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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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September 01, 2015, to October 01, 2015

Company’s Scientists Find That Its Weight Loss Program Works Well

A study conducted by scientists at weight loss company Medifast found the 4 & 2 & 1 Plan used at Medifast Weight Control Centers was effective for weight loss after 12 weeks. The scientists looked at the records of 310 customers, finding that the average weight loss was 24 pounds. The plan was also effective at preserving lean muscle mass and improving cardiometabolic risk factors. Customers – men, women, and younger and older adults – who stuck with the plan for 24 weeks lost an average of 35 pounds. More than 75 percent of active 12-week customers lost at least five percent body weight and more than 85 percent of 24-week customers lost five percent or more.

Lawsuit Claims GMO Deception By Chipotle

A California class-action suit claims that fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle is deceiving customers by serving foods containing GMO ingredients while claiming to be GMO free. Chipotle announced its GMO-free policy several months ago. The suit says Chipotle’s meat, cheese, and sour cream are made using products from animals fed with GMO soy and corn. It also says Chipotle’s soft drinks contain corn syrup made from GMO corn. A Chipotle spokesman said the lawsuit is without merit and loaded with inaccuracies. Most animals used for food in the U.S. are fed with GMO grains, but that doesn’t make them GMO animals.

Older Men, But Not Women, Benefit From High Intensity Exercise

Danish researchers report that high-intensity training (HIT) benefits older males but not older females. They monitored men and women age 62 and older who participated in an exercise regimen three times a week to see if their maximum muscle oxygen consumption (VO2max) would increase along with their mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) capacity. Each session included five one-minute bursts of HIT activity. The men increased their VO2max and OXPHOS in the muscle and reduced their body fat percentage after six weeks. But no changes were observed in females. The researchers said more study is needed to determine why there was such a big difference in outcomes between the sexes.

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July 15, 2015, to September 01, 2015

Science Does Not Support Old Maxim That People Need Eight Glasses Of Water Day

A pediatrician who has looked closely at the scientific evidence says that dehydration is simply not the common problem, not even remotely the global epidemic, some researchers (and water vendors) keep saying it is. Yet people are constantly being told to drink eight glasses of water a day. The truth is that people are hydrated by almost any liquid they drink – beer, coffee, tea, etc. – and an awful lot of foods they eat, including fruits and vegetables. Says Dr. Aaron E. Carroll: “Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits.”

Dietary Guidelines Need To Be Revised To Stress Protein Consumption

Protein is essential for a healthy diet, but the type of protein eaten is just as important as the amount, according to Canadian researchers who say national nutrition guidelines are outdated and should probably be revised to take that fact into account. Eating a moderate amount of high-quality protein at each meal optimizes muscle protein synthesis and protects muscle mass, and should be a key component, along with physical activity, of any weight loss strategy. Policy makers trying to control the obesity epidemic need to stress adequate high-quality protein along with moderate caloric intake to preserve muscle mass without adding fat mass.

From Alberta, Canada: A Ray Of Hope For Celiac Sufferers

Canadian scientists say they have found a potential solution to the debilitating intolerance to gluten known as celiac disease. They developed antibodies in chicken egg yolks that bind with gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. A Canadian human safety trial has completed successfully, and a clinical trial is being conducted to test its effectiveness on gluten intolerance. The researchers say the product, which is taken in pill form before eating wheat-based foods, could be on the market in two or three years, thanks to an injection of research funding from a British venture capital firm.

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July 01, 2015, to July 15, 2015

To Avoid Muscle Pain While Performing Computer Work, Move Once In Awhile

A Canadian kinesiologist says there are effective ways to prevent the muscular and skeletal pain felt by 10 percent of office workers who overuse certain muscles. In a recent experiment, Julie Côté’s research team had participants perform a 90-minute typing task – either walking on a treadmill or sitting – while muscle activity was measured in their necks, shoulders, forearms, wrists, and lower backs. They found that there was lower, but more variable, neck and shoulder activity – and thus less discomfort – when participants walked. She concluded that treadmill workstations could help reduce muscle pain associated with computer work. But the basic advice is fairly simple: to avoid pain and discomfort, office workers should make minor movements and adjustments of position every few minutes.

Muscadine Grape Seeds: Good Source Of Cholesterol-Cutting Vitamin E

A U.S. study has found that the seeds of the muscadine grape, normally discarded as waste in the production of wine and juice, are rich in a type of vitamin E that seems to help retard fat cell production. Oil from the seed supplies tocotrienol, an unsaturated form of the vitamin, as well as other mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Scientists have known for some time that red palm and rice bran oil are rich in tocotrienol, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol. The researchers said their findings suggest that muscadine grape seed oil might be an even better source of tocotrienol, “Consuming foods made with muscadine grape seed oil" -- e.g., salad dressing -- "could curtail weight gain and reduce obesity,” one of the researchers said.

Australian Researchers Test GM Wheat That Lowers Cholesterol

Scientists at Australia’s national research organization (CSIRO) have discovered a gene in oats that can be inserted in wheat to boost a cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber known as betaglucan. Barley and oats are rich in betaglucan, but wheat is not. The researchers discovered very small differences in the enzyme that makes betaglucan in wheat and oats, but those differences – involving a single amino acid – can change the structure and make it more soluble. They are now growing wheat crops that include the gene that gives oats their cholesterol-lowering qualities. They will test the flour made from the modified wheat to see if the bread is acceptable – and can lower cholesterol.

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June 15, 2015, to July 01, 2015

Effective Weight Loss Tools Include A Scale And A Spreadsheet

A two-year U.S. clinical study finds that regular self-weighing and weight recording – known as the “Caloric Titration Method” or CTM – can be effective in losing weight and keeping it off, especially for men. For the study, 162 participants were told to use whatever dieting method they preferred to lose 10 percent of their body weight, in one percent increments, by one year. Half of the group were required to weigh themselves daily and track their weight. The researchers found that CTM produced “a small but sustainable weight loss in overweight males.” CTM seems to reinforce some behaviors, such as eating less, and strengthens others, such as going for a walk, to maintain body weight.

Research Links Nut Consumption With Lower Mortality Rates

Men and women who snack on nuts or peanuts are significantly less likely to from respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes, according to a Dutch study begun in 1986 involving 120,000 adults aged 55-69. The minimum daily intake of nuts or peanuts should be about 10 grams, or about 0.35 ounces. A standard serving of nuts is about one ounce. Peanuts and tree nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds that, the researchers said, reduced death rates. The protective effect of peanuts did not apply, however, to peanut butter.

Periods Of Fasting, Not Just Overall Calorie Reduction, Are Beneficial To Health

U.S. researchers experimenting with middle-aged mice have determined that cycling through periods of low-calorie diets and regular diets leads to a broad array of health benefits. Control groups were fed the same number of calories monthly as those experiencing the “fast mimicking diet” (FMD), but did not get the same health benefits. The FMD cut caloric intake to 34 to 54 percent of normal for four days at a time, with specific amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and micronutrients. The researchers concluded that the fasting cycles were the key, extending life span, reducing cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammatory diseases, slowing bone mineral density loss and improving the cognitive abilities of older mice.

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June 01, 2015, to June 15, 2015

Vitamin E Is Critical For Repair Of Damaged Muscle

Research in animals conducted in Georgia (U.S.) confirms that vitamin E is crucial to repair of injured muscle, a fact that should cheer body builders as well as sufferers from muscular dystrophy, diabetes-related muscle weakness, and brain trauma from athletics, and military or road injuries. Without vitamin E, the plasma membrane of cells will not heal properly. The plasma membrane keeps a cell from spilling its contents and controls the entry and exit of nutrients, waste, etc. That’s especially important for muscle cells, which are constantly subject to tear. Finding the physiological significance of vitamin E is important, but the researchers cautioned that "the major medical significance here is yet to be uncovered."

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked To Better Cognitive Ability In At-Risk Adults

U.S. researchers who tested the cognitive flexibility of 40 healthy – but Alzheimer’s at-risk – older adults found that those who ate more omega-3 fatty acids had healthier brains. The area of the brain region that contributes to cognitive flexibility (anterior cingulate cortex) was larger in the omega-3 eating adults and they performed better on cognitive flexibility tests. All participants carried the gene variant APOE e4, a biomarker for a higher risk of developing late onset Alzheimer’s. The researchers cautioned that the findings suggest, but do not prove, that eating fish oils enlarges the anterior cingulate cortex and improves cognitive flexibility in older people.

Fasting, Rather Than Frequent Snacking, Can Lead To Weight Gain

A U.S. study in mice finds that limiting eating to one large meal a day, compared to eating several small meals, is more likely to lead to insulin resistance in the liver, prediabetes, and weight gain. The liver doesn’t respond to insulin signals telling it to stop producing glucose; the excess blood glucose tends to be stored in the abdomen as fat. That stored visceral fat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The findings suggest that human dieters should not skip meals to save calories because that causes large fluctuations in insulin and glucose. That in turn results in weight gain, rather than weight loss.

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May 15, 2015, to June 01, 2015

Gluten-Free Diet Is No Panacea

Many misconceptions have been spread in recent years by gluten-free guru authors, and their celebrity devotees, whose anti-gluten rhetoric borders on religious fanaticism. The bombast and nonsense has spawned a billion-dollar gluten-free foods industry almost overnight. A gluten-free diet is certainly important for people diagnosed with celiac disease and serious gluten intolerance. But to claim that avoiding gluten will prevent bloating, Alzheimer’s disease, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism is, as one author calls it, “fear-mongering.” A major misconception is that gluten-free foods are healthier. One nutrition counseling service says sometimes gluten-free foods have more sugar, fat and calories than gluten-containing foods -- to make up for lost taste.

Senior Cognition Improves With Mediterranean Diet Fortified With Olive Oil, Nuts

Adding extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish -- and low in animal fats – improves cognitive performance in older adults, according to a study. But the researchers in Spain cautioned that the findings are preliminary and more research is necessary. The randomized clinical trial included 447 cognitively healthy volunteers who followed a low-fat diet (the control group), a Mediterranean-type diet supplemented with olive oil, or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. After four years, the cognitive functions of the low-fat diet group had declined. But memory improved in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group, and frontal (memory) and global cognition improved in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group.

Calif. Company Launches New Trend In “Detox”: Breakfast Cereals

The “detox” phenomenon began with teas and juices, and has mostly stayed there. But Solana Beach, Calif.-based Earnest Eats has taken detox into the realm of solid foods with breakfast cereals that support digestion, healthy liver function and the body’s own natural detoxification system. Ingredients, besides lots of fiber (six grams per serving), include globe artichoke, green tea, ginger, and dandelion root. The detox, or “reboot,” process requires three steps, and four cereal versions: lemon, maple, and cayenne Spark (step 1); dragonfruit and maqui berry Beam (step 2); turmeric beans and greens Thrive (step 3), and coconut, chocolate, and date Bliss (step 4).

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May 01, 2015, to May 15, 2015

Electronic Salt Spoon Eases Transition To Low-Sodium Diet

A three-month U.S. pilot study has found that individuals and families were able to significantly reduce the amount of salt they ate daily by using an innovation known as the electronic salt spoon that measures the exact amount of salt in foods. It can be used in everyday cooking to detect salt levels and to help adjust food portions to keep sodium intake to recommended amounts. The researchers said that consumers who consume too much salt are often surprised to find that vegetables, processed foods and restaurant meals – not table salt – are the leading sources of sodium in the American diet.

Disinfectant Wipes Are Highly Effective At Reducing Poultry Preparation Risk

U.S. researchers who tested the effectiveness of disinfectant wipes on typical countertop materials after preparation of chicken found they reduced the risk of Campylobacter jejuni infection by up to 99.2 percent. People cooking chicken and other poultry don’t need to ingest Campylobacter bacteria to get sick. That’s why it’s critical to wipe kitchen surfaces clean and wash the hands after poultry preparation. Surfaces tested successfully with the disinfectant wipes included granite, laminate and ceramic tile. The researchers said the wipes would also be effective in reducing food poisoning caused by E.coli, Salmonella, and noroviruses.

Successful Dieting Involves Planning How To Handle Inevitable Negative Feelings

Planning to diet and actually dieting are two very different phases of the weight loss process, and each is guided by unique factors, according to a U.S. study. Planning to diet is a thought process, whereas dieting itself involves feelings. That leads to a disconnect that often dooms the diet to failure. The reaction to deprivation is a feeling, and it’s usually negative. Ignoring food preferences leads to other negative feelings. A key to successful dieting, then, is to plan – not only how to cut calories – but also how to overcome the negative reactions inspired by the diet.

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April 15, 2015, to May 01, 2015

Sugar Relieves Stress, But Amplifies Health Problems

A small U.S. clinical study that tested the impact of beverage sweeteners on the brain found that sugar – but not aspartame – relieves emotional stress. The study involved 19 young adult women whose brain responses were monitored during math tests. Before the tests, women drank beverages sweetened with sugar or aspartame. The response of the hormone cortisol was inhibited in the brains of study participants who drank sugar-sweetened beverages. The sugar actually relieved stress. The problem, researchers said, is that this can lead to increased reliance on sugary drinks and foods at emotionally stressful times, amplifying serious health problems such as obesity.

Eight Nutrients That Can Keep The Aging Brain In Tip-Top Shape

A cognitive specialist has compiled a list of eight nutrients that, according to published studies, protect the brain from the damaging effects of aging. At the top of the list are cocoa flavanols. Research has shown that they not only improve circulation and heart health, they also seem to benefit the dentate gyrus, a part of the brain associated with age-related memory. A mouse study showed that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements result in better object recognition memory, and spatial and localizatory memory that recalls facts and knowledge. Other brain-boosting nutrients and foods included phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid, walnuts, citicoline, choline, magnesium and blueberries.

Maple Syrup Extract Effective At Killing Bacteria When Used With Antibiotics

New Canadian research reports that maple syrup extract seems to boost the effectiveness of antibiotics on dangerous bacteria. The findings are important because overuse of antibiotics is associated with the rise in drug-resistant bacteria, a major global public health problem. The researchers prepared a concentrated extract of maple syrup that comprises mainly phenolic compounds. They tested the extract on infection-causing strains of E. coli, Proteus mirabilis and other bacteria. The extract was somewhat effective by itself, but very effective when combined with antibiotics.

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April 01, 2015, to April 15, 2015

Vitamin K-Rich Leafy Veggies Shown To Protect Against Dementia

A U.S. study that linked vitamin K consumption to slower cognitive decline found that eating foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene could be a simple, affordable way to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Scientists monitored the diets and cognitive abilities of 954 older adults – average 81 years -- for two to ten years. They noted a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline among study participants who consumed greater amounts of green leafy vegetables. Those who ate one to two servings a day had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.

Blueberries May Be An Effective Therapy For PTSD

In a study using animal models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), U.S. researchers have demonstrated that blueberries might be a more effective treatment than antidepressant drugs. The only approved therapy for the condition is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Zoloft and Paxil, but their effectiveness is marginal at best. The main reason seems to be an increase in norepinephrine (NE) when taking SSRIs. But blueberries increase beneficial serotonin without increasing norepinephrine. About eight percent of Americans suffer from PTSD.

Peanuts Protect Blood Vessels When Eating High-Fat Meals

Including peanuts in a high-fat meal protects blood vessels, a small clinical trial has found. Researchers monitored the lipid profile, glucose and insulin levels of 15 overweight men who ate meals with or without peanuts. Vascular function was assessed using flow-mediated dilatation (FMD). The researchers found that the peanut meal maintained normal vascular function while the high fat-matched control meal impaired vascular function acutely. Vascular dysfunction plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis, and the formation of coronary plaques and lesions that lead to coronary artery disease.

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March 15, 2015, to April 01, 2015

New Diet Shown To Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

U.S. researchers who tracked the eating habits of nearly a thousand people over ten years have used the data to develop a new diet that reduces the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet is a sort of mash-up of the Mediterranean and DASH (anti-hypertension) diets, but reduces Alzheimer’s risk significantly more than either one alone. To follow the diet you eat 10 "brain-healthy” food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine; and avoid five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

Zinc Deficiency May Contribute To Chronic Diseases Of Aging

The micronutrient zinc, found in protein-rich foods such as meat and shellfish, is essential in many biological processes, including growth, development, neurological function and immunity. New U.S. research confirms that zinc affects the way the immune system responds to inflammation. The researchers suggest a potential link between zinc deficiency and increased inflammation that can occur with age, primarily because older people eat less zinc-rich foods. The inflammation shows up in chronic diseases of aging, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, there is no easy test for zinc deficiency.

“Traffic Light” Nutritional Labeling Leads To More Healthful Food Buying

German researchers have found that “traffic light” symbols – red, green, yellow – on food labels effectively help shoppers make healthful product choices. For the study, 35 adults (19 women) were shown 100 food products while lying in a brain scanner. Products showed nutritional information in familiar form (numbers, ingredients) or in traffic light format, with green signifying the lowest percentage of fat, salt or sugar. Participants indicated how much they would pay for each product. They were willing to pay significantly more money for the same product when the traffic light label was "green" compared to an information-based label. But if the label was "red," the willingness to pay dropped more compared to the conventional label.
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