For decades children have been fed Nestle products ranching from microwavable sandwiches and Hot Pockets to KitKat bars and Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and parents have been warned by some nutritionists to stop feeding their children so much fat and sugar in an attempt to prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity in kids.
Now however, the manufacturer, Nestle SA (NESN) wants to focus on foods that help to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity, such as Nestle’s Boost shakes designed to help diabetics manage blood glucose levels. The company also offers Peptamen Bariatric Formula, a tube-fed concoction for critically ill obese patients.
What Nestle’s goal is now is to focus on healthier foods, foods focused on treating chronic diseases with food instead of expensive drugs. The company reports that it’s cheaper to deal with chronic diseases by preventing or treating them with food rather than medications, and Nestle’s has to convince the government of that premise, according to the September 5, 2012 Bloomberg News article by Dermot Doherty, “Nestle Diversifies With Products Fighting Junk Food Ills.”
The company now is building a business on foods that might help treat those conditions. But the FDA says only a prescription drug or one approved by the FDA can actually treat a condition. Regardless of that premise, families, doctors, and nutritionists hear in the media daily that the most important drug you can take is food as medicine.
That’s at least what Nestle’s Health Science division is repeating as its ‘mantra,’ since the company’s headquarters are located in the quaint, clean-air Swiss village of medieval-appearing Lutry. The positioning to health food or food as medicine stance is one way Nestle can try to get a foothold in health and wellness.
According to the National Confectioners Association, sales of low-carbohydrate and sugar-free candies have increased approximately 90 percent between 2003 and 2004 ending April 18 2004. In the past, according to the article, “Nestle Diversifies With Products Fighting Junk Food Ills,” one joint venture with Baxter International Inc. (BAX) to sell medical foods was disbanded in 1996. And six years ago, Cantarell helped create a division called Nestle Nutrition that failed to reach long-term sales and profitability targets. It was split up in 2011.
Focus is on the world war against obesity
Globally and nationally, food companies that compete are increasing their emphasis on healthier foods and fighting obesity. One one hand you have the “food as medicine” attitude that suddenly pits Nestle against drugmakers such as Abbott Laboratories (ABT). On the other hand you have the company’s rival, food producers like Danone (BN) in the $10 billion medical-food market.
Medical food market and diet companies are emphasizing food to help reverse chronic health issues in order to help win the competition for healthier foods. Nestle must convince regulators that its products are based on sound science. But how do you convince professionals in nutrition and physicians to prescribe food rather than prescription drugs? The answer is to show the drug makers and physicians that food makes health in ways that medicines can’t because food happens to be a more natural food of medicine, that is, if the soil quality that grows the food is rich in healthy minerals instead of pesticides, plastics, and other environmental pollution toxins or contaminants. Food as medicine movements have only so much money to spend. On the other hand, pharmaceutical companies often spend as much as $1 billion to develop a new treatment, according to the Bloomberg News article.
Health is tied to food, menus, and diets adhered to over a lifetime
When it comes to children’s nutrition, diet and health are related. But there’s no money in telling people to eat fresh, organic vegetables. The money is made with prescription drugs. Now a food company has to compete with the drugs by emphasizing that healthier foods are preventive so you won’t need drugs later on to quell chronic health conditions.
On the other hand, chronic health conditions are tied to inherited predispositions in many families, to the genes as well as the environment and what foods are eaten. Only about six percent of the population can eat anything and not develop chronic diseases, according to some nutritionist and geneticists. See, How do Healthy People Stay Healthy?
Nestle’s new Health Science unit
Nestle’s new Health Science Unit set up in January 2011 combines the company’s existing medical nutrition business with investments in start-ups. The foodmaker has 9.8 billion Swiss francs ($10 billion) in cash and short-term investments at the end of June 2012 to spend on making food healthier by developing what some call “medical food.” Food firms rely on the premise that producing what they term “medical food” is cheaper than bringing out new pharmaceuticals,
It’s quicker because drugmakers must first prove their products are safe. When it comes to food, developing blockbuster medical foods cost in the area of up to $100 million for certain foods labeled as medical foods. For example, there’s a drink mix for people with dementia. such as Alzheimer’s disease.
A drink for people with Alzheimer’s disease
Nestle Health Science has more than 20 products and is adding more through acquisitions. With its purchase of Accera Inc. in July 2012, Nestle now offers Axona, a drink mix designed for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
Nestle’s also bought Vitaflo International Ltd., a maker of nutritional products for genetically acquired metabolic disorders, and CM&D Pharma Ltd., which is working on a chewing gum aimed at kidney-disease patients. Nestle conducts clinical trials of its shakes and gels. For example, Nestle is conducting about 40 clinical trials to show that various gels and shakes can reduce hospital stays and help keep patients off of high-priced medicines.
When it comes to medical foods, these are different from “health foods” that the general consumer buys. Medical foods are for patients with specific health conditions and require high-quality clinical trials and research studies just like drug manufacturers use to test their prescription products. Nestle conducts its clinical trials in Lausanne. According to the Bloomberg article, Nestle spends more than a billion ‘francs’ each year on research.
Nestle now even owns a unit of Novartis AG, the Jenny Craig weight loss company, Gerber baby food, and PowerBar food supplements that athletes eat when they exercise or run. So you now have an image of Nestle as making more than powdered hot chocolate drinks as it did two generations ago. Now the company wants to be known as the foundation for Nestle Health Science with long-range targets that include becoming a leader in medical food.
Only a tiny portion of Nestle’s income is from candy, just a tenth of its chocolate or confectionery sales. Nestle’s is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of ice cream, which is not considered a health food because it’s make of butterfat, cream, and sugar in most people’s minds. Nestle’s is focusing on healthy diets rather than unhealthy products that for generations added sugar and dairy fat to people’s bellies. No one is stopping the making of ice cream.
You just have to eat according to how your genes handle specific food ingredients. If you make the right match between your arteries and your food, you have tailored diets to your own health requirements. Some people can tolerate foods such as ice cream, and some have to cut down on the saturated fats and table sugar or salt in various processed foods. It’s all about your metabolic response at the cellular level to various foods.
American health statistics
The American health statistics are virtually identical to those in other first world countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Startling new American health statistics point to a real problem for Americans who think they’re healthier than they really are.
- 50% of Americans are already pre-diabetic according to government health statistics. They have at least one symptom of diabetes, which is a degenerative and accelerated aging disease. Insulin resistance is spotted quickly if you have belly fat, that is a pot belly. The pot belly is a sign of pre-diabetes (insulin resistance).
- More than 55,000 hands or feet are amputated each year due to diabetes complications. Too many children have belly fat already and are coming down with type 2 diabetes related to the food they eat that’s impacting their genes and DNA in harmful ways.
- Taking prescription drugs for type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance addresses the symptoms, but doesn’t get to the cause of the problem, the wrong foods that turn to sugar and fat in the children’s bodies. If you see signs of insulin resistance, have you tried a type of diet that helps? Talk to your health care professionals about whether you need a low-carb diet or a raw foods vegan diet, based on your body type, shape, blood response, and DNA. You need to look at how food hits your body at the molecular level, in the cells, the blood, and the organs and arteries.
- Did you know that 50% of Americans have an auto-immune disease?
- 50% of the males will get cancer, and 38% of the females will get cancer, according to government health predictions. What alternative cancer treatment that is effective is reported in the media to consumers to continue their own research in what has been found by researchers and reported in credible journals?
- Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among U.S. children age 1-14. Is there a way to prevent this when it comes to children’s health?
- Almost 50% of Americans will die from heart disease, brought on perhaps by genetic predisposition and lack of knowledge of what foods might be eaten to help genes that are not able to tolerate the food people continue to eat that often won’t harm others without the particular genetic variation. One example might be how to increase the size of LDL particles. Talk to your health care professionals about how to increase the size of your own LDL particles with foods and lifestyle to help if you have inherited the tendency to develop small LDL particles that quickly fill up arteries with fat or calcium.
- Why do 90% of Americans die prematurely and often painfully of some degenerative disease? Is it possible the food in most standard Western diets, the toxins in air pollution, or exposure to environmental heavy metals, leached-out BPAs from plastic bottles or food cans and pesticides?
- Why do one in three people in developed countries get high blood pressure as they age? In some Asian and African countries, this doesn’t happen. More researchers need to look at the causes, for example possible high altitude living or the specific ancestral diet on the metabolism and genes.