12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Animal study shows high-fat diet during pregnancy may lead to brain development issues in offspring
  • Study finds association between high sugar intake and obesity
  • BMJ and press report cancer stabilised by curcumin
  • Final update on folic acid published by Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition
  • Should you really be eating for two when you’re pregnant?
  • Scientists produce novel probiotic beer
  • The debate on artificial sweeteners continues
  • Scientists investigate what affects consumers choice for milk and non-dairy beverages
  • Maternal status of vitamin D may affect pre-school child’s development
  • Protein created from electricity and carbon dioxide

Animal study shows high-fat diet during pregnancy may lead to brain development issues in offspring
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology suggests that a high-fat diet can alter development of the brain and lead to mental health disorders in offspring. The animal study used female Japanese macaques split into two groups, one fed a high-fat diet during pregnancy with the other group fed a control diet. The study found that there was higher incidence of anxiety-like behaviour amongst the offspring of the high-fat diet group than the control. They also found that the brains of the high-fat offspring had impaired development of neurons containing serotonin, critical in brain development, compared to the control. Researchers also found that giving the high-fat offspring a healthy diet did not reverse the effects. Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D, senior author of the study is quoted as saying that "It's not about blaming the mother. It's about educating pregnant women about the potential risks of a high-fat diet in pregnancy and empowering them and their families to make healthy choices by providing support. We also need to craft public policies that promote healthy lifestyles and diets." Lead author Jacqueline Thompson added “My hope is that increased public awareness about the origins of neuropsychiatric disorders can improve our identification and management of these conditions, both at an individual and societal level”. (MedicalXpress)

Study finds association between high sugar intake and obesity
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE has investigated sugar intake, measured through urine, and obesity and found a “significant association between high sugar diets and measures of obesity”. The study claims to be the first to measure sugar intake in England via objective means, not relying on self-reporting and calculated intakes of sugar using markers in urine. The study by Kuhnle et al. found that sugar intake could be up to 50% higher than previous studies have shown. Using data from the 2005 Health Survey for England the team identified 498 participants who had provided a 24-hour urine sample. Kuhnle is quoted as saying in a press release that “This paper shows that the link between sugar consumption and obesity is very strong, and that it is not just because people who eat more also eat more sugar”. Kuhnle added that “Our studies show clearly that obese people tend to consume more sugar; this is not only because they consume overall more food, but they also consume a higher proportion of that food as sugar.”  Commenting on the study, Dr Panagiota Mitrou, Director of Research Funding at World Cancer Research Fund states “The new, more accurate way of measuring sugar intake in this study shows that many people are consuming more sugar than they realise. It also highlights the detrimental effect too much sugar can have on a person’s obesity risk”.  (University of Reading)

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 Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

BMJ and press report cancer stabilised by curcumin
A report published in the British Medical Journal Case Reports and cited in the popular press indicates that a woman who had been living with myeloma for five years, and for whom other treatments had proved unsuccessful, has been stabilised by taking curcumin, a key component in turmeric. Dieneke Furguson now takes 8g of curcumin daily in tablet form. As turmeric is typically only 2% curcumin, the Daily Mail reports taking this amount by turmeric alone would not be viable. Doctors report her cancer cell count is now negligible. Prof Jamie Cavenagh, one of the author of the BMJ report is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying “When you review her chart, there’s no alternative explanation [for her recovery] other than we’re seeing a response to curcumin”. Senior researcher at Myeloma UK, Maggie Lain who also helped author the BMJ report raises a note of caution however and is quoted as saying that “Curcumin seems to work for some people and not others, but we don’t know how it works and this was only a one-off case”. (Daily Mail)

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

Final update on folic acid published by Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has now published the final update on folic acid in response to a request by Food Standards Scotland. In 2006, SACN recommended mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to improve the folate status of women most at risk of neural tube defect (NTD) affected pregnancies. This advice was reiterated in 2009. In 2016, SACN was asked by Food Standards Scotland to provide advice on whether its previous risk assessments (2006 and 2009) regarding folic acid remain valid. This report updates the previous reviews of potential adverse effects of folic acid on specific health outcomes and its recommendations on folic acid fortification. SACN is supporting its previous recommendation (2006 and 2009) for mandatory folic acid fortification to improve the folate status of

Should you really be eating for two when you’re pregnant?
Research by the National Charity Partnership made up of Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco, has suggested that most women do not know how much they should be eating while pregnant. The survey involving over of 2,100 UK women found that 69% of the women surveyed were unaware of how many extra calories they need to consume during pregnancy. They also found that 63% felt under pressure to eat larger meals than normal. NICE guidance advises that “energy needs do not change in the first 6 months of pregnancy”.  In the last trimester women only require around 200 extra calories per day however the survey reports that more than one in three pregnant women believe they need to eat 300 or more extra calories each day and 61% believe they need to start consuming these extra calories in the first or second trimester.

Scientists produce novel probiotic beer
A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore have created a probiotic sour beer which incorporates the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei L26.  This probiotic strain is thought to have the ability to neutralise toxins and viruses, as well as ability to regulate the immune system.  Miss Chain who was involved in the project is quoted in a press release as saying “The health benefits of probiotics are well known. While good bacteria are often present in food that have been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics. Developing sufficient counts of live probiotics in beer is a challenging feat as beers contain hop acids that prevent the growth and survival of probiotics. As a believer of achieving a healthy diet through consuming probiotics, this is a natural choice for me when I picked a topic for my final-year project.”  The beer was produced by modifying the brewing and fermentation process, so that the live counts of the strain of probiotic increased and were maintained.  The NUS research team has filed a patent to protect the recipe for brewing the probiotic sour beer.

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

The debate on artificial sweeteners continues
A systematic review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has examined the association between consuming artificial sweeteners and the negative long term effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite.  The review investigated 37 studies that that followed over 400,000 adults whose weight ranged from healthy to obese for an average of 10 years. However only 7 were randomised controlled trials involving 1003 people followed for 6 months on average.  The scientists compared any change in weight or BMI, or development of type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease over the studies follow-up period.  The authors found that whilst the trials showed no consistent effect that artificial sweeteners had on weight loss, the longer observational studies “showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.” NHS Choices have reviewed the study and stated that “although this was a reasonably thorough review, it does not provide firm conclusions as to the beneficial or potentially harmful effects of artificial sweeteners. This is not the fault of the researchers but is down to the lack and poor quality of available evidence.”

Scientists investigate what affects consumers’ choice for milk and non-dairy beverages
Since 1975 consumption of milk has decreased at a rate of 830 mL per year, with sales of milk decreasing by 3.8% during 2011 and 2014, and sales of non-dairy, plant based beverages increasing by 30% between 2010 and 2015.  Researchers from North Carolina State University have investigated, using surveys, conjoint analysis and means-end-chain analysis, what affect consumers’ decisions for purchasing fluid milk.  The study published in the Journal of Dairy Science involved 999 primary shoppers, who consumed diary milk, non-dairy beverage or both at least two to three times per month.  Fat was ranked as the most important attribute in dairy milk and sugar levels in non-dairy beverages.  Consumers reporting a preference for 2% or 1% fat.  Almond milk was the most desired plant-derived beverage accounting for 65% of non-dairy beverages sold in the UK. The findings indicate that the most important factors for both milk and non-dairy beverages were “healthy” and “tastes good”. 

Maternal status of vitamin D may affect pre-school child’s development
Researchers from the Universities of Surrey and Bristol are reporting in the British Journal of Nutrition, that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may affect a pre-school child’s social development and motor skills.  Using data from over 7000 mother-child pairs, the scientists report that at 2½ years old the children from mothers who had vitamin deficiency during pregnancy, obtained lower score in pre-school development tests for gross and fine motor development.  At 3½ years old lack of vitamin D during pregnancy was also found to affect the child's social development.  However, at 7 and 9 years maternal vitamin D status did not affect IQ or reading ability.

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

Protein created from electricity and carbon dioxide
A study by researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has produced a single-cell protein using only electricity and carbon dioxide. The scientists are investigating developing this protein for use as food and animal feed and hope to be able to use the protein as a fodder replacement. They estimate that creating food from electricity in this way may be nearly 10 times as energy efficient as common photosynthesis, used for cultivation of soy and other products, but indicate they need to improve efficiency even more as it currently takes around 2 weeks to produce 1 gram of protein using equipment “about the size of a coffee cup”. Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, Principal Scientist at VTT, is quoted as saying that "In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine.” Professor Jero Ahola of LUT added that "Compared to traditional agriculture, the production method currently under development does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type. This allows us to use a completely automatised process to produce the animal feed required in a shipping container facility built on the farm.” The researchers indicate that next steps would be to aim for pilot production to allow sufficient quantities to be produced to develop and test food and fodder products. (Lappeenranta University of Technology)

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