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FDA Menu Labeling Rules Take Effect, But Restaurants Should Do More

May 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The FDA’s new menu labeling requirements, which went into effect on May 7, apply to restaurant chains with 20 or more locations. They must disclose the number of calories contained in standard menu items, and provide nutrition information, including total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc. A Virginia Tech food and nutrition policy expert called the FDA’s rules “an important first step.” But the restaurant industry, which has contributed to “poor diet quality, obesity and related chronic diseases," should voluntarily implement strategies to promote healthy foods and beverages. Specifically, the industry should improve the nutritional profiles of products to reduce calories, sodium and fat; and standardize and limit portion sizes to 600 calories for kids' meals and 700 calories for adult meals.

"Mandatory National Menu Labeling Underway. While It Is A Good Start, Restaurants Could Voluntarily Do Much More, According To Virginia Tech Expert", Virginia Tech, May 07, 2018, © Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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Scary Food Warning Labels Not The Answer To Obesity Problem

April 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is warning readers that the scary food labeling policy in Chile could happen in the U.S., thanks to possible revisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Because of a growing obesity problem, Chile requires food companies to label high-calorie or high-fat treats with black stop-sign-shaped warning labels. As part of the NAFTA negotiations, officials are discussing similar warning labels, though the Trump administration is opposed to them on American foods. The Trib editors, while acknowledging the obesity crisis, argue that food labels shouldn’t be a part of trade negotiations in the first place, and “scare tactics like warning labels are a huge Super-Nanny-State overreach.” They also argue that obesity is not caused by eating fatty or sugary foods. “It is caused by people eating too much of those foods.”

"Scare us thin? NAFTA doesn’t hafta", Chicago Tribune, April 26, 2018, © Chicago Tribune
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Multiple Interwoven Trends Combine To Pummel Carbonated Soda Sales

April 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Despite 90 percent market penetration in the U.S., the mature carbonated soft drink (CSD) industry needs to innovate to reverse 13 years of declining sales volumes, according to analysts who advise suppliers to combat adverse trends by offering more healthful options, varied flavors, and other benefits. Innovation in these areas must involve effective marketing to Generation Z and Millennials, and to increasingly diverse ethnic populations. Factors contributing to stagnated CSD value sales have included the rise of the health-and-wellness movement, the declining effectiveness of value-adding strategies, and increased competition. Health-conscious consumers are spurning sugary CSDs and artificially-sweetened diet CSDs – about 20 percent of consumers have trimmed soda intake. Mintel says the number and range of competitive beverages, many claiming to offer health benefits, is “a prime challenge to the CSD market.”
"2018 Soft Drink Report: Carbonated soft drink manufacturers adapt to formulation, engagement trends", Beverage Industry, April 11, 2018, © BNP Media
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Proposed U.S. Nutrition Guidelines Draw Wide Range Of Comments

March 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Groups with vested interests in the U.S. government’s forthcoming 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have weighed in with their comments on the proposals to the USDA and Dept. of Health and Human Services. Needless to say, the comments differed widely, covering environmental concerns, social policies, whole fruit versus juice, the science of saturated fat, the benefits of a plant-based diet, etc. The U.S. Cattleman’s Association, for example, urged the agencies to emphasize that “red meat is an essential part of a healthy whole food diet.” But the Food Law and Policy Clinic of Harvard Law School advised that the guidelines take into account the relationship between red and processed meat consumption and cardiovascular disease, risk of cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. [Image Credit: © Health.govs]
Elaine Watson, "Stakeholders square up for battle over scope of 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans", Food Navigator USA, March 31, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Detoxwater Adds Kiwi Flavor To Its Line Of Aloe-Infused Waters

March 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Detoxwater has added its sixth flavor, Cryptokiwi – the formula is based on kiwi fruit and cucumber – to its family of RTD beverages made with vitamins, electrolytes, and aloe vera. The company says the new flavor was inspired by “longtime supporter, ambassador, and investor” Mason Plumlee of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, who says he is “obsessed with Detoxwater.” The company doubled sales in the past year while expanding distribution 300 percent. The brand is available at Kroger, Ralph's, King Soopers, Wegmans, H-E-B, ShopRite and Tops, among others.
"Detoxwater Launches Cryptokiwi", News release, Detoxwater, March 01, 2018, © Detoxwater
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New Choline Gummie Supplements Meet An Important Need In Young Children

February 7, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Research over the years has shown that the brains of infants and young children are healthier when their moms supplement their pregnancy diets with larger doses of the vitamin-like essential nutrient choline. But choline – found in beef liver and eggs and in supplements – is also essential as children grow, though it can be difficult to get kids to ingest adequate amounts. An entrepreneur is trying to solve that problem with the launch of a gummie supplement that makes that task easier. Sarah Kline, founder of Austin, Texas-based BestCholine, begins shipping her choline supplement this month in 500mg capsules, the amount recommended by the American Medical Association. Her marketing challenge is twofold: spreading the word about her product while educating parents about the need for adequate amounts of choline in developing brains.. [Image Credit: © BestCholine ]

Adi Menayang, "Kids Need Choline Too: Supplement Start-Up BestCholine Launches Choline Gummies", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, February 07, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Spain Joins With Food Companies To Make Foods More Healthful

February 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

In a comprehensive initiative to make the country’s foods and beverages more healthful, the Spanish health ministry is working with food manufacturers, foodservice companies, and vending machine firms to cut levels of salt, sugar, and fat in more than 3,500 products within two years. The Spanish health minister called the move “a pioneering plan to improve the composition of food, promote the health of Spaniards and prevent chronic diseases.” [Image Credit: © CasualSpain.com ]

"Spain to Reduce Sugar, Salt and Fat Levels in 3,500 Products", FoodBev, February 06, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Will California Judge Rule That Coffee Can Cause Cancer?

January 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Cancer warnings have multiplied in California since 1986, when the Toxic Enforcement Act took effect. Its purpose was to keep unsafe chemicals out of the water supply and warn of dangerous ingredients elsewhere. A state judge will rule soon on whether the law applies to coffee, which contains the flavorless chemical acrylamide, produced during roasting. Acrylamide is on a list of carcinogens that also cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Businesses must warn of its presence. The coffee case was filed in 2010 by the nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics, which sued dozens of coffee sellers and manufacturers, including Starbucks and Keurig Green Mountain. The defendants argue, however, that coffee contains only harmless trace amounts of acrylamide whose presence is outweighed by the health benefits of the drink.

Sara Randazzo, "In California, Where Cancer Warnings Abound, Coffee Is Next in Line", The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2018, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Oral Care Is Concept Behind New Natural Tea Drinks From DoseBiome

January 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian start-up DoseBiome has launched natural oral-care tea drinks that “restore the mouth in between brushing,” according to founder Ted Jin. Qii (pronounced chee) is based on oral microbiome research whose goal is to develop products that give people healthier smiles. It is formulated with a xylitol-based ingredient that reduces harmful bacteria in the mouth, such as S. mutans and P. gingivalis, by up to 80 percent. Qīī is available in Lemongrass Ginger Green Tea and Classic Oolong Tea flavors.
"Qii Redefines the Oral Health Industry With Launch of Proprietary Tea Drinks", News release, DoseBiome, January 09, 2018, © DoseBiome
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New Wheat Variety Is Rich In Healthful Resistant Starch

December 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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..  [Image Credit: © Bay State Milling ]
"CSIRO New Type of Wheat Could Transform Daily Fiber Intake", News release, CSIRO, December 13, 2017, © CSIRO
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Arca Unit Acquires Clean Label Snack Maker Deep River

December 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.. [Image Credit: © Deep River Snacks ]
Gill Hyslop, "Wise Snacks Boosts GMO-Free and BFY Snacks Portfolio with Deep River Acquisition", BakeryAndSnacks.com, December 06, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Abbott Labs Develops A Way To Make Curcumin Useful As Dietary Supplement

November 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. 
Kacey Culliney, "Abbott Labs Develops ‘Better Bioavailability’ Curcuminoid Blend", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, November 30, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Cinnamon Compound May Provide Therapy For Obesity

November 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.” 
Adi Menayang, "Cinnamon May Have Anti-Obesity Benefits", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, November 30, 2017, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Gold Medal, Pillsbury Baking Products Reformulated Without Artificial Colors, Flavors

November 29, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.. [Image Credit: © Pillsbury ]
Rebekah Schouten, "General Mills Launches Clean Label Baking Products", BakingBusiness.com, November 29, 2017, © SOSLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY
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Study Claims Sugar Lobby Suppressed Negative Findings On Sugar’s Health Impact

November 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © National Health Service/UK ]
Hilary Brueck, "Big Sugar Buried These Concerning Health Studies 50 Years Ago", ScienceAlert, November 22, 2017, © ScienceAlert Pty Ltd.
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Restaurants Can’t Ignore Customers Looking To Avoid Certain Foods

November 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Big restaurant chains are swerving from their standardized approach to foods and beverages to better serve customers trying to avoid gluten and dairy. Customers with food intolerances or allergies, or who are following avoidance diets, have become a market simply too large to ignore. Starbucks, for example, now sells a hot chocolate drink made with steamed almond milk. California Pizza Kitchen offers a gluten-free cauliflower crust for those who don’t eat wheat-based foods. Industry research has found that lactose comes in third, after high fructose corn syrup and GMOs, as America’s most-avoided ingredients. Gluten and wheat came in at No. 7. [Image Credit: © Starbucks ]
Zlati Meyer, "Starbucks, Other Chains Cater to Customers Who Avoid Dairy, Gluten", USA Today, November 21, 2017, © USA Today
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Calif. Dairy Industry Says Non-GMO Milk Is Really A “Non-Issue”

November 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Despite criticism that smacks of mockery, a San Francisco Bay-area dairy is now selling milk labeled “non-GMO,” claiming that cows producing it had never eaten grains containing genetically modified organisms. Clover Sonoma dairy has been in the vanguard of the movement to purify dairy products by removing or keeping out troubling additives like growth hormones. Its cattle feed has been organic for two decades. But organic milk is expensive. So it devised a cheaper way to ease consumer concerns by adopting the non-GMO labeling. Industry experts, however, say it’s a non-issue. "It's really trying to market a distinction without a difference," said the president of the National Milk Producers Federation, whose "peel back the label" campaign is trying to shed some light on the topic. A UC-Davis animal genomics scientist said, “It's like unicorn-free milk. There aren't any GMOs in milk anyway."
Geoffrey Mohan, "Labeling Milk Non-GMO Baffles Experts", Arkansas Online, November 05, 2017, © Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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U.S. Consumers Need To Know About Benefits Of Unrefined Whole Grains

October 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Australia’s Freedom Foods Group is on a mission to educate American consumers about the benefits of unrefined whole grains, the kind it uses to make its range of Barley+ breakfast muesli products and snack bars. According to the company, the highly refined carbohydrates in the American diet not only do not deliver nutritional benefits like a healthier gut, they increase the risk of disease. Kroger Supermarkets in the U.S. is selling the Barley+ range, with distribution expanding in both the U.S. and Australia. The toasted muesli collection is available in three flavors: cranberry and nuts, pink lady and macadamia muesli, and maple and nut. They retail for $6.49.  [Image Credit: © Freedom Foods ]
"Carbs are Not the Enemy: Natural Foods Company Believes They Are The Secret to Gut Well-Being", News release, Freedom Foods Group, October 31, 2017, © Freedom Foods Group
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No Evidence Linking Whole Grains To Lower Heart Disease Mortality

September 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A review of previous studies found that none tested whether eating whole grains influences the risk of death from heart disease, or the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. They did assess the impact of whole grains on risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. But none found any differences based on the types of grains people ate. A large, undisputed body of evidence associates whole grains with other health benefits, however, including lower weight gain, better cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels, which are risk factors for heart disease. They are also a source of cereal fiber that has been linked to lower risk for heart disease, obesity and cancer.
Lisa Rapaport, "What Can Studies Tell Us About Whole Grains and the Heart?", Reuters, September 20, 2017, © Reuters
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Baby Foods Company Hopes To Succeed With Freeze-Dried Products

August 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Amara ]
Elaine Watson, "Amara Organic Foods: We’re Pioneering a New Category in Baby Food", FOODnavigator-USA.com, August 25, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Commercial Success Expected In U.S. For Reformulated Weight Loss Supplement

August 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.  [Image Credit: © Sprunk Jansen ]
Hank Schultz, "Extended Release Form of Herbal Weight Loss Ingredient Could Be Winner in US Market, Supplier Says", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, August 25, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Study Links Vegetarian Diet In Men To Depression Symptoms

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. and British researchers report that data collected from 9,668 adult male partners of pregnant women in a longitudinal study showed that vegetarian men are more likely to report “significant depressive symptoms.” Overall, the NIH-University of Bristol researchers found male vegetarians had higher depression scores than non-vegetarians after adjusting for an array of socioeconomic factors. Nutritional deficiencies (e.g., in cobalamin, iron, vitamin B12) could explain the findings. Other potential contributors include increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids, and higher blood levels of phytoestrogens from soy or vegetable-based foods.
Dan Flynn, "Men Who Go Vegetarian More Likely to Have Serious Depression", Food Safety News, August 24, 2017, © Food Safety News
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Studies Shed Light On Health Benefits Of Eating Red Raspberries

August 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
McKenzie Hall Jones, "Studies Explore the Potential Benefits of Red Raspberries", News release, The FASEB Journal, August 24, 2017, via EurekAlert!, © AAAS
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Kind Expands Into Fruit Bite Market With Premium, All-Fruit Products

August 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Snack bar company Kind LLC is entering the $2.3 billion fruit snacks market with gummy fruit bites containing no added sugar. As established food companies have struggled to grow, Kind has managed to ride the healthful snacks wave using natural ingredients and transparent packaging to $1 billion in annual sales. Kind’s fruit bites are made with real fruit – apples, strawberries, pineapples and mangoes – and only fruit. No other ingredients are listed on the packages. The products will be available nationally in coming weeks at the premium price of $4.99 a box. General Mills is the category leader, controlling about 21 percent of the market. [Image Credit: © Kind ]
Craig Giammona, "Kind Targets Big Food's Sugary Fruit Snacks in New Product Push", Bloomberg, August 22, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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Hospital Patients With Diabetes Are More Prone To Complications, Longer Stays

August 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Twenty-two percent of German hospital patients are diabetic, and nearly one in four are prediabetic, according to investigators at two German research centers. For the study, researchers screened 3,733 adult patients in Tübingen University Hospital for diabetes and prediabetes for four weeks. They found that diabetic patients tend to stay in the hospital longer and have a higher risk of complications. They recommended that screening patients older than 50 years for diabetes and treating them for the condition would reduce complications and cut the length of hospital stays. [Image Credit: © EU-Patienten ]
Kufeldt, J. et al., "Prevalence and Distribution of Diabetes Mellitus in a Maximum Care Hospital: Urgent Need for HbA1c-Screening", Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes, August 21, 2017, © Thieme Verlagsgruppe
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FDA Allows Heart Health Claim For Soybean Oil

July 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Bunge ]
"FDA Approves Bunge Soybean Oil Heart Health Claim", News release, Bunge, July 31, 2017, © Bunge Limited
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Direct-To-Consumer Distribution Of Vitamins: The Future Is Now

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © NBJ ]
"Is the Future of Vitamins in Vending Machines?", New Hope Network, July 27, 2017, © Penton
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Commercial Compound Boosts Effects Of Caffeine Without Bad Consequences

July 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Compound Solutions ]
Adi Menayang, "New Study on TeaCrine Suggests Co-Administration with Caffeine May Help Prevent the Jitters", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, July 19, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Cauliflower Pizza Crusts Are A Hit At ESPY Party

July 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Cali’flour Foods says its plant-based, vegan cauliflower pizza crusts garnered rave reviews from athletes and celebrities attending the recent pre-ESPYs sports awards party in Beverly Hills, Calif. According to company founder Amy Lacey, current Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay ordered a year's worth of the crusts after sampling. The company offers two gluten-free varieties made with cauliflower, cheese, eggs, and spices. A new variant is the plant-based Italian crust containing no eggs or dairy. Lacey was inspired to create the new pizza crusts after her own lupus diagnosis and her discovery that certain foods triggered inflammation. The crusts are available nationwide and online.
"Cali'Flour Foods Serves Up Their Cauliflower Pizza Crusts to World's Best Athletes and Celebrities at GBK Pre-ESPYS 2017 Party", News release, Cali’flour Foods , July 14, 2017, © Cali’flour Foods
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Catholic Church Reaffirms Its Position On Gluten-Free Communion Wafers

July 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Gluten-free is a major food trend, and a multi-billion-dollar business. But it hasn’t yet breeched the walls of Vatican City and isn’t likely to anytime soon. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church recently advised its bishops worldwide that – celiac disease notwithstanding – there will be no messing around with the basic recipe for communion wafers. The reason? Christ ate bread, made with gluten-rich wheat, and drank wine at the Last Supper, declaring that they were his body and blood. The Catholic Church takes those words literally, not symbolically. As one U.S. theologian said, “Christ did not institute the Eucharist as rice and sake, or sweet potatoes and stout."
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, "The Catholic Church Says No to Gluten-Free Communion. Here’s Why.", The Washington Post, July 11, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Protein Bar Company Unveils Line Of Plant-Based Protein Bars, Powders

July 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Protein bar company thinkThin has expanded its product line to include a range of plant protein-based nutritional bars and powders. All of the bars and protein and probiotic powder mixes are soy-free, GMO-free, gluten-free and vegan. Products include Sea Salt Almond Chocolate High Protein Bar, Chocolate Mint High Protein Bar, Belgian Chocolate Protein & Probiotics Powder Mix, and Madagascar Vanilla Bean Protein & Probiotics Powder Mix. They will be sold at Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Target and Walmart nationwide. [Image Credit: © thinkThin ]
Michael Johnsen, "thinkThin Launches Line of Plant-Based Protein Products", Drug Store News, July 07, 2017, © Drug Store News
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Customized Dietary Supplements, Thanks To 3D Printing Technology

July 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Multiply Labs ]
Stephen Daniells, "MIT Spin-Off Gets Closer to Launch of 3D Printed Supplements", NUTRAingredients-USA.com, July 03, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Arthritis Patients Who Frequently Eat Fish Experience Reduced Symptoms

June 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. clinical study involving 176 rheumatoid arthritis patients who completed food frequency questionnaires found that those who ate fish at least twice a week had lower disease activity, including fewer swollen or tender joints. In fact, the more fish patients ate, the lower the levels of disease activity were. The researchers believe fish consumption lowers levels of inflammation that lead to arthritis symptoms.
Sara K. Tedeschi et al., "The relationship between fish consumption and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis", Arthritis Care & Research, June 26, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Study Warns That Too Much Vitamin D Can Be Harmful

June 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Mary R. Rooney et al., "Trends in Use of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplements Exceeding 1000 or 4000 International Units Daily, 1999-2014", JAMA, June 26, 2017, © American Medical Association
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Olive Oil Protects Memory, Learning Ability

June 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Elisabetta Lauretti et al., "Extra-virgin olive oil ameliorates cognition and neuropathology of the 3xTg mice: role of autophagy", Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, June 26, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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Vegetarian Diet And Exercise Reduce Fat In Thighs

June 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in the Czech Republic have determined that a vegetarian diet combined with exercise are more effective than a calorie-reduction diet at reducing subfascial fat in the thighs, a significant contributor to type 2 diabetes. Both subfascial and intramuscular fat are markers of insulin resistance in obesity. The study, conducted among 74 people with type 2 diabetes, found an association between changes in total leg area and subcutaneous fat and subfascial fat on the one hand, and markers of glucose and lipid metabolism on the other hand. Further research is needed to determine how different dietary interventions might affect fat in thighs. [Image Credit: © Whiteman Air Force Base ]
Hana Kahleova et al., "The Effect of a Vegetarian vs Conventional Hypocaloric Diabetic Diet on Thigh Adipose Tissue Distribution in Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Study", Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 18, 2017, © American College of Nutrition
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Low-Fat Dairy Products Linked To Higher Risk Of Parkinson’s

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © Clover Sonoma ]
Ali H. Rajput et al., "Baseline motor findings and Parkinson disease prognostic subtypes", Neurology, June 11, 2017, © Rajput et al.
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Zinc Could Provide A Simple Way To Prevent Liver Disease

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © NIH ]
Scott A. Read et al., "Zinc is a potent and specific inhibitor of IFN-λ3 signaling", Nature Communications, June 11, 2017, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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U.S. Households Are Buying Packaged Foods/Drinks With Less Sodium

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has found that the amount of sodium households acquired from packaged food and beverages decreased between 2000 and 2014 by 396 mg/day per person, from 2,363 mg/day to 1,967 mg/day. In addition, the amount of sodium relative to the amount of food purchased also declined 12 percent (49 mg/100 g). The researchers analyzed data acquired from food and beverage barcode scanning from 2000 to 2014 among a sample of 172,042 U.S. households. The data are somewhat flawed because consumers did not report how much of the food purchased was actually consumed. So there is no way to tell if sodium intake was reduced as well.
Jennifer M. Poti et al., "Sodium Reduction in US Households’ Packaged Food and Beverage Purchases, 2000 to 2014", JAMA Internal Medicine, June 11, 2017, © American Medical Association
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Vitamin K: Not Just Found In Leafy Greens

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Xueyan Fu et al., "Multiple Vitamin K Forms Exist in Dairy Foods", Current Developments in Nutrition, June 11, 2017, © Fu et al.
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Coffee, Herbal Tea Consumption Linked To Lower Risk Of Liver Disease

June 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Dutch researchers have shown that drinking coffee and herbal tea could protect against the liver stiffness (fibrosis) associated with extensive scarring of the liver caused by unhealthy lifestyles. These include Western-style processed food diets and heavy alcohol consumption. However, coffee and herbal teas are popular, widely available, and inexpensive, and could become important in the prevention of advanced liver disease. The data were gathered on 2,424 adults in the Rotterdam study, a large population-based cohort study whose participants were 45 years or older.
Louise J.M. Alferink et al., "Coffee and herbal tea consumption is associated with lower liver stiffness in the general population: The Rotterdam study", Journal of Hepatology, June 11, 2017, © European Association for the Study of the Liver
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Health And Personal Care Sales Booming Online, Led By Amazon

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. sales of health and personal care (HPC) products slowed in the first quarter by one percent year-over-year, mainly in brick-and-mortar stores. Online sales were up in the quarter, led by Amazon.com. As of the first quarter of 2017, the U.S. HPC market was valued at $80.6 billion, while Amazon sales represented $1.3 billion. Year over year growth of HPC sales on Amazon in the first quarter was 30 percent. According to One Click Retail, consumers are abandoning in-store shopping for HPC products in favor of online shopping. Within Amazon, the rate of growth for HPC is highest in Prime Pantry, with top categories multiplying revenue by as much as five times.
Nathan Rigby, "Amazon Pantry Drives Health & Personal Care Sales: The Amazon Effect", One Click Retail, May 31, 2017, © One Click Retail
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Study Adds To Evidence Of Health Benefits Of Vegetable-Rich Diet

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © USDA,MyPlate.gov ]
Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, "Eating a Diet Rich in Fruit and Vegetables Could Cut Obesity Risk", News release, study presented at the European Congress on Obesity (Porto, Portugal), May 18, 2017, © European Association For The Study Of Obesity
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Opportunities For Confectioners In Asia’s Functional Candy Market

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. ][Image Credit: © Golden Throat Lozenge (Jinsangzi Houpian]
Loris Li, "China’s Sugar Confectionery Market Declines While Functional Candy Grows", News release, Mintel, May 18, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Companies Develop Plant Steroid Dietary Supplement Applications

May 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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. [Image Credit: © BASF Newtrition ]
"BASF, Aenova and Kappa Develop New Dietary Supplement Applications with Phytosterol Vegapure", Nutrition Insight, May 17, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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Food Companies Further Spirit Of Obama-Era Nutrition Programs

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Trump administration’s USDA has made it a top priority to eliminate Obama-era nutrition initiatives. The agency has stalled or rolled back nutrition standards for school lunches, and postponed rules that require restaurants to put calorie counts on menus. But the changes are not having much impact on food companies that have gotten into the spirit of Michelle Obama’s programs, though perhaps not for altruistic reasons. Companies have financial and political motivations for making changes: consumers are clamoring for more healthful foods, and in smaller portions. The upshot is that big food firms are working with the nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America to further the Obama legacy, despite what the new crop of regulators says or does.  [Image Credit: © USDA ]
Caitlin Dewey , "The one piece of Michelle Obama’s legacy that President Trump can’t wreck", The Washington Post, May 11, 2017, © The Washington Post
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Osteoporosis Risk Drops When People Eat More Yogurt

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
E. Laird et al., "Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults", Osteoporosis International, May 11, 2017, © International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation
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Compounds Left In Gut After Wine Digestion Protect Neuronal Cells

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
A. Esteban-Fernández et al., "Neuroprotective Effects of Selected Microbial-Derived Phenolic Metabolites and Aroma Compounds from Wine in Human SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells and Their Putative Mechanisms of Action", Frontiers in Nutrition, May 05, 2017, © Esteban-Fernández et al.
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Scientists Find Significant Link Between Vitamin D, Exercise, And Heart Health

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
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.
Kathleen Chin et al., "Physical Activity, Vitamin D, and Incident Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Whites and Blacks: The ARIC Study", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 03, 2017, © The Endocrine Society
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Sunscreen Use Linked To Global Vitamin D Deficiency Problem

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Sunscreen is widely used to protect skin from cancer-causing overexposure to ultraviolet rays. But a new “evidence based clinical review” by U.S. researchers finds that the use of sunscreen has a downside: it contributes to the vitamin D deficiency (or insufficiency) experienced by as many as a billion people worldwide. Meanwhile, chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, Crohn's and celiac disease, greatly inhibit the body's ability to metabolize vitamin D from food sources. The researchers note that people spend less time outside; when they are out of doors, they often wear sunscreen. But, they note, it is possible to spend reasonable amounts of time in the sun while ensuring adequate vitamin D absorption.   [Image Credit: © Coppertone ]
Kim M. Pfotenhauer, Jay H. Shubrook, "Vitamin D Deficiency, Its Role in Health and Disease, and Current Supplementation Recommendations", The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 03, 2017, © American Osteopathic Association
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