Science Shorts: Fermented soy, arsenic-containing snacks, salt intake indicators and more feature in our round-up

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Fermented soy, arsenic-containing snacks, salt intake indicators and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts. ©Getty Images
Fermented soy, arsenic-containing snacks, salt intake indicators and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts. ©Getty Images

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Fermented soy, arsenic-containing snacks, salt intake indicators and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts.

Miso good, tofu no: Only fermented soy consumption linked to lower mortality rate

A major Japanese population study has found that people who eat more fermented soy products, such as miso and natto, have lower mortality rate​, but found no such link between consumption of unfermented items like tofu and soy milk.

A total of 42,750 men and 50,165 women aged 45-74 took part in the study, filling in in detailed questionnaires about their dietary habits, lifestyle, and health status.

Deaths were identified from residential registries and death certificates over a follow-up period of nearly 15 years.

The researchers found that a higher intake of fermented soy (natto and miso) was associated with a significantly lower (10%) risk of all cause mortality, but total soy product intake was not associated with all cause mortality.

Arsenic snack shock: RMIT study finds almost 75% of children rice snacks exceed EU recommendations

Nearly 75% of infant and children rice snack samples in Australia have been found to exceed the European Union (EU) maximum levels of inorganic arsenic levels​.

Researchers in Australia said this is concerning as baby food companies are increasingly shifting to organic products for perceived healthiness, but organic rice have been shown to contain more inorganic arsenic (iAs) than inorganic rice. iAs is known as a non-threshold human carcinogen.

The current Australian guidelines are based on adult consumption and are not protective of high-sensitivity consumers like infants and young children.

Consumption of chilli pepper may increase physical activity and reduce fat in older adults – Japan study

Capsinoids from non-pungent chilli peppers​ have been reported to increase physical activity (PA), reduce body fat mass, and promote metabolism in older Japanese adults.

According to a study conducted in Japan, researchers said this effect was more pronounced in participants with sedentary lifestyles.

Nissin Foods Group reduces sodium levels in instant cup noodles and launches smart salt intake indicator

Nissin Food Products (subsidiary of Nissin Foods Group) is reformulating its instant noodles to reduce salt intake​ for the rising number of Japanese consumers with hypertension.

Among Nissin Foods Group’s reformulation efforts include reducing sodium by 30% in its Cup Noodles, and developing a smart salt intake indicator for consumers.

According to the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, one-third of adults and two-thirds of elderly people in Japan are diagnosed with hypertension (140/90 mmHg or more), and it is expected that the number of patients with hypertension will increase in Japan as it faces a rapidly ageing society.

Aoki told FoodNavigator-Asia​, dietary salt reduction is thus necessary for people with normal blood pressure to prevent hypertension.

Government action needed: Political pressure key for Indonesian F&B firms to propel reformulation

Food and beverage companies in Indonesia have cited government regulations as the major factor for reformulation​, in a country where 28% of the adult population is overweight, 22% is obese, and 35% of deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease.

In a new report from Food Industry Asia (FIA) and IGD, which covered research conducted on both consumers and F&B firms, 83% of companies had undertaken reformulation, with 89% stating their main motivation behind this to be to ‘respond to government regulations’​.

“[The] current reformulation priorities in Indonesia are the reduction of sodium, salt, sugar and trans-fat and the fortification of products with protein, dietary fibres and vitamins and minerals - priorities which are also in line with the consumer trends in Indonesia,”​ FIA Policy Director Steven Bartholomeusz told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

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