When supercomputers start to cook: meet Chef Watson

There are probably a million cooking apps out there, but none of them are backed by a supercomputer. Meet Chef Watson: a “cognitive computing app” that promises to revolutionize the way you cook and expand your gastronomic comfort zone.

Tricking your body to think it’s fasting might help you live longer and healthier

Fasting has been practiced since ancient times as a cleansing process, often accompanied by prayer and periods of seclusion. Famous enlightened historical figures like Jesus or Buddha are prime examples of such ascetic practice. The latter raised fasting to an artform. But fasting needs not be merely associated with spiritualism or religion – it could very well be a great tool to improve your health. Several studies have documented the benefits of fasting, but on the other hand how many of us could go through such excruciating torments, living on water alone for days at a time (some Buddhist monks do it for weeks). After all, low calorie diets are hard enough, let alone not eating altogether. A new study, however, suggests that there might be a way to trick your body it’s in fasting mode, and thus reap the benefits, without actually going overboard.

Rising oceans and sinking bread: how climate change might ruin loaves

A research group working at the Australian Grains Free Air CO₂ Enrichment facility (AgFace) in Victoria is studying the effect elevated carbon dioxide will have on crops such as wheat, lentils, canola and field pea. They grow experimental crops in the open, surrounded by thin tubes that eject carbon dioxide into the air around the plants. Findings show that crops have higher yield (up to 25% more), but less proteins. Elevated CO2 also seems to ruin bread made from the grown wheat.

The most unhealthy, calorie ridden, sodium rich restaurant meals in America

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, DC, just released its Xtreme Eating Awards. Hint: it’s not that kind of award you want to win or even get mentioned. CSPI officials ranked the highest calorie, fat-rich meals served in restaurants across the country. This year, they say, they’ve been completely blown away by what they found on the table served to Americans.

Obese teens are much more susceptible to junk food commercials, brain scans reveal

It’s no secret that TV food commercials stimulate pleasure and reward centers in the brain, after all advertisers wouldn’t pay big money for them to air if they didn’t entice people to order more. In fact, food advertising has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. Teenagers are exposed on average to 13 food commercials on any given day. At the same time, childhood and adolescent obesity in the US has been on the rise fast and worrisome, so we can’t help but notice the connection. Now, researchers at Dartmouth found overweight teens are disproportionately affected by TV food commercials, as key brain regions that control pleasure, taste and – most surprisingly – the mouth are all much more stimulated than those teens with less body fat. The findings are important since they suggest overweight teens exposed to this kind of environment will experience further difficulties when they try to lose weight. A further insight is that dietary plans should also target subsequent thinking concerning eating food, not just the temptation.

The white thing that sometime appears on chocolate? Scientists studied it with X-Rays

Chocolate is the favorite food of many people throughout the world, bringing joy and happiness into our mouths, one square at a time. But when a whitish coating appears on its surface, most people would think twice before eating. That coating, called chocolate bloom, is actually harmless, but it drastically reduces the visual appeal of the chocolate. Now, researchers from

Swap a sweet drink for water and you get a 25% lower chance of diabetes

Swapping out a single daily sweet drink for water or unsweetened tea or coffee can lower the risk of diabetes by up to 25%, a new research suggests.

9 Foods to Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Potassium

Potassium is one of the more important nutrients in our diet, and the recommended daily dietary intake is 4700mg – but few of us actually get even close to that figure (you may need more or less potassium depending on your body and if you have certain medical conditions). Sure, you can take dietary supplements, but that’s really the wrong way

Teens: Forget the salt, eat more bananas

In the modern world, we tend to eat more salt than we should, and that can have several negative impacts on our body, including higher blood pressure – or so we thought. But a new study on teenage girls found that salt has no negative effect on blood pressure; bananas do. “It may be that potassium is more of a

Smiley face labels can encourage kids to eat healthier food

An innovative study suggests that something as small as labeling healthy foods with a small smiley face can make kids more interested in buying and consuming healthy food.

Shorter people are more likely to get heart disease – every inch counts

The same genes that are responsible for height have been linked to heart disease as well, according to British researchers who found shorter people are at a greater risk. For every 2.5 inch difference in height, the chance of contracting a heart disease increases by 13.5 percent. In other words, a 5-foot-tall person has an average 32 percent higher risk of heart disease than a person who’s 5-foot 6-inches tall, according to the researchers.

Diets aren’t as good as they claim to be – even the fancy ones

“Lose weight NOW”, “You’ll never believe how [this person] got slim”, “An easy way to lose extra pounds” – big claims, with little to back them up. Diets and weight loss programs are popping everywhere nowadays, and they’ve done so for years and years, but does the science actually back them up? Kimberly Gudzune, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins found that many diet plans have zero or very little rigorous scientific evidence backing them up.

Simple way of cooking rice could halve its calories

I know, the title sounds like one of those scams that promise you’ll lose weight – but this is all science all the way. Researchers in Sri Lanka have found a simple way of cooking the rice that not only reduces calories by half, but also provides other health benefits. The key addition is coconut oil.

High-fat diet might put your mental health at risk

Mice that had gut bacteria transferred from other mice fed with a high fat diet changed their behavior in a negative way, exhibiting anxiety or impaired memory. The findings suggest that apart from heart disease and stroke, obesity might put people’s mental health at risk as well.

How a new generation of climate change resistant beans could save millions

Some 30 new bean varieties have been cross-bred by researchers in order to make these more resistant to rising temperatures. Often called the ‘meat of the poor’, more than 400 million people around the world depend on beans for their daily protein intake. Being particularly vulnerable to temperature means that bean farms, whether large or home subsistence gardens, could be obliterated by climate change this century. The new beans can withstand temperatures three to four degrees Celsius greater than those currently grown by farmers, enough, the researchers say, to keep yield losses to a minimum.

Why processed foods make you fat: two common food additives linked to obesity and gut inflammation

A new study suggests that two very common emulsifiers – chemicals that stabilize foods and stop products like mayo from separating – could increase the risk of obesity and irritable bowel syndrome.

High-salt diet could protect against microbes, but you still shouldn’t eat too much

Many people today are consuming more salt than they actually need – while this may make foods more tasty, it also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. But a new study found that dietary salt could actually have a dietary advantage, defending the body against invading microbes.

Here’s what kids eat at school lunch around the world. Needless to say, US trails behind

A typical school cafeteria serving contains fried food stuff like nuggets, mashed potatoes or peas. Kids’ nutritional uptake and diet could be a lot better, as proven elsewhere by schools all around the world. Sweetgreen, a restaurant the values local and organic produce, recently published on its Tumblr an amazing photo journal detailing what a typical cafeteria serving looks like in countries like South Korea, Brazil or Italy.

Science finds the most and least addictive foods

Scientists from the University of Michigan have found which are the most and least addictive foods in the world. They gathered data from 500 participants and found that the most addictive foods are (no surprise) pizza, ice cream and chocolate, while the least addictive ones are cucumbers, carrots, beans and rice.

Olive Oil Compound Kills Cancer Cells Within an Hour

An ingredient in extra-virgin olive oil kills a variety of cancer cells in a matter of minutes, without damaging healthy ones. The ingredient is called oleocanthal, and it breaks down a part of the cancerous cell, destroying it.