Saturday, 17 September 2011

Fashioned to be Food-Like 2

Something I didn't put in to 'Fashioned to be Food-Like' but which is worthy of mention is gut flora.  Whatever gets past your 'is-it-food' filters (taste, smell etc...), and no matter how much food technologists can fool these filters (making you imbibe that which you'd otherwise deign to consume), how will this play out with your gut flora?  How easily can they be fooled?  More importantly, how will their malnourishment manifest itself?

The Economist delves deeper than simply 'diet' here, looking and the issue of gut flora:
  • "Rates of inflammatory disease have been rising for decades among adults and children alike. Puzzlingly, this increase has occurred largely in developed countries, bypassing poorer places. (Rural poverty brings many hardships; inflammatory bowel disease is not among them.) This has left scientists struggling to pinpoint exactly what about the rich world is making people sick. New data from Paolo Lionetti, of the University of Florence in Italy, supports the view that diet may be the culprit."
You might be thinking 'So what?'  Well, if your gut flora is malnourished and impoverished in both volume and diversity, it can't really tell you.  But you'll exhibit the consequences:
  • "[researchers] speculate that reduced intestinal diversity could permit unwelcome bugs to gain a foothold...[and certain] bacterial profiles [can] indicate a greater risk of obesity."
This research was performed on Italian children whose gut flora was compared against their African peers:
  • " In contrast, African children had lots of bacterial species associated with leanness, and a higher proportion of microbes known to produce beneficial chemicals called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Such compounds have been associated with lower levels of allergies and inflammation"
 Your conscious self is only part of 'you'.  You are actually an ecosystem.

UPDATE: Check out the use of sand, feathers and coal tar in your diet!

No comments: