Studies Suggest That Ultra-Processed Foods Are Attacking Our Gut Bacteria

Sometimes I imagine we might sound like a broken record when we talk about all of the things that are wrong with processed foods. But since studies keep coming out that show too much processed food can literally kill you before your time, I would say we’re not overreacting. 

What’s even more interesting is that science still doesn’t have a full grasp on the reasons processed foods are so bad for us. There’s a new theory around the block though, saying that the answer lies in our microbiome, aka our gut bacteria. Two new papers published in the BMJ study the impact of ultraprocessed foods (also called industrially manufactured foods) on the health of the average person. The results are pretty scary. They say that the more you eat food like that, the more likely you are to get sick and even die much earlier than you should.

One of the studies says that you’re more predisposed to suffer from cardiovascular problems, while the other links processed foods to a higher risk of death from all causes.

Processed foods also encourage overeating

So why does this happen? We already know that chips, cookies, and all other types of unhealthy foods and snacks are loaded with sugar, fats, salt, and calories. So researchers are starting to think that all of these elements tend to put us at risk of obesity and diabetes. But a lot of scientists are starting to hone in on the issue: the health of your gut.

All of the salt and sugar, plus the additives and lack of good digestive fiber really upset your gut microbiome. There are trillions of diverse bacteria in your intestines and colon that need to be in a state of balance for you to be okay – physically and emotionally at the same time. If the bacteria is perturbed, then you might end up overeating and suffering from chronic diseases.

So here are the worst foods you could eat right now. And try to stop having empty calories as much as possible.

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Health Restaurants

Scientist Claims That Pepper Shakers Are Germiest Items In Restaurants

Photo: So Delicious

Germs like to hang out on and in the pepper shakers you find at restaurants, according to scientists. But why that particular item? Why not the salt shaker? We’ll tell you right now.

When I found out about this, I was super intrigued. I mean, every time I go out to eat, the one thing I always reach out for is the salt shaker. I like my food so salty that my lips get bloated, more often than not. I know it’s not a healthy thing to do, and I am really trying to cut down on that.

But back to the pepper shakers! Guess what? They’re actually germier than the toilet in the restaurant and that, so close to Halloween, is a truly scary thought. But why? The answer is pretty simple, actually: the staffs for restaurants are usually more aware that they have to clean the bathroom and they tend to do so more thoroughly. But in the rest of the space you eat in, salt, pepper, and sugar shakers might end up being way more problematic than the restrooms.

And that’s because usually, the waiters tend to only wipe the table between customers. But they don’t clean the shakers or the menus or whatever else was on the table. This leads to germ exchanges.

Why pepper shakers and not salt shakers?

This question is actually the one that bugs me more. As I said, I am very much a salty person (in more ways than one). So why do pepper shakers get the bad rep? Scientists don’t know for sure, yet. But germs love pepper. Dr. Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist thinks that the reason is pepper being a plant-based product. “E. coli loves to grow there,” he told

This phenomenon was first brought to the public eye in 2010 when an ABC News crew did a segment on a group of researchers from the University of Arizona. They went to 12 restaurants in three states and swabbed all the items on the tables and then analyzed the samples in the lab. Pepper shakers had the highest bacteria count – 11,600.

So maybe, the next time you want some pepper, just ask the waiter to freshly grind some over your food before bringing it to the table. You might escape plenty of germs like that.

Related Links:

Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Features Hit-Or-Miss

Science Says ‘The Five-Second Rule’ Is OK, But Is It Really?

We’ve all heard someone shout, “Five-Second Rule!” as they witness part of their meal succumb to gravity and plummet to the floor below.

For decades, science has been trying to prove the Five-Second Rule exists. In 2003, a student participating in Hans Blaschek’s University of Illinois lab at the University of Illinois School of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Science reported that 70 percent of women and 56 percent of men were at least “familiar” with the Five-Second Rule.

Yet, we should know, regardless of how long food ends up on the floor, there’s going to be germs. So, why has this rule — which we use to dismiss the potential danger caused by ingesting some strain of harmful bacteria — existed for so long, and do we really think it’s true?


Science says, yes we do — and it actually might work.

A recent Rutgers University study, published in the American Society For Applied and Environmental Microbiology in September 2016 could prove why this unsanitary method of food consumption has become so widely recognized.

The study revealed that contamination rates varied depending on the food’s level of moisture and duration of contact with the surface. Rutgers University professor, Dr. Donald W. Schaffner, who is also an Extension Specialist in Food Science, authored the study.

Dr. Schaffner’s study was conducted by dropping sliced watermelon, slices of non buttered and buttered bread, and pieces of gummy candy onto stainless steel, tile, wood and carpet surfaces. After being dropped, the food was left on the surface for time intervals between less than one second up to 300 seconds

Carpet, according to the study, was the least conducive for bacteria.

“Carpet has very low transfer rates compared with those of tile and stainless steel, whereas transfer from wood is more variable. Dr. Schaffner said in a press release. “The topography of the surface and food seem to play an important role in bacterial transfer.”

To no surprise, Dr. Schaffner found that all food will become contaminated instantly. So, even though the Five-Second Rule will not save you from contamination, there is a decreased risk depending on the surface and a food’s water content.

So, the risk of contamination is scientifically proven to be less if you drop (and eat) a Pop Tart off the counter, versus scooping up your entire Chipotle Burrito Bowl from the floor — in five seconds and under.

This seems obvious, but gives the Five-Second Rule some legitimate hypothetical value.

Still, why do we continue to rationalize this type of risk when it comes to our food? Well, according to a food safety expert, it can depend on the type of food we eat, and the culture we live in.

“We’re familiar with eating foods that have been highly processed, and understand that it’s not natural,” Dr. Douglas Powell, a former food safety professor and publisher of the website BarfBlog, said in an interview with FOODBEAST.

“When food falls on the floor, we already know it’s not natural, so we disregard the risk. We just need to be smart enough to know that everything has different levels of sanitation.”

Culinary preferences change with the culture as well. In some cultures, food is consumed raw, without question, or fear of contamination.

Dr. Powell added, even though there are existing scientific studies dedicated to the Five-Second Rule — that prove its legitimacy — it does not mean it should become a standard practice.

From a food safety perspective, Dr. Powell estimates that a lot of people who abide by the Five-Second Rule may not consider the realistic dangers of contaminative stains of bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella.

“It’s easy to underestimate the genetic susceptibility we have to deadly bacteria we ingest.”

Dr. Powell believes risk is a part of reality. Even something as simple as eating food off the floor has consequences. He credits the Rutgers research as legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific analysis.

However, Powell added, “Academics should not be to preach, but to provide information,” thus stressing the role of academic studies is to prove a hypothesis and make discoveries.

Fast Food

E. Coli Hits Chipotle Restaurants In SIX States, Should We Be Worried?


A few weeks ago, we wrote that more than 43 Chipotle locations were closed down due to an E. coli scare. While the outbreak was only limited to a two-state region, the company closed all the surrounding restaurants just to play things safe. Those restaurants have since reopened. Unfortunately, the E. coli has now expanded to six states.

There have now been reported cases in Minnesota, Ohio, New York and California with Washington and Oregon being the two original states.

Six states means its more than just one unclean kitchen. Currently, there’s an ongoing investigation to figure out the specific food item that’s connected to the E. coli.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45 people have been infected and 43 of those infected said they had eaten at Chipotle within the week they were sick. The CDC says that the infection began within the window of Oct. 19 to Nov. 8.

Luckily, there have been no deaths.

A spokesman for Chipotle said that the company doesn’t believe it’s necessary right now to close any of the restaurants and is currently not aware of any employees that have become ill. They are, however, taking extreme measures to maintain a healthy and clean environment for preparing food.

Kind of makes us nervous for our next Chipotle visit, though.

Photo: Google Maps


How Salmonella Poisoning Just Cost This Restaurant $11 Million


A federal judge is ordering a restaurant to pay $11.4 million to a man who got food poisoning while dining at the establishment. In 2010, a Nebraska man contracted salmonella from eating at an Old Country Buffet during a dinner with his wife.

KGAB reports that U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl awarded the couple the damages after writing of the husband’s numerous surgeries and procedures after dining at the buffet in Casper, NE.

Skavdahl states that Christopher Gage is in daily pain and cannot eat or drink water without throwing up. The majority of his meals end in him vomiting. Gage has also lost his mobility and his cognitive functioning has been significantly impacted.

Damages to Gage include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, dehydration, acute kidney failure, sepsis, acute lactic acidosis, anemia, thromocytophenia and partial fibrillation.

A day after Gage got sick, the Laramie County Health Department cited the restaurant for numerous health code violations.

Old Country Buffet is operated by Ovation Brands who could not be reached for comments.



Scientists Think They’ve Cracked UN-MELTABLE Ice Cream


Ice cream, while delicious, can be super messy on a sunny day. The life span of a decent cone from the scoop to your hand isn’t very long. Luckily, scientists are working hard to develop an ice cream that won’t melt.

A team of U.K. researchers from the universities of Dundee and Edinburgh have been growing a protein in bacteria that’s designed to prevent ice cream from melting.

Using a molecule they’re calling BslA, air bubbles and fat droplets are stuck to water creating an impenetrable mass. This means ice cream can stay frozen in the sun.

The team appears to be happy with the results, so far, but they’re still a while away. According to Telegraph it’ll be three years before this un-meltable ice cream will be ready to sell to the public.

When that day comes, you bet we’ll be taking photos without fear of melted ice cream.



New York Restaurants Must Now FREEZE Fish Before Serving It Raw


New York City will now face a new rule when it comes to serving raw fish. The New York Times reports, regardless of how fresh the fish is, restaurants must freeze it for an extended period of time in order to prevent bacteria and parasites.

While most places are already doing this as a precaution, the process is now law. Outbreaks of salmonella have caused major concerns in the past few years. The new rule will put those fears to ease among consumers who enjoy eating raw fish.

Starting in August, fish must be kept frozen anywhere from 15 hours to an entire week depending on the restaurants’ freezer temperature. Certain seafoods like shellfish and farm-raised fish, however, are exempt from the freezing laws.



This Drinkable Book Can Purify Contaminated Water Through Its Pages


The earliest food hack known to man was probably how to purify water. If you didn’t know how to make fire, you’d have to MacGuyver some sort of filter for your water to keep that woolly mammoth poop out. Luckily, we’ve advanced a tad bit since then and have developed some pretty cool filters for water. The Drinkable Book, for example.

Each page of the Drinkable Book acts as a water filtration device. The pages contain microscopic particles of Silver Nitrate, which helps kill about 99 percent of the contaminated bacteria as the water passes through. The pages of the book also contain text that explains basic safety skills (keeping water away from trash and feces) that help maintain a clean water supply. It costs only a few cents to produce each page and an entire book could provide a person with up to 4 years of drinkable water, with each page lasting 30 days.

While this sounds like both a practical and novel product, I can definitely see this become a necessity should (God forbid) the zombies take over. I’ll take 10, please.

H/T Ad Week