Carbon isotope analysis: a scientific way to know just how much soda kids are drinking behind parents’ backs?
One way to know how much soda people drink is to ask them.
The problem? We tend to underestimate, lie or forget what we’ve consumed.
And this is a challenge for researchers who study the .
A new published in the Journal of Nutrition explains a technique that could help researchers get a good measurement of sugary beverage consumption — by analyzing a piece of hair or a blood sample.
Researcher Diane O’Brien of the University of Alaska and her colleagues have used carbon to develop their measuring tool. “We’re isolating the [carbon] isotope ratio in a specific molecule,” explains O’Brien. The molecule is an amino acid called alanine, which captures carbon from sugars.
It turns out that when you consume sweetened soda, slightly more of a particular kind of carbon called C-13 gets trapped in alanine and incorporated into proteins. And proteins hang around in the body much longer than sugar does. So the scientists say they can sample proteins to look for extra amounts of C-13 in alanine. People with a lot of C-13 are likely to be people who have consumed a lot of corn syrup and cane sugar.
Using this technique, O’Brien says, you can capture a longer-term picture of sugar consumption compared with urine samples — which only reveal how much sugar a person has consumed in the past day or so.
Carbon isotope analysis has helped scientists piece together ancient dietary patterns, explains of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in a commentary about the study: “The use of stable isotope signatures has even provided information about the diet of Otzi [aka The Iceman],the 5,000-year-old natural mummy found in the Alps in 1991.”
And he writes that he thinks the technique will be helpful for researchers studying the obesity epidemic.
“This should be a major step toward resolving the controversy over the role of
caloric sweetener intake in the development of obesity,” writes Schoeller.
Not everyone is convinced.
Read all of this at NPR.
Today we have another splendid photochrom print. The photograph was taken in 1899 and it shows an Indian man and his wife. The man’s name was Pee Viggi. His wife’s name is not recorded.
Aboriginals had the continent to themselves for 50,000 years. Today they make up less than 3 percent of the population, and their traditional lifestyle is disappearing. Almost. In the homelands the ancient ways live on.
A finger across the throat and a glance seaward. That’s the signal. The two men grip their spears, hand-carved from stringybark trees, and walk barefoot over the red soil to the water’s edge. Then into the aluminum dinghy, engine revved, and across a warm shallow bay of the Arafura Sea, at the wild edge of Australia’s Northern Territory.
Terrence Gaypalwani stands at the bow, feet spread for balance, staring intently at the water and indicating with the tip of his spear which direction to travel. He’s 29 years old, mid-career as a hunter. Peter Yiliyarr, over 40, a senior citizen, works the motor. The shoreline’s a lattice of mangrove roots; the sun’s a heat lamp. No sign of another human. Gaypalwani stares, points. Thirty minutes. The men haven’t spoken, though even when they’re not hunting, the Yolngu sometimes communicate solely in sign language.
Then Gaypalwani raises his spear, cocks his shoulder, and I look over the side of the dinghy and see a great shadow in the water. Yiliyarr guns the motor, and the spear is heaved, a violent throw. The shadow rises, the spear falls, and the two intersect at the water’s surface.
The turtle, struck, dives deep. It’s as big around as a card table and probably older than either of the men. The metal tip of the spear, buried in the turtle’s shell, dislodges from the shaft, as designed. The shaft floats off—they’ll retrieve it later—but a rope has been tied to the notched base of the spearhead, and the line whizzes out, fed from a coil by Yiliyarr. Both men have thin, elongated scars across their palms and chests. The line runs completely free, though attached to the other end is a white, basketball-size buoy. It flies from the boat and disappears beneath the water. The men stand, scanning.
Read more HERE.
Jobless Youth: Europe’s Hollow Efforts to Save a Lost Generation
Europe is failing in the fight against youth unemployment. While the German government’s efforts remain largely symbolic, Southern European leaders pander to older voters by defending the status quo.
Stylia Kampani did everything right, and she still doesn’t know what the future holds for her. The 23-year-old studied international relations in her native Greece and spent a year at the University of Bremen in northern Germany. She completed an internship at the foreign ministry in Athens and worked for the Greek Embassy in Berlin. Now she is doing an unpaid internship with the prestigious Athens daily newspaper Kathimerini. And what happens after that? “Good question,” says Kampani. “I don’t know.”
“None of my friends believes that we have a future or will be able to live a normal life,” says Kampani. “That wasn’t quite the case four years ago.”
Four years ago — that was before thebegan. Since then, the Greek government has approved a series of austerity programs, which have been especially hard on young people. The unemployment rate among Greeks under 25 has been above 50 percent for months. The situation is similarly dramatic in , and . According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, the rate of unemployment among young adults in the EU has climbed to 23.5 percent. A is taking shape in Europe. And European governments seem clueless when they hear the things people like Athenian university graduate Alexandros are saying: “We don’t want to leave , but the constant uncertainty makes us tired and depressed.”
Read it all HERE.