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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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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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FDA To Food Companies: Three Years To Get Rid Of Trans Fats

June 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
After taking a close look at all of the available evidence from scientific studies, the FDA has told food companies to rid their products of all partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the main source of harmful trans fats in the American diet, within three years. The agency in 2013 made a preliminary ruling that PHOs were not “generally recognized as safe,” then considered all public comments on the proposal. The three-year compliance period will give companies time to reformulate products without PHOs or petition the FDA for special exemptions from the ban. After three years, “no PHOs can be added to human food unless they are otherwise approved by the FDA,” the agency said.
"FDA takes step to remove artificial trans fats in processed foods", News release, USFDA, June 16, 2015, © USFDA
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Research Links Nut Consumption With Lower Mortality Rates

June 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Men and women who snack on nuts or peanuts are significantly less likely to from respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes, according to a Dutch study begun in 1986 involving 120,000 adults aged 55-69. The minimum daily intake of nuts or peanuts should be about 10 grams, or about 0.35 ounces. A standard serving of nuts is about one ounce. Peanuts and tree nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds that, the researchers said, reduced death rates. The protective effect of peanuts did not apply, however, to peanut butter.
Piet A. van den Brandt, Leo J. Schouten, "Relationship of tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake with total and cause-specific mortality: a cohort study and meta-analysis. ", International Journal of Epidemiology, June 10, 2015, © Van Den Brandt & Schouten
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Vitamin E Is Critical For Repair Of Damaged Muscle

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Research in animals conducted in Georgia (U.S.) confirms that vitamin E is crucial to repair of injured muscle, a fact that should cheer body builders as well as sufferers from muscular dystrophy, diabetes-related muscle weakness, and brain trauma from athletics, and military or road injuries. Without vitamin E, the plasma membrane of cells will not heal properly. The plasma membrane keeps a cell from spilling its contents and controls the entry and exit of nutrients, waste, etc. That’s especially important for muscle cells, which are constantly subject to tear. Finding the physiological significance of vitamin E is important, but the researchers cautioned that "the major medical significance here is yet to be uncovered."
Mohamed Labazi et al., "The antioxidant requirement for plasma membrane repair in skeletal muscle. ", Free Radical Biology and Medicine, June 05, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked To Better Cognitive Ability In At-Risk Adults

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tested the cognitive flexibility of 40 healthy – but Alzheimer’s at-risk – older adults found that those who ate more omega-3 fatty acids had healthier brains. The area of the brain region that contributes to cognitive flexibility (anterior cingulate cortex) was larger in the omega-3 eating adults and they performed better on cognitive flexibility tests. All participants carried the gene variant APOE e4, a biomarker for a higher risk of developing late onset Alzheimer’s. The researchers cautioned that the findings suggest, but do not prove, that eating fish oils enlarges the anterior cingulate cortex and improves cognitive flexibility in older people.
Aron Barbey et al., "Anterior cingulate cortex mediates the relationship between O3PUFAs and executive functions in APOE e4 carriers. ", Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, June 05, 2015, © Frontiers Media S.A.
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Fasting, Rather Than Frequent Snacking, Can Lead To Weight Gain

June 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study in mice finds that limiting eating to one large meal a day, compared to eating several small meals, is more likely to lead to insulin resistance in the liver, prediabetes, and weight gain. The liver doesn’t respond to insulin signals telling it to stop producing glucose; the excess blood glucose tends to be stored in the abdomen as fat. That stored visceral fat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The findings suggest that human dieters should not skip meals to save calories because that causes large fluctuations in insulin and glucose. That in turn results in weight gain, rather than weight loss.
Kara L. Kliewer et al., "Short-term food restriction followed by controlled refeeding promotes gorging behavior, enhances fat deposition, and diminishes insulin sensitivity in mice. ", The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, June 05, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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Traces Of Monsanto Herbicide Discovered In South Africa’s Bread, Maize Meal

May 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Governments around the world are moving to restrict, or outright ban, the use of a herbicide known as glyphosate because research has shown it to be carcinogenic in animals, and there is evidence it is harmful to humans. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have all banned or limited glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. But glyphosate use in South Africa has been growing: the country has been slow to act on health warnings, there is almost no regular monitoring, and the herbicide continues to show up in bread and maize meal. Half of South Africa's maize crop and all of its soy crop are genetically modified, which means glyphosate has to be used in cultivation.
Shaun Smillie, "Toxins in your bread", Times Live (New Zealand), May 19, 2015, © Times Media Group
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How To Prevent Muscle Loss Among Elderly Is Still A Mystery

May 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
It is fairly common for older people to eat poorly and lead sedentary lives, both of which can speed muscle loss. But what combination of diet, supplements and exercise works best? A review of more than 100 scientific articles about diet and exercise training trials in adults over 65 years old found that results failed to conclusively show what effectively prevents muscle loss (sarcopenia). Some studies did show that a proper diet enhanced the effects of exercise, but much of the research was incomplete or inconsistent. The researchers said “maintaining sufficient levels of physical activity and diet quality to prevent sarcopenia is therefore a priority.” Bottom line: much more research is needed.
Denison HJ et al., "Prevention and optimal management of sarcopenia: A review of combined exercise and nutrition interventions to improve muscle outcomes in older people. ", Clinical Interventions in Aging, May 17, 2015, © Dove Press Ltd
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Gluten-Free Diet Is No Panacea

May 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Many misconceptions have been spread in recent years by gluten-free guru authors, and their celebrity devotees, whose anti-gluten rhetoric borders on religious fanaticism. The bombast and nonsense has spawned a billion-dollar gluten-free foods industry almost overnight. A gluten-free diet is certainly important for people diagnosed with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerance. But to claim that avoiding gluten will prevent bloating, Alzheimer’s disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism is, as one author calls it, “fear-mongering.” A major misconception is that gluten-free foods are healthier. One nutrition counseling service says sometimes gluten-free foods have more sugar, fat and calories than gluten-containing foods -- to make up for lost taste.
Melinda Carstensen, "Against the grain: When not to go on a gluten-free diet", FoxNews.com, May 15, 2015, © FOX News Network, LLC
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Successful Dieting Involves Planning How To Handle Inevitable Negative Feelings

May 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Planning to diet and actually dieting are two very different phases of the weight loss process, and each is guided by unique factors, according to a U.S. study. Planning to diet is a thought process, whereas dieting itself involves feelings. That leads to a disconnect that often dooms the diet to failure. The reaction to deprivation is a feeling, and it’s usually negative. Ignoring food preferences leads to other negative feelings. A key to successful dieting, then, is to plan – not only how to cut calories – but also how to overcome the negative reactions inspired by the diet.
M. T. Kiviniemi et al., "Planning versus action: Different decision-making processes predict plans to change one's diet versus actual dietary behavior. ", Journal of Health Psychology, May 12, 2015, © SAGE Publications
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Electronic Salt Spoon Eases Transition To Low-Sodium Diet

May 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A three-month U.S. pilot study has found that individuals and families were able to significantly reduce the amount of salt they ate daily by using an innovation known as the electronic salt spoon that measures the exact amount of salt in foods. It can be used in everyday cooking to detect salt levels and to help adjust food portions to keep sodium intake to recommended amounts. The researchers said that consumers who consume too much salt are often surprised to find that vegetables, processed foods and restaurant meals – not table salt – are the leading sources of sodium in the American diet.
"Transitions to a low sodium diet with electronic salt spoon", News release, University of Kentucky, May 12, 2015, © University of Kentucky
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Variety (In Pizzas) Is The Bane Of A Healthy Diet

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
To avoid overeating, stick to your favorite brands of food, a British clinical study recommends. The researchers looked at the eating behaviors of 200 people who either tried many different brands and types of pepperoni pizza or who tended to stick to a favorite brand. More than 70 types of pepperoni pizzas, available in supermarkets or from famous name pizza shops, were found. Calorie content among the various brands differed by more than 300 percent, from 501 calories per pie to as much as 1909 calories per pie. The researchers found that people who tried a variety of brands and types of pepperoni pizza tended to eat more, believing the pizza to be less filling.
Charlotte A. Hardman et al., "So Many Brands and Varieties to Choose from: Does This Compromise the Control of Food Intake in Humans? ", PLoS One, May 11, 2015, © Hardman et al.
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Senior Cognition Improves With Mediterranean Diet Fortified With Olive Oil, Nuts

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Adding extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish -- and low in animal fats – improves cognitive performance in older adults, according to a study. But the researchers in Spain cautioned that the findings are preliminary and more research is necessary. The randomized clinical trial included 447 cognitively healthy volunteers who followed a low-fat diet (the control group), a Mediterranean-type diet supplemented with olive oil, or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. After four years, the cognitive functions of the low-fat diet group had declined. But memory improved in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group, and frontal (memory) and global cognition improved in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group.
Cinta Valls-Pedret et al., "Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline. ", JAMA Internal Medicine, May 11, 2015, © American Medical Association
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Substituting Unsweetened Drinks For Sugary Ones Cuts Risk Of Diabetes

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A British study has found a link between sugary drinks and the onset of type 2 diabetes. According to the researchers, who gathered data on 25,000 adults up to age 79, found that for every five percent increase in sugary drink calories as a proportion of total calories consumed, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes rose 18 percent. They analyzed various types of sugary beverages: soft drinks, sweetened tea or coffee, sweetened milk drinks, artificially sweetened beverages (ASB), and fruit juice. When they examined what would happened if water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or ASB were substituted for sugary drinks, they found that the risk of type 2 diabetes dropped by 14 to 25 percent.
Nita G. Forouhi et al. , "Prospective associations and population impact of sweet beverage intake and type 2 diabetes, and effects of substitutions with alternative beverages. ", Diabetologia, May 11, 2015, © European Association for the Study of Diabetes
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Why Some Overweight People Have a Tougher Time Shedding Pounds

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
With the proviso that “biology is not destiny,” NIH researchers nevertheless confirmed that some obese people have a harder time losing weight because their metabolisms slow down considerably during a calorie-reduction diet. Tests on 12 obese men and women using a whole-room indirect calorimeter showed that people with “thrifty” metabolisms had a much harder timer dropping the pounds, while people with a “spendthrift” metabolisms easily lost weight. But the researchers said in effect that it’s not a hopeless situation: a balanced diet and regular physical activity over a long period “can be very effective for weight loss."
Martin Reinhardt et al., "A Human Thrifty Phenotype Associated With Less Weight Loss During Caloric Restriction. ", Diabetes, May 11, 2015, © American Diabetes Association
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Risk Of Toxic Overdoses Of Vitamin D Is Virtually Zero

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and for preventing a variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. Research has shown that many Americans do not get enough vitamin D in their diet, so physicians and nutritionists have recommended supplements. But fears have been raised that overdoing vitamin D can be toxic. A new U.S. study, however, shows that the danger of toxic overdoses of vitamin D is rare. Analyzing 10 years of data from 20,000 vitamin D measurements, the researchers found that eight percent had levels greater than the recommended maximum of 50 ng/mL. Less than one percent had levels over 100 ng/mL. But even among those with high levels of vitamin D, the risk of hypercalcemia, or elevated serum calcium, was nonexistent.
Michael F. Holick, "Vitamin D Is Not as Toxic as Was Once Thought: A Historical and an Up-to-Date Perspective", Mayo Clinic Proceedings, May 11, 2015, © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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Calif. Company Launches New Trend In “Detox”: Breakfast Cereals

May 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The “detox” phenomenon began with teas and juices, and has mostly stayed there. But Solana Beach, Calif.-based Earnest Eats has taken detox into the realm of solid foods with breakfast cereals that support digestion, healthy liver function and the body’s own natural detoxification system. Ingredients, besides lots of fiber (six grams per serving), include globe artichoke, green tea, ginger, and dandelion root. The detox, or “reboot,” process requires three steps, and four cereal versions: lemon, maple, and cayenne Spark (step 1); dragonfruit and maqui berry Beam (step 2); turmeric beans and greens Thrive (step 3), and coconut, chocolate, and date Bliss (step 4).
"PLA Innovation of the Week: detox beyond juice - a new cereal takes the detox concept into foods", Datamonitor, May 11, 2015, © Datamonitor
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Nielsen Honors 12 “Breakthrough Innovation” Consumer Products

May 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Nielsen has been analyzing a lot of consumer product launches – 20,000 since 2008 – but has honored as “breakthrough innovators” only a tiny few, in fact only 0.5 percent of them. Honorees need to deliver a new value proposition, generate $50 million in sales the first year and at least 90 percent of first year sales in the second year. Many of this year’s winners were in the food category: Atkins Frozen Meals, Lunchables Uploaded, Müller Yogurt, Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwiches, and Tostitos Cantina Tortilla Chips and Salsa. Four of the winners were beverages, one was a household product (batteries), one was a family of hair care products, and one was a lightweight cat litter.
"Nielsen Announces 2015 U.S. Breakthrough Innovation Award Winners", News release, Nielsen.com, May 05, 2015, © The Nielsen Company
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For Weight Loss, The Type Of Exercise Really Doesn’t Matter

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The debate continues on what type of exercise – cardio or strength training – is best for losing weight, but Spanish research suggests that the debate is irrelevant. The researchers wanted to find out if endurance training, strength training, or a combination of both, made a difference in body weight or body composition. Researchers monitored 96 obese men and women aged 18 to 50 for 22 weeks. All followed a diet that had 30 percent fewer calories than normal. All were randomly assigned to different exercise regimens that were performed three times a week. The researchers were surprised to find significant reductions in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, total fat mass -- and an increase in muscle mass – no matter the exercise regimen.
Pedro J. Benito et al., "Change in weight and body composition in obese subjects following a hypocaloric diet plus different training programs or physical activity recommendations. Journal of Applied Physiology", Journal of Applied Physiology, May 03, 2015, © The American Physiological Society
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How To Get People To Eat More Healthful – Or More Profitable – Foods

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S review of 112 studies that looked into healthy eating behavior finds that fruits and vegetables that are presented well, are easy to reach and look like a normal eating choice tend to get eaten. The three principles hold true whether at home, in a cafeteria, grocery store or restaurant: fruits, vegetables and other beneficial foods should be convenient, attractive and an obvious choice. A restaurant, for example, could steer patrons away from the deep-fried onion rings by giving the high-profit shrimp salad appetizer an enticing name, highlighting it on the menu, and having the waitress point it out as a special.
Brian Wansink, "Change Their Choice! Changing Behavior Using theCANApproach and Activism Research. ", Psychology & Marketing, May 03, 2015, © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Drop In Average Grain Consumption Worries Nutritionists In Australia

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Consumption data collected in 2014 from 3,031 Australians (aged 2 to 70 years) indicate a serious decline in eating bread, white pasta and noodles, since 2011, apparently due to the increasing popularity of paleo and gluten-free diets. The study found that six percent of Australians now eat no grains at all, and intake of grains on average has dropped from six to four servings a day. Dietitians are concerned because a decline in grain consumption means Australians could be missing out on vital fiber and nutrients (iron, B vitamins).
Sue Dunlevy, "Paleo diet and gluten-free fad behind 30 percent fall in grain consumption in three years", News Corp Australia Network, May 03, 2015, © News Limited
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Research Shows Balanced Protein Intake Is Key To Weight Loss

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
One of the keys to losing weight, or to maintaining weight loss, is to eat a sufficient amount of protein each day. But U.S. researchers who reviewed earlier studies find that it is especially important to disperse the protein intake throughout the day to achieve weight loss goals. The researchers recommend that people start with at least thirty grams of protein at breakfast. A day’s diet should contain 1.2 – 1.6 grams of high-quality protein (from eggs, beef, pork or dairy) per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 150-pound (68-kilogram) woman should eat approximately 90-100 grams of protein a day to lose weight or prevent gaining weight.
H. J. Leidy et al., "The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 03, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Food Industry Pushes Unhealthy Foods, Blames Obesity On Inactivity

May 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists writing in a journal editorial excoriate the food industry – comparing its marketing tactics to those of “Big Tobacco” – for pushing sugary and fatty foods on people, while blaming obesity on a lack of physical activity. "Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation," they write. Though regular exercise is important for warding off serious illnesses, no one can “outrun” a diet loaded with sugar, carbs, and fat. In fact, calorie-packed diets now generate more bad health than a sedentary lifestyle, alcohol, and smoking combined, the scientists write.
A. Malhotra et al., "It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet. ", British Journal of Sports Medicine, May 03, 2015, © British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine
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Eight Nutrients That Can Keep The Aging Brain In Tip-Top Shape

April 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A cognitive specialist has compiled a list of eight nutrients that, according to published studies, protect the brain from the damaging effects of aging. At the top of the list are cocoa flavanols. Research has shown that they not only improve circulation and heart health, they also seem to benefit the dentate gyrus, a part of the brain associated with age-related memory. A mouse study showed that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements result in better object recognition memory, and spatial and localizatory memory that recalls facts and knowledge. Other brain-boosting nutrients and foods included phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid, walnuts, citicoline, choline, magnesium and blueberries.
Linda Milo Ohr, "Protecting the Aging Brain", Food Technology, April 24, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Sugar Relieves Stress, But Amplifies Health Problems

April 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A small U.S. clinical study that tested the impact of beverage sweeteners on the brain found that sugar – but not aspartame – relieves emotional stress. The study involved 19 young adult women whose brain responses were monitored during math tests. Before the tests, women drank beverages sweetened with sugar or aspartame. The response of the hormone cortisol was inhibited in the brains of study participants who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. The sugar actually relieved stress. The problem, researchers said, is that this can lead to increased reliance on sugary drinks and foods at emotionally stressful times, amplifying serious health problems such as obesity.
Matthew S. Tryon et al., "Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body. ", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, April 24, 2015, © The Endocrine Society
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Most Studies On Weight-Loss Programs Are Useless – Just Like The Programs

April 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Most commercial weight-loss programs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and neither are the studies purportedly proving their effectiveness, according to a U.S. review. The researchers culled just 39 valid clinical trials covering 11 programs – of 32 commercial programs on the market – from 4,200 studies. The worthwhile studies tested Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, HMR, Medifast, OPTIFAST, Atkins, SlimFast, the Internet-based Biggest Loser Club, eDiets and Lose It!. “Gold-standard” data on Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig showed that participants, on average, lost more weight after one year than people on self-directed diets, or people who simply read health information or received other forms of education and counseling.
Kimberly A. Gudzune et al., "Efficacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs. ", Annals of Internal Medicine, April 23, 2015, © American College of Physicians
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Clues Everywhere Prove The Heightened Popularity Of Veganism

April 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A sure sign that the vegan diet is making serious inroads into America’s consciousness is the fact that more and more sports nutrition products are vegan. The Vega line of meal replacement bars and shakes has grabbed shelf space in the sports nutrition aisles, along with pea protein products like Garden of Life, PlantFusion and Pisane. Other definite signs of the infestation of vegan: researchers and food companies developing better plant-based substitutes for ingredients; celebrities investing in vegan meal delivery services; the expanding number of vegan restaurants; the increasing number of vegan food festivals; and Ikea serving vegan meatballs.
Rachel Cernansky, "6 signs the vegan diet has gained mainstream traction", NewHope360.com, April 23, 2015, © Penton
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Overdoing Supplement Dosages Increases Cancer Risk

April 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An American researcher who has spent 20 years studying the impact of diet and dietary supplements on cancer has concluded that taking larger than recommended dosages of supplements to prevent cancer actually  increases the risk of cancer. In one study, data showed that taking high levels of beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer and heart disease by 20 percent. Another study found that taking too much folic acid increases the number of colorectal polyps rather than reduces them. The bottom line, researchers say, is that people should get their vitamins and other nutrients from fresh foods, though proper dosages of supplements are generally safe.
Tim Byers, "Dietary supplements shown to increase cancer risk", Blog entry, research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, April 20, 2015, © University of Colorado Cancer Center
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Analysis Of Food Buying In G8 Countries Finds Some Major Differences

April 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor has developed a nutritional data gathering system that compares consumer eating patterns – including calories and micronutrients -- in the G8 countries, finding some “striking” differences. Italians, for example, buy eight times more pasta per capita than Americans, with eight times more calories (199 a day) coming from pasta than the average U.S. consumer (12 times the average Japanese). Yet only 11 percent of Italians are considered obese. When it comes to buying packaged foods, Germany ranks No. 1 at 1733 calories per person per day, followed by France, the U.K., Italy and the U.S. Only three percent of the total population of Japan are considered obese, compared to 42 percent in the U.S. With these findings in mind, Euromonitor says it might be time to take a closer look at the benefits of the “Washoku” diet, based on traditional Japanese cuisine. 
Filippo Battaini, "Washoku vs Mediterranean diet: Italians do it well, but Japanese do it even better", Euromonitor International, April 11, 2015, © Euromonitor International
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Peanuts Protect Blood Vessels When Eating High-Fat Meals

April 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Including peanuts in a high-fat meal protects blood vessels, a small clinical trial has found. Researchers monitored the lipid profile, glucose and insulin levels of 15 overweight men who ate meals with or without peanuts. Vascular function was assessed using flow-mediated dilatation (FMD). The researchers found that the peanut meal maintained normal vascular function while the high fat-matched control meal impaired vascular function acutely. Vascular dysfunction plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis, and the formation of coronary plaques and lesions that lead to coronary artery disease.
Xiaoran Liu, "Adding peanuts to a meal benefits vascular health", News release, study presented at the American Society for Nutrition's scientific sessions & annual meeting , April 10, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Vitamin K-Rich Leafy Veggies Shown To Protect Against Dementia

April 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that linked vitamin K consumption to slower cognitive decline found that eating foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene could be a simple, affordable way to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Scientists monitored the diets and cognitive abilities of 954 older adults – average 81 years -- for two to ten years. They noted a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline among study participants who consumed greater amounts of green leafy vegetables. Those who ate one to two servings a day had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.
Martha Clare Morris et al., "Eating green leafy vegetables keeps mental abilities sharp", News release, study presented at the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) annual meeting, April 10, 2015, © Morris et al.
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Study Finds Evidence Of Anti-Cancer Potential Of Omega-3s

April 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed data from 1,125 colorectal cancer cases found that high intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a lower risk of a certain kind of tumor known as a microsatellite instable tumor. Omega-3s were not linked, however, to a lower risk of another kind of colorectal tumor known as a microsatellite stable tumor, nor were they associated with colorectal cancer overall. Nevertheless, the authors said the findings suggest that omega-3s have “potential anticancer activity” and might someday be used to prevent colorectal cancer.
M. Song et al., "Marine -3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Colorectal Cancer According to Microsatellite Instability. ", Journal of the National Cancer Institute, April 10, 2015, © Song et al.
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Effect Of Cheese On Gut Microbes May Account For “French Paradox”

April 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Danish researchers say cheese metabolism – not red wine -- is the real reason for the "paradox” of low heart disease rates in France despite a high-fat diet. The researchers looked at urine and fecal samples from 15 healthy men who ate either cheese or milk, or ate butter but no other dairy products. Those who ate cheese had more gut microbiota-related metabolites like butyrate, hippurate, and malonate in their feces. Elevated butyrate levels are linked to reduced cholesterol levels. The researchers concluded that microbial and lipid metabolism “could be involved in the dairy-induced effects on blood cholesterol level” that lead to the “French paradox.”
Hong Zheng et al., "Metabolomics Investigation To Shed Light on Cheese as a Possible Piece in the French Paradox Puzzle", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, April 08, 2015, © American Chemical Society
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Omega-3s Lacking In Diet Of Canadian Mothers-To-Be

April 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Most of the first 600 (of 2,000) expectant mothers surveyed in a Canadian pregnancy and nutrition study did not include  enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. It is recommended that healthy adults, including pregnant and lactating women, consume at least 500 mg of omega-3s daily. The European Commission recommends a minimum of 200 mg of DHA daily for pregnant and lactating women. Only 27 percent of women during pregnancy, and 25 percent at three months post-delivery, met the recommendation for DHA. Seafood, fish and seaweed products contributed to 79 percent of overall omega-3 fatty acids intake, with the most coming from salmon.
Xiaoming Jia et al., "Women who take n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements during pregnancy and lactation meet the recommended intake. ", Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, April 03, 2015, © Canadian Science Publishing
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Louis Pasteur Had It Right: Drinking Raw Milk Is Hazardous To Your Health

April 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Promoters of raw milk claim it contains more natural antibodies, proteins and bacteria, and is healthier, cleaner, tastes better and reduces lactose intolerance and allergies. But drinking raw (unpasteurized) cow’s milk is a dangerous practice, according to U.S. researchers who issued a report to the Maryland House of Delegates. The researchers screened 1,000 articles and reviewed 81 journal articles, finding that people are nearly 100 times more likely to get sick from foodborne pathogens -- infectious Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and E. coli -- when drinking raw milk.
Benjamin Davis et al., "A Literature Review of the Risks and Benefits of Consuming Raw and Pasteurized Cow's Milk", Special report to Maryland House of Delegates, April 03, 2015, © Johns Hopkins University
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Consuming High-Fat Dairy Products Lowers Diabetes Risk

April 2, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Recent studies have shed light on the link between consuming dairy products and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. New Swedish research confirms that eating high-fat dairy products is particularly associated with a reduced risk. Researchers analyzed data from 27,000 middle-aged and older adults, finding that those who ate the most high-fat dairy products had a 23 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least. They also found that those who ate a lot of meat were much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, no matter how much fat was in the meat.
Ulrika Ericson et al., "Food sources of fat may clarify the inconsistent role of dietary fat intake for incidence of type 2 diabetes. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 02, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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EU Extends Healthy Blood Vessel Claim For Company’s Cocoa Flavanols

April 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Chocolate and cocoa manufacturer Barry Callebaut received a five-year EU extension of a health claim for its cocoa flavanols and cocoa extracts. The EU said the company could say on product labels and elsewhere that cocoa flavanols “help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow.” The claim can be used specifically on capsules and tablets that contain high-flavanol cocoa extract. The company provided evidence in 2013 that a daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols (provided by 2.5 g ACTICOA cocoa powder or 10 g ACTICOA dark chocolate) contributes to normal blood circulation.
"European Commission extends Barry Callebaut’s health claim on ACTICOA® products to extracts", Barry Callebaut, April 01, 2015, © Barry Callebaut
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New Diet Shown To Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

March 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tracked the eating habits of nearly a thousand people over ten years have used the data to develop a new diet that reduces the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet is a sort of mash-up of the Mediterranean and DASH (anti-hypertension) diets, but reduces Alzheimer’s risk significantly more than either one alone. To follow the diet you eat 10 "brain-healthy” food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine; and avoid five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
Martha Clare Morris et al., "MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease. ", Alzheimer's & Dementia, March 30, 2015, © The Alzheimer's Association
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Eggs + Raw Veggie Salad = Significant Nutrition Enhancement

March 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that looked at how eggs affect absorption of nutritious carotenoids found that absorption increased significantly when cooked eggs were added to a vegetable salad. The small clinical study involved 16 men who ate one of three salads of uncooked vegetables: one without eggs, one with 1.5 scrambled eggs, and one with three scrambled eggs. Those who ate the most eggs with tomatoes, shredded carrots, baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and Chinese wolfberry (goji berry) increased absorption of carotenoids 3-9 fold. Lutein and zeaxanthin were boosted by adding eggs, and nutrients from the vegetables were enhanced.
Wayne Campbell et al., "Consuming eggs with raw vegetables increases nutritive value", News release, study presented at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting, March 29, 2015, © FASEB
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Vegetarian Diet Lowers Risk Of Colorectal Cancer

March 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An analysis of the dietary habits and cancer incidence of vegetarians shed light on a significant health advantage over the non-vegetarian diet. The evidence found among nearly 78,000 Seventh-Day Adventist men and women suggests that vegetarians are much less likely to get colorectal cancer. Previous studies have shown that the vegetarian diet potentially reduces the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and mortality. Compared with non-vegetarians, vegetarians had a 22 percent lower risk for all colorectal cancers, 19 percent lower risk for colon cancer and 29 percent lower risk for rectal cancer. The researchers suggested that these findings should be considered carefully in making dietary choices and in giving dietary guidance.
Michael J. Orlich et al., "Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Colorectal Cancers. ", JAMA Internal Medicine, March 23, 2015, © American Medical Association
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“Traffic Light” Nutritional Labeling Leads To More Healthful Food Buying

March 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
German researchers have found that “traffic light” symbols – red, green, yellow – on food labels effectively help shoppers make healthful product choices. For the study, 35 adults (19 women) were shown 100 food products while lying in a brain scanner. Products showed nutritional information in familiar form (numbers, ingredients) or in traffic light format, with green signifying the lowest percentage of fat, salt or sugar. Participants indicated how much they would pay for each product. They were willing to pay significantly more money for the same product when the traffic light label was "green" compared to an information-based label. But if the label was "red," the willingness to pay dropped more compared to the conventional label.
Laura Enax et al., "Nutrition labels influence value computation of food products in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. ", Obesity, March 23, 2015, © The Obesity Society
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Even With Normal Blood Pressure, Excess Salt Can Be Harmful

March 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Too much salt in the bloodstream is not only bad for blood pressure, it can also damage several organs, a U.S. study finds. But this should also serve as a warning to so-called “salt resistant” people who consume a lot of salty snacks and convenience foods, but still have low blood pressure. Potential effects on the arteries include reduced function of the endothelium, the lining of vessels; on the heart, enlargement of the muscle tissue of the main pumping chamber; on the kidneys, reduced renal function; and on the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the fight-or-flight response.
William B. Farquhar et al., "Dietary Sodium and Health. ", Journal of the American College of Cardiology, March 23, 2015, © American College of Cardiology Foundation
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A Basic – Scientifically Proven – List Of Nutritious Seeds, Superfruits

March 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A food writer who surveyed recent scientific studies found nine seeds and so-called “superfruits” that are packed with nutrients and minimally processed. At the top of her list are chia seeds, once smeared over novelty plant pottery, but now used in yogurt, baked goods, nutrition bars, etc. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phytonutrients and other good things. Also on the list: flax seeds (protein, antioxidants), sunflower seeds (protein, fiber), pumpkin seeds, blueberries, acai berries, tart cherries, avocados, and cranberries.
Linda Ohr, "The Rising Status of Superfruits and Super Seeds", Food Technology, March 22, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Serious Health Issues Arise When Vitamin D Is Too Low, Or Too High

March 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A statistical study of the vitamin D levels and mortality rates of nearly 250,000 Danes confirms a correlation between earlier death and too low levels of vitamin D, but also finds a connection between too high levels and a greater risk of death by stroke or heart attack. The researchers found that a vitamin D level below 50 or over 100 nanomol per liter is associated with higher mortality rates. “We should use this information to ask ourselves whether or not we should continue to eat vitamins and nutritional supplements as if they were sweets,” the researchers said.
Darshana Durup et al., "A reverse J-shaped association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and cardiovascular disease mortality – the CopD-study.", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, March 22, 2015, © Endocrine Society
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Healthy Diet, Regular Exercise Slow Cognitive Decline Among Seniors

March 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Older people (age 60 to 77) at risk of dementia benefited significantly from a program of healthy eating and exercise, according to a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Half of the 1,260 participants in the two-year trial in Finland met regularly with physicians, nurses, and other health professionals to get advice on a healthy diet, and participate in exercise and brain training programs. They also managed metabolic and vascular risk factors through regular blood tests. Subsequent tests showed that, compared to the control group, cognitive decline slowed down considerably. Overall test scores in the intervention group were 25 percent higher than in the control group.
Tiia Ngandu et al., "A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. ", The Lancet, March 22, 2015, © Elsevier Limited
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U.K.’s “Shopping Basket” Undergoes Some Major Changes

March 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British government statisticians have determined that shoppers in the U.K. are increasingly buying more healthful foods and specialty items that might be more expensive. In the so-called “national shopping basket,” chilled pizzas have replaced frozen, for example, and melons and protein shakes have replaced probiotic yogurts. Also added to the official list of what shoppers buy are sweet potatoes, craft ales, and offal (liver and kidney). Nonfood items added to the list included electronic cigarettes, and colorful wall paints. (White emulsion paint was removed from the basket.) A Kantar Worldpanel analyst said the changes reflect a growing economy and more optimistic national mood. "Families are more happy to use their money to eat well and try different tastes."
Dan Hyde, "Why sweet potato, protein shakes and craft ales are on 'national shopping list'", The Telegraph, March 18, 2015, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Snack Bar Makers Are Missing An Opportunity In The Heart-Healthy Market

March 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Despite growing consumer demand for heart-healthy and convenient – “grab-and-go” – foods, like bars and snacks, few food manufacturers are developing such products. A recent article notes the tremendous opportunity awaiting snack and bar makers who have yet to take advantage of FDA-approved heart health claims for ingredients like soy protein, phytosterols, fiber, nuts and omega-3s. Marketers, of course, also need to pay attention to the taste of products – consumers won’t swap flavor for health -- but adding ingredients (e.g., high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, etc.) that may be perceived as unhealthy is risky. Still, the author of the article says, “not to be building bars that target heart health is the definition of a missed opportunity."
Alissa Marrapodi, "Grab-and-Go Heart Health", Food Product Design, March 17, 2015, © Informa Exhibitions LLC
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