Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Food News Briefs

Healthy trans fats?
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a trans fatty oil that they claim has health benefits and none of the risks typically associated with such oils. They exposed refined soybean oil to ultraviolet light, which synthesized conjugated linoleic acid within the oil. CLA has been shown to support immune health, promote fat loss and protect against cancer and diabetes. According to Andrew Proctor, professor of food science at the U of A, the term trans fatty acid refers to the manner in which carbon atoms are bound together in the oil molecules. Proctor and his graduate student, Vishal Jain, added iodine to the oil to destabilize the double bonds between the carbon atoms. The photo irradiation then caused the bonds to shift position. "Changing the position of the double bonds makes all the difference in the world," Proctor said. The pair plan to use the research to develop foods that are high in CLA but don't increase saturated fat intake. "Potato chips suit this purpose well. Subsequent studies may include development of high-CLA salad oils and dressings."

Munching for mood relief
Does it seem like all your customers have the post-holiday blues? Their diets may be partly responsible, according to The Food-Mood Solution, a new book by Jack Challem (Wiley, March 2007). Challem says good moods depend on stable blood sugar and adequate "neuronutrients," such as amino acids, which form the building blocks of neurotransmitters like serotonin. "A lot of people have what I call 'pissy-mood syndrome,'" Challem says. "People are impatient and irritable, and they take it out on everyone around them." He says that good nutrition can help buffer stress. His book outlines a four-step program to combat stress, anger, anxiety, depression and poor mental focus, and includes recommendations for specific neuronutrients. An excerpt from the book is available at Challem has written several other books, including Feed Your Genes Right (Wiley, 2005), The Inflammation Syndrome (Wiley, 2003) and Syndrome X (Wiley, 2000).

Del Monte goes organic
Del Monte Foods, based in San Francisco, launched five new organic products in December, including canned corn, green beans and peas, as well as College Inn organic beef and chicken broths. The company introduced organic tomato products last year. National distribution of the new products began in January. "We are proud to work with local, domestic farmers to grow, harvest and provide families with more healthy, delicious and affordable organic products," said Apu Mody, senior vice president at Del Monte's Consumer Products division.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 2/p. 26

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