Category Archives: food

Carbohydrates will make you fat

I love carbohydrates, and the sad truth is that they will make you fat, especially simple carbohydrates like potatoes. From the NYT:

The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound).

Also not too surprising were most of the foods that resulted in weight loss or no gain when consumed in greater amounts during the study: fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Compared with those who gained the most weight, participants in the Nurses’ Health Study who lost weight consumed 3.1 more servings of vegetables each day.

But contrary to what many people believe, an increased intake of dairy products, whether low-fat (milk) or full-fat (milk and cheese), had a neutral effect on weight.

And despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period.

Underground grilled cheese

Nothing like taking something boring and making it exciting by adding a measure of illicitness to it. From American Public Media:

BILL RADKE: For years, if you wanted illegal drugs in New York City, you’d get the number of an anonymous dealer who would show up at your location with the goods. Now an entrepreneur who goes by the name of "Ronnie" is trying this technique with… grilled cheese sandwiches. Hungry customers get Ronnie’s number from a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend, and they text their order, and in 15 minutes or less they get a hot, grilled cheese anywhere in the Lower East Side.

 

Our friend Brendan Francis Newnam, co-host of "The Dinner Party Download," gave it a try.

Read the rest here.

Tyler Cowen’s rules for books and movies

One of the most interesting people I know is Tyler Cowen. He reads and incredible amount of books and sees a lot of movies. The Post has an interesting article about Cowen and in the article Cowen explains one of his rules: 

"How do you decide when to walk away from a movie?"

This is one of Cowen’s favorite rules, as it relates to consumption of information. "People should be more willing to walk out of movies," he tells anyone who will listen. "Most movies — they grab you or they don’t, and if they don’t, just leave. Just go. You have already lost money. Why lose the time?"

If a movie doesn’t hook Cowen, he reads a book outside while his wife remains in her seat. Most recent movie they both left: "Greenberg," starring Ben Stiller.

With books, Cowen is even more brutal. If a book is bad, he often throws it away, so it doesn’t waste anyone’s time. "What if the next book they were going to read is ‘Moby-Dick’?" But if a book is good, he might give it away — to libraries, friends or, if he’s on a plane, total strangers (he leaves them in the seat-back pocket for the next passenger to discover). "He drives the flight attendants crazy," his wife says.

Are processed carbs worse than fat?

That’s the way it looks according to a new study:

Eat less saturated fat: that has been the take-home message from the U.S. government for the past 30 years. But while Americans have dutifully reduced the percentage of daily calories from saturated fat since 1970, the obesity rate during that time has more than doubled, diabetes has tripled, and heart disease is still the country’s biggest killer. Now a spate of new research, including a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen studies, suggests a reason why: investigators may have picked the wrong culprit. Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease more than fat does—a finding that has serious implications for new dietary guidelines expected this year.

This is good news. Bring on the ribs and the pulled pork.

Is eating meat more ethical than eating plants?

In the NY Times:

In his new book, “Eating Animals,” the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer describes his gradual transformation from omnivorous, oblivious slacker who “waffled among any number of diets” to “committed vegetarian.” Last month, Gary Steiner, a philosopher at Bucknell University, argued on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times that people should strive to be “strict ethical vegans” like himself, avoiding all products derived from animals, including wool and silk. Killing animals for human food and finery is nothing less than “outright murder,” he said, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “eternal Treblinka.”

But before we cede the entire moral penthouse to “committed vegetarians” and “strong ethical vegans,” we might consider that plants no more aspire to being stir-fried in a wok than a hog aspires to being peppercorn-studded in my Christmas clay pot. This is not meant as a trite argument or a chuckled aside. Plants are lively and seek to keep it that way. The more that scientists learn about the complexity of plants — their keen sensitivity to the environment, the speed with which they react to changes in the environment, and the extraordinary number of tricks that plants will rally to fight off attackers and solicit help from afar — the more impressed researchers become, and the less easily we can dismiss plants as so much fiberfill backdrop, passive sunlight collectors on which deer, antelope and vegans can conveniently graze. It’s time for a green revolution, a reseeding of our stubborn animal minds.

A reader comments, “Morally motivated vegetarians don’t eat beef because, presumably, cows have the same sort of desire for life that people have. The same is not true for brussels sprouts.” Why do we think this? Are we sure? As the author of the article writes, “Just because we humans can’t hear them doesn’t mean plants don’t howl.”