Abstract: Green tea catechins (GTCs) are secondary plant metabolites that have been associated with health benefits in human trials. As such, they have the potential to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk; however, results are not consistent. This systematic review of the published data assessed the putative effect of GTCs supplementation on anthropometric, blood pressure, and biochemical measures associated with CVD risk. It was conducted in accordance with the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines exploring four major electronic databases (MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and Scopus). Studies were included if they were published in peer-reviewed journals in English from 1990 until October 2015, and were human double-blind randomized and placebo-controlled trials (RCTs). From 122,428 articles initially identified, after two levels of screening, seven studies met the inclusion criteria. The review revealed consistent and significant (p ≤ 0.05) reductions in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and plasma lipids; however, this effect would have been less if between-group effects had been considered. The current evidence base also has considerable methodological limitations due to suboptimal statistical methods used in data analyses. Future research efforts must aim to rectify this paucity of evidence with well-designed and well-reported prospective studies.
Abstract: The present work analyzed soy milk prepared from whole dehulled soybeans. The traditional method of soy milk preparation leads to wastage of about 35% of soybean solids in the form of okara, which gets filtered out. In the current study, soy milk was prepared with practically 100% recovery of soybean solids and treated with continuous flow high pressure processing (207 and 276 MPa pressure, 121 and 145 °C exit temperatures, and 0.75 and 1.25 L/min flow rates), and the changes in the physical, chemical, microbial, and sensory properties during 28 days of storage at 4 °C were analyzed. The treated soy milk remained stable for 28 days. There was a significant reduction in the particle size of soybean solids which did not change during storage. The pH of the treated soy milk was significantly lower than the untreated soy milk and it reduced further upon storage. The soy milk was pasteurized with high pressure processing coupled with preheating. No lipoxygenase activity was detected. Compared to commercial samples, there was no significant difference in the astringency, bitterness, or chalkiness of soy milk prepared in the study.
Abstract: Eating habits of western populations are changing due to modern lifestyles. As a result, people are becoming more susceptible to chronic and degenerative diseases. This fact has motivated the food industry to develop functional products that could decrease the incidence of those disorders. It is well known that fruit juices, milk and soymilk possess high concentrations of antioxidant and bioactive substances. Hence, the development of these functional beverages is a potential way to take advantage of their nutritional properties and exotic flavors that could attract the interest of consumers. At the same time, application of the right preservation treatment is of high relevance in order to obtain safe products with convenient shelf life and high concentration of health-related compounds. This fact represents a great challenge that scientists and technologists are currently facing. Today, novel preservation processes such as high hydrostatic pressure (HHP), high intensity pulsed electric fields (HIPEF) and ultrasound (US), among others, are being evaluated as an alternative to heat pasteurization, obtaining promising results. Hence, this review gathers the most relevant information about the development of mixed beverages containing fruit juices and milk or soymilk. Furthermore, the advantages and drawbacks of the application of non-thermal treatments for functional beverages’ preservation with high content of bioactive compounds are also mentioned.
Abstract: Tea has been consumed for thousands of years and is an integral part of people’s daily routine, as an everyday drink and a therapeutic aid for health promotion. Consumption of tea has been linked to a sense of relaxation commonly associated with the content of the non-proteinogenic amino acid theanine, which is found within the tea leaves. The aim of this review article is to outline the current methods for synthesis, extraction and purification of theanine, as well as to examine its potential benefits related to human health. These include improvements in cognitive and immune function, cancer prevention, reduced cardiovascular risk and its potential usefulness as a functional food product.
Abstract: One of the challenges of studying food consumption behavior is to identify the drivers of choice for a food product. This is particularly important to design and develop new foods for which no previous information is available. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Bissap) is an herbaceous plant and an important source of vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds, which confer a number of potential health benefits to derived products. The consumption of Bissap in beverage form is widespread in Africa and Asia, but not yet in Europe. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the main drivers of consumer acceptance of a traditional African beverage made from Bissap to which they had not been previously exposed. First, three focus groups (n = 22) were performed in Portugal to characterize the sensory profile of four Bissap beverages, to reveal perceptions and attitudes towards Bissap beverages, and to identify potential choice attributes. Subsequently, a full-profile conjoint analysis (n = 99) was performed, where consumers evaluated 37 Bissap beverage profiles, aiming to estimate choice attribute importance and to identify relevant market segments. Focus group findings showed that consumers would choose Bissap because they perceived as a healthy choice, and due to its novelty. The conjoint study showed an ideal profile for a Bissap beverage costing €0.99/L, <18 kcal/100 mL, packaged in Tetra-pack, light red color, and containing labeling information about antioxidants and Bissap. Four clusters of consumers were identified: price sensitive, body concerned, packaging attracted, and demanding, highlighting the most influential choice attributes: price, calories, and packaging. Findings provide useful guidance for new product development of an African product in the European lifestyle. Results might be useful from a nutraceutical point of view and to the food/beverages industry.
Abstract: This article is concerned with one of the UK’s major export successes of the last century, Scotch whisky. The economics of the production process place considerable onus on firms to forecast demand for up to a decade ahead. History reveals the difficulty in achieving this, with clear cycles of over-production and under-production as firms attempt to adjust their stock portfolios. No sooner has leadership emerged to encourage a more strategic approach to the stock cycle than market forces encourage some firms to break ranks in pursuit of alternative objectives. With the industry having consolidated further following the large mergers of the late 1990s and 2000s, it is tempting to assume the vagaries of the past are over. Current record production and stock levels, however, are set to test this proposition as Scotch sales are now below the peak level of 2011.