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Treating sugar addiction like drug abuse

A study by a group of researchers of the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation which has just been published by international research journal PLOS ONE, shows drugs used to treat nicotine addiction could be used to treat sugar addiction in animals.

Corresponding author, professor Serena Bartlett, who is based at the Translational Research Institute, stated that “... the latest World Health Organisation figures tell us 1.9 billion people worldwide are overweight, with 600 million considered obese… Excess sugar consumption has been proven to contribute directly to weight gain. It has also been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels which control the brain's reward and pleasure centres in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine.”

After long-term consumption, this leads to the opposite, a reduction in dopamine levels. This leads to higher consumption of sugar to get the same level of reward.

“We have also found that as well as an increased risk of weight gain, animals that maintain high sugar consumption and binge eating into adulthood may also face neurological and psychiatric consequences affecting mood and motivation” Dr Bartlett went on. “Our study found that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs like varenicline, a prescription medication trading as Champix which treats nicotine addiction, can work the same way when it comes to sugar cravings." She also observed that varenicline acted as a neuronal nicotinic receptor modulator (nAChR) and similar results were observed with other such drugs including mecamylamine and cytisine.

Like other drugs of abuse, withdrawal from chronic sucrose exposure can result in an imbalance in dopamine levels and be as difficult as going 'cold turkey' from them," she said, adding that "F… further studies are required but our results do suggest that current FDA-approved nAChR drugs may represent a novel new treatment strategy to tackle the obesity epidemic."

Co-author  PhD researcher Masroor Shariff said the study also put artificial sweeteners under the spotlight.

"Interestingly, our study also found that artificial sweeteners such as saccharin could produce effects similar to those we obtained with table sugar, highlighting the importance of reevaluating our relationship with sweetened food per se," said Mr Shariff.

The complete article can be found online at:



Children’s health is also related to their parent’s education

An article published on Public Health Nutrition reports that children of parents who have received little education are more likely to be obese and have higher levels of insulin and blood lipids, compared to children whose parents have received a higher education.

As stated by the responsible for the study, associate professor of child nutrition, Ph.D. Camilla T. Damsgaard at Technical University of Denmark, Søborg, Denmark "we have long known of a social disadvantage in childhood, when it comes to obesity and diets, and some studies have also shown that children of parents with little education are disadvantaged in terms of insulin and blood lipids. What is new, is that the intake of fish and dietary fibre itself seems to play a significant role in the inequality in children's health. It is not only inequality in obesity that is important to focus on"  She goes on by also saying that: "This means that measures to ensure healthy food is available for all children, through the offer of healthy school meal programs that do not cost too much for the families, probably could help to reduce inequality in health among children".

"Overall, our survey shows that social inequality in health begins in childhood. It is not just parents with little education who are disadvantaged on health parameters, it is also seen in the children, and can probably contribute to an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the long term," adds coauthor Hanne Hauger, a PHD-student at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.

Increasing the intake of fish and high-fibre products in the children’s diets could be a solution to improve their health according to the latest research from the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport at the University of Copenhagen.

The results of a survey of 715 Danish children, aged between 8-11 years presented a link between children with a poorer health profile, and parents with little education. In addition it revealed that the children of less educated parents were more overweight, have lower levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids in their blood, and eat less fibre in their diet. 

The complete article can be found online at:


Fresh fruit associated with lower risk of heart attack and stroke

According to new research published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, People who eat fresh fruit on regular basis are at lower risk of heart attack and stroke than people who rarely eat fresh fruit.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences analyzed the health’s status of 500,000 adults from 10 urban and rural localities across China, tracking health for 7 years through death records and electronic hospital records of illness. The subjects did not have a history of cardiovascular diseases or anti-hypertensive treatments when first joined the study.

The study found that fruit consumption (which was mainly apples or oranges) was strongly associated with many other factors, such as education, lower blood pressure, lower blood glucose, and not smoking. A 100g portion of fruit per day was associated with about one-third less cardiovascular mortality and the association was similar across different study areas and in both men and women.

Study author Dr Huaidong Du, University of Oxford, UK, said "The association between fruit consumption and cardiovascular risk seems to be stronger in China, where many still eat little fruit, than in high-income countries where daily consumption of fruit is more common." Also, fruit in China is almost exclusively consumed raw, whereas much of the fruit in high-income countries is processed, and many previous studies combined fresh and processed fruit.

Co-author Professor Liming Li, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said "A recent Global Burden of Disease report put low fruit consumption as one of the leading causes of premature death in China. However, this was based on little evidence from China itself."

The senior author, Professor Zhengming Chen, University of Oxford, UK, said "It's difficult to know whether the lower risk in people who eat more fresh fruit is because of a real protective effect. If it is, then widespread consumption of fresh fruit in China could prevent about half a million cardiovascular deaths a year, including 200,000 before age 70, and even larger numbers of non-fatal strokes and heart attacks."


The complete article can be found online at:
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1501451



Effects of salinity and nutrient deficiency determined for spinach

Salinity and nutrient-depleted soil are two major constraints in crop production, especially for vegetable crops. In the January 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, researchers Chenping Xu and Beiquan Mou from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Services, report on a study in which they assessed the effects of salinity and single nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium) deficiency on spinach growth, physiology, and nutritional value. Their results suggest that producers could employ cultural practices that impose either low fertilizer levels or slight salt stress to improve spinach nutritional values and experience only "moderately or slightly reduced" yield.

Spinach plants (cultivar 'Crocodile') in the study were watered daily with Hoagland nutrition solution, deprived of nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium for nutrient deficiency, either with or without 20/10 mM sodium chloride/calcium chloride for salinity treatment.

Results showed that salinity "greatly inhibited" plant growth, as indicated by reduced shoot fresh weight and dry weight.

Spinach plants are shown four weeks after treatments in which they were deprived of nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium. The study recommended ways to improve the nutritional value of spinach.

The researchers also analyzed the effects of the treatments on nutritional values of the spinach. Among other findings, they determined that salt stress increased carotenoid content under complete nutrient treatment. Nitrogen deficiency greatly reduced carotenoid content either with (by 45%) or without (by 50%) salt stress, while phosphorous and potassium deficiencies increased carotenoid content without salt stress.

Anthocyanin content was greatly enhanced under nitrogen deficiency (by 145% and 88% under no-salt controls and under salt stress, respectively), but neither salt stress nor phosphorous or potassium deficiency influenced anthocyanin content. Spinach plants' total antioxidant capacity increased under no-salt treatments with nitrogen or potassium deficiency.

"These results suggest that the nutritional value of spinach could be improved with only moderately or slightly reduced yield through cultural practices that impose either low fertilizer levels or slight salt stress," the authors concluded.



Resveratrol attenuates Trimethylamine-N-Oxide
(TMAO)-induced atherosclerosis by regulating TMAO synthesis
and bile acid metabolism via remodeling of the gut microbiota

Cardiovascular disease remains the main cause of death in industrialized societies, and in recent years its incidence has been growing even  in developing countries. Several studies have outlined that the gut microbiome plays a role in the build up of plaque inside arteries (atherosclerosis). Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red wine, is thought to have antioxidant properties that protect against conditions such as heart disease. Just how resveratrol, a plant compound, does this, however, is unclear. A recent study by researchers from China, published inmBio, an open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology, could provide some evidences that the reduction could be related to a change of the gut microbiome.

 After a number of experiments in mice it has been found that resveratrol reduces levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a known contributor to the development of atherosclerosis. They also found that resveratrol inhibits TMA production by gut bacteria; TMA is necessary for the production of TMAO.

"Our results offer new insights into the mechanisms responsible for resveratrol's anti-atherosclerosis effects and indicate that gut microbiota may become an interesting target for pharmacological or dietary interventions to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases", said Dr Man-tian Mi, PhD, main contributor of the study and a researcher at the Research Center for Nutrition and Food Safety, Institute of Military Preventive Medicine, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.

"In our current study, we found that resveratrol can remodel the gut microbiota including increasing the Bacteroidetes-to-Firmicutes ratios, significantly inhibiting the growth of Prevotella, and increasing the relative abundance of Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Akkermansia in mice," said Dr. Mi. "Resveratrol reduces TMAO levels by inhibiting the gut microbial TMA formation via remodeling gut microbiota."

The complete article can be found online at:



Published the Regulation on Novel Foods

The publication of the new regulation on Novel Foods, which novel foods will be regulated in the European Union, it has been long awaited by both the food industry and its suppliers of ingredients and additives.

The professor, Andrés Gavilán, the G.B Consulting expert and the chairman of the Spanish Association of manufacturers and marketers of additives and food supplements, AFCA, details in this article the key points of Regulation (EU) 2015/2883.

Finally, the long awaited regulation on foods / novel ingredients has come true with the publication on 11 December 2015 Regulation (EU) 2015/2883 concerning to the novel foods.

With the publication of the new text, engineered nanomaterial, which will enable the development of functional foods with novel properties and Applications for highly innovative foods are allowed.

Here is the list of novel foods:Novel ingredients are new ingredients not significantly traded before May 15, 1997, including GMOs. According to the publication of the December 11, 2015 Regulation (EU) 2015/2883, that includes:

Ingredients with new molecular structures and GMO.

Ingredients of microorganisms, fungi or algae, isolated or produced from them.

Ingredients of materials of mineral origin isolated or produced from them.

Ingredients of plants or parts of these plants, or isolated or produced from them, except those that existed before May 15, 1997 in the EU.

Ingredients in cell culture or in tissue culture, from plants, animals, microorganisms, fungi or algae, isolated, or produced from them.

Food with animal’s origin isolated or produced from them, except for animals obtained by traditional practices in the EU before 15 May 1997.

Ingredients obtained from a new production process not used for food production, generating significantly changes in the composition or of the food structure, not used in the EU before 15 May 1997. Nanomaterials (explained below).

Vitamins, minerals and other substances in food production processes applied not used before 15 May 1997 or containing nanomaterials.

Ingredients used exclusively in food supplements, that have been used in the EU before 15 May 1997, when were used in foods different from food supplements.

Likewise, the Euorpean Union in This Novel Foods regulation provides a procedure for authorization of a new food, to facilitate food companies a practical guide to gain approval for the use of future novel foods.



Study shows broccoli may offer protection against liver cancer

Consumption of broccoli has increased in the United States over the last few decades as scientists have reported that eating the vegetable three to five times per week can lower the risk of many types of cancer including breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

A new study from the University of Illinois reports that including broccoli in the diet may also protect against liver cancer, as well as aid in countering the development of fatty liver or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which can cause malfunction of the liver and lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a liver cancer with a high mortality rate.

"The normal story about broccoli and health is that it can protect against a number of different cancers. But nobody had looked at liver cancer," says Elizabeth Jeffery, a U of I emeritus professor of nutrition. "We decided that liver cancer needed to be studied particularly because of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. It is already in the literature that obesity enhances the risk for liver cancer and this is particularly true for men. They have almost a 5-fold greater risk for liver cancer if they are obese."

Jeffery says that the majority of the U.S. population eats a diet high in saturated fats and added sugars. However, both of these are stored in the liver and can be converted to body fat. Consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet and having excess body fat is linked with the development of NAFLD, which can lead to diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

"We called this a Westernized-style diet in the study because we wanted to model how so many of us are eating today," Jeffery says.

Previous research suggests that broccoli, a brassica vegetable containing bioactive compounds, may impede the accumulation of fat in the liver and protect against NAFLD in mice. Therefore, Jeffery and her team wanted to find out the impact of feeding broccoli to mice with a known liver cancer-causing carcinogen. The researchers studied four groups of mice; some of which were on a control diet or the Westernized diet, and some were given or not given broccoli.

"We wanted to look at this liver carcinogen in mice that were either obese or not obese," Jeffery explains. "We did not do it using a genetic strain of obese




Coconut (Cocos nucifera) provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk and oil. Supercritical CO2-extraction is the state-of-the-art technology for the production of finest Coconut flavour. The Coconut CO2-se extract is unique in flavour and odour profile and unsurpassed in character, since the extraction with the inert supercritical CO2 is performed without thermal stress and without using organic solvents. This means that no isomerisation, oxidation or hydrolysis takes place.

Hence, the valuable and sensitive components of the volatile coconut oil are completely preserved which results in a lush and authentic coconut flavour very close to fresh-cut coconuts.

The major flavour components of coconut meat are δ-C8 and δ-C10 lactones which are described as buttery, tropical-fruity and coconut-like. Other sensitive minor compounds with significant flavour and odour impact are described mostly as fruity and also nutty, green, lemon and rose aromas.

Coconut CO2-se extract lends an extraordinary flair to e.g. chocolate, confectionery, cookies, desserts, frostings and other premium products. It can also be used to boost coconut flavour and odour of conventional coconut products and formulations. The product does not contain any solvent residues, reproducible microorganisms or residues of inorganic salts and heavy metals. It is organic-, HALAL- and Kosher certified. The Coconut CO2-se extract is a new ingredient for premium and fine food where it unfolds exciting organoleptic and olfactive effects.





Cecil Instruments have launched a newly developed low cost easy to use HPLC range. The new Merit systems expand its proven comprehensive Adept HPLC range. The Merit range is designed to provide a completely new level of ease of use, dramatically reducing the time for software familiarisation. The remarkably low cost systems are designed to be the easiest of HPLC systems to operate, at the same time offering performance of the highest specification. The fully PC controlled isocratic and binary systems with the new Merit software, provide automatic integration of chromatograph peaks without operator intervention. The Merit systems make operation easy for analysts and are excellent for screening, quality assurance, method development, teaching and use by novices. The price of an isocratic system is GBP 6,990.00 and binary system GBP 7,990.00 with fast delivery being offered.


Blis Technologies and Stratum Nutrition are pleased to announce that a “Letter of No Objection” has been received from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for one of the company’s key products, oral probiotic BLIS K12®. A “Letter of No Objection” refers to the letter sent by the FDA confirming that they do not question the basis for the GRAS self-affirmation notification submitted by Blis Technologies. Blis Technologies board chairman Peter Fennessy said the Letter of No Objection is another step on the strategic pathway to opening markets through regulatory approval. “It adds a new level of credibility for BLIS K12 and puts the conversations with larger consumer food and beverage companies in the US on a stronger footing”. “Many of those companies are, quite rightly, risk averse. Therefore, having the non-objection notification from the FDA offers an additional level of confidence and makes it clearer where BLIS K12 fits within the category”. Through the GRAS notification program, companies voluntarily submit their self-affirmation dossier, substantiated by extensive research and expert peer review, that a specific ingredient is Generally Recognized As Safe. The “Letter of No Objection” means that FDA has reviewed all of the scientific data on BLIS K12 and has no questions or concerns regarding its safety. BLIS K12 is an oral cavity probiotic that has been shown in multiple published clinical trials to provide benefits for supporting ear and throat health in both children and adults.

Jeremy Moore, Managing Director of Blis Technologies’ North American distributor, Stratum Nutrition, says, “Very few ingredients in this space go to this level, so it is a definite feather in the cap for Blis”.




PhD Nutrition has created GlycoDurance® an innovative training and race fuel with the lowest serum osmolarity in the industry. GlycoDurance contains three key elements; a scientific blend of electrolytes; Sustamine® L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine to quickly release glucose into the bloodstream and boost the body’s recovery time; and Cluster Dextrin®, which passes through the stomach faster than any other carbohydrate source. That means a quick but sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream. Sustamine® works to enhance the absorption of electrolytes in the powder blend, as well as improve water absorption in the intestines while also stimulating glycogen production. Muscles must be hydrated and engorged with glycogen to perform at their peak and when it’s all over, the body needs to recover. That’s where Sustamine® comes in. Glutamine, the key component of Sustamine® is the most abundant single amino acid in the body, and it’s considered conditionally essential during times when the body undergoes large amounts of stress – like during intense endurance events, training or dealing with the challenges of everyday life.




Shimadzu has released the "Prominence UFPLC" Ultra-Fast Preparative and purification Liquid Chromatograph, which enables fast recovery of highly purified target compounds from complex samples such as organic synthesis reaction mixtures and natural products. Conventional workflows that utilize preparative liquid chromatography (Prep LC) yield fractions with significant water content, which can take eight hours or more to evaporate and typically cannot be completely removed, resulting in a powder with poor weight purity. The Prominence UFPLC is a single automated workflow that utilizes on-line fraction trapping as an alternative to traditional fraction collection, allowing elution of collected compounds in highly volatile organic solvents that can easily be evaporated, resulting in ultrahigh weight purity compounds in about 90 minutes. The Prominence UFPLC greatly improves the efficiency of preparative fraction collection and purification workflows in pharmaceutical, food, chemical and other industries as well as research organizations.




Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, has announced that it has successfully closed the acquisition of the commercial beverages vending activities of FrieslandCampina Kievit. Andrew Fleming, Vice President Beverages, said: “Barry Callebaut is pleased to close this agreement with FrieslandCampina and establish the leading cocoa beverage business. Barry Callebaut complements its capabilities to increase support for its customers and drive category innovation”. The parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the transaction.




A study conducted in Israel on 12 people has shown that 2 cups per day of coffee enriched with inulin (Fibruline DS2), whey protein and dextrin for 7 days was associated with reduced hunger and increased satiety two hours after ingestion compared to non-enriched coffee. In addition, the new beverage was safe and did not induce more side effects than regular coffee. The results of this study are quite encouraging as it shows that benefits of Fibruline go behind prebiotic effect but also concern weight management.

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