Gadget: Self-mixing Mug

Ysinobear Auto Magnetic Mug

The price of the mug is 1,999 yen (plus tax) in Japan.

Chinese-style Dessert with Green Bean


1/2 cup peeled green beans
6 oz rock sugar
2 tbsp gelatin powder
1 tbsp agar agar powder
3-1/2 cups water


  1. Cover green beans completely in water, soak for 2 hours. Drain.
  2. Steam beans for 25 minutes until soften. Cool.
  3. Blend the cooked beans with 1 cup of water until pureed.
  4. Mix agar agar and gelatin powder with 1/2 cup of water.
  5. Cook rock sugar with 2 cups of water, simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add agar agar gelatin mixture and bean puree. Bring to a boil.
  6. Remove from heat, pour into a mould and cool.
  7. Refrigerate until pudding is set before serving.

Source: Cook It Easy

Is It Safe to Eat the Colourful Glitter on Top of the Cupcake

Caroline Weinberg wrote . . . . . . . .

Before Tide Pods inexplicably captured America’s imagination, edible glitter enjoyed a few moments of Instagram fame in 2017 — peaking with a latte topped with a liberal sprinkle of glitter that caught diners’ eyes in November. Since then, other restaurants have added the ingredient to their own menus, resulting in colorful dishes like countless glitter lattes, glittery strawberry jelly, “sparkly” iced tarts, glitter smoothies, and even glittery gravy, which one London pub served alongside its Christmas pie.

This week, glittery food hits the big time. Mardi Gras 2018 inspired glitter-topped hot chocolate. Los Angeles-based Astro Doughnuts just announced a glittery gold doughnut to celebrate the Oscars. And for Valentine’s Day, burger chain Shake Shack will unleash a glittery pink milkshake in select cities; dubbed the “Love Shack,” it’s a Valentine’s Day-themed strawberry milkshake topped with whipped cream and glitter.

But as the glitter trend gains steam, the FDA cautions that all that glitters is not edible, and some environmental scientists are trying to get us to give up glitter altogether. So what’s the deal with glitter in food?

Why are people eating glitter?

Like raccoons, people like shiny things. Researchers have found evidence that this preference starts in infancy, with some suggesting that it’s tied to our “innate need for water.” Non-flavored edible glitter, which is often sold at craft stores, adds no additional flavor to dishes — it’s a purely aesthetic add for those times when drinking plain coffee or eating a cupcake with dull icing just doesn’t seem exciting enough. But not everyone is happy with the trend, and some people have complained that certain glitters add an unappealing gritty texture to the food.

Is this the same glitter I used in arts and crafts?

No. Or at least it shouldn’t be. There are two forms of glitter you’ll find topping cakes and drinks: edible and non-toxic, and that classification depends on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. agency that regulates, among other things, what products are considered safe for human consumption.

Edible products are cleared for human consumption in the U.S. and are mandated to include an ingredient list. Non-toxic products won’t kill you, but they’re not considered food, and not subject to the same rigorous testing as products designed for consumption. Play-Doh, for example, is non-toxic, but no one would recommend that you eat it as a snack.

“Consumers should carefully check the label of decorative products they consider for use on foods,” says FDA spokesperson Dr. Marianna Naum. “Most edible glitters and dusts also state ‘edible’ on the label. If the label simply says ‘non-toxic’ or ‘for decorative purposes only’ and does not include an ingredients list, the product should not be used directly on foods.”

Concerns over edible glitter consumption first emerged in 2012, thanks to an episode of the cultishly adored reality program The Great British Bake Off: In the episode, one contestant sprinkled glitter atop her cupcakes but admitted she wasn’t sure if the product was edible. The episode quickly made glitter one the top 10 food safety concerns in Britain.

What’s the glitter on my food made of?

Ingredients in edible glitter commonly include “sugar, acacia (gum arabic), maltodextrin, cornstarch, and color additives specifically approved for food use, including mica-based pearlescent pigments and FD&C colors such as FD&C Blue No. 1.” Barring any food allergies, it can be sprinkled liberally on or in your food, should you be so inclined.

Non-toxic or “food contact” glitter, which is often used on cakes, is technically safe to consume in small quantities, but that doesn’t mean you should be using it as an everyday garnish. The FDA issued an advisory statement about glitter in 2016, noting it had recently become “aware that some non-edible decorative glitters and dusts are promoted for use on foods.”

According to the FDA, there is no difference between this non-toxic decorative food glitter and the glitter that you poured over construction paper as a child; non-toxic glitter can be made of plastic. This glitter is sometimes labeled as for “display” only, with fine print explaining that it is not intended to be eaten and should be removed from food stuffs prior to consumption — and challenging task when it’s being applied directly to icing or whipped cream.

Should I be wary of glitter on food?

Eating small amounts of non-toxic glitter on food will not kill you, so there’s no need to panic if you accidentally consume something meant to be decorative. People with some gastrointestinal disorders that have trouble with digesting small, hard food stuffs like seeds may want to be particularly careful in these cases. “Non-toxic glitter may not kill you, but don’t eat it,” says Dr. Zhaoping Li, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at UCLA. “At least not regularly or large quantities.”

So you can feel free to cover your coffee, cakes, steak, fish, and other food products with edible glitter — if you can find it. It’s far more difficult to find a bottle of edible glitter in a store than the non-toxic version. If you’re eating at a professional bakery, you can ask what type of glitter is used, but employees may not know offhand: When asked, staff at one New York City bakery took 9 minutes to confirm (the answer was a gelatin based, edible glitter).

But Li still cautions against going overboard with the edible sparkly food. “Our body can only take care of it if we only consume things like glitter foods once a while,” she says, “in small amounts.”

Source: Eater

Understanding the Stages of Heart Disease

Lauren F. Friedman wrote . . . . . . . .

Heart disease often starts quietly, progressing from high blood pressure to clogged coronary arteries with few obvious symptoms. But too often it ends with a bang: a heart attack.

Here’s how to understand each stage of heart disease so that you can work with your doctor to slow its progression or, better yet, even reverse it.

High blood pressure

Your arteries—flexible and elastic in younger years—harden with age, a problem worsened by too much body weight, not being active enough, and smoking, among other things.

In those circumstances, blood pressure starts to rise, straining your heart to push blood through your vessels with increased force.

Over time, that can damage the vessel walls, creating perfect places for cholesterol in your blood to lodge.


A mix of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other risk factors can cause cholesterol to build up into plaque deposits, constraining blood flow to the heart. That’s atherosclerosis, or clogged coronary arteries.


For some people, the narrowing of the coronary arteries causes chest pain when they exert themselves. That pain is known as angina.

Heart attack

People with angina are almost lucky. Angina is the pain that signals something is wrong before a person has a heart attack.

But most patients don’t have any warnings. Heart attacks usually happen when a plaque ruptures, causing a blood clot to form and block an artery feeding the heart. When a clot blocks blood to the brain, that’s a stroke.

Aortic valve disease

Aging, combined with high blood pressure, diabetes, and other risk factors, can also damage the heart’s valves, or the flaps that open and close to synchronize blood flow through the organ.

That can prevent a valve from fully opening or closing, limiting the flow of blood out of the heart or allowing blood to leak back in. Over time, that can cause chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness, or fatigue.

Heart failure

High blood pressure, atherosclerosis, valve disease, and heart attacks—alone or combined with diabetes, thyroid disorders, and other conditions—can eventually weaken your heart, making it harder for it to pump blood through the body.

That’s called heart failure, and it can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the legs, neck, and abdomen.

Source: Consumer Report

Read also:

7 Foods to Eat on a Heart-Healthy Diet . . . . .

New Compound Improves Glucose Tolerance of Diabetes without Associated Nausea

Chemist Robert Doyle in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) at Syracuse University has figured out how to control glucose levels in the bloodstream without the usual side effects of nausea, vomiting or malaise.

Robert Doyle, the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence and professor of chemistry, is the inventor of a new compound that triggers the secretion of insulin in the pancreas without associated nausea. Working with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), the Seattle Children’s Hospital and SUNY Upstate Medical University, he has designed a conjugate of vitamin B12 that is bound to an FDA-approved drug known as Ex4.

Doyle’s compound, called B12-Ex4, expects to offer a broader scope of available treatment options for diabetes because of its ability to improve glucose tolerance without the associated side effects.

His findings are part of a groundbreaking paper he has co-authored in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (John Wiley & Sons, 2018). A related paper of his addressing glucoregulation and appetite suppression is scheduled to run in Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group, 2018).

“This represents an interesting new paradigm for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, using so-called GLP1-R agonist drugs, which make up a multi-billion dollar industry,” says Doyle, also an associate professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate. “Our findings highlight the potential clinical utility of B12-Ex4 conjugates as therapeutics to treat Type 2 diabetes, with reduced incidence of adverse effects.”

Type 2 diabetes is marked by increased levels of glucose in the blood or urine, when the body is unable to use or produce enough insulin. Long-term complications include eye, kidney or nerve damage; heart attack or stroke; or problems with the wound-healing process.

Doyle’s discovery stems from his work with exenatide, a drug that causes the pancreas to secrete insulin when glucose levels are high. (Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from the blood to various cells and tissues, where the sugar turns into energy.) Used to treat Type 2 diabetes, exenatide is part of a large class of medications called incretin mimetics. These injectable drugs bind to glucagon-like peptide receptors (GLP1-R) to stimulate the release of insulin.

A drawback of exenatide is that GLP1-R is found in the pancreas and brain. Stimulating the receptor in the pancreas leads to positive aspects of glucose control, but doing so in the hypothalamus (the part of the brain coordinating the nervous system and pituitary gland) causes malaise and nausea.

“We were able to mitigate the side effects of exenatide by preventing it from entering the brain, while allowing it to penetrate other areas of the body, such as the pancreas,” says Doyle, whose research focuses on the chemistry of B12, exploiting its properties and dietary pathway for drug delivery. “Our ability to ‘fix’ Ex-4 as a proof of concept could impact obesity and cancer treatment, since we can use our drug system to prevent or modulate central nervous system [CNS]-mediated side effects. In the case of Ex-4, this [side effect] was chronic nausea.”

Critical to Doyle’s research are GLP-1R agonists–synthetic, peptide-based chemicals that bind to organs or cells, causing them to produce a biological response. These peptide conjugates of insulin are the only known hormones able to decrease blood-sugar levels by enhancing the secretion of insulin. They do this by reducing food intake and body weight.

Doyle says these drugs are effective for treating obesity, but many Type 2 diabetics are not obese or overweight: “In fact, they should avoid losing weight altogether.”

Add to that the prevalence of nausea or vomiting, and the chances of skipping doses or discontinuing treatment increase considerably. “These adverse effects are surprisingly under-investigated, and they limit the full, widespread use and efficacy of GLP-1R agonists for the treatment of metabolic disease,” he continues.

In response to critical need, Doyle’s lab has spearheaded the development of a next-generation incretin therapeutic that controls blood sugar without causing a reduction in food intake or change in eating behavior. “This method of conjugation is ideal for the future treatment of Type 2 diabetes,” says Doyle, adding that Syracuse University owns the patent on this work. “It also may be broadly beneficial to other therapeutics that would benefit from reduced CNS penetrance.”

Doyle collaborated with Matthew Hayes, associate professor of neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, in the project’s experimental design and execution.

Source: EurekAlert!

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