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  • Editor's Note

    Racing for answers on Zika

    Sometimes science does not move fast enough, despite much hard work and effort. That’s true in the case of the Zika virus outbreak currently marching through the Americas. As we report in a collection of stories, much remains unclear, including the relationship between Zika infection and microcephaly and how best to combat the mosquitoes that spread the disease. So far, however,...
    03/23/2016 - 12:45 Microbiology, Health, Mental Health, Nutrition
  • For Daily Use

    Eat your stinkbugs

    One continent’s nuisance is another’s nutrition.

    In parts of rural Zimbabwe and South Africa, the stinkbug Encosternum delegorguei is shaken out of trees, braised with salt and eaten as a spicy delicacy. With their defensive stink glands removed, the insects pack a high-protein punch, according to a study published January 5 in PLOS One.

    Chemical analyses of ground, freeze-dried...

    03/07/2016 - 08:00 Animals, Nutrition
  • Scicurious

    Low-fiber diets make gut microbes poop out

    The high fiber refrain never seems to stop. We all know that we’re supposed to eat more fiber and focus on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. But when forced to choose between chewy, crumbly, flavorless oat bran and delicious white buttered toast for breakfast, it’s easy to tune out. 

    But that fiber isn’t for you. It fuels and sustains your gut microbes — and those in your kids,...

    01/15/2016 - 15:14 Health, Nutrition
  • News in Brief

    New dietary guidelines emphasize big picture

    New dietary guidelines for 2015–2020 have arrived, just in time to assist people whose New Year’s resolutions involved better eating.

    On January 7, the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture released the eighth edition of the guidelines, a set of science-based recommendations that are revised every five years.

    Diet watchers will recognize many oldie-but-...

    01/07/2016 - 17:13 Health, Nutrition
  • News

    A good diet for you may be bad for me

    A cookie can give one person a sugar rush while barely affecting another person, a new study finds, indicating that a food’s glycemic index is in the eater.

    People’s blood sugar rises or falls differently even when they eat the exact same fruit, bread, desserts, pizza and many other foods, researchers in Israel report November 19 in Cell. That suggests that diets should be tailored to...

    11/19/2015 - 12:00 Nutrition, Microbiology, Physiology
  • Feature

    Nanoparticles in foods raise safety questions

    It seemed like a small thing when Paul Westerhoff’s 8-year-old son appeared, with his tongue and lips coated bright white. The boy had just polished off a giant Gobstopper, a confectionery made of sugary, melt-in-the-mouth layers. Curious about the white coating, Westerhoff, an environmental engineer, pored over the jawbreaker’s contents and discovered just how incredibly small the matter was...

    10/16/2015 - 13:28 Chemistry, Nutrition
  • Feature

    Coffee reveals itself as an unlikely elixir

    For a historically mistrusted drink, coffee is proving to be a healthy addiction. Scientific findings in support of coffee’s nutritional attributes have been arriving at a steady drip since the 1980s, when Norwegian researchers reported that coffee seemed to fend off liver disease. Since then, the dark brown beverage has shown value against liver cancer, too, as well as type 2 diabetes, heart...

    09/18/2015 - 12:02 Health, Nutrition, Cancer
  • Reviews & Previews

    Microbes make the meal, new diet book proposes

    The Diet MythTim SpectorOverlook Press, $28.95

    For 10 days, Tom Spector lived off McDonald’s. He had chicken nuggets or Big Macs for meals and McFlurries for dessert. Tom, a 22-year-old student, was re-creating a version of the diet made famous in the film Supersize Me. But Tom’s plan had a twist: Before and after the diet, he gave his dad some poop.

    Tom’s father, Tim, wanted...

    09/02/2015 - 11:00 Health, Nutrition
  • Scicurious

    The need to feed and eating for pleasure are inextricably linked

    You’ve already had a muffin. And a half. You know you’re full. But there they are, fluffy and delicious, waiting for the passersby in the office. Just thinking about them makes your mouth water.

    Maybe if you just slice one into quarters. I mean, that barely counts…

    And then we give in, our brains overriding our body’s better judgment. When I catch myself once again polishing off a...

    08/27/2015 - 16:44 Neuroscience, Nutrition
  • Say What?

    The five basic tastes have sixth sibling: oleogustus

    Oleogustus/OH-lee-oh-GUHS-tuhs/ n.

    The taste of certain fats.

    Move over, umami. Fat is the newest member of the pantheon of basic tastes, joining salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savory, or umami.

    Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., conducted taste tests pitting a variety of fats against flavors in the other taste categories, such as monosodium glutamate for...

    07/31/2015 - 06:00 Nutrition, Physiology