Wellness Foods HealthBites: April 2008

What's happening in the world of nutrition and health.

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More HFCS Facts
Results from an expert review of the research on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found insufficient support for the notion that high fructose corn syrup could play a unique causal role in obesity. The expert panel led by Richard Forshee, Ph.D. of the University of Maryland Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy concluded that “the currently available evidence is insufficient to implicate HFCS per se as a causal factor in the overweight and obesity problem in the United States.” The panel’s report was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. This study adds confirmation that HFCS  does not differ from regular table sugar in its effects on people's appetite and food intake later in the day and backs up an earlier study, published in the journal Nutrition, which found no difference in the way the bodies of lean women metabolized HFCS versus sucrose (table sugar).


Soy vs. Asthma
Results of a study at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago suggest soyfoods may be of benefit to asthma patients. Working first with human immune cells exposed to soy isoflavones, the Northwestern team found the cells produced much less leukotrine, known to cause inflammation. Airway inflammation is a basic characteristic underlying asthma. The isoflavones were then tested for similar effects in humans. After four weeks of consuming isoflavone supplements, cells taken from the subjects showed one-third less of the inflammatory substance than before taking the isoflavones. The researchers concluded the findings warrant additional research on isoflavones as a possible means of helping to ameliorate asthma and related diseases.


Organic IS better
The Boulder, Colo.-based Organic Center released new evidence settling a lingering question: Is organic food more nutritious than conventionally-grown foods? The answer? Yes — by at least 25 percent. The center reported its findings in its State of Science study, “New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-based Organic Foods." A meta-analysis of 97 published studies revealed organic, plant-based foods are 25 percent more nutrient-dense than conventional foods, and include significantly higher concentrations of polyphenols and antioxidants. It's the first comprehensive review of all major organic studies since 2003. The report can be found at www.organic-center.org.


Something Fishy Going On
Safeway Stores Inc. suspended its purchase of Chilean farmed salmon, following a similar move by Whole Foods. Along with praise for the move, the Vancouver, Canada-based Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) is calling on Safeway to phase out sales of farmed salmon from all sources until the industry shifts to more sustainable practices. CAAR is concerned the supermarket giant will buy more farmed salmon from British Columbia, where parasite outbreaks on farmed fish threaten entire populations of wild salmon. The latest scientific paper on the impact of sea lice, published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, documented that infestations have spread from salmon farms to wild juvenile pink, chum, sockeye salmon and juvenile herring. Researchers calculate sea lice outbreaks from salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago could cause the local extinction of wild pink salmon within the next four years. Salmon farms are responsible for millions of escapes of non-native farmed salmon into the wild, and the depletion of wild stocks of fish which are used for salmon feed and the dumping of untreated waste directly into the water harming the sea bed and shellfish populations.


Untapped Market
Fortitech Inc., Schenectady, N.Y., developers of custom nutrient premixes for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, is significantly increasing its focus on the emerging functional food and beverage market in Africa. The company has appointed AB Mauri, a new operating division of Associated British Foods plc (ABF), as distributor to multiple countries in the rapidly developing African market.

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