food

A recent study in the Journal of Experimental Biology looked at food choices by dogs and cats [1] when foods were equally palatable, a term we will return to momentarily. 17 beagles and 27 cats were given four bowls of different foods daily and the amounts eaten noted to determine which foods were preferred over a 28 day period. 

  • Cats consume carbohydrates (43%) and protein (30%). When protein was increased, both carbohydrate and fat intake decreased, and cats had more variation in the range of their protein intake. Fat increases had no effect of carbohydrate intake. 
  • Dogs consume fat (41%) and carbohydrate (36%). When protein was increased, fat intake decreased, but unlike cats, carbohydrate intake remained the same. Dogs varied less in their protein intake. Also...

Intelligent people differ from everyone else in several meaningful ways.

The first is plainly obvious yet somehow still controversial: High IQ people have a different genetic profile. Indeed, intelligence runs in families, and analyses have shown that genetic factors may explain 70 to 80% of the variance in adult intelligence. Second, intelligent people tend to earn more money. And third, the intellectually gifted make different lifestyle choices.

That latter point was the subject of a new paper published in the journal Intelligence, which sought to link...

"Attn:" is an activist website that produces extremely popular videos, some of which feature the esteemed scientist (all actors consider themselves scientists) Zooey Deschanel. And like most activist websites, truth comes in a distant second place to eyeballs.

One video making the rounds on Facebook is titled, "Processed Food in America vs. Europe." The video pushes the old trope that Europeans eat food hand-picked from the Garden of the Gods, while Americans eat slop filled with dangerous chemicals. So far, it's received 62 million views.

The lies come early and often. Let's break them down:

"Processed food contains chemicals that are illegal in Europe."...

Everything is about racism these days. From politics to sports, somebody, somewhere, wants you to feel bad because something might be racist.

This uniquely American tendency to assign racism where none exists has struck again in yet another bizarre way: Celebrity chef David Chang says that Americans are racist toward Chinese food.

Before we (dumpster) dive into this peculiar accusation, let's first pause to ask whether it might even remotely be true. Consider McDonald's and Starbucks. Nothing is more American than cheap fast food and fancy, overpriced coffee. There are just over 14,000 McDonald's restaurants and just under...

I am a prophet.

Last year, I wrote an article titled, "Panera Bread Takes A Page From 'Food Babe's' Playbook." The Food Babe is the unscientific guru who says that we shouldn't eat food that contains ingredients that we can't pronounce.

The bogus "clean food" movement has seized upon that idea, and soon after joining the bandwagon, Panera Bread launched an advertising campaign mocking chemistry.

...

Several years ago, during a layover in Copenhagen's airport, I struck up a conversation with an elderly British couple. The husband told me about growing up in the United Kingdom during World War II, when the British had implemented food rationing.

He recalls complaining to his mother that he didn't like the food they had to eat. She responded, in that "keep calm and carry on" manner that is so very British, "You don't have to like it. You just have to eat it."

Things have changed since then, not just in Britain but throughout Europe and in the United States. We now have so much food that we have the luxury of condemning most of it as impure or unhealthy. People can afford to pay a hefty premium at fancy outlets like Whole Foods (...

The ability to provide enough nutritious food for ourselves, rests upon three pillars, sustainable agriculture, providing nutritious meals and reducing food loss and waste. The Economist’s Food Sustainability Index provides metrics for elements of these components. France, home of the fry, croissant and Burgundy was number one; for the U.S. it was a mixed report.

One measures food loss or waste in multiple ways. As a % of our total food production – the US waste only 0.8% (France wasted 1.8%). Or you might consider food waste per capita, 278 kg/person annually for the U.S., France checks in at 106kg/person/annually. What could account for the...

For some reason, humans enjoy making predictions of death and destruction. From politicians to fanatical religious leaders, there is a lot of money to be made telling people that Earth is toast.

Of course, the predictions never come true, but that doesn't prevent doomsayers from making more of them. "One of these days, it will be true," they warn, as they wag their wrinkly finger in our faces.

The most famous finger-wagger was Thomas Malthus, who said that the world population would grow so large that we couldn't feed ourselves anymore. He was wrong, but that didn't stop Paul Ehrlich from resuscitating his argument 170 years later in The Population Bomb. He was wrong, too, but that didn't stop Quartz from reanimating this ideological corpse once again.

The...

Living in Seattle, food phobias are everywhere. If you're afraid of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, GMOs, hormones in meat, pesticides, gluten, or anything that requires a PhD scientist to produce, then Seattle is your organic Mecca. Despite that Seattle's economy is partially built on the biotech sector (not to mention that the much-loved University of Washington has an enormous biomedical science program -- of which yours truly is a graduate), Seattle is a global headquarters of kooky food fads and alternative medicine.

Why? The entire "natural is better" movement is predicated upon fear. Scaring people is a time-tested tactic employed by politicians. If a politician wants elderly people to vote for him, he will tell them that his opponent will take away their...

Given modern medical advances extending survival rates for chronic diseases like cancer along with the population aging at an exponential rate, companies are seeing opportunities for niche markets. Hormel —of Dinty Moore stews and Spam canned meat fame—has designed its Vital Cuisine meal line specifically to target cancer patients, for example. 

This veil of social responsibility manages to obscure what is likely at its core an economic decision. Patients are more and more frequently being managed as outpatients for cancers, so hospitals and long-term care facilities are no longer the only avenue to access them. Enduring chronic illness while living at home and still going to work is very much a...