Doctors Praises New Dietary Guidelines for Strengthening Cholesterol Warnings

Doctors Applaud Lifesaving Decision Affecting Millions of Americans at Risk for Heart Disease, Obesity.

Following a nearly year-long campaign including petitions, oral testimony, billboards, and threat of legal action by the Physicians Committee, a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released this morning retain—and strengthen—recommendations for Americans to limit cholesterol consumption —a major rebuff for the purveyors of high-cholesterol food products. But the Physicians Committee is demanding an investigation into food industry financial pressures that nearly toppled cholesterol warnings.

In February 2015, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recommended dropping limits on dietary cholesterol, motivated by industry pressure, according to documents recovered by the Physicians Committee under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents revealed a money trail from the American Egg Board to universities where DGAC members were employed and persistent industry pressure to weaken cholesterol limits.

In March, Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee presented oral testimony at the National Institutes of Health, stating that “for all its good work, the Committee made a scientific error on cholesterol and to carry this glaring mistake into the Guidelines is not scientifically defensible.”

The Physicians Committee appealed to Agriculture Committee chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway in October with “Cholesterol Kills” billboards and a letter, after he convened a congressional hearing over the Agriculture Committee’s “concerns with the process of developing the Dietary Guidelines.”

On November 12, 2015, the Physicians Committee fired a shot across the bow in the form of a demand letter to DHHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, putting them on notice that it would litigate if warnings on dietary cholesterol were weakened, and the Physicians Committee followed up with a lawsuit on January 6, 2016.

However, instead of weakening the cholesterol warnings, the just-released Dietary Guidelines issued an even stronger warning about cholesterol. The Guidelines state: “As recommended by the IOM, individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible … Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials has shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of dietary cholesterol are associated with reduced risk of CVD, and moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity. … Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal foods such as egg yolk, dairy products, shellfish, meats, and poultry.”

“Cholesterol in eggs, poultry, cheese, and meat contributes to heart attacks and other health risks,” said Neal D. Barnard, MD, President of the Physicians Committee. “We praise the Government for resisting industry pressure to weaken the warnings. It has actually strengthened them.”

The new Guidelines also include details on following a Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern, including modifications for an entirely vegan eating plan.

“Although its recommendations were rejected, we still need to know how the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee could be so easily swayed by industry,” Dr. Barnard said, “but the fact that the Government has retained cholesterol warnings is heartening.”

The Guidelines were scheduled to be released in December, but were delayed at years-end until today, when they were released with cholesterol warnings intact.

Source: The Physicians Committee


New USDA Dietary Guidelines Released

Executve Summary in Charts

The Guideline

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Key Recommendation

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2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans at a Glance

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Read the whole Guideline . . . . .

Strawberry Donuts

Strawberry French Cruller with Custard and Whipped Cream

Strawberry Chocolate Ring Donut

Trends of Baked Goods in 2016

Intrinsically good

Manufacturers will be trying to improve their core goodness values. This will not be just about what can be taken out, which is a step forward, brands will be trying to put good stuff in. Many will look to change ingredients for the better to become more nutritionally sound, or evolve recipes to contain more recognisably honest ingredients, which are also better quality. As in many other categories, a premium craft angle will come into play in 2016.

On the pulse

Beans, seeds and pulses will continue to grow in relevance and appeal because of their inherent health and nutrition benefits. Protein has been a fast-evolving trend in the past 12 months but people will be looking for more natural protein formats that are also affordable and taste great.

This may include pulses, seeds and beans such as broad beans, kidney beans and fava beans – all of which are relatively cheap ingredients. In the quest to build strong natural credentials, we will see an influx of new product activity in this area in snacks, bars, cakes and biscuits.

Clean Label

Give me as few ingredients as possible – that’s a rule for 2016. Complex labels that muddle the mind rather than clarify will be rejected, especially among Millennial consumers looking for simplicity and brands they can trust. For example, Chicago-based RX Bars states everything they have in them on the front of pack; a very simple list of as few as three ingredients.

Clean will also be interpreted as being good for the individual as well as good for the planet – so sustainable, better brands will gain more traction than those that aren’t.

Free from

Preservative-free, cholesterol-free, soy-free, GMO-free, nut-free, low sodium and ‘suitable for diabetics’ are all for the taking with simple, tasty offerings at price points people can afford.

There’s also a gap for sustainable indulgence here and hedonistic all-naturals. People will pay more if they can understand and see the quality and nutritional advantages for their health, and it is becoming acceptable that convenient solutions can come at a premium.

Not so sweet

At a recent US soft drinks conference there was much talk about new sweeteners. One hot topic was creating unique blends of natural sweeteners in attempts to avoid the bitter aftertaste of some pure stevias, with talk around brewed stevia vs pure leaf stevia and the contrasting benefits of each. Monk fruit, coconut sugar and xylitol were in the mix for exploration and development in 2016 in drinks, so what for baked goods?

It is possible sweetness will be offset with more sweet and savory combos or savory versions of currently only sweet choices. Herbs and blends of seasonings rather than sweetness? US business Mediterra – which offers savory snack bars in flavors such as Bell Peppers, Olives and Sundried Tomato, Basil – seems to think so!

Portable protein

Both meat and plant-based proteins will continue to grow and we will see growth in better quality, nutrient-rich snacks and baked bars and bites made from both meat and plant alternatives. Whey has been the cheap, accessible mass appeal ingredient for some time, but hemp is showing strong progress and making inroads in all markets.

Pea protein, insect protein, sprouted grains, wheatgerm and premium nut butters will all play a role. It’s about being able to make better, satiating and adventurous-tasting food choices on the move, not just in the home.

Fiber linked to protein will make protein offers more complete and less polarized towards only the sports performance seekers, with significant growth likely to come from healthy lifestylers.

Living vibrantly

You are what you eat, and colorful, vibrant fruit and vegetable combo foods that are macro and micro-nutrient dense and powerful will come thick and fast.

Reds and greens have been heroed by beetroot and kale in the past 12 months, and 2016 is set to be about purples (purple cauliflowers and broccoli), blues (sea algae and spirulina) and yellows. Fruit and veggie snacks like You Love Veggies Carrot & Chia Seed and Spiced Beetroot leathers are right where it’s at. 

Raw and pure

Raw, gentlest processing and cold pressing are fast-evolving categories. In some markets they have already created huge growth, but in many European territories, raw and HPP/cold pressing is still embryonic.

Honesty, transparency and integrity is what’s driving this opportunity area, as consumers want to put the best and least ‘messed about with’ into their bodies. We have all witnessed the paleo diet push, but the bigger trend is about keeping food as close to how nature intended in the portions and nutritional combinations our bodies most need.


Source: Claire Nuttall

Aspirin May Decrease Death From Prostate Cancer, Study Finds

Researchers suspect drug may help prevent spread of deadly disease.

Men who take aspirin regularly may have a lower risk of dying from prostate cancer, a new study suggests.

“We found that regular aspirin intake after prostate cancer diagnosis decreased the risk of prostate cancer death by almost 40 percent,” said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Allard, a urologic oncology fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

However, he added, “It is premature to recommend aspirin for prevention of lethal prostate cancer, but men with prostate cancer who may already benefit from aspirin’s cardiovascular effects could have one more reason to consider regular aspirin use.”

The findings were presented Jan. 4 at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in San Francisco.

Since this was an observational study, no one can draw a direct cause-and-effect link between aspirin use and risk of death from prostate cancer, said Dr. Sumanta Pal, an ASCO expert and an oncologist at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.

“These studies are certainly thought-provoking, but are best followed by formal clinical trials where we compare use of aspirin to either no treatment or perhaps a placebo,” Pal said.

Still, Allard speculated that aspirin’s ability to suppress platelets in the blood — which is why aspirin can cause bleeding as a side effect — might help explain how aspirin could prevent the lethal progression of prostate cancer.

“Platelets probably shield circulating cancer cells from immune recognition,” he said. “By depleting those platelets, you’re allowing the immune system to recognize the cancer.”

Allard added that aspirin likely helps prevent the cancer from spreading to other areas of the body, such as the bone.

In the study, men without a diagnosis of prostate cancer who took more than three aspirin tablets a week had a 24 percent lower risk of getting a lethal prostate cancer. However, aspirin didn’t affect the overall likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer or even high-grade prostate cancer, Allard said.

Among men with prostate cancer, regular aspirin use after diagnosis was associated with a 39 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer. Use of aspirin before diagnosis didn’t have a measurable benefit, the researchers said.

The study included information from more than 22,000 men in the Physicians’ Health Study. The study began in 1982 to test the benefits and risks of aspirin and beta carotene in the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Nearly 3,200 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer over the almost three-decade study. Just over 400 men developed lethal prostate cancer. Lethal prostate cancer was defined as either death from prostate cancer or the spread of prostate cancer to other organs.

Allard said men thinking about taking aspirin regularly for any reason should consult their doctor to discuss individual risks and benefits.

Another study from the same meeting suggests that an experimental new blood test can be used as a “liquid biopsy.” This test can then help determine the best medicines for prostate cancer patients.

Solid tumors shed cancer cells into the bloodstream. This test uses a computer to analyze the appearance of those cells, said lead researcher Dr. Howard Scher, chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Patients with circulating cancer cells that varied widely in appearance didn’t respond well to hormone therapy, and survived for shorter lengths of time on average, the researchers said.

“It’s remarkable that a blood test could help us profile cancers in real time, gleaning insights that directly affect patient care decisions,” Pal said. “Eventually, we may be able to spare some men with prostate cancer the significant side effects of hormone therapy.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services