12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Elimination diet for treating eczema may cause increase risk of food allergy
  • Should mandatory targets for fat, salt and sugar content be set to curb rising obesity levels?
  • Sugar substitutes may effect glucose management in obese individuals
  • FDA to redefine the term 'healthy' 
  • Potato consumption may be linked to high blood pressure
  • Can curcumin prevent cognitive decline?
  • GM salmon approved for sale in Canada
  • Low salt consumption could be as bad as high salt intake for hypertensive individuals
  • Creating healthier alternative - predicting the effect of processes like heating and mixing on fat structure
  • TaxPayers Alliance calls for sugar tax to be scrapped
  • Can caffeine help prevent exercise-induced eye fatigue?

Elimination diet for treating eczema may cause increase risk of food allergy
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that avoiding foods that trigger atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is associated with an increased risk of immediate reactions, ranging from hives to anaphylaxis to that food. It is estimated that food can be a trigger for up to 30% of those with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, often these patients being children under 5. A common recommendation is that these trigger foods should be avoided. The current study assessed 298 patients with atopic dermatitis triggered by foods. After being placed on an elimination diet, 19% developed a food allergy and nearly a third of the reactions included anaphylaxis. One of the study’s authors, Anne Marie Singh, is quoted as saying that “Our findings suggest that families of children diagnosed with food-triggered atopic dermatitis should be prepared to respond to a full-blown food allergy reaction if the child is accidentally exposed to the food in question". Singh added that "Given that in our study strict elimination diets as management for atopic dermatitis clearly increased the risk of immediate reactions, more research is needed to see if children may benefit from keeping tolerable amounts of the food allergen in their diet”. (Science Daily)

Allergen Services: We provide a comprehensive range of testing, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within manufacturing and retailing. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Should mandatory targets for fat, salt and sugar content be set to curb rising obesity levels?
According to Food Manufacture, the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), a group of health professionals and others are putting pressure on the government to set limits for fat, salt and sugar content in foods, to help prevent the rise in obesity levels.  The groups are also requesting that advertisements for high fat, salt and sugar foods be banned before the 9pm watershed.  These mandatory target recommendations, also backed by the British Retail Consortium, come ahead of the publication of the government childhood obesity strategy, which has been delayed and is not expected to be published until after the EU referendum on 23 June.  The FDF however don’t support mandatory targets or advertising restrictions, noting that the process of reformulation must be done at a “speed that consumer tastes allow”.  The FDF also states that obesity is a complex issue and involves changes across the board, “in education, transport, town planning, health at work and physical activity.”  The BRC state that they support the targets as “mandatory targets avoid the problem with voluntary schemes where only some companies participate.”

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt and low sugar versions.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com 

Sugar substitutes may effect glucose management in obese individuals
Findings published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism from York University’s Faculty of Health, Canada, indicate that although artificial sweeteners may cut calories they may also have negative health effects on people with obesity.  The scientists analysed 24 hr dietary intake questionnaires from 2856 U.S. adults from the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES III).  Using this data the team grouped the participants into consumers of high or low consumers of natural sugars, or consumers of sugar substitutes.  Using an oral glucose tolerance test, the team investigated diabetes risk.  The study found that individuals with obesity who consumed artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, may have worse glucose management than those who don't take sugar substitutes. "We didn't find this adverse effect in those consuming saccharin or natural sugars," said Kuk.  The study suggests that that the bacteria in the gut may not be able to break down artificial sweeteners, resulting in negative health effects.

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

FDA to redefine the term 'healthy'
It is reported that the FDA will reconsider the term “healthy” for use on food labels.  The impetus for this re-evaluation came after a granola bar manufacturer was warned to remove the term from its label as the product did not meet certain guidelines, including being low in saturated fat.  The company however want to still use the term ‘healthy’ on its company ethos, which the FDA allowed.  The term, defined in the 1990s, can be used on packaged food if the product meets certain criteria on fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and nutrients.  Currently however foods such as nuts and avocado can’t be advertised as ‘healthy’ because of their fat content, whilst some sugary cereals can.  (PRweek)

Potato consumption may be linked to high blood pressure
An observational study has indicated that potato consumption might be linked to high blood pressure in adults.  The study published in the British Medical Journal is also accompanied by an editorial which suggests that “dietary patterns matter more than isolated food items, and that’s what we should be studying” citing the study as an example. Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School examined links between potato consumption and blood pressure using data from three large American studies, spanning more than 20 years and including the diets of 187,453 men and women. Potatoes were investigated in all forms, including mashed, boiled, chips and fries.  After controlling for factors such as weight, smoking status, physical activity and current dietary habits, the authors report that consuming four or more servings of mashed, baked, or boiled potatoes per week was associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, when compared with less than one serving per week. The effect was not found in men. An increased intake of french fries was associated with increased hypertension in both men and women. Higher consumption of potato chips did not display an increased risk for hypertension and, in fact, the men who ate more chips showed a reduced hypertension risk. The authors indicate that as potatoes have a higher glycemic index than other vegetables, this can trigger a spike in blood sugar just following a meal. Hyperglycemia (increased sugar in the blood) has been associated with oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation, all of which could help explain a higher hypertension risk. However they note that potatoes are high in potassium which has been previously reported to lower blood pressure.

Can curcumin prevent cognitive decline?
The media are reporting on a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study published in the British Journal of Nutrition which has investigated the ability of a curcumin formulation to prevent cognitive decline in 96 participants aged between 40 and 90 over 12 months. The headlines report “Eating curry may help fight off dementia, new study suggests” which are based on the findings of a study, by scientists at Edith Cowan University in Perth.  The scientists gave participants either a placebo or 1500 mg/d Biocurcumax.  At baseline, 6 months and 12 months, the scientists tested verbal and memory skills.  After 6 months, the scientists found that those taking a placebo suffered a decline in mental function which was not seen in those who consumed curcumin.  The Telegraph quote Dr Laura Phipps, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, as saying that it was too early to say for sure what effect the chemical could have in fighting dementia and “the best current evidence suggests that not smoking, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet, keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol in check, and only drinking within recommended limits can all help to maintain a healthy brain as we age.”

RSSL can analyse for curcumin in turmeric. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

GM salmon approved for sale in Canada
Health Canada have approved an application to allow the sale of a genetically modified salmon.  Following a submission for AquaAdvantage salmon in 2012, Health Canada conducted a scientific assessment to ensure the fish was safe for consumption including whether it can be toxic or cause allergic reactions, still has all its nutritional value and therefore does not differ from other salmon available on the market.  The science behind the salmon involved the introduction of a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon into the genome of Atlantic salmon. This results in a salmon which grows faster and reaches market size quicker. In every other way, the AquAdvantage salmon is identical to other farmed salmon.

Low salt consumption could be as bad as high salt intake for hypertensive individuals
Low salt, or sodium, intake may raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, compared with an average salt intake according to a study published in The Lancet.  Mente et al. analysed data of more than 130,000 individuals from 49 countries, median age of 55 years, from four large prospective studies.  The scientists investigated whether reducing salt, as recommended in current guidelines, really reduces the risk of high blood pressure and so the risk for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.  Mente et al. compared data from people with an average sodium intake, and found the rates of heart attack, stroke, and death were higher among those who had a low sodium intake (less than 3,000 milligrams daily) regardless of whether participants had high blood pressure. Increased sodium intake was associated with greater increases in systolic blood pressure in individuals with hypertension compared with individuals without hypertension For hypertensive individuals, sodium excretion of 7 g/day or more, and less than 3 g/day  were both associated with increased risk compared with sodium excretion of 4–5 g/day.  In those individuals without hypertension compared with 4–5 g/day, higher sodium excretion was not associated with risk of the primary composite outcome, whereas an excretion of less than 3 g/day was associated with a significantly increased risk.

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

Creating healthier alternative - predicting the effect of processes like heating and mixing on fat structure
A team of scientists have used X-ray science to investigate the molecular structure of edible fats, in an attempt to understand how taste and mouth feel of fats could be mimicked in healthier, cost-effective ingredient substitutions.   Edible fats are made up of basic molecules of triglycerides, or fatty acids, comprising of three hydrocarbon chains and a glycerol molecule. The study published in Food Chemistry notes that edible fats are semi-solid, noting that when fats are melted then cooled, solid fats crystallise first, trapping the liquid fats into a network of pools within a larger structure known as the crystal network. The ratio of solids to liquids is an important characteristic that influences a fat's properties. Replacing saturated fats with healthier alternatives can cause issues with taste, structure and storage. Previous research has included the study of tristearin, an animal meat and plant fat, and triolen, an unsaturated fat.  They also have investigated edible oils like fully hydrogenated canola oil and soybean, cotton seed and sunflower oils and more recently a hydrous milk fat. The authors report that milk fat, which is present in dairy and a common additive to other products, has a wide melting range, making it a complex system to study. Using X-ray diffraction and cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which requires treating the sample to remove oil, the scientists investigated fat samples, examining their 3D structure at different temperatures and states.  They note that “Models will help calculate the cooling and heating rates, composition, mechanical properties and other parameters to predict a desired structure.”

TaxPayers Alliance calls for sugar tax to be scrapped
Following a comparison of 49 different drinks including fizzy pop, energy drinks and milk and coffee based drinks, the TaxPayers Alliance (TPA) is calling for the sugar tax to be scrapped. TPA found that while Coca-Cola (10.6 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres) will attract the levy, Starbucks signature hot chocolate with whipped cream with coconut milk, (11 g/100ml) will not. Similarly, Monster Origin Energy drink (11 g/100ml) will be covered by the levy but Tesco chocolate flavoured milk (12.4 g/100ml) will not. Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of TPA is quoted by Sky News as saying that their study “suggests to us the Government has not thought through this proposal whatsoever, we're calling for them to scrap it.” Isaby added that "It will be a huge administrative burden and it would hit the poorest hardest in terms of the weekly shop". A Treasury spokesman is quoted as saying that "Treating obesity and its consequences costs the taxpayer £5.1bn every year. The levy will be charged on soft drinks because they are the main source of added sugar in children's and teenagers' diets, many with no intrinsic nutritional value. Health experts agree there is a specific problem with sugar-laden fizzy drinks that must be addressed. The levy is designed so that producers don't have to pass the tax on to consumers and if they change their product mix to reduce sugar content, then they will pay less or no tax." (Sky News)

RSSL 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

Can caffeine help prevent exercise-induced eye fatigue?
Findings in the journal Scientific Reports indicate that caffeine may help prevent exercise-induced eye fatigue.  Gant et al. report that exercise can lower the central nervous system’s ability to drive muscle function, and their findings suggest that as well as putting a strain on the legs it can also effect the eyes too.  The scientists recruited 11 cyclists and completed two experimental trials.  The participants cycled for 3 hrs at each trial, and during the trial they consumed a carbohydrate solution (0.7 g carbohydrate·kg−1·h−1) at 15 min intervals with a caffeine powder added to the beverage ingested at 90 min for the caffeine treatment.  Gant et al. tested eye movement during the exercise using infra-red oculography.  They report that after exercise there was a neurotransmitter imbalance, which caused eye movement to slow down however consuming caffeine restored the neurotransmitter balance restored, while no effect was seen for those consuming the decaffeinated drink.

RSSL can quantify caffeine in foods and beverages.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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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