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

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

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

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

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 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

(Beijing, China, June 17, 2010) The latest scientific research into cardiovascular disease and the role the food industry can play in promoting heart health is the focus of a symposium series that the Quaker Oats Company and PepsiCo are hosting at the World Congress of Cardiology 2010 in Beijing on June 16-19.  Quaker is a division of PepsiCo. This is the first time the World Heart Federation is holding the WCC in China, working in partnership with the Chinese Society of Cardiology and the Chinese Medical Association.  A recent article in a journal of the American Heart Association points to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) as an urgent global public health problem that claimed more than 17 million lives in 2004. More then 230 million Chinese have some form of CVD, resulting in an annual toll of 2 million heart attacks, 7 million strokes, and 3 million deaths. The... Read more

For 35 years, the Global Health Council has focused on critical needs in health and has often raised the clarion call for emerging public health challenges. These have included AIDS, children’s health, reproductive rights of women, and the spread of infectious diseases. This year, progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was the central theme and I participated in the opening plenary along with Tessa Wadlow from UNICEF, Ambassador Wegger Strommen from Norway, Minister of Health Kakooza from Uganda, and Sering Falu Njie from the UN Millennium Campaign. With 5 years to go before the MDG goals, set in 1990, need to be achieved, there was strong evidence of progress on several global health goals. Progress includes improved access to water, declines in under nutrition, sharp increases in vaccine coverage, and greater access to malaria bed nets. However, the attainment of these goals remains uneven with... Read more

PepsiCo touches the lives of tens of millions of people every day. We are driven by the belief that by joining forces with partners across many sectors, we can make a far greater impact in the fight to reduce obesity and address other global nutrition needs than by working alone. As part of our efforts to help reduce obesity in the U.S., we are a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF). The Foundation is a CEO-led organization and a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. On Monday, the HWCF joined First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America to announce its new pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories by the end of 2015. “Solving the obesity epidemic requires far more than anything government can do alone and today’s announcement represents an important... Read more

April is Minority Health Month and this year’s theme is “Man Up for Health: Healthy Men Move Our Communities Forward.” PepsiCo applauds the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for highlighting the need to help men, especially minority men, realize that they have much more control over their health than they may think. Men, particularly African-American and Hispanic men, are at higher risk for serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. However, many of the conditions that increase their health risk are preventable through lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Of the 10 leading causes of death in men, six (eating less fat, eating more fruits and vegetables, lowering sodium, etc) are directly influenced by diet and exercise choices. PepsiCo can help make it easier than expected to improve diets via our expanding global portfolio of healthier products. Many of our products can make... Read more