Nobody truly likes artificial sweeteners, but they’re an accepted evil, because how else can you replace all the sinks in your home with soda fountains without feeling guilty? Of course, we all know that such freedom comes at a price — in this case, that price being that they taste horrid, at least for the first few months before your tongue just gives up. What else can we expect when aspartame is concocted by Satan himself from beetle asses and baby tears? And hey, limitless soda, guys!
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“It’s like opening a can of freedom!”
Scientists noticed a strange trend: People who drink diet soda do not in fact lose any weight. They reason appears to have something to do with how your body processes sugar.
You see, with the exception of one organ in particular, your body is kind of a dumbass. That’s why, when you wash down your meal with a half-gallon of fake sweetness, your gut is all “Dur, sugar!” and tells your pancreas to get all revved up to process said shitload of sugar. Because your pancreas is not the sharpest tool in the shed, it starts cranking out insulin. This is a problem, since there is, in fact, no shitload of sugar to process.
“I just put straight meth into my coffee now, and I’ve lost 20 pounds in four hours.”
This kicks off a vicious cycle in which your body A) absorbs more of the sugar that you ingest from other foods and B) craves more food, since you got it all aroused with promises of sugar overload and then cockblocked it with a bunch of counterfeit sugar instead. Researchers point out that this “might explain in part why obesity has risen in parallel with the use of artificial sweeteners.”
So while you may think you’re helping out your diet by allowing yourself some low-calorie (but still sweet) alternatives, chances are you’re actually screwing over your waistline in the long run.
No, see, it’s healthy because it has a lemon in it.
Blame bacteria if you start putting on weight
WEIGHT gain bugging you? Evidence is mounting for the central role that bacteria play in causing obesity.
Liping Zhao and his team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China put a morbidly obese man on a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicines, probiotics and non-digestible carbohydrates for 23 weeks. The diet was designed to inhibit the bacteria thought to be associated with weight gain by increasing the pH in the colon.
The 175-kilogram volunteer lost 51 kg, despite not exercising. People who have had weight-loss surgery lose on average 49 kg.
To see if the bacteria present also changed, the team looked at what species were prevalent in the volunteer’s gut before and after the diet. Before the regime, Enterobacter - a toxin-producing pathogen - was most abundant, accounting for 35 per cent of the gut bacteria. After the diet, it was reduced to undetectable levels.
The researchers fed mice samples of this bacterium from the volunteer’s gut to determine whether the pathogen was a cause or a result of his obesity. They found that the mice with the new bacteria gained significantly more weight on a high fat diet than control mice, also on a high fat diet (International Society for Microbial Ecology, doi.org/jz9).
Previous work has shown a link between gut bacteria and obesity, but Zhao describes this as “the last missing piece of evidence that bacteria cause obesity”. Treatment with an appropriate diet could be cheaper and more effective than surgery, he says.
BBC Horizon 2012: Eat, Fast and Live Longer
Michael Mosley has set himself a truly ambitious goal: he wants to live longer, stay younger and lose weight in the bargain. And he wants to make as few changes to his life as possible along the way. He discovers the powerful new science behind the ancient idea of fasting, and he thinks he’s found a way of doing it that still allows him to enjoy his food. Michael tests out the science of fasting on himself - with life-changing results.
A chemical that can be found almost everywhere causes stem cells to become fat cells. It won’t make you fat on your own, but it makes your crappy diet a lot worse for you. How can you avoid it?
BPA, a potentially toxic estrogen-mimicking compound used in plastic production, has been linked to obesity in the past. That’s bad news; BPA is in everything from soup cans to store receipts. But this is even worse: a chemical that breaks down into BPA can cause stem cells to become fat cells. And we’re exposed to a whole lot more of that chemical than BPA.
According to a study published this week in Environmental Health Perspectives, the chemical, bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), was once thought to actually inhibit the production of fat cells—in other words, scientists thought it stopped us from gaining weight. The scientists behind the study were operating on that assumption when they discovered that BADGE is actually an obesogen, meaning it promotes weight gain.Exposure to these kinds of chemicals can make it more likely for you to store calories instead of passing them through.
The researchers were hunting for something that turned the receptor off for a key protein that regulates fat cells. There are two drugs widely used to do that, but they’re both unstable (they degrade quickly in cell cultures and need to constantly be replaced). So they turned to BADGE. “We were looking for another antagonist that lasted longer. To our surprise, [BADGE] did not antagonize the receptor, but turned stem cells to fat cells,” explains Dr. Bruce Blumberg, one of the researchers behind the study.To our surprise, BADGE turned stem cells to fat cells.
We are exposed to enough BADGE in our daily lives that it could make a difference in the obesity epidemic. “Exposure to these kinds of chemicals (obesogens) can reprogram your metabolism and make it more likely for you to store calories instead of passing them through,” says Blumberg.
BADGE is far from the only known obesogen. Others include BPA (obviously), sugar, nicotine, certain pesticides, perfluorooctinoates (found in non-stick cookware and greaseproof coatings, among other places), MSG, and estrogens like DES and genistein (found in soybeans, fava beans, and coffee).
Put it all together, and you have a pretty convincing case that toxic chemicals are making us fat, right? “I would never want to convey the impression that chemicals make you fat,” Blumberg says. “Over the past 20 years when obesity has increased, the number of health clubs has also doubled. Either they’re all empty or people are really trying hard and something’s going on.” It could be, he concludes, some combination of chemical exposure and following incorrect dietary recommendations.
If you want to make sure that toxic chemicals aren’t playing any part in your weight, eat organic, use water filters, avoid plastic bottles, cut down on sugary drinks, and avoid known obesogens when shopping for personal care products. Or just go hide out in the woods for a while.
Sugar: The Bitter Truth
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.
Man discovered weapons, invented hunting.
Woman discovered hunting, invented furs.
Man discovered colors, invented painting.
Woman discovered painting, invented make-up.
Man discovered speech, invented conversation.
Woman discovered conversation, invented gossip.
Man discovered agriculture, invented food.
Woman discovered food, invented diet.
Man discovered friendship, invented love.
Woman discovered love, invented marriage.
Man discovered trade, invented money.
Woman discovered money, man has never recovered.
The Great Norwegian Butter Crisis Of 2011 of the Day: A low-carb, high-fat “fad diet” that’s taking Norway by storm has caused the Scandinavian country to run out of butter.
The stockpile was already experiencing a shortage due to weather conditions, which reduced Norway’s milk supply.
Things have reportedly gotten so bad that people have taken to a popular auction site to sell their personal butter stores at nearly four times the regular price.
The lack of butter couldn’t come at a worse time for Norwegians, who are preparing to stuff their face full of traditional Christmas biscuits that require a plentiful quantity of the hot commodity.
The Nordic nation’s high import duties are reportedly keeping out dairy exporters such as nearby Denmark from shipping in butter.
Norwegian dairy company Synnøve Finde is said to be importing 300 tons of Belgian butter to ease the crisis. “I think it’s horrible that Norway’s biggest and, in fact, only supplier [TINE] doesn’t have control of its production,” said a Synnøve Finden spokesperson.
PROTIP: If your diet requires so much butter that you run out of butter, switch to a different diet.
Ramen by HP? The Wild Possibilities Of Printing Food
Typically, 3-D printers are discussed in light of the efficiencies they bring to industrial design and fabrication. They will soon help chefs create foods that can’t be made by hand if Cornell Creative Machines Lab, or their peers in the industry, can make them accessible.
The newest 3-D food printer, now being honed at CCML, can produce: tiny space shuttle-shaped scallop nuggets (image above); and cakes or cookies that, when you slice into them, reveal a special message buried within, like a wedding date, initials (image below) or a corporate logo. They can also make a solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard, or a hamburger substitute that’s made from vegan or raw foods.
The CCML food printers require edible inks and electronic blueprints called FabApps. This machine prints food using multiple cartridges, going line by line until the desired shape is extruded. “The electronic blueprint specifies exactly which materials go where—it is essentially a blueprint of the food item,” says Hod Lipson, the head of the lab.
Other food printers, including those in prototype and design phases at MIT, could scan QR-code recipes.
With most 3-D food printing concepts today, the inks are the foods themselves in fluid form—think molten chocolate, cheese, or cookie dough. Foods that can’t be readily extruded from a syringe such as meats and vegetables are ground and mixed with other liquids to create novel food-inks.
While printing pyramids of pastry, or hemispheres of ham sounds whimsical, food printing is about more than decorative presentation. It’s a way to create new flavors and forms of food by varying its chemical properties. “It’s a huge ‘design space,’ and the combination of tastes and textures, geometries and colors that can be achieved is enormous,” says Lipson.
The head of the project at CCML, Jeffrey Ian Lipton, has developed a new printing technique that allows the printer to change the texture of the food being printed. Called stochastic printing or squiggle printing, the food buckles and coils as it comes out of the syringe instead of falling in a straight line. This results in very porous structures whose absorbent quality can be completely controlled.
Using corn masa dough, the lab team along with Chef David Arnold printed a new form of corn chip in the shape of a flower that could be deep fried evenly. “If it were solid you would burn the outside before the inside was fried,” says Lipton. “By making it porous we can deep fry the whole thing at the same time. Therefore we can make much larger objects to deep fry.”
Controlling texture finely means being able to change the texture of a single food material and have it be different in different parts of the shape. A tortilla could be made to go from crispy and dense on the edges to light and airy on the inside. “We can make an object softer, or stringy or absorbent,” says Lipton. “You can get things to more evenly steam or deep fry, or hold more juices inside.”
The Cornell group on the Fab@Home project has teamed up with the French Culinary Institute to create new foods and different forms of existing foods, with novel materials. Lipton believes that stochastic printing, leveraged with food printing will enable chefs to innovate and create new things that have never existed before faster, essentially allowing rapid prototyping of food.
“Foods that aren’t considered ‘food’ will become food in the future,” says Homaro Cantu, executive chef at the Moto Restaurant in Chicago. He is exploring making foods look and taste like something they’re not. “The fact is Americans will never give up their cheeseburgers and French fries, so we need to replace them with healthy raw ingredients. The home cook may never have the skill set to actually produce [the healthiest] foods-this is where food printing or what I call food transmogrification can step in and fill the void.”
CCML’s Lipton is working on finding more food materials whose properties can be altered to make them more delicious. The team’s efforts have caught the attention of many companies.
Essential Dynamics, a tech startup in New York, plans to bring out a commercial version of the 3-D food printer that will retail for $1,000 initially. Its founder Jamil Yosefzai believes that the desire to customize foods will make 3-D food printers an essential part of everyone’s kitchen in due course. “Customization of foods has played an integral role in our 250,000 year history,” says Yosefzai. “As time passes, 3-D food printing we will go from novelty…to utility…to indispensability.”
CCML’s Lipton added: “People like to play with food. They like to express themselves in food. This allows them to express themselves in not just what the food is made of, but what its shaped like. We can make health food more fun, interesting, and appealing with this technology. What kid wouldn’t eat a space shuttle, even one made of peas?”
Would you like to eat 4000 calories a day? Of whatever food you like? And still lose weight faster than in any other diet?
Two new studies by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers link diet soda and salt to increased risk of vascular events, including stroke.
Background Little is known about the effects of overall diet in childhood and intelligence later in life.
Methods The current study, based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, uses data on children’s diet reported by parents in food-frequency questionnaires at 3, 4, 7 and 8.5 years of age. Dietary patterns were identified using principal-components analysis and scores computed at each age. IQ was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children at 8.5 years. Data on a number of confounders were collected, and complete data were available for 3966 children.
Results After adjustment, the ‘processed’ (high fat and sugar content) pattern of diet at 3 years of age was negatively associated with IQ assessed at 8.5 years of age—a 1 SD increase in dietary pattern score was associated with a 1.67 point decrease in IQ (95% CI −2.34 to −1.00; p<0.0001). The ‘health-conscious’ (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) pattern at 8.5 years was positively associated with IQ: a 1 SD increase in pattern score led to a 1.20 point increase in IQ (95% CI 0.52 to 1.88; p=0.001).
Conclusion There is evidence that a poor diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food content in early childhood may be associated with small reductions in IQ in later childhood, while a healthy diet, associated with high intakes of nutrient rich foods described at about the time of IQ assessment may be associated with small increases in IQ.