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Cheap, Salty – And Harmful – Foods Are The Scourge Of Low-Income Europeans

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Italian researchers have determined that low-income Europeans eat more salt than their more affluent peers, a fact that explains why they tend to have more disabilities and lower life expectancies. The researchers said that governments can help reverse this situation by discouraging manufacturers from producing cheap, salty foods and distributors from selling them. Lower-income people tend to eat these foods because they are inexpensive. The study focused on people living in less affluent southern Italy, but found similar results across Britain in a previous study.
Francesco P. Cappuccio et al., "Geographic and socioeconomic variation of sodium and potassium intake in Italy: results from the MINISAL-GIRCSI programme. ", BMJ Open, September 16, 2015, © Cappuccio et al.
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Beet Juice Strengthens Muscles In Heart Failure Patients

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists have shown that the nitrates in leafy green vegetables improve muscle performance in athletes. Now a new U.S. study shows that drinking nitrate-rich concentrated beet juice boosts muscle power in heart failure patients. The small clinical study involved nine patients with heart failure who drank beet juice and were tested two hours later. Patients showed a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee, with the most benefit when muscles moved at a high velocity. The findings are important because many daily activities are power-based (e.g., lifting groceries, climbing stairs) and have a major impact on quality of life. “In general,” the researchers said, “physically more powerful people live longer."
Andrew R. Coggan et al., "Acute Dietary Nitrate Intake Improves Muscle Contractile Function in Patients With Heart Failure", CLINICAL PERSPECTIVE. Circulation: Heart Failure, September 16, 2015, © American Heart Association, Inc.
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Mediterranean Diet Prevents Onset Of Depression

September 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A long-term study involving 15,093 Spaniards demonstrates that eating a Mediterranean-type diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts – and low in processed meats – prevents the onset of depression. The researchers compared the Mediterranean diet, the Pro-vegetarian Dietary Pattern and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010. Participants used a scoring system to show how strictly they were adhering to their selected diet. The Alternative Healthy Eating diet was associated with the biggest reduction in depression risk, but most of that could be explained by its similarity to the Mediterranean Diet, the researchers said.
Almudena Sánchez-Villegas et al., "A longitudinal analysis of diet quality scores and the risk of incident depression in the SUN Project. ", BMC Medicine, September 16, 2015, © Sánchez-Villegas et al.
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Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With More Rapid Decline In Cognitive Abilities

September 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Elderly people who are vitamin D deficient experience declining cognitive levels three times faster than those with adequate vitamin D levels, a U.S. study among 400 racially and ethnically diverse men and women has found. Participants were either cognitively normal, had mild cognitive impairment, or dementia. Insufficient vitamin D levels were associated with faster declines in mental performance, particularly in areas like executive function and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The findings provide enough evidence to recommend that people in their 60s and older discuss taking a daily vitamin D supplement with their physicians.
Charles DeCarli et al., " Vitamin D Status and Rates of Cognitive Decline in a Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults. ", JAMA Neurology, September 14, 2015, © American Medical Association
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Less Active Lifestyles Are Key Contributor To Obesity In U.K.

September 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers have found a three-decade pattern of sedentary lifestyles leading to increased obesity, despite a reduction in average consumption of calories. Obesity rates in the U.K. have tripled since 1985, while calorie intake has dropped 20 percent. The key reason is lifestyle changes.  Men and women are less likely to work in strenuous occupations than in the past. They also spend more time watching TV and more time commuting by public transport or car, rather walking or cycling. The researchers said the link between work and calories should be taken into account “when evaluating policy interventions aimed at reducing obesity."
Melanie Luhrmann et al., "New study reveals how changes in lifestyle are contributing to dramatic rise in obesity", News release, unpublished research, University of Royal Holloway London, September 14, 2015, © University of Royal Holloway London
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Large Study Finds Link Between Diet Drinks And Junk-Food Consumption

September 11, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S.researcher who analyzed dietary data from 22,000 American adults found a link between regular drinking of diet beverages and consumption of high-calorie foods packed with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol. More than 90 percent of the people in the study regularly ate “discretionary” foods that are energy-dense, nutrient-poor, and do not belong to major food groups. They include cookies, ice cream, chocolate, fries and pastries. Ruopeng An hypothesized that people who drink diet beverages may feel justified in eating more; or, to feel satisfied they feel compelled to eat more high-calorie discretionary foods. They also suggested a third possibility: people choose diet beverages because they feel guilty about indulging in unhealthy food.
Ruopeng An, "Beverage Consumption in Relation to Discretionary Food Intake and Diet Quality among U.S. Adults, 2003-2012. ", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, September 11, 2015, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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USDA Says Organic Livestock Producers Can Tout Their Drug-Free Meats

September 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is allowing organic meat producers to use new language to advertise how livestock and poultry were raised without using beta-agonist drugs like ractopamine. The drugs, long banned in the raising of animals for export, continue to be used to produce domestic meats because animals gain weight while eating less. As much as 80 percent of pigs raised in the U.S. are given the drug. But from now on, consumers will see the phrase “produced without ractopamine” on packages of Organic Buttercroft bacon from Tendergrass Farms, and soon on similar products from other companies.
Stephanie Strom, "New Type of Drug-Free Labels for Meat Has U.S.D.A. Blessing", The New York Times, September 04, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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Flour Made From White Wine Grape Seeds Shows Functional Benefits

September 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A federal government scientist, working with a company that makes wine grape flours, has determined that hamsters whose diet included flour milled from white wine grape seeds, had lower blood cholesterol, less fatty liver disease and less weight gain than hamsters fed a normal diet. Wallace Yokoyama of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) also found that leptin, known as the “satiety hormone” and usually high in obese people, decreased when the animals ate flour made from Chardonnay grape seeds. Likewise, the protein adiponectin, believed to help prevent diabetes and atherosclerosis, increased. The ARS and the maker of the flour, WholeVine Products (Sonoma, Calif.), have applied for a patent for their technology.
Marcia Wood, "Health Benefits of Wine Grape Flours", News release, USDA, September 01, 2015, © USDA.gov
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Lawsuit Claims GMO Deception By Chipotle

September 1, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A California class-action suit claims that fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle is deceiving customers by serving foods containing GMO ingredients while claiming to be GMO free. Chipotle announced its GMO-free policy several months ago. The suit says Chipotle’s meat, cheese, and sour cream are made using products from animals fed with GMO soy and corn. It also says Chipotle’s soft drinks contain corn syrup made from GMO corn. A Chipotle spokesman said the lawsuit is without merit and loaded with inaccuracies. Most animals used for food in the U.S. are fed with GMO grains, but that doesn’t make them GMO animals.
Dan Mitchell, "This lawsuit claims Chipotle has been deceiving customers", Fortune, September 01, 2015, © Time Inc.
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Science Does Not Support Old Maxim That People Need Eight Glasses Of Water Day

August 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A pediatrician who has looked closely at the scientific evidence says that dehydration is simply not the common problem, not even remotely the global epidemic, some researchers (and water vendors) keep saying it is. Yet people are constantly being told to drink eight glasses of water a day. The truth is that people are hydrated by almost any liquid they drink – beer, coffee, tea, etc. – and an awful lot of foods they eat, including fruits and vegetables. Says Dr. Aaron E. Carroll: “Contrary to many stories you may hear, there’s no real scientific proof that, for otherwise healthy people, drinking extra water has any health benefits.”
Aaron E. Carroll, "No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day", The New York Times, August 24, 2015, © The New York Times Company
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Wrongheaded Advice From Unqualified “Experts” Spurs “Clean Eating” Trend

August 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarkets have become “shrines” to “clean eating,” a nutritional trend that has brought us gluten-free bread (and other products), lactose-free milk, chia-based egg substitutes, etc. The “gurus” of the trend are mostly female bloggers without proper health or nutritional training. They have garnered thousands of online followers who wait with baited breath for the next tidbit of exotic – and often wrongheaded -- nutritional advice: avoid this food, eat that food. One such guru is 23-year-old Ella Woodward. She warns her disciples to stay away from milk because it saps the bones of calcium. Nutritionists, however, refute that advice. Drinking too much – “absurdly excessive quantities” – of milk can cause milk-alkali syndrome. But the condition is much more likely to come from taking too many calcium supplements.
Isabel Hardman et al., "'Clean food' is a dangerous fad", The Spectator, August 22, 2015, © The Spectator (1828) Ltd
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Aspirin Reduces Risk Of Colon Cancer In Obese Patients With Lynch Syndrome

August 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Overweight people with an inherited genetic disorder known as Lynch syndrome can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by taking 600 mg of aspirin daily, a British study has found. Being overweight more than doubles the risk of bowel cancer in people with the syndrome, which affects genes responsible for repairing DNA damage. Half of these people develop bowel or womb cancer. The randomized controlled trial is a multicenter, multinational study involving a thousand Lynch syndrome patients. A daily aspirin dose of 600 mg removed most of the increased risk associated with higher BMI. The researchers said further study is needed to confirm the protective power of aspirin with respect to BMI.
Mohammad Movahedi et al., "Obesity, Aspirin, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Carriers of Hereditary Colorectal Cancer: A Prospective Investigation in the CAPP2 Study. ", Journal of Clinical Oncology, August 22, 2015, © American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Caffeinated Coffee Prevents Recurrence Of Colon Cancer

August 21, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Colon cancer patients who have had surgery and chemotherapy can decrease the chances of a recurrence of the disease by drinking at least four cups of caffeinated coffee a day, U.S. researchers report. Coffee drinking patients with stage 3 colon cancer were 42 percent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 33 percent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause. The researchers hesitated, however, to advise non-coffee drinkers to start drinking coffee unless they meet with their doctors.
Brendan J. Guercio et al., "Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance). ", Journal of Clinical Oncology, August 21, 2015, © American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Exercise Is Good For You, But It Doesn’t Help You Shed Pounds

August 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The authors of a U.S. study that analyzed data on the relationship between exercise and obesity say there is no doubt physical activity is beneficial to humans, but “there is limited evidence to suggest that it can blunt the surge in obesity.” In other words, they argue, limiting calorie intake, with or without exercise, is the only way to shed pounds. A large number of clinical trials have shown that exercise plus calorie restriction achieves the same weight loss as calorie restriction alone. The key reason? Increasing your physical activity tends to increase your appetite. That leads to eating more food, and gaining – or simply not losing – weight.
Amy Luke & Richard S. Cooper, "Physical activity does not influence obesity risk: time to clarify the public health message. ", International Journal of Epidemiology, August 20, 2015, © International Epidemiological Association
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Synthetic Compounds In Fish Oil Capsules Do Not Reduce Inflammation

August 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Compounds known as resolvins, maresins and protectins formed from oily fish have been shown to reduce inflammation. Synthetic versions of the compounds have been tested successfully in lab dishes and in animals. But a new U.S. study comparing synthetic fish oil compounds found in supplements to those naturally occurring in fish finds that the synthetic versions are not nearly as absorbable or digestible by the human gut as natural versions. That means they are less likely to offer any anti-inflammatory benefits that would reduce the risk of heart disease. After rigorous testing, the researchers “found no evidence” that fish oil capsules play any role in reducing inflammation.
Carsten Skarke et al., "Bioactive products formed in humans from fish oils. ", Journal of Lipid Research, August 19, 2015, © The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Vigorous Exercise Offers Many Health Benefits For Arthritics

August 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A small pilot study in Norway involving seven women with rheumatoid arthritis and eleven with adult-juvenile idiopathic arthritis found that ten weeks of vigorous training on a stationary (spinning) bike not only reduced joint inflammation, it reduced the risk of heart disease. The women, ages 20 to 50 years, also saw a small reduction in BMI, body fat and waist measurement, as well as an increase in muscle mass. With arthritis affecting one percent of the population, and three times as many women as men, the researchers suggested that the pilot study provides solid evidence that high intensity interval exercise can benefit people with the crippling condition.
Janne Sandstad et al., "The effects of high intensity interval training in women with rheumatic disease: a pilot study. ", European Journal of Applied Physiology, August 19, 2015, © Springer International Publishing AG
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Low Doses Of Resveratrol Effectively Check Tumor Growth In Mice

August 19, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A low rather than a high dose of the antioxidant resveratrol prevents tumor growth in mice and alters metabolic pathways in human tissues, a study by British and U.S. researchers has found. Earlier studies looked at the impact of high doses of resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and wine, on cancer prevention. This study analyzed the effects of a lower daily dose – the amount of resveratrol found in a large (250 ml, or 8.5 ounce) glass of red wine – compared to a dose 200 times higher. The researchers cautioned that drinking a glass of wine a day will not necessarily prevent cancer. The problem: you can’t separate resveratrol in wine from the alcohol which itself can be cancer-inducing. Much more research is needed, they said.
H. Cai et al., "Cancer chemoprevention: Evidence of a nonlinear dose response for the protective effects of resveratrol in humans and mice. ", Science Translational Medicine, August 19, 2015, © American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Walking/Bicycling 20 Minutes A Day Is Optimum For Reducing Heart Failure Risk

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Swedish researchers who analyzed the impact of different types and durations of physical activity on men in their sixties found that those who walked or bicycled at least 20 minutes a day were much less likely to suffer from heart failure than men who exercised less or more. In addition, if they were diagnosed with heart failure, the diagnosis came an average of eight months later in life. The study followed 33,012 men from 1998 until 2012. Those who reported the lowest and highest levels of physical activity had a higher risk of heart failure, 47 percent and 51 percent respectively, than men with a moderate level. Walking or bicycling 20 minutes a day was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of heart failure.
Iffat Rahman et al., "Physical Activity and Heart Failure Risk in a Prospective Study of Men. ", JACC: Heart Failure, August 18, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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World’s Children Eat Way Too Much Salt In Fast Food Restaurants

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A survey by the group World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) finds that the vast majority of popular children’s meals served globally contain unhealthy levels of salt. The recommended level of salt consumed by kids aged 4-6 years old in one sitting is one gram. But the survey found that 82 percent of kid’s meals served at fast food restaurants contained more than one gram of salt, while some contained as much salt as 10 packets of potato chips. According to the WASH report, too much salt in a child’s diet accustoms them to salty foods as adults and raises the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure.
"New International Study Reveals Dangerously High Levels of Salt in Children’s Meals and Calls for Global Action NOW", World Action on Salt & Health, August 18, 2015, © Queen Mary, University of London
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Do Anything But Sit To Boost Heart Health

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An Australian clinical trial involving 782 men and women (ages 36 – 80) finds that standing is better for your heart health than sitting, and moving is better for your waistline and body mass index. Participants in the study wore activity monitors that accurately determined sleeping times, sitting or lying down time, and standing and stepping (walking or running) time. The researchers found that time spent standing rather than sitting was linked to lower blood sugar and blood fats. Stepping instead of sitting was linked to significant reductions in waistline and BMI. Note that the study did not show a cause-and-effect relationship, only associations.
Genevieve N. Healy et al., "Replacing sitting by standing or stepping: associations with cardio-metabolic risk biomarkers. ", European Heart Journal, August 18, 2015, © European Society of Cardiology
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Depression Linked To Refined Carbohydrates Diet In Older Women

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Postmenopausal women whose diet includes a lot of refined carbohydrates are at greater risk for depression, U.S. researchers report. The scientists studied factors such as dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, types of carbohydrates, and instances of depression in survey data compiled among 70,000 women between 1994 and 1998. Higher dietary GI scores and consumption of added sugars and refined grains were associated with increased risk of depression, while dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables and non-juice fruits were linked to a decreased risk. The findings suggest potential therapeutic strategies for treating depression among post-menopausal women.
James Gangwisch et al. , "High Glycemic Index Diet as a Risk Factor for Depression: Analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative. ", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 18, 2015, © American Society for Nutrition
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Compound In Spinach Extract Benefits Blood Pressure, Weight

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
No one disputes the health benefits of vitamin-rich spinach, but a new U.S.study says an extract of the green leafy vegetable delivers an extra health punch: satiety, or a reduced appetite. Researchers studied the impact of thylakoid-rich spinach extract on the satiety, food intake, lipids and glucose of thirty men and thirty women, all categorized as either overweight or obese. Blood tests were taken before breakfast, after extract (Appethyl) consumption, after lunch and later after dinner. Researchers noted a drop not only in hunger but also in the desire for salty. The findings suggest that taking thylakoids might be useful for people with high blood pressure and associated weight problems.
Candida J. Rebello et al., "Acute Effects of a Spinach Extract Rich in Thylakoids on Satiety: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial. ", Journal of the American College of Nutrition, August 18, 2015, © Rebello et al.
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No Scientific Evidence Supporting Health Claims Of Vitamin Industry

August 18, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The author of a book on America’s obsession with vitamins and other supplements says any benefit derived from popping the pills is probably a placebo effect. Most foods we eat – even donuts, cakes, and cookies, all made with enriched flour – provide all the vitamins we need. The only time supplementary vitamins should be taken is when there is evidence of a deficiency, such as vitamin C to cure or prevent scurvy. The fact is, there is almost no scientific evidence supporting the supplement industry’s health claims for its products. And thanks to the federal government, they don’t have to provide such evidence.
Dana Guth, "Put down the Emergen-C — vitamin C does not ward off colds", Public Radio International, August 18, 2015, © Public Radio International
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Nutritional Supplements Help Frail Seniors, But Not Healthy Ones, Live Longer

August 17, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Elderly people who are frail and malnourished benefit much more from nutritional supplements like Ensure and Boost than older people in the general population, according to a U.S. review of research studies. Healthy senior citizens who take nutritional supplements tend to gain weight, but do not live longer or function better than those who don’t take supplements. Malnourishment affects as many as 15 percent of people in long-term care facilities. The effects can be harmful: loss of strength and the ability to function independently, increased risk of hospitalizations, and deterioration of the overall quality of life. Supplements, the researchers found, do help frail and malnourished seniors to function better and live longer.
Julie K. Gammack & Angela M. Sanford, "Caloric supplements for the elderly. ", Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, August 17, 2015, © Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.
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Low-Fat Diet Burns Flab More Effectively Than Low-Carb Diet

August 14, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Diets that restrict fat consumption are much more effective at reducing overall body fat, U.S. researchers have found in a small clinical study. Nineteen obese adults lived in a metabolic ward for two 2-week periods. Researchers monitored and controlled every bite of food they ate. In each period they ate either a carb-restricted diet or a fat-restricted diet. Measurements of how much fat each participant ate and burned were taken, and the data were used to calculate the rate of body fat loss. Body fat lost with dietary fat restriction was greater compared with carbohydrate restriction, even though more fat was burned with the low-carb diet. The researchers cautioned, for a variety of reasons, against making sweeping conclusions about how to diet from the study.
Kevin D. Hall et al., "Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body Fat Loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with Obesity. ", Cell Metabolism, August 14, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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Body
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Low-Carb
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From Alberta, Canada: A Ray Of Hope For Celiac Sufferers

August 13, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Canadian scientists say they have found a potential solution to the debilitating intolerance to gluten known as celiac disease. They developed antibodies in chicken egg yolks that bind with gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. A Canadian human safety trial has completed successfully, and a clinical trial is being conducted to test its effectiveness on gluten intolerance. The researchers say the product, which is taken in pill form before eating wheat-based foods, could be on the market in two or three years, thanks to an injection of research funding from a British venture capital firm.
Bill Mah, "Pill developed from egg yolk research at U of A could crack gluten intolerance", Edmonton Journal, August 13, 2015, © The Edmonton Journal
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Science Is Building A Case Against Fructose

August 12, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Though some governmental agencies – the European Food Safety Authority, for example – have given the seal of approval to fructose as a healthful ingredient, a growing body of evidence suggests that the sugar may someday go the way of trans fats. There has been solid evidence for many years now that trans fatty acids (TFA) adversely affect cardiovascular health. A fructose study published in 2014 found that it does not harm insulin production, but does increase cholesterol and triglycerides after eating. A newer study reported that added sugars, especially fructose, are fueling the obesity epidemic and the rise of type 2 diabetes. Lastly, a June 2015 study reported that fructose stimulates overeating because it does not create a satiety response as effectively as glucose.
Simone Baroke, "Is Fructose the new Trans Fats?", Euromonitor International, August 12, 2015, © Euromonitor International
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Go Ahead, Researchers Say, Skip Breakfast To Lose Weight

August 10, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers, nutritionists and even governments have bought into the hypothesis that skipping breakfast leads to a waterslide-fast descent into obesity. The notion probably gained traction because many scientists relied heavily on observational studies linking breakfast skipping to weight gain, ignoring evidence from randomized controlled studies. Researchers at a New York City hospital, however, recently conducted a small clinical trial. Three groups of participants ate either a bowl of oatmeal, a bowl of cornflakes, or nothing at 8:30 every morning for four weeks. The only group that lost weight by the end of the study was the group that skipped breakfast. The researchers hope their findings might have an impact on upcoming federal nutritional guidelines.
Peter Whoriskey, "The science of skipping breakfast: How government nutritionists may have gotten it wrong", The Washington Post, August 10, 2015, © The Washington Post
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Food & Nutrition
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Technology Could Lead To Greater Use Of Resveratrol In Food Products

August 6, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The polyphenol resveratrol, found in red wine and other foods, has been linked to numerous health benefits related to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and brain function. However, food companies have been reluctant to add the compound to foods because it imparts a bitter taste. Now U.S. researchers have discovered how to encapsulate resveratrol in a protein matrix through spray drying. They taste-tested different versions of the microcapsules, finding that encapsulation of resveratrol decreased the detection of the compound and provided “a means to incorporate resveratrol into food products without imparting negative sensory properties.”
Clarissa C. Koga et al, "Taste Detection Thresholds of Resveratrol", Journal of Food Science, August 06, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Rosehips Supplement Shown To Improve Gait In People With Knee Problems

August 5, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Danish researchers report that consuming a dietary supplement containing rosehip powder every day improves walking ability in people with knee joint problems. Ninety-four participants were randomly assigned to take daily capsules containing the commercial ingredient Rosenoids (from Norway’s Orkla Health) or a placebo. Researchers found statistically significant differences between the two groups after 12 weeks. The rosehips group had improved knee joint function and dynamics while walking compared to the placebo group in persons with knee-related walking limitations.
Elizabeth Ginnerup-Nielsen et al., "Improved gait in persons with knee related mobility limitations by a rosehip food supplement: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial", Gait & Posture, August 05, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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Eating Spicy Foods Reduces Risk Of Death

August 4, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Using data compiled from half a million people, Chinese scientists conducted an observational study that found that regularly eating spicy foods reduces the risk of death from cancer, ischemic heart disease and respiratory disease. Earlier studies had shown that fresh chilies, which contain capsaicin, have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects. The researchers followed a total of 487,375 participants aged 30 to 79 who completed a questionnaire about their health and consumption of spicy foods, red meat, vegetables and alcohol. During follow up, frequent consumption of spicy food was linked to a 14 percent reduced risk of death.
Jun Lv et al., "Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study", The British Medical Journal, August 04, 2015, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
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Body
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Food & Nutrition
Aging
Heart & Cardiovascular
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Cancer & Cancer Prevention
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Asia-Pacific
China

CDC Increases Funding To Fight Infectious Diseases, Including Foodborne Disease

August 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has awarded $110 million to states and communities to boost their ability to track and respond to infectious diseases. The money will target infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response, public health laboratories, health information systems, and efforts to combat zoonotic, vector-borne and foodborne diseases; vaccine-preventable infections; influenza; and healthcare-associated infections. The total award amount is $13 million higher than in fiscal year 2014. The increased funding is allocated to vaccine-preventable-disease surveillance, foodborne-disease prevention and advanced molecular detection, among other projects.
"CDC funding helps states address infectious disease threats", News release, CDC, August 03, 2015, © CDC
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Food & Nutrition
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Egg Shortage Has Food Industry Scratching Around For Suitable Substitutes

August 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Food manufacturers are looking for economical, sustainable egg substitutes to make up for a potential 12 percent drop in the hen population due to avian flu. The egg shortage is affecting consumer pocketbooks, but the biggest impact is on the food industry, where it has doubled prices, with no relief in sight. Ingredient firms are offering soy options to manufacturers that make cookies, cookie dough, pancakes, muffins and cakes; pasta; vegetarian meat alternatives; sauces, dressings and dips; and breading and binding for meat and seafood. Soy options are also available for use as foaming and oil-binding agents to replace egg whites. The main benefits: lower cost, stable pricing, sustainability, vegan, long shelf life and greater food safety.
Denice Cabel, "Avian Flu Forces Manufacturers to Find Egg Replacements", Asia Food Journal, August 03, 2015, © Contineo Media Pte Ltd.
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Americans Need To Eat More, And More Types, Of Fiber

July 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Americans are not only not eating enough fiber, they’re not eating enough different types of fiber, according to U.S. researchers. Proper daily fiber intake -- 38 grams for men, 25 for women – regulates the digestive system and helps control cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, insulin and excess weight. To get the right amount of fiber, people should eat the recommended quantities of fruits and vegetables. But they should also expand beyond plant-based fiber sources, to fiber that has been added to food in the manufacturing process. Some examples include fiber-fortified bread, cereals, yogurt and pasta.
"Consumers should seek a variety of fiber sources to get the maximum health benefits", News release, symposium presentation at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation, July 28, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Body
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More Diversity In Human Diet Would Reduce Diabetes, Obesity

July 28, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
People may be getting fatter and more prone to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes because their homogeneous diet has disrupted the microbiota environment in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Over the years agricultural methods and climate change have narrowed dietary choices to five animal species and 12 plant species. Rice, maize and wheat account for 60 percent of all the calories consumed 75 percent of the global population. Diet regulates the GI microbiome, the ecosystem of the human gut that needs a diversity to function optimally. A U.S. scientist developed and tested one food containing inulin, beta glucan and antioxidants, and another with whole soybean pods. He found that the concoctions shifted the composition of the microbiome of study participants with beneficial health effects.
"Diversifying your diet may make your gut healthier", News release, lecture presented at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation, July 28, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Food & Nutrition
Digestive
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Obesity Pill My Not Be Too Far Off

July 27, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
British researchers have developed a molecule that mimics exercise by convincing cells that their energy supply has been depleted. As tested in mice, "compound 14" triggers a series of events in the cell, first inhibiting an enzyme called ATIC which plays a central role in insulin signaling in the body. With ATIC blocked, the “master regulator” of metabolism – ZMP – builds up in cells. They then increase their glucose update and metabolism, exactly what happens during exercise. The scientists hope to test the compound for safety and efficacy in humans, and then develop a therapy – a pill, perhaps – that would target obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Ariana Eunjung Cha, "Scientists have synthesized a new compound that ‘mimics’ exercise. Could a workout pill be far behind?", The Washington Post, July 27, 2015, © The Washington Post
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
Food & Nutrition
Fitness & Exercise
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Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found To Be Vulnerable To Garlic Extract

July 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
The most common treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI) is antibiotics, but there is increased resistance to antibiotics from a growing number of bacterial strains. Research conducted in India finds that garlic extract fights these resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract. The discovery could lead to development of alternative drugs to treat urinary tract infections, the second most common infectious disease encountered by healthcare practitioners. The Indian researchers found that 93 of 166 bacteria strains isolated from the urine of people with UTI were highly resistant to antibiotics, but 76 of those 93 were vulnerable to garlic extract.
Shivani Gupta et al., "Garlic: An Effective Functional Food to Combat the Growing Antimicrobial Resistance", Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, July 25, 2015, © Gupta et al.
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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Women's Health
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Digestive
Other Conditions
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India

Scientists Say Inactive Lifestyle Is Not Linked To A Poor Diet

July 25, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists have been accumulating evidence for some time that excessive time spent TV viewing, automobile commuting, or sitting at home or on the job – i.e., sedentary behavior – is linked to adverse health outcomes. But U.S. researchers who analyzed health survey data on 4,910 adults found that sitting and doing nothing was not linked to poorer diets. They did find a significant correlation between physical activity and better overall diet quality, and concluded that physical activity should be encouraged along with adherence to dietary guidelines. But they suggested that sedentary behavior and dietary quality should be targeted independently.
Kerem Shuval et al., "Accelerometer determined sedentary behavior and dietary quality among US adults. ", Preventive Medicine, July 25, 2015, © Elsevier Inc.
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New Scoring System Links Beverage Intake To Health

July 24, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers have developed a way to assess beverage intake and correlate it to health status. The Healthy Beverage Index (HBI), based on dietary data from 16,000 adults, takes into account 10 factors, such as total energy from beverages and total fluid requirements. It also recommends limits for subgroups, such as low-fat milk, fruit juice, and alcohol. Some components of the HBI are weighted more heavily because they contribute to good health. Water, for example, should constitute at least 20 percent of total fluid intake. The data were correlated with risk factors such as obesity/overweight, hypertension, high fasting insulin, etc. The sample population was assigned scores ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the better the adherence to beverage guidelines and a healthier beverage intake pattern in both men and women. The average HBI score was 63±16.
Kiyah J. Duffey & Brenda M. Davy , "The Healthy Beverage Index Is Associated with Reduced Cardiometabolic Risk in US Adults: A Preliminary Analysis", Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, July 24, 2015, © Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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Dangerous Pathogen Should Be Added To Official Food Safety List

July 23, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A study by U.S. and Danish researchers confirms that the increasing antibiotic resistance of the harmful bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae poses a serious public health threat. The researchers compared K. pneumoniae isolates from retail meat products and human clinical specimens to assess their similarity. They looked at turkey, chicken and pork products sold in nine major grocery stores in Arizona, then analyzed urine and blood samples taken from local residents suffering from infections during the same time period. Forty-seven percent of the 508 meat products purchased harbored Klebsiella, and many of the strains were antibiotics-resistant. The researchers suggest that Klebsiella be added to the official list of dangerous pathogens in food products.
Lance B. Price et al., "Intermingled Klebsiella pneumoniae populations between retail meats and human urinary tract infections. ", Clinical Infectious Diseases, July 23, 2015, © Price et al.
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Denmark

Harmful Pathogen Can Be Reduced In Fields If Harvesting Is Properly Timed

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists working to create national food safety policies and practices have determined that harvesting crops 24 hours after irrigation or rain reduces the risk of exposure to the harmful pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, which causes listeriosis. The chance of finding Listeria in tested fields was 25 times greater after rain or irrigation. But if the fields were allowed to dry for a day the chance of detecting Listeria dropped to normal levels. Findings such as these are being used to set rules, standards and guidelines for implementation of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act.  Listeriosis is a serious infection that mainly affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.
Daniel Weller et al., "Spatial and temporal factors associated with an increased prevalence of Listeria monocytogenesin New York State spinach fields. ", Applied and Environmental Microbiology, July 22, 2015, © American Society for Microbiology
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Safety
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Soybean Oil Diet Is The Villain In The Obesity Epidemic

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A study in mice by U.S. scientists shows that a soybean oil-rich diet is much more likely to induce obesity and other pre-diabetic symptoms than coconut oil or fructose-rich foods and beverages. Four groups of animals ate different diets, each containing 40 percent fat and the same number of calories. One diet was high in coconut oil, another had equal amounts of coconut oil and soybean oil (roughly the equivalent of the amount in the American diet). Two diets included added fructose. Mice on the high soybean oil diet showed increased weight gain, larger fat deposits, diabetes and insulin resistance, compared to the coconut oil diet. Mice on the fructose diet had less severe metabolic effects, but more negative effects in the kidney and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
Poonamjot Deol et al., "Soybean Oil Is More Obesogenic and Diabetogenic than Coconut Oil and Fructose in Mouse: Potential Role for the Liver. ", PLoS ONE, July 22, 2015, © Deol et al.
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Further Evidence Of The Benefits Of Drinking Beet Juice

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A clinical trial involving 14 healthy males found that drinking beet juice for 15 days lowered their blood pressure and dilated their blood vessels while at rest or exercising. In addition, the nitrate-rich juice helps the heart consume less oxygen during exercise, increasing endurance. The U.S. and Korean researchers concluded that exercise can be "performed at a given workload for a longer period of time before the onset of fatigue" when regularly drinking beet juice.
Jae-Seok Lee et al., "Effects of Chronic Dietary Nitrate Supplementation on the Hemodynamic Response to Dynamic Exercise. ", American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, July 22, 2015, © American Journal of Physiology
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Body
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South Korea

Dietary Guidelines Need To Be Revised To Stress Protein Consumption

July 22, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Protein is essential for a healthy diet, but the type of protein eaten is just as important as the amount, according to Canadian researchers who say national nutrition guidelines are outdated and should probably be revised to take that fact into account. Eating a moderate amount of high-quality protein at each meal optimizes muscle protein synthesis and protects muscle mass, and should be a key component, along with physical activity, of any weight loss strategy. Policy makers trying to control the obesity epidemic need to stress adequate high-quality protein along with moderate caloric intake to preserve muscle mass without adding fat mass.
Emily Arentson-Lantz et al., "Protein: A nutrient in focus. ", Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, July 22, 2015, © Canadian Science Publishing
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BranBytes May Help Boost America’s Intake Of Whole Grains

July 20, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An Intel employee and dedicated California foodie who wanted to easily get more whole grains into his diet has developed a snack product meant to be eaten alongside the refined grain foods Americans love. branBytes, an uncooked bar or wafer held together using dates, contains bran and germ, while products like bread tend to contain only the endosperm of the grain. When the consumer eats regular bread or pizza with branBytes, he is getting the fiber-filled bran, the rich germ and the starchy endosperm that experts say helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. The idea won Ashwin Thirunahari a $3,000 food innovation award from the University of California, Davis.
Cathie Anderson, "Inventor develops branBytes to improve whole-grain consumption", The Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2015, © The Sacramento Bee
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Food & Nutrition
Whole Grains
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Two Antioxidants Reduce Heart Damage From Anti-Cancer Drug

July 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Research has associated the powerful polyphenol antioxidant resveratrol, found in red wine, with a reduced risk of heart disease despite a high-fat diet. Now U.S. researchers have found that resveratrol, along with the polyphenol quercetin, may also prove to be a potent anti-cancer treatment. They developed a system to make the two water soluble and thus injectable into the blood stream. Levels in the body would thus be much higher than by eating the right foods or taking supplements. The two compounds appear to reduce the cardiac toxicity of the widely used cancer drug Adriamycin, which unfortunately can only be used for a limited time in humans. Administering the two polyphenols at the same time as Adriamycin might make it safer and increase its effectiveness.
Brianna Cote et al., "Combinatorial resveratrol and quercetin polymeric micelles mitigate doxorubicin induced cardiotoxicity in vitro and in vivo. ", Journal of Controlled Release, July 16, 2015, © Elsevier B.V.
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Healthy Lifestyle Significantly Reduces Risk Of Heart Failure In Older Adults

July 16, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. researchers who followed 4,490 adults -- with no initial signs of heart failure – for more than two decades found that those who followed an active, nonsmoking lifestyle cut their risk of heart failure in half. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization of people over age 65. Men and women who walked at a pace of two miles per hour or faster lowered their heart failure risk. Other factors: participating in leisure activities that burned more than 845 or more calories a week, not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption – no more than two drinks a day – and avoiding obesity.
David J. Maron, Sharon A. Hunt, "Primary Prevention of Heart Failure in Older Adults∗. ", JACC: Heart Failure, July 16, 2015, © American College of Cardiology Foundation
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Sourdough Fermentation May Be A Better Way To Make Gluten-Free Bread

July 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
An Italian researcher reports that baking with wheat flour processed with sourdough fermentation results in a better tasting and healthier gluten-free bread. Sourdough fermentation using natural lactobacilli and yeasts was common until faster acting leavening agents like bakers yeast became common. According to Carlo Giuseppe Rizzello, using sourdough fermentation offers many advantages, including better taste than other gluten-free breads. In addition, it has a longer shelf life and is rich in minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fiber.
"Sourdough Fermentation Process Shows Promise for Gluten-Free Baked Goods", News release, Institute of Food Technologists, July 15, 2015, © Institute of Food Technologists
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St John’s Wort Can Be As Dangerous As Prescription Antidepressants

July 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Australian researchers who studied adverse drug reactions have found that taking the herbal depression remedy St John's Wort with a commercial antidepressant can lead to serious side effects. The researchers also found that adverse reactions were the same for people who took St John's Wort as for those who took the antidepressant fluoxetine. St John's Wort can cause dangerous increases in body temperature and blood pressure, as well as anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, vomiting, amnesia and aggression. The researchers said their findings suggest that bottles of St John’s Wort should have improved warnings about potential adverse reactions.
Claire L Hoban et al., "A comparison of patterns of spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting with St. John's Wort and fluoxetine during the period 2000-2013. ", Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, July 15, 2015, © Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
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Exercise – The More The Better – Improves Brain Functions In Older Adults

July 15, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A six-month clinical trial involving 101 healthy older adults has found that brain functions improve proportionately with increasing time spent aerobic exercising. The purpose of the study was to determine the optimum amount of exercise to benefit the brain. The researchers divided the participants into four groups, three of which were monitored at different lengths of exercise time – 75 minutes a week, 150 minutes, or 225 minutes – while a fourth was a control. All of the exercisers benefited, the study found, but those who exercised more saw more benefits, especially in the ability to perceive where objects are in space and how far apart they are from each other. Also improving were overall attention levels and ability to focus.
Eric D. Vidoni et al., "Dose-Response of Aerobic Exercise on Cognition: A Community-Based, Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. ", PLoS ONE, July 15, 2015, © Vidoni et al.
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