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Cutting sweetened beverages from diet may reduce blood pressure

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS A new study published in Circulation, the American Heart Association journal, found that cutting sugar-sweetened beverages from one’s diet may lower blood pressure.

Using data of  810 adults, ages 25 to 79 years, with prehypertension (between 120/80 and 139/89 mm Hg) and stage I hypertension (between 140/90 and 159/99 mm Hg ) who participated in the PREMIER study, an 18-month behavioral intervention study with a focus on weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet as a means to prevent and control high blood pressure. At the start of the study, the participants drank an average 10.5 fluid ounces of sugar-sweentened beverages/day, equivalent to just under one serving. At the study’s conclusion, average consumption had fallen by half a serving/day and both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure significantly had declined.

“Our findings suggest that reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar consumption may be an important dietary strategy to lower blood pressure and further reduce other blood pressure-related diseases,” said Liwei Chen, Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “It has been estimated that a 3-millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) reduction in systolic blood pressure should reduce stroke mortality by 8% and coronary heart disease mortality by 5%. Such reductions in systolic blood pressure would be anticipated by reducing sugar-sweetened beverages consumption by an average of 2 servings per day.”

The PREMIER trial was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The present study is supported in part from the School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Science Center and from the Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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JBSS completes acquisition of Orchard Valley Harvest

BY Allison Cerra

ELGIN, Ill. John B. Sanfilippo & Son, the distributor of such brands as Fisher and Texas Pride, has acquired one of the leading suppliers of branded and private-label nut and dried fruit products.

JBSS said it completed its acquisition of Orchard Valley Harvest, based in Modesto, Calif. Under terms of the agreement, JBSS paid $32.8 million in cash funded from excess availability in the JBSS bank credit facility. JBSS may also pay amounts of up to $10.5 million, contingent upon performance of the acquired business for the 2010 and 2011 calendar years.

“The acquisition of OVH fulfills a key pillar in JBSS’ five year strategic plan by significantly increasing our presence in the produce section of food retailers,” said Jeffrey Sanfilippo, chairman and CEO of JBSS. “The perimeter of the store is where retailers have been increasingly focusing their time and investment and where consumers have more frequently been purchasing fruit and nut products. The acquisition of OVH provides JBSS with meaningful product and packaging diversity and significant access to one of the fastest growing channels for nut and dried fruit products.”

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Mentos launches Facebook application

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI “The fresh maker” has a new Facebook application.

Mentos, the chewy mint known for its optimistic take on life, has launched the Fresh Goes Better Facebook application, which allows visitors to view and hear original work by artists who upload their creations directly to the U.S. Mentos Facebook page. Work is organized in three categories: fresh graphic art, fresh music and fresh video. A featured artists section on the page will spotlight work that is the freshest of the fresh.

“After years of stumbling upon and admiring Mentos-inspired art here and there, it was time to share the wealth,” said Craig Cuchra, brand manager for Mentos. “Creating the Fresh Goes Better application on Facebook is a way of sharing the incredible energy of our fans by becoming a curator for work by established and aspiring artists in three genres. It will allow art enthusiasts of all ages across America to enjoy and offer visions of freshness.”

Mentos art enthusiasts can view and “like” the Facebook application or submit fresh art, music or video at http://www.facebook.com/MentosUS. More information about Mentos Mints is available at http://us.mentos.com.

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