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9 Jan 13

**Spanish scientists identify over 700 bacteria in breast milk
**Could antioxidants prevent cancer treatments from working?
**Association between cancer and common foods
**New Change4Life campaign aims to expose “hidden food nasties” in food
**Increasing carbon dioxide emissions might lead to larger sweet potatoes
**New and revised standards for omega-3s, stevia and caffeine – Food Chemical Codex
**Do consumers know which foods contain the most salt, sugar or fat?
**Certain food can cause some people to have hangover-like symptoms
**Incorporating fish wastes into food and nutraceuticals may reduce post-harvest waste
**Promote positive body image rather than miracle diets – MP requests

**Spanish scientists identify over 700 bacteria in breast milk
A team of Spanish scientists have mapped the bacterial microbiota in breast milk. The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition used a technique based on DNA sequencing to identify microbiome in breast milk and found more than 700 species.  The scientists state: “This is one of the first studies to document such diversity using the pyrosequencing technique (a large scale DNA sequencing determination technique) on colostrum samples on the one hand, and breast milk on the other, the latter being collected after one and six months of breastfeeding. We found that the human milk microbiome changes over lactation. Weisella, Leuconostoc, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Lactococcus were predominant in colostrum samples, whereas in 1- and 6-month milk samples the typical inhabitants of the oral cavity (eg, Veillonella, Leptotrichia, and Prevotella) increased significantly. Milk from obese mothers tended to contain a different and less diverse bacterial community compared with milk from normal-weight mothers.”  The authors conclude by stating: “If the breast milk bacteria discovered in this study were important for the development of the immune system, its addition to infant formula could decrease the risk of allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.”

**Could antioxidants prevent cancer treatments from working?
In a paper published in Open Biology, Nobel Laureate James D Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, has set forth a hypothesis regarding the role of oxidants and antioxidants in cancers that are currently incurable, notably in late stage metastatic cancer. The scientist discusses how antioxidants neutralise DNA- and RNA-damaging reactive oxygen (free radicals) that would otherwise cause cell death.  Many cancer treatments rely directly or indirectly on free radicals to block key steps in the cell cycle and kill cancer cells.  Previous studies have found that the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel as well as radiation treatment is more effective with lower antioxidant levels.   He states that: “Unless we can find ways of reducing antioxidant levels, late-state cancer 10 years from now will be incurable as it is today.” (Medpage Today)

**Association between cancer and common foods
A recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has examined the associations between specific foods used in common recipes and cancer risk.  Ioannidis et al. selected 50 common ingredients used in recipes and then searched the database PubMed to identify studies which investigated an association with these ingredients and cancer risk.    They found that 40% of the ingredients use in the recipes had articles reporting on their association with cancer with 72% (191 articles) concluding that the tested food was associated with an increased (103) or decrease risk (88).  Those ingredients linked to cancer were: veal, salt, pepper spice, flour, egg, bread, pork, butter, tomato, lemon, duck, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, mace, sherry, olive, mushroom, tripe, milk, cheese, coffee, bacon, sugar, lobster, potato, beef, lamb, mustard, nuts, wine, peas, corn, cinnamon, cayenne, orange, tea, rum, and raisin.  Ioannidis et al note that many of these foods are a common source of vitamins and nutrients. The study reports that the 10 ingredients for which a cancer association was not seen were: bay leaf, cloves, thyme, vanilla, hickory, molasses, almonds, baking soda, ginger, and terrapin.  Of the thirty six meta-analysis studies found, 13 found an association, with 4 reporting an increased risk and 9 a decreased risk of which 6 had week statistical support.  Ioannidis et al conclude that: “Associations with cancer risk or benefits have been claimed for most food. Many single studies highlight implausibly large effects, even though evidence is weak.”

RSSL’S Functional Ingredients Laboratory has a validated ORAC method which can be used to test the antioxidant capacity of foods.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**New Change4Life campaign aims to expose “hidden food nasties” in food
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry is launching a new campaign which is aimed at exposing “hidden nasties” in food.  The Department of Health Change4Life advertisement reveals how a bottle of cola contains 17 sugar cubes, and a large pizza contains a wine glass of fat.  The adverts mark the launch of the new years’ healthy eating drive to encourage the public to think about the food they consume and better manage the amount of salt, fat and sugar in their diets.  Food stores across the country will give a helping hand with the cost of kitchen cupboard basics.  Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: “Making healthier, balanced meals on a budget can be a challenge for families. This new Change4Life campaign offers families free healthy recipes and money off those much needed cupboard essentials to encourage everyone to try healthy alternatives.  Thanks to the continuing success of Change4Life, a million mums have changed their behaviour.  But England has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe with over 60 per cent of adults and a third of 10 and 11 year olds overweight or obese.  We want to make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use.”

 **Increasing carbon dioxide emissions might lead to larger sweet potatoes
Researchers from the University of Hawaii are reporting at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by human-driven emissions might lead to larger sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are the staple food for many African and Asian countries.  The scientists came to these conclusions after growing a white-fleshed sweet potato variety from Hawaii in two types of fertiliser at current CO2 levels of 352 parts per million (ppm), as well as in three raised CO2 environments: 763, 1,108 and 1,515 ppm. They found that at 763 ppm the tubers were up to 96% larger.  According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, atmospheric CO2 levels will be between 500 and 1,000 ppm by the year 2100.  Czeck et al. are now investigating the nutritional content of the enlarged potatoes, as previous research on other foods including potatoes, has found that CO2 can cause a decrease in protein content.  Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru state that they are trying to increase the nutritional content of potatoes including sweet potatoes, however they report that if the potatoes become oversize then their nutritional content could be diluted. A CIP geneticist thinks that it’s not increasing CO2 levels which is an issue but raising temperatures on plants.  (Scidev.net)

**New and revised standards for omega-3s, stevia and caffeine – Food Chemical Codex
To help ensure the quality of popular food ingredients sold in the United States and worldwide, new and revised standards have been proposed for Food Chemical Codex for omega 3-rich krill oil, stevia sweeteners, caffeine and gold and silver, which are increasingly being incorporated into products.    V. Srini Srinivasan, Ph.D., executive vice president, global science and standards at U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) states “Ensuring the quality of the food ingredients that make up so much of our global food supply is not only part of responsible business practice, but is critical to the health of consumers. Public standards defining the identity, quality and purity of ingredients incorporated into finished products can be an important resource for manufacturers as they source ingredients from suppliers around the world, offering some assurance that they are receiving the ingredients they expect by providing public specifications to which they can be compared. While important for all ingredients, it is especially crucial for high-value ingredients, including those linked to health benefits such as krill oil and so-called natural ingredients such as stevia, which manufacturers and consumers pay a premium for and are in high public demand. We invite comment on the new proposals to allow us to develop robust public standards that are valuable to all parties.” The proposed standards are available for public review for a 90-day comment period, which closes March 31, 2013. To make comments, go to http://www.usp.org/fcc/fccForum.html. (PR Web)

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Do consumers know which foods contain the most salt, sugar or fat?
 A food IQ quiz involving 2006 adults has found that three quarters of the participants involved in the quiz scored 50% or less. The quiz was carried out by Healthy living campaign Change4Life. When asked the question which has the most salt, a pre-packed ham and cheese sandwich, a chicken tikka masala, or a packet of ready salted crisps, eight-four per cent did not know a pre-packed ham and cheese sandwich contained the most salt.  Two thirds of participants also did not realise a small pepperoni pizza has more saturated fat than a portion of fish and chips.  Although 87% reported that they wanted to be healthier, 50% of items of food chosen when shopping were chosen as they were  the easiest to prepare, whilst 6 in 10 said they prioritised price when at the supermarket. The Evening Standard quote Ainsley Harriet, who is the campaign ambassador as saying: “It’s really important to be aware of what hidden nasties may be in your food, and to know what you’re putting in your or your family’s bodies. Some of our favourite meals, takeaways and snacks contain high amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fat – it’s our job to make sure we know where they are hiding. But it is possible to eat well on a budget, and you don’t have to give up your family favourites or treats just to be food smart. There are simple changes you can make which will help - try to prepare food at home, cut down on saturated fat, swap high sugar options for lower ones, watch out for hidden salt in foods and check the label on the food you buy.”

**Certain food can cause some people to have hangover-like symptoms
A gastroenterologist from New York Hospital Queens is reporting that 260 different foods can bring on feelings similar to those associated with hangovers. Dr Ellen Gutkin reports that some foods cause a vascular response in nerves and blood vessels in the head which cause a headache.  This is a similar reaction to a headache caused by heavy alcohol consumption. Gutkin reports that “Someone can have cheese on a cracker and feel fine and someone else can, several hours later, get a really bad headache.”  She also has found that some nuts and cheese and even baked goods can give a hungover feeling of bloating, nausea and feeling of “I just don’t feel right.”  CBS quote registered dietician, Mimi Chan as saying that everyone is different and tyramine in aged food, a naturally occurring chemical in food is a big culprit, as you age food, the longer the age it, the higher amount of tyramine it contains.

**Incorporating fish wastes into food and nutraceuticals may reduce post-harvest waste
A project called “SECUREFISH” which is funded by the EU, will investigate how to reduce the post-harvest waste in the fisheries sector whilst improving the overall environmental friendliness of fish processing in developing countries.   The Project co-ordinator Nazlin Howlin, Professor of Food Biochemistry, University of Surrey, Guilford, UK states: “We use the waste products that include fish skin and bones and process the proteins through hydrolysis into bioactive peptides.”  Some of these peptides have been found to show properties which are similar to blood pressure lowering drugs, known as ACE inhibitors.  Others have been found to have antioxidant properties and could reduce reactive oxygen species in cells, which could be used in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.  The scientists reports that these could be used in food products and milk drinks or even used in nutraceuticals.  The project will investigate the whole process of converting these bioactive peptides into high-value products. (Alpha Galileo)

**Promote positive body image rather than miracle diets – MP requests
Equalities minister Jo Swinson has written to magazines aimed at both women and men including health, celebrity and gossip asking them to “shed the fad diets and fitness myths” in their January editions, requesting instead that they focus on the “beauty of body shape, skin colour, size and age.”    The MP who is co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence states that “We need a more positive body image message noting that “miracle diets” may pose a “health risk.”  The BBC quote Ms Swinson as writing: "I am sure that you want to promote a healthy lifestyle for your readers but at this time of year in particular far too much of magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short-term solutions and encourage readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons.  As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight. If your aim is to give practical, sensible advice about losing weight - and not how to drop a stone in five days - you should encourage reasonable expectations, instead of dangerous ones, along with exercise and healthy eating."

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