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Whole Grain Benefits

Danone North America, Howtian, Kite Consulting



ZCHT rebrands as Howtian

Zhucheng Haotian Pharma Co. (aka ZCHT), maker of the brand of natural stevia, SoPure Stevia, has undergone a name change, and will now be known as Howtian.

The Chinese-headquartered company has a broad portfolio of functional and natural ingredients including inositol, PureQQ pyrroloquinoline quinone, baicalin, and vitamin E powder.

The new brand name and corporate identity reflects the substantial growth and evolution of the business since its inception in 1999. It began as a small manufacturer of inositol, a health ingredient that belongs to the Vitamin B family commonly used in human and animal nutrition for its variety of benefits.

Today, the business is one of the world’s largest naturally processed stevia companies, with over 1,000 employees operating in 80 countries and with customers across the food, beverage, nutrition, and pharmaceutical industries.

“Having expanded into new markets with our expertise in innovative ingredient solutions and product formulation, we wanted this new brand name – which pays homage to our original name – to represent our diversified product portfolio and to consolidate our operational capabilities into one entity,”​ said Tom Fuzer, VP of Marketing at Howtian.

The Howtian identity also represents a renewal of its mission to sustainably produce and supply premium natural ingredients at virtually any scale for business around the globe.

“To support farming communities and promote environmental stewardship, we employ the Favorable Contract Farming Model,”​ Fuzer said.

“This model ensures fair wages while preserving natural resources. It includes initiatives to achieve zero waste, optimal usage of byproducts, and minimal energy usage.”​

Russian invasion of Ukraine: Implications for EU agriculture and dairy

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already led to massive destruction, loss of life, sanctions, and ramped up rhetoric on both sides.

Food is also critical in the conflict.

This is true not only for the countries directly involved, but also further afield.

Europe’s second largest country, Ukraine is the EU’s fourth biggest external food supplier and provides the EU with a quarter of its cereal and vegetable oil imports, including nearly half of its maize. Russia is also an agricultural exporter.

Kite Consulting in the UK has published two reports on the crisis, one on the effect of the war on the UK dairy industry, and another on the impact on feed markets.

The company said sanctions will have an economic impact beyond Russia’s borders, but this is clearly preferable to getting involved directly in military action.

The report notes that Ukraine and Belarus are both dairy net exporters, while Russia is a net importer. It said the dairy exports of Ukraine and Belarus to the world market exceed that of Russian imports from the world market, and the net loss of Ukraine’s, Belarus’ and Russia’s dairy commodities trade would mean a loss of about 1.2 bn kg/year of raw milk equivalents in dairy supply to the world market.

“Any conflict in Ukraine is likely to impact global supply and demand of dairy products and, initially, it is likely this will lead to higher global dairy commodity prices,”​ Kite Consulting said.

In the short term, Kite Consulting said dairy exports from Ukraine will cease immediately due to military action. In addition, punitive western sanctions (for example, excluded from the SWIFT payment system) could stop all Belarusian dairy exports, except those to Russia and Kazakhstan. It argues that this may even impact exports to other nations, such as China, as export destinations, even though they remain neutral in the conflict, due to payment issues.

Kite Consulting said natural gas export volumes from Russia to the EU will reduce, in part due to pipelines through Ukraine being blocked. It said this sharp increase in global energy prices will mean dairy farm margins being hit directly, through rising on farm energy and fertilizer costs.

Russia may have to terminate any ‘western’ dairy imports (mainly from Argentina) due to exclusion from international banking systems, the report continued. Also, over time, the increase in dairy commodity prices and/ or an invasion and global economic downturn as a result of consequently high-energy prices may reduce world dairy demand.

The report said longer term, higher dairy commodity prices may, via higher milk prices, trigger a global increase in dairy output, and Belarus may, over time, re-establish routes to export to ‘neutral’ markets. It also said in time, trade flows between Russia and other countries will be re-established, with Russia again re-entering the world dairy market, possibly working through proxy operators like Armenia.

“The direct effect of military action will be a short-term price increase for global dairy commodities. This price rise will be caused by the ‘overnight’ loss of Ukrainian and Belarus supply of dairy commodities to the world market,”​ the report stated.

“The volume loss due to these two exporters being blocked (to all markets except the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan) outweighs the possible dairy volume freed up in countries like Argentina that now sell to the Russian Federation.”​

It stated the world dairy market will likely shrink when dairy commodity prices increase further. A secondary effect will be the negative impact of increasing energy prices on consumer buying power worldwide. However, as several large dairy importing nations are also large net ‘fossil energy’ exporters, Kite Consulting said the relevance of the indirect effect could be moderate to minimal, as high energy income in these countries tends to trickle down to higher consumer buying power, and thus higher dairy import demand.

In summarizing events, Kite Consulting said potential panic buying in the global dairy market, resulting from an overnight loss of Ukrainian and Belorussian exports, may trigger further price increases, even when only moderate volumes are being traded. In the UK, farmer pressure on the UK processors to keep pace with global raw milk price increases is likely to build.

It said if the situation escalates, it will be important for UK dairy processors to increase sales prices even faster than they have been in recent months, to enable them to cover their own additional cost inflation and to be able to pass on higher income through milk price to farmers to cover further on-farm costs increases.

“As a result, inflation of consumer dairy prices in the UK seems an inevitable consequence,”​ the report concluded.

New Danone study shows popular diets may not be as good for good health

Low-carb diets like keto and paleo may be among the most popular choices for New Year’s dieters, yet this type of approach may not be the best for your gut, suggests a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In the study researchers found out of five eating patterns individuals following an exclusion diet that was low in carbohydrates and consisting of mainly fats, animal products and non-starchy vegetables had the lowest amount of Bifidobacterium​, a type of bacteria shown to have beneficial qualities for their gut microbiome.

In addition, individuals following a flexitarian diet, which is rich in plant-based foods but also includes meat and dairy products, presented one of the most diverse gut microbiomes, especially compared to a standard American diet.

The international research team, led by Aurelie Cotillard and Patrick Veiga at Danone Nutricia Research in France, examined the dietary patterns of 1,800 adults in the American Gut Project, an ongoing research initiative studying the microbiome composition of citizen volunteers. The project was performed in collaboration with researchers at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego), whose contributions were coordinated by the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego.

Using food consumption surveys, the researchers divided the study participants into five groups based on their long-term dietary intakes.

The plant-based group consisted primarily of vegetarians and vegans who consumed little or no meat and high amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This diet was highest in fiber compared to the other four dietary patterns.

Flexitarians were categorized as those who ate abundant amounts of plant-based foods, yet still incorporated some meat and high amounts of dairy foods.

The third, the health-conscious American diet, comprised of a dietary pattern rich in nuts, whole-grain cereals, and dairy foods, but also high in sugary sweets and refined grains, and low in vegetables.

The standard American diet category comprised individuals with the poorest diet quality of all groups, including the highest consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods and the lowest diversity in plant-based foods consumed, as well as the lowest intake of dietary fiber.

The final diet was the exclusion diet, a restrictive diet was the lowest in carbohydrates and highest in fats and animal products compared to all other patterns. It included virtually no starchy foods or sweet products.

The analysis of the gut microbiome of the study participants revealed the alpha diversity of the gut microbiota (a measure of the different kinds of bacteria), which was significantly lower in the standard American diet compared to the flexitarian pattern, which included a mix of plant and animal foods, including high amounts of dairy products. In addition, the low-carb eaters from the exclusion diet had the lowest relative abundance of Bifidobacterium​, a beneficial type of bacteria found in the gut. Altogether, this highlights that some diets may be more microbiota-friendly than others.

In the study, the researchers also found the overall diet exhibited better associations with the gut microbiome than individual dietary components, such as fiber or protein alone.

“The association between a habitual diet and the gut microbiota is gaining major interest, yet, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to use this type of approach and identify the dietary patterns providing the best associations with the gut microbiome, ”​ said the senior author of the study Patrick Veiga, Ph.D., health and microbiome science director at Danone Nutricia Research.

“This study showed that the flexitarian eating pattern that includes larger amounts of plant foods, yet doesn’t totally eliminate animal foods, which was associated with better overall diet quality and one of the approaches resulting in the most nourished gut,”​ said Miguel Freitas , Ph.D., vice president of health and scientific affairs at Danone North America.

“This study together with previous research reinforce that a healthy gut microbiota is supported by a balance between all food groups, without restricting fiber-rich grain foods or animal products, like fermented dairy products entirely. At Danone, this approach is completely in line with our portfolio offerings of both plant-based and animal products.”

The study also found the gut microbiota alpha-diversity of the plant-based diet and the standard American diet was similar, which may be explained by the depletion of some animal foods, such as meat and dairy products in the plant-based dietary pattern. While the intake and diversity of fruits and vegetables have been reported as main factors associated with variations of the gut microbiota, animal protein has also been shown to increase microbial diversity.

“People may overlook that, what they eat and what they avoid, can impact their gut microbiome,”​ Freitas said.

“Diet is known to influence the diversity and composition of our gut microbiome, which we now know has a tremendous impact on our overall health.”​

“These results confirm that evaluating diet as a whole is important when studying the gut microbiome,”​ said Veiga.

“It will also facilitate the design of more personalized dietary strategies in general populations.”​

The study was funded by Danone Nutricia Research and supported by The Microsetta Initiative, the world’s largest citizen science microbiome project.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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