Hypocritical Health
Americans know how to manage their weight, but they don’t follow their own advice, according to a recent ACNielsen study entitled “LifeChoices.” Research reveals that 82% of U.S. consumers blame themselves for weight gain, compared with the 6% who hold fast food restaurants responsible and the 2% who point their fingers at food companies. Study participants also said they see value in taking up a sport, hobby or exercise regime to control weight, yet only 32% of them have actually tried this. However, 88% of consumers who have a workout strategy find it to be effective. Other preferred methods of weight control are reducing frequency of eating junk food, substituting water for sugared drinks and juices, reducing meal sizes and increasing the amount or intensity of exercise.
The Lowdown
For consumers looking to lower their chances of developing cardiovascular disease, a diet rich in carbohydrates with a low-glycemic index might be the answer. That might not be the answer bakers and snack producers want to see. However, according to Reuters, an Australian research team at University of Sydney conducted a trial in which 129 overweight subjects ages 18 to 40 were randomly assigned to one of four weight-loss diets for a 12-week period. All four diets were reduced fat (30% of total energy intake) and held daily calories to 1,400 for women and 1,900 for men. Each diet resulted in a similar reduction in weight, fat mass and weigh circumference, but in the high-carb diets, lowering the glycemic load doubled the fat loss. The study results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Fact Meets Fiction
Sweeteners and trans fats were among the topics covered in the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) recent newsletter, Food Insight.
According to its “Myths and Facts” section, low-calorie sweeteners do not increase the risk of cancer in humans. In fact, there’s no scientific link to such a claim, it reports. IFIC also reveals that the same sweeteners do not increase food intake or hunger in children or adults. On the contrary, studies of overweight individuals who use low-cal sweeteners showed improved body weight over those who use sugar. That said, IFIC notes that sugar does not cause diabetes, but people with this condition do need to be careful about the carbohydrates that they consume. Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity for diabetics and non-diabetic consumers.
More news you can use: All fat is not bad. In fact, moderate intake of fat and an emphasis on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from sources such as vegetable oils, nuts and fish are recommended. Now that trans fat labeling is required on all packaged foods, consumers should look at nutrition panels to find out if products contain trans fat, as well as to find out how much of it is used.
For more information, visit www.ific.org.

Eye Age
Eye health is of utmost importance to the National Institute of Health (NIH), which currently is conducting its second related study in five years. The goal is to find out if a modified combination of vitamins, minerals and fish oil can further slow the progression of vision loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss for Americans over the age of 60.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) will build upon results from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which found that high-dose antioxidant vitamins and minerals (Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper), taken orally, reduced the risk of progression to advanced AMD by 25% and the risk of moderate vision loss by 19%. AREDS2 will add 10 mg. of lutein and 2 mg. of zeaxanthin to the study formulation. DSM Nutritional Products, Inc., is providing the lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega-3 fatty acids dietary supplements to be used in this trial.
“Nearly 2 million Americans have vision loss from advanced AMD, and another seven million with AMD a rata substantial risk for vision loss,” says Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute, which is part of the NIH.
The study will involve 4,000 people between the ages of 50 and 85 who have AMD in both eyes or advanced AMD in one eye.
“This alone could save more than 300,000 people from vision loss over the next five years,” says Dr. Emily Chew, study chair and deputy director of the division of epidemiology and clinical research at the NEI.
For more information, visit www.nei.nih.gov/AREDS2 or call 1-877-AREDS-80.