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olio e insalata

Oil up that salad…

…if you want to get the most carotenes and fat soluble vitamins out of it. Yes another month, another paper reaching the same conclusion as others we have reported on previously (Egg up that salad, avocado is for A) if you add some sort of fat to your salad, in this case soybean oil but in the previous blogs egg or avocado, then your body will be able to get more of the carotenes and other fat soluble goodies held within the salad vegetables.

The paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recruited 12 women to eat 5 salads with salad dressing containing 0, 2, 4, 8, or 32 g soybean oil. They found the highest absorption of all carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins with 32g of soy oil, so they had still not found the point at which it stopped increasing how much the body could absorp.

They also found that this increased absorption caused by the soybean oil varied widely between the participants (although 12 is a small sample size) and in fact some inidividuals showed little repsonse to the oil.

I think I’ll play it safe and keep the oil on my salad.

Click here to read more.

Fish oil capsules on wooden spoon

Omega Phew?

The world’s supply chain of omega 3 fatty acids is in trouble. We have reported on it a number of times in this blog. But a new project is underway involving in the University of Nottingham, CHAIN Biotech and Calysta, Inc. to produce it from a gas that we would like to have less of floating around, methane. Weiterlesen

Close up of a baby girl looking at camera with a big blue eyes

Vitamin D, the body builder

Anyone who has has a child these last few years has probably had the pleasure of trying to dissolve vitamin D tablets in teaspoons of breast milk or warm water and then the even more difficult task of trying to get your baby to swallow it (and not spit it up again). But why is vitamin D important for babies? Weiterlesen

olio e insalata

Eating a high fat diet? Maybe you should add some Camphor seed oil

“Camphor what?” Is what I guess some of you are thinking right now. Those among you that use a vapour rub in the winter to help with decongestion or a vapour nasal stick might think it sounds familiar. That is because that is generally what the oil is used for in Europe due to its decongestive properties. But that is not the only thing it is good for. Weiterlesen

Large Drink

Should we have a daily glass of OJ?

Starting the day with a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal. It has gone out of fashion with many people these days as they make their own smoothies, but for those out there that do, is it part of a healthy diet? Or is it just another sugary drink adding to the obesity epidemic? Weiterlesen

Beetroot Juice

Beetroot power

If you’re getting on in years, have suffered from heart failure, and want to improve your exercise endurance, then a daily glass of beetroot juice could be the way to go. And I’d assume this could also be beneficial for those wishing to improve their sport performance in general.   Weiterlesen


Big mama, big me?

In case you haven’t been following it, there has been growing interest in the last few years about the microorganisms that live in your gut and the effect they have on you from affecting your moods to making you fat.

There have been experiments with transferring the gut microbiota from one person or animal to another (if you are eating while reading this you may not want to think about how they do that) and some of these experiments have shown that if the donor was overweight then it can cause the recipient to put on weight.

Other experiments show that babies pick up their gut microbiota on their way into the world or if delivered by c-section then from their initial environments, e.g. from the mother by skin to skin contact or from the doctor/nurses when they handle them or from hospital equipment. (Click here to go to article).

So here is a thought: if you get most of your bacteria from your mother, and the bacteria you have can influence whether or not you are overweight, does that mean if your mother is overweight then chances are you will be too?

That was the question being asked in a paper published in the online journal Sphere. The researchers indentified the species of bacteria from the guts of babies, some from obese mothers and some from healthy mothers.

They found that the weight of the mother did not seem to have an effect on the babies microbiome (when analysed at 9 months) and that is was duration of breast feeding, introduction of complimentary foods and transition to family foods (higher protein and fibre contents) that had the biggest effect.   

So there you go, they didn’t go as far as to suggest what foods should be given to the infants but I’m assuming it would boil down to the normal advice: avoid or keep to a minimum the processed foods and try to promote the fresh fruit and veg, food rich in fibre and perhaps fermented foods.

Click here to read more.

Roasted coffee bean with milled coffee as closeup

Want the “benefits” but don’t like the taste of coffee?

Then you should try a flour made from green coffee! Yes, those clever boffins have had their thinking hats on again and come up with a new way to consume coffee.

We have blogged a number of times on this site about papers that claim coffee is good for you (Two cups a day…, Coffee: Enjoy heartily in moderationDrink coffee, live longer). I’ve also commented that most of these blogs are written with a trusty cup of the black stuff in hand. But today we are not talking about conventional coffee.

The taste that most people associate with coffee only comes about when the coffee beans are roasted. But, it would seem, the health benefits from coffee are actually dramatically decreased during the process of roasting. So a biophysicist from Brandeis University in the US has come up with a way to heat the coffee beans to a lower temperature and then mill them at ultra low temperatures to further protect the goodness in the beans.

The resulting flour is then ready for use as a supplement or for baking. As it has not been roasted it does not have the normal coffee taste. However, it has also been suggested it could be blended with roasted coffee to boost the health benefits of your cup and still have the roasted coffee taste.

Sounds all very interesting but I think I’ll stick to my 5 cups a day for now.

Click here to read more.

This flour made from coffee should not be confused with the product called Coffee Flour which is actually a flour produced from the pulp left over after the coffee bean has been removed.

Click here to read more about this.

Chocolate Cake

Looking for a new diet? Try a mirror

Yes, it’s that time again. It’s early January, the hangovers are finally wearing off, and many people out there are thinking January is the month to detox. Whether it be from drink, junk food or even some habits outside the scope of this blog. In today’s blog we are talking junk food and how something as simple as a mirror can help. Weiterlesen

fresh seaweed

Fight heart disease the seaweed way!

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest cause of premature death worldwide. According to a publication in the journal Phycologia most of it is down to our individual eating habits. But what can we do to reduce our risk of CVD?

Eat seaweed, apparently. Yes, compared to the unhealthy high calorie, nutrient poor foods out there that so many of us eat, seaweed:
(1) has very favourable antioxidant levels,
(2) is high in fibre,
(3) has good macro and micro elements and
(4) has good fatty acid profiles.

All of these points make it a good candidate for an additive to our foods. Indeed, we reported a while back about a cook book with seaweed recipes or about using the seaweed derivative, alginate in bread (Stick some seaweed in that bread).

The publication is a good review on seaweed research and well worth a read. I particularly like the phrase “involuntary intervention strategies related to food manufacturing”.

I guess it is nice to know that healthy things can also be put into our mass produced food. Big Brother is feeding you…

Click here to read more.

Wine tasting at restaurant

A red wine a day….

…..for diabetics is ok! Apparently. Yes, research published this month in the Annuals of Internal Medicine found that getting people suffering from type 2 diabetes to drink a moderate amount of alcohol in the form of red or white wine actually decreased their risk of heart attacks and strokes. Weiterlesen

fly larvae background

Insect protein, great idea but what are the risks?

We’ve blogged about it a few times on this site over the last 3 years (Bugs a la carte, Mealworm nuggets anyone?, Fly reared steak anyone?, Protein, where will you get yours from? Bugs?). The world is facing a protein shortage and insect protein could help fill that gap, either directly as a food source for us, or as a feed for animals such as cows. But what are the risks? Weiterlesen


Mediterranean is best for breast

A diet rich in fresh vegetables, olive oil and nuts, the Mediterranean diet has long been touted as a diet that can extend your life and increase your well being. We have blogged about it a few times ourselves (Keep it up…, Go nuts for Mediterranean.., Aktins for the old..). But does it help decrease your chances of developing breast cancer?

That was a question a group of Spanish researchers wanted to look at. So they followed the health of over 4000 women between the ages of 60-80 who had been given one of three diets: 1) Mediterranean supplemented with nuts, (2) Mediterranean supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or (3) a low fat diet.

They found that only those who had the diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil had a lesser chance of developing breast cancer compared to the control low fat diet group. The diet supplemented with nuts also seemed to help but the difference was not significant.

So there you have it, olive oil performed better than nuts and both seemed to perform better than a low fat diet. It’s a shame they didn’t have a group eating a high protein diet as I recall a paper from last March that claimed eating large amounts of protein in older age helped to reduce incidence of cancer (Aktins for the old..).

Click here to read more

Active seniors

Supplements don’t help against cognitive decline

Sombre news from the National Institutes of Health, it appears that supplements of omega-3 and carotenes have no benefit over a placebo in terms of cognitive decline in people in their twilight years.

Supplements of the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin had previously been shown to help slow age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a degeneration of the eye. The researchers decided to add omega 3 to the list of supplements and run another study, also monitoring cognitive decline.

The study involved over 4,000 patients and lasted for 5 years. Unfortunately, none of the supplements were able to slow the cognitive decline, i.e. there was no difference between the cognitive decline across the treatment groups.

Still, it’s probably best not to give up on healthy eating yet. As the authors point out, the omega 3 in the supplements used in this trial were derived from fish oil. There is also omega 3 present in walnuts, chia and linseed (and at favourable omega 3: omega 6 ratios) and these sources have not yet been tested.

Also, why do we think omega 3 could help? Because people eating a diet rich in omega 3 seemed to have better cognitive abilities in their later years. Maybe it is not the omega 3 on its own that is giving this effect but the balanced diet as a whole.

I for one will be happily eating my piece of salmon for dinner tonight, and even it is turns out it will not help me keep my marbles for longer as least it tastes damn good.

Click here to read more.

Morceaux de chocolat

Chocotastic diet

For all you chocolate lovers out there a paper that finally has the findings you would like to hear, consuming chocolate (albeit of the dark kind) can help you lose weight as part of a low carb diet. Weiterlesen

olives and oil close up

Should we go nuts for the Mediterranean diet?

We’ve all heard about the Mediterranean diet, whether in the press or from the advertising campaigns of margarine spreads loaded with olive oil. But what would be the effect on our cognitive abilities of combining the basic diet (fish, fermented milk products (yogurt and cheese), fresh fruit/vegetables and lows levels of red meat) with nuts as the main source of fat instead of olive oil? Weiterlesen

Holstein-Friesian cattle in a green Dutch meadow

Moo Omega 3?

Definitely one for those meat loving non fish eaters out there. Chinese scientists have developed cows that produce omega 3 fatty acids, so you could get your weekly recommended amount from beef instead of fish (well, if GM food is allowed in your region). Weiterlesen


Astaxanthin, the new carotene on the drink block?

Yes, that carotene that gives flamingos their signature colour is set to be the new antioxidant addition to drinks.

Astaxanthin is a carotene, unlike beta or alpha carotene it does not have pro vitamin A properties, but it is a powerful antioxidant. It is synthesized by algae and travels up the food chain. Fish eat the algae, flamingos eat the fish etc.

According to the website Beverage Daily, the company Algatech is about to release a water soluble version that can be added to drinks.

They also report that the fishy taste has been taken care of. I would say that was definitely a prerequisite before adding it to drinks.

Click here to read more.

Roasted coffee bean with milled coffee as closeup

Coffee: Enjoy heartily in moderation

Yes, it’s another good day to be a coffee drinker, Korean scientists have published a paper in the journal Heart that claims people who drink 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day have less build up of coronary artery calcium (CAC), an early sign of coronary heart disease than those that drink less or more. Weiterlesen

Coconut oil and fresh coconut

On the subject of fat, ever thought of coconut oil?

There was a time when people would find a recipe for something and stick to it almost religiously, never daring to change or substitute any of the ingredients. However, in the day and age of the internet even the most cautious of us can do a quick search for substituting say coconut oil for butter in shortbread and chances are someone has done it and written about it. Weiterlesen

Plate with Butter

Fats: the good, the bad and the other ones…

Is fat bad? I would say it depends, here in Germany we would say Jein.

This blog is based on an article published earlier this month on the Harvard Health Publications website.

The problem is this, back in the 70’s there were big health campaigns that said animal fats are bad, you should move to vegetable sources such as margarine. So many people gave up their delicious butter on their toast and replaced it with the “healthy” option of margarine. These margarines contained something called trans fats, a type of fat that made its way into many of our food products over the years and unfortunately was eventually found to actually increase the amount of bad cholesterol in our blood streams. So trans fats are definitely of the bad type.

Good types of fat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados and nuts to name but a few sources. Think Mediterranean Diet. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn oil, sunflower oil and fish oil. There are two types: omega 3 and omega 6. This is where the facts get a bit contested. According to the article omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are good for you and will reduce your bad cholesterol. However, we have blogged a number of times on publications that have found that too much omega 6 in your diet can actually increase your overall chance of mortality. Apparently linseed and chia seeds are very good as they have high levels of omega 3 compared to omega 6.

And to the other one, saturated fat. This is the grey area, for years we were told to reduce our level of saturated fats as too much will lead to heart disease. Then, if you look at the French you see a group that tend to eat high amounts of saturated fats but have low levels of heart disease.

One thing is for sure, too much saturated fat really can be bad for you but it would appear that for now at least we can bring back the butter to our breakfast table and not feel guilty for it.

Click here to read more.


a variety of vegetables at a grocery store

Organic, does not mean safer

What do you think of when you think of organic?

Do you think of a healthy flavoursome alternative to the mass produced tasteless stuff from the supermarkets? Perhaps you think of fresh fruit and vegetables that have been lovingly tended just using some soap to remove the bugs instead of drenching them in pesticides and herbicides? Or do you think of those tiny spotty apples that seem to be half as large but cost twice as much as the conventional ones?

The question of whether or not organic is better is fiercely fought between the organic and conventional farmers and it is a matter that is far from settled.

José Miguel Mulet, Professor of Biotechnology at the Polytechnic University of Valencia weighed into the fray with his book “Los productos naturales, ¡vaya timo!” (Natural products, what a rip off!) which is featured in an article in the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo”.

He says that organic food is smaller than their conventionally produced counterparts, and that the label of organic does not mean that they are safer, in fact, he claims that organically produced food is harder to regulate as there are many small farms compared to the big conventional farms. And in the EU, there are more food scares on organic farms compared to conventional ones.

So what do you prefer on your carrots and potatoes, chemicals or cow poo?

A more cow poo pro blog for you tomorrow.

Click here to read more (in spanish). 


Drink, it’s good for your heart

Yep, it’s the stuff of pub legends, a paper has been published in the European Heart Journal that says it is good for you to have tipple. But before we get too excited what is it really saying?

The authors followed over 14,500 people who were in their mid 50′s at the beginning of the study for a period of approx. 24 years.

They found that while in their middle age, those that imbibed around 7 drinks a week, be it beer, wine or spirits, had a lower risk of future heart failure compared with abstainers.

No level of alcohol consumption seemed to increase the chance of heart failure but drinking too much did lead to an overall increase in chance of death.

The authors note that the alcohol consumption was self reported in the form of a questionnaire but that the levels reported were consistent with the results of tests.

As people tended to drink more than one type of alcohol it was not possible to say if there was a difference between the different alcoholic drinks.

Interesting none the less, click here to check out more.


Fresh raw broccoli isolated on white background

Sulforaphane to fight prostate cancer cells

Yes, our old friend Sulforaphane is back in the news again, this time in a paper trying to understand how it kills prostate cancer cells.

According to the paper published in the journal Oncogensis, it has already been shown that sulforaphane can kill prostate cancer cells while leaving normal cells intact (or more accurately can make the cells kills themselves in a process known as programmed cell death).  It can also reduce incidences of metastasis (when the cancer spreads) in GM mouse models and has been shown in rodent models to not be toxic at the pharmaceutical levels used in these experiments.

The rest of the paper is pretty heavy reading but the gist is that they have identified that when one of our enzymes is deactivated or destabilised it increases the effect of the treatment with Sulforaphane.

Although this is not something that can be achieved by the amount you would get from eating cruciferous vegetables it is still worth to eat them as sulforaphane can induce detoxification enzymes that expel air pollutants from our body, as mentioned in one of our previous blogs.

Another reason to eat them is that they actually taste pretty good.

Click here to read the article on the Nature website


Large Drink

Low-cal sweeteners: good or bad?

Low calorie sweeteners (LCS), they are already the sweetness in our diet or zero drinks, and are starting to make an appearance is reduced sugar drinks such as Coke Life.

But can they really help us to lose weight as part of a calorie controlled diet as written at the bottom of so many diet drink adverts? Secondly, are they bad for our health?

To answer these questions, a group of independent experts were brought together at the International Sweeteners Association Conference in April last year and asked for their opinions based on the data. Here are some of their remarks published in the journal Nutrition Bulletin.

Switching to diet drinks sweetened with LCS does seem to reduce energy intake. In other words, losing the sugar in your drink does not cause you to compensate for that loss of sugar by consuming more.

LCS do not modulate the glycaemic response and therefore are safe for diabetics.

LCS in themselves are not fermented by the bacteria in your mouth and therefore do not cause tooth decay, however, keep in mind that other components of the drinks they are in may cause damage to teeth.

As to whether or not they are bad for us, they state that regulatory authorities worldwide have published positive statements about the safety of LCS.

It is an interesting read and is open access. Click here to have a look.



Daily avocado to keep LDL low

Fans of guacamole rejoice! Eating an avocado a day could help to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association the paper describes how when people were fed either a low fat diet with no avocado, a medium fat diet with no avocado or a medium fat diet with avocado their amount of LDL cholesterol was decreased the most when avocado was included in the diet.

Although this research was funded by the Hass Avocado Board the authors state that that had no impact on their study.

Looks like the health benefits are avocados just keep coming, it is already described as an excellent source of fibre and some vitamins and we reported back in July how eating avocado with vitamin A helps your body to take up more of the vitamin.

If you haven’t tried avocado I highly recommend thinly sliced on some bread with a bit of seasoning.

Click here to read more (about the research, not my recipe ideas).

Cocoa pod on a white background.

Chocolate lovers, a time to worry?

That depends who you listen to. If you have been the papers these last few weeks you would be forgiven for thinking that we have a serious problem looming. If you listen to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) you could believe that it is business as usual and there is nothing to worry about. So what’s going on? Weiterlesen


Need a pick-me-up? Perhaps reach for the Curcumin not the coffee

An interesting paper for you published in the Journal Of Psychopharmacology earlier this month.

Apparently doses of curcumin, the main curcuminoid found in the South Asian spice turmeric, are able to  improve “sustained attention and working memory tasks” in 60-85 year olds one hour after ingestion compared to a placebo. It is also claimed curcumin was able to improve working memory and mood following 4 weeks of treatment and associated it with a significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol.

The researchers suggest that further investigation should be carried out. I would have to agree, it sounds a little bit too good to be true at the moment. But as a curry lover I would be very happy if this was confirmed by other studies.

The paper is available from the Journal Of Psychopharmacology website.

Bread on the wooden table

Folic supplementing

We are living in a supplemented world, in the UK our water contains fluoride to reduce our incidence of tooth decay and in the USA flour contains folic acid or Vitamin B9 that has dramatically reduced the incidence of birth defects such as neural tube defects.

But are we using the best source of Vitamin B9? Weiterlesen

Roasted coffee bean with milled coffee as closeup

Counting the caffeine

For many it’s an almost necessary start to the day in the form of coffee, for others it’s pill form keeps them going during study times, for others, it’s something in that winged drink they mix with their vodka. Whichever way you like to take it, chances are you consume caffeine.

But did you know that excess caffeine can cause death? You have to take a lot or have an underlying health condition but it does happen, and with so many products containing it now some people are getting worried about how much they consume.

Well soon they will have a kit they can use at home to rapidly detect caffeine in food and drink. Described in a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the test is based on an enzyme called caffeine dehydrogenase that oxidises caffeine to trimethyluric acid and at the same time converts a colourless salt into its reduced coloured state.

The kit is in development at present and the authors envisage the end product as a dip stick or strip of paper that changes colour akin to pH paper.

The paper is available from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry website.

Verschiedene Wildpflaumen

The tree of 40 fruits

Yes, this story really is about a tree that is able to produce 40 different types/varieties of fruit.

On learning that the orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station was to be shut down due to lack of funding, an art professor who had grown up on a farm decided to buy it and combine his plant know how with art to produce a tree with 40 types of fruit trees grafted onto it.

So what is a graft? Taking a cutting a plant and attaching it to another plant that is rooted is the simplest explanation. The cutting or scion will then grow using the nutrients from the plant it is attached to (the rootstock). Although the rootstock can have an effect on the scion’s internal clock and hardiness, it does not impact the flavour of the fruit which will remain true to type.

The talented professor took many small cuttings from 40 different types of fruit, including:  plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and almonds. So how is this possible? They are all from the same family, Prunus, meaning that in general they are graft compatible.

According to the story on the Science alert website, for much of the year the tree looks like any other tree but then in spring it comes to life with different coloured blossom on the grafted branches that lead onto the various fruits.

Click here to read the full story on the Science alert website.



Is organic better?

That depends who you ask. Ask the main author of the FSA commissioned report in 2009 or the authors of the 2012 study and they will tell you no. But ask Prof. Leifert and the other authors of a new paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition this month and they will tell you yes.

The new study (like the old studies) is a meta analysis of published papers on the matter. The authors claim that the reason their conclusions differ from that of the earlier studies is that they have access to many papers that were not available at the time of the previous papers. The main author of the 2009 study hit back by saying they are mixing good data with bad to come to their conclusion.  I would say the debate continues then…

The main findings of the study where that organic food contained more antioxidants and less heavy metals than the non organic kind.

Click here to read the open access paper on the British Journal of Nutrition website.


spritzige Milch im Glas

Donkey or cow? and we aren’t talking meat

Have you ever wondered while sipping on your donkey milk if maybe someone has adulterated it cow milk? Surprising, me neither, but this could be a serious problem for people with allergies to cow milk who have opted for donkey milk instead. Using Isoelectric Focusing and ELISA two Italian scientists can now tell if this is the case. Weiterlesen

Roasted coffee bean with milled coffee as closeup

Wake up and gargle the coffee

Coffee has many good properties: it helps a lot of us to start the day, to continue staring at that computer screen for another few hours, or as a nice drink following a big meal. But what you probably did not know was that coffee also helps to prevent tooth decay, or so says a paper published in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology. Weiterlesen

Fighting the fat

Flick the switch to burn fat

Yes, it’s every dieters dream, a way to burn fat without the hard work. Researchers have found a way to activate “beige” fat cells that produce heat and therefore expend energy without the need to stimulate them by making them cold. Weiterlesen

sugar cube food sweet

Get ready for the sugar

After the success of the war on salt in ready meals the offence continues against excess sugar. Which? magazine has tested the levels of sugar in ready meals, both big brands and shop own brands and have found some have double the recommended daily amount of sugar in them, as in, the whole day’s allowance in one meal.

Worst offenders were Sainsbury’s Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice which contained just over 50g of sugar, and Tesco’s Everyday Value Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice which contained 47.7g. The recommended daily allowance is 25g.

You may think that the name of the meals was a giveaway containing “sweet” but according to the article on the Which? website a ready meal of Thai Chicken Pad Thai with Rice Noodles was found to contain 37.8g of sugar.

Which? magazine hopes that this brings to light the amount of sugar in some processed foods and that the government has a responsibility to ask manufacturers to cut the calories in these foods as part of the government’s responsibility deal.

Click here to read the article on the Which? magazine website.

Bad Breath Man

Garlic, wrestling the reek

Garlic, adds great flavour to many foods, it’s good for you, but let’s face it, it makes you stink. Anyone who has been within breathing distance of someone the day after they have eaten garlic bread, Aioli, Kimchee or Bärlauch (wild garlic) soup and you have not consumed any will know what I am talking about. Weiterlesen

strong biceps

Spread the protein to synthesize the muscle

How does your daily intake of protein look? Most people’s diet, in the US at least, consists of a small amount for breakfast, a small amount for lunch and a big hit for dinner. But should we be distributing it more evenly over the day? According to a paper published in the Journal of Nutrition, yes. Weiterlesen

Chili peppers

Spice it up to keep the weight off

Chilli peppers, to some an indispensable part of a good meal, to others the cause of a mouth burn you can’t wash away with mere water. But did you know it could help you to lose weight? And better than that, there is a less “painful” version that seems to have the same effect. Weiterlesen

Eat Five Fruit and Vegetables Per Day

5-a-day not enough?

5-a-day, any person from the UK should know straight away what we are talking about, we have been told for many years that we should be eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables everyday (a glass of orange is allowed as one of them but only one). Now researchers from University College London say 5 may be not enough and that it should be at least 7-a-day. Weiterlesen

assortment of tasty nuts with leaves, isolated on white

Probiotic nut milk based “yogurt”

Lactose intolerance should not stop you from enjoying the apparent health benefits of yogurt. Soy based yogurts are available in most health shops and even supermarkets. But now researchers from the Institute of Food Engineering for Development at the Polytechnic University of Valencia are coming up with yogurts based on fermented nut milk.

Sprouted seeds

Broccoli sprouts stop type II diabetes getting complicated

Broccoli, we have reported on its beneficial properties  a number of times in this blog (Super brocBroccoli’s Kryptonite). Basically, it contains a substance known as glucoraphanin which is converted by the enzyme myrosinase into sulforaphane, which has been shown to have beneficial effects on a range of problems, including oxidative stress, cancer, and inflammation. Weiterlesen

raw chicken meat on cutting board, isolated on white

Food fraud: All eyes on chicken

In a story reported on the website of the English newspaper The Guardian earlier this week, it would appear some fraudsters have been adulterating frozen chicken in the UK.

Referring to an earlier report in which the newspaper exposed the practice of “tumbling” chicken (adding water) to increase the weight, some would be Dibblers were using proteins from other animals to increase the amount of water that could be added.

Apparently the FSA asked for samples of frozen chicken back in March in the midst of the horse meat scandal.  Their findings are not due to be published until March 2014, a time-frame that was criticised by the shadow minister for food, Huw Irranca-Davies as being too long.

Read the full story on the Guardian website.





Candies multicolour boiled sweets

Sweet tooth now a good tooth?

I kid you not, some clever people out there have developed a sweet that could actually be good for your teeth.

So how does it work? It is the addition of a heat killed strain of Lactobacillus paracasei, known to bind to bacteria that can cause tooth decay (Streptococci) that is the sweets weapon against tooth decay.

Sixty people took part in the trial which involved them sucking on a sweet 3 times a day after meals and collecting saliva samples before and after for analysis of Streptococci content. The placebo was the same sweet without the addition of the Lactobacillus. People in the group with L. paracasei in their sweets had less Streptococci in their saliva than the placebo group.

The researchers say that by using killed L. paracasei they are able to positively influence the oral microflora without the risk factors involved in adding a live culture.

Interesting stuff indeed, I hope they add to it chewing gum soon.

The paper is freely available from the Springer Journals website.


Baby beim Essen | Nahrung | sRGB

Growing up milk offers “no additional benefit”

“Growing-up” formula does not provide any additional nutritional benefits to young children who consume a normal diet in Europe. That was the conclusion of a report for the EFSA published last month. The report was looking into “Growing up milk”, a form of fortified milk marketed for young children which, unlike infant and follow on formula, is not currently regulated by European laws.

The report did note that intake Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin D and iodine are low in some European countries and that fortified formula could help in these situations, but that there are already other alternatives available that supply these such as fortified cereals or early introduction of meat and fish.

Check out the full story here.

botellas blancas

Friendly bacteria to fight hayfever?

Yes, those helpful little guys have been put to a new task, and although they did not manage it completely, they did make a difference.

This is the story that 60 people with hayfever were given a probiotic yogurt containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota everyday for 16 weeks and then their hayfever response was measured by “nasal allergen challenge”.


Antibiotic resistant Staph aureus found in UK poultry

The first case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in poultry in the UK has been found in turkey and chicken from a farm in East Anglia. According to the report on the BBC’s website some meat has already been sold to consumers and the farmer is cooperating with the Department of Health (DH).

There have been cases recorded of Livestock-Associated (LA) MRSA in dog, cat, rabbit and horse in the UK but this is the first case in poultry. A spokesman for the DH said the chances of (LA) MRSA infecting a human are low especially if sensible food hygiene standards are followed, i.e. cook the meat thoroughly to kill the bacteria and don’t use the same boards for raw and cooked meat etc.

Read the full story on the BBC website



Doomsday comes to European bee keepers

Don’t panic! We are, of course, referring to the English Doomsday book of 1086 that recorded a great survey of livestock numbers and landowners wealth for William the Conqueror (and not news of doom and gloom).

That’s right, the current state of European honeybee keeping (and Kosovo and Norway) has been compiled by the European Union Reference Laboratory for Honeybee Health.

Which much concern over sudden hive death and the spread of the Varroa mite it was decided it was high time for a European database in which all information about bee keeping in Europe can be found.

QUANTOS at production line

QFOOD QUANTOS at production line

The Q·FOOD QUANTOS can determine all relevant ingredients, such as sugar, vitamin C, preservatives, taurine and caffeine – in a single measurement within minutes. Despite its simplicity, Q·FOOD QUANTOS is just as accurate as sophisticated laboratory analysis. But it boasts an unbeatable advantage: production workers can take measurements on the spot. This enables them to nip problems in the bud, and to adjust the manufacturing process if necessary.

The Q·FOOD QUANTOS runs at the production line like it was shown at DIS B.V. where it performed a strong test.

salmon omega capsule

Omega-3 could slow aging

Supplements of omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA for 6 months kept the cells of elderly people younger than supplements of a plant based omega 6 fatty acid.

That was the gist of a new research paper published in the journal Nutrition. The “age” of the cells in this case was referring to the length of their telomeres, a repetitive sequence of DNA that protects the end of the chromosome from fusion with neighbouring chromosomes or deterioration. Relatively few reports of the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids have focussed on telomeres.

The researchers have pointed out a few limitation to the study such as the low level of participants but still think this warrants further study with more people.

The paper was made available ahead of print on the 3rd October.


morceau boeuf

Bye bye Salmonella and E.coli

Another story concerning our foe E.coli 0157:H7 for you. New research from Japan to be published in the March 2014 edition of Food Control describes the use of polylysine and carbon dioxide to reduce the incidence of E.coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella contamination of beef.

Polylysine is a polymer of the essential amino acid Lysine that is produced naturally by the bacteria Streptomyces. The antimicrobial properties of polylysine were first described in the late 70′s by Japanese researchers and is commonly used as a food preservation in Japan, Korea and more recently, the US. Food is routinely packaged in carbon dioxide, nitrogen or mixes of these gases to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life by reducing oxidation.