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15 Jan 14

**Vitamin E may protect against memory disorders and help those with dementia
**Campaign launched to cut sugar in food by up to 30%
**Shortage of honeybees may affect pollination of crops
**FSA - Study on geographic origin of foods
**Study investigates how fat might be controlled through the body clock
**Plant ‘milk,’ an alternative to cow’s milk
**Are buffaloberries a superfood?
**Danone seeking compensation following infant milk formula contamination scare
**Avocado consumption, satiety and blood sugar

**Vitamin E may protect against memory disorders and help those with dementia
According to a study published in Experimental Gerontology higher total serum levels of vitamin E and higher levels of γ-tocopherol, β-tocotrienol and total tocotrienols in particular, protect against memory disorders in elderly people.  The 8 year follow up study involved 140 Finnish participants aged over 65 years of age, who were free from memory impairment at the onset of the study.    Another recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has investigated whether vitamin E, a drug called memantine or a combination of both could slow the rate of progression in people with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease who were already taking another class of drug for dementia (AchE inhibitors). 613 participants were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups, each with a matching placebo group: a vitamin E supplement (known as alpha tocopherol), taken as an oral dose of 1,000 international units (IU) twice a day or 10mg of memantine taken twice a day, or both vitamin E and memantine, at the same doses as above or an inactive placebo. The participants were assessed every 6 months for between 4 and 6 years.  The researchers examined the effects of the different treatments on the ability of patients to carry out daily living tasks such as dressing and bathing, independently.  The participants’ cognitive function (such as their memory), the severity of their dementia and the severity of their behavioural problems were assessed using a number of widely accepted tools.  The scientists found that the participants who received the vitamin E alone declined more slowly in their ability to perform daily tasks than those in the placebo group, stating that this translates into a delay in clinical progression of the disease of 19% per year, or 6.2 months, compared with placebo.  No significant difference were found between the memantine and combination groups and the placebo group in ability to perform daily tasks.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has considerable expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling and can analyse for both tocopherols and tocotrienols (forms of vitamin E).  To evaluate the healthy fats in your product please contact Customer Services on 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Campaign launched to cut sugar in food by up to 30%
A campaign launched last week by Action on Sugar, has put pressure on the government and food industry, to reduce sugar content of food and drinks by up to 30%.  The Guardian reports that the group say that gradual reduction in the “amount of sugar in ready meals, cereals, sweets and soft drinks will not be noticed by the public, but will result in a reduction in the calories we all consume.” The group states that this could reduce calorie intake by over 100 kcal a day.  Action on Sugar is chaired by Professor Graham MacGregor who is the head of Consensus Action on Salt and Health.  The article in the Guardian quotes the Food and Drink Federation as saying "Sugars, or any other nutrient for that matter, consumed as part of a varied and balanced diet, are not a cause of obesity, to which there is no simple or single solution.  That's why the food industry has been working on a range of initiatives with other players to tackle obesity and diet-related diseases."  The New Scientist has written an article entitled “Cutting sugar is a different challenge to slashing salt” which discusses whether the same mechanism for cutting salt can be used for cutting sugar.  The article states that “repeating the trick with sugar may be more complicated, not least because we do not know for sure if our palates can adjust to eating food that is less sweet. By contrast, studies have shown that if volunteers are forced to eat a less salty diet, over several weeks they gradually begin to prefer food that is less salty.” 

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Shortage of honeybees may affect pollination of crops
Scientists from the University of Reading have reported that Britain only has a quarter of the honeybees it needs to guarantee good pollination of crops.  The scientists estimate that Europe has 13.4 million too few honeybee colonies to properly pollinate its crops which could mean that farmers will have to be reliant upon wild pollinators including bumblebees, and hoverflies.  Potts et al note that the demand for insect pollination across Europe is growing five times as fast as the number of honeybee colonies with European farmers growing more oil crops such as oilseed rape and sunflowers, and fruit.  (Reading Post)

**FSA - Study on geographic origin of foods
The Food Standards Agency, in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is carrying out a study to look at the geographic origin of foods claiming to be from the UK.  Food samples from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be analysed using a technique known as stable isotope ratio analysis. The aims of the study are to:  check the accuracy of current origin claims on food labels to ensure consumers can be confident that food labelled as from the UK is what it claims to be and gain experience of using stable isotope analysis to assess where food comes from.  Samples of food have been taken from retail, wholesale and food service outlets. In total, more than 100 samples are being tested, and comprise beef (including burgers), pork, lamb, tomatoes, apple juice and honey. Stable isotope analysis is a screening method that acts as a useful indicator of potential fraudulent activity. Any results that suggest a problem will be followed up with an audit of traceability. The traceability audit should be completed by April 2014 and the full report of the study will be published. (quoted directly)

**Study investigates how fat might be controlled through the body clock
Findings published in Cell Metabolism by Australian researchers have suggested that a specific gene, that regulates the body clock, may play a central role in determining how fat we become.  The study found that mice have a receptor known as Y6 which effects their body composition. It is produced in the region of the brain that regulates the body clock and growth hormone production.  The scientists found that mice without the gene were smaller and had less lean tissue than normal mice.   The mice grew fatter than normal mice especially when fed a high fat diet and became obese and developed metabolic problems similar to diabetes.  However the researchers note that the neuropeptite (NYP) system in mice is different to that in humans in that the neurotransmitter NPY in man, communicates with four well-known 'cell surface receptors' in the brain (Y1, Y2, Y4 and Y5), which in turn trigger the system's effects. While the gene encoding the Y6 receptor is altered in man, the scientists believes it would be unwise to ignore it because the development of anti-obesity drugs relies heavily on mouse studies. (Eurekalert)

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team can determine the fatty acid profile of all dietary fats and oils including trans fats. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email  enquiries@rssl.com

**Plant ‘milk,’ an alternative to cow’s milk
Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València have developed new products fermented with probiotic bacteria and "milk" made from nuts and grains, which represent an alternative to animal milks and soy milk .  They note that this provides a solution specifically for people with allergies to cow's milk, lactose or gluten intolerance. Using in vitro studies the researchers’ report how some of the products developed have anti-inflammatory properties in intestine cells, which could alleviate allergic reactions caused by food and increase the bioavailability of iron. The caseins of cow's milk, as well as being on the list of allergen components, hinder the absorption of iron. The plant milks are reported to contain healthy fatty acids and carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index and also contain vitamins B, E, antioxidant compounds (phytosterols and/or polyphenols), dietary fibre, which helps to improve intestinal health and are high in potassium and very low in sodium. (Alpha Galileo)

RSSL has also successfully validated new methods to test for the presence of fish and molluscs in food products, and can now detect all of the fourteen allergens that must be labelled if present in food products, under the provisions of Directive 2003/89/EC and its amendments. The new tests use externally developed real-time PCR techniques adapted for commercial use. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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

**Are buffaloberries a superfood?
A study by researchers from Ohio State University and South Dakota State University and published in the Journal of Food Science has examined the chemical constituents of seven different buffaloberries grown in Dakota.  The popular press have cited the study, reporting that buffaloberries could be the new ‘superfood.’ The scientists extracted and quantified all the carotenoid piment including lycopene in the fruit and also analysed fruit quality, sugar content, total phenol content and total water-soluble antioxidant capacity.   The main carotenoid found in the buffaloberries was lycopene and the acidic derivative methyl apo-6’-lycopenoate.  The fruit was also found to contain high total phenol concentrations and very high sugar content but this is balanced by an acidity and phenol content that could make them desirable as fresh fruit and for wine production. NHS choices have summarised the finding stating “Overall it is possible that the lycopene, M6AL and phenols found in buffaloberries could have beneficial antioxidant effects, but without further evaluation it should not be concluded that buffaloberry is a superfood surpassing all other fruits and vegetables. The current study does not provide evidence that this is a single miracle food that could reduce risk of disease and promote wellbeing.” (NHS choices News)

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

**Danone seeking compensation following infant milk formula contamination scare
Following the contamination scare, which involved the recall of infant milk formula across Asia, Danone is seeking compensation from the wholesale dairy exporter Fonterra who were responsible for the contamination scare.  Danone is one of Fonterra biggest customers for milk powder, supplying about 16% of milk ingredients for its baby food business. In August Fonterra initiated a recall across nine countries including China, after it reported finding a potentially fatal ingredient in a range of products sold by multinational companies. However it was a false alarm as the ingredient was found to contain less harmful bacteria.  Reuters is reporting that Danone has stated in a press release that it is terminating its supply chain contract with Fonterra and would source products from other firms.

**Avocado consumption, satiety and blood sugar
According to a study published in Nutrition Journal and funded by the Hass Avocado Board, consuming half of a fresh avocado with lunch may help healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied, reducing their desire to eat following a meal. The study evaluated the effect of avocado intake on satiety, glucose and insulin levels and subsequent energy intake in 26 healthy overweight adults.  Adding avocado was found to reduce the desire to eat by 40% over a three hour period and 28% over a five hour period.  Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University states "We noted that though adding avocados increased participants' calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads us to believe that avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation."

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