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19 June 13

**Scientist discovers anti-cholesterol formula
**New consistent system of front-of-pack food labelling to be introduced
**Supermarket own brand bread found to be lower in salt than branded products
**Eating more red meat found to increase risk of Type 2 diabetes
**Can cheese prevent cavities?
**Breastfeeding is good for babies' brains
**US breakfast cereals more nutritious than they were 7 years ago
**Fruit bowl indicates that fruit must be eaten soon
**Modelling system can be used to improve food security and feed more people

**Scientist discovers anti-cholesterol formula
A research scientist from Brandeis University has found a way to make phytosterol molecules from plants dispersible in beverages and foods that are consumed by humans.  Daniel Perlman reports that this new formula could potentially open the way to dramatic reductions in human cholesterol levels. A US patent has been filed on the new process and composition.  Perlman has developed a method which changes the behaviour of phytosterols in liquids.  Previously dispersing phytosterols in water has been problematic.  The new technique changes the behaviour by forming a new complex in which glycerin molecules attach to phytosterol molecules. In a press release the scientist describes the process, saying: “Phytosterols and glycerin are heated together to a temperature at which the water molecule that usually attaches to each phytosterol molecule boils off and is replaced by a glycerin molecule.  Because glycerin molecules have multiple places at which water molecules can be attached and because glycerin also inhibits crystal growth that complicates dispersal, the phytosterol-glycerin complex together with an emulsifier becomes dispersible in water-based foods.”  The new compound has been tested in a laboratory by K.C. Hayes, professor emeritus of biology and former director of the Foster Biomedical Research Laboratories, who has previously worked with Perlman when they invented and patented a way to increase the bioavailability of phytosterols in fats more than 10 years ago.  Hayes has tested the compound for its effect on lipoprotein metabolism and found it to produce excellent results in terms of its cholesterol-reducing action.

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 plant sterol and stanol esters.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**New consistent system of front-of-pack food labelling to be introduced
The government is reporting that a new consistent system of front-of-pack food labelling is to be introduced in the UK.  The new voluntary system will be a combination of colour coding and nutritional information, showing how much fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories a product contains.   Andrew Opie, BRC Director of Food and Sustainability, said: "This is great news for consumers. A consistent scheme across all the major supermarkets means wherever we shop we will see the same front of pack labelling. That will help improve understanding of the label and make healthier choices easier.  UK retailers have led the way on developing clear and consistent front of pack labelling over the last few years and we are delighted to see that such an important project is today getting the green light."  According to the BBC, over the next 18 months the new labels will be rolled out across many of the major food groups. They include retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, the Co-operative and Waitrose, which will display the labels on their own brand foods, as well as manufacturers Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo and Premier Foods.  The BBC quote Charlie Powell, director of the Children's Food Campaign as saying that the move was pleasing, however "there are now no excuses - all food companies should follow suit and the government should name and shame any which drag their feet.

**Supermarket own brand bread found to be lower in salt than branded products
Research by scientists from Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London  have carried out a Cross-sectional survey on the salt content of breads available in UK supermarkets in 2001(40 products), 2006 (138) and 2011 (203). They report in the journal, BMJ Open, that a greater number of supermarket own brand products compared with branded products met the Department of Health salt target in all the years: 38% compared with 17% in 2001, 71% compared with 20% in 2006 and 89% compared with 42% in 2011.  The research concludes by stating: “This research presents a clear example of how a salt reduction strategy, based on targets in key food categories, can ensure that salt levels are reduced without loss of sales and no consumer reaction. Governments around the world now need to follow the UK’s lead and set targets on the biggest contributors of salt to the diet so as to prevent thousands of deaths every year.”

RSSL can determine the composition of food and drink products, including the sodium content (UKAS accredited). For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Eating more red meat and increased risk of Type 2 diabetes
A study led by scientists from the University of Singapore and published in JAMA Internal Medicine is reporting that eating more red meat over time is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).  The study by Pan et al followed up around 149,000 men and women who were involved in 3 Harvard groups studies.  Diets were assessed using food frequency questionnaires.  During 1.9 million person years of follow-up, the scientists reported 7,540 incident case of T2DM.  The results indicate that compared with a group with no change in red meat intake, increasing red meat intake of more than 0.50 servings per day was associated with a 48 percent elevated risk in the subsequent four-year period. Reducing red meat consumption by more than 0.50 servings per day from baseline to the first four years of follow-up was associated with a 14 percent lower risk during the subsequent entire follow-up.

**Can cheese prevent cavities?
Research published in the clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry is indicating that consuming dairy products is vital to maintaining good overall health and may help protect teeth against cavities.  Yadav et al recruited 68 participants aged from 12 to 15 years and measured dental plaque pH in their mouths before and after they consumed cheese, milk or sugar free yogurt.  The scientists state that “the higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities.”  Those who consumed milk and sugar-free yogurt experienced no changes in the pH levels in their mouths, however those who consumed cheese were found to have a rapid increase in pH levels at 10, 20 and 30 minutes intervals, indicating that cheese has anti-cavity properties. The scientists’ report that this could be due to increased saliva production caused by chewing, also various compounds found in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from acid.

**Breastfeeding is good for babies' brains
A study by Deoni et al. and published in  NeuroImage  has found that babies ages 2 years, who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breastmilk.   The key parts of the brain which were found to have extra growth are associated with language, emotional function and cognition.  Previous studies have also found the same results with behavioural studies indicating that breastfeeding is associated with better cognitive outcome in older adolescents and adults. The current studies recruited 133 babies aged from 10 months to 4 years.   Using MRI techniques the scientists investigated the microstructure of the brain’s white matter and found that those babies which had been breastfed had the fastest growth in myelinated white matter compared to the other groups, with the increase in white matter volume becoming substantial by age 2. The scientists confirmed these results by using a set of basic cognitive tests on the older children.

**US breakfast cereals more nutritious than they were 7 years ago
According to a USDA study published in Procedia Food Science, ready to eat cereals have markedly improved in terms of nutrition.  The scientists analysed data from Kellogg and General Mills ready-to-eat cereals between 2005-2011 and found that in addition to whole grains, cereals contain more fibre, and less sugar and sodium than they did 7 years ago.  The researchers note that fibre in breakfast cereals increased 32 percent on average, while sugar and sodium decreased on average 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes that cereals provide less than 4 percent of total sugar and only 2 percent of sodium in the diet.

**Fruit bowl indicates that fruit must be eaten soon
The Daily Mail is reporting that scientists have developed a fruit bowl fitted with a sensor that monitors the levels of a chemical, ethylene, released during the fruit's ripening process.  The bowl has been designed to light up when ethylene increases, indicating that the fruit must be eaten soon. The article reports that Jagjit Chodha from London Brunel University was inspired to design the bowl by statistics that show 440,000 tonnes of fruit are wasted each year from homes in the UK. The device was highlighted at this year's Made in Brunel Design and Engineering Show held at The Bargehouse at the Oxo Tower in London from 13 to 16 June.

**Modelling system can be used to improve food security and feed more people
A paper published in Nature Climate Change by an international team of scientists has documented how an all-encompassing modelling system can be adapted to changing climate and create policies to improve food security and feed more people.    The scientists report that “by using an ensemble of crop and climate models, we can understand how increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, along with temperature increases and precipitation changes, will affect wheat yield globally.”  SALUS (System Approach for Land-Use Sustainability model) was initially designed by Joe Ritchie, MSU emeritus distinguished professor. Basso, one of the researchers involved in this current project, continued Ritchie's work and added new features to better predict the impact of agronomic management on crop yield over space and time.  The new generation crop tool forecasts crop, soil, water, and nutrient conditions in current and future climates and can evaluate crop rotations, planting dates, irrigation and fertiliser use and project crop yields and their impact on the land.  For the study, the team looked at simulated yield from 27 different wheat crop models. Through SALUS, Basso forecasted the impact of changes in temperature, precipitation and CO2 emissions on wheat yield from contrasting environments across the planet.  SALUS has been employed in several other projects monitoring grain yield and water use in water-sensitive areas, such as the Ogallala aquifer (spanning from South Dakota to Texas), Siberia, India and Africa.

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