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Health & Wellness Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:151

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December 15, 2017, to January 15, 2018

New Wheat Variety Is Rich In Healthful Resistant Starch

Australian scientists have developed a high-amylose wheat variety that contains more than ten times the amount of resistant starch compared to regular wheat. Farmers in Minnesota and Washington have become the first to harvest the wheat, whose amylose content is 85 percent rather than the normal 20 to 30 percent, for processing into flour. U.S.-based Bay State Milling Company is bringing the new wheat into the U.S. market under the brand name HealthSense high fiber wheat flour. It will be incorporated into a range of food products, including bread. Resistant starch improves digestive health, protects against the genetic damage that precedes bowel cancer, and helps combat Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, it is missing from the diets of millions of people globally.. 

Arca Unit Acquires Clean Label Snack Maker Deep River

One of Coca-Cola’s largest Latin American bottlers and the owner of Wise Snacks has acquired Connecticut-based Deep River Snacks, a clean label, “better-for-you” food company. Fifteen-year-old Deep River, whose annual sales are about $45 million a year, produces “clean and conscientious,” non-GMO snacks for the U.S. market. The company also donates a significant share of its profits to charitable organizations annually. The acquisition will give Deep River access to Arca Continental’s strong distribution network, and will allow the company to invest more heavily in innovation. Arca is Coke’s second largest bottler in Latin America..

Gold Medal, Pillsbury Baking Products Reformulated Without Artificial Colors, Flavors

General Mills’ Gold Medal and Pillsbury baking mixes and frozen baked goods will no longer be formulated with artificial flavors or colors “from artificial sources.” The revamped line of products includes bread, biscuit, brownie, cake and muffin mixes, and frozen cinnamon rolls, muffins, and scones. According to the company, the products were reformulated to help bakeries, restaurants, and food service operations better meet the needs of customers with food intolerances or allergies, or who are following avoidance diets. Revamped Gold Medal muffin, brownie, and cake mixes will be available in June 2018. The new Gold Medal products will also have redesigned packaging with updated graphics, photography, and easier-to-read instructions..

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September 15, 2017, to December 15, 2017

Cinnamon Compound May Provide Therapy For Obesity

Exposing fat-derived human stem cells to a cinnamon compound results in thermogenesis (heat production) and metabolic remodeling that could reduce obesity, according to research by Chinese and U.S. scientists. Cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and scent, is known to protect against obesity and hypoglycemia in mice, so the researchers wanted to test its impact on human cells. They observed that cinnamaldehyde consistently activated thermogenesis in the human tissue in vitro, making it a “promising therapeutic target for obesity.” 

Abbott Labs Develops A Way To Make Curcumin Useful As Dietary Supplement

Though the yellow compound curcumin found in turmeric has been shown to have health benefits, especially in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis applications, it is not bioavailable because it is insoluble in water. To solve that problem, Abbott Laboratories developed a curcuminoid formulation that uses phosphatides and dextrins to improve oral bioavailability. The company’s global patent application says the chemicals can be used in food-grade applications because they have been approved by regulatory agencies, a stumbling block for other attempted remedies. The patent application said that its blend of curcuminoids, dextrins, and phosphatides “significantly increased” the aqueous solubility of the curcuminoid. 

Study Claims Sugar Lobby Suppressed Negative Findings On Sugar’s Health Impact

After years of believing that foods containing fat were the major cause of a raft of health problems, scientists and consumers now know that sugar is the real culprit. But the decades-old misperception was not an accident. It was fostered by the sugar industry, which suppressed research as long as 50 years ago that would have rung the alarm bell. A new study reveals that the Sugar Association buried its own scientific findings on the harmful effects of table sugar on rodents in the 1960s. Two studies, known as Project 259, funded by the sugar lobby proved that sugar-eating mice were at greater risk for strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease. The Sugar Association never published the results, but claims now that the reasons were circumstantial.

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August 15, 2017, to September 15, 2017

Commercial Success Expected In U.S. For Reformulated Weight Loss Supplement

A new dosage version of an herbal weight loss supplement is now on sale in the U.S. Weighlevel is a blend of extracts from the leaves of Lady’s Mantle, olives, mint, and cumin, plus a fiber developed by a Japanese company. Two clinical studies have been conducted in Denmark on the extended release formulation; the first will be submitted for publication this fall. The supplement, developed by a Danish company and researchers at the University of Copenhagen, is taken once daily instead of the three times recommended in an earlier fiber-less version. The once-a-day formulation could make the supplement commercially viable in North America. 

Baby Foods Company Hopes To Succeed With Freeze-Dried Products

Amara Organic Foods is betting that parents will switch to their freeze-dried baby foods when they realize that freeze-drying preserves nutrients in fruits and vegetables just as well as high-pressure processing (HPP) but is a much cheaper process. The company’s products cost less, have a long shelf life, and contain no additives or preservatives. The company acknowledges that the HPP companies did the heavy lifting in getting parents to switch from baby foods in heat-treated jars and pouches. Amara’s products are available in natural food stores in California, Nevada, and Utah, and will roll out nationwide in 2018.

Studies Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Eating Red Raspberries

Eight studies, both preclinical research and human clinical trials, that described the potential of raspberries to boost satiety, control blood sugar, and moderate inflammation, were presented earlier this year at the Experimental Biology conference. Clinical trial participants experienced improvement in glucose control and increased satiety while eating raspberries. Animal subjects in longer-term preclinical studies showed promising effects on the gut microbiota after red raspberry intake. Observations from animal and in vitro studies suggested that future red raspberry research might explore potential good effects on inflammation, obesity, and type 2 diabetes risk.

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July 15, 2017, to August 15, 2017

FDA Allows Heart Health Claim For Soybean Oil

The FDA has approved a soybean producer’s health claim that soybean oil consumption cuts the risk of heart disease. According to industry analyst Hartman Group, heart health leads the list of health concerns among American consumers. Bunge, the world’s largest producer of soybean oil, said its FDA filing included summaries of clinical studies showing the potential benefits of soybean oil to heart health. Those benefits are based on soybean oil’s positive effect on cholesterol levels and its high concentration of polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids versus other oils and fats. The FDA decision means companies can now claim that soybean oil as an ingredient replacing saturated fat may reduce heart disease risk and lower LDL-cholesterol.

Direct-To-Consumer Distribution Of Vitamins: The Future Is Now

National Business Journal (NBJ) says vitamin supplement producers have embraced the trend toward direct-to-consumer distribution, now the largest sales channel for multivitamins. Use of vending machines and other novel modes of multivitamin delivery – could drone delivery be far off? – are gaining legitimacy. According to NBJ, new delivery technologies and formats could finally convince the federal government to allow multivitamins as a permitted purchase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). At any rate, NBJ expects vitamin sales to surpass $15 billion by 2021, led by multivitamins.

Commercial Compound Boosts Effects Of Caffeine Without Bad Consequences

Love coffee but hate caffeine jitters? A new study finds that the compound theacrine, found in varieties of tea leaves and coffee, offers some relief. The study looked at the effects of ingesting a commercial, nature-identical version known as TeaCrine, finding that co-administering caffeine with TeaCrine increases its concentration in the blood (bioavailability). It seems to enhance mental clarity, focus, and energy without the caffeine crash. The study was partially funded by Compound Solutions, maker of TeaCrine.

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June 15, 2017, to July 15, 2017

Customized Dietary Supplements, Thanks To 3D Printing Technology

A company funded by the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund has figured out a way to use 3D printing technology to mix several ingredients and print customized dietary supplements. An example of the ingredient combinations – and one of the more popular among its test customers – is vitamin D, omega-3 and caffeine. The caffeine is released later in the day, “something a mass-produced pill cannot do,” one of the researchers said. The 3D technology permits small batches, which in turn permits personalization of a customer’s order after a dietary nutrient analysis. Other FDA-approved ingredients that the Multiply Labs technology can mix include calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and folic acid.

Study Warns That Too Much Vitamin D Can Be Harmful

Vitamin D supplements are beneficial for bone health, but a new study that analyzed data on more than 39,000 adults finds that Americans may be overdoing it. The number of U.S. adults taking daily vitamin D supplements between 1999 and 2014 increased by more than 17 percent, with three percent of the population exceeding the recommended upper dosage limit. Too much vitamin D poses a risk of adverse effects, including abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood and soft tissue, leading to vascular calcification. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU/d for adults 70 years or younger and 800 IU/d for those older than 70 years.

Olive Oil Protects Memory, Learning Ability

U.S. and Italian researchers have determined in an animal study that extra virgin olive oil, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Olive oil reduces brain inflammation but most importantly activates a process known as autophagy, the process by which cells break down and clear out intracellular debris and toxins. The researchers now plan to see whether olive oil added to the diet after the onset of brain disease will stop or reverse it.

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June 01, 2017, to June 15, 2017

Low-Fat Dairy Products Linked To Higher Risk Of Parkinson’s

U.S. researchers who analyzed 25 years of diet and health data on nearly 130,000 men and women found that three servings of low-fat dairy products a day were linked with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. No such association was found with whole milk or other full-fat dairy products. People who consumed at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day had a 34 percent greater chance of developing Parkinson's than people who consumed less than one serving a day. Consuming more than one serving of skim and low-fat a day was associated with a 39 percent greater chance of developing Parkinson's. The researchers acknowledged that early Parkinson's symptoms may have affected the dietary behaviors and questionnaire responses of study participants.

Vitamin K: Not Just Found In Leafy Greens

USDA nutrition researchers have shown that the relatively obscure vitamin K, once thought to exist only in leafy green vegetables, is also present in significant amounts in dairy products containing fat, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. Vitamin K, which helps the blood to clot, is found in two natural forms: phylloquinone, which is plant-based, and menaquinones, found in animal products and fermented foods, and produced by bacteria in the human gut. The researchers say more research is needed to determine the role of microbes used in production of dairy products, and their impact on menaquinone content. There is also a need to determine the bioavailability of all menaquinone forms, considering their abundance in the U.S. diet.

Zinc Could Provide A Simple Way To Prevent Liver Disease

Australian researchers have determined that adequate levels of zinc in the blood inhibit the inflammatory and antiviral effects of a protein associated with tissue damage caused by chronic liver disease, including infections like hepatitis C and influenza. Without adequate zinc in the bloodstream, the protein IFN-λ3 binds to the interferon lambda receptor, which results in decreased antiviral activity and increased viral replication. Zinc also blocks the inflammatory activity of IFN-λ3, which has been strongly linked to liver cirrhosis in viral and non-viral liver disease. The researchers said their findings support the use of zinc as a simple, effective preventative measure against acute and chronic inflammation in the liver.

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May 15, 2017, to June 01, 2017

Opportunities For Confectioners In Asia’s Functional Candy Market

Concerns about health among Chinese consumers have both helped and hindered the country’s confectionery industry, according to Mintel data. On the one hand, there is growing anxiety that the Chinese diet contains far too much sugar. This is reflected in a decline in volume candy sales beginning in 2015, a trend not helped by a general economic slowdown. However, Chinese consumers are buying more functional candy, for example throat-soothing or vitamin C candies. This presents a product development and marketing opportunity for confectionery firms, especially those that analyze the demands of demographic segments in Asian countries. One functional ingredient in candy is collagen, an anti-aging protein. Another is iron, already available in candy in Japan and Taiwan. Associated with good health and energy, iron is beneficial for skin complexions, and often taken to prevent anemia. ]

Study Adds To Evidence Of Health Benefits Of Vegetable-Rich Diet

Spanish scientists who analyzed long-term questionnaire data from more than 16,000 study participants found that those following a vegetarian style diet reduced their risk of obesity by half compared to those whose diet was rich in meat and animal fat. The researchers concluded that a “pro-vegetarian” diet tends to shield its adherents from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The researchers acknowledged, however, that their study was observational and, while it supports current recommendations regarding plant-based diets, does not confirm a cause-and-effect relationship.

Companies Develop Plant Steroid Dietary Supplement Applications

Several companies have collaborated to introduce food and dietary supplement ingredients applications based on a plant sterol ester that has been approved by the EU (EFSA) for use by European food companies. BASF health unit Newtrition partnered with Aenova and Kappa to develop the Vegapure brand of plant sterol ingredient, made with phytosterols known to reduce high cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The ingredient is available in several forms, including capsules, sachets and shots.

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May 01, 2017, to May 15, 2017

Osteoporosis Risk Drops When People Eat More Yogurt

A large study – 3,881 women, 2,053 men – by researchers at Trinity College Dublin has determined that people who eat more yogurt tend to have denser hip bones and thus a reduced risk of osteoporosis, a chronic condition leading to weaker bones and more bone fractures. The researchers looked at a wide array of possible risk factors, including BMI, kidney function, physical activity, servings of milk or cheese, calcium or vitamin D supplements, smoking, inactivity, and alcohol use. After adjusting for these, they found that a unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 39 percent lower risk of osteoporosis, and a 52 percent lower risk in men. Vitamin D supplements also helped reduce osteoporosis risk.

Compounds Left In Gut After Wine Digestion Protect Neuronal Cells

Scientists have known for years that drinking wine in moderation seems to delay the onset of brain disorders and cognitive impairment associated with aging. A multinational research team investigating the phenomenon has come up with some tentative insights into why this happens. They didn’t examine the wine itself, but took a close look at the compounds – they’re called wine-derived human gut metabolites – that remain after the wine exits the stomach and enters the gut. Wine metabolites with the right composition were found to protect neuronal cells from stress, but only if the composition of the gut microbiota (i.e., probiotic profile) was just right.

Scientists Find Significant Link Between Vitamin D, Exercise, And Heart Health

A new U.S. study examining the relationship between exercise and adequate vitamin D levels shows that exercise not only boosts vitamin D in the body, the two together seem to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke more than either one alone. The researchers, who studied data collected from American adults for more than 20 years, were careful to say the findings do not show a cause-effect relationship, only a significant link. Long-term clinical trials are needed to determine a cause-effect relationship, they said. However, the researchers also said there was enough evidence to warrant suggesting that people need to “move more in the name of heart health,” get a few minutes a day of sunlight, and eat a well-balanced meal that includes oily fish and vitamin D-fortified foods like cereal and milk.

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April 15, 2017, to May 01, 2017

Europe’s Baby Food Makers Are Tuned Into The Market’s Evolving Preferences

Because European parents of young children – babies and toddlers – are eager to feed their kids without fuss, the baby food they choose, and try themselves, has to taste good. Two-thirds of parents in Italy, Spain and Poland regularly taste baby food before feeding it to their kids, according to Mintel. A growing number of parents also make sure the products they buy are free of additives, preservatives, and excessive sugar. Manufacturers of baby foods marketed in Europe are in tune with their customers: more than half of new products (excluding milk and formula) launched in Europe last year claimed no additives or preservatives; 45 percent claimed no, low, or reduced sugar. That’s up from about 32 percent a year before.

Beetroot Juice + Exercise = Much Younger Brain

A small clinical study in 26 older sedentary adults with high blood pressure found that drinking beetroot juice before exercising turned the clock back on brain activity. The U.S. experiment tested the combined effects of exercise and beetroot juice on functional brain networks in the motor cortex, as well as on secondary connections between the motor cortex and the insula, which support mobility. Three times a week for six weeks, they drank either a nitrate-rich or nitrate-poor beetroot juice supplement and walked 50 minutes on a treadmill. The nitrate-rich beetroot juice group had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite than the placebo group after exercise and had much more oxygen in the brain. In fact, their brain activity resembled that of much younger adults.

Stair-Walking Provides A Quick Pick-Me-Up When Fatigued

Ten minutes of walking up and down stairs can be more energizing than ingesting a can of soda containing 50 mg of caffeine, according to U.S. scientists who compared the metabolic effects of both activities. Several self-described “sleep-deprived” female college students were divided into groups and given various tests to determine how they felt and how they performed on cognitive tasks. They then either ingested capsules containing caffeine or a placebo, or spent 10 minutes walking up and down stairs. Stair walking was associated with a small increase in motivation for work and may be a beneficial aternative to other forms of exercise when time is at a premium.

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April 01, 2017, to April 15, 2017

Conagra Recalls Hunt’s Chili Kits After FDA Finds Salmonella Bacteria

Conagra Brands has recalled Hunt’s Chili Kits because the FDA claimed the chili powder was tainted with salmonella. Conagra said the kits they had examined had no traces of the dangerous bacteria, but they implemented the recall “out of an abundance of caution.” The recall affects retail and online stores, as well as military commissaries. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that develop 12 to 72 hours after infection. The symptoms subside after a weak though there is a risk of dehydration.

General Mills’ Hothouse Venture Unit Adds Another Partner

General Mills’ venture capital unit 301 INC has invested in start-up “lifestyle” breakfast food company Purely Elizabeth. The eighth company 301 INC has partnered with, Purely Elizabeth has positioned itself as a natural, nutrient-dense granola company. It has experienced rapid success since founder and CEO Elizabeth Stein, a former nutrition counselor, began eight years ago making her own granola from ancient grains and superfood seeds, selling it to clients, friends and family. 301 INC’s portfolio of start-ups includes, besides Purely Elizabeth, Beyond Meat, Rhythm Superfoods, Kite Hill, Good Culture, Tio Gazpacho, D’s Naturals, and Farmhouse Culture.

New Bubbly Beverage Takes Soft Drinks Industry By Storm

Carbonated beverage lovers in the U.S. have jumped on the bandwagon of an industry phenomenon known as Sparkling Ice, and in the process are redefining America’s drinks business. This development should dismay traditional soda makers because the brand is attacking the very foundation of their product offerings, and it’s succeeding. Sold in elongated plastic bottles in a variety of lively colors and flavors, Sparkling Ice, backed by a $37 million marketing campaign, is nearing a billion dollars in annual sales. It offers a serious alternative to Coca-Cola and Pepsi: a healthier fizzy drink – no sugar, just sucralose – in multiple flavors that is also a substitute for flat water. “It’s a perfect storm of timing for us,” says chief marketing officer Brian Kuz.
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