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Period: April 15, 2013 to May 1, 2013
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Up By 22 Percent From Drinking One Sugary Drink A Day

British researchers who analyzed data from nearly 29,000 European participants in a cancer and nutrition study – about 12,000 of whom had type 2 diabetes – found that drinking one 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage a day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent. The risk dropped to 18 percent when total energy intake and body mass index were taken into account. The increased risk of diabetes from sugary drinks in Europe is similar to that found in a meta-analysis of studies conducted mostly in North America that found a 25 percent increased risk. Little or no association with diabetes risk was found among drinkers of artificially sweetened drinks or pure fruit juice and nectar (diluted fruit juice) drinks.

"Consumption of sweet beverages and type 2 diabetes incidence in European adults: results from EPIC-InterAct", Diabetologia, April 24, 2013

Vitamin E Relieves Symptoms Of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

An accidental discovery in mice by researchers at Case Western Reserve University finds that the essential nutrient vitamin E can alleviate symptoms of liver disease brought on by obesity. The researchers were originally studying the effect of vitamin E deficiency on the central nervous system, using liver tissue to practice surgical techniques. They were surprised to find that the mice were in the advanced stages of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and were deficient in vitamin E. Supplementation with vitamin E averted most of the disease symptoms, confirming the relationship between vitamin E deficiency and liver disease.

"Vitamin E Identified as Potential Weapon Against Obesity", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, April 23, 2013

Three Studies Provide Evidence That Tree Nuts Are A Very Healthy Addition To The Diet

Researchers recently presented three studies associating tree nuts with a better nutrient profile, better diet quality, lower body weight, lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, and a decrease in cardiovascular risk factors. Nuts included in the studies were almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. One study involving 803 adults found that eating one ounce (one serving) of tree nuts weekly was associated with a seven percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Another study showed that nut consumption was associated with a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, blood pressure, and coronary heart disease risk.

"New Findings on Tree Nuts and Health Presented", Nutrition Horizon, April 23, 2013

AHA Physicians Say Alternative Therapies Can Help Reduce High Blood Pressure

Alternative approaches to reducing blood pressure could help people, but should not be used to replace the traditional therapies, an expert panel of the American Heart Association concludes. Aerobic exercise, resistance or strength training, and isometric hand grip exercises all could help reduce blood pressure that is higher than normal (120/80 mm Hg), especially among people who do not tolerate or respond well to blood pressure medications. But alternative therapies, which also include biofeedback and transcendental meditation, should not supplant proven methods to lower blood pressure, such as physical activity, managing weight, not smoking or drinking excess alcohol, eating a low sodium balanced diet and taking medications when prescribed, the panel said.

"Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association", Hypertension, April 22, 2013

Sodium Intake On The Rise, Despite Warnings Of Adverse Health Effects

Health authorities and nutritionists worldwide have been getting the word out about the health benefits of lowering salt intake, but is anyone listening? Apparently not, according to a new U.S. study supported by food ingredients supplier Tate & Lyle. Actual intake of sodium is on the rise, increasing by 63 mg/day every two years from 1001 to 2012. The study analyzed data from  national health surveys. The largest contributors of sodium to the diet were grains and grain products, followed by meat, poultry, fish and mixtures, vegetables, and milk and milk products. Tate & Lyle has a partial solution to the problem, it says: a salt product that reduces by sodium content from 25-50 percent in food applications.

"Continued Rise in Sodium Intake in the U.S. Diet over the Last Decade despite Health Officials Call for Reduction", News release, Tate & Lyle, April 22, 2013

Polyphenol-Rich Grapes Reduce Symptoms Of Metabolic Syndrome In Obese Rats

Three months of a grape-enriched diet significantly reduced the inflammatory markers in the liver and abdomens of obese rats and helped reduced damage to the liver and kidneys associated with metabolic syndrome, U.S. researchers report. Inflammation and oxidative stress play a role in cardiovascular disease progression and organ dysfunction in type 2 diabetes, researchers said. “Grape intake impacted both of these components in several tissues which is a very promising finding," they concluded. Natural components known as polyphenols found in grapes polyphenols  probably responsible for these beneficial effects.

"Grape Intake May Protect Against Metabolic Syndrome-Related Organ Damage", News release, University of Michigan research presented at the Experimental Biology conference, April 22, 2013

Mushrooms Exposed To Sunlight Are A Good Source Of Vitamin D

A U.S. study that compared vitamin D levels in 30 adults after ingesting supplements and mushroom powder found no statistical difference among the sources. Vitamin D is necessary  for bone health and muscle strength, reducing the risk of fracture, osteomalacia, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Participants took capsules containing 2,000 IU of vitamin D2 or vitamin D3, or mushroom powder containing vitamin D2. The researchers noted, however, that the powders were made from mushrooms that had been exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light. The researchers also found that mushrooms make vitamin D2 through a process similar to what occurs in human skin after sun exposure. Mushrooms not only produce vitamin D2, but can produce vitamin D3 and vitamin D4.

"Mushrooms Can Provide as Much Vitamin D as Supplements", News release, presentation at the American Society for Biochemistry and Microbiology annual meeting, April 22, 2013

Changing Diet And Exercise Patterns Together Is Best Path To Weight Loss

Losing weight is best accomplished by changing one’s diet and physical activity patterns. But U.S. researchers suggest that for best results the changes should be implemented at the same time. Focusing on changing diet first, they cautioned, could actually hinder the establishment of a consistent exercise routine. If people need to start with one or the other, they suggested starting with exercise first. The researchers worked with 200 mostly sedentary people age 45 and older whose eating habits were not particularly healthy. Some started exercising first, some changed their diet first, etc. The participants who changed their diet first did a good job meeting the dietary goals, but failed to meet their exercise goals.

"Behavioral Impacts of Sequentially versus Simultaneously Delivered Dietary Plus Physical Activity Interventions: the CALM Trial", Annals of Behavioral Medicine, April 21, 2013

More Than Half Of Class 1 Drug Recalls By The FDA Were Dietary Supplements – Study

Of the 465 drugs subject to a Class 1 recall by the FDA between 2004 and 2012, 51 percent were dietary supplements for bodybuilding, weight loss and sexual enhancement, a Canadian study has found. They were recalled because they contained unapproved medicinal ingredients – including steroids – that could cause serious health problems or even death. The most commonly recalled dietary supplement to be recalled were sexual enhancement products (40 percent). According to the researchers, about 65,000 dietary supplements are offered in the U.S. and consumed by more than 150 million Americans. Researchers said better regulation of the supplements should be a priority.

"The Frequency and Characteristics of Dietary Supplement Recalls in the United States", JAMA Internal Medicine, April 18, 2013

Community Gardening Offers Several Benefits, Including Improved Health

Community gardening not only provides a variety of social and nutritional benefits to neighborhoods, it can be good for your health, according to a U.S. study. For the study, researchers compared community gardeners' BMIs (body mass indices) and odds of being overweight or obese with three control groups. Women community gardeners had an average BMI that was 1.84 points lower than their neighbors. That’s an 11 pound difference for a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall. Male gardeners who were 5 feet 10 inches tall had a BMI that was 2.36 points lower – or 16 pounds – than their neighbors.

"Harvesting More Than Vegetables: The Potential Weight Control Benefits of Community Gardening", American Journal of Public Health, April 18, 2013

Social Gaming Combined With Behavior Tracking Inspires More Exercise, Weight Loss

A 10-week U.S. study involving young and middle-aged adults, both sedentary and active, found that keeping an online diary of activities and participating in social gaming helped people exercise more frequently. The game that participants played with partners was designed to inspire wellness through involvement in outdoor activities, researchers said. It featured a virtual character that went snorkeling, played in the park, raked a Zen garden and performed other actions that increased physical activity. Participants experienced decreased body-mass index during the study, a strong wellness indicator. Results were stronger among participants who started with gaming, and the results were sustained after gaming elements were removed.

"Wellness Partners: Design and Evaluation of a Web-Based Physical Activity Diary with Social Gaming Features for Adults", JMIR Research Protocols, April 17, 2013

A High Resting Heart Rate Is Linked To Increased Risk Of Mortality

A long-term study beginning in 1985 that tracked the health of 3,000 men in Denmark looked at health data – including resting heart rate – of the 40 percent who died by study end in 2001. A resting heart rate – the number of heart beats per minute – of between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered normal. Researchers found that a resting heart rate of between 51 and 80 beats per minute was associated with a 40 to 50 percent increased risk of death, while one between 81 and 90 beats per minute doubled the risk, compared with those with the lowest rate. A resting heart rate above 90 beats per minute tripled the risk.

"High heart rate is risk factor for death, not just a sign of poor fitness, study indicates", BMJ, April 15, 2013

Vitamin E Takers Needn’t Worry About Overdosing

There has been some concern over the years that taking too much vitamin E poses significant health risks, but a new U.S. study finds that people cannot overdose on vitamin E because excess amounts are not harmful and at any rate are excreted. The antioxidant vitamin, found in oils, fats and some other foods, is important for proper functioning of organs, nerves and muscles. It is also an anticoagulant that can reduce blood clotting. Some people, especially those on a low-fat diet, consume inadequate dietary levels, take vitamin E supplements.

"Mechanisms for the Prevention of Vitamin E Excess", The Journal of Lipid Research, April 15, 2013

Drugs, Herbal Supplements, Omega-3 Fatty Acids Do Not Prevent Dementia

With as many as 25 percent of people over age 70 experiencing mild cognitive impairment, it is helpful to know whether drugs, herbal products or vitamin supplements prevent the onset of the condition. Turns out they don’t, according to a Canadian review of relevant scientific studies. There just wasn’t any evidence that pharmacologic treatments such as cholinesterase inhibitors, herbal supplements like gingko, vitamins such as vitamin B6 or omega-3 fatty acids, are effective.  The strongest evidence was for the value of mental exercises such as computerized training programs or intensive one-on-one personal cognitive training in memory, reasoning, or speed of processing.

"Preventing cognitive decline in healthy older adults", CMAJ, April 15, 2013

Study Finds That Drinking Beet Juice Once A Day Lowers Blood Pressure

Researchers in the U.K. have found evidence that increasing one’s intake of nitrates from leafy vegetables and beets can lead to improvements in cardiovascular health. The study examined the impact of drinking 8 oz. of beet juice daily on blood pressure. The beet juice contained about 0.2g of dietary nitrate, levels found in a large bowl of lettuce or two beets. Participants with high blood pressure who drank about 8 ounces of beet juice experienced a decrease in blood pressure of about 10 mm Hg over a 24-hour period. The researchers cautioned that the findings are preliminary and don't yet suggest that supplementing the diet with beet juice conveys long-term health benefits.

"Enhanced vasodilator activity of nitrite in hypertension: critical role for erythrocytic xanthine oxidoreductase and translational potential", Hypertension, April 15, 2013

Studies Provide Evidence Of L-carnitine’s Effectiveness After Heart Attack

L-carnitine, a trimethylamine compound found in red meat and other foods, and sold over-the-counter as a dietary supplement, significantly improves cardiac health in patients after a heart attack, according to a review of 13 clinical studies conducted between 1989 and 2007. The findings associate L-carnitine with significant reduction in death from all causes and a highly significant reduction in ventricular arrhythmias and anginal attacks following a heart attack. L-carnitine was associated with a 27 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, a 65 percent reduction in ventricular arrhythmias, and a 40 percent reduction in the development of angina.

"L-Carnitine in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis", Mayo Clinic Proceedings, April 11, 2013


Sprouted Whole Grains May Be The Next Big Food Trend

Though there aren’t a lot of sprouted grain products on the market yet, there is growing interest, according to the Whole Grains Council, and food manufacturers are responding. In what some predict will be one of the next big trends in the food industry, store shelves are gradually being filled with hot and cold sprouted whole-grain cereals, flours, pastas, pizzas, bread sticks and tortilla chips. Also available are nuts, legumes and seeds – technically not grains – that can be sprouted. Why sprouted whole grains? According to one devotee in the Rochester, N.Y., area, “they are sprouted like a vegetable” so “your body digests them like a vegetable” and they are kinder to the digestive system.

"Going with the (sprouted) grains", Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (New York), April 19, 2013

Poll Finds That Americans – Especially Men – Are Suspicious Of The Organic Label

A new Harris Poll finds that Americans may be more concerned about the environment than they were a year ago, but they are reluctant to pay more to improve it, especially in the area of organic food. Fifty-nine percent agree that labeling food or other products as organic is “just an excuse to charge more”. Sixty-three percent of men say that, compared to 54 percent of women. Fifty-five percent think organic food is better for you, though studies have shown it’s no more nutritious than conventional food. Forty-one percent think organic food tastes better or fresher than non-organic. Americans are feeling more positive about the economy, but are suspicious of “greenwashing” by companies exploiting confused eco-conscious consumers.

"Majority of Americans See Organic Label as an Excuse to Charge More", Harris Interactive, April 15, 2013

Thinking Twice About Calcium Supplements

The New York Times, April 08, 2013

Biting back at obesity

World Economic Forum, April 02, 2013

Products & Brands  

Coffee Helps Lower Risk Of Breast Cancer Recurrence, Sweden Study Suggests

Drinking coffee could help lower the risk of breast cancer recurring in patients who are taking the drug Tamoxifen, according to a study at the Lund University in Sweden. Results of the study, which focused on more than 600 breast cancer patients for five years, revealed patients who took the pill and drank two or more cups of coffee daily reported less than 50 percent of the cancer recurrence rate reported by Tamoxifen-taking patients who drank only one cup or less. Researchers are now evaluating the theory that coffee makes Tamoxifen more efficient, according to oncology doctoral student Maria Simonsson. Lund University scientists have previously linked coffee consumption to lower risk of developing certain types of breast cancer.

"Coffee May Help Prevent Breast Cancer Returning, Study Finds", Nutrition Horizon , April 26, 2013

Low-Carb Veggie-Based Breads Can Help With Weight Loss

A former U.K. stock trader has turned from making commissions to making and selling sandwiches – 300 a day – that are not only tasty they are extremely low-calorie and nutritious. The key ingredient? Broccoli. His secret formula for broccoli bread contains mostly broccoli, some oregano and other spices, some dairy products and egg white, and “a few mystery ingredients”.  A food blogger, meanwhile, extols the virtues and versatility of cauliflower when prepared properly with the right flavorings. A trendy example: “cauliflower pizza”. A major benefit of these vegetable-based breads, snacks  and entrees: they are so low in carbs and calories that they can form the nutritious core of a weight-loss diet.

"War on carbs: broccoli and cauliflower are on the offensive", London Evening Standard , April 22, 2013

Research, Studies, Advice  

Phytonutrients in Berries Protect The Brain From Detrimental Effects Of Aging

U.S. researchers studying the effect of berry consumption on brain function in rats found that a berry diet rich in phytonutrients protected the animals’ brains from irradiation, a lab technique for simulating aging. They determined that berries promoted neurochemical changes in the brain, particularly autophagy, which regulates the synthesis, degradation and recycling of cell components. Accumulation of toxins in the brain was thereby significantly reduced. The researchers are now conducting clinical studies in older adults, aged 60 to 75, to see if their findings in rats apply in humans.

"More Evidence Berries Have Health-Promoting Properties", News release, unpublished study conducted at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, April 21, 2013

Researchers Search For Mechanism In Brain That Encourages Snacking To Excess

Can’t stop eating those potato chips once you get started? Blame it on “hedonic hyperphagia,” a scientific term for recreational eating that goes well beyond the need to satisfy hunger. Turns out, hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer from it, though it keeps the snack food and confectionery industries in the black. German scientists who have been studying the phenomenon in rats using magnetic resonance imaging report that the reward and addiction centers in the brain record the most activity when the animals eat chips or chow. But the food intake, sleep, activity and motion areas are stimulated significantly differently when the rats eat potato chips. The next step is to find the ingredient in snacks that stimulates the brain.

"Revealing the scientific secrets of why people can’t stop after eating one potato chip", News release, National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, April 11, 2013

Food-Grade Sorghum Makes A Good Substitute For Wheat In Gluten-Free Breads - Study

A recently published Italian study found no chemical reason why the cereal grain sorghum should not be eaten by people with celiac disease. The researchers said the absence of gliadin-like peptides in sorghum makes it a viable alternative to wheat, rye and barley for people with celiac disease, a severe allergic reaction to gluten. The researchers cautioned, however, that the sorghum used for human consumption should be the food-grade cultivars that they tested. Food-grade sorghum does not contain condensed tannins like regular sorghum used as animal feed that can reduce the digestibility of dietary proteins. Food-grade sorghum is inexpensive and highly nutritional, making it suitable for gluten-free breads.

"Sorghum is celiac-safe: Study", Bakery and Snacks, April 04, 2013

Indian herb may whittle waistlines

Newhope 360, April 26, 2013

New Findings on Tree Nuts and Health Presented

Nutrition Horizon, April 23, 2013

Drinking cup of beetroot juice daily may help lower blood pressure

American Heart Association, Inc., April 15, 2013

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