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New Healthier Cookie Varieties From Weight Watchers

September 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.K. consumers aren’t really turning their backs on sweet snacks, but they are asking that they be made a little healthier. Weight Watchers heard their plea and has come up with an answer. Indulgent Cookies, manufactured for Weight Watchers by Walkers Shortbread, each contain less than 83 calories and 1.1 grams of saturated fat. They also have more fiber, and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives. The three new flavors are made with a mix of butter and rapeseed oil, and contain at least 30 percent less saturated fat than standard butter cookies.
"Weight Watchers Launches New Indulgent Cookies", The Food & Drink Innovation Network, September 17, 2015, © Food & Drink Innovation Network
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Vitamin C Works Like Exercise In Obese People

September 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Vitamin C supplements seem to provide the same cardiovascular benefits as regular exercise in overweight and obese adults. The key problem is the increased activity of a small blood vessel-constricting protein called endothelin (ET-1) in overweight people, making them more prone to vascular diseases. Exercise reduces ET-1 activity, but more than half of overweight people never exercise. The U.S. researchers found that taking 500 mg of time-released vitamin C daily reduced ET-1-related vessel constriction as much as walking did.
"Vitamin C an exercise replacement?", News release, research presented at an American Physiological Society meeting, September 17, 2015, © American Physiological Society
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Kids Will Eat Healthier Lunches At School If Given More Time

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
School kids who have more time to eat lunch tend to eat healthier, a U.S. study finds. Data for the study were collected on six random days during the 2011 to 2012 school year as part a large controlled trial. When kids had less than 20 minutes in the cafeteria to eat lunch, they were much less likely to select a fruit. Peers who had at least 25 minutes were much more likely to eat a fruit (44 percent vs. 57 percent, respectively). Children with less than 20 minutes to eat lunch consumed 13 percent fewer entrees, 10 percent less milk, and 12 percent fewer veggies compared to students who had at least 25 minutes.
Juliana F.W. Cohen et al., "Amount of Time to Eat Lunch Is Associated with Children’s Selection and Consumption of School Meal Entrée, Fruits, Vegetables, and Milk. ", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, September 16, 2015, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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Cheap, Salty – And Harmful – Foods Are The Scourge Of Low-Income Europeans

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Italian researchers have determined that low-income Europeans eat more salt than their more affluent peers, a fact that explains why they tend to have more disabilities and lower life expectancies. The researchers said that governments can help reverse this situation by discouraging manufacturers from producing cheap, salty foods and distributors from selling them. Lower-income people tend to eat these foods because they are inexpensive. The study focused on people living in less affluent southern Italy, but found similar results across Britain in a previous study.
Francesco P. Cappuccio et al., "Geographic and socioeconomic variation of sodium and potassium intake in Italy: results from the MINISAL-GIRCSI programme. ", BMJ Open, September 16, 2015, © Cappuccio et al.
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Beet Juice Strengthens Muscles In Heart Failure Patients

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists have shown that the nitrates in leafy green vegetables improve muscle performance in athletes. Now a new U.S. study shows that drinking nitrate-rich concentrated beet juice boosts muscle power in heart failure patients. The small clinical study involved nine patients with heart failure who drank beet juice and were tested two hours later. Patients showed a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee, with the most benefit when muscles moved at a high velocity. The findings are important because many daily activities are power-based (e.g., lifting groceries, climbing stairs) and have a major impact on quality of life. “In general,” the researchers said, “physically more powerful people live longer."
Andrew R. Coggan et al., "Acute Dietary Nitrate Intake Improves Muscle Contractile Function in Patients With Heart Failure", CLINICAL PERSPECTIVE. Circulation: Heart Failure, September 16, 2015, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Mediterranean Diet Prevents Onset Of Depression

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A long-term study involving 15,093 Spaniards demonstrates that eating a Mediterranean-type diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts – and low in processed meats – prevents the onset of depression. The researchers compared the Mediterranean diet, the Pro-vegetarian Dietary Pattern and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010. Participants used a scoring system to show how strictly they were adhering to their selected diet. The Alternative Healthy Eating diet was associated with the biggest reduction in depression risk, but most of that could be explained by its similarity to the Mediterranean Diet, the researchers said.
Almudena Sánchez-Villegas et al., "A longitudinal analysis of diet quality scores and the risk of incident depression in the SUN Project. ", BMC Medicine, September 16, 2015, © Sánchez-Villegas et al.
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Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With More Rapid Decline In Cognitive Abilities

September 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Elderly people who are vitamin D deficient experience declining cognitive levels three times faster than those with adequate vitamin D levels, a U.S. study among 400 racially and ethnically diverse men and women has found. Participants were either cognitively normal, had mild cognitive impairment, or dementia. Insufficient vitamin D levels were associated with faster declines in mental performance, particularly in areas like executive function and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The findings provide enough evidence to recommend that people in their 60s and older discuss taking a daily vitamin D supplement with their physicians.
Charles DeCarli et al., " Vitamin D Status and Rates of Cognitive Decline in a Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults. ", JAMA Neurology, September 14, 2015, © American Medical Association
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Less Active Lifestyles Are Key Contributor To Obesity In U.K.

September 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers have found a three-decade pattern of sedentary lifestyles leading to increased obesity, despite a reduction in average consumption of calories. Obesity rates in the U.K. have tripled since 1985, while calorie intake has dropped 20 percent. The key reason is lifestyle changes.  Men and women are less likely to work in strenuous occupations than in the past. They also spend more time watching TV and more time commuting by public transport or car, rather walking or cycling. The researchers said the link between work and calories should be taken into account “when evaluating policy interventions aimed at reducing obesity."
Melanie Luhrmann et al., "New study reveals how changes in lifestyle are contributing to dramatic rise in obesity", News release, unpublished research, University of Royal Holloway London, September 14, 2015, © University of Royal Holloway London
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New Generation Of Superfoods May Not Be So Super

September 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Foodies and health food groupies who thrive on the cutting edge of the superfood world have apparently moved beyond acai, quinoa and chia seeds, especially now that those once exotic foods are available at Walmart and Costco. Instead, they have latched on to the newest wave of rare, foreign and super-nutritious beverages: moringa, E3 live blue-green algae, citicoline, freekeh, turkey tail mushroom, sideritis, etc. All promise enhanced wellbeing or super energy. But nutritionists warn that a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, etc., is probably all anyone needs to stay healthy. And no one really knows whether these so-called superfoods are really any good for you at all. Some, eaten with certain medications, may actually be harmful.
Kavita Daswani, "New super-foods, from baobab to turkey tail, come with promises and caveats", The Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2015, © The Los Angeles Times
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Large Study Finds Link Between Diet Drinks And Junk-Food Consumption

September 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S.researcher who analyzed dietary data from 22,000 American adults found a link between regular drinking of diet beverages and consumption of high-calorie foods packed with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol. More than 90 percent of the people in the study regularly ate “discretionary” foods that are energy-dense, nutrient-poor, and do not belong to major food groups. They include cookies, ice cream, chocolate, fries and pastries. Ruopeng An hypothesized that people who drink diet beverages may feel justified in eating more; or, to feel satisfied they feel compelled to eat more high-calorie discretionary foods. They also suggested a third possibility: people choose diet beverages because they feel guilty about indulging in unhealthy food.
Ruopeng An, "Beverage Consumption in Relation to Discretionary Food Intake and Diet Quality among U.S. Adults, 2003-2012. ", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, September 11, 2015, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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Slowly But Surely Americans Are Eating More Whole Grains

August 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
For a long time, Americans pretty much ignored federal dietary guidelines and advice from nutritionists and health experts to eat more whole grains. But the tide is turning, according to the Whole Grains Council. The majority of Americans are now eating more whole grains than they did back in 2010, and at least half say half of the grains they eat are whole grains. A poll of U.S. consumers found that 64 percent have increased whole grain consumption "some" or "a lot" in the last five years. And two-thirds of those who mostly choose whole grains now have increased their whole grain consumption “a great deal” compared to five years ago. The WGC says the next step is to get Americans to go beyond bread, cereal and brown rice when they buy whole grains, and look for spelt, farro, amaranth and teff.
"Most Americans Now Make Half Their Grains Whole", News release, Oldways Whole Grains Council, August 31, 2015, © Oldways Preservation Trust/Whole Grains Council
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Brits Are Ambivalent About Benefits Of Eating Breakfast

August 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Harris poll finds that 25 percent of 2,032 Britons surveyed believe cooked breakfasts are protein-rich and 40 percent see eggs as a healthy breakfast food. However, 45 percent of those polled tend to skip breakfast altogether. Opinions about what constitutes a healthy breakfast vary widely. Twenty-seven percent of Brits worry about fat content of cooked breakfasts. Many worry about the carbohydrate content. And many just think cooked breakfasts are plain unhealthy. A sizeable number see cold breakfasts as unhealthy, as well: thirty-eight percent think kids cereals aimed are too sugary and the same percentage (mostly older adults) think breakfast biscuits are a total fad.
Amy North, "Half of Brits skip breakfast... but the fry up is flying!", The Grocer, August 27, 2015, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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"Personalized" U.K. Breakfasts Increasingly Feature Added Fruits And Nuts

August 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British breakfast eaters are into customizing their morning meal, as more and more are adding fruits, seeds, and nuts to their cereal, yogurt and other foods, or are purchasing products that already contain those ingredients. According to Kantar Worldpanel research, consumption of fruits and nuts grew nearly 10 percent last year. Fruit was eaten in 2.2 billion breakfasts in 2014, a rise of 8.9 percent, while nuts were eaten in 116 million breakfasts, a rise of 221.1 percent. Food companies are helping to fuel the trend. A Weetabix “Weetabuddies” ad campaign targeted at kids touted healthy fruit ingredients. Ads for Alpro’s Simply Plain yogurt boasted of the product’s “infinite” topping possibilities, including fruits and nuts.
Amy North, "Fruit, nuts and seeds benefit from DIY breakfast boom", The Grocer, August 27, 2015, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Splenda Dominates Sweetener Market, But Johnson & Johnson Will Sell Product Line

August 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Heartland Food Products Group, which already sells sweeteners based on sucralose, will acquire the Splenda product line from Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Nutritionals business unit for an undisclosed amount. Sucralose recently surpassed aspartame as the sweetener market leader. But despite safety approval by the FDA and more than a hundred scientific studies, sucralose has fallen victim to a rising tide of food activist and consumer sentiment against artificial ingredients. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, for example, now tags sucralose as “caution” instead of “safe.”
Nick Turner, "Johnson & Johnson Will Sell Splenda Sweetener to Heartland Food", Bloomberg Business, August 26, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Science Does Not Support Old Maxim That People Need Eight Glasses Of Water Day

August 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A pediatrician who has looked closely at the scientific evidence says that dehydration is simply not the common problem, not even remotely the global epidemic, some researchers (and water vendors) keep saying it is. Yet people are constantly being told to drink eight glasses of water a day. The truth is that people are hydrated by almost any liquid they drink – beer, coffee, tea, etc. – and an awful lot of foods they eat, including fruits and vegetables. Says Dr. Aaron E. Carroll: “Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits.”
Aaron E. Carroll, "No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day", The New York Times, August 24, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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Wrongheaded Advice From Unqualified “Experts” Spurs “Clean Eating” Trend

August 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarkets have become “shrines” to “clean eating,” a nutritional trend that has brought us gluten-free bread (and other products), lactose-free milk, chia-based egg substitutes, etc. The “gurus” of the trend are mostly female bloggers without proper health or nutritional training. They have garnered thousands of online followers who wait with baited breath for the next tidbit of exotic – and often wrongheaded -- nutritional advice: avoid this food, eat that food. One such guru is 23-year-old Ella Woodward. She warns her disciples to stay away from milk because it saps the bones of calcium. Nutritionists, however, refute that advice. Drinking too much – “absurdly excessive quantities” – of milk can cause milk-alkali syndrome. But the condition is much more likely to come from taking too many calcium supplements.
Isabel Hardman et al., "'Clean food' is a dangerous fad", The Spectator, August 22, 2015, © The Spectator (1828) Ltd
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Exercise Is Good For You, But It Doesn’t Help You Shed Pounds

August 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The authors of a U.S. study that analyzed data on the relationship between exercise and obesity say there is no doubt physical activity is beneficial to humans, but “there is limited evidence to suggest that it can blunt the surge in obesity.” In other words, they argue, limiting calorie intake, with or without exercise, is the only way to shed pounds. A large number of clinical trials have shown that exercise plus calorie restriction achieves the same weight loss as calorie restriction alone. The key reason? Increasing your physical activity tends to increase your appetite. That leads to eating more food, and gaining – or simply not losing – weight.
Amy Luke & Richard S. Cooper, "Physical activity does not influence obesity risk: time to clarify the public health message. ", International Journal of Epidemiology, August 20, 2015, © International Epidemiological Association
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Synthetic Compounds In Fish Oil Capsules Do Not Reduce Inflammation

August 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Compounds known as resolvins, maresins and protectins formed from oily fish have been shown to reduce inflammation. Synthetic versions of the compounds have been tested successfully in lab dishes and in animals. But a new U.S. study comparing synthetic fish oil compounds found in supplements to those naturally occurring in fish finds that the synthetic versions are not nearly as absorbable or digestible by the human gut as natural versions. That means they are less likely to offer any anti-inflammatory benefits that would reduce the risk of heart disease. After rigorous testing, the researchers “found no evidence” that fish oil capsules play any role in reducing inflammation.
Carsten Skarke et al., "Bioactive products formed in humans from fish oils. ", Journal of Lipid Research, August 19, 2015, © The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Low Doses Of Resveratrol Effectively Check Tumor Growth In Mice

August 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A low rather than a high dose of the antioxidant resveratrol prevents tumor growth in mice and alters metabolic pathways in human tissues, a study by British and U.S. researchers has found. Earlier studies looked at the impact of high doses of resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and wine, on cancer prevention. This study analyzed the effects of a lower daily dose – the amount of resveratrol found in a large (250 ml, or 8.5 ounce) glass of red wine – compared to a dose 200 times higher. The researchers cautioned that drinking a glass of wine a day will not necessarily prevent cancer. The problem: you can’t separate resveratrol in wine from the alcohol which itself can be cancer-inducing. Much more research is needed, they said.
H. Cai et al., "Cancer chemoprevention: Evidence of a nonlinear dose response for the protective effects of resveratrol in humans and mice. ", Science Translational Medicine, August 19, 2015, © American Association for the Advancement of Science
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World’s Children Eat Way Too Much Salt In Fast Food Restaurants

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A survey by the group World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) finds that the vast majority of popular children’s meals served globally contain unhealthy levels of salt. The recommended level of salt consumed by kids aged 4-6 years old in one sitting is one gram. But the survey found that 82 percent of kid’s meals served at fast food restaurants contained more than one gram of salt, while some contained as much salt as 10 packets of potato chips. According to the WASH report, too much salt in a child’s diet accustoms them to salty foods as adults and raises the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure.
"New International Study Reveals Dangerously High Levels of Salt in Children’s Meals and Calls for Global Action NOW", World Action on Salt & Health, August 18, 2015, © Queen Mary, University of London
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Depression Linked To Refined Carbohydrates Diet In Older Women

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Postmenopausal women whose diet includes a lot of refined carbohydrates are at greater risk for depression, U.S. researchers report. The scientists studied factors such as dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, types of carbohydrates, and instances of depression in survey data compiled among 70,000 women between 1994 and 1998. Higher dietary GI scores and consumption of added sugars and refined grains were associated with increased risk of depression, while dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables and non-juice fruits were linked to a decreased risk. The findings suggest potential therapeutic strategies for treating depression among post-menopausal women.
James Gangwisch et al. , "High Glycemic Index Diet as a Risk Factor for Depression: Analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 18, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Compound In Spinach Extract Benefits Blood Pressure, Weight

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
No one disputes the health benefits of vitamin-rich spinach, but a new U.S.study says an extract of the green leafy vegetable delivers an extra health punch: satiety, or a reduced appetite. Researchers studied the impact of thylakoid-rich spinach extract on the satiety, food intake, lipids and glucose of thirty men and thirty women, all categorized as either overweight or obese. Blood tests were taken before breakfast, after extract (Appethyl) consumption, after lunch and later after dinner. Researchers noted a drop not only in hunger but also in the desire for salty. The findings suggest that taking thylakoids might be useful for people with high blood pressure and associated weight problems.
Candida J. Rebello et al., "Acute Effects of a Spinach Extract Rich in Thylakoids on Satiety: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial. ", Journal of the American College of Nutrition, August 18, 2015, © Rebello et al.
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No Scientific Evidence Supporting Health Claims Of Vitamin Industry

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The author of a book on America’s obsession with vitamins and other supplements says any benefit derived from popping the pills is probably a placebo effect. Most foods we eat – even donuts, cakes, and cookies, all made with enriched flour – provide all the vitamins we need. The only time supplementary vitamins should be taken is when there is evidence of a deficiency, such as vitamin C to cure or prevent scurvy. The fact is, there is almost no scientific evidence supporting the supplement industry’s health claims for its products. And thanks to the federal government, they don’t have to provide such evidence.
Dana Guth, "Put down the Emergen-C — vitamin C does not ward off colds", Public Radio International, August 18, 2015, © Public Radio International
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Low-Fat Diet Burns Flab More Effectively Than Low-Carb Diet

August 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Diets that restrict fat consumption are much more effective at reducing overall body fat, U.S. researchers have found in a small clinical study. Nineteen obese adults lived in a metabolic ward for two 2-week periods. Researchers monitored and controlled every bite of food they ate. In each period they ate either a carb-restricted diet or a fat-restricted diet. Measurements of how much fat each participant ate and burned were taken, and the data were used to calculate the rate of body fat loss. Body fat lost with dietary fat restriction was greater compared with carbohydrate restriction, even though more fat was burned with the low-carb diet. The researchers cautioned, for a variety of reasons, against making sweeping conclusions about how to diet from the study.
Kevin D. Hall et al., "Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body Fat Loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with Obesity. ", Cell Metabolism, August 14, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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From Alberta, Canada: A Ray Of Hope For Celiac Sufferers

August 13, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian scientists say they have found a potential solution to the debilitating intolerance to gluten known as celiac disease. They developed antibodies in chicken egg yolks that bind with gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. A Canadian human safety trial has completed successfully, and a clinical trial is being conducted to test its effectiveness on gluten intolerance. The researchers say the product, which is taken in pill form before eating wheat-based foods, could be on the market in two or three years, thanks to an injection of research funding from a British venture capital firm.
Bill Mah, "Pill developed from egg yolk research at U of A could crack gluten intolerance", Edmonton Journal, August 13, 2015, © The Edmonton Journal
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Science Is Building A Case Against Fructose

August 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though some governmental agencies – the European Food Safety Authority, for example – have given the seal of approval to fructose as a healthful ingredient, a growing body of evidence suggests that the sugar may someday go the way of trans fats. There has been solid evidence for many years now that trans fatty acids (TFA) adversely affect cardiovascular health. A fructose study published in 2014 found that it does not harm insulin production, but does increase cholesterol and triglycerides after eating. A newer study reported that added sugars, especially fructose, are fueling the obesity epidemic and the rise of type 2 diabetes. Lastly, a June 2015 study reported that fructose stimulates overeating because it does not create a satiety response as effectively as glucose.
Simone Baroke, "Is Fructose the new Trans Fats?", Euromonitor International, August 12, 2015, © Euromonitor International
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Vegan Cinnamon Roll Bakery Takes Its Success Formula Nationwide

August 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A four-year-old bakery that won major funding ($200,000) on an entrepreneurial TV show announced a deal with a franchising agent and commitments from 25 franchisees. Hugely popular California-based Cinnaholic Vegan Bakery specializes in vegan cinnamon rolls that can be customized with 30 flavors and toppings. An Atlanta Franchise Group spokesman said it got involved with Cinnaholic because it is riding the trend away from “cheap sweets into gourmet desserts,” and a growing preference for quality over quantity. The first franchise locations will open in Southlake, Texas, and Ocean City, Md., to be followed by shops in Las Vegas, Anaheim and Dallas. 
"Vegan Gourmet Bakery Cinnaholic set to Open 25 Locations", News release, Cinnaholic Vegan Bakery, August 11, 2015, © Cinnaholic Vegan Bakery
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Go Ahead, Researchers Say, Skip Breakfast To Lose Weight

August 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers, nutritionists and even governments have bought into the hypothesis that skipping breakfast leads to a waterslide-fast descent into obesity. The notion probably gained traction because many scientists relied heavily on observational studies linking breakfast skipping to weight gain, ignoring evidence from randomized controlled studies. Researchers at a New York City hospital, however, recently conducted a small clinical trial. Three groups of participants ate either a bowl of oatmeal, a bowl of cornflakes, or nothing at 8:30 every morning for four weeks. The only group that lost weight by the end of the study was the group that skipped breakfast. The researchers hope their findings might have an impact on upcoming federal nutritional guidelines.
Peter Whoriskey, "The science of skipping breakfast: How government nutritionists may have gotten it wrong", The Washington Post, August 10, 2015, © The Washington Post
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Eating Spicy Foods Reduces Risk Of Death

August 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Using data compiled from half a million people, Chinese scientists conducted an observational study that found that regularly eating spicy foods reduces the risk of death from cancer, ischemic heart disease and respiratory disease. Earlier studies had shown that fresh chilies, which contain capsaicin, have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects. The researchers followed a total of 487,375 participants aged 30 to 79 who completed a questionnaire about their health and consumption of spicy foods, red meat, vegetables and alcohol. During follow up, frequent consumption of spicy food was linked to a 14 percent reduced risk of death.
Jun Lv et al., "Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study", The British Medical Journal, August 04, 2015, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
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Dietary “Patterns” Figure Prominently In Upcoming Guidelines For Americans

August 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A nutritional advisory panel has taken a different stance in its recommendations to the federal government for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Rather than offer advice on individual foods and nutrients, the committee based its recommendations on general dietary practices that correlate with positive health outcomes. What’s important is “the totality of diet” because we eat complex meals with combinations of foods and nutrients. The panel focused on three dietary patterns: the healthful U.S.-style, the healthful Mediterranean-style, and the healthful vegetarian. The three encourage a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes and nuts; moderate intake of low-fat and nonfat dairy products and alcohol; and low intake of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and refined grains.
Lily Dayton, "For new dietary guidelines, U.S. panel looks at the whole plate", Los Angeles Times, August 01, 2015, © Los Angeles Times
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Americans Need To Eat More, And More Types, Of Fiber

July 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Americans are not only not eating enough fiber, they’re not eating enough different types of fiber, according to U.S. researchers. Proper daily fiber intake -- 38 grams for men, 25 for women – regulates the digestive system and helps control cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, insulin and excess weight. To get the right amount of fiber, people should eat the recommended quantities of fruits and vegetables. But they should also expand beyond plant-based fiber sources, to fiber that has been added to food in the manufacturing process. Some examples include fiber-fortified bread, cereals, yogurt and pasta.
"Consumers should seek a variety of fiber sources to get the maximum health benefits", News release, symposium presentation at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation, July 28, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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More Diversity In Human Diet Would Reduce Diabetes, Obesity

July 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People may be getting fatter and more prone to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes because their homogeneous diet has disrupted the microbiota environment in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Over the years agricultural methods and climate change have narrowed dietary choices to five animal species and 12 plant species. Rice, maize and wheat account for 60 percent of all the calories consumed 75 percent of the global population. Diet regulates the GI microbiome, the ecosystem of the human gut that needs a diversity to function optimally. A U.S. scientist developed and tested one food containing inulin, beta glucan and antioxidants, and another with whole soybean pods. He found that the concoctions shifted the composition of the microbiome of study participants with beneficial health effects.
"Diversifying your diet may make your gut healthier", News release, lecture presented at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation, July 28, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Scientists Say Inactive Lifestyle Is Not Linked To A Poor Diet

July 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists have been accumulating evidence for some time that excessive time spent TV viewing, automobile commuting, or sitting at home or on the job – i.e., sedentary behavior – is linked to adverse health outcomes. But U.S. researchers who analyzed health survey data on 4,910 adults found that sitting and doing nothing was not linked to poorer diets. They did find a significant correlation between physical activity and better overall diet quality, and concluded that physical activity should be encouraged along with adherence to dietary guidelines. But they suggested that sedentary behavior and dietary quality should be targeted independently.
Kerem Shuval et al., "Accelerometer determined sedentary behavior and dietary quality among US adults. ", Preventive Medicine, July 25, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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Americans Willing To Pay A Premium For U.S. Organic Broccoli

July 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. research team that analyzed national survey data and information from the USDA  determined that Americans will buy organic broccoli from American or foreign suppliers but they’re willing to pay a significant premium for organic American broccoli. Packages of organic broccoli must label them as such, but they also must show a “country-of-origin” label. This has confused consumers because they’re not sure if the overseas broccoli meets USDA organic standards. Americans will pay as much as $1 more a pound for U.S. organic broccoli than for broccoli from China and Mexico, and 32 cents more a pound for broccoli from Canada.
Jing Xie et al., "Consumers’ preferences for fresh broccolis: interactive effects between country of origin and organic labels. ", Agricultural Economics, July 25, 2015, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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New Scoring System Links Beverage Intake To Health

July 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have developed a way to assess beverage intake and correlate it to health status. The Healthy Beverage Index (HBI), based on dietary data from 16,000 adults, takes into account 10 factors, such as total energy from beverages and total fluid requirements. It also recommends limits for subgroups, such as low-fat milk, fruit juice, and alcohol. Some components of the HBI are weighted more heavily because they contribute to good health. Water, for example, should constitute at least 20 percent of total fluid intake. The data were correlated with risk factors such as obesity/overweight, hypertension, high fasting insulin, etc. The sample population was assigned scores ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better the adherence to beverage guidelines and a healthier beverage intake pattern in both men and women. The average HBI score was 63±16.
Kiyah J. Duffey & Brenda M. Davy , "The Healthy Beverage Index Is Associated with Reduced Cardiometabolic Risk in US Adults: A Preliminary Analysis", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, July 24, 2015, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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Soybean Oil Diet Is The Villain In The Obesity Epidemic

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A study in mice by U.S. scientists shows that a soybean oil-rich diet is much more likely to induce obesity and other pre-diabetic symptoms than coconut oil or fructose-rich foods and beverages. Four groups of animals ate different diets, each containing 40 percent fat and the same number of calories. One diet was high in coconut oil, another had equal amounts of coconut oil and soybean oil (roughly the equivalent of the amount in the American diet). Two diets included added fructose. Mice on the high soybean oil diet showed increased weight gain, larger fat deposits, diabetes and insulin resistance, compared to the coconut oil diet. Mice on the fructose diet had less severe metabolic effects, but more negative effects in the kidney and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
Poonamjot Deol et al., "Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse: Potential Role for the Liver. ", PLoS ONE, July 22, 2015, © Deol et al.
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Further Evidence Of The Benefits Of Drinking Beet Juice

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical trial involving 14 healthy males found that drinking beet juice for 15 days lowered their blood pressure and dilated their blood vessels while at rest or exercising. In addition, the nitrate-rich juice helps the heart consume less oxygen during exercise, increasing endurance. The U.S. and Korean researchers concluded that exercise can be "performed at a given workload for a longer period of time before the onset of fatigue" when regularly drinking beet juice.
Jae-Seok Lee et al., "Effects of Chronic Dietary Nitrate Supplementation on the Hemodynamic Response to Dynamic Exercise. ", American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, July 22, 2015, © American Journal of Physiology
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Dietary Guidelines Need To Be Revised To Stress Protein Consumption

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Protein is essential for a healthy diet, but the type of protein eaten is just as important as the amount, according to Canadian researchers who say national nutrition guidelines are outdated and should probably be revised to take that fact into account. Eating a moderate amount of high-quality protein at each meal optimizes muscle protein synthesis and protects muscle mass, and should be a key component, along with physical activity, of any weight loss strategy. Policy makers trying to control the obesity epidemic need to stress adequate high-quality protein along with moderate caloric intake to preserve muscle mass without adding fat mass.
Emily Arentson-Lantz et al., "Protein: A nutrient in focus. ", Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, July 22, 2015, © Canadian Science Publishing
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BranBytes May Help Boost America’s Intake Of Whole Grains

July 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An Intel employee and dedicated California foodie who wanted to easily get more whole grains into his diet has developed a snack product meant to be eaten alongside the refined grain foods Americans love. branBytes, an uncooked bar or wafer held together using dates, contains bran and germ, while products like bread tend to contain only the endosperm of the grain. When the consumer eats regular bread or pizza with branBytes, he is getting the fiber-filled bran, the rich germ and the starchy endosperm that experts say helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. The idea won Ashwin Thirunahari a $3,000 food innovation award from the University of California, Davis.
Cathie Anderson, "Inventor develops branBytes to improve whole-grain consumption", The Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2015, © The Sacramento Bee
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Two Antioxidants Reduce Heart Damage From Anti-Cancer Drug

July 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Research has associated the powerful polyphenol antioxidant resveratrol, found in red wine, with a reduced risk of heart disease despite a high-fat diet. Now U.S. researchers have found that resveratrol, along with the polyphenol quercetin, may also prove to be a potent anti-cancer treatment. They developed a system to make the two water soluble and thus injectable into the blood stream. Levels in the body would thus be much higher than by eating the right foods or taking supplements. The two compounds appear to reduce the cardiac toxicity of the widely used cancer drug Adriamycin, which unfortunately can only be used for a limited time in humans. Administering the two polyphenols at the same time as Adriamycin might make it safer and increase its effectiveness.
Brianna Cote et al., "Combinatorial resveratrol and quercetin polymeric micelles mitigate doxorubicin induced cardiotoxicity in vitro and in vivo. ", Journal of Controlled Release, July 16, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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Dining Out Is Not A Healthy Choice

July 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. scientist who analyzed eight years of data from a national health survey reports that Americans who eat at fast food and full service restaurants generally consume 200 more calories a day, compared to eating at home. In addition, they tend to take in more cholesterol, sodium, fat, and saturated fat. Restaurant diners tend to take in more healthy nutrients (e.g., certain vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids) than at-home or fast food diners, but they also also consume a lot more sodium and cholesterol. Fast food adds an average of 300 milligrams of sodium to the daily intake, while restaurant food adds 412 milligrams.
R An, "Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption and daily energy and nutrient intakes in US adults", European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 09, 2015, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Muscadine Grape Seeds: Good Source Of Cholesterol-Cutting Vitamin E

July 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has found that the seeds of the muscadine grape, normally discarded as waste in the production of wine and juice, are rich in a type of vitamin E that seems to help retard fat cell production. Oil from the seed supplies tocotrienol, an unsaturated form of the vitamin, as well as other mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Scientists have known for some time that red palm and rice bran oil are rich in tocotrienol, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol. The researchers said their findings suggest that muscadine grape seed oil might be an even better source of tocotrienol, “Consuming foods made with muscadine grape seed oil" -- e.g., salad dressing -- "could curtail weight gain and reduce obesity,” one of the researchers said.
Lu Zhao et al., "Muscadine grape seed oil as a novel source of tocotrienols to reduce adipogenesis and adipocyte inflammation. ", Food & Function, July 06, 2015, © Royal Society of Chemistry
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Americans Love Sandwiches -- And Trying New Varieties

June 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Eight of 10 Americans say they’ve eaten at least one sandwich in the last seven days, and are more likely to eat a homemade sandwich (83 percent) than a food service sandwich (62 percent). Sandwiches, whether homemade or non-homemade, are perceived as healthier than burgers and other menu items. But that doesn’t mean sandwiches have no cachet. Both the ingredients and the breads used are getting more varied and sophisticated – thanks to culinary restaurant trends – and present opportunities for marketers. Innovative ingredients include smoked pork, pork belly, sopressata, as well as new sauces. Bread options have moved beyond plain white and whole wheat to include French baguettes, Texas toast, ciabatta, and brioche.
"Report: Whether at Restaurants or at Home, the Sandwich Endures as a Favorite Food", News release, Packaged Facts, June 30, 2015, © Packaged Facts
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Purported “Marriage Bonus” Of Better Health Not Entirely True

June 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A European study finds that though marriage is generally good for a couple’s health – the so-called “marriage bonus” – it can lead to an obesity problem. Married couples tend to eat better than unmarried people, but they exercise less and tend to weigh more. The study looked at health data gathered from face-to-face interviews with 10,226 adults in nine countries. Couples, both men and women, tended to have a higher body mass index than singles, even though they ate more healthful foods. The key factor contributing to weight gain seems to be reduced participation by men in sports.
Jutta Mata et al., "Higher body mass index, less exercise, but healthier eating in married adults: Nine representative surveys across Europe. ", Social Science & Medicine, June 29, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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Compulsive Snacking, Without Hunger, Is A Risk Factor For Weight Gain

June 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People who snack compulsively when they’re not hungry can gain as much weight as when they consume large meals or calorie-rich foods, according to Australian researchers. Study participants were found to be susceptible to compulsive snacking, even after finishing a similar snack. In fact, 75 percent of participants ate a second chocolate snack after eating as much as they wanted of a first. The findings suggest that those people – who had a higher BMI – were more impulsive, and more responsive to food reward, even though they weren’t really hungry. The researchers concluded that repeated snacking in the absence of hunger is a risk factor for weight gain.
Stephanie H. Fay et al., "Psychological predictors of opportunistic snacking in the absence of hunger ", Eating Behaviors, June 25, 2015, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Periods Of Fasting, Not Just Overall Calorie Reduction, Are Beneficial To Health

June 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers experimenting with middle-aged mice have determined that cycling through periods of low-calorie diets and regular diets leads to a broad array of health benefits. Control groups were fed the same number of calories monthly as those experiencing the “fast mimicking diet” (FMD), but did not get the same health benefits. The FMD cut caloric intake to 34 to 54 percent of normal for four days at a time, with specific amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients. The researchers concluded that the fasting cycles were the key, extending life span, reducing cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammatory diseases, slowing bone mineral density loss and improving the cognitive abilities of older mice.
Sebastian Brandhorst et al., "A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan ", Cell Metabolism, June 18, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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Effective Weight Loss Tools Include A Scale And A Spreadsheet

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A two-year U.S. clinical study finds that regular self-weighing and weight recording – known as the “Caloric Titration Method” or CTM – can be effective in losing weight and keeping it off, especially for men. For the study, 162 participants were told to use whatever dieting method they preferred to lose 10 percent of their body weight, in one percent increments, by one year. Half of the group were required to weigh themselves daily and track their weight. The researchers found that CTM produced “a small but sustainable weight loss in overweight males.” CTM seems to reinforce some behaviors, such as eating less, and strengthens others, such as going for a walk, to maintain body weight.
Carly R. Pacanowski, David A. Levitsky, "Frequent Self-Weighing and Visual Feedback for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults. ", Journal of Obesity, June 17, 2015, © Pacanowski and Levitsky
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Europeans Seem To Know That Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An increasing number of consumers in Europe know that a low-glycemic diet is beneficial to health, according to a study sponsored by functional ingredients maker Beneo. The research, conducted in the U.K., Germany, and Spain, explored attitudes about carbohydrates, sugars and low-glycemic foods and their role in managing blood sugar. Consumers know that carbs are an essential fuel for the body. They know the difference between “good” and “bad” carbs, and that different types of carbs have different effects on the body. They are aware, for example, that whole grain, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and slowly digestible and slow-release carbs are “good.”
"Consumer research reveals improved understanding of the benefits of low glycemic nutrition", NewHope360.com, June 17, 2015, © Penton
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Company Unveils Line Of “Free-From” Baking Mixes

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A “free-from” food company will launch to retailers in August a line of ready-to-use bake mixes that are gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of the top eight food allergens. The mixes from Enjoy Life Foods (Schiller Park, Ill.) are also kosher and halal certified, made with ancient grains (including Ethiopian teff), plant proteins and a probiotic “enhancement.” The baking mixes are available at $8.49 each now at the Enjoy Life online store. Varieties include pancake/waffle, pizza crust, brownie, muffin, and all-purpose flour.
"Enjoy Life Foods debuts new line of functional allergy-friendly baking products", NewHope360.com, June 17, 2015, © Penton
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Higher Trans-Fat Consumption Results In Poorer Memory In Men

June 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical study involving 1,018 men and women found that men 45 years old and younger who consumed more trans-fat in their diets had worse memories than those who consumed less. The participants completed a dietary survey and a memory test that included word recall. Men aged 45 and younger recalled an average of 86 words. However, each added gram of trans-fats consumed reduced memory by 0.76 words. The U.S. researchers said the results focused mainly on men because of the small number of female participants. But factoring in data from women did not change the overall results.
Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, Alexis K. Bui, "A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory", PLoS ONE, June 17, 2015, © Golomb, Bui
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