FOOD BITES: OCTOBER 2017

U.S. Obesity Rates Begin to Level

After years of increasing, adult obesity rates remained stable in 45 states from 2015 to 2016, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy organization, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds health research.

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: SEPTEMBER 2017

Tomatoes No Longer Considered ‘Poison Apples’

Originating in Mesoamerica, tomatoes were part of the Aztecs’ diet as early as 700 A.D., but they weren’t grown in Britain until the 1590s. First arriving in southern Europe in the early 16th century via Spanish conquistadors returning from Mesoamerica, the tomato was considered a “poison apple”

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: DECEMBER 2017

Milk Proteins Make Edible  Wrapping

To create an all-around better packaging solution, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is developing environmentally friendly film made of the milk protein casein to wrap meats, cheese and other food items. “The protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage,”

….FULL ARTICLE

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FOOD BITES: OCTOBER 2016

Fruit Protein Could Be New Sweetener Alternative


A new sweetener alternative that tastes more like sugar than other substitutes may be possible to obtain from a fruit protein called brazzein. Brazzein is far sweeter than sugar but has fewer calories. It gained attention as a sugar substitute years ago, but making it in large quantities has been challenging. Purif ying it from the West African fruit that produces it naturally would be difficult on a commercial scale, and efforts to engineer microorganisms to make the protein have so far yielded a not-so-sweet version in low quantities. Researchers are working on a new approach using yeast to churn out brazzein. Working with Kluyveromyces lactis, the researchers coaxed the yeast to overproduce two proteins that are essential for assembling brazzein. By doing so, the team made 2.6 times more brazzein than they had before with the same organism. A panel of tasters found the protein produced by this method was more than 2,000 times sweeter than sugar. The American Chemical Society announced the results, which were published in the Journals of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


Is There a Sixth Taste For Carbs?


We know our tongues can detect sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.

But could there be a sixth taste that explains why we go carb crazy? A new study from Oregon State University in Corvallis suggests "starchy " might  be the sixth flavor. Every culture has a major source of complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates such as starch are made of chains of sugar molecules and are an important source of energy in our diets. However, food scientists have tended to ignore the idea that we might be able to specifically taste them. Because enzymes in saliva break starch down into shorter chains and simple sugars, many have assumed people detect starch by tasting these sweet molecules. In the study, researchers gave volunteers a range of carbohydrate solutions containing long and short carbohydrate chains.  The test subjects could make out the floury flavors, even when given compounds that block the receptors on the tongue that detect sweet tastes. Starch doesn't yet meet all the requirements to be considered a primary taste because researchers still need to identif y specific starch receptors on the tongue.


Refrigerator Safety


 Different areas of the refrigerator can vary widely in temperature. Since heat

rises, it's fairly obvious that the higher shelves in the fridge are warmer, but the racks on the door are warmer, too. Foods that are most sensitive to subtle changes in temperature include milk, shellfish, raw meat and fish. Known as "high-risk foods," these items need to be kept in certain conditions or they can grow bacteria that is potentially harmful to people. High-risk foods should be kept in the back or bottom of the fridge, as these are generally the coldest parts of the fridge.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover