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Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Three

April 3, 2015 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

If you ever plan to attend Natural Products Expo West, make sure to go on an empty stomach. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of exhibitors there who want to feed you for free! These distributors, manufacturers and retailers are downright eager to share their newest functional foods, meals-to-go, probiotic beverages, snacks and much, much more. For some, this may sound like a dream come true – lots of (mostly) delicious treats and giveaways with a healthy twist! But, the reality is that you have to carefully pace yourself if you have any hope of getting the most out of Expo West.

In my two previous blogs, I focused on several of the most innovative dietary supplements we found at the 2015 expo. The next couple of columns will feature new foods and/or ingredients which I suggest you look for at your local health food stores, markets and online. The distinction that all ten of these products share is that they deliver in three important categories: health promotion, realistic label claims and taste.

Food Find #1: Pacific Foods Organic Chicken and Turkey Bone Broths (link)

Until recently, most people had to cook if they wanted a nutrient dense, traditional bone broth. The fact is that the majority of commercially available broths contain very little protein and nutrients besides sodium. These common, inferior products are unlikely to provide the health benefits associated with homemade bone broths, such as hastened recovery from upper respiratory tract infections. A new line of organic chicken and turkey broths from Pacific Foods is an exception to the rule. It features an impressive 9 grams of protein per cup and is screened for potential contaminants, including lead. Additionally, I can attest that all of their chicken and turkey flavors taste great. My one caveat is that some people may require some added salt. If you’re one of those people, I suggest one of my prior Expo West picks called NutraSalt. The bottom line is that this new entry into the organic broth market is a good alternative for those who cannot or prefer not to make homemade bone broths themselves.

Food Find #2: Wild Planet White Anchovies (link)

One way to get more cold-water fish into your diet is to eat canned anchovies or sardines weekly. Both of these tiny fish are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, selenium and protein. What’s more, both anchovies and sardines are generally quite low in heavy metals and pollutants such as mercury. The upside of “packed fresh” anchovies is that they’re milder tasting than sardines and much less salty than the anchovy fillets used to flavor pizza and salad dressing. But, perhaps most importantly, each can of Wild Planet’s White Anchovies provides over 2,000 mg of omega-3 fats. This matters because contrary to some media reports, the health benefits of dietary fish and fish oil continue to impress. Most recently, a study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that eating fish thrice-weekly improves daytime functioning and sleep quality.

Food Find #3: Julian Bakery Paleo Coconut Flakes (link)

I often recommend a high fiber, low carbohydrate diet to my clients, family and friends. As such, I sometimes hear complaints about missing certain higher carbohydrate foods like cereal. So, I’m pleased to announce a new gluten-free cereal that is a healthier alternative for those who wish to avoid grains and excess carbs. Julian Bakery Paleo Coconut Flakes have a surprisingly straightforward ingredient list: GMO-free coconut meat, coconut water and sago palm starch. Each 30 gram serving contains 7 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of fat rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and 480 mg of potassium. Current research indicates that eating high fiber, low carbohydrate breakfasts can “reduce markers of visceral fat and inflammation”.

Bonus Tip: I recommend Good Karma’s Unsweetened, Vanilla Flax Milk Protein + as a dairy-free, milk alternative for the coconut flakes. It’s sugar-free and fortified with plant-based omega-3 fats and protein.

Food Find #4: Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee (link)

There are more reasons than ever to drink caffeinated coffee on a daily basis. Three examples from the medical literature report that coffee intake is not only a leading source of dietary antioxidants, but is also inversely associated with age-related frailty, arterial calcium deposits aka coronary atherosclerosis and diabetes. However, there are a few pitfalls that sometimes tag along with regular coffee use: acidity, artificial flavors, and questionable sweeteners. As the name implies, Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee, isn’t processed like conventional coffee. Cold brewing results in a less acidic, sweeter end product. This works out exceptionally well for those looking for a smoother brew with added sweetness that doesn’t come from sugar.

Food Find #5: The NeatEgg (link)

If you happen to be allergic to eggs or are vegan, baking can be a bit of a challenge. Eggs play an integral part in the chemistry and overall texture of all kinds of baked goods ranging from cookies to pasta to pancakes. NeatEgg is a brand new, egg replacer composed of chia seeds and garbanzo beans. You can’t use it to make an omelette or scrambled eggs, but it can be used in place of eggs for most baking applications. And, while it doesn’t match the nutritional content of eggs, it does provide some fiber and healthy fat which help lower the glycemic impact of common baking ingredients.

Bonus Tip: If you’ve been advised to avoid raw eggs in certain recipes, consider using what many restaurants use when making Béarnaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing or mayonnaise: gently pasteurized eggs sold under the name, Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs. I’ve tried them on many occasions when making homemade dressings, sauces and smoothies. These antibiotic and hormone-free eggs come from cage free, certified humane farms and taste just like unpasteurized eggs.

Disclaimer: The manufacturers of the products mentioned in today’s column have not compensated or paid me in any manner. I sampled a few of the products while walking the convention floor. In other instances, exhibitors provided me with coupons or small samples to try at home. This is standard for almost all Expo West attendees. In fact, the vast majority of samples I tried did not make appearances in my Expo West coverage. As always, my goal in presenting this information is to shine a light on quality items that I hope will benefit your good health.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Protein-Enhanced Soups: A Consumer-Accepted Food for Increasing (link)

Study 2 – Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro (link)

Study 3 – Effects of Drinking Hot Water, Cold Water and Chicken Soup on Nasal (link)

Study 4 – The Risk of Lead Contamination in Bone Broth Diets (link)

Study 5 – Natural Resources Defense Council Sustainable Seafood Guide (link)

Study 6 – Fish Consumption, Sleep, Daily Functioning & Heart Rate Variability (link)

Study 7 – Role of a Prudent Breakfast in Improving Cardiometabolic Risk (link)

Study 8 – Inverse Association Between Dietary Habits w/ High Total Antioxidant (link)

Study 9 – Coffee Consumption & Coronary Artery Calcium in Young & Middle- (link)

Study 10 – Acute Effect of Commercially Available Pulse Powders on Postprandial (link)

Regular Coffee Intake May Reduce Diabetic Risk Markers

Source: J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Jan;9(1):BC01-3. (link)

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews

10 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2015 Part Three”

  1. Marcia Hutchinson Says:

    Be careful of Julian Bakery products. They have been caught lying about at least one of their products: low carb bread. Their bread was no more low carb than I am Houdini. I know nothing about their new product. just that I don’t trust them at all.

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you for alerting me, Marcia. At the moment, I’m all out of blood glucose strips. But, I’ll stock up later this week and conduct a series of tests on JB’s Coconut Flakes. Specifically, I’ll measure my blood sugar prior to eating a serving and 60 minutes post consumption on at least three occasions. I promise to post my findings whether they are favorable or unfavorable in relation to the product. Also, I would welcome it if anyone else wishes to join me in testing this product!

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update: Chicken essence, a type of traditional chicken broth, may benefit mood …


    Nutrients. 2015 Jan 29;7(2):887-904.

    The effect of chicken extract on mood, cognition and heart rate variability.

    Chicken extract, which is rich in anserine and carnosine, has been widely taken in Asian countries as a traditional remedy with various aims, including attenuation of psychological fatigue. The effects of consuming BRAND’S Essence of Chicken (EOC) or a placebo on 46 young adults’ responses to a standard psychological “stressor” were considered. Heart rate variability (HRV), cortisol responses, mood and cognition were measured at baseline and after ten days supplementation. EOC resulted in feeling less anxious, depressed and confused and more agreeable and clearheaded. A decrease in HRV was observed after EOC but only in females. Cognition and cortisol levels were not influenced by EOC. Findings suggest that EOC may be a promising supplement to improve mood in a healthy population.

    Be well!


  4. Paul F. Says:

    Hi JP,

    Is the prevailing definition of a low carbohydrate food as one that contains less than 40 percent of total serving calories correct?

    If so we can apply this criteria to judge the label of the Julian Bakery Paleo Cereal as proper because the 14 g of carbohydrate amount to 56 calories which is about 37% of 150 calories per serving.

    It may be a good criteria to judge labels for a buyer of a product since the labeling content must be correct to comply with the law.

    Separately I will critique the Low Carb bread.

    Keep up your excellent job!


  5. JP Says:

    Thank you, Paul!

    I don’t think most low carbohydrate adherents and advocates would agree with the 40% figure. Certainly, I wouldn’t consider that to be a “low carbohydrate” diet. Having said that, the glycemic impact of carbohydrates is more import than a specific, dietary percentage. For example, half of the 14 carbs contained in the coconut flakes come from fiber. Dietary fiber doesn’t affect blood glucose in the same way as other forms of carbohydrates like starches and sugar. Generally speaking, fiber tends to blunt/moderate post-meal blood sugar elevations.

    As far as the coconut flakes are concerned, they appear to be a better option than most other “cereals” because they contain a higher quantity of healthy fat and fiber. Adding the protein-enriched, flax milk I suggested (to the coconut flakes) should further improve the nutritional profile. I plan to do some blood glucose testing on myself to see what type of an effect the combo has on me. I’ll report back in the coming weeks with my findings.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    As promised, I started testing my blood glucose response to Julian Bakery’s Paleo Coconut Flakes. I plan to test this product as my breakfast for three consecutive days. Here’s how I’m doing it:

    I added one cup of homemade almond milk to one cup of the Coconut Flakes. I tested my blood sugar just before eating the “cereal” and one hour after finishing it.

    Today, eating the almond milk / coconut flake combo only raised my blood sugar by 1 mg/dL (from 90 mg/dL to 91 mg/dL). I didn’t eat or drink anything caloric prior to having this breakfast. The only thing I consumed was a cup of black coffee two hours before the experiment.

    I’ll report my findings for day two tomorrow.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Day 2 of my Paleo Coconut Flake test …

    Today, I was surprised to find some rather unusual blood sugar results. For starters, my reading prior to eating the flakes was significantly higher than normal: 100 mg/dL. I usually find myself in the high 70’s to lower 90’s. On average, I register readings in the low 80’s. The one thing I did different than yesterday is that I took my first measurement one hour after my morning (black) coffee instead of two hours after like yesterday. An hour after eating the “cereal”, I measured my blood glucose once more. Rather than going up, it came down dramatically. My 60 minute post-meal reading was 80 mg/dL.

    Due to this unexpected finding, I plan to try this experiment at least two more times. It’ll be interesting to see if today’s result was a fluke.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Update: Day 3 of my Paleo Coconut Flake (PCF) challenge …

    + Blood glucose prior to eating 1 cup o PCF topped with 1 cup of homemade almond milk: 84 mg/dL

    + One hour post consumption: 83 mg/dL

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Update: Day 4 of my Paleo Coconut Flake (PCF) challenge …

    + Blood glucose prior to eating 1 cup o PCF topped with 1 cup of homemade almond milk: 80 mg/dL

    + One hour post consumption: 84 mg/dL

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Update 05/19/15:


    PLoS One. 2015 May 15;10(5):e0126469.

    Coffee Consumption, Newly Diagnosed Diabetes, and Other Alterations in Glucose Homeostasis: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil).

    INTRODUCTION: Observational studies have reported fairly consistent inverse associations between coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, but this association has been little investigated with regard to lesser degrees of hyperglycemia and other alterations in glucose homeostasis. Additionally, the association between coffee consumption and diabetes has been rarely investigated in South American populations. We examined the cross-sectional relationships of coffee intake with newly diagnosed diabetes and measures of glucose homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion, in a large Brazilian cohort of middle-aged and elderly individuals.

    METHODS: We used baseline data from 12,586 participants of the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine associations between coffee consumption and newly diagnosed diabetes. Analysis of covariance was used to assess coffee intake in relation to two-hour glucose from an oral glucose tolerance test, fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, fasting and -2-hour postload insulin and measures of insulin sensitivity.

    RESULTS: We found an inverse association between coffee consumption and newly diagnosed diabetes, after adjusting for multiple covariates [23% and 26% lower odds of diabetes for those consuming coffee 2-3 and >3 times per day, respectively, compared to those reporting never or almost never consuming coffee, (p = .02)]. An inverse association was also found for 2-hour postload glucose [Never/almost never: 7.57 mmol/L, ≤1 time/day: 7.48 mmol/L, 2-3 times/day: 7.22 mmol/L, >3 times/day: 7.12 mol/L, p<0.0001] but not with fasting glucose concentrations (p = 0.07). Coffee was additionally associated with 2-hour postload insulin [Never/almost never: 287.2 pmol/L, ≤1 time/day: 280.1 pmol/L, 2-3 times/day: 275.3 pmol/L, >3 times/day: 262.2 pmol/L, p = 0.0005) but not with fasting insulin concentrations (p = .58).

    CONCLUSION: Our present study provides further evidence of a protective effect of coffee on risk of adult-onset diabetes. This effect appears to act primarily, if not exclusively, through postprandial, as opposed to fasting, glucose homeostasis.

    Be well!


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