Tag Archives: darin ezra

Nutrient Found in Shellfish and Beets May Enhance Athletic Performance

6 Aug

According to Darin Ezra, a beverage consultant at Power Brands, adding a particular nutrient found in beets and shellfish to a sports drink could potentially enhance athletic performance.

In the U.K., research from Exeter University in the past has shown beetroot juice to have such an effect, due to its rather potent nitrate levels. Recently, scientists have been looking more into “betaine,” another nutrient. In New York, researchers at Ithaca College have determined that when added to a sports drink in tablet or powder form, betaine can improve athletic performance by nearly six-percent.

Sixteen cyclists of university age, both men and women, participated in the study. They were tested three separate times to measure the effects of the betaine beverages on their performance. According to Darin Ezra, maximum peak power was of particular interest in the study.

A relatively simple recipe was used by the team: 2.5 grams of betaine dissolved in a 20-ounce sports drink. Participants drank half of the beverage in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon.

The researchers reported that after just one week of betaine supplementation, mean and peak anaerobic power both increased, compared to baseline measures, by about 5.5%.

Thomas Swensen led the study, which is currently available online in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

“Betaine may contribute to creatine synthesis, which improves strength, power and short-term performance,” he said. “Future research should elucidate the mechanism of how betaine supplementation improves performance.”

Previous studies reviewed by Darin Ezra have also shown bananas to be beneficial to a person’s athletic performance in a way similar to beets. Snacking on bananas, according to some researchers, could potentially boost endurance just as effectively as a sports drink. This particular study, from 2012, was published in the journal “PloS ONE.”


Brewing Giants in Mexico

5 Jul

There are certain exclusivity deals in the beverage industry that have generated controversy in recent months. If the antitrust regulator of Mexico rules that such deals are illegal, many American microbrewers could profit greatly. The primary function of the type of exclusivity deal in question prohibits restaurants and bars from stocking beverages produced by more than one brewer.

Darin Ezra, a beverage consultant at Power Brands, has noted two companies in particular that benefit from exclusivity deals: Grupo Modelo, owned by AB InBev, and Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, owned by Heineken. According to a new GAIN report by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, “distribution is presumably the biggest hurdle craft brewers face due to the agreements the two giants, Modelo and Heineken, set with a number of on-trade establishments and off-trade retail outlets.” The report was written by Alicia Hernandez and Vanessa Salcido.

In 2010, an antitrust action was filed by SAB Miller and the Mexican Association of Microbrewers (ACERMEX) to challenge the agreements in question, which are currently legal. A ruling from Mexico’s Comision Federal de Competencia (CFC) on the agreements’ legal status, although originally slated for April, is now expected by the end of June. If the CFC rules in favor of the petitioners, it could mean more power for the Mexican government to implement (and enforce) anti-monopoly laws.

The USDA report claims that 57% of the share of the Mexican beer market belongs to AB InBev’s Grupo Modelo (Corona, Pacifico, Victoria, and Modelo), while another 41% belongs to Heineken’s Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma (Dos Xquis, Tecate, Sol, and Idio). As noted by Darin Ezra, AB InBev and Heineken are certainly the monopolies of the market in Mexico. Other than these two companies, very few microbrewers have production facilities of any kind in Mexico.

In The Mexican Craft Beer Market – A Market Assessment, Hernandez and Salcido write that the country’s beer market has grown rapidly in the last five years. It has grown especially in northern Mexico, as well as in heavily-populated areas such as Queretaro, Guadalajara and Mexico City. They also discussed craft beer, which makes up less than 1% of the Mexican beer market with only an $8 million annual value. Despite these numbers, however, Hernandez and Salcido noted a growth trend between 50% and 60% in the last two years, and claimed the segment’s $8 million value “could easily double within this year.”

Recently, Heineken was quoted by Bloomberg Business week on the company’s consideration of building its seventh Mexico-based brewery. To an extent, it could depend on Mexico’s taxation situation; in 2010, excise duties on beer went from 25% to about 26.5%. The Finance Ministry has indicated the rate will not be cut to 26% in 2013.

John-Paul Schuirink, Heineken’s financial communications manager, was asked about the issue: “Like every other company we don’t like negative surprises when it comes to our possible investments,” he said. “The Mexican government had indicated that the excise tax on alcohol would be reduced, so we expect them to follow through on that. This is part of our business case for further investment in the country.”

The report also discussed the potential for profit in craft brews through different flavors: “Some of the strategies that Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma has in mind to attract consumers with different beer palates is to innovate with craft beer such as double malt or chocolate stout.”

Darin Ezra has noted that the two giants only produce dark beers (stout) and standard lagers, and only a small number of “artisanal” beers can be found in Mexico. Craft beers are drunk primarily by young and affluent consumers who, according to Hernandez and Salcido, “wish to be more acquainted with the latest global trends.” They added, “Microbrewers do not have a defined target audience. They sell to people open to trying beer as a flavor experience rather than just a refreshment.”

The report, in conclusion, placed particular emphasis on the pending legal ruling regarding the companies: “Real competition among domestic and foreign operators will come with the approval of stronger anti-monopoly laws and removal of exclusivity contracts in restaurants and bars where there is an increased demand for craft beers.”

Power Brands reviews Coffee and its Health Effects

28 Jun

Darin Ezra, a beverage specialist at Power Brands Consulting, reviews coffee’s different health effects. Ezra points out to a study performed at the University of Western Australia’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology that analyzed in detail what effects coffee has on cardiovascular functions. However, the research team discovered links between coffee consumption and a weaker metabolic system.

Professor Kevin Croft, leading the study, explained that previous studies showed that coffee (of any type, including decaffeinated) can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As a result of the health effects not being associated with caffeine, the scientists started analyzing polyphenols, specifically chlorogenic acids (CGA), a compound found in coffee, teas and a variety of fruits. Croft noted that CGAs are known for their positive health effects, including a reduction in body fat accumulation and blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity.

However, the team discovered that large doses of CGAs, equivalent to five or six cups of coffee per day, are likely to cause negative health effects. Laboratory mice fed with the equivalent dose of CGAs developed an abnormal retention of fat in the cells caused by an improper utilization of the fat in the liver. Furthermore, the affected mice also developed an increased insulin resistance and a higher intolerance to glucose.

Darin Ezra stressed out the fact that these adverse health effects are linked with high doses of CGAs and consuming a maximum of three or four cups of coffee a day is still beneficial in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.