World-first Coke Bottle Made with Plastic from the Sea

Coca-Cola is unveiling the first ever sample bottle made using recovered and recycled marine plastics, demonstrating that, one day, even ocean debris could be used in recycled packaging for food or drinks. This sample is the first ever plastic bottle made using marine litter that has been successfully recycled and reused in food and drink packaging.

About 300 sample bottles have been produced using 25% recycled marine plastic[1], retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. A small step for now, but the technology behind it has big potential.

Recycling the unrecyclable

The marine plastic bottle has been developed to show the transformational potential of revolutionary ‘enhanced recycling’ technologies, which can recycle previously used plastics of any quality back to the high-quality needed for food or drinks packaging.

Enhanced recycling technologies use innovative processes that break down the components of plastic and strip out impurities in lower-grade recyclables so they can be rebuilt as good as new. This means that lower-grade plastics that were often destined for incineration or landfill can now be given a new life. It also means more materials are available to make recycled content, reducing the amount of virgin PET needed from fossil fuels, and resulting in a lower carbon footprint.

The sample bottle is the result of a partnership between Ioniqa Technologies, Indorama Ventures, Mares Circulares (Circular Seas) and The Coca-Cola Company. Although enhanced recycling is still in its infancy, the partners produced the sample marine plastic bottle as a proof of concept for what the technology may achieve in time.

In the immediate term, enhanced recycling will be introduced at commercial scale using waste streams from existing recyclers, including previously unrecyclable plastics and lower-quality recyclables. From 2020, Coca-Cola plans to roll out this enhanced recycled content in some of its bottles.

Working toward zero waste

Bruno van Gompel, Technical and Supply Chain Director, Coca-Cola Western Europe, says the potential for the technology is huge: “Enhanced recycling technologies are enormously exciting, not just for us but for industry and society at large. They accelerate the prospect of a closed-loop economy for plastic, which is why we are investing behind them. As these begin to scale, we will see all kinds of used plastics returned, as good as new, not just once but again and again, diverting waste streams from incineration and landfill.”

Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO of Ioniqa Technologies, the Dutch company that developed the proprietary enhanced recycling technology, says: “The impact of enhanced recycling will be felt on a global scale: by working with Coca-Cola and Indorama to produce this bottle, we aim to show what this technology can deliver. Our new plant is now operational and we are bringing this technology to scale. In doing so, we aim to eliminate the concept of single use plastic and plastic waste altogether.”

Source: Coca Cola

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Study: Most Sweetened Drinks Aimed for the Kids in the U.S. Do Not Meet Nutrition Recommendations

Kay Campbell wrote . . . . . . . . .

Fruit drinks and flavored waters that contain added sugars or low-calorie sweeteners dominated sales of drinks intended for children in 2018, making up 62% of the $2.2 billion in total children’s drink sales, according to a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

That year, companies spent $20.7 million to advertise children’s drinks with added sugars, primarily targeting kids under age 12, according to the report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In fact, children ages 2 to 11 saw more than twice as many TV ads for children’s sweetened drinks than for children’s drinks without added sweeteners.

This report follows a consensus statement released in September by health and nutrition experts that recommended that children under age 5 should not consume any drinks with added sugars or low-calorie sweeteners, and that they should consume limited amounts of 100% juice.

But common nutrition-related claims and images of fruit on packages of sugary fruit drinks and flavored waters make it difficult for parents to easily identify the healthier drinks for their children, say the authors.

“Beverage companies have said they want to be part of the solution to childhood obesity, but they continue to market sugar-sweetened children’s drinks directly to young children on TV and through packages designed to get their attention in the store,” says Jennifer L. Harris, lead author and director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. “Parents may be surprised to know that pediatricians, dentists, and other nutrition experts recommend against serving any of these drinks to children.”

Researchers assessed the top-selling brands of children’s drinks—including 34 sweetened drinks (fruit drinks, flavored waters, and drink mixes) and 33 drinks without added sweeteners (100% juice, juice-water blends, and one sparkling water)—analyzing sales, advertising spending, children’s exposure to TV advertising, nutritional content, and product packaging. Brands with at least $10 million in sales in 2018 were included.

Confusing Package Claims and Hidden Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Some companies have developed drinks that may be healthier for children, such as juice and water blends that do not contain added sweeteners, and these companies have begun to advertise them to parents and children, researchers say. But those healthier drinks, such as 100% juice, represented just 38 percent of children’s drink sales in 2018.

Study authors also say that package claims on sweetened children’s drinks, and similarities between claims on sweetened and unsweetened drinks, can confuse parents about their nutritional content.

Sugar-sweetened children’s fruit drinks typically contained just 5% juice or less, but according to the report, 80% of those packages included images of fruit and 60% claimed to have “less” or “low” sugar or “no high fructose corn syrup.”

Children’s drinks with and without added sweeteners also had similar package sizes and types, flavor names, use of fruit imagery, and front-of-package claims for products.

“You shouldn’t have to be a nutritionist to figure out whether or not a product is healthy for your child,” says Maria Romo-Palafox, study author and assistant professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Saint Louis University.

In addition, low-calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose and stevia, were found in 74% of children’s sweetened drinks, including drinks that also contained added sugars, but there was no mention of low-calorie sweeteners on the front of packages.

“The fronts of the packages make children’s drinks look healthy, but there’s no way to know which ones have added sugars or low-calorie sweeteners reading the front. You have to read the nutrition facts panel on the back and you have to know the names of low-calorie sweeteners, such as acesulfame potassium and sucralose, to realize they are in the product,” Romo-Palafox adds.

Industry, Regulators, and Legislators Can Do More

Authors say the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI)—the voluntary, industry self-regulatory program—should establish nutrition standards that conform with health expert recommendations. Specifically, drinks with added sugars or low-calorie sweeteners should not be advertised directly to children.

Beverage manufacturers should also clearly indicate that products contain added sugars and low-calorie sweeteners and the percent juice content on the front of children’s drink packages, they say.

Further, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could require that products with nutrition-related claims on packages meet minimum nutrition standards and prohibit the use of fruit and vegetable images on drink product packages that contain little or no juice.

Also within the options available to legislators, state and local taxes on sugary drinks should include children’s fruit drinks and flavored waters to raise the price and discourage purchases.

Additional key findings:

Beverage manufacturers made some progress in developing and advertising healthier drinks for children.

  • More companies sold unsweetened juice-water blends, which are healthier than sweetened children’s drinks and contain only juice and water. The majority contain less than 50 calories in one box or pouch.
  • With the exception of one sugar-sweetened children’s fruit drink, licensed characters only appeared on children’s drinks without added sweeteners (primarily 100% juice)—a significant improvement compared to 2014.
  • Kraft Heinz was the only company to advertise sugar-sweetened drinks directly to children on children’s TV, including Kool Aid Jammers and Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters.

However, companies continued to extensively promote sweetened children’s drinks, and many children’s drinks were high in sugar despite healthy-sounding claims.

  • One-third of all children’s fruit drinks contained 16 grams or more of sugar per serving—equivalent to 4 teaspoons, which is more than half of the maximum amount of added sugars experts recommend for children per day.
  • Of the 100% juice children’s drinks studied, only 4 of 13 came in appropriate sized boxes or pouches for a toddler (age 1 to 3 years). Some contained more than 6 ounces of juice, which is the maximum recommended daily amount for preschoolers (age 4 to 6 years).

Source: University of Connecticut

In Pictures: Afternoon Tea

Drinking More Sugary Beverages of Any Type May Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk

People who increase their consumption of sugary beverages—whether they contain added or naturally occurring sugar—may face moderately higher risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), like soft drinks, as well as 100% fruit juices, was associated with higher type 2 diabetes risk.

The study also found that drinking more artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) in place of sugary beverages did not appear to lessen diabetes risk. However, diabetes risk decreased when one daily serving of any type of sugary beverage was replaced with water, coffee, or tea. It is the first study to look at whether long-term changes in SSB and ASB consumption are linked with type 2 diabetes risk.

The study was published online October 3, 2019 in the journal Diabetes Care.

“The study provides further evidence demonstrating the health benefits associated with decreasing sugary beverage consumption and replacing these drinks with healthier alternatives like water, coffee, or tea,” said lead author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition.

The study looked at 22–26 years’ worth of data from more than 192,000 men and women participating in three long-term studies—the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. Researchers calculated changes in participants’ sugary beverage consumption over time from their responses to food frequency questionnaires administered every four years.

After adjusting for variables such as body mass index, other dietary changes, and lifestyle habits, the researchers found that increasing total sugary beverage intake—including both SSBs and 100% fruit juice—by more than 4 ounces per day over a four-year period was associated with 16% higher diabetes risk in the following four years. Increasing consumption of ASBs by more than 4 ounces per day over four years was linked with 18% higher diabetes risk, but the authors said the findings regarding ASBs should be interpreted with caution due to the possibility of reverse causation (individuals already at high risk for diabetes may switch from sugary beverages to diet drinks) and surveillance bias (high-risk individuals are more likely to be screened for diabetes and thus diagnosed more rapidly).

The study also found that replacing one daily serving of a sugary beverage with water, coffee, or tea—but not with an ASB—was linked with a 2–10% lower risk of diabetes.

“The study results are in line with current recommendations to replace sugary beverages with noncaloric beverages free of artificial sweeteners. Although fruit juices contain some nutrients, their consumption should be moderated,” said Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare professor of nutrition and epidemiology and senior author of the study.

Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Today’s Comic

Obesity, Drinking and Unhealthy Diet Add to Gout Risk

Lisa Rapaport wrote . . . . . . . . .

Behavior changes could potentially reduce a large part of the risk for developing gout, a U.S. study suggests.

Based on data from more than 14,000 people, researchers calculated how much factors like being overweight, following a diet that isn’t heart-healthy, drinking alcohol or taking water pills known as diuretics contribute to high levels of uric acid, known as hyperuricemia, which is a precursor to gout.

The findings “support the hypothesis that the majority of hyperuricemia and resulting gout cases could be prevented by modifying key risk factors in the U.S.,” said Dr. Hyon Choi, lead author of the study and a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“Blood uric acid levels go up when people are obese, drink too much, eat certain things, or take diuretics, which leads to the increased risk of gout,” Choi said by email. “In contrast, blood uric acid levels go down if people lose weight or change their diet or drinking habits or stop taking diuretics, which would reduce the risk of developing gout.”

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can cause severe pain and joint tenderness. Previous research has linked several modifiable risk factors to gout including: a diet with too much meat and sweets; obesity; diuretics to treat high blood pressure; and alcohol consumption.

To see how much each of these factors might contribute to the development of gout, the study team analyzed data on a nationally-representative sample of 14,624 U.S. adults who completed a series of health surveys from 1988 to 1994.

People who were overweight were 85% more likely than those with a healthy body mass index (BMI) to have hyperuricemia, while obese people were 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to have the condition, the researchers report in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

They calculated that 44% of the hyperuricemia cases were attributable to excess weight alone. They also concluded that 9% of hyperuricemia cases could be prevented by following a heart-healthy diet, 8% were attributable to alcohol use and 12% to diuretic use.

The study did not actually examine whether eliminating those risk factors prevented gout cases in a real population.

Still, the results may point patients with gout in the right direction to do what they can to ease their symptoms or reverse the condition, said Dr. Michal Melamed, a researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, who wasn’t involved in the study. There’s a lot people can do even if they’re obese or overweight and struggling to shed excess pounds.

“The take-home message is that the risk factors that they examined are modifiable – some of them are easier to modify than others, so individuals can decide what they think they are able to do,” Melamed said by email.

“Some can start with eating less red meat or drinking less alcohol,” Melamed said. “If patients are on a diuretic, they can discuss the risk of high uric acid levels with their physician and see if a different blood pressure medication may be better for them.”

Source: Reuters