Tag: Food

Can Eating Too Much Make Your Stomach Burst?

I ate so much I’m about to burst!

Someone at your Thanksgiving table likely said this, after you’ve all stuffed your faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and the rest.

But how much would you have to eat in order for your stomach to actually burst? Is that even possible?

Interestingly enough, you can rupture your stomach if you eat too much,” says Dr. Rachel Vreeman, co-author of “Don’t Cross Your Eyes … They’ll Get Stuck That Way!” and assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

It is possible, but it’s very, very rare.

A handful of reports over the years document the tales of people who literally ate themselves to death, or at least came dangerously close.

Japanese doctors wrote in a 2003 case report that they believed it was a 49-year-old man’s “excessive over-eating” that caused his stomach to rupture, killing him.

And this 1991 case report describes a similar “spontaneous rupture” in an adult’s stomach “after overindulgence in food and drink.

Normally, your stomach can hold about one or one-and-a-half liters, Vreeman says — this is the point you may reach if you overdo it tomorrow, when you feel full to the point of nausea.

Pathologists’ reports seem to suggest the stomach is able to do OK handling up to about three liters, but most cases of rupture seem to occur when a person has attempted to stuff their stomach with about five liters of food or fluid.

It takes a certain amount of misguided determination to manage to override your natural gag reflex and continue to eat.

Which is, not surprisingly, reports of ruptured stomachs caused by overeating are most common in people with some sort of disordered eating, or limited mental capacity, Vreeman says.

Speaking of strong stomachs, you’d best have one in order to read this next paragraph. If vomiting isn’t happening, all that food and fluid still has to go somewhere.

The increasing volume of stuff in the gut puts pressure on the stomach’s walls, so much so that the tissue weakens and tears, sending the stomach contents into the body and causing infection and pain, Vreeman says.

Surgical intervention is necessary to repair a ruptured stomach and save the patient’s life.

In particular, she says, anorexics or bulimics may be at risk. In fact, Cedars-Sinai, the non-profit hospital in Los Angeles, actually lists this as a “symptom” of bulimia.

In rare cases, a person may eat so much during a binge that the stomach bursts or the esophagus tears. This can be life-threatening.

Other reported cases of spontaneous stomach rupture happen in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome, a congenital disease that is characterized by, among other things, a kind of disordered eating.

An “intense craving for food,” resulting in “uncontrollable weight gain and morbid obesity.” according to the National Institutes of Health.

In a 2007 study examining the deaths of 152 individuals with the condition, 3 percent of those deaths were the result of gastric rupture and necrosis.

The takeaway here: This really happens, sometimes! Also: This is probably not going to happen to you.

Even if you’re starting to feel a bit sick or tired and overwhelmed from eating so much at Thanksgiving, you’re still far, far away from the scenario where you’re going to make your stomach actually explode,” Vreeman assures.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Laboratory Cultured Sea Urchins

Sea urchins can be raised from egg to egg in the laboratory.

With proper food, the larvae can be grown to maturity in about 3 weeks. When mature larvae are exposed to the proper chemical cues metamorphosis occurs.

Over the next 5 days the small urchins develop internal organs and then begin to feed. Sexual maturity can be reached in as little as 4.5 months.

By then the urchin is about a centimeter in diameter. Several different approaches to the study of developmental genetics are covered.

These include:

  1. Hybrids between the sand dollars Dendraster and Encope, in which both crosses produce offspring that have predominantly paternal characteristics;
  2. a preliminary description of two mutants, one which produces abnormally shaped blastula that may lead to a significant number of exogastrulae, and another that produces a large number of four- part symmetrical urchins;
  3. urchins produced by parthenogenetic activation and from reaggregated larval cells.

Almost all of sea urchin genetics has been limited either to studies of inter-specific and inter-generic hybrids or to the area of molecular biology.

To some extent, hybrid studies have been forced on the sea urchin embryologist because genetics at a more refined level has not been possible.

Hybrid studies have been useful and they played a particularly important part in the early investigation of the role of the nucleus vs. that of the cytoplasm.

Horstadius (1973) pre-sents an extensive discussion of these early investigations.

In many ways, research at the molecular level is just beginning, in spite of the fact that the literature is already very extensive.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Is There A Healthier Ways To Eat Dessert?

Sticking with a healthy eating plan is hard work. There is no way around that, but for many it means giving up the foods that they love the most.

But, you don’t have to do that! If you are limiting yourself so much that healthy eating becomes more of a hindrance than a help, then your good habits won’t last long.

So what does this mean? You can still eat dessert– and enjoy it! Learn some smart substitutions to make your dessert a healthy part of your day.

The key to including dessert is to enjoy that sweet treat without overloading on calories, fat, and sugar.

Desserts can often make it hard to maintain a healthy weight. But who wants to give up their favorite foods? Willpower is hard to fight against.

As with many things in life, moderation is key, so you’ll need to stop yourself before you overindulge. Try sensible portions; you can eat 1 slice of pie and still be in your calorie range for the day.

Not every chocolate cake or banana nut muffin is created equal. Look for things without a lot of butter, nuts, or creamy frosting.

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Could This Trick Make You Like Your Vegetables More?

Could we learn to like our vegetables more!? It’s a question that many of us may have wondered, as we struggle to get through a plate of broccoli.

Now, an experiment done with a group of UK school children thinks it might have the answer!

The study wanted to see if it was possible to train ourselves to like a food that we didn’t like before.

To find out, a group of young scientists aged 9 to 11 were split down into two groups.

Half of them were asked to eat a piece of the green vegetable kale every day for 15 days, while the other half ate raisins – and there were some very interesting results!

Most of the kids who ate kale every day found that they did like it more by the end of the experiment.

So, by making yourself eat something you may not really like over a period of time, you could learn to not hate it as much!

However, there were still some in the kale group who really didn’t like it – even after the 15 days was up.

It was discovered this was because they had more fungiform papillae on their tongue, which contain our taste buds.

The more fungiform papillae a person has, the more strongly they will taste flavours – especially bitter ones – so these children are known as ‘supertasters‘.

About one in four people could be ‘supertasters‘, which makes them more sensitive to strong foods, like lemons, spices and bitter vegetables, like Brussels sprouts

Therefore, these people may need to eat kale for slightly longer before they learn to love it.

Jackie Blissett, professor in health behaviour and change at Coventry University, said: “It’s been wonderful to work with these young scientists, and they’ve helped shed some light on one of the great mysteries: why some of us might not like our Brussels sprouts!

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What’s It Like To Drink A Virtual Cocktail?

VR headset strapped in place, I scan the terrain like a cocktail-seeking Terminator.

Heather rolls towards me under heavy Scottish skies. As music swells, I leave the Highlands and sweep south through Britain, towards the bustling crowds of London’s Covent Garden theater district.

Meanwhile, in the bricks-and-mortar world of London’s One Aldwych hotel, Portuguese bar manager Pedro Paulo named Best International Bartender at the Lisbon Bar Show 2016 is busy mixing Dalmore12-year-old whisky.

Merlet cherry liqueur, cherry puree, grapefruit juice, chocolate bitters and Lallier Champagne.

When the two-minute video comes to a close and I peel off the goggles and headphones, The Origin is waiting — the world’s first Virtual Reality cocktail.

Let’s get a few things straight. The Origin cocktail? It’s 100% real.

A whisky base improbably and deliciously stretched into a long drink by the genius addition of Champagne, making it a delightful 130ml of sweet, smoky, cherry and chocolate flavors.

We wanted the drink to be quite honestly a crowd-pleaser,” says Paulo, who at 30 years old already has 12 years of high-level bartending experience, including at London’s award-winning Connaught Bar.

And if you think a $23 Virtual Reality cocktail sounds like smoke and mirrors, you’re right. Sherry wood chip smoke, to be precise, sealed in a glass hip flask with the remainder of the cocktail so you can top up at your leisure with another hit of deep, woodsy flavor.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Experts Explain Why People Are Disgusted By Mayonnaise

Barack Obama doesn’t care for it. Jimmy Fallon despises it. And chances are you have a friend in your life who can’t stand the stuff, or you yourself won’t countenance it.

We’re talking about mayonnaise, the simple egg-and-oil condiment that fires up complicated feelings in people.

It’s clear that mayonnaise has its share of haters, but as people who actually eat the stuff, we wanted to find out why.

We reached out to two experts on the topic of disgust to shine some light: William Ian Miller, professor of law at the University of Michigan and author of the 1997 book The Anatomy of Disgust, and Rachel Herz, an adjunct assistant professor at Brown University and author of 2012′s That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion.

Mayonnaise wiggles, jiggles and moves.

t’s possible some people find mayonnaise off-putting because it’s just a bit too… excitable.

Its texture is what makes it most repulsive,” Herz said. “It has the ability to wobble and does not sit inert, even though it is not animate

The inert taking on qualities of an animate object can create feelings of disgust. Its moving implies a living thing, and living things can contaminate you.

One of the main functions that disgust serves for us is to help us avoid contamination.

If something moves when you don’t expect it to, or in a way you don’t expect it to, your mind can generate a feeling of aversion as a way to protect you from whatever this weird thing is.

Even if you’re eating mayonnaise in a sandwich, where you won’t see it move, your mind might still associate mayo with unnatural behavior, which can render it inedible to you.

Mayonnaise reminds people of bodily fluids.

I suppose people are disgusted with mayo because it has the consistency of pus,” Miller said. “Some things are more likely to generate disgust than others, and bodily fluids and rot are two of those things.

Semen, pus, fat: Mayonnaise doesn’t not resemble these substances, and that might not be what you want to be thinking of at mealtime. Some people are disgusted by bodily fluids subconsciously as a result of the fear of contamination.

Mayonnaise is the wrong temperature.

As a general rule of thumb, Miller said, “unless [a substance is] ice cold or in flames… the potential for disgust is greater.

Vanilla ice cream, for example, is white and viscous, like mayonnaise. But it doesn’t provoke the same reaction, because it’s frozen.

Anything that’s close to room temperature is also close to the temperature of the human body, Miller explained. Sure, mayonnaise isn’t served at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but it isn’t served frozen or fried, either.

Anything non-human that reminds people of human life has the potential to induce disgust ― that’s why the uncanny valley is a thing. “Is there anything more revolting than the science of human life?” Miller said.

A hate for mayonnaise is learned.

There’s often a cultural component to disgust, which can help explain why mayo is regarded dubiously in some countries (like the U.S.) and beloved in others (like Belgium).

Our response to disgust is actually learned,” Herz said.

There’s no innate understanding that mayo is like a bodily fluid or that we should have an aversion to bodily fluids, but once we do have that association, it does really elicit a real emotion of disgust.

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How To Easily Remove Pesticides From Your Fruits And Vegetables

Did you know that 65% of produce samples analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture test positive for pesticide residues?

Unless you’re buying certified organic food, the chances are that you’re consuming a significant amount of chemicals with every portion of your ‘healthy’ greens.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is trying to inform the public about the level of exposure to often toxic chemicals commonly found in our fresh produce.

They publish an annual list of most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables, the so called ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean Fifteen’ lists. You can find this list for 2015 in my previous article.

Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes are all on the EWG’s Dirty list.

You should be careful when consuming these produce, as they contain a number of different pesticide residues and have high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.

For example, every sample of imported nectarines and 99% of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.

The cleanest fruits and veggies, which are least likely to hold pesticides, include avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

Avocados are the cleanest, with only 1% showing any detectable pesticides (you can find here more healthy reasons to eat avocado).

How to make fruits and veggies safer for consumption?

here is a simple and cheap trick that can help you get rid of those nasty chemicals. You can simply wash your fresh produce in distilled white vinegar and water solution.

Gayle Povis Alleman, a registered dietician, suggests soaking your veggies and fruits in a solution of 10% vinegar to 90% water.

Make the mixture, and let the produce sit in for 15 to 20 minutes. When you remove them, you’ll notice that the water left in the bowl is dirty and may contain some gunk.

Rinse fruits and vegetables in fresh water, and then enjoy your cleaner product.

This method shouldn’t be used on fragile fruits, such as berries, as they have a very porous skin and might get damaged and soak in too much of the vinegar.

With other fruits, there should be no lingering vinegar aroma. If you wish, you can also use lemon juice.

According to the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), it also helps to wash your fruits and vegetables with 2% of salt water.

This should remove most of the contact pesticide residues that normally appear on the surface.

Generally speaking, you should be thorough when washing fruits and veggies, as chemicals can linger in crevices that are hard to wash.

CSE claims that if done diligently, washing with cold water should be able to remove 70% to 80% of all pesticides.

It is important to invest some time in preparing your food, as you don’t want to end up consuming a portion of toxins with your snack.

American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report in 2012 that said that children have unique susceptibilities to pesticide residues’ potential toxicity.

By washing your food carefully, you protect the health of your whole family.

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Pass it on: Popular Science


Are Sharks Endangered Because Of Shark Fin Soup?

Many people fear sharks, when the reality is they have far more reason to fear us!

As one writer put it perfectly: , “sharks are winding up on our dinner table more often than we do on theirs”.

To such an extent that we humans are basically decimating sharks.

The shark-fin market is a huge threat to the world’s shark populations. It has become a multibillion-dollar industry since the early 1980s.

Demand exploded with the rapid growth of China’s economy. Before then sharks weren’t really targeted by fisheries, but over those 30 years, many species have become threatened.

True catch numbers are a mystery because much of the trade happens on the black market.

On top of the conservation impacts, the methods for taking fins are cruel.

Shark-finning” is the practice of chopping off a shark’s fins, and dumping the often-live animal back into the sea. No longer able to swim, the injured shark then drowns, bleeds to death, or is an easy target for predators.

What drives this is the high price of shark fins on the international market. They have become one of the world’s most precious products.

Shark meat itself isn’t very valuable, so it is usually thrown overboard. Other parts that are used include skin, liver oil, cartilage, corneas, and blood.

Often shark parts are put into medicines and supplements.

The fins fetch the highest price. A pound of shark fin can cost $300. And depending on which numbers you believe, people will pay from a hundred dollars up to $2,000 for a bowl of shark fin soup. For soup!

The shark fin industry’s center is Hong Kong, but shark catches come from worldwide. Countries that take the most sharks include Indonesia, India, Mexico, Spain, and Taiwan.

A team of researchers recently got past the mystery of numbers involved in the shark fin trade. They made the first estimate of shark catches that was independent of world fisheries data (Clarke et al. 2006).

To do so they combined official catch data with weights of fins from fin auctions in Hong Kong, for more accurate estimates.

They concluded that the amount of shark biomass (weight) involved in the fin trade is three to four times higher than what is reported.

Estimates of the total number of sharks traded for fins worldwide ranged from 26 to 73 million per year. Clearly, sharks are being over-exploited.

Marine ecosystems have complex food webs. Sharks are top predators; altering their numbers has a big impact on other species that “cascades” through the entire system.

As shark numbers decline, their prey species have increased (e.g. rays), who in turn are taking more of their own prey (e.g. scallops). As a result, many species of mollusks are rapidly declining.

Researchers are also seeing the ripple effects of dramatic shark declines in the Caribbean. Fish usually eaten by sharks are now increasing in number, such as groupers.

Those predators feed on parrotfish, which in turn eat algae off coral reefs. The result? Too many groupers = too few parrotfish = too much algae.

This is altering marine systems by limiting the resources available to all species that depend on coral reef habitats.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Is Genetically Modified Wheat the Solution to Celiac Disease?

The people who grow wheat think they might have a solution for people with celiac disease: Genetically modified wheat.

By genetically modifying wheat, researchers are looking to ‘silence’ proteins that trigger adverse immune reactions in people with celiac disease.

A research team working on just such a project recently published a report of their results in the Journal of Cereal Science.

The team included researchers Cristina M. Rosella, Francisco Barrob, Carolina Sousac, and Ma Carmen Menad.

Their report acknowledges that creating strains of wheat with reduced gluten toxicity is difficult using conventional breeding methods, and that genetic modification, in particular a technology called RNA interference (RNAi), hold the greatest promise in reducing or ‘silencing’ the gluten proteins in wheat and other cereals.

Such technology allows researchers to develop gluten-free wheat strains by adjusting the gluten fractions toxic to those with celiac disease.

They acknowledge that their efforts could face resistance fueled by global concerns around genetically modified foods.

They also note that current and prior genetic modification efforts have not produced products with tangible benefits to the consumer.

Rather, the main beneficiaries of such efforts have been large companies and/or farmers.

According to their report, the development of genetically modified wheat lines suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance could be a major turning point.

Their efforts to create celiac-friendly wheat varieties via genetic modification aims to “solve a health problem that directly affects a large proportion of consumers, in developed as well as developing countries, and with higher consumer awareness.

What do you think? Is this a possible breakthrough? Would you be interested in wheat that had been genetically modified to be safe for people with celiac disease?

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Pass it on: New Scientist

How To Eat Healthy And Save The Planet

Dieticians and food companies are awaiting the US Department of Agriculture’s highly anticipated new dietary guidelines by the end of this year with one key question in mind: will they include environmental considerations?

The USDA updates its guidelines on what’s healthy for Americans to eat and what’s not every five years. This year, for the first time, the USDA’s advisory panel recommended that those guidelines should also include sustainability.

The government agency is being asked to factor in whether or not a food is good for the planet when deciding whether its healthy.

The move caused a major uproar throughout the food industry, with thousands of commenters arguing that environmental concerns were beyond the scope of the guidelines and that addressing them was an overreach of the USDA’s authority.

The public comment period closed last month and the USDA will be releasing final dietary guidelines by the end of the year.

The finished product may or may not include references to sustainability. Regardless, it’s clear that nutritionists are increasingly drawing connections between health and the environment.

According to Geagan, consumers are driving the push for dietary sustainability – and encouraging dietitians to get onboard.

Consumers aren’t just looking for what’s on the nutrition fact panel anymore – they have a whole list of other things they want to know about and how they define eating right,” she says.

Supermarkets are also looking at the intersections of health and environmental concerns, Geagan adds.

Supermarket dietitians are very interested in this as a way to engage consumers and create value,” she says, pointing to Kroger’s Free From 101+ as a prime example.

The supermarket chain conducted consumer testing and surveyed shoppers to pinpoint 101 ingredients they don’t want in their food, and are now in the process of weeding them out of stores nationally.

Christopher Gardner, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, says he sees the various aspects of sustainability – creating local economies, fair labor practices, animal rights, and environmental impacts – as useful drivers of behavior modification.

I spent decades doing all this research to show people what they should be eating and I had very little success getting anyone to change their diet,” he said during a presentation at the Sustainable Foods Institute in Monterey, CA, last month.

But when I started adding in discussions about animal rights or labor practices or climate change, I saw really meaningful shifts in people’s willingness to change.

The reason, he says, is that most people relate to at least one of those drivers, and that adding multiple reasons to shift a behavior tends to be more effective than focusing on any one.

There may even be a business benefit to shifting the composition of our dinner plates.

Wasserman points out that, while McDonald’s is somewhat locked into the quarter pound beef patty, some newer entrants to the industry – like Five Guys – are offering smaller meat servings.

In the process, they’re delivering health benefits to customers, environmental benefits to the planet, and financial benefits to the company, all without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction.

It’s hard for people to get jazzed up about changing eating habits for a result they’ll see 10 years from now,” Geagan says.

But framing it as a more immediate payoff or benefit – in terms of weight loss, health, energy, really focusing on the health benefit overlap of these issues, that’s where I think health professionals can really add value to the conversation.”

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Pass it on: New Scientist