12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

25 Sept 13

**Carbonation alters the brains perception of sweetness
**DASH diet found to improve heart function and lower blood pressure
**Consumer perceptions associated with risk and benefit communications related to food
**Compared to artificial sweeteners, sugar provides greater rewards in the brain
**Snack reduces cardiovascular risk factors in obese children
**Strawberry and tropical flavoured grapes coming to a Tesco near you
**Potential avocado health benefits
**Stomach mechanisms may be the key as to why obese people can’t keep weight off
**Diet during pregnancy and early life can have an impact on children's behaviour and intelligence
**Selling unhealthy food at supermarket checkouts may be contributing to obesity epidemic
**Testing the competing hypotheses of obesity and weight gain
**Improved method to estimate calories

**Carbonation alters the brains perception of sweetness
According to a study published in the journal Gastroenterology, carbonation alters the brain’s perception of sweetness and makes it difficult for the brain to determine the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners.  Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Cuomo et al monitored changes in regional brain activity in response to sucrose or artificially sweetened carbonated beverages (aspartame-acesulfame).  Carbon dioxide was found to modulate the perception of sweetness.  They note the presence of carbonation produced an overall decrease in the neural processing of sweetness-related signals in general, but report that processing was especially reduced for sugars such as sucrose. Cuomo et al. state: “This study proves that the right combination of carbonation and artificial sweeteners can leave the sweet taste of diet drinks indistinguishable from normal drinks. Tricking the brain about the type of sweet could be advantageous to weight loss — it facilitates the consumption of low-calorie drinks because their taste is perceived as pleasant as the sugary, calorie-laden drink.”  The study reports however, that there is a downside to this effect; the combination of carbonation and sugar may stimulate increased sugar and food consumption since the brain perceives less sugar intake and energy balance is impaired. This interpretation might better explain the prevalence of eating disorders, metabolic diseases and obesity among diet-soda drinkers. (Eurekalert)

RSSL can determine aspartame and other sweeteners in foods and food ingredients by HPLC. RSSL’s Product and Ingredient Innovation Team division has experience in developing products using aspartame.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**DASH diet found to improve heart function and lower blood pressure
At the Heart Failure Society of America meeting in Orlando, scientists from the University of Michigan have reported that the DASH diet can improve heart function and lower blood pressure in patients with a common type of heart failure.  The scientists found that patients, who consumed the low-sodium Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension for 21 days, had a lower blood pressure similar to taking anti-hypertension medicine.  The patients who were mostly in their 60s and 70s kept food diaries and ate only the meals prepared for them in the metabolic kitchen.  The DASH diet eating plan is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and antioxidant and is recommended for hypertension.  The diet contains no more than 1150 mg of sodium per day. Hummel, a researcher of the study states that the DASH diet improved left ventricular relaxation and reduced diastolic chamber stiffness.

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team can assist clients to develop salt reduced foods.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Consumer perceptions associated with risk and benefit communications related to food
Earlier this month the EFSA participated in a joint conference with the EU-funded FoodRisC project. The conference marked the end of an EU-funded three-and-a-half-year research programme into consumer perceptions associated with risk and benefit communications related to food.    Based on the findings, FoodRiscC developed an e-resource centre which provides information (including guidelines, cases studies, tips, practical examples and research tools) aimed at policy makers, food authorities, food industry, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders involved in food risk and benefit communication. The online centre is designed to facilitate effective and coherent communication on issues related to food risks and benefits.  The researchers also highlight the importance of considering journalists when creating a communication strategy and recommends directing messages at ‘key influencers’ within both professional and ‘citizen’ journalists (eg social media users). The researchers also investigated social and traditional media coverage of three recent food crises in Europe and found that Twitter, online news and blogs are increasingly important communication channels, with Twitter being primarily used during all recent food crises.  They report that social media users respond quickly but lose interest quicker than traditional media.  They note that social networking sites, micro-blogs and video sharing platforms have grown in popularity over the past few years, with users spending more time online.  Using a web survey of over 6000 consumers from nine countries they found that consumers most likely learn about food issues from the television and in newspapers. When considering internet use, consumers are most likely to start with keyword research in a search engine such as Google.  Finally, the project undertook qualitative research to explore people’s understanding of food risks and benefits. In-depth interviews revealed that experts and stakeholders often perceive food risks as situations that are ‘not always avoidable’, while consumers often feel that food risks ‘could and should be avoided’. Generally, consumers believe food risks are related to human involvement and lack of responsibility at some level in the food chain. At the same time, they mostly associate food benefits with positive health consequences and nutritional value.

**Compared to artificial sweeteners, sugar provides greater rewards in the brain
Findings of a mouse study published in the Journal of Physiology have indicated that consuming sweet solutions is driven mainly by the amount of energy it provides: greater reward in the brain is linked to sugars compared to artificial sweeteners. Araujo et al. used a combination of behavioural testing involving sweeteners and sugars, whilst measuring chemical responses in brain circuits for reward.  They identified a specific physiological brain signal which regulates dopamine levels and that is critical for determining choice between sugars and sweeteners. This signal only occurs when sugar is broken down into a form where it is usable as fuel for cells of the body to function.   Professor de Araujo states: "According to the data, when we apply substances that interfere with a critical step of the 'sugar-to-energy pathway', the interest of the animals in consuming artificial sweetener decreases significantly, along with important reductions in brain dopamine levels.   "This is verified by the fact that when hungry mice – who thus have low sugar levels – are given a choice between artificial sweeteners and sugars, they are more likely to completely switch their preferences towards sugars even if the artificial sweetener is much sweeter than the sugar solution."

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable expertise in the selection of sweeteners (both carbohydrate and high potency) to optimise sweetness profiles to cost requirements in a broad range of product categories.  Evaluation of new sweeteners for their market potential is also available.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Snack reduces cardiovascular risk factors in obese children
Scientists at the Universitat de València, Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), Doctor Peset University Hospital and the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology of CSIC have developed and tested a apple snack impregnated with tangerine juice on 48 obese children aged 9 to 15.  The snack, which is high in antioxidants, reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease in obese children and improved physiological well-being.  Incorporating the snack in the children’s diet improved their systolic blood pressure and lipid profile.  It also was found to decrease markers associated with oxidative DNA damage and inflammation, all cardiovascular risk factors.  (Science Daily)

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

**Strawberry and tropical flavoured grapes coming to a Tesco near you
Food and Drink Innovation Network is reporting that Tescos will soon be selling grapes flavoured with strawberry and tropical fruit in the UK.  Tesco have stated that in America the response to the flavoured grapes have been so positive that production has increased from two acres to 100 acres this year, with 200 acres already planted for 2014.  The variety is created by using hybridisation, which takes pollen from one plant and brushes it onto another plant.  Tesco grape buyer Gethyn Formby said: “What the developers have done is find less common species and cross those to come up with these new exciting flavours. We think these naturally produced grapes will appeal to shoppers who like the texture of a grape but the sweet taste of a berry.”  Next year other varieties may be available, including grapes that are mango and lychee flavoured.

**Potential avocado health benefits
Scientists from Loma Linda University Research have presented their research in two posters at the IUNS 20th International Congress of Nutrition, in Granada, Spain on the effects of avocado intake on satiety, glucose and insulin levels in healthy overweight adults.  The adults incorporated fresh Hass Avocado into a lunch meal—either by replacing other foods or by simply adding it to the meal.  The two posters "Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post-Ingestive Satiety and Subsequent Energy Intake in Healthy Overweight Adults" and "Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post-Ingestive Glucose and Insulin Levels in Healthy Overweight Adults," were presented by Michelle Wien, DrPH, RD, and Ella Haddad, MD, respectively. The scientists report that although calorie consumption at dinner was unchanged, inclusion or addition of fresh Hass Avocado to a meal may help to reduce hunger and the desire to eat in overweight adults. Results also showed that including or adding avocado to a meal resulted in smaller post-meal rises in insulin compared to eating a meal without avocado. (Eurekalert)

**Stomach mechanisms may be the key as to why obese people can’t keep weight off
Research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and carried out by researchers from the University of Adelaide has investigated the way the stomach detects and tells our brains how full we are.  They note the stomach becomes damaged in obese people and does not return to normal once they lose weight.  Kentish et al believe this could be the reason why most people who lose weight on a diet eventually put the weight back on.  The laboratory study published in the International Journal of Obesity examines the effects a high-fat diet has on the gut's ability to signal fullness, and whether those changes revert back to normal by losing weight. Kentish et al report that the nerves in the stomach signal fullness to the brain and after long term consumption of a high fat diet these appear to be desensitised, which means that you would need to eat more before the stomach feel full.   leptin, a hormone in the body known to regulate food intake, can affect the sensitivity of the nerves in the stomach to signal fullness.  The study states that “in normal conditions, leptin acts to stop food intake.  However, in the stomach in high-fat diet induced obesity, leptin further desensitises the nerves that detect fullness. These two mechanisms combined mean that obese people need to eat more to feel full, which in turn continues their cycle of obesity.”

**Diet during pregnancy and early life can have an impact on children's behaviour and intelligence
A five year study by researchers from the NUTRIMENTHE project involving hundreds of European families with young children has investigated the effect of B-vitamins, folic acid, breast milk versus formula milk, iron, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids, on the cognitive, emotional and behavioural development of children from before birth to age nine.   The findings include that folic acid taken by women during the first three months of pregnancy can reduce the likelihood of behavioural problems during early childhood.   Oily fish was found to be beneficial for omega 3 fatty acids and brain cells, and also for iodine content, which was found to have a positive effect on reading ability in children when measured at age nine.   The researchers however also found that a parent’s educational level, socio-economic status and genetic background can also affect a child’s mental performance.  The scientists note that this can influence how certain nutrients are processed and transferred during pregnancy and breastfeeding and in turn, affect mental performance. (University of Granada)

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

**Selling unhealthy food at supermarket checkouts may be contributing to obesity epidemic
The popular press is reporting on a survey which has found that more than 90 per cent of shoppers believe the practice of selling unhealthy food from supermarket checkouts contributes to obesity. A campaign entitled “Junk Free Checkouts” is also being launched by the British Dietetic Association and the Children’s Food Campaign which aims to force supermarkets to stop selling sweets near the checkout. The survey of nearly 2000 participants found that 78 per cent of respondents said they found unhealthy food at checkouts “annoying” and 75 per cent have given in to their children and bought something because they were pestered.  Linda Hindle, a spokeswomen for the British Dietetic Association states in the Independent “retailers are unwilling to stop pushing unhealthy food at the checkout and queuing areas. It may be lucrative for them but, as our survey found, it is deeply unpopular with customers and nudges purchasing behaviour in the wrong direction. If retailers can’t act on their own, then we hope to see robust action from the Government to tackle this problem.” (Independent)

**Testing the competing hypotheses of obesity and weight gain
In a press release the Nutrition Science Initiative has announced the launch of a new collaboration which will investigate obesity and weight gain.  The scientists report a pilot study will initially test two competing hypotheses with regard to the role of diet composition on weight loss.  The findings of this initial research will determine future experiments to understand the mechanisms which are causing the obesity epidemic. One of the researchers involved, Dr Leibel, is quoted as saying "The issue of the role of diet composition per se in energy homeostasis is a persistent one that has led to the promulgation of numerous diets based on tenuous or non-existent evidence. The proposed studies will address the relevant biology in a way that should lead to definitive answers to important questions in this ongoing debate.” (PR Newswire)

**Improved method to estimate calories
USDA scientists are reporting that there may be fewer calories in pistachios and almonds than previously thought. The scientists have developed an improved method for estimating calories in tree nuts, and are stating that this method could also be used for other foods. Sixteen healthy adults consumed pistachios at either none, 1.5 oz per day, or 3 oz per day for 18 days along with a nut-free base diet.  The scientists analysed urine and stool samples during the intervention period and measured the calories in the food that were fed to the participants and measured the same foods’ excreted remains. Using a number of algebraic equations the researchers evaluated the data and found that the caloric value of pistachios has likely been overestimated by about 5 percent, because the fat from the nuts wasn't completely absorbed by the intestinal tract.  They state in a press release: “Chewing begins the digestive process of liberating nutrients from food. This process is necessary before nutrients are considered "bioaccessible." In theory, the fat within some hard foods is not completely absorbed because it's difficult to digest the food's cell walls, which contain the fat.”

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry