How Emulsifiers Are Messing with Our Guts (and Making us Fat)

Common food ingredients like polysorbate 80, lecithin, and carrageenan interfere with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, reports Elizabeth Grossman at Civil Eats:

Scan the fine print on almost any processed food in the grocery store and you’re likely to find emulsifiers: Ingredients such as polysorbate 80, lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan and other “gums,” all of which keep ingredientsoften oils and fatsfrom separating. They are also used to improve the texture and shelf-life of many foods found in supermarkets, from ice cream and baked goods, to salad dressings, veggie burgers, non-dairy milks, and hamburger patties.

Light Mayo Ingredients

Now, a new study released today in the journal Nature suggests these ingredients may also be contributing to the rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract, known as “gut microbio.”

This news may surprise consumers, given the fact that emulsifiers are approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and appear in many foods otherwise considered “healthy,” including some in which their presence helps to reduce transfats and gluten, and many labeled organic and non-GMO.

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Falklands Controversy Shows Why Bill O’Reilly Will Never Be Fired

Bill O’Reilly is a guy who likes to make the claim that the mainstream media, which is to say, all media that isn’t either his own Fox News or the far right blogosphere, is liberal. He seems to believe that there are dark, clandestine forces that are at work against him, which, at the same time, serve to coddle and prop up anyone who doesn’t unquestioningly accept his point of view. And as with every claim that O’Reilly makes, the opposite is usually true.

Nowhere is this more evident than the current controversy Bill O’Reilly finds himself in. In the wake of the 6 month suspension of NBC’s Brian Williams over an erroneous statement he made about his time covering the Iraq War, David Corn and Daniel Schuman at Mother Jones had an interesting idea: that perhaps by digging into statements made by O’Reilly in the past, they might come across some errors too.… Read the rest

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Cuba Part I: From Revolution to Un-Normal Relations

On this special episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin highlights BTS’ eight day trip to Havana, Cuba, starting with a historical look at the tensions between the US and Cuba that have led the two countries to the negotiating table to normalize relations. Abby then discusses the major areas of contention when it comes to these negotiations and where they currently stand. BTS producer, Cody Snell, then speaks with members of the largest delegation of peace activists to visit Cuba since the normalized relations announcement, highlighting the role of grassroots diplomacy. BTS than talks to average Cubans both in Havana and in Miami about their views on the state of US-Cuban relations. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with Kenia Serrano, a high ranking Cuban parliament member and President of The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, about everything from internet access to the crackdown on free speech in the country.… Read the rest

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How Stephen Hawking, Diagnosed With ALS Decades Ago, Is Still Alive

Stephen Hawking truly is a very special specimen – not only a verifiable genius but also seemingly able to be one of the only people to beat death from ALS. Terrence McCoy reveals how at the Washington Post:

On April 20, 2009, a moment arrived that doctors had foretold for decades. Stephen Hawking, a scientist who overcame debilitating disease to become the world’s most renowned living physicist, was on the cusp of death. The University of Cambridge released grim prognoses. Hawking, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, was described as “very ill” and “undergoing tests” at the hospital. Newspapers ran obituary-esque articles. It seemed time was up for the man who so eloquently explained it.

But, as is his custom, Hawking survived.

Stephen Hawking with New Computer

Hawking shouldn’t be able to do the things he now does. The 73-year-old shouldn’t be able to deliver meditations on the existence of God.

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What Should the New “Daily Show” Look Like? A Modest Proposal

In 1998, the still relatively young cable network Comedy Central wanted to show its viewers that it wasn’t afraid to dip its toes into the troubled waters of politics. Two years earlier, it had created a program called The Daily Show, tackling the dirty deeds of the political world with a humorous angle. The program had been relatively successful, but two years in, the program’s original host, Craig Kilborn, decided to bow out.

For his second to last show, Kilborn brought on the comedian chosen to take his place: Jon Stewart. Their on-air chat kicked off with a few gags that would become staples of Stewart’s tenure: jokes about his shortness and his being Jewish. As a welcome present, Kilborn gave Stewart a phone book to sit on.

When Kilborn asked Stewart what he would change about the show, Stewart quickly replied, “Changes? This is The Daily Show, man!… Read the rest

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Heavy Drinkers Have Lowest IQs

A Soldier Drinks a Pint of Beer on his Return from Afghanistan MOD 45152497.jpg

Photo: Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC/MOD (CC)

New findings show a link between a lower IQ and and alcohol consumption amongst young men, reports the Telegraph:

People with low IQs are more likely to consume higher amounts of alcohol than those with higher IQs, a new study has claimed.

The study, which was carried out by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, surveyed 49,321 Swedish men who were born between 1949 to 1951 and were conscripted for Swedish military service from 1969 to 1971. IQ tests done upon conscription, alcohol intake, pattern of drinking, tobacco use, and medical conditions were all examined.

The results showed that men with lower results on their IQ test consumed higher levels of alcohol, leading the team to conclude that “a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices”.

Sara Sjölund a student at the Institutet and corresponding author for the study, said that this was the first study to find “consistent” links between “cognitive ability and alcohol-related problems”.

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Flawed study overstates link between fluoride and ill health: experts

Despite only finding an association between fluoridated water and underactive thyroid gland, the paper calls from reducing all sources of fluoride from the environment. Joost Nelissen/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Despite only finding an association between fluoridated water and underactive thyroid gland, the paper calls from reducing all sources of fluoride from the environment. Joost Nelissen/Flickr, CC BY-NC

By Reema Rattan, The Conversation

Researchers have widely criticised a new study that questions the safety of water fluoridation, arguing the findings were overstated and the study poorly designed.

The paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiological & Community Health, links fluoridated water to increased rates of hypothyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland is under active, causing weight gain, hair loss, fatigue and depression, among other symptoms.

The study authors question the safety of water fluoridation as a public health measure.

“It’s simplistic and it’s extremely overreaching in its conclusions,” said Mike Morgan, chair of population oral health at the University of Melbourne.

“To do a study like this and say there’s an association without taking into account other factors, and then say, we should reduce the levels of fluoride, well it beggars belief that they should be able to say that in a reputable publication,” he added.… Read the rest

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Two More Craters Found in Northern Russia

inside_map_four_craters

Satellite image of the site before the forming of the Yamal hole (B1). K1 and the red outline show the hillock (pingo) formed before the gas emission. Yellow outlines show the potentially dangerous objects. Picture: Vasily Bogoyavlensky

 

Siberian swiss cheese.

via The Siberian Times:

Respected Moscow scientist Professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky has called for ‘urgent’ investigation of the new phenomenon amid safety fears.

Until now, only three large craters were known about in northern Russia with several scientific sources speculating last year that heating from above the surface due to unusually warm climatic conditions, and from below, due to geological fault lines, led to a huge release of gas hydrates, so causing the formation of these craters in Arctic regions.

Two of the newly-discovered large craters – also known as funnels to scientists – have turned into lakes, revealed Professor Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Moscow-based Oil and Gas Research Institute, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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