Latest in an occasional series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.

Low and high carbohydrate diets cut life expectancy, study finds.

People who follow an extreme low-carb diet that replaces carbohydrates with animal protein and fat could shorten the life expectancy by four years, new research published in The Lancet suggests. The observational study looked at the eating habits of 15,400 US consumers who provided information on their dietary habits as part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study between 1987 and 1989.

The median follow-up was 25 years and during this time 6,283 participants died. The study found that diets both low and high carbohydrates were linked with an increased risk of mortality. Low-carb diets were identified as carbs contributing less than 40% of the individual’s energy intake, while high carb diets were those where carbohydrates accounted for more than 70% of energy consumption. Moderate consumption of carbohydrates, at 50 – 55% of daily energy intake, was found to be associated with a lower risk of mortality.

“These findings bring together several strands that have been controversial. Too much and too little carbohydrate can be harmful but what counts most is the type of fat, protein and carbohydrate,” said Walter Willet, Prof. of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of the study.

Source:  The Lancet Public Health

Published online ahead of print: DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-X

‘Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta analysis’

Authors: Sara B Seidelmann,  Brian Claggett, Susan Cheng, Mir Henglin, Amil Shah, Lyn M Steffen, Aaron R Folsom, Eric B Rimm, Walter C Willett, Scott D Solomon.


Author: Katy Askew: 20 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Anthocyanins may have anti-– obesity affects through anti – inflammatory activity: mouse study.

Anthocyanins found in blackberries and blueberries can help to inhibit weight gain and reduce body fat through antioxidant, anti – inflammatory mechanisms, say researchers in China.

Previous research has reported that diets rich in anthocyanin can prevent metabolic diseases. Researchers at the Tianjin University of Science and Technology and Beijing’s Technology and Business University sought to determine the molecular mechanism behind the anti-–obesity effects of blackberry and blueberry anthocyanin intake in mice on a high-fat diet.

After 12 weeks, the researchers observed the consumption of blackberry and blueberry anthocyanins had inhibited weight gain in the supplemented mice by respective 40.5% and 55.4%. The anthocyanin had also significantly lowered serum and hepatic lipid levels, and raised hepatic superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities, both of which have important antioxidant actions.

In the current study the researchers noticed that consuming blackberry and blueberry anthocyanins did not alter the mice’s daily food intake but significantly lowered the weight of adipose tissue and retroperitoneal fat.


Author: Cheryl Tay: 20 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Suntory states it has taken a big step towards a 100% bio-based plastic bottle.

Beverage giant Suntory says it has taken another big step towards achieving a 100% bio-based plastic bottle for its drink products. This comes after the firm’s technology partner, Anellotech, stated that it had successfully produced a collection of renewable chemicals identical to fossil-based counterparts.  The use of Bio-Thermal Catalytic (Bio-TCat) technology converts biomass feed stocks such as wood, sawdust and sugar cane bagasse and other non-food materials into BTX aromatics - benzene, toluene and  xylene - which can be purified.

The two companies constructed the development and testing plant, which is currently being used, in Texas, USA in early 2016. In addition Suntory added that its 2R+B (Reduce/Recycle +Bio) approach also sought to reduce the use of resin in PET bottles while increasing the use of recycled materials.   Reduction does not pertain only to the number of plastic bottles produced but also a ‘weight reduction’ programme that seeks to cut the amount of material used in bottles and caps. 


Author: Lester Wan: 13 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

‘The weak link is Enforcement’: Study finds inflated health statements ‘rarely clamped down on’

Nutrition and Health claims regulation is not adequately enforced, a new UK study concludes.

Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University found that trading standards and environmental health officers are ‘Acting more like advisors than prosecutors’ when it comes to enforcing the existing regulations governing health and nutrition claims.   The study, published in PLOS ONE, looked at the role of regulation enforcers. It focused on claims like ‘high in fibre’ or ‘heart healthy’. Many of the officers interviewed in the study reported being subjected to increasing demands and additional pressures. This meant enforcing health claims was found to be low on the priority list of environmental health officers, whose responsibilities included consumer law for dangerous toys, fake alcohol, under age sales of tobacco and food hygiene. There has been a proliferation of health claims in the food industry – but very few examples of companies being prosecuted for breaching the rules. The failure of enforcement officials to prosecute food companies that make inflated health statements raises the food fraud concern of consumers, the researchers suggested.

Dr. Patel, lead researcher, senior lecturer in food regulation law at Manchester Metropolitan, said, “Of course, false claims don’t pose the same immediate risks such as death or illness from food borne illness but multiple low-level infractions present their own, often long-term and latent detriment to consumers. While the regulation provides strong protection with the requirement of scientific evidence for the claim, the weak link is enforcement. Such claims are low priority and local regulatory services have borne the brunt of austerity, so it’s not entirely surprising.”

Source: PLOS ONE: ‘A qualitative analysis of the enforcement of the regulation of nutrition and health claims made for food and its implication for health’.

Published online ahead of print: http//

Authors: Ajay Patel, Sumaiya Patel, Rebecca Gregg, Laura O’Connor

https: //

Author: Katy Askew: 16 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Pty. Ltd

Elaine’s Note: It would be interesting to know if a similar situation exists in Australia since Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is not responsible for enforcing food standards. 

Note: For full content of the articles please check the references.




AuthorRay Dennis