Entries in Antioxidants (7)


Consumer Group Sues 7UP Makers for Antioxidant Claims

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A consumer advocacy group is suing Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, the makers of 7UP, for marketing "nutritionally worthless" sodas as healthy, fruit-filled antioxidant drinks.

In its recent ads, and on its website, the manufacturer says “There’s never been a more delicious way to cherry pick your antioxidant!” The word “antioxidant” is emblazoned across the front of the bottle along with pictures of fruit.

But the Center for Science in the Public Interest says the drinks contain no fruit at all and only a “small amount” of added Vitamin E, which the group claims has no proven antioxidant benefits.

After touting added antioxidants in its regular and diet Cherry Antioxidant, Mixed Berry Antioxidant and Pomegranate Antioxidant 7UP beverages, the company is facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Sherman Oaks, Calif., man who says he was duped. He says he purchased the drinks not knowing they didn't really contain juices from the advertised fruits.

“Non-diet varieties of 7UP, like other sugary drinks, promote obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and other serious health problems, and no amount of antioxidants could begin to reduce those risks,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson.  “Adding an antioxidant to a soda is like adding menthol to a cigarette -- neither does anything to make an unhealthy product healthy.”

The FDA seems to agree. In its current policy, the agency states it, "does not consider it appropriate to fortify … snack foods such as candies and carbonated beverages."  The FDA also nabbed Coca-Cola for similar violations of the policy. Coke received a warning letter from the FDA for the offense.

The antioxidant claims on 7UP's labeling are in violation of several California laws including the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, according to the lawsuit.

The CSPI is acting as co-counsel in the lawsuit with consumer protection class action law firm Reese Richman LLP.

"Every can or bottle of 7UP consumed brings one closer to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health problems," said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner. "So I look forward to having 7UP go under oath and testify before a judge or a jury that this disease-promoting sugar water is actually a source of healthy antioxidants."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Antioxidants in a Nutshell

iStockphoto/ThinkstockBy DIANE HENDERIKS, Health Contributor, ABC News Good Morning America

(NEW YORK) -- From skin care to gasoline to the dinner table, antioxidants play a role.  Ask anyone whether antioxidants are good for you and they will say “definitely.” Follow that up with, “What are antioxidants?” and you might be surprised by the answer.  Most people have no idea what antioxidants are but know they are good for you.  Here is my quick and minimally confusing explanation of antioxidants:

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may protect your cells from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food for energy, or by environmental toxins like cigarette smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, weaken the immune system and may play a role in heart disease, arthritis, cancer and other diseases.

Free radicals are thieves looking for electrons and will take them whenever available, leaving the cellular victim of this theft vulnerable to problems until those electrons are put back.  Our bodies have a natural ability to replace these stolen electrons but we can also get them from the food we eat by way of “antioxidants.”  Antioxidants give electrons to free radicals so they don’t have to commit the crime of stealing from healthy cells in our bodies.

There are numerous compounds that can act as antioxidants with Vitamin E, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium and manganese being the most popular. Each one of these substances has a unique function and play different roles in the body so when it comes to food choices, variety is the key.

The more color you have on your plate, the more nutrition and potential antioxidant-wielding capacity you have. Foods contain so many substances that work together in ways that are not completely understood and I truly believe that science cannot extract everything from a food and turn it into a supplement.  I recommend eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are all packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that help to keep us healthy.

Here are some antioxidant-rich compounds and some of the best food sources.  Bon Appetit!

Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, greens (chard, collard, mustard, turnip), papaya, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, mangoes, pumpkin, bell peppers and nuts.

Vitamin C: kiwi, guava, berries, citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, honeydew, kale, mangoes, nectarines, papaya, snow peas, sweet potato and tomatoes.

Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, peppers, kale, mangoes, greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, squash, tangerines, tomatoes and watermelon.

Zinc: oysters, wheat germ, sesame seeds, lean red meat, dark chocolate, poultry, beans, nuts and seafood

Selenium: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish, beef, eggs, poultry, mushrooms, onions and whole grains

Manganese: herbs and spices, wheat germ, nuts, mollusks, seeds, edamame and cocoa powder

Other super antioxidant rich foods: onions, Concord grapes, celery, eggplant, tea, apples, red wine, plums, apples, berries, sprouts.

Diane Henderiks is a registered dietitian, the founder of and a Good Morning America health contributor.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Popcorn Packs Antioxidants, Study Finds

Ciaran Griffin/Thinkstock(SCRANTON, Pa.) -- When it comes to antioxidants, popcorn may have fruits and vegetables beat.

A new study suggests that one serving of popcorn has more antioxidants than a day’s worth of fruits or vegetables, based on the average American diet.

“Popcorn may be the perfect snack food,” study author Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “It’s the only snack that is 100-percent whole grain.”

Foods labeled "whole grain" only have to be 51-percent whole grain. And more whole grains mean more health benefits.

Whole grains have “antioxidants and a lot more fiber than most other vegetables and fruits,” Vinson said.

Antioxidants are substances that may play a protective role against cancer, heart disease and other diseases. They help combat free radicals produced by the body in response to certain exposures, like cigarette smoke and radiation.

And that piece of popcorn shell that gets stuck in your teeth?  It’s called the “hull” and it actually packs the highest concentration of antioxidants and fiber, which may make you think twice the next time you’re tempted to spit it out.

“Popcorn works as a great snack food, but as with many foods…it’s what you do to it that determines its health value,” said Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian and associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Oil, butter and salt dilute the health benefits of popcorn by adding fat and even doubling its calories. But if plain popcorn sounds too bland, consider adding spices or herbs to boost its taste.

“Get a little creative,” says Ayoob. Instead of salt, “toss in flavorings like chili powder, cinnamon, curry powder, dried dill…or a teaspoon of grated parmesan cheese.”

Misting the popcorn with a touch of water or a healthy oil -- like olive or canola -- helps the spices or herbs to stick to the popcorn better.

As always, the key is moderation. Adding a touch of natural flavor will enhance taste without adding too many calories.

It’s good news for popcorn lovers, but don’t ditch the broccoli and spinach just yet.

Dr. David Katz of Yale University emphasizes that popcorn should not replace fruits or vegetables. Instead it should be eaten instead of unhealthier options like potato chips.

“It would definitely be a good way to trade up your snacking,” says Katz.

Katz and Ayoob both recommend a serving size no larger than 4 cups of air-popped popcorn -- less if it is not air-popped -- which has about 100 calories.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Red Wine’s Antioxidants Not Source of Heart-Healthiness

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands) -- It’s long been touted that a glass of red wine a day keeps the high blood pressure at bay. But according to a new Dutch study, the antioxidants called polyphenols found in red wine may not lower blood pressure at all.

HealthDay reports that among the study’s findings, the anti-hypertensive effects of polyphenols are not the source of red wine's cardiovascular system benefits.

The study surveyed 61 people averaging around 61 years of age, all of whom had borderline high blood pressure. Study participants consumed dairy beverages that contained either the red wine polyphenols or a harmless placebo over the course of four weeks.

The study concluded that there was no difference in blood pressure levels between the two groups.

"Red wine drinking may still be beneficial to prevent cardiovascular diseases. However, this apparently occurs in a blood pressure-independent manner," said study author Ilse Botden, a graduate student at University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

The findings, however, do not indicate that red wine in moderation isn’t heart-healthy.

The research suggests that while red wine does not decrease cardiac risks by lowering blood pressure, its anti-inflammatory properties instead are mainly responsible for lowering a drinker's cardiovascular risk, according to Dr. William O'Neill, a professor of cardiology and the executive dean for clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The study’s findings will be presented Friday at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Antioxidants Limit Radiation-Induced DNA Damage 

Photodisc/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- The radiation scare caused by the problems at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant may have some people wondering if there's a "super pill" that can protect them from the dangerous effects of radiation.  Although a preliminary study suggests that antioxidants may be able to decrease DNA damage after radiation exposure, it is unlikely that any such "super pill" will be available any time soon. 

The authors of the study, published Tuesday in Society of Interventional Radiology, withdrew blood from two participants, before and after they took a proprietary antioxidant “cocktail” for five days.  They then measured the amount of DNA damage in the blood after the blood had been exposed to ionizing radiation. 

The researchers found that, post-antioxidant treatment, blood had less DNA damage then the blood drawn from the participants before they took the antioxidants. 

Therefore, the authors conclude that these antioxidant pills should be given to patients prior to medical imaging exams, or to workers exposed to occupational radiation.
Critics of the study cite problems with its methodology that cast the findings into doubt.  Furthermore, even if the findings are correct, critics say, the interpretation made by the authors goes too far by assuming that DNA damage caused to cells in a petri dish can be compared to DNA damage in a human body. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Study: Chocolate Has Antioxidant Power Greater Than Fruit

(HERSHEY, Penn.) -- A new study released Monday shows that your favorite guilty snack, chocolate, has antioxidant powers equal to and, in some cases, greater than certain fruits. The research show that chocolate is a bountiful source of antioxidants, polyphenols and flavanols, containing more than most fruit juices.

The researchers who conducted the study compared cocoa powders to fruit powders. While using fruits like acai berries, blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates and comparing them to cocoa powder, the latter was found to have higher antioxidant activity.

Like many mothers warn, too much of anything can be a bad thing. The study noted that cocoa products like chocolate are still high in fat and must be consumed in moderation.

Researchers from the Hershey Center For Health And Nutrition had their findings published in the online publication Chemistry Central Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Antioxidants May Increase Male Fertility

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(AUCKLAND, New Zealand) -- There are people who swear by the effects of antioxidants for everything from anti-aging to protection from cancer -- whether or not science supports these claims.  Now, a new study found that the tiny molecules may even boost the chances of making a baby.

Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand reviewed 34 clinical trials that involved more than 2,500 couples undergoing infertility and subfertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization and sperm injections.  The retrospective analysis found that men taking antioxidant supplements were more than four times more likely to get their partners pregnant than men who did not take the oral antioxidants.  The antioxidants were associated with more than a five-fold higher rate of live births

"When trying to conceive as part of an assisted reproductive program, it may be advisable to encourage men to take oral antioxidant supplements to improve their partners' chances of becoming pregnant," said lead researcher Marian Showell of the University of Auckland in New Zealand in a press release.

The researchers said further information is needed to confirm the findings.  And some fertility doctors dismissed the study entirely, discouraging patients from putting all their eggs into the antioxidant basket.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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