12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Taxing sugary drinks can lower consumption – WHO report
  • Can drinking coffee really prevent dementia?
  • Liver friendly vodka - health claim submitted
  • Global production of olive oil is insufficient to meet demands
  • Oats found to reduce all three markers of cholesterol
  • Toast – bread turned into beer
  • Link between maternal vitamin D intake and reduced symptoms of ADHD in children
  • Craving fat – blame it on your genes
  • A new diet version of prosecco could soon be available in a shop near you
  • Could noise pollution in coastal waters hamper the breeding ability of fish?
  • Can vitamin E prevent pneumonia in non-smoking elderly men?

Taxing sugary drinks can lower consumption – WHO report
According to a report titled Fiscal policies for Diet and Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) by the World Health Organisation (WHO) taxing sugary drinks can lower consumption and reduce obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.  The report notes that fiscal policies that lead to at least a 20% increase in the retail price of sugary drinks would result in proportional reductions in consumption of such products.  According to the new WHO report, national dietary surveys indicate that drinks and foods high in free sugars can be a major source of unnecessary calories in people’s diets, particularly in the case of children, adolescents and young adults. The report presents outcomes of a mid-2015 meeting of global experts convened by WHO and an investigation of 11 recent systematic reviews of the effectiveness of fiscal policy interventions for improving diets and preventing NCDs and a technical meeting of global experts. Other findings include: subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables that reduce prices by 10–30% can increase fruit and vegetable consumption; taxation of certain foods and drinks, particularly those high in saturated fats, trans fat, free sugars and/or salt appears promising, with existing evidence clearly showing that increases in the prices of such products reduces their consumption; excise taxes, such as those used on tobacco products, that apply a set (specific) amount of tax on a given quantity or volume of the product, or particular ingredient, are likely to be more effective than sales or other taxes based on a percentage of the retail price; and public support for such tax increases could be increased if the revenue they generate is earmarked for efforts to improve health systems, encourage healthier diets and increase physical activity.

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

Can drinking coffee really prevent dementia?
The media is reporting that drinking coffee can prevent dementia.  These headlines are based on a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, Medical Sciences.  The study assessed the association between caffeine intake and overall incidence of probable dementia or cognitive impairment in postmenopausal women.  The scientists used data from 6467 women involved in the randomised controlled trial, the Women’s Health Initiative.  The participants self-reported caffeine intake using food frequency questionnaires, and had completed at least one cognitive test.  During the 10 years of follow up, 209 women had been classified as having probable dementia, and 179 a mild cognitive impairment.  The study reports that women who drank more than 172 mg of caffeine per day, around two cups of coffee, had a 26% lower risk of probable dementia compared to those that drank less.  NHS news, who have reviewed the study state “that while the researchers estimated that the preventative effect was 26% according to the maths used by the researchers the actual figure could be as low as 1%.”

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

Liver friendly vodka - health claim submitted
The previous edition of Food e-News covered a story about a drink that mimics the effects of alcohol without the hangover.  This week, an Indian pharmaceutical family claim to have developed a liver friendly vodka, Bellion Vodka, which is available in 11 US states and is reported to, by the makers, to break down alcohol and reduce stress on the liver.  The vodka is infused with a blend of additives: glycyrrhizin, derived from licorice; D-mannitol, a sugar alcohol; and potassium sorbate, a preservative.  Expert however are sceptical about the health claims, as they are based on small clinical study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.  Chigurupati, the producer of the vodka, is seeking approval to make the claim that his blend, known as NTX for “No Tox,” provides “antioxidant and inflammatory support” and “reduces the risk of alcohol-induced liver diseases,” among other claims.  In the past wine and spirit makers have tried to claim health benefit but they have rarely been successful.  (Scientific American)

Global production of olive oil is insufficient to meet demands
It is forecast that olive oil prices may increase as total estimated global production is insufficient to meet predicted global demand. The UK is reported to be the world’s tenth biggest olive oil-consuming nation, consuming 10 times more olive oil than that consumed in 1990.  According to an article in the Grocer, in 2014-15 the olive oil crop was so poor in Spain and Italy that there was no annual carryover of supply which left bottlers with very low stocks of oil.  The Italian crop has been affected by pests, with the Tuscany region forecasting less than 50% of normal crop.  Whilst the Spanish olive oil production is forecast to improve this year, the amount produced is reported to be insufficient to meet demands.  (Daily Mail)

RSSL has expertise in the authentication of olive oil. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Oats found to reduce all three markers of cholesterol
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials published in the British Journal of Nutrition by Vuksan et al. has found that eating oat fibre can reduce all three markers of cholesterol. Often studies focus on the impact of oats on levels of LDL cholesterol, however there is mounting evidence that two other markers provide a more accurate indication of cardiovascular risk.  These are non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein, a lipoprotein that carries bad cholesterol through the blood.  Oats contain beta-glucan which is thought to be responsible for its health benefits.  Vuksan et al. examined 58 clinical trials involving nearly 4,000 participants.  The trials assessed the effect of diets containing oat beta-glucan compared to a control on LDL cholesterol, non HDL and apolipoprotein. Three and a half grams of beta-glucan fibre a day from oats per day were found to modestly improve LDL cholesterol, but also non-HDC and apoB compared to control diets. LDL cholesterol was reduced by 4.2%, non-HDL cholesterol by 4.8% and apoB by 2.3%. (Science Daily)

Toast – bread turned into beer
Food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart has launched an ale named “Toast”.  The beer is made from surplus bread donated by factories and cafes.  Bread is thought to be one of the single biggest waste products.  It is estimated by food waste charity Wrap that each year 460,000 tonnes of standard breads and 49,000 tonnes of speciality bread are thrown out in the UK.  The ale aims to reduce food waste by using a slice of bread for each bottle brewed.  The beer replaces a third of the barley used with bread.  The Evening Standard report that the bread doesn’t compromise the taste with the ale reporting to have a light and fruity taste with notes of caramel.  The ale was inspired by a Belgian brewery whose Babylone was the first commercially marketed beer made from recycled bread.  Currently 50,000 bottles of Toast have been produced with all profit being given to the developers campaign group Feedback. (Food Manufacturer, Evening Standard)

Link between maternal vitamin D intake and reduced symptoms of ADHD in children
Taking vitamin D during pregnancy may help reduce symptoms of ADHD in offspring, according to a study published in The Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.  The scientists measured vitamin D levels in umbilical blood from 1,233 children at birth.  When the child reached two and half years old the parents completed a questionnaire used to identify early symptoms of ADHD, even though an ADHD diagnosis cannot be made at that age.  Aaby et al. found that mothers “who had taken vitamin D, and had a vitamin D level (25OHD) in their umbilical blood over 25 nmol/L, had children with lower ADHD scores.” The authors offers no explanation as to how vitamin D protects against ADHD, although previous vitamin D studies have found that it plays an important role in the early development of the brain.  Aaby et al note “we cannot say with certainty that vitamin D protects against early symptoms of ADHD. Our study only indicates that there is a link that we cannot explain in any other way.”

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

Craving fat – blame it on your genes
A study published in Nature Communications by researchers from the University of Cambridge has investigated whether there is a genetic link to food preference.  The scientists hosted an “all you eat” chicken korma buffet for 54 people, 10 of who carry a mutation in the MC4R gene.  Farooqui et al. provided three similar curry dishes with each dish having a different fat content.  The participants sampled each dish and then were allowed to continue to help themselves. The participants did not know which dish contained the highest level of fat.  Those with a mutation in their MC4R gene ate almost double the amount of high fat korma than lean individuals and 65% more than obese individuals.  The researchers also provided three Eaton Mess deserts with varying sugar levels but not fat levels.  The defective MC4R gene participants liked the high sugar dessert less than the lean and obese participants and consumed significantly less of all three desserts compared to the other two groups. Professor Sadaf Farooqi from the Wellcome Trust–Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, who led the research team, said: “Our work shows that even if you tightly control the appearance and taste of food, our brains can detect the nutrient content.  Most of the time we eat foods that are both high in fat and high in sugar. By carefully testing these nutrients separately in this study, and by testing a relatively rare group of people with the defective MC4R gene, we were able to show that specific brain pathways can modulate food preference.”

A new diet version of prosecco could soon be available in a shop near you
A new “skinny” version of prosecco will soon be available in supermarkets by the beginning of next year.  The diet version contains 7g of sugar per litre, nearly half that of a regular bottle (12-15g) and has 67 calories per 100ml glass compared to an estimated 80 calories in standard Prosecco.  The organic, vegan-friendly sparkling wine produced by Thomson & Scott, is made from grapes grown in the Dolomites region of Italy, and will cost £17.99 per bottle.  Currently the wine is available to buy in Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and at other high end retail stores. The Telegraph states Amanda Thomson created the drink after being inspired by other sugar free products on supermarket shelves: "With so many other food and drink products cutting their sugar content; why shouldn't champagne too?”  (Independent) (Daily Mail)

Could noise pollution in coastal waters hamper the breeding ability of fish?
Researchers are reporting that the seas around Britain may be getting so noisy that species like cod and haddock may be unable to communicate with each other.  This could hamper their ability to breed.  The team of scientists from the University of Exeter are to test this theory by dragging hydrophones through the sea to record the marine sounds and noise pollution.  Simpson et al. aim to study the impact of noise on some of the UK’s fish species and test whether fish populations all vocalise differently.  As well as male cod using sounds to communicate to females, both sexes also use sound to navigate, establish territories and warn their group of an immediate threat. (BBC)

Can vitamin E prevent pneumonia in non-smoking elderly men?
Scientists from the University of Helsinki are reporting that the administration of 50 mg per day of vitamin E decreases the risk of pneumonia in elderly male smokers by 72% after they quit smoking.  Previous laboratory studies have found that vitamin E influences the immune system.  Animal experiments have also found that vitamin E offers protection against infections caused by viruses and bacteria. Reporting in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging the team analysed data from the Finnish Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention [ATBC] Study which included male smokers aged from 50 to 69 years.  They found vitamin E decreased the risk of pneumonia by 35% in 7,469 participants who had started smoking at a later age (21 years or older), whereas the vitamin had no apparent effect on pneumonia for those who had started to smoke at a younger age. Of these participants who smoked at a later age, and were light smokers, vitamin E supplementation reduced the incidence of pneumonia by 69%.  The vitamin did not however have a significant effect on participants who smoked heavily or had not been taking exercise.  One-third of the 7,469 participants quit smoking for a period and 27 of them got pneumonia. These 27 cases of pneumonia can be used to estimate the effect of vitamin E on currently non-smoking males. The incidence of pneumonia was 72% lower in the vitamin E participants who had quit smoking, and this benefit from vitamin E was also seen among those who smoked heavily or did not exercise.

RSSL has considerable expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling and can analyse for both tocopherols and tocotrienols (forms of vitamin E).  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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