This Week's Nutrition News Feed
In this week's news: School cafeteria workers have reason to high-five; scientists make milk -- minus the cow; and umami is just the beginning of an avalanche of new tastes.
Sure, most kids roll their eyes when they hear the phrase "healthy lunch." (Certain grown-ups, too.) But a funny thing happened on the way to upgrading the nation's cafeteria meals. Although elementary school students complained when they first tried lunches that met new government standards in 2012, by the end of the school year most actually liked them, according to a just-out survey from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The data, which polled administrators at over 500 primary schools, found that 70 percent agreed strongly that kids liked their new meals (richer in whole grains and produce, and containing less fat). The picture gets even brighter, too. Another study, recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that children’s intake of fruits and vegetables had gone up since the guidelines were implemented. That said, participation in school lunch programs has dropped 3.7 percent since 2010, a slip that some officials worry has to do with these new standards.
In the lab-grown-meat-is-so-2013 and yes-this-is-happening departments: San Francisco biohackers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi are, as we speak, hard at work on a drink they say will be nearly identical to cow's milk in taste and nutritional makeup. Ingredients include sunflower oil (which has a similar composition to milk fat), and galactose (a sugar very much like lactose). In addition to the animal-free bit, the product -- currently called Muufri -- may bank on its customizability: Once a core formula is established, it's easy to tweak out, say, a mix that would work for people who are lactose/galactose intolerant, or one that's cholesterol-free (in skim milk, small amounts of cholesterol remain in oxidized form). Come August 19, the first glass will be unveiled, and the company hopes to start selling the product commercially well before 2017.