James N. Klapthor

IFT closed out 2006 with more than 200 million media impressions in news outlets—for the first time surpassing 100 million impressions in a calendar year. And 2007 is off to a favorable start.

On the heels of IFT expert commentary related to California spinach and Mexican quick-serve-restaurant foodborne illness outbreaks that closed out 2006, some tried-and-true messages on matters inherent to IFT’s scientific perspective rolled out recently in high-profile news outlets.

On the topic of functional foods and how the food we eat—and in what combinations—truly interacts with our bodies, Fergus Clydesdale, University of Massachusetts, spoke with O, The Oprah Magazine, which has a monthly circulation of nearly 2.5 million.

In the November 2006 issue, he offered ways to improve women’s iron intake. Vegetarian diets are not favorable for that purpose, he reported. "About 20 percent of the iron in beef is taken up by your body," he said, "compared with only two to three percent from vegetables." Clydesdale added that vitamin C will help to increase iron absorption rates, but that calcium can have the opposite effect. He suggested taking calcium and iron supplements at different times of the day.

In the same article, Connie Weaver, Purdue University, took over on further discussion of the bioavailability of calcium. She recommended scaling back sodium intake if calcium absorption is a goal and that people taking a calcium supplement might consider including vitamin D, which improves the body’s uptake of calcium.

And the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens, one of the nation’s most widely recognized and most read monthly magazines, with 7.5 million circulation, included cutting-board safety comments by Dean Cliver, University of California at Davis. A good scrub with plain old dish soap and warm water is the number-one way to keep it germ-free, he advised. Run plastic boards through the dishwasher, the magazine’s Healthy Family column reported.

Demonstrating the purpose of his service as IFT Core Communicator, Roger A. Clemens was identified by Fitness magazine as a functional foods expert with IFT. In the January issue, he offered food-related methods to ensure healthy-looking skin. Addressing the benefits of vitamins C and E, found in apples, citrus fruits, and whole-grain breads, Clemens noted that the two antioxidants bolster one another’s effectiveness and can protect against inflammation. Fitness circulates nearly 1.5 million copies monthly.

In the same month, Allure magazine, with a circulation of more than 1 million, highlighted the most popular New Year topic: dieting. In addressing extreme diets like fasting and detoxifying, the popular monthly magazine drew on Food Technology’s regular column, Food, Medicine & Health, and its IFT-member authors Clemens and Peter Pressman. Noting their May 2005 column on this controversial topic, Allure attributed to Clemens and Pressman the statements that "a scientific basis for these kinds of stringent diets is lacking" and that the lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and immune system are "effective in removing or neutralizing toxic substances." It added that Pressman further warns against combining these extreme diets with strenuous exercise, as it could pose neurological or cardiac risks.

Preliminary media impressions during January after little more than one week of monitoring reveal that IFT is on track to make another run at more than 100 million impressions in one year. Efforts like those demonstrated above, and more, should serve well the appetites of the news—and food—consuming public. Time will tell, and IFT Newsmakers will report.

by James N. Klapthor,
Media Relations Manager
[email protected]