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Low sugar and salt food become popular

Researchers have claimed that more than 50 per cent of consumers are interested in products with reduced levels of salt and sugar.

In recent research, just 25 per cent of consumers claimed to be dieting, yet more than 70 per cent said they want to lose weight. Lynn Dornblaser, director, innovation and insight, Mintel Group Ltd, said, “Consumers know they need to take care of their health. They want to lose weight, but they don’t like the idea of dieting. They know that living a healthy lifestyle is all about moderation.”

What matters to consumers, and what they do associate with better health, is a reduction in sodium and sugar. More than 50 per cent of consumers rated sodium and sugar reduction as an important food attribute, over calorie, carbohydrate and fat reduction.

“And yet in the US market, it’s all about low- or no-fat claims,” said Dornblaser. “Products that make a low-sugar, low-calorie or low-sodium claim are less prevalent.” In Europe and the rest of the world, foods with “no- or low-fat” labels are less common. Consumers consistently rank taste as the most important food attribute (88 per cent), followed by appetite satisfaction or satiety (87 per cent), and value (86 per cent).

Food that was grown or made locally was important to just 36 per cent of consumers.
Adults with Asperger Syndrome likelier to have suicidal thoughts

Researchers have claimed that adults with the autism spectrum condition known as Asperger Syndrome are nine times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than people from the UK general population.

The study surveyed 374 individuals (256 men and 118 women) diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome as adults between 2004 and 2013 at the Cambridge Lifetime Asperger Syndrome Service (CLASS) clinic in Cambridge UK. It revealed a significantly higher rate of suicidal ideation among adults with Asperger Syndrome (66 per cent), compared with the rate found in the general population (17 per cent), and patients with psychosis (59 per cent) taken from other data sources.

The research, led by Dr Sarah Cassidy and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, from the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, and the CLASS clinic in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of adults with Asperger Syndrome had contemplated suicide and a third (35 per cent) had planned or attempted suicide during their lifetime. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours were significantly more common in adults with Asperger Syndrome and a history of depression.

Among adults with Asperger Syndrome, those with depression were four times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts, and twice as likely to plan or attempt suicide, compared to individuals with Asperger Syndrome but without a history of depression. A second risk factor for suicide plans or attempts was a higher level of autistic traits.Dr Cassidy said their findings confirm anecdotal reports that adults with Asperger Syndrome have a significantly higher risk of suicide in comparison to other clinical groups, and that depression is a key risk factor in this.
Caffeine’s safety concerns up with energy drinks’ popularity

New questions regarding the safety of caffeine for consumers has been recently raised as the caffeine-containing energy drinks have surged in popularity.

However, according to a June 23rd panel discussion at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans there is a rich database of health evidence that had confirmed the safety of caffeine for consumers at current levels of exposure.

But the interaction of caffeine with the myriad of other ingredients that are found in many energy drinks is still unknown. 

Caffeine cleared out all the concerns over 30 years ago with extensive research for possible links to birth defects in animals and cardiovascular disease in humans.

James Coughlin, Ph.D. of Coughlin & Associates said that according to them the safety issues were put to bed in the 80s but today concerns are being raised because no one has gone back to look at the literature and there has been a lot of bad science related to caffeine that is fueling concerns. 

In 2013, the US Congress pressed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look harder at the safety of caffeine and so they sponsored an Institute of Medicine scientific workshop which focused on the need to identify vulnerable populations that might be at risk from increased caffeine exposure and to pinpoint research gaps that needed to be filled.

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