Want to Know What Your Favorite Song Tastes Like? There’s a Machine for That

A Japanese company has designed a machine that gives you a taste of any song you choose—quite literally.

The developers of Squeeze Music claim the juke box-come-juicer is able to analyze a song’s waveform for feelings, be they happy, exciting, romantic, sentimental, or sad, and turn them into drink flavors mixed together in proportion to the qualities of each song. Each emotion correlates to a specific flavor. Happy = sweet, exciting = sour, romantic = astringent, sentimental = salty and sad = bitter.

If you feel that doesn’t cover the whole expanse of human emotion, don’t worry: The Nomura Open Innovation Lab (NOMBLAB), which developed Squeeze Music, is working on expanding the range with five more feelings. Right now the juice dispenser is just a prototype, but its inventors hope to commercialize it one day.

Watch video at You Tube (1:24 minutes) . . . . .


Braised Pork Belly With Ginger and Fennel


2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sherry
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
3-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
6 large scallions, green and white parts separated
4 tbsp dark soy sauce


  1. Season pork with salt. Heat oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. In batches, add the pork belly and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil from the pot and add brown sugar. Cook until sugar is melted and the color of molasses, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in sherry and 1/2 cup water, the caramel will sizzle and seize, but will become a sauce once it is melted again.
  4. Add coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds, ginger, scallion whites, soy sauce, and pork belly into the pot. Add 2 cups water, enough to cover the pork, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low until pork belly is tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  5. Uncover and increase the heat to medium and boil to reduce the sauce in the pot until the sauce is glossy and coats the pork belly, about 15 minutes. Top with sliced scallion greens and serve.

Source: Bon Appetit

In Pictures: Food of Pineapple & Pearls Restaurant at Washington, D.C., USA

One of the three Michelin two-star Restaurant in Washington, D.C.

The Restaurant

Maybe Your Diet Is Actually Pretty Good

James McCormack wrote . . . . . .

THE world has seen a plethora of “experts” providing nutritional advice that sounds definitive and evidence-based. Many of us have lived through all the recommendations: low fat then high fat; salt is a problem, then salt is no problem; eggs are good, then they are bad; butter is very bad, margarine is good, then butter is good again; high carbs, then no carbs— and so on.

This befuddlement has led both health-care professionals and members of the public to make recommendations — or even changes in our own diets — that, from afar, resemble a great cosmic yo-yo. With so much wayward nutritional advice, the medical profession has come to look indecisive and sometimes downright silly.

So here we go again.

A few weeks ago, a large (18 countries, five continents, 135,000 people) and long (7.4 years) cohort study on nutrition was published in the Lancet. The resulting headlines were full of hyperbole: “low fat diets could kill you” and “huge diet study shows carbs not fats are the problem.”

But when it comes to interpreting nutritional evidence, you shouldn’t just read the headlines, because the devil is always in the details.

For starters, a cohort study like this cannot determine cause and effect but only give a suggestion as to what might happen when populations consume varying amounts of macronutrients — carbohydrates, fats and protein. The people studied ingested a broad range of macronutrients (anywhere from 45 to 75 per cent of calories from carbohydrates, 10 to 20 per cent from protein and 10 to 35 per cent from fat). The investigators then looked at the association between the percentage of macronutrient intake and major cardiovascular disease and overall death.

What they found is that despite broad macronutrient ranges, there was no association between the percentage of macronutrient ingested over 7.4 years and the chance of a person developing cardiovascular disease— amajor cause of overall disease and death.

An association was seen for overall death. However, even then, an increase in death was only associated with those people who ingested carbs at the highest percentage (around 75 per cent) of the ranges studied, or those who ingested protein or fats at the lowest percentage (around 10 per cent) of the ranges studied.

Importantly, the increase in the risk of death was only around one to two per cent higher for people at these “extreme” ranges — so even for the outliers, 98 to 99 per cent weren’t impacted. In other words, this study seems to suggest that the macronutrient composition of a diet isn’t a big determinant of what makes a diet healthy or not.

When one looks worldwide, macronutrient intake, on average, consists of carbohydrates at 63 per cent of calories, proteins at 11 per cent and fats at 26 per cent.

In developed countries, it is carbohydrates at 53 per cent, proteins at 12 per cent and fats at 34 per cent. So if this Lancet study is correct, the vast majority of us are eating a “healthy” mix of macronutrients.

Now let’s put this cohort study in context alongside randomized controlled trials of different diets — the highest form of evidence. Many might be surprised to learn only three large trials looking at important clinical outcomes have ever been done in nutrition: the 1994 Lyon Diet heart study (primarily men with cardiovascular disease), the 2013 PREDIMED (men and women without cardiovascular disease) and the 2006 Women’s Health Initiative (women without cardiovascular disease).

The first two trials studied versions of a Mediterranean-type diet and found that fatal plus non-fatal cardiovascular disease was reduced by around eight per cent over two years and around one per cent over four years, respectively. The WHI found a lower-fat diet had no impact on cardiovascular disease or any health outcome over eight years.

In other words, the best available evidence — despite the evidence being clearly limited— seems to support a Mediterranean-type diet, which has slightly lower carbs and higher fat than what was evaluated in the Lancet study.

Taking these studies altogether suggests, overall, as long as a person doesn’t eat at the extremes of any macronutrient, they should be just fine.

So, all those people who proselytize low carbs, high carbs, lowfat, high fat — there’s no strong evidence to favour one over the other.

There are two important caveats. One, there are clearly people who do not eat in a healthy manner, but by far their biggest issuewith food is not so much the type but the amount ingested. And two, evidence around diets is also fairly clear when it comes to excessive intake of over-processed food and refined sugars. These consistently seemto be bad actors in the dietary screenplay.

The good news is there’s no yo-yo this time. Looking at the evidence, many of us are eating a reasonable diet when it comes to macronutrients.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Irregular Heartbeat Linked to Higher Thyroid Hormone Levels

Individuals with higher levels of thyroid hormone (free thyroxine, FT4) circulating in the blood were more likely than individuals with lower levels to develop irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, even when the levels were within normal range, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

“Our findings suggest that levels of the thyroid hormone, free thyroxine, circulating in the blood might be an additional risk factor for atrial fibrillation,” said study lead author Christine Baumgartner, M.D., specialist in General Internal Medicine from the University Hospital of Bern, Switzerland, and currently a postdoctoral scholar at University of California San Francisco. “Free thyroxine hormone levels might help to identify individuals at higher risk.”

In the United States, irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) affects between 2.7 to 6.1 million people and is estimated to affect up to 12.1 million people by 2030. It occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, beat irregularly and faster than normal. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating, chest pain, anxiety, fatigue during exertion and fainting, but sometimes patients with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms at all. Although people can live with irregular heartbeat, it can cause chronic fatigue and increase the risk of serious illnesses, such as stroke and heart failure, potentially associated with lifelong disability and even death. Fortunately, medication and other therapies are available to treat irregular heartbeat and reduce the risk of the associated symptoms and complications.

The thyroid gland is a small gland in the neck. In response to thyroid-stimulating hormone released by the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones required to regulate energy metabolism. Patients with low levels of thyroid hormone, or hypothyroidism, may require medications containing thyroid hormone (thyroxine) to increase their hormonal levels. Sometimes intake of thyroxine sometimes can increase these levels too much.

Previous studies showed that the risk of irregular heartbeat is greater among individuals who produce too much thyroid hormone than among those with normal hormonal levels. What was unclear, however, was whether levels that were high but still within the normal range could also increase the risk of irregular heartbeat.

To understand this relationship, investigators looked at the occurrence of irregular heartbeat among individuals with thyroid hormone levels that were still within normal range. They found that individuals with higher blood levels of FT4 within the normal range at the beginning of the study were significantly more likely than those with lower levels to subsequently develop irregular heartbeat.

When separated into four equal-sized groups, the group with the highest FT4 levels had a 45 percent increased risk of irregular heartbeat, compared to the group with the lowest levels. Even more modest increases in thyroid hormone were associated with an increased risk. Among individuals with the second highest levels, the risk was 17 percent greater, and among those with the third highest levels the risk was 25 percent greater, compared to those with the lowest levels. High levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) within the normal range, however, were not associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

“Patients who are treated with thyroxine, one of the most frequently prescribed drugs in the United States, generally have higher circulating free thyroxine levels compared to untreated individuals,” Baumgartner said. “So, an important next step is to see whether our results also apply to these patients, in order to assess whether target free thyroxine thyroid hormone concentrations for thyroid-replacement therapy need to be modified.”

The investigators analyzed data from 11 studies from Europe, Australia, and the United States that measured thyroid function and the occurrence of irregular heartbeat. Overall, the studies included 30,085 individuals. Their average age was 69 years, and slightly more than half were women. On average, follow-up ranged from 1.3 to 17 years. The investigators obtained the studies by searching the MEDLINE and EMBASE medical databases through July 2016.

Source: American Heart Association

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