Lowered Risk for Cardiac Diseases is Tied to a Healthy Plant-Based Diet

It may not sound surprising. Still, a US study has indicated that individuals who consume a healthy plant-based diet have a lower likelihood of developing and dying from heart-related problems.

The Study Background

Over three decades, researchers have followed 12,168 middle-aged adults and evaluated their food preferences and eating habits at various points of the study. Through the length of the study, there were a total of 5,436 contributors who died, and out of these numbers, it was shown that 1,565 of them did due to a cardiovascular problem.

As a background, the participants of the study were between the ages of 45 and 64 years old. During the beginning of the study, these participants did not have any heart problems. Further, the study also segregated the participants’ plant-based diet into four classes. One, the diet that was more unhealthy and starchy plants like processed foods and potatoes. Two, an entirely vegetarian diet. Three, a plant diet based more on green vegetables. And the fourth, an overall plant-based diet but not strictly vegetarian.

It was seen that people who adhered to diets 2 through 4 consumed less than a serving of processed food or red meat a day with an average of 4.1 to 4.8 servings of vegetables and fruits. While those on the first diet usually had 1.2 servings of processed or red meat daily with an average of 2.3 servings of fruits and veggies.

It is noted, though, that the study’s limitation is that the research relied on the participant’s capability of accurately recalling and reporting what they ate.

Key Intake from the Study Results

  • It was seen that throughout the study that those who embraced and carefully adhered to a plant-based diet were physically active, high school graduates, white, and women. And it was also seen that those who adopted the plant-based diet were less likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity. Almost all of them were non-smokers.
  • Vegetarians and those participants who incorporated more plant-based and healthy food options in their diet had a 16% lower risk of getting diagnosed with a cardiovascular problem in succeeding follow-ups.
  • On the other hand, individuals who did not eat a lot of plant-based food in their diet increased their chance by 16% of getting non-fatal strokes or heart attacks and even developing heart failure in comparison to those individuals who ate more plant-based food.
  • What’s alarming is that the study showed a diet rich in refined carbs, and animal products have a higher chance of dying from heart disease. This chance is indexed at a 32% rate while the chances of dying—from any cause—during the study were pegged between 18 to 25 percent.

A Healthy Plant-Based Diet Can Make a Difference

As the study provides more evidence pointing to plant-based food being good for your heart health, everybody is urged to add more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in their diet while lessening the consumption of processed and red meat.

Inspired by www.reuters.com

Can Skin Cancer Risk Be Reduced By Vitamin A?

Are you ready for the answer? Straight from the researcher’s findings and as published in JAMA Dermatology:

“We found an inverse association between intake of vitamin A and carotenoids and risk of cutaneous [squamous cell carcinoma], supporting the protective role of vitamin A against [squamous cell carcinoma] development. Our data further support the contention that supplemental and dietary vitamin A may be beneficial in preventing [squamous cell carcinoma].”

When written in medical terminology, it all sounds like mumbo-jumbo. Why can’t they just answer the question with a straightforward yes or no? Simple, because in a live species and constantly changing the world and environmental factors there’s a lot of things that need to be considered. Let’s take the first step to make it easy to understand.

What is Vitamin A?

It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for sustaining a variety of life processes within our body. It is crucial for skin health, reproductive health, and eye health. Although a variety of study has shown the benefits of vitamin A in keeping the skin supple and young, there is no direct evidence to support its ability to boost skin health.

When sourced from animals, vitamin A is known as retinol and is found in beef liver, turkey, chicken, and eggs. In vegetables, it is known as beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta carotene. Good plant sources of vitamin A are papaya, apricots, broccoli, pumpkin, butternut squash, kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes to name a few.

Vitamin A can also be consumed from supplements. For females, the maximum daily dose recommended is not more than 700mcg daily and for men no more than 900mcg a day.

The Link Between Skin Cancer and Vitamin A

In the US alone, there are 1 million new cases of skin cancer each year. And the most prevalent type is the squamous cell carcinoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Due to its frequency, healthcare practitioners are urged to find better ways to lower people’s risk of getting skin cancer.

The results were based on a study of 48,400 men with an average age of 54.3 years old and 75,170 women with a mean age of 50.4 years old. The study took 26 years and resulted in a total of 3,978 documented skin cancer within the study population.

Analysis of subsequent follow-up showed that individuals who had a higher vitamin A intake showed to have a decreased risk for acquiring squamous cell carcinoma or skin cancer.

Key Findings of the Study

  • Yes, the study found that individuals who had a high intake of vitamin A showed an equally lower risk for skin cancer, specifically the squamous cell carcinoma type.
  • Is the form or source of vitamin A in the diet important? Yes, the source of vitamin A matters. According to the study, in the population studied, those who got their vitamin A sources from whole food and most especially those sourced from vegetables have a lower risk for cell cancer. Thus, vitamin A sourced from vegetables are better than the ones sourced from animals. And vitamin A sourced from whole food trumps the ones from dietary supplements.

Inspired by www.medicalnewstoday.com

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Your Mainstream Guide to Vitamins and Minerals in Drinks

Drink your vitamins and minerals! Yes, I’ll repeat it for mainstream people, meaning people on the go, drinking their food has fast become the norm. But don’t let these drinks fool you because they pack a lot of punch.

Need some energy boost? Easy! Just look for drinks that have B-vitamins to keep you on the go. Are you looking to detox the body? Gulp some cold-pressed juices that are rich in Vitamins A, C, and E or simply A.C.E. Want to keep your bones strong and healthy, reach for a yogurt smoothie that has potassium, vitamin D, and calcium. Refueling and rehydrating is your choice? Then grab a drink with vitamin B12, magnesium, and potassium.

The key here is understanding your vitamins and minerals to achieve your goal better. A lot of beverage manufacturers are formulating and fortifying their drinks from fermented, brewed, to carbonated water to deliver a healthier and more promising product that is stable all through its shelf-life.

Overcoming Gaps in Nutrition with Vitamins and Minerals in Drinks

When it comes to meeting our daily nutritional needs, according to the US Dietary Guidelines, the emphasis is placed on the consumption of nutrient-dense whole food and drinks. In an ideal world where people don’t make poor food choices, eating whole foods should be enough to support optimum health. Whole foods are the key because the body can not make nutrients and minerals; instead, they have to come from food sources. These are called essential nutrients that play a vital role in daily bodily functions. Since we don’t live in an ideal world, and neither are we always making the right food decisions, obtaining these critical nutrients from fortified food and drinks helps individuals meet their daily nutritional needs.

Carefully Fortified and Crafted Beverages

Technologically challenging, crafting fortified beverages takes a lot of research and knowledge that take into consideration not only the flavors, nutrient content but also the functional nutrients like fiber and protein as well as interactions between ingredients and the overall stability of the product.

Take, for example, the fat-soluble vitamins which are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since they are soluble only in fat, it presents a challenge to add them to water-based drinks. Vitamins are organic substances and are inherently unstable as a whole. They are very sensitive to oxygen, light, and heat. Thus, processing them and adding them to a drink needs considerable knowledge.

Aside from vitamins, some minerals are used to fortify drinks. Minerals are inorganic and don’t break down quickly when processed. However, interactions between minerals are rampant, and a solid understanding is vital in its usage and fortification of drinks. Further, some minerals boost another mineral’s efficacy. Some form of the minerals are less effective, and the more effective form can be a bit costly, but the most effective form should be of paramount choice.

And lastly, lifestyles and ages of the targeted market are also important. Example, a nutritional beverage targeted for an adult athlete can be toxic to a toddler. That’s why the concept for a fortified drink should be adequately developed with a variety of factors to consider.

Inspired by www.foodbusinessnews.net

Choose GrandFusion® Real Food Vitamins & Minerals for Your Drinks

GrandFusion® fruit and vegetable powders have revolutionized the functional food and beverage marketing by enabling food processors to easily add real vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables without impacting the taste or texture of their end product. Interested in learning more about how we do it? Download our guide to Formulating Functional Foods and Beverages!creating functional foods and beverages product development food science testing

Do Consumers Know Where Almond Milk Comes From?

Sounds like a silly question but the word milk is commonly associated with cows, like cow’s milk. And herein lies the confusion.

When grocery shoppers are out and about trying to meet their grocery list, they are faced with more choices than ever. Groceries now have a variety of milk to choose from, like plant-based milk alternatives, 1% cow’s milk to whole cow’s milk or even goat milk. This huge selection can be confusing to buyers, and thus the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) put up a poll to see if buyers want their plant-based food labeled using dairy terms.

The Results

There were over 7,000 respondents to the poll and almost 75% of them communicated that they do want the plant-based substitutes to be labeled in traditional dairy terms so that it is easier for them to compare and contrast.

In an earlier version of the poll, the data showed that 40% of households in the US do consume and buy both plant-based milk and dairy-based milk. Those people who drink only cow’s milk, 78% of them chose to use the word milk when describing the plant-based version. However, others who do not consume cow’s milk preferred a more descriptive term when it comes to labeling these plant-based milk alternatives. They preferred to use words like non-dairy or dairy-free compared to milk substitute or milk alternative.

Voluntary Standards for Labeling Plant-Based Dairy

And from these polls grew the voluntary standards for labeling plant-based dairy products. It helped companies to name their products using the plant ingredient used as a base. For instance, soy milk comes from soy products; almond milk comes from almonds; coconut milk comes from coconuts, and so on.

The voluntary standards also recommend companies to use labels that include non-dairy, dairy-free, or plant-based milk. However, in current times, the more significant trend tended to take on the plant’s name like soymilk, almond milk, and the likes. But if you read further, it will contain the phrases dairy-free or its alternative in smaller font.

Some people in the plant-based community are not satisfied with the current label trends because they believe that all milk should be accurately labeled like milk from cows should be cow’s milk or milk from goats should be labeled as goat milk. This is what they deem as descriptive and accurate labeling.

The Future of Labeling Almond Milk and Other Plant-Based Milk

Traditional dairy is declining while on the other hand, plant-based dairy continues to gain traction. 2,700 dairies in the US closed last year, and the whole dairy industry lost more than a billion dollars’ worth of sales. The slowing demand brought dairy prices down and consequently, its overall sales.

Between the years of 2012 and 2017, plant-based milk grew in leaps and bounds. Although data has shown that buyers are not confused about where their bought milk come from, lawmakers have proposed the Dairy PRIDE act which bars companies from using dairy-related words to their plant-based alternatives.

Inspired by www.forbes.com

Plant-Based Beverage Companies are Fortifying with Real Vitamins From Plants

Traditional dairy milk has always been fortified with Vitamin D and even Omegas in some cases. Plant-based beverage companies are looking to GrandFusion® to fortify their products with real, plant-based vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. GrandFusion® fruit and vegetable powders are 100% dispersible and add a natural plant-based solution to vitamins in plant-based beverages. Interested in learning more? Check out our guide to creating functional foods and beverages.

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4 Nutrients That Vegans are Likely Missing in Their Diet

Common reasons why people go vegan is that they are concerned about animal welfare, trying to reduce their environmental footprint, and even wanting to be healthy. Whatever reasons why people embrace the vegan lifestyle, one thing is for sure, some of their nutrient needs may not be met adequately. And four vitamins and minerals are commonly lacking in a vegan diet, and these are:

1 – Iron

Animal meat is rich in iron and iron is the reason why our blood has that vibrant red color. Iron is essential in the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the cells all over your body. Thus, iron plays a crucial role in various bodily activities like promotion of a healthy immune system and energy production in the muscles.

Absorption of iron is also affected by various factors. Iron from plant-based food has less absorbability than from animal sources. Inclusion of vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables can help increase iron absorption from plant sources. Then there are also foods that can inhibit iron absorption like phytates, zinc, and calcium in vegetable proteins, grains, rice, and legumes.

2 – Iodine

Iodine is commonly found in seafood, and it is essential in making thyroid hormones, which play a role in the development of the central nervous system, regulation of metabolism, and for healthy growth and development. When a person is deficient in iodine, it can cause myriads of health issues like stillbirth, miscarriage, and congenital anomalies in women. It can also lead to constipation, dry skin, hair loss, facial puffiness, depression, muscular weakness, and lethargy, to name a few.

When it comes to vegan food rich in iodine, it would all depend on the iodine content of the soil where the plant was grown. So, the best way to ensure adequate iodine intake for vegans is to use iodine fortified foods like iodized salt and fortified nut or soymilks.

3 – Calcium

The most known source of calcium is cow’s milk; that’s why infants, toddlers, and school-age children are given cow’s milk to help with bone and teeth development and maintenance. Bones are the body’s reserve for calcium, which is vital in muscle movement and the continuous beating of the heart.

For vegans, eating foods fortified with calcium is the best solution to solve deficiency: calcium-fortified cereals, nut milk, and soymilk. Legumes, seeds, nuts, bean curd, and tofu are also plant-based foods that have a good content of calcium.

Another thing that vegans need to understand is that oxalic and phytic acid content in vegetables may inhibit calcium absorption and thus the need to consume more food rich in said nutrient. Foods that contain oxalic and phytic acid are soy products, some raw beans, grains, nuts, seeds, rhubarb, and spinach.

4 – Vitamin B12

Organ meats are rich in vitamin B12, and this vitamin is crucial in the creation of red blood cells. It is also essential in the production of neurotransmitters for proper brain function and the creation of myelin sheaths that insulate nerves. When a person is deficient in this vitamin impaired bladder and bowel control, visual disturbances, mood changes, memory loss, movement problems, impotence, weight loss, and bruising to name a few may occur.

Algae and some mushrooms are a naturally occurring source of vitamin B12 in the vegan diet. But now there are also vegan food sources that are fortified with vitamin B12 to ensure sufficiency in the diet.

Inspired by www.afr.com/

Vegans Need to Look Closer at Nutrient Content

While veganism and vegetarianism are growing diets, there are still some issues that people need to be aware of when consuming food this way. As we mentioned above, many plant-based foods don’t have high concentrations of the nutrients mentioned above. We created our GrandFusion® fruit and vegetable powders to help solve this problem. With our fruit and veggie powders, vegan product manufacturers can now add plant-based vitamins to their products to ensure that vegans are getting the necessary nutrients. Are you creating a new plant-based product for vegans? Download our whitepaper on how to develop functional foods and beverages with GrandFusion® fruit and veggie powders.

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E-commerce Growth is Influenced Largely by Consumer Confidence Says IRI

With trade challenges attributed to tariffs and a partial government shutdown, 2019 did not get off to a good start. Retailers are working to make the shopping experience better for all consumers. With customers becoming more comfortable with online shopping, more and more businesses are enhancing their online options for e-commerce growth.

Why People are Migrating to Online Shopping

Compared to older generations, millennials and generation X consumers are so much more trusting when it comes to online payments and orders. Vice president of Content and Thought Leadership for IRI, Joan Driggs, said: “as e-commerce becomes more of a routine, those shoppers are migrating offline efforts to save money to their online practices.” She points out how online shopping offers more variety on how to save. With coupons, easy comparison shopping, and search for more savings and deals. With the internet much more accessible, it is easier for consumers to be informed on their purchases.

For the latest 52 weeks ending Dec. 30, 2018, E-commerce sales had a 35.4% increase from the previous year, it was recorded to be $58.9 billion. This only accounted for 11% of the CPG retail sales. But e-commerce sales do account for 64% of the total growth of omnichannel. Head of IRI e-commerce, Sam Gagliardi said: “Pure-play retailers garner more than half of all online CPG purchases, but traditional brick-and-mortar retailers continue to invest and win a share of the e-commerce growth pie.” He states how these traditional retailers still have to invest in the e-commerce business in order to have a good consumer shopping experience both online and in stores.

Top-Selling Online Products

Home care products and personal care items (non-food items) seem to be the most in-demand online purchases. E-market IRI insights have found that pet food, skin care products, and vitamins are also highly demanded products in the E-commerce market. Consumers tend to purchase heavier and bulkier items online to avoid all the hassle that comes with buying it from the actual store and transporting it to their homes. It is more convenient for them to just buy these things online. But, certain products like vitamins, which are not bulky or a hassle to transport are also heavily demanded online because it is more convenient for people to search up ingredients and benefits of the vitamins.

GrandFusion as an ingredient for your CPG product or vitamins is important for e-commerce. As the experts at IRI stated, consumers are using online to better look at ingredients and sourcing. With GrandFusion, your vitamins will have a much cleaner ingredient statement and add all the functional, nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. Learn more!

creating functional foods and beverages product development food science testingIn a consumer survey, people have said that their online purchases have helped them save money by allowing them to look for lower priced alternatives. Good examples the consumers stated were lower priced beauty and personal care items. These items have a total of 29% of U.S. consumers. Within the 29%, 14% are seniors, 35% generation x, 27% baby boomers, and lastly, 45% millennials. As we can see, it is the younger generations that are driving the e-commerce market. But these same generations that are making more online purchases are also the ones that are having the most difficulty purchasing their needed groceries. Studies show that 54% of millennials and generation Xers are impulse buyers. The older generations tend to make fewer impulse purchases.

E-Commerce Growth Outlook

Gagliardi closes the article stating, “E-commerce sales will continue to climb in 2019 and beyond, with retailers increasingly investing in better ways to engage shoppers, including with improved navigation and mobile access, delivery and payment options, and endless aisle assortments.” With older generations dying off, leaving the younger generations who are used to online purchases, it is expected that the e-commerce market will continue to grow.

Inspired by www.businesswire.com

Study Shows Increase in Early Death Risk Linked to Ultra-Processed Food

Ultra-processed food may provide convenience, but it comes with more adverse effects on health than advantages. It is essential for people to think twice before consuming them every day. In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, there is an increased likelihood of early death among people who consume higher amounts of ultra-processed food.

More Adults Consume Ultra-Processed Food

Recently, the consumption of processed foods has increased drastically such that more than 29% of the total calories consumed by an average individual comes from ultra-processed food. This comes in the form of snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and desserts. The consumption of processed foods is linked to higher BMIs especially among the younger generation – the largest consumers of processed foods.

While the number of people who consume processed food is high, many consumers are becoming more health-conscious. Studies show that 91% of consumers in the United States opt to buy food and beverages that are made from ingredients that they can easily recognize. But while this is the recent trend in the consumer market, this does not mean that people avoid ultra-processed food altogether. Because of the fast-paced lives that most people live, they are easily tempted to reach for a packaged meal instead of cooking from scratch because they are pressed for time.

The study involved interviewing 44,551 French adults 45 years old and above for two years. The participants were asked to keep 24-hour dietary records for six months as well as complete questionnaires about their health. It is essential to take note that this study is the first to directly associate the consumption of ultra-processed food with early death thus it is difficult to conclude the study considering that the category of ultra-processed foods is extensive.

The Revolution Against Ultra-Processed Foods

Although this may be the case, the results from the study are aligned with what different regulatory bodies are implying about processed foods. For instance, many countries in Latin or South America noted that the consumption of highly processed foods could be dangerous to health. As a result, they enforced manufacturers to display warnings on their labels. This is especially true among food products that contain high amounts of salt, sugar, fat, and calories. Chile specifically banned TV stations from advertising unhealthy food products, especially to children while changes in the Nutrition Facts labels are ongoing by the Food and Drug Administration.

The study noted that many consumers are becoming more self-aware of their health, so food manufacturing companies should take note and make the necessary changes with their products. They should not only focus on people who are 45 years old and above but also for many young people. In a separate study conducted by the Amplify Snack Brands, 89% of the millennials say that they opt for snacks that taste good first before looking at their health benefits. The challenge here is for food companies to be able to create foods that are not only delicious but also healthy and made from natural ingredients.

Inspired by www.fooddive.com

Processed food is not going anywhere, but we can make it better for consumers. How can we do that? First thing is using recognizable ingredients that consumers love. Secondly, use NutriFusion natural vitamin and mineral blends from fruit and vegetable powders. With easy to read ingredients and dense nutritional benefits, our fruit and vegetable powders will help you create a processed food with functional benefits. Click below to download our guide to Creating Functional Foods and Beverages.

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Gen Z Eating Habits are Healthier and More Convenient

Generation Z refers to a group of people who are born from 1995 to 2010. Although they are one of the youngest demographics, they are moving the food culture in the United States. A report released by Packaged Facts noted that Gen Z eating habits are more likely to include a snack between meals compared with millennials. Moreover, they are also keen on preparing their own meals than millennials who currently live more fast-paced lives.

Gen Z eating habits have influenced the food industry by encouraging manufacturers to produce snacks that are appealing to this particular demographic.  What makes food appealing to this generation is its natural origin. In fact, many of this generation prefer food that is made from organic and natural ingredients. They also prefer food that does not contain additives such as preservatives, sugar, and many others. They are also most likely to prefer vegetarianism over other types of diets.

Health And Convenience Are Defining Factors in Gen Z Eating Habits

Because many Gen Zs are opting for healthy eating habits, more food manufacturers are producing healthy food products to meet the demands of this generation. It is also important to take note that although this generation is relatively young, their eating, as well as shopping habits, will probably not change as they age. This means that they will continue to seek products that are made from clean ingredients and come with transparent labels.

Why this generation is so obsessed with healthy living comes from the influence of their millennial and gen x parents. In a recent report in 2018 released by SPINS, they noted that this generation still prefers products that are easy, accessible, and convenient. Gen Z is in perpetual motion and surrounded by gadgets. As a generation that is adept in performing multiple tasks at one time, this has influenced their eating habits such that they prefer foods that they can easily eat but do not require too much prep time. They also prefer products that are microwavable, but they are looking for those that are organic, natural, and free from synthetic ingredients.

The Direction Of Many Food Manufacturers

The demand for healthier food products by Gen Z eating habits has led to many food companies producing healthy products. One such company is Barilla that recently introduced healthy microwavable pasta that people can take as snacks or dinner. Research Director of Packaged Facts, David Sprinkle, noted that many from this generation know the value of healthy foods but they want the convenience of easy-to-prepare foods. There are huge present opportunities for many foods and beverage manufacturers to create different preparations of packaged foods from canned soups, chips, and desserts to name a few.

The bottom line here is that many food and beverage manufacturing companies can gain a lot from developing food products that will appeal to the larger population of Gen Z eating habits. In fact, they account for at the most $143 billion in terms of direct spending.  And since they make up about 26% of the population in the United States, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Inspired by www.fooddive.com

GrandFusion fruit and vegetable powders are a food processor’s new best friend. Our highly concentrated blends deliver dense nutrient levels from fruits and vegetables without impacting the end product’s flavor or texture. Gen Z consumers love NutriFusion because of the simple ingredient statement and the added benefit of real vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables. Interested in how to build the next great functional food and beverage product? Download our guide today!creating functional foods and beverages product development food science testing