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More Than 90% Of Americans Don't Eat Enough Vitamin E
According to a new Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE study, 87% of 20-30 year old and 68% of 31-50 year old Americans are not maintaining optimal serum α-tocopherol concentrations.
The criterion of adequacy for vitamin E used in the PLOS ONE study was a serum α-tocopherol level of 30 µmol/L. This was based on nationally representative cross-sectional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-2006). Proportions of inadequate serum α-tocopherol were compared between individuals reporting use of dietary supplements (yes or no) by sex, age, and race/ethnicity.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and carries an approved EFSA health claim for ‘contributing to the protection of cells from oxidative stress’. Vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, along with fortified cereal and green leafy vegetables are significant dietary sources of vitamin E. The research was conducted because more than 90% of American adults do not eat the recommended dietary intake (15 mg/day) of vitamin E from food, with the caveat that it may be hard to account for sources such as vegetable oils.
Study results found lower average α-tocopherol levels in people who do not use dietary supplements, even when adjusted for total cholesterol. Among those depending exclusively on food sources, 93% of 20-30 year olds, 81% of 31-50 year olds, and 81% of individuals over 51 years old had suboptimal vitamin E status. Lower proportions were observed among individuals reporting dietary supplement use (79% of 20-30 year olds, 54% of 31-50 year olds, and 29% for those over 51 years old). Older adults had lower proportion of inadequate serum α-tocopherol concentrations.
Senior author, Dr. Saurabh Mehta, a faculty member at Cornell University says: “These findings indicate that it is important to conduct further research to elucidate the association of serum α-tocopherol concentrations with specific health outcomes.”
Co-author Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President, Nutrition, Science & Advocacy at DSM and Professor for Healthy Ageing at Groningen University, comments: “We have known for years that vitamin E intake of Americans was significantly below the Institute of Medicine recommendation of 15 mg daily. 87% of all 20-30 year olds, and 93% if they do not use a supplement, have serum α-tocopherol concentration below 30 µmol/L.”
Michael McBurney, VP Science, Scientific Communications and Advocacy at DSM adds: “Epidemiological studies indicate that maintaining serum α-tocopherol may help maintain reproductive, brain, and liver function.”
DSM Nutritional Products provided financial support through an unencumbered gift to Cornell University.
For more information on the role that vitamin E pays in supporting human health visit DSM’s webinar channel.
Protein Positioning Helps Meat Snacks Maintain Momentum
Recent rapidly growing interest in protein content has been of particular benefit to the meat snacks market, where many products are naturally high in protein and have made increasing use of high-in-protein or source-of-protein claims. According to Innova Market Insights data, nearly 15% of global meat snacks launches in the 52 weeks to the end of April 2015 used protein claims, rising to over 50% in the US.
“Even prior to the emergence of this enhanced interest in protein, the meat snacks market was showing good growth globally,” according to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights “reflecting the rising demand for more substantial snacks suitable for eating on the go.”
With a few exceptions, including the US and South Africa, the market remains relatively undeveloped, however. Launch numbers remain small in terms of snacks introductions as a whole, with just 5.5% of the global total in the 52 weeks to the end of March 2015. Total numbers have risen consistently in recent years, however, reflecting ongoing segmentation in more established markets, such as the US, as well as greater penetration in non-traditional markets, particularly some of those in Europe.
Asia dominated activity with over 60% of introductions, mainly as a result of the large number of traditional-style meat snacks being launched in China. North America, primarily the US, took second place ahead of Europe, where despite the large number of countries and cuisines involved, the relatively underdeveloped status of the market meant that activity levels were more limited.
Meat snacks are the fourth largest savory snacks category in the US after potato chips, tortilla chips and nuts/trail mixes. The market is dominated by jerky-style products and, despite being relatively mature, has shown good growth in recent years. Manufacturers have updated their product ranges to focus on a healthier image, more convenient packaging formats and a greater choice of increasingly complex flavor options, particularly hot and spicy variants, often with an ethnic twist. There has also been ongoing interest in extending the use of different types of meat beyond the traditional beef and turkey, with launches including chicken and bacon products.
With the underdeveloped status of the meat snacks market outside the US there are clearly further opportunities for growth, particularly if the image of the products can be delivered as tasty, healthy, substantial and convenient snacks for all occasions, boosted by ongoing product and promotional initiatives. “Recent acquisition activity, both in the US and in Europe shows that the industry definitely thinks it is a market with still more potential to come,” Williams concludes.
Regular Consumption Of Spicy Foods Linked To Lower Risk Of Death
Eating spicy food more frequently as part of a daily diet is associated with a lower risk of death, suggests a new study published in The BMJ this week.
The association was also found for deaths from certain conditions such as cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory diseases.
This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors call for more research that may “lead to updated dietary recommendations and development of functional foods.”
Previous research has suggested that beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredient, capsaicin, include antiobesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anticancer properties.
So an international team led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences examined the association between consumption of spicy foods as part of a daily diet and the total risk and causes of death.
They undertook a prospective study of 487,375 participants, aged 30-79 years, from the China Kadoorie Biobank.
Participants were enrolled between 2004-2008 and followed up for morbidities and mortality.
All participants completed a questionnaire about their general health, physical measurements, and consumption of spicy foods, and red meat, vegetable and alcohol.
Participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, and stroke were excluded from the study, and factors such as age, marital status, level of education, and physical activity were accounted for.
During a median follow-up of 7.2 years, there were 20,224 deaths. Compared with participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 1 or 2 days a week were at a 10% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death was 0.90). And those who ate spicy foods 3 to 5 and 6 or 7 days a week were at a 14% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death 0.86, and 0.86 respectively).
In other words, participants who ate spicy foods almost every day had a relative 14% lower risk of death compared to those who consumed spicy foods less than once a week. The association was similar in both men and women, and was stronger in those who did not consume alcohol.
Frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory system diseases, and this was more evident in women than men.
Fresh and dried chilli peppers were the most commonly used spices in those who reported eating spicy foods weekly, and further analysis showed those who consumed fresh chilli tended to have a lower risk of death from cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and diabetes.
Some of the bioactive ingredients are likely to drive this association, the authors explain, adding that fresh chilli is richer in capsaicin, vitamin C, and other nutrients. But they caution against linking any of these with lowering the risk of death.
Should people eat spicy food to improve health? In an accompanying editorial, Nita Forouhi from the University of Cambridge says it is too early to tell, and calls for more research to test whether these associations are the direct result of spicy food intake or whether this is a marker for other dietary or lifestyle factors.