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Meat consumption research – Part 6 Impact of meat and diet on human health

See Introduction/aim of research for the background to this work.

The Western “killer” diet

Modern food production systems ended millennia of food uncertainty for much of the world’s population. Unfortunately, this security has not reached the poorest billion of population who still struggle to feed themselves due to lack of income or resources. For the richer populations, effective food price deflation has stimulated over-consumption and considerable changes in diet. After years of increasing longevity, life expectancy is starting to retreat as more of the population succumbs to obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

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The Role of the Endocannabinoid system in eating

Cakes, Porto, Portugal

This morning we also had a visit from Dr Vincenzo di Marzo of the Biomolecular Chemistry Institute, Pozzuoli, Italy. He has been working with a group of researchers studying the endocannabinoid system and how it is involved with food intake and eating disorders.  I wrote a brief summary of what I learned…

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Brain’s ‘Sixth Sense’ For Calories Discovered


I just read this news at Science Daily

Researchers from Duke University have found that, in mice, the brain has an ability to quickly (around 10 minutes) understand the caloric content of food, independently of how sweet it tastes.  It was previously thought that this was deduced from taste signals.  Their experiment involved creating mice that could not taste sweetness, and then feeding them both sucrose and sucralose (which is non-caloric).  They found that the sucrose triggered the dopamine reward system in their brains, even without the taste trigger.

This could be very useful in understanding human eating and over-eating issues and may help to explain differences between for instance sucrose and fructose in the diet.

Ivan de Araujo and colleagues published their findings in the March 27, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron.