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Fruity science halves fat in chocolate
It may not make chocolate one of your five a day - but scientists have found a way to replace up to 50 per cent of its fat content with fruit juice. University of Warwick chemists have taken out much of the cocoa butter and milk fats that go into chocolate bars, substituting them with tiny droplets of juice measuring under 30 microns in diameter. They infused orange and cranberry juice into milk, dark and white chocolate using what is known as a Pickering emulsion. Crucially, the clever chemistry does not take away the chocolatey ‘mouth-feel’ given by the fatty ingredients. This is because the new technique maintains the prized Polymorph V content, the substance in the crystal structure of the fat which gives chocolate its glossy appearance, firm and snappy texture but which also allows it to melt smoothly in the mouth. The final product will taste fruity - but there is the option to use water and a small amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) instead of juice to maintain a chocolatey taste. Dr Stefan Bon from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick was lead author on the study published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry. He said the research looked at the chemistry behind reducing fat in chocolate, but now it was up to the food industry to use this new technique to develop tasty ways to use it in chocolate. Dr Bon said: “Everyone loves chocolate – but unfortunately we all know that many chocolate bars are high in fat. “However it’s the fat that gives chocolate all the indulgent sensations that people crave – the silky smooth texture and the way it melts in the mouth but still has a ‘snap’ to it when you break it with your hand. “We’ve found a way to maintain all of those things that make chocolate ‘chocolatey’ but with fruit juice instead of fat. “Our study is just the starting point to healthier chocolate – we’ve established the chemistry behind this new technique but now we’re hoping the food industry will take our method to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars.” The scientists used food-approved ingredients to create a Pickering emulsion, which prevents the small droplets from merging with each other. Moreover, their chocolate formulations in the molten state showed a yield stress which meant that they could prevent the droplets from sinking to the bottom. The new process also prevents the unsightly ‘sugar bloom’ which can appear on chocolate which has been stored for too long. The study, entitled Quiescent Water-in-Oil Pickering Emulsions as a Route toward Healthier Fruit Juice Infused Chocolate Confectionary was co-authored by Thomas Skelhon, Adam Morgan, and Nadia Grossiord at the University of Warwick.
University of Warwick

Cocoa may boost cognitive function
A new study hints that regular consumption of cocoa flavanol might improve cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), perhaps by improving glucose-insulin metabolism (1).

The study, by Dr Giovambattista Desideri (University of L'Aquila, Italy) and colleagues, was published online August 14, 2012 in Hypertension. It was funded by Mars, a maker of chocolate products; the company also provided the standardized cocoa drinks used in the trial. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first dietary intervention study demonstrating that the regular consumption of cocoa flavanols might be effective in improving cognitive function in elderly subjects with MCI," they observe. National spokesperson for the American Society of Nutrition (ASN), Dr Mary Ann Johnson (University of Georgia, Athens), who was not involved in the research, said that what is novel about this study is that it is a randomized controlled trial in people with MCI, it employed well-known cognitive tests, and it used three levels of cocoa flavanols: low, medium, and high. "There is great interest in identifying nutritional factors that could potentially delay or prevent conversion of MCI to dementia," she noted. "Both the medium and high levels conferred some benefits to cognition, insulin resistance, and blood pressure. Poor cognition, poor insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular risk factors have all been linked to dementia," she added. "These are intriguing findings that should be followed up with additional research."

More is better?
The authors say that prior work has suggested that intake of flavonoids may be associated with a decreased risk of incident dementia, a lower prevalence of cognitive impairment, and better cognitive evolution over 10 years in aging adults. To investigate further, they recruited 90 elderly individuals with MCI into the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study who were randomly assigned to consume a drink containing one of three levels of cocoa flavanols—990 mg, the high-flavanol (HF) group; 520 mg, the intermediate-flavanol (IF) arm; or 45 mg, representing low flavanol (LF)—once daily for eight weeks.
Overall compliance was good, with no between-group differences.
The team assessed cognitive function using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Trail Making Test A (TMT A) and B (TMT B), and verbal fluency test. Baseline performance on these three assessments was similar. The researchers didn't see any significant changes in MMSE scores between the groups, but performance on the TMT tests was significantly improved in the high- and intermediate-flavanol groups compared with baseline, but this was not the case in the low-flavanol group. Verbal fluency test scores also significantly improved during the study, with the greatest changes seen in the HF and IF groups.
Baseline blood pressure and metabolic parameters were similar in the three groups, but with treatment, HF and IF groups experienced a decrease in insulin resistance, blood pressure, and lipid peroxidation.
Desideri and colleagues say that the drop in insulin resistance was the main determinant of change in cognitive function, explaining roughly 40% of it. Changes in systolic blood-pressure levels and plasma isoprostane concentrations explained only 2% and 7% of cognitive improvement throughout the study period, respectively.
"Our data suggest that regular cocoa flavanol consumption, in the context of a calorie-controlled and nutritionally balanced diet, might represent an effective strategy in preserving brain and cardiovascular health and function," Desideri commented. However, he acknowledged that larger studies are needed to validate the findings and noted that the study lasted only two months, so the durability of the changes in cognitive function, as well as their impact on a clinical course of MCI, remain to be determined.

Low levels of vitamin d are associated with mortality in older adults
Low levels of vitamin D and high levels of parathyroid hormone are associated with increased mortality in African American and Caucasian older adults, according to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM). The study also indicates that the potential impact of remediating low vitamin D levels is greater in African Americans than Caucasians because vitamin D insufficiency is more common in African Americans.
For the past several years, there has been considerable interest in the role vitamin D plays in improving health and preventing disease. Low levels of vitamin D have been directly associated with various forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Most studies regarding the health effects of low vitamin D levels have been conducted on persons of European origin, but the current study examines the relationship between vitamin D and mortality in blacks and whites.
“We observed vitamin D insufficiency (defined as blood levels <20 ng/ml), in one third of our study participants. This was associated with nearly a 50 percent increase in the mortality rate in older adults,” said Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Transitional Science at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and lead researcher of this study. “Our findings suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a substantial public health concern for our nation’s older adults.”
In this study, 2,638 Caucasians and African-Americans aged 70-79 years were asked to fast for 12-hours, after which a blood sample was collected to determine levels of vitamin D. Every six months study participants were contacted to ascertain their medical condition. This study determined the proportion of deaths among participants of with different vitamin D levels. In addition to many health factors, the time of year was also taken into account due to the seasonal effects on vitamin D. Researchers found that levels of vitamin D less than 30 ng/ml were associated with significantly increased all-cause mortality.
“We all know that good nutrition is important to overall health and our study adds to a growing body of literature that underscores the importance of vitamin D and indicates that poor vitamin D nutrition is wide-spread,” said Kritchevsky. “The good news is it’s easy to improve vitamin D status either through increased skin exposure to sunlight or through diet or supplements.”
The endocrine society,


An apple a day lowers level of blood chemical linked to hardening of the arteries
Eating an apple a day might in fact help keep the cardiologist away, new research suggests. In a study of healthy, middle-aged adults, consumption of one apple a day for four weeks lowered by 40 percent blood levels of a substance linked to hardening of the arteries. Taking capsules containing polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in apples, had a similar, but not as large, effect. The study, funded by an apple industry group, found that the apples lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL -- low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol interacts with free radicals to become oxidized, the cholesterol is more likely to promote inflammation and can cause tissue damage. "When LDL becomes oxidized, it takes on a form that begins atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries," said lead researcher Robert DiSilvestro, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University and a researcher at the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "We got a tremendous effect against LDL being oxidized with just one apple a day for four weeks.” The difference was similar to that found between people with normal coronary arteries versus those with coronary artery disease, he said. DiSilvestro described daily apple consumption as significantly more effective at lowering oxidized LDL than other antioxidants he has studied, including the spice-based compound curcumin, green tea and tomato extract. “Not all antioxidants are created equal when it comes to this particular effect,” he said. DiSilvestro first became interested in studying the health effects of eating an apple a day after reading a Turkish study that found such a regimen increased the amount of a specific antioxidant enzyme in the body. In the end, his team didn't find the same effect on the enzyme, but was surprised at the considerable influence the apples had on oxidized LDL. For the study, the researchers recruited nonsmoking healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 60 who had a history of eating apples less than twice a month and who didn't take supplements containing polyphenols or other plant-based concentrates. In all, 16 participants ate a large Red or Golden Delicious apple purchased at a Columbus-area grocery store daily for four weeks; 17 took capsules containing 194 milligrams of polyphenols a day for four weeks; and 18 took a placebo containing no polyphenols. The researchers found no effect on oxidized LDLs in those taking the placebo. "We think the polyphenols account for a lot of the effect from apples, but we did try to isolate just the polyphenols, using about what you'd get from an apple a day," DiSilvestro said. "We found the polyphenol extract did register a measurable effect, but not as strong as the straight apple. That could either be because there are other things in the apple that could contribute to the effect, or, in some cases, these bioactive compounds seem to get absorbed better when they're consumed in foods." Still, DiSilvestro said polyphenol extracts could be useful in some situations, "perhaps in higher doses than we used in the study, or for people who just never eat apples." The study also found eating apples had some effects on antioxidants in saliva, which has implications for dental health, DiSilvestro said. He hopes to follow up on that finding in a future study. The study was conducted as a Master's thesis by graduate student Shi Zhao, and was funded by a grant from the U.S. Apple Association/Apple Product Research and Education Council and a donation from Futureceuticals Inc. of Momence, Ill. Also involved in the study were associate professor Joshua Bomser and research associate Elizabeth Joseph, both in the Department of Human Nutrition, which is housed in the university's College of Education and Human Ecology.
The Ohio State University,

Low prevalence of type 2 diabetes among regular black tea drinkers
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is low in countries where consumption of black tea is high, suggests a mathematical analysis of data from 50 countries, published in the online journal BMJ Open. The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes has increased six-fold over the past few decades, and the International Diabetes Federation calculates that the number of those with the disease will soar from 285 million in 2010 to 438 million in 2030. The authors systematically mined information on black (fermented) tea consumption in 50 countries across every continent, based on 2009 sales data collected by an independent specialist market research company. And they analysed World Health Organization data for those same countries on the prevalence of respiratory, infectious, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer and diabetes. Ireland topped the league table for black tea drinkers, at more than 2 kg/year per person, closely followed by the UK and Turkey. At the bottom of the table were South Korea, Brazil, China, Morocco and Mexico, with very low consumption. A statistical approach, called principal component analysis (PCA), was used to tease out the key contribution of black tea on each of the health indicators selected at the population level. This showed an impact for black tea on rates of diabetes, but not on any of the other health indicators studied. The link was confirmed with further statistical analysis, which pointed to a strong linear association between low rates of diabetes in countries where consumption of black tea is high. The authors acknowledge several caveats to their findings, however. They caution that the quality and consistency of data among all 50 countries are likely to vary, as will the criteria used to diagnose diabetes. And what may seem positive at the population level may not work as well as the individual level. They also point out that various factors are likely to have contributed to the dramatic rise in diabetes prevalence, and that a link between black tea consumption and the prevalence of the disease does not imply that one is caused by the other. But their findings do back those of previous research, they say. “These original study results are consistent with previous biological, physiological, and ecological studies conducted on the potential of (black tea) on diabetes and obesity”…and they provide “valuable additional scientific information at the global level,” they write. In recent years, a great deal of interest has focused on the health benefits of green tea, which contains simple flavonoids called catechins, thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, say the authors. But the fermentation process, which turns green tea black, induces a range of complex flavonoids, including theaflavins and thearubigins, to which several potential health benefits have been attributed, they add.

Cadbury Develops Chocolate That Doesn’t Melt
Cadbury, the makers of Dairy Milk chocolate has created a chocolate that doesn’t melt, according to a new patent application. According to the patent application filed by Cadbury: “We have found that it is possible to instill temperature-tolerant properties by refining the conched chocolate after the conching step.” By adapting the technique the scientists are able to reduce the sugar into smaller particles meaning they are covered with less fat, which makes the bar less prone to melting. The Daily Mail reports that the chocolate is going to be marketed solely in warmer climates like India and Brazil. No immediate plans are in place to launch the product in Cadbury's home UK market. The application reads, “The present invention relates to temperature tolerant chocolate, particularly temperature tolerant chocolate comprising a re-refined conched chocolate. The invention further relates to processes for the manufacture of temperature tolerant chocolate comprising re-refining of a conched chocolate.” The development of a temperature tolerant chocolate (TTC) format represents a huge opportunity for the food and confectionery industry that has impact across a range of categories including chocolate, biscuit and snacks. Chocolate and biscuit-type snack products are sensitive to changes and extremes of temperatures such that their quality deteriorates dramatically unless conditions are well controlled. “Production of temperature tolerant chocolate would allow production of chocolate-containing product more suitable for hot climates, particularly in less economically developed countries where the supply chain is ill-equipped to handle significant temperature / humidity fluctuations and where product quality is compromised,” the application reads. Food scientists working at Cadbury's research plant in Bournville, near Birmingham, claim their new Dairy Milk bars will remain solid even when left in 40C heat for three hours. But the company, which was taken over by American food group Kraft two years ago, says it will only sell the product in warmer countries like India and Brazil because there is "no market" for it in the UK. Tony Bilsborough, head of corporate affairs at Kraft Foods, told the Daily Telegraph that there were "no plans" to use the new recipe in Britain where temperatures are rarely high enough to damage chocolate, adding: "This simply would not sell".

On November 13th, a workshop was held in Osteria Grande (Bologna) to review the main issues usually occurring during coating of oral solid forms.
In detail, the following topics were analysed:

  • Coating process from a functional point of view
  • Core characteristics (hardness and friability) compatible with the coating process
  • Most suitable tablet press punch die shape and geometry for this type of process
  • Most suitable materials for tablet compression and coating
  • Suggestions for in-pan coating technique

The people attending the workshop were R&D formulators, engineers, production, pharmaceutical development, quality control, packaging, regulatory and marketing managers, coming from Italian pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies.
The theory session of the workshop was held in the morning. During the practical session in the afternoon, participants took an active part in compression trials, preparation of coating solution, coating trials (which were carried out both on lab.scale and production scale equipment) at the G.S. production plant.
The afternoon session was especially helpful due to the presence of experts in coating equipment (G.S.) and tablet presses (B&D Italia), as well as skilled professionals in coating materials (Rofarma Italia, Roquette Italia and Roquette Frères). Participants had the opportunity to compare daily coating issues and swap useful hints and tips.
The workshop was a great success with the companies invited, an unexpectedly high number of which accepted the organizers’ invitation.
G.S. and Rofarma Italia

nutrineo, the innovative health division of the old-established Uelzena company came onto the market. The nutrineo team is a unique partner for customers intent on supplying private label health products. An interdisciplinary team of experts offer all services from the original idea and recipe development to the procurement of the raw materials and packaging design to the product being ready to be placed onto the market. The customer will get all these services from one single source which is highly reliable in quality and supply. Whether it’s for instant or ready-to-drink products – with its competence in the fields of sports nutrition and weight management, nutrineo is a reliable health food contract manufacturer for its customers.

Roquette has been processing plant-based raw materials for over 75 years. The PROTEOV® research programme was launched in 2011 and is dedicated to the development of high-value nutritional and functional protein solutions. Coordinated by Roquette’s Research and Development Centre in Lestrem, northern France, the programme provides the company with a major new resource. Anne Cortier, Director of the Nutrition and Health Programmes, explains: “The PROTEOV® programme aims to provide our customers with a range of plant-derived proteins that both meet expectations in terms of nutritional and functional benefits but also provide the more environmentally-friendly solutions obtainable with alternatives to animal protein. The research programme has the financial, technical and human resources to match Roquette Group’s ambitions, i e multi-disciplinary teams, laboratories, pilot production areas, application centres and pre-industrial units. In addition, PROTEOV® fits into the process of open innovation. The objective is to pool skills and expertise in order to speed up the marketing of new products”.

Galam Group has announced an expansion of research and development (R&D) activities as well as the incorporation of applications teams into its marketing organization. Galam's sweetening blending facilities in Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic and Israel will house international teams of experts comprising scientists, food technologists, technicians and application development specialists. Their work will significantly increase the company’s R&D footprint and impact on a rapidly developing sweetening ingredients market.

P.L. Thomas & Co, Inc. and HG&H Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd. (Bryanston, South Africa) announced that they launched Zembrin® Sceletium tortuosum extract at Supply Side West, 3-5 November in Las Vegas. Over the last two years, the companies have been engaged in a series of successful clinical and safety studies, have completed the NDI notification process, and will now make the ingredient available throughout North America for the first time. Zembrin is the world’s first patented, standardized and clinically studied extract of an elite selection of Sceletium tortuosum.

KiOnutrime® Protect
An exhaustive review of the scientific literature identified a representative sample of approximately 100 articles concerning the effect of beta-glucans on the immune system. In this context, and given the growing trend for global health and specifically health prevention, KitoZyme has successfully designed KiOnutrime® Protect, a new plant-based beta(1,3)-glucan with key characteristics. In a first approach, KitoZyme has validated the bioactivity of KiOnutrime® Protect to investigate how this new beta-glucan is active in several studies.

DSM Nutritional Products is pleased to report that findings from a recent clinical study presented at the International Society of Neuroscience conference in New Orleans suggest that active compounds found in oregano may help to regulate mood, motivation and mental wellbeing in healthy male adults. Oregano, is primarily used for its flavourful leaves. oréVida™, the proprietary oregano extract used in the study, contains a specific ratio of carvacrol and thymoquinone, two active components naturally found in oregano. oréVida is a product of DSM Nutritional Products.

Chocolate 'may help keep people slim'
People who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner, new research suggests. The findings come from a study of nearly 1,000 US people that looked at diet, calorie intake and body mass index (BMI) - a measure of obesity. It found those who ate chocolate a few times a week were, on average, slimmer than those who ate it occasionally. Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favour weight loss rather than fat synthesis, scientists believe. Despite boosting calorie intake, regular chocolate consumption was related to lower BMI in the study, which is published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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