12 January - 20 June 2016

Food Safety and Other News

26 February 2015

Lobster byproducts developed to provide additional functional ingredients

Flinders University ‘s Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) have worked with a lobster exporter to generate innovative methods to create new products from the processing of lobster offcuts. Cutting-edge manufacturing processes such as superficial CO2 extraction and microwave-assisted extraction are being used. The prototypes developed include lobster essence oil, protein powder and chitin developed purely from lobsters.

The creation of these new products will help companies reduce their waste management costs and improve environmental and resource stability. This will ensure that no premium seafood is ever wasted and will provide products that do not exist on the global market. [Food Magazine]

Research shows fat guidelines were inaccurate and should not have been drawn up

Research findings published within the journal Open Heart have argued that the national dietary guidelines which were introduced 30 years ago by the US and UK governments to reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) was not backed up by scientific evidence and should not have been released.

The researchers analysed the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) which were available to the US and UK regulatory committees at the point of implementation. They undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs published before 1983, which examined the relationship between dietary fat, serum cholesterol and the development of CHD.

The main findings of the meta-analysis of the six RCTs available at the time of issuing the dietary guidelines indicate that all cause-mortality was identical at 370 in the intervention and control groups. There was no statistically significant difference in deaths from CHD.

The original RCT’s did not find a relationship between dietary fat intake and deaths from CHD despite significant reductions in cholesterol levels in the intervention and control groups. This undermines the role of serum cholesterol as an intermediary in the development of CHD and contradicts the theory that reducing dietary fat generally and saturated fat particularly can result in a reduction in CHD.   

The RCT’s did not support the introduction of dietary fat recommendation in order to reduce CHD risk or mortality.

Sweet potato leaves contain more health benefits than the roots

A research study published within the journal HortScience has shown that besides the root, sweet potato vegetative tissues are edible and considered high in nutritional value.  Although there are reference values for sweet potato water soluble vitamin (WSV) content in the root and leaves, little is known about the distribution of ascorbic acid (AA), thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B6 in specific sweet potato root and vegetative tissues.

The objective of the study was to determine the AA, B1, B2 and B6 content in a range of sweet potato tissues. These included buds, vines, young petioles, young leaves, mature leaves and root tissues including the skin, cortex, and pith tissues at the proximal, distal and other center regions of the root.

Ascorbic acid content was found to be highest in the young leaves followed by mature leaves and buds. The buds contained significantly higher AA content relative to root, vine and petiole tissues. This confirms previous studies that sweet potato foliar tissues are a good source of AA and younger leaves have the highest foliar AA content. 
The riboflavin content differed with tissue type but was consistently higher in leaves than other plant tissues, including the roots. The vitamin B6 was also higher in the leaf tissues compared to other tissues.

No thiamin was detected in foliar tissue in this study which is in contrast to other authors. This lack may be due to cultivar differences.

The study showed that amongst the different sweet potato tissues, the AA, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 contents were higher in leaf tissue. Though no thiamin was found in the sweet potato foliar tissues, the findings highlight that the leaf tissue is a potentially good source of multiple WSV in human diet. The sweet potato root tissues showed a variable distribution of WSV.

Swapping snacks with berries is an effective way to diet

Researchers from Loughborough University have found that swapping confectionary sweets with fresh berries can reduce weekly calorie intake by 1000 calories.

A four month study was carried out where 12 participants were either given a handful of berries including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries or a confectionary sweet for a snack. The berries had the same calorie content as the confectionary sweet. One hour after consuming the snack, the participants were instructed to eat a pasta dish until they felt fully satisfied.

The participants who had eaten the confectionary snack consumed nearly 20 percent more at dinner than those who ate the berries. Those that snacked on berries consumed on average 134 less calories.

The participants took longer to consume the berries and increased the feeling of fullness compared to those that ate the confectionary sweet. Further to this, a greater amount of berries were consumed to match the calorie content of the confectionary sweet. The larger intake accounted for a greater feeling of fullness.

Fluorescing food dyes help to improve food quality

A team of food scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey have investigated whether common food dyes including Allure Red and Brilliant Blue could act as optical probes of the quality of food.

The researchers tested the fluorescent properties of five edible food colours that are often used in food and pharmaceuticals. The dyes were mixed in solutions of varying consistencies. Some solutions were formed with pure water where others included sugar or glycerol. The researchers varied the thickness of the solution by altering their temperature and composition and measured the fluorescent characteristics of the dyes as the conditions changed.

The results suggest that food colours could act as food quality probes. All five dyes fluoresce at a significantly different colour than the light used to excite them or the fluorescence of the components in the environment. Further to this, they found that although the food colours emitted practically no light when mixed with pure water, the intensity of the light increased as the solution thickened. 
This research was presented at the 59th annual meeting of the Biophysical Society.

Chili peppers helps with weight loss

A group of researchers from the University of Wyoming have found capsaicin, a key component in chilli peppers may be a possible diet based supplement and may prevent weight gain. Their findings show its intake could stimulate metabolism without the need to change calorie intake.

The research evaluated the effects of exercise and dietary capsaicin on mice over 25 weeks. The performance of mice with a normal chow diet (NCD) was compared against mice fed capsaicin. The mice were made to exercise for 12 min./day for five days a week on a computer-controlled rotarod.

The mice that were fed capsaicin walked on the rotarod for a longer duration, showed less weight gain and an increase in metabolic activity in comparison to the mice that were fed the normal chow.

The findings showed that dietary capsaicin may stimulate thermogenesis and energy burning by activating its receptors, expressed in white and brown fat cells. This may help to prevent and manage obesity and other health complications. The laboratory data concluded that “dietary capsaicin is a key agonist transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel protein which prevents high-fat-data-induced obesity.

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