12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • A plant based diet can improve psychological health and the management of diabetes
  • UK Government to introduce new tax on plastic packaging
  • Early years critical in gut microbiome development
  • Small trial finds microplastics in human stool samples
  • Rate of obesity amongst 10-11 year olds has increased
  • Consultation - mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid
  • Consuming vegetable nitrates may reduce risk of developing early state age related macular degeneration
  • Biofortification could lead to wheat with high iron content
  • Mice study find that overdosing on vitamin A may increase risk of bone fractures
  • Can eating organic food lower risk of cancer?

A plant based diet can improve psychological health and the management of diabetes
According to a review published in the journal, BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, plant-based diets can significantly improve psychological health, quality of life, HbA1c levels and weight and therefore the management of diabetes. The study by researchers from the University of London, the University of Northampton and East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust, analysed the available literature on plant-based diet interventions targeting diabetes in adults.  The team reviewed 11 studies, involving in total, 433 participants, who had an average age 55.  Dr Katarina Kos, a senior lecturer in diabetes and obesity at the University of Exeter is quoted in the Independent as saying “What we learn from this systematic review is that low fat vegan or plant-based diets, together with weekly education sessions, are effective in providing more weight loss which unsurprisingly leads to improvements in diabetes and in diabetes and weight-related complications.” She continues by saying that the success of this diet is down to the fact the vegan diets are low in calories and some are specifically low in fat.

Vegan and Vegetarian Food Services - RSSL can help you successfully navigate every stage of product development in this exciting growth category; from ingredient analysis and texture optimisation, to claims substantiation and due diligence. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

UK Government to introduce new tax on plastic packaging

It was announced in the Budget on Monday 29 October that the UK government is to introduce a new tax on plastic packaging. According to a factsheet produced by HM Treasury, the tax will apply to “produced or imported plastic packaging. Subject to consultation, this will apply to all plastic packaging that doesn’t include at least 30% recycled content.” The government is expecting hat this measure, along with already planned reforms to the Packaging Producer Responsibility System, will “encourage businesses to ensure that far more packaging can be recycled and to use more recycled plastic in their packaging”. The budget also included an announcement to fund £10 million research on plastics with an additional £10 million to reduce litter and promote recycling. (Quoted directly)

Early years critical in gut microbiome development
A study, conducted by researchers from the US, UK, Finland, Germany and Sweden and published in Nature, has confirmed the importance of the first 1000 days of life for development of gut microbiome. This early microbiome development has been thought to be related to the incidence of later life diseases including type I diabetes but the researchers state that no previous studies have “performed extensive characterisation of the microbiome in early life in a large, multi-centre population”.  Stewart et al. analysed over 12000 stool samples from 903 children from Germany, Sweden, Finland and 3 US states involved in the TEDDY study. The children involved “represent those who seroconverted to islet cell autoantibody positivity or developed type I diabetes and matched controls”. Samples were taken from around 3 months of age to 46 months.   Stewart et al. found three distinct stages in microbiome development: development (3-14 months), transitional (15-0 months and stable (31 months+). The researchers also found that amongst other factors, vaginal birth, presence of siblings and pets an geographical location played a part in differing microbiome profiles. Stewart el al. noted that after weaning, most Bifidobacterium was replaced by Firmicutes, typical of an adult microbiome, much more quickly than they had expected.  The researchers note that while the results should be extrapolated with caution, their findings “provide several testable hypotheses of microbiome development in infancy and the subsequent effect on immune development and functioning”. One of the researchers, Dr Joseph Petrosino, is quoted as saying that “we know the first few years of life are important for microbiome establishment. You are born with very few microbes, and microbial communities assemble on and in your body through those first years of your life.”

Small trial finds microplastics in human stool samples
Findings from a small trial led by Dr Philipp Schwabi from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, have found microplastics in human stools. The trial which involved 8 participants from Europe, Japan, and Russia, found up to nine different plastics out of 10 varieties tested for, in particles of sizes ranging from 50 to 500 micrometres. The two most common plastics found were polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalates. The tests, analysed by Fourier-transform infrared microspectrometer, were carried out by The Environment Agency Austria.  The sources of the plastics found in the stool samples is unknown.  All participants kept a food diary that showed they were exposed to plastics from food wrapping or drinking from plastic water bottles. Previous research has found plastics in the guts of fish, as well as in tap water, in the oceans and in flying insects.  The Guardian are reporting that studies in birds have found microplastics to disrupt iron absorption and add to stress on the liver.  The findings of the study will be presented at UEG Week in Vienna.

RSSL can quantify microplastic particles in water down to 10 microns and above. We can then identify the type of microplastic using a variety of techniques and compare the particles with the reference materials to confirm if they have come from the original bottle. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Rate of obesity amongst 10-11 year olds has increased
New data published from the National Child Measurement Programme has shown that the rate of severe obesity among year 6 children (aged 10 to 11) has increased by more than a third since 2006 to 2007 to 4.2%, its highest rate ever. PHE state that this “highlights the importance of the government’s steps to tackle childhood obesity. The most important aspects of these are overseen by PHE, including its challenge to the food industry to reduce 20% of sugar and calories in everyday foods consumed regularly by children.” PHE has recently met with major trade bodies, retailers, manufacturers, out of home sector businesses – including takeaways, cafes and pubs – and public health NGOs, to discuss the next phase of the calorie reduction programme.

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

Consultation - mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid
Public Health Minister Steve Brine has announced that the government will consult on the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to prevent foetal abnormalities. The consultation will launch in early 2019 to consider the evidence around folic acid fortification as well as the practicality and safety. Evidence from the Scientific Advisory Committee of Nutrition (SACN) suggests that expectant mothers can take folic acid during pregnancy to significantly reduce the risk of foetal abnormalities including spina bifida and anencephaly. The plans to fortify flour with folic acid are thought to be an effective way of reaching those with the lowest folate intakes – for example younger women from the most deprived backgrounds. The consultation will also consider if there are any risks to other members of the general public. These include whether additional folic acid in the diet will mask the diagnosis of conditions such as pernicious anaemia, which is a deficiency in the production of red blood cell.

Consuming vegetable nitrates may reduce risk of developing early state age related macular degeneration
Findings published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have indicated that consuming vegetable nitrate, particularly those found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot, could help reduce risk of developing early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The scientists interviewed over 2000 Australian adults aged over 49 years.  The participants were followed for 15 years.  The scientists from Westmead Institute for Medical Research report that consuming between 100 to 142 mg of vegetable nitrates daily, lead to a 35% lower risk of developing early AMD than people who ate less than 69mgs of vegetable nitrates each day. The researchers reported that spinach has around 20 mg of nitrate per 100g while beetroot has nearly 15mg of nitrate per 100g.

RSSL can determine nitrates in food products. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Biofortification could lead to wheat with high iron content
Around 60% of the world’s population don’t get enough iron, according to Robert Graybosch, USDA Agricultural Research Service.  Biofortified wheat could make it easier for some humans to get proper nutrition. Graybosch states “Biofortification can be done via traditional plant breeding using natural genetic variation or natural mutations, or via genetic engineering," he says. "If one found a mutation that resulted in more grain iron, and then bred this trait into wheat that was produced and consumed, then we could say the crop has been biofortified." Using experimental breeding lines of winter wheat, Graybosch et al. tried to combine two properties, low phytate (an antinutrient that prevents the body’s uptake of some minerals) and high grain protein. Their findings published in Crop Science, reveals that combining the two traits without any bad effects on grain yield is possible. It increased the amount of zinc, calcium, and manganese humans could get from it. They note that further research needs to be performed to get it in wheat that can be planted by farmers, the genes can be used to develop more nutritious wheat without sacrificing yield.

RSSL's Metals Laboratory is equipped with AAS and ICP-MS to analyse for a wide range of concentrations of iron (UKAS accredited) including haem iron and other metals in foods, drinks and dietary supplements. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Mice study finds that overdosing on vitamin A may increase risk of bone fractures
A mouse study has found that consuming too much vitamin A may lead to decrease bone thickness, which can result in weak and fracture-prone bones. The study, published in the Journal of Endocrinology, found that sustained intake of vitamin A, at levels equivalent to 4.5-13 times the human recommended daily allowance (RDA), caused significant weakening of the bones, and suggests that people should be cautious of over-supplementing vitamin A in their diets. Overdosing of vitamin A, at the equivalent of 13-142 times the recommended daily allowance in people, results in decreased bone thickness and an increased fracture risk after just 1-2 weeks.

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

Can eating organic food lower risk of cancer?
A study which has been highly covered by the media, has found that “a higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer”.  The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine investigated the association between organic food consumption and the risk of cancer in nearly 70,000 French adults. It reports that individuals who ate the most organic produce had a 25 percent lower risk of receiving a cancer diagnosis during follow-up, when compared with those eating the least amount of organic produce. There were however a number of limitations of the study which included that those who consumed organic foods had a healthier lifestyle than those who didn’t.  They scored better on measures such as smoking, weight and heart disease. 

share this article
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.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry