Sunday, January 12, 2014

Coffee in Moderation Doesn’t Lead to Dehydration

Good news for coffee drinkers. New research published in the journal PLoS ONE found drinking moderate amounts of coffee does not result in dehydration and actually contributes to daily fluid requirements in regular coffee drinkers just as other fluids do.
Previous research showed the acute effects of caffeine as a mild diuretic, and there is a common assumption that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, can cause dehydration. However, the effect of coffee consumption on fluid balance cannot be directly compared with that of pure caffeine.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham School of Sport and Exercise Sciences conducted the study to directly assess the effects of a moderate consumption of coffee compared to equal volumes of water.
"Despite a lack of scientific evidence, it is a common belief that coffee consumption can lead to dehydration and should be avoided, or reduced, in order to maintain a healthy fluid balance. Our research aimed to establish if regular coffee consumption, under normal living conditions, is detrimental to the drinker's hydration status," said Sophie Killer, a doctoral researcher and lead author of the study.
In a sample of regular coffee drinkers, the researchers measured the effects of moderate consumption of black coffee compared to the consumption of equal volumes of water on fluid balance and hydration status. Fifty male participants were tested in two phases, where they were required to drink four mugs (200ml) of either black coffee or water per day for three days. In the second phase, those who had initially consumed coffee switched to water and vice versa. The two phases were separated by a 10-day wash-out period. Females were excluded from the trial to control against possible fluctuations in fluid balance resulting from menstrual cycles.
To assess hydration status, the researchers used a variety of well-established hydration measures including body mass and total body water, as well as blood and urine analyses. The researchers found no significant differences in total body water or any of the blood measures of hydration status between those who drank coffee and those who drank water. Furthermore, no differences in 24-hour urine volume or urine concentration were observed between the two groups.
"We found that consumption of a moderate intake of coffee, 4 cups per day, in regular coffee drinking males, caused no significant differences across a wide range of hydration indicators compared to the consumption of equal amounts of water," Killer said. "We conclude that advice provided in the public health domain, regarding coffee and dehydration, should be updated to reflect these findings."
A separate report published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) in December 2013, found regular, moderate coffee consumption may decrease type 2 diabetes risk by 25%. The report, outlined the latest research on coffee and type 2 diabetes, including epidemiological evidence showing that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee per day is associated with an approximate 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to consuming none or less than 2 cups per day.
Research has also suggested an inverse dose response, with each additional cup of coffee reducing the relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 7%-8%. Caffeine is unlikely to be responsible for the protective effects of coffee, as both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Friday, January 03, 2014

FDA Proposes New Labeling Regulations

The FDA has sent potentially far-reaching labeling regulations to the Office of Management and Budget for review. The agency's proposals center on updates to the Nutrition Facts information on food labels, to build consumer awareness of healthful dietary practices. Revisions include providing updated Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed for certain food categories and adding a "per container" column in addition to "per serving." The FDA also proposes revising the definition of a single-serving container. Serving size regulations have not been updated since mandatory nutrition labeling was first required in 1993

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Vitamin E May Delay Alzheimer’s Decline

Alpha tocepherol, fat-soluble vitamin E and antioxidant, may slow functional decline—problems with daily activities such as shopping, preparing meals, planning and traveling—in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Veterans Administration Medical Centers examined the effects of vitamin E and memantine in a group of 613 patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Patients were administered either vitamin E 2,000 IU/d, 20 mg/d of memantine, the combination or placebo and were then examined based on the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) Inventory Score. Alzheimer’s disease cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional and caregiver measures were secondary outcomes.
“This trial showed that vitamin E delays progression of functional decline by 19% per year, which translates into 6.2 months benefit over placebo," said Mary Sano, Ph.D., trial co-investigator and professor in the department of psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine. There was no added benefit for memory and cognitive testing with the vitamin.
Vitamin E is inexpensive and easy to obtain. The clinical trial investigators believe it can be recommended as a treatment strategy, based on the study findings.
“This study is the first to show an added benefit for vitamin E in mild-to-moderate disease," said Kenneth Davis, M.D., chief executive officer and president, Mount Sinai Health System. “Now that we have a strong clinical trial showing that vitamin E slows functional decline and reduces the burdens on caregivers, vitamin E should be offered to patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease."
In 2011, Ohio State University researchers found that vitamin E, in the form of alpha-tocotrienol, can also trigger production of a protein in the brain that flushes toxins from nerve cells, preventing those cells from dying after a stroke. The findings, published in the journal Stroke, suggest natural vitamin E may be more potent than drugs targeting single mechanisms for preventing stroke-induced brain damage. In addition, vitamin E may help alleviate obesity-related liver disease and boost heart health in former smokers.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Consumers Notice Convenience Stores Getting Healthier

While the price of gas was what consumers most noticed at convenience stores in 2013, they also say that they have increasingly noticed stores offering prepared and healthy food options in the past year, according to a consumer survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
A majority of consumers (56%) say overall gas prices overall in 2013 were noticeably higher or lower, depending upon where the consumer lives. There were significant regional variations, with 26% of consumers in the Midwest saying that gas prices in December are lower than a year ago, while 45% of consumers in the South saying that gas prices are higher than a year ago.
Customers at the pump have taken particular notice of more opportunities for savings and discounts. One in three (32%) consumers say that they saw more stores offering loyalty card discounts, and one in five (18%) say that they saw more stores offering discounts for consumers who paid by cash, which reduces swipe fee expenses.
Consumers also noticed that stores increasingly offering alternative fueling options: 8% of consumers say that they saw more stores offer diesel fuel and 7% say that they saw more stores offer alternative fuels like E85 or natural gas.
Inside the store, consumers say that they saw more stores offering food options of all types. One in five consumers (20%) say that they saw more stores offer prepared foods and 11% say that stores offered more healthy options like salads, nuts and fruits. Consumers also noticed changes to the store itself; 15% say that they saw more stores remodeled in order to improve their attractiveness.
Younger consumers were much more likely to notice these improvements at convenience stores and they also were much more likely to shop more. Nearly one in five (17%) of consumers 18 to 34 say that they bought more items inside a convenience store than last year.
"Gas prices will always be top of mind with consumers but many are looking beyond the price and selecting where to stop based on what's inside the store," said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard.
The consumer results are from a nationwide survey commissioned by NACS and conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC. For this survey, 801 consumers were surveyed from December 3-5, 2013.
Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS ( is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 149,000 stores across the country, posted $700 billion in total sales in 2012, of which $501 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.