Monday, September 17, 2012

Fear of Food

Despite the fact that America’s food safety infrastructure is the most efficient and effective in the world, the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2012 Food and Health Survey found that only 20 percent of Americans are “very confident” in food supply safety. At the same time, one in six U.S. consumers has stopped buying a particular food or beverage brand because of safety concerns in the last twelve months.
~ Richard S. Levick, Fast Company

Fast Company
Fear of Food
Artwork: Salmonella bacteria

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Legumes = Lower Blood Pressure

A new study published in Archives of Iranian Medicine suggests that eating a Mediterranean diet with large amounts of legumes can help prevent metabolic syndrome.

The study showed that individuals with metabolic syndrome consumed only 1.4 servings per week of legumes, compared to 2.3 servings per week for controls.

Eighty men and women with diagnosed metabolic syndrome and 160 age and gender-matched healthy controls were enlisted for the study. Anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and lipid profiles were measured by standard methods.

Men and women with the highest legume intake had decreased mean systolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, and increased HDL cholesterol levels, compared to those whose intake of legume was lowest.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

China Study Finds No Heart Disease Deaths

"After compiling data from a 30-year investigation of the health and nutritional habits of 6,500 Chinese in five rural villages, Dr. Colin Campbell and his colleagues concluded that American men were seventeen times more likely to die from heart disease than rural Chinese men. In certain pockets of China where plant-based diets were most common, researchers could not find a single person out of more than 100,000 who had died from heart disease. 
"While the average American's total cholesterol level is well over 200, the levels of the participants in the China Study averaged between 81 and 135. Dr. Campbell ultimately concluded that people who maintain a whole-foods, plant-based diet can minimize or even reverse the development of chronic diseases."

Cookbook: Forks Over Knives
Video: Forks Over Knives
Farm Produce
Nuts & Grains

Soup Soothes Stress

Volunteers who ate vegetables consistently for two weeks as part of a nutrition study funded in part by the Agricultural Research Service showed a significant increase in blood levels of vitamin C and a decrease in key stress molecules associated with health impairment. The researchers fed 12 healthy volunteers--six men and six women--two bowls (17 ounces, total) of gazpacho every day for two weeks. The antioxidant-rich soup was made from tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, olive oil, onions and garlic

Soups, Stews, Chili and Chowder
USDA Agricultural Research Service

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Meat Labeling Rules

On March 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented a new nutrient labeling rule for single-ingredient meat products. The rule states that whole muscle cuts of red meat and poultry, as well as ground and chopped meat, must include nutrition facts on the package label along with the product name and other information already listed. The nutrition information also may be provided in poster or brochure form at meat cases. Seafood is not included.

Nutrient labels have been required for multi-ingredient (formulated) meat products since the early 1990s, while nutrient labels for single-ingredient meat products remained voluntary. The USDA recently determined, however, that voluntary compliance was not high enough and the agency decided to implement mandatory single-ingredient labeling.

An exemption for small businesses applies to very small processors or retailers, which are not required to provide nutrient labels for ground and chopped meats. However, if the business makes a nutrition claim about its product, it then will be required to include a label. No one is exempt from including nutrient information on major cuts -- including certain beef steaks and roasts, pork chops, some cuts of lamb and some cuts of veal.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Salty and Sweet

From birth, saltiness is built into our taste perceptions as an attractive taste.

Just as addictive drugs activate brain mechanisms that make them hard to resist, a strong desire for salty flavors compels us to say "Pass the salt."

Children, in particular, crave intense sweet, sour, and salty tastes. This makes them especially susceptible to the outlaws of obesity - sweet foods, salt and fat.

adapted from Neurogastronomy 
How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters
by Gordon M. Shepherd

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Supermarket Effect

"The variety of food types and flavors encourages overeating. The brain is always interested in something new or changing. Eating the same food or flavor, we quickly become full and bored with eating. But at a Thanksgiving dinner or a buffet or banquet, it is easy to find stimulation for renewed eating."

How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters
by Gordon M. Shepherd
Artwork: Supermarket Blur

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pink Slime Safer Than Regular Ground

Whether you call it "pink slime" or LFTB (lean, finely textured beef), you can call it a much-maligned product at the heart of an emotional controversy fueled by misinformation, according to a meat expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The stuff made headlines when it was reported that the federal government plans to buy ground beef that contains the product in the coming year for use in the national school lunch program's beef products. After a newspaper broke the story, a national furor erupted, and "pink slime" became the most searched topic on the Internet.

"Claims made that this product is not safe are blatantly untrue," says animal sciences professor Edward Mills. "From a microbial-pathogen point of view, the product has a better reputation than straight ground beef.

The material in question is lean meat that remains on fat trimmings removed from beef carcasses and that cannot be reclaimed with a knife cost effectively. This remaining meat is separated from fat in a mechanical process that involves heating minced trimmings only to about body temperature (100 degrees) then centrifuging to separate lean from fat.

"There was a significant amount of lean going to waste that now is recovered," Mills explains. "The regulatory wing of USDA says that this product fits in the same category as boneless lean meat. It is the consistency of baby food and most often used along with conventional boneless beef to make ground beef."

Because the trimmings may harbor dangerous pathogens that can cause foodborne illness, they are decontaminated with either ammonia gas or citric acid.

"We live in a culture where emotions consistently trump logic and reason, and this is one of those. The only sound condemnation of the product is that it just looks bad. But the fact remains -- it is a low-cost source of very lean ground beef."

When to Eat What
The Meat Buyers Guide : Meat, Lamb, Veal, Pork and Poultry
Artwork: Hamburger Patties

Monday, February 20, 2012

Alcohol is a Fountain of Youth

UCLA biochemists have discovered a fountain of youth in tiny drops of alcohol, for worms at least.

In a recent study, minuscule amounts of ethanol - the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages - more than doubled the life span of a tiny worm known as Caenorhabditis elegans.

The scientists are dumbfounded.

Continued Out There