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Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up Thinkstock/nito100

Food Science & Innovation Weekly News Round-up

Each week we collect the top stories and latest news in food trends and production, making it easy for you to stay current on science and innovation.

Clean labels are more important than brand, study finds

For brands trying to keep up with growing consumer demands for transparency and clean label ingredients, the landscape is changing. According to a recent survey from Ingredients Network, featuring natural and clean label ingredients is now more important than brand recognition and product descriptions when it comes to purchasing decisions. Nearly 60% of respondents noted that they associated clean label products touted as natural with health and half equated “natural” with high quality. Read more at Fooddive.com

Ten macro trends impacting food and beverage innovation

While food developers are always looking for the next “it” flavor or which vegetable will surpass the popularity of kale, they also have to be concerned about macro trends, the longer-term societal changes driving food and beverage trends. Forbes takes a look at several key factors that will impact the industry in 2019 including the growing plant-based eco system and important agricultural trends beyond organic, including certified biodynamic and regenerative organic. Read more at Forbes

Few U.S. teens get enough fiber

Teens eat far less fiber than is recommended, which could prompt nutritional deficits that may lead to higher risk of diabetes or high blood pressure later in life, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers questioned 754 teens in Augusta, Georgia about their eating habits and tested participants for blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance. Read more at Reuters.com

How a high fiber diet can change the gut microbiome and benefit patients with type 2 diabetes

It is well known that short chain fatty acids nourish gut epithelial cells, reduce inflammation, and play a role in appetite control, and their deficiency has been associated with many diseases including type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about how these bacteria, as individual strains and as a group, actually respond to an increased supply of carbohydrates. A recently published study in Science investigated the effects of a high fiber intervention on blood glucose and metabolic health in patients with type 2 diabetes. The findings may provide clues for improving clinical efficacy of dietary fiber interventions to help treat or prevent type 2 diabetes. Read more at Thrive Global

How African scientists are improving cassava to help feed the world

Researchers in Nigeria are using genomics and conventional breeding techniques to improve the value of cassava, also known as yucca or manioc. The starchy staple crop provides food and income to more than 800 million people worldwide. While Africa varieties tend to produce smaller yields, they are more tolerant to blights now spreading across Asia. The Next Generation Cassava Breeding Project is using genomic data to identify useful traits to help safeguard the crops from challenges like climate change, growing population and viruses. Read more at Nature

Artificial sweeteners, not good, not bad

A new review of studies from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests that artificial sweeteners offer no health benefits, but also found no proof that they do any harm. The researchers looked at 35 observational studies and 21 controlled trials of non-sugar sweeteners in children and adults. The analysis did show a slight benefit for weight loss and improvement in fasting blood glucose levels, but only in small, short-term studies. Read more at the New York Times

The difference between probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics

The growing relevance of microbiome balance and probiotics role in gut health brings with it a lot of confusing terminology. This article provides a basic rundown of the differences between probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics and what unique benefits each have for human health. Read more at Care2.com

A landmark year for sustainable foods: Five trends that will dominate in 2019

2019 looks to be a banner year for sustainable foods bolstered by the rising consumer tide of concern about health, authenticity and environmentalism. Industry focused research providers, such as IRI and Mintel, are forecasting that sales of sustainably produced foods will grow this year and they outline top trends that will drive this movement, including plant-based eating, renewed focus on organic, demand for locally sourced products, and the backlash against plastics. Read more at Foodnavigator.com