Editor's Spotlight

LISTEN NOW: Personalised nutrition, Infant formula, Gamechanging Trends, Keto launches ... and omega-3 science - The Nutra News Review

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

It's not easy to keep up with the fast pace of the news, but the weekly Nutra News Review is your best shot. Our editors run down their weekly news highlights - giving you the inside track on the top news and analysis from the last seven days.

Listen to Will Chu, Nikki Cutler and Nathan Gray rundown their highlights of the week's news...

Technology-enabled nutrition advice

In her annual report, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer points to personalised DNA-based dietary guidelines as an example of predictive analytics to prevent disease.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said DNA-based innovation was not the only resource to draw upon with more diverse data, such as that obtained from wearables, social media and apps that track exercise, nutrition and vital signs.

The report is notable in illustrating the convergence of nutrition, technology and medicine and the steer towards the individual rather than a ‘one size fits all system’.

The report highlights industry activity in this area with technology firms such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft making moves in the health and care business.

With AI, nanotechnology, big data and machine learning the technology is there to shift from a ‘diagnose and treat’ mind-set to a ‘predict and prevent’ approach that will help consumers make better dietary and nutritional decisions. Read more.​ 

SlimFast goes Keto

Glanbia-owned SlimFast has launched a range of products aimed at capitalising on the keto diet trend. The launch could signal a new day for the once-dominant brand weight management brand, and could mean a re-invigoration of legacy weight loss brands.

The new SlimFast Keto products follow the keto trend with a high fat/medium protein formula, and are based medium chain triglycerides derived from coconut and also feature grass fed butter.

For those of you who have have already caught up with our editor’s picks for 2019 nutrition trends​, this news plays directly into our predictions for a big rise in keto-friendly products – and particularly on the go and convenience keto products this year. Read more.

Meet the Gamechangers

A new piece of consumer research for health food and drink manufacturers called the Game Changer Report argues that consumers no longer see healthy eating as being about diet, but rather it’s about their lifestyle beliefs.

The report notes that big brands are losing some of their share of the market to smaller niche brands and it suggests this is because those smaller brands are better at aligning their brand values with the beliefs of their consumers.

To help manufacturers understand what different health beliefs today’s consumers have, the report categorises shoppers into four key categories, and those are named self, ethics, science and heritage. Read more.

Omega-3 & birth weight

New data from a double-blind randomised controlled trial has suggested that the consumption of marine omega-3s during the third trimester of pregnancy could prolong gestation and increase birth weights of the newborns.

In the study, supplementation with EPA and DHA at a dose of 2.4 grams per day led to an average prolongation in pregnancy of two days, and was also associated with a 97 gram higher birth weight in the infants.

The authors said omega-3 had a clear positive impact - providing further evidence for the potential benefits of omega-3s for pregnant women. Read more.

Allergy a ‘Trojan horse’ for formula firms?

Dr Chris van Tulleken’s article in the British Medical Journal claims babies’ allergy to cow’s milk protein (CMPA) was acting as a ‘Trojan horse’ for the global formula industry

He believes the condition may be helping firms form relationships with the paediatric profession creating a network of conflict that affects research, policy, and guidelines.

In an editorial, the BMJ’s editor in chief Fiona Godlee’s recommendations look to prevent the overdiagnosis of CMPA fuelled by commercial interests that Dr van Tulleken’s article is alluding to.

She discusses the need for experts who are free from financial conflicts to decide on tighter diagnostic criteria, draw up independent clinical practice guidelines, and deliver unbiased medical education.

Godlee also emphasises the need for clinicians and professional bodies to disentangle themselves from industry and to give their conflicted support to breastfeeding.

Referring to her own publication, she reveals the BMJ received £200 000 for breastmilk substitute advertisements adding that they are reviewing policies on accepting advertising for these products.

An important point worth mentioning is that the industry co-operates as a full member of the research team making sure that scientific, ethical, funding, and research-monitoring standards are carried out.

All completed research manuscripts disclose team roles, funding and conflicts of interest ensuring transparency and enables reviewers and editorial to make informed choices on whether to publish. Read more.

Healthy motivation

A new Mintel survey shows the barriers that people face when trying to live healthier lifestyles and it found some interesting differences for different age groups and genders. For example, the under 25s feel less motivated than the over 65’s.

Half of under-25s say that lack of motivation stops them following healthy habits, while just 21% of over-65's believe this is an issue for them. According to the research, young women struggle most with psychological health barriers as they are most likely to lack motivation (57%) and most likely to feel self-conscious when exercising (33%). Read more.

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