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.

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