There’s More to How We Taste Sweetness Than We Thought

Scientists assumed there is just a single type of taste receptor on the tongue responsible for our perception of sweetness. Now researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center have found that those cells also contain gut enzymes, which contribute to sweet tastes. They describe their findings in a new paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: There’s More to How We Taste Sweetness Than We Thought

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Fat Cells Change What They “Eat” As They Mature

For something we try so hard to lose, fat cells make a very pretty picture when stained with red dye. And a new study has found that the nutrients they consume as they mature changes in a significant way.

Source: Fat Cells Change What They “Eat” As They Mature

When you dive into all the amazing things fat cells do to keep you alive they are incredible. My body’s ability to convert asparagus and Twinkies into those tiny little capsules of survival is just awe inspiring…. Thank you body but please stop now.

Timing Your Blood Pressure Meds Right Might Prevent Diabetes

In surprising new research, experts report that the timing of taking your blood pressure medicine could have a big impact on whether or not you develop type 2 diabetes.

Specifically, the Spanish researchers found that taking blood pressure medications at bedtime rather than waiting until morning may cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half.

Source: Timing Your Blood Pressure Meds Right Might Prevent Diabetes

Controlling blood pressure is one of the main goals in the care of diabetics. The ultimate disease processes that kills people in diabetes is atherosclerosis which then leads to coronary artery and peripheral arterial disease. It also leads to chronic renal insufficiency (bad kidneys, basically – that’s why diabetics tend to end up on dialysis), retinopathy, and arguably contributes significantly to vascular dementia and stroke. Any number of those consequences of diabetes can be fatal.

So, then, if we can prevent atherosclerosis in the first place, we can prevent many of those downstream consequences. That’s why it’s important to control things like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and activity level in patients with diabetes. Using that logic, it makes sense that this would be helpful to someone who already has diabetes as well (and for similar reasons).

That said, there is a link between nocturnal hypotension and ischemic optic neuropathy. So you may reduce your diabetes risk, but you may increase your risk of vision loss. The theory is the low blood pressure at night time leads to such low perfusion of the optic nerve that it is irreparably damaged. As a result, physicians may recommend the opposite of this study. I should point out this is anecdotal evidence from other doctors. Large scale studies proving this link have not been performed.  See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3721361/

It’s also been found that taking your aspirin at bedtime is more effective.

Your Body, the Battery: Powering Gadgets from Human “Biofuel”

Technology has always been intimately linked to the human body. From sharpened flint to smartphones, we’ve been carrying our inventions for millennia—but the relationship is about to get even closer. The next generation of electronic devices might not just be near our bodies, they could be powered by them.

Source: Your body, the battery: Powering gadgets from human “biofuel”

Who needs AI to rise up if we’re going to turn ourselves into batteries? 😉

One of my favourite clips from Mass Effect 2:

How to Avoid the Dreaded “Carb Coma”

Carb-heavy meals are notorious for making you hungry and cranky later in the day, not to mention gaining weight. But if you really want to eat your pasta and potatoes, you can make the meal easier for your body to deal with by adding other food to it. Pancakes and bacon are a better bet than pancakes alone.

Source: How to Avoid the Dreaded “Carb Coma”

Related read: If I Eat Steak then Pineapple – Which is Digested First?

Study: This Type Of Sugar Will Make You Choose Food Over Money

A small new study out of the University of Southern California shows that people are more willing to choose high-calorie foods over money after ingesting a certain type of sugar.

…This isn’t the first research to show that fructose negatively affects our hunger response. A 2013 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that fructose only weakly stimulates the body’s secretion of insulin, which works to increase feelings of fullness and blunt the reward value of food. A study from Harvard Medical School that was published last year in the journal Molecular Metabolism also found that fructose may promote obesity and diabetes by overstimulating a hormone that helps to regulate fat accumulation.

… fructose in processed foods like soda, packaged foods, prepackaged meals, junk food, and processed sauces is another story. That fructose is often highly concentrated and, after it’s metabolized by the liver, can end up as fat that collects around your midsection and organs.

Source: This Type Of Sugar Will Make You Choose Food Over Money

Agave nectar is something like 90% fructose.  Honey is around 40% fructose, so also about the same sugar makeup as high-fructose corn syrup.

  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is not common corn syrup.  Corn syrup is actually a family of ingredients made up only of glucose.  But HFCS and sucrose aren’t significantly different, and HFCS is not sweeter than sucrose.
  • HFCS is not uniquely obesity promoting

Corn Syrup: How Much Vitamin K?

Answer?  Light or dark – none.  Similar to high fructose corn syrup:

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is not common corn syrup.  Corn syrup is actually a family of ingredients made up only of glucose.  But HFCS and sucrose aren’t significantly different, and HFCS is not sweeter than sucrose.

There are worse things to be worried about 🙂

Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The American Medical Association and the Red Cross both condemn force-feeding as a form of torture. And yet, the U.S. government and the United Nations have both force-fed hunger-striking prisoners. The real problem? Most people probably don’t realize how complicated force-feeding is, and how much can go wrong.

Source: Here’s What Really Happens When You Force-Feed Someone

The article doesn’t cover ethics, just the physical aspects that get dealt with.  Still, there’s a reason major medical organizations condemn the practice.

Sugar Isn’t Any Healthier Than High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup is terrible for you. I want to be really clear about that. But if you pore over ingredient labels trying to avoid it, or if you opt for Jones Soda or Mexican Coke because of its “real” sugar, you may have been duped.

Both table sugar, or sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup are sugars. People worldwide, and especially Americans, are eating a ton of sugar and it seems to be contributing to obesity and metabolism disorders. The 2015 dietary guidelines will, for the first time, put a limit on the amount of added sugars we should eat. Sugar is bad for you, end of story. But is there any difference between high fructose corn syrup and table sugar?

Source: Sugar Isn’t Any Healthier Than High Fructose Corn Syrup

Another side to the HFCS debate is that not everyone wants regular sugar to replace HFCS.  And people don’t realize that agave nectar is something like 90% fructose.  Honey is around 40% fructose, so also about the same sugar makeup as high-fructose corn syrup.

Health Benefits Of Diet And Exercise May Be Chemically/Lazily Obtainable

Dieting or hitting the treadmill no fun? You might be able to enjoy one of the health benefits without the hassle.

Exercising hard or not eating for a while can alter the immune system’s behaviour, suppressing some types of inflammatory response. That, in turn, seems to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions. But what triggers the change in the immune response has not been clear.

Source: No need to starve to get fasting’s immune benefits

While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to chemically obtain the health benefits of dieting and working out anytime soon, the research is nudging us in that direction. Until then you’re still going to have to exercise… 😉