Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Food for Thought: Calories Influence Eating Habits

Hey everyone,

Thanksgiving is next week and it typically signifies the start of the holiday season! I can't speak for anyone else but this is also the time I indulge in the over abundance of available food. No shame.

A study done in Yale showed that the caloric value of a food item affects eating behavior independently of how much the food itself is enjoyed! Our brain associates flavors with a caloric value and over time we have a preference for this flavor due to "flavor-nutrient conditioning" versus the actual flavor itself. Test subjects were given flavored beverages deficient in calories. After a set period, unflavored calories were added to the beverages. At the end of the taste test, the researchers observed an increased rating for flavors containing the added calories. 

Additional experiments completed found that the metabolic response to the consumption of glucose controlled responses involved with cues that signal calories. Maybe that is why we "love" food that is "bad" for us, because these items typically are overloaded with calories.

Here is the original post:

Here is the full published research article:

- Charles Quinto

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipes: Now Serving, Butterbeer!

What is butterbeer you ask? Well for those of you who are not familiar with the Harry Potter book series, it's a drink that is supposed to warm you up and can be purchased in the fictional town of Hogsmead. However, Hogwarts and Hogsmeade were created in a physical form in Universal Orlando! For those of us that can't afford to fly to Florida just to try a drink, you can customize a drink at Starbucks and get it locally!

Here are the two ways to order your very own butterbeer replica thanks to a posting on slashfilm.com! Enjoy!

Frappucino Version:
  • A Creme Frappuccino base. Don’t skimp on the fat by asking for skim or 2% milk as whole milk is required for the right consistency.
  • Add 3 pumps of caramel syrup.
  • Add 3 pumps of toffee nut syrup.
  • Top with caramel drizzle

Hot Version:
  • Whole milk steamer
  • Add caramel syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
  • Add toffee nut syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
  • Add cinnamon dolce syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
  • Whipped cream and salted caramel bits on top
  • Optional if you prefer to add a coffee taste: Add a shot of espresso (2 for a grande or venti)

Have a good weekend!
- Charles Quinto

Monday, November 4, 2013

Food for Thought: More Pork, Hold the Antibiotics

Hey everyone,

It's November! Today's article is about pigs and antibiotics! As you may know, one of the problems we are facing with foodborne illness is the antibiotic resistance the bacteria exhibit. This is largely due to the use of antibiotics in farms. What you may not know is that feeding animals small amounts of antibiotics actually correlated with increased growth rate which is part of the reason they were used in the first place!

Steve Dritz, a specialist in swine nutrition at Kansas State University, explains that 60 years ago there was a a trend between increased growth rate of animals and the consumption of antibiotics. Observed effects showed 12-15% increased growth with antibiotics with the added benefit of requiring less feed in order to reach full weight! Over time, additional studies performed observed similar growth-promotion with the introduction of antibiotics.

Dritz says that in the 1990s, pork production changed dramatically. Instead of pigs being born and raised in the same barn or barns within a close location,  pigs were now born in one location and moved to a new site. In previous years, pigs would develop in areas with a high risk of infections spreading from one generation to the next. The new regulation ensured that the piglets were growing in a clean area free of disease. Groups of pigs brought onto one site are kept together without mixing pigs from other groups. The regulations are so strict that even workers moving between groups must change their boots to prevent any transmission of infectious diseases.

Post implementation of the new farming standards, pigs began to grow at the same rate as seen with antibiotics. Dritz carrried out experiments and found that the effect of antibiotics on growth were no longer as high as in the past. Though it is thought that the reduction of disease and good hygiene are responsible for the increased growth rate, no definitive conclusions have been made. 

What is clear is that pigs can grow just as quickly without antibiotics with the decreased risk of organisms becoming resistant to drugs we may need to treat illnesses. However, change is slow and not all farmers have taken Dritz' advice nor were they all convinced with the evidence presented. Unfortunately it's difficult to fight against a large population's perception, especially one that has been instilled for such a long time.

With time, hopefully change will occur and we can move towards more natural ways of raising animals that are better.

Here's the article from NPR.

Thanks for reading!
- Charles Quinto