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This week in food choices – Feb 20 2011 – Gluten-free; salt; labeling

Top-selling products may have higher sodium than their competitors – would they lose their advantage if they reduced the salt? A new app analyzes packaged foods for health, and Safeway is putting tags such as gluten-free and organic on their shelves. In a much publicize announcement, the CSPI called for certain caramel colors found in top-selling sodas to be banned.

Gluten-free: USA GF manufacturing; retail website; restaurants offering GF

Schar gluten-free manufacturing facility 2/1/11 Schar press release

Schar USA broke ground on a 50,000-sq. ft. gluten-free manufacturing facility in Logan Township, NJ. The location, expected to open in early 2012, is expandable to up to 80,000-sq. ft. based on projected company growth. Dr. Schar Srl will invest over $15 million into the facility.

Free From Gluten launches retail website – 2/15/11 NPI Daily

Free From Gluten offers more than 2000 products, and claims to be the world’s largest gluten free food retailer.

More restaurants offering gluten-free – 2/16/11 Columbia Missourian reported in ProChef SmartBrief

The Rome is just one of several restaurants in Columbia that have responded to an increasing demand for menus that offer gluten-free food. The demand also has resulted in gluten-free sections in Columbia grocery stores, including Schnucks, Hy-Vee and Gerbes.

Salt:  Calling on manufacturers to reduce sodium; diabetes salt guidelines questioned

Concerted industry effort needed for sodium reduction 2/17/11 Food Navigator-USA

Most major food manufacturers now have some kind of sodium reduction strategy, and each new reduction announcement tends to spur others to reduce sodium still further.

Reducing sodium consumption – top-selling products have higher sodium than the average? 2/18/11 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Conclusion: The targeting of sodium reduction in a small number of food categories and focusing on products sold in the highest volumes could lead to large decreases in sodium available for consumption and therefore to gains in public health.

Doubt cast on salt guidelines for diabetics 2/17/11 Reuters, reported in SmartBrief for Nutritionists

A study by Australian researchers found that patients with the highest levels of sodium in their urine had the smallest risk of dying over a 10-year period.

Labeling and nutrition: Canadian food allergen labeling; Food info on app and shelf tags

Canadian food allergen labeling to be strengthened – 2/16/11 reported in IFT Weekly Newsletter

Some ingredients used in food products which were previously exempt from declaration in the list of ingredients, (e.g., components of margarine, seasoning and flour) will now be required to appear on food labels also.

App to rate health of food products – reported in Produce Retailer

Fooducate, a free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, scans bar coded food items and gives a grade and, where applicable, healthier alternatives. Eg; “Look out! Not 100% whole grain” or “Contains controversial artificial colors”.

Nutrition shelf tags including Gluten Free, Organic. Sodium Smart – 2/16/11 Progressive Grocer

Safeway has introduced SimpleNutrition green shelf tags, which highlight up to two of 22 different nutrition and ingredient benefits, such as: Gluten Free, Organic, Sodium Smart, or Made with Whole Grains.

Trigger foods: IBS and gas-producing foods

IBS trigger foods – 2/14/11 Joy Bauer’s Food Cures

Use a food diary to test yourself for trigger foods, which may include milk and dairy; citrus fruits; raw and cruciferous vegetables; wheat (gluten); sweeteners; beans, lentils, corn and popcorn; garlic and onions; spicy food; carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages; fatty foods and red meat; chocolate; certain condiments.

7 top gas-producing foods – 2/17/11 Everyday Health Healthy Living newsletter

Vegetables containing fructose (e.g. onions, artichokes), raffinose (e.g. asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage); Vegetables and fruits containing soluble fiber (e.g. peas); Fruits containing sorbitol including prunes, apples, peaches, and pears; Sugar-free gum and candy are sweetened with sorbitol; Starchy foods including breads, cereals, pastas, corn and potatoes (not rice); Dairy products containing lactose (if lactose-intolerant) such as some cheeses, ice cream, and milk; Oats and oatmeal; Beans; Sodas

Other: Ban called for caramel colorings; carbohydrates and kidney disease; and more

Dairy-free ricotta 2/13/11 NorthJersey.com, reported in Food Institute News

Tofutti Brands will soon launch Better Than Ricotta, a dairy-free ricotta substitute.

Energy drinks may be risky for kids – 2/14/11 WebMD

Researchers report that in 2008 there were more than twice as many cases of caffeine toxicity reported to the nation’s poison centers each year in children as there are in adults. Outcomes may include liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, seizures, psychotic conditions, high blood pressure, heart failure, and disruptions of heart rhythms, among others.

600-calorie BBQ from Famous Dave’s – 2/15/11 reported in Foodservice Monitor

Famous Dave’s of America is introducing new menu items, including six new Citrus Grill BBQ platters that have less than 600 calories and Skinny Margaritas for 101 calories.

Biodegradable packaging for drinks – 2/15/11 Food Production Daily

Coca-Cola said earlier this month that biodegradable packaging is “simply not a viable option” but other smaller drinks companies are beginning to take an interest.

Kosher ingredients for nutraceutical foods – 2/16/11 NPI Daily

“We receive a number of requests for kosher ingredients,” said Donna Battaglia, director of sales for Maypro Industries.  “Opening this subsidiary was necessary as it will comply with strict procedures for proper handling, storage and shipment of kosher ingredients.”

Growing healthier-fat milk – 2/16/11 Food Navigator-USA

The most promising approach may be to go back to the farmyard and try and control the fatty acid content of milk by adjusting what cows eat.

CSPI calls for certain caramel colorings to be banned – 2/16/11 Prepared Foods Network

The “caramel coloring” used in Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other foods is contaminated with two cancer-causing chemicals and should be banned, according to a regulatory petition filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Limiting sugar; artificial sweeteners issues – 2/17/11 Chattanooga Times Free Press reported in SmartBrief for Nutritionists

The American Heart Association recommends women limit their sugar intake to 100 calories, or six teaspoons, per day. For men, the recommended limits are 150 calories or nine teaspoons. Questions surrounding the safety of artificial sweeteners have been circulating for decades.

Carbohydrate nutrition is associated with the 5-year incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) 2/17/11 The Journal of Nutrition

Higher baseline consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor sources of carbohydrate (e.g. cookies) yielded a 3-fold higher risk of incident CKD

‘Low fat’ is too simplistic, says Tufts professor 2/18/11 Food Navigator-USA

When manufacturers reduce the fat content of baked goods in particular, fat is often replaced with refined carbohydrates, including sugar, which may actually make an already unhealthy product even less healthy than the original.

Dentures and food avoidance 2/18/11 Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics

Sixty percent (of adults >60 in a research study) wore removable dentures of some type; 55% never, 27% sometimes, and 18% always removed dentures when eating. More frequent removal was associated with lower dietary quality and more foods avoided.

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