FOOD BITES: JULY 2018

Magnesium Treats Depression

As little as 248 mg of magnesium per day leads to an astounding reversal of depression syndrome, according to research conducted at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and published in the journal PLoS One in June 2017.

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FOOD BITES: AUGUST 2018

Source of Yuma E. Coli Romaine Found

Federal officials first announced on April 13 an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown and produced in the Yuma, Ariz., area. Federal investigators found the source of the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 on July 28: canal water.

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: NOVEMBER 2018

Lab-Grown Meat Gaining Traction

More and more meat is being grown in labs from cultured cells. Several start-ups, such as Mosa Meat, Memphis Meats, SuperMeat and Finless Foods, are developing lab-grown beef, pork, poultry and seafood. This burgeoning niche industry is attracting millions in funding; Memphis Meats gobbled

….FULL ARTICLE

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FOOD BITES: FEBRUARY 2020

Dopamine, Biological Clock Linked to Eating Habits


From 1976 to 1980, 15 percent of U.S. adults were obese. Today, about 40 percent of adults are obese and another 33 percent are overweight. “Half of the diseases that affect humans are worsened by obesity,” said Ali Güler, a biology professor at the University of Virginia. Rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and health complications from obesity such as hyper-tension and even Alzheimer’s disease rose in the same period. “The diet in the U.S. and other nations has changed dramatically in the last 50 years or so, with highly processed foods readily and cheaply available any time of the day or night,” said Güler. “Many of these foods are high in sugars, carbohydrates and calories, which makes for an unhealthy diet when consumed regularly over many years.” In a new study, Güler and his colleagues found the pleasure center of the brain that produces dopamine and the brain’s biological clock that regulates daily physiological rhythms are linked. High-calorie foods that bring pleasure disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption, according to the researchers. Working with mice, they mimicked the 24/7 availability of a high-fat diet and showed anytime snacking eventually results in obesity and related health problems. Mice fed a diet comparable in calories and fats to a wild diet maintained normal eating and exercise schedules and proper weight; but mice fed high-calorie diets full of fats and sugars began snacking at all hours and became obese. Mice whose dopamine signaling was disrupted

maintained a normal eating schedule and did not become obese, even when presented with the 24/7 availability of high-calorie feeds. “We’ve shown dopamine signaling in the brain governs circadian biology and leads to consumption of energy-dense foods between meals and during odd hours,” Güler said. In the past, people worked all day, often doing manual labor, and then went to sleep when the sun set. Today, we work, play, and eat day and night. This affects the body clock, which had evolved to operate on a sleep-wake cycle timed to daytime activity, moderate eating and nighttime rest. “This lights-on-all-the-time, eat-at-any-time lifestyle recasts eating patterns and affects how the body utilizes energy,” Güler said. “It alters metabolism and leads to obesity. We’re learning when we eat is just as important as how much we eat. A calorie is not just a calorie. Calories consumed between meals or at odd hours become stored as fat, and that is the recipe for poor health.” The results were published in the journal Current Biology on Jan. 2.


2020 Eating Trends: Blue, Toasted and Eastern


According to food forecasters, the country of the year is Japan, thanks in part to Tokyo hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. Soufflé pancakes, taiyaki (fish-

shaped ice cream cones) and other Japanese cuisine will trend this year, according to Amanda Topper, associate director of food service for Mintel, a global market research company. Other trend spotters predict food from India, especially spicy dishes with rice, coconut and fish, will be popular this year, as well as foods from West Africa, Vietnam and Laos. Porridges such as Korean jook and Philippine arroz caldo are the new comfort foods. Butterfly powder tea, hailed as the new matcha, is showing up in moon milk, a sleep remedy adaptated from Ayurvedic tradition. Ube, a purple yam, is the “it” root vegetable. Orach, also known as mountain spinach, could become the new kale. In addition to the color blue, toasted food is a thing. Brick or honey toast – built from thick slices of pain de mie that are scored, buttered, toasted and covered in sweet custard, syrup or ice cream – is the latest import from Asian tea shops. Shibuya toast involves a hollowed-out loaf filled with squares of toasted bread, ice cream, syrup and fruit. In Singapore, kaya toast is made with a thick slab of salted butter and a jam of coconut and pandan leaves; it’s usually served with soft-boiled eggs. CBD-infused everything is trending, as are mood foods and calming beverages mixed with adaptogens (plants that may help relieve stress). Flour made from green bananas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and watermelon seeds will be available. Breakthroughs in food safety will result in better use of blockchain, a digital ledger than can track food as it works its way through the supply chain.

ANGELA S. HOOVER




Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.