Margaret Malochleb

Margaret Malochleb

Salt on spoon

Salt formulated with iron, iodine, and folic acid delivers three micronutrients simultaneously through the use of a cost-effective technology. © Detry26/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Salt on spoon

Salt formulated with iron, iodine, and folic acid delivers three micronutrients simultaneously through the use of a cost-effective technology. © Detry26/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Fortifying salt with micronutrients

Since deficiencies in folic acid, iron, and iodine can cause maternal and child health complications, it makes sense to combat them simultaneously. In a Journal of Food Science study, researchers developed a cost-effective technology to deliver the three micronutrients through salt, with the goal of retaining at least 70% of the micronutrients during six months of storage. 

The fortified salt was formulated by spraying a solution that contained 2% iodine and 0.5% or 1% folic acid onto salt and adding encapsulated ferrous fumarate. The formulated salt contained 1,000 ppm iron, 50 ppm iodine, and 12.5 or 25 ppm folic acid. The spray solution and the salt were stored for two and six months respectively at 25°C, 35°C, and 45°C, with 60% to 70% relative humidity. Even at 45°C, over 70% of both iodine and folic acid were retained in the salt. 

The best formulation based on the color of the salt and stability of iodine and folic acid contained 12.5 ppm folic acid, 50 ppm iodine, and 1,000 ppm iron, which delivers at least 50% of the RDA of the micronutrients based on a daily consumption of 10 g salt. These results indicate that iron, iodine, and folic acid can be simultaneously delivered to a vulnerable population through salt using the technology described. 

How consumers define sustainability 

Fifty-four percent of consumers say it’s at least somewhat important that the products they buy be produced in an environmentally sustainable way, according to results from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 14th annual Food and Health Survey. 

An environmentally sustainable way was mainly defined as “what I eat is healthy for the planet,” followed by “what I eat is nutritious.” Other factors— such as ingredients people know and recognize, foods that are produced using fewer natural resources, and foods with recyclable packaging—lagged behind.

Two-thirds (66%) of consumers think an environmentally sustainable diet can include protein from both animal sources and plant-based sources, while only 10% disagreed. Nonetheless, animal-based proteins dominate, with 92% of respondents reporting that they consume protein from animal sources like meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood.

On the other hand, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents reported consuming protein from plant sources. Taste was far and away the most important factor behind those dietary choices, cited as the top reason by 81% of those who consume animal proteins and by 73% of those who eat plant-based proteins. 

When people were asked how much of each source of protein they would need to consume to eat an environmentally sustainable diet, 27% said they would need to consume more plant-based protein, while 38% said such a diet would require the same amount of plant protein, and 11% said it would require less.

“Environmental sustainability is clearly on the mind of many consumers, but sometimes in ways we might not expect,” said Joseph Clayton, CEO of the IFIC Foundation. “For instance, some consider nutritious food or recognizable ingredients as part of an environmentally sustainable diet.” 

Plant-based protein demand on the rise 

The plant-based protein market, estimated at $18.5 billion in 2019, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.0% from 2019 to 2025, to reach $40.6 billion by 2025, according to research by MarketsandMarkets. Public awareness regarding obesity caused by unhealthy food consumption has led to the demand for plant-based protein products. 

Although soy is projected to dominate the market during the forecast period, the pea segment is projected to be the fastest-growing source, owing to its high protein content and health benefits, such as reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Pea adds texture, taste, and mouthfeel to a variety of food applications. 

Based on application, the nutrition supplements segment is projected to record the fastest growth. Plant-based proteins are beneficial for weight loss and provide the building blocks for healthy muscles and tissues. In addition, plant-based proteins tend to be lower in calories and fat than animal proteins but higher in fiber and essential nutrients. 

By type, the isolates segment is projected to dominate during the forecast period, being widely used in applications such as sports nutrition, protein beverages, and nutrition supplements. However, plant-based concentrates are projected to record the fastest growth, often being used to enhance the texture and volume of varied food products.

North America is projected to account for the largest market share by region due to the increasing awareness of healthy food ingredients and the trend of weight management among consumers. 

Low-quality carbs: a mainstay for Americans 

An 18-year “report card” on the American diet shows adults are eating too many low-quality carbohydrates and more than the recommended daily amount of saturated fat, according to researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study looked at dietary trends over an 18-year period. 

Although some dietary improvements were identified, the study found that low-quality carbohydrates from refined grains, starchy vegetables, and added sugars accounted for 42% of the typical American’s daily calories. High-quality carbs, from whole grains and whole fruits, accounted for only 9%. 

The study authors also note that while higher-income adults reduced their intake of low-quality carbs by 4%, those living below the poverty line cut their intake by only 2%. Additionally, there was no improvement seen in adherence to dietary guidelines for adults over 50 years old, people with less than a high school education, and those living below the poverty line.

“Although there are some encouraging signs that the American diet improved slightly over time, we are still a long way from getting an ‘A’ on this report card,” said co-senior author Fang Fang Zhang. “Our study tells us where we need to improve for the future. These findings also highlight the need for interventions to reduce socioeconomic differences in diet quality, so that all Americans can experience the health benefits of an improved diet.

Soft drink consumption affects mortality risk 

Beverages on Ice

Drinking two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks per day is positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases. © Charlie_Edward/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Beverages on Ice

Drinking two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks per day is positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases. © Charlie_Edward/iStock/Getty Images Plus

 

A large European study found that participants who drank two or more glasses of sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened soft drinks per day had a higher risk of all-cause mortality compared with participants who drank less than one glass per month.

The study also showed that consumption of two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks per day was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases, and consumption of one or more glasses of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day was positively associated with deaths from digestive diseases.

The study was coordinated by researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and included data from more than 450,000 people in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, with an average follow-up period of more than 16 years.

The positive association between consumption of total, sugar-sweetened, and artificially sweetened soft drinks with all-cause deaths is supportive of public health campaigns aimed at limiting soft drink consumption, concluded the researchers. 

 

About the Author

Margaret Malochleb, Associate Editor, produces content for the News, New Products, Books, and IFT World departments and researches and writes feature articles on a variety of topics.
mmalochleb@ift.org
Margaret Malochleb