Low-fat chocolate, hangover cure among topics at chemical society meeting
So, you think the meeting of the American Chemical Society sounds like a snooze-fest? Nothing could be further from the truth! The society — the world’s largest scientific community — is holding its annual meeting in New Orleans this week, with a focus on energy and food. Yup, that includes coming up with lower-fat chocolate bars, tips for staving off hangovers and explaining why egg whites are so good for us.
Here are some of our favorite conference highlights so far from the coolest-ever science fair:
- Chocolate with 50 percent less fat: By infusing chocolate with fruit juice, diet cola or Vitamin C water, half of the fat from chocolate could be eliminated. Stefan A. F. Bon, who led the research, said at the meeting that the juice is in the form of micro-bubbles that help chocolate keep its “chocolate feel.” (you know, firm when you bite into it, then that velvety texture that melts in your mouth). The process also would prevent that white film from appearing on chocolate when it’s been in your grandma’s candy dish for too long. (By the way, that’s called “sugar bloom.”) “We’re hoping the food industry will take the next steps and use the technology to make tasty, lower-fat chocolate bars and other candy,” Bon, who is with the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, said in a news release. Since the juice is spread out in the chocolate, it doesn’t overpower the taste of the chocolate, Bon adds.
- Yak-a-mein soup can help cure a hangover: This soup has salts, proteins and other ingredients that can help people recover after drinking too much. Yak-a-mein is typically a salty beef and soy-based broth with noodles and onions, mixed with a protein such as beef and includes sliced hard-boiled eggs. Lots of vendors sell the soup from sidewalk carts in New Orleans. Alyson E. Mitchell, with the University of California at Davis, shared several additional ways to avoid hangovers. Among them: Eat eggs, because they contain cysteine that helps remove acetyldehyde from the body; drink broth or sports drinks because the salts help replace sodium, potassium and other salts you lost because of the diuretic effect of alcohol; and take vitamin B1, which may help prevent the build up of glutarate, which causes the headache part of a hangover. Eating fatty foods before drinking helps slow down the absorption of booze. (B-1 is also called thiamin. Shop vitamins, including Pro Energy with thiamin, at ProHealth).
- Egg white proteins are even better than we originally thought: Lots of health-conscious people already remove yolks from their eggs to reduce cholesterol. But new research shows a component of egg whites can lower your blood pressure, as well. “Our research suggests that there may be another reason to call it ‘the incredible, edible egg,’” said study leader Zhipeng Yu, Ph.D., of Jilin University, in a news release. “We have evidence from the laboratory that a substance in egg white — it’s a peptide, one of the building blocks of proteins — reduces blood pressure about as much as a low dose of Captopril, a high-blood-pressure drug.”
Photo courtesy of the American Chemical Society.
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