Parents and Kids

We're all familiar with those shiny plastic films that keep our meats fresh, or at least fresher, and also enclose breads, cheeses and even fresh vegetables. But there are drawbacks to those films — they don't degrade and thus stay in our landfills forever. They're petroleum products — from non-renewable resources, and they're not really that good at preventing spoilage, since they're too permeable to oxygen, which can oxidize fats. Food scientists have come to the rescue, they...

Muscle requires more energy, there is no secret about it. For that reason, the same calorie intake combined with more muscle will reduce fat. 20 pounds of muscle replacing 20 pounds of fat has benefits that don't show up on scales.

But do more of those calories need to be in protein? Bodybuilders swear by it, but is it real or a myth? Or are their requirements exceptional?

A group from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence found no difference in the muscle growth response to protein after a full-body resistance training workout between more muscular and smaller participants. Except when it came to specific exercises.

The study split young, resistance-trained males into two groups; those with lower lean body mass (<less than 65 kilograms) and higher lean...

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We all know about nutrition facts labels on foods — whether we use them or not. But what about those other labels? You know, the ones that say 'sell by' or 'use by.' Is it safe to ignore them? Does the government mandate their appearance on foods?  Those labels are about food quality rather than safety. Here's a rundown of currently used labels according to the USDA:

  • Sell by: This...

We're now settling into our collective, two-week, nightly routine, where TV viewers across the United States are parking themselves in front of their flat-screens with a smorgasbord of snacks, while Olympic athletes in peak physical condition amaze us with their feats of endurance and awe-inspiring performances.

Calorie Intake, via Shutterstock Calorie Intake, via Shutterstock

And in between the waves of our guacamole-dip and tortilla-chip consumption, many of us will also take a few moments to marvel at the sculpted, muscled bodies flashing before our eyes.

A guilt-...

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Some food companies, to reinvent themselves, are now adding rather unusual colors to your favorite foods — because marketing.

For example, most recently, McDonald's in China unleashed two new sandwiches with red and green buns to celebrate the release of 'Angry Birds.' Similarly, last Halloween, Burger King joined in the holiday spirit by introducing its "Halloween Whopper," a burger topped with black buns previously infused with A1 sauce.  Some food companies have done the same for charities and cancer awareness by dying hamburger buns pink for October...

Spoilage in milk, and risk of food poisoning, happens because of the presence of harmful bacteria. That is why pasteurization saves so many lives and the raw milk food fad has orders of magnitude greater risk of causing illness.

It's also why an "add-on" to pasteurization can extend the shelf life of milk by several weeks, which reduces food waste and therefore is less strain on the environment. Where pasteurization is a high-temperature, short-time method that gives milk a shelf life of about two to three weeks, the new technique,which involves increasing the temperature of milk by 10 degrees Celsius for less than a second, eliminates more than 99 percent of...

Do you think this guy will drink synthetic wine? (Credit: Shutterstock) Do you think this guy will drink synthetic wine? (Credit: Shutterstock)

A company called Ava is isolating and identifying the molecular components of fine wines, such as Dom Pérignon, with the intention of recreating these wines from scratch in a laboratory. According to TechCrunch...

Garlic powder. (Credit: Shutterstock) Garlic powder. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Cooking should be thought of as edible organic chemistry. For instance, what toasted bread, grilled steak, and crème brûlée all have in common is the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that combines sugars and amino acids into delectable, brown goodness.

Because such foods consist of a large variety of different molecules, it is largely unknown what compounds are...

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In recent years pasta gained a bad reputation: it will make you fat. Obviously you could insert any food and get the same result, if you eat enough of it. So how does it happen that certain foods get called out and stick in the minds of the public?

Usually a suspect epidemiology paper will get a bestselling New York Times diet book written about it (wheat, sugar) and then food pundits like Marion Nestle will write a book talking about a giant corporate conspiracy to promote this new...

In 2014, Vermont passed a law requiring that food offered for sale by a retailer has to be labeled if it had been entirely or partly produced by genetic engineering. This law will go  into effect this week, on July 1 — unless a preemptive federal law is passed before then.

Well, it's too late for that to happen. The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill that would have prevented the states from enacting individual labeling laws.

 

shutterstock_366202571 Possible Label via Shutterstock

Realizing what a patchwork of state laws might...