Health and Fitness

Mizzou Scientist Creates A Chicken Substitute, Providing A Low-Cost, Tasty Way To Add Soy To The Diet

Sure, some delicacies might taste just like chicken, but they usually feel and look much different. Soy meat alternatives, such as the soy burger, have become more popular recently, with increased sales of eight percent from 2007 to 2008. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have created a soy substitute for chicken that is much like the real thing. The new soy chicken also has health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and maintaining healthy bones. Fu-Hung Hsieh, an MU professor of biological engineering and food science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering, is leading the project to create a low-cost soy substitute for chicken. His research, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Illinois-Missouri Biotechnology Alliance, has led to a process that does more than just add color and flavor to soy. Hsieh has developed a process that makes the soy product simulate the fibrous qualities of a chicken breast.

The Power Of Food

Most of life's circumstances are beyond our control. Family, work and busy schedules can bring all of us a certain amount of stress and anxiety. In my work with patients with difficulty managing their weight, stress is often reported as the number one thing that triggers emotional eating, which means reaching for food for comfort and support rather than asking for help. Why? Because asking for help is hard. We tell ourselves stories about what it means to not have it all figured out, and then feel embarrassed, ashamed and just plain afraid of what others will think of us because we are facing the same challenges we faced six months or a year ago. What I'd like to emphasize is that most people are just so over scheduled, over committed and exhausted that asking for help also feels like one more thing to add to an extremely long "to do" list. However, research suggests that people are more likely to stick with any weight control program when a calorie controlled meal plan is combined with some form of group support.

Calls For Europe-Wide Salt Legislation Prompted By Study

"This study provides excellent ammunition both to convince patients about the benefits of reducing their individual salt intakes and also to persuade the EU of the urgent need to introduce legislation to restrict the salt content of processed foods, " said ESC spokesman Professor Frank Ruschitzka, a cardiologist and hypertension specialist from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. "This study represents the evidence that a reduction of salt intake not only lowers blood pressure but also prevents cardiovascular events. The case for population-wide salt reduction is now compelling, " he added. In the paper, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and colleagues, from the University of California, San Francisco, USA, undertook a computer simulation showing the effects of population wide reductions of dietary salt intakes in all adults aged 35 to 85 years in the USA. Reducing dietary salt intake by 3 g per day (1200mg less sodium per day) could result in 60, 000 to 120, 000 fewer cases of heart disease, 32, 000 to 66, 000 fewer strokes and 54, 000 to 100, 000 fewer heart attacks.

Also In Global Health News: Ethiopia Food Aid; Sudan Genocide Charges; MDR-TB Drugs

Ethiopia Appeals For More Food Aid "Ethiopia needs emergency aid to feed 5.2 million people this year, the government said, appealing for 642, 983 metric tons of food from foreign donors, " Bloomberg/Businessweek reports, adding that the number of people in need of assistance is higher than last year (McLure, 2/4). The U.N. News Center reports that poor rainfall is to blame for the worsening situation (2/3). International Criminal Court To Reconsider Genocide Charges Against Sudan's President The Wall Street Journal reports that "the International Criminal Court [has] decided to revisit a petition to charge [Sudanese] President Omar al-Bashir with genocide, reversing last year's decision by a panel of judges that there wasn't enough evidence to link the Sudanese leader with mass killings of his people" (Childress, 2/4). According to the New York Times, the prosecutor in the case "said that he would provide new evidence to support his genocide charges, and would include the president's expulsion of international aid agencies last year which provided crucial food, drinking water and medical supplies to war victims and refugees in the Darfur region" (Simons, 2/3).

Evaluating US Food Security Programs

On Tuesday, representatives of the Eastern Illinois Foodbank shared results of a national study sponsored by Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The study is completed every four years by nearly 200 food banks and analyzes the effectiveness of emergency food distribution throughout the United States. Craig Gundersen, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois, is a member of the Technical Advisory Group for this report. The "Hunger in America" study reports that more than 100, 600 people, including 33, 198 children, receive emergency food each year through the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and the food pantries, soup kitchens, and other emergency food programs it serves. The food bank serves 14 counties in eastern Illinois. "These findings represent a 133% increase in the number of individuals served since the last study was released in 2006, " said Cheryl Middaugh, a food bank spokesperson.

Blueberry Juice Improved Memory In Older People

Researchers from the US and Canada have for the first time found evidence that a few glasses of blueberry juice a day improved memory in older adults; the findings come from a small study of 70-year olds showing early signs of memory loss, and the researchers suggest the findings establish a basis for comprehensive human clinical trials to test whether blueberries really deserve their growing reputation as a memory enhancer. The study was the work of Dr Robert Krikorian, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and colleagues, and a report about it appears in the 4 January ASAP issue of the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The authors wrote there is an urgent need to develop preventive approaches to dementia which is on the rise as our population ages and there is no effective therapy for it. Blueberries contain polyphenols, comprising mostly anthocyanins, which are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, combating oxidative stress, which contributes to some neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

Fast Food Menus With Calorie Information Lead To Lower Calorie Selections For Young Children

In a new study, the amount of calories selected by parents for their child's hypothetical meal at McDonald's restaurants were reduced by an average of 102 calories when the menus clearly showed the calories for each item. This is the first study to suggest that labeled menus may lead to significantly reduced calorie intake in fast food restaurant meals purchased for children. Led by researcher Pooja S. Tandon, MD, from Seattle Children's Research Institute, these findings support nutritional menu labeling and show that when parents have access to this information they may make smarter meal choices for their children. "Nutrition Menu Labeling May Lead to Lower-Energy Restaurant Meal Choices for Children" published online January 25 in Pediatrics. At a pediatric practice in Seattle, 99 parents of 3- to 6-year-olds who sometimes eat in fast food restaurants with their children were surveyed about their fast food dining habits. They were presented with sample McDonald's restaurant menus which included current prices and pictures of items, and asked what they would select for themselves and also for their children as a typical meal.

United States Seizes More Than 1,500 Cases Of Food From Wisconsin Distribution Warehouse

At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Marshals on Tuesday seized a wide range of human and animal food products stored under insanitary conditions at Mid-States Closeouts, a distribution warehouse in Ellsworth, Wis. The products were seized under a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated human and animal food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination or other filth. The products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) because they have been held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth. During an FDA inspection of Mid-States Closeouts conducted in November and December 2009, the agency found widespread and active rodent infestation, numerous gnawed packages of human and animal food, rodent excreta pellets on, in, and around food packages and rodent nesting material. The facility also had structural defects permitting easy pest access to the entire facility, and rodent harborage areas near the warehouse.

New African Union Chair's Focus To Include Food Security; First Ladies Discuss HIV AIDS

The African Union (AU) Summit concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday with newly elected AU chairman Bingu Wa Mutharika, of Malawi, encouraging African leaders to make agriculture and food security a top priority, Angola Press reports (2/2). "Mr. Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, said he would insist on urgent steps to improve Africa's food security and energy generation capacity, " VOA News reports. "I'm still determined as chairman of the African Union, to put measures together to ensure that within five years, no child in Africa should die of hunger and malnutrition, " Mutharika said. According to VOA News, Mutharika also cited improving political stability on the continent as a major goal (2/2). Nam News Network/Burnei FM examines the work of the Organization of African First Ladies, which held a general assembly meeting in Addis Ababa, in conjunction with the AU Summit. According to the organization's president, Ethiopian First Lady Azeb Mesfin, the organization prepared a strategic plan to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS and promote women's empowerment, the news service reports.

Discovery That Viagra Enhances Fetal Growth In Female Sheep May Have Human Implications

A joke among two Texas AgriLife Research scientists later turned into a fully-funded study. Viagra can aid fetal development in female sheep. Female sheep (ewes) are an agriculturally important species, which can serve as an excellent animal model for studying the physiology of human pregnancy, the researchers said. Viagra ( sildenafil citrate ), which is used to treat male erectile dysfunction, enhanced blood flow in pregnant female sheep, helping send vital amino acids and other nutrients needed in fetal development. The study's results not only will assist with solving fetal development problems in other livestock, but possibly in humans, said Dr. Guoyao Wu, AgriLife Research animal nutritionist and Senior Faculty Fellow in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University. "Because 5 percent to 10 percent of infants are born as low birth-weight babies worldwide, and because fetal-growth retardation is also a significant problem in livestock species, our findings have important implications for both human health and animal agriculture, " Wu said.

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