Categories/Posts Top

Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

Weighty Issues for a Hefty Nation

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

More than 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese, and more than 30% of U.S. children are overweight or obese. Obesity raises the risk of several diseases (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and cancer), so it is not surprising that the estimated annual healthcare cost of obesity in the United States is nearly $200 billion. During session 081, “Are We Doing Enough About Obesity? An Interactive Discussion of Evidence-Based Weight Management Strategies,” on Tuesday, July 19, speakers discussed the causes of obesity and strategies to reverse its prevalence. Susan Raatz of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture began by stating that the mortality ratio in the United States rises with increasing body mass index. In particular, there is an increased risk of cardiometabolic mortality as body weight increases. So it is important to stem the causes of obesity. But this is not easy because the causes of obesity vary from behavior genetics (dietary preference, inclination to exercise), to metabolic factors (metabolic rate, thyroid function), to environmental factors (excessive energy intake, reduced physical activity).

Two of the biggest factors contributing to expanding waistlines are reduced physical activity and increased caloric intake. Reduced physical activity encompasses society’s tendency to drive instead of walk, take escalators instead of climbing stairs, and sit for most of the day instead of engaging in physical movement. Moreover, people’s inclination to build convenience into every aspect of their lives is putting them at risk for obesity and obesity-related disorders. “All of the things we do in our life that are time-saving and energy-saving cause our weight to increase,” Raatz said.

High-calorie intake also plays a significant role in energy imbalance. When people eat and drink more calories than they burn, over time they gain weight and become either overweight or obese. In extreme cases, people even become morbidly obese, which is defined as being more than 100 pounds over ideal weight or having a BMI of 40 or higher. Raatz said that carbohydrates frequently receive the bulk of the blame for high-energy diets. People often call high energy foods “high carb” regardless of whether the foods are really high in carbohydrates.

Another popular term used to categorize carbohydrates is the glycemic index: Foods with a high glycemic index are considered bad dietary choices. According to Ratz, the glycemic index was designed to help diabetics make better food choices; it is not an indication of a food’s nutritional value. Calories may count, but so do nutrients. Raatz therefore does not think carbohydrates contribute to weight management issues; in fact, research indicates that high-fiber diets benefit weight management. It’s more likely the fat and sugar in foods such as cookies, cake, and pastries that causes people to become overweight or obese, she said.

As bad as obesity is on adults, it can be even worse for children, but not in the same way. Melinda Sothern of Louisiana State University pointed out that in adults, the higher the fat content of the liver, the higher the level of inflammation. But in prepubescent children, excess fat in the liver is not linked to inflammation, Sothern said. And while extreme obesity limits physical mobility and causes discomfort in all demographics, it takes a greater toll on children—putting too much stress on the growth plate, causing poor bone growth and musculoskeletal health, and setting them up for a lifetime of sedentary activities. Playing outdoors, which is occurring less and less in today’s digital-obsessed society, is imperative for children as it promotes physical activity, increases bone strength, and improves mood, Sothern said. She suggests turning on the stereo instead of the television so that children can dance instead of sitting and watching television; walking together as a family after dinner; dropping media devices in a box by the door and playing outside before homework.

Sothern and Raatz both hope to see more advances in obesity research and treatment to reduce excess weight in adults and children.

The Shifting Definition of Dieting

Monday, July 13th, 2015

In one of six main stage presentations put on in its booth (#5250), Mintel’s directors of innovation and insights Lynn Dornblaser and David Jago shared with attendees data on how consumers view dieting. As Dornblaser explained, “consumers want a more natural diet today—one that is easier to adopt.” This definition of dieting goes beyond eliminating the bad to focusing on the good as well. Dieting has become much more about adopting a healthier lifestyle. In fact, 72% of U.S. adults say they diet to maintain their overall health, not just to lose weight.

A big driver behind this shift in dieting is consumers’ anxiety about the food they eat. More than half (53%) of U.S. consumers worry about potentially harmful ingredients in the food they consume. This “factory fear,” as Dornblaser calls it, has led to 59% of consumers equating fewer ingredients with a healthier product. Consumers are seeking foods that are “free from” certain ingredients they believe are unhealthy. Topping the list in the free-from claims on food and beverage products is preservative free, followed by GMO free, and lactose free.

Gluten free is another diet trend that has become increasingly popular, especially with U.S. consumers; 20% report following a gluten-free diet. Given that only around 3 million people have celiac disease, it is obvious that “celiac is not the driver of this trend,” said Jago. “The driver is the ‘lifestylers’”—the people that are cutting out gluten because they think it is better for their overall health. Dornblaser pointed out that a key success driver to the gluten-free trend is that product development has vastly improved, making the taste of gluten-free products acceptable to consumers. In fact, 86% of U.S. gluten-free eaters are satisfied with the taste of the products. “Had you asked that same group of consumers five years ago, the number wouldn’t have been nearly as high,” said Dornblaser. That’s how fast product development in the space has advanced.

Another area in which taste has improved in recent years is in vegan and meat-free categories. Jago explained that while vegetarian claims on food and beverage products are decreasing, vegan claims are on the rise. “There are more imaginative and sophisticated products on the market” for consumers who want to follow a vegan diet, explained Jago.

Overall, the new product launch data shows that free-from claims aren’t going away. While it is obvious that some diets are just fads, such as the low-carb craze that spiked in 2004 and then faded just has quickly, free from has experienced a steady rise over time that is just now flattening out. “There will be plenty of new fad diets,” explained Dornblaser. “But they are underpinned by powerful consumer trend towards wanting a more pure, healthier, more controlled—and happier—existence.”

Is Big Food, Bad Food?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

General Session: CEO Panel

Tuesday, July 14 | 8:30 – 10:00 am
McCormick Place South, S100 Ballroom

CEO Panelists

Join CEOs Eric Larson of Linden Capital Partners, David Cotton of Flying Food Group, and James C. Borel of DuPont Pioneer to discuss and debate major questions impacting the global food system. These big picture issues include diet and health, GMO versus non-GMO, food waste and, much more. Moderated by Ron Insana, a highly respected business journalist and money manager who for over two decades has been a contributor to CNBC and MSNBC, as well as a contributing author to Money Magazine and USA Today, this session promises to provide unique insights into the current consumer perception challenges faced by today’s food businesses.

Dietary Diversity and Gut Health

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Mark L. HeimanFeatured Lecture: Mark L. Heiman

Monday, July 13 | 4:00 – 4:45 pm
McCormick Place South, S100 Ballroom

Mark Heiman, PhD, vice president and chief science officer for MicroBiome Therapeutics, will present “Therapy for Gastrointestinal Microbiome-Associated Diseases Requires Dietary Diversity” on Monday afternoon. Like all ecosystems, a diverse GI microbiome is a health one. However, loss of dietary diversity shifts the microbiome to unhealthy states as observed by loss of GI microbiome diversity associated with metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other GI disorders, all of which have increased in prevalence over the past five years. Heiman will present two strategies to improve dietary diversity by supplementing the habitual uniform diets with GI microbiome modulators (GIMMs). The GIMMs are derived from exploring a shifted GI microbiome in a particular disease state and exploring novel foods that are rarely consumed.


Mark Heiman is the chief scientific officer and vice president of Research at MicroBiome Therapeutics. Heiman’s responsibilities include discovery of gastrointestinal microbiome modulators to maintain health and to manage chronic diseases. Prior to joining MicroBiome Therapeutics he was a research fellow in Obesity Discovery Research at Lilly Research Laboratories.

Heiman received his PhD in 1978 from Louisiana State University School of Medicine with concentration in Physiology. He intensified his training in neuroendocrinology during his next four years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Indiana University School of Medicine and then returned to New Orleans to work with Andrew Schally (Nobel Laureate for his pioneering effort to define neuroendocrinology) at Tulane University School of Medicine where he discovered the drug Lanreotide used to treat pituitary adenomas, before joining Lilly.

Heiman is best known for his seminal work performed at Lilly, which defined key roles that leptin and ghrelin perform in controlling energy balance. Heiman’s lab developed the first validated radioimmunoassay (RIA) to measure leptin and he demonstrated the well know positive correlation of leptin levels with adipocity. In addition, his lab was the first to demonstrate that leptin regulates energy balance by inhibiting neuropeptide-Y synthesis and secretion. More recently, Heiman’s lab was the first to demonstrate that ghrelin stimulates a positive energy balance. The hormone was renamed the Hunger Hormone and Heiman was featured on the CBS 60 Minutes for this discovery. Heiman was awarded Fellow status in The Obesity Society in 2014.

Categories/Posts Bottom