Monthly Archives: February 2013

Possible nutritional help for Alzheimer’s immunity … Vitamin D and Omega-3 may help us fight the disease.

FoodFacts.com found very exciting news regarding the role of nutrition in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a concern for a large portion of the population and robs family’s of their loved ones every day. We’re pleased to see the research being done to combat the disease highlight nutrition as a possible bright light in an otherwise fairly dark landscape.

A small pilot study coming out of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has identified how Vitamin D3 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids may aid the body’s immune system, enhancing its ability to clear amyloid plaques from the brain. Amyloid plaques are a major feature of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study identified the genes regulated by Vitamin D3 and the Omega-3 Fatty Acid, DHA that might control inflammation and boost plaque clearance. Previous laboratory work by the team helped shed light on how Vitamin D3 can clear amyloid-beta. That’s the abnormal protein in the plaque that builds up in the brains of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. This new study builds on that research and goes on to highlight the role of Omega-3 DHA.

The researchers took blood samples from a population of Alzheimer’s patients and a population of healthy patients. They isolated macrophages (important immune cells) from the blood. These are the immune cells that absorb amyloid-beta and other waste products in the brain and the rest of the body. Those immune cells were incubated overnight with amyloid-beta — and in addition, some of them were also incubated with an active form of Vitamin D3  and some of them with an active form of Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA.

The immune cells from Alzheimer’s patients that were incubated with Vitamin D3 and the Omega-3 Fatty Acid DHA had an increased ability ability to absorb the amyloid-beta. They also inhibited the death of the immune cells that is induced by amyloid-beta.

While pleased with the results, researchers pointed out that more study is needed. They seek to clarify the balance of supplementation with Vitamin D3 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to maximize the clearing of amyloid-beta. They are looking to conduct a larger study to confirm these initial findings.

FoodFacts.com is encouraged by these findings as science seeks to find an answer for this serious and heartbreaking condition affecting older and younger populations worldwide. Nutrition can hold keys to solutions for a variety of different conditions and we are hopeful that this new research points to new hope for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Read more here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130205131629.htm

A must read for the food-conscious consumer … Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

FoodFacts.com wanted to let our community know about a powerful new book titled Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. We’re sure that the food-conscious consumers in our own network will find it a fascinating read.

The author is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. In this important new book, Michael Moss explores how food and beverage companies are using salt, sugar and fat to addict consumers to their products so that we keep right on purchasing and eating them. His book links the rise of the processed food industry to the obesity epidemic plaguing our nation.

The average American is currently eating triple the amount of cheese that was consumed in 1970. We’re eating 70 pounds of sugar every day. And we’re consuming 8500 mg of salt daily (that’s double the recommended amount). That salt is coming directly from processed food products – not the salt we’re adding to our meals at the table. Currently one of every three adults and one of every five children is clinically obese. 26 million Americans have diabetes.

Michael Moss believes he understands how we arrived at this critical point in our nation’s health and in Salt Sugar Fat, he’s explaining it all. You’ll find examples from some of the most profitable food companies in existence like Kraft, Coca-Cola, Kellogg and Cargill. And he’s included the research to back it up.

The author takes the reader to the food labs where scientists calculate the “bliss point” for sugary beverages and enhance the “mouthfeel” of fats. He unearths the marketing techniques used to redirect consumers from the health risks of products, specifically focusing on the use of specific phrases and words to mislead the consumer into believing that there are actually health benefits connected to products that contain ingredients that are unhealthy. And he even speaks with company executives who confess that companies could never produce truly healthy alternatives to products that are currently available for purchase. Michael Moss brings to light the idea that the processed food industry could not exist without salt, sugar and fat.

FoodFacts.com understands the concerns of our community when it comes to the foods they purchase for themselves and their families. We know you seek to provide the healthiest choices in the products you purchase. This is an important read.

Find out more about the book here: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/how-companies-use-salt-sugar-and-fat-to-addict-us/fat/?goback=.gde_2739521_member_208498208

The link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency

Most everyone in the FoodFacts.com community knows that we are always gathering as much information as we can on the current obesity epidemic affecting our population. We try to stay on top of research that points to possible causes of obesity as well as the negative effects of obesity. Today we found this important, new information.

It appears that being obese can cause a deficiency in Vitamin D. This important vitamin aids the body in the absorption of calcium. It’s vital to maintaining healthy bones. The study also finds that the reverse equation – increasing Vitamin D intake – won’t do anything to help obese people lose weight.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that obesity affects over one-third of the American population. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, stroke and coronary heart disease. This new study adds to that list.

This new study linked obesity to Vitamin D deficiencies. Prior studies had linked the two conditions, but this new study was the first that explored whether Vitamin D deficiency affected obesity risk – or if obesity caused Vitamin D deficiency.

We’ve posted more than a few reports regarding Vitamin D deficiency on our blog in recent months, as it has grown to be a concern worldwide. Vitamin D is produced by the body when ultraviolet rays from the sun are absorbed by the skin and processed into the fat-soluble vitamin. It naturally occurs in several foods and can be taken as a supplement.
For this study, researchers studied genetic markers from about 42,000 participants to find a connection between body mass and vitamin D, as well as an about another 123,000 subjects to confirm results.

What they found was fascinating and fairly unmistakable. For each 10 percent rise in body mass index (BMI), there was a 4 percent drop in vitamin D concentration. The statistics held true for both genders, regardless of age.

It was noted that it had been previously suggested that obesity can be caused by the body’s natural response to winter months. There is less sun help the body develop the vitamin and circulate it in the body. Since Vitamin D is stored in the fatty tissue, however, the researchers believe that the larger fat amount in obese people can cause vitamin D to be continually stored instead of circulated.

The researchers stressed that the study should remind people about the importance of physical activity, noting that while food intake and genetics play a role in the obesity epidemic, physical activity can positively affect both weight and Vitamin D levels.

FoodFacts.com will continue to actively look for information that helps us to understand the obesity epidemic. We’re hopeful that the growing body of research on obesity will lead us to the solutions needed slow down the progression of the epidemic and eventually eradicate it from the population.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57568049/obesity-causes-vitamin-d-deficiency-study-shows/

FoodFacts.com releases first-ever Baby Nutrition Guide … detailed information on nutrition facts and ingredient content for hundreds of baby and toddler foods and beverages for new parents!

FoodFacts.com has been hard at work compiling informative, educational and detailed content for new parents concerned about the nutrition of their growing families. Here, you’ll find the important information you need to give you baby the healthiest possible start in life, as well as the content that will continue to help you maintain the health of your child during the all-important toddler years.

Our Baby Nutrition Guide brings you all the nutrition content information from the FoodFacts.com database organized by product category for everything from infant formulas, to baby and toddler snacks to toddler meals … and much, much more. The information is presented in an easy-to-follow format, giving you a straightforward, identifiable grade for each product, as well as complete nutrition content, possible allergens like Peanuts, Eggs, Wheat, Shellfish, Dairy, Soy, Fish, Tree Nuts, Corn, Gluten, Sulfites and Nightshades that you need to be aware, as well as controversial items contained in product ingredient lists like MSG, Free Glutamates, Flavorings, Artificial Colors, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Sweeteners, Palm Olein Oil, Carrageenan and much more!

Our grocery aisles are lined with products designed for your baby. Just like products designed for other food consumers, there are some choices out there that might not meet the standards you’ve set for your family. The FoodFacts.com Baby Nutrition Guide was designed for the food-conscious consumer to help them make the decision-making process for brands and food categories for the newest additions to their families a more comfortable, confident experience.

Whether you have a new addition on the way, or your new baby is already in your arms, or you have a toddler exploring the world, the FoodFacts.com Baby Nutrition Guide was created to take the guess work out of providing the healthiest nutrition choices possible. It’s a book you’ll want to keep on hand as your baby grows and develops.

FoodFacts.com is thrilled to be able to offer this first-ever Baby Nutrition Guide to you and your family. It would also make a great gift for parents-to-be in your own network who are concerned about baby and toddler nutrition.

We hope you’ll take a look: http://foodfacts.hostedbyamazon.com/Baby-Nutrition-Allergen-Score-Guide/dp/B00A9HE8AW

Don’t count on nutrition labels for your calorie count

We know that those in our FoodFacts.com community are vigilent about nutrition labels and ingredient lists for the foods they purchase. It’s the best way to be as educated as we can regarding what’s really in the products we’re taking home with us from the grocery store. Today, however, we came across some information we want to share with you about possible inaccuracies regarding the calorie counts on nutrition labels. Experts are now telling us the numbers listed might be incorrect.

Some recent studies have shown that it’s not just the ingredients that count for calorie counts. It’s also the amount of processing that is required to prepare the food. So whatever slicing, chopping, mashing might be necessary to get that food into its package can affect the number of calories you’re actually consuming. In fact, even chewing those foods might, in fact, release some calories during the digestion process when it comes to the ingredients that aren’t used by the body. None of these variables are accounted for in the current calorie calculations used on nutrition labels.

Science has understood for quite a while that calorie counts are actually estimates. But now, researchers are focusing on the issue and asking for a revamp of the system used. That way, consumers would have a more accurate depiction of the number of calories they are consuming from the products they purchase.

David Baer, a research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center headed a study that showed that almonds have 20% fewer calories than previously thought. They are now looking into testing other food products. While the inaccuracies of nutrition label calorie counts are generally small, it is thought that for some foods, the count can differ from the estimate by up to 50%.

A device called a bomb calorimeter is one way that’s used to measure a food’s calorie count. There are many factors the bomb calorimeter cannot take into account. But old methods are still used today, because food manufacturers have simple ways to make their calorie calculations.

There are foods – for instance, those high in fiber – that are not digested as well as others. That would mean that we actually get less calories from them then we’re currently aware of. For other foods, however, we’re actually consuming a higher amount of calories than suggested by the listing on the nutrition label.

Further research coming out of Harvard University’s FAS Center for Systems Biology has shown that processing food changes its calorie count. So for example, pureed carrots would carry a different calorie count than whole carrots. That’s because the processing of the vegetable takes some of the work out of digesting the vegetable. The processed vegetable will contain more calories than the whole vegetable.

While some researchers are saying that the differences in actual calories versus those estimated by current calculation formulas on nutrition labels really wouldn’t affect us that much, others who are advocating for a calculation revision say that it would be best to give consumers the most accurate information possible. This would help people make the most informed choices possible about their food choices.

Changing the current system would not be an easy task. But researchers might be able to improve the biggest gaps in the system … like adjusting for food processing.

FoodFacts.com is pleased to see increased concern regarding the need for consumers to make the most educated and informed food choices possible. While we know changes to the calorie calculation system make take some time to reach us, we think it’s in every consumer’s best interest and will keep an eye out for whatever improvements are being considered.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/02/04/calorie-labels-inaccurate-experts-say/#ixzz2JzKLRbqe