Trillions of microbes inhabit the human digestive system, constituting such a critical part of our health that many researchers have taken to calling the vast, microscopic population the “hidden organ.” But despite weighing as much as five pounds and collectively containing 200 times the number of genes as the human genome, scientists still aren’t sure how these gut microbes — which include bacteria, fungi and viruses — affect human health.
For those of us with a sweet tooth, an extra helping of dessert can seem irresistible. Nutritionists and doctors though, do not dismiss this as an arbitrary craving. In fact, many have hypothesized that a key cause behind these cravings is a diminished ability to taste sweet compounds. A new study by Prof. Robin Dando, food science, hopes to shed light on this mechanism and could have serious implications on how obesity is managed. “Several research projects in the past have found that taste is weakened in the obese.
Fast food, soda and candy have long been key targets in the battle against obesity. However, researchers at the Food and Brand Lab recently found that junk food consumption might not be the prime cause of the current obesity rate in the United States, which is about 34.9 percent for adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, led by Prof. Brian Wansink and Prof. David Just, applied economics and management, looked at national data of the consumption frequency of candy, soda and fast food based on body mass index (BMI). For 95 percent of the population, there was no correlation between consumption of these foods and BMI. “If we look at people who are heavier versus people who are lighter, there really doesn’t seem to be a big difference in how they’re going about eating these foods,” Just said.
The little orange pack of crunchy noodles glares at me. I sigh and succumb to the ugly food I’m about to put in my body. Ugh, college. There is just some moments where I have to put my forkful of dignity down and dwell in the bottom of my lowly bowl of ramen. After all, it’s really cold outside and this “soup” is really warm. Out of a moment of pure laziness, I pour the packet of preservatives into the steaming microwaved noodles and crawl into bed to write ¬reconciliation for this dreadful act to the great world of foodies.