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Food Factoids: Health Claims

Study Implies Reaffirmed Health Claims for Oatmeal

In 1997, the FDA approved a health claim statement for food labels that indicated a link between eating oatmeal and lower cholesterol. In 2008, a scientific review of current research shows that link to be even stronger.

Recent studies suggest that eating oatmeal may:

1) Reduce elevated blood pressure risk, Type 2 diabetes and weight gain

2) Reduce LDL cholesterol during weight-loss

3) Provide positive changes in the physical characteristics of LDL cholesterol particles, making them less susceptible to oxidation, which is thought to lead to arterial hardening

4) Supply unique compounds that may lead to reducing early hardening of the arteries

Magnolia Bark Extract for Sweeter Breath

Magnolia bark extract (MBE) may have those with halitosis saying “halleluiah!” Studies have proven that MBE has a substantial antibacterial effect on organisms responsible for oral malodor. MBE has already been added to chewing gum currently marketed with claims of “killing germs.” In one study, saliva samples were taken before and after subjects ate mints and gum, with and without MBE. The results demonstrated that MBE had a strong germ-kill effect against bacteria for halitosis and Streptococcus mutans. The MBE gum reduced total salivary bacteria by 43%, while placebo gum reduced it by 18%.

Source: (J. Agr. Food Chem., October 2007, 55, M. Greenberg, P. Urnezis, M. Tian)

It Claims To Be Probiotic, But Is It Really?

Currently, the U.S. does not legally define or regulate the term “probiotic.” As a result, industry must regulate itself, making it critical to ask the right questions when classifying organisms as a probiotic. If not done prior to marketing, a company could find itself in hot water in civil court with a false probiotic claim and accusations of mislabeling.

Studies have shown that many probiotic products fail to meet label claims, particularly with the numbers of viable microbes present. Companies should clearly identify the genus, species and strain designation for each probiotic included and the level of viable cells of each strain at the end of shelf life. Enlisting a third-party for independent assessment of the most accurate methods for evaluating a product’s contents can be helpful.

Source: (CAST Issue Paper 36, M.E. Sanders, G. Gibson, H.S. Gill, F. Guarner)

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