Eating Less Meat is Getting More Popular

Having a vegetarian or vegan diet can be difficult for some people even though such a diet can make you happier than meat eaters. The message that eating less meat is being heard though – the benefits of a reduced meat diet are huge.

By eating less meat you can: save wildlife, save the environment, live longer, and even help save our forests.

To help people eat less meat (even though it’s already easy) there’s a new movement that people can identify with: reducetarian.

According to Mintel’s report, though, the rise of vacillating, part-time vegetarians who are actively trying to reduce their meat consumption is more significant than the growing number of categorical, self-identifying “vegetarians” or “vegans.” This has led to an evolution on the supermarket shelves—the number of food products carrying a “vegetarian” claim has apparently doubled to 12 percent, while one in eight meat buyers would now consider buying half meat and half vegetable protein across a week’s shopping. Even the less obviously meat-containing products like chocolate or sweets are playing to this growing market, with 11 percent now alleging to be animal-free.

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Finally Americans Are Eating Less

The obesity problem in the USA may start to shrink. After years of constantly increasing they caloric intake Americans seem to be getting the message that eating too much can be bad for you. This is the first year that caloric intake has decreased and hopefully it’s a trend of things to come.

As calorie consumption has declined, obesity rates appear to have stopped rising for adults and school-aged children and have come down for the youngest children, suggesting the calorie reductions are making a difference.

The reversal appears to stem from people’s growing realization that they were harming their health by eating and drinking too much. The awareness began to build in the late 1990s, thanks to a burst of scientific research about the costs of obesity, and to public health campaigns in recent years.

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A New Documentary Looking Into Food Production

Voices of Transition is a new documentary film with limited release but you can buy it online now! The film examines how we grow our food and ideas around how to make the whole agriculture system make more sense.

The film deals with community building, resilience and sustainability through urban farming. It draws on the experience of community and organic farming initiatives in France, the UK and Cuba and highlights how environmental and economic challenges to our current food system can be turned into positive stories, help create resilient communities, and to build a future in which soils and people once again support each other in a balanced and sustainable way.

Check it out!

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Seoul Starts Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is a possible food production solution as suburban sprawl consumes arable land. The new style of farming essentially is a farm in a skyscraper; they have yet to demonstrate commercial value but it’s inevitable that these farms will be normal fixtures in urban centres; Korea wants to be on the leading edge of this.

The farms would be three stories high, with vegetables and crops grown on the second and third floors, while the first floor would serve as a classroom for teaching agriculture, city officials said Tuesday.

The farms will be computer controlled to provide the right light, temperature and humidity, and check carbon dioxide levels.

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Drinking Coffee Regularly Decreases DNA Damage

I start my day with coffee and writing a post about good news. Today those two things merged rather well: it turns out drinking coffee regularly can lower the chances that one’s DNA will get messed up.

DNA is always doing bizarre things and if those things get too bizarre then it can cause some very bad mutations. For some reason coffee keeps your DNA doing the right thing.

As one commentator on Reddit said:

Their findings indicate that those who drank 750 ml (~3 cups) of coffee per day experienced 27% fewer strand breaks in white blood cells than those who only drank water, controlling for diet and body weight.

Here’s the paper’s abstract:

Abstract
PURPOSE:
Coffee consumption has been reported to decrease oxidative damage in peripheral white blood cells (WBC). However, effects on the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks, a well established marker of health risk, have not been specifically reported yet. We analyzed the impact of consuming a dark roast coffee blend on the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks.

METHODS:
Healthy men (n = 84) were randomized to consume daily for 4 weeks either 750 ml of fresh coffee brew or 750 ml of water, subsequent to a run in washout phase of 4 weeks. The study coffee was a blend providing high amounts of both caffeoylquinic acids (10.18 ± 0.33 mg/g) and the roast product N-methylpyridinium (1.10 ± 0.05 mg/g). Before and after the coffee/water consumption phase, spontaneous strand breaks were determined by comet assay.

RESULTS:
At baseline, both groups exhibited a similar level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks. In the intervention phase, spontaneous DNA strand breaks slightly increased in the control (water only) group whereas they significantly decreased in the coffee group, leading to a 27 % difference within both arms (p = 0.0002). Food frequency questionnaires indicated no differences in the overall diet between groups, and mean body weight during the intervention phases remained stable. The consumption of the study coffee substantially lowered the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks in WBC.

CONCLUSION:
We conclude that regular coffee consumption contributes to DNA integrity.

See the full paper here.

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