Sunday, March 05, 2006

Take THAT, Dr. Atkins

Science to the rescue! Again!
Pasta, bread, crackers: Supermarket shelves are lined with products made from wheat. And that's not necessarily a good thing. When wheat is highly processed, the body converts its starches into sugar, potentially contributing to obesity and diabetes. Now a team of researchers has engineered a new variety of the grain that avoids those drawbacks by holding onto its starch as fiber.

Starch consists of a mix of two kinds of molecules: amylopectin and amylose. Amylopectin is a branched molecule that remains fairly soluble in the digestive tract, allowing enzymes to break it down quickly into sugar. The long chains of glucose that make up amylose, in contrast, form clumps that resist digestion. Plant breeders have successfully created corn with less amylopectin and more amylose, which has been marketed as health foods because the body is less able to turn it into sugar.

The starch level of wheat has been tougher to manipulate. But recently, a team led by Matthew Morell of CSIRO Plant Industry in Canberra, Australia, has discovered which genes impact starch formation in an experimental variety of wheat. When they damped down the expression of two of these genes, called SBEIIa and SBEIIb, the relative amount of indigestible amylose in the starch rose to almost 75%, compared to 25% in typical grain. "We were pretty excited," says Morell.

Cool. But can they do it for Oreos?

I guess it just goes to show that whatever problem lazy, indulgent Americans come up with, science will always bring a solution.


Anonymous said...

Since when do you believe in science? I guess so long as it doesn't disprove some abusrd bible fairy tale its ok, huh?

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Science smience---I can't get on TV handing out salvation ribbons for 1,000$ a pop in the name of Newton, Einstein, or Currie so what good is it. Besides science disproves the Bible everyday and lazy indulgent Americans still believe that crap, so they'll continue to eat low-carb and digest their daily doses of Robertsons, and Fallwells, until they burst. Praise the Lord and pass the potatos

melissaanne said...

Can I just say that it is wonderful that people want to leave hateful comments because they think that THEY are so intelligent, and yet don't have the balls to even leave their name?
That is an amazing and beautiful thing. I think if they are so hell-bent on their own ideals, than they should have the cahones to at least leave a link to their website.
And I also LOVE it when people make personal assumptions about people and--obviously--belief systems that their puny brains seem to know absolutely nothing about.
God, how I freaking ADORE ignorance and immaturity.

chris said...

hey hall. Hope all is well. just wanted to let you know i decided to revive and would love to regain your readership. stay well.

Ian said...

(Warning a comment actually related to the post)
I actually worked for the USDA on projects very similar to replacing the high trans-fat filling of oreos with a starch-oil composite. The goal of those projects is to make these composites that have the same texture and consistency of certain high fat foods but with much less total fat. They so far have been successful is making pretty good tasting ice cream.

As I understand it, the brain uses glucose as its main source of energy, does this mean if you go on low carb diets you are staring your brain?

Vile Blasphemer said...

I'm on to an amazing process to eliminate the fat created by carbs without having to cut back on the foods you love! It's called WALKING. Let's go, fatties, stop watching CSI and start moving those thighs!

Seriously though, removing materials that our bodies need and replacing them with synthesized garbage that fuels at a far lower capacity is unwise, especially for chubarific folks who are already consuming the worst spectrum of chemicals.

Veggies and tuna, folks... veggies and tuna.

Hal said...

Well, "blasphemer," I don't see synthetic chemicals as a problem as long as they're either 1) processed safely by the body or 2) eliminated without harmful processing. Yeah, it's replacing things our body needs with unusable alternatives, but we're a fat nation because people already get too much of the stuff their bodies need.

Yeah, diet and exercise really are the best ways to lose weight, but I think of this as being in line with that whole theme. If it's safe, then it's just another food that fits into a proper diet.