News in Brief
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-...
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...
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...
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...
Reviews & Previews
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...
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...
Oleogustus/OH-lee-oh-GUHS-tuhs/ n.07/31/2015 - 06:00 Nutrition, Physiology
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...
On June 16 the Food and Drug Administration made the final call: Trans fats are no longer “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. That means that food manufacturers have three years to ooze these cheap and useful fats out of their processed foods.
In fact, most of them already have. Trans fat —a big source of which is partially hydrogenated vegetable oils — has been the food...
Letters to the Editor
To edit or not07/01/2015 - 09:14 Cells, Nutrition, Astronomy
A controversial paper about modifying genes in fertilized human eggs raised some serious ethical concerns. Tina Hesman Saey covered researchers’ arguments for and against this type of genetic engineering in “Editing human germline cells debated” (SN: 5/30/15, p. 16).
Many readers embraced the idea of making permanent changes to human DNA. “If someone wants to...
Diet smarter, not longer.
Slashing your food intake for just five consecutive days a month can yield a bounty of health benefits, according to a new study led by researchers from the University of Southern California. This briefer approach to caloric restriction, a severe form of dieting, challenges previous research that dieters might need to tighten their belts as often as twice a week...