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This post falls into the category of “Molecular Gastronomy”. That term may be a bit silly, since everything about food is molecular. But when it comes to food there’s usually something to be said for taking a look under the hood. This will be about cooking a hamburger that’s better than what you get at your favourite fast food joint. So if you don’t eat meat, and don’t even want to read about eating meat, exit now.… Read the rest “The Science of Better Burgers”

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“I think the notion of ‘calories in vs. calories out’ is ridiculous.” So begins a recent online article about diet. Typically, it cites no external sources of information for this opinion. Actually, the calories in – calories out equation is a truism; thermodynamics doesn’t make exceptions, and one way or another, those input calories have to go somewhere. But the thought underlying the denial of equivalence is usually something different, such as, why does my friend eat anything she likes and stay slim, when I can’t?Read the rest “Calories in equals calories out?”

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The present-day Gila River in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area in southeast Arizona. 

Both nature and nurture affect human obesity. For some people, and for some populations, the genetic tendency to become obese is not fulfilled because of their environment, the circumstances of their lives. But when those circumstances change, the genetic potential may be realised quickly, and lead to the medical issues that follow from obesity. An example that starkly illustrates this comes from the sunbaked desert south of Phoenix, Arizona.Read the rest “The Gila River People, Victims of Modernity”

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There’s a great book about vitamin A, “Brilliance & Confusion: Saving Children’s Vision & Lives With Vitamin A”. Okay, I confess. It’s my own book a couple of years ago. Vitamin A was discovered in 1913, but it has continued to provide surprises since. The most important of these is that it isn’t essential just for vision, which is what most people know about it. Rather, it is needed to maintain many functions necessary for health, and life itself.Read the rest “A Great New Book”

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Tens of thousands of grocery store items play up the fact that they are “reduced-fat”, reflecting both the government’s advice about eating less fat, and our concerns about becoming overweight or obese. Our food-shopping habits have changed over the past fifty years, as warnings were posted by the American Heart Association, Department of Agriculture Food Guides, and other agencies that became alarmed at the risk posed by fats, particularly of the ‘saturated” type, for heart disease and other medical problems.Read the rest “The big fat myth”