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Sorghum Report: Winter Edition

Food Trends

DNA Diets – Do They Work?

Increased availability and popularity of genetic testing has some looking at diets tailored towards their specific genetics or blood type.  Several companies now offer an eating plan tailored to DNA and specific biological markers.  However, does it work?

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of Stanford Researchers showed “no significance in weight change among participants matched vs. mismatched to their diet assignment.”

Despite the debate, most Americans do not get enough fruits and veggies in their diet, and this small change would yield enormous benefits (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).  Also, there is a lack diversity when it comes to grains consumed.   Like previous trends before it, this trend will further highlight food choices and educate consumers on the potential impact on their health.

More info on DNA diets here. 

Beans, Grains and Lentils

Gluten Free High In Arsenic, Mercury, Lead – Mayo Clinic

Eating a gluten-free diet is having unintended consequences according to a recent human study.  Mayo Clinic researchers tested blood and urine samples of patients eating a gluten-free diet and found elevated levels of arsenic, mercury and lead compared to those not eating a gluten-free diet. Another recent study by Dartmouth University tested for heavy metals in both gluten-containing and gluten-free foods. Elevated levels of arsenic, mercury, and lead were found in gluten-free rice-based products compared to other gluten-free grains and wheat based products. The study’s conclusion: “Eating a wide variety of GF grains may reduce contaminant exposure and increase micronutrient status compared to a rice-based GF diet.”  Looking for an alternative with no arsenic?  Let’s talk.

What’s The Future of Food Costs? National Climate Report

Dry, Cracked Landscape with Blue Sky

Accelerated Groundwater depletion, increased temperatures, and lower yields are just a few items listed in the fourth National Climate Report.  Average yields of commodity crops are anticipated to decrease with increased temperatures and CO2 Levels. Increased temperatures are also expected to accelerate groundwater depletion for irrigation. All of which will increase the costs of food including heavy water use cereal crops, such as corn, rice, and wheat.

Concern over the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer continues with the government now considering the water in it a non-renewable resource. Increased incidence of flooding and high temperatures is also expected to create health and safety issues for humans and livestock. Nu-Life market is fighting the acceleration of climate change using the most carbon friendly farming practices and dry land farming. Sorghum has one of the lowest carbon outputs of any crop, and we are actively working to track the impact of our farming practices. Ask us how to stabilize your input costs.

Earl’s Story

What Makes Nu Life Different?

Earl Roemer, Nu-Life Market founder, and President, transformed his families 4th generation farm in western Kansas into the company that Nu Life Market is today. Already growing sorghum for animals, Earl, along with the National Sorghum Producers, saw the opportunity to produce grain sorghum with the quality and safety standards needed to be a staple grain for American diets, as it is in many countries around the world. Sorghum is an environmentally friendly grain that is perfect for areas with unpredictable rainfall, such as Western Kansas. As consumer interest in gluten-free and allergen-free took off, sorghum was well positioned. Growing great tasting sorghum in the US was just the beginning. Earl spent years developing proprietary varieties as well as a unique milling process for sorghum,  giving Nu-Life sorghum flour the right particle size for every application. That’s how Nu Life Market can provide the perfect sorghum variety and specification for every use.

“I had a father with celiac disease. I understood the importance of producing better food products because my father didn’t have foods that he could eat that tasted good. It’s always been my passion for producing healthy, nutritious grains.”

Product Spotlight

Pregel Sorghum Flour

Improve Freeze/Thaw Texture

Now available: pre-gel whole grain sorghum flour and pre-gel whole grain sorghum in both waxy and nonwaxy varieties. Use pre-gel sorghum flour in small amounts for baked goods to build dough viscosity and increase volume. It can also help create a consistent crumb and cell structure. Add it to crackers to help with dough sheeting, or produce a cold formed gun puff cereal.  Pre-gel flour comes in any granulation, from coarse to fine.

The pre-gel grain will absorb twice its weight in water, making it perfect for stable shelf meals, side dishes, hot cereal, and retort packaged food. It’s also ideal for meat analogs to add texture and bulking.

These products can be labeled cleanly as “whole grain sorghum”, making it easy to group all sources of sorghum in your ingredient line and hide your technical solution. They also have a validated kill step. Need samples?

Sustainability

Why Sorghum Will Thrive In Climate Change

The impact of climate change on global agriculture threatens to decrease the quantity and jeopardize the quality of our food supplies. Climate change involves such aspects as higher temperatures, extreme weather, drought, increasing levels of carbon dioxide and sea level rise.

All crops will be affected by climate change and each in different ways. By 2050 higher temperature and levels of CO2 alone will influence drought and heat risks for C3 crops  Ninety-five percent of plants are  C3 species, which suffer during hot, dry conditions.

Sorghum has unique the ability “already” to adapt to drought and heat by using a C4 photosynthesis process. Sorghum’s C4 process is an alternate pathway of the Calvin Cycle during respiration and thus uses water more efficiently, conserving water while their stomata are closed and still photosynthesizing (feed themselves).  In general, it has a narrower root morphology than corn, a beneficial leaf canopy, and capability to capture sunlight exceptionally well in lower rainfed areas.  Because sorghum has better water use efficiency and natural heat tolerance, as increased CO2 levels occur with climate change this crop is more sustainable than other C4 species while not increasing inputs; especially water.

Research indicates that climate change can decrease yields worldwide in commodity crops including wheat, cocoa, and corn. Studies have shown that barley, wheat, potatoes, and rice have 6 to 15% lower concentrations of protein when grown at increased levels of carbon dioxide; however, the protein content of sorghum did not decline.

U.S. companies depend on some of these ingredients to manufacture popular food products. A price spike could sharply hurt markets and the companies that rely on corn, wheat, potatoes, rice, and cocoa. Thinking about the impact of the most extreme changes can help companies properly prepare for their coming future.