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From: Science Daily (Apr. 28, 2009) ADA Supports Functional Foods' Health Claims Based on Strong Science, Says Updated Position Statement The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position on functional foods that says fortified, enriched or enhanced foods can benefit a person's health when consumed as part of a varied diet, encourages further research and urges continued efforts to educate the public on such foods. ADA's position, published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, represents the Association's official stance
on functional foods:
"All foods are functional at some physiological level, but it is the position of the American Dietetic Association that functional foods that include whole foods and fortified, enriched or enhanced foods have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis, at effective levels. ADA supports research to further define the health benefits and risks of individual functional foods and their physiologically active components. Health claims on food products, including functional foods, should be based on the significant scientific agreement standard of evidence and ADA supports label claims based on such strong scientific substantiation.
Food and nutrition professionals will continue to work with the food industry, allied health professionals, the government, the scientific community and the media to ensure that the public has accurate information regarding functional foods and thus should continue to educate themselves on this emerging area of food and nutrition science."
ADA's position statement and accompanying paper were written by Clare M. Hasler, PhD, MBA, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California – Davis; and Amy C. Brown, PhD, RD, Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine.
The paper includes definitions of the term as used in different countries and notes "functional foods" is not a legal term but a marketing term. The American Dietetic Association defines functional foods as those that "move beyond necessity to provide additional health benefits that may reduce disease risk and/or promote optimal health.
Functional foods include conventional foods, modified foods (fortified, enriched or enhanced), medical foods and foods for special dietary uses."
Examples of conventional food with functional properties include broccoli, nuts and tomatoes. Modified foods include calcium-enhanced orange juice, folate-enriched breads and foods formulated with bioactive ingredients like fish oils, plant sterol esters or lutein.
Medical foods include PKU formulas free of phenylalanine. Foods for special dietary uses include gluten-free and lactose-free foods.
ADA's position paper reviews aspects of functional foods including:
Factors driving the growth of the functional foods industry, such as increased consumer interest in controlling one's own health; rising health-care costs; and scientific research linking diet to chronic disease reduction.
Regulation of functional foods in the United States, noting that "boundaries between what is a food and what is a medicine have been challenged by both consumers and manufacturers since the mid-1980s," leading to "dramatic changes in food regulation that have fueled a so-called functional foods revolution."
Emphasizing that health claims on the benefits of functional foods and their physiologically active components should be based on the standard of significant scientific agreement.
"Take-home messages" for food and nutrition professionals, such as staying informed on this growing field of food and nutrition; educating clients and patients on appropriate intake of functional foods in the context of a healthful diet; working with corporations to develop functional foods that maximize health benefits; conducting research that expands the knowledge base on functional foods; and working with government regulators "to safeguard the public by protecting the definition, use and regulation of functional foods."
ADA's position paper on functional foods concludes: "The study of how diet impacts disease prevention and health promotion is more important than ever. Consumer interest in the health benefits of foods and food components is at an all-time high and will continue to grow. Food and nutrition professionals are uniquely qualified to interpret scientific findings on functional foods and translate such findings into practical dietary applications for consumers, other health professionals, policy makers and the media.
Food and nutrition professionals must continue to be leaders in this exciting and everevolving area of food and nutrition."
From: Soytech E-News April 1, 2009 Crisps add newness to bar texture
As the key source of protein, many protein bars contain powders such as calcium caseinate, whey-protein hydrolysate, whey-protein isolate or soy-protein isolate. This can be limiting in terms of texture, and can lack variety for consumers. When a unique texture is in order, addition of dairy-protein crisps can bring a welcome point of difference. Dairy-protein crisps are available with a range of protein levels, with a clean milky flavour and a light, crisp crunch.
They can be used as a component of a dough layer for a hint of crunch, or as the bulk of a bar to make more of a texture statement. In addition to the texture and nutrition they contribute, they can be used to reduce bar hardening by weakening the dough structure.
Crisps are an excellent format for children, who are often looking for variety, fun and may find a dough-style bar difficult to chew. They work well with inclusion of other ingredients such as granola or fruit pieces. Their mild, clean flavour means that they do not interfere with other flavour components as some crunchy alternatives do. Dairy protein crisps can be a convenient means of incorporating dairy into formulations that do not usually include dairy, but would benefit from the goodness of milk.
From: Report by Rachel Marshall in Functional Ingredients February 2009 Chemistry of Cooking a Biochemist Explains the Chemistry of Cooking A biochemist and cook explains that cooking is all about chemistry and knowing some facts can help chefs understand why recipes go wrong. Because cooking is essentially a series of chemical reactions, it is helpful to know some basics. For example, plunging asparagus into boiling water causes the cells to pop and result in a brighter green. Longer cooking, however, causes the plant's cell walls to shrink and releases an acid. This turns the asparagus an unappetizing shade of grey.
You love to cook, but have you whipped up some disasters? Even the best recipes can sometimes go terribly wrong. A nationally recognized scientist and chef says knowing a little chemistry could help.
Long before she was a cook, Shirley Corriher was a biochemist. She says science is the key to understanding what goes right and wrong in the kitchen. "Cooking is chemistry," said Corriher. "It's essentially chemical reactions."
This kind of chemistry happens when you put chopped red cabbage into a hot pan. Heat breaks down the red anthocyanine pigment, changing it from an acid to alkaline and causing the color change. Add some vinegar to increase the acidity, and the cabbage is red again. Baking soda will change it back to blue.
Cooking vegetables like asparagus causes a different kind of reaction when tiny air cells on the surface hit boiling water. "If we plunge them into boiling water, we pop these cells, and they suddenly become much brighter green," Corriher said. Longer cooking is not so good. It causes the plant's cell walls to shrink and release acid.
"So as it starts gushing out of the cells, and with acid in the water, it turns cooked green vegetables into [a] yucky army drab.” And that pretty fruit bowl on your counter?
"Literally, overnight you can go from [a] nice green banana to an overripe banana," Corriher said. The culprit here is ethylene gas. Given off by apples and even the bananas themselves, it can ruin your perfect fruit bowl -- but put an apple in a paper bag with an unripe avocado, and ethylene gas will work for you overnight.
"We use this as a quick way to ripen," Corriher said. Corriher says understanding a little chemistry can help any cook. "You may still mess up, but you know why," she said.
When it works, this kind of chemistry can be downright delicious.
WHAT ARE ACIDS AND BASES? An acid is defined as a solution with more positive hydrogen ions than negative hydroxyl ions, which are made of one atom of oxygen and one of hydrogen. Acidity and basicity are measured on a scale called the pH scale. The value of freshly distilled water is seven, which indicates a neutral solution. A value of less than seven indicates an acid, and a value of more than seven indicates a base.
Common acids include lemon juice and coffee, while common bases include ammonia and bleach.
WHY DOES FOOD SPOIL? Processing and improper storage practices can expose food items to heat or oxygen, which causes deterioration. In ancient times, salt was used to cure meats and fish to preserve them longer, while sugar was added to fruits to prevent spoilage. Certain herbs, spices and vinegar can also be used as preservatives, along with anti-oxidants, most notably Vitamins C and E. In processed foods, certain FDA-approved chemical additives also help extend shelf life.
From: Science Daily January 1, 2009 Energy drinks work -- in mysterious ways!
Runners clutching bottles of energy drink are a common sight, and it has long been known that sugary drinks and sweets can significantly improve athletes' performance in endurance events. The question is how?
Clearly, 'sports' drinks and tablets contain calories. But this alone is not enough to explain the boost, and the benefits are felt even if the drink is spat out rather than swallowed. Nor does the sugary taste solve the riddle, as artificial sweeteners do not boost performance even when they are indistinguishable from real sugars.
Writing in the latest issue of The Journal of Physiology, Ed Chambers and colleagues not only show that sugary drinks can significantly boost performance in an endurance event without being ingested, but so can a tasteless carbohydrate – and they do so in unexpected ways.
The researchers prepared drinks that contained either glucose (a sugar), maltodextrin (a tasteless carbohydrate) or neither, then carefully laced them with artificial sweeteners until they tasted identical. They asked endurance-trained athletes to complete a challenging time-trial, during which they rinsed their mouths with one of the three concoctions.
The results were striking. Athletes given the glucose or maltodextrin drinks outperformed those on 'disguised' water by 2 - 3% and sustained a higher average power output and pulse rate, even though didn't feel they were working any harder. The authors conclude that as-yet unidentified receptors in the mouth independent from the usual 'sweet' taste buds must be responsible. "Much of the benefit from carbohydrate in sports drinks is provided by signalling directly from mouth to brain rather than providing energy for the working muscles," explained Dr Chambers.
The team then used a neuro-imaging technique known as fMRI to monitor the athletes' brain activity shortly after giving them one of the three compounds. They found that both glucose and maltodextrin triggered specific areas of the brain associated with reward or pleasure, while the artificial sweetener did not. This acts to reduce the athletes' perception of their workload, suggest the authors, and hence enables them to sustain a higher average output.
Their findings support the emerging 'central governor hypothesis' – the theory that it is not the muscles, heart or lungs that ultimately limit performance, but the brain itself, based on the information it receives from the body. Stimulating the brain in certain ways – such as swilling sugary drinks – can boost output, perhaps giving athletes that allimportant edge over their rivals.
From: Eurekalert 14 Apr 09 Maryland may follow California on Menu Labelling Laws Maryland could be the next place to weigh in with restaurant food labeling laws.
Hearings are scheduled in Annapolis today.
(California is one of the places that already has menu labeling laws. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talked about the law last fall, with, from left, California Medical Assn.
President Dr. Richard Frankenstein; Department of Public Health Chief Deputy Director Dr. Bonnie Sorensen; Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima); and Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord).) One bill introduced in the Maryland General Assembly would require calorie counts on the menu boards at fast food spots. Would people think twice before ordering if they had that information?
That bill, HB601, was sponsored by state Sen. David Harrington and Delegate Doyle Niemann. It also calls for expanded nutrition information on printed menus for chains with at least 15 outlets.
The second bill, HB 567, introduced by Delegate James Hubbard, would require restaurants to phase out partially hydrogenated oil — a source of artery-clogging artificial trans fat — by October 2010. Most national chains have already cut trans fat or are in the process of doing so.
The Restaurant Assn. of Maryland said it would support the trans fat law if it also included packaged goods. "The restaurant industry strongly supports phasing out the use of artificial trans fats.... Our goal is to be virtually trans fat-free by the time this legislation takes effect in October 2010."
The association strongly opposes Bill 601, in part, the organization's Melvin Thompson said, because "it contributes to a growing patchwork of different menu labeling regulations that prove to be challenging for businesses operating in multiple states."
Thompson said the association supports a national plan to require chain restaurants to provide nutrition information in one of several formats.