New Research Finds Drinking 100 Percent Fruit Juice Does Not Affect Blood Sugar Levels

One hundred percent juice does not have a significant effect on fasting blood glucose, fasting blood insulin, or insulin resistance according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating that 100% fruit juice is not associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and support a growing body of evidence that 100% fruit juice has no significant effect on glycemic control.

A comprehensive data analysis quantitatively assessed the relationship between drinking 100% juice and blood glucose control. Using fasting blood glucose and fasting blood insulin levels as biomarkers for diabetes risk, the systematic review and meta-analysis included 18 randomized controlled trials (RCT) to evaluate the impact of 100% juice from fruits, such as apple, berry, citrus, grape, and pomegranate.

According to The American Diabetes Association, about 90% of the 29 million cases of diabetes in adults and children in the United States are considered Type 2. Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to respond to insulin. The first line of defense for preventing and treating Type 2 Diabetes is following a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, exercising regularly and staying at a healthy weight are encouraged. US Dietary Guidelines recommend consumption of a healthy eating pattern which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and a variety of protein foods. A 4-oz. glass of 100 percent juice counts as one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, and can complement whole fruit to help individuals add more produce to their diets.

Source: EurekAlert!


Chart of the Day: Pairing Food with Wine

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Source: ship it appliances

New Edible Straw You Can Eat After You Finish Your Drink

Adele Peters wrote . . . . . . .

One hundred and fifty years ago, if you drank a mint julep with a straw, it was an actual straw, made of ryegrass. Then came the paper straw–to solve the problem that ryegrass tended to become mushy and ruin a drink–and finally, by the 1960s, a plastic straw, a product that Americans now use half a billion of a day.

The plastic straw–useful for a few minutes before it’s tossed, often to end up escaping into waterways–is one of many reasons why some estimate that there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish, by volume, in three decades. It’s inspired anti-straw activism. It also inspired designers to come up with a straw as compostable as the original rye, but with the sturdiness of plastic.

Called Lolistraw, it also has a new feature: When you’re done sipping your drink, you can eat the straw.

“From our perspective, the way to get our community involved, and the way to get the world excited about this new innovation is to embrace the fun,” says Chelsea Briganti, one of the cofounders of Loliware, a company that began making edible cups, with a fruit leather-like texture, in 2015. The straws are made from a new seaweed-based material that’s more like plastic, but like the cups, can be made with a flavor or with added nutrients; they’re meant to add a little to the experience of having a cocktail or another drink.

“You can imagine drinking your cold-brewed coffee with a vanilla straw or a caramel straw,” Briganti says. “We think that will really increase this movement around plastic-free, because we’re not telling the consumer, hey, you can’t have your straw. We’re providing them a solution to the plastic straw crisis while also giving them a fun experience on top of that. It’s not about the consumer sacrificing anymore, it’s about the consumer having fun and being sustainable at the same time.”

The company plans to target venues where plastic straws are currently used at highest volumes, such as stadiums, fast-casual restaurants, coffee shops, or juice bars. One version will be clear and look like a plastic straw, while others will be colored and flavored.

It “really feels like plastic,” says cofounder Leigh Ann Tucker. “It transforms while you’re using it to where you can actually bite into it afterward and eat it. But when you first pick it up and put it into your drink, it’s going to feel like a plastic straw.”

For those who don’t want to eat the straw, it’s also compostable. Unlike another material often used for compostable utensils–PLA, which is often made from corn starch–it breaks down as easily as something like a banana peel, so it can be composted in a home system rather than requiring industrial composting equipment. If the seaweed-based straw happens to end up in the ocean, it will dissolve.

“There are some bioplastics that just break down into smaller pieces, whereas Lolistraw is designed to literally disappear,” says Briganti.

The designers are currently raising funds for the product on Kickstarter and preparing for mass manufacturing. The cost, while not as cheap as plastic straws, will compete with paper and other compostable straws, and the company hopes to make inroads into replacing ubiquitous plastic. “Our goal for next year is to replace millions of straws,” she says. “I know we can get there.”

Source: Fast Company

Watch video at You Tube (2:52 minutes) . . . . .

How Good Is Your Sparkling Wine? Size of Bubble And Sound Matters

April Fulton wrote . . . . . . . .

Oenophiles have debated the most desirable characteristics of bubbles in champagne and sparkling wines for centuries, with most purists swearing that the smaller the bubble, the better the wine. But up until recently, few thought to listen to the bubbles themselves for answers.

Scientists at the Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas in Austin normally measure the sound of inflating fish bladders and bubble curtains that dampen noise from underwater drilling. This time, they decided to listen in on champagne bubbles. “It was just nerdy curiosity,” says Kyle Spratt, who led the research at UT.

“Our first inclination was to drop a hydrophone (underwater microphone) into a glass and see what sort of sounds we heard,” Spratt says.

And, how do sparkling wine bubbles sound? With the right listening equipment, “they ring like bells,” he says. And the more expensive bottle did indeed have smaller bubbles, he found.

He presented his findings earlier this month at the Acoustical Society of America’s annual meeting in New Orleans.

Spratt and his team listened to the bubbles and analyzed their sounds to determine bubble size and distribution in the glass. “The pitch at which a bubble rings is related to its size: The smaller the bubble, the higher the pitch,” he said in his presentation.

By tracking how bubbles form and bounce off the glass to ring at various frequencies and pitches, Spratt and his team were able to get a sense of the range of bubble sizes within the individual wines.

But the bubbles weren’t so simple to measure. The hydrophone had to be extremely small. And the scientists figured out pretty quickly that the vessel holding the sparkling wine had to be a proper flute.

Bubbles behave differently on different surfaces, like glass as opposed to Styrofoam, explains Spratt. “In particular, Styrofoam isn’t a smooth surface, but rather, has a bunch of little pockets in it, and because of this, bubbles stick to the surface for longer before breaking off,” he says. The bubbles in a Styrofoam cup are larger and fewer, and therefore sound very different.

As an aside, Spratt says his methods irked some French scientists who were in the room when he presented his findings. “They were all basically horrified that we’d even think to put champagne into a Styrofoam cup!”

For simplicity’s sake, Spratt and his colleagues only looked at two wines — the pricey French Moët & Chandon champagne and a cheaper California bubbly by Cook’s. While you can’t tell much difference with the naked ear (see if you can tell the difference in the raw sound clips), they analyzed them and discovered that the Moët & Chandon had slightly smaller bubbles (about 5 percent smaller), slightly less variation in bubble size and three times the amount of overall bubble “activity,” i.e. movement in the glass.

But sound alone doesn’t tell you everything. There are other potential factors in determining wine quality based on bubbles. The pour, for one, can make a difference in how many busy bubbles you get in the glass.

Also, the age of the bottle can make a difference. “Old champagnes always show tiny bubbles, mainly because they have aged several years and lost a significant amount of dissolved CO2, the gas that produces the bubbles,” French chemist Gerard Liger-Belair, author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne, told us a few years back.

So what if you can only afford the $10 sparkling wine this New Year’s Eve? It turns out that bigger bubbles in your wine is not necessarily a bad thing. A recent French study indicates that when bigger bubbles pop, they give off more aromas.

Spratt acknowledges that his data on the bubble acoustics of sparkling wine and champagne is preliminary, but he sees the sound measurement effort becoming a useful quality assurance tool for winemakers.

Source: npr

Easy Recipes with Hot Chocolate

Deena Shanker wrote . . . . . . .

Few winter-time pleasures are more basic (in a good way) than a cup of hot cocoa — although if you’re sipping on something that started as a powder, you are missing out. Making hot chocolate from actual chocolate is neither difficult nor ingredient intensive, but the rich, luxurious results will shame every last packet of Swiss Miss sitting in your pantry.

Below are four recipes for at-home, made-from-scratch hot chocolate. The key for each is to start off with high-quality chocolate. Do that, and you’ll never use a powder again.

Water-Based Drinking Chocolate

Despite having only two ingredients—just dark chocolate and water—this recipe is not for the faint of heart. The purity of the combination makes for an intense, decadent experience that those accustomed to traditional cocoas might find too rich. Cookbook author Megan Giller got this recipe from Aubrey Lindley, co-owner of cult chocolate shop Cacao in Portland, Ore. She recommends it as a way to try different kinds of single-origin or blended chocolates, because the water base won’t distract from their flavors the way a milk or cream base would.

From Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution by Megan Giller

Makes 2 servings

1-1/2 cups water
8-1/2 ounces dark chocolate (68 percent to 75 percent cocoa), chopped

Bring the water to a boil in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Cover and let sit for 30 to 45 seconds.

Whisk gently and scrape the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula to make sure the chocolate isn’t stuck to it. Put the pan back on the burner (keep it turned off) and let it rest until the chocolate is completely melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk vigorously for a minute or two to emulsify completely. Check the consistency by seeing if it sticks to the back of a clean spoon. If it is lumpy, keep mixing. If it sticks and is smooth, you are finished. Don’t confuse bubbles for clumps; small air bubbles are OK. Some bits of chocolate will stubbornly remain at the bottom of the pan, but don’t worry about them.

Serve warm. The flavors and texture will evolve as it gradually cools and rests.

Simple Chocolate Sauce for Hot Chocolate on the Go

For those looking to make easy hot cocoa again and again, or who just like a milder beverage with a milky base, this recipe is the one for you. Make the sauce once, stick it in your fridge, and use it over the next few weeks at your leisure. Nate Hodge, co-founder of Brooklyn’s luxe bean-to-bar Raaka Chocolate, recommends 2 tablespoons of sauce per cup of warm milk or milk alternative, although you’re free to add more (but probably not less, let’s be honest) as you like.

From The Art and Craft of Chocolate by Nate Hodge, forthcoming in 2018.

Makes 2 cups of sauce

1 cup of purified water
1 cup of sugar
7 ounces of dark chocolate

To make sauce:

Put the water and sugar into a small saucepan and put on medium high heat. Allow the liquid to come to a boil. Keep it at a boil for 5 minutes. Cut the heat on the stove, move the pan to a cool burner, and slowly mix in the chocolate with a whisk. Mix until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour into a jar and allow to cool. If kept in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, the sauce should keep fresh for 3-4 weeks.

To make hot chocolate:

Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate sauce to a cup of warm milk or milk alternative. To jazz it up, grate an ounce of dark chocolate on top using a microplane.

Mission Hot Chocolate

This more advanced recipe from Dandelion Chocolate is an homage to San Francisco’s Mission District, where Dandelion has its cafe and whose Mexican American population has made the neighborhood a center of food, culture, music, and murals. Spicy and rich, it could be its own dessert course and adapts particularly well for vegans. Simply replace the nonfat and whole milks with unsweetened almond milk. Dried pasilla chiles can be found in the Latin food section of your supermarket or in specialty shops.

From Making Chocolate: From Bean to Bar to S’more by Todd Masonis, Greg D’Alesandre, Lisa Vega, and Molly Gore

Makes 5 servings

1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground pasilla
1 cup nonfat milk or unsweetened almond milk
1-1/4 cups 70-percent chocolate chips
1 vanilla bean
4 cups whole milk

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and pasilla in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Set aside.

Using a paring knife, gently slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the beans from the inside of the pod using the back of the knife blade. Set seeds aside.

Heat the nonfat milk in a very large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. When milk is steaming (hot to the touch), add the chocolate to the bowl. Whisk chocolate and milk mixture together until the chocolate is fully combined and the ganache is thick and shiny.

Add the brown sugar spice mixture and vanilla bean seeds to the ganache and whisk until incorporated, continuing to heat the mixture over the pot.

Add whole milk to the ganache, whisking to combine. Heat hot chocolate for another 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until steaming. Remove bowl from pot and serve immediately.

Molten Chocolate Cookies

Just in case you or your loved ones are not the hot chocolate types (gasp!), this cookie serves a similar purpose. It’s rich, it’s delicious, and it’s best savored slowly (good book optional). Thanks to their large size—only 8 cookies on each baking sheet—and their dramatic, gooey centers, think of it as a cup of hot chocolate in cookie form. Just be careful not to overcook, which will ruin that fudgy center.

From Guittard Chocolate Cookbook by Amy Guittard

Makes 16 cookies

2-1/4 cups Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Baking Wafers
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate wafers and butter together using a hot water bath or the microwave oven (see Note: Melting Chocolate, page 51). Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the water if you used a hot water bath and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until pale yellow and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate mixture. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or up to overnight.

Scoop 2‑inch (5‑cm) mounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches (5 cm) between the cookies; the cookies will spread as they bake.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until crusty on the outside but soft in the center. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes to firm up, then serve immediately.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Reheat to achieve the molten chocolate gooeyness by microwaving them for 10 seconds.

Source: Bloomberg