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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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Intermittent Fasting Is Beneficial, Except When Antioxidants Are Consumed

March 7, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Fasting has been shown in animal studies to extend lifespan and thwart diseases related to aging. Now U.S. researchers have shown that a feast-or-famine – or intermittent fasting – diet pattern offers some of the same benefits of long-term fasting for people, though the benefits may be lost in the presence of antioxidants. Intermittent fasting causes oxidative stress, which activates a protein called SIRT3 that, when increased in mice, extends lifespan. In a small clinical study, SIRT3 was indeed activated by intermittent fasting, but the benefits vanished when high levels of antioxidants were added to the diet. This reinforces research that has shown that flooding the system with supplemental antioxidants neutralizes the benefits of fasting or exercise.
Martin P. Wegman et al., "Practicality of Intermittent Fasting in Humans and its Effect on Oxidative Stress and Genes Related to Aging and Metabolism. ", Rejuvenation Research, March 07, 2015, © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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Nurture More Important Than Nature When It Comes To Obesity

March 7, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though some research has shown that mom's unhealthful diet in pregnancy may preordain a child’s poor diet and health issues, a new study in mice suggests other factors play a bigger role. Having too many food choices, the U.S. researchers found, increases the obesity problem. For the study, two sets of mothers were fed a high-fat diet or a low-fat diet. The offspring then ate a high-fat diet, low-fat diet, or a choice of foods. The offspring that had a choice experienced an increase in body weight, body fat, and glucose levels. The researchers said their findings suggest the possibility that a human's natural environment can affect food choices, and ultimately a person's weight, much more than their mother’s diet during pregnancy.
Bonnie Brenseke et al., "Mitigating or Exacerbating Effects of Maternal-Fetal Programming of Female Mice Through the Food Choice Environment. ", Endocrinology, March 07, 2015, © Endocrine Society
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Big Breakfast, Small Dinner Benefit Type 2 Diabetics

March 7, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Sweden and Israel show that type 2 diabetics can better control their blood sugar levels by timing their intake of calories. The study was conducted among eight men and 10 women between 30 and 70 years with type 2 diabetes and a normal to high body mass index. Some were being treated with the antidiabetic drug metformin. The study found that a calorie-loaded breakfast and a low-calorie dinner were associated with a significantly lower overall post-meal glucose level over the entire day. The researchers said the pattern may help achieve optimal metabolic control and “may have the potential for being preventive for cardiovascular and other complications of type 2 diabetes”.
Daniela Jakubowicz et al., "High-energy breakfast with low-energy dinner decreases overall daily hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomised clinical trial. ", Diabetologia, March 07, 2015, © Springer International Publishing AG
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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Heart Disease Risk By Nearly Half

March 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A 10-year study conducted in Greece found a strong connection between heart health and the Mediterranean diet, which limits unhealthy fats and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and olive oil. Adults who closely followed the diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease. In fact, the diet was more protective than physical activity, researchers found. They also said the diet has indirect benefits in managing diabetes, hypertension and inflammation.
Ekavi Georgousopoulou, "Adherence to Mediterranean is the Most Important Protector Against the Development of Fatal and Non-Fatal Cardiovascular Event: 10-Year Follow-up (2002-12) Of the Attica Study", Study presented at the American College of Cardiology's scientific session, March 04, 2015, © American College of Cardiology
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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