Tag Archives: Food

Frozen Food : to eat it or not to eat it?

Fast food picture. source: Google image (free to share)

Frozen Food is getting a bad rap.

Many people think that the frozen meals are unhealthy, opting for a fast-food meal over a frozen food, according to a British consumer group that tracks grocery shopping habits.

But a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who regularly have frozen meals consume 254 fewer calories and 2.7 less grams of saturated fat per day than people who eat fast food. Also, adults who ate frozen meals had higher daily intakes of important nutrients such as protein, fiber and potassium.

Nestle USA, the maker of lots of popular frozen-food brands such as DiGiorno, Stouffer’s, and Hot pockets, funded a study. The findings have been reviewed and considered impartial. Does the findings mean a frozen lasgna is better for your health than a hamburger and fries? Not really.

Nutrition facts of an example of frozen food. source: Google image (free to share)

Registered dietitian Staci Nix McIntosh, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Utah College of Health, notes that the researchers did not compare meal for meal frozen versus fast food and cautions against taking the study findings at face value. “There are lots of factors at play here,” she says, “not the least of which is that people who consume fast food and people that regularly eat frozen food are people who choose different methods of quick meals and may have different lifestyles in general.”
Still, frozen foods can be healthy choices, depending on what you pick. McIntosh says to look for these items on the label:

1.Vegetables, but without the sauce.
2.High nutrient content relative to calories—potassium, calcium, fiber, vitamins A and D, and iron. You want a meal that will provide those nutrients while not exceeding your overall energy intake for the day.
3.Low sodium and no trans fats.


Your Eyes Can Taste Everything for You

To begin, take a look at the two images below:

Blue Penne

Blue Penne. Source: Flickr Creative Commons, user Ronan.


Penne. Source: Flickr Creative Commons, user Jennifer.







Which one looks more appetizing? Which one will you reach for when you are hungry? I would –without a doubt– choose the one on the bottom. Why? Because blue penne is not visually appealing to me, and even if it tasted just as good as the normal one, I would probably feel gross due to the perception that I consumed something blue.

 Now, some of you may think that this is just a personal opinion however, the research done by Jeannine F. Delwiche state that “visual cues… modify the way taste, odour, and flavour are perceived”. She explains her hypothesis through the explanation of the emergent phenomenon. The emergent phenomenon is a phenomenon of how one’s understanding of a whole does not necessarily reflect the physical reality of its parts. Delwiche provides three examples, which are the following:

  • Rabbit-Duck Illusion: This is the ambiguous image where both a rabbit or a duck can be seen, depending on one’s interpretation


    Rabbit-Duck Illusion. Source: Wikipedia

  • Müller-Lyer illusion: This is the optical illusion where one arrow seems to be longer than the other, when in fact, they are the same length

    Müller-Lyer illusion. Source: Wikipedia


  • Kanizsa Triangle: Shows the visual illusion, where the top triangle seems to be brighter than the bottom. This illustrates that perception does not always accurately represent physical reality

    Kanizsa Traingle. Source: Wikipedia


From these three examples, Delwiche explains that sensory input from the visual system can alter taste and flavour of foods and drinks.

A relatively famous experiment was done by Stefan Gates and Alice Pegg where white wine was coloured using red food colouring to make the physical appearance like a red wine. This so-called “red wine” was served in a wine club, where tasters were asked to describe the wine. Surprisingly, the wine drinkers described the taste/flavour in terms that reference and describe a red wine. From this, we can see that the red colour of the wine caused the alteration of the flavour perception. A video showing the experiment can be accessed through BBC News Magazine, or from youtube like the one below:

YouTube Preview Image

Credit goes to user Spab Fi

The next time you encounter a piece of food that seems unappetizing for some reason, take a minute to process the visual image of the food and ask yourself: Is this food actually bad or is it just my eyes tasting it through visual perception?

-Lilly Inoue







Don’t Forget Your Chocolate!

Memory loss has long since been correlated with age, due to a common deficiency of a certain protein in the dentate gyrus (region of the brain involved in memory) observed in elderly patients. Previously, this was just accepted as a hard truth; as you age, you’re destined to have to deal with various parts of your body slowly starting to become less functional, including your brain, which shrinks over time.


The dentate gyrus is a subregion of the hippocampus, shown in red. This part of the brain is involved in memory functions. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The dentate gyrus is a subregion of the hippocampus, shown in red. This part of the brain is involved in memory functions. Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, a recent study at the Columbia University Medical Centre has found that age-related memory loss, at least, is one thing that doesn’t necessarily have to impact you in your old age any longer.

Not only were the effects of age-related memory loss reduced in the study, they were actually reversed! How?

A group of otherwise healthy adults aged 50-69 were divided into two groups with different diets, which they followed for 3 months. The key difference was the level of flavanols (plant-based antioxidants) each group was consuming. The participants who followed a high-flavanol diet performed better on memory tests than those who followed a low-flavanol diet, and brain imaging showed that flavanols improved function in the dentate gyrus.

So what? Well, flavanols aren’t just a mysterious chemical reserved for scientific experiments…they are already readily available to us, and have been for a long time. Flavanols are found in tea leaves, blueberries, grapes and broccoli, so while it’s important that you do as you’ve been told and eat your fruits and veggies, flavanols are also found naturally in cocoa, which is present in chocolate.

Cocoa beans are used to make chocolate, and they are natural sources of flavanols. Source: Flickr Commons User Tom Hart

Cocoa beans are used to make chocolate, and they are natural sources of flavanols. Source: Flickr Commons User Tom Hart

A similar study in 2012 showed that drinking cocoa-containing beverages daily helped to indirectly improve blood flow in the brain, resulting in increased cognitive function, including improved memory.

However, this isn’t an excuse for everyone to just turn to a chocolate-only diet and claim that it’s in their best interests to eat as much of it as they can. Research shows that the cocoa-flavanol works best when paired with regular exercise, so it is important that a healthy lifestyle is maintained, while including flavanol-containing foods as part of a balanced diet.

That being said, chocolate can provide many other health benefits if eaten in moderation, as described in the video below.

YouTube Preview ImageVideo Source: YouTube user WLWT

So what are you waiting for? Go grab some tea, blueberries…what was the other thing? I can’t remember…


– Mikaela

Natural sleeping pills

Everyone experiences occasional sleeping problem.


Sleep disorder Source: Flickr commons

This rate is especially high among college students. A study showed that there are about 81% of students who experienced insomnia. It is obvious school work loads and social events affect our sleeping schedule.

Lack of sleep can cause many health issues both physical and mental, and obesity which is something you don’t want to have while attending school.

Each student has their own method of getting a good night sleep, some of the popular methods are: sleeping pills, alcohol, marijuana, and food.


Example of solution to sleeping disorder (Alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana) Source: My home

However, these methods have their own side effects which are why it is not a good solution to the sleeping problem.

But not to worry, there is plethora of other healthy alternative solutions to fix your insomnia.

  1. Lettuce

Lettuce Source: Flickr Commons

Lettuce has been used for its hypnotic properties back in ancient Egypt. Even now, people use lettuce for its sedative substance in the pharmacological fields.

For instance, there is a study done regarding the soft gelatin capsule containing purified lettuce oil, which is marketed in Egypt. The lettuce oil capsule contains oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid, cispalmitoleic, and other small amount of chemicals. To simplify, it contains the basic chemicals for milky white plastic which has a calming and sedation effect on consumers. In conclusion, the study found that lettuce oil was found to be useful sleeping aid and may be used in a hazard-free line of treatment.

  1. Almond

Almond Source:Flickr Commons

Almond is the seed of a species of tree native to Asia. We can easily find them in a store, packed in a small plastic bag.

This easily obtainable food is full of protein and magnesium. Protein helps us relax while sleeping due to its nature to fight acid reflux that causes heartburn during night. Magnesium promotes sleep and muscle relaxation that aids us to stay in bed at night.

Other than lettuce and almond, there are many other options such as; honey, walnut, cheese, and milk. All these “healthy” choices of food give us the same or better effect of possibly hazardous sleeping pills.

Next time when you can’t sleep, try this!

By Jeamin Yoon

Gambling With GMO

Our diet is a foundational part of our existence. After finding out the importance of not only what we eat, but also the quality of what we eat I was familiarized with Genetically Modified Organisms also known as GMO’s.  GMO’s are a potential danger to our health. Genetically modified food as stated by the World Health Organization are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism.

General information on GMO. Source: Flickr Commons

General information on GMO.
Source: Flickr Commons

Genetically modified crops and foods were introduced into Canada 15 years ago. We first started using GMO’s to address problems like food security, malnutrition, and agriculture efficiency because they produced higher yielding plants that are adaptable to soils and climates and required less water to grow. However a generation has not yet passed for us to see the long-term affects, like how they would affect us in our old age or affect our children. Could our children be involuntarily affected because of this? I came across a study that found that 93 per cent of blood samples taken from pregnant women, and 80 per cent from umbilical cords tested positive for traces of the chemicals from toxins of genetically modified foods.  Knowing these toxins are transferred to our children in the womb, they could very well be causing birth complications. This was enough evidence to prove to me that GMO’s are not safe for human consumption.

Top 10 foods to avoid with GMO. Source: Flickr Commons

Top 10 foods to avoid with GMO.
Source: Flickr Commons

When wondering why one would ever take the gamble with GMO, an idea suddenly dawned upon me… money! GMO is a multibillion dollar industry so it raises the question if GMO is really for the benefit of the world or just a moneymaking business. Because money has been invested into biotech companies that make these Genetically Modified crops and foods, turning back doesn’t seem to be an option. Regardless of what’s going on I will continue to spread awareness about GMO foods and the potential dangerous associated with it. They may or may not harm us, but the fact that this is even a question is bothersome.  This is one very large experiment that I refuse to be a part of.

Video with David Suzuki on CBC about potential dangers of GMO:
Source: Youtube
Author: Ahmet Üstün
YouTube Preview Image

– Jenna Bains