Asahi in the Market for Asian Acquisitions

Asahi Breweries may buy food, alcohol companies in Asia-Pacific

The Japan Times reports that Asahi will be shopping around Asia for companies to acquire.
The fact the three big alcohol companies are looking to expand outside Japan has been big news in the food industry for several years now.
Kirin has been the most aggressive and apparently the most profitable so far with major acquisitions in Australia and the Phillipines.


Dairy and Health - Positive Correlation

Lipids DOI 10.1007/s11745-010-3412-5 (pre-print)
The Consumption of Milk and Dairy Foods and the Incidence of Vascular Disease and Diabetes: An Overview of the Evidence

Here is an meta-analysis which hits at the heart of intermediate markers vs evidence based outcomes.
People avoid dairy because of high fat content and cholesterol, but the evidence actually points the other way.
High (full fat) dairy consumption is actually correlated with lower rates of all-cause deaths, ischaemic heart disease, stroke and for incident diabetes.

I am not a big fan of meta-analysis, but in cases like this it provides the best/only data.
Milk is such a complex substance that it is likely the beneficial effects of milk peptides, etc. might overwhelm any negative effects.

Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States

The Institute of Medicine (IOM, National Academy of Sciences) released a report which has gotten a lot of news coverage.
Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States

This report proposes intervention by the FDA.

Washington Post article
USA Today article

The FDA hurriedly replied that it has no plans to regulate salt at this time.
They are no doubt reluctant to take the lead.

I don't know how it could be done fairly to all those concerned, but I feel strongly this would be the only way to reduce salt levels.
No food company wants to go at it alone, because customers will just buy an alternative.

There is a strong sentiment in the US against any "big brother" measures, so this will not be easy by any means.


The Truth About Grass-Fed Beef

NPR ran and interesting report comparing corn fed to grass fed beef. There is also a video for streaming.

corn fed beef - better taste and cheaper
grass fed beef - likely healthier due to the omega-3 fatty acids

Look at the comments and you will see most people ignore the point of the piece and want NPR to automatically condemn corn fed beef on environmental grounds.

UK Inquiry Clears Climate Scientists in Email Row

Skeptics will not be persuaded by any amount of information, so I suppose they will still try to read what they want into the e-mails.


Britons eating fewer veg despite 5-a-day campaign

Spend money on 5-a-day in the UK and people eat fewer vegetables.

Japan has copied the 3-a-day dairy campaign from the US, and dairy consumption continues to fall.

I would like to know the figures for the US campaign, also. Has such a campaign ever worked?



Humane Society of the US takes a Hit

There is an ongoing battle between animal farmers and animal welfare societies. Lots of accusations and secret video taping.
Animal welfare victories prompt farmers' PR moves - USA Today

Now there are reports that one of the most vocal animal welfare groups, the Humane Society of the U.S., actually gives less than 1 percent of the money it takes in to animal shelters, which is where most donors likely think their money is going. Money going to the executive pension fund is 3 times that.

Humane Society of U.S. downgraded - Dairy Herd Management

Looks like both animal farmers and the Humane Society of the U.S. need to clean up some of their practices.

More from groups which oppose perceived abuses of non-profits:

The Center for Consumer Freedom


Roundup of Milk as a Sports Drink Information

A new journal article has been pre-published online, relating to milk as a sports drink and body composition.
This has been a subject of interest in the dairy industry for some time, which can be seen from the funding of some of these studies.
It does make sense. Usually chocolate low-fat milk is used, so you have water and minerals for rehydration, protein for muscle recovery and sugar (from both the chocolate and the milk lactose) for quick energy.
The argument goes that it is either better or at least just as good as popular sports drinks, and it is cheaper.

Articles on Milk as a Sports Drink:

Milk as a Sports Drink - Published Papers:
Body Composition and Strength Changes in Women with Milk and Resistance Exercise
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2010 Prepublication

Consumption of fat-free fluid milk after resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than does consumption of soy or carbohydrate in young, novice, male weightlifters
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 86(2) 373-381 2007

Milk as an effective post-exercise rehydration drink
British Journal of Nutrition 98(1) 2007 pp173-180

Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Feb 34(1) 78-82

The Efficacy of Chocolate Milk as a Recovery Aid
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2004 36(5) pS126

Effects Of Chocolate Milk Consumption On Markers Of Muscle Recovery During Intensified Soccer Training
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2009 41(5) p508

Acute Effects Of Chocolate Milk And A Commercial Recovery Beverage On Post-exercise On Muscle Damage And Endurance Cycling Performance
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2009 41(5) p508


Climate change scepticism - its sources and strategies

Science in the news

The Science Show (ABC Radio National)
Saturday April, 3 2010
podcast and transcript

As always, an excellent show. This show gives some reasoning why so many people seem to be rejecting science and scientific consensus in favor of climate change skepticism and Fox News.
The conclusion is that the same model and largely the same people who worked to discredit the science behind the dangers of smoking, acid rain and ozone are new being used to fight climate science.

March 26, 2010 Science Friday (NPR)

March 26, 2010 Science Friday (NPR)
audio stream and a transcript

Two food topics covered were from the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco.

The first is an interview with Navindra Seeram, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy, University of Rhode Island.
He talks about new antioxidants found in maple syrup. His conclusion is that maple syrup is better than other sugars.
Maybe so, but that doesn't make it a health food. I love maple syrup by the way. The research is funded by industry and the Canadian government.

The second is Frank Mitloehner, Professor, University of California, Davis.
His numbers conclude that dairy and meat does not contribute as much to climate change as other scientists have concluded, because the amount of roughage (which results in methane) in cattle feed has been overestimated.
Therefore transportation contributes more to greenhouse gasses than all agriculture (26 percent versus 5.8 percent).
Five percent of his funding comes from the agriculture industry.
The finger pointing will no doubt continue.

Dietary Calcium and Magnesium Intake and Mortality

Dairy Science in the literature

American Journal of Epidemiology 2010 171(7):801-807
Dietary Calcium and Magnesium Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Men

In this study on over 23,000 Swedish men, calcium was associated with a statistically significant lower rate of all-cause mortality, and a non-significant reduction in CVD mortality.
No relation was found between calcium and cancer, or with magnesium and any mortality measure.

The lower rate of all-cause mortality corresponds to a 25 percent lower rate of death over 10 years.

Obviously it is important to determine what exactly is happening here.

here is a Reuters article

Prospective association between milk intake and adiposity in preschool-aged children

Dairy Science in the literature

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Apr;110(4):563-70

Prospective association between milk intake and adiposity in preschool-aged children

This study on over 800 preschool-aged children finds that not only is milk consumption not related to obesity, but whole dairy (and not reduced-fat diary) was associated with a slightly lower BMI z score.

The take away message from this any a large number of related studies is that people who avoid dairy because they think it is related to overweight are mistaken.

Overall calorie intake needs to be kept in check, but excluding dairy would only reduce important nutrient intake.
Dairy as a weight loss strategy is something less clear. It is unlikely to be very effective without other measures.

Molecular mechanisms triggered by low-calcium diets

Dairy Science in the news

Molecular mechanisms triggered by low-calcium diets
Nutrition Research Reviews (2009), 22:163-174

Dietary Ca has been associated with lower BMI and lower colorectal cancer risk. This review discusses proposed molecular mechanisms for these effects.

This is considered dairy science because the best and most frequent source of calcium is dairy. The authors conclude by recommending doctors ensure proper dairy intake for their patients.


Milk is the key to 2,500 years of taller humans

Dairy in the News

The Observer (England)
April 4, 2010
Milk is the key to 2,500 years of taller humans

In a study presented by Nikola Koepke of Oxford University at the Economic History Society's 2010 annual conference, it was found that the nutritional status and wellbeing, as determined by average height, has increased in Britain over the past 2,500 years due to improved farming and consumption of milk.

It also shows that nutrition decreased during the Roman occupation due to the need to supply the Roman army.