Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Bite Of Food Science: Food Pairings

Have you ever wondered why we pair certain foods together?  Pickles with deli sandwiches but not with pasta?  Peanut butter and chocolate?  A recent article from NPR's blog The Salt delves into a study completed recently by Rutgers and the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.  Paul Breslin is an experimental psychologist with Rutgers and reported to NPR that "lots of things come together to make flavor, whether it's hot, cold, lubricating, how it smells, what we taste. Flavor is an incredibly multisensory sensation."  The study was published in Current Biology.  The study shows that fatty foods and astringent foods pair well as fatty foods create a viscous sensation while the 'astringent' food could be tea, beer, wine, acids: citrus.  Overall, our mouths strive for balance. 

University of Cambridge scientists were able to create a "global flavor map" to further look into food pairings  and why North American recipes differ from Asian cuisine.  Part of food pairings come from a cultural and scientific blend.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Back To School Refresher: Hormones And Exercise

What really goes on when you get off the spin bike or out of the Cross-Fit's Workout of the Day?  Too lazy to crack open those exercise physiology textbooks back from undergrad?  Here's a quick guide/refresher:

  • Dopamine:  To some extent we're all chasing this pleasure chemical, you can get it from eating or from exercise.
  • Growth Hormones (Human Growth Hormone):  These guys help regulate and make muscle.  The growth factors such as hepatocyte, insulin, and fibroblast go to muscles/repair following a workout.
  • Estrogen:  Levels of this hormone correlate whether you burn fat (higher levels typically in women) or carbs (usually in men).  
  • Endorphins: These come from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.  Endorphins block pain and make one feel happy.  Note 'the runner's high'.  
If you're looking for additional detailed information, here is a great PowerPoint presentation from the University of South Carolina Aiken.