farmers and retailers need to make obesity-conscious Americans aware of the benefits of eggs: high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, healthful fats and beneficial trace nutrients. If they can do that, “they may just see their sales spike in the future.”
"Cracked up – the latest on U.S. Egg sales", News release, Nielsen, April 27, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Is It Ethical For Vegan Restaurateurs To Kill Cockroaches?

April 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Some vegan restaurant owners committed to humane animal treatment stretch their principles to include the obnoxious pests that plague their facilities. But it’s quite a dilemma. How, after all, do you keep your eatery compliant with public health rules without killing rats, cockroaches, and spiders? Die-hard animal rights restaurateurs can follow the guidance of PETA, which suggests using orange peels to ward off flies, bay leaves to discourage roaches, and peppermint oil-soaked rags to discourage rodents. Faced with the impracticality of those solutions, however, some end up compromising their principles – i.e., calling the exterminator – for the higher good: staying in business “as a way to put a dent in the dominance of the factory farm system.”
Kelli Kennedy, "Trapped! Vegan restaurants struggle with humane pest control", Associated Press, April 25, 2016, © Associated Press
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Paleo Diet May Do More Harm Than Good

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
People intent on controlling or losing weight – especially those who are already overweight or sedentary – should avoid all forms of the Paleo diet, new Australian research warns. The Paleo diet generally emphasizes low-carb, high-fat eating. For the study, the researchers experimented with two groups of overweight mice, one of which ate a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet. After eight weeks, the LCHF mice gained more weight, their glucose intolerance worsened, insulin levels rose, they gained 15 percent of their body weight, and fat mass doubled from two percent to almost four percent. "To put that in perspective, for a 100 kilogram person, that's the equivalent of 15 kilograms in two months,” one researcher said. “That's extreme weight gain.”
B. J. Lamont et al., "A low-carbohydrate high-fat diet increases weight gain and does not improve glucose tolerance, insulin secretion or β-cell mass in NZO mice. ", Nutrition & Diabetes, April 05, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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No Link Between Cholesterol Consumption And Heart Disease

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Finnish study confirms earlier research that found no correlation between higher intake of dietary cholesterol – eating eggs every day, for example – and a greater risk of coronary heart disease. The finding held for Finns in the general population and for those with the APOE4 phenotype, which affects cholesterol metabolism. The study examined the dietary habits of 1,032 men aged between 42 and 60 without cardiovascular disease. The men, about a third of whom were carriers of APOE4, were followed for 21 years. Eating eggs, a significant source of dietary cholesterol, did not increase the risk of coronary heart disease, and did not cause a harmful thickening of the common carotid artery walls.
J. K. Virtanen et al., "Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Organic Beef, Milk Shown To Be More Nutritious Than Conventional

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers and colleagues from around the world reviewed scientific studies on milk and meat, finding that organically grown products contained more beneficial nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. The data showed that organic milk and meat have more desirable fat profiles, and could raise omega-3 fat intake by 50 percent without increasing calories and undesirable saturated fat. They also showed lower levels of myristic and palmitic acid in organic meat and a lower omega-3/omega-6 ratio in organic milk. There were also higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids, and 40 percent more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in organic milk. Organic cattle raising involves more outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding than conventional raising.
Carlo Leifert et al. , "Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic bovine milk: A systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analysis. ", British Journal of Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © Cambridge University Press
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For Overweight People, Breakfast Offers A Double Benefit

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Eating breakfast is associated with increased health, if not necessasrily weight loss, but in obese people it has other benefits. A British study finds that when obese people eat breakfast they are more active during the day and they tend to eat less. For the study, two groups of individuals aged 21 – 60 either fasted or ate a 700-calories breakfast for six weeks. The researchers did not control how the breakfast group obtained their 700 calories, so there is no data on whether a high-carb or high-protein diet works better. What is ultimately healthier – eating breakfast or fasting – depends on the individual and their own personal goals. If being more active or controlling blood sugar are important, then people should eat breakfast.
E. A. Chowdhury et al., "The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in obese adults.", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Why Leafy Green Veggies Keep The Gut Healthy

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British and Australian researchers have discovered a previously unknown enzyme that gut bacteria, fungi and other organisms use to feed on an unusual but abundant sugar sulfoquinovose (SQ) found in green vegetables. The researchers said gut bacteria, including crucial protective strains of E. coli, use SQ as a source of energy. E. coli creates a protective barrier that keeps bad bacteria from growing and colonizing in the gut. “The good bugs are taking up all the habitable real estate," said one scientist, who added that the findings may someday be used to develop “an entirely new class of antibiotics.”
Gaetano Speciale et al., "YihQ is a sulfoquinovosidase that cleaves sulfoquinovosyl diacylglyceride sulfolipids. ", Nature Chemical Biology, April 05, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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FDA Will Release Voluntary Salt-Content Goals This Summer

April 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Politico reports that voluntary goals for sodium levels in processed foods will be released this summer by the FDA, thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Having to reduce salt content makes some food companies nervous, because the ingredient gives breads, crackers and sauces “their trademark taste.” It’s likely, however, that the reductions would be phased in over ten years. The CSPI lawsuit should push the FDA to release the salt targets completed two years ago but kept under wraps. Excessive salt content in processed foods has been a bête noire of the Obama administration for years.
Helena Bottemiller Evich, "Obama's latest food crackdown: Salt", Politico, April 03, 2016, © Politico LLC
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Coffee Drinking Drastically Cuts Risk Of Colorectal Cancer

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study involving nearly 10,000 men and women living in Israel, some recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer, found that even moderate coffee consumption, whether regular or decaffeinated, was associated with a reduced likelihood of developing colon cancer. Drinking only one or two cups a day was linked to a 26 percent reduction in the risk, and drinking more than that – more than 2.5 cups a day – decreased the risk up to 50 percent. The researchers speculated that caffeine and polyphenols in coffee may act as antioxidants, limiting the growth of potential colon cancer cells; melanoidins generated during coffee roasting may encourage colon mobility; and diterpenes may prevent cancer by enhancing the body's defense against oxidative damage.
Stephanie L. Schmit et al., "Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer", Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, April 01, 2016, © American Association of Cancer Research
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Young Kids Seem Indifferent To Portion Sizes, Calorie Densities, When Eating

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It is widely believed that children self-regulate food intake, but a new study takes issue with that belief: kids will eat a lot of calorie-rich foods if that’s what they’re served. The researchers tested 120 children (ages three to five) who ate lunch in three separate daycare centers for six weeks. They ate meals of different size and calorie densities, including chicken, macaroni and cheese, vegetables, applesauce, ketchup, and milk. They liked the lower-calorie and higher-calorie meals similarly. They also ate smaller portions of food as easily as larger portions. The good news from the study is that parents and caregivers can serve more healthful lower-calorie foods, and smaller portions, “and kids seem to be just as satisfied.”
Marjorie Miller, "If You Give Kids Too Much Food, They’ll Overeat", Futurity, March 17, 2016, © Futurity
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Advice To Women: To Lose Weight And Improve Cholesterol, Eat Walnuts

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study analyzing the impact of different diets on women found that eating higher amounts of walnuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fats, leads to weight loss, but also significantly lowers blood fat levels, especially in women who are insulin-resistant. For the year-long study, overweight and obese adult women were randomly assigned to one of three diets: low-fat and high-carbohydrate; low-carbohydrate and high-fat; or a walnut-rich, high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. Women lost about the same amount of weight on all three plans. The walnut-rich diet, however, had the most effect on cholesterol levels by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol), and increasing beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
Tran Le et al., "Effects of Diet Composition and Insulin Resistance Status on Plasma Lipid Levels in a Weight Loss Intervention in Women. ", Journal of the American Heart Association, February 24, 2016, © Le et al.
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BMI Alone Does Not Accurately Determine A Person’s Health

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study by researchers at UCLA finds that body mass index (BMI) by itself is a highly inaccurate way to determine whether people are healthy or unhealthy. In fact, BMI incorrectly categorizes millions of so-called “obese” people as unhealthy. BMI, a ratio of a person’s height and weight, is often used by employers to determine health care costs, and could soon be used to mandate higher health insurance premiums. For the study based on national data, scientists linked BMI with other health indicators, including blood pressure and glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Nearly half of Americans considered "overweight" because of their BMIs (47.4 percent, or 34.4 million people) were actually healthy, as were 19.8 million who are considered "obese." Lastly, nearly a third of those with “normal” BMIs – about 20.7 million people – were unhealthy based on other health data.
A. J. Tomiyama et al., "Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012. ", International Journal of Obesity, February 24, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Lima Bean Compound Extends Lifespan In Lab Experiments

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
German researchers experimenting with fruit flies found that an isoflavone found in lima beans extended lifespan, increased fitness levels, and improved glucose balance – but only in males. Though a lot more research needs to be done in animals and humans to prove any connection between longer life and the isoflavone prunetin, the results suggest that the plant bioactive could someday help slow the aging process, in men at least. 
S. Piegholdt et al., "The phytoestrogen prunetin affects body composition and improves fitness and lifespan in male Drosophila melanogaster. ", The FASEB Journal, February 24, 2016, © Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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Reduce Sodium In Cooking By Adding Fish Sauce

February 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Adding Vietnamese fish sauce to foods like chicken broth reduces the amount of sodium chloride by as much as 25 percent without loss of salty flavor, according to a study by Malaysian scientists. A standard ingredient in Asian cuisines, fish sauce adds umami flavor to foods. The researchers found that fish sauce can partially substitute for salt in tomato sauce, coconut curry, etc., to cut sodium without diminishing palatability. The researchers said chefs and food manufacturers could create foods lower in sodium content that would meet the requirements of consumers, healthcare providers, governmental organizations, and consumer advocacy groups without compromising taste.
Hue Linh Huynh et al., "Using Fish Sauce as a Substitute for Sodium Chloride in Culinary Sauces and Effects on Sensory Properties. ", Journal of Food Science, February 23, 2016, © Institute of Food Technologists
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“Healthy” Foods In The U.K. No Longer Means “Diet”

February 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Britons are cutting way back on their sugar intake, and are paying closer attention to other ingredients as well, researcher Kantar Worldpanel says. As part of a trend in the U.K. toward healthy food selections, a full 93 percent say cutting back on sugar consumption is a priority. But perceptions of what constitutes “healthy” foods is changing. In fact, sales of healthy private label foods are down 3.3 percent, as consumers shift away from “diet” foods to fresh, “free-from,” less processed  more natural, or functional foods. Kantar advises retailers to “revisit and relaunch and reposition their healthy ranges.”
Giles Quick, "Sugar now the UK’s number one ‘nutrient concern’", Report, Kantar UK, February 17, 2016, © Kantar is a WPP Plc company
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“Most Innovative” German Food/Drink Launches

February 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor analysts picked ten German food and drink launches from 2015 as the “most innovative.” At the top of the list is Knorr (Unilever) Dry Seasoning for Lasagna, which touts its “naturalness” and “fewer, simpler” ingredients. The product shows that the “natural” food claim is important in Germany. Second is a no-carb pasta substitute from The Netherlands (Konjac root noodles), an example of another trend: low-carb claims doubled from 2014 to 2015. Other innovations from Germany: a gluten-free snack drink made with quinoa and matcha tea; a cheese wheel (Leerdammer Schnittkäse) that claims “deli fresh” and “cut from the loaf;” and a low-calorie soft drink (Helga) based on freshwater microalgae chlorella.
"Ten Innovative Food And Drink Launches In Germany", Blog, Mintel, February 04, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Low-Carb “Cloud Bread” Skips The Grains Entirely

February 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Low- or no-carb fans looking for an alternative to wheat bread will be pleased by this innovation. “Cloud bread” contains only four ingredients, not one of which is carb-rich grain. Online bakers who have tried it post “rave reviews,” despite the fact that the recipe – using only eggs, cream cheese, cream of tartar, and a packet of sweetener – requires a lot of steps and time. The result is fluffy patties that are gluten- and carb-free, and rich in protein. They can be used as sandwich and hamburger buns in a low-carb (e.g., diabetic or Atkins-style) diet. And, they can be toasted and topped with jam “for a tasty breakfast.”
Alexis Hobbs, ""Cloud Bread" Is the Latest Food Trend Exploding on Pinterest", Cosmopolitan, February 03, 2016, © Hearst Communications, Inc
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High Price Of Cauliflower Infuriates Some Dieters

February 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Cold weather in the cauliflower-growing regions of California and Arizona has led to a shortage and a rise in prices that has dieters around the U.S. in a frenzy. Cauliflower has become a favorite of low-carb devotees because a medium-size head has fewer carbs than a single potato, is rich in vitamin C and low in calories. Creative cooks have found many ways to prepare it, even to disguise it to substitute for other foods in recipes (e.g., the “mac” in mac and cheese, faux mashed potatoes, and even ersatz rice). But the scarcity of the vegetable has driven prices to prohibitive levels: up 30 percent from a year ago, according to the USDA, with some stores charging as much as $8.00 a head.
Robin Sidel, "Why Carb Counters Are Running for the Cauliflower", The Wall Street Journal, February 01, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Fruity Diet Reduces Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A diet that contains regular helpings of foods rich in certain flavonoids reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men under age 70, a study by U.S. and British scientists has found. The most potent flavonoids are found in various fruits. Anthocyanins are found in blueberries, cherries, blackberries, radishes and blackcurrants; flavanones and flavones are found in citrus fruits. The study also showed that that eating more fruit generally was associated with a 14 percent reduction in the risk of ED. A flavonoid-rich diet is as good for erectile function as vigorously walking for up to five hours a week, the researchers noted.
A. Cassidy et al. , "Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 24, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Visceral Fat Increases With More Frequent Drinking Of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New U.S. research has found a correlation between frequent drinking of sugary beverages and harmful visceral fat in middle-aged adults. Visceral (or deep) fat surrounds the liver, pancreas and intestines, adversely affecting hormone function. It is thought to play a large role in insulin resistance that boosts type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk. For the study, 1,003 men and women (average age 45) who answered food questionnaires and underwent CT scans were monitored for six years. At the end, researchers found that regardless of age, gender, physical activity, body mass index and other factors, visceral fat volume increased by 658 cm³ for non-drinkers, 649 cm³ for occasional drinkers, 707 cm³ for frequent drinkers, and 852 cm³ for those who drank one beverage daily.
Jiantao Ma et al., "Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption is Associated With Change of Visceral Adipose Tissue Over 6 Years of Follow-Up. ", Circulation, January 24, 2016, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Adding Fat To DASH Diet Proves Just As Effective In Reducing Hypertension

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A higher fat version of an anti-hypertension diet not only lowered blood pressure tas much as the non-dairy version, but also reduced blood fats and did not significantly raise LDL cholesterol, a U.S. study has found. The DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet was developed to lower blood pressure and includes low-fat and nonfat dairy foods, reduced sodium, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Researchers tested 36 adults who alternated eating a control diet, a normal DASH diet and a modified DASH diet with higher amounts of fat. The higher fat DASH diet lowered blood pressure to the same extent as the DASH diet without raising “bad” cholesterol levels, making it a an effective alternative to the widely recommended DASH diet.
S. Chiu et al., "Comparison of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and a higher-fat DASH diet on blood pressure and lipids and lipoproteins: a randomized controlled trial. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 24, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Unilever Shrinks U.K. Single-Portion Ice Cream Packs To Cut Calories

January 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever is trimming the sizes of single-serve ice cream products by as much as a third in the U.K. to reduce calories per serving. Included in the effort are packages of Magnum, Cornetto, Ben & Jerry’s and Feast, all of which will be shrunk to bring the calorie totals below 250. According to reports, the prices of the products will only be cut 26 percent. Beginning in the spring, Ben & Jerry’s single portion packs will be reduced by 33 percent, from 150ml to 100ml. A Unilever spokesman admitted there was a risk of a customer backlash. But he said he expected shoppers to “appreciate what we are trying to do, and buy more.”
Sarah Butler, "Unilever to shrink Magnum and Cornetto in bid to cut calories", The Guardian, January 22, 2016, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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Even Products Not Labeled “Gluten-Free” Benefit From The Phenomenon

January 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The “most potent, generative force” in the food industry – gluten-free food and beverages -- is not going away. A visit to the recent Fancy Food Show bore that out: kombuchas, jerkies, prepackaged sauces, artisanal charcuterie, and small-batch jams were all labeled gluten-free. The U.S. market for gluten-free foods hit $11.6 billion in 2015, up 136 percent from 2013 (Mintel). But those figures only include products specifically labeled “gluten-free.” Other foods and beverages that just happen to be gluten-free are also benefiting. Examples include new dishes on San Francisco restaurant and café menus, in farmers markets and in pastry shops (e.g., almond flour cakes). The fact that gluten-free beer “tastes wretched” spurred the rise of wheat-free hard apple cider and honey-based mead.
Jonathan Kauffman, "Is that gluten-free? The movement’s impact on the food industry", San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2016, © Hearst Corporation
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Low-Fiber Diet Reduces Beneficial Microbe Population In The Gut

January 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fiber – plant carbohydrates that people cannot digest – not only feeds humans, it also feeds the trillions of beneficial microbes in the gut. Bacteria in the intestine break fiber into chemicals that nourish cells and reduce inflammation. Microbes eat specialized diets, according to a new U.S. study in mice. That means a fiber-rich diet can nourish a wide variety of gut microbes, while a low-fiber diet nourishes a smaller community. Researchers found that low-fiber diets deplete the complex microbial ecosystems and can cause a loss of diversity and internal deficiencies that can be passed on to future generations. It is not known whether those lost microbes can ever be replaced, or what impact the loss of the microbes may have had on human health.
Erica D. Sonnenburg et al., "Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations", Nature, January 15, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Asians Can Now Afford Protein, But Are Also Choosing Wheat Over Rice

January 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Increasingly prosperous China has begun to satisfy its repressed demand for protein, mainly in the form of pork. In India, the price of the legume Dal, a major source of protein along with milk, has quadrupled in the last decade. But what might be called a sinister dietary trend is also taking hold in Asia. In the area of carbohydrates, consumer preferences are shifting away from rice toward wheat-based products like white bread. Nutritionists fret over the shift, as do healthcare providers who are already seeing the adverse results in increased numbers of obese patients and rising healthcare costs. They are also seeing a rise in the value of their stocks.
Andy Mukherjee, "Asia's High-Risk Diet", Bloomberg Gadfly, January 15, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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America’s Love Affair With Diet Products Is Mostly Over

January 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The shift in American consumers’ attitudes toward health and dieting is giving diet product marketers a sour stomach, according to Mintel. A Mintel analyst says “the diet industry faces downward pressure” because Americans are skeptical of diet product ingredients and their effectiveness in weight loss. In short, they believe “a magic weight loss pill likely doesn’t exist." The researcher found that 91 percent of U.S. consumers now believe a well-rounded diet is more important than using weight loss products. This shift is reflected in the fact that sales of weight-control tablets continue to decline steeply: nearly 20 percent for the 52-weeks ending July 2015. U.S. consumers agree diet products are not as healthy as they claim to be, and 61 percent believe most diets are not healthy at all.
"Balanced Eating vs. Dieting Plans", Prepared Foods, January 13, 2016, © BNP Media
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MIND Diet Targeting Dementia Ranked Among Top Overall Diets

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Rush University’s (Chicago, Ill.) MIND diet was recently ranked among a news magazine’s choices for easiest diet to follow (No. 1), best overall diet (No. 2), and best diet for healthy eating (No. 3), but was near the bottom of the list (No. 21) for weight loss. MIND is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets, and its goal is to delay or prevent dementia. The diet has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer's by 53 percent in participants who adhered rigorously, and by 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well. The diet includes whole grains, green leafy vegetables and other vegetables daily, wine, beans, poultry, nuts, and blueberries. Dieters should avoid butter, sweets, pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried food.
"U.S. News Best Diet Rankings", U.S. News & World Report, January 08, 2016, © U.S. News & World Report L.P.
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Americans Still Consume Unhealthy Levels Of Sodium

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that says almost all Americans – no matter the sex, race, or health status – consume too much sodium. The newly-issued 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg (the amount in one teaspoon of salt) a day for people over 14 and less for younger children. But according to the CDC findings, based on the diets of 15,000 people, more than 90 percent of children and 89 percent of adults aged 19 and older consume much more sodium than that, and most comes from processed and restaurant foods. Evidence links excess sodium intake to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Sandra L. Jackson et al., "Prevalence of Excess Sodium Intake in the United States — NHANES, 2009–2012", Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 08, 2016, © U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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High-Fat, Low-Carb Diet May Be Effective In Treating Schizophrenia

December 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A diet effective in treating epilepsy may also work in controlling symptoms associated with schizophrenia, Australian researchers report. The ketogenic diet – high in fats, low in carbs – has also become a weight-loss regimen for bodybuilders. The researchers believe the diet works by providing alternative energy sources (ketone bodies) formed when the body breaks down fat. The ketones help to circumvent abnormally functioning cellular energy pathways in the brains of schizophrenics. The diet has so far been tested only in mice, whose schizophrenic behaviors were mitigated by the high-fat regimen. In humans, the diet would comprise butter, cheese, salmon, etc., and would supplement medication in a clinical setting where a patient's diet could be controlled. The researchers are planning a clinical study to test their hypothesis.
Ann Katrin Kraeuter et al., "Ketogenic diet reverses behavioral abnormalities in an acute NMDA receptor hypofunction model of schizophrenia. ", Schizophrenia Research, December 31, 2015
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Oprah Winfrey’s Midas Touch Reverses Weight Watchers’ Stock Slide

December 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An endorsement, investment, and advertisement from Oprah Winfrey were apparently just the shot in the arm that Weight Watchers needed to reverse its recent stock slide. In October, Winfrey bought $40 million worth of the company’s stock after it announced its new mission: healthy weight loss and wellbeing, rather than deprivation. Her investment doubled in value almost immediately. Now the company’s brand ambassador, Winfrey also launched a video campaign on Twitter targeting her 30 million followers. The stock climbed 30 percent after the campaign began. Winfrey’s stock is now valued at about $150 million, a 375 percent gain.
Jessica Goodfellow, "Weight Watchers stock prices soar following Oprah Winfrey campaign", The Drum, December 31, 2015, © Carnyx Group Ltd
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Bad Diet Habits Contribute To Excessive, Prolonged Pain After Surgery, Injury

December 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Poor diet worsens and lengthens chronic pain after surgery or injury, according to new U.S. research. In fact, the study in mice shows a direct link between poor diet quality, obesity and increased and prolonged pain. The mice were fed a version of the so-called “Total Western Diet (TWD):” high in calories from carbohydrates and saturated and monounsaturated fats, and low in calories from protein. After 13 weeks, the TWD mice were fatter and had higher levels of inflammatory compounds. Obese people have the same metabolic profile. In addition, hypersensitivity to heat and touch was greater and lasted longer. The findings indicate that patients with chronic pain who eat poorly are likely to experience “exaggerated pain responses and recovery from injury or surgery.”
Stacie K. Totsch et al., "Total Western Diet (TWD) alters mechanical and thermal sensitivity and prolongs hypersensitivity following Complete Freund’s Adjuvant in mice. ", The Journal of Pain, December 30, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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