Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Salt Shaker

The NYC Department of Health is cracking down, one ingredient at a time. Both the trans-fat ban and the most recent health regulation of caloric posting on menus made for lots of commotion. Nonetheless, both were victories for NYC, a city that seems to rapidly adjust to change.

So then why should salt be any different?

There's a bit more politics involved in this one, and critics think it might not be as successful. Firstly, it isn't about how heavy your hand is. The campaign against added sodium doesn't care if you're pinching a smidgin or shaking your entire arm over your plate. Instead, the NYCDOH hopes to reduce the amount of sodium in packaged foods and mass-produced restaurant meals. This is the hard part. Dr. Frieden, the commissioner of NYCDOH, says that "... a quiet, mass reduction in sodium levels — stealth health, they like to call it around the department — might be more effective."

Getting back to that adjusting to change thing... Americans would likely be shell-shocked if we cut salt out of these foods cold-turkey. This means that, unlike some of the other health initiatives that passed within a few years, the national salt-reduction initiative will take a lot longer, with hopes of reaching its completion within the next decade. Over this time period, officials believe people will become less accustomed to salty foods, which I do believe is a super load of salt shaking... I am not downplaying the FACT that salt leads to higher rates of heart attacks and strokes. It'll just be interesting to see what occurs down the line. Stay tuned in the news on this topic. For more information regarding the impact high sodium diets have on blood pressure and overall health, see here, (ARCH INTERN MED)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Long Lasting flavor of Umami

Umami is the least understood taste sensation, and it is now being investigated by researchers to provide more information on taste preferences. The goal of food developers is to enhance umami, which is described as "a hearty, savoury taste." Researchers found that the glutamate receptors on the tongue (the receptors that detect the umami taste) can be "drastically enhanced" by certain proteins (5’ribonucleotides). These nucleotides bind to the receptor in order to keep the umami taste (glutamate) lingering inside of your mouth. The researchers attribute the lingering taste of umami to a "Venus fly-trap" effect, in that the glutamate receptors catch, literally, the umami taste. What implications this may have on health have yet to be determined; however, I've never been a fan of Little Shop of Horrors...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recession Weight Gain

As if we aren't a fat enough country, now health experts are worried that people will put on even more weight. Since many studies link obesity to low incomes, experts are concerned that people will now cut back on healthful but relatively expensive items (such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains) and instead buy cheaper foods high in sugar and saturated fats. I thought this was already the case, but I guess it may get worse. See here for more details.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

David Returns to Italy

I couldn't resist posting this email I received:

After a two year loan to the United States, Michelangelo's David is being returned to Italy after the Holidays . . .

His Proud Sponsors were:

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website,, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)