Tuesday, August 30, 2005


In a survey conducted recently by FIND/SVP, a company who does analysis for businesses found that 78 percent of a thousand people surveyed trust nutritional advice from a food retailer and that labeling is the most useful source of in-store nutritional information.

The increase in functional foods often labeled as having “health benefits” makes the above very interesting. There is a new “functional beverage”, for example, that claims to burn calories by increasing metabolism. The company, Elite FX, says its product, Celsius, available only in Florida, was tested in a controlled double-blind study on twenty men and women. Celsius reportedly increased the metabolic rate by 13.8 percent at the end of the first hour compared to subjects who just drank Diet Coke . The latter’s whose metabolism only increased between 4 and 6 percent.

The United Kingdom calls functional foods--- novel foods. The term includes any foods or ingredients that don’t have a significant history of consumption within the European Union (EU) before May 1997. One ingredient the UK just approved is lycopene oleoresin. It is produced from red, ripe, lycopene tomatoes with antioxidant properties. It is currently marketed as an ingredient in food supplement as well as a food color.

Another dietary supplement, Pycnogenol®, an extract of pine tree bark, reportedly is effective in improving blood circulation and helping to prevent ankle swelling in airplane travelers. A double-blind study was reported by Peter Rohdewald, PhD, a University of Muenster researcher, in a recent issue of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis . The conclusion was Pycnogenol® prevented swellings by strengthening venous walls. This, they wrote, enables veins, stretched by pooled blood, to better resist the increased pressure, letting less liquid seep into the tissue, and hence less swelling occurs.

And still another supplement, Olibra, a combination of palm and oat oil, promises to encourage satiety and thus keep you from eating too much food. The Italians are already using it in yogurt for weight control. Of course, you could eat a bowl of oatmeal and perhaps obtain the same effect but the supplement is easier to take and reportedly lower calorie intake at a variety of meals between 20 and 30 percent. That was reported by a team of researchers from the University of Ulster in a recent issue of The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


There are two new food additives that may improve health.

The first is a new red coloring. As I have pointed out in all six editions of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, there have been problems with reds. For example:

●FD&C Citrus Red No. 2 was found in 1960 to damage internal organs and to be a weak cancer causing additive. It is now permitted only to color orange skins.

●FD& C Red No. 4 was banned in food in 1964 when it was shown to adamage the adrenal glands and bladders of dogs.

●FD & C Red No. 3 is still permitted in foods although there are real questions about it causing genetic damage and its being a cancer-causing agent.

Now The FDA has amended its color additive regulations to provide for the safe use of LycoMato tomato lycopene extract as a red coloring in foods. This action is in response to a Color Additive Petition filed by LycoRed Natural Products Industries. The ruling, which becomes effective on August 26, adds LycoMato to the FDA's listing of Color Additives Exempt from Certification.

The FDA evaluated two LycoMato concentrations: one containing no less than 5.5 percent lycopene (referred to as tomato lycopene extract); and the other containing no less than 60 percent lycopene (referred to as tomato lycopene concentrate). The agency also assessed related studies and the company's manufacturing processes.
Lycopene is a natural food colorant whose coloring ability depends on its concentration, the method of dispersion and formulation used. LycoMato is already marketed as a food colorant in Europe and Japan.

LycoMato, a standardized tomato oleoresin, contains a high concentration of lycopene, partially dissolved and mostly dispersed in tomato oil, as well as phytoene, phytofluene, a-carotene, tocopherols and phytosterols - tomato phytonutrients that act synergistically, enhancing the biological activity of the lycopene.

Lycopene is being studied as a compound to prevent heart disease and cancer and to improve or maintain vision in older persons.

The second new additive involves an very old flavoring, cinnamon.

Studies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture have shown that cinnamon promotes glucose metabolism and supports healthy cholesterol levels in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. However, researchers note that when consumed consistently or in high doses, whole cinnamon and fat-soluble extracts may be toxic.

Integrity Nutraceuticals has announced the results of a recent clinical study on Cinnulin PF, the company's patented water extract of cinnamon ingredient.
The placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted by the Ohio Research Group examined the effect of supplementation with Cinnulin PF on blood glucose regulation, lipid profiles and body composition in pre-diabetic men and women. All participants maintained their usual levels of physical activity and normal diet patterns throughout the course of the study.

Results show subjects in the Cinnulin PF group noted statistically significant decreases in blood glucose levels, marked improvements in insulin sensitivity and no statistically significant changes in clinical blood chemistries.
"Preliminary data supports the efficacy of Cinnulin PF supplementation on blood sugar regulation in pre-diabetic men and women," stated Tim Ziegenfuss, CEO of Ohio Research Group. "The safety profile on Cinnulin PF appears to be excellent and no adverse events were reported during the duration of the study."

Most food additives are for the benefit of the producers. These two might prove to be beneficial to us.