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  • News

    Coffee or tea? Your preference may be written in your DNA

    Whether people prefer coffee or tea may boil down to a matter of taste genetics.

    People with a version of a gene that increases sensitivity to the bitter flavor of caffeine tend to be coffee drinkers, researchers report online November 15 in Scientific Reports. Tea drinkers tended to be less sensitive to caffeine’s bitter taste, but have versions of genes that increase sensitivity to the...

    11/15/2018 - 09:00 Genetics, Nutrition
  • 50 years ago, the safety of artificial sweeteners was fiercely debated

    Safety challenged —

    Americans consume 8,000 tons of artificial sweeteners every year …confident that the chemical sweeteners are safe. Manufacturers insist that they are; the sugar industry … insists they are not.… [B]oth camps swamped FDA with detailed evidence pro and con. — Science News, October 26, 1968

    Update

    Let’s not sugarcoat it: The debate isn’t over. Fifty years ago,...

    10/19/2018 - 06:00 Nutrition, Health, Microbiology
  • Feature

    Can science build a better burger?

    This isn’t as extreme as if the federal government had decided to regulate time travel. But it’s almost as surprising. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking the first step toward rules for growing nutritious, delicious, juicy meat in labs, not farms.

    The notion of growing, say, just the beef instead of the whole cow has been floating around since at least the 1890s. This sci-fi...

    09/20/2018 - 12:30 Agriculture, Climate, Sustainability, Nutrition
  • News in Brief

    Pediatricians warn against chemical additives in food for kids

    The American Academy of Pediatrics is cautioning parents and pediatricians to avoid exposing children to eight chemicals found in food and in plastic packaging. The chemicals may be especially harmful to kids due to their small size, says the report published July 23 in Pediatrics. Pregnant women should also avoid the chemicals. And lower-income families who eat a lot of prepackaged foods...

    07/23/2018 - 18:15 Health, Nutrition, Toxicology
  • News

    How obesity makes it harder to taste

    As mice plumped up on a high-fat diet, some of their taste buds vanished. This disappearing act could explain why some people with obesity seem to have a weakened sense of taste, which may compel them to eat more.

    Compared with siblings that were fed normal mouse chow, mice given high-fat meals lost about 25 percent of their taste buds over eight weeks. Buds went missing because mature...

    03/20/2018 - 14:00 Health, Nutrition
  • News

    The small intestine, not the liver, is the first stop for processing fructose

    When it comes to processing fructose, the liver is a pinch hitter for the small intestine.

    To use fructose for energy, the body needs to convert it into another type of simple sugar called glucose or into other smaller molecules. Scientists knew fructose could be metabolized in both the liver and the small intestine, but believed the liver was mainly responsible for the process. A new...

    02/09/2018 - 12:15 Nutrition, Health
  • Year in Review

    Worries grow that climate change will quietly steal nutrients from major food crops

    2017 was a good year for worrying about nutrient losses that might come with a changing climate.

    The idea that surging carbon dioxide levels could stealthily render some major crops less nutritious has long been percolating in plant research circles. “It’s literally a 25-year story, but it has come to a head in the last year or so,” says Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the U....

    12/13/2017 - 08:27 Nutrition, Climate, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    In many places around the world, obesity in kids is on the rise

    Over the last 40 years, the number of kids and teens with obesity has skyrocketed worldwide. In 1975, an estimated 5 million girls and 6 million boys were obese. By 2016, those numbers had risen to an estimated 50 million girls and 74 million boys, according to a report published online October 10 in the Lancet. While the increase in childhood obesity has slowed or leveled off in many high-...

    10/11/2017 - 17:20 Health, Nutrition
  • News in Brief

    Choosing white or whole-grain bread may depend on what lives in your gut

    Whether standard white bread or an artisanal sourdough loaf is “healthier” depends on the microbes living in a person’s intestines, a new study suggests.

    Averaging results from 20 people who ate white and whole wheat sourdough bread for one week each, researchers found no difference in people’s response to the breads, which includes changes in blood sugar levels. But when researchers...

    06/06/2017 - 12:18 Nutrition, Microbiology
  • News

    Changing climate could worsen foods’ nutrition

    A dinner plate piled high with food from plants might not deliver the same nutrition toward the end of this century as it does today. Climate change could shrink the mineral and protein content of wheat, rice and other staple crops, mounting evidence suggests.

    Selenium, a trace element essential for human health, already falls short in diets of one in seven people worldwide. Studies link...

    03/13/2017 - 15:07 Climate, Nutrition, Agriculture