Everyone Wants A Chef

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cooking is Very Important Belive It or Not!




Evidence suggests that developing cooking and food preparation skills is important for health and nutrition, yet the practice of home cooking is declining and now rarely taught in school. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that developing cooking skills as a young adult may have long-term benefits for health and nutrition.


"The impact of developing cooking skills early in life may not be apparent until later in adulthood when individuals have more opportunity and responsibility for meal preparation," said lead author Jennifer Utter, PhD, MPH, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. "The strength of this study is the large, population-based sample size followed over a period of 10 years to explore the impact of perceived cooking skills on later nutritional well-being."


Data were collected as part of the Project Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults longitudinal study conducted in Minneapolis-Saint Paul area schools. Participants reported on adequacy of cooking skills in 2002-2003 when they were 18 to 23 years old. Data was then collected in 2015-2016 on nutrition-related outcomes when participants were 30 to 35 years old. Questions assessed the perceived adequacy of cooking skills, how often they prepared a meal that included vegetables, how often they ate meals as a family, and how often they ate at a fast food restaurant.

Most participants perceived their cooking skills to be adequate at age 18 -- 23, with approximately one quarter of adults reporting their cooking skills to be very adequate. There were no differences in perceived cooking skills by sex, race or ethnicity, educational attainment, or age. Perceived adequacy of cooking skills predicted multiple indicators of nutrition outcomes later in adulthood including greater odds of preparing a meal with vegetables most days and less frequent consumption of fast food. If those who perceived their cooking skills as adequate had families, they ate more frequent family meals, less frequent fast food meals, and had fewer barriers to food preparation.


"Opportunities to develop cooking skills by adolescents may result in long-term benefits for nutritional well-being," said Dr. Utter. "Families, health and nutrition professionals, educators, community agencies, and funders can continue to invest in home economics and cooking education knowing that the benefits may not be fully realized until young adults develop more autonomy and live independently."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Parenting and personality work together to affect baby's weight gain


Offering a snack may be a sure way to soothe a fussy child, but researchers say making it a habit can result in unnecessary weight gain in babies with certain temperaments.

The researchers studied the babies' temperament and how their mothers soothed them when the babies were six months old. When the researchers followed up a year later, they found that the more the mothers used food to soothe, the more weight certain babies gained.
 


The effect was only seen in babies with surgent temperament -- characterized by being more outgoing, active and drawn to new things and people.


Cynthia Stifter, professor of human development and psychology, Penn State, said the results suggest that when parents give surgent babies food when they're not hungry -- when they're trying to calm them, for example -- those babies may be more likely to later eat for pleasure, rather than just when they're hungry.
 


"Surgent children tend to have greater reward sensitivity than other kids -- and thus greater sensitivity in the dopamine area of the brain," Stifter said. "So if food, which is highly rewarding, lights up that area quickly and intensely, they may make a stronger connection between food and feeling good, causing them to seek out food more often in the future."


Previous research has linked surgent temperament with greater weight gain and higher body mass index, but few studies have examined how a baby's temperament affects how parents feed their children. Stifter said the results are an example of how a baby's temperament can influence how his or her parents choose to parent.

"When babies respond to things in a certain way, parents pick up on that," Stifter said. "So in many ways, the baby's behavior is influencing the parents' behavior. If a parent wants to stop their child from crying, and they know that food will do that, they may use that strategy, particularly if other methods are not working."
Image result for offering snacks to black children


The researchers asked 160 mothers to keep a three-day diary about how often their babies cried and what they did to calm them when the babies were six months old. The babies' temperament were also evaluated by both the parents and the researchers, who noted traits related to anger, fear, sadness, activity levels, smiling and laughing, and how the child reacted to new things and people, among others.
 

The researchers followed up a year later, when the children were 18 months old, to measure how much weight the babies gained in the previous year. They found that the more parents used food to soothe their babies when they weren't hungry, the more weight those babies gained, but only if those infants were also observed as having a surgent temperament.

The effect wasn't seen in non-surgent babies whose parents used food to soothe or in surgent babies whose parents did not use food to soothe.

Stifter said that parents may be tempted to use food to calm a crying baby because it's effective. But she added that using food as a reward can ultimately lead to overeating, especially in surgent children, and be a risk for developing obesity later on.

"Surgent kids tend to get bored easily because they're always looking for something new to capture their attention," Stifter said. "So if they're bored, and this connection has been set up in their brain between food and feeling good, they may turn to food, not out of hunger but because they're looking for something to do."


Stifter said that while there's no guarantee that these kids will turn out to be obese, other research has shown that quick, rapid weight gain puts them at risk. She said the study's results -- recently published in the International Journal of Obesity -- could be used to design new ways to educate parents about feeding their babies.

"I'd like to see parent education programs have a temperament component, to teach parents more about what their child's temperament means for them," Stifter said. "I'd also like to see these programs teach parents about hunger cues so they know when their babies are hungry, so as to avoid using food to soothe their babies when they are not hungry."

Story Source: Materials provided by Penn State. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Food waste: The biggest loss could be what you choose to put in your mouth


About a third of the food produced for human consumption is estimated to be lost or wasted globally. But the biggest waste, which is not included in this estimate, may be through dietary choices that result in the squandering of environmental resources. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), USA, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science and their colleagues have now found a novel way to define and quantify this second type of wastage. The scientists have called it "opportunity food loss," a term inspired by the "opportunity cost" concept in economics, which refers to the cost of choosing a particular alternative over better options.
 

Opportunity food loss stems from using agricultural land to produce animal-based food instead of nutritionally comparable plant-based alternatives. The researchers report that in the United States alone, avoiding opportunity food loss -- that is, replacing all animal-based items with edible crops for human consumption -- would add enough food to feed 350 million additional people, or more than the total US population, with the same land resources. "Our analysis has shown that favoring a plant-based diet can potentially yield more food than eliminating all the conventionally defined causes of food loss," says lead author Dr. Alon Shepon, who worked in the lab of Prof. Ron Milo in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department. The Weizmann researchers collaborated with Prof. Gidon Eshel of Bard College and Dr. Elad Noor of ETZ Zürich.

The scientists compared the resources needed to produce five major categories of animal-based food -- beef, pork, dairy, poultry and eggs -- with the resources required to grow edible crops of similar nutritional value in terms of protein, calorie and micronutrients. They found that plant-based replacements could produce two- to 20-fold more protein per acre.

 

The most dramatic results were obtained for beef. The researchers compared it with a mix of crops -- soya, potatoes, cane sugar, peanuts and garlic -- that deliver a similar nutritional profile when taken together in the right proportions. The land area that could produce 100 grams of protein from these crops would yield only 4 grams of edible protein from beef. In other words, using agricultural land for producing beef instead of replacement crops results in an opportunity food loss of 96 grams -- that is, a loss of 96% -- per unit of land. This means that the potential gain from diverting agricultural land from beef to plant-based foods for human consumption would be enormous.
 

The estimated losses from failing to replace other animal-based foods with nutritionally similar crops were also huge: 90% for pork, 75% for dairy, 50% for poultry and 40% for eggs -- higher than all conventional food losses combined. "Opportunity food loss must be taken into account if we want to make dietary choices enhancing global food security," Milo says.
 

Prof. Ron Milo's research is supported by the Mary and Tom Beck -- Canadian Center for Alternative Energy Research, which he heads; the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program; Dana and Yossie Hollander; and the Larson Charitable Foundation. Prof. Milo is the incumbent of the Charles and Louise Gartner Professorial Chair.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.
 
Source:
Weizmann Institute of Science
 
 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites





People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study. Specifically, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs is 40 percent greater than in those consuming an equivalent amount of protein from egg whites, the team found.

The discovery, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that the widespread practice of throwing away egg yolks to maximize one's dietary protein intake from eggs is counterproductive, said Nicholas Burd, a University of Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health who led the research.

The yolks also contain protein, along with key nutrients and other food components that are not present in egg whites, Burd said. And something in the yolks is boosting the body's ability to utilize that protein in the muscles.


"This study suggests that eating protein within its most natural food matrix tends to be more beneficial to our muscles as opposed to getting one's protein from isolated protein sources," he said.

In the study, 10 young men engaged in a single bout of resistance exercise and then ate either whole eggs or egg whites containing 18 grams of protein. Researchers administered infusions of stable-isotope-labeled leucine and phenylalanine (two important amino acids) to participants. This allowed the scientists to maintain and precisely measure amino acid levels in participants' blood and muscles.

The U. of I. Poultry Research Farm developed eggs for the study that also were isotopically labeled with leucine. This allowed for precise tracking of where the food-derived amino acids ended up after participants ingested them.

The team took repeated blood and muscle biopsy samples to assess how the egg-derived amino acids were appearing in the blood and in protein synthesis in muscles before and after the resistance exercise and eating.


"By using those labeled eggs, we saw that if you ate the whole egg or the egg whites, the same amount of dietary amino acids became available in your blood," Burd said. "In each case, about 60 to 70 percent of the amino acids were available in the blood to build new muscle protein. That would suggest that getting one's protein from whole eggs or just from the whites makes no difference, as the amount of dietary amino acids in the blood after eating generally gives us an indication of how potent a food source is for the muscle-building response."

But when the researchers directly measured protein synthesis in the muscle, they found a very different response.

"We saw that the ingestion of whole eggs immediately after resistance exercise resulted in greater muscle-protein synthesis than the ingestion of egg whites," Burd said.

Previous studies suggest this difference has nothing to do with the difference in energy content of whole eggs and egg whites -- whole eggs containing 18 grams of protein also contain about 17 grams of fat, whereas egg whites have no fat. Studies from Burd's lab and others show that simply adding fat to an isolated protein source in the diet after exercise does not boost protein synthesis.


"There's a lot of stress on protein nutrition in modern society, and research is showing that we need more protein in the diet than we once thought to maintain health," Burd said. "As world population grows, we need cost-effective and sustainable strategies for improving the use of protein in the diet. This work is showing that consuming egg protein in its natural matrix has a much greater benefit than getting isolated protein from the same source."

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Price changes for seven foods could save thousands of lives per year!

Changing the prices of seven foods, including fruits, vegetables and sugar-sweetened beverages, could reduce deaths due to stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and address health disparities in the United States, finds a study led by researchers from Tufts University.

In the study, published today in BMC Medicine, the team of researchers used a comparative risk assessment model to estimate the potential effects of price subsidies on healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds, and taxes on processed and unprocessed red meats and sugary drinks, on the number of annual deaths from cardiometabolic diseases in the United States.

The researchers found that if the prices of all seven dietary items were altered 10 percent each, an estimated 23,000 deaths per year could be prevented; this corresponds to 3.4 percent of all cardiometabolic disease deaths in the United States. A 30 percent price change almost tripled that approximation with an estimation of 63,000 deaths prevented per year, or 9.2 percent of all cardiometabolic disease deaths.


"This is the first time, to our knowledge, that national data sets have been pooled and analyzed to investigate the influence of food subsidies and taxes on disparities in cardiometabolic deaths in the United States," said lead and corresponding author José L. Peñalvo, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "We found that modest price changes on healthy and unhealthy foods would help decrease overall cardiometabolic deaths and also reduce disparities between socio-economic strata in the U.S. -- the largest changes coming from reducing the prices of fruits and vegetables and increasing the price of sugary drinks."


When the researchers looked at factors such as educational attainment and socioeconomic status, they found that larger proportions of deaths would be prevented among Americans with less than high school or high school education, compared with college graduates. Additionally, under low and high gradients of price responsiveness, subsidies and taxes would reduce disparities in all cardiometabolic disease outcomes. Diabetes would be significantly reduced by any of the scenarios.


"Our findings on disparities are particularly relevant today, with growing inequities in diet and cardiometabolic disease. The current strategies, such as education campaigns or food labeling, have improved overall dietary habits, but much less so among people with lower socioeconomic status," said senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School. "These results suggest that financial incentives to purchase healthy food, and disincentives to purchase unhealthy foods, can prove successful in meaningfully reducing cardiometabolic disease disparities."

The largest proportional reduction in cardiometabolic disease outcome was observed for stroke, followed by diabetes. Diabetes deaths were most influenced by taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, while stroke deaths were most influenced by subsidies for fruits and vegetables. The researchers acknowledge that the efficacy of taxation will depend on what products consumers chose as an alternative. Therefore, this is the most likely average effect of price changes.


The researchers defined the seven dietary elements based on evidence of their associations with cardiometabolic diseases, including stroke, diabetes and overall cardiovascular disease, and policy interest. From there, the researchers investigated the price responsiveness of each food item to price change and how each price intervention could prevent deaths and disparities from cardiometabolic diseases using different price responsiveness scenarios.

The team used nationally-representative data from 2012 on the consumption of selected food items by age, gender and socioeconomic status; estimates of etiological effects of these foods on cardiometabolic disease by age; observed national cardiometabolic disease deaths by age, gender and socioeconomic status; and estimated the impact of pricing changes on dietary habits by socioeconomic status.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Eating Nuts Can Reduce Weight Gain



A study recently published in the online version of the European Journal of Nutrition has found that people who include nuts in their diet are more likely to reduce weight gain and lower the risk of overweight and obesity.

The findings came to light after researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluated diet and lifestyle data from more than 373,000 individuals from 10 European countries between the ages of 25 and 70.

Senior investigator Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Nutrition, Lifestyle and Disease Prevention at LLUSPH, said that many people have historically assumed that nuts -- an energy-dense, high-fat food -- are not a good choice for individuals who want to lose weight. The findings, however, contradict that assumption.

In their five-year study, Sabaté and junior investigator Heinz Freisling, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist with the Nutritional Methodology and Biostatistics group at IARC headquarters in Lyons, France, found that participants gained a mean average of 2.1 kilograms during the five-year period of the study. However, participants who ate the most nuts not only had less weight gain than their nut-abstaining peers, but also enjoyed a 5 percent lower risk of becoming overweight or obese.

"To me, this confirms that nuts are not an obesogenic food," Sabaté said.

The pair of researchers has evaluated nuts in the past and found that they are positively associated with a variety of health benefits, including healthy aging and memory function in seniors. This study, however, represents the first time they have investigated the relationship between nuts and weight on a large scale. Peanuts, which are technically a ground nut, were included in the study along with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts, which are classified as tree nuts.


The team analyzed information on the dietary practices and body mass indexes of 373,293 participants, working with data gathered by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Although Sabaté and Freisling extracted and analyzed the data and reported the findings, they were joined by 35 other research scientists from 12 European countries and Malaysia who reviewed the paper ahead of publication.

Sabaté recommends that people eat nuts more often, pointing out that they offer energy, good fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

"Eat nuts during your meal," he suggested. "Put them at the center of your plate to replace animal products. They're very satiating."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ants protect and fertilize plants




In a new article, researchers from Aarhus University describe how the waste left by ants on plant leaves serves as a valuable fertiliser for the plants -- handed on a silver platter.

You have often seen ants wandering about on leaves -- even in tall trees. In fact, it is the plants themselves that attract them by secreting sugar-containing nectar, which the ants eat with great pleasure. And on their journey around trunks and leaves, the ants snap insects that could otherwise damage the plants.

This has been known for many years and Danish researchers now use this knowledge in the battle against harmful insects in organic apple orchards. They simply move wood ants from the forest and create new anthills in the orchards.

Now researchers have found yet another positive effect of the ants' visit to the trees. Their urine or faeces, excreted together, contain amino acids and urea -- substances that are commercially used to spray on leaves to fertilise the plants.

A small coffee plantation in the laboratory

In tropical areas, there are many different species of ants that live exclusively in the tree crowns. They do not come down to the ground and therefore cannot get nutrition there. This applies, for example, to weaver ants that live in the crowns of many different trees and bushes -- including coffee trees. Each tree can have up to 60,000 ants.


In the laboratory, the researchers built a mini-coffee plantation with several individual coffee trees. The central coffee tree held a colony of weaver ants. All the coffee trees were placed in water, so the ants could not move from tree to tree unless there was a bridge to take them across. Accordingly, the researchers built suspension bridges between some, but not all, of the trees.

On the central tree, the ants were fed with an amino acid -- glycine -- where the nitrogen atom consisted of the heavier nitrogen 15 (15N). The researchers were able to follow the labeled nitrogen in the neighbouring trees to which the ants walked over via the suspension bridges.

And the results were quite amazing.

Intravenous nutritional supplement

First, the researchers observed that the visited trees had a higher content of nitrogen than the trees to which the ants did not have access. The trees visited by the ants also had larger crowns than the trees without ants.

On the 'visit trees' some of the leaves were wrapped so that the ants could not leave their waste here. But also in these leaves, the researchers were able to trace the labeled nitrogen.

"For the first time, we have shown that nutrients from ant waste are taken up by the leaves and transported to other places in the tree," says senior scientist Joachim Offenberg, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, who was in charge of the studies.



"This has great ecological importance. The ants, which primarily feed on insects in the trees, digest the insects and hand the nutrients on a silver platter to the plants. You can almost say that the plants receive the nutrition intravenously exactly where they need it," explains Joachim Offenberg.

Great ecological importance

The ants appear frequently on new shoots and on fruits -- both areas of the plant that can benefit from an additional nutrient input.

The nutritional supplement to the leaves can be a great advantage for many different plants, and the researchers will now investigate how widespread the phenomenon is.


"We know that globally there are lots of plants inhabited by ants. The nutritional supplement for their leaves can have a major ecological significance and may also have been decisive for the evolution of ant-plant interactions," says Joachim Offenberg.