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Vegetarian Zucchini Moussaka

Ingredients

5 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded, cored, and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes,with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
5 ounces Gruyere, thinly sliced
1/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
2 cups plain yogurt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Butter a large baking dish or 4-6 individual baking dishes.
  3. Fry the zucchini in batches in the oil in a large, deep frying pan until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic to the same pan. Saute over medium heat until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and mint. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Layer half the zucchini slices in the prepared dish with half the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the Gruyere. Top with the remaining tomato sauce, and finish with a layer of zucchini slices.
  7. Whisk the flour, yogurt, and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour over the zucchini. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbling and browned.
  9. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

DuPont Lunches Plant-based Egg White

Katherine Durrell wrote . . . . . . . . .

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is launching its Grinsted Plant-Tex egg white replacement system, with three different formulae appropriate for vegan alternatives to burger patties, cooked sausages and cold cuts. Plant-Tex is touted as being cholesterol and allergen free, as well as naturally sourced. The egg white replacement system is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with products manufactured with Plant-Tex expected to reach the market by Q3 or Q4 this year and a worldwide roll out planned for 2020.

“This is a very fast growing and innovative market, and Plant-Tex products are very much designed around what customers have been asking us for,” Linda Yvonne Friis, Global Business Development Manager, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Plant-Tex is currently available in three different forms. Plant-Tex MA1201 for burger patties increases protein content and improves juiciness and umami flavor, while also being lower in salt. Plant-Tex MA1301 for cooked sausages aids shape maintenance and mimics the “snappy” bite of cooked sausages, both hot and cold. Plant-Tex MA1110 for cold cuts gives vegan deli ham an authentic taste and texture.

“We have very strong sensory capabilities that helped us to line up our solutions with consumer ‘drivers of liking’, and working closely with customers always tends to keep us on track and moving at pace,” Friis adds.

However, she explains that there were some specific technical challenges to overcome, such as achieving the right texture. “The goal on these types of projects is to deliver the optimum overall experience rather than fixing just one particular issue. For example, a good meat-alternative sausage deserves a good meat-alternative casing,” explains Friis.

She adds that fortuitous timing aided product development, with Dupont having recently brought in additional texturant product lines relevant to plant-based foods.

The continuing rise of the vegan market

There is a promising market for plant-based meat alternatives, with 37 percent of Americans attempting to consume more plant-based foods, and 46 percent of Europeans saying they consume meat alternatives at least once a week. This has been reflected in new products available, with there being more than a 45 percent average annual growth in food and beverage launches with a vegan positioning (CAGR, 2013-2017), according to data from Innova Market Insights.

“Our research points in the direction of the primary driver for plant-based being consumer’s own health with sustainability and animal welfare being key factors also – and, of course, as plant-based solutions continue to improve, we should see more consumers including some level of meat alternatives in their diet,” Friis continues.

Additionally, she notes that unlike vegans or vegetarians, consumers who seek alternatives to meat occasionally are looking for products that are quite similar to meat with regards to bite, juiciness and appearance. “In many plant-based products, egg white is used as the binder of the plant proteins, in order to approximate meat. This launch is focused on replacing egg white and to get as close as possible to the meat product experience,” she says.

This is not DuPont’s first foray into the vegan market, with its subsidiary, Danisco, offering a line of plant-based products including fermented spreads (plant-based alternatives to cream cheeses), fermented snacks (plant-based alternatives to dairy yogurts), and plant-based beverages (nut and oat). DuPont plans to release more solutions for non-fermented spreads and to produce more meat analogs later this year. “For the meat alternatives, I am convinced that we will see more “whole muscle” type products, more ready meals and more variety,” adds Friis.

The plant-based egg space has enjoyed a spate of innovations recently. In May, Bill Gates-backed Renmatix developed Nouravant, an egg-replacement ingredient created from the botanical building blocks of plants – cellulose and lignin. It offers food manufacturers and bakers a multi-functional, allergen-free ingredient at a “fraction of the cost of current ingredients.”

Source: Food Ingredients 1st

Fruit Sugars vs. Other Sugars

Zawn Villines wrote . . . . . . . . .

The sugars that manufacturers most commonly use in foods include:

  • corn syrup, which is usually 100% glucose
  • fructose, which is sugar from fruit
  • galactose, which forms the milk sugar lactose when combined with glucose
  • high fructose corn syrup, which combines refined fructose and glucose but with a higher percentage of fructose
  • maltose, which is from two glucose units
  • sucrose, or white or table sugar, which is equal parts fructose and glucose

These sugars differ from fruit sugar because they undergo processing and manufacturers tend to overuse them as additives in food and other products. Our bodies also metabolize these sugars more quickly.

For example, sucrose can make coffee sweeter, and high fructose corn syrup is a common additive in many processed products, such as soda, fruit snacks and bars, and more.

Potential risks

Research consistently links refined and added fructose, both of which are present in sugar and sweetened products, to a higher risk of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

It is worth reiterating, however, that this research looked exclusively at fructose in its processed form as an additive in sweetened foods, not at fructose from whole fruits.

Although some fad and extreme diets aim to reduce or eliminate fruit from the diet, for most people, there is no evidence to suggest that fruit is harmful.

A 2014 study comparing fructose with glucose reviewed 20 controlled feeding trials. Although pooled analyses suggested that added fructose could raise cholesterol, uric acid, and triglycerides, it did not have a more negative effect on lipid profile, markers for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or insulin.

People with diabetes can also safely consume fruit. In many cases, sweet fruit can satisfy a craving for something else. Fruit has far less sugar than most sweet snacks, which can mean that a person consumes fewer calories and less sugar while also obtaining valuable nutrients.

Things to be aware of

Whole fruit is always a better choice than packaged or processed fruits.

For example, manufacturers tend to heavily sweeten and highly process fruit juices. Flavored juices that they market to children often contain large amounts of added sugars. These juices are not a substitute for whole fruit, and they may significantly increase a person’s sugar consumption.

People who consume canned fruits should check the label, as some canned fruits contain sweeteners or other flavoring agents that can greatly increase their sugar content.

A very high intake of fruit, as with any other food, may cause a person to consume too many calories, which may increase their risk of obesity. Overeating fruit, however, is difficult.

To exceed a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet by only eating fruit, a person would have to eat approximately 18 bananas, 15 apples, or 44 kiwifruits each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, most people eat fewer than five servings of fruit per day.

Some of the only people who should avoid fruit are those with rare conditions that affect the way their bodies absorb or metabolize fructose. People with specific fruit allergies should also avoid some types of fruit.

A condition called fructose malabsorption, for instance, can cause fructose to ferment in the colon, causing stomach pain and diarrhea. Also, a rare genetic disorder called hereditary fructose intolerance interferes with the liver’s ability to metabolize fruit, which may require a person to adopt a diet without fructose.

Pregnant women in their second trimester should try to avoid eating more than four servings of fruit per day, especially of fruits that are high on the glycemic index. They may also wish to avoid tropical fruits, as these may increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

Benefits of eating fruit

The benefits of eating fruit far outweigh any purported or hypothetical risks. The benefits include:

  • Increased fiber intake: Consuming fiber can help a person feel fuller for longer, reduce food cravings, nourish healthful gut bacteria, and support healthful weight loss. Consuming fiber may also help a person maintain more consistent blood glucose, which is especially important for people with diabetes.
  • Lower sugar consumption: People who replace sweet snacks with fruit may eat less sugar and fewer calories.
  • Better overall health: Fruit consumption is linked to a wide range of health benefits. Fruit and vegetable consumption, according to one 2017 analysis, reduces the overall risk of death. Consuming fruits and vegetables also lowers the risk of a range of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
  • Lower risk of obesity: People who consume fruit are less likely to develop obesity and the health issues associated with it.

Fruit consumption is so beneficial to health that a 2019 systematic review concluded that the current recommendations might actually underestimate the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.

Summary

Nowadays, it can be difficult to separate nutritional facts from fiction, especially for people who are eager to lose weight, live longer, and feel better.

People should talk to a doctor or dietitian before making any dramatic changes to their diet. However, for most people, it is safe and recommended to eat several servings of whole fruit per day.

People with diabetes can also enjoy fruit regularly, though low glycemic and high fiber fruits are best.

Source: Medical News Today

Infections, Especially Urinary Tract Infections, May Be Triggers for Strokes

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

A urinary tract infection might be more than just a painful nuisance for some, with new research suggesting it could raise the risk of stroke in vulnerable people.

The study of over 190,000 stroke patients found that the risk of suffering a stroke was heightened in the weeks and months following any infection that required a trip to the hospital. But urinary tract infections (UTIs) showed the strongest link.

People were over five times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke in the week following a UTI, versus the year before the infection, the findings showed.

Ischemic strokes — the most common type of stroke — are caused by a blood clot that diminishes blood flow to the brain.

The researchers said the findings do not implicate milder infections that people manage at home.

“We’re probably capturing more-severe infections with this study,” said senior researcher Dr. Mandip Dhamoon, an associate professor of neurology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, in New York City.

The study cannot prove that infections actually triggered strokes. But based on past research, Dhamoon said, it is biologically plausible: Infections can increase body-wide inflammation and may contribute to blood clots.

There are a lot of unknowns, though — including whether certain treatments can not only clear a patient’s infection, but also reduce the risk of a subsequent stroke. That’s a question for future studies, Dhamoon said.

For now, people with risk factors for a stroke can focus on things they can control, according to Daniel Lackland, a professor of neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

“If you’ve recently been in the hospital for an infection, be even more cognizant of controlling your stroke risk factors, like high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Lackland, who is also a spokesperson for the American Stroke Association.

The findings, published online June 27 in the journal Stroke, are based on more than 190,000 people who were treated for a stroke at New York State hospitals.

Most often, it was an ischemic stroke, but close to 40,000 patients had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke — which occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

The researchers looked at each patient’s risk of stroke in the week to four months after a hospital visit for an infection, and compared it with the risk in the previous year.

The risk gradually went down, but was still increased by twofold four months out, the investigators found.

At this point, Dhamoon said, it’s not clear why UTIs would show the strongest association with stroke.

Respiratory infections, blood infections and UTIs were also tied to a heightened risk of intracerebral hemorrhage — a type of hemorrhagic stroke. Why might infections contribute to brain bleeding? Effects on blood vessel function could potentially play a role, Dhamoon said. But that can’t be discerned from this study, he added.

Another point: The study looked at people’s stroke risk at a particular time in relation to another time period. So even though the risk was relatively elevated after an infection, that doesn’t mean it was high.

“The absolute risk to any one patient is still probably low,” Dhamoon said.

Past studies, Lackland said, have implicated certain infections as a possible stroke trigger — including herpes zoster, which causes shingles.

“But this study suggests that a range of infections, if severe, are associated with stroke,” Lackland said. That’s important, he added, because it may help researchers figure out the “why.”

Source: HealthDay


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