People are increasingly obsessed with meat

Lisan Jutras – Why are humans so obsessed with eating meat?, an interview with Marta Zaraska:

What do you make of the more meat-heavy Paleo diet trend?

There wasn’t just one Paleolithic diet. Some people close to the North Pole ate enormous amounts of meat, while some others, some hunter-gatherer tribes, ate barely any meat at all. Which Paleolithic was more Paleolithic? That’s the first and foremost thing for me. And then why not other times in our species history? We’ve evolved for a very long time, so why Paleolithic? And then next, contrary to what many Paleolithic-diet gurus say, our bodies actually have evolved since the industrial revolution and we are evolving faster than we have evolved before.

What also of cows and pigs vs antelope or buffalo or rabbits and squirrels?

Meathooked: The History and Science of our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession With Meat by Marta Zaraska

Snake oil, paleo diets, and what the science says

David Katz on America’s Test Kitchen Radio episode 405 (interview starts at time stamp 17:20).

On calories in vs calories out (22:30):

You get differential disposition of calories depending on what they are from and how that affects physiology.

So for example, calories from sugar will evoke an insulin response, and insulin in turn increases the tendency that calories will be deposited not only in body fat, but body fat in a harmful place right around the middle. If you get your calories from monounsaturated oil or  omega3 oil or high quality protein you’re going to have a different insulin response and those calories will go to different places in your body. So yes, the nature of the calories matters.

The other critical thing here, Chris, and the thing I was about to say this is, the quality of foods that we eat profoundly influences the number of calories it takes to feel full.

On science vs hucksters (30:18):

You maintain, Chris, that the public knows what to do, and that’s a huge part of the problem. See, somebody like me, I really want to empower people with useful information but you ask me any question and I start hemming and hawing, right? There’s subtlety, there’s nuance, but you talk to the hucksters and the charlatans or the fools and fanatics, and they’ll tell you, “Geez you know, Katz is dull as dishwater – he hems and haws.” You talk to a legitimate scientist, we always have doubts, “Well there’s science in favour, science against.” But you talk to dyed in the wool huckster, they know with absolute certainty that just the one simple thing you need to do, “It’s effortless, the pounds will drop off, the years will melt away.” You know, who can resist? I mean, your eyes glaze over, you go into a trance and you start reaching for your credit card.

The takeaway (36:10):

Feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress, and love.

 

Disease Proof by David Katz

Sports drinks

CBC Marketplace – Sports drinks unnecessary, counterproductive for most people:

Sports drinks promise to rehydrate, provide energy to muscles in the form of sugar and replenish electrolytes lost during exercise. Canadians guzzle more than $450 million in sports drinks every year.

To test how many electrolytes are actually lost during exercise, Marketplace recruited a team of recreational runners and tested their blood before and after a 45-minute run. None of the runners depleted either their glucose or electrolyte levels enough to require a sports drink to replenish them. In many cases, electrolyte and glucose levels increased in the blood. The test revealed that they could have benefited from water alone.

Protein bars are also largely unnecessary.

Watch the video: Farther, Faster, Fitter?

 

Obesity interventions – financial incentives don’t seem to work

Aaron Carroll – Obesity intervention failures abound:

About 200 obese employees took part in a workplace wellness program to lose weight. Some were randomized with a financial incentive ($550) if they met their 5% weight loss reduction goal. After a year, the incentive was shown not to make a difference.

Perhaps a cultural shift is required, along with education.

A scientific approach to flavour analysis

Kristen Rasmussen for The Nordic Food Lab – Calibrating Flavour:

The study included 29 different aromatic blends at the same time (imagine tasting 29 different wines at a wine tasting, without the alcohol of course), which, as we mentioned, is quite a large number of samples. Through a statistical tool called Principal Component Analysis, we were able to determine the variances between sample placements on the grid within the group as a whole. This method showed us that our subjects largely placed samples containing similar ingredients near each other, such as a pickling blend near juniper ant paste and BBQ chipotle near mole negro.

I wish I had the time available to do something like this. I’ve always wanted to set up and do taste testings at home when we have friends or family over. I never get around to it, due to the amount of pre-planning required. I need to step up my game.

How to make the most of your herbs and spices – experimentation

The Science of Herbs and Spices

Harold McGee, for Lucky Peach:

Have you ever chewed on a sprig of thyme or chomped down on a whole peppercorn or clove? It’s not pleasant. That’s because most herb and spice flavors are actually chemical weapons. Their role is to repel insects and snails and other animals that try to eat them, and to kill microbes—especially fungi—that try to infect them. (The flavor chemicals also sometimes serve as a form of birth control. When the leaves of a thyme plant drop to the ground, thymol prevents the plant’s seeds from germinating, so the plant won’t have to compete with its offspring for nutrients from the same patch of soil.)