Thursday, October 31, 2013

Low Maternal Vitamin D Levels Linked to Preterm Labor

Low maternal intake of vitamin D has been shown to increase the chances of preterm labor in African American and Puerto Rican females, according to a new study published in American Journal of Epidemiology. The findings may provide insight into the biology connecting low vitamin D and preterm birth.
"Vitamin D is unique in that while we get it from our diets, our primary source is our body making it from sunlight," said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh Public Health's Department of Epidemiology. "Previous studies using conservative definitions for vitamin D deficiency have found that nearly half of black women and about 5% of white women in the United States have vitamin D concentrations that are too low."
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study to determine the link between maternal vitamin D and the risk of spontaneous preterm labor in women before the 35-week gestation period. The researchers used a sample of more than 700 cases of preterm birth and 2,600 full-term births collected by the Collaborative Perinatal Project that was conducted in 12 U.S. medical centers from 1959 to 1965. The blood samples collected by the project were well-preserved and able to be tested for vitamin D levels 40 years later.
Among non-white mothers, the incidence of spontaneous, preterm labor decreased by as much as 30% as vitamin D levels in blood increased. The researchers did not find similar relationships between maternal vitamin D levels and preterm birth in white women.
"We were concerned that finding this association only in non-white women meant that other factors we did not measure accounted for the link between low vitamin D levels and spontaneous preterm birth in black and Puerto Rican mothers," Bodnar said. "Even after applying these methods, vitamin D deficiency remained associated with spontaneous preterm birth."
Researchers also discovered that vitamin D deficiency was related to preterm births with damage to the placenta caused by inflammation. The vitamin D spontaneous preterm birth relationship should be examined in modern cohorts with detailed data on skin pigmentation and other covariates, the researchers concluded.
A previous study from the University of Pittsburgh linked vitamin D deficiency having a relation with fetal growth that may vary by race.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Study: Consumers Wary of Nanotech Foods

New research from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Minnesota finds that people in the U.S. want labels on food products that use nanotechnology—whether the nanotechnology is in the food or is used in food packaging. The research also shows that many people are willing to pay more for the labeling.
“We wanted to know whether people want nanotechnology in food to be labeled, and the vast majority of the participants in our study do,” says Dr. Jennifer Kuzma, senior author of a paper on the research and Goodnight-Glaxo Wellcome Distinguished Prof. of Public Administration at NC State. “Our study is the first research in the U.S. to take an in-depth, focus group approach to understanding the public perception of nanotechnology in foods.”
The researchers convened six focus groups—three in Minnesota and three in North Carolina—and gave study participants some basic information about nanotechnology and its use in food products. Participants were then asked a series of questions addressing whether food nanotechnology should be labeled. Participants were also sent a follow-up survey within a week of their focus group meeting.
Study participants were particularly supportive of labeling for products in which nanotechnology had been added to the food itself, though they were also in favor of labeling products in which nanotechnology had only been incorporated into the food packaging.
However, the call for labeling does not indicate that people are necessarily opposed to the use of nanotechnology in food products. For example, many study participants indicated support for the use of nanotechnology to make food more nutritious or to give it a longer shelf life—but they still wanted those products to be labeled.
“People do have nuanced perspectives on this,” Kuzma says. “They want labeling, but they also want access to reliable, research-based information about the risks associated with labeled products—such as a U.S. Food and Drug Administration website offering additional information about labeled products.”
The researchers also found that about 60% of the study participants who responded to the follow-up survey were willing to pay an additional 5 to 25% of the product price for either nanotechnology-free products or for nanotechnology labeling.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crops May Soon Grow Faster, More Efficient

Global agriculture accounts for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, and that number will only increase as global food demand is forecast to double by 2050, which will cause significant strain on the environment. Researchers in London have unraveled the mystery of how some plant species evolved super-efficient photosynthesis—a discovery that could be used to breed super-crops, such as faster-growing, drought-resistant rice, according to a paper published in the journal eLife.
Approximately 3% of all plants use an advanced form of photosynthesis, which allows them to capture more carbon dioxide, use less water, and grow more rapidly. Overall, this makes them over 50% more efficient than plants that use the less-efficient form.
Researchers from the Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge traced back the evolutionary paths of all the plants that use advanced photosynthesis, including maize, sugar cane and millet, to find out how they evolved the same ability independently, despite not being directly related to one another. Using a mathematical analysis, the researchers uncovered a number of tiny changes in the plants’ physiology that, when combined, allow them to grow more quickly; using one-third as much water as other plants; and capturing around 13 times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
They suggest that together, these individual evolutionary advances make up a “recipe” that could be used to improve key agricultural crops that only use the less-efficient form.
"Encouragingly for the efforts to design super-efficient crops, we found that several different pathways lead to the more efficient photosynthesis—so there are plenty of different recipes biologists could follow to achieve this," the researchers said. “This is not only an interesting mathematical result, it should help biological scientists to develop crops with significantly improved yields to feed the world.”
In 2010, British researchers suggested large-scale crop failures most likely will become more common under climate change due to an increased frequency of extreme weather events. Their findings, published in Environmental Research Letters, suggested adaptation to climate change can be possible through a combination of new crops that are more tolerant to heat and water stress, and socio-economic measures. Over the past two years, record-breaking temperatures in the United States have affected crop yields and forced global food prices to reach record highs.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

223K Pounds of RTE Chicken Salad Recalled Over Listeria

Boston Salads and Provisions Company, Inc., a Boston-based firm, is recalling approximately 222,959 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken salad products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Oct. 24.
The recall involves RTE cranberry walnut chicken salad, white chicken salad, chicken salad, chicken Caesar salad and tropical cranberry walnut salad sold under the brand names Boston Salads, Dietz & Watson, Market Source, Northern Haserot, Price Chopper and Rachael's Gourmet.
The products were produced between Aug. 23, 2013, and Oct. 14, 2013, and shipped to wholesalers for further distribution to retail locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Case labels or packaging may bear the sell by dates ranging from “9/13/2013" through “11/4/2013" as well as the establishment number “P-17999" inside the USDA mark of inspection. Although product included in this recall may be expired, FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen in consumer or retail freezers.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Paper Refutes Saturated Fat's Role in CVD

Saturated fat may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, not be the culprit of the No. 1 killer in the U.S., according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
Saturated fats have been shown to increase heart disease, lower sperm count and decrease cognition in women, but according to interventional cardiology specialist from Croydon University Hospital in London, Aseem Malhotra, scientific evidence shows that this advice—removing saturated fat to lower cardiovascular disease—"paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risk."
"Furthermore, the government's obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia."
Saturated fat, in recent studies, has been shown to be protective. In an early obesity experiment, published in the Lancet in 1956, groups were compared by what their diets consist of—90% fat versus 90% protein versus 90% carbohydrate. The results showed that the greatest weight loss occurred in the fat-consuming group. A recent JAMA study has shown that a "low fat" diet resulted in the greatest decrease in energy expenditure, an unhealthy lipid pattern, and increased insulin resistance, in comparison with a low carbohydrate and low glycaemic index diet, Malhorta said.
In the U.S., the percentage of calories consumed from fat has declined from 40% to 30% in the last 30 years, but obesity has continued to increase. One reason, Malhotra says, is that the food industry compensated by replacing saturated fat with added sugar. When fat is taken out, it has to be replaced with something to make it taste good, and that something has been sugar.
"The scientific evidence is mounting that sugar is a possible independent risk factor for the metabolic syndrome," he said.
Malhotra writes that a Mediterranean diet after a heart attack is almost three times as powerful in reducing mortality as taking a statin.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coffee Prices Drop to Four-Year Low

Coffee fell to the lowest in more than four years as dry weather helps improve growing conditions in Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter.
Most of Brazil’s growing areas will get sun this week, as alternating periods of rain and dry weather allow farmers to work in fields and spur crops that will be collected next season to flower multiple times, Marcio Custodio, a forecasting director at Sao Paulo-based Somar Meteorologia, said today in a telephone interview. The beneficial conditions will boost output, he said.

Global production is set to exceed demand for a fourth straight season, pushing inventories to a five-year high, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The glut is helping to cut costs for Starbucks Corp. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. (KRFT) as coffee futures tumbled 22 percent in 2013, the third-largest drop among the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.
“Brazil’s going to have another good crop, and they have quite a bit of carryover from last year,” Rodrigo Costa, a trading director at Caturra Coffee Corp. a dealer in Elmsford,New York, said in a telephone interview. “There are also promising harvests in Indonesia and Colombia. The trend is lower for prices.”
Arabica coffee for delivery in December fell 1.7 percent to settle at $1.127 a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after touching $1.123, the lowest since March 18, 2009.
Futures are heading for a third straight annual decline, the longest slump since 1993. The “recent favorable weather conditions” prompted Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to lower its price outlook by 7.7 percent, analysts said in an Oct. 18 report. The commodity will be at $1.20 in three, six and 12 months, down from a previous forecast of $1.30, the bank said.

Global Surplus

Global coffee production, including the robusta variety that accounts for 41 percent of supply, will exceed demand by 4.46 million bags in the 2013-2014 season, from a 10 million-bag surplus a year earlier, according to the USDA. Inventories will reach a five-year high of 30.53 million bags, the USDA predicts.
Arabica is used in specialty coffees sold by Starbucks (SBUX) and other shops, while robusta is used in instant coffee. Cheaper beans prompted J.M. Smucker Co. to cut prices in February for Folgers, the top-selling U.S. brand. Kraft said May 3 it would cut the price of 12-ounce bags of Gevalia coffee by 6 percent.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Drinking Coffee Can Reduce Risk Of Liver Cancer

A new study published in the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association found drinking coffee could reduce the risk of the most common type of liver cancer.
Researchers found coffee consumption could reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by about 40 percent. Some of the data indicates drinking three cups of coffee per day reduced liver cancer risk by more than 50 percent.
“Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health, and particularly the liver,” Carlo La Vecchia, MD, study author from the department of epidemiology, said in a press release. “The favorable effect of coffee on liver cancer might be mediated by coffee’s proven prevention of diabetes, a known risk factor for the disease, or for its beneficial effects on cirrhosis and liver enzymes.”
Scientists analyzed articles published from 1996 through September 2012. They studied 16 high-quality studies and a total of 3,153 cases. The research fills an important gap, as the last meta-analysis was published in 2007, and since then there have been more than 900 cases of HCC.
The researchers said it is difficult to establish whether the association between coffee drinking and HCC is causal, or if the relationship may be partially attributable to the fact that patients with liver and digestive diseases often voluntarily reduce their coffee intake.
“It remains unclear whether coffee drinking has an additional role in liver cancer prevention,” Dr. La Vecchia said in the release. “But, in any case, such a role would be limited as compared to what is achievable through the current measures.”
Scientists know liver cancers can be largely avoidable through hepatitis B virus vaccination, control of hepatitis C virus transmission and reduction of alcohol drinking. These three conditions could avoid more than 90 percent of liver cancer around the world.
Patients who exhibit symptoms of liver cancer experience fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, loss of appetite, menstrual abnormalities or impotence. In later stages of cancer, yellow skin may occur, which is caused by the buildup of bio pigment that is normally passed by the liver into the intestines.
Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, and the third most common cause of cancer death. HCC is the main type of liver cancer and it accounts for more than 90 percent of cases around the globe.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hangovers Linked To Increased Risk Of Stroke

Men who consume more than six alcoholic drinks per day may be at risk of increased atherosclerotic progression, while further data suggests hangovers may indicate an increased risk of stroke, according to new study results published in the Journal of Neurology, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, and Atherosclerosis.
Researchers at the University of Kuopio evaluated a population-based sample of more than 2,600 men living in eastern Finland and participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) to evaluate the effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular health. Participants' alcohol consumption was assessed using the Nordic alcohol consumption inventory along with incident strokes. The follow-up time was between 11 to 20 years.
Researchers determined the progression of atherosclerosis was increased among men who consumed six drinks or more on one occasion. In addition, the risk of stroke increased among men who had at least one hangover per year. Hangovers increased the risk of stroke independent of the total amount of alcohol consumed. Hypertension and overweight, in the presence of alcohol consumption, further increased the risk of stroke. Drinking large quantities of alcohol more than twice a week increased the risk of stroke mortality in men.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Omega-3s May Decrease Brain Abnormalities

Increasing the intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that is found in tuna or other broiled or baked fish may lower the risk of brain abnormalities, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In the Cardiovascular Healthy Study, 3,660 participants 65 and over participated in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) between 1992 and 1994. Five years later, 2,313 were rescanned. Participants who had transient ischemic attacks (TIA) or strokes were excluded.
Those who had high long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content in their blood had about 40% lower risk of having a small brain infract in comparison to those with lower content of these fatty acids. In addition, those with higher levels had fewer changes in the white matter in the brain.
"Our results support the beneficial effects of fish consumption, the major source of long-chain omega-3 PUFAs, on brain health in later life," the researchers said.
Although there may be a decrease in brain abnormalities, a recent study concluded that eating omega-3 fatty acids may have no effect on age-related loss of brain function.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Orange Juice Consumption Drops to 15-Year Low

Total U.S. retail sales of orange juice, once a staple of the American breakfast table, fell to the lowest level in at least 15 seasons during the 2012-13 season.
Americans bought 563.2 million gallons of orange juice during the season that ended Sept. 28, the Florida Department of Citrus said Monday, citing Nielsen data.
That was the lowest sales volume since the 1998-99 season, the oldest data available from the state agency, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
The total volume of orange juice sold in a year has decreased by a third from a decade ago, when Americans bought 836.4 million gallons of it.
Revenue hasn't fallen as sharply, though, because prices have climbed as volume dropped, The Wall Street Journal said. Orange-juice sales for the 2012-13 season totaled $3.49 billion, down 5.2 percent from 10 years ago. Analysts have said a greater variety of beverages and energy drinks have taken market share from orange juice.


 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Capico International receives 2013 New Jersey Excellence Award


Capico International has been selected for the 2013 New Jersey Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC).

 

Each year the SBIEC conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that New Jersey is renowned for.

 

Capico International has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by SBIEC marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow.

 

As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the selected companies in each category. This research is part of an exhaustive process that encapsulates a year long immersion in the business climate of New Jersey.

 

 

About SBIEC

 

The SBIEC is a leading authority on researching, evaluating and recognizing companies across a wide spectrum of industries that meet its stringent standards of excellence. It has spearheaded the idea of independent enterprise and entrepreneurial growth allowing businesses of all sizes to be recognized locally and encouraged globally.

 

Particular emphasis is given to meeting and exceeding industry benchmarks for customer service, product quality and ethical practices. Industry leading standards and practices have been developed and implementation of the same has been pioneered by the dedicated efforts of the business community and commerce leadership.

 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nespresso Opens Its Largest US Boutique Store

Nespresso, the worldwide pioneer and reference in premium portioned coffee, announces the opening of its sixth and largest U.S. Flagship Boutique in Beverly Hills, CA, nestled in a neighborhood famed for world-class shopping and sophisticated style. Located at 320 North Beverly Drive, the new location is the second of two Flagship Boutiques to open on the West Coast following the successful opening of a San Francisco Boutique in December 2012. The Nespresso Boutique is located in the heart of the Beverly Hills shopping district and is designed to be a reflection of the neighborhood's refined yet relaxed way of life.
"We are absolutely thrilled to continue to grow the Ultimate Coffee Experience in the West Coast with our newest Boutique in Beverly Hills, our second to open in California this year and our largest in the U.S. to-date," said Frederic Levy, President, Nespresso USA. "The stunning Boutique in Beverly Hills is our latest commitment to growth not just in California, but throughout the region and across the U.S. As the demand for superior coffee continues to rise in the U.S., Nespresso is looking to increase its presence in key markets and solidify our position as a leader in the single-serve coffee industry."
The Beverly Hills Boutique is the latest indication of the brand's continued growth and its commitment to expanding its U.S. presence. Nespresso anticipates adding 350 new jobs to California, a key market for the brand, over the next three years. The newest location joins U.S. Flagship Boutique locations in New York, Miami, Boston, and San Francisco.
For over 25 years, Nespresso has redefined the way millions of people enjoy their Espresso coffee and has grown into one of the most recognized brands in the world of coffee. Nespresso's success is built on the highest quality Grand Cru coffees, sourced from 1-2 percent of the world's top coffee beans, smart and innovative machines, and personalized customer service. The Nespresso Boutique in Beverly Hills will offer visitors the opportunity to experience these aspects firsthand.
At 7,500 square-feet, the Boutique will surprise and delight customers and Club Members alike with its contemporary, stylish and relaxed surroundings. Visitors can sip and savor delicious hot and iced premium Espresso and Espresso-based beverages, enjoy an artisanal menu of light bites, sample the exquisite 21 Grand Cru coffees, discover and purchase Nespresso's smart and easy-to-use machines, browse the various selections of accessories, and receive unmatched customer service from specially trained Nespresso Baristas and Boutique Specialists.
Inspired by the casual elegance that defines the chic Southern California lifestyle, the Boutique's design aesthetic celebrates the Beverly Hills way of life – sun, style, and sophistication – while delivering the Ultimate Coffee Experience in a relaxed and contemporary environment. The Boutique's facade is constructed with golden backlit glass panels inspired by a Mondrian composition and the loft-like interior spans one floor and features both indoor and outdoor seating, accommodating over 90 guests. Continuity is achieved with uninterrupted wood flooring and distinct oak and rosewood finishes throughout. Greenery and natural light streaming through the front windows, and a floor-to-ceiling atrium add additional elements of nature to create an inviting environment. The contemporary suspended ceiling has different heights to create the illusion of separate intimate spaces throughout the Boutique.
Key areas of the Beverly Hills Boutique include:
The Boutique Bar: Serving the premium 21 Grand Cru coffees, as hot and iced Espressos and Espresso-based beverages like Cappuccinos, and Lattes, as well as a light breakfast and lunch menu of sweet and savory fare.
The Patio: True to the Southern California style the Boutique features a 16-seat outdoor patio offering visitors a chance to enjoy the Southern California sun while savoring their Nespresso beverage.
The Atrium: A floor to ceiling atrium in the middle of the Boutique features two 13 foot cacti introducing an element of nature to the Boutique.
The Discovery Ring: Offering guests the opportunity to discover all aspects of the brand and its products: from the wide choice of innovative Nespresso machines that deliver the barista experience at home, to the latest collection of purposefully-designed accessories, all in a dynamic yet warm atmosphere. The space also allows for private tutorial sessions with Boutique Specialists.
The Beverly Hills Boutique was designed by Italian architect Aldo Parisotto and Futurebrand Paris.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Want to lose weight and live longer? Eat chocolate

In news that will be sweet to every dieter’s ears, cutting out chocolate is more likely to make you put on weight rather than lose it.
A survey by research agency YouGov has found that 86 per cent of slimmers who carried on enjoying their favorite treats successfully lost weight.
Of the 2100 men and women questioned, those who lost the most weight had – in 91 per cent of cases – continued to eat the same amount of chocolate they normally ate before going on a weight-loss plan.
“Extensive research has proven that diets centered around food elimination are much more likely to fail,” said Janet Aylott, a nutrition scientist with online calorie counting plan Nutracheck, who commissioned the YouGov survey.
“The key is to take a more relaxed approach and to have a little of what you like.”
The YouGov research corresponds with previous studies which found that dieters who completely eliminate treats such as chocolate, wine and biscuits are often more likely to put on weight as they “compensate” by eating more of other foods.
One study even showed that as many as 65 per cent of those who give up all treats actually end up ballooning in weight.
But it doesn’t end there – separate research has also suggested that eating chocolate may help you live longer.
A Harvard University team studied 8000 men for 65 years and found that those who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a month lived almost a year longer than those who ate none.
They concluded that this was likely to be due to the fact that cocoa contains antioxidants called polyphenols, also found in red wine, which prevent the oxidation of harmful cholesterol. These antioxidants are also known to protect against cancer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

High Levels of BPA May Increase Risk Of Miscarriage

Pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of bisphenol A (BPA), which is used as an internal coating for aluminum cans, such as those used for soft drinks and soups, may have an increased risk of miscarriage, according to a new study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s conference in Boston.
Researchers at Stanford University found BPA could contribute to a woman’s spontaneous loss of pregnancy. The research team collected blood samples from 114 women who were four to five weeks pregnant. Each patient was assigned to a group depending on her level of BPA exposure. Pregnant women with the highest BPA levels were 80% more likely to have a miscarriage.
The implications of the results were not only applicable to women. BPA and similar compounds found in plastic or hazardous material can also decrease male fertility by 20%.
Common sources of BPA include canned foods, food that has been heated or cooked in a plastic container, cash register receipts that potentially are covered in BPA resin and plastic water bottles that have been left out in the sun.
In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA’s use in the manufacture of sippy cups and baby bottles; however, it is still used in food packaging as an internal coating for soft drinks and soup cans. BPA is a known endocrine disruptor with estrogenic properties. In children and adolescents, BPA is likely to enter the body primarily through the ingestion of foods and liquids that have come into contact with BPA-containing materials.
The consensus on health risks associated with BPA has been skewed—prior research found BPA in food packaging is not a health threat to consumers, while additional research showed BPA can increase risk of heart disease, increase risk of obesity and can have adverse effects on girls' behavior.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hershey Launches First New Brand In 30 Years In The U.S.

The Hershey Company is launching a new confectionery brand, featuring a line of caramel soft cremes, in the United States called Lancaster™, marking the company's first new brand launch in 30 years.
The new brand, available in January 2014, is inspired by company founder Milton Hershey's original confection company, The Lancaster Caramel Company. The soft cremes will be available in the U.S. in three flavors—Caramel, Vanilla and Caramel and Vanilla and Raspberry—and sold at a variety of retailers, including food, mass, drug and convenience retail channels. The new brand will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign beginning in the first quarter of 2014.
Earlier this year, Hershey successfully launched the Lancaster brand in China, underscoring Hershey's global growth plans—the company expects international sales to reach approximately $1 billion by the end of 2014. The launch of Lancaster brand in China also marked the first time a brand launch originated outside of the U.S. The initial launch in May included three cities—Wuhan, Hangzhou and Chengdu—and will be followed by a wider distribution in China in 2014.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Effects of Soy, Whey Proteins and Exercise

Supplementing with soy and whey protein has been shown to have an effect on testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and cortisol responses in men, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
"Our main findings demonstrate that 14 days of supplementation with soy protein does appear to partially blunt serum testosterone," the researchers said. "In addition, whey influences the response of cortisol following an acute bout of resistance exercise by blunting its increase during recovery. Protein supplementation alters the physiological responses to a commonly used exercise modality with some differences due to the type of protein utilized."
The study monitored 10 resistance-trained men in their early 20s. For 14 days subjects completed three experimental treatment conditions supplementing with whey protein isolate (WPI), soy protein isolate (SPI) and maltodextrin placebo. Each participant took 20 g of the assigned supplement at the same time each morning followed by an acute heavy resistance exercise test consisting of six sets of 10 repetitions in the squat exercise at 80% of the subject's one repetition maximum.
The investigation observed lower testosterone response following the soy protein supplementation in addition to a positive blunted cortisol response with the use of whey protein at some recovery time points. Although sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was proposed as a possible mechanism for understanding changes in androgen content, SHB did not differ between experimental treatments. here were no significant differences between groups in changes in estradiol concentration.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Study Chides Athletes Promoting Unhealthy Foods, Beverages

Superstar athletes are feeling the heat, as their endorsements for unhealthy foods and beverages and their fan-supported prominence is shining in the bad light of the obesity epidemic and the pursuit for the industry to market responsibly to children, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers at Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University have concluded LeBron James, Serena Williams and Peyton Manning are the highest contributors to the marketing of unhealthy foods among the most influential athletes in the world. The athletes were analyzed based on their prominence in their sport and the value of their endorsements. Researchers then created a weighted index on a scale of 100 that reflected the “negative marketing and nutrition impact," with the lowest scores being the most negative.
Manning, Williams and James, who are among the most recognizable athletes in the world, earned scores of 28.9, 32.4 and 42.7, respectively. Endorsements include Pepsi-Cola (Manning), McDonald’s (James) and Oreo cookies (Williams).
The results are skewed by the athletes’ influence on popular culture. For example, hoopster Chris Paul, a pitchman for McDonald’s and Powerade, earned a score of 100 in part because his endorsement power carries less weight than other elite athletes.
Four out of five of the 62 endorsed food products in the sample were deemed “energy-dense and nutrient-poor," while 93% of the 46 beverages in the sample received all their calories from added sugars. Children ages 12 to 17 years were found most likely to be exposed to the advertisements.
With the recognition that childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, the public appetite for sports figures selling the likes of soft drinks and sugary cereals seems to be waning.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Debit-Only School Lunches Tied to Unhealthy Food Choices

School cafeterias that accept only electronic payments may be inadvertently promoting unhealthier food, decreasing fruit and vegetable consumption and increasing calories in students’ diets, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity.
Researchers with Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab examined the lunch purchases of 2,314 students in grades 1 through 12 to see how payment methods impacted food choice. In schools that allowed debit-only purchases, fruit purchases were 13% lower, while vegetable purchases were 20% lower.
Students at debit-only schools were also more likely to purchase less healthy food options, such as candy, dessert and fried foods. Further, the lunches of students at debit-only schools contained 63 more calories from these less healthy foods and 32 fewer calories from healthier options.
The degree of parental guidance at lunchtime may be partly responsible for this phenomenon, researchers concluded. When parents give children a certain amount of cash for lunch each day, they can monitor kids’ daily spending more closely, resulting in better lunch choices. Debit systems, however, eliminate the restrictions of a daily cash allowance, providing kids the opportunity to spend their lunch money as they please—with unhealthy consequences.

The results have important implications for schools and child obesity. A small number of schools have introduced debit systems that allow parents to regulate daily spending, which can help combat the problem. Schools are taking other approaches as well, like reducing the amount of junk food available to students and increasing focus on nutritious foods.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Nutrition Bars Labeled Accurately, Says ConsumerLab.com

A review of 20 nutrition bars by ConsumerLab.com found most products are labeled accurately.
But ConsumerLab.com noted two exceptions, with one bar containing 25 percent more fat (10 g instead of 8 g) and more than double the cholesterol (51 mg instead of the 20 mg) listed on the product. Another bar has 30-percent more cholesterol listed on the product (39 mg rather than 30 mg), according to ConsumerLab.com.

The bars above are revealed in ConsumerLab.com's Nutrition Bars Review.
The review also found most of the fat in several high-protein bars is saturated while some bars contain a top ingredient (sugar alcohols) that ConsumerLab.com stated can cause bloating and gas.

"Before eating a bar, a consumer should be sure it has what he or she needs without unwanted ingredients," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of ConsumerLab.com, in a press release.

ConsumerLab.com rated the Power Bar Performance Chocolate Peanut Butter as the top energy bar, noting it includes more carbohydrates and sugars than the other products that were tested.

To see all of ConsumerLab.com's nutrition bar findings—including its top picks among the tested energy, fiber, protein, meal-replacement and whole food bars

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Hampton Creek, Named by Bill Gates as One of Three Companies Shaping the Future of Food, Debuts First Product at Whole Foods Market


Hampton Creek, a food technology company on a mission to create a more sustainable food system, today announced a partnership with Whole Foods Market to bring a breakthrough in food innovation to select regions across the country. Hampton Creek's first product is Just Mayo, a product that demonstrates how their plant-based egg technology, known as Beyond Eggs, is disrupting the conventional food system.

“It is time for Hampton Creek to roll out their product in competition with shell eggs and derived products”

Investors and innovators, including Bill Gates, Vinod Khosla, and Peter Thiel, have provided investment capital and support to make Hampton Creek’s vision a reality. Gates, an advocate for harnessing technology to solve urgent needs, recognized that “meeting the demand for food with animal products isn’t sustainable.” He’s called Hampton Creek’s approach “amazing” and identified them as one of three companies shaping the future of food.

The plant used in Just Mayo is a particular subspecies of the yellow pea, one of eleven in the Beyond Eggs family of plants, all of which surpass particular functionalities of eggs while maintaining a radically lower carbon footprint. It’s the world's first food product to utilize a plant protein that consistently outperforms an animal protein.

“Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo is one of the most innovative, environmentally-minded, and delicious products we’ve brought to the Whole Foods Market Kitchen,” said Jimmy Monaco, Prepared Foods Coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s Northern California region.

Chris Jones, Hampton Creek’s Culinary Director, a Top Chef contestant, and former Director of Cuisine at Chicago's Moto Restaurant, teamed up with 27 scientists across seven separate disciplines to create the plant-based egg in Just Mayo. The Hampton Creek team screened over 1,550 plants across 40 different countries to discover one that outperforms the taste and functionality of eggs. Joshua Klein, the Director of Biochemistry, led the search to identify a plant that surpassed the egg across eleven functional parameters, including emulsification stability, mouthfeel, and taste.

The two-year R&D march to the final product included 4,114 taste testers across 21 major demographic groups. The results of the consumer tests demonstrated that over 53% of people preferred Hampton Creek’s product to the leading mayo brand on the market.

Other benefits of Hampton Creek products:

·                                 Fewer carbon emissions

·                                 No risk of bird flu

·                                 No salmonella

·                                 No artificial colors or flavors

·                                 Non-GMO

·                                 Cholesterol-free

·                                 Soy-free

·                                 Gluten-free

·                                 Dairy-free

“Our food system is broken, and in the past, society has decided to abandon horse-drawn carriages for cars and land lines in Africa for mobile phones. It’s time that we harness the intersection of technology and culinary expertise to leap over the chicken cages and carbon pollution, and into a food system that is better for everyone. It starts with mayo, but it certainly won't end there,” said Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek's Founder and CEO. “I’m grateful that we have a team that doesn’t mind thousands of small failures in the pursuit of products that can change our world.”

The $56 billion global egg industry has taken note of Hampton Creek's mission. “It is time for Hampton Creek to roll out their product in competition with shell eggs and derived products,” said Dr. Simon Shane, an egg industry analyst.

Hampton Creek's breakthrough approach to R&D has the potential to disrupt the $150 billion market for animal agriculture—and reimagine the future of food. Of the 1.8 trillion eggs consumed last year, over 95% came from female chickens who are confined in battery cages, small wire enclosures that afford each hen a space smaller than a single sheet of letter-sized paper. The animals we eat consume more food than the 1.3 billion people who go to bed hungry every single night. Additionally, 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions flow from the very same place: animal agriculture.

About Hampton Creek:

Hampton Creek is a food technology company on a mission to create a healthier and more sustainable food system. The company has developed the world's first plant-based egg technology, known as Beyond Eggs. Their partners include The Humane Society of the United States and Global Viral, an organization dedicated to addressing the world's most pressing infectious disease threats. Recently, Hampton Creek’s CEO and Founder, Josh Tetrick, demonstrated a plant-based scrambled egg on the TED stage. He is a Fulbright Scholar, former college football player, and a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School. He founded Hampton Creek in 2011 after spending seven years working in Sub-Saharan Africa with the President of Liberia and the United Nations, among other initiatives. Investors in Hampton Creek include Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Founders Fund, Kat Taylor, and Collaborative Fund.

 

Monday, October 07, 2013

AKFP Debuts Clean-Label, Gluten-Free Ingredients

American Key Food Products debuted two new cassava, or tapioca-based, gluten- free, clean label ingredients for baked goods applications at the 2013 International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), Oct. 6-9.
AKFP’s Tapioca Fiber, derived from cassava roots, contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as a significant proportion of tapioca starch to offer high water/oil binding properties, for moister baked goods such as breads and muffins. The ingredient is clean-label and gluten-free, produced through a mechanical, non-chemical process. Additional applications include extruded snacks, breakfast cereals and fruit fillings.
AKFP’s Premium Cassava Flour gives expansion and crispiness in extruded snacks, with performance comparable to potato flakes. It blends well with potato flakes, up to 50/50 proportions, is label-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free and non-allergenic.
Earlier this year, AKFP added Suchero brand organic coconut palm sugar, an all-natural, low glycemic index (GI) sugar that can be used in specialty baked goods, energy bars and beverages, to its products offerings.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Warmer Oceans Could Raise Mercury Levels in Fish

Rising ocean surface temperatures caused by climate change could make fish accumulate more mercury, increasing the health risk to people who eat seafood, according to a report published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Researchers at Dartmouth College studied killifish under varying temperatures in the lab and in salt marsh pools in Maine. Fish in the marshes ate insects, worms and other natural food sources, while the lab fish were fed mercury-enriched food. Results showed the fish in warmer waters ate more but grew less and had higher methylmercury levels in their tissues, suggesting increases in their metabolic rate caused the increased uptake of the toxic metal.
Until now, little has been known about how global warming may affect mercury bioaccumulation in marine life, and no previous study has demonstrated the effects using fish in both laboratory and field experiments.
Despite the health risks associated with mercury, research shows the omega-3 benefits from consuming fish outweigh the risks of mercury consumption.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Sugar Prices Hit Highest Level in Six Months

Sugar futures rose to a six-month high on signs of lower production in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer. Cotton and coffee gained, while cocoa and orange juice fell.
Output of sugar in Brazil’s Center South will be 34.2 million metric tons in the 12 months that started April 1, down 3.7 percent from an estimate six months ago amid adverse weather, Unica, an industry group, said yesterday. Production may drop more should rainy weather persist, the Sao Paulo-based association said.
“These bullish numbers, together with an improved technical picture, are propelling the futures market,” Nick Penney, a senior trader at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said in a report.
Raw sugar for March delivery gained 1 percent to settle at 18.51 cents a pound at 2 p.m. on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Earlier, the price reached 18.56 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since March 18.
Cotton futures for December delivery rose 0.3 percent to 86.87 cents a pound.
Arabica-coffee futures for December delivery advanced 0.3 percent to $1.1445 a pound.
Cocoa futures for December delivery fell 0.1 percent to $2,632 a ton.
Orange-juice futures for November delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $1.2745 a pound.

Friday, October 04, 2013

FDA Bans Three Arsenic Drugs Found in Poultry and Pig Feeds

In resolving a longstanding dispute, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will rescind approval for three of the four arsenic drugs that had been used in animal feeds at the request of the companies that market them.
The companies, Zoetis and Fleming Labs, already had largely withdrawn the three drugs from the market after recent studies showed levels of arsenic in chicken that exceeded amounts that occur naturally.
The compounds — roxarsone, carbarsone and arsanilic acid — have been used in 101 drugs added to feed for chickens, turkeys and pigs to prevent disease, increase feed efficiency and promote growth, according to the Center for Food Safety, which together with several other advocacy groups filed a petition almost four years ago seeking to ban the drugs in animal feeds.
“Zoetis withdrew roxarsone from the market voluntarily two years ago, and the companies have moved to withdraw the other two,” said Richard Sellers, vice president for feed regulation and nutrition at the American Feed Industry Association. “Now the F.D.A. is legally withdrawing their ability to market those drugs.”
The issue of arsenic in food has drawn increased public scrutiny since research last year by Consumer Reports found substantial arsenic levels in rice. Arsenic residue in rice often comes from the water used to grow it, and poultry feces are widely used as fertilizer for a variety of crops.
Pfizer, which spun its animal health division off as Zoetis this year, withdrew its roxarsone drug, 3-Nitro, from the market in 2011 after the F.D.A. found inorganic arsenic in chicken livers. “The product is no longer manufactured or used,” said Ashley Peterson, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the National Chicken Council. “No other feed additives containing arsenic are currently used in broiler meat production in the United States.”
Nitarsone, the last of the four drugs the groups sought to ban from animal feeds, is the only known treatment for blackhead, or histomoniasis, a disease that can kill turkeys. Keith M. Williams, a spokesman for the National Turkey Federation, said nitarsone made from organic arsenic is used in the first six weeks of a turkey’s 20-week life span and that there is no other known treatment.
The F.D.A. said it would continue to study the effects of nitarsone.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

FDA Bans Three Arsenic Drugs Found in Poultry and Pig Feeds

The FDA will rescind approval for three of the four arsenic drugs that had been used in animal feeds at the request of the companies that market them. The companies, Zoetis and Fleming Labs, had already withdrawn most of the three drugs from the market after recent studies showed levels of arsenic in chicken that exceeded amounts that occur naturally. The compounds—roxarsone, carbarsone and arsanilic acid—have been used in 101 drugs added to feed for chickens, turkeys and pigs to prevent disease, increase feed efficiency and promote growth, according to the Center for Food Safety, which together with several other advocacy groups filed a petition almost four years ago seeking to ban the drugs in animal feeds,

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Federal Government Shutdown's Impact on Grocers

The National Grocers Association has laid out the impact of the federal government's shutdown on grocery businesses. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will continue operations; WIC benefits wil be halted, delayed briefly on the state level where applicable; and food safety inspectors would be minimally impacted as these roles are deemed "essential" and should continue to run during a shutdown

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Starbucks Trademarks Fizzy Drinks

Starbucks did not offer details on how its machine works, but according to fan site Starbucksmelody.com, here’s how the beverages are made: “The barista poured a little [flavoring] into a special shaker, added water, and then placed it into a special machine that seemed to be simultaneously shaking it and adding CO2.” The machine can carbonate such drinks as iced tea, coffee, and lemonade.

Trademarking the Fizzio machine might look like a step toward marketing a Starbucks at-home soda machine (the company is already retailing equipment, such as its Verismo coffee machines), but spokesman Zack Hutson says, “There are no plans to sell at-home.” The customer response to the chain’s soda test has been positive so far, and the trademark only “pertains to the in-store test,” according to Hutson. “We take steps to protect our IP. This is a normal course of doing business.” He declined to share any information on sodas coming to other markets.

Whether or not Starbucks will offer Fizzio exclusively in caf├ęs, it seems intent on taking advantage of America’s growing thirst for do-it-yourself soda. Users can customize their drinks (to be bubblier, for example, or have fewer calories) and such makers as SodaStream (SODA) market them as environmental alternatives to bottled sodas, which require fuel for shipping.
The SodaStream machine, invented in 1903, took off only recently in the U.S. The company took in nearly $437 million in revenue last year, up 51 percent from 2011. More than one-third came from the Americas, which was only about 20 percent of SodaStream’s business in 2010.

Competitors have followed. In August, French company Mastrad (ALMAS:FP) launched a machine called PureFizz. Cuisinart (LCUT) introduced a sparking beverage maker earlier this year and also markets and sells soda makers by Primo, a Winston-Salem (N.C.) bottled water company. Green Mountain (GMCR), the maker of Keurig coffee brewers, applied for a trademark in July for a still and sparkling beverage machine called Karbon.