Studylist of the Week: Food Science

From brightly colored breakfast cereal to yogurt eaten out of squeezable plastic tubes, food has changed a lot in the past couple of decades.

The Food Science studylist takes a look at some of these culinary advances — including some of the things we eat that probably wouldn’t have been recognized as food by people only a few generations ago.

Especially after they'd been sitting untouched for weeks without decomposing.

With all of the hype about organic versus non-organic foods, genetically modified foods labeled as dangerous or the solution to world hunger, preservatives, antioxidants, polyphenols, omega-3s or omega 6s… the world of food science can be overwhelming.

When we’re constantly bombarded with mixed food messages (especially those that sound scientific but might not be), it can be hard to tell what is good and what is bad to eat, or when altering our food is a benefit, and when it might do more harm than good.

Still, this is a very exciting time, as we learn more about how the food we eat affects our bodies, our minds, and our environment.

Plus, food can do some really cool things.

People have used “magic mushrooms” for their psychedelic and mind-altering properties for thousands of years.

Now, scientists are finding that these same effects can help make the pain and hardships suffered by cancer patients more bearable.

 

Would you drink from a bottle of wine that had the entire body of a poisonous snake inside it?

It’s perfectly safe — the ethanol changes the natural qualities of the venom, rendering it harmless.

 

 

There may be a way around the ethical dilemmas that surround the practice of raising animals for slaughter.

Meat created in an artificial environment rather than in a living organism could be in your local supermarket sooner than you think.

 

The branch of science related to genes or heredity is always looking to improve the food we eat to make it safer and more nutritious.

A new protein-packed potato is one of the newest developments made to help curb world hunger.

 

With nearly seven billion mouths to feed, the world of food science faces the daunting task of using our limited resources to keep hunger at bay.  And while we should proceed with caution in messing with one of our most basic needs, the future of food and human civilization depends on further study and research.

Bon appetit!

Do you have any stories about food science to share?  Do you know of a time when food science has been beneficial, or a time when it has been harmful?  Let us know in the comments!

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