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They're basically saying geniuses eat a lot of chocolate. We'll take it
Well of course geniuses eat chocolate. A "note" published in the New England Journal of Medicine has discovered a correlation between a country's Nobel Prize wins and it's per-capita chocolate consumption, finding the more chocolate a country eats, the more Nobel Prizes it has.
Dr. Franz Messerli, of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University, wrote that in the past, evidence has showed that flavanols in green tea, red wine, and chocolate help slow down or reverse mental decline. This study, however, shows that countries with more Nobel Prizes (a sign of a nation's "cognitive function") also eat more chocolate, meaning chocolate must be the food of genius, right?
According to Messerli's data, Switzerland had the most Nobels and ate the most chocolate, according to population. The United States, the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Germany were in the middle. China, Japan, and Brazil ate the least chocolate... and had the least amount of Nobel Prizes.
Of course, this probably isn't a result of chocoholics becoming geniuses thanks to all that cacao; Messerli suggests that geniuses more likely to win Nobels are also more aware of chocolate's benefits, and thus more likely to eat it. We're just going to take this and run with it, though. If you miss us, we're working on getting a Nobel Prize for America.
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Forget everything you’ve been taught about dieting. In Always Hungry?, renowned endocrinologist Dr. David Ludwig explains why traditional diets don’t work, and presents a radical new plan to help you lose weight without hunger, improve your health, and feel great.
For over three decades, Dr. Ludwig has been at the forefront of research into weight control. His groundbreaking studies show that overeating doesn’t make you fat the process of getting fat makes you overeat.
Always Hungry? turns dieting on its head with a three-phase program that ignores calories and targets fat cells directly. The recipes and meal plan include luscious high-fat foods (like nuts and nut butters, full-fat dairy, avocados, and dark chocolate), savory proteins, and natural carbohydrates. This is dieting without deprivation.
Science Says Eating Chocolate Every Day Is Good for Your Brain
Forget about an apple a day. If you really want to keep the doctor away, try a piece of chocolate instead. Regularly snacking on cocoa-flavored treats can help protect your brain from cognitive decline, according to a new review from the University of L'Aquila in Italy.
Packed with both antioxidants and iron, dark chocolate has already made a name for itself as a smart choice for dessert lovers. Its potential brain-boosting powers only sweeten the deal. Eating some every day helps improve attention, processing speed, working memory and verbal fluency, based on the recent compilation of past studies.
"Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning over time," said review authors Valentina Socci and Michele Ferrara. Their analysis published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that seniors at risk for memory decline received the biggest perks from eating chocolate. Regularly choosing the treat could help improve vital thinking processes over time.
A quick snack may provide some short-term advantages too. Eating cocoa also helped young and healthy adults perform better on tough cognitive tests almost immediately, although the effect was more subtle.
The powerful benefits come from cocoa flavanols, a compound known for its health benefits. Dark chocolate packs in way more flavanols than its milk counterpart, but you can also find them in apples, pears and grapes, among other foods.
The special type of flavonoid supports a healthy cardiovascular system and could increase blood flow to a part of the brain particularly affected by aging, Socci and Ferrara say. Both of them indulge in a little dark chocolate every day, but warn against eating too much, especially if the bar's packed with sugar and other additives.
Luckily, choosing chocolate can also stave off cravings for more indulgent desserts later on, says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute . "Having an ounce of chocolate per day, or about 150 to 200 calories, has a number of different benefits," she says. "While no food is a miracle-worker, I'm a huge proponent of treating yourself with chocolate daily."
While you probably shouldn't give up on apples entirely, adding a little dark chocolate into the mix doesn't hurt. Hey, you don't have to tell us twice!
After more than a year of painstaking directed research by our Experimental Foods Division, we have finally achieved one of our most important longstanding goals: the production of edible googly eyes. Like many other great inventions, it seems almost simple in retrospect, but in this write up we walk through the process and show you how to make your own.
To begin with, we need a food-grade rigid transparent dome that will form the outer visual shell of the googly eyes. Empty gelatin capsules like these slide apart easily and come with one such dome on each end.
You can get capsules like these in bulk at all kinds of “natural” and “health food” stores– or even at many grocery stores in the section where dietary supplements are sold. There is of course a huge selection online– you can even get them in different colors and flavors. Capsules come in range of sizes we suggest starting with size 00 or so to get a good dome.
Note: Vegetarians will observe that gelatin is an animal product. Gelatin-free capsules that perform similarly are usually available in the same places as regular capsules but tend to cost a bit more.
While the gelatin capsules have a dome on each end, they have a lot of space in between that we really don’t need. The photo above illustrates how much of each end we want to keep: the domed part plus a few millimeters. As it turns out, you cannot use the scissors to actually cut it there– it will crack or suffer permanent creases, making it useless for our application.
Instead, using fine-point scissors, make one continuous cut from the opening to remove the excess capsule material. This actually works very well and does not cause undue stress to the dome that we want to keep.
The finished transparent domes, cut down to size.
Next, we’re going to need rolling pupils for our eyes, and these fit the bill perfectly. These are Wilton Jumbo Rainbow Nonpareils, one brand of *giant* round sprinkles a couple of millimeters across. Our big surprise: these actually taste pretty good– they’re flavored candy. The downside is that we only really want dark pupils, so there’s some fishing around to find them in the assortment..
Suggested substitutes: other brands of round sprinkles and cake decors, as well as Nerds candy (look for the occasional round pieces). While you might be tempted to try using flat “confetti” sprinkles or similar types, we actually found them to be quite unsuitable– they get stuck in all kinds of unexpected ways instead of rolling freely.
Next we need a solid substrate that serves as the back surface of the googly eyes– the whites of the eyes. The substrate needs to be sturdy, so that it can support the rest of the eyes, light in color, and completely dry and free of oil. At the same time, it needs to be soft enough that we can press the gelatin capsules into it.
Our substrate of choice is (are?) Whoppers, although some other things will work as well. To use the Whoppers, first cut them in half with a chef’s knife. Then, using a (virginal) half-capsule as a tool, press an indentation into the semirigid center of the Whopper.
Place one of the round “pupil” sprinkles in the cut-off capsule dome, and press it into the indentation made in the Whopper hemisphere. Press it in deeply enough– several millimeters– that it will not fall out, but not so deeply that it restricts the motion of the sprinkle pupil. Some care is required– the substrate can shatter if you push too hard. Special worry about using this particular substrate: the outer, chocolate-like coating will begin to melt if you handle it too long.
Once the capsule dome and pupil are in place, test your new googly eyes, and make sure that the ball rolls freely in the dome. That’s it! You’ve made edible googly eyes!
Another substrate that works– but not quite as well– is a medium-soft cookie. This “Nilla” wafer has a pair of working edible googly eyes on it. The cookie is a little bit too soft for this application, and makes it harder to manage, but it is indeed possible. Other cookies may be too rigid (biscotti), dense (shortbread), or greasy (chocolate chip).
It has been clear for some time that a great many foods are improved by the judicious application of googly eyes. Obviously the one flaw in that scheme– up to now– has been that the foods were no longer edible. Removing this restriction opens a world of possibilities. As with many new technologies, the applications are nearly endless, and only time will tell whether this development ever sees its true potential.
As one example, we present a simple recipe:
Flying Spaghetti Monster Treats, featuring edible working googly eyes.
The basic idea is that we make rice krispy treats, omitting the rice crispies and instead using some tasty dried noodles. Now, rice krispy treats without the rice is actually just marshmallows and butter– an effective and edible glue that can be used for all kinds of purposes.
You can crib the butter/marshmallow proportions from the original source or from whatever box is handy— no two of these seem to be exactly the same. Anyway, melt a bunch of marshmallows with a little butter to make the glue. To that, add some small pieces of precooked dry noodles. Spoon the resulting mess out onto parchment paper, and decorate as needed.
(Vegetarians: Lots of other good ways to do this– start with a general-purpose haystack cookie recipe and go from there.)
The “classic” choice for this sort of thing is to use chow mein noodles– already used to make a few different kinds of no-bake cookies. Of course, considering our theme, it makes sense to instead use ramen noodles. Ramen noodles have beens successfully employed with sweets lately, and it seems like a fine idea. (Remember to omit the flavor packet.) We used another type of dry asian noodle, beautifully labeled “Excellent Flour Stick,” for ours.
Mounting the googly eyes to the eyestalks presents a bit of a challenge, since the “rice krispy” glue does not set immediately, and the eyes kept falling down. Instead, dip the eyestalks in the glue and place them flat on a piece of parchment paper. Then, set the eyes flat on the eyestocks to cool and bond. Later these eyestalk can be added easily to the top of the noodly blobs.
The crowning detail of course is to add the meatballs– in this case Cocoa Puffs. And we’re done– one hundred percent edible Flying Spaghetti Monster treats with working googly eyes.
So, what can you make with edible googly eyes? As always, action shots are welcome in the Evil Mad Science Auxiliary.
This project is included in the food category in our Halloween Project Archive where you can find more ideas and recipes.
Drinking alcohol in moderation protects against heart disease, diabetes and age-related memory loss. Any kind of alcoholic beverage seems to provide such benefits, but red wine has been the focus of much of the research. Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that likely contributes to its benefits-and, according to animal studies, may activate genes that slow cellular aging.
In a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University&aposs Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in "rat lives" is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats outperformed rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. Compounds in blueberries (and other berries) mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.
Max and Paul
After his mother was diagnosed with a mysterious form of dementia, Max Lugavere put his successful media career on hold to learn everything he could about the workings of the human brain and his mother’s condition. For the better half of a decade, he consumed the most up-to-date scientific research, talked to dozens of scientists and clinicians around the world, and visited the country’s very best neurology departments.
Max has condensed his findings into this book
Dr. Paul Grewal is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician serving patients in the Upper East Side, New York, New York. Dr. Grewal earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University. After graduating, he went on to study medicine at Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School. He completed his residency at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital.
Dr. Paul was obese and realized his medical training provided an insufficient understanding of how to lose weight. He sought his own answers, eventually becoming an expert in nutrition and dropping 100 lbs for good.
Scientists Warn That a Chocolate Shortage May Be Imminent
Better hoard up on holiday candy now because chocolate could potentially disappear by 2050. Thanks a lot, global warming!
50 percent of the world’s chocolate is harvested in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, but thanks to global climate change, it’s become increasingly harder for the cacao tree, the plant that spawns cocoa beans, to survive in those regions. The crop is only capable of thriving in the lower story of evergreen rainforests, but rising temperatures are drying up soil, which prevents the cacao tree from growing. As a result, farmers have tried moving their crops to higher ground, despite the smaller availability of space and lower success rates of growth.
Ghana’s cocoa board COCOBOD, is well aware of these issues, but they’ve got a lot on their plate. They’re not only trying to combat global climate change, but rampant fungal disease as well. (Apparently, chocolate has a LOT of enemies.) Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive of COCOBOD, has called upon the nations’ top health officials to collect samples of the current diseased pods so they study the best ways to rehabilitate the crop.
Demand for chocolate already massively outstrips supply. The average westerner eats 286 bars of chocolate every year, because, yeah, it’s delicious. But it’s also incredibly unsustainable, especially if we keep gobbling down the stuff at such an alarming rate.
So what’s being done to help prevent this potential culinary crisis? Scientists at University of California at Berkeley are working with the Mars, Incorporated (you know, the folks behind M&Ms and Snickers) to genetically modify the crop so that is could grow in alternative climates. New technology known as CRISPR is being used to alter the plant’s DNA and if it’s successful, seedlings could be farmed in in other geographic areas.
In the meantime, savor the last of your Christmas fudge and maybe lower your carbon footprint, if not for the good of humanity, for the good of our candy cravings.
4 levels of brownies, from amateur to food scientist
There are dozens upon dozens of recipes for seemingly straightforward things like chocolate chip cookies or apple pie, with different ingredients, different measurements, different bake times and temperatures. How do you know which recipe is the one you want to follow? Learn the science and experiment. Epicurious’ 4 Levels video series can help.
In this video, an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef make their own delicious versions of a classic: Brownies. Then we hear from food scientist Rose Trout to find out how their ingredients and baking strategies affect the final product.
Related DIY: The New York Times’ collection of brownie recipes.
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- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup confectioners&rsquo sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup Rice Krispies
- 1 1/4 pounds milk chocolate, chopped
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, warmed
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour the batter (it will be thin) into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
Invert the cake onto a work surface. Working carefully, slice the cake horizontally. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
Trace a 9-by-13-inch rectangle onto a sheet of parchment paper and lay it on a large baking sheet. In a food processor, pulse the almonds with the confectioners' sugar until they're finely ground. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the whites are stiff and glossy, about 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the almond mixture. Spread the meringue on the parchment to fill the rectangle. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and firm. Let cool.
In a medium bowl set in a saucepan of simmering water, heat the peanut butter with the butter and milk chocolate, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and fold in the Rice Krispies. Spread the mixture all over the meringue rectangle. Transfer to the freezer and let cool completely.
In a medium bowl set in a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Whisk in the cream until smooth. Remove from the heat and refrigerate for 1 hour, whisking occasionally, until thick enough to spread.
Place the bottom cake layer cut side up on a large board. Spread one-third of the ganache over the cake. Invert the filling onto the cake and peel off the paper. Spread half of the remaining ganache over the filling, then top with the second cake layer. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Using a serrated knife, trim the edges. Spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake and refrigerate to set. Cut and serve.
The bottom line
Oat milk is a phenomenal innovation of the food industry and has a stellar marketing and branding campaign. In combining the product’s delicious taste, potential health benefits and impressive performance under (steam) pressure, oat milk and Oatly pioneered a new way of enjoying dairy-free milks.
By knowing the low-down on the potential health benefits, we can move forwards being a more educated and conscientious consumer. If we think we are on the path to health and longevity by consuming oat-milk ice-cream, we have succumbed once again to the ravenous health food marketing industry.
We are consuming oat milk, not a bowl of oatmeal.
But in the meantime, I will definitely continue to sip on my coffee with a few splashes of oat-milk in it — not because it may marginally reduce my blood cholesterol, but because it’s freakin’ delicious, perfectly foamy and dairy free.
Kristen is a dietetics student and Laura is a food science and nutrition student.
Beet Science aims to deliver fun and informative evidence-based nutrition and food science articles about the everyday foods you eat.#RootedInScience