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A third of EU residents don’t eat fruit or veg daily

Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is considered an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. In the EU, however, slightly more than a third of the population aged 15 or over did not  eat them on a daily basis in 2014,

More than a third of the European Union population aged 15 or over did not eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis in 2014.

And less than 15% consumed at least the recommended 5 portions a day, according to a Eurostat press release.

The European Union’s statistical office also said the daily consumption of fruit and vegetables differs widely between EU member states.

In Romania, for instance, almost two-thirds (65.1%) of the population aged 15 and over does not eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, while in Belgium, at the other end of the scale, it’s 16.5%.

Similarly, a third of those in the UK eat at least 5 portions of fruit or veg daily, compared to 3.5% in Romania and 4.4% in Bulgaria.

And when it comes to differences between men and for women, Eurostat said the daily consumption of fruit and vegetables seems to also be influenced by the level of education – the higher the education level, the higher the share of the “5-a-day” population.

The widest gap between low and high educated persons for “5-a-day” consumption was in the UK, where 40.5% of those with a high education consumed at least five fruit or vegetables each day compared to 25% for those with a low education level.

image: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sfs/index_en.htm

 

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Grape polyphenols help offset harm of high fat diet

“The results showed that the high-fat diet combined with grape polyphenols reduced the percentage of body fat, subcutaneous and visceral fat depots, markers of inflammation in the liver and fat depots, and improved glucose tolerance and intestinal barrier function."

Grape polyphenols helped offset some of the adverse health consequences of consuming a high fat diet rich in saturated fat, according to two laboratory studies1,2 conducted at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

According to a press release by the California Table Grape Commission, in the first study, the researchers found that consuming a high butter-fat diet (33% of energy from fat) enriched with 3% grapes for 11 weeks was associated with a lower percentage of overall body fat and reduced subcutaneous fat deposits. These reductions in body fat were positively associated with changes in intestinal microbes and health; e.g., increases in some beneficial bacteria, decreases in some less desirable bacterial strains, increases in microbial diversity, and improved gut barrier function.

In the second study, which ran for 16 weeks, the researchers used an even higher fat diet (44% of energy from fat ) with multiple types of saturated fat, including lard, beef tallow, shortening, and butter similar to some Western-type diets. They investigated the impact of the high fat diet enriched with extracts of either the polyphenol fraction of grapes or the non-polyphenol portion of grapes, as well as the high fat diet plus 5% whole grapes. All the high fat experimental diets were matched for sugar type and amount.

“The results showed that the high-fat diet combined with grape polyphenols reduced the percentage of body fat, subcutaneous and visceral fat depots, markers of inflammation in the liver and fat depots, and improved glucose tolerance and intestinal barrier function. While the 5% whole grape diet did not improve the metabolic profile in this second study, it did improve markers of intestinal health; e.g., increased microbial diversity and decreased abundance of several deleterious bacteria in the intestinal tract,” the commission said.

Obesity affects approximately one-third of the adult population in the U.S. and is associated with inflammatory conditions that disrupt the metabolic process and can lead to metabolic syndrome. Gut microbes are thought to play a role in the development of metabolic syndrome; e.g., obesity is associated with a decrease in microbial diversity and impaired barrier function in the intestinal tract.

“These two studies suggest that grapes and grape polyphenols may help offset a number of the adverse effects of consuming a high fat diet and trigger improvements in intestinal or systemic health,” said Michael McIntosh PhD, lead investigator of the study. “This is an exciting area of health that merits further study.”

1 Baldwin J et al. Table grape consumption reduces adiposity and markers of hepatic lipogenesis and alters gut microbiota in butter fat-fed mice. J Nutr Biochem 27 (2016) 123 – 135.

2 Collins B et al. A polyphenol-rich fraction obtained from table grapes decreases adiposity, insulin resistance and markers of inflammation and impacts gut microbiota in high-fat fed mice. J Nutr Biochem 31 (2016) 150-165.

Source of images: Grapes from California

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Unica Group offers staff colorectal cancer screening

Screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer, which is the most common cancer in Spain, for both sexes, affecting more than 400,000 people and with 30,000 new cases a year. However, there is a 90% success rate for treatment if detection occurs at an early stage.

Unica Group is offering its employees, cooperatives and partners aged over 50 the opportunity to participate in a screening programme for colorectal cancer.

The Almeria-based group said the move is part of its ongoing innovation, including in the area of corporate social responsibility, and reflects the importance it places on the health of its workers and partners.

Medical specialist José Manuel Rodríguez Laiz said the Unica Group initiative is one of the first of its kind in the field in Spain and a very positive one.

In a joint press release, he said screening is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer, which is the most common cancer in Spain, for both sexes, affecting more than 400,000 people and with 30,000 new cases a year. However, there is a 90% success rate for treatment if detection occurs at an early stage.

Unica Group spans companies in Almería, Granada and Murcia, namely the Cabasc, Casur, Cohorsan, Cota 120, El Grupo, Ferva, Parque Natural, Agrolevante and Parafruts cooperatives.

Today, March 31, is colorectal cancer awareness day.

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USDA estimates cost of fruit and veg snacks

Potential fruit replacements for junk food snacks include The potential fruit replacements were apples, bananas, cantaloupe, tinned fruit cocktail, grapes, oranges, canned peaches, canned pineapple, plums, raisins, strawberries, tangerine and watermelon.

What impact would it have if once a day a child’s energy-dense snack was instead replaced by a serving of fruit or vegetables?

Amid rising numbers of overweight and even obese children in the US, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has updated its assessments of just such an impact on both household food spending and children’s caloric intakes.

The ERS findings include that in most cases replacing a snack with a fruit or vegetable reduces calories consumed, and in some cases it is also cheaper. For example:

  • Replacing a 2.6-ounce fruit Danish with 5.2-ounce portion of apples would reduce intake by 194 calories. It would also save a household 11 cents.
  • Replacing a one-ounce portion of a chocolate-chip cookie for a 5.2-ounce portion of apples would reduce caloric intake by 46 calories, though it would cost the household an additional 20 cents.

Which fruit and vegetables are particularly good for kids’ snacks

The ERS estimated the average costs for 156 fresh and processed fruits and vegetables as well as the price per portion for 20 snack items commonly consumed by children ages 6-13, including salty snacks, baked and sweet goods, and frozen treats. It also identified and priced 20 fruits and vegetables seen as potential replacements for these snack foods.

The potential fruit replacements were apples, bananas, cantaloupe, tinned fruit cocktail, grapes, oranges, canned peaches, canned pineapple, plums, raisins, strawberries, tangerine and watermelon.

The vegetable ones were broccoli, carrots, celery, red peppers, sweet potatoes (cooked) and tomatoes (grape or cherry).

See the ERS data here.