Showing posts with label US FDA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US FDA. Show all posts

Jul 7, 2017

Calorie Defined

The official definition of calorie is: A measurement of energy- the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius at standard atmospheric pressure. Calories in food are actually measured in kilocalories, so 1,000 actual calories for every 1 Calorie listed on food packages. Europe uses the actual kilocalories or kilojoules.

During the 1880s, Wilbur O. Atwater decided to determine how much energy different types of foods contained. He decided to treat different foods just like coal and burn them to ash in a furnace and measure how much heat (or calories) each one produced. He gave a numerical value to the calories produced by each food. He measured nine calories per gram from high-fat foods, and about four calories per gram from carbohydrates and proteins. We still use this system, to an extent.

During 2003, a US university team of nutritionists tested two slimming diets with the same number of calories on a group of overweight women. One diet was very low-fat and relatively high in carbohydrate. The other was high in fat, but low in carbohydrate. The low-fat dieters lost 3.9kg (almost 9lb), but the high-fat dieters lost more than twice as much weight at 8.5kg (almost 19lb).
The calories are the same, but the body reacts differently when it uses them. Maybe it is time to rethink how we count calories.
Calories listed on food labels are only an approximation. The US FDA allows food manufacturers to look at their ingredients and determine how many grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein they contain, and then assume that each gram of protein and carbohydrates gives 4 kilocalories, each gram of fat gives 9, etc. Then they subtract 4 kilocalories for every gram of fiber, and that is the official, government sanctioned calorie measurement.
In addition to the above, different bodies deal with Calories differently. Genetic conditions, illnesses, and other factors can cause foods to be metabolized differently by some people vs. others. A 100 Calorie snack for you, might only be an 80 Calorie snack for someone else.

Bottom line, since Calories are an approximation, ingesting a few hundred more or less on any given day is not going to make much difference on your weight.

Nov 28, 2014

Monosodium Glutamate Facts

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used to enhance the flavor of food for more than 100 years. It was originally synthesized by Japanese biochemist Kikunae Ikeda in 1908 after he realized that the Japanese broth called dashi (a basic stock made with seaweed and dried fish) had a meaty flavor that had not yet been identified. He called this flavor umami, which can be translated as "delicious taste" and set about synthesizing the main source of it. The basic sensory function of MSG is attributed to its ability to enhance savory taste-active compounds when added in the proper concentration

MSG, which first hit the market in 1909, is today created by bacterial fermentation in a process similar to that used in making yogurt.

Monosodium glutamate added to foods produces a flavoring similar to the glutamate that occurs naturally in foods. It acts as a flavor enhancer and adds a fifth taste, called umami, which is best described as a savory, broth-like or meaty taste.

In the European Union, monosodium glutamate is classified as a food additive (E621) and regulations are in place to determine how and when it can be added to foods. Typically, monosodium glutamate is added to savory prepared and processed foods such as frozen foods, spice mixes, canned and dry soups, salad dressings and meat or fish-based products. In some countries, it is used as a table-top seasoning.

Scientific studies have not shown any direct link between monosodium glutamate and adverse reactions in humans. The US Food and Drug Administration has given MSG its generally recognized as safe (GRAS) designation. While a popular belief holds that large doses of MSG can cause headaches and other feelings of discomfort, in controlled studies scientists have been unable to consistently trigger reactions. MSG has been used for more than 100 years to season food, with a number of studies conducted on its safety. International and national bodies governing food additives currently consider MSG safe for human consumption as a flavor enhancer.

MSG contains about one third of the sodium of table salt and is used in smaller amounts.

Children metabolize glutamate in the same way that adults do and monosodium glutamate is safe for children. In fact, human breast milk contains ten times more glutamate than cow’s milk.

When added to food, MSG provides an umami-rich flavor boost that regular table salt doesn't, even though MSG contains sixty percent less sodium than table salt, and many people cook with it regularly (it is sold under the brand name Accent). While it doesn't have much of a flavor on its own, when added to other foods it blends, balances, and rounds out the other flavors that are present.

MSG does not occur naturally in whole foods, so you do not have to worry about it in fruits and vegetables.

The human body also produces glutamate and it plays an essential role in normal body functioning.

Oct 3, 2014

What's in a Name, Viagra

The official name is Sildenafil Citrate. Pharmaceutical chemists at Pfizer's research facility in Kent, England originally conceived it as a treatment for hypertension, angina, and other symptoms of heart disease. Clinical trials during 1991 and 1992 revealed the drug was not great at treating what it was supposed to treat, but eighty percent of male test subjects were experiencing a side effect of erections.

It was finally approved by the US FDA in 1998 and the drug took US markets by storm as a treatment for penile dysfunction and became an overnight success. It and female Viagra now raise over two billion dollars a year.

Jul 4, 2014

Ten Interesting Tidbits

The average child asks over four hundred questions each day. Makes it easy to understand why they learn so fast.
Of all the people in history that have reached age 65, half are still living.
The US is older than Germany. Germany became independent in 1871 and the US in 1776.
Two thirds of the people on earth have never seen snow.
A hummingbird weighs less than a US penny.
There are more empty houses in the US than homeless people.
The US FDA allows ten insects and thirty five fly eggs per eight ounces of raisins.
One in ten European babies were conceived on an IKEA bed.
A giraffe's tongue is twenty one inches long.
The Guinness Book of Records holds its own record as the book most stolen from public libraries.