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Snack Company Intensifies Focus On Allergy-Free Products

May 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Skeeter Snacks (Chicago, Ill.) has renamed itself the Safe + Fair Food Company to serve the 17 million Americans with food allergies. The company, which makes nut-free snacks sold in schools and on JetBlue flights, said its goal will be to develop food brands that are “safe, accessible, fairly priced and delicious.” The company recently acquired Mama Jess Organics, a maker of organic pasta and enchilada sauces, and is itself developing snacks and meals that further its mission of making it “easy and fun to be safe” from allergic food reactions. [ Image credit: © Skeeter Snacks  ]
"Passionate Entrepreneurs and Industry Veterans Launch the Safe + Fair Food Company", News release, Skeeter Snacks, May 03, 2017, © Skeeter Snacks
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Kid's Health
Pre-School/School
Other Food & Nutrition
Asthma & Allergies
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

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
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Preventative Care
Skin
Pills & Supplements
Vitamins
Cancer & Cancer Prevention
Diabetes
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Plant-Derived Blend Of Compounds Treats Inflammation As Well As An NSAID

May 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A study to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of a polyphenol-rich spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid found that it reduces swelling and inflammation as well as the synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indomethacin, and works much better than the plant-derived compound rosmarinic acid by itself. The researchers tested the mixture on a rat model of paw swelling (edema). They said their findings showed there is a “potential synergy” between the compounds in the spearmint extract mixed with rosmarinic acid that targets inflammation. The study was sponsored by Kemin Industries, a nutritional ingredients manufacturer based in Iowa. [ Spearmint plant, image credit: © Burpee Seeds ]
Brenda Fonseca et al., "Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Polyphenol-Rich Spearmint Extract", The FASEB Journal, May 02, 2017, © FASEB
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Other Body
Other Food & Nutrition
Other Conditions
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Worldwide
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Europe’s Baby Food Makers Are Tuned Into The Market’s Evolving Preferences

April 26, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Because European parents of young children – babies and toddlers – are eager to feed their kids without fuss, the baby food they choose, and try themselves, has to taste good. Two-thirds of parents in Italy, Spain and Poland regularly taste baby food before feeding it to their kids, according to Mintel. A growing number of parents also make sure the products they buy are free of additives, preservatives, and excessive sugar. Manufacturers of baby foods marketed in Europe are in tune with their customers: more than half of new products (excluding milk and formula) launched in Europe last year claimed no additives or preservatives; 45 percent claimed no, low, or reduced sugar. That’s up from about 32 percent a year before. [ Image credit: © Plum Organics  ]
Caroline Roux, "Baby Food Needs To Be Palatable For Parents Too", News release, Mintel, April 26, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Kid's Health
Babies
Pre-School/School
Organic & Natural
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
France
Germany
Italy
Poland

Superfood Ingredients Provide Market Opportunity For FMCG Companies

April 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Superfoods rich in nutrients (i.e., antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, etc.) include kale, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds. They are growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks to the growth in information about them, according to Nielsen. Moreover, access to superfoods is on the rise, both in farmers’ markets and on retail grocery shelves. Superfoods can be found in the fresh produce section of stores, but they are also increasingly found as ingredients in food products in other store departments. Chia seeds, for example, can be found in 23 percent of grocery store product categories. Nielsen says this provides a marketing opportunity for food and beverage makers, and other FMCG manufacturers (e.g., soap and diet aids). [ Image credit: © Whole Foods Market  ]
"Spring Superpower, Brought to You by Superfoods across the Store", News release, Nielsen, April 24, 2017, © The Nielsen Company (US), LLC
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Better For You
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Worldwide
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Protein-Rich Diet Contributes To Fatty Liver Disease In Obese People

April 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
About a billion people globally have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition most commonly associated with obesity. U.S. researchers who conducted a large epidemiological study found that an animal protein-rich diet is associated with a high risk of NAFLD, and that consumption of fructose may not be as harmful as previously supposed. NAFLD can lead to permanent scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, cancer and liver malfunction. Sometimes the only solution is a transplant. The researchers said their findings jibed with other research indicating that a Western-style diet rich in animal proteins and refined foods may damage homeostasis and glucose metabolism. They also said their studydid not find a harmful association of fructose with NAFLD. [ Human liver, image credit: © MedlinePlus.gov  ]
Aybike Birerdinc, Zobair Younossi, "Can NASH lipidome provide insight into the pathogenesis of obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?", Journal of Hepatology, April 22, 2017, © European Association for the Study of the Liver
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Dieting & Weight Control
Digestive
Other Food & Nutrition
Cancer & Cancer Prevention
Obesity
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Beetroot Juice + Exercise = Much Younger Brain

April 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small clinical study in 26 older sedentary adults with high blood pressure found that drinking beetroot juice before exercising turned the clock back on brain activity. The U.S. experiment tested the combined effects of exercise and beetroot juice on functional brain networks in the motor cortex, as well as on secondary connections between the motor cortex and the insula, which support mobility. Three times a week for six weeks, they drank either a nitrate-rich or nitrate-poor beetroot juice supplement and walked 50 minutes on a treadmill. The nitrate-rich beetroot juice group had much higher levels of nitrate and nitrite than the placebo group after exercise and had much more oxygen in the brain. In fact, their brain activity resembled that of much younger adults. [ Image credit: © Somocho  ]
Meredith Petrie et al., "Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain.", The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, April 22, 2017, © Petrie et al.
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Mind
Mental Alertness
Aging
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Worldwide
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Stair-Walking Provides A Quick Pick-Me-Up When Fatigued

April 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ten minutes of walking up and down stairs can be more energizing than ingesting a can of soda containing 50 mg of caffeine, according to U.S. scientists who compared the metabolic effects of both activities. Several self-described “sleep-deprived” female college students were divided into groups and given various tests to determine how they felt and how they performed on cognitive tasks. They then either ingested capsules containing caffeine or a placebo, or spent 10 minutes walking up and down stairs. Stair walking was associated with a small increase in motivation for work and may be a beneficial aternative to other forms of exercise when time is at a premium. [ Image credit: © Perry Goh  ]
Derek D. Randolph, Patrick J. O'Connor, "Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women. ", Physiology & Behavior, April 22, 2017, © Elsevier Inc.
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Body
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Company Recognized As Paragon Of Herbal Product Purity, Transparency

April 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Gaia Herbs of North Carolina has been a stickler for ingredient purity and transparency from the beginning, and so has avoided controversies that have plagued the rest of the herbal supplement industry. Founder Ric Scalzo was more of an herbalist than a capitalist when he launched the company in 1987, before talk of regulation and enforcement. For Scalzo, efficacy of herbal supplements could only be based on purity. The company already uses DNA testing to make sure the raw ingredients it sources are the real thing. That stringency has won the company copious praise from customers and industry organizations, as well as an award from the Nutrition Business Journal (New Hope Network) for supply chain transparency. [ Image credit: © Gaia Herbs ]
Rick Polito, "Gaia Herbs Makes Transparency a Part of the Corporate Identity", New Hope Network, April 21, 2017, © Penton
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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Whole Grains Once Again Shown Important To A Healthy Diet

April 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to research, dietary fat is almost back in style. But grains – even whole grains – continue to fight an uphill battle. That might change soon, though, as scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of whole grains continues to accumulate. A recent study by Tufts University scientists found that diet rich in whole grains led to a favorable energy balance compared to one heavy on refined grains. In other words, people eating whole grains burned more calories while absorbing fewer. They also showed better glucose tolerance. The conclusions jibe with U.S. dietary guidelines recommending that carbohydrates – including six ounces of whole grains – should comprise 45 to 65 percent of a healthy diet. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Amby Burfoot, "Despite the Anti-Carb Diet Fads, Whole Grains are Still Good for You", The Washington Post, April 20, 2017, © The Washington Post
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Whole Grains
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Worldwide
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United States of America

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

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Conagra Brands has recalled Hunt’s Chili Kits because the FDA claimed the chili powder was tainted with salmonella. Conagra said the kits they had examined had no traces of the dangerous bacteria, but they implemented the recall “out of an abundance of caution.” The recall affects retail and online stores, as well as military commissaries. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that develop 12 to 72 hours after infection. The symptoms subside after a weak though there is a risk of dehydration. [ Image credit: © Conagra  ]
Mahita Gajanan, "Hunt's Chili Kits Were Recalled Nationwide Because of a Salmonella Risk", Time, April 05, 2017, © Time Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Digestive
Safety
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Worldwide
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Study Shows Multivitamins Do Not Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease, Mortality

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A large, long-term clinical trial has found that taking a daily multivitamin supplement does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease any more than a sugar pill does. There was also no conclusive evidence that people whose diet is poor are less likely to experience heart disease (CVD) or early death when they take a daily multivitamin. Lastly, the trial, conducted among 14,000 physicians over age 50 for eleven years, found that taking multivitamins along with eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, dairy products, red meats, processed meats, or key nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, “had no measurable influence on the effectiveness of a multivitamin on CVD risk in middle-aged and older men.” [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
S. Rautiainen et al., "Baseline Nutritional Status and Long-term Multivitamin Use on Cardiovascular Disease Risk in the Physicians' Health Study II - A Randomized Clinical Trial", JAMA Cardiology, April 05, 2017, © American Medical Association
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Heart & Cardiovascular
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Vitamins
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Compound That Checks Cell Aging May Help Prevent A Variety Of Diseases

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A naturally-occurring compound – it was discovered in the soil of Easter Island – known as rapamycin may help prevent neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s, by preventing cell aging. The compound has been widely studied because it mimics the effects of dietary restriction, including longer lifespan, at least in mouse studies. Mice taking rapamycin have also shown more fitness, improved cognition, better cardiovascular health, and less cancer. The new U.S. study finds that rapamycin is linked to cellular senescence, when aging cells stop proliferating and secrete toxins that cause inflammation that, in turn, sets the stage for a wide variety of degenerative diseases, including dementia. Rapamycin appears to help stop that process.  [ Easter Island statues, image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
Rong Wang et al., "Rapamycin inhibits the secretory phenotype of senescent cells by a Nrf2-independent mechanism", Aging Cell, April 05, 2017, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Mind
Mental Alertness
Aging
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Worldwide
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United States of America

MIT Scientists Develop Faster, Cheaper Foodborne Pathogen Detection Method

April 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A new technology developed at MIT may help prevent the 60 deaths and 73,000 illnesses caused each year by the foodborne pathogen E. coli bacteria. The technology is based on a novel type of liquid droplet that binds to bacterial proteins They are then detected by a smartphone much more quickly and less expensively than by existing food safety tests, which often involve placing food samples in a culture dish for two or three days to see if harmful bacterial colonies form. According to one of the scientists who helped develop the process, “The great advantage of our device is you don’t need specialized instruments and technical training to do this.”  [ Image credit: © Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT ]
Anne Trafton, "New Technology Could Offer Cheaper, Faster Food Testing", News release, MIT News, April 05, 2017, © MIT News Office
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Safety
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General Mills’ Hothouse Venture Unit Adds Another Partner

April 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills’ venture capital unit 301 INC has invested in start-up “lifestyle” breakfast food company Purely Elizabeth. The eighth company 301 INC has partnered with, Purely Elizabeth has positioned itself as a natural, nutrient-dense granola company. It has experienced rapid success since founder and CEO Elizabeth Stein, a former nutrition counselor, began eight years ago making her own granola from ancient grains and superfood seeds, selling it to clients, friends and family. 301 INC’s portfolio of start-ups includes, besides Purely Elizabeth, Beyond Meat, Rhythm Superfoods, Kite Hill, Good Culture, Tio Gazpacho, D’s Naturals, and Farmhouse Culture. [ Image credit: © Purely Elizabeth  ]
Laura Knutson, "Purely Elizabeth Joins 301 INC Portfolio", News release, Taste of General Mills, April 03, 2017, © General Mills, Inc.
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Organic & Natural
Other Food & Nutrition
Whole Grains
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

New Bubbly Beverage Takes Soft Drinks Industry By Storm

April 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Carbonated beverage lovers in the U.S. have jumped on the bandwagon of an industry phenomenon known as Sparkling Ice, and in the process are redefining America’s drinks business. This development should dismay traditional soda makers because the brand is attacking the very foundation of their product offerings, and it’s succeeding. Sold in elongated plastic bottles in a variety of lively colors and flavors, Sparkling Ice, backed by a $37 million marketing campaign, is nearing a billion dollars in annual sales. It offers a serious alternative to Coca-Cola and Pepsi: a healthier fizzy drink – no sugar, just sucralose – in multiple flavors that is also a substitute for flat water. “It’s a perfect storm of timing for us,” says chief marketing officer Brian Kuz. [ Image credit: © Sparkling Ice  ]
Dale Buss, "Look Out, Coke and Pepsi! Here Comes Sparkling Ice", CPG Matters, April 01, 2017, © CPG Matters
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Low-Carb
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Family Meals Without TV Watching Are Linked To Lower Obesity Rates

March 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study of data collected in phone surveys of nearly 13,000 Ohioans – a third of whom were obese – found that those who ate home-cooked family meals, regardless of how often, were less likely to be obese. More than half said they eat family meals on most days, 35 percent on some days, and 13 percent on few days per week. A third watched TV or videos most of the time during family meals; 36 percent said they never did. Especially important was what the families were doing during their dinnertimes. The odds of obesity were much lower among adults who never watched TV or videos during family meals, and who prepared their own dinners, at least a couple of times a week. [ Image credit: © USDA  ]
Rachel Tumin, Sarah E. Anderson, "Television, Home-Cooked Meals, and Family Meal Frequency: Associations with Adult Obesity", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 31, 2017, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Dieting & Weight Control
Other Food & Nutrition
Obesity
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Weight Loss Drug Shows Potential In Fight Against Opiate Addiction

March 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In an animal study, a prescription weight-loss drug was shown to reduce the craving for the opioid oxycodone, according to U.S. researchers.  Opiate abuse is a major public health problem: deaths from prescription opiate overdose in America have quadrupled since 1999.The preclinical study offers a ray of hope, finding that lorcaserin (trade name Belviq, Arena Pharmaceuticals) alters the serotonin system by changing chemical signals that affect the feeling of fullness. It works much the same way with opiates, as serotonin regulates the brain circuitry involved in drug reward. The researchers said the effectiveness of lorcaserin in reducing oxycodone cravings underscores the potential for lorcaserin in treating opioid use disorder. [ Oxycodone tablets, image credit: © Wikimedia Commons  ]
Harshini Neelakantan et al., "Lorcaserin Suppresses Oxycodone Self-Administration and Relapse Vulnerability in Rats", ACS Chemical Neuroscience, March 31, 2017, © American Chemical Society
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Body
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Mind
Depression
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Americans Prefer Natural Therapies For Coughs, Colds – Survey

March 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of American consumers sponsored by a respiratory system dietary supplement brand finds that more than two-thirds of respondents prefer natural supplements to “synthetic, over-the-counter” products to ease coughing. Natural supplements were preferred because they tended not to induce drowsiness, according to Pohl-Boskamp, the makers of Myrtol 300. Sixty-nine percent of Americans said they have gone to work or school without taking cold meds to avoid drowsiness and stay clear-headed. Millennials up to age 35 said they were more likely to try a natural supplement to treat a cough or cold. Myrtol 300 is a blend of essential oils created in Germany and sold in Europe and elsewhere for four decades. [ Image credit: © Myrtol300.com  ]
Pohl-Boskamp, "Majority of Americans Prefer to Take Natural Supplements Instead of Over-the-Counter Medicines, Survey Shows", News release, Pohl-Boskamp, March 30, 2017, © Pohl-Boskamp
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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Food & Nutrition
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United States of America

Researchers Find Strong Link Between Healthy Bones And Green Tea

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Chinese analysis of data from 15 studies found that green tea (Camellia sinensis) and a key compound known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) tend to increase bone mineral density. However, the analysis of data from nearly 139,000 people stopped short of saying drinking green tea was linked to a reduced risk of fractures. The researchers suggest that the benefit of green tea regarding osteoporosis derives from its polyphenol content: as much as 40 percent of water-extractable polyphenols. Other teas contain much less. The researchers also suggest that green tea may act by boosting the creation of cells responsible for bone formation (osteoblasts) or suppressing cells that weaken bones (osteoclasts). [ Osteoblast, image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
M. Guo et al., "Tea consumption may decrease the risk of osteoporosis: an updated meta-analysis of observational studies", Nutrition Research, March 28, 2017, © Elsevier Limited
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Bones & Joints
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China

Prebiotic Plant Fibers Benefit Good Gut Bacteria And Improve Sleep

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nondigestible plant fibers, on which good bacteria in the human gut feed, seem to have an impact on sleep, according to new U.S. research. Fibers found especially in plants like chicory, artichokes, raw garlic, leeks and onions, improve non-REM (non-rapid-eye-movement) sleep and REM sleep by buffering the physiological impact of stressful events. The study found that rats fed a prebiotic diet spent more time in restful, restorative non-REM sleep. The findings show that when beneficial bacteria digest prebiotic fiber, they multiply, improving overall gut health, and release metabolic byproducts that influence brain function. [ Image credit: © Till Westermayer ]
Robert S. Thompson et al., "Dietary Prebiotics and Bioactive Milk Fractions Improve NREM Sleep, Enhance REM Sleep Rebound and Attenuate the Stress-Induced Decrease in Diurnal Temperature and Gut Microbial Alpha Diversity", Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, March 23, 2017, © Frontiers Media S.A.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Mind
Sleep & Relaxation
Digestive
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United States of America

Eight Servings Of Fruits, Vegetables Daily Is Better For You

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Norwegian and British scientists report that nearly eight million deaths a year could be prevented if people ate eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day. The researchers scoured 142 publications from 95 population studies that examined the relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables and the risk of chronic diseases. Each analysis included information on several hundred thousand people. They found that the risk of dying prematurely from all causes was reduced by almost a third, and the risk of cardiovascular disease by about a quarter in people who ate 800 grams of fruit and vegetables every day. The greatest benefit came from eating apples, pears, citrus fruit, fruit juice, green leafy vegetables, and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons ]
Dagfinn Aune et al., " Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality–a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies", International Journal of Epidemiology, March 23, 2017, © Oxford University Press
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Heart & Cardiovascular
Other Food & Nutrition
Cancer & Cancer Prevention
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Worldwide
EMEA
Europe
United Kingdom
Norway

Mercury Intake From Fish Linked To ALS

March 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A preliminary study reports that eating fish with high levels of mercury – but not fish generally – is associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a mostly fatal neuromuscular disease. The U.S. researchers asked 518 people, 294 of whom had ALS, and 224 of whom didn't, how much fish and seafood they ate, which kind they ate, and how frequently. Researchers looked up the average mercury levels in various types of fish.  Among participants who ate fish and seafood regularly, those in the top 25 percent for estimated annual mercury intake were at double the risk for ALS. Sixty-one percent of people with ALS were in the top 25 percent of estimated mercury intake, compared to 44 percent of people who did not have ALS. [ Swordfish, image credit: © Dominic Sherony ]
Elijah Stommel et al., "Fish Consumption, Mercury Levels, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)", Preliminary study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, March 23, 2017, © American Academy of Neurology
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
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Other Conditions
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Popeye’s Favorite Food Could Help Make Damaged Hearts “Strong To The Finish”

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers believe they have solved a big problem in regenerative medicine: how to get blood flowing in developing tissue. Establishing a vascular system – blood vessels down to the tiny capillary scale that deliver oxygen, nutrients and essential molecules – is not an easy undertaking. Worcester Polytechnic Institute scientists experimenting with spinach cultured beating human heart cells on leaves stripped of plant cells. They ran fluids and blood cell-size microbeads through the spinach vasculature after seeding the plant veins with human cells that line blood vessels. Their findings suggest that multiple spinach leaves could be used as a scaffolding to grow layers of healthy heart muscle to treat heart attacks.  [ Image credit: © Worcester Polytechnic Institute  ]
Michael Cohen, "WPI Team Grows Heart Tissue on Spinach Leaves", News release, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, March 22, 2017, © Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Heart & Cardiovascular
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United States of America

Handbook On Brain Health Encourages Older Adults To Focus On Healthy Eating

March 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Healthy eating is associated with retention of cognitive function among older people. But there is a lot of misinformation out there about what constitutes healthy eating, so scientists at a Canadian center for brain health put together a handbook for people over 50. The book encourages older adults to eat berries or cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, rather than a specific type of berry, vegetable or other “superfood.” It’s the overall pattern of healthy eating that improves brain health, such as fish, beans, olive oil, nuts, and stir-fried foods. Beans or legumes should be added to soups and stews.[ Image credit: © Harvard University ]
"Canadian Scientists Create Food Guide for Brain Health in Older Adults", Nutrition Insight, March 17, 2017, © CNS Media BV
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Food & Nutrition
Mind
Mental Alertness
Aging
Brain
Preventative Care
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Canada

Heart Association Creates Cloud-Based Data Bank For Cardiovascular Research

March 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The American Heart Association has launched a cloud-based, secure data discovery platform for use by researchers, physicians, computational biologists, and computer engineers in researching cardiovascular disease. The global resource, developed with the help of Amazon Web Services, contains cardiovascular and stroke data that can be used to accelerate care of heart patients. The AHA is asking dataset owners and stewards in the field to share their data on heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases. This would include aata from clinical trials, long-running epidemiologic studies, registries and real-time health data acquired through wearable devices and technology. [ Image credit: © American Heart Association ]
"Precision Medicine Platform now Open for Collaborative Discovery about Cardiovascular Diseases", News release, American Heart Association, March 16, 2017, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Heart & Cardiovascular
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Low- Or No-Content Claims Mislead Food Shoppers About Nutritional Content

March 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
People should not assume that food package claims -- no salt, no fat, low fat, no sugar, etc. -- guarantee that the foods are nutritious. In fact, these claims hardly ever reflect the actual nutritional quality of food, U.S. researchers concluded. The findings come at a time when food regulators, producers, and interest groups debate nutrition claim rules for packaged foods and beverages. The study analyzed data that included more than 80 million food and beverage purchases from more than 40,000 households from 2008 to 2012. Products with the least nutritional value – high in calories, sodium, sugar or fat – were more likely to have low- or no-content claims. They concluded: “Claims may have differential utility for certain foods or nutrients and, in some cases, may mislead about the overall nutritional quality of the food.” [ Image credit: © David Guo ]
Lindsey Smith Taillie et al., "No Fat, No Sugar, No Salt . . . No Problem? Prevalence of “Low-Content” Nutrient Claims and Their Associations with the Nutritional Profile of Food and Beverage Purchases in the United States. ", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 15, 2017, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
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Worldwide
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United States of America

People Who Eat Healthy Diet Don’t Benefit Much From Probiotic Supplements

March 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New findings from Australian research suggest that supplementing a healthy diet with probiotics may do more harm than good. Rats in the study were fed either a healthy diet or one high in saturated fat and sugar, both with a probiotic supplement. The probiotics improved the bacterial make-up in the “grossly disregulated” digestive tract of obese rats eating the junk food diet. They also improved brain function: spatial memory loss was prevented. Not so for the rats on the healthy diet. The probiotics had almost no impact on microbial diversity and actually impaired recognition memory. [ Image credit: © Ryan Snyder ]
J. E. Beilharz et al., "Cafeteria diet and probiotic therapy: cross talk among memory, neuroplasticity, serotonin receptors and gut microbiota in the rat. ", Molecular Psychiatry, March 14, 2017, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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Food & Nutrition
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Baked Snack Makers Go Heavy On Indulgent, Healthful, Functional

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Thirty-one percent of Americans say they often try new snacks, both “decadent” and healthful, a fact that caught the attention of bakery manufacturers. Many new product introductions offer indulgent, as well as functional and clean label, snacks. New ingredients are all the rage. On the indulgent side are treats like warmable gooey bun bites (Cinnabon) and seasonal treats like Italian rainbow pastries repurposed as everyday Raindow CakeBites (Cookies United). Other snack innovations that popped up in 2016: wide use of once seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice; artisan offerings; “healthy” snacks made without wheat or gluten; smaller portion sizes; protein-packed snacks; indulgent cookie flavors; candy-laden cookies; functional cookies laced with caffeine, omega-3 fatty acids, or probiotics; and crackers made with almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, or ancient grains. [ Rainbow CakeBites, image © Cookies United ]
Tom Vierhile, "2017 Bakery Trends: Flavor and Function", Prepared Foods, March 13, 2017, © BNP Media
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Cognitive Functions Improve Among Older Adults Who Consume Blueberry Powder

March 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who tested the impact of consuming 24 grams of blueberry powder – about a cup of fresh Highbush berries – daily on older adults found measurable improvements in cognitive function among the blueberry group over the placebo group. The randomized 90-day test included 37 healthy men and women between the ages of 60 and 75. The researchers tested participants for balance, gait and cognition at baseline, and again at 45 and 90 days. The group that consumed the blueberry powder showed significantly fewer repetition errors compared to the placebo group in the California Verbal Learning Test (CLVT), which assesses verbal memory abilities. [ Image credit: © Rasbak, Wikimedia  ]
M.G. Miller et al., "Dietary blueberry improves cognition among older adults in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial", European Journal of Nutrition, March 13, 2017, © Springer Verlag
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Gluten-Free Diet Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

March 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A small percentage of Americans cannot tolerate the protein gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) due to Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But a multibillion-dollar industry has sprouted up in recent years because many people believe eating gluten-free foods is healthier, though they are often less nutritious and more expensive. Harvard University researchers now report that gluten-free diets may actually be less healthful. In a 30-year observational study that took into account the potential effect of cereal fiber, individuals in the highest 20 percent of gluten consumption had a 13 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in comparison to those with the lowest daily gluten consumption (less than four grams). [ Image credit: © theimpulsivebuy ]
"Low gluten Diets may be Associated with Higher Risk of Type 2 Diabetes", American Heart Association, March 09, 2017, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Evidence Suggests Vitamin C May Someday Be Used To Treat Cancer

March 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers who tested the effect of several substances, including natural compounds, on cancer stem cells found that vitamin C was significantly better at stopping cell growth. The researchers tested seven substances in the lab: the clinically-approved drug stiripentol, three natural products – caffeic acid phenyl ester (CAPE), silibinin and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) – and experimental pharmaceuticals actinonin, FK866 and 2-Deoxy-D-glucose molecule (2-DG). Vitamin C was found to be ten times more effective at stopping cancer stem cell growth than pharmaceuticals. The researchers believe vitamin C inhibits glycolysis in cancer stem cells, the process that fuels energy production in mitochondria, the "powerhouse" of the cell. [ Image credit: © NIH/ODS ]
Gloria Bonuccelli et al., "NADH autofluorescence, a new metabolic biomarker for cancer stem cells: Identification of Vitamin C and CAPE as natural products targeting “stemness”", Oncotarget, March 08, 2017, © Bonuccelli et al.
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Indian Research Uncovers Health Benefits Of Baking With Coconut Flour

March 8, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Research by Indian scientists has found evidence that coconut flour would make a healthful substitute for wheat flour in baking. The researchers said coconut flour is gluten-free, rich in dietary fiber and protein, low in digestible carbohydrates, and may help prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes. They said it can be added into oatmeal to slow the sudden increase in blood sugar. It can also be mixed with beverages, soups, hot cereals and be used for making cookies and biscuits (rusk).[ Image credit: © Bob's Red Mill ]
"Coconut Flour a Healthy Product, Say Researchers", Business Standard, March 08, 2017, © Business Standard Private Limited
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Lower-Carb Diet Provides An Effective Way To Manage Diabetes - Study

March 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Diabetics who follow a lower-carb diet will manage their disease more effectively, according to a study that reviewed previous intervention research. The British researchers focused on changes to participants’ glycated hemoglobin levels – a measurement of long-term blood glucose levels – after changing to a lower-carb diet. Glycated hemoglobin dropped when carbs were limited to 120 g a day, and fell the most when limited to 30 g a day. The researchers suggest that the findings warrant new guidelines for diabetes management that promote lower-carb diets. [ Image credit: © Amontillado  ]
M.R. McKenzie, S. Illingworth, "Should a Low Carbohydrate Diet Be Recommended for Diabetes Management? ", Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, March 07, 2017, © McKenzie & Illingworth
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Older People Who Do Interval Training Rejuvenate At The Cellular Level

March 7, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Any exercise that raises your heart rate will improve your health, but high intensity interval training (HIIT) is especially good because it rebuilds cell organelles responsible for energy production, U.S. researchers report. HIIT pushes cells to make more proteins for the energy-producing mitochondria – actually reversing cell aging, something that cannot be done using drugs or medicines. Volunteers in the study included 36 men and 36 women: half 18-30 years old and half 65-80. One group did HIIT biking, one did strength training with weights, and one did both. Strength training improved muscle mass in young and older people. But younger volunteers in the HIIT group saw a 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity; older HIIT volunteers saw an impressive 69 percent increase. [ Image credit: © mark sebastian ]
Robinson et al., "Enhanced Protein Translation Underlies Improved Metabolic and Physical Adaptations to Different Exercise Training Modes in Young and Old Humans", Cell Metabolism, March 07, 2017, © Elsevier Inc.
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Consumer Goods Forum Draws Closer To Meeting Goals In Latest Health And Wellness Report

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global network of business stakeholders from 70 countries with a mission to help accomplish health and wellness-related Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by implementing Health and Wellness Resolutions, released its the fourth edition of its Annual Health and Wellness Progress Report. CGF noted progress in the Commitments signed by its members: the first commitment is for greater transparency in nutritional policies and product formulation and the second commitment is to implement better employee health and wellness programs. Of the companies that participated in the CGF survey over the last two years, 38% has met the first commitment and 66% achieved the second the commitment. The CGF notes that larger companies worldwide are demonstrating leadership in meeting their health and wellness goals and are inspiring other members to move forward. The report provides comprehensive information on the progress of health and wellness programs across the world. It reveals that some 2.3 billion people and 30,000 communities have been reached by H&W programs, with 1.3 million employees, 1.4 million H&W professionals and 386,000 schools participating in its implementation. Interestingly, some 180,000 products have been redesigned to align with the H&W resolutions of member companies. [Image credit © The Consumer Goods Forum]
"Health & Wellness Progress Report", The Consumer Goods Forum, March 01, 2017, © Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
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Nestle Adds Gluten-Free Production Capacity In New Zealand Factory

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé has expanded the production capacity of its factory in New Zealand (South Auckland) to make gluten-free noodles, seasonings, flavor boosters, recipe bases, gravies, sauces, soups and dessert mixtures. The company said the multimillion-dollar facility turns out products under the Maggi and Docello brands. Exports already total more than $60 million. Nestlé expects this total to expand significantly with the addition of gluten-free versions. About 0.7 percent of New Zealanders are diagnosed with celiac disease, for which a strict lifelong gluten-free diet is essential. [ Image credit: © Nestlé S.A. ]
"Nestlé Factory Investment in Gluten Free Production Opens Export Opportunities", News release, Nestlé, March 01, 2017, © Nestlé
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It’s Really Not More Expensive To Eat Healthful Foods

March 1, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Are poor diets and obesity the direct result of the unaffordability of healthful food? According to one analyst, the answer is no, though many people believe it. One reason for that is that some studies have looked at food prices on a price-per-calorie basis, which makes many high-calorie foods seem inexpensive. For example, a low-calorie yogurt would appear more expensive than an identical high-calorie yogurt even though their retail prices are the same. Christopher Snowdon says his report compares directly the prices of healthy and less healthy food substitutes and also compares them by “edible weight.” He found almost no difference between the price of regular food products and their healthier substitutes. Analyzing by edible weight, healthier supermarket food tends to be cheaper than less healthy food. [ Image credit: © Peg93, Wikimedia  ]
Christopher Snowdon, "Cheap As Chips", Report, The Institute of Economic Affairs, March 01, 2017, © The Institute of Economic Affairs
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Company Launches Crisp Ingredient That Is 60 Percent Pea Protein

February 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food ingredients supplier PGP International has launched a snackcrisp that is 60 percent pea protein. The new crisp is targeted at food manufacturers developing snacks and other foods that will meet consumer demand for protein and clean foods. The company says the new chip can be incorporated into cereals, snack bars, energy foods and confectionery. The company uses an advanced extrusion technology that ensures the chips contain high levels of protein but are free from hexane, a neurotoxic petrochemical solvent. The chips are gluten free, vegan, kosher, easily digested, and hypoallergenic for those intolerant to animal-based proteins or soy. [ Image credit: © PGP International  ]
"PGP International Launches New 60% Pea Protein Crisp", News release, PGP International, February 28, 2017, © PGP International
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EC Urges Schools In Member States To Help Curb Rising Childhood Obesity Rates

February 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The EurActive media network reports that the European Commission, responding to an alarming increase in childhood obesity rates, is calling on member states to take action in the procurement of healthy food for schools. The EC advises its members to focus on improving student eating behaviors in schools, where children eat at least one main meal a day. Better access to healthy food in schools would lead to development of better childhood dietary habits, lower rates of childhood obesity, and better school attendance and performance, the EC said. [ Image credit: © USDA ]
Hannah Black, "EU Urges Member States to Target Childhood Obesity in Schools", Report, EurActiv.com, February 24, 2017, © EurActiv.com plc
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Vitamin Start-Ups Pull Industry Into The 21st Century

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Half of all Americans take a daily vitamin or supplement. But, despite that, the vitamin industry has been slow to adapt to evolving consumer trends. Now, thanks to a blend of lifestyle branding, wellness influence, and retail convenience, the vitamin industry is advancing into the 21st century with numerous changes. Start-up Care/of, for example, last year launched customizable vitamin packs that offer "honest guidance and better ingredients." Users are quizzed about their age and lifestyle, then sign up for a $30/month subscription to a custom vitamin blend. The Ritual brand also offers vitamin blends by subscription, targeting Millennial women. The bright branding is vastly different from traditional supplements. Ritual's products contain few ingredients, and their sources are well-documented.  [ Image credit: © Ritual ]
"Vitamins Get a Makeover", Report, J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, February 23, 2017, © J. Walter Thompson Intelligence
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Digital Consumerism Is Already Changing The Health Industry, And Healthcare

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Smartphones are fast becoming important medical devices as digital consumerism takes hold, challenging the consumer health industry and healthcare generally. Thanks to digital consumerism, healthcare providers will have to handle huge amounts of new customized data. It’s happening already: mConsumers – i.e., mobile consumers – are using physical fitness apps to set and pursue fitness goals; paying monthly subscription fees to have round-the-clock access to their physicians; and are using mHealth apps that detect different physical conditions during emergencies, including heart attacks. Start-up companies are moving quickly to take advantage of the changing technological landscape. One such company is applying a fast-emerging advanced technology known as 3-D printing to make drugs and vitamins. Euromonitor envisions mConsumers will someday be able to customize 3-D printed drugs and vitamin supplements from their mobile devices. [ Image credit: © Juhan Sonin ]
Carolina Ordonez, "Consumer Health in the Age of Connectivity", Nutraceuticals World, February 23, 2017, © Rodman Media
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Study Demonstrates How Fasting-Mimicking Diet Suppresses Diabetes

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have developed a diet food available commercially that imitates the effects of fasting and appears to reverse diabetes. Earlier studies have shown that periodic cycles of fasting reprogram pancreatic cells and restore insulin production. The new study in mice shows that a fasting-like diet (using a food product called L-Nutra) promotes the growth of insulin-producing pancreatic cells. The researchers placed diabetes-model mice on the L-Nutra diet for four days each week. The diet switched on genes that spur production of a protein (neurogenin-3) that, in turn, generated healthy, insulin-producing beta cells. The mice regained healthy insulin production, reduced insulin resistance and demonstrated more stable levels of blood glucose. The researchers look forward to a clinical trial of L-Nutra among diabetics. [ L-Nutra/Prolon diet package, image credit: © Prolon ]
Chia-Wei Cheng et al., "Fasting-Mimicking Diet Promotes Ngn3-Driven b-Cell Regeneration to Reverse Diabetes", Cell, February 23, 2017, © Cheng et al.
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Food Deliverer Thistle Launches Frozen Meal Kits For Infants, Toddlers

February 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Food delivery startup Thistle is launching meal kits for busy parents who want to make nutritious baby foods at home. The founders say available baby and toddler foods are not particularly nutritious, and even the healthier options are over-processed, pureed, watery, and don’t taste like real fruits or veggies. The vacuum-sealed, flash-frozen Thistle meal kits are steamed, pureed and spiced at home. The company specializes in organic, gluten-free plant-based ingredients, but also offers omnivore meals. The main competition is baby foods sold in boxes, pouches, and jars by grocery stores. But a few e-commerce companies deliver kid-friendly meals or meal kits to the home. Though 14 percent of consumers are buying food online (Nielsen), it remains to be seen what portion of the $30 billion baby foods and formula market will shift to e-commerce models. [ Image credit: © Matt Preston ]
Lora Kolodny, "Thistle Launches Meal Kits to Make Nutritious Baby Food at Home", Tech Crunch, February 23, 2017, © AOL Inc.
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Exercise Improves Pumping Function In Heart Failure Patients

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Physical exercise among heart failure patients does not worsen the condition, as physicians have warned for years. In fact, according to German and Norwegian scientists, it makes the heart stronger and reduces the risk of mortality. For the study, 261 patients with congestive heart failure were assigned to three exercise groups: high intensity interval training (HIIT), moderate continuous training (MCT, about 3,000 steps in 30 minutes), and no exercise at all. At the end of 52 weeks, the groups that exercised moderately or intensively showed a decrease in the size of the left ventricle and improvement in pumping function, and better overall physical fitness. The researchers found no difference in outcomes between HIIT and MCT. Those who did not exercise showed significantly worse heart pumping function and increased hospitalization. [ Image credit: © Wikimedia Commons ]
Øyvind Ellingsen et al., "High Intensity Interval Training in Heart Failure Patients with Reduced Ejection Fraction. ", Circulation, February 22, 2017, © American Heart Association, Inc. / Wolters Kluwer
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Study Suggests That “All-Natural” Food Label Needs To Be Regulated

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who used virtual reality technology to simulate a taste-test of peanut butter found that participants were not only swayed by the “all-natural” label, they were even more affected by a server emphasizing the label. The findings indicate the persuasive power of the label and the potential for its abuse. Two groups of participants tested two identical products, one of which was labeled “all-natural.” Both groups said the all-natural product was higher quality and more nutritious. But in one group, a server also stressed the all-natural ingredients of one product. An average of eight percent more in this group said they’d pay a higher price for it. The researchers said the findings provide evidence to the FDA that “the term natural be regulated so as to minimize consumer and manufacturer confusion.” [ Image credit: © Mike Mozart ]
"Study Finds Consumers Willing to Pay More for 'All-Natural' Labeled Foods", News release, Phys.org, February 22, 2017, © Phys.org
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Widely Used Food – And Paint – Additive Damages Intestinal Lining

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Long-term exposure to the common food additive titanium dioxide reduces the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients like iron, zinc, and fatty acids. It also harms enzyme functions while increasing inflammation signals. The additive – found in numerous foods, including chewing gum and bread, and used in paints, paper, plastics, and some sunscreens – is inert and not toxic, according to the U.S. researchers who conducted the study using a small intestine cell model. But it reduced the number of absorptive projections (microvilli) that line the small intestine, slowing metabolism. Titanium dioxide is also used in toothpastes, chocolate, donuts, and skimmed milk. [ Image credit: © Benjah-bmm27 ]
Zhongyuan Guo et al., "Titanium dioxide nanoparticle ingestion alters nutrient absorption in an in vitro model of the small intestine. ", NanoImpact, February 22, 2017, © Elsevier B.V.
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Vitamin D Prevents Colds, Flu, Especially Among The Vitamin D Deficient

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A meta-study led by British scientists finds strong evidence that vitamin D supplementation can actually reduce the occurrence of acute upper respiratory infections. It is well known that the vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscle, but there has been doubt about its disease prevention powers. In this study, researchers analyzed pooled data from 25 clinical trials involving 10,993 patients in 14 countries. Vitamin D prevented colds and flu in some trials, but not others. The data showed that vitamin D supplementation worked best in people with the lowest vitamin D levels. Daily or weekly supplementation, rather than more widely spaced doses, also provided the best protection. [ Vitamin D-rich cod liver oil capsules image credit: © Wikipedia ]
Adrian R Martineau et al., "Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. ", BMJ, February 22, 2017, © Martineau et al.
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Parents Bestow BMI Tendencies To Their Children Genetically

February 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A British study has determined that between 35 and 40 percent of a child’s body mass index (BMI) – and as much as 60 percent in a very obese child – is inherited from their mother and father. The study analyzed height and weight data from 100,000 children and their parents in the U.K., U.S., China, Indonesia, Spain and Mexico. The intergenerational transmission of BMI was found to be constant at about 0.2 per parent – i.e., each child’s BMI is on average 20 percent due to the mother and 20 percent due to the father. The results were consistent across all countries, regardless of economic development stage, degree of industrialization, or type of economy. [ Image credit: © Walter Siegmund (Wikimedia) ]
Peter Dolton, Mimi Xiao, "The intergenerational transmission of body mass index across countries", Economics & Human Biology, February 20, 2017, © Elsevier B.V.
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Retail Food Chain Says All House Brands Are Non-GMO

February 17, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Natural and organic food retailer Earth Fare (Asheville, N.C.) announced that none of its 500 house brand foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). The decision to sell only non-GMO foods was made after considering numerous customer requests. Earth Fare’s product line is also free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial fats, artificial trans-fats, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, bleached or bromated flour, antibiotics, and growth hormones. The chain also tries to incorporate locally produced fruits and vegetable, meat, beer and wine, dairy products, and specialty items. [ Image credit: © Earth Fare ]
"Earth Fare Unveils New Non-GMO Product Line, Continues Decades-Long Commitment to Healthy Food", News release, Earth Fare, February 17, 2017, © Earth Fare
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