Fat vs. Sugar: The culture of American dieting

Presented by Katherine Richeson, Mary Gearing, and Abbe Clark Nutrition is currently one of the most popular science topics in mainstream media, as it is intimately tied to lifestyle, health and personal appearance. However, this popularity has led to a proliferation of inaccurate and sensationalized information. Our aim with this lecture is to provide the audience with the scientific background necessary to understand nutrition beyond … Continue reading Fat vs. Sugar: The culture of American dieting

Fat vs. sugar: Who will break your heart?

Nutrition plays an important role in the prevention of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. The Seven Countries Study, one of the earliest and most influential epidemiological studies, spanned the second half of the last century and showed a strong correlation between consumption of saturated fat and incidence of coronary heart disease. This result established a “low-fat” dietary dogma that has gone largely … Continue reading Fat vs. sugar: Who will break your heart?

Common artificially-sweetened foods. Photograph by Graham Turner, The Guardian.

Enough Diet Soda? Respect the Microbiota…

Intestinal microbes impact weight gain, dictate food allergies, and activate neural pathways that regulate stress and depression. They eat what we eat, whether it is a cheeseburger, a kale salad, or in today’s world, an extra large diet soda. A recent study published in Nature presents compelling data to suggest that artificial sweeteners might disrupt microbes in the gut and the body’s ability to control blood sugar, making consumers more prone to metabolic disorders. Continue reading Enough Diet Soda? Respect the Microbiota…

Starchy Dangers in Human Evolution

Mashed potatoes are Uncle Mike’s favorite food; at family dinners he would spoon mound after mound of them onto his plate long after everyone else was done eating. Many people seem to feel the same way about these creamy mountains of starch, but is it possible something sinister lurks within, threatening some people with weight gain? To answer that question we first need to understand … Continue reading Starchy Dangers in Human Evolution

Super nanners! Engineering bananas to save vision, life in East Africa

A new banana, genetically engineered to produce ample amount of provitamin A, has hit the news. They’re heading for human trials in the US and to the fields of Uganda by 2020, if all goes well for the Australian and Ugandan scientists developing them. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness among children. 250,000 to 500,000 children are blinded by vitamin A deficiency each year. In East Africa, vitamin A deficiency is common and bananas are a staple crop. If these orange hued bananas make it to market, farmers maybe able to lift quality of life simply by swapping yellow fruit for orange. Continue reading Super nanners! Engineering bananas to save vision, life in East Africa

In the Loop with Poop

In the Loop with Poop: Intestinal microbes in health and immunity

Presented by Chris Garris Did you know that the average human gut is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms? These numbers are not from a diseased state, but rather are representative of a normal, healthy human gut. Clearly, this suggests that the vast majority of microorganisms living within us are not pathogenic. Animal studies of germ-free or selective gut colonization by microbes provide growing evidence … Continue reading In the Loop with Poop: Intestinal microbes in health and immunity

More Than Food: Exploring human milk as medicine

Presented by Laura Klein Many of us are familiar with milk as a food in our supermarket aisles, whether as a beverage that pairs well with cookies, or as the starting ingredient for cheese and yogurt. But milk is also part of what makes us mammals, a class of animals that produces milk as the first food for our young. Our lecture will begin with … Continue reading More Than Food: Exploring human milk as medicine

Fatty acid-rich fish stocks: a sixth extinction crisis

— We’ve all heard news reports about the benefits of eating fish, and replacing some red meat meals with fish as an alternative source of protein. Fish contains a lot of minerals, including iodine and selenium, which are beneficial for the human body. Most fish species are lean and therefore fit perfectly in a healthy diet. Fattier fish species, such as salmon, offer other benefits: they are full of unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for optimal functioning of cells and organs, and for good development of the central nervous system. Unfortunately, these important health benefits are leading to increased demand for these species, which now threatens global aquatic biodiversity. Continue reading Fatty acid-rich fish stocks: a sixth extinction crisis

Living Foods: The Microbiology of Food and Drink

Presented by Wesley Loo, Heather Olins, and Dipti Nayak Some scientists estimate that one third of the food we eat on a daily basis has been fermented. This seminar will explain what fermentation is, how it works, and why we should care about the uncountable numbers of tiny microbes that transform basic inputs into many of our favorite foods, from beer to chocolate to yogurt. … Continue reading Living Foods: The Microbiology of Food and Drink