Stevia extract reduces signs of fatty liver disease was reported by Eleanor Bird, for, 18 May 2020.  In the near future, fatty liver disease is projected to become the major reason for liver transplants. A new study in mice has found that stevia extract can improve signs of the condition.  This is interesting but stevia is plant-based and very sweet (you don’t need much).

Fatty liver disease, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, involves the liver being made up of more than 5% fat. There is currently no cure for the condition, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.  Although the exact cause of fatty liver disease is still unclear, risk factors include obesity and high sugar consumption.  The condition is becoming increasingly common in children, in which case doctors refer to it as pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Investigators from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in California, have led a new study in mice to see whether replacing sugar with sweeteners could help combat the disease. They found that stevia extract, a noncaloric sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar, can reduce markers of fatty liver disease.  The findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

Although sucralose had some beneficial effects on the pancreas, the researchers found no benefits for the liver, according to their chosen markers of liver health. 

They found that a number of benefits were linked with the stevia extract, however. The results showed that stevia lowered glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity in the mice, indicating that the compound helps with blood sugar regulation.  Stevia also improved several markers of fatty liver disease, including overall levels of fat and scarring in the liver. Significantly, these effects were independent of changes in weight.

Read more:  Stevia extract reduces signs of fatty liver disease

Potato protein may help maintain muscle was reported by Timothy Huzar for, 18 May 2020.  Research suggests that potato protein can increase the rate of protein production in the muscles.

A new study suggests that protein derived from potatoes can be of high quality and help a person develop and maintain muscle mass. The research, which appears in the journal Nutrients, could be important now that an increasing number of people are transitioning toward plant-based diets. These diets have an impact on a range of factors, including physical health, environmental sustainability, and exercise performance capacity.

As lead author Sara Oikawa, a former graduate student in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, notes, “[w]hile the amount of protein found in a potato is small, we grow lots of potatoes and the protein, when isolated, it can provide some measurable benefits.”

In general, animal-based protein requires far more land and other resources than plant-based proteins. According to a 2018 study, “plant-based replacement diets can produce 20-fold and twofold more nutritionally similar food per cropland than beef and eggs, the most and least resource-intensive animal categories, respectively.”  As a consequence, understanding the role of plant protein, such as that derived from potatoes, in human health is important.

Read more:  Potato protein may help maintain muscle

It took only 50 years, but nutritional yeast has finally gone mainstream.  “Nooch over everything” reads one sticker available for purchase online, the text appearing on a yellow canister not unlike the ones used by Bragg nutritional yeast. On another site, a “Nooch God” T-shirt shows the same bottle between two prayer hands, yellow flakes showering out from the opening.  Nielsen reported that sales of nutritional yeast in the United States increased 20 percent between February 2019 and February 2020. 

The process of making it is almost as unsexy as the name — the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as Brewer’s yeast, is grown on cane and beet molasses for nutritional yeast. Once fermented, the yeast is harvested, washed, pasteurized and dried. The last two steps deactivate the yeast’s leavening ability, its main difference from active dry yeast or Brewer’s yeast. The resulting flakes are mustard-yellow, their shape and texture often likened to that of fish food.

Is it used as a cheese substitute or more as a seasoning all its own … it’s up the cook. 

Read more:  Nutritional Yeast Is for Hippies. ‘Nooch’ Is for Everyone

A Startup Is ‘Editing’ Fruit and Veggies to Make Them Taste Better was written by Emily Mullin for Medium/One Zero, 18 May 2020. Scientists are using gene editing to make healthy food more appealing … REALLY?!?!?!?

A food tech startup called Pairwise Plants, based in Durham, North Carolina, and backed by a $125 million investment from agricultural giant Monsanto (now part of Bayer), is using the gene-editing tool CRISPR in an attempt to make nutritious but less popular fruits and vegetables like kale more appealing to the average shopper. Pairwise is also working on improving a number of large-scale staple crops like corn, soybeans, wheat, canola, and cotton.

WOW!  I don’t know what else to say!?  Investment by Monsanto and Bayer?!  WOW!

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