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Dietitian Recommends P&G Probiotic Product For Gut Health

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble’s Align probiotic supplement brand announced it is partnering with a registered dietitian to teach people with occasional digestive imbalance how to avoid “triggers.” Ashley Koff said summer activities tend to prompt changes that can disrupt the natural balance of good gut bacteria. To mitigate the problem, she recommends Align, which contains the probiotic strain Bifantis, to add good bacteria to the digestive system for intestinal balance. She also recommended staying hydrated, avoiding excess salt, eating potassium-rich foods, and shunning junk food.
"Align Probiotic Teams Up with Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff to Offer Helpful Tips to Bolster Your Digestive Wellness This Summer", News release, Procter & Gamble, May 11, 2016, © Procter & Gamble
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
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As Court Battles Rage Over GMO Label Law, Some Companies Quietly Comply

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Some food companies have made a big deal of their decision to comply with a Vermont law requiring GMO ingredient labeling. But unlike Mars, Campbell Soup, and General Mills, PepsiCo is adding the labeling with no fanfare. Consumers Union said it noticed cans of Pepsi in New Hampshire whose label said the soda was “Partially Produced With Genetic Engineering.” The same notice was also found on Lay’s potato chips bags. All of this is occurring against a backdrop of litigation as food trade groups struggle to prevent the Vermont law from taking effect on July 1. So far their efforts have been stymied in the courts, but it’s anyone’s guess how the issue will be resolved.
Chris Morran, "Pepsi, Frito-Lay Quietly Adding GMO Ingredient Labels To Some Foods", Consumerist, May 11, 2016, © Consumer Media LLC
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Genetically Modified Foods
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Purveyors Of Nutrition Information Are Changing America’s Mind About Food

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A survey of a thousand American adults discovered that many have changed their minds or behaviors about food and nutrition in the past year, to a great extent because of information obtained from news or other media. Sponsored by the Food Information Council, the survey found an average of 31 percent had changed their minds about at least one dietary component, “for better or worse.” Media information turned many people against enriched refined grains, saturated fat, added sugars, and low-calorie sweeteners. At the same time, the media helped persuade consumers of the healthfulness of whole grains, protein from plant sources, and natural sugars. Forty-four percent indicated that reading a book or article, or watching a movie or documentary, had altered their beliefs about diet.
"2016 Food and Health Survey", International Food Information Council Foundation, May 11, 2016, © International Food Information Council Foundation
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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Food & Nutrition
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ConAgra’s Alexia Frozen Foods Moving Quickly Toward Non-GMO

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
ConAgra Foods said it hopes to have all of its Alexia brand frozen French fries and other frozen vegetable products GMO-free by the end of the year. According to a company spokesman, the Non-GMO initiative is already 90 percent complete. ConAgra acquired the Alexia brand in 2007, five years after Alexia was founded. Besides premium fries, Alexia markets gourmet potato side dishes and organic vegetables.
Eric Schroeder, "Alexia closes in on full Non-GMO Project verification", Food Business News, May 11, 2016, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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Food & Nutrition
Genetically Modified Foods
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FDA Survey: Consumers Do Check The Food Nutrition Label

May 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An FDA health and diet survey regarding the usefulness of food label nutrition information found that 78 percent check the label at least sometimes before purchasing, and 50 percent check it most of the time or always. The agency is putting the finishing touches on a new version of the ubiquitous nutrition facts label found on foods and beverages to help achieve the goal of reducing obesity and salt intake. Almost 90 percent of adults surveyed indicated they consumed more sodium than was healthy. Seventy-five percent said supermarket foods had more, or about the same amount of, sodium they did five years ago.
Chung-Tung Jordan Lin et al., "2014 FDA Health and Diet Survey", U.S. Food and Drug Administration, May 06, 2016, © Jordan Lin et al.
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Higher Levels Of Vitamin D Correlate With Lower Cancer Risk

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Studies have shown that people with higher levels of “sunshine” vitamin D tend to be less at risk for a variety of cancers. A new U.S. study reports that reduced cancer risk becomes measurable at 40 ng/ml (1,200 IU daily) of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, with additional benefit at higher levels. The researchers combined data from two earlier studies: a randomized clinical trial of 1,169 women and a prospective cohort study of 1,135 women, providing a larger sample size and a greater range of blood serum levels of vitamin D. It didn’t matter whether the vitamin came from sun exposure, diet or supplements.
Sharon L. McDonnell et al., "Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml Are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study. ", PLOS ONE, May 04, 2016, © McDonnell et al.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Fast Food Fans Are Highly Exposed To Dangerous Chemicals

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study that looked into whether eating fast food exposes people to harmful chemicals found fast foodies had 40 percent more harmful phthalates in their bloodstream. Phthalates are industrial chemicals used in making food packaging, tubing for dairy products, and other items used in the production of fast food. Grain and meat items were the biggest contributors to phthalate exposure. Studies have suggested that phthalates – also found in personal care products, toys, and perfume – can damage the reproductive system and may lead to infertility. The findings were based on U.S. data from 8,877 people who completed questionnaires about their diet in the previous 24 hours.
Susanna D. Mitro et al., "Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A and Phthalates Exposures among the U.S. Population in NHANES, 2003–2010. ", Environmental Health Perspectives, May 04, 2016, © Mitro et al.
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Study Highlights Protective Effect Of Sugar On Neurons

May 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Two Canadian college students and their university mentor, curious about the effect of natural substances on neurodegenerative disease, report that, in nematodes (roundworms) at least, maple syrup prevents the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Using nematode worms bred for ALS traits, the researchers added maple syrup to their diet, then compared the effect, hypothesizing that sugar protects neurons. Worms with the lowest concentration of maple syrup – which besides being a sugar also contains antioxidant polyphenols – were paralyzed. The researchers cautioned that humans should not increase their intake of sugar to prevent ALS. The worms only live three weeks, so are spared the long-term effects of increased sugar consumption.
Catherine Aaron et al., "Maple syrup decreases TDP-43 proteotoxicity in a C. elegans model of ALS. ", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, May 04, 2016, © American Chemical Society
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Study Finds A Ray Of Hope For Brain Cancer Patients

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The low-carb/high-fat “ketogenic” diet has been used for 90 years to control seizures in epileptic patients. But a new U.S. study in mice shows that the diet also slows the growth of an extremely aggressive type of brain tumor. There is no effective treatment for glioblastoma, and patients live only 12 to 15 months after diagnosis. A glioblastoma tumor needs huge amounts of energy to grow. The diet works by drastically reducing the amount of glucose available for tumor growth. The researchers are encouraged enough to continue testing in humans, though they caution it has not been shown to be a cure.
R. T. Martuscello et al., "A Supplemented High-Fat Low-Carbohydrate Diet for the Treatment of Glioblastoma. ", Clinical Cancer Research, May 03, 2016, © American Association for Cancer Research
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Compound In Dark Chocolate Boosts Athletic Endurance

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers found that cyclists who substituted dark chocolate for their regular energy snack used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and also covered more distance in a two-minute flat-out time trial. Dark chocolate contains a compound known as epicatechin, which acts on the circulatory system by converting nitrates to nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and reduces oxygen consumption. The effect is similar to that provided by beet juice, which is rich in nitrates. Nine amateur cyclists participated in the experiments, which compared the benefits of dark chocolate to white chocolate on athletic endurance.
Rishikesh Kankesh et al., "Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling. ", Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, May 03, 2016, © Kankesh et al.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Common Herb Could Help Treat Microbes Resistant To Antibiotics

May 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The common willow herb with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties has been used traditionally as a tonic for easing prostate and urinary tract problems. New Romanian research, however, now finds that it may also help reduce antibiotic dosages used to fight microbes increasingly resistant to a wide range of drugs, a global public health problem. The testing showed that blending commonly used antibiotics with willow herb may effectively treat bacterial and fungal infections. Researchers also found that the willow herb/antibiotic blends also led to fewer side effects.
Lucia Pirvu et al., "Herba Extracts Influence the In Vitro Activity of Common Antibiotics on Standard Bacteria. ", Open Chemistry, May 03, 2016, © Pirvu et al.
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FDA Warns Seven Dietary Supplement Makers About Illegal Ingredient

May 2, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has sent warning letters to companies whose dietary supplement products contain alarming levels of an illegal drug chemically similar to the banned heart stimulant ephedrine. The letters were sent in March to seven companies selling products containing ethylsynephrine (also known as oxilofrine). A study published in a scientific journal in April reported that an analysis of 27 brands of over-the-counter dietary supplements found that 14 contained the unapproved stimulant. Supplements containing oxilofrine were linked to 26 health emergencies in The Netherlands, including nausea and vomiting, chest pain and cardiac arrest. Oxilofrine is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and most major sports organizations.
"Ephedrine-Like Drug Found in Diet/Sports Nutrition Products", Nutraceuticals World, May 02, 2016, © Rodman Media
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GSK-Developed Antiseptic Chlorhexidine Gel For Prevention Of Umbilical Cord Infections Receives European Agency's Endorsement

April 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
An antiseptic chlorhexidine gel, developed through a partnership between GSK and Save the Children and designed to prevent umbilical cord infections in newborn infants in developing countries, has received a positive scientific opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency. Caused by bacteria entering the body through a newly cut umbilical cord, omphalitis is a leading cause of infant mortality in developing countries. GSK reformulated the antiseptic solution used in its Corsodyl mouthwash into a gel, integrating Save the Children’s capabilities in reaching some of the world’s most at-risk children. GSK plans to submit applications for government approval for the gel, which will be distributed under the Umbipro brand, in low-income countries with moderate to high rates of neonatal deaths.
"European agency endorses antiseptic gel, developed through GSK and Save the Children partnership, for newborn umbilical cord infections in developing countries", GlaxoSmithKline , April 29, 2016, © GlaxoSmithKline plc
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Kid's Health
Babies
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Americans Ask Restaurants: Where’s The Healthful Food?

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Mintel poll of American consumers found nearly half complaining that it is too tough to find healthful food at restaurants. And when they do find it, it tends to be too expensive (64 percent). Sixty-eight percent said restaurants should make it easier by indicating on menus which foods are more healthful. The problem is significant enough for 36 percent of those polled that they’d rather prepare healthful foods at home than try to find them at restaurants.
"Half Of Americans Agree That Finding Healthy Items At Restaurants Is Challenging", News release, Mintel, April 11, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Drinking Plain Water Reduces Intake Of Calories, Saturated Fat, Sugar, Etc.

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that analyzed dietary data collected from 18,300 adults found that drinking more water – an increase of just one percent from any source – reduced daily caloric intake. Plain water from the tap, a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle reduced energy intake by 68 to 205 calories a day while also reducing consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. The impact of plain water intake on diet was the same no matter the race, ethnicity, education, income or weight. The researchers said their findings might support the replacement of calorie-rich beverages with plain water as a weight control method.
Ruopeng An, J. ‎McCaffrey, "Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005-2012. ", Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, April 05, 2016, © The British Dietetic Association Ltd.
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Paleo Diet May Do More Harm Than Good

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
People intent on controlling or losing weight – especially those who are already overweight or sedentary – should avoid all forms of the Paleo diet, new Australian research warns. The Paleo diet generally emphasizes low-carb, high-fat eating. For the study, the researchers experimented with two groups of overweight mice, one of which ate a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet. After eight weeks, the LCHF mice gained more weight, their glucose intolerance worsened, insulin levels rose, they gained 15 percent of their body weight, and fat mass doubled from two percent to almost four percent. "To put that in perspective, for a 100 kilogram person, that's the equivalent of 15 kilograms in two months,” one researcher said. “That's extreme weight gain.”
B. J. Lamont et al., "A low-carbohydrate high-fat diet increases weight gain and does not improve glucose tolerance, insulin secretion or β-cell mass in NZO mice. ", Nutrition & Diabetes, April 05, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
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No Link Between Cholesterol Consumption And Heart Disease

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Finnish study confirms earlier research that found no correlation between higher intake of dietary cholesterol – eating eggs every day, for example – and a greater risk of coronary heart disease. The finding held for Finns in the general population and for those with the APOE4 phenotype, which affects cholesterol metabolism. The study examined the dietary habits of 1,032 men aged between 42 and 60 without cardiovascular disease. The men, about a third of whom were carriers of APOE4, were followed for 21 years. Eating eggs, a significant source of dietary cholesterol, did not increase the risk of coronary heart disease, and did not cause a harmful thickening of the common carotid artery walls.
J. K. Virtanen et al., "Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Finland

Organic Beef, Milk Shown To Be More Nutritious Than Conventional

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers and colleagues from around the world reviewed scientific studies on milk and meat, finding that organically grown products contained more beneficial nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. The data showed that organic milk and meat have more desirable fat profiles, and could raise omega-3 fat intake by 50 percent without increasing calories and undesirable saturated fat. They also showed lower levels of myristic and palmitic acid in organic meat and a lower omega-3/omega-6 ratio in organic milk. There were also higher levels of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E and carotenoids, and 40 percent more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in organic milk. Organic cattle raising involves more outdoor grazing and low concentrate feeding than conventional raising.
Carlo Leifert et al. , "Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic bovine milk: A systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analysis. ", British Journal of Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © Cambridge University Press
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For Overweight People, Breakfast Offers A Double Benefit

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Eating breakfast is associated with increased health, if not necessasrily weight loss, but in obese people it has other benefits. A British study finds that when obese people eat breakfast they are more active during the day and they tend to eat less. For the study, two groups of individuals aged 21 – 60 either fasted or ate a 700-calories breakfast for six weeks. The researchers did not control how the breakfast group obtained their 700 calories, so there is no data on whether a high-carb or high-protein diet works better. What is ultimately healthier – eating breakfast or fasting – depends on the individual and their own personal goals. If being more active or controlling blood sugar are important, then people should eat breakfast.
E. A. Chowdhury et al., "The causal role of breakfast in energy balance and health: a randomized controlled trial in obese adults.", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 05, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Why Leafy Green Veggies Keep The Gut Healthy

April 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
British and Australian researchers have discovered a previously unknown enzyme that gut bacteria, fungi and other organisms use to feed on an unusual but abundant sugar sulfoquinovose (SQ) found in green vegetables. The researchers said gut bacteria, including crucial protective strains of E. coli, use SQ as a source of energy. E. coli creates a protective barrier that keeps bad bacteria from growing and colonizing in the gut. “The good bugs are taking up all the habitable real estate," said one scientist, who added that the findings may someday be used to develop “an entirely new class of antibiotics.”
Gaetano Speciale et al., "YihQ is a sulfoquinovosidase that cleaves sulfoquinovosyl diacylglyceride sulfolipids. ", Nature Chemical Biology, April 05, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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FDA Will Release Voluntary Salt-Content Goals This Summer

April 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Politico reports that voluntary goals for sodium levels in processed foods will be released this summer by the FDA, thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Having to reduce salt content makes some food companies nervous, because the ingredient gives breads, crackers and sauces “their trademark taste.” It’s likely, however, that the reductions would be phased in over ten years. The CSPI lawsuit should push the FDA to release the salt targets completed two years ago but kept under wraps. Excessive salt content in processed foods has been a bête noire of the Obama administration for years.
Helena Bottemiller Evich, "Obama's latest food crackdown: Salt", Politico, April 03, 2016, © Politico LLC
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Coffee Drinking Drastically Cuts Risk Of Colorectal Cancer

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study involving nearly 10,000 men and women living in Israel, some recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer, found that even moderate coffee consumption, whether regular or decaffeinated, was associated with a reduced likelihood of developing colon cancer. Drinking only one or two cups a day was linked to a 26 percent reduction in the risk, and drinking more than that – more than 2.5 cups a day – decreased the risk up to 50 percent. The researchers speculated that caffeine and polyphenols in coffee may act as antioxidants, limiting the growth of potential colon cancer cells; melanoidins generated during coffee roasting may encourage colon mobility; and diterpenes may prevent cancer by enhancing the body's defense against oxidative damage.
Stephanie L. Schmit et al., "Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer", Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, April 01, 2016, © American Association of Cancer Research
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Israel

FDA Takes Steps To Reduce Infant Exposure To Arsenic In Baby Food

April 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA has issued a “draft guidance“ to the baby food industry proposing a limit of 100 parts per billion for inorganic arsenic in rice cereal, the main source of arsenic exposure in infants. Because of their small size, babies under the age of one consume about three times more rice – relative to their weight – than adults. FDA testing found that most infant rice cereal being sold today either meets or approaches the proposed limit. Manufacturers can produce infant rice cereal that meets or is below the proposed limit by sourcing rice with lower inorganic arsenic levels, the agency said.
"FDA proposes limit for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal", News release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 01, 2016, © U.S. FDA
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Kid's Health
Babies
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It Will Be A Slow Journey, But Antibiotics-Free Bandwagon Is Gaining Riders

March 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chickens fed antibiotics can live in cramped, unsanitary conditions without getting sick. They also tend to gain more weight. However, a highly vocal movement against antibiotic use in meat and poultry in the United States is inducing more producers to end the use of antibiotics. The goal is to protect consumers from a growing threat of antibiotic resistance as well as early puberty in children. Restaurant chains like Subway and McDonalds are demanding antibiotics-free meats. And poultry producers, including Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, and Foster Farms have all promised to mostly stop using antibiotics over varying time frames. It’s an uphill climb, however: 92 to 95 percent of food produced in the U.S. contains antibiotics.
Emily Balsamo, "Movement Against Antibiotic-Treated Meat Gaining Momentum in the United States", Blog, Euromonitor International, March 31, 2016, © Euromonitor
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
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Teen
Organic & Natural
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Citing Vermont Law, General Mills Bites The GMO Labeling Bullet Nationally

March 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills executives last month expressed hope that a bill establishing a national standard for GMO food labeling would pass the U.S. Congress. Instead the bill died in the Senate, leaving the company and many others to deal with a Vermont law that requires labeling taking effect on July 1. Similar statutes could also also pop up in other states. Though the company believes GMO foods are safe, it would be enormously expensive to relabel products for only one state “without significantly driving up costs for our consumers,” said Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening. Newly relabeled General Mills products, noting GMO ingredients, will begin to reach grocery stores over the next few weeks.
Craig Giammona, "General Mills Will Label GMO Food Amid Stalemate in Congress", Bloomberg Business, March 19, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Scientist Improves Health Profile Of Bread Using Anthocyanins

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A food scientist in Singapore pondered some of the nutritional and health drawbacks of white bread. It digests too fast, for one thing, causing a spike in blood sugar. Its starch content is also digested too rapidly, leaving people hungry for more. All of this links white bread to obesity and related health issues. Zhou Weibiao’s solution to this problem was to add anthocyanin extract derived from black rice. A chemical reaction with the starch enzymes turns the bread purple, but the anthocyanins also slow digestion speed by 20 percent and are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants. And the bread is made entirely of natural compounds.
Jenni Marsh, "Purple bread: A new superfood?", CNN, March 18, 2016, © Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
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Singapore

General Mills Calls For National GMO Food Labeling Policy

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In a company blog, General Mills Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening says he is disappointed that there is still no national policy on labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms. It’s true that many consumers want to know which foods contain GMOs, so the company has created a public database of GMO foods. This despite the fact that “every major health and safety agency in the world agrees that GMOs are not a health or safety concern.” But a national policy on labeling is still needed, because Vermont requires it or companies can be slapped with stiff fines. Harmening insists, nevertheless, that General Mills will not retool its packaging for one state only, a move that would drive up costs for customers everywhere.
Jeff Harmening, "We need a national solution for GMO labeling", Blog, General Mills, March 18, 2016, © General Mills Inc.
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Young Kids Seem Indifferent To Portion Sizes, Calorie Densities, When Eating

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
It is widely believed that children self-regulate food intake, but a new study takes issue with that belief: kids will eat a lot of calorie-rich foods if that’s what they’re served. The researchers tested 120 children (ages three to five) who ate lunch in three separate daycare centers for six weeks. They ate meals of different size and calorie densities, including chicken, macaroni and cheese, vegetables, applesauce, ketchup, and milk. They liked the lower-calorie and higher-calorie meals similarly. They also ate smaller portions of food as easily as larger portions. The good news from the study is that parents and caregivers can serve more healthful lower-calorie foods, and smaller portions, “and kids seem to be just as satisfied.”
Marjorie Miller, "If You Give Kids Too Much Food, They’ll Overeat", Futurity, March 17, 2016, © Futurity
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Coffee Can Be A Major Brain Stimulator – After A Good Night’s Sleep

March 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New research shows that caffeine works best when a person is rested, not sleep-deprived or sleepy. Caffeine clogs the body’s adenosine system, which is a sort of brake that allows the brain to switch off and fall asleep. Drinking coffee when well-rested blocks adenosine, allowing stimulation of brain chemicals such as dopamine. This doesn’t happen after a long work day because those chemicals have been largely used up. That’s why a cup of coffee is most beneficial in the morning, or after a nap. It heightens creativity, boosts typing and data processing speed, and eases mathematical computation. Studies also show caffeine intake, at the right times and in the right doses, may also increase longevity, reduce cognitive decline in men, and even help with Alzheimer’s in mouse models.
Seth Porges, "How to Transform Your Coffee Into a Wonder Drug", Bloomberg Business, March 17, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Grain Combos Improve Nutritional Profile, Texture Of Baked Goods

March 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
USDA food scientists who experimented with the ancient grain amaranth, blending it with oats, whole wheat and chia seeds, say they’ve come up with more healthful, yet still tasty, sugar cookies. Both amaranth and chia contain the essential amino acid lysine. Blending amaranth with beta-glucan-rich oats results in a cookie that could help lower blood cholesterol. Blending an oat bran concentrate and whole wheat flour with finely ground chia may prove even more beneficial. Because chai seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, baked goods made with the chia-oats-wheat mixture not only have improved texture, they could help lower blood cholesterol and prevent coronary heart disease.
Sandra Avant, "Ancient Grains Make Healthful, Tasty Cookies", News release, USDA, March 16, 2016, © USDA
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Heart & Cardiovascular
Whole Grains
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Organic Dairy Backs Mandatory GMO Labeling

March 14, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Stonyfield Organic, a U.S.-based organic dairy owned by France’s Danone group, has gone on record as supporting mandatory GMO labeling of food products. Parent company Danone has not yet publicly supported GMO labeling, but has also not “donated to campaigns trying to block it,” according to a Stonyfield spokesman. The U.S. Senate on March 16 defeated legislation formally known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, passed by the House last summer. Opponents of the bill, however, refer to it as the “deny Americans the right to know,” or DARK, Act. It would have preempted states, including Vermont, from requiring the labeling of GMO foods, instead implementing a voluntary system.
Katy Askew, "Danone's Stonyfield backs mandatory GMO labelling - Expo West", Just-Food, March 14, 2016, © just-food.com
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Non-GMO Trend Continues, Though Scientists Aren’t Sure GMO Foods Are A Threat

March 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Claiming to be non-GMO – as some restaurants, grocery chains and food companies have at least partially done – is not only problematic, it’s increasingly difficult to defend from a scientific standpoint without proof that GMO foods present a threat to humanity. It’s problematic because GMO crops and animal feed are inescapable. Staunchly anti-GMO Chipotle had to finally admit its meat and cheeses come from GMO-fed cows. Whole Foods acknowledged “GMOs are ‘pervasive’ and can be found in 70 percent of packaged foods.” Meanwhile, the scientific community seems less hostile to the food industry’s growing application of GMO technology as it waits for some reliable evidence that GMO foods are safe – or unsafe.
Chris Sorensen, "In defense of GMOs", Canadian Grocer, March 13, 2016, © Rogers Media Inc.
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FDA Urges Food Industry To Help Reduce Possibility Of Acrylamide Exposure

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The FDA’s new non-binding guidelines covering acrylamide – a suspected carcinogen produced during high-temperature cooking of some foods – urge companies to take a close look at their products and try to figure out how to reduce the amount of the chemical. The guidelines are directed at growers, manufacturers, and food service operators, offering steps to reduce acrylamide. The guidance covers raw materials, processing practices, and ingredients pertaining to potato-based foods such as French fries and potato chips; cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, toasted bread and other cereals-based foods; and coffee. All are sources of acrylamide exposure.
"FDA Issues Final Guidance for Industry on How to Reduce Acrylamide in Certain Foods", News release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, March 10, 2016, © U.S. FDA
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Natural Pigment Added To Bread Lowers Glycemic Index, Benefits Diabetics

February 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists in Singapore have developed a way to make more healthful bread using a natural plant pigment known as anthocyanin. The bread made with the pigment, which is extracted from black rice, is rich in antioxidants and is especially suitable for diabetics because it has a lower glycemic index than regular bread. It takes longer to digest so glucose is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream, making it less likely to cause harmful sugar spikes. Because it is slower to digest, people feel fuller and are less likely to eat too much.
"Food scientists create healthier, diabetic-friendly bread", Phys.org, February 25, 2016, © Phys.org
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Advice To Women: To Lose Weight And Improve Cholesterol, Eat Walnuts

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study analyzing the impact of different diets on women found that eating higher amounts of walnuts, which are rich in polyunsaturated fats, leads to weight loss, but also significantly lowers blood fat levels, especially in women who are insulin-resistant. For the year-long study, overweight and obese adult women were randomly assigned to one of three diets: low-fat and high-carbohydrate; low-carbohydrate and high-fat; or a walnut-rich, high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. Women lost about the same amount of weight on all three plans. The walnut-rich diet, however, had the most effect on cholesterol levels by decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol), and increasing beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
Tran Le et al., "Effects of Diet Composition and Insulin Resistance Status on Plasma Lipid Levels in a Weight Loss Intervention in Women. ", Journal of the American Heart Association, February 24, 2016, © Le et al.
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BMI Alone Does Not Accurately Determine A Person’s Health

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A study by researchers at UCLA finds that body mass index (BMI) by itself is a highly inaccurate way to determine whether people are healthy or unhealthy. In fact, BMI incorrectly categorizes millions of so-called “obese” people as unhealthy. BMI, a ratio of a person’s height and weight, is often used by employers to determine health care costs, and could soon be used to mandate higher health insurance premiums. For the study based on national data, scientists linked BMI with other health indicators, including blood pressure and glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Nearly half of Americans considered "overweight" because of their BMIs (47.4 percent, or 34.4 million people) were actually healthy, as were 19.8 million who are considered "obese." Lastly, nearly a third of those with “normal” BMIs – about 20.7 million people – were unhealthy based on other health data.
A. J. Tomiyama et al., "Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012. ", International Journal of Obesity, February 24, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Lima Bean Compound Extends Lifespan In Lab Experiments

February 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
German researchers experimenting with fruit flies found that an isoflavone found in lima beans extended lifespan, increased fitness levels, and improved glucose balance – but only in males. Though a lot more research needs to be done in animals and humans to prove any connection between longer life and the isoflavone prunetin, the results suggest that the plant bioactive could someday help slow the aging process, in men at least. 
S. Piegholdt et al., "The phytoestrogen prunetin affects body composition and improves fitness and lifespan in male Drosophila melanogaster. ", The FASEB Journal, February 24, 2016, © Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
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Sustained Aerobic Exercise Creates New Neurons

February 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Finnish researchers who examined the effects of various types of exercise on the brain in an animal study found that long periods of running generated significantly higher amounts of new neurons in the hippocampus. The eight-week experiment involved rats that were genetically bred to have either a high or low response to aerobic training. Exercises included sustained running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance training. The highest number of new hippocampal neurons was observed in rats that ran long distances and were genetically predisposed to benefit from aerobic exercise: they had 2-3 times more new hippocampal neurons at the end of the experiment than sedentary animals. The results suggest that long periods of aerobic exercise boost neuron creation, improving the brain’s ability to perform short-term or spatially complex tasks.
Miriam S. Nokia et al., "Physical exercise increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in male rats provided it is aerobic and sustained. ", The Journal of Physiology, February 23, 2016, © The Physiological Society
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Fish Oil/Cholesterol Mixture Shows Promise As Cancer Treatment

February 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have determined in an animal study that a nanoparticle combination of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil shows potent anti-cancer activity. The mixture was injected into the artery leading to the liver, where it preferentially killed primary liver cancer cells without harming healthy cells. The scientists, who were not sure whether all of the cancer cells were destroyed, nevertheless said that the technique may someday provide a therapy for improving the chances of cancer survival. Further preclinical research is needed, they said.
Xiaodong Wen et al., "Hepatic Arterial Infusion of Low-Density Lipoprotein Docosahexaenoic Acid Nanoparticles Selectively Disrupts Redox Balance in Hepatoma Cells and Reduces Growth of Orthotopic Liver Tumors in Rats. ", Gastroenterology, February 23, 2016, © AGA Institute
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Reduce Sodium In Cooking By Adding Fish Sauce

February 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Adding Vietnamese fish sauce to foods like chicken broth reduces the amount of sodium chloride by as much as 25 percent without loss of salty flavor, according to a study by Malaysian scientists. A standard ingredient in Asian cuisines, fish sauce adds umami flavor to foods. The researchers found that fish sauce can partially substitute for salt in tomato sauce, coconut curry, etc., to cut sodium without diminishing palatability. The researchers said chefs and food manufacturers could create foods lower in sodium content that would meet the requirements of consumers, healthcare providers, governmental organizations, and consumer advocacy groups without compromising taste.
Hue Linh Huynh et al., "Using Fish Sauce as a Substitute for Sodium Chloride in Culinary Sauces and Effects on Sensory Properties. ", Journal of Food Science, February 23, 2016, © Institute of Food Technologists
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New Grocery Receipts Could Help You Eat More Healthfully

February 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A British designer has come up with a simple way to track the nutritional value of grocery purchases. It’s not an app, but a colorful graphic printed at the bottom of a store receipt that shows nutrient data. Color-coded symbols tell whether levels of sugar, salt, saturated fat, etc., are low, medium, or high. Problem items are printed in red as a warning. Supermarkets would pull the data from databases. Hayden Peek believes supermarkets will like the idea because they have a vested interest in keeping shoppers “alive and loyal for as long as possible."
Adele Peters, "This Brilliantly Simple Graphic Turns Your Grocery Receipts Into A Health Tool", Fast Company, February 22, 2016, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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“Healthy” Foods In The U.K. No Longer Means “Diet”

February 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Britons are cutting way back on their sugar intake, and are paying closer attention to other ingredients as well, researcher Kantar Worldpanel says. As part of a trend in the U.K. toward healthy food selections, a full 93 percent say cutting back on sugar consumption is a priority. But perceptions of what constitutes “healthy” foods is changing. In fact, sales of healthy private label foods are down 3.3 percent, as consumers shift away from “diet” foods to fresh, “free-from,” less processed  more natural, or functional foods. Kantar advises retailers to “revisit and relaunch and reposition their healthy ranges.”
Giles Quick, "Sugar now the UK’s number one ‘nutrient concern’", Report, Kantar UK, February 17, 2016, © Kantar is a WPP Plc company
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Non-GMO Foods Are Selling Well, Though They Are Not Necessarily Organic

February 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
American and international food authorities continue to reassure consumers that GMO foods are safe, but the message may not be sinking in, a market researcher says. Retail sales of non-GMO foods and beverages were about $200 billion in 2014, and will rise 65 percent to $330 billion by 2019. This contrasts with an expected 13 percent growth rate for all foods and beverages. However, there is some confusion in the market. Consumers often assume that non-GMO foods are organic. But, though all organic foods are non-GMO, not all non-GMO foods are organic. Non-GMO foods are certified after testing by private organizations like the Non-GMO Project. Organic certification is overseen by the federal government, which makes sure synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – and GMO ingredients – are not used in production. Bottom line: retail sales of less heavily regulated non-GMO products are outpacing sales of foods labeled organic.
"Non-GMO Growth, Organic Label Debate", Prepared Foods, February 08, 2016, © BNP Media
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New USDA Funding Supports Food Safety Research

February 3, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A USDA food safety program has awarded 21 grants totaling $15.1 million to fund food safety research in U.S. colleges and universities. The goal of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s and its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is to protect consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants occurring in the food chain. The grants, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, are clustered around four sub-programs: enhancing food safety through improved processing technologies; effective mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance ($3.4 million); improving food safety; and improving food quality.  Five schools received grants of about $1 million each.
"USDA Awards 35 Food Safety Grants, Including $3.4 Million for Antimicrobial Resistance, to Protect Consumers", News release, USDA, February 03, 2016, © USDA
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Physical Activity Loosens Bond Between Depression, Heart Disease

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Heart disease and depression often go hand in hand. Depression has not only been connected to an increased risk of heart disease, it often means worse outcomes for patients. But new research confirms that regular exercise lessens undesirable cardiovascular outcomes. Researchers looked for evidence of physical activity, as well as early indicators of heart disease, among 965 people who were free of heart disease and depression. They found arterial stiffening and inflammation – early signs of heart disease – as well as depressive symptoms among those who were inactive. The indicators were less common in subjects engaging in regular physical activity.
Ibhar Al Mheid et al., " Depressive Symptoms and Subclinical Vascular Disease. ", Journal of the American College of Cardiology, January 24, 2016, © American College of Cardiology Foundation
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Men’s Supplements For Treating Sexual Dysfunction Are Bogus, Even Toxic

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. urologists who reviewed scientific studies on dietary supplements claiming to improve men’s sexual health concluded that some showed promise, but still lacked evidence from clinical trials. Others not only did not improve sexual dysfunction, they were harmful, impure or weak. Some that claimed they were “natural” actually contained traces of the same chemicals – PDE5Is – used in Viagra and similar products. One study found that 81 percent of tested samples of over-the-counter products purchased in the U.S. and Asia contained PDE5Is. Another study found that the widely-used ingredient fenugreek was beneficial in terms of improving sexual arousal and orgasm, and was shown to be safe.
Tao Cui et al., "A Urologist's Guide to Ingredients Found in Top-Selling Nutraceuticals for Men's Sexual Health. ", The Journal of Sexual Medicine, January 24, 2016, © International Society for Sexual Medicine
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Fruity Diet Reduces Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A diet that contains regular helpings of foods rich in certain flavonoids reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men under age 70, a study by U.S. and British scientists has found. The most potent flavonoids are found in various fruits. Anthocyanins are found in blueberries, cherries, blackberries, radishes and blackcurrants; flavanones and flavones are found in citrus fruits. The study also showed that that eating more fruit generally was associated with a 14 percent reduction in the risk of ED. A flavonoid-rich diet is as good for erectile function as vigorously walking for up to five hours a week, the researchers noted.
A. Cassidy et al. , "Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 24, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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Visceral Fat Increases With More Frequent Drinking Of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
New U.S. research has found a correlation between frequent drinking of sugary beverages and harmful visceral fat in middle-aged adults. Visceral (or deep) fat surrounds the liver, pancreas and intestines, adversely affecting hormone function. It is thought to play a large role in insulin resistance that boosts type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk. For the study, 1,003 men and women (average age 45) who answered food questionnaires and underwent CT scans were monitored for six years. At the end, researchers found that regardless of age, gender, physical activity, body mass index and other factors, visceral fat volume increased by 658 cm³ for non-drinkers, 649 cm³ for occasional drinkers, 707 cm³ for frequent drinkers, and 852 cm³ for those who drank one beverage daily.
Jiantao Ma et al., "Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption is Associated With Change of Visceral Adipose Tissue Over 6 Years of Follow-Up. ", Circulation, January 24, 2016, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Adding Fat To DASH Diet Proves Just As Effective In Reducing Hypertension

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A higher fat version of an anti-hypertension diet not only lowered blood pressure tas much as the non-dairy version, but also reduced blood fats and did not significantly raise LDL cholesterol, a U.S. study has found. The DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet was developed to lower blood pressure and includes low-fat and nonfat dairy foods, reduced sodium, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Researchers tested 36 adults who alternated eating a control diet, a normal DASH diet and a modified DASH diet with higher amounts of fat. The higher fat DASH diet lowered blood pressure to the same extent as the DASH diet without raising “bad” cholesterol levels, making it a an effective alternative to the widely recommended DASH diet.
S. Chiu et al., "Comparison of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and a higher-fat DASH diet on blood pressure and lipids and lipoproteins: a randomized controlled trial. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 24, 2016, © American Society for Nutrition
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U.S. Scientist Hopes To Develop Probiotic Strains To Fight Gut Infections

January 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
One of the worst side effects of antibiotic treatments is their tendency to kill beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the gut. This, in turn, gives destructive bacteria the opportunity to flourish and promote intestinal infections such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium difficile, an especially durable and destructive variety. A U.S. scientist hopes to identify gut bacteria that inhibit growth of Clostridium difficile and then blend them into an edible probiotic mixture that will treat a variety of intestinal ailments. The scientist is using mini-bioreactors that mimic the stomach to test probiotic mixtures of as many as five bacteria strains.
"Developing probiotic mixes to treat intestinal infections", News release, South Dakota State University, January 24, 2016, © South Dakota State University
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