12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Can consuming cheese reduce risk of developing heart disease or stroke?
  • A safer stone-less avocado being sold by M&S
  • Could people with dentures and missing teeth be at risk of malnutrition?
  • Intestinal microbiota affected by exercise alone
  • Insufficient evidence on the effect of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy
  • Co-op to sell food passed its best before date
  • IFST publish new information statement on oils and fats
  • Guide published on how to buy the best protein-based sport products – ESSNA

Can consuming cheese reduce risk of developing heart disease or stroke?
The popular press is reporting that cheese may reduce a person’s chances of developing heart disease or stroke.  These headlines are based on the findings of a study by Chinese researchers who after reviewing previous studies found that people who ate cheese had a 10% reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. The meta-analysis study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reviewed 15 observational studies involving participants mostly in Europe and the US, and looked at the diet and health of over 34,000 people.  The scientists compared those who reported a high daily consumption of cheese (40g a day) with those who had a low consumption.  They found compared to those who had a low consumption of cheese, those in the high group had a 10% reduced risk of any type of cardiovascular disease, 14% reduced risk of heart disease and a 10% reduced risk of stroke.   The authors suggest that the findings may be due to cheese being a good source of dietary vitamins, minerals and protein.  NHS choices who have reviewed study note that the study has limitation and as it is observational this cannot prove that cheese directly affects heart and cardiovascular health. Also they state that “we don't know what the participants' overall diets were like, for example whether people were eating other dairy products alongside cheese.”  Although they do state that “Overall the study adds to the body of existing research looking at whether dairy food and saturated fat are good or bad for us. Dairy products can be a healthy component of your diet, but the best take home message is everything in moderation.”

A safer stone-less avocado being sold by M&S
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons have recently suggested that avocados should carry a safety warning as many people have cut their hands and fingers when they have tried to remove the stone from the fruit. Now Marks & Spencer have found a solution and has begun selling stone-less avocados which are predicted to sell out quickly.  The fruit 5-8cm in length, has an edible skin and can be eaten whole. It is grown in Spain produced by un-pollinated blossom.  This causes it to develop without a stone.   (The Guardian)

Could people with dentures and missing teeth be at risk of malnutrition?
King College London researchers are suggesting that denture wearers or those that have missing teeth are at risk of malnutrition as they are unable to chew food properly meaning that some foods are avoided.  They were also associated with joint and muscle frailty which can leave people at risk of bone breakages and falls. Dr Wael Sabbah, from King’s College London Dental Institute is quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “Persons with inadequate dentition are less likely to eat hard food that is difficult to chew, for example, some of the fresh fruits and vegetables, apples, pears, carrots, nuts etc. They could also have difficulties in eating some cooked food such as meat, depending on the way it is cooked.” The team came to these findings, published in the journal Geriatrics & Gerontology International, after they investigated the health of over 1,800 people aged 62 and over who were split into the groups of: having at least 20 teeth, denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth, and people and non-denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth.

Intestinal microbiota affected by exercise alone
Studies published in the journals Gut Microbes and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by researchers from the University of Illinois have sought to show that exercise alone can change the intestinal microbiota  - of mice and humans respectively. In the mouse study, faecal material from sedentary and exercised mice was transplanted in to sedentary germ-free mice. The microbiota of the transplanted mice reflected that of the donor mice with those receiving the exercised mice faecal matter having a higher proportion of microbes that produced a short-chain fatty acid, butyrate, known to reduce inflammation and promote healthy intestinal cells. These mice also showed an “attenuated response to a colitis-inducing chemical” according to Jacob Allen, one of the researchers. For the human study, 32 sedentary adults, (14 obese, 18 lean), had their gut microbiota sampled before being placed on a six-week, three times a week,  exercise program. Gut microbiota were again sampled after the six-week intervention and again six weeks later after a return to sedentary behaviour. The researchers discovered that faecal concentrations of short-chain fatty acids, notably butyrate, increased due to the exercise and declined again after the exercise program stopped. Examination of the microbiota also showed corresponding changes in the proportions of butyrate-producing microbes. The scientists noted that the lean participants showed largest changes in the proportion of short-chain fatty acid producing microbes and that these participants had less of these microbes to start with. Lead researcher Prof Jeffrey Woods is quoted as saying that "These are the first studies to show that exercise can have an effect on your gut independent of diet or other factors”. Woods added that "The bottom line is that there are clear differences in how the microbiome of somebody who is obese versus somebody who is lean responds to exercise. We have more work to do to determine why that is”. (MedicalXpress)

Insufficient evidence on the effect of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy
A large systematic review and meta-analysis has concluded that there is insufficient evidence on the effect of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy on maternal and neonatal clinical outcomes.  Whilst previous studies have examined vitamin D and birth weight, the researchers report that the quality of these studies are low.  The authors, reporting in the British Medical Journal, state that there is not enough high quality evidence regarding vitamin D supplementation and its effect on preterm birth, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia.  However they note that there was strong evidence that prenatal vitamin D reduced the risk of offspring wheeze by age 3 years.  The study examined 43 randomised controlled trials comprising of 55 intervention-control arm comparisons for a total of 8406 enrolled women.  Of these the scientists report that only 8 had an overall low risk of bias. In conclusion the team state “Most trials on prenatal vitamin D published by September 2017 were small and of low quality. The evidence to date seems insufficient to guide clinical or policy recommendations. Future trials should be designed and powered to examine clinical endpoints, including maternal conditions related to pregnancy (such as pre-eclampsia), infant growth, and respiratory outcomes.”

RSSL's 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.  To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Co-op to sell food passed its best before date
In a bid to cut food waste, certain Co-op’s will sell food after its best before date.  One hundred and twenty Co-op stores in East Anglia will sell tinned and dried food such as pasta, rice, and crisps for 10p each.  The offer will not be applied to perishable foods and use by dates, which indicate when a product is safe to eat. Roger Grosvenor, East of England Co-op's joint chief executive, reports that the 10p items were sold within hours of being reduced.  He is quoted as saying “The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favourite products.  This is not a money making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain." Tesco has said that whilst it didn’t sell any food past its best before date, it did report that unsold food is donated to local charities.  This was also the case for Waitrose.  The BBC do stipulate the difference between “use by” and “best before” stating that “Use By - Cannot be sold, redistributed or consumed after this date. Applied to foods which are highly perishable - such as fresh fish, meat and poultry - and therefore constitute an immediate danger to human health. Best Before - Can be sold, redistributed and consumed after this date. Applied to all other kinds of food.” (BBC)

IFST publish new information statement on oils and fats
The Institute of Food Science and Technology has published a new information statement on oils and fats.  The information statement discusses oil and fat processing methods, functionality of fats and oils in food products, and nutritional recommendations regarding fat and fatty acid consumption. The statement has been produced by Geoff Talbot and peer reviewed by IFST members and approved by IFST Scientific Committee.

RSSL's scientists have wide-ranging, proven experience in oils and fats analysis and lipid testing including in finished products. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Guide published on how to buy the best protein-based sport products – ESSNA
The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) has published a new guide entitled “10 steps to buying the best protein” to educated consumers on how to purchase the best quality protein-based sports nutrition products that are right for their health and goals. The guide covers different sources of protein including casein, collagen, egg, hemp, milk, pea and rice, soy and whey and which one is “best for you”.  The guide developed by ESSNA member companies, includes a section on how to read the label, serving size, and a practical tip on calculated protein.  

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