Change in Diet Key to U.N. Plan to End Hunger by 2030

Chris Arsenault wrote . . . . .

In trendy, hipster London or New York, it’s all about juicing, vegan diets and snacking on kale crisps. Thousands of miles away, in Nairobi or Bogota, the middle classes are more likely to reach for roasted goat or a juicy steak.

Later this month, world leaders are set to endorse a U.N. goal to eliminate hunger by 2030, but they will have to convince their citizens to adopt new eating habits first, experts say.

Diets must feature less red meat, which consumes 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions than chicken or pork, according to a 2014 study.

The shift, like the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) themselves, must apply to both wealthy and developing nations, where consumption of ecologically unfriendly foods is growing fastest.

“Sustainable and healthy diets will require a move towards a mostly plant-based diet,” said Colin Khoury, a biologist at the Colombia-based International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.

Other key changes needed are cutting food waste and combating poor nutrition, he added.

There are some signs the public is starting to take such advice on board. They include the release of an “EatBy” app that reminds consumers to use up food in the fridge, and a new social network to help people adopt a “climatarian” diet that shuns meat from gassy grazing animals, such as beef and lamb.

More than 1 million people have also signed an online petition calling on European ministers to pass laws and launch national action plans aimed at meeting a target in the SDGs to halve global food waste per capita by 2030.

Zero Hunger Possible

Achieving the SDGs means the international community will need to find enough food over the next 15 years for the 795 million people who go to bed hungry every night.

“I don’t think it’s all that ambitious to eliminate hunger,” said Jomo Sundaram, assistant director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

That is because incomes are rising in much of the world, transport to move food is improving, and new technologies are keeping yields of many key crops on an upward trend, he said.

The previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted in 2000, aimed to halve the proportion of hungry people worldwide, a target that was largely achieved.

U.N. officials believe that success can now be extended to put an end to hunger, which is judged according to the number of calories people consume – a system some experts say is too narrow.

Despite a rapidly rising world population, there are 216 million fewer hungry people on earth today than in 1990, the FAO reported in May.

But with the global population expected to climb to 8.5 billion by 2030, from 7.3 billion now, and climate change predicted to ravage yields in some nations, ending hunger will require tough choices in the field and on the dinner table.

“It’s not going to be easy, but if you look at the arithmetic, it is achievable,” Sundaram said.

Wasted Opportunities

The world already produces enough food for everyone, but around one third of it is discarded or spoils in transport or storage before reaching consumers, according to the FAO.

In rich countries, individuals and grocery stores are responsible for most of the waste when they throw away imperfect vegetables or products they think are no longer safe to eat.

Developing countries lose roughly a third of their edibles due to poor refrigeration systems and infrastructure bottlenecks, which prevent food from reaching the market.

“Today we could easily feed everyone – it’s a distribution issue,” said Michael Obersteiner of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, an Austria-based thinktank.

Meeting the hunger goal by 2030 may be possible if funding were available to cut waste along the supply chain, and yields continued to climb, he said.

But by 2050, climate and population pressures – alongside an expanding global middle-class with an appetite for meat – will make it harder to keep up the momentum on zero hunger.

“Diets will have to change,” Obersteiner said.

Changing Climate, Shifting Diets

Today half the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock farming, he said, which is far less efficient for feeding people – and worse for the environment – than producing grain, fruit and vegetables for direct human consumption.

And as middle-income earners in developing nations rapidly boost their meat consumption, pressure is growing on farmland, forests and water supplies, Obersteiner said.

Switching from eating meat four times a week, as recommended by the UK-based Food Climate Research Network in 2008, to just once would reduce commodity prices, as less grain would go to feed animals, making food cheaper for the urban poor, he said.

It would also curb greenhouse emissions from the livestock sector, which account for roughly 14 percent of the global total, more than direct emissions from transport, according to a Chatham House paper published in December.

But with around 1.5 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise already locked in, some regions will have to change what they grow as the climate warms, bringing more extreme weather.

“A lot of people in south and east Africa will have to move away from maize, which is the main staple at the moment,” said Luigi Guarino, senior scientist with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a plant research organization.

Lower yields for a key food source in a region where one in four still do not get enough to eat could spell disaster.

But farmers should be able to maintain or even increase production in the face of climate change if they switch to sorghum, millet and traditional vegetables like African nightshade or spider plant, Guarino said.

In addition, new “climate-smart” varieties of maize and other staple crops, bred to withstand hotter, drier weather, will be crucial for meeting the SDGs, he added.

Some scientists have also been developing food crops with extra micro-nutrients – such as orange sweet potatoes containing high levels of vitamin A – to tackle malnutrition.

Large gene banks, used to breed crops containing the best traits adapted to particular environments, together with public education to shift diets to new and more diverse foods suited to a warmer world, will be crucial, the scientist noted.

“There is no silver bullet to reaching the goal (of eliminating hunger),” Guarino said. “But even if we get 80 percent there, it’s well worth it.”

Source: Reuters

Fatty Liver Disease and Scarring Have Strong Genetic Component

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say that hepatic fibrosis, which involves scarring of the liver that can result in dysfunction and, in severe cases, cirrhosis and cancer, may be as much a consequence of genetics as environmental factors.

The findings are published online in the journal Gastroenterology.

“The most common known causes of hepatic fibrosis have been viral hepatitis C infections, alcohol abuse, poor diet and obesity and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, which resembles alcoholic liver disease but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol,” said first author Rohit Loomba, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. “We found, however, that hepatic fibrosis and steatosis (infiltration of liver cells with fat) are strong genetic traits. At around 50 percent heritability, they’re more genetic than body mass index.”

Loomba and colleagues performed a cross-sectional analysis of 60 pairs of twins residing in Southern California. Forty-two pairs were monozygotic or identical, meaning they developed from a single fertilized egg that split to form two embryos. Eighteen were dizygotic or fraternal, developing from two different eggs, each fertilized by separate sperm cells.

Using two advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques that quantify fat content in the liver and liver stiffness (a measure of fibrosis), the researchers found that 26 of the 120 participants had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can be a precursor to development of more serious conditions. Hepatic steatosis and liver fibrosis correlated strongly with monozygotic twins, but not with dizygotic pairs.

“This evidence that hepatic steatosis and hepatic fibrosis are heritable traits has major implications,” said Loomba. “It means that we can now look for the relevant genes as potential therapeutic targets.”

Loomba said the research team plans to expand their research to include the role of the microbiome – the collective genomes of the microorganisms that reside within and on humans, and which also indicates a degree of heritability.

Hepatic steatosis and fibrosis are among the hottest areas in research and medicine at the moment, according to Loomba, with more than a dozen clinical trials currently underway. NAFLD, which is characterized by hepatic steatosis, is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States, affecting 80 to 100 million Americans, with 18 million believed to have the more serious NASH.

Source: UC San Diego.

Today’s Comic

New Sweet Offers Sensation of Warm And Cold

Pumpkin Gelato Sandwiched Between A Brioche

Chinese-style Stir-fried Scallop


14 oz fresh scallop
8 oz broccoli florets


4 tbsp ketchup
4 tbsp Xiao Xing wine
2 tsp garlic chili sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1tsp cornstarch
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp chopped green onion


  1. Blanch broccoli in boiling water. Remove and arrange on the sides of the serving plate.
  2. Mix scallop with some cornstarch and egg white. Blanch in boiling water. Remove and drain.
  3. Add sauce ingredients to a wok. Bring to a boil. Add scallop. Toss to combine and heated through. Remove to the centre of the serving plate with the broccoli. Serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

5 Ways Pine Nuts Can Rejuvenate Your Body

Dr. Mercola wrote

Pine nuts have been enjoyed since ancient times. Roman soldiers ate them and they’ve been mentioned by Greek authors as early as 300 BC. Nutritionally speaking, pine nuts contain many of the same healthy nutrients as other nuts, including healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants… but pine nuts are not actually nuts at all.

Pine nuts are the seeds of pine trees. You’ll find them between the scales of pine cones, but while all pine trees yield pine nuts, only about 20 species have pine nuts large enough to be worth eating.

Once harvested from the cone, pine nuts must be shelled, and they should be consumed shortly after. Unshelled pine nuts are prone to rancidity due to their high oil content (so be sure to store them in your fridge).

Pine nuts are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, and in the US they’ve grown into a $100 million market (although about 80 percent of US pine nuts are imported). They’re commonly eaten raw or roasted, and their sweet nutty flavor and crunchy texture lends itself well to snacking, vegetable dishes and, of course, sauces like pesto.

5 Health Benefits of Pine Nuts

There are many additional reasons to eat pine nuts aside from the flavor, as they’re surprisingly good for your health.

1. Suppress Your Appetite

If you’re trying to lose weight, eating pine nuts may help. Research showed that fatty acids derived from pine nuts lead to the release of high amounts of cholecystokinin (CCK), an appetite-suppressing hormone.

Women who consumed three grams of the fatty acid pinolenic acid prior to breakfast slowed the absorption of food in their gut and decreased their food intake by 37 percent. According to researchers:

“Korean pine nut PUFAs [polyunsaturated fatty acids] suppress appetite and affect food intake.”

2. Boost Energy

Pine nuts contain nutrients that help boost energy, including monounsaturated fat, protein and iron. Pine nuts are also a good source of magnesium, low levels of which can lead to fatigue.

One-half cup of pine nuts provides nearly half of the daily recommended amount of magnesium, which is a benefit in itself since so many Americans are deficient.

3. Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Pine nuts contain a synergistic blend of compounds known to support heart health. This includes monounsaturated fat, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K and manganese.

Research suggests that the pinolenic acid in pine nuts supports healthy cholesterol levels and may have LDL-lowering properties by enhancing the liver’s LDL uptake.

4. Anti-Aging Antioxidants

Pine nuts contain a wealth of antioxidants, including vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and lutein. Antioxidants are crucial to your health as they are believed to help control how fast you age by combating free radicals, which are at the heart of age related deterioration.

Antioxidants are nature’s way of defending your cells against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Your body naturally circulates a variety of nutrients for their antioxidant properties and manufactures antioxidant enzymes in order to control destructive free-radical chain reactions.

5. Vision Health

Pine nuts contain lutein, a carotenoid that may help you ward off eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Your macula is a small area just two millimeters wide, located in the back of your eye, in the middle portion of your retina.

For reasons scientists have yet to pinpoint, parts of your retina and macula may become diseased. As AMD progresses, tiny, fragile blood vessels that leak blood and fluid begin to develop in your retina, causing further damage.

However, there is pigment in your macula that seems to act as a blue-light filter to protect your macular region against oxidation by light. In addition, this macular pigment can scavenge free radicals.

Lutein is one of the predominant pigments in this area, and numerous studies have found that consuming foods rich in these nutrients can significantly reduce your risk of AMD (and non-Hodgkin lymphoma).

Pine Nut Mouth Is Real…

If you’re a fan of pine nuts, you may have experienced “pine nut mouth” (or pine nut syndrome). It’s an intense bitter, metallic aftertaste that can persist in your mouth for a day up to two weeks.

So far, tests have failed to turn up any contaminants, bacteria, or chemicals in the nuts that could be responsible for the aftertaste, or the fact that not everyone who eats them gets it.


What’s for Lunch?

Thai Set Lunch for Two

The Menu


Tom Yum Goong Soup

Prawn Pomelo Salad

Baby Cabbage with Roasted Pork Neck

Yellow Curry King Prawn

Thai Roti

Dessert of the Day

International Agreement on MRI-scans ‘Likely to Change How We Detect Prostate Cancer’

The standards of how to acquire and report the scans are published in the peer-reviewed journal, European Urology

International radiological bodies have agreed on a standard for how doctors evaluate MRI to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer. This promises to reduce the number of over diagnosis of insignificant cancers by to up to 89%. The new procedure also allows radiologists to identify up to 13% more life-threatening tumors than current procedures. The standards of how to acquire the MR-images and how to report them are published ** in the peer-reviewed journal, European Urology, the journal of the European Association of Urology.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with a European incidence rate of 214 cases per 1000 men and a mortality of over 70,000, outnumbering lung and colorectal cancer. Research shows that half of all men in Europe have a microscopic cancer at the age of 55 increasing to 80% at the age of 80.

The last few years have seen the introduction of new MRI scans into prostate cancer diagnosis, using an imagining technique called multiparametric prostate Magnetic Resonance Imaging (mpMRI). MpMRI has been developed, tested, and refined by many radiologists around the world over the past few decades. However, acquiring good images is only half the battle in identifying prostate cancer. The draft global guidelines were first released online in December 2014 by the American College of Radiology (ACR), AdMeTech Foundation, and European Society of Urogenital Radiology based on their five-year joint project. The current version has been revised and updated for publication, making it the version which can be recommended to the clinical community.

In clinical trials, an early version of the Prostate Imaging and Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS) system has been shown to facilitate improvements in the diagnosis of intermediate- to high-grade cancers. The second version, called PI-RADS version 2 updates, and simplifies the way that the mpMRI scans are acquired, interpreted, and reported, and it provides detailed instructions so that mpMRI can be standardized.

Lead authors on the document are Professor Jeffrey Weinreb (Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, USA) and Professor Jelle Barentsz (Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands),

Current procedures for confirming prostate cancer use ultrasound-guided transrectal biopsy, where 10 to 12 prostate samples are taken via an ultrasound-guided needle, with the samples then being checked to see if they are cancerous. Often they are not, and are simply caused by a non-cancerous swelling of the prostate or the types of cancers that are very unlikely to result in harm to the patient. Numerous studies have shown that mpMRI improves the recognition and exclusion of the most dangerous tumours so that fewer men may have to undergo a biopsy, and when they do have a biopsy it is more likely to identify clinically significant cancers. In a further refinement, mpMRI allows MRI-targeted biopsies, which yield improved results compared with current ultrasound guided biopsy protocols.

Professor Barentsz commented:

“Early results have shown that mpMRI is an enormous help in detecting significant cancers. But to allow more wide-spread use, standardisation of image acquisition and interpretation is needed. The new PIRADS protocols have the potential to bring real benefits to many patients, throughout the world”.

Professor Barentsz continued:

“This work means we will see increasing use of good quality MRI scans in prostate diagnosis. These MRI-scanners are big expensive beasts, but in fact we have also found that, when you consider the savings made by reducing unnecessary treatment, that mpMRI is cost-effective. We don’t suggest that mpMRI will completely replace the current ultrasound-biopsy method, but they are a powerful new diagnostic tool to the urologists in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The next step is to take the system into the mainstream, which will mean an extensive training and educational programme”.

Commenting for the European Association of Urology, Adjunct Secretary General responsible for Education, Professor Hendrik Van Poppel (University of Leuven, Belgium) said:

“PSA screening decreases prostate cancer mortality but exposes to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. mpMRI will not only simplify this screening, it will also play an important role in the follow-up of patients under active surveillance. It should be the first exam a patient at risk of significant prostate cancer should have. As for the costs of mpMRI, these should be weighed against the saving of costs of unnecessary biopsies, coping with complications and possible unnecessary treatments”.

Source: EurekAlert!

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