Blueberries may help reduce belly fat, diabetes risk
NEW YORK A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggested that a blueberry-enriched diet can reduce belly fat and diabetes risk.
The new research, presented April 19 at the Experimental Biology convention in New Orleans, gives tantalizing clues to the potential of blueberries in reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. The effect is thought to be due to the high level of phytochemicals – naturally occurring antioxidants – that blueberries contain.
The researchers studied the effect of blueberries (freeze dried blueberries crushed into a powder) that were mixed into the rat diet, as part of either a low- or high-fat diet. They performed many comparisons between the rats consuming the test diets and the control rats receiving no blueberry powder. All the rats were from a research breed that is prone to being severely overweight.
In all, after 90 days, the rats that received the blueberry-enriched powder, measured as 2% of their diet, had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, which are measures of how well the body processes glucose for energy.
The rats in the study were similar to Americans who suffer fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome as a result of high-fat diets and obesity. Metabolic syndrome is a group of health problems that include too much fat around the waist, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high triglycerides, and together these conditions increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
While regular blueberry intake reduced these risks for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, the health benefits were even better when combined with a low-fat diet.
“Some measurements were changed by blueberry even if the rats were on a high fat diet,” says E. Mitchell Seymour, M.S., lead researcher and manager of the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory. “We found by looking at fat muscle tissue, that blueberry intake affected genes related to fat-burning and storage. Looking at muscle tissue, we saw altered genes related to glucose uptake.”
Kashi launches 4th annual ‘Day of Change’ tour
LA JOLLA, Calif. Continuing its mission to promote healthy change in communities across the United States, Kashi announced it will launch its Day of Change tour for the fourth consecutive year in San Diego, Calif. this weekend.
Day of Change is an annual, multi-city campaign designed to share little steps people can take towards implementing positive changes in their lives. The Day of Change tour features a combination of interactive exhibits including yoga classes, Kashi product tasting, natural food cooking demonstrations and an education station to inspire overall well-being.
“At Kashi, it is our passion to inspire others to make smarter choices towards a natural healthy lifestyle, which is why we continue to bring Day of Change to new communities all across the country,” said Keegan Sheridan, natural food and lifestyle expert for Kashi. “This year, it’s all about the little steps people can take towards achieving their best lives.”
The 2009 Day of Change tour will showcase both recently introduced foods and long-time favorites, such as Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal; Kashi U cereal, Kashi Vive Digestive Wellness cereal; Kashi Organic Promise Cinnamon Harvest cereal; a variety of Kashi TLC snacks such as granola bars, cereal bars, fruit and grain bars, cookies, and crackers; and a sampling of GOLEAN cereals and bars. Onsite cooking demonstrations will feature delicious and nutritious recipes made from Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf and Heart to Heart cereals paired with Silk Soy Milk. All Day of Change events are open to the public and free to all event attendees.
“Our goal for Day of Change is to motivate attendees to walk away with the knowledge and tools necessary to move towards a natural lifestyle,” Sheridan said. “Through this event, we hope to show people that change can occur in just a few small and enjoyable steps.”
PepsiCo acquires Karinto snack business in Peru
PURCHASE, N.Y. PepsiCo announced that it has acquired leading Peruvian snack business Karinto S.A.C., maker of Peru’s top-selling corn chips, Los Cuates, as well as a popular line of nuts and seeds.
“The Karinto brands span a broad array of snack foods, offering consumers a variety of convenient choices, from tasty treats to healthy options,” said Olivier Weber, president of South America Foods for PepsiCo. “Strategically, we continue to strengthen our core snacks business as we extend our presence in healthy, macrosnack occasions, two of our global food growth priorities. These products are a perfect complement to PepsiCo’s portfolio in the region. The strength of the brands and the quality of people who make and sell them represent fuel for growth in an important emerging market — a powerful combination.”
The addition of Karinto’s snacks reflects PepsiCo’s ongoing commitment to transform its portfolio to include a wide range of products. This transaction also reflects PepsiCo’s long-term commitment to invest in South America. It follows the recent acquisition of Brazilian snack company Comercio de Doces Lucky Ltda., maker of the popular brands Torcida and Fofura.