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.

….FULL ARTICLE

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: NOVEMBER 2019

Gut Microbes and Processed Foods


Processed foods such as breads, cereals and sodas are associated with negative health effects, including insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease. One contributing factor to the unhealthiness of processed foods is Maillard reaction products. The Malliard reaction is a non-enzymatic browning process that imparts flavor to starch-based products. It is not necessarily unhealthy, but these products feature thermal degradation that result from a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars and/or the reaction between oxidized lipids and proteins. One of these products is fructoselysine, which is common in processed foods such as ultra-pasteurized milk, pasta, chocolate and cereals. Researchers are investigating the complex interactions between human gut microbes and the chemicals commonly consumed as part of a typical American diet. The gut bacterium Collinsella intestinalis breaks down the chemical fructoselysine into less harmful components in mice. When fed a diet with high amounts of fructoselysine, mice with C. intestinalis in their guts showed an increase in the abundance of this bacteria. There was also an increase in the gut microbial communities’ ability to break down fructoselysine into harmless byproducts. This study helps identify human gut microbes and how they metabolize harmful food chemicals into innocuous byproducts. The researchers believe this information can be used to develop healthier, more nutritious foods as well as design potential strategies to identify and harness certain types of gut

bacteria shown to assist in processing potentially harmful chemicals. But it’s a complex, daunting task. For example, close cousins of C. intestinalis did not respond to fructoselysine in the same way. These bacterial cousins, whose genomes vary somewhat, do not thrive in a fructoselysine-rich environment. Further studies are needed to identify the specific capacities of individual microbes to clean up the array of potentially deleterious chemicals produced during some types of modern food manufacturing. The study was published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe on Oct. 9.


We Tend To Eat More With Others We Know


People eat more with friends and family than when dining along, say researchers at the University of Birmingham. It could be a throwback to our early ancestors’ approach to survival, a phenomenon known as “social facilitation.” Ancient hunter gatherers shared food because it protected against periods of food insecurity. Teams of researchers in Britain and Australia evaluated 42 existing studies of research into social dining. They found eating socially has a powerful effect on increasing food intake relative to dining alone. Previous studies found those eating with others ate up to 48 percent more food than solo diners, and women

with obesity who ate socially consumed up to 29 percent more than when eating alone. Eating with others is more enjoyable, and enhanced rewards from social eating could increase consumption. Social norms might permit overeating in company but sanction it when eating alone, and providing food becomes associated with praise and recognition from friends and family, which strengthens social bonds. This effect was not found among people who were not well acquainted. These findings were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Aug. 21.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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