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Dust Off Your Organic Chemistry Textbook: Magnetic Tongue Uses NMR Spectroscopy

98h9jiuo98 Researchers have successfully tested the abilities of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to function as a so called “magnetic tongue”. Antonio Randazzo, Anders Malmendal, Ettoro Novellino and their team reported their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Sensing the smell and flavor of food is a very complex physiological and cognitive process. A food’s components and the taster’s experience at the moment of tasting influence the process. To be able to objectively measure the sensory descriptor, one needs human sensory tests not involving persons as taste testers. Examples of human sensory tests currently used are the electronic nose and the electronic tongue. Current instruments can only Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

When Doctors Are Sent Ketchup, Not Drug Samples

Today marks a new phase in my medical career – I’ve been sent a bottle of ketchup for my consideration. Until now I’ve received pharmaceutical pitches and drug samples for my patients… but I’ve now entered a new phase in my life. I am a target market for condiments.

And how did this purveyor of organic ketchup find me online? I was blogging about how difficult it is for patients with diabetes to avoid high fructose corn syrup these days (it seems to be a required ingredient from spaghetti sauce to peanut butter) and I explained that I was a carb conscious person myself, and had recently purchased some unsweetened ketchup as part of a sugar-avoidance strategy.

The next day a nice man asked if he could send me a sample of his own brand of ketchup, sweetened with agave nectar instead of corn syrup or cane sugar. I said it’d be fine for him to send it along, and a few days later there it was: Wholemato brand organic agave ketchup.

So I did a little taste test, comparing my Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Unsweetened Ketchup to the Wholemato brand. The Wholemato guy was right – it was head and shoulders above the other brand in terms of flavor and sweetness. Of course, it has 3g of sugar/serving, while the sugar-free version has 1g/serving. My organic Heinz ketchup has 4g/serving, and parenthetically – I went to the Heinz site and found that they have a new marketing campaign around customized ketchup labels. Kind of quirky. Who knew?

It seems that agave nectar contains ~90% fructose (if you can trust the sources online) which means that it’s “sweeter” than glucose-based cane sugar (which is 50/50 glucose and fructose, and high fructose corn syrup is 55/45 fructose and glucose). So what does this mean? Correct me if I’m wrong here but I just interviewed Penny Kris-Etherton about corn syrup and she told me that it’s the FRUCTOSE that is the real problem in terms of increasing blood lipid levels and requiring more insulin output.

So I feel really badly about the nice agave man who sent me the delicious ketchup – but the nutritionists are saying that agave is actually much WORSE for you than corn syrup if you’re a diabetic.

I don’t think that small amounts of any kind of sugar is worth fretting about (unless you have diabetes) – but trying to avoid cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup by switching to agave syrup is kind of like getting out of the frying pan and into the fire.

And with that blog post I think I’ve ended my career as a condiment tester unfortunately. Of course, I do like the taste of agave nectar. :-|

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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