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In the news for food choices – Jan 23 2011: Low sodium, gluten-free, sugars, trans-fats, dairy

Low sodium is the biggie this week’s press, and gluten-free (not always seen as healthier) is also frequently mentioned. Avoiding sugars and trans-fats also get a few mentions. Milk comes up a couple of times, including a study that shows that full-fat dairy products may be better for avoiding Type 2 diabetes. Along with other anti-low-fat studies and press, this is another indication that there may be a slow move away from low-fat dairy products. (Week to January 23, 2011)

Salt – Walmart, recommended levels, and more

  • Reduced sodium, sugar, and trans-fat – Wal-Mart plans to reduce sodium by 25 percent, cut added sugars by 10 percent, and eliminate trans fats from its private label products. The retailer also expects to cut produce prices by $1 billion a year, mostly by pushing its suppliers to trim their costs.  1/21/11 FoodChannel
  • Salt and acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) – Eat less salt after a heart attack! Ambulatory heart failure patients who consume higher amounts of sodium are at greater risk of an ADHF event.  1/20/11 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Salt and low birth weight – Adults with low birth weight may be particularly sensitive to the blood pressure–raising effect of salt.  1/20/11 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Salt recommended levels – Most Americans consume between 3,400 and 4,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day, far above the recommended daily allowance of 1,500 mg for all adults over 40.  1/18/11 John Hopkins Health Alert
  • Salt and the heart – American Heart Association (AHA) substantially lowers the amount of sodium it recommends for the general population, to just 1,500 milligrams a day, the amount in about a ½ to ¾ teaspoon of table salt. 1/14/11 Consumer Reports Health Blog
  • Reduced salt – ConAgra Healthy Choice Soup reduces sodium. 1/17/11 Food Processing
  • Calorie-conscious and reduced sodium – Boston Market has introduced calorie-conscious choices and reduced-sodium recipes for diners who want to eat healthier after the holidays.  1/18/11 RestaurantNews.com
  • Reduced salt in cheese – Cheese industry pledges to do more on sodium reduction.  1/21/11 Food Navigator-USA

Gluten-free and Celiac disease

  • Baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour are not toxic to celiac disease patients according to a new study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, quoted in Food Product Design 1/20/11
  • Gluten-free/wheat-free pasta entrees –Caesar’s Pasta Gluten Free/Wheat Free Pasta Entrees in select Whole Foods stores.  1/18/11 Food Processing
  • Gluten-free pizza – RedBrick Pizza has introduced a new gluten-free pizza crust especially for health conscious and wheat sensitive diners.  1/20/11 RestaurantNews.com
  • Gluten-free isn’t for weight loss – A number of people are turning to gluten-free products to lose weight or for sometimes unproven health benefits. The American Dietetics Association advises that “There’s nothing magical about eliminating gluten, unless of course you have an intolerance.”  1/17/11 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, quoted in SmartBrief for Nutritionists

Sugars, fats, and processed foods

  • Avoiding sugary or high glycemic-index foodsPAMM diet for heart attack patients as these can ramp up the level of inflammation in your body that contributes to coronary artery disease and could lead to another heart attack.  1/14/11 Dr Sinatra’s Healthy Heart Blog
  • Dairy fat may reduce type 2 diabetes risk – A natural substance in dairy fat (trans-palmitoleic acid) may dramatically reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to a new observational study from the Harvard School of Public Health. Could this reduce the number of people eating low-fat dairy products instead of full-fat?  12/23/10 Science Daily (referenced by www.DiabetesSelfManagement.com)
  • Avoid trans-fats to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease – High HDL Levels Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  1/13/11 Dr Sinatra’s Healthy Heart Blog
  • Limiting solid fats and added sugars – The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended that no more than 5–15% of total dietary energy should be derived from solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS).  1/20/11 The Journal of Nutrition
  • Low fat – Kona Grill is helping health-minded football fans prepare for their game day get-togethers by kicking off “Super Roll,” sushi roll and sashimi platters. They say it’s a great alternative to the usual fried and fatty foods.  1/20/11 Yahoo! Finance
  • Reduce animal products, avoid white sugar and flourAnticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition. Dietary factors, hormones, toxins, unhealthy habits and emotional balance have an impact on the risk of developing cancer.  1/18/11 everydiet

Allergies and intolerances:


  • Dark fish in the Framingham Heart Study – Do dark fish cause atrial fibrillation risk? Consumption of alcohol, caffeine, fiber, and fish-derived polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was not significantly associated with atrial fibrillation (AF) risk. The observed adverse association between the consumption of dark fish and AF merits further investigation.  1/20/11 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Fish alert – Mercury: Take particular care if you are pregnant, nursing, or feeding young children. Avoid large fish that contain the highest levels of mercury: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. If you fish recreationally and eat what you catch, check with state and local government fishing agencies about whether fish from your area is safe. Salmonella: Eat fresh fish and avoid eating raw or undercooked fish, and remember that older people, children, pregnant women, individuals who have decreased stomach acid, and those with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible to bacterial contamination.  1/19/11 John Hopkins Health Alert
  • More than 2 drinks a day (men) or 1 drink a day (women) may heighten heart risks – more likely to suffer atrial fibrillation than people who abstain from alcohol. Referred to in everydiet.com
  • High food prices could cause consumer caution – Consumers are set to manage their food budgets more carefully in 2011 as they brace for higher food prices this year, according to a new report from the NPD Group. 1/21/11 Food Navigator-USA
  • Organic consumer base ‘holds steady’ at 38-39 percent for three years running, according to research from TABS Group. 6.4 percent of respondents reported buying organic red meat, while 13.4 percent said they bought organic chicken. There has been a shift away from purchasing organic products from natural foods retailers toward mainstream grocers. 1/17/11 Food Navigator-USA
  • Meatless Mondays – Sodexo’s Meatless Mondays initiative, expanded to its more than 900 hospital client accounts across the country,  emphasizes a meatless entree choice one day a week in order to encourage the consumption of less animal fats and more whole grains, legumes and fresh produce.  1/21/11 Food Management
  • No fake fiber – Post Foods, LLC, is inviting consumers to “Join the Whole Grain Resolution” and say “no” to fake fibers that are often found in so-called “healthy” competitive cereals.  1/21/11 NPI Center
  • Avoid toxic, chemical-filled foods Sexy Forever: How to Fight Fat after Forty [Hardcover]. Detox as the first step to successful weight loss. Balance your hormones, and identify food allergies and intolerances. Foods to be avoided include all sugars, starchy vegetables, bananas, refined grains, beer, wine, caffeine, trans fats, food additives and preservatives.  1/21/11 everydiet,com
  • Foods that provide maximum fat-burning and metabolism boosting effectsCinch!: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches. Start with 5-day detox limited to spinach, almonds, raspberries, eggs and yogurt. Then focus on foods with a balance of whole grains, protein, plant-based fats, fruits and vegetables. Diet sodas, red meat and pork are not permitted.  1/21/11 everydiet.com
  • Nutrigenomics – using genetic make up to tailor-make dietary advice – in a Datamonitor study, 55 percent of Americans found the idea either very or somewhat appealing, up 11 percent from its previous survey on the subject, conducted in August 2008.  1/14/11 Food Navigator-USA

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