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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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Applying Genetic Information Helps Improve Eating Habits

November 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian researchers have found that tailoring one’s diet using genetic information improves eating habits better than following standardized diet advice. The researchers collected data on the intake of caffeine, sodium, vitamin C and sugar from 138 healthy young adults who were then divided into two groups. One group was given DNA-based dietary advice while the other group was given current standard dietary advice. Dietary habits were checked after three and 12 months. Those who received DNA-based dietary advice showed dietary improvement after three months and even more so after a year. The genetic dietary advice was provided by a University of Toronto start-up company that develops genetic test kits for personalized nutrition.
Daiva E. Nielsen & Ahmed El-Sohemy, "Disclosure of Genetic Information and Change in Dietary Intake: A Randomized Controlled Trial. ", PLoS ONE, November 21, 2014, © Nielsen, El-Sohemy
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Sugary Drinks Do Not Affect Teenage Metabolism, As Long As Kids Stay Active

November 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Weight-stable, physically active adolescents who consume moderate amounts of sugary drinks every day need not worry about adverse metabolic impact, a new U.S. study has found. Researchers measured insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels of participants (boys and girls 15 to 20 years old) after they had consumed a couple of cans of either high-glucose or high-fructose beverages daily for two weeks. The researchers found that as long as the kids stayed active, there was little adverse impact from drinking the sugary beverages.
T. D. Heden et al., "Moderate amounts of fructose- or glucose-sweetened beverages do not differentially alter metabolic health in male and female adolescents. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 18, 2014, © American Society for Nutrition
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Trans Fat Consumption Linked To Poor Performance On Memory Test

November 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who questioned 1,000 healthy adult men and postmenopausal women about their consumption of artificially produced trans fats found that men who consumed the most did noticeably worse on a word memory test. Trans fats are used by food companies to turn liquid oils into solids at room temperature and extend food shelf life. They are found in margarines, fast foods, baked goods, snack foods, frozen pizza, etc. Men under age 45 who ate more trans fats remembered 11 fewer words than adults who ate the least trans fat.
Beatrice A. Golomb et al., "Trans Fat Consumption is Linked to Diminished Memory in Working-aged Adults", News release, study presented at an American Heart Association meeting, November 18, 2014, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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People Who Cook At Home Eat Healthier Food, Consume Fewer Calories

November 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who analyzed data from a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that people who cook at home a lot tend to eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less. The data came from questionnaires answered by more than 9,000 participants aged 20 and older about what they ate during a 24-hour period. The eight percent who cooked dinner once or less a week consumed 2,301 total calories, 84 grams of fat and 135 grams of sugar. The forty-eight percent who cooked dinner six to seven times a week consumed 2,164 calories, 81 grams of fat and 119 grams of sugar on an average day.
Julia A Wolfson & Sara N Bleich, "Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention? ", Public Health Nutrition, November 17, 2014, © Cambridge University Press
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Some Breads Are Better For Weight Loss Than Others

November 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Weight loss can only happen on a balanced diet that features plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as complex carbohydrates like bread. Some breads are better for weight loss, however, than others. The eight breads that help dieters shed pounds are: oat bread, whole wheat, brown rice bread, whole wheat pita, flaxseed, rye bread, Ezekiel bread, and gluten-free. A physician commenter on the article, however, said only Ezekiel bread (barley, wheat, lentils, beans, spelt and millet) and genuine sourdough should be eaten by dieters. The other varieties of whole grain breads raise blood sugar levels significantly, prompt insulin release contributing to pre-diabetes, and should be avoided when trying to lose weight.
"8 Types Of Bread For Weight Loss", BoldSky.com, November 17, 2014, © Greynium Information Technologies Pvt. Ltd
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Beet Juice Improves Quality Of Life Of Heart Failure Patients

November 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A new U.S. study on the health impact of beet juice finds that the nitrate it contains not only increases blood flow to skeletal muscles, improving athletic performance, it also boosts blood flow in heart failure patients. Nitrate is reduced in the mouth by bacteria into nitrite, and then reduced to nitric oxide when swallowed, which dilates the blood vessels, and allows blood to go where it needs to go. That increased blood flow makes it easier for wheelchair-bound heart patients to get up and move around, which speeds recovery and raises the quality of life.
Scott K. Ferguson et al., "Microvascular oxygen pressures in muscles comprised of different fiber types: Impact of dietary nitrate supplementation. ", Nitric Oxide, November 15, 2014, © Elsevier B.V.
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Vegan Diet Is Best For Shedding Pounds

November 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who compared the weight loss results of different types of diets found that a strict vegan diet worked best at cutting pounds. The study involved 50 overweight individuals over six months who were randomly assigned to vegan, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, vegetarian or omnivorous diets. At the end of six months, individuals on the vegan diet lost more weight than those on a mostly plant-based diet, and those on an omnivorous diet (a mix of animal products and plant based foods) by an average of 4.3 percent, or 16.5 pounds. The researchers also found that vegan diets improved macronutrients more than other diets.
Gabrielle M. Turner-McGrievy et al., "Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial of five different diets. ", Nutrition, November 15, 2014, © Elsevier Inc.
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Weight Gain When Exercising Aerobically Can Be Prevented

November 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study of 81 overweight, sedentary women who participated in an exercise program ostensibly to improve their fitness found that many of the women actually gained weight over 12 weeks. The researchers wondered why. Almost 70 percent had added some fat mass, and several had gained as much as 10 pounds, mostly fat. But those who had lost weight after four weeks tended to continue to lose weight. The researchers concluded that the best way to lose weight when exercising is to check the scale after a month: if you’ve lost weight, then stick to the diet and physical activity level that has worked so far.
Gretchen Reynolds, "Exercising but Gaining Weight", The New York Times, November 12, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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Vitamin B With Folic Acid Does Not Prevent Or Improve Memory Loss

November 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch researchers have determined that, despite earlier observational studies, taking folic acid and vitamin B12 over long periods of time does not reduce the risk of memory loss. The study was conducted in 2,919 older patients with high levels of the amino acid homocysteine – thought to be associated with memory loss. Folic acid and vitamin B12 do lower homocysteine levels, but after two years of supplementation the researchers found no difference between the patients who took supplements and those who took a placebo in the scores on thinking and memory tests.
N. L. van der Zwaluw et al., "Results of 2-year vitamin B treatment on cognitive performance: Secondary data from an RCT. ", Neurology, November 12, 2014, © American Academy of Neurology
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Dietary Changes Would Benefit The Health Of Humans And The Planet

November 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Shifting to a largely plant-based diet would not only make us healthier, it would also be good for the planet, according to U.S. researchers. Their study fused data on the environmental costs of food production – growing fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. vs. raising cattle– as well as diet trends, relationships between diet and health, and population growth. The core problem is that people consume too much refined sugar, refined fats and oils, and land-intense agricultural products like beef. All of this shortens lifespans, while increasing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing land available for endangered species. The solution is to switch to largely Mediterranean, pescatarian (fish) or vegetarian diets.
David Tilman & Michael Clark, "Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. ", Nature, November 12, 2014, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Many Fruit Juices For Kids Sold In The U.K. Are More Sugary Than Coca-Cola

November 10, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
More than 25 percent of fruit juices targeted at children and sold in British supermarkets contain as much or more sugar than Coca-Cola. According to a report by Action on Sugar, store brands from Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA were “among the worst culprits”. For example, ASDA’s Chosen by Kids tropical juice drink contains seven teaspoons of sugar per 200 ml -- more than a teaspoon more than regular Coke. A quarter of the juice drinks contain added sugar or glucose-fructose syrup. Health experts from Action on Sugar urge parents to skip fruit juices altogether, except perhaps at mealtimes.
Sarah Knapton, "Fruit drinks aimed at children contain more sugar than Coca-Cola", The Telegraph, November 10, 2014, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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An Obsession With Healthy Eating Can Be Very Unhealthy

November 10, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Add another eating disorder to the list: orthorexia nervosa, a condition in which people obsessed with eating healthful, “clean” food end up hurting themselves. More and more doctors and dietitians are treating people determined to cleanse their diet of meat products, gluten, dairy, sugar, etc., become obsessive compulsive, lose way too much weight and even become malnourished. Very little research has been done on the phenomenon, but researchers in Colorado recently devised a list of criteria for doctors to use to diagnose orthorexia. The criteria could also be used to expand research on the condition, which is not yet listed in the official manual of mental disorders.
Sumathi Reddy, "When Healthy Eating Calls For Treatment", The Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Diet Soda Debate Fed By Inconclusive, Contradictory, Scientific Evidence

November 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A new study on the impact of diet sodas on gut microbes contributes more insights -- and probably more confusion – to the debate over whether diet drinks are good or bad for health. Some research suggests that diet drinks do help people cut calories and ward off weight gain. But the new study says diet sodas alter intestinal microbiota in such a way that the risk of metabolic disease, including type 2 diabetes, increases. Skeptics warn that one study among seven people does not provide enough scientific evidence. So, as the debate rages on, everyone agrees that more, and larger, studies are needed to settle the issue.
Allison Aubrey, "Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes", National Public Radio, November 07, 2014, © NPR
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Market Researcher Examines The “Demonization” Of Sugar

November 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor summarizes the pros and cons of eating sugar in a new study that tries to put the debate in context as the amount of scientific research linking sugar to obesity increases. Among the cons that contribute to sugar’s “demonization”: refined sugar is addictive; causes tooth decay; has no nutritional value; and has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, the sugar industry says that sugar alone cannot be blamed for obesity because saturated fats, carbohydrates and sedentary lifestyles also play a role. And sugar makes processed foods more palatable by providing texture and acting as a preservative.
Gina Westbrook, "The Backlash Against Sugar: The Facts", Report, Euromonitor International, November 07, 2014, © Euromonitor International
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Home-Packed School Lunches Tend To Be A Lot Less Healthful -- Study

November 7, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Virginia who analyzed the nutritional value of more than 750 school meals with more than 560 packed meals given to pre-K and kindergarten students in three schools over five days found that school lunches were generally more healthful for kids. School lunches were lower in fat and higher in protein, though they did tend to contain more sodium. Packed lunches were less likely to have fruits, vegetables, sugar-free juice and milk, and had more snacks such as chips and crackers. "There were some really healthy packed lunches,” one researcher said. “But overall, they were pretty unhealthy." 
Kathleen Doheny, "School Lunches More Nutritious Than Home-Packed Lunches: Study", HealthDay , November 07, 2014, © HealthDay
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Diet That Includes Walnuts May Reduce Risk Of Dementia

November 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study in mice finds strong evidence that a diet rich in walnuts can help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Mice fed walnuts showed significant improvement in learning skills, memory, and motor development, as well as a reduction in anxiety. The key to the health benefits of walnuts is their high antioxidant content, which reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in brain cells. The research group examined the effects of dietary supplementation on mice with 6 percent or 9 percent walnuts, which are equivalent to 1 ounce and 1.5 ounces per day, respectively, of walnuts in humans.
Abha Chauhan et al., "Dietary Supplementation of Walnuts Improves Memory Deficits and Learning Skills in Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. ", Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, November 04, 2014, © IOS Press BV
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Foods That Promote Satiety

November 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Nutrition writer Linda Milo Ohr has scoured recent scientific research to compile a list of foods and nutrients that ward off hunger pains and keep you feeling full longer. At the top of the list is protein, especially eggs for breakfast, but also protein snacks in the late afternoon to keep unhealthy nighttime snacking under control. Other appetite-curbing foods include: whole grains and fiber; almonds; pulses like dried peas, edible beans, lentils, and chickpeas; saffron; and Korean pine nut oil.
Linda Milo Ohr, "Combating Hunger Pains. ", Food Technology, November 04, 2014, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Potato-Loving Dieters Needn’t Worry

November 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The key finding of a recent U.S. study should be good news for potato lovers on a diet: eating potatoes does not prevent weight loss. In addition, potatoes are a very healthful vegetable. One medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on spud contains just 110 calories, has 620 mg of potassium (more than a banana), provides 45 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol. For the study, 90 people were divided into three groups that ate 5 to 7 servings of potatoes a week as part of a lower calorie/high GI diet, or a lower calorie/low GI diet or an unrestricted diet. After 12 weeks, all three groups had lost weight.
Jody M. Randolph et al., "Potatoes, Glycemic Index, and Weight Loss in Free-Living Individuals: Practical Implications. ", Journal of the American College of Nutrition, November 03, 2014, © Informa UK Limited
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FDA Recalls Of Dietary Supplements Often Fail To Get Dangerous Products Off Shelves

November 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA recalled 274 dietary supplements between January 2009 and December 2012 because they were adulterated with ingredients that had a reasonable possibility of causing serious harm or death. In a new study that focused on 27 (9.9 percent) of the recalled supplements, Harvard Medical School scientists using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry found that two-thirds containing adulterants were still on store shelves an average of 34.3 months (range 8-52 months) after the FDA recall. Supplements still being sold were adulterated in 85 percent of sports enhancement products, 67 percent of weight loss products, and 20 percent (1/5) of sexual enhancement products. Sixty-five percent of U.S.-produced supplements remained adulterated with banned ingredients.
Pieter A. Cohen et al., "Presence of Banned Drugs in Dietary Supplements Following FDA Recalls. ", JAMA, November 03, 2014, © American Medical Association
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Study Links High-Protein Breakfast With Reduced P.M. Food Cravings

October 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers report that eating a high-protein breakfast boosts levels of the brain chemical dopamine that is associated with feelings of reward. Higher levels of the chemical may reduce cravings and overeating later in the day, leading perhaps to a reduced risk of obesity. People experience a dramatic decline in cravings for sweet foods when they eat breakfast, researchers said. But breakfasts high in protein also reduced cravings for savory (high fat) foods. Because dopamine levels are dulled in overweight and obese individuals, it takes much more stimulation (i.e., food) to elicit feelings of reward, thus further contributing to obesity.
Laura C Ortinau et al., "Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. ", Nutrition Journal, October 23, 2014, © Ortinau et al.
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Eating Fatty Fish Improves Response To Antidepressants

October 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Almost half of patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) do not respond to a class of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. But a new Dutch study says that response can be significantly increased when fatty fish is introduced into the diet. For the study, fatty acid and cortisol levels were measured in 70 patients with depression and 51 healthy people. The depressed patients were given various doses of an SSRI daily for six weeks. Further testing of the MDD patients found that those who ate fatty fish at least once a week had a 75 percent chance of responding to antidepressants. Those who never ate fatty fish had only a 23 percent chance of responding.
"Fish intake associated with boost to antidepressant response", News release, research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology congress, October 20, 2014, © European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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Vitamin D Deficiencies Found In Children Who Drink Cow’s Milk Substitutes

October 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian researchers report that each additional cup of a cow’s milk substitute drunk by children is associated with a five percent drop in vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the development and strengthening of children’s bones. In North America, every 3.4 ounces of cow's milk is required to be fortified with 40 units of vitamin D. But lately more families are buying rice milk, almond, soy or goat’s milk – they needn’t be vitamin D fortified -- for their perceived health benefits, or because of milk allergies or lactose intolerance. The study involved 3,821 healthy children ages one to six.
Grace J. Lee et al., "Consumption of non–cow's milk beverages and serum vitamin D levels in early childhood. ", Canadian Medical Association Journal, October 20, 2014, © Canadian Medical Association
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Researchers Urge Development Of Better Way To Process Raw Cow’s Milk

October 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
German and other European researchers have found that fresh cow’s milk – as opposed to ultra-high-temperature (UHT) treated or pasteurized milk -- better protects babies from respiratory infections, febrile illness and inflammation of the middle ear. However, because raw cow’s milk can contain harmful microorganisms, the researchers advocated development of a better treatment technology that preserves the protective ingredients in fresh milk. “If the health hazards of raw milk could be overcome, the public health impact of minimally processed but pathogen-free milk might be enormous,” the authors concluded.
Georg Loss et al., "Consumption of unprocessed cow's milk protects infants from common respiratory infections. ", Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, October 20, 2014, © American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
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The Brain Makes Food Choices Based On Caloric Content

October 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The human brain chooses one food over another because of its caloric content, the higher the better, according to a Canadian study. Researchers based their conclusions on brains scans and other factors of healthy participants who were asked to look at pictures of different foods and then rate them. They also estimated caloric content. Though they weren’t able to accurately guess calories, the foods they said they would like to eat tended to be the highest calorie ones. “We found that brain activity tracked the true caloric content of foods,” the researchers said, noting that understanding why people choose certain foods could help control the factors that lead to obesity.
Deborah W. Tang et al., "Behavioral and Neural Valuation of Foods Is Driven by Implicit Knowledge of Caloric Content", Psychological Science, October 20, 2014, © Association for Psychological Sciences
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Study To Look At Whether Physical Activity Food Labels Will Motivate Smarter Eating

October 14, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers, armed with a $2.33 million NIH grant, will be studying whether “physical activity food labels” can help curb the obesity epidemic. The idea is to put the amount of physical activity necessary to burn off the calories consumed in a particular food. The calorie-burning activity would be based on a 30-minute-a-mile pace, not very athletic or vigorous. The researchers believe that physical activity labels will allow people to appreciate “the trade-offs of high-calorie foods” and get them to make smarter food choices.
, "Researchers to Study Effects of 'Physical Activity Labels'", Athleticbusiness.com, October 14, 2014, © The Durham Herald Co.
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Compound In Fruit Is Food For Creative Thought

October 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch research involving 32 men and women has proven the health value of consuming higher levels of the amino acid tyrosine. Participants were given orange juice that contained either tyrosine or a placebo. Tyrosine increases the production of dopamine in the brain, which increases the ability to think creatively. They were then required to solve various puzzles involving two main aspects of creative thinking: divergent thinking and convergent thinking. The test subjects who drank orange juice with added tyrosine were found to be better at solving puzzles than those who were administered a placebo.
Lorenza S. Colzato et al., "Food for creativity: tyrosine promotes deep thinking. ", Psychological Research, October 12, 2014, © Springer
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Healthful Behaviors – The More The Better – Reduce Bowel Cancer Risk

October 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
It is possible to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by following several healthful lifestyle behaviors, according to German scientists. Colorectal cancer, also called bowel cancer, is the second most common cancer in men, and the third in women, worldwide. Researchers analyzed data on 347,000 people from 10 countries over 12 years. They then constructed what they called a healthy lifestyle index comprising several lifestyle factors: a healthy weight; low abdominal fat; regular physical activity; not smoking and limiting alcohol; a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, yogurt, nuts, seeds, fiber, but low amounts of red and processed meat. The conclusion: the more lifestyle factors followed by people in the study, the lower the incidence of bowel cancer.
Krasimira Aleksandrova et al., "Combined impact of healthy lifestyle factors on colorectal cancer: a large European cohort study. ", BMC Medicine, October 12, 2014, © Aleksandrova et al.
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Study Revives Interest In Grapefruit Juice As Weight Loss Strategy

October 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study in mice fed a high-fat diet has determined that drinking clarified, pulp-free grapefruit juice reduced weight gain by 18 percent, but the researchers were not able to identify what compound in the juice was responsible. The findings revive interest in a fad diet that was purportedly debunked by earlier studies. The researchers gave one group of mice on a high-fat diet a bioactive compound (naringen) in grapefruit juice identified as a key agent in weight loss, and another group a glucose-lowering drug. The high-fat-diet mice that received naringin had lower blood glucose levels than the control group, but there was no effect on weight, suggesting that some other ingredient in grapefruit juice is also beneficial.
Rostislav Chudnovskiy et al., "Consumption of Clarified Grapefruit Juice Ameliorates High-Fat Diet Induced Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain in Mice. ", PLoS ONE, October 12, 2014, © Chudnovskiy et al.
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Snacking Is Big Business Worldwide, And Chocolate Is King

September 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A survey by Nielsen finds that chocolate is universally favored at snack time. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they reached for chocolate to nibble on between meals, followed by fruits (62 percent), vegetables (52 percent), cookies (51 percent) and bread (50 percent). Americans said they preferred salty snacks over other options, though paradoxically the No. 1 health attribute they prefer in their snacks is “less sodium”. Global snack sales reached $374 billion in the year that ended March 2014. Nielsen polled 30,000 people in 60 countries.
Venessa Wong, "What the World Eats When It's Snack Time", Bloomberg Businessweek, September 30, 2014, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Fatty Acids, Nutritional Oils Play A Role In A Healthful Diet

September 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Fatty acids and nutritional oils benefit cognition, weight management, eye and brain development, and even mood, according to an editor of Food Technology magazine. Linda Milo Ohr provides a detailed look at the scientific studies that shed light on the benefits of fatty acids and oils in a healthy diet. Included are: omega-3 fatty acids (brain development, cognition); pinolenic acid from pine nut oil (appetite suppression); flaxseed oil (source of omega-3 fatty acids); fish oil (cardiovascular, neurological health); and coconut oil (energy, skin health, and dental health). Ohr also discusses functional foods and supplements that provide the beneficial oils and fats.
Linda Milo Ohr, "Fats for Fitness", Food Technology, September 29, 2014, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Nutritionist Debunks A Prevailing Misconception: Bread Does Not Make You Fat

September 28, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
An Australian nutritionist says she can find no evidence in large population studies that bread on its own contributes to weight gain. In fact, says Sharon Natoli, studies show that people who eat a lot of whole grain bread – rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and iron – are less likely to be overweight or gain weight over time. Unfortunately, she notes, many women in Australia believe bread does make you fat. A study, sponsored by Bakers Delight bakery, of more than 1,000 women between 25 and 65 found that 43 percent avoid eating bread when trying to lose weight, 20 percent feel guilty when they eat bread, and more than half find the healthy bread category overwhelming and confusing.
Amy Ziniak, "Does bread REALLY make you fat? The answer may surprise you", Daily Mail Australia, September 28, 2014, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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New Non-Caffeine Beverage Relieves Post-Lunch Weariness

September 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A study by Israeli researchers finds that a daily 100 ml dose of a new non-caffeinated beverage called “WakeUp Post Lunch Waker” helps suppress after-lunch fatigue much more effectively than caffeinated drinks. Both the WakeUp drink and caffeine beverages relieved after-lunch fatigue up to a half hour after lunch. But two hours after lunch performance dropped among participants who drank the caffeine drink. Those who drank WakeUp continued to show a significant benefit. A recent U.S. study showed that loss of productive time from fatigue and exhaustion at work cost more than $135 billion.
"WakeUp Drink Offsets “Post-Lunch Dip Syndrome”", Functional Foods, September 23, 2014, © OzScientific Pty Ltd
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SNAP Keeps Low-Income People From Going Hungry, But Dietary Quality Is Low

September 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Compared to families eligible for, but not participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), those in the program tend to eat less nutritious food, a U.S. study finds. In 2013, about 48 million Americans participated in SNAP, once known as the food stamp program, which helps low-income households buy groceries. The study found that SNAP participants had lower dietary quality scores overall than nonparticipating low-income people, and lower scores for fruits and vegetables, seafood and plant proteins. They also consumed more empty calories.
Binh T. Nguyen et al., "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Dietary Quality Among US Adults: Findings From a Nationally Representative Survey. ", Mayo Clinic Proceedings, September 23, 2014, © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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U.K. Agency Issues Guidelines For Losing Weight And Keeping It Off

September 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The U.K.’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued draft guidelines for organizations that are trying to help adults and children reach and maintain a healthy weight. The guidance included a recommendation that TV and other types of screen time be restricted. People should reduce the energy density of their diet by eating fewer fried foods, less confectionery and full-fat cheese. Also suggested: following the principles of a Mediterranean diet by eating more vegetables, fruits, beans and pulses, whole grains, fish, and using olive oil instead of other fats; and eating healthy breakfast foods, such as unsweetened wholegrain cereals or bread and lower-fat milk.
"Watch less TV to prevent obesity, says NICE", NHS Choices, September 23, 2014, © NHS Choices Team
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High-Protein, High-Fiber Diet Lowers Risk Of Hypertension

September 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A high-protein diet equates to a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, especially when combined with greater fiber intake, according to a Boston University study. The researchers monitored the diets and health of healthy individuals for 11 years. Those who ate more protein, from either animals or plants, had significantly lower blood pressure after four years of follow-up. The beneficial effects were found in overweight and normal weight people. Consuming more dietary protein was also associated with lower long-term risks for high blood pressure. A diet that included both high levels of fiber and protein led to 40-60 percent reductions in the incidence of hypertension.
J. R. Buendia et al., "Diets Higher in Protein Predict Lower High Blood Pressure Risk in Framingham Offspring Study Adults. ", American Journal of Hypertension, September 21, 2014, © American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd
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Study Finds Big Increase In Liver Injury Related To Dietary Supplement Use

September 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Herbal and other dietary supplements can be harmful to the liver, especially in middle-aged women, according to new U.S. research. More than half of Americans – mostly women, non-Hispanic whites, people over age 40, the better educated – use herbal and dietary supplements. Liver injury related to non-bodybuilding supplements has risen from seven percent in 2004 to 20 percent in 2013. Death or liver transplantation occurred more frequently (13 percent) from the use of non-bodybuilding supplements than from conventional medications (three percent). The researchers said the key problem is the lack of stringent oversight of herbals and dietary supplements, resulting in greater potential harmful or even deadly consequences.
Victor J. Navarro et al., "Liver injury from herbals and dietary supplements in the U.S. Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network. ", Hepatology, September 17, 2014, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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A Person’s Diet Quality – Not Weight – Is Linked To Onset Of Type 2 Diabetes

September 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Danish study of genetically identical twins -- one heavier, one leaner -- finds that the onset of type 2 diabetes, usually associated with being overweight or obese, actually has more to do with the quality of the diet, not just the number of calories consumed. The twins ate the same fast food (Big Mac) meals, after which their blood and fecal microbiota were analyzed. The circulating metabolites, including those related to type 2 diabetes, were found in both individuals at the same levels, regardless of their weight. The researchers concluded that what people eat – not just the number of calories – may be the most important factor in people’s health.
I. Bondia-Pons et al., "Metabolome and fecal microbiota in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for weight: a Big Mac challenge. ", The FASEB Journal, September 17, 2014, © Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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Low-Cal Sweeteners Are Not As Intensely Sweet As Plain Old Sugar

September 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study comparing the sweetness of non-nutritive sweeteners to sugar found that the sweeteners weren’t necessarily more intensely sweet. Participants in the study said they could detect sweetness at lower concentrations in such sugar substitutes as aspartame, acesulfamek and stevia, but the intensity wasn’t sweeter. The researchers said the  assumption that sweeteners are excessively sweet could be because people confuse potency – the lowest concentration that activates taste receptors – and intensity, which is the magnitude of the taste response. Sugar is actually less potent, but is more intensely sweet.
R G Antenucci et al., "Nonnutritive sweeteners are not supernormal stimuli. ", International Journal of Obesity, September 17, 2014, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Evidence Of Health-Promoting Effects Of Dairy Products Continues To Grow

September 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A study involving 233 metabolically healthy Canadians found an association between higher levels of trans-palmitoleic acid in the blood – an indicator of dairy food consumption – and lower blood pressure in men and women and lower body weight in men. Trans-palmitoleic acid is naturally present in milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and meat fat but cannot be synthesized by the body. The average individual in the study consumed between one and four portions of dairy a day. Nearly half, however, did not meet Canada's Food Guide recommendations of at least two portions of dairy a day.
Marine S. Da Silva et al., "Associations between dairy intake and metabolic risk parameters in a healthy French-Canadian population. ", Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, September 16, 2014, © Canadian Science Publishing
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Addition Of Dairy Products To Diet Improves Health Of Taiwanese

September 16, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Increased consumption of dairy foods among Taiwanese in recent years has led to lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, especially stroke, and had no impact on the risk of cancer, according to a study that followed 4,000 individuals for 20 years. The study was launched in 1993 to see what impact increased dairy intake would have on a predominantly Chinese culture not accustomed to dairy eating. Those who ate no dairy had higher blood pressure, higher body mass index and greater body fatness generally than other groups. Those who included dairy food in their diet only three to seven times a week were more likely to survive than those who ate none, researchers said.
Mark Wahlqvist, "A heart-felt need for dairy food: Small serving beneficial, large not necessary", News release, article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, September 16, 2014, © Monash University
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Foods Enriched With Company’s Protein Ingredient Improve Health Profile Of Elderly

September 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
New Zealand dairy company Fonterra says studies it sponsored show that elderly people can improve their health easily – and avoid frailty – by eating protein-enriched foods. In the two studies, conducted in a hospital and an orthopedic rehab center, patients who consumed yogurt drinks and bread enriched with a Fonterra dairy protein upped their daily intake of protein significantly without drastically changing their eating habits. Fonterra said its protein ingredient ”does not change the sensory profile” of the foods and so is easily incorporated into the diet. After three days in one study, the 22 patients who ate high-protein diets were consuming about 75 grams of protein a day, compared to 58 grams for those on the regular diet.
Mark Astley, "Opportunities in protein-enriched 'everyday food' for the elderly: Fonterra", BakeryAndSnacks.com, September 15, 2014, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Dairy Fat Seems To Protect Against Onset Of Type 2 Diabetes

September 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Swedish researchers report that people who eat a lot of high-fat dairy products are much less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who eat very little. The study looked at dietary and other health data collected from nearly 27,000 men and women aged 45-74 years, with 14 years of follow-up. High intake of high-fat dairy products, including cream and high-fat fermented milk, was associated with a 23 percent lower incidence of type 2 diabetes for the highest consuming 20 percent of participants – eight portions of dairy food a day – compared with the lowest consuming 20 percent, who ate one portion a day. The researchers did not find the same association with low-fat dairy products or animal fats in general.
Ulrika Ericson, "Consumption of high fat dairy products associated with lower risk of developing diabetes", News release, research presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes , September 15, 2014, © European Association for the Study of Diabetes
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Supplement Makers Endorse Efforts To Develop Stricter Standards On Adulterated Ingredients

September 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The umbrella group of trade associations representing dietary supplement makers has endorsed the efforts of a consortium of organizations trying to improve standards related to adulterated herb and botanical ingredients. Adulteration – substitution of a supplement ingredient with an undisclosed cheaper ingredient – presents a major challenge in the supplement industry because it cheats the consumer. The International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA) said the efforts of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program would “help us move forward” to the goal of tighter standards and more trustworthy products. The consortium comprises nonprofit organizations, analytical laboratories, industry members, professional scientists and others.
"IADSA Endorses Botanical Adulterants Program", Natural Products Insider, September 08, 2014, © Informa Exhibitions, LLC.
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Any Weight Loss Diet Can Work, As Long As You Persevere

September 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. meta-study comparing research data on the effectiveness of low-fat and low-carb diets found little weight loss difference. Any diet plan can work as long as people stick to it. The researchers analyzed data from 50 clinical trials involving 7,300 people. All diet routines were superior to no diet at six months. Compared with no diet, low-carb diets had a median difference in weight loss of 19.2 lbs., low-fat diets 17.6 lbs. Weight loss differences between individual diets were minimal. Those on the Atkins diet (low carb) lost 3.8 lbs. more than those on the Zone diet (low fat) at six months, a statistically insignificant difference.
Bradley C. Johnston et al., "Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults. ", JAMA, September 02, 2014, © American Medical Association
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Spinach Extract Suppresses Food Cravings, Boosts Weight Loss

September 2, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A three-month Swedish clinical study involving 38 overweight women found that taking an extract of spinach containing leaf membranes (thylakoids) reduced food cravings and increased weight loss. The control group that took a placebo lost an average of 3.5 kg while the group that was given five grams of thylakoids daily lost 5 kg. The thylakoid group also found that it was easier to stick to three meals a day, and did not experience any cravings. The researchers said taking thylakoids reinforced the body's production of satiety hormones and suppressed food cravings, leading to better appetite control, healthier eating habits and increased weight loss.
Caroline Montelius et al., "Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. ", Appetite, September 02, 2014, © Montelius et al.
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The American Diet Is Improving, But Not By Much

September 1, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
An analysis of diet quality trends from 1999 to 2010 found that Americans increasingly ate more healthful foods, but there is a growing diet disparity between the affluent and disadvantaged. Dietary improvement was mainly due to the reduction in consumption of trans fats. Diet quality scores among people with more income and education were consistently higher than among poorer people, and the gap widened over the 11 years analyzed. The researchers stressed that despite improvement, overall dietary quality remains poor, presenting significant challenges for public policy and nutrition education.
Dong D. Wang et al., "Trends in Dietary Quality Among Adults in the United States, 1999 Through 2010. ", JAMA Internal Medicine, September 01, 2014, © American Medical Association
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