Cyber agriculture on the horizon

April 19, 2019

Altering environmental conditions plants experience by creating optimal controlled environments could provide better tasting plants and a higher caliber of health benefits from those plants. To develop a better tasting basil plant, the researchers incorporated computer algorithms to determine optimal growing conditions that would enhance concentrations of volatile compounds to alter the plant’s flavor. In this study, there was no genetic modification used on the plants. The researchers exposed the plants to light for 24 hours a day. What they found could only be discovered through this artificial environment: the plants exposed to light for a 24-hour period had the best flavor.”

Dr. D.

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White, green, oolong and black? What’s the difference in these teas?

April 19, 2019

A nice video illustrating the differences in various types of tea, including processing, taste and color.

Dr. D.


The chemistry of fondue

April 19, 2019

Researchers at ETH Zürich have studied what makes the best mixture for this comforting Swiss staple. The research,found the traditional Swiss dish is a complex multiphase system composed of colloidal ingredients. It was also found that within the typical mixture of wine and Gruyère and Vacherin cheeses, starch levels much be at a minimum of 3% of the total weight to produce a homogenous mixture with an ideal flow rate. This flow rate determines not only the texture of the fondue but also its flavor and ability to cling to bread. The researchers also noted a surprising side effect of another ingredient added by many Swiss cooks: Baking soda. While the prevailing kitchen wisdom was that adding sodium bicarbonate improves the texture of a fondue by producing bubbles, the research suggests it actually creates creaminess by increasing the mixture’s pH.”

Dr. D.


Fast food is getting worse for us

March 8, 2019

Despite the addition of some healthful menu items, fast food is even more unhealthy for you than it was 30 years ago. An analysis of the offerings at 10 of the most popular US fast-food restaurants in 1986, 1991, and 2016, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, demonstrates that fast-food entrees, sides, and desserts increased significantly in calories and sodium and entrees and desserts in portion size over time. It also shows that while the variety of entrée, sides, and dessert options soared by 226 percent, new or discontinued items tended to be less healthy than those available throughout the study period.”  An interesting, if somewhat discouraging study from a former Purdue colleague, Megan McCrory, now at Boston University.

Dr. D.


Fondue chemistry

February 21, 2019

“Cheese fondue is an icon of Swiss cuisine and a dinner party staple. While it may seem like a simple dish, getting the texture right can be a challenge for optimal mouthfeel, dipping and flavor release. This requires the perfect balance of cheese, wine and starch. Now, researchers reveal how to use these key ingredients to produce deliciously melted fondue.”

Dr. D.


Should you eat a low gluten diet?

December 3, 2018

“An increasing number of people choose a low-gluten diet, even though they are not allergic to the dietary substance. This trend has sparked public debate about whether or not low-gluten diets are recommendable for people without allergies. Now, researchers from University of Copenhagen among others have looked into just that.

In an intervention study of healthy Danish adults, reported in Nature Communications, an international team of scientists shows that a low-gluten, but fiber-rich diet changes the community of gut bacteria and decreases gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating and is linked to a modest weight loss. The changes in intestinal comfort and body weight relate to changes in gut bacteria composition and function.”

Dr. D.


Eggs don’t increase risk of cardiovascular disease

August 14, 2018

“University of Sydney researchers aim to help clear up conflicting dietary advice around egg consumption, as a new study finds eating up to 12 eggs per week for a year did not increase cardiovascular risk factors in people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.”

Dr. D.