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Bake Mix Entrepreneurs Target Health-Conscious Consumers With A Sweet Tooth

January 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Shifting diet trends toward natural, organic, and generally more healthful foods have taken their toll on bake mix brands like Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines and Pillsbury. U.S. sales of cake and pastry mixes fell 8.5 percent in 2015; frosting sales fell 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, sales of organic baking mixes grew more than 15 percent. It doesn’t mean traditional bake-at-home mixes will disappear from store shelves anytime soon (for one thing, they’re a lot cheaper). But their ingredients lists are being reworked to get rid of at least some of the unpronounceables and unrecognizables. Bake mix entrepreneurs focused on natural ingredients are convinced that mixes made with pure ingredients will find their market: health-conscious people with a sweet tooth who hate to waste decadent calories on mediocre treats.
Hadley Malcolm, "Millennial-focused all-natural baking line battling Betty Crocker", USA Today, January 21, 2016, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Organic & Natural
Geographies
Worldwide
North America
United States of America

USDA Testing Finds Pesticide Residue Levels On Food Are Safe

January 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The USDA reports that 99 percent of the foods it tested – including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, oats, rice, infant formula, and salmon – through its Pesticide Data Program had residue levels below EPA standards. The USDA said the pesticide levels it found “do not pose a safety concern.” The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) tested for pesticides in 10,619 samples of food. Seventy-six percent the samples were domestic in origin, 22.9 percent were imports, 0.7 percent were of mixed origin, and 0.9 percent were of unknown origin. Pesticide residues exceeding the EPA tolerance level were detected in 0.36 percent of the samples tested.
"USDA finds pesticide residues do not pose a safety concern", News release, USDA, January 20, 2016, © USDA
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Safety
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Research Shows Fitness DVDs May Do More Harm Than Good

January 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. kinesiologists report that the imagery in 10 popular commercial exercise DVDs could be propagating and reinforcing “hyper-sexualized” and unrealistic body images. Most instructors and models, for example, were slim white women “dressed in revealing attire,” the researchers point out. One in every seven motivational statements they heard on the DVDs was likely to demotivate exercisers, reduce the effectiveness of the workout, deflate the user's hope and even be psychologically harmful. Fitness DVDs are a $250 million a year – mostly unregulated – industry. But there is no scientific evidence about their safety and effectiveness or the accuracy of the information contained in them, the researchers note.
Bradley J. Cardinal et al., "Critical Discourse Analysis of Motivational Content in Commercially Available Exercise DVDs: Body Capital on Display or Psychological Capital Being Developed? ", Sociology of Sport Journal, January 20, 2016, © Human Kinetics, Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Dieting & Weight Control
Fitness & Exercise
Obesity
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Even Products Not Labeled “Gluten-Free” Benefit From The Phenomenon

January 19, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The “most potent, generative force” in the food industry – gluten-free food and beverages -- is not going away. A visit to the recent Fancy Food Show bore that out: kombuchas, jerkies, prepackaged sauces, artisanal charcuterie, and small-batch jams were all labeled gluten-free. The U.S. market for gluten-free foods hit $11.6 billion in 2015, up 136 percent from 2013 (Mintel). But those figures only include products specifically labeled “gluten-free.” Other foods and beverages that just happen to be gluten-free are also benefiting. Examples include new dishes on San Francisco restaurant and café menus, in farmers markets and in pastry shops (e.g., almond flour cakes). The fact that gluten-free beer “tastes wretched” spurred the rise of wheat-free hard apple cider and honey-based mead.
Jonathan Kauffman, "Is that gluten-free? The movement’s impact on the food industry", San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2016, © Hearst Corporation
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Body
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More Evidence That Expectant Mothers Who Eat Lots Of Fish Have Smarter Kids

January 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Spanish study of 2,000 mothers and children found that eating fish often during pregnancy has long-term health benefits for kids, especially in terms of brain development. And, the study found, there was no evidence of adverse effects from pollutants like mercury after that eating a lot of fish – 21 ounces a week on average. The researchers examined women’s consumption of large fatty fish such as swordfish and albacore tuna, smaller fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, anchovies or salmon, and lean fish such as hake or sole, as well as shellfish and other seafood. The link between higher maternal consumption of lean and/or large fatty fish and better child brain development was especially apparent when kids were five.
Shereen Lehman, "High fish consumption in pregnancy tied to brain benefits for kids", Reuters, January 18, 2016, © Thomson Reuters
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
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Europe
Spain

Chinese Parents, Fearing Contamination, Turn To Australia For Infant Formula

January 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Investors in Australian baby formula manufacturers are licking their chops as they contemplate a profitable future, thanks to surging demand from China. The demand has created an underground market in Australia, where stores have begun to ration formula to prevent supplies from being shipped to Chinese cities and sold at triple the original retail price. Demand for Western-produced formula has risen since the rescinding of China’s one-baby per family rule and a rise in infant food contamination outbreaks. China has strict milk safety rules, but Chinese parents apparently don’t trust the government to enforce them.
A. Odysseus Patrick, "China’s hunger for baby formula feeds underground market in Australia", The Washington Post, January 16, 2016, © The Washington Post
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Low-Fiber Diet Reduces Beneficial Microbe Population In The Gut

January 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Fiber – plant carbohydrates that people cannot digest – not only feeds humans, it also feeds the trillions of beneficial microbes in the gut. Bacteria in the intestine break fiber into chemicals that nourish cells and reduce inflammation. Microbes eat specialized diets, according to a new U.S. study in mice. That means a fiber-rich diet can nourish a wide variety of gut microbes, while a low-fiber diet nourishes a smaller community. Researchers found that low-fiber diets deplete the complex microbial ecosystems and can cause a loss of diversity and internal deficiencies that can be passed on to future generations. It is not known whether those lost microbes can ever be replaced, or what impact the loss of the microbes may have had on human health.
Erica D. Sonnenburg et al., "Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations", Nature, January 15, 2016, © Macmillan Publishers Limited
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Body
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Asians Can Now Afford Protein, But Are Also Choosing Wheat Over Rice

January 15, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Increasingly prosperous China has begun to satisfy its repressed demand for protein, mainly in the form of pork. In India, the price of the legume Dal, a major source of protein along with milk, has quadrupled in the last decade. But what might be called a sinister dietary trend is also taking hold in Asia. In the area of carbohydrates, consumer preferences are shifting away from rice toward wheat-based products like white bread. Nutritionists fret over the shift, as do healthcare providers who are already seeing the adverse results in increased numbers of obese patients and rising healthcare costs. They are also seeing a rise in the value of their stocks.
Andy Mukherjee, "Asia's High-Risk Diet", Bloomberg Gadfly, January 15, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Body
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China
India
Japan
Malaysia
Viet Nam

America’s Love Affair With Diet Products Is Mostly Over

January 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The shift in American consumers’ attitudes toward health and dieting is giving diet product marketers a sour stomach, according to Mintel. A Mintel analyst says “the diet industry faces downward pressure” because Americans are skeptical of diet product ingredients and their effectiveness in weight loss. In short, they believe “a magic weight loss pill likely doesn’t exist." The researcher found that 91 percent of U.S. consumers now believe a well-rounded diet is more important than using weight loss products. This shift is reflected in the fact that sales of weight-control tablets continue to decline steeply: nearly 20 percent for the 52-weeks ending July 2015. U.S. consumers agree diet products are not as healthy as they claim to be, and 61 percent believe most diets are not healthy at all.
"Balanced Eating vs. Dieting Plans", Prepared Foods, January 13, 2016, © BNP Media
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Dieting & Weight Control
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Obesity
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United States of America

Nestle To Help Bring Microbiome Therapeutic Products To Market

January 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Nestlé announced it would participate in commercialization efforts for the Ecobiotics line of microbiome drugs being tested in clinical trials by Seres Therapeutics. Nestlé Health Science has purchased an equity stake in Seres (Cambridge, Mass.), which is developing the microbiome products for the treatment of Clostridium difficile bacterial infections of the digestive system, and for inflammatory bowel disease. The various products, based on microbial organisms, target the 100 trillion microorganisms that live within the human body. They are in different phases of human testing. C. diff infections are most common in people 65 years and older, and in immune-compromised patients treated with antibiotics for underlying infections.
"Nestlé Health Science Makes Latest Move In Breakthrough Microbiome Field", Nestlé Health Science, January 11, 2016, © Nestlé Health Science
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Digestive
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EMEA
United States of America
Canada
Europe
Switzerland

Birds’ Nests Aren’t Just For Eggs

January 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A cosmetics drink launched in the Asian market reduces wrinkles and slows the aging process of the skin, according to its maker, beauty brand Qiaohou. A primary ingredient of Qiaohou Miracle Essence is edible birds’ nests. The global market for “Beauty from Within” products is $4 billion, with the bulk of sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Anti-aging and natural ingredients are high-growth drivers for the beauty industry. The company says “early trials” of the birds’ nest drinks show that "consistent use helps reduce wrinkles and reverse the effects of aging on the skin.”
Lucy Whitehouse, "Drinkable cosmetic product claims all-natural anti-ageing properties", CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com, January 10, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Other Food & Nutrition
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific

Hope For Alzheimer’s Research From A Pomegranate Compound

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In previous animal studies, pomegranate extract has been shown to protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. But U.S. scientists wanted to know which specific compounds to thank for the beneficial effect. To fight the formation of Alzheimer’s brain plaque, the helpful compound would need to be able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from harmful substances. Although their findings are a long way from being clinically useful, the researchers determined that, out of 21 extract compounds, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective urolithins were able to cross the barrier. Urolithins, formed when a type of polyphenol is metabolized by gut bacteria, reduced plaque formation in lab tests and increased the lifespan of an Alzheimer's roundworm model.
Tao Yuan et al., "Pomegranate’s Neuroprotective Effects against Alzheimer’s Disease Are Mediated by Urolithins, Its Ellagitannin-Gut Microbial Derived Metabolites. ", ACS Chemical Neuroscience, January 08, 2016, © American Chemical Society
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Mind
Mental Alertness
Aging
Brain
Other Food & Nutrition
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Cardiovascular Disease: Progress, But Battle Not Yet Won

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The American Heart Association’s new batch of statistics on cardiovascular disease both domestically and internationally shows that mortality rates overall have inched downward since the 1950s, but are still unacceptably high. In the U.S. in 2013, a third of all deaths were from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular ailments. Globally, 31 percent of deaths were from cardiovascular disease; 80 percent of those occurred in low- and middle-income countries. The problem is especially severe among African-American adults: 48 percent of women and 46 percent of men have some form of cardiovascular disease. Key lifestyle factors contributing to cardiovascular disease are smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet. Nineteen percent of American men and 15 percent of women smoked in 2014, though there was a 30 percent drop in smoking since 1998.
Dariush Mozaffarian et al., "Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2016 Update. ", Circulation, January 08, 2016, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Body
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Heart & Cardiovascular
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MIND Diet Targeting Dementia Ranked Among Top Overall Diets

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Rush University’s (Chicago, Ill.) MIND diet was recently ranked among a news magazine’s choices for easiest diet to follow (No. 1), best overall diet (No. 2), and best diet for healthy eating (No. 3), but was near the bottom of the list (No. 21) for weight loss. MIND is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets, and its goal is to delay or prevent dementia. The diet has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer's by 53 percent in participants who adhered rigorously, and by 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well. The diet includes whole grains, green leafy vegetables and other vegetables daily, wine, beans, poultry, nuts, and blueberries. Dieters should avoid butter, sweets, pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried food.
"U.S. News Best Diet Rankings", U.S. News & World Report, January 08, 2016, © U.S. News & World Report L.P.
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United States of America

Americans Still Consume Unhealthy Levels Of Sodium

January 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that says almost all Americans – no matter the sex, race, or health status – consume too much sodium. The newly-issued 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg (the amount in one teaspoon of salt) a day for people over 14 and less for younger children. But according to the CDC findings, based on the diets of 15,000 people, more than 90 percent of children and 89 percent of adults aged 19 and older consume much more sodium than that, and most comes from processed and restaurant foods. Evidence links excess sodium intake to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Sandra L. Jackson et al., "Prevalence of Excess Sodium Intake in the United States — NHANES, 2009–2012", Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 08, 2016, © U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Heart & Cardiovascular
Other Food & Nutrition
Obesity
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Will FDA Finally Approve Folic Acid Fortification Of Corn Masa Flour?

January 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Latina women are 20 percent more likely to bear a child with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida or anencephaly. Scientists believe it’s because corn tortillas lack folic acid. The FDA bars folic acid fortification of corn masa flour used to make tortillas because of a danger that it breaks down after a while, releasing toxins. The addition of folic acid to breakfast cereals, breads, rice, pasta and other grain products accounts for the huge drop in severe brain and spinal cord defects since 1998. The FDA is reviewing the findings of recent research about fortifying corn flour with folic acid that the researchers themselves call “encouraging.”
Veronica Zaragovia, "Why Tortillas May Hold The Key To Healthier Babies", National Public Radio, January 06, 2016, © npr
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Kid's Health
Women's Health
Babies
Pregnancy
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Other Food & Nutrition
Safety
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Brazilian Parents Wary Of Allergy-Related Issues When Buying Personal Care Products For Kids

January 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Allergy-related issues are among the top issues for Brazilian parents when buying personal care products for their children, according to Mintel. Data from the market research firm revealed more than 50 percent of Brazilian parents said they are concerned with allergy and related issues. Also, results of the survey revealed 25 percent of local consumers agree that Brazilian products are as good as their imported counterparts, with 36 percent of men with kids aged 12 and below agreeing with the statement. Fathers seem to be more willing to spend or to spend more than mothers at the time of purchase, data also revealed.
"Top 3 concerns for Brazilian parents when buying personal care items for their kids", Mintel News, January 05, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd.
Domains
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Conditions
Kid's Health
Other Kid's Health
Asthma & Allergies
Geographies
Worldwide
Latin America
Brazil

EU Authorizes Digestive Health Claims Of Company’s Inulin Ingredient

January 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
The EU Commission has approved a digestive health claim for a functional ingredients manufacturer’s chicory root inulin fiber product. German company Beneo says its customers may now use the claim: "chicory inulin contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency." In addition, the 13.5 authorization also applies to general health-related well-being claims under article 10.3. These include "promotes digestive health" or “supports a healthy and balanced digestive system." The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed the company’s scientific proofs, which included six human intervention studies that proved that consumption of Orafti Inulin increases stool frequency and supports a healthy digestive system.
"Authorised 13.5 health claim with proprietary use for Beneo’s inulin promoting digestive health", News release, BENEOnews.com, January 01, 2016, © Beneo
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Digestive
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Europe
Germany

High-Fat, Low-Carb Diet May Be Effective In Treating Schizophrenia

December 31, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A diet effective in treating epilepsy may also work in controlling symptoms associated with schizophrenia, Australian researchers report. The ketogenic diet – high in fats, low in carbs – has also become a weight-loss regimen for bodybuilders. The researchers believe the diet works by providing alternative energy sources (ketone bodies) formed when the body breaks down fat. The ketones help to circumvent abnormally functioning cellular energy pathways in the brains of schizophrenics. The diet has so far been tested only in mice, whose schizophrenic behaviors were mitigated by the high-fat regimen. In humans, the diet would comprise butter, cheese, salmon, etc., and would supplement medication in a clinical setting where a patient's diet could be controlled. The researchers are planning a clinical study to test their hypothesis.
Ann Katrin Kraeuter et al., "Ketogenic diet reverses behavioral abnormalities in an acute NMDA receptor hypofunction model of schizophrenia. ", Schizophrenia Research, December 31, 2015
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Mind
Other Mind
Brain
Dieting & Weight Control
Low-Carb
Other Conditions
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Worldwide
Asia-Pacific
Australia

Bad Diet Habits Contribute To Excessive, Prolonged Pain After Surgery, Injury

December 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Poor diet worsens and lengthens chronic pain after surgery or injury, according to new U.S. research. In fact, the study in mice shows a direct link between poor diet quality, obesity and increased and prolonged pain. The mice were fed a version of the so-called “Total Western Diet (TWD):” high in calories from carbohydrates and saturated and monounsaturated fats, and low in calories from protein. After 13 weeks, the TWD mice were fatter and had higher levels of inflammatory compounds. Obese people have the same metabolic profile. In addition, hypersensitivity to heat and touch was greater and lasted longer. The findings indicate that patients with chronic pain who eat poorly are likely to experience “exaggerated pain responses and recovery from injury or surgery.”
Stacie K. Totsch et al., "Total Western Diet (TWD) alters mechanical and thermal sensitivity and prolongs hypersensitivity following Complete Freund’s Adjuvant in mice. ", The Journal of Pain, December 30, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Dieting & Weight Control
Other Food & Nutrition
Obesity
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

MS Patients May Benefit Significantly From Very High Doses Of Vitamin D

December 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
High doses of vitamin D3 may prove to be an inexpensive, safe and convenient treatment for people with multiple sclerosis, according to a small U.S. clinical study. The vitamin was shown to help regulate a hyperactive immune response among the 20 participants who took a daily dose of 10,400 IU, significantly higher than the recommended daily dose of 600 IU. The high dose reduced the percentage of inflammatory T cells related to MS severity. The control group who took the 800 IU daily dose experienced no noticeable changes in levels of T cells. Side effects from the high dose were minimal.
Elias S. Sotirchos et al., "Safety and immunologic effects of high- vs low-dose cholecalciferol in multiple sclerosis", Neurology, December 30, 2015, © American Academy of Neurology
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Alternative Therapies
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Other Food & Nutrition
Vitamins
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United States of America

Harmful Bacteria Can Survive A Long Time In Packaged Cracker Sandwiches

December 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Recent outbreaks of foodborne diseases in packaged dry foods like cookies and crackers prompted a U.S. study that shed some light on the activities of pathogens like salmonella. The researchers put salmonella bacteria into four types of fillings – cheese and peanut butter, or chocolate and vanilla – found in dry cookies or crackers sold in vending machines and stores, then placed them into storage. Salmonella didn't survive as well in the cracker sandwiches as in the cookie sandwiches, the researchers found, but in some cases was able to survive for an unexpected six months. The next step is to identify the specific filling ingredients that are harboring the pathogens.
Larry R. Beuchat & David A. Mann, " Survival of Salmonella in Cookie and Cracker Sandwiches Containing Inoculated, Low–Water Activity Fillings. ", Journal of Food Protection, December 29, 2015, © Beuchat & Mann
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Safety
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

“Healthy” Foods Can’t Be Making People Fat, Can They? They Sure Can!

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Three experiments conducted among groups of American college students have found that junk food isn’t the only culprit in the obesity epidemic. So-called “healthy” foods – as depicted on packaging and labels – can also make people fat because people generally perceive them to be less filling, and end up overeating them. When packages portray a food as healthy, consumer judgment and behavior are affected: it’s healthy, so it’s less filling. They feel less hungry after eating foods depicted as healthy because they tend to order larger portions and end up eating more. The tendency to overeat can be reversed by portraying a food as “nourishing” instead of healthy, the researchers said.
Jacob Suher et al., "Eating Healthy or Feeling Empty? How the" Healthy = Less Filling" Intuition Influences Satiety. ", The Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, December 28, 2015, © Suher et al.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Conditions
Food & Nutrition
Mind
Other Mind
Dieting & Weight Control
Other Food & Nutrition
Obesity
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Worldwide
North America
United States of America

Coca-Cola Embroiled In Ethics Controversy Over Donations To Colorado Researcher

December 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s payments to a University of Colorado nutrition expert and teacher have come under scrutiny, Fortune magazine reports. The company has acknowledged paying James Hill, president of the now-defunct anti-obesity organization Global Energy Balance Network, $550,000. Coca-Cola told the Denver Post it paid Hill the money for “honoraria, travel, education activities, and research on weight management” before the organization was created. A Colorado ethicist said Coca-Cola’s donations were a big “red flag” and possibly a violation of a state law banning corporate funding of public employees. The company also donated $1 million to GEBN as start-up funding, and $1 million to the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, which is directed by Hill. The university has since returned that donation.
Michal Addady, "Coca-Cola Paid $550K to Head of Anti-Obesity Group", Fortune, December 28, 2015, © Time Inc.
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Calcium-Fortified Whey Drink Lowers Bad Cholesterol

December 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Lithuanian researchers tested two versions of a functional whey-based beverage they developed that contained vitamin D and prebiotic fiber. One of the versions contained calcium phosphate, the other calcium lactate. The drink containing calcium phosphate was eventually discarded because it just didn’t taste well. Participants in the study drank the calcium lactate whey beverage for 21 days, after which it was found that their blood showed a significant drop in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (P < 0.01) and triglyceride (P < 0.01) (fat) concentrations, “changes which would be likely to have a beneficial impact on their lives,” the researchers concluded.
Algirdas Liutkevičius et al., "Development of a functional whey beverage, containing calcium, vitamin D, and prebiotic dietary fiber, and its influence on human health. ", CyTA - Journal of Food, December 25, 2015, © Liutkevičius et al.
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Heart & Cardiovascular
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Europe
Lithuania

New Drug Mimics Mediterranean Diet In Preventing Heart Disease

December 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have developed a drug that mimics the beneficial health effects of a Mediterranean diet on the activity of gut microbes and may help prevent heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease has been linked to excessive consumption of nutrients (i.e., choline and carnitine) found in meat, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products. Gut microbes convert the nutrients into compounds that speed up atherosclerosis and increase the risk of heart disease. The researchers decided to directly target gut microbes to prevent formation of the harmful compounds. They identified the compound DMB, found in cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and grape seed oils. In experiments in mouse models of atherosclerosis, DMB lowered levels of the compounds and stopped arterial plaque formation without toxic effects.
Wang et al. , "Non-lethal Inhibition of Gut Microbial Trimethylamine Production for the Treatment of Atherosclerosis. ", Cell, December 24, 2015, © Elsevier Inc
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Overweight People Who Begin To Shed Pounds Will Also Improve Sleep Patterns

December 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
No matter what a person weighs, any weight loss due to dietary changes will lessen sleepiness, lack of energy, and poor sleep quality, a U.S. study in mice has found. Half the diet-induced obese mice were randomly chosen to receive their regular food, while the rest ate food more than three times higher in fat content for eight weeks. At nine weeks the mice on the fatty diet were heavier, slept more than one hour longer each day, and tended to nap more frequently. Mice on the regular diet had completely different sleep/wake profiles. The findings suggest the possibility that overweight people who often feel tired may not need to lose all the excess weight to improve sleep. Just beginning to lose weight may improve “sleep abnormalities and wake impairments."
Isaac J. Perron et al., "Diet/Energy Balance Affect Sleep and Wakefulness Independent of Body Weight. ", Sleep, December 24, 2015, © Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Mind
Sleep & Relaxation
Dieting & Weight Control
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Study Among Older Americans Proves Benefits Of Moderate Physical Activity

December 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Older men and women who participate in moderate physical activity have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a U.S. study of data collected for at least ten years. Researchers studied 4,207 men and women – mean age 73 – enrolled in an NIH heart health study beginning in 1989-90. Key associations (compared with non-participants): adults in their seventies who walked faster than three miles per hour had a 50 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease; those who walked seven blocks a day had a 54 percent lower risk of stroke; and those who engaged in leisure activities such as lawn-mowing, raking, biking, hiking, etc., had a lower risk of heart disease and stroke compared to those who did not.
Luisa Soares-Miranda et al., "Physical Activity and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Older Adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study. ", Circulation, December 21, 2015, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Aging
Brain
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Tippling Can Be Healthful

December 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A health writer who took a close look at scientific studies on the pros and cons of alcohol consumption reports that moderate consumption is generally beneficial. Studies show, for example, that tippling cuts the mortality rate from both coronary heart disease and “all causes,” but heavy drinking increases the mortality rate overall. Alcohol affects specific diseases differently. The major benefits are in cardiovascular illnesses. Increased alcohol consumption was linked to a greater risk of breast and colorectal cancer, but not bladder or ovarian cancer. Other studies have found that tipplers had better cognitive function in middle age and a reduced risk of diabetes.
Aaron E. Carroll, "Drink to Your Health (in Moderation), the Science Says", The New York Times, December 21, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Cancer & Cancer Prevention
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Worldwide
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United States of America

Intense Exercise Disrupts Sleep And Mood Among Trained Athletes

December 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
As few as nine days of intense exercise disturb sleep patterns, mood, and endurance capabilities, British researchers have found. The clinical study involved 13 highly conditioned cyclists whose intake of carbohydrates also varied during the testing. The athletes also spent more time in bed during the training, but not necessarily sleeping. Sleep efficiency was significantly reduced, and the athletes awoke many times more than usual throughout the night. The cyclists also reported higher tension, anger, fatigue, confusion, depression and increased feelings and symptoms of stress. The researchers found that a high carbohydrate diet during exercise reduced some, but not all, of the effects of hard training.
S. C. Killer et al., "Evidence of disturbed sleep and mood state in well-trained athletes during short-term intensified training with and without a high carbohydrate nutritional intervention. ", Journal of Sports Sciences, December 21, 2015, © Killer et al.
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“Personalized” Nutrition Plan Could Be Answer To Ineffective Dieting

December 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Because metabolism differs from one person to the next, personalized nutrition, based on individual responses to foods, may be the best way to diet, an Israeli study finds. Researchers tracked blood sugar levels of 800 people who ate the same foods for a week. A key finding was that the glycemic index (GI) – used to track the effect of a food on blood sugar – is not a set value, but depends on the individual. Age and body mass index (BMI) affect blood glucose levels after meals. The researchers also found that different people show markedly different responses to the same food – in one woman’s case, “healthy” tomatoes – even though responses were the same from day to day. A “personalized” nutrition plan would eliminate tomatoes from that woman’s diet because of its effect on her blood sugar.
David Zeevi et al., "Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. ", Cell, December 21, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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Sweet Foods May Help People Remember Their Meals, Control Eating

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study has determined that eating sweet foods activates an area of the brain that helps remember specific events, like eating a meal. If that area remains dormant, people are less likely to remember that they’ve eaten, and will tend to eat more. The researchers said that people will make a lunch decision, for example, based on whether they remember that they ate breakfast. "We think that episodic memory can be used to control eating behavior," said one researcher, but more study is necessary to find out if nutritionally balanced diets with protein, fat and carbohydrates have a similar effect on the brain’s ability to remember meals.
Yoko O. Henderson et al., "Sweet orosensation induces Arcexpression in dorsal hippocampal CA1 neurons in an experience-dependent manner", Hippocampus, December 18, 2015, © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Viagra May Cut Risk Of Diabetes Among Overweight Individuals

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Prediabetic individuals with reduced insulin sensitivity may cut their risk of diabetes by taking the drug sildenafil, otherwise known as Viagra, Cialis, etc. Sildenafil inhibits a certain enzyme, with the result that smooth muscle relaxes, blood vessels dilate, and blood flow increases. In animal studies and in this U.S. clinical study involving prediabetic overweight participants, sildenafil treatment significantly increased sensitivity to insulin. The researchers said more research is needed, but sildenafil could offer “a potential avenue for addressing the rising number of diabetes diagnoses."
Claudia E. Ramirez et al., "Treatment with Sildenafil Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Prediabetes: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. ", The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, December 18, 2015, © The Endocrine Society
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Dietary Potassium Seems To Preserve Kidney, Heart Health In Type 2 Diabetics

December 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing kidney failure and heart disease. One of the key reasons, according to this Japanese study, may be low intake of potassium. The study was launched in 1996. A total of 623 patients with type 2 diabetes but normal kidney function were enrolled through 2003, and monitored until 2013. Researchers found that patients whose intake (and therefore excretion) of potassium was higher over those years showed slower kidney decline and fewer incidences of cardiac complications (e.g., heart attacks, angina pectoris, stroke, etc.). The findings point to a possible dietary intervention for type 2 diabetics. Foods rich in potassium include beans, dark leafy greens, fish, mushrooms, and bananas.
S.-i. Araki et al., "Urinary Potassium Excretion and Renal and Cardiovascular Complications in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Normal Renal Function. ", Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, December 18, 2015, © American Society of Nephrology
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Health Benefits Of Sprouted Grains Suggest They’re Here To Stay

December 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The use of sprouted grains in U.S. health foods will be eight times greater in the next five years, boosted by major product introductions from big companies like Panera, Kellogg’s and Champion Foods. Many health-conscious consumers are now convinced that foods made with sprouted grains are more nutritious because of minimal processing and more healthful ingredients. The industry has caught on, accepting and marketing sprouted grains as a naturally functional – rather than a “fortified” or processed functional – food. Sprouted grains also dovetail with other trends, especially consumer demand for higher protein and fiber levels. These facts bolster the argument that sprouted grain foods are more than a fad or trend: they are a functional food that will endure.
Judie Bizzozero, "Guest Blog: Sprouted Grains: Functional Food of the Future", Natural Products Insider, December 14, 2015, © Informa Exhibitions LLC.
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New Roasting Technology Boosts Health Benefits Of Green Coffee Beans

December 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Brandeis University biophysicist has developed a way to roast green coffee beans – already used as a nutritional supplement and food ingredient – that boosts their health benefits. Parbaking roasts the beans at a lower temperature and in less time, preserving the healthful coffee antioxidant chlorogenic acid (CGA), normally reduced from 50 to 100 percent during roasting. Some scientists believe CGA controls sugar metabolism and blood pressure and possibly treats heart disease and cancer. Inventor Dan Perlman says the parbaked beans are milled in an ultra-cold liquid nitrogen environment to yield a wheat-colored flour that tastes nutty, pleasant, and mild, and can be blended with regular flours for baking, or used in breakfast cereals, snack bars, soups, juices and nutritional drinks.
Lawrence Goodman, "Coffee flour offers a potentially healthier way of enjoying java", News release, Brandeis University, December 11, 2015, © Brandeis University
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Weight Watchers Hopes New Strategy Will Help It Gain Members And Revenue

December 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The 52-year-old Weight Watchers diet company, which has experienced a steady slide in members, sales, and stock price, has figured out that though middle-aged women want to lose weight, they want to do it by lifestyle change, rather than deprivation. So, with Oprah Winfrey’s money and advice, that is what the company is now providing. Instead of a diet plan, Weight Watchers has launched “Beyond the Scale,” a program offering revamped food guidelines, a focus on fitness, and motivational tools to “find and fuel inner strength.” The new program has worked so far for Oprah, who has lost 20 pounds since her $43 million investment. The company hopes it works for itself, too, but in reverse. It needs to gain back the 1.4 million members – and several billion dollars in revenue – lost since 2013.
Ellen Byron, "Weight Watchers’ Plan: Don’t Call It a ‘Diet’", The Wall Street Journal, December 06, 2015, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Researchers Make A Weight-Loss Case For Sugar Substitutes

December 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A British review of published studies on artificial sweeteners – i.e., saccharin, aspartame, sucralose and stevia – has found that their use in place of sugar reduces caloric intake and helps people lose weight. For the study, 12 clinical trials, 228 comparative human intervention studies, and 90 animal studies were analyzed. The researchers found that comparisons of the dietary impact of artificially-sweetened drinks and water, for example, showed that they did not increase appetite, as some scientists have argued. Instead, artificially-sweetened beverages reduced weight more than water, perhaps because they may be an easier dietary change to make than switching to water.
P. J. Rogers et al., "Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. ", International Journal of Obesity, December 06, 2015, © Rogers et al.
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“Portfolio Diet” Beats DASH At Reducing Blood Pressure

December 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A diet developed especially to lower cholesterol also fortuitously reduces blood pressure even better than the DASH diet, according to Canadian research. Scientists were taking a second look at a 2011 study of the impact of the so-called “portfolio diet” on cholesterol patients when they discovered by chance its effect on hypertension. The diet lowered blood pressure an average of two percent better than the DASH (dietary approach to stopping hypertension) diet. The diets are similar in that they de-emphasize animal proteins. But the portfolio regimen features mixed nuts, soy protein, plant sterols (from vegetable oils and leafy vegetables) and viscous fiber (from oats, barley and eggplant). DASH emphasizes fruit, vegetables and whole grains, no snack food, and less dairy.
D. J. A. Jenkins et al., "The effect of a dietary portfolio compared to a DASH-type diet on blood pressure. ", Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, December 06, 2015, © The Italian Society of Diabetology
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High-Heat Meat Cooking Greatly Increases Risk Of Kidney Cancer

December 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
High-temperature meat cooking methods, such as barbecuing and pan-frying, create carcinogens (PhIP and MeIQx) that increase the risk of kidney cancer, especially among people with certain gene mutations. For the study, U.S. researchers analyzed eating habits and genetic information of 659 kidney cancer patients and 699 healthy people. Kidney cancer patients were found to eat more red and white meat compared to healthy individuals. But they also had 54 percent higher levels of PhlP and double the levels of MelQx, suggesting the impact of high-heat cooking. Moreover, those with variations in one gene (ITPR2) were more vulnerable to the effects of PhIP, ostensibly confirming the link between high-temperature meat cooking and renal cancer.
Stephanie C. Melkonian et al., "Gene-environment interaction of genome-wide association study-identified susceptibility loci and meat-cooking mutagens in the etiology of renal cell carcinoma. ", Cancer, December 06, 2015, © American Cancer Society
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Unilever Uses Company’s Crowdsourcing Engine To Power Sustainability Foundry

December 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Crowdsourcing software vendor Spigit says it is working with Unilever Foundry to help the company attract and connect innovators in sustainability. California-based Spigit is the Software-as-a-Solution (SaaS) platform that provides a single entry-point and connection mechanism for individuals, start-up companies and corporations who want to partner with Unilever Foundry and tackle its “challenges.” Applicants submit ideas to: improve global nutrition, imagine the “shower of the future,” boost access to toilet and sanitation solutions, and reinvent the laundry process to use less water. Since its founding in June 2015, Unilever Foundry IDEAS has received 300 proposals from entrepreneurs around the world.
"Spigit Powers Unilever Foundry IDEAS Innovation Platform", News release, Spigit, December 03, 2015, © Spigit
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E. Coli Outbreak May Sabotage Chipotle’s “Buy Local” Tradition

December 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to a severe E. coli outbreak, Chipotle Mexican Grill is making some major changes in its supply chain practices that could adversely affect its seven-year-old “buy local” commitment. The outbreak, whose cause has not been pinpointed, sickened 43 people and led to the temporary closing of restaurants in six states for deep cleaning. The health scare has hurt the company’s stock price, which dropped 11 percent in October and 9.5 percent in November, and slowed sales. In response, Chipotle has tightened safety standards, especially ingredients testing, for produce suppliers. Smaller local suppliers may not be able to meet the elevated standards, the company acknowledged, putting a crimp in its promise of using food grown locally.
Leslie Patton, "Chipotle Tightens Standards Amid E. Coli Outbreak, Putting Buy-Local Pledge in Jeopardy", Bloomberg Business, December 03, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Salt Content Labeling Rule Takes Effect In Big Apple

November 30, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The latest in New York City’s series of regulatory attempts to get its citizens to eat more healthfully took effect earlier this month. Chain restaurants are now required to tell diners – via a salt-shaker image on menu items – that the food contains more than the recommended limit of 2,300 mg, or a teaspoon, of sodium a day. Most Americans eat too much salt – an average of 3,400 mg a day – which increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. Part of the problem is salt-rich food served at restaurants. A New York cheddar and bacon burger at TGI Friday's contains 4,280 mg, for example. But restaurant groups and salt producers say the city is overreaching. They are expected to challenge the new regulation in court.
Jake Pearson et al., "NYC's novel salt warning rule set to take effect at chains", Associated Press, November 30, 2015, © Associated Press
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New Vitamin K Supplements Are Highly Stable

November 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An Australian vitamin supplement company has launched a line of products that contain vitamin K2 for bone and heart health. The products, developed with K2Vital producer Kappa Bioscience, were launched by Swisse Wellness Pty Ltd. in the U.K. in October and will be introduced in Europe with the help of venture partner PGT Consumer Healthcare. K2MK-7 is highly stable and pure. Vitamin K2 is found naturally in foods containing animal fats, such as cheeses, eggs and butter. Multivitamin formulations containing fat-soluble compounds usually contain minerals, which cause stability problems. The Swisse Wellness version, however, is double-coated and microencapsulated to preserve stability.
"Swisse Wellness Launches Vitamin K2 Mk-7 in Multivitamin", Nutrition Insight, November 27, 2015, © CNS Media BV
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E. Coli Illnesses Traced To Recalled Packages Of Vegetable Mix

November 26, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A packaged mixture of diced celery and onion has been recalled because an outbreak of E. coli-caused illness has been traced to it. Taylor Farms Pacific recalled the mix “out of an abundance of caution,” the FDA said in a statement. The mixture was used to make chicken salad, Thai-style salads, packaged dinners and wraps, and other foods sold by Costco, Target, Starbucks and other stores and restaurants. The illnesses of 19 people in seven states nationwide were traced to the vegetable mix. Costco posted signs in its stores and provided detailed purchase logs to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help it track buyers and ingredient sources.
Olga R. Rodriguez, "Farm recalls produce used in Costco salad linked to e. Coli", Associated Press, November 26, 2015, © The Associated Press
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Chinese Paradox: Overweight, Yet Malnourished

November 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A Chinese government foundation reports that 31.8 percent of the 3,885 elderly it surveyed were overweight and 11.4 percent were obese. However, the rate of malnutrition was still high among low-income households, the single and widowed, and those of advanced age. Nearly 13 percent suffered from anemia, the study by the China Development Research Foundation found. About 16 percent of elderly men in rural areas of six Chinese provinces suffered from malnutrition. As of the end of 2013, fifteen percent (202 million people) of China’s population were at least 60 years old.
R. J. Whitehead, "One-third of China’s elderly are obese, yet malnutrition still a worry", FOODnavigator-asia.com, November 24, 2015, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Need To Relax? Try New Skullcap Tea

November 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
With stress levels rising in the U.S. – 80 percent of Americans report increased stress in their lives – it should be no surprise that beverages, particularly tea, that deliver relaxation are finding a market. A company known as Traditional Medicinals recently added Stress Ease Cinnamon tea to its line of relaxation teas, sold as supplements. The new tea is unique in the market, according to the company, because a main ingredient is skullcap, purportedly a gentle and effective herb for reducing tension. Traditional Medicinals uses organic, non-GMO, pharmacopoeial grade skullcap blended with cinnamon and licorice.
Elizabeth Crawford, "“There is significant opportunity for relaxation beverages," Traditional Medicinals manager says", NUTRAingredients-usa.com, November 24, 2015, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Dietary Supplements Are Popular, Safe, According to Dietary Supplement Makers

November 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
More than two-thirds of American adults say they take dietary supplements, and a large majority (84 percent) believe supplements are safe, according to a survey sponsored by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade organization representing dietary supplement makers. Americans have the most confidence in the vitamins and minerals category. The survey found that between 2014 and 2015, overall usage of vitamins and minerals and “specialty supplements” remained flat. Usage of “herbals & botanicals” and “sports nutrition & weight management” supplements grew five percent.
Nancy Weindruch, "Most U.S. Adults Take Dietary Supplements, According to New Survey", News release, Council for Responsible Nutrition, November 23, 2015, © The Council for Responsible Nutrition
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Universities Awarded Federal Grants To Study Food Aid Programs

November 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Two U.S. universities were each awarded $1 million by the USDA to create regional nutrition education “Centers of Excellence.” The money will be used by the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and Utah State University to fund research into nutrition education and obesity prevention for disadvantaged children and families. The Knoxville Center will focus on reducing obesity by analyzing programs to identify facilitators, barriers, best practices, training and evaluation needs. Utah State will use its $1 million grant to compare the effectiveness of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programs on participants and non-participants of different ethnic and racial backgrounds in five states.
"USDA Awards $2 Million for Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Research", News release, U.S. Department of Agriculture, November 23, 2015, © USDA
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Regulate Safety, Not Efficacy, Of Dietary Supplements, Former FDA Official Says

November 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A former FDA official says don’t worry about the efficacy of dietary supplements – at least for now. Pay attention instead to their safety. Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, now at Johns Hopkins University, argues that many dietary supplements – vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, etc. – are spiked with pharmaceuticals, are poorly manufactured, or lack the stated ingredients. Unfortunately, there is gridlock in dealing with the problem at the national level because manufacturers oppose closer scrutiny of efficacy and federal laws handcuff the FDA, keeping it from effectively monitoring the thousands of products on the market. But Sharfstein says that manufacturers would probably support stronger safety controls if they were not tied to analysis of product claims.
Akshay Kapoor & Joshua M. Sharfstein, "Breaking the gridlock: Regulation of dietary supplements in the United States. ", Drug Testing and Analysis, November 20, 2015, © John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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