Category Archives: News

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What is Soy Lecithin and Why is it Found in So Many Products?

I found this great article about soy lecithin which lays out everything you need to know about it.

If you read nutrition labels and ingredient lists, you’ve probably come across “soy lecithin” more than a few times. It’s actually a very popular ingredient – one of  the top 10 most used ingredients in processed foods.

But what exactly is it? What does it do?

And most importantly, what are its health and nutrition characteristics?

What you need to know:

Lecithins are oily substances that occur naturally in plants (soybeans) and animals (egg yolks).

Some people use lecithin as a supplement because of its high choline content. Choline is a micronutrient that is good for heart health and brain development. But that’s not the reason it is used as an additive in foods.

Soy lecithin possesses emulsification properties. This means it can keep a candy bar “together” by making sure that the cocoa and the cocoa butter don’t separate. It is also used in bakery items to keep the dough from sticking, and to improve its ability to rise.

You can also find soy lecithin in places you wouldn’t expect, like tea bags, cough drops, prescription medications and even asthma inhalers!

Soy lecithin (also marked as E322) is extracted from soybeans either mechanically or chemically using hexane. It’s actually a byproduct of the soybean oil production.

Why do food companies use soy lecithin?

Since soybeans are one of the cheapest crops in the US (thanks in part to federal subsidies to growers), it makes sense to use a cheap, natural soy derived emulsifier in food processing.

Is there a soy lecithin allergy?

Most people with soy allergies needn’t worry about products containing soy lecithin, because it is derived from the soybean oil, whereas the allergy itself relates to the soy protein. However, if you read though the comments below, you’ll see that some people with soy allergy are sensitive to soy lecithin as well.

Who should avoid soy lecithin?

While there are vastly differing opinions on the health benefits or detriments of soy lecithin, it is still easy to explain who would not want to use it:

  • People with severe soy allergies who want to play it safe.
  • People who avoid refined oils – soy lecithin is made from soy oil, which is usually made through a chemical process using hexane.
  • People concerned about GMOs.  Unless a product is certified non-GMO, you can assume that the soybeans used have been genetically modified.  Products marked non-GMO or USDA organic should be non-GMO, but have been found on occasion to contain GMOs.

SCiO Handheld Molecular Scanner Analyzes Food, Drugs, and Neglected Houseplants

A new device launching on Kickstarter today aims to simplify the process by utilizing spectrometry to analyze and provide real-time information on any food that you aim it at. Dubbed SCiO, this molecular scanner from Tel Aviv-based company Consumer Physics takes spectrometry technology found commonly in laboratories and industrial environments and places it in a consumer device not much larger than a common USB drive.

The process is simple: pair SCiO to your phone via Bluetooth, hold it about an inch away from an object, such as an apple, and press a button. In just a matter of seconds, SCiO supposedly analyzes the actual chemical makeup of the apple, sends the data to the cloud, and accurately identifies the fruit and provides nutritional information about it. The food app can also give information about how ripe that apple is.

Additionally, SCiO can also scan medication. During a live demonstration we attended last week, Consumer Physics’ co-founder Dr Sharon scanned two brands of ibuprofen, and SCiO was able to identify which pill was a generic brand. When we asked what other medical-type applications SCiO could have, Sharon explained that SCiO won’t be marketed as a medical device at the start, but has the capability of scanning the skin and bodily fluids and could evolve into a medical device if there is enough interest from consumers.

The sky is the limit for potential applications; while SCiO will ship with the ability to identify a large number of food and medication, the company will rely on its users to help expand the database. Consumer Physics will also release an application development kit so programmers can create their own apps that use SCiO. One unique application we saw was how SCiO could also help you develop a green thumb. Scan a plant with the included plant application, and it will let you know if your plants are in need of water.

If you want to get your hands on a SCiO, you can pre-order one now through Kickstarter for $149.

To read more about it click here!


Will colder temperatures help you lose weight?…… Seriously!

Saw this on CBS this morning, decided to share, go ahead and lower your room temperature while reading this!

A new study looking at the science of cold weather and calories found lowering the thermostat by a few degrees may help you burn fat.

According to research published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, slightly lowering the temperature activates an increase in your body’s metabolic rate, which burns calories.

Dr. Christopher Ochner, an obesity specialist at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, joined the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts to discuss the finding and how being a little chilly can help reduce your waistline.

Ochner said that this finding really has to do with the fact that body weight is “determined by calories in and calories out.”

“How much you eat and drink versus the calories you spend. We’re burning calories all the time – just sitting here we’re burning calories,” he said. “In fact, most of our calories are burned at rest. It’s called your resting metabolic rate.”

He explained that when people are cold, they automatically shiver, which research shows will raise the body’s metabolic rate by up to five times. However, nobody likes to be cold.

“The thing is, shivering is uncomfortable – no one likes to shiver,” he said. “What this is saying is that it doesn’t need to go down to the point where you’re actually shivering. People can still remain reasonably comfortable, but lower the temperature and still get an elevation in metabolic rate.”

Ochner said that they recommend 65 degrees Fahrenheit as the “threshold for where you need to be.”

“This is not the type of thing where you go home and just drop it down a degree or too. It does actually need to be chilly.”

He said that the researchers showed that when people are in colder temperatures, like in the 60s, they’ll shiver at first, but eventually they’ll acclimate to it.

Also, Ochner said that if people start off at a higher temperature originally, if they gradually reduce it over time, they’ll end up with similar results.

“If people start out at 70 degrees for their average temperature, if they just lower it by two-degree increments, slowly over time, maybe over a couple of days you sort of get used to it and you almost don’t even notice.”

Hot News: FDA Rules Trans-Fats Unsafe in Food

When I saw this article in The Wall Street Journal it made happy and its about time!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday ruled for the first time that trans-fats aren’t generally considered safe in food, a sharp policy shift that could lead to banning trans-fats in baked goods and other foods.

Trans-fats, or partially hydrogenized fats or oils, are considered a potential prime factor in leading to heart attacks and strokes, and the FDA specifically said it was taking this step to protect the public health.

“While consumption of potentially harmful artificial trans-fat has declined over the last two decades in the United States, current intake remains a significant public-health concern,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. “The FDA’s action today is an important step toward protecting more Americans from the potential dangers of trans-fat. Further reduction in the amount of trans-fat in the American diet could prevent an additional 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year—a critical step in the protection of Americans’ health.”

The agency said it would give food companies and other interested parties 60 days to comment on the proposed action, which it said was based on scientific data.
For more information click here FDA Says Trans Fats Aren’t Safe in Food

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