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Posts Tagged omega-3

One-fifth of shoppers ‘rarely or never read food labels’

Just nine per cent of UK shoppers always read the ingredients label on their food shopping.

foodlabeThat’s the finding of new research by Canadean Consumer, which also reveals that while 32 per cent of consumers ‘often’ read the ingredients list, 21 per cent ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ read the ingredients.

This, says the market research company, means many shoppers are unfamiliar with ingredients such as DHA, stevia and taurine.

Women (44 per cent) are more likely than men (39 per cent) to ‘always’ or ‘often’ read the ingredients list on products they buy – in fact, 26 per cent of males ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ read the ingredients list, compared to only 17 per cent of females.

This difference may imply that women are generally more health-conscious than their male counterparts, and are specifically using ingredient information as a means of guiding their healthy product choices.

Moreover, the study revealed that consumers from a higher social status are more likely to check ingredients lists always or often (44 per cent) compared to consumers from a lower social status (38 per cent).

“Consumers from lower social status groups may be less likely to deviate from regular product purchases as a result of tighter budget constraints,” suggests Canadean Consumer research manager Alex Wilman. “When it comes to checking ingredients, consumers are more likely to do so with unfamiliar products. As a result, consumers from higher social status groups may therefore check ingredients more frequently.”

Everyday ingredients such as salt, caffeine and olive oil are familiar to virtually all consumers, regardless of whether they check the ingredients list on a product or not. Awareness of newer and more specialist ingredients, such as DHA, stevia and taurine, however, relies more heavily on consumers reading labels.

“With only nine per cent of consumers always checking the ingredients on products they buy, awareness levels of ‘less-common’ ingredients may stay low,” adds Wilman.

Fish oils

Fish oils are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids

Marine oils are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, notably eicosapentaenoic acid Fish oils are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids(EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are extracted from various different oily fish, such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna and herrings, but the fish do not make the oils themselves – they come from their own diet, usually microalgae, or for fish-eating fish, from other fish that eat the microalgae. It is possible to ferment these microalgae in a contained environment, from which a vegetarian algal oil rich in DHA and EPA can be extracted. Numerous health benefits have been claimed for these oils, including improving attention and positive effects on heart health.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega-3 in the brain. It may also have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease, and clinical trials are being carried out.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) has several important roles in the body, as it is used to make several important biological molecules such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes which are essential to the healthy functioning of the body. It is also thought to have a positive benefit on mental health.

Healthy diet can improve behaviour of children with ADHD

Eating more healthily can improve the behaviour of children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) if therapy and
medication fails to work, according to a new study.

Researchers said that there was conflicting evidence on the impact of supplements and restricted diets for people suffering from ADHD – and in some cases they were no better than the placebo effect. The report, by doctors at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, argued nutritional intervention should therefore be considered as a secondary approach to treating the condition.

‘Supplemental diet therapy is simple, relatively inexpensive and more acceptable to patient and parent,’ it says. ‘Public education regarding a healthy diet pattern and lifestyle may have greater long-term success.’

Interventions such as cutting out additives and food dyes have soared in popularity in recent years, but there is little evidence to suggest this makes any difference.

The causes of ADHD are unknown, although studies have pointed to hereditary factors as well as social and environmental influences. Foods high in sugar and fat are also thought to exacerbate symptoms. Interventions including giving iron supplements or cutting out additives and food dyes have soared in popularity in recent years, but the study says there is little evidence to suggest this makes any difference.
For many parents, simply feeding their children a healthy diet rich in fish, vegetables, fruit and whole-grains is likely to help, the study says.