Food & Nutrition

Cryotherapy Believer
First, it was the half-baked nuttiness of infrared saunas. Now comes cryotherapy, a full-body chamber offering insanely cold temperatures that its purveyors say can cure just about everything and anything -- that is, if you're gullible enough to believe them. And if it doesn't kill you, like it did last year to a 24-year-old Nevada woman.
Much current nutrition research aims to clarify possible links between eating and getting various diseases. Is diet really responsible for cancer? For multiple sclerosis? Hard to tell, because it's really hard to know what people really eat.
Since they're still growing, the nutritional requirements of young athletes differ to some extent from those of their more sedentary age-mates. A new review article takes these into account and provides some guidance that should help keep these youngsters active and healthy. Hopefully the habit of regular activity will last into their adult years.
Too many raisins will kill you, too.
A closer look at food science reveals that a tax on sugary drinks (such as soda, sports drinks, and tea), a policy being pondered by voters in the San Francisco Bay area, is deeply misguided. We get sugar in our diets from many different sources, some of which we would consider "healthy" foods. 
Time for a chemistry lesson.
Beer is chemically complex. Many different molecules are responsible for its wide variety of tastes and colors. Some of the least studied are those produced as a result of the Maillard reaction. Famous in kitchens worldwide, this reaction is responsible for the browning of meats and bread that occurs at high temperatures, when amino acids and sugars chemically combine.
Here's a dirty secret you might not be aware of: Scientists get grants because of work they have already done. Instead of being lured by money, Professor Stare, the founder of Harvard's Department of Nutrition, was a co-author on Panic In The Pantry in 1976, precisely because he saw the discourse had been hijacked by groups out to scare people about food.
Golden rice — bioengineered to contain beta-carotene — has the potential to decrease the toll of blindness and mortality due to vitamin A deficiency in the developing world. A new study modeled this potential when varying degrees of substitution and beta carotene content are involved. For the poorest, the benefit can be substantial.
For various reasons, fruits and vegetables grown out-of-season don't taste as good as the in-season variety. And some foodies turn their nose up at greenhouse-raised tomatoes. But a team of researchers from Purdue University wanted to determine if it was possible to enhance their flavor.
OCA, the notable militant trade rep group famous for creating anti-science Deniers For Hire like U.S. Right To Know and funding many others, has now laid its cards on the table, saying it wants every competitor of their clients gone. The pro-science side always knew that, but it's still odd to see it spelled out. 
A recent paper took brain scans and noted changes in response to beer flavor, namely increased activity in the right ventral striatum. Beer caused the scans there to light up more, which the authors believe signaled a desire for more beer, while Gatorade didn't increase beer desire at all.
WebMD earned its recently-bestowed moniker, WebBM, by spewing out one poop-related story after another. But they have really stepped in it now. The site, which we will now also refer to as WebD-U-M-B, published an article on fast-food scares that was really, really stupid. 
By now, anyone who has perused the grocery aisles has seen the plethora of products that proudly proclaim they're "gluten-free." But the number of people that need gluten-free foods — those with celiac disease — hasn't increased. Are people being seduced by ads, or is there some other rationale for making gluten-free choices?