Tag Archives: food science

People who eat more tend to take larger bites or eat faster, study finds

Reearchers recorded participants as they ate a meal that was weighed before and after they finished eating. The recordings were used to assess the speed at which each participants ate and the size of their bites. Credit: The Pennsylvania State University.

According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, close behind tobacco use. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic.

In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults are obese and another 32.5 percent of American adults are classed as overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, part of a growing trend.

The factors that contribute to obesity en masse are complex and varied. Obviously, diet plays a major role, but so do behaviors surrounding eating. It was the latter that researchers at the Pennsylvania State University investigated in a new study, which found that people who eat faster or take larger bites are more likely to eat more at a meal. 

“Although studies have consistently found that people eat more when they are served larger portions, less is known about why this happens or why some people are more responsive to the effects of large portions than others,” said first author Paige Cunningham, a doctoral student at Penn State. “This is one of the first studies to explore whether the characteristics of eating speed and bite size have an effect on people’s food consumption in response to larger portions.”

Cunningham and colleagues served 44 men and women lunch once a week for four weeks. Each meal consisted of a different portion of macaroni and cheese, in random order, along with 700 ml of water to drink. Each meal was video recorded in order to assess the speed with which the participants finished a meal (grams/min) and the size of their bites (grams/bite).

There were only four possible meal sizes that were rotated among the participants and on different days, meaning they could easily be compared. Although the sample size was quite small, the participants were diverse in terms of age, sex, body weight, income, and education, so the researchers believe that their results can be generalized to other groups.

Another important finding was that participants ate, on average, 43% more when the portion size of a meal was increased by 75%. According to the researchers, this fact may be influenced by microstructural behaviors such as eating rate, bite size, bite count, and meal duration.

“Based on our findings, being aware of portion size, slowing down when you eat and taking smaller bites of food could help avoid overconsumption,” said Cunningham. “Also, since people eat more when served more, overconsumption of calories from large portions can be reduced by choosing foods that have less calories per bite. This lets you eat the same filling portions of foods while consuming fewer calories.”

The findings were reported at the NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE conference.

What makes ‘superfoods’ so super? New studies dive deep

Credit: Pixabay.

Superfoods are foods that are thought to be very nutritionally dense, meaning they provide a substantial amount of nutrients and very few calories. In a series of papers presented this week at the NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE, scientists took a close look at why items like turmeric and honey are worthy of their superfood status.

Mangoes lower risk of chronic disease

Researchers at the San Diego State University recruited 27 overweight and obese adults who had to consume 100 calories of fresh mangoes or 100 calories of low-fat cookies daily for 12 weeks straight.

Compared to the group who consumed cookies, those that ate mangoes showed improvements in fasting glucose levels and inflammation — all key risk factors in certain chronic diseases. However, cholesterol levels and body weight were not affected.

The creamy fruits are an important source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin K, potassium, copper, calcium, and iron, as well as the antioxidants zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.

Honey contains anti-inflammatory nanoparticles

The nutritional qualities of honey have been acknowledged since ancient times, but scientists are still learning new things about the sweet nectar-derived food. In a new study, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that honey contains nano-scale particles with a membrane-enclosed structure resembling exosomes, which are cell-derived vesicles that are present in many and perhaps all biological fluids, including blood, urine, and cultured medium of cells.

These exosome-like nanoparticles present in honey reduced inflammation in mice that had a liver injury. As such, they could potentially inhibit the activation of a key inflammatory enzyme complex. The high content of antioxidants found in the smooth liquid may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence supporting honey’s role in both nutrition and medical applications. For instance, honey’s low moisture content and acidity makes it inhospitable to bacteria, conferring it antibacterial properties. Some evidence from animal and human studies also suggests that honey may be beneficial in the treatment of coughs and digestive upsets.

Some spices and herbs may lower blood pressure

Besides making food taste better, some herbs and spices may produce desirable cardiometabolic effects. Researchers at Penn State University and Texas Tech University recruited 71 participants who included 6.6, 3.3, and 0.5 grams per day of herbs/spices in their diets for four weeks.

No significant changes in cholesterol or blood sugar levels were recorded. However, the study found that the diet with the most herbs and spices, equivalent to about a teaspoon and a half, led to improvements to 24-hour blood pressure levels compared to the diet with the lowest amounts of herbs and spices.

Ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric improves cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes

Scientists at Clemson University examined how ginger, cinnamon, as well as curcumin and curcuminoid pigments found in turmeric affect cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The team of researchers performed a meta-analysis on 28 studies, collectively involving 1049 control patients and 1035 patients who received the spice supplements in capsule form for one to three months.

Superfoods are foods that are thought to be very nutritionally dense, meaning they provide a substantial amount of nutrients and very few calories. In a series of papers present this week at the NUTRITION 2021 LIVE ONLINE, scientists took a close look at why items like turmeric and honey are worthy of their superfood status.

Mangos lower risk of chronic disease

Researchers at the San Diego State University recruited 27 overweight and obese adults who had to consume 100 calories of fresh mangos or 100 calories of low-fat cookies daily for 12 weeks straight.

Compared to the group who consumed cookies, those that ate mangos showed improvements in fasting glucose levels and inflammation — all key risk factors in certain chronic diseases. However, cholesterol levels and body weight were not affected.

The creamy fruits are an important source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, Vitamine B-6, Vitamin K, potassium, copper, calcium, and iron, as well as the antioxidants zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.

Honey contain anti-inflammatory nanoparticles

The nutritional qualities of honey have been acknowledged since ancient times, but scientists are still learning new things about the sweet nectar-derived food. In a new study, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that honey contains nano-scale particles with a membrane-enclosed structure resembling exosomes, which are cell-derived vesicles that are present in many and perhaps all biological fluids, including blood, urine, and cultured medium of cells.

These exosome-like nanoparticles present in honey reduced inflammation in mice that had a liver injury. As such, they could potentially inhibit the activation of a key inflammatory enzyme complex. The high content of antioxidants found in the smooth liquid may also contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence supporting honey’s role in both nutrition and medical applications. For instance, honey’s low moisture content and acidity makes it inhospitable to bacteria, conferring it antibacterial properties. Some evidence from animal and human studies also suggests that honey may be beneficial in the treatment of coughs, belly, and digestive upsets.

Some spices and herbs may lower blood pressure

Besides making food taste better, some herbs and spices may produce desirable cardiometabolic effects. Researchers at Penn State University and Texas Tech University recruited 71 participants who included 6.6, 3.3, and 0.5 grams per day of herbs/spices in their diets for four weeks.

No significant changes in cholesterol or blood sugar levels were recorded. However, the study found that the diet with the most herbs and spices, equivalent to about a teaspoon and a half, led to improvements to 24-hour blood pressure levels compared to the diet with the lowest amounts of herbs and spices.

Ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric improves cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes

Scientists at Clemson University examined how ginger, cinnamon, as well as curcumin and curcuminoid pigments found in turmeric affect cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The team of researchers performed a meta-analysis on 28 studies, collectively involving 1049 control patients and 1035 patients who received the spice supplements in capsule form for one to three months.

According to the findings, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, curcumin and curcuminoids were associated with an improved lipid profile for people with type 2 diabetes. This effect was mediated by the spice dose, species, duration of consumption and population characteristics. Despite some limitations, these findings suggest that these spices may be benefitial to patients with type 2 diabetes and unhealthy high cholesterol levels.

In all, these collection of studies add new insights into the properties that truly set some foods head and shoulders above others.

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Food-science Sunday : The geometry of a Pringle

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Mathematics is not about equations, numbers, computation or algorithms: It is about Understanding!

There are many ways to understand it – the one that this post is based on is real life visualization.

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The Pringle shape is what is known in mathematics / calculus as a hyperbolic paraboloid.

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Why are Pringles a hyperbolic paraboloid?

The saddle shape allowed for easier stacking of chips. This also minimized the possibility of broken chips during transport.

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Since it is a saddle, there is no predictable way to break it up. This increases the crunchy feeling and hence that weird satisfaction.

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It is relatively more feasible to manufacture the press block compared to other shapes.

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The concave U-shaped part is stretched in tension (shown in black) while the convex arch-shaped part is squeezed in compression (shown in red).

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Through double curvature, this shape strikes a delicate balance between these push and pull forces, allowing it to remain thin yet surprisingly strong.

 

All of this, and also to make some cool ring structures.

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What about Lays?

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Lays is a parabolic cylinder, not as interesting as a Pringles but worth knowing for the sake of completeness.

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You can replicate one with a piece of paper, but you can’t do that with Pringles without cutting the paper and actually adding more paper to it. This makes it more mathematically desirable.

 

Flavor is subjective. Math is irrefutable.

This is what a mathematician had to say:

They’ve got these Lays Stax right next to the Pringles as though they are equivalent. How can they do that?

One is a positive semi-definite quadratic form and the other is an indefinite quadratic form – they’re not even the same definiteness!

 

Sources and more:

Quadratic functions on a banana.

Pringles are NOT potato chips

How it’s made- Stacked potato chips

Best way to hold a pizza slice

Best snack shape

 

Eggs !!

Study: Eat Eggs at Breakfast to Avoid Evening Snacking

Eggs !!

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that a breakfast rich in protein can help to prevent unhealthy snacking in the evening.

Lead researcher Heather Leidy said that protein in the morning significantly improves appetite control throughout the day and particularly in the evening when many snack on high fat or sugary foods. This study is one of the first to assess how breakfast affects both appetite and evening snacking in young people who usually skip breakfast.

[RELATED] Breakfast sandwich? The effects are felt before lunch

Three Scientific Study Groups

During the study overweight women were split into three groups; no breakfast, a breakfast of eggs and lean beef or a typical breakfast of ‘ready to eat’ cereal. Each meal delivered 350 calories and the same amount of dietary fat, fibre and sugar.

Participant blood samples were taken throughout the day and each woman completed a series of questionnaires. Each participant also underwent a functional MRI just before dinner to assess brain signals related to food motivation and reward driven eating behaviour.

The study showed that a breakfast of eggs and lean beef had a significant impact on satiety throughout the day as well as reducing brain activity responsible for food cravings. The result of which led to reduced evening consumption of high fat and high sugar snacks.

Leidy said:

“These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.”

While it may be difficult initially to switch to a high protein breakfast, Leidy suggests trying plain greek yoghurt, cottage cheese or a handful of nuts as good alternatives to reaching the recommended 35 grams of protein.

This study builds on a previous 2011 paper published in the journal Obesity which found that a protein rich breakfast can help to control food cravings during the day.

A high protein breakfast will also help to maximise the muscle building potential early morning training sessions according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Peanut Butter & Honey

6 Ideas for a Protein Packed Breakfast

  • Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich – 10 grams of protein
  • Whole Wheat Waffle with Maple Yogurt – 13 grams of protein
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal – 21 grams of protein
  • Honey Nut Parfait – 16 grams of protein
  • Veggie Fritatta – 21 grams of protein
  • Good old fashioned Bacon and Egg Sandwich – 30 grams of protein