Tate & Lyle, a leading global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, welcomed the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to its USD 2 million Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre in Dubai, as part of an initiative to reduce sugar and calories in food and drink products in the UAE and the wider Middle East region.
The Ministry, in collaboration with the UAE F&B Manufacturers Business Group, has developed the Middle East’s first Sugar & Calorie Reduction Knowledge Building Programme. Tate & Lyle, utilising its extensive expertise and technical capabilities, developed the eight-week programme which focuses on supporting food and beverage manufacturers in the region to reduce the sugar and calories in their products.
The programme has been designed to increase awareness of the latest technologies available in sugar and calorie reduction, offer practical experience working on specific prototypes in Tate & Lyle’s newly opened Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre and provide ongoing support for F&B manufacturers.
A series of sessions have taken place, hosting more than 390 delegates from the Middle East and North Africa region with representatives from the F&B manufacturing value chain. Key government attendees joined from Dubai Municipality, Saudi Food and Drug Authority, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, Sharjah City Municipality and Ministry of Health and Prevention, and key universities officials participated from Canadian University Dubai, Al Ain University and United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
The six-week programme concluded with a focus on reformulation in practice, with insight from Tate & Lyle’s specialist team. Other sessions addressed various topics, including how to make indulgent products healthier, the importance of taste, overcoming cost challenges, nutritional data and the regulatory challenges in sugar and calorie reduction.
Researchers at Western University are studying a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin, which they have shown to drastically reduce obesity in mice and reverse its negative side-effects.
But why it works remains a mystery.
New research published in the Journal of Lipid Research demonstrates that mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that were also given nobiletin were noticeably leaner and had reduced levels of insulin resistance and blood fats compared to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet alone.
“We went on to show that we can also intervene with nobiletin,” said Murray Huff, PhD, a Professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry who has been studying nobiletin’s effects for over a decade. “We‘ve shown that in mice that already have all the negative symptoms of obesity, we can use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.”
But Huff says he and his team at Robarts Research Institute at Western still haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly how nobiletin works. The researchers hypothesized that the molecule was likely acting on the pathway that regulates how fat is handled in the body. Called AMP Kinase, this regulator turns on the machinery in the body that burns fats to create energy, and it also blocks the manufacture of fats.
However, when the researchers studied nobiletin’s effects on mice that had been genetically modified to remove AMP Kinase, the effects were the same.
“This result told us that nobiletin is not acting on AMP Kinase, and is bypassing this major regulator of how fat is used in the body,” said Huff. “What it still leaves us with is the question – how is nobiletin doing this?”
Huff says while the mystery remains, this result is still clinically important because it shows that nobiletin won’t interfere with other drugs that act on the AMP Kinase system. He says current therapeutics for diabetes like metformin for example, work through this pathway.
The next step is to move these studies into humans to determine if nobiletin has the same positive metabolic effects in human trials.
“Obesity and its resulting metabolic syndromes are a huge burden to our health care system, and we have very few interventions that have been shown to work effectively,” said Huff. “We need to continue this emphasis on the discovery of new therapeutics.”
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the diets of over 36,000 adults in the Netherlands and reports that the intake of pure fruit juice, such as 100 % orange juice, was not associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Consumption of any amount of fruit juice, including the highest intake category of eight or more glasses per week, was not associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the study. When the researchers isolated citrus juice intake (orange and grapefruit juice combined), the results were consistent – intake of citrus juices was not associated with an increased risk for diabetes.
This study reinforces the case that fruit juices are not the same as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), particularly with respect to metabolic effects and risk for diabetes. One hundred percent fruit juices have lower glycemic index compared to SSBs and contain beneficial nutrients not found in SSBs, including vitamins, minerals, and bioactive/polyphenolic compounds.
An 8-ounce glass of 100 % orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamin, and supplies hesperidin, a polyphenol that has been shown to have health benefits. Orange juice also counts as a fruit serving to help meet fruit intake recommendations.
The study used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands cohort, which began collecting diet and health data in 1993 through 1997 from adults age 20 through 70. The study examined dietary records completed at baseline and categorized fruit juice intake into several intake categories ranging from none to eight or more glasses per week (one glass was considered to be approximately 5 ounces). The study identified 1,477 verified cases of type 2 diabetes over an average 14-year follow up period.
The advantage of this study is that it examined data from a large number of individuals who were followed for a long period of time. However, as a prospective cohort study, data are self-reported, and it cannot show cause and effect. While the analysis took into account important factors that could affect results, such as age, sex, education level, physical activity level, body mass index and overall diet quality, prospective cohort studies are not able to consider each and every factor that could potentially affect results.
- Pure Fruit Juice and Fruit Consumption Are Not Associated with Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes after Adjustment for Overall Dietary Quality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Netherlands (EPIC-NL) Study
- Floor R Scheffers, Alet H Wijga, WM Monique Verschuren, Yvonne T van der Schouw, Ivonne Sluijs, Henriëtte A Smit, and Jolanda MA Boer.
- Journal of Nutrition. 2020 Jan 14. pii: nxz340. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz340. [Epub ahead of print]
Euromed’s natural ingredient ABAlife™ shows beneficial effects on glucose metabolism
A recently published human study from the University of Sydney, Australia, evaluated the efficacy of ABAlife™ on glucose metabolism blood parameters1. The abscisic acid (ABA) standardized fig extract has been shown to improve glucose tolerance, assist insulin release and may help to lower post-prandial blood glucose levels, besides having anti-inflammatory and adaptogen properties too2. ABAlife™ is a patented extract from Euromed, a leading manufacturer of therapeutic botanical extracts, and available for dietary supplements.
In the randomized, double-blind crossover study, the researchers investigated the effects of two different ABA doses in fig extracts (100 mg and 200 mg) on post-prandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy subjects. Figs have one of the highest ABA concentrations found in nature. A 200 mg dose of ABAlife™ added to a glucose drink lowered overall blood glucose and insulin levels and peaks between 30 and 120 minutes post-dose, and significantly improved glycemic index (GI) levels compared with a reference glucose solution alone. The GI indicates how fast and efficiently the body can metabolize a carbohydrate meal.
The lower dosage was also effective on GI but did not reach statistical significance. Both dosages, however, were able to significantly lower the post-prandial insulinemic index (II), which shows how much insulin the body releases in response to a meal. The data displays a clear dose-response reduction of GI and II.
This initial study suggests that ABAlife™ may be a beneficial dietary supplement in terms of helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and an adjunctive treatment for chronic metabolic disorders such as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 66 million people in Europe have diabetes. Prevalence is rising among all age groups, mostly owing to increases in lifestyle-related risk factors such as unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. Sugar boosts the level of glucose in the blood and causes the pancreas to release insulin. Higher insulin levels lead to the storage of dietary calories as fat, which can result in overweight and obesity – both risk factors for diabetes. A second, larger acute clinical trial is currently ongoing, and a chronic administration study will start next year.
1ABAlife™ is a whole fruit extract that’s produced from figs according to the highest quality standards of Euromed and purified using a carefully controlled process to achieve a high, standardized ABA content. The ingredient delivers the scientifically proven health benefits of ABA while avoiding the additional calories associated with eating figs.
2Atkinson FS et al.: Nutrients. Abscisic Acid Standardized Fig (Ficus carica) Extracts Ameliorate Postprandial Glycemic and Insulinemic Responses in Healthy Adults. 2019 Jul 31;11(8). pii: E1757.
Zocchi E, Hontecillas R, Leber A, et al. (2017) Abscisic Acid: A Novel Nutraceutical for Glycemic Control. Front. Nutr. 4:24. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00024