Food & Nutrition

The prestigious school is growing its list of misguided "experts" while thoroughly undermining its great reputation. Columbia's latest hire is former New York Times food writer Mark Bittman, who calls biotechnology "overrated" while endorsing the mandatory labeling of GMOs, a policy rejected by every major mainstream medical and scientific organization in America.
The tobacco industry certainly earned its reputation for undermining public health. But now anti-soda activists are using the sobriquet "Big Soda" to get people to think that soda consumption is as bad as cigarette smoking. And thus to enact taxes on sugary beverages as many jurisdictions have on tobacco. Whether this move could really benefit public health remains to be seen.
Molecular biology never ceases to amaze. The 15-year-old question — why world-saver Jack Bauer never pees, eats or poops has been answered. Hint: He's got some very foreign DNA.
By Stephanie Bucklin, Live Science Contributor Men still aren't living as long as women — and that holds true for humans' primate cousins as well, a new study shows. In the study, researchers looked at data from six populations of humans from both modern and historical times, in different countries. The investigators found that, "in spite of the huge gains in human longevity over the past century, the male-female difference has not shrunk," said Susan Alberts, a professor of biology at Duke University and a co-author of the new study.
About 1,500 cooking fires occur every Thanksgiving, mostly from deep frying turkeys. While this practice is fairly new, my family was exposed to a very different Thanksgiving hazard many years ago: Aunt Wilma's turkey. Which is worse? Hard to say.
Tossing and turning in bed all night long, it can feel as if you're the only person in the world unable to sleep. It may be a small comfort to learn, however, that you aren't the only one. Millions of other Americans also struggle to sleep. In the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC reports data on the prevalence of sleep trouble by age group and sex. (See chart below.) As shown, about 20% of young adults (aged 20-39) have trouble sleeping. The problem appears to get worse with age. Roughly one-third of people aged 40 and over report difficulty sleeping. In general, women have more trouble than men.
Does road salt turn female tadpoles into male frogs? A group from Yale says it does. We say, "Bullsalt!"
Asking hard questions is one of the true delights of being a science journalist. People's assumptions, understanding of the facts, and inherent biases should be subjected to scrutiny. Therefore, I like to think of myself as the science version of HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur -- that is, without the international name recognition and striking good looks.
Organic, natural or non-GMO foods have one thing in common — they all contain chemicals known to cause cancer in lab rats. But don't let that spoil your holiday feast — the doses are all too small to make a difference.
Traditional Thanksgiving dinner
The average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 has fallen to under $50, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, which has tracked U.S. supermarket prices of the traditional bird and related side dishes since 1986. Decline in turkey prices led the way. Roughly 45 million turkeys will be consumed on Thanksgiving Day.
Sustainable condoms, vegan dog food, edible sneakers, and navigational long-wave night lights. Yep- we've finally lost it.
Mark Bittman's cookbooks and column in The New York Times are well known in the foodie community. But success in his new role, shaping food policy on the faculty at Columbia University, will require him to stretch beyond his old ideas and to a more inclusive view of what healthy eating means for all people -- not just the readers at his former job.