Study: Excess Body Fat Correlates to Low Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble nutrient produced the body naturally through regular exposure to the sun. Aside from sunshine, Vitamin D is also sourced from tuna, salmon, eggs, and sardines. While it is known that Vitamin D helps the body absorb Calcium effectively, recent studies suggest that it has a critical role in protecting the body against diabetes, heart failure, bone health, cancer, and respiratory tract infection.

The Link Between Vitamin D and Health

Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center and VU University Medical Center presented their findings regarding the link between Vitamin D and excess fat. The study examined the data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity involving men and women between the ages of 45 and 65. The researchers noted that the lower levels of Vitamin D are correlated with the total body fat and liver fat among men and abdominal fat among women. The research suggests that individuals who have higher amounts of abdominal fat are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency; thus they should consider getting their Vitamin D levels checked.

Americans Suffer from Low Vitamin D Levels

While Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins that the body needs, many studies noted that a large percentage of the population is deficient. In the survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 8.1% of the people in the United States suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. This equates to a gap in one out of 10 Americans. For the body to carry its natural physiological function, it is crucial to take in between 400 and 800 IU (10 to 20 micrograms) per day. Higher intake of Vitamin D will also benefit the body.

This is the reason why the Food and Drug Administration has approved the fortification of milk and other beverages with Vitamin D. In fact, fortifying milk with Vitamin D has been done since the 1930s, but it is only now that people are taking heed. While many food companies are strengthening their products with Vitamin D, there is still a challenge when it comes to introducing more of it on products.

Food Manufacturers Jumping on Vitamin D Bandwagon

The deficiency of Vitamin D among the broader American population has led to the manufacturers to create products that are infused with Vitamin D. Products that are fortified with Vitamin D should be labeled appropriately.

Vitamin D provides an off-taste to the product; thus ingredients place importance on creating custom premixes and employing the right blending techniques to avoid the lousy mouthfeel of Vitamin D. This is to ensure that milk products still taste the same, especially among children. What many food companies do not know about is GrandFusion…NutriFusion developed GrandFusion blends to concentrate naturally occurring, plant-based vitamins. GrandFusion blends include plant-based versions of Vitamin D, Vitamin D2, and Vitamin D3. The blends are so concentrated that the consumer will never taste the product when adequately blended into the product.

But with the food and beverage manufacturers advertising that their products are fortified with Vitamin D, are the consumers paying attention to the labels or not? We are still not sure, and after almost 100 years of enriching milk, we still see low vitamin D levels. Only time will tell if these new Vitamin D infused products well attract attention and grow into essential products for consumers.

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The Medical Food Trend is Growing

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Despite the advancements in medical technology, many people are now considering medical food and nutrition to treat diseases and improve health conditions.

In a survey conducted by Nielsen, 39% of American households have someone who suffers from a particular ailment. And with the aging population increasing, chronic diseases will only grow in the coming years. Traditionally, people have turned to medications to solve these problems.

According to the Nielsen’s Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, 70% of consumers worldwide and 60% of the American respondents noted that they are actively making choices for their health to avoid different conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.

What is Medical Food?

Medical food is a new concept, but it is defined as food formulated for the dietary management of diseases with distinct nutritional needs that a traditional diet cannot fulfill. Medical food should be nutritionally complete and are designed to meet the distinct nutritional requirements of particular patients.

Companies like Hormel and Nestlé are now looking into medical foods to help their consumers manage their ailments through nutrition. Manufacturers want to join the niche of medical food because of the rising trend. Food brands who are delving into medical food are looking into producing foods intended for patients suffering from obesity, lactose intolerance, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and gluten intolerance. Food companies understand that being health-conscious is one thing but using medical food is a safer way to treat chronic illness.

The Future of Medical Food

The concept of medical foods is still in its infancy stage, but many question its future. With many people suffering from chronic diseases, consumers are looking for ways on how to manage their conditions without relying too much on conventional medicine and treatments.

Medical foods will go through a lot of scrutiny than conventionally processed foods. The extra attention that medical food gets will not only be focused on its nutrition claims, but also its safety as well as marketing. Marketing is critical because brands should not sell medical foods that fail to meet its promises.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating medical foods under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act Regulations 21 CFR 101.9(j) (8). The regulations for medical foods is not yet that strict, so food companies are not required to get approval by the FDA nor undergo premarket review. Moreover, they are exempted from getting labeling requirements for its health claims. Although the regulations for medical foods are not that stringent, they will surely change as the market expands. Medical food has a bright future but will face challenges from the FDA and consumers as the industry niche grows.

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USDA Says Obese People Can Lower Infection Risk With Grapes

More than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese. This translates to 78.6 million people suffering from obesity in the country alone. Obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S. and even in developing countries. Obesity is associated with different kinds of diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension to name a few. Moreover, obese individuals also have a higher risk of developing different types of infection that can further lower their immunity.


The Benefits of Grapes for Obese People

Obesity robs people from living quality lives. But with simple lifestyle changes, overweight people may be able to improve their conditions. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that eating grapes can help people with obesity problems by decreasing harmful fats in their bloodstream that are associated with heart disease. The regular consumption of grapes can help lower the risk of infection for their overall health improvement.

But what makes grapes beneficial to the body? According to a molecular biologist, Susan Zunino from the Agricultural Research Service, grapes contains high amounts of phytochemicals. These are compounds naturally found in fruits like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  These phytochemicals have positive effects on the body such as improving the condition of the immune system in people who suffer from obesity.

Grapes are one of the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidants like vitamin C, manganese, carotenoids, resveratrol, and stilbenes. Both the seeds and skins of grapes have a high concentration of antioxidants, so eating the whole fruit is necessary for capturing all of the antioxidants.

There are a lot of pro-inflammatory molecules also known as free radicals in our bodies and eating phytochemical-rich fruits can help lower the production of such particles. These include the interleukins and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). The ability of grapes to reduce inflammatory allows the body to heal itself naturally.


Study Shows the Power of Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Hospital documentation suggests that obese people have higher chances of developing viral or bacterial infection after surgery. In fact, 35% of Americans who sought hospitalization developed some infection after their hospital stay.

The study proved that the power of grapes in treating obese patients is simply remarkable. Researchers divided the participants into two groups and gave the participants a mixture of grape powder and water while the other group received nothing but a placebo for three weeks.

Based on the blood samples obtained from the participants, those who drank the grape mixture have better blood lipid profile, inflammation markers, and immune system compared to those who have taken the placebo mixture. Consumption of grapes lowers the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is also dubbed as the bad cholesterol and is associated with heart disease. Another remarkable thing about eating grapes is that it can stimulate the production of cytokines which are proteins that help fight off the infection in the body.

While consuming fruits like grapes can lower inflammation in the body, further studies need to be conducted to understand the mechanisms behind why the consumption of grapes can have beneficial effects on patients suffering from obesity.

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The Problem with American Diets: Ultra-Processed Foods

With all the food fads rallying for healthier food, the emphasis on “natural” foods and ingredients is now more important than ever. However, the changing food trends have done little to affect the diet of the average American. 58% of the calorie intake of Americans comes from ultra-processed foods according to a study was featured in BJM Open, a medical journal.

The Average American Diet

While the government has done its best to introduce guidelines, consumers continue to choose processed snacks, frozen foods, artificially sweetened desserts, and drinks. The Centre for Disease Control conducted a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey to record the food eating patterns of Americans. The research involved tracking the food items the candidates had eaten in the last 24 hours. It was found that out of all the calories consumed by the survey-takers, three from every five calories consumed came from ultra-processed food. Almost 30% of calories came from unprocessed and partially processed foods, ingredients like oil and salt made up 2.9% of the whole, and 10% came from canned and packaged food like cheese, meat, and vegetables. The statistics suggest that the consumption of ultra-processed foods is far greater and forms a significant chunk of the average American diet.

The Link Between Sugar & Ultra-Processed Foods

A recent dietary guideline introduced by the government suggested limiting the intake of added sugar in the American diet. Ultra-processed foods contain artificial flavors, colors, aromas, and sweeteners. 14% of the overall calories in ultra-processed foods come from sugar and added sweeteners. An increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods leads to an increase in the use of sugar too. Therefore, ultra-processed foods are primarily responsible for Americans crossing the suggested 10% limit on added sugar in the diet.


The Problem With Consumer Choices

While “healthy” and “natural” foods are in popular demand, consumers’ food choices in the market don’t reflect that need. Manufacturers continue to introduce healthy alternatives of food products to appeal to the health conscious, but consumers continue to pick salty snacks and products loaded with sweeteners. Many food brands have created new profiles and products to appeal to the new health-conscious consumer. However, if the food choices continue to lean towards ultra-processed foods, have any of the new products, and new guidelines helped Americans eat more healthy and nutritious food?

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Belly Fat is More Dangerous For Heart Than Obesity

Do you consider yourself healthy? In the context of body fat most people will answer by their BMI, and if their BMI is normal, their response will be positive too. Recent research has proved that this is not the case. Even if you have a normal BMI, it doesn’t mean you are healthy and especially if you have fat residing in the middle of your body i.e. belly, it may prove more harmful than obesity.

In a 14-year long research study conducted by health scientists, it was found that men who have an average weight and BMI (body mass index) but carry fat around their bellies are twice as likely to die as compared to the obese men. The study proved that women are also affected by this harmful fat, but their numbers are slightly lower than men, i.e. women having belly fat are 32% more likely to die than their obese counterparts.

This is an alarming situation as normal BMI was considered as a standard measure for one’s health, but the recent research has proved otherwise. This leads us to the question, why is belly fat more dangerous than obesity?

Belly Fat, Not Obesity Is The Silent Killer

All fats do not behave alike. For instance, you need a layer of fat called subcutaneous fat to protect your vital organs from the external environment. The other bad kind of fat that we are talking about here is called visceral fat, and it encircles your organs. It does not just sit there; it secretes harmful toxins and chemicals that increase inflammation throughout your body. Due to its proximity to your heart, it severely affects your cardiovascular system.

Visceral fat secretes a chemical called Interleukin 6 which further increases the inflammation. Ultimately, the metabolism of your body is governed by excess body fats that affect adiponectin – a protein that regulates sugar levels and breaks down fatty acids. When the body doesn’t have enough of adiponectin, it tells the system to store more fat that leads to more and more accumulation of visceral fat and this vicious cycle continues. The body is overwhelmed with cholesterol that leads to building up of plaque in your arteries causing the arteries to clog. With the passage of time, the arteries narrow down further causing hindrance in blood transport, increasing blood pressure and ultimately leading to a fatal heart attack.

There is Hope…

Fortunately getting rid of visceral fat is very easy. The key is healthy diet complemented with exercise. A sound nutrition plan will help you to stop this toxic fat from increasing, and rigorous exercise will help you burn it. Having said that, this is the only option if you want to stay healthy because surgeries like liposuction are not an option for visceral fat. Health is a lifestyle change so get ready to set up a nutrition plan and workout. Your dedication will keep your belly trimmed and your heart happy.

Inspired by: USA Today

Focus on Nutrition and Not Weight for Health

In August of 2015, Medical News Today published a post on a study for improving your health through a focus on nutrition and not your weight. In our post, we reveal a few of the insights from the recent FASEB Journal research study.

If you are watching what you eat, working out, and still not seeing improvements in your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc., here’s some hope. A new report appearing in the August 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that inflammation induced by deficiencies in vitamins and minerals might be the culprits. In this report, researchers show that – in some people – improvement results in many of the major markers of health when nutritional deficiencies are corrected. Some even lost weight without a change in their diet or levels of activity.

“It is well known that habitual consumption of poor diets means increased risk of future disease, but clearly this is not a compelling enough reason for many to improve their eating habits,” said Bruce Ames, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, director of their Nutrition and Metabolism Center, and a professor emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. “However, a relatively easy intervention with something like the nutrient bar used in this study may help people to realize the positive impact that a diet with adequate nutrition can have in their daily lives, which may be a stronger incentive for change.”

To make their Ames and colleagues undertook three clinical trials in which adults ate two nutrient bars each day for two months. Participants acted as their own controls, meaning that changes in a wide variety of biochemical (e.g., HDL-c, LDL-c, insulin) and physical (e.g., blood pressure, weight) measurements were recorded in each individual over the two-month period. People who were overweight/obese moved in a healthier metabolic direction (e.g., improved HDL, LDL, insulin, glucose, etc.), and some lost weight by just eating small, low-calorie, nutrient bars each day for two months, without any additional requirements.

NutriFusion® Can Make a Difference

lpfvAs seen in this study, nutrition is continually being connected to a healthy lifestyle. There are so many options and ideas of what nutrition means. For us, nutrition is natural. We have created a way to help packaged food companies deliver natural, non-GMO nutrition to their customers through our proprietary blends. Our products deliver natural, complete vitamins and minerals only from whole, organic fruits and vegetables. We are excited to be a part of the food revolution solving nutrition and obesity problems all over the world.