Displaying all posts from: July, 2010

In Response to Recent Comments from Readers

Food Frontiers readers have asked several questions related to the integrity of food industry scientists, whether all food company actions must lead to increased profits, and the need to place the full text of speeches and comments in the public domain. Let me address each. Read more

A Conversation on the Sodium in Our Diet

We often receive questions about the role of sodium in the diet. It surprises people to know that dietary sodium actually has an important role in maintaining health. Sodium is an essential mineral or micronutrient which along with potassium helps to regulate the body’s fluid balance.  However, when consumed in excess (as sodium chloride or common salt), it can raise blood pressure and contribute to death and disability from heart disease and stroke. A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 9 out of 10 Americans exceed the limit recommended for daily sodium intake. In fact, for the group of Americans whom a lower dietary intake of sodium is important, the amount of sodium consumed was more than double the recommended limit. The CDC report also showed that only 9.6% of U.S. adults were below the recommended dietary limit of 2,300... Read more

The Posting Process on Food Frontiers

As we expand Food Frontiers and garner more attention, we have received a variety of good questions. One person (thanks, Greg Laden) asked about our process and how our posts are written. Food Frontiers was started at the specific request of Mehmood Khan, our chief scientific officer. We have been putting an increased focus on R&D, and Mehmood has built what we think is a rather formidable team. One of the team’s requests was more communications support – they really wanted to share what they are working on. So he thought, why not a blog? Food Frontiers is an outlet for the R&D team to talk about the work they are doing. They know that not everyone will agree with everything they write and, as we have seen, they will get some criticism. They tell me that it’s all part of the scientific process and they are... Read more

Responses to Questions on Microbial Stability, Acidity, and Phosphorus Content in Carbonated Beverages

We are seeing some good questions in the comments section and I’ve shared some with our R&D team. Commenter @Passerby asked the following question: “We could start with a simple issue first: the exceptional acidity, maintained by phosphoric and citric acids, in carbonated beverages. If you drop the sugar content, can you raise the pH without incurring microbial contamination issues? We should talk about the consequences of chronic phosphate acidity exposure in the oral cavity, GI tract and in particular, in stomach. It has consequences in bone mineral maintenance, ion channel transport that may affect the CNS.” To respond, I’d like to introduce Danielle Greenberg, Senior Nutrition Fellow at PepsiCo and Loretta Chappell, VP, R&D Strategy, Global Sparkling and Energy Platform at Pepsi who co-authored the post below: “The simple answer is no….dropping the sugar content will not allow you to raise the pH without incurring microbial contamination.  A great... Read more

European Association for the Study of Obesity/Karolinska Institute pre-International Congress on Obesity Meeting

This week I’m attending the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm. In addition to being a presenter, I had the opportunity to participate in a pre-conference meeting for select presenters. Following Sunday’s meeting, I came away with some thoughts I wanted to share with you. The meeting provided a chance to preview several major papers and discussion themes that will be highlighted during the ICO. Since the last ICO meeting  (4 years ago) there has been a continued unabated upward trend in obesity. The only notable exceptions being in some European countries where evidence of a slowdown is appearing. The most rapid increases are being reported in emerging markets.   Boyd Swinburn from Australia highlighted the need to simultaneously address socio-cultural and behavioral factors while tackling environmental and policy issues. Several examples of “obesogenic” socio-cultural factors were provided based on research in diverse populations in the Asia-Pacific region.... Read more

Starting the Conversation

Earlier this week, PepsiCo’s blog, Food Frontiers, was added to ScienceBlogs.com so we could begin open discussions about the role science can play in finding solutions to global nutrition challenges. Since the announcement of our participation in ScienceBlogs.com, we’ve heard some very candid feedback from the ScienceBlogs community. As many of you have undoubtedly heard by now, the Food Frontiers blog has been removed from ScienceBlogs. In hearing the community’s feedback, we agree with this decision and feel that the best approach is to take a step back and first examine the role industry scientists, such as myself, can play in the discussion about nutrition science within the larger scientific community. We knew going in that there would be real differences among scientists within and outside of industry. Our intent is to embrace that conversation, share what we’re doing, and have open discussions to learn from one... Read more

The Critical Role of the Food Industry in the Obesity Debate

The highly-regarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health this week published the seventh annual edition of “F as in Fat”, a report on obesity in the U.S.  The report includes commentary by a variety of notable public figures.   Among them is PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. The fact that the report would include comments from the leader of a food company, particularly one whose product portfolio includes treats like soft drinks and potato chips, has drawn some criticism.  The critics seem to feel there is no place for a food industry viewpoint in such a report. I disagree. To suggest PepsiCo and other food companies should not have a voice in the discussion of how to address global obesity seems counterproductive. The UK Foresight Report on Obesity and the White House Report on Obesity both have spelled out roles industry can play in preventing obesity... Read more