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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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March 15, 2017, to April 01, 2017

Retail Food Chain Says All House Brands Are Non-GMO

Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare (Asheville, N.C.) announced that none of its 500 house brand foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to sell only non-GMO foods was made after considering numerous customer requests. Earth Fare’s product line is also free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The chain also tries to incorporate locally produced fruits and vegetable, meat, beer and wine, dairy products, and specialty items.

Older People Who Do Interval Training Rejuvenate At The Cellular Level

Any exercise that raises your heart rate will improve your health, but high intensity interval training (HIIT) is especially good because it rebuilds cell organelles responsible for energy production, U.S. researchers report. HIIT pushes cells to make more proteins for the energy-producing mitochondria – actually reversing cell aging, something that cannot be done using drugs or medicines. Volunteers in the study included 36 men and 36 women: half 18-30 years old and half 65-80. One group did HIIT biking, one did strength training with weights, and one did both. Strength training improved muscle mass in young and older people. But younger volunteers in the HIIT group saw a 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity; older HIIT volunteers saw an impressive 69 percent increase.

Lower-Carb Diet Provides An Effective Way To Manage Diabetes - Study

Diabetics who follow a lower-carb diet will manage their disease more effectively, according to a study that reviewed previous intervention research. The British researchers focused on changes to participants’ glycated hemoglobin levels – a measurement of long-term blood glucose levels – after changing to a lower-carb diet. Glycated hemoglobin dropped when carbs were limited to 120 g a day, and fell the most when limited to 30 g a day. The researchers suggest that the findings warrant new guidelines for diabetes management that promote lower-carb diets.

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March 01, 2017, to March 15, 2017

America’s Need To Boost Fruit Consumption Is An Opportunity For Snack Makers

The attitudes of American consumers toward their snacks are constantly evolving. Fading away are the days when snacks needed only to satisfy a sugar, salt or savory craving. A recent survey showed that 52 percent of respondents not only wanted nutritional benefits from snacks, they wanted health benefits beyond nutrition, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fruits and vegetables. Seventy-six percent of the U.S. population does not eat the recommended amount of fruits each day, a fact that suggests a market opportunity. Snacks can provide the benefits of fruit consumption: natural sugar, fiber, antioxidants, appealing flavors and attractive visuals. They can take advantage of the trends in unique or exotic fruits – for example heirloom apples and coffee fruit, a nutrient-rich byproduct of coffee production.

Study Shows One Formulation Of Curcumin Has Medicinal Potential

Turmeric, the root spice that gives curry its yellow color, has long been used in Chinese and Indian cuisine, and in herbal medicines. Western science has verified that turmeric has antioxidant, anti-cancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. It contains natural polyphenols called curcuminoids, of which curcumin is the main component. Using curcumin as a medicine is problematic, however, because it is not readily absorbed into the intestines, and is quickly metabolized and eliminated from the body as waste. In this clinical study involving 12 people, American and Australian scientists tested four different formulations of curcumin. They found that one – “CW8” – significantly improves absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream, making it a strong candidate for medicinal use.

Parents Bestow BMI Tendencies To Their Children Genetically

A British study has determined that between 35 and 40 percent of a child’s body mass index (BMI) – and as much as 60 percent in a very obese child – is inherited from their mother and father. The study analyzed height and weight data from 100,000 children and their parents in the U.K., U.S., China, Indonesia, Spain and Mexico. The intergenerational transmission of BMI was found to be constant at about 0.2 per parent – i.e., each child’s BMI is on average 20 percent due to the mother and 20 percent due to the father. The results were consistent across all countries, regardless of economic development stage, degree of industrialization, or type of economy. ]

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February 15, 2017, to March 01, 2017

Restaurants React To Demand For Gluten-Free Menus

The demand for gluten-free foods continues to rise in the restaurant sector and, in fact, is spreading to segments like quick-service sandwich and other fast casual eateries. Demand is driven by the increase in the number of people diagnosed with gluten-related disorders. It is expected that gluten-free menu items among U.S. restaurants will double over the next three years to $24 billion, up from $1 billion in 2006 and $11.6 billion in 2015. Also of note: the gluten-free trend has spawned some interesting innovation, for example, the growth of rice and potato flour producers. Smart Flour Foods has used food history to find and produce food sources for gluten-free doughs sing ancient grains, such as teff. 

The Use Of Fiber In Future Foods, Including Beverages, Bakery And Confectionary

Formulators of new foods, especially foods with higher levels of fiber, are facing several hurdles, as shown in a recent survey. First, consumers are fairly ignorant of how to get more fiber into their diets (25 percent), though they know they need more. They associate fiber with whole grains. They often assume that high-fiber foods don’t taste good (10 percent). The president of fiber supplier Beneo says formulators who choose the right fiber can enrich baked goods, dairy, cereals, confections and beverages, without sacrificing taste or texture. Fibers that will be increasingly used in the future include: resistant glucan (RG), hydrogenated resistant glucan (HRG), combinations of seaweed and starch, and chitosan, a polysaccharide derived from the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans.

Cauliflower-Based Pizzas: The Beginning Of The Reign Of Cauliflower In Processed Foods?

A food company tightly focused on boosting the profile of cauliflower has launched a line of ready-to-cook, cauliflower-based frozen pizzas, available now at Whole Foods Market, Amazon.com, and Bristol Farms. According to Caulipower, the pizzas are made with real cauliflower, are nutrient-rich and gluten-free, and contain less sodium and sugar, and fewer calories than conventional pizzas. Cauliflower pizzas are the brainchild of CEO Gail Becker, whose two children were diagnosed with celiac disease. She was frustrated by the poor quality of available gluten-free pizzas. Caulipower pizzas come in four varieties: three-cheese, veggie, margherita and plain crust.

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February 01, 2017, to February 15, 2017

Body’s “Natural Cannabis” System May Be Why Western Diet Leads To Obesity

Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Scientists have long known it was mainly because their Western diet is rich in sugar and fat. Now new U.S. research shows that a Western diet leads to overeating and obesity because of elevated "peripheral endocannabinoid signaling." The endocannabinoid system – a sort of “natural cannabis” consisting of lipid signaling molecules called endocannabinoids – is found in the brain and all peripheral organs. It helps control food intake, energy balance, and reward. Endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors on body cells. The researchers believe that targeting cannabinoid receptors with pharmacological inhibitors could be a safe way to treat overeating and diet-induced obesity, 

Nestle Changes Ingredients, And Marketing, Of An Iconic Beverage

The latest evidence of Nestlé SA’s corporate makeover is a major change in the ingredients of its signature chocolate drink, coupled with a new marketing strategy. Evolving consumer tastes and preferences – away from sugary beverages, for example – have buffeted the company’s sales. It hasn’t met its six-percent annual sales growth target in years. So it is flexing its product research and marketing muscle to change directions for some brands. The company has significantly lowered the sugar content of Nesquik while boosting market share. In addition, the company reduced the size of the Nesquik bunny that appears on packages, and broadened its marketing focus beyond kids to athletes.

Fast-Food Packaging Is Loaded With Harmful Chemicals

A U.S. study that analyzed more than 400 samples of food packaging from 27fast-food restaurants found that much of the paper used was treated with chemicals used in stain-resistant products, firefighting materials, and nonstick cookware. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) were found in hamburger and sandwich wrappers, pastry bags, beverage cups and French fry containers. Fluorinated compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers and 20 percent of paperboard. According to the researchers, PFC and PFAS get in the bloodstream, stay there and accumulate. “There are diseases that correlate to it, so we really don't want this class of chemicals out there," one scientist said.

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January 01, 2017, to February 01, 2017

Functional Dietary Supplement Markets Are Thriving, With One Exception

An analysis of functional dietary supplements found some interesting sales and product trends. Sales of bone and joint supplements to baby boomers and post-menopausal women are expected to hit $9 billion globally this year, even though the numbers on established products like glucosamine and chondroitin are falling. Filling the void are alternative ingredients, including MSM, 5-Loxin, collagen, and plant-derived glucosamine. Except in Western Europe and Asia, where “beauty-from-within” products are on the rise, anti-aging supplements represent mostly an opportunity in the U.S. Sports nutrition has gone mainstream, becoming a $7.4 billion market dominated (72 percent of sales) by protein powder, Probiotic functional foods will be worth $50 billion by 2021, and probiotic dietary supplements are growing even faster and should hit $5 billion by 2021.

Consumer Magazine Assesses Current Food And Drink Trends

Food and nutrition experts at Consumer Reports evaluated food trends and advised on which should become a part of a healthy diet and which can be ignored. A few dark chocolate chips, for example, added to oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast once or twice a week could boost memory and concentration. But consumers should avoid calorie-packed chocolate cake, cookies, and brownies for breakfast. Jackfruit’s texture is similar to shredded meat. As a meat alternative, it is low in sugar but also very low in protein, And the ”pulled-pork” sandwiches made with jackfruit come with sugary sauces. The magazine looked at other food and beverage trends, including: plant waters (maple, artichoke, cactus, and cucumber); riced cauliflower; alternative pastas (chickpeas, lentils, other legumes); savory yogurts; fermented foods, “ugly produce;” purple foods; and power bowls.

Even Guys Are Getting Into Veganism

Food and restaurant industry observers have noticed an upsurge in the number of men eating vegan. For example, the lunch crowd at a Philadelphia eatery that offers vegan alternatives to fast-foods like burgers and chicken sandwiches is mostly guys in suits. Male food bloggers, cookbook authors, and food personalities praise nutritional yeast and beet pepperoni, signaling some kind of culture shift. Lastly, the journal Appetite in 2015 published a study whose participants said they did not associate veganism with low levels of masculinity. Veganism is, in short, becoming a mainstream diet option for all.

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November 15, 2016, to January 01, 2017

More California Counties Create GMO-Free Zones

Counties in California that have enacted “GMO-free” growing zones now total nearly 14,000 square miles out of about 67,000 square miles devoted to farming in the state. The bans on GMO farming in the zones, which are appearing across the U.S. on a county by county basis, are backed by organic dairies, natural food co-ops and heirloom seed companies. The latest ban, opposed by the local farm bureau, came in a ballot measure in the November election in Sonoma County, Calif. The bureau said the measure was vaguely worded and would bar farmers from using any appropriate technology to fight pests and disease.

Kantar Takes A Look At Oral Health Trends In Europe

Europeans tend to rely on daily brushing for their oral health regime, sometimes supplemented with mouthwash and interdental products. Kantar Worldpanel says Spanish consumers have the most diversified approach, using more than one product in 44 percent of occasions, whereas 82 percent of the French only brush their teeth. The main reason for brushing is breath freshening, but the Spanish use it primarily to prevent the build up of tartar and plaque. Whitening is not a major reason for using toothpaste in Europe, despite the proliferation of products claiming that benefit. Interdental products are used mainly to clean between teeth and for healthy gums. Sensitivity is a common problem with teeth that develops with age, linked to over-brushing and acidic drinks. Sustainable packaging is gaining more attention in Europe, with Colgate-Palmolive committing to 100% recyclable packaging. For toothbrushes, manual continues to be favored over electric, and Canadean found that just 10 percent of Europeans use digital tools to as part of the oral hygiene regimen.

Grain Consumption Up Since 1970, But Down Since 2000

According to an analysis of USDA data, Americans these days consume 29 percent more grains (122.1 pounds a year) – mostly breads, pastries and other baked goods – than in 1970. But that’s down from 2000, the year of “peak grain,” when yearly consumption was 137.6 pounds. While corn products are a somewhat bigger part of the average American diet (14 pounds a year, up from 4.9 pounds), wheat is still the country’s staple grain. Other findings from the Pew Research Center analysis: Americans now prefer chicken to beef, eating more than double the amount eaten in 1970, and a third less beef; Americans are drinking 42 percent less milk, but eating three times the cheese; and yogurt has experienced a 1,700 percent increase in consumption, from negligible in 1970 to 1.2 gallons a year.

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November 01, 2016, to November 15, 2016

Nutritious Profile Spurs Growth Of Mushrooms As Healthful Drink Ingredient

Beverages made with mushrooms are becoming a booming market, according to industry watchers. Products include teas, powdered lemonade mixes, broth, and protein shakes. Their growing popularity is mainly due to people searching for alternatives to animal-based nutrition. Mushrooms are fat-free, low in calories, and rich in protein, fiber, and many essential vitamins and minerals. The king of the mushroom market right now is a variety known as reishi (left). Sales of reishi-based foods are up 91 percent for the 52 weeks ending September 4. But sales growth is also impressive for chaga (up 46 percent), cordycep (up 19 percent) and shiitake (up 26 percent).

Supplement Makers Enter New Era Of Transparency, Nutritionally-Rich Ingredients

Consumers increasingly demand not only greater effectiveness from dietary supplements but also greater transparency. Supplement makers, in turn, are benefiting from advances in nutrition science and recent botanical discoveries that make it easier to respond to those demands. Innovations affecting the industry include, for example, whole-food supplements and green powders that support health and wellness, enhance energy or promise vitality. In terms of bioavailability of nutrients, new liposome (fat) “bubbles” make it easy to deliver high levels of nutrients while bypassing destructive gastric juices and liver enzymes. Lastly, forward-thinking supplement makers are paying greater attention to transparency: origin of ingredients, nutrients within them, non-nutritive fillers, and even the brand’s business practices.

New Company Offers Personalized Nutrition Plans

An entrepreneur who was warned by a doctor that he was in dangerously poor health is launching a company that will help customers get back on track with a personalized nutrition plan. The $299 plan includes a blood test – you have to draw your own blood at home and mail it in – then analysis of 60 biomarkers, including amino acids, vitamin levels, blood sugar, and some genetic variants. The genetic information suggests how you may respond to diet. A metabolic rate "challenge" involves drinking a special milkshake and sending in more blood to determine response to fats, carbs and sugars. Lastly, the company provides a 30-minute consultation with a registered dietitian who offers nutrition advice (but not disease diagnosis).

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October 15, 2016, to November 01, 2016

For A Healthier Diet, Eliminate Processed – Not Whole – Grains

People who try to eliminate all grains from their diet – many say it makes them feel better – are missing the point. Grains are in fact an excellent source of nutrients, but only when they are not highly processed. Whole grains retain B vitamins and fiber, minerals like selenium and copper, as well as carbohydrates and varying amounts of protein. Processed grains contain significantly lower amounts of these nutrients. Studies have shown that eating whole grains is associated with lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death from all causes. But diets high in refined grains seem to increase the risk of these health problems.

Antimicrobial Packaging Becoming Major Weapon In Clean-Label Trend

The clean-label movement in the food industry – which is partly a quest to get rid of unsavory chemical preservatives – is driving the growth of the in-pack antimicrobial market, as well as other “active packaging” technologies, according to a U.S. market research firm. The company studied the technologies being used today, and those in development, to meet clean-label shelf-life requirements and fend off specific pathogens. Lux Research looked at 35 systems, including Addmaster’s Biomaster silver ion technology. Linpac Packaging uses the technology in trays for meat, poultry and other protein to protect against various pathogens, but it is especially effective against campylobacter. Other technologies being considered include Wasauro allyl isothiocyanate from Mitsubishi-Kagaku and ethanol vapor generators.

School Systems Abandoning Bake Sales As Fundraising Vehicles

The health and wellness trend is affecting a cherished tradition of the U.S. education system: school fundraisers. More and more school systems are rejecting junk food sales – cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. – and turning to other activities to raise needed cash. Among these are athletic events, including jog-athons and fun runs, to scratch up money needed to support programs ignored by the school system budget. A main reason for the trend is growing concerns about childhood obesity. But it is being driven by the availability of sophisticated social media-based marketing programs that bring in larger amounts of cash and don’t really need the help of parent volunteers.

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October 01, 2016, to October 15, 2016

New Weight Loss Training Technique Shows Significantly Better Results

A study by U.S. researchers as found that treating obesity through improved diet and greater exercise could be more effective if supplemented with an approach called
Acceptance-Based Behavioral Treatment (ABT). The approach trains people to create weight loss goals that link to personal values, like living a long and healthy life; helps dieters accept that losing weight involves discomfort and reduced pleasure (e.g., taking a walk instead of watching TV); and, lastly, teaches people about the “cues” in life that affect eating and exercising. Participants who received ABT along with standard behavioral training (SBT) lost 13.3 percent of their weight at one year, compared to 9.8 percent weight loss among those who received SBT only.

Ancient Grains Significantly Reduce Risk Factors For Heart Disease

Ancient grains have a major advantage over modern grain varieties: because they are not heavily refined, they retain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and contain more vitamins B and E, magnesium, iron and potassium. Confirming these benefits is an Italian study that proves breads made with ancient grains significantly reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The randomized crossover trial involved 45 healthy adults (average age 50) who ate breads made from conventional flour and ancient grains in three separate 8-week sessions. Researchers found that ancient grains breads significantly reduced total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as levels of blood glucose.

Genetic Makeup Can’t Be Blamed For Excess Weight Retention

The carriers of a certain gene associated with an increased risk of obesity do not have a harder time losing their excess weight through diet and exercise, according to a new British study. Carriers of the FTO gene tend to be on average of seven pounds heavier than their peers, and are 70 percent more likely to be obese. However, the researchers found in a review of eight studies involving more than 9,500 people that the gene did not prevent carriers from losing weight if they improved their diet and were more physically active. Said one of the researchers: "You can no longer blame your genes” for retention of excess pounds.

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September 15, 2016, to October 01, 2016

GMO Labeling Continues Though Federal Law Gives Companies Three Years To Comply

Several big food companies are moving forward with their own GMO ingredient labeling initiatives as they await USDA rules implementing the new federal law. Some companies – Campbell, Mars, et al. – acted earlier this year to voluntarily comply with Vermont’s short-lived law (in effect on July 1 but superseded by the July 29 federal law). Campbell’s relabeled products were distributed nationwide, not just to Vermont. Though compliance with the federal law is not required for three years, Dannon has also committed to GMO labeling and to reformulating its product line by 2019 to include “fewer and more natural ingredients that are not synthetic and non-GMO.”

Lawsuit: Use Of Glyphosate Disqualifies General Mills' Use Of The Term “100% Natural”

General Mills is misleading consumers by claiming that its Nature Valery granola bars are “made with 100% natural whole grain oats,” three nonprofit organizations allege in a lawsuit. In fact, the suit charges, the company’s granola bars contain traces of the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup. The suit was filed in Washington, D.C., under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The plaintiffs are asking a jury to find that General Mills’ “natural” claim is unlawfully deceptive and misleading and should be removed from the market. Participants in the suit are Moms Across America, Beyond Pesticides, and Organic Consumers Association with the Richman Law Group.

“Dairy-Free” Tops List of Better-For-You Food Claims

A national health food survey by Earth Balance finds that the top better-for-you food claim is dairy-free. Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents cited dairy-free as their favorite, followed by (at 28 percent) superfoods (e.g., chia, acai and quinoa), alternative snacks (e.g., gluten-free crackers, nut butters and Greek yogurt) and alternative oils (e.g., avocado, coconut and sunflower). Plant-based proteins, such as hemp hearts, lentils and spirulina, came in at 18 percent. Important considerations when shopping were buying local (37 percent), organic (33 percent) and non-GMO (30 percent). Foods most often consumed were green tea (33 percent), dairy alternatives (31 percent), kale (21 percent) and quinoa (16 percent). “Plant-based eating” was also shown to be a major trend.
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