12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • World Food Prize awarded to developers of fortified sweet potato
  • Philadelphia becomes first major US city to introduce sugar tax on soft drinks
  • Artificial sweetener could be used for insect control
  • Can Vitamin K help relieve Osteoporosis?
  • Breeding vegetables with higher levels of phenols
  • Lowering risks of developing impairments in physical function throughout the ageing process
  • Project investigates using blackcurrant pomace to increase the fibre content of food
  • Lactobacillus reuteri found to reverse autism-like behaviour in mice
  • Mouse study finds high-fat diet in pregnancy can affect three future generations
  • Consumption of cranberry juice may help those with a history of urinary tract infections
  • Abnormal reward response to sugary foods found in obese participants – study
  • The effect of meal patterns on health  - when and what we eat

World Food Prize awarded to developers of fortified sweet potato
This year's World Food Prize has been awarded to four scientists who have developed a fortified food staple with essential nutrients and vitamins.  The scientists developed an orange fleshed sweet potato which is reported to be the “single most successful example of biofortification” (the process of breeding critical vitamins and micronutrients into staple crops).  The potato is estimated to have helped 10 million people avoid starvation and disease.  It has also helped reduce vitamin A deficiency in all countries especially in Africa and Southeast Asia. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. (Phys.org)

Philadelphia becomes first major US city to introduce sugar tax on soft drinks
The US media is reporting that Philadelphia has become the first major US city to introduce a sugar tax on soft drinks.  The 1.5% per ounce tax will affect soda and soft drinks including teas, sports drinks and energy drinks.  Drinks containing more than 50% fruit juice, vegetable juice or milk are exempt from the tax.  It is reported that the tax will raise $91 million annually and will be used to fund projects such as the creation of schools, investments in parks, and pre-kindergarten expansions.   The tax, which will be introduced in January, has caused a divide among people with critics reporting concerns about how this will affect the poor.  The American Beverage Association has stated that it will take legal action to fight the introduction. Other cities have tried but failed to pass taxes and restrictions on soda and soft drinks, with a New York state judge blocking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt in March 2013. (USA Today)

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

Artificial sweetener could be used for insect control
Scientists from Drexel University have tested four different polyols to investigate the effect of the sweeteners on the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies).  The team found that malitol and xylitol had no effect on the flies, erythritol killed all flies and mannitol was toxic to only female flies.  The scientists report that the female flies were five times more likely to die than males after consuming D-mannitol. While the researchers report they are puzzled by their findings, they state that “implications for insect control could exist, because females are the real reproducers and affecting females can reduce population growth.  Furthermore, many social insect pests -- such as Hymenoptera, which includes ants and wasps -- have female-based colonies."  However they note that all compounds tested “are vetted and human-safe.  The effects on insects don't really inform human health issues in this case." (EurekaAlert)

Can Vitamin K help relieve Osteoporosis?
Researchers from King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust have launched a clinical trial to investigate the treatment of osteoporosis with vitamin K supplements. Osteoporosis, a genetic condition which decreases bone strength, is thought to affect around 50% of women over 50.  It occurs when osteoclast cells break down bones faster that osteoblast cells can replace them. After menopause, decreasing levels of oestrogen also weakens bones thus increasing levels of osteoporosis. Current treatments use bisphosphonates to slow the osteoclast cells along with calcium and vitamin D supplements to attempt to build bone strength. Vitamin K has two types, K1 and K2 and while K1 is found in vegetables like spinach, K2 is found in egg yolk, butter and some cheese. The scientists think vitamin K activates a bone-derived protein produced by osteoblast cells, osteocalcin, and that activating this protein allows bones to hold on to more calcium. The clinical trial is recruiting 150 post-menopausal women diagnosed with osteoporosis and will supplement the diet with vitamin K for 18 months before measuring bone density. (Daily Mail)

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Breeding vegetables with higher levels of phenols
The media is reporting that “broccoli may combat chronic diseases.”  These headlines are based on a study published in the journal, Molecular Breeding, which investigates the breeding of vegetables containing higher levels of phenols.  Consuming phenols has been associated with reduced risk of certain diseases.  Researchers from the University of Illinois and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Tanzania used molecular and genetic markers to understand the genetics associated with the highest phenol levels.  They also examined whether environmental factors could influence the amount of phenols a vegetable contains.  Using two types of broccoli high in phenols, calabrese-type and one black broccoli, the team produced a new hybrid.  The hybrid was grown from seeds and during growth, phenyl levels were measured.  In summary the researchers found phenol levels varied in the broccoli grown and suggest that factors such as the amount of light and the temperature affected the plants' phenol production.  They also identified three genes that played a key role in the early stages of phenol production.  The researchers state their findings indicate that both genetic and environmental factors play a role.  (NHS)

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory 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

Lowering risks of developing impairments in physical function throughout the ageing process
Research supported by the California Walnut Commission and published in the Journal of Nutrition has suggested a healthier diet can lower a woman’s risk of developing impairments in physical function during the ageing process.  The team analysed data from 54,762 women involved in the Nurses' Health Study, with a follow up of over 30 years. They found that consuming 1-2 servings of walnuts per week, equivalent to 1/4 cup per serving, was associated with reduced risk of developing impairments in physical function.  Higher intake of fruits and vegetable; lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium; and moderate alcohol intake were all associated with reduced rates of incident physical impairment.  Increased intakes of oranges, orange juice, apples, pears, romaine or leaf lettuce, and walnuts were found to have the strongest relation.  However overall diet pattern was found to be more important than individual components. 

Project investigates using blackcurrant pomace to increase the fibre content of food
A Government-funded research project named Berrypom is investigating how blackcurrant pomace can increase the fibre content of bread by up to 15%.  The pomace consists of skins, pulp, seeds and stems of berries and is often discarded, after juicing, even though it is a rich source of polyphenols and fibre.  The project seeks to find methods of introducing it into cereal products, including bread, muffins, biscuits and breakfast foods.  Currently the University of Huddersfield team are investigating how incorporating pomace into bread affects the taste and colour of the product.   Current findings suggest that the pomace doesn’t affect the flavour but the bread and muffins can acquire a dark colouration which the scientists are trying to reduce.  (New Food Magazine)

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable expertise in developing a wide range of food and drink products at a laboratory and pilot scale.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Lactobacillus reuteri found to reverse autism-like behaviour in mice
Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine, TX have investigated the role of maternal diet and gut bacteria on neurological behaviour in mice.  Sixty female mice were fed a high fat diet (60 % kilocalories from fat). The obese females then mated and produced offspring which were raised on a normal diet.  Many of the offspring displayed autism-like behaviour, including anxiety, repetitive behaviours and not initiating interaction with other mice.  The study published in the journal Cell then examined the microbiome of the offspring and compared this to gut bacteria of offspring from mothers who had been fed a normal diet. On comparing the mice with the control, the scientists found that the AD-like mice had less microbial diversity.    They note a drastic reduction in the amount of Lactobacillus reuteri.  This bacteria has been found by the researchers to increase the release of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in social behaviour and has also been linked to autism in humans. The scientists report that mice eat each others faeces so when paired with the control mice, within 4 weeks the AD-like mice behaviour returned to normal. The team also cultured a strain of L.reuteri and introduced it into the water of the high-fat-diet offspring.  They found that treatment was able to improve the mice social behaviour, although anxiety still remained.

Mouse study finds high-fat diet in pregnancy can affect three future generations
A mouse study published in Cell Reports by Moley et al. from Washington University School of Medicine has indicated that consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet during pregnancy may affect at least three subsequent generations. To test the effects of maternal metabolic syndrome on risk for developing metabolic disease in the offspring, the team examined glucose disposal and insulin signalling of female offspring bore to mice fed a high fat, high sugar diet.  Although these mice (which were fed control chow after weaning) were not obese, they showed slight but significant impairments in glucose tolerance and had significantly higher fasting insulin levels than control mice. The team then investigated the subsequent generations to determine whether or not abnormal mitochondria could be passed on.  The study states that “despite consuming a normal diet, the first, second, and third generations of female offspring developed mitochondrial dysfunction and abnormal mitochondrial morphology in their skeletal muscle.” Mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, supply energy for metabolism and other biochemical processes. They have their own sets of genes, inherited only from mothers, not fathers. The scientists note that the findings may be more pronounced in humans than in the mouse model, as human children are often given a diet which closely mirrors their parents.  The study states that “more research is needed to determine if a consistent diet low in fat and sugar, as well as regular exercise, may reverse genetic metabolic abnormalities”. 

Consumption of cranberry juice may help those with a history of urinary tract infections
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and funded by Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc has found consumption of a cranberry juice beverage lowered the number of clinical urinary tract infections (UTI) episodes in women with a recent history of UTIs.  The randomised controlled trial was carried out across 18 clinics in the US and involved 373 healthy women (average age 41) who had suffered two or more UTIs over the past year.  The participants were randomly given a 240 ml bottle of cranberry juice or a placebo every day for six months.  The participants recorded any UTI symptoms, and contacted the clinic if these arose for further assessment.  They also attended routine follow up assessments at two, four and six months.  During intervention the participants avoided cranberries and blueberries or products containing these, and probiotics including yogurt.  The scientists report that cranberry juice significantly reduced the incidence of UTIs. During follow-up, there were 39 symptomatic infections in the cranberry group compared with 67 in the placebo group, with an annual incidence of 0.48 vs. 0.75. This meant that cranberry juice reduced the incidence of UTIs by over a third (rate ratio 0.61, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.41 to 0.91). Overall, the researchers estimated that cranberry juice would prevent roughly one symptomatic UTI per three women per year ("One clinical UTI event was prevented for every 3.2 woman years").  The researchers say their findings, "suggest that the consumption of cranberry is a useful strategy for reducing recurrent clinical UTI episodes and antibiotic use".

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory 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

Abnormal reward response to sugary foods found in obese participants – study
Scientists are reporting in the journal Diabetes that the reward system in brains of obese people appears to be impaired in response to sweet foods. The chemical dopamine, a chemical that regulates the rewards and pleasure centres of the brain, is found in healthy weight individuals to influence preference for sweet foods, however this current study has found that this doesn’t appear to be the case for obese people.  The scientists recruited 44 adults aged 20-40 years.  Of these, 24 had a BMI of 30 or higher and were classified as obese.  The participants were asked to consume drinks containing different sugar amounts and rank them for preference.  Dopamine receptor levels in the participant’s brain were measured using positron emission tomography (PET) scans.  The PET scans revealed that although there was a relationship between the dopamine receptors, preference for sweet things and age in lean people, that pattern didn't hold true in the brains of obese people. The researchers suggest that insulin or some other metabolic change associated with obesity could play a role in the absence of those associations in the obese group.  Although the obese study participants didn’t have diabetes, some had higher blood glucose and insulin concentration and some were becoming resistant to insulin. 

The effect of meal patterns on health  - when and what we eat
Two review papers by researchers from Kings College, London published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society have investigated the effect of meal patterns on health.  The studies review evidence from a number of dietary studies as well as global difference in eating habits. The authors report that a number of studies have indicated that people working shifts have an increased risk of developing a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. They also found that eating inconsistently may affect the internal body clock, noting many metabolic processes use a circadian pattern such as appetite, digestion and the metabolism of fat, cholesterol and glucose.  It recently has been thought that consuming small but frequent meals can help regulate appetite and weight. However the researchers state that some studies have found consuming a greater number of small meals during the day to be associated with an increased risk of obesity, due to an increase in calories. Family meals contribute to healthy eating habits in children and adolescents.  The studies also review eating patterns in various countries noting that in France and the Mediterranean lunch is the most important meal of the day and in the UK and US the “proportion of energy intake increases gradually across the day, with breakfast providing the lowest proportion of energy and dinner the greatest.” The scientist note that a clinical trial recently found that eating more calories in the morning than in the evening, showed greater weight loss and improved blood sugar levels in overweight and obese women.  (Eureka Alert)

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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