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Sat, 22 Feb 2020
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Pasta is now a vegetable in American schools under Trump guidelines

pasta
© Getty Images/iStockphoto
Pasta made with vegetable-based flours can be considered a vegetable on school lunch menus, according to new USDA guidelines.
Certain kinds of pasta can be considered a vegetable for millions of public school meals, according to new rules proposed by Donald Trump's administration.

The new school guidelines released by the US Department of Agriculture last week would allow for more foods like pizza, burgers and french fries to appear on school menus as part of its sweeping revisions of a school lunch program from former First Lady Michelle Obama. Cuts to her signature policy under Barack Obama's administration — intended to reduce childhood obesity in the US — were announced on her birthday.


Comment: Let's be clear - Michelle Obama's school lunch program was abysmal. As much as they would like to spin this as the Trump administration 'gutting' the amazing work Obama had done for school lunches, it really amounts to just more of the same.

See: Michelle Obama's big failure: House Freedom Caucus wants Trump to rethink school lunches


Among the changes are allowances for pastas made with potato, soy or other starchy vegetable-based flours to be considered as a vegetable serving.

Comment: Again, this sounds like spin. If the kids are throwing out fruit and vegetables and the feds come up with the idea of hiding them in things like pasta to reduce food waste, is that really so bad? The problem with school lunches lies so far beyond what they count as a vegetable that this whole thing seems like petty bickering. To truly solve the problem of childhood nutrition, a complete restructuring of the entire program is needed from the ground up, starting with the fundamental assumptions of what is considered healthy eating. Basing school lunches on the outdated low-fat, high carb guidelines is doomed to failure, no matter what they consider a vegetable to be.

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Microscope 2

Harmony becomes cacophony: When healthy cells become cancerous

Cells

Cymascopic images of the 'song' of a healthy cell and cancer
A novel method to improve cancer surgery and early cancer detection

A study published in the Water Journal describes a novel method for comparing the sounds of cancer cells and healthy cells. The method may lead to the development of an Artificial Intelligence-supported surgical procedure for the removal of tumors. A form of the technology also holds promise for early cancer detection

The Singing Cell

The discovery that cells create sound, as a feature of their natural metabolic function, was made by Professor James Gimzewski of UCLA, in 2002. Using an Atomic Force Microscope, he and his colleague, Dr. Andrew Pelling, were able to listen to the sounds of cells for the first time and, surprisingly, they found that the sounds lie in the audible range. In other words, if our ears were sensitive enough we would be able to hear the sounds of our own cells. (Perhaps it is fortunate that we cannot.) Professor Gimzewski named their new approach to cell biology, "sonocytology," combining "sono" (sound) with "cytology'" (the study of cells). In Dr. Pelling's article "The Singing Cell"1 he says, "Observing cells in different situations, [for example] cells under stress, generates different sounds. In fact the state of the cell, if it is healthy or cancerous, can be distinguished by listening to its sound. In future we hope to bring our research in sonocytology to the point at which it can be integrated in medical disciplines such as cancer research. Listening to cells would allow a fast diagnosis of cancer without the use of drugs or surgery. Sonocytology might also make cancer detection possible before a tumor forms."

Info

Chocolate: Its history & your health

Chocolate
A Short History Of Chocolate

Valentine's Day and chocolate seem made for each other. This link appears to stem from the 19th century marketing savvy of British chocolate manufacturer Richard Cadbury who came up with a way to sell "eating chocolates" containing cocoa butter back in the days when chocolate was mainly consumed as a drink. Cadbury packaged his candies in elaborate heart-shaped boxes he designed himself. But the illustrious history of chocolate - now a $100 billion annual business - began long before that:
  • In early Mexico, beans from Theobroma cacao trees (Theobroma is Greek for "food for the gods") were used to make a bitter drink called xocoatl, an Aztec word believed to have evolved into "chocolate." At the time, the beans also served as currency - you could get a ripe avocado for one bean but would have to pay 100 beans to buy a turkey, according to Smithsonian magazine.
  • The Spanish are believed to have been the first to sweeten the bitter cacao drink using honey or cane sugar. This reputedly came about after Montezuma served the drink to conquistador Hernando Cortes, who was turned off by the bitterness. After they introduced chocolate to Europe, the Spanish viewed it as a cure for fatigue.
  • Marie Antoinette brought her personal chocolate maker to France when she married Louis XVI in 1770. In the morning, she sipped a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and, sometimes, orange blossoms (then believed to calm the nerves).
  • Until 1828 chocolate was consumed only as a drink. It was mixed with water or milk and sometimes flavored with vanilla, cinnamon or other spices.

Comment: See also: Dark chocolate is now a health food. Here's how that happened.


Biohazard

Would you like brain damage with your soybean oil? America's favorite cooking oil causes neurological changes, says animal study

french fries
New research has shown that despite being marketed as a healthy alternative, soybean oil, America's most popular oil, causes neurological changes in the brains of mice, and may contribute to autism and dementia in humans.

Extracted from the seeds of soybeans and used in everything from fast food to animal feed and even baby formula, soybean oil is easily the most widely consumed oil in the US, ubiquitous in the national cuisine.

It's in McDonald's fries, Pizza Hut crust, and the "healthy" 9-grain bread used for your Subway sandwich.

A research team from University of California, Riverside has been studying the impact of soybean oil for several years. They previously found that it induces diabetes and obesity in mice, hardly surprising given that vegetable oils are high in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. By now, most people know that eating too much fried food is bad for your ticker.

But what is really shocking about their latest findings is the effect soybean oil seems to have on the brain.

Microscope 1

A new blood component revealed

extracellular mitochondria
© Alain R. Thierry/Inserm
Functional extracellular mitochondria revealed in the blood circulation.
Does the blood we thought to know so well contain elements that had been undetectable until now? The answer is yes, according to a team of researchers from Inserm, Université de Montpellier and the Montpellier Cancer Institute (ICM) working at the Montpellier Cancer Research Institute (IRCM), which has revealed the presence of whole functional mitochondria in the blood circulation. These organelles that are responsible for cellular respiration had hitherto only been found outside cells in very specific cases. The team's findings, published in The FASEB Journal, will deepen our knowledge of physiology and open up new avenues for treatment.

Mitochondria are organelles that are found in the eukaryotic cells. A place of cellular respiration, they are the cells' "batteries" and play a major role in energy metabolism and intercellular communication. Their particularity is to possess their own genome, transmitted solely by the mother and separate from the DNA contained in the nucleus. The mitochondria can sometimes be observed outside the cells in the form of fragments encapsulated within microvesicles. Under certain very specific conditions the platelets are also capable of releasing intact mitochondria into the extracellular space.

The work of a team led by Inserm researcher Alain R. Thierry at the Montpellier Cancer Research Institute (Inserm/Université de Montpellier/Montpellier Cancer Institute) has now revolutionized knowledge of this organelle by revealing that whole functioning extracellular mitochondria are in fact found in the bloodstream!

Comment: See also:


Sun

Fat cells can sense sunlight—not getting enough increases metabolic syndrome risk

fatt cells
© Cincinnati Children's
These images show expression of the OPN3 gene (in blue) in white fat cells of mice in two locations. The upper panel shows interscapular white adipocytes (above a layer of muscle and above brown adipose tissue). The lower panel shows white adipocytes from the inguinal adipose depot.
Yes, fat cells deep under your skin can sense light. And when bodies do not get enough exposure to the right kinds of light, fat cells behave differently.

This discovery, published Jan. 21, 2020, in the journal Cell Reports, was uncovered by scientists at Cincinnati Children's who were studying how mice control their body temperature. What they found has implications far beyond describing how mice stay warm.

The study shows that light exposure regulates how two kinds of fat cells work together to produce the raw materials that all other cells use for energy. The study authors go on to say that disruptions to this fundamental metabolic process appear to reflect an unhealthy aspect of modern life — spending too much time indoors.

Cow

Why you're so confused about what to eat

10 commandments
Everyone's a nutrition expert these days. Wherever you turn, you'll find a legion of pundits lining up to tell you what to eat, from your co-worker to your latest Internet guru. Then there are the official experts. They have all got something to say — and it's all different.

Why not just trust the experts? Why are we even having this conversation?

Because people are not convinced that they can trust official dietary advice. In theory, these guidelines are unbiased, impartial and evidence based. In reality, they are a morass of bias, partiality and powerful commercial interests.

Comment: See also:


Microscope 1

Immune discovery 'may treat all cancer'

Breast cancer cells
© Science Photo Library
The new technique could kill a wide range of cancer cells, including breast and prostate.
A newly-discovered part of our immune system could be harnessed to treat all cancers, say scientists.

The Cardiff University team discovered a method of killing prostate, breast, lung and other cancers in lab tests.

The findings, published in Nature Immunology, have not been tested in patients, but the researchers say they have "enormous potential".

Experts said that although the work was still at an early stage, it was very exciting.

Comment: See also:


Sun

Sunscreen chemicals absorbed into body, study finds

sunscreen kids summer
The chemicals in sunscreens help shield people from the sun's rays, but they are also absorbed into the body at levels that raise some safety questions, a new study confirms.

The study, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a follow-up to a 2019 investigation. Both reached the same conclusion: The active ingredients in popular sunscreens can be absorbed into the blood at levels that exceed the FDA threshold where they can be presumed safe.

However, both the agency and skin cancer experts were quick to stress that there is no proof that sunscreen ingredients cause any harm. And people should keep using the products to prevent sunburn and curb the risk of skin cancer, they said.


Comment: Note that this is the exact opposite of the precautionary principle. The burden of proof is on the manufacturers to prove the chemicals are harmless before releasing them onto an unsuspecting public, not to encourage their use until they're proven dangerous (whenever they get around to it).


Comment: So now a second study has found hormone-altering chemicals in sunscreen are absorbed into the skin in levels higher than the FDA's arbitrarily set safety levels, but don't worry because it's only a little bit. Keep using sunscreen, because the big fiery ball in the sky that's been there for the entire existence of life on planet earth is going to kill you, while man-made chemicals of dubious safety are good for you. Makes perfect sense.

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Cow

Separation of plate and state: Keeping diet dogma out of the classroom

separation of plate and state

Pamphlets and booklets proselytizing an animal-free diet for climate mitigation are being distributed to schools at an alarming rate. Keep reading to learn how important it is to speak with your children about agricultural production, livestock, and how there is a responsible and environmentally beneficial way to consume animal products.


A child attending an Oregon public school was recently given a booklet called Fight Climate Change With Diet Change. The content of the booklet was completely against consuming animal products, lacking any information about how livestock can be used to build topsoil and sequester carbon. It even went on to say that not only is going vegan better for the planet, it is also better for human health.

The booklets are funded and distributed by the Factory Farm Awareness Coalition and an activist group called Vegan Outreach. Established in 1993, Vegan Outreach is known for distributing their literature on college campuses. To a person with no background in nutrition or agriculture, it is easy to understand how the pamphlets could be very convincing, especially for children. They are attractive and colorful while offering seemingly simple solutions for reducing climate impact like claiming that reducing meat consumption reduces water consumption. As we've noted on Sacred Cow, beef is not the water hog that most pro-vegan groups claim.

Comment: The insidious propaganda continues, and the ideologues shamelessly target children as an easy target. Protect yourself, protect your kids, stay informed.

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