12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Is obesity no longer linked to higher risk of death?
  • Can omega-3 help aggression in children?
  • Consultation - restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to under 16s – CAP
  • POST publish briefing on barriers to healthy food
  • So you want to win the premiership like Leicester City? Drink beetroot juice!
  • Review indicates probiotics may not benefit healthy adults
  • Can drinking sugar sweetened drink during pregnancy lead to an increase in infant BMI?
  • Decreasing lettuce nitrate content and increasing phytochemicals, antioxidants
  • Fruit compounds could provide new treatment for diabetes, obesity and heart disease
  • Coming to a shop near you… Tesco launch alternative to butter – avocado spread!
  • Sequenced carrot genome could lead to improvements in nutrients, production and resistance
  • Can a pint of beer really protect the heart?

Is obesity no longer linked to higher risk of death?
The media is reporting that obesity is no longer linked to higher risk of death.  These headlines are based on a study which investigated whether BMI value that is associated with the lowest all-cause mortality, has increased in the general population over a period of 3 decades. The scientists analysed data from over 100,000 people.  The study published in JAMA, found the BMI range linked to the lowest rate of death from all causes was different in 1976-78, 1991-1994, and 2003-2013. All participants were followed until 2014. BMI linked to the lowest risk of death went up from 23.7 in 1976-1978 to 24.6 in 1991-1994, and then climbed again to 27 in 2003-2013. However, individuals whose BMI was below or above these values had a higher risk of death. Commenting on the study, Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, says while the results are interesting, they do not change the advice on obesity and its treatment and prevention. (Medical News Today)

Can omega-3 help aggression in children?
According to a paper published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry supplementing diets of children with aggression with omega-3, vitamins and minerals may reduce behavioural problems in the short term.  University of Pennsylvania researchers split 290 11 and 12 years with a history of violence into four group -  nutrition group receiving omega 3 enriched juice and multivitamins and calcium for three months, a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) group only, cognitive behavioural therapy with nutrition or a control group.  Blood samples were taken at baseline and after completion of the trial and analysed for omega-3 levels. After three months, the nutritional invention group reported a decrease in aggressive behaviour.    At the first check-in, participants getting the combination of CBT and omega-3s reported less aggression than the control group and the therapy-only group. By the final check-in, however, any positive effects had dissipated. However the researchers state it is unknown whether continued use of omega-3s would lead to a long-term reduction in antisocial behaviour.

RSSL 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 +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com. 

Consultation - restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to under 16s – CAP
The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have launched a full public consultation on introducing new rules on the advertising to children of food and soft drink products in non-broadcast media including online. The new rules suggested come in response to wider societal concerns around childhood obesity, as well as the need to ensure the advertising rules reflect changing media habits amongst young people. 

Main proposal are to:                        

  • Introduce a new rule to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Direct and Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code) to limit where advertising for food and soft drink products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS products) can be placed in all non-broadcast media, including traditional and online media
  • Explore through consultation whether the new rule should prohibit HFSS product advertising in media targeted at or of particular appeal to children under 12 or under 16 
  • Apply the existing rules prohibiting the use of promotions and licensed characters and celebrities popular with children to HFSS product advertising only, allowing more creative ways for healthier foods to be advertised to children

Launching the consultation, Chairman of CAP, James Best said: “Too many children in the UK are growing up overweight or even obese, potentially damaging their health in later life and imposing a high cost on society. Advertising is just one small factor in a very complex equation but we believe we can play a positive part in addressing an urgent societal challenge. In proposing new rules, our aim is to strike the right balance between protecting children and enabling businesses to continue advertising their products responsibly.”

CAP invite and welcome responses, in particular from individuals and organisations who have an interest or expertise in the policy issues involved. The consultation closes at 5pm on 22 July 2016.

POST publish briefing on barriers to healthy food
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology have published a briefing which reviews current diets and barriers to healthy food including price, marketing, skills and location. It outlines current initiatives to improve diets. The briefing notes that currently British diets have insufficient quantities of fruit and vegetables, fibre and oily fish and too much added sugar, salt and saturated fats.  It notes that less healthy diets are associated with lower levels of income and education.  Whilst diet is a problem for the population as a whole, economic barriers such as food prices and physical barriers are more pronounced for these with a lower income and education. The briefing suggests education, improving school meals, reformulating food and restricting portion size and regulating advertising for unhealthy food creates opportunities to improve diet.  However a range of potential strategies are better than a single approach for improving diet.

RSSL 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

So you want to win the premiership like Leicester City? Drink beetroot juice!
Can drinking beetroot juice help a club win the premiership title?  This is a question that the media are asking, as it is revealed that although Leicester City are not alone in using cutting edge technology, they are when it comes to drinking beetroot shots as a performance enhancer and using ice chambers to improve recovery.  Apparently the team have suffered from the fewest injuries and used fewer players than any other Premiership club this season.  It has been reported by numerous researchers, including scientists from the University of Exeter, that drinking beetroot juice improves sprint performance and decision-making.  Whilst improvements have been reported to be at 3.5% the BBC suggest this might be enough “for the likes of Vardy to reach a cross before a defender”.  The NHS has investigated whether beetroot juice can improve exercise performance and cite a review from 2013 that investigated the link between beetroot juice and improved exercise performance. The review “found that inactive and recreationally active individuals saw "moderate improvements" in exercise performance from drinking beetroot juice. However, the review noted there was very little effect on elite athletes.” (BBC)

RSSL can determine nitrates in food products. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Review indicates probiotics may not benefit healthy adults
A systematic review of seven randomised controlled trials has investigated the effect of probiotic products on the gut microbiota of healthy adults.  Findings from the study published in the journal Genome Medicine indicate that evidences remains elusive, with Pederson et al. stating that no convincing evidence exists for consistent effect of examined probiotics on faecal microbiota composition in healthy adults.  Of the seven trials reviewed, only one observed significant changes in the bacterial species composition of the faecal microbiota of healthy adults who consumed probiotics.  The scientists note that small sample sizes, variation in susceptibility to probiotics, use of different strains whether in isolation or combination and variations between the diets of individuals may have masked the findings. 

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in formulating products containing prebiotics and probiotics. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Can drinking sugar sweetened drink during pregnancy lead to an increase in infant BMI?
A link between the consumption of artificially sweetened drinks during pregnancy and increase in the body mass index of offspring has been reported in a study published in JAMA Pediatrics although the findings cannot prove causation.  Azad et al. analysed data from dietary assessment questionnaires completed by 3,033 women during pregnancy for maternal consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (NNS) and sugar-sweetened beverages.  The body mass index of their children was recorded at one year of age. More than a quarter of women (29.5%) consumed artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy, including 5.1% who reported daily consumption. The researchers found that compared with women who drank no artificially sweetened drinks, consuming them daily was associated with an increase in BMI of 0.2, and the risk of an infant being overweight by the age of 1 year doubled. After taking into account confounding factors such as the mother’s BMI, quality of diet and total energy intake the scientists report their results still remained significant. The study states “a limitation of our study is the potential for measurement error in self-reported dietary outcomes because our FFQ has not been specifically validated for beverage intakes. We also could not distinguish between different types of NNSs or account for NNSs in solid foods.”

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 +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Decreasing lettuce nitrate content and increasing phytochemicals, antioxidants
Scientists from the UK and China have investigated the effect of using LED light combinations on lettuces grown in hydroponic systems on reducing nitrate accumulation and on enhancing concentrations of phytochemicals and antioxidants.    The study published in the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science investigated a continuous light and/or the combination of green with red-blue (RB or RBG) LED light in five combinations. The authors state “Our results clearly showed that continuous light by RB and RBG LED dramatically affects the nitrate content of lettuce at pre-harvest stage.  Nitrate content reduced dramatically under both RB-CL and RBG-CL treatments between 0 and 24 hours. Continuous LED light for 24 hours significantly enhanced free-radical scavenging activity and increased phenolic compound concentrations.”

RSSL can determine nitrates in food products. We can also determine physiologically active compounds, including flavanols and 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

Fruit compounds could provide new treatment for diabetes, obesity and heart disease
A combination of two compounds found in red grapes and oranges could be used to improve the health of people with diabetes, and reduce cases of obesity and heart disease according to University of Warwick researchers. Thornalley et al. report in the journal Diabetes, that trans-resveratrol found in grapes, and hesperetin found in oranges acted in tandem to decrease blood glucose, improve the role of insulin and improve the health of arteries.  The combination increase glycoxalase 1 (Glo1), a protein which neutralises methylglyoxal (MG), reported to be a major contributor to the damaging effects of sugar. In combination with a high energy diet intake, MG can drive insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes, damage blood vessels and effect the management of cholesterol leading to an increase in cardiovascular disease.  The scientists tested the effect of the combination of the compounds on 32 overweight and obese people within the 18-80 age range who had a BMI between 25-40.  The participants took the compounds once a day for eight weeks and during this time blood samples were analysed and artery health was measured. The team found that the highly overweight subjects who had BMIs of over 27.5 with treatment displayed increased Glo1 activity, decreased glucose levels, improved working of insulin, improved artery function and decreased blood vessel inflammation. There was no effect of placebo.

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory is happy to discuss with clients the analysis of phenolic components including procyanidins and resveratrol.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Coming to a shop near you… Tesco launch alternative to butter – avocado spread!
According to the Daily Mail, Tesco have launched an avocado spread as an alternative to butter.  The spread has 533 calories per 100g, it has less saturated fat and salt than butter and is priced at £1.20 for a 250g tub.  The Daily Mail state that Tesco “hopes that its vegetarian spread will appeal to a health-conscious community who adore recipes like avocado on toast”.  Tesco spread buyer Dean Rawlinson told The Telegraph: “Shoppers can’t get enough of avocados which have become extremely popular on account of their great taste, versatility in food and drinks as well as for their nutritional benefits. We’re always looking for innovative new avocado products for customers such as the Avozilla or frozen avocado which we launched last year. With this, the UK’s first ever avocado spread, our product developers have created a new and exciting way for shoppers to benefit from the excellent health credentials of avocados in even more ways”.

Sequenced carrot genome could lead to improvements in nutrients, production and resistance
Researchers have sequenced the genome of the carrot identifying genes which are responsible for the vitamin A content.   Simon et al. report in the journal Nature Genetics the genes responsible for carotenoids as well as pest and disease resistance.  The genome may help improve carrots through breeding, including increasing their nutrients and making them more productive and more resistant to disease, pest and drought. The researchers sequenced the genome of a bright orange variety of the vegetable called the Nantes carrot. The carrot genomes contained around 32000 genes.  (Reuters)

Can a pint of beer really protect the heart?
A study funded by the Italian Association of Beer and Malt Industries, Assobira, and reported by the media as “beer could protect against heart attacks”, has reviewed published literature (150 papers) about beer and human health.  The findings, published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, include the finding that low to moderate consumption of beer seems to have the same effect of reducing the chances of cardiovascular disease as wine. This finding was based on a meta-analysis involving 290,000 healthy adults, which indicated that a consumption level of 25g of alcohol a day led to a 30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease. Regarding cancer, the paper says that "most alcohol-related cancers (85-90%) are in fact due to heavy drinking", which the scientists report as being more than two drinks a day. The study notes there was insufficient evidence to show the effect of beer on the liver, however in response to this NHS Choices state this is “apart from the known effects of consuming too much alcohol, which increases the chance of liver disease.”  The effects of beer on length of life was unclear, although the report's authors say they are likely to be in line with the known effects of drinking any alcohol. The authors state "heavy alcohol (and beer) consumption increases the risk of total mortality, ranking eighth place among the causes of attributable deaths all over the world."  The study does indicate that low to moderate drinking may have health benefits, but binge drinking or heavy drinking is bad for health. 

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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