News roundup: July 2023

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Environment Sustainability Packaging Regulation Sports nutrition Cbd THC Probiotics guidelines Polyphenol antioxidant

This month, the industry has encountered environmental campaign concerns, regulatory hinderance, nutrition recommendation improvements, and an abundance of research.

In July’s news: Concerns were raised​ about micronutrient deficiencies in sustainable diets aimed at promoting environmental sustainability, while the EU's proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation faces concerns from the sports nutrition industry​ about potential compromises to food hygiene and economic burdens.

The slow regulatory process for CBD novel foods has caused financial strain on CBD companies and hindered market growth​, while the updated Nordic Nutrition Recommendations​ highlighted often overlooked nutrients and increased recommendations for essential vitamins and minerals.

In research, probiotic supplementation showed promise in promoting gut health for shift and night workers​, a new review highlighted the significant health benefits of the anthocyanin malvidin​, and another emphasised microalgae as a potential functional food​ for healthy ageing through mitochondrial protection and antioxidant properties.

Professor warns of micronutrient deficiency risks in sustainable diets

Professor Sarah Bath from the University of Surrey raised concerns about plant-focused diets which aim to promote environmental sustainability by reducing meat and dairy consumption to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. 

She explained that while these sustainable diets have benefits, they may lead to various micronutrient deficiencies​, pointing out that the EAT-Lancet diet, which focuses on plant-based foods, may not adequately provide essential micronutrients like vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and iodine. 

Research at Surrey University revealed that iodine intake from the diet was lower than recommended, especially in those consuming dairy alternatives without fortification.

Bath emphasised that animal-based foods play a vital role in meeting micronutrient requirements, and deficiencies can have significant impacts on reproductive and cognitive health, particularly for women and children.

Novel foods delays and rising costs a 'perfect storm' for struggling CBD brands

The CBD novel foods regulatory procedure is facing delays, causing worry for investors and leaving brands in uncertainty​, according to industry pundit Steve Moore, founder of the Association for the Cannaboid Industry (ACI).

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is currently at the risk assessment stage of the novel foods process, with product authorisations expected at the end of this year or the beginning of the next. 

However, the lack of an official limit for THC in CBD products and the absence of an agreed testing methodology has led to prolonged uncertainty, and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' (ACMD's) report advising on a legal framework for consumer CBD products is still awaiting a formal response from the Home Office. 

The slow process has caused financial strain on CBD companies, reduced investor confidence, and limited innovation, leading to the closure of many brands. 

According to Moore, the lack of clarity from British institutions has potentially hindered the country's opportunity to capitalise on an emerging market.

ESSNA insights: Is the EU’s new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation a help or hindrance to sports nutrition players?

The new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposed by the European Commission has the potential to improve the sustainability of packaging but raises concerns for the sports and active nutrition industry​.

The regulation aims to set stricter targets for reducing, reusing, and recycling packaging to contribute to a more resource-efficient and climate-neutral economy.

While harmonising national rules is seen as positive, stakeholders worry about potential compromises to food hygiene and security, as well as economic burdens on businesses and consumers.

The regulation is under consultation, and the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) has emphasised the need for cost-effective recycling infrastructure, maintaining food safety standards, and facilitating access to affordable secondary raw materials.

The power of precision probiotics for night and shift workers

Probiotic supplementation may play a vital role in maintaining gut health and diversity for shift and night workers​ facing disruption in their microbiota, according to a new narrative review by researchers from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

Shift work and irregular schedules can lead to gut microbiota dysbiosis, but probiotics could help protect and preserve the stability and diversity of the gut microbiota.

The review suggests that probiotic supplements can alleviate inflammatory effects related to sleep disruption and modify the immune system, mitigating the impact of stress caused by night work.

'Ground-breaking' Nordic Nutrition Recommendations spotlight overlooked nutrients

The updated Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) have been hailed as ground-breaking​, spotlighting eight previously overlooked nutrients and increasing recommendations for nine others by over 20%.

The report, the largest in its 40-year history, emphasised a predominantly plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, berries, pulses, and whole grains, with limited red meat, poultry, and processed foods.

The experts behind the report conducted extensive systematic research and recalculated micronutrient recommendations for the first time.

They included novel recommendations for nutrients like Choline and Fluoride and provided valuable insights into deficiency or at-risk groups for certain nutrients.

Anthocyanin dietary supplement shows "significant promise" in new review

A new review highlighted the significant health benefits of the anthocyanin malvidin​, a polyphenol found in red grape skin, including cardioprotective, antidiabetic, and neuroprotective effects.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of malvidin were linked to reduced lipid peroxidation, LDL-cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.

Research also showed positive effects on gut microbiota, increasing favourable populations of Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus–Enterococcus spp.

The researchers suggest that malvidin and its glycosides could have a wide range of health-promoting properties, making them potential functional food ingredients.

Microalgae could promote healthy ageing through mitochondrial protection

A review from the University of Padua, Italy, highlighted microalgae as a potential functional food for promoting healthy ageing through mitochondrial protection​.

The bioactive compounds in microalgae, including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, sterols, phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and others, possess high antioxidant properties and can enhance mitochondrial functionality.

This modulation of protective factors and enzymes have been found to regulate essential biochemical pathways to preserve cell function.

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