Heart-Healthy Foods that Feed the Mind Too

A Tribute to the Heart Is a Reward to the Mind

Did you know that heart disease accounts for more than a third of deaths worldwide?

Disorders and diseases of the heart are some of the most common ailments in the modern world. Fueled in part by our sedentary lifestyles, consumption of refined sugar and saturated fat, smoking, chronic stress, and a host of other lifestyle factors.

Diet plays a critical role in the health of our hearts, and your diet can increase or negate your risk of developing heart disease in the future. Some foods can influence your triglyceride levels, cholesterol levels, systemic inflammation, and your blood pressure. All of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

How Brain Health and Heart Health are Connected

The health of your heart and the health of your brain are also intrinsically linked. Any foods that damage your heart can impair your cognitive function, too. According to the CDC, if you keep your heart healthy, you simultaneously lower your risk of developing brain-related issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and strokes.

Your heart pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood through arteries and blood vessels to every part of your body—and especially your brain.

Any foods and lifestyle factors that damage these blood vessels can lead to serious conditions like cardiovascular disease. Plus, they can cause brain diseases that negatively impact your memory, cognitive function, and learning abilities. Keeping your blood vessels and your heart in good shape will enable these organs to transport blood to your brain. This keeps your brain healthy and functioning at its peak, even as you age.

The 7 Best Foods for Your Heart and Brain

Leafy Green Vegetables

There are few foods as good for your entire body as leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens. They’re packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and vitamin K, which protects your arteries and encourages healthy blood clotting.

Greens are also loaded with nitrates, which reduce blood pressure, promote arterial flexibility, and improve the function of the cells that line your blood vessels. All of this contributes towards a healthy cardiovascular system that can transport blood to the brain and wherever else it’s needed.

Many studies have found links between increased intake of leafy greens and a lower risk of heart disease. One analysis of 8 studies discovered that the consumption of leafy greens could lower the incidence of heart disease by up to 16%.

Berries

Berries are chock-full of important antioxidants and nutrients that promote heart health. They are a rich source of anthocyanins, which guard against the inflammation and oxidative stress that promote cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that consuming berries like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries can reduce many of the risk factors for heart disease. One study of 27 adults with metabolic syndrome found that drinking a beverage made from freeze-dried strawberries for 2 months decreased ‘bad’ cholesterol by 11%. Another proved that eating blueberries every day boosted the function of the cells that line blood vessels, controlling blood pressure and promoting proper blood clotting.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, including the endosperm, and bran, are excellent for your heart and brain alike. Common whole grains include oats, rye, barley, whole wheat, brown rice, and quinoa.

When compared to refined grains, whole grains contain more fiber, which reduces LDL cholesterol and lowers your risk of heart disease. Another analysis of 45 studies found that eating 3 more servings of grains a day lowered the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 22%.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a champion of brain health, and they can be beneficial for your heart and cardiovascular system too! They are an excellent source of fiber and contain essential micronutrients like copper, manganese, and magnesium.

Furthermore, research has shown that enjoying a few servings of walnuts a week can protect against heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol by up to 16%, lowering diastolic blood pressure by up to 3mm Hg, and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

Beans

Beans are so much more than a cost-effective way to add quality protein to your diet. They’re a plant-based protein that also contains resistant starch. This starch maintains integrity throughout the digestive process and gets fermented by the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Some animal studies found that this starch can boost heart health by reducing blood triglycerides and cholesterol.

Another study found that eating pinto beans reduced LDL cholesterol considerably. While a review of 26 studies found that a diet high in beans and legumes produced similar results. Eating beans has even been linked to reduced inflammation and lower blood pressure. Both of which are great news for the health of your heart and mind.

Avocados

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which may be able to reduce cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease according to modern research. One study found that overweight and obese patients experienced reductions in LDL cholesterol while consuming one avocado a day.

Another study of more than 17,000 people found that those who consumed avocados regularly were half as likely to develop metabolic syndrome than their peers. Avocados are packed with potassium, which promotes heart health and balances your blood pressure. Studies show that consuming at least 4.7g of potassium per day (one avocado contains 975mg) can lower your risk of stroke by 15%.

Garlic

Garlic contains a compound called allicin that can promote heart and general physical health, according to certain studies. One review found that patients who took garlic extract every day for 24 weeks experienced the same reduction in blood pressure as those taking a common prescription drug.

Another review of 39 studies found that garlic can reduce total cholesterol by 17mg/dL on average, while further studies have found that garlic can inhibit platelet build-up, which may lower the risk of strokes and blood clots. You can ensure that you eat optimal amounts of allicin by letting raw, crushed garlic sit for a few minutes before cooking with it.

A Healthy Lifestyle Maintains A Healthy Mind

The link between diet and heart disease is undeniable.

What we put into our bodies daily has direct and drastic effects on our health, lifestyle, and quality of life. It also affects our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, brain diseases, and cognitive impairment.

What you eat can influence every aspect of your heart health, from your systemic inflammation to your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and more. Experts recommend eating more leafy green vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, Omega-3-containing nuts like walnuts, and antioxidant-rich foods like berries to protect your heart and keep your mind sharp for years to come.

As an editor, Ellen Klein covers topics such as financial management and risk management, as well as health-related topics. She’s a realist and believes that planning for life’s unknowns is best. When she’s not busy with volunteer social work, she can be found scribbling away at her keyboard. 

NutriFusion

Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.

Studies have shown that supplementation with extracts from fruits and vegetables may improve inflammation and oxidative stress.

NutriFusion develops allnatural fruit and/or vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

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Is Milk Really Killing Our Athletic Performance And Health?

In the sports and fitness community, you can often hear the advice to give up milk completely. It is believed that these products interfere with weight loss, negatively affect your well-being and performance during workouts, and can be detrimental to your health.

Going forward, milk can indeed be detrimental, but not to everyone and not always. On the contrary, in some cases, this “unhealthy” foods can be beneficial.

Does Milk Really Reduce Performance And Slow Down Your Physical Progress?

I could not find a single study in which milk consumption was associated with a decrease in performance in any sport. On the contrary, scientific work supports its benefits for recovery and performance.

For example, consuming milk after a strength training session provides more muscle gain than the same amount of soy protein and carbohydrates.

This is not surprising: cow’s milk is rich in protein, a macronutrient without which it is impossible to build muscle. Moreover, unlike its plant counterparts, whey protein and casein from milk are perfectly absorbed by the body and contain many branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), essential for muscle growth and recovery.

Drinking milk after a strength training session helps shift the balance in the body in the direction of anabolism. Protein synthesis can help you build muscle mass more quickly. Moreover, milk with any percentage of fat, whether whole or skim, is equally effective for this purpose.

In addition, consuming milk immediately after a strength training session helps reduce delayed muscle soreness and associated strength loss 24 and 72 hours after exercise. In the long run, this can increase your performance in a workout and therefore have a positive effect on muscle growth.

True, not all studies have similar results. For example, in one experiment, 18 months of additional intake of 400 ml of milk a day had no effect on the strength and muscle size of participants. Scientists suggested that if people eat a good diet, enough protein, calcium and vitamin D3, they can do without milk: it will not affect their performance in any way. But whether you get enough of these substances is a big question.

Milk is also good for endurance sports. Due to its high electrolyte content, skimmed milk may well replace special sports drinks, the purpose of which is to increase performance, reduce perceived effort and time to fatigue.

Can Milk Harm Your Health?

Milk really can’t be called a safe product, but the data are mixed on this point.

 

A fresh 2020 study found that regular consumption of cow’s milk increases the risk of breast cancer. Scientists got some really scary numbers: one cup of milk a day on a regular basis increases the risk by as much as 80 percent, while 2-3 cups a day increases the risk by 50 percent.

However, previous scientific studies have not found such a strong correlation. For example, in a 2017 analysis involving more than three thousand women, consumption of dairy products, on the contrary, reduced the risk of breast cancer by 15%.

There is also evidence that milk may increase the risk of prostate cancer, but it also protects against colon and bladder tumors. The topic requires further research, but for now, scientists advise against drinking milk for those at risk for breast cancer.

Better substitute it for yogurt: This fermented milk product is also high in protein and is associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

Bio:

Hannah Butler works as an essay writer at do my homework online company that provides expert paper help for students. She likes sharing her experience in the form of articles in such spheres as Wellness and Nutrition. In her free time, Hannah enjoys rock climbing and bike riding.

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Can Drinking Soda Really Kill You?

A lot of conflicting studies have been done to ascertain if drinking soda can lead to premature death. Some studies have concluded on the affirmative, while others have refuted the claims. Those on the affirmative say soda consumption is associated with diseases like stroke, cognitive degradation, asthma, and hypertension.

Those contradicting say that most of the studies done are observational other than experimental and therefore cannot be purely relied upon. Today, we will take a deeper look into these claims.

A study by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

The university collaborated with Colombia University to study if drinking soda was related in any way to vascular diseases. Some people believe that sugary soft drinks are food for good mood, but the study had different findings. The findings were that soda carries a higher risk of heart diseases like stroke, heart attack, and death.

The subjects in the study were 2,500 men and the study period was ten years. Those who drank soda daily, according to the study, had a 43 percent more likelihood of getting heart disease, unlike those who drank soda once in a while.

According to https://essay-reviewer.com/college-paper-org-review/, other drinks included in the study were Gatorade, Coke, flavored water, and lemonade. They found out that people who drank over a half-liter of the drinks daily had a higher chance of contracting asthma. The researchers concluded that soft drinks increased the chances of heart diseases.

JAMA International Medicine report

Recently, a study was published in the JAMA journal, and its finding was even scarier. In the report, a person who drinks two glasses of sweetened drinks daily is more likely to die prematurely by 17%. Despite the scary report, some health professionals have a different opinion.

According to Bonnie Liebman, a director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, most of the reports are from observational studies and cannot really pinpoint if the death was a result of consuming the drinks or another underlying factor.

Research by Harvard University

In other research done by Harvard University, sweetened drinks increase a person’s risk of getting diabetes, interrupt metabolism, and can lead to premature death. The data was collected from about 100,000 participants who submitted their daily diet intake.

Looking into the way forward

The above studies are just part of the many studies done by various institutions on this subject, and although most of their findings are on one hand agreeing, there are, on the other hand, many contracting findings. According to Healthy Food America, two-thirds of Americans consume sugary drinks daily.

Sugary drinks are categorized as ultra-processed food that has higher health risks than any other type of food. Healthy Food America further observes that when consolidated, each person in the US consumes 50 gallons of sugary drinks per annum.

This is approximately 190 liters of sugary drinks every year. Looking at both the affirming and contradicting reports, most nutritionists and health experts agree the only way out is to take health precautions.

The right steps to take

Whether you affirm soft drinks have many health risks or refute the claim, these steps will help keep you healthier.

Take a lot of water

Water has many benefits to the body, and if you take the recommended daily quantity, it will help balance toxins in your body. Do not go for sweetened water and instead buy ordinary mineral water or boil your drinking water at home.

Some of the benefits of drinking water are regulating temperature in the body, helping in the creation of saliva, protects body tissues, backbone, and joints. Water is also useful in the excretion, urination, and defecation processes. It protects you from constipation and helps improve skin texture.

Limit or keep off all types of soda

Soda manufacturers are very active in advertising and portray the drinks as refreshing, stylish and some as having zero sugar. Tests were done on different brands of soda and their sugar quantity showed that one bottle of soda is between 300 – 500 times sweeter compared to an ordinary cup of tea or coffee.

Some nutritionists say it’s like adding more than 300 cubes of sugar to your mug of tea or coffee. The fact is that the zero calories advertisement is false and it’s only aimed to increase sales. Diet soft drinks also contain other chemicals like preservatives, carbon, and aspartame. Some of these chemicals are linked to cancer of the blood and lymphoma cancer.

There are several other options you can turn to instead of diet soft drinks but if you must take coke or another type of soda, limit yourself to at least once a week or further apart.

Sugary drinks should never be found on your menu

Studies on the risks of consuming soft drinks have given scary results. One such report is contained in the Circulation journal on a study that involved men and women. Each would consume a certain amount of sweetened soft drink for a certain period.

The study concluded that sweetened soft drinks increase the risk of early death by 7%. Cancer risk was at 5% and heart diseases at 10%. The report also found that the drinks were responsible for increased body weight and thus had the potential to cause diabetes.

The carbon dioxide in the soft drinks makes an individual feel hungrier and, in turn, eat more and add weight. The report recommended that the solution is to avoid all sugary soft drinks and go for sugarless drinks like fresh fruit juice, tea/coffee without sugar, or coconut water.

These are fresh drinks that have many health benefits like detoxification, improved metabolism, and adding minerals into the body. A person who takes fresh fruit juices will less likely get heart diseases, diabetes, and they are less vulnerable to cancer cells.

Conclusion

Many studies have been done to find out whether drinking soda increases the possibility of early death. Varying conclusions and findings have been made and some affirm the claim while others refute it. However, one finding has been consistent in all the reports- that sweetened soft drinks have far-reaching health risks to the human body. Most of the reports also recommend that despite the affirming or refuting reports, an individual is much safer if he or she avoids consuming sweetened soft drinks altogether.

Author Bio:

Sherri Carrier is a professional writer working for a cheap essay writing service UK. She is a member of the best writing clubs in and around New York City. She has been writing poems too since her school days and finds her inspiration to write from her friends and famous poets of the past.

 

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NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and vegetable powders that are nutrient dense. They are an excellent source of nutrition and can be added or mixed with the foods and beverages.

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FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS FOR DOG’S HEALTH

 

Just like humans, dogs need food to survive. Thanks to commercially sold dog food, you do not have to look too far or work too hard to get something for your furry friend. But is commercially sold dog food nutritious enough for your dog? Yes, these foods have the needed nutritional balance to keep your pet healthy. However, you can also make home-based food for your dog that is just as healthy.

What about supplements? Do dogs need supplements in their diet? Well, yes. Turns out supplements can help to boost your dog’s health. They can also help manage health issues that dogs face, such as joint pains, coat issues, weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, inflammation, and cognitive disorders.

Healthy Food for Dogs

While many people foods are safe for dogs, they should generally only eat in them moderation.

Human foods that are safe for dogs include:

White rice

Cooked, plain white rice can be a good option for a dog with an upset stomach, as it is easy to digest and helps bind stool.

White rice can cause blood sugar levels to rise, however, so dogs with  diabetes should only eat it in small amounts.

Dairy products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt, are safe for dogs to have in very small quantities.

Eating too much dairy can cause digestive problems. This is because dogs have low levels of lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down the sugars in milk.

Dogs with lactose intolerance should not eat dairy products. Signs of lactose intolerances include diarrhea or vomiting after consuming anything that contains dairy.

Fish

Salmon, shrimp, and tuna are all safe for dogs to eat and good sources of protein.

Salmon and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help keep a dog’s immune system, coat, and skin healthy.

The B vitamins in shrimp can also help maintain a dog’s digestive system and promote healthy blood circulation.

It is important to cook fish before feeding it to a dog, as uncooked fish can contain harmful parasites.

Chicken

Plain, boiled chicken with no seasoning is a good option when a dog has an upset stomach.

Plain popcorn

Plain popcorn, without salt, butter, or sugar, can be a nutritional treat for dogs.

Popcorn contains minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are all important for keeping dogs healthy.

Make sure dogs do not eat any unpopped popcorn kernels, as this could cause them to choke.

Pork

Unseasoned, cooked pork is safe for dogs to eat.

However, they should only consume small portions of pork, as the high fat content is hard for dogs to digest, and it can cause  inflammation and  pancreatitis.

Refrain from feeding dogs bacon or processed ham, due to the high salt contents.

Turkey

Cooked turkey is safe for dogs to eat, but it should be plain and unseasoned. Many commercial dog foods contain turkey, as it is a good source of protein.

Before giving cooked turkey to a dog, remove the fat first. Too much fat can cause pancreas issues in dogs.

Bananas

Dogs can eat bananas in moderation. They are full of magnesium, which is important for good bone health.

Due to their high sugar content, bananas should only be an occasional treat for dogs.

These foods will help keep your dog healthy and jumpy.

What about Supplements?

Supplements can contribute positively to your dog’s overall health. However, there is very little research to prove that supplements actually work in dogs. That is why pet owners are advised to take the whole “supplements for dogs” rage with a pinch of salt. As much as it may sound brilliant and perhaps too common, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a few things first;

  • Talk to your dog’s veterinarian first before administering any supplement. Different dogs have different needs and excessive amounts of certain vitamins and supplements can hurt your dog. Too much calcium for example may trouble your dog’s skeletal tissues. If your dog is on other medications, supplements may interact harmfully with them.
  • Go for supplements from brands that specialize in a certain area or have licensed clinical studies of their supplements and vitamins.
  • Brands that emphasize quality control are a good choice. Check if they have a lot number.

That said, here are some proven supplements that can greatly benefit your dog.

  1. Glucosamine

Glucosamine is found naturally in cartilage and provides support for joints and bones. The right amount of this supplement can help repair and strengthen your dog’s joints and bones. It is also given to dogs with osteoarthritis to help alleviate the pain in joints. It’s not yet proven whether this supplement works on all dogs.

  1. Turmeric for Dogs

There is a chance that you already have turmeric spice in your kitchen cabinet. Did you know that this spice is healthy for your dog? Well, not necessarily your cooking spice, but there is a Turmeric for dogs supplement that has curcumin which is a compound that helps to reduce inflammation. Turmeric is also known to reduce itchiness in the dog’s skin.

  1. Vitamin C

We all know how incredible vitamin C can be in boosting your immunity. Turns out it’s also a powerful antioxidant with tons of health benefits for your dog. Vitamin C can help aging dogs with memory problems.

  1. Chondroitin

This one works in a similar way as the glucosamine supplement. It’s known to improve joint health in dogs and prevent inflammation. You can also give it to your dog to prevent injury and improve mobility.

  1. Fish Oil Supplements

Fish oil supplements are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These help to improve your animal’s fur quality. It also helps to reduce the itchiness in your dog’s skin – finally something to stop the incessant paw-stabbing.

Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Your Dog

While we consider dogs to be members of our family, feeding them the same food we eat can cause injury to them. Dogs are not used to eating the oily, fatty foods that we do, and they can get diarrhea and upset stomachs from them. It’s important to know what foods are toxic to dogs and avoid them.

Chocolate and Caffeine

It’s a pretty well-known fact that chocolate is harmful to dogs. Unlike their feline friends, most dogs don’t have an “off” button when it comes to finding food. The amount and type of chocolate your dog consumes determines the symptoms and toxicity level he will experience. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, lethargy, muscle tremors, irregular heartbeat, high body temperature, seizures and death. The darker the chocolate is (for instance, baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder), the more dangerous it is to your puppy. They contain a higher concentration of caffeine and theobromine, both of which cause toxicosis in dogs. Keep your dog away from caffeinated beverages as well. Learn more about the dangers of your dog consuming chocolate here.

Grapes and Raisins

While grapes and raisins are not harmful to some dogs, they have been associated with kidney failure in others. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk to find out! Vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea can occur within 12 hours of ingestion. If the symptoms are not treated, they can lead to dehydration, decreased appetite and increased urination followed by decreased urination. If your dog has consumed grapes or raisins and these signs occur, take her to a vet immediately. Your dog can develop long-term kidney disease or even die from kidney failure within three to four days.

Alcohol and Raw Bread Dough

Small amounts of alcohol found in drinks, syrups and raw bread dough can be poisonous to dogs. These products contain ethanol, and beer also contains hops, both of which can cause alcohol intoxication. Signs of intoxication include vomiting, disorientation, high body temperature, restlessness, excessive panting, muscle tremors and seizures. Dogs who show signs of alcohol intoxication should be monitored by a vet until they recover, as it can cause failure of the organ systems and even death. The yeast in raw bread dough can also cause stomach expansion, which can result in tissue damage and difficulty breathing.

Onions and Garlic

Anything in the onion family–from garlic to shallots to scallions to chives–is toxic to dogs. They contain compounds that can cause gastroenteritis, anemia and serious damage to the red blood cells. Garlic is considered to be five times as potent as onions. Signs of onion or garlic poisoning often do not appear for several days after ingestion, but include lethargy, weakness and orange- to dark red-tinged urine. Japanese breeds of dogs such as Akitas and Shiba Inus tend to be more sensitive to garlic and onions.

Other Foods Harmful to Dogs

Dairy products can upset your dog’s digestive system and cause diarrhea as well as food allergies. Ingestion of just a few macadamia nuts can cause weakness, paralysis and lack of coordination. Avocados contain persin, which can cause mild stomach upset in dogs. The bones in meat, chicken and fish can also be very hazardous to your dog. They can splinter and stick in the throat, break teeth or cut the intestines.

If you are unsure if you can feed a food to your dog, always consult your veterinarian first. As a general rule of thumb it is best to avoid feeding your dog human food anyways. While it can be hard to ignore those puppy dog eyes looking at you at the dinner table, feeding your dog can often result in weight gain among other more serious issues. To keep your dog out of harm’s way, it is best to stick to a diet of food specifically formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

Conclusion 

Dogs need healthy food to keep them going and healthy. As it has been said before, a happy dog makes a happy owner. However, when it comes to supplementing their diet, there is a lot you can do to help your canine friend. Many brands sell dog supplements that you can easily buy. Make sure you consult your dog’s pet before you administer any supplement to keep everyone healthy and happy.

 

Author Bio

Emily Harrinson is one of the most influential editors of a big company in London. She has been working in this company since 2006. Her main hobby is reading books. Also, if you are asking yourself how do I pay someone to do my assignment, Emily can help. She is an excellent contributor to essay writing websites. She is fond of sports and music and loves being very positive always.

 

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Despite Targets, Food Manufacturers Fail to Make Healthier Foods

  • A study investigated how the nutritional value of products from the top 10 global food and drink companies changed in response to voluntary reformulation policies in the United Kingdom.
  • The results suggest that although these targets did not significantly affect products’ nutritional values, a soft drink industry levy was successful in reducing the sugar content in drinks.
  • The researchers say that further policy action is necessary to incentivize companies to change product composition to improve public health.

Poor diets, including those that incorporate foods high in calories, sugar, and salt, are a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseaseTrusted SourcecancerTrusted Source, and general mortalityTrusted Source.

In 2019, a study found that poor diets account for 18.2% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes costs in the United States, which equates to $50.4 billion.

In recent years, Public Health England (PHE) has published a series of voluntary reformulation targets to encourage manufacturers to improve the nutritional values of their food. These included reduction targets for caloriessugar, and salt.

There has been little research on how reformulation targets influence the nutritional values of products by individual companies. Monitoring this could help policymakers develop better ways to improve public health.

Scientists from the University of Oxford in the U.K. recently conducted a study investigating how the nutritional value of products from the top 10 global food and drinks companies changed in response to voluntary reformulation targets in the U.K.

“Our study shows it is possible to monitor the overall healthiness of company product portfolios and chart changes over time,” says Dr. Lauren Bandy of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health.

“We saw little evidence that the recommended current targets have made a significant difference, and we believe that without more policy action and a transparent monitoring and evaluation system, it is unlikely there will be meaningful change.”

The researchers published their findings in PLOS ONETrusted Source.

Data analysis

The scientists used Euromonitor International to identify the 10 largest food and soft drink manufacturers and examine the sales data for their brands and products between 2015 and 2018.

Altogether, these companies accounted for 24% of the £71.3 billion in sales generated in the U.K. in 2018. They included names such as Coca-Cola, Mondelez International, and Premier Foods.

The researchers also used Edge by Ascential, a private analytics company, to collect nutrition data on all brands that the companies sold between 2015 and 2018.

They then applied a nutrient profile model — which the Food Standards Agency developed for the Office for Communications (Ofcom) — to each product to rate their healthiness.

The team awarded the products points based on their energy, saturated fat, total sugar, sodium level, fiber, and protein, as well as their fruit, nut, and vegetable (FNV) contents.

Between 2015 and 2018, the number of products that the companies manufactured decreased slightly from 3,471 to 3,273.

The researchers also noted a small increase in the proportion of healthy products that the companies offered. In 2015, 46% of products met the criteria for a healthy classification, compared with 48% of products in 2018.

They also found an increase in the proportion of healthy sales from 44% in 2015 to 51% in 2018. However, this change was largely due to an increase in sales of bottled water, low or no-calorie drinks, and fruit juice.

Overall, the researchers found that voluntary reformulation targets led to no significant changes in product nutritional values among the top 10 food and drink companies between 2015 and 2018.

They also found that the average nutritional values of these products collectively fell below the Ofcom threshold for broadcast advertising.

Sugar levy for soft drinks

To explain their results, the researchers say that the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) in 2018 likely drove the small increase in more healthy soft drink sales.

The SDIL works by charging companies for excess sugarTrusted Source in their drinks. There is a tax of £0.24 per liter on drinks with 8 grams (g) or more of sugar per 100 milliliters (ml), with a lower tax of £0.18 for those with 5–8 g per 100 ml, and no tax for those with less than 5 g per 100 ml.

“When you compare the lack of overall change, we saw in foods with the reductions we saw in the sugar content of soft drinks, it would be easy to draw the line between the voluntary nature of the food reformulation targets and the mandatory and fiscal nature of the soft drinks tax,” Dr. Bandy recently told Medical News Today.

“Other than for acting in a responsible way and to enable consumers to eat more healthily, manufacturers have little incentive to reformulate their products to meet the reformulation targets set out by PHE,” she continued.

The researchers conclude that transparent monitoring and evaluation of food nutritional values could make it easier for policymakers to work with companies to improve public health.

Assessing the healthiness of UK food companies’ product portfolios using food sales and nutrient composition data

Lauren Kate Bandy, Sven Hollowell, Richard Harrington, Peter Scarborough, Susan Jebb, Mike Rayner

Published: August 4, 2021    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0254833

Abstract

Background

The provision and over-consumption of foods high in energy, saturated fat, free sugars or salt are important risk factors for poor diet and ill-health. In the UK, policies seek to drive improvement through voluntary reformulation of single nutrients in key food groups. There has been little consideration of the overall progress by individual companies. This study assesses recent changes in the nutrient profile of brands and products sold by the top 10 food and beverage companies in the UK.

Methods

The FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model was applied to the nutrient composition data for all products manufactured by the top 10 food and beverage companies and weighted by volume sales. The mean nutrient profiling score, on a scale of 1–100 with thresholds for healthy products being 62 for foods and 68 for drinks, was used to rank companies and food categories between 2015 and 2018, and to calculate the proportion of individual products and sales that are considered by the UK Government to be healthy.

Results

Between 2015 and 2018 there was little change in the sales-weighted nutrient profiling score of the top 10 companies (49 to 51; p = 0.28) or the proportion of products classified as healthy (46% to 48%; p = 0.23). Of the top five brands sold by each of the ten companies, only six brands among ten companies improved their nutrient profiling score by 20% or more. The proportion of total volume sales classified as healthy increased from 44% to 51% (p = 0.07) driven by an increase in the volume sales of bottled water, low/no calorie carbonates and juices, but after removing soft drinks, the proportion of foods classified as healthy decreased from 7% to 6% (p = 33).

Conclusions

The UK voluntary reformulation policies, setting targets for reductions in calories, sugar and salt, do not appear to have led to significant changes in the nutritional quality of foods, though there has been progress in soft drinks where the soft drink industry levy also applies. Further policy action is needed to incentivise companies to make more substantive changes in product composition to support consumers to achieve a healthier diet.

Citation: Bandy LK, Hollowell S, Harrington R, Scarborough P, Jebb S, Rayner M (2021) Assessing the healthiness of UK food companies’ product portfolios using food sales and nutrient composition data. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0254833. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833

 Editor: Jane Anne Scott, Curtin University, AUSTRALIA

Received: January 21, 2021; Accepted: July 4, 2021; Published: August 4, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Bandy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

 

Data Availability: This study used data from two commercial sources. The sales data was accessed under licence from Euromonitor International (https://www.euromonitor.com/packaged-food) via the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, using Euromonitor’s database portal Passport GMID. The product information dataset, including nutrition composition data, was purchased for the purpose of the lead author’s DPhil research project from Edge by Ascential (https://www.ascentialedge.com/our-solutions). Due to licencing restrictions, the Euromonitor and Edge by Ascential datasets can only be requested under licence for the purpose of verification and replication of study’s findings via the research group’s Data Access Committee (contact: Trisha Gordon foodDBaccess@ndph.ox.ac.uk). Further use of these datasets must be negotiated with the data owners (Euromonitor contact: Ashton Moses – passport.support@euromonitor.com, Edge by Ascential contact: David Beech – info@ascentialedge.com). The authors received no special privileges in accessing the data.

 

Funding: LB, SH and MR are funded by the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford. PS is funded by a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship (FS/15/34/31656). All authors are part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). SJ is also funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Oxford at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and is an NIHR senior investigator. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Introduction

The provision and consumption of foods high in energy, saturated fat, free sugars or salt is an important marker of poor diet and associated with substantial morbidity [1]. To support improvements in public health nutrition, Public Health England (PHE) published a series of voluntary, category-specific reformulation targets for calories, sugar and salt [24] to encourage manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of everyday products. Progress has been monitored by measuring change in the levels of individual nutrients and does not include a more holistic view of how the nutritional quality of products has changed overall.

The food industry in the UK is powerful and consolidated; in 2018, the retail value sales of packaged food and soft drinks products was £71.3 billion, with the 10 largest companies accounting for nearly a quarter (24%) of the total [5]. In order for PHE’s voluntary reformulation targets to be successful in improving quality of the UK population’s diet, food manufacturers–especially the largest companies whose products dominate the market—must make changes across a range of products. So far, PHE has focused on changes in specific food groups and has published only limited company-level analysis, but progress by company is vital to understanding the industry response to the targets.

Nutrient profiling is “the science of classifying and ranking foods according to their nutritional composition for reasons related to preventing disease and promoting health” [6]. Nutrient profiling generally involves the application of a model that classifies or ranks foods based on their overall nutrition composition, rather than looking at individual nutrients in isolation. It has multiple purposes, including supporting health-related labelling schemes and restricting the marketing of foods to children [7]. The UK Government’s current nutrient profile model was developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to provide the Office for Communications (Ofcom) with a tool to differentiate between foods that can and cannot be advertised to children, based on their nutrition composition [8].

The aim of this study was to assess how the nutritional quality of products offered by the top 10 global food and drink companies has changed over time by applying the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profiling model to a composition database, and weighting it using product sales data.

Methods

Data types and sources

Volume sales data was sourced from Euromonitor and accessed through the Oxford University Library. The top 10 UK food and soft drink manufacturers and their brands were identified based on global company names using 2018 sales data from Euromonitor [5]. A company is defined by Euromonitor as: “the legal entity that produces or distributes an individual or group of brands in the UK”. All of the brands manufactured by these companies between 2015 and 2018 were identified, including those that dropped in or out of the market. Brands were defined as a set of products that have the same generic name and are manufactured by one company.

The composition data were provided by Edge by Ascential (previously Brand View), a private analytics company that collects product information, including nutrient composition data, by scraping the websites of the UK’s three leading retailers: Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. These data were scraped from these three websites on the same date (13th December) for four consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018). The sales data and nutrition composition data were automatically matched in Python based on three identifier variables that were present in both databases: brand name, category and year. A 10% random sample of brands was checked manually for any errors. Of the 20 brands checked, 4 brands were identified as pairing with the correct brand name but incorrect category. All 4 of these errors were brands that appeared in more than one category (e.g. Cadbury is present in five categories, including baked goods and confectionery). The matching code was adjusted so that it first paired based on matching categories, and then brand names, and no errors were identified after further checks.

Applying the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model

The FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model was applied to the individual product composition data. The appropriate points were awarded based on each product’s energy, saturated fat, total sugar and sodium content (“A-points”) and fibre, protein and fruit, nut and vegetable (FNV) content (“C-points”) per 100g, as set out by FSA/Ofcom’s technical guidance [9]. This system was developed for the purposes of restricting advertising of food to children, but here we have used it to classify products as healthy and unhealthy. A food is classified as ‘less healthy’ if it scores four points or more. A drink is classified as ‘less healthy’ if it scores 1 point or more. For the purpose of comparing companies’ entire product portfolios, we converted the nutrient profile score to a 1–100 scale (-2(original score) +70), so that a higher score indicates healthier products. In order to directly compare drink scores with food scores, we also applied a linear adjustment to the distribution of the soft drinks scores (11x – 704, where x is the score for drinks on the 1–100 scale). The linear adjustment was selected so that the 33rd percentile and 66th percentile of both foods and drinks received the same score (44 and 66, respectively). After the scale conversion and linear adjustment, the thresholds for products to be considered healthy according to the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model were 62 or more for foods and 66 or more for drinks.

If the nutrient content for a product was missing, then data was imputed by calculating a brand average for foods in the same category, and if this was not possible, an overall category average. FNV content was estimated based on the ingredients list to categorise ingredients into ‘fruit’, ‘nut’, ‘vegetable’ and ‘other’. The percentage composition of ingredients was identified if this information was provided in the ingredients list. For the products where percentage of ingredients were not given, values were imputed based on a brand and category average, or if this was not possible, a category average.

Variables calculated

The total value (£ millions) and volume of food and soft drinks (tonnes) and the sales weighted mean nutrient profiling score (referred to in figure labels as sales-weighted score) were calculated in R for each company and brand, both overall and by category. When one brand had multiple product variants, a simple mean was used. While all brands were included in the analysis, only the top five for each company (n = 50) were presented for the brand-level analyses (Fig 3) for clarity. Bubble and chewing gum and milk formulas for infants, toddlers and children were excluded.

Statistical analysis

Chi-squared tests were performed in R to test if there were any significant changes in the number of brands and products each company manufactured over time (2015–2018). ANOVA tests were used to test for differences over time in the nutrient profiling scores overall and for each company, category and brand.

Results

In 2018, the top 10 food and soft drink companies had total value sales of £17.1 billion (Table 1). The top 10 companies by value were also the largest 10 in terms of volume sales, although there is variation in the ranking between these two measures. Food company Mondelez is the largest in value terms, while Coca Cola is the largest company in volume terms.

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Table 1. Number of products, brands and total volume sales by company, 2018.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.t001

In 2018, there were 3273 individual products produced by these companies and included in the dataset under 222 different brands. Premier Foods had the largest product portfolio in 2018, with 613 individual products. Kellogg had the smallest, with 91 individual products. There was a decline in the total number of products that were manufactured by the top 10 companies over the period of analysis, from 3471 in 2015 to 3273 in 2018, a reduction of 6% (p <0.05). Seven out of ten of the companies reduced the number of products they manufacture.

Between 2015 and 2018 there was little change in the sales-weighted mean nutrient profiling score of all the products manufactured by included companies, moving from 49 to 51 (p = 0.28). The number of individual products that could be classified as healthy also remained relatively unchanged, at 46% in 2015 and 48% in 2018 (p = 0.23) There was an increase from 44% to 51% in the total volume sales classified as healthy (p = 0.07). Once soft drinks were removed, the proportion of volume sales that were classified as healthy decreased from 7% in 2015 to 6% in 2018 (p = 0.33).

The company that saw the largest increase in sales-weighted nutrient profiling score was Coca-Cola (48 to 51), although its score still remained below the FSA/Ofcom threshold (Fig 1). The company with the highest sales-weighted nutrient profiling score was Danone, with a large proportion of sales from dairy and bottled water, followed by Kraft Heinz, which has high volume sales of high-scoring pre-prepared baby foods. Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestlé and Mondelez scored poorly, with portfolios dominated by confectionery and snacks.

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Fig 1. Total sales-weighted nutrient profiling score by company and year.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g001

Baby food had the healthiest nutrient profiling score in 2018, at 72 (Fig 2) but little change over time. Spreads, confectionery and ice cream and desserts were the categories with the lowest nutrient profiling score. There was weak evidence of increases in score over time of staples, dairy, soft drinks and baked goods.

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Fig 2. Total sales-weighted nutrient profiling score by category and year.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g002

There was great heterogeneity between companies within some categories (Fig 3). For example, the company scores within the baked goods category ranged from 22 (Nestlé) to 69 (Premier Foods). In contrast, there was less variation within savoury snacks (39–52) and confectionery (26–42). Coca-Cola was the least diverse company producing only soft drinks, while Mondelez and Nestlé were the most diverse, with their portfolios containing products from six categories.

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Fig 3. Sales-weighted nutrient profiling score by company and category, 2018.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g003

Of the five top-selling brands of each company, there were increases in the sales-weighted nutrient profiling score over time for Fanta (Coca-Cola), Volvic (Danone), San Pellegrino (Nestlé), Coco-Pops (Kellogg), Maltesers (Mars) and Angel Delight (Premier Foods) (Fig 4). Only Special K (Kellogg) saw its score cross the Ofcom threshold, up from 58 in 2015 to 62 in 2018 (+7%, p = 0.10). The largest increases were seen in soft drink brands San Pellegrino (+88%, p<0.01), Fanta (+28%, p<0.01) and Volvic (+26%, p<0.01) due to reductions in sugar and energy content. Tropicana (PepsiCo) saw a significant decrease in its score (-14%, p<0.01) due to a reduction in the proportion of sales of reduced sugar products, where the number of different products decreased over time. Coco-Pops (Kellogg) improved its score with an increase of 27% (p<0.01) due to a reduction in sugar, energy and salt. There was no strong evidence for changes in the scores of the top 5 brands for Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, PepsiCo and Unilever.

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Fig 4. Sales-weighted nutrient profiling score for top 5 brands by company 2015–2018.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254833.g004

Discussion

Between 2015 and 2018, there was no evidence of change in the overall mean sales weighted nutrient profiling score of products sold by the top 10 food and drink companies in the UK. This mean score remained well below the Ofcom threshold for broadcast advertising. There was only one company (Kellogg’s) where there was weak evidence for improvement in its overall company score due to reductions in sugar and salt in two of its leading brands (Coco-Pops and Special K). There was a very small increase in the number of products classified as healthy (46% in 2015 to 47% in 2018) but a greater increase in the proportion of sales that were classified as healthy (44% in 2015 to 51% in 2018). This was largely attributable to a reduction in the sugar content of some soft drink products and an increase in the volume sales of healthy beverages (bottled water, low/no calorie drinks and fruit juices), changes likely driven by the introduction of the Soft Drink Industry Levy in 2018 [10,11]. Once soft drinks were removed, the proportion of healthy sales fell to 6% in 2018, down from 7% in 2015. This suggests that despite PHE’s reformulation targets for calories, sugar and salt, there has been no improvement in the nutritional quality of foods that people are buying.

Strengths and limitations

By pairing composition data with sales data and applying a nutrient profile model, both the relative healthiness of individual foods and drinks available, and the relative healthiness of what is sold have been assessed, and how this has changed over time. This gives an idea of how companies are responding to voluntary reformulation targets to improve the nutritional quality of their products overall, rather than in relation to a single nutrient.

Only 10 companies, based on global company name, were included in the analysis, which represented 24% of total value sales in the UK in 2018 [5]. These companies were selected based on their value sales, although they are also the top 10 companies in terms of volume sales. By selecting companies based on their global, rather than national, names, UK retailers were excluded from the analysis. This is a major limitation given that own-label brands from the top 3 UK retailers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda) represented a total market share of 21% in 2018 [5]. While this study sets out a useful and important method for ranking companies in terms of healthiness of product portfolios, future studies should include retailers and a wider range of companies. This would give a more comprehensive picture of how food and drink companies and retailers in the UK are changing their products to meet public health targets. There are a number of data-driven limitations. The first is in relation to missing and imputed data. The values for seven nutrients (energy, saturated fat, total sugars, sodium, fibre, protein and FNV content) are needed to calculate the FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile score of a product. 32% of the 13,371 products included in this study had missing values for fibre, and 67% products had insufficient ingredients information and composition detail to be able to calculate %FNV accurately. There was no difference in the proportion of missing values over time. Missing values were imputed with either a category and/or brand average. The high proportion of missing/imputed fibre and FNV was to be expected as the labelling of fibre on foods is not mandatory (unlike other macronutrients) [12] and the percentages for individual ingredients (i.e. FNV ingredients) only have to be stated when the product title includes an ingredient name, or when a claim about the amount of an ingredient has been made on the label [13].

To test what impact the imputed fibre data had on the results, a sensitivity analysis was conducted. 31% (n = 4186) of all products in the original dataset had imputed fibre values, and these were evenly distributed across the four years. For our sensitivity analysis, we adjusted the fibre content for these products to 0.0g/100g, with the FSA/Ofcom points awarded for fibre also then given 0, the lowest score possible. The number of products that were classified as healthy fell from 47% to 46% in 2018, and there were negligible changes in the total sales-weighted nutrient profiling score for 2018, which fell from 51 to 50.

For fruit, nut and vegetable (FNV) content, 8896 (67%) of included products had imputed values, although three-quarters of these (n = 6624) fell into categories that you would not expect to contain enough FNV to score one point: baked goods, confectionery, dairy, ice cream, savoury snacks, soft drinks, spreads and staples. To test what impact the imputed FNV data may have had on the results, the remaining 2272 products (baby food, breakfast cereals, ready meals, and sauces, dressings and condiments) had their %FNV adjusted to 0%. After this adjustment, 25% (n = 564) of the 2272 products saw a change in their final Ofcom score. The overall proportion of products classified as healthy in 2018 fell from 47% to 46%. The results were the same as those found with the fibre sensitivity analysis, with a similar group of products being affected by the lack of fibre and FNV values. These results suggest that while the missing fibre and FNV values is a weakness in the dataset, the interpretation of the data was unchanged, and it has not affected the overall results.

Data restrictions meant that time period covered changes between 2015 and 2018. Previous reformulation efforts made before 2015, for example as part of the salt reduction programme that began in 2006, will have been excluded. Using a wider historic time period may show that some companies who started reformulation efforts promptly have made more signficant changes than recorded here. Applying this method to datasets in multiple countries may offer insight into how companies are responding in countries with varying public health nutrition policies, for example voluntary reformulation targets in the UK compared to taxes on energy dense foods in Mexico [14] and mandatory warning labels in Chile [15].

The FSA/Ofcom nutrient profile model was used because it is designed for and used in the UK market and has been widely validated in terms of how its use may impact on dietary choices [16]. However, its original purpose was for the assessment of whether or not a product should be advertised to children, rather than to assess the nutritonal quality of a company’s product portfolio and classifying products as healthy and unhealthy, as it was used here. It would be possible to conduct similar analyses using other nutrient profiling models such as Health Star Rating [17] and Nutri Score [18], though since all rely on changes in the underlying nutrient composition differences between scoring systems are likley to be modest.

We combined the distributions of food and drink products by using a linear transformation that matched the distributions at two points–the 33rd and 66th percentile. The selection of the two matching points was arbitrary. Matching at different points (e.g. the 25th and 75th percentiles) would have produced a different linear transformation and hence different scores for drinks. This is an inevitable limitation associated with combining scores for companies with both food and drink profiles.

Comparisons with other studies.

There are a number of studies that have examined the nutrient content of foods sold in the UK over time. Previous studies have shown that voluntary salt reduction targets in the UK led to gradual and important changes in the salt content of foods between 2008–2011 [19,20], although a more recent report from Public Health England (PHE) suggests that only 28 of 52 of the 2017 salt reduction targets had been met in 2018 [4]. Two studies have shown that there were significant changes in the sugar content of soft drinks in the UK in context of the introduction of the Soft Drink Industry Levy [10,11]. The changes in the sugar content of soft drinks presented in these studies is in line with the results presented here, where the majority of the change in the volume sales of foods classified as healthy was driven by changes in the sugar content of soft drinks. Another study has also looked at the sugar content of foods between 2015 and 2018 and also presented findings by category and company [21].This study showed that 24 out of the top 50 companies (including retailers) in the UK had met Public Health England’s 5% sugar reduction targets, and that companies have made limited progress towards meeting this voluntary policy. Public Health England have themselves published a series of reports that monitor progress being made towards their 20% sugar reduction targets using both sales and composition data [3]. For example, they have shown that there was a -2.9% reduction in the sugar content of foods between 2015 and 2018 [3]. A strength of our study is that it applies a nutrient profiling model, whereas these analyses are based on single nutrients and are therefore not directly comparable. However, they generally show that there has been mixed progress by the food industry towards public health goals.

INFORMAS (International Network on Food and Obesity/NCD Research, Monitoring and Action Support) have produced a series of company scorecards that rank the world’s top 25 food companies, including supermarkets and quick-service restaurants, in a number of different areas, including product formulation [22]. While the scores are not based on quantitative analysis of the nutritional quality of companies’ products, they are based on business practices and companies’ commitments to nutrition-related policies, which is also important for monitoring food industry progress towards public health goals.

In 2019, the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) published its UK Product Profile [23]. It analysed the nutritional quality of 3069 products from the top five food categories of the world’s top 18 manufacturers in 2016. The ATNI study also applied the HSR nutrient profiling model. Nine companies (excluding Premier Foods, a UK-only company) included here were also included in the ATNI index. ATNI found that 31% of products were classified as healthy enough to advertise to children, compared to 45% in 2016 here. 22% of sales were classified as healthy, as opposed to 55% in this study. These differences are likely to be accounted for by the fact that ATNI had a lower coverage (this study included 3438 products for 10 companies in 2016, compared to 3069 products for 18 companies for ATNI). The main advantage of this study over ATNI’s UK Product Profile is that it includes four years’ worth of data and therefore examines trends over time, whereas ATNI’s study is a snapshot of a single year. The two studies are not directly comparable as the ATNI companies were defined at the global level, rather than UK level, and therefore the brands included under each company vary. However, the general ranking of the companies were similar between the two studies; Kraft Heinz and Danone were the two top scoring companies, and Nestlé, Mars and Mondelez were ranked at the bottom.

Another study similar to this one, conducted in India by Jones et al. 2017, used Euromonitor sales data and nutrition composition data for 943 products, collected from either the packet or company websites [24]. It applied the Health Star Rating (HSR) to analyse the nutritional quality of the top 11 packaged food manufacturers in India. The study found that the overall healthiness of products was low and that only 17% of products were considered healthy [24]. This is lower than the 45% of products classified as healthy in this study in 2016. These differences are to be expected as the Indian study excluded products like staples (bread, pasta, rice), and used a different nutrient profiling model (HSR). Despite covering a very different market, it demonstrates that a high proportion of products sold by leading companies in other countries are also unhealthy, and that this problem is not isolated to the UK.

Implications of research

This study shines a spotlight on the very small changes over time in the nutritional quality of food and drink products from the UKs largest food and beverage companies. While the proportion of volume sales increased from 44% to 53% over time, this change was entirely down to increased volume sales of bottled water, low/no calorie drinks and high-scoring fruit juices. The brands that saw the biggest changes to their scores over time were soft drinks. Once soft drinks were removed, the total volume sales of foods classified as healthy dropped to just 6% in 2018, down from 7% in 2015. This strongly suggests that PHE’s reformulation targets for sugar, salt and calories have not had a substantive impact on the nutritional quality of foods.

This method of ranking food and drink companies based on the nutritional quality of their product portfolios could be used to benchmark companies as a tool for ‘healthier’ impact investment. There is an increasing interest by investment banks and other financial organisations to assess what impact food companies are having on public health and how responsible their business practices are (known as impact investment) [25]. This has already been done in part by ATNI in collaboration with Shared Action [26] and INFORMAS [22].

Transparent monitoring of this kind also allows for greater consumer understanding of the work that is, or is not, being undertaken by companies. There is some evidence that pressure from the social environment is a factor influencing corporate behaviour [27], and public benchmarking exercises may increase pressure on companies to make meaningful change.

Conclusion

This study has demonstrated that it is feasible to monitor overall healthiness of company product portfolios over time. It shows that companies have made little change to the nutritional quality of their product portfolios, despite a few individual brand success stories, a factor which needs to be considered by policy makers when reviewing the current focus on single-nutrient reformulation programmes. Implementing a transparent monitoring and evaluation system such as this, would allow for targeted work with the companies to drive improvements in public health nutrition.

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The Truth About Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a rich creamy dish that consists of macaroni pasta mixed with a cheese sauce. It is mainly consumed in the United States and Canada. It’s high in calories because it’s made from cheese, pasta, butter, and cream. While calorie content varies depending on the ingredients, brands, and serving size, mac and cheese is a delicious meal that many people around the world enjoy. Individuals who want to promote their health and wellbeing can make a few swaps to reduce the calories of this dish. In this article, we are going to share a few facts about mac and cheese and how you can create a healthier recipe. Let’s get started!

Nutrition info about mac and cheese

As we said earlier, the calorie content of this delicious dish varies depending on the ingredients, brand, and consumed quantity. Mac and cheese contain a huge amount of refined carbs and fat which contribute to the high count of calories. Consuming more calories than you burn naturally leads to weight gain regardless of the type of food you consume.

Further, mac and cheese contain high sodium content. Research studies have shown that the recommended amount of sodium that people should take should not exceed 2300 mg per day. Excessive intake of sodium can lead to high blood pressure.

Homemade mac and cheese – both gluten-free and regular – have the highest number of calories since these versions usually contain huge amounts of milk, cheese butter, or cheese and cream. Preparing this dish at home allows you to omit sodium.

Since this dish is usually high in calories, you should consume it in moderation or occasionally to maintain your health and manage weight.

Reducing calorie count of mac and cheese

Mac and cheese usually contain high-calorie ingredients such as cheese, pasta, milk, and cream. Some versions which contain additional fat include cream cheese and butter. These ingredients make mac and cheese a delicious dish to consume in moderation. Fortunately, there are simple ways that you can use to reduce calories and make your dish healthier. To have time to prepare a nutritious dish, you should consider delegating your writing and editing tasks to assignment help website. Some of the swaps that you should consider include:

  • Using high fiber pasta and protein from chickpeas and beans instead of plain macaroni to increase fiber and protein
  • Using broccoli or cauliflower instead of plain macaroni to reduce calories and carbs
  • Following the directions on packaged mac and cheese products since they require less milk and butter.
  • Adding vegetables to your dish to increase nutrients and fiber while decreasing calories in each serving
  • Reducing the amount of cheese that you normally use by half and adding spices and herbs to add flavor to the dish
  • Swapping milk and cream for unsweetened nut milk to reduce calories
  • Going for Neufchatel cheese instead of the creamy one to enjoy the tangy flavor, and creamy texture with fewer calories
  • Adding lean proteins like beans, tuna, and chicken breast to increase protein levels and make the dish more satisfying

Keep in mind that mac and cheese are loaded with calories. Therefore, however you prepare it, it’s important to consume it in moderation to avoid serious health conditions in the future. now, let’s discuss these swaps that you need to make in detail.

Swaps to make mac and cheese healthier

There’s nothing as delicious and comforting as consuming a bowl of mac and cheese after a long day at work. Most people would love consuming this dish several times a week. However, it’s loaded with milk, butter, cream, macaroni, and cheese. And these ingredients are loaded with calories. However, by making a few swaps, you can add minerals, and essential vitamins while eliminating heavier elements for a nutritious dish that will nourish your soul.

1. Always go for homemade

The packets of boxed mac and cheese in some organizations have been found by CDC to contain chemicals known as phthalates which disrupt hormones in the body. Anyway, preparing your mac and cheese at home is usually a tastier and healthier alternative.

Add leafy greens for more nutrients

Leafy greens contain a lot of beneficial nutrients which the body needs. Greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamin A, C, E, and K as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Plus, leafy greens will protect you from a wide range of deadly diseases by strengthening your immune system.

2. Whole wheat is better than pasta

Whole wheat pasta or whole grain offers a wider range of minerals and vitamins than white pasta. According to nutritional experts, a cup of wheat pasta contains 23 percent of fiber while white pasta only has nine percent. Whole wheat pasta contains 16 percent of fiber.

3. Legume-based pasta

If you’ve never added legume-based pasta to your mac and cheese, now is the time to do so. You should consider adding them to your ingredients because they have more flavor than the traditional pasta and you’ll find gluten-free options. Legume pasta offers more fiber compared to regular pasta. Plus, it has fewer carbs by 33 percent. Some varieties offer close to 50 percent of the recommended protein amount.

4. Throw in some chopped veggies

Mac and cheese is one of the best dishes to add vegetables. You can throw in carrots, broccoli, peas, onions, and mushrooms to name a few. You can add one or different types of vegetables to spice up your dish whilst managing your weight.

5. Include lean protein

Since macaroni and cheese complements different types of vegetables, it is also delicious when you add different types of proteins. From roasted turkey to grilled tofu, most protein varieties will be delicious on top of your mac and cheese. Protein is essential in the body for repairing and building tissues.

6. Use other milk alternatives

Macaroni and cheese are usually accompanied with a cheesy sauce that usually calls for cream or milk for a smooth tasty finish. You should try replacing cream or milk with other nutritious alternatives such as coconut, rice, soy, almond, and flax milk. These alternatives are low in protein and calories. And they are rich in calcium.

Conclusion

These are the truths about mac and cheese. If you love this tasty dish, there are a few changes that you can do to make it tastier and nutritious. What changes are you going to try out today?

Author Bio:

Sherri Carrier is a professional writer at Essaymama and a member of several writing clubs in New York. She has been writing her own poems since she was a child. The young author gets inspiration from her favorite writers and people whom she loves.

 

About NutriFusion® 

Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.

Studies have shown that supplementation with extracts from fruits and vegetables may improve age-related changes.

NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and/or vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.

Learn why natural plant-based vitamins work and why synthetics do not!

synthetic vitamins not as good as food based vitamins

There is a trend in taking dietary supplements. People take supplements to make up for the nutrients not gained due to a poor diet or a vegetarian lifestyle. People also take diet pills when they don’t like eating, or they are undergoing a diet.  Dietary supplements are synthetic products that are taken to supplement people’s diet. It can come in a pill, chewable gum, energy bar, tablet, capsule, or liquid.

Many people in the United States favor using diet pills to get synthetic nutrients. The type of synthetic nutrient most targeted by Americans is vitamins. However, there is a raging debate in scientific quarters about the effectiveness of these synthetic vitamins. In this post, we would be collaborating with health researchers at best uk essay writing service on the difference between natural vitamins and synthetic vitamins.

Benefits of Vitamins

Vitamins are nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally. These vitamins are derived from food or supplements as the body cannot produce them on its own. However, they have many benefits for the body, and we have examined some of these benefits below.

  • Vitamin A helps with improving the eyes vision
  • Vitamin B1 contributes immensely in helping us gain energy as it breaks down blood sugar.
  • Vitamin B2 helps to break down food and also aids the growth of body cells.
  • Vitamin B3 ensures that the body’s cells work correctly
  • Vitamin B5 aids the production of hormones for the body and contributes to the energy-making process of the body
  • Vitamin B6 helps the body form red blood cells as tested by assignment helper online research enthusiasts.
  • Vitamin B7 helps to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It also boosts the growth of hair, nails, and skin.
  • Vitamin B9 helps in the development of DNA and RNA
  • Vitamin B12 helps create a sound nervous system
  • Vitamin C helps the body create collagen. Also, it helps heal the body’s wound and contributes to the formation of the bone. In addition, it improves the functions of blood vessels, boosts immunity, and helps in iron absorption. Furthermore, it performs the functions of an antioxidant
  • Vitamin D helps to strengthen the bone
  • Vitamin E reduces stress and improves immunity
  • Vitamin K helps the blood to clot.
Meaning of Natural and Synthetic Vitamins

Natural vitamins are nutrients that the body needs to function optimally. Natural vitamins are derived from food sources, while synthetic vitamins are derived from artificial sources. These artificial sources can be drinks, energy bars, pills chewing gum, capsules, etc. Note that synthetic vitamins are different from supplements that are derived from dried food. However, the goal of synthetic vitamins is to copy the functions of natural vitamins in the body. This is poorly done.

Are there Differences Between Natural and Synthetic vitamins

fruit powder veggie powder nutrifusion whole food nutrition

The main difference has to be the difference between the way these vitamins are manufactured. Natural vitamins are made in the body by consuming certain types of food, while synthetic vitamins are made through artificial means. However, chemically there is little difference between the natural vitamins found in plant or animal sources and the ones that are artificially made.

Even with the bit of difference in chemical composition, there is a vast difference in the biological reaction of our bodies to synthetic vitamins. For instance, when you eat plant-based or animal-based food, you aren’t targeting a single nutrient but will consume many nutrients that vitamins would be inclusive. There is an interplay or interaction between these nutrients, allowing your body to absorb these nutrients and use them optimally for the body.

On the other hand, synthetic vitamins contain a single type of nutrient, and studies show the body might find it hard to absorb these synthetic vitamins. Some vitamins may be easily absorbed than others. Certain studies show that the body easily absorbed natural vitamin E than artificial vitamin E. The expert scientific researchers at essay writing service uk support this study

Conflicting Reports on the Functioning and Absorption of Synthetic Vitamins

  • For Multivitamins, some reports claim that it helps in reducing heart diseases and the risk of cancer. Other words claim it doesn’t reduce heart diseases and is more likely to increase the chances of getting cancer. A five-year study on the benefits of high-dose multivitamins for the heart revealed would not improve the heart’s Furthermore, some research shows that multivitamins had positive effects on memory. However, other studies thoroughly debunked it after carrying out a 12-year study.
  • Vitamin B, on the one hand, is touted to increase brain function. But, on the other hand, such reports are described as merely speculative as vitamin B supplement doesn’t have any positive benefits for the brain.
  • Vitamin D supplements have also become subjects of great scrutiny among scientists. Natural vitamin D has excellent effects on health and immunity, but scientists disagree about if vitamin D supplements have the same effect. Also, vitamin D helps in keeping bones healthy and strong. In addition, it helps in improving brain capacity and reduces the risk of cancer. Current studies have not reached a conclusive report of vitamin D supplements have such an effect yet. However, scientists agree that when you take vitamin D supplements with calcium, you can enjoy a healthier bone structure as an adult.

This summarizes the problem with a vitamin supplement. They could be effective, but they might need to be taken alongside other supplements. So, don’t buy a supplement on your own. Always do so upon a prescription.

How to Identify If Your Vitamin Supplement is Natural or Artificial

The obvious answer to this would be to check the label. However, if you don’t know what to look for, there is no use looking at the label for hints. When you are checking the label, do the following

  • When the manufacturer writes 100% natural. Go further to check the ingredient deck whether it is indicated that the manufacturer’s natural is plant-based or synthetic
  • Find the source of food to see if any food type is mentioned. If there is a list of food, then the supplement may be natural. If there isn’t, the supplement is artificial (Remember many supplement companies “cheat” and do not disclose or misrepresent the truth.
  • When you see salt forms such as acetate, chloride, hydrochloride, etc., know the supplement is artificial as manufacturers use salt to stabilize synthetic supplement
  • When you see the letters DL before a nutrient, such supplement is synthetic.

 

bio

Emily Harrinson is one of the most influential editors who work for a London big company. She has been with this big company since 2006. Emily is also a writer who had written essays for an essay writing service uk. She has also advised a cheap coursework writing service. She loves reading books, listening to music, and playing sports. She radiates positivity.

 

NutriFusion

Natural ingredients, no complicated chemical substances, squeaky clean label, zero synthetics, and rich in antioxidants and natural nutrition- ditch those detox and quick weight-loss gimmicks and get your glow on through real food goodness.

NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for when you do not have access to fresh produce…and even when you do, to improve your vitamin intake. Sourcing only whole, non-GMO foods, NutriFusion offers consumers a concentrated micronutrient and phytonutrient-rich food ingredient blends. With a farm-to-table philosophy, NutriFusion’s proprietary process stabilizes the nutrients from perishable fruits and vegetables, allowing a longer shelf life and access to vital nutrients.

NutriFusion fruit and/or vegetable powders are for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.

NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.

The New Decade of Food Trends

The CDC Says Only 1 in 10 Adults Eat Enough Fruits or Vegetables whole30 high fiber foods

Global market research firm Mintel recently released a forecast for food trends in this new decade. This seems to be a crucial decade in which they see consumer tastes for food quickly evolving.

The Trend for More Single-Serve Portions

Single-serve meals are going to have more demand based on statistics from research firms which say that single-person households are on the rise. The US will have more than 36 million single-person households in 2019, a rise of around 80% compared to 2000 statistics. In 2060, the number of elder Americans (65 and above) will be 95 million, almost double that of the 52 million seniors today.

The Battle to Conserve Food

Consumers are becoming more aware of sustainability and waste when it comes to foodstuffs. In fact, this is an important item that many believe will be important for consumers starting this year. Consumers, for instance, are buying irregularly shaped food packages, aware that such items mean that much less food waste.

Retailers are thus studying and applying more flexible packaging systems. “Wonky” veggies and fruits will, therefore, be consumed and not thrown away during processing and packaging. Plastic is also being replaced in packaging by materials that decompose.

New Product Development Means Holistic Health

For manufacturers involved in NPD or new product development, holistic health is coming to the forefront. Consumers want products with lower fat, salt and sugar content, and also want more options on flavors. Meat alternatives are now more popular than ever. More than 30% of Americans think of themselves as flexitarians today. The future is bright when it comes to new product development over the next decade.

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