12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Project to lower salt and fat in Irish processed meat products shows labels at odds with reality
  • Can eating chocolate reduce diabetes risk?
  • Scientists report that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse brain gene effects of fructose
  • Will consuming a Mediterranean diet help those with heart disease?
  • Study suggests not all cranberry supplements sold in the US will prevent urinary tract infection
  • Can using supplements with antidepressants help reduce depressive symptoms?
  • HFMA survey finds that over fifties unaware of benefits of vitamin D
  • Consuming water or milk can help decrease sugary drink consumption in adolescents
  • Effect of a high fat diet on the brain – understanding the developing of obesity of diabetes

Project to lower salt and fat in Irish processed meat products shows labels at odds with reality
A number of Irish newspapers including the Irish Independent and the Irish Times are reporting on the publication of a study by researchers from Teagasc Food Research Centre and University College Cork. This report investigated fat and salt content of processed meats as part of a wider project to develop healthier processed meats through the reduction and /or replacement of salt and fat. The report states that before reducing salt and fat, it is important to understand the current baseline levels in products as well as the existing regulatory authority guidelines. The researchers purchased “traditional Irish meat products” and recorded the fat and salt content as declared on the labels. They note that the fat content of products varied considerably by product while salt levels were more consistent across product types. The scientists also measured salt and fat content of various products. They found that while the average salt content of bacon products (2.53%) was below the FSAI/Industry agreed guidelines (3.3%), 25% of products of samples had a salt content above this guideline.  The report also notes that this is rather at odds with the data from the label which indicates that all the bacon products are at or lower than the guidelines. For ham products, the average salt content was 1.74% with half over the agreed limit of 1.63% but the labels indicate that only 4 of 30 products had levels above the limit. The report notes in conclusion that their benchmark data will prove useful as the project progresses but that as some products had salt levels below the guidelines already, this suggests the overall task can be accomplished.

RSSL can determine the composition of food and drink products, including the sodium content. RSSL also has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt and low sugar versions.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Can eating chocolate reduce diabetes risk?
Researchers are indicating a daily consumption of a small amount of dark chocolate could help prevent diabetes and insulin resistance.  The study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, analysed data from 1152 people aged 18-69 years old, who were involved in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study.  The scientists found, after taking into account other lifestyle and dietary factors (including consumption of tea and coffee which are high in polyphenols) that those who consumed 100 g chocolate daily had reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzymes.  However the team also note that those who consumed the chocolate were found to be better educated, younger and more physically active than those who did not consume chocolate daily.  The team suggested that this could indicate that chocolate consumption is an overall biomarker for better health status. The authors conclude that more research is needed to understand “the role chocolate may play in insulin resistance and cardiometabolic disorders.”

RSSL can determine physiologically active compounds, including flavanols, other polyphenols and other phytochemicals in a range of fruits, vegetables, herbals and dietary supplements.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com 

Scientists report that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse brain gene effects of fructose UCLA scientists are reporting that fructose can damage genes in the brain responsible for metabolic regulation however omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid DHA can reverse this fructose-induced genomic and network reprogramming. Meng et al. report in EBioMedicine the majority of Americans consumed fructose from foods that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, and from sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts.  Using mice that had been trained to escape from a maze, the scientists tested the effects of fructose and DHA.  The animals were divided into three groups and consumed for six weeks either water containing fructose (equivalent to consuming a litre of soda a day) or fructose water and DHA, or just normal water.  After six weeks the mice were put through the maze.  Meng et al. report that the fructose water consuming mice navigated the maze about half as fast as the mice that drank only water.  This behaviour, the scientists suggested was due to the fructose diet impairing memory.  However the mice which consumed both fructose and DHA were found to have a similar result to the mice who drank only water.  This, the scientists’ state, shows that DHA eliminated the effect of fructose. On analysis of blood samples, the mice consuming the high-fructose diets had higher blood glucose, triglycerides and insulin levels than the other two groups.  The scientists also sequenced over 20,000 genes from the mice brains and found 700 genes identified in the hypothalamus, and 200 genes in the hippocampus were altered by fructose. Altered genes identified were reported to be similar to genes in humans, which are responsible for metabolism, cell communication and inflammation.  Two genes Bgn and Fmod, were found to be the first genes affected by fructose, and this amendment generated a cascading effect.  The scientists reports that drugs could be developed to target these genes first.  Meng et al. suggest a mechanism for this fructose disruption, stating that fructose removes or adds a biochemical group to cytosine, one of the four nucleotides that make up DNA. This type of modification plays a critical role in turning genes "on" or "off."

RSSL are experts in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. We can also determine fructose by HPLC. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com 

Will consuming a Mediterranean diet help those with heart disease?
The press are reporting on a study which indicates that consuming a Mediterranean diet may help those who have heart disease and reduce their risk of heart attack and strokes.  It also suggest that an occasional western style treat may not cause much risk for people with heart disease.  The study funded by GlaxoSmithKline and published in European Heart Disease by Stewart et al. investigated the diets of 15,000 people from 39 countries with heart disease. The participants were recruited from the STABILITY trial which was designed to test the drug Darapladib currently unlicensed in the UK.  Some of the participants were taking this drug and some a placebo, however the scientists report that this had little impact on their findings. The researchers calculated a Mediterranean diet score (MDS) for each participant based on increasing consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and alcohol, and for less meat, and a ‘Western diet score’ (WDS) for increasing consumption of refined grains, sweets and desserts, sugared drinks, and deep fried foods. After an average follow-up of 3.7 years the team investigated cardiovascular events and diet. Death, non-fatal heart attack or stroke occurred in 7.3% of people with a Mediterranean score of 15 or more, 3% less than those scoring 14 or below (around 10%). For Mediterranean diet scores less than 12, there was no link between increase in score and fewer major cardiovascular events.  A higher Western diet score was reported to not increase the risk of these problems.  (NHS choices)

Study suggests not all cranberry supplements sold in the US will prevent urinary tract infection
Findings published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology by Chughtai et al. have indicated that some cranberry supplements, sold in US, do not have enough proanthocyanidins to have any effect on the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTI).  To investigate how effective the supplements were at preventing bacterial growth, the scientists tested seven cranberry-pill brands in cultures of human red blood cells inoculated with uropathogenic P-fimbriated Escherichia coli.  They found that the supplement with 175 mg of proanthocyanidins per gram of product prevented bacterial growth in the culture.  The supplement containing 25 mg/g showed activity against the bacteria, while the four supplement which contained less than 5 mg/g had no effect at all. The authors report that cranberry powder can be made from either dried juice or from the skin of cranberry.  They note that supplements made from juice are more effective and act faster than those made from skins.  (Reuters)

RSSL can analyse food products for polyphenolic components. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com 

Can using supplements with antidepressants help reduce depressive symptoms?
A review published in The American Journal of Psychiatry has investigated whether antidepressants work better when taken with supplements.  Sarris et al. carried out a systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science for clinical trials which researched the effects of adding one of 14 nutrients to antidepressant treatments. For nutrients where they had at least two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) (folic acid and omega-3), they carried out a meta-analysis. For the majority of nutrients they analysed results and split them into those that showed a positive effect and those that didn’t. They found eight studies which investigated the effect of omega-3, with 6 showing a statistically significant reduction in depression scores for those taking omega-3 compared to a placebo.  Four studies were found to investigate the effect of folic acid.  Two studies reported a reduction in depression scores for those taking folic acid, however a large study found no significant effect.  The amino acid based nutrient S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) was found to have a positive effect in three small studies, however the clinical trials found no significant difference.  In three small trials the folate methylfolate was found to have a positive effect but a larger clinical trial reported no significant effect. For vitamin D a small study and a small clinical trial found a positive effect, other nutrients investigated had mixed results, or only one study had examined the effects. From these findings Sarris et al. suggest omega-3 could be recommended to supplement antidepressants and note that several nutraceuticals could enhance the effect. They indicate however that more good quality randomised clinical trials are needed.

HFMA survey finds that over fifties unaware of benefits of vitamin D
A survey of 10,000 adults conducted on behalf of the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association has found that adults are unaware of the importance of vitamin D.  The survey which questioned adults about their health habits including food supplementation, found that of those over 50, half reported to not taking a vitamin or mineral supplement, two thirds reported to not know that vitamin D can protect bones in later life and less than half could identify any symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.  The highest consumed supplements were multivitamins, followed by Fish Oil and Vitamin C. 

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Consuming water or milk can help decrease sugary drink consumption in adolescents
A study by Anderson et al. reports that when additional water or milk is given to overweight children, their consumption of sugary drinks decreases.  The small study, published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, involving 173 overweight Danish adolescents aged 12-15 years old investigated the effect of giving the children either 1 l/d of water or milk for a 12 week period.  The children were told to continue consuming their usual diet with no restrictions, except for the addition of the test drink. Anderson et al. recorded measurements such as physical activity and blood pressure.  Diet was recorded using a pre-coded questionnaire, and portion size was estimated.  The participants on average recorded a lower intake of food per kilogram of body weight, and their consumption of sugary drinks decreased significantly for both water and milk groups.  Those consuming water had a decrease in calorie (236.8 kcal/d) intake.  The study states that “these findings support the recommendation stating that plain water should be promoted as the main source of fluid for children, who should thereby reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages”.

Effect of a high fat diet on the brain – understanding the developing of obesity of diabetes
A mouse study has reported that a diet high in fat can lead to reduced uptake of glucose in the brain after 3 days of consumption, however the brain was found to have restored its sugar uptake after four weeks to the detriment of the rest of the body.  The study by Bruning et al. and published in the journal Cell investigated the effect of a high-fat diet on the brain to try and understand how obesity and diabetes develop.  The scientists note that the high-fat diet induces rapid reprogramming of systemic metabolism.  They state that the protein GLUT-1, a glucose transporter at the blood-brain barrier, is reduced reporting that free saturated fatty acids have a “toxic effect on the cells”.  Areas of the brain affected include the hypothalamus, which controls metabolism and the cerebral cortex, responsible for learning and memory.  The brain compensates for the lack of glucose by creating VEFG, from macrophages cells in the immune system.  VEGF increases the production of GLUT-1, which is released into the cells at the brain barrier and normal glucose levels in the mice brains were reported to be restored.  The mice that had no VEGF were found to be slow at learning and have poor memory.  While restoring normal glucose levels in the brain, the uptake of glucose in the muscles is reduced, making musculature more resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose in the cells of these organs, which the scientists say can lead to development of diabetes. 

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.
 

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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.

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