food science

The “superfood” craze is premised upon the dubious notion that some foods are so great, that eating them will bring good health and long life. For Popeye, spinach was a superfood. After gleefully swallowing a can full of the stuff, he grew big muscles and beat up Bluto.

The trouble with superfoods is that they aren’t real. That isn’t to say that some foods aren’t healthier than others; fruits and vegetables are better for you than potato chips and soda. But the notion that some foods are the secret elixir to youth or the magic cure for disease is hype.

Keeping that in mind, it is still worth investigating how food affects our bodies. Research in this area provides insights into our metabolism and physiology, which can tell us more about disease and how to prevent it....

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who eat bugs knowingly and those who eat bugs unknowingly. Oh yes, you eat bugs. Even vegans eat bugs.

While farmers and food processors want our grub to be pure, it is impossible to eliminate every single contaminant in the food supply. Crops are covered with insects, and little can be done to prevent a leg here or an antenna there from making its way into the final product.

The FDA is fully aware of this and even has a handbook that describes the allowable level of food "defects." Peanut butter, for example, can have up to 30 insect fragments per 3.5 ounces.

Wine, too, is not immune to this nuisance. Brown...

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines were born of good intentions. They were created to make Americans healthier.

The guidelines, however, were not inscribed on stone tablets and handed to mankind. Instead, they are the result of a bureaucratic process and, as such, are susceptible to dubious conclusions and adverse influence by activist groups.

In 2015, journalist Nina Teicholz conducted an investigation, published in BMJ, that criticized the dietary guidelines for being based on "weak scientific standards" and "vulnerable to internal bias as well as outside agendas." 

For instance, the guidelines recommend against saturated fat, which is commonly believed to cause cardiovascular disease. But...

What is going on at Columbia University? The prestigious school, located in the Upper West Side of New York City, has employed a growing list of quacks that is thoroughly undermining its great reputation.

As our own Dr. Julianna LeMieux wrote recently, the university just asked Mark Bittman, a controversial food writer, to join the faculty of its School of Public Health. Investigative journalist Jon Entine once described Mr Bittman as a "scourge on science." Why? 

...

It is nearly impossible to get every last drop of liquid foods out of their containers. Ketchup and syrup are among the worst offenders. In fact, up to 15% of liquid foods can be wasted due to such inefficient packaging.

Superhydrophobic coatings, which are extremely water-repellent, have been proposed as a fix. A few years ago, a company called LiquiGlide made a big splash (no pun intended) with a video that showed ketchup sliding effortlessly out of a bottle. Their technology employs a "liquid-impregnated surface," which as its name implies, involves a specialized surface that is able to contain within it a second...

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...

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...