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Athletes Benefit From Nitrate Supplements That Boost Blood Flow

March 2, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Athletes and fitness fanatics have been taking nitrate supplements for years to increase endurance by improving oxygen use by muscles. A new British study in rats shows that nitrates decrease the viscosity of blood, boosting blood flow, while ensuring proper oxygen delivery. Researchers found that the effects were due to a complex balancing act involving the liver and kidneys, oxygen, hemoglobin in the blood and the hormone erythropoietin. The findings may lead to development of therapeutics for dietary intervention in dangerous blood volume diseases like polycythemia and other conditions that warrant a reduction in red cell mass and improvement in blood flow.
T. Ashmore et al., "Suppression of erythropoiesis by dietary nitrate. ", The FASEB Journal, March 02, 2015, © FASEB
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Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease Should Avoid A High-Acid Meaty Diet

February 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients who eat more meat than fruits or vegetables are at much higher risk of kidney failure than patients who eat less meat, according to a long-term study of 1,486 CKD adults. Meats increase the dietary acid load on kidneys, which can be debilitating. Patients who consumed high acid diets were three times more likely to develop kidney failure than patients who consumed low acid diets. The researchers recommended that CKD patients reduce their intake of meats and increase intake of fruits and vegetables, which are low-acid foods.
T. Banerjee et al., "High Dietary Acid Load Predicts ESRD among Adults with CKD. ", Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, February 27, 2015, © American Society of Nephrology
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Physicians Castigate Harmful, Addictive “White Foods”

February 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A growing number of physicians warn of the health dangers of white bread, pasta and other high-glycemic “white foods” like potatoes, rice and sugar. A neurosurgeon who specializes in treating back pain says he won’t eat bread or pasta because they are high on the glycemic index, are not whole foods, and are “tremendously delicious and addictive”. A child psychiatrist says bleaching flour removes the nutrients. “Best to eat fresh breads made from whole or sprouted grains,” says Dr. Rohit Chandra. And Dr. Michael Hirt, a board-certified nutritionist, says GMO standard wheat is particularly harmful, adding that, "If Americans gave up gluten and dairy, 75 percent of the world’s health problems would go away."
Lauren Gordon , "Delicious but Addictive: Why Some Doctors Avoid Eating Bread", The Daily Meal, February 27, 2015, © Spanfeller Media Group, Inc.
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Green Banana Flour: A More Healthful Substitute For Wheat?

February 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
It's a little more expensive than wheat flour, but green banana flour might be a more healthful ingredient for baking bread and cakes. Banana flour is made from unripened fruit and does not taste like ripe bananas. But it contains resistant starch that behaves like fiber, helping to control sugar levels and prolong satiety. As a starch that is not absorbable, it contains fewer calories, though it is rich in potassium and magnesium, both healthful minerals. British company Nutryttiva sources green bananas from Brazil, and so far its flour is selling well. “We only started selling it last month, but so far sales are doubling each week,” a representative says. The company notes that green banana flour costs more than wheat flour, but about 25 percent less is used in baking.
Sophie Freeman, "The latest wonder food: More and more crave banana flour as a way of curbing the carbs because it helps you feel fuller for longer ", Daily Mail, February 21, 2015, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Sluggish Sales Of “Diet” Foods Prompt Repositioning Of Major Brands

February 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Big food companies are trying to adjust quickly to a trend in U.S. consumer eating preferences that is having a negative impact on sales. Americans apparently care more about simple, natural ingredients, gluten-free products, protein and ethnic flavors -- and less about calories. Nestlé, for example, is dealing with this new reality by repositioning its Lean Cuisine frozen dinners as a ”healthy eating and healthy lifestyles” brand, rather than a diet food. The company is also introducing new ethnic flavors such as Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef. Kellogg is deemphasizing weight loss in its Special K snack bar line to focus more on healthy ingredients, even if they are calorie-packed.
Anjali Athavaley, "Food companies aim to reinvent diet foods to stay relevant", Reuters, February 20, 2015, © Thomson Reuters
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Bread Making Technique – Not Ingredients – May Be At Root Of Health Issues

February 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though humans have been grinding wheat into flour and baking bread for thousands of years, there’s suddenly a widespread belief that bread – made from today’s high-tech flours -- is the source of all our health problems. But Washington State University wheat breeder Stephen Jones says it’s not the wheat itself that’s causing the problems. It’s how we make bread these days. For one thing, commercial bakeries actually add extra gluten to whole wheat bread dough to increase the elasticity. In addition, industrial dough rising time amounts to mere minutes (thanks to fast-acting yeasts and additives), instead of the hours or even days it should take. In his laboratory, he lets dough rise for as long as 12 hours, resulting in a less potent gluten. One caveat: Jones’s theory, while plausible, has not yet been scientifically proven.
Tom Philpott, "The Real Problem With Bread (It's Probably Not Gluten): One wheat scientist has a compelling theory. ", Mother Jones, February 18, 2015, © Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress
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FDA Approves Implantable Electrical Anti-Hunger Device For Obese Patients

February 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has approved the use of an electrical device to treat obese patients – BMI higher than 35 -- age 18 and older who have not been able to diet away their excess pounds. The Enteromedics Maestro Rechargeable System targets the nerve pathway between the brain and stomach that controls feelings of hunger and fullness. A rechargeable electrical pulse generator, wire leads and electrodes implanted surgically into the abdomen send intermittent electrical pulses to the abdominal vagus nerve. A clinical study testing safety and effectiveness found that after 12 months, the experimental group (with an activated implanted Maestro) lost 8.5 percent more excess weight than the control group (whose Maestro was implanted but not activated).
"FDA approves first-of-kind device to treat obesity", News release, FDA, February 11, 2015, © USFDA
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When Treating Mental Disorders, Don’t Ignore Diet And Nutrition

February 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Australian scientists who systematically reviewed earlier studies show a strong link between nutritional deficiency and mental health that should not be ignored. In fact, psychiatry can only go only so far in treating psychological problems without taking into account diet quality. There is “emerging and compelling evidence”, they argue, that nutrition is as important in diagnosing and treating mental disorders as it is in treating heart or digestive problems. The researchers conclude that “nutrient-based prescription” could help with the management of mental disorders “at the individual and population level”, and even among children and adolescents.
Jerome Sarris et al., "Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. ", The Lancet Psychiatry, February 11, 2015, © Elsevier Limited
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Why Carbs – Refined Or Otherwise – Are Not Necessarily A Dietary Desperado

February 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The current “wisdom” about beneficial versus harmful foods may not be so "wise" after all. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about carbohydrates, the glycemic index (GI), etc. The foodie trend these days is to avoid white bread, pasta, refined sugar and other high GI foods to feel better and live healthier. But the fact is that carbs can be healthful or harmful, “depending on which, and how many, you eat”. The real problem is overconsumption, experts note. There’s no rational reason to avoid bread, pasta and refined sugar – regardless of the GI rating – as long as they are consumed in moderation. Another key fact: low-GI foods like whole grain bread or legumes contain more nutrients. That may be the main reason – not the low GI rating – scientific studies have found that disease risk is lower when you eat them.
Tamar Haspel, "Is it really worth not eating bread, pasta and other carbs?", The Washington Post, February 09, 2015, © The Washington Post Company
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Calorie-Free Sweetening Compound Eludes Commercial Development

February 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A compound produced by a “miracle berry” native to West Africa may provide the solution to an age-old puzzle. Is it possible to create a dessert that contains no sugar or artificial flavors but tastes as sweet as the real thing? Miraculin could provide the answer, though it may be years before a commercial product is developed. It works by distorting the taste receptors on the tongue, making them super-sensitive to sweet signals from even sour foods. High-end restaurant patrons have experienced the sensation by eating the berries before consuming other foods, a fairly inconvenient process. But chef Homaru Cantu is working on a way to integrate the berry powder into foods by creating a heat- and refrigeration-stable version. So far, the goal is elusive.
David Cox, "This miracle berry could replace sugar", The Atlantic, February 08, 2015, © The Atlantic
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Boosting Daily Protein Intake Is Important For Healthy Aging

February 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Aging and eating less protein tend to slow the body’s muscle-building efficiency. Eating more protein can reverse that process, leading to a healthier weight, better fitness and an improved quality of life. A new U.S. study involving 20 healthy adults between 52-75 years of age varied the distribution and amounts of protein meals over a four-day test period. The researchers found that the amount of protein consumed – but not the distribution pattern -- had a significant impact on muscle protein synthesis. The researchers recommend that older adults ingest about 93 g of protein a day (for a 170-pound person) to encourage maximum protein synthesis. This represents a significantly higher amount of protein than the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA).
I.-Y. Kim et al., "Quantity of dietary protein intake, but not pattern of intake, affects net protein balance primarily through differences in protein synthesis in older adults. ", AJP: Endocrinology and Metabolism, February 04, 2015, © American Physiological Society
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Sugary Drinks May Spur Early Menstruation, Affecting Obesity, Breast Cancer

January 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Harvard University study that recorded the health histories of girls aged 9 to 14, tracking their consumption of sugary drinks, reports that those who consumed the most on average started their periods earlier than others. The study, conducted between 1996 and 2001, shows that girls who drank more than 1.5 servings a day began to menstruate 2.7 months earlier than their peers. The researchers said a main concern is childhood obesity, but early menstruation has also been associated with breast cancer. A 2.7 month decrease in age at onset of menstruation “likely has a modest impact on breast cancer risk”.
J.L. Carwile et al. , "Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and age at menarche in a prospective study of US girls. ", Human Reproduction, January 27, 2015, © Carwile et al.
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Orange Juice Delivers Far More Bioaccessible Nutrients Than The Fruit Itself

January 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
German researchers who compared the amounts and bioavailability of nutrients in oranges and processed orange juice found that the juice might actually be better for you. True, the production of pasteurized orange juice slightly lowers the levels of carotenoids, flavonoids and vitamin C. But it significantly boosts bioaccessibility (the ability of the body to absorb and use the nutrients.) In fact, though juicing oranges dramatically cuts flavonoids, the nutrients that are left are much more bioaccessible than those in orange segments.
Julian K. Aschoff et al., "In Vitro Bioaccessibility of Carotenoids, Flavonoids, and Vitamin C from Differently Processed Oranges and Orange Juices [Citrus sinensis(L.) Osbeck]. ", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, January 21, 2015, © American Chemical Society
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Food Marketers Targeting The Younger Generations Should Think “Health”

January 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Nielsen global survey finds that the younger (under 20) generation – dubbed “Z” – is willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to healthful eating. Forty-one percent said they would pay a premium for healthful foods, compared to 32 percent of Millennials (ages 21 to 34) and 21 percent of Boomers (51 to 69). The message to food manufacturers is clear: think healthy, according to a Nielsen exec. "Companies that have a clear health orientation to their products will benefit most," says James Russo, who led the study.
Bruce Horovitz, "Younger folks want healthy food - And will pay for it", USA TODAY, January 19, 2015, © USA Today/Gannett
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Study Confirms That Kids Are Way Too Addicted To Pizza

January 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A study that analyzed questionnaire answers from 7,443 children up to age 11, and 6,447 adolescents to age 19, verified what parents already knew: kids love pizza, and they eat way too much of it. Twenty-two percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 eat pizza on any given say, compared to 13 percent of Americans overall. (The only foods more popular than pizza are cake, cookies and doughnuts.) The problem is that pizza adds 408 calories, three grams of fat and 134 more milligrams of salt to a youngster’s diet, and 624 calories, five grams of fat and 484 milligrams of salt to a teen’s diet. The researchers said the negative impact of pizza on young peoples’ diets is about the same as that of sugary drinks.
Lisa M. Powell et al., "Energy and Nutrient Intake From Pizza in the United States", Pediatrics Journal, January 19, 2015, © Powell et al.
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High Fructose Corn Syrup Has Toxic Effect On Mice In Study

January 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A mouse study has found that the fructose-glucose mix typical of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in processed foods is more toxic than the fructose-glucose mix in common table sugar used in baking. The main reason is that fructose and glucose in HFCS exist as separate molecules (monosaccharides), but combine into disaccharides in table sugar. The U.S. study compared two groups of mice fed a healthy diet with 25 percent calories from processed sugars: fructose-glucose monosaccharides like those in HFCS, or sucrose. Female mice on the fructose-glucose diet had death rates 1.87 times higher than females on the sucrose diet. They also produced 26.4 percent fewer offspring.
J. S. Ruff et al., "Compared to Sucrose, Previous Consumption of Fructose and Glucose Monosaccharides Reduces Survival and Fitness of Female Mice. ", Journal of Nutrition, January 16, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Study Shows Nordic Diet Can Fight Harmful Inflammation In Fat Tissue

January 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The genes of participants in a Finnish clinical study, whose diet comprised whole grains, fruits, vegetables, canola oil, low-fat dairy and fish – the so-called “Nordic diet”, were much less likely to express inflammation factors in subcutaneous fat tissue, even without weight loss. Scientists believe the adverse health effects of being overweight or obese are caused by inflamed fat tissue. The study suggests that the Nordic diet can be used to fight low-grade inflammation in fat that is linked to a number of chronic diseases.
M. Kolehmainen et al., "Healthy Nordic diet downregulates the expression of genes involved in inflammation in subcutaneous adipose tissue in individuals with features of the metabolic syndrome. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 16, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Avocados Should Be Included In Heart-Healthy Diet

January 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. clinical trial that tested the relationship between avocados and health found that eating just one avocado a day can have significant heart-health benefits. When included in a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet, avocados lowered low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) levels in otherwise healthy overweight and obese individuals. Avocado eaters also had lower total cholesterol and lower triglycerides (fat) in their blood. Avocados are usually eaten in guacamole, but they can also be eaten with salads, vegetables, sandwiches, lean protein foods (like chicken or fish) or even whole, researchers said.
Li Wang et al., "Effect of a Moderate Fat Diet With and Without Avocados on Lipoprotein Particle Number, Size and Subclasses in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. ", Journal of the American Heart Association, January 16, 2015, © Wang et al.
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Study Shows That Vitamin A Deficiency, Type 2 Diabetes, Might Be Closely Linked

January 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Cornell Medical College study shows that a lack of vitamin A -- found in meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, fruits and vegetables – may be a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Vitamin A helps give rise to beta cells in the pancreas that produce the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin. In a mouse study, the researchers found that a vitamin A deficiency spurred the death of beta cells, inhibiting insulin production. Insulin metabolizes sugars that come from food. The researchers suggest the possibility that a synthetic form of vitamin A might reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes. They hope to test the idea in preclinical and clinical studies.
Steven Trasino et al., "Vitamin A Deficiency Causes Hyperglycemia and Loss of Pancreatic β-Cell Mass ", The Journal of Biological Chemistry, January 15, 2015, © American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Losing Weight – The Right Way – Is A Good New Year’s Resolution

January 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Losing weight is frequently at the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions, but there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it, according to a family physician. Working out at the gym is certainly good for your health, for example, but you have to reduce caloric intake to shed pounds. Radically changing your diet is not a good idea. It’s better to just cut back a few hundred calories a day. Other insights to consider: weight loss supplements burn more muscle than fat; slow and steady weight loss is better than crash dieting; and losing even ten percent of weight will improve health by lowering blood pressure and reducing diabetes risk.
Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, "Resolved to lose weight in 2015? Here are five bad strategies to avoid", News release, Loyola University Health System, January 09, 2015, © News release, Loyola University Health System
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Wonder Drug Dupes The Body Into Burning Fat

January 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A multinational team of researchers has developed a drug that – in preclinical testing – stops weight gain, spurs fat burning, lowers cholesterol, controls blood sugar and minimizes inflammation. According to the scientists from the Salk Institute of Biological Studies, fexaramine is unlike appetite suppressants or caffeine-based diet drugs because it doesn’t dissolve in the blood. It remains in the intestines, acting like an “imaginary meal”. Fexaramine emits the same signals that the body sends out after a heavy meal, “so the body starts clearing out space to store it”. The body thinks it has consumed calories, though it hasn’t, and it starts burning fat, without side effects. Clinical trials are the next step, the scientists say.
Sungsoon Fang et al., "Intestinal FXR agonism promotes adipose tissue browning and reduces obesity and insulin resistance. ", Nature Medicine, January 09, 2015, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Calories, Sodium, Sat Fat Constant In Fast-Food Menu Items Since 1996

January 9, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
USDA researchers who compared menu items from popular fast-food chains from 1996 and 2013 report that average calories, sodium and saturated fat were relatively constant over the 17-year period. The only exception was a consistent drop in trans fat in French fries. The researchers said levels varied from chain to chain, but remained high in most of the menu items analyzed. It was especially true for menu items sold together as meals, “pushing the limits of what we should be eating to maintain a healthy weight and sodium intake”.
Lorien E. Urban et al., "Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Energy, Sodium, Saturated Fat, and TransFat Content, United States, 1996–2013. ", Preventing Chronic Disease, January 09, 2015, © Urban et al.
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Some Britons Embrace Healthful Eating In 2015

January 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer research from Canadean finds that about two-thirds of Britons did not resolve to eat more healthfully in 2015. But one third did, mostly women and adults between 18 and 34. Two-thirds of those say they’ll eat more fruits and vegetable, 58 percent will eat less fat and 53 percent will eat less sugar. The most popular ways they will accomplish their goals – losing weight and feeling better -- is by exercising regularly, controlling portion sizes and cutting back on processed foods. Only 27 percent of men resolved to spend 2015 eating more healthfully (compared to about half of women).
"New Year resolution: Over a third of the UK want to eat more healthily", Report, Canadean, January 05, 2015, © Canadean Ltd.
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Dietary Solutions To Health Problems Vary Globally By Economic Status, Region

December 31, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Research by Euromonitor finds significant differences in healthy eating trends – and solutions to health problems associated with overweight and obesity – between developed and emerging markets, and between geographic regions in the Western Hemisphere and Asia-Pacific. In developed countries, consumers are more likely to stop eating foods containing certain ingredients, like gluten or lactose. On the other hand, consumers in both developed and emerging markets gravitate toward traditional health or eating behaviors, like eating vegan or vegetarian.  In terms of regional differences, gluten-free is very popular in the U.S. and Canada; lactose-free prevails in Latin America; and avoiding allergen exposure during pregnancy is a key concern in the Asia-Pacific region.
Lisa Holmes, "Gluten-free, Lactose-free, and Other Popular Eating Trends Around the World", Report, Euromonitor International, December 31, 2014, © Euromonitor International
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Wild Blueberries Benefit Blood Pressure, Reduce Damaging Inflammation

December 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The adverse effects of a high-fat diet can be reversed by eating wild blueberries, also known as bilberries, according to a study in Finland. Bilberries were shown to have beneficial effects on both blood pressure and nutrition-derived inflammatory responses, the researchers found in a mouse study. An integral part of the Nordic diet, bilberries contain polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, in significantly higher proportions than in commercially cultivated blueberries.
Otto T. Mykkänen et al., "Wild Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) Alleviate Inflammation and Hypertension Associated with Developing Obesity in Mice Fed with a High-Fat Diet. ", PLoS ONE, December 30, 2014, © Mykkänen et al.
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Check The Scale Every Day If You’re Serious About Losing Weight

December 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
People who are trying to lose weight usually check the scale once in a while to determine their progress. But a new study of 40 people trying to lose weight finds that weight loss is related to the frequency of stepping on the scale. Researchers in Finland were careful to say there is no cause and effect relationship involved. But they observed nevertheless that study participants who weighed themselves more often – at least once a week or even daily -- tended to lose the most weight. The researchers advised dieters: “If you weigh yourself only once a week, do it on Wednesday because that will give you the most accurate reading."
Elina E. Helander et al., "Are Breaks in Daily Self-Weighing Associated with Weight Gain? ", PLoS ONE, December 30, 2014, © Helander et al.
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Study Finds Possible Cause Of Toxic Immune Reaction When Humans Eat Too Much Red Meat

December 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists report in a mouse study that eating large amounts of red meat triggers a toxic immune response that causes inflammation and eventually cancer. The reaction is caused by a sugar contained in pork, beef and lamb, and present naturally in other carnivores. The human body, however, senses the sugar as a foreign invader, triggering the immune response. The scientists noted that eating small amounts of red meat – say, 2.5 ounces a day – provides good nutrition and should not be considered harmful. “We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22," the researchers said.
Sarah Knapton, "Red meat triggers toxic immune reaction which causes cancer, scientists find", The Telegraph, December 29, 2014, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Nestle Funds Research Into The Impact Of Nutrition On Genetics

December 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé says it will contribute about $22 million to a six-year research effort involving scientists in the U.K., Switzerland, New Zealand and Singapore targeting the relationship between eating behaviors and genes. The company said the idea is to further understanding of the influence of nutrition and genetics at the beginning of life, and in future generations. One goal is to improve nutrition and reduce risk factors of pregnancy-related conditions such as gestational diabetes.
"Nestlé boosts research into cutting-edge maternal nutrition and epigenetics", News release, Nestlé, December 29, 2014, © Nestlé
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Demand For Packaged Retail Desserts Plummets, But Still No Change In Ingredients

December 22, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study finds little change in the questionable ingredients contained in packaged retail cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts and pastries sold between 2005 and 2012, despite a trend toward healthful eating. That trend is reflected in a 24 percent drop in consumer purchases of such goods, known as ready-to-eat grain-based desserts (RTE GBDs). Researchers acknowledged that manufacturers of RTE GBDs have to overcome many technical hurdles to bring new products to market that are both healthful and satisfying. Nevertheless, new products released in 2012 generally did not have fewer calories, less sugar, or less saturated fat than existing products.
"Consumer purchases of cakes, cookies and pies have decreased by 24 percent", Elsevier Health Sciences, December 22, 2014, © Elsevier Health Sciences
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“Biohacking” May Be The Answer For America’s Picky Eaters

December 22, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Those Americans who have become ideologically picky eaters – i.e., they adhere to a specific dietary preference as a way of life for one reason or another – are now categorized into “tribes” by nutrition experts. Although the numbers are relatively small – five million vegetarians, 2.5 million vegans, three million paleo dieters, three million gluten-free – the tribes are significant enough to worry dietitians concerned about vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies. One emerging trend, however, tries to take the guesswork out of these tribal leanings by determining, using personalized nutrition or “biohacking” technologies, what an individual really needs to eat to stay healthy. The technologies use blood tests, stool sample tests, even genetic tests to find out precisely what is happening in the body. The service providers then advise on how eating habits can be adjusted to fix any problems.
Lisa Marshall, "Choose your tribe: 4 hot diet trends", Delicious Living, December 22, 2014, © Penton
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Potato Extract-Based Dietary Supplement Could Someday Solve Obesity Problem

December 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Canadian study in mice found that potato extract can prevent weight gain from a diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates. For the study, the researchers fed the mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. Mice in the control group went from 25 grams to 41 grams. But those fed the potato extract – roughly equivalent to eating 30 potatoes – gained only seven grams. The reason for the difference is the high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component of fruits and vegetable. The investigators don’t advise eating 30 potatoes a day, of course, but instead envisage creating a potato extract dietary supplement or kitchen cooking ingredient.
Stan Kubow et al., "Extract of Irish potatoes (Solanum tuberosumL.) decreases body weight gain and adiposity and improves glucose control in the mouse model of diet-induced obesity. ", Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, December 20, 2014, © WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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Review Of Studies Finds That Fructose – Not Salt – Is Guilty Party In Hypertension

December 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists who analyzed published scientific studies found that added sugar in processed foods – and not sodium content – may be the real culprit in the global increase in cardiovascular disease, the primary cause of premature death. The benefits of restricting salt content in the diet “are debatable”, the authors say. On the other hand, persuasive evidence from basic science, population studies, and clinical trials “implicates sugars, and particularly the monosaccharide fructose” – used in high fructose corn syrup – “as playing a major role in the development of hypertension [high blood pressure]”. The authors stressed that naturally-occurring sugars found in fruit and vegetables are not harmful to health.
J. J. DiNicolantonio et al., "The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease. ", Open Heart, December 20, 2014, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Cardiovascular Society
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Hunger-Reducing Food Ingredient Developed In The U.K.

December 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
British scientists have improved on a naturally-produced gut chemical to create a food ingredient that may more quickly produce satiety when eaten. Propionate is produced in the gut when fiber is fermented by microbes. It triggers release of hormones that convince the brain a person is no longer hungry. The scientists have developed an enhanced version called inulin-propionate ester (IPE) that delivers a much larger dose of propionate. A small clinical trial showed that only one out of 25 volunteers given IPE gained more than three per cent of their body weight over 24 weeks, compared to six out of 24 given inulin.
E. S. Chambers et al., "Effects of targeted delivery of propionate to the human colon on appetite regulation, body weight maintenance and adiposity in overweight adults. ", Gut, December 20, 2014, © Chambers et al.
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Wellness-Conscious Baby Boomers, Millennials Drive Functional Food Trend

December 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Packaged Facts says Baby Boomers, who control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S. are driving the wellness and functional food trends. Also providing the growth impetus for functional foods are Millennials and health/exercise advocates. Functional food marketers need to know that Millennials are looking for food products fortified with calcium, fiber and vitamins and minerals, as well as healthier snacks like yogurt, fresh fruit to nutrition bars. Boomers want to prevent or ease conditions associated with aging, so they’re buying fiber, antioxidants, heart-healthy ingredients, vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium and whole grains.
"Millennials, Boomers and Athletes Drive Emerging Functional Food Trends", Nutraceuticals World, December 17, 2014, © Rodman Media
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Non-Diabetics Can Ignore Glycemic Index When Selecting Foods To Eat

December 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers report that normal, overweight, or obese people – non-diabetics – do not necessarily benefit from eating low-glycemic index (GI) foods that take a long time to raise blood sugar levels. Their five-week controlled feeding study compared the impact of balanced, heart-healthy diets that emphasized low GI foods with diets that featured high GI foods. Low GI diets that were part of a heart-healthy regimen did not improve insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, or systolic blood pressure any more than high GI diets. The researchers concluded that selecting foods based on their ranking on the glycemic index “may not improve cardiovascular risk factors or insulin resistance”.
Andrew M. Seaman, "Glycemic index shouldn't concern people without diabetes", Reuters.com, December 16, 2014, © Thomson Reuters
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Weight Wellness Trend Offers Marketing Opportunities For Big Brands, Entrepreneurs

December 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A new report on food, nutrition, and health trends for 2015 says big food businesses are having a tough time selling “weight wellness” products, but small entrepreneurial brands are flourishing. The key reason for this “tipping point” is that consumers are buying “regular foods” to keep their weight under control, attain a trim figure and improve digestive health. All of this is good news for big brands and entrepreneurs tuned into healthy snacks, protein products, foods that provide “good carbs”, dairy (the “natural whole food”), low or no sugar, and foods that are “free from” a host of undesirable ingredients.
Stephen Las Marias, "New Opportunities Emerge as Weight Wellness Hits Tipping Point", Asia Food Journal, December 16, 2014, © Contineo Media Pte Ltd.
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Busting Myths About Bread’s Impact On The Gastrointestinal System

December 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Some major myths are clouding our perception of the benefits and liabilities of eating bread. British dietitian Lucy Jones is determined to bust those myths, especially ones having to do with "bloating". Among the facts she assembles from scientific studies: yeast in bread does not cause bloating; increased fiber intake from bread may cause temporary bloating, but the gut eventually adjusts; a tiny percentage of people are allergic to gluten, but for the rest of humanity, there is no evidence that a wheat-free diet provides long-term health benefits; and there is no evidence to show that artisanal bread has a different gastrointestinal effect – less bloating, for example – than industrial (supermarket) bread, though whole grain flour may be more nutritious.
Natasha Preskey, "Dietitian Explains Why Bread Doesn't Bloat You And How Avoiding It Could Damage Your Health", The Huffington Post UK, December 15, 2014, © AOL (UK) Limited
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Fad Coffee Diet Wows Celebrities, But Nutritionists Not So Much

December 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A fad diet that comprises coffee, butter and MCT (medium-chain trigycerides) has won over the usual number of gushing celebrities, but also a lot of detractors. Inventor Dave Asprey, described as a “technology entrepreneur and biohacker”, formulated the drink – dubbed “bulletproof” coffee – based on a yak butter tea he drank in Tibet. He claims the drink full of saturated fat is not only good for the brain, it promotes weight loss. But a nutrition professor says the only food that really helps the brain is carbohydrates, which are absent from the coffee concoction. Joan Salge Blake says the drink is more of a marketing triumph – like the grapefruit diet – and “not a breakfast of champions”.
Courtney Rubin, "The Cult of the Bulletproof Coffee Diet", The New York Times, December 12, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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Mindfulness May Have Many Benefits, But Weight Loss Isn’t One Of Them

December 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A review of the findings of 19 studies on the impact of mindfulness on weight loss found 13 that said the impact was positive -- but all were flawed. All of the studies lacked either a measure of the change in mindfulness or a statistical analysis of the link between being mindful and shedding pounds. One study that quantified weight reductions and increased mindfulness found no connection between the two. And one study that recorded the increase in mindfulness found no impact on weight loss. The U.S. researchers concluded that the review showed “we still have a long way to go to provide convincing evidence of the benefits of mindfulness for weight loss”.
Olson, KayLoni L. et al., "Mindfulness and Weight Loss: A Systematic Review. ", Psychosomatic Medicine, December 11, 2014, © American Psychosomatic Society
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Carb Restriction More Important Than Fat Restriction In Weight Loss

December 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The findings of a clinical study by U.S. researchers should be encouraging news for adherents of low-carb, high-fat/high protein diets like Atkins. While calories (2,500) and protein content (130 g) were kept the same, 16 participants with metabolic disorder were fed six three-week diets that gradually increased carb content while fat and saturated fat were reduced. Total saturated fat in the blood did not increase – it even dropped in most people -- despite being increased in the diet as carb intake dropped. The biomarker palmitoleic fatty acid, associated with unhealthy metabolism of carbs, dropped with low-carb intake. But it gradually increased as carbs were re-introduced. “Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction," the researchers concluded.
Brittanie M. Volk et al., "Effects of Step-Wise Increases in Dietary Carbohydrate on Circulating Saturated Fatty Acids and Palmitoleic Acid in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. ", PLoS ONE, December 05, 2014, © Volk et al.
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Aerated Drinks Increase Stomach Volume, Reduce Appetite

December 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A small clinical trial conducted by British and Dutch researchers finds that aerated or foamy drinks decrease appetite enough to be useful as adietary tool. Participants included 20 healthy adult males aged 18 to 60. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure volumes of foam, liquid and air layers in the stomachs of the participants. The researchers tested three beverages, each with 110 calories: skimmed-milk powder, xanthan gum and water and lemon syrup. The products were either non-aerated, aerated (foamy) stable, and aerated less stable. The researchers found that the foamy drinks significantly increased gastric volumes and reduced hunger.
Kathryn Murray et al., "Aerated drinks increase gastric volume and reduce appetite as assessed by MRI: a randomized, balanced, crossover trial", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 03, 2014, © American Society for Nutrition
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Mediterranean Diet Linked To Longer Telomeres, Longer Life

December 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study shows that eating a Mediterranean diet (i.e., fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish, etc.) might help extend a person’s lifespan by keeping chromosomes, particularly their telomeres, intact. Telomeres sit on the end of chromosomes like the plastic aglets at the end of shoelaces. With aging, telomeres fray and shorten, scrambling genetic codes. Researchers analyzed dietary data on 4,676 healthy middle-aged women who also had a blood test to measure telomere length. Results showed that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was significantly associated with longer telomeres. Each one point change in diet score corresponded on average to 1.5 years of telomere aging.
M. Crous-Bou et al., "Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study. ", British Medical Journal, December 03, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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Restricting Eating Times Could Prevent Weight Gain, Bolster Weight Loss

December 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Restricting eating to eight-to-12 hours in a day could help ward off high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, a U.S. study in mice suggests. The problem has arisen among children and adults who eat more as they spend more time in artificial light, as well as watching television, and interacting with tablets and smartphones. The researchers subjected 400 normal and obese mice to various diets and restrictions on eating times. The benefits of time-restricted feeding were evident regardless of the weight of the mice, type of diet or length of the time restriction. Even when their diets were high in fat, fat and sucrose or just fructose, time-restricted mice gained less weight than their unrestricted counterparts.
Amandine Chaix et al., "Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges. ", Cell Metabolism, December 02, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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Winter Depression Probably Caused By Reduced Sunlight And Vitamin D

December 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with a host of health issues, but a new study finds a link with certain mental health problems, too. U.S. and Australian researchers reviewed more than 100 scientific articles, finding an association between vitamin D deficiency and seasonal depression, sometimes called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People with SAD show the same symptoms year after year, beginning in the fall and continuing through winter. The researchers are convinced by their findings that reduced sunlight – which produces vitamin D in the body – during the winter months probably contributes to SAD. Low vitamin D levels reduce the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to depression.
Alan E. Stewart et al., "Possible contributions of skin pigmentation and vitamin D in a polyfactorial model of seasonal affective disorder. ", Medical Hypotheses, December 02, 2014, © Elsevier Ltd.
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Compound In Chinese Medicinal Plant Thwarts Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes In Mice

December 1, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In a mouse study, Japanese researchers discovered that a compound present in a flowering plant used in Chinese medicine may inhibit development of metabolic disorders associated with obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease. Iisoliquiritigenin from the plant glycyrrhiza uralensis (Gan Cao) did a good job of inhibiting production of a high-fat, diet-induced inflammation factor (IL-1beta) in fat tissue, compared with other inflammation inhibitors, in one of the groups of mice. The researchers said that their findings could lead to development of a new herbal medication for obesity-related diseases.
H. Honda et al., "Isoliquiritigenin is a potent inhibitor of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and diet-induced adipose tissue inflammation. ", Journal of Leukocyte Biology, December 01, 2014, © Society for Leukocyte Biology
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Celiac Sufferers Can Try These Alternative Flours For Holiday Baking

November 24, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Food writer Sarah-Jane Bedwell offers some suggestions for holiday baking to people with celiac disease (severe allergic reaction to the protein gluten) or a wheat allergy. Her focus is on six alternative flours: almond, rice, amaranth, potato, buckwheat and chickpea. Each has its virtues as a replacement for wheat flour. For example, buckwheat makes a whole grain flour that has a rich, nutty flavor, is high in fiber, calcium and protein and is “great in bread or muffin recipes”. Vitamin B-rich potato flour attracts and holds water, so it works great for making moist breads, pancakes, and waffles.
Sarah-Jane Bedwell, "6 Alternative Flours for Gluten Free Baking", TheHuffingtonPost.com, November 24, 2014, © TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
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Weight Watchers Veers Away From Celebrity Spokeswomen In Its New Ads

November 24, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Weight Watchers is abandoning the celebrity endorsement approach to TV advertising, switching instead to commercials that feature actors snacking because they are happy, and also because they are sad, bored, stressed or guilty. The ads link human feelings with eating, acknowledging that losing weight is not easy and suggesting that Weight Watchers provides “help with the hard part” through an extensive support network. The commercials are meant to distinguish the company from its competitors and to be conversation starters among multiple household members who may be watching the same programming, according to their creators.
Andrew Adam Newman, "Weight Watchers Serving Up Understanding to Those Who Eat Their Feelings", The New York Times, November 24, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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The Health Benefits Of Cooking With Unground Wheat Berries

November 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Mayo Clinic dietitian describes the health benefits of cooking with wheat berries, the mostly unprocessed kernels of wheat that contain the germ, endosperm and bran, but not the hull. Ground wheat berries are used to make whole wheat flour, but even before grinding, the berries can be used to make soups, stews, salads, bread, stuffing and other foods. A half cup of cooked wheat berries has 150 calories, four grams of fiber, plus magnesium, selenium, manganese, phosphorus and lignans, thought to protect against breast and prostate cancer. Several wheat berry recipes are offered along with tips for preparation and storage.
Susan Leifer, "Wheat berries boost whole grain intake", La Crosse Tribune, November 23, 2014, © La Crosse Tribune
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Popular Diet Plans Work In The Short Term, But Are Ineffective Over The Long Haul

November 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Canadian review of clinical trials involving four commercial diet plans -- Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, and Zone -- that promise not only weight loss but improved cardiovascular health found that all helped dieters lose weight in the short term. However, the trials provided little evidence that the diets worked in the long run, or that they improved heart health. Weight Watchers dieters lost an average 7.7 to 13.2 pounds after a year compared to 1.8 to 11.9 pounds with usual care. But at two years, dieters had regained a lot of the pounds. In a head to head comparison of diets, those on Atkins lost the most, an average 4.6 to 10.3 pounds. The control group lost about 4.85 pounds.
R. Atallah et al. , "Long-Term Effects of 4 Popular Diets on Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. ", Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, November 21, 2014, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Fish Oil Help Prevent Gastrointestinal Cancers

November 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Missouri have found compelling evidence in a review of scientific studies that eating the right kinds of fatty fish can prevent development of the type of tumors found in breast, prostate, pancreas, colon and other gastrointestinal cancers. Omega-3s in fatty fish seem to work the same way as low-dose aspirin: by inhibiting the activity of the cox-2 enzyme, a major contributor to adenocarcinomas. The researchers noted that olive oil used in Italy in cooking and as a salad dressing is low in omega-6; omega-3-rich fish is a staple in the Italian diet. A high ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is the key. Subjects in Italian studies who consumed fish at least twice weekly were at a significantly lower risk for a number of gastrointestinal cancers.
James J. DiNicolantonio et al., "A Higher Dietary Ratio of Long-Chain Omega-3 to Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids for Prevention of COX-2-Dependent Adenocarcinomas. ", Nutrition and Cancer, November 21, 2014, © Informa UK Limited
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