Medicine

Protein Ratios in Food Bars

Thursday, July 4, 2013 

I’ve always been annoyed by the way food nutritional content is reported. It isn’t hard to find a food item with 1,000 calories per serving that claims to be be “high” in iron because it has 5% of the US RDA. The ratio of the RDA of iron to calories would be 1:10. You couldn’t eat enough to get the full allowance of iron in a day and you’d become a human blimp trying.

In an age of obscene abundance, the trick is not so much getting the minimum nutritional value, but getting it at the minimum caloric cost. I looked through some reviews of “good” protein bars and popular ones on Amazon and tabulated the nutritional data in Excel and then computed the ratio of grams of protein to three bad things: kilo-calories, grams of saturated fat, and dollars of cost. Thus, higher values are better. It is interesting to see a huge range in all three values. Sadly, it is common to get closer to the maximum recommended value of saturated fat per day than calories, meaning that eating only enough calories of these “healthy” bars will result in increased risk of disease compared to normal, “unhealthy” food. That’s pretty inexcusable.

protein bars.PNG

I’d like to change the way nutritional labels are printed from hard to read tables presenting only favorable values to simple bar graphs of all basic, essential nutrients, all of which would always be included so that empty calories foods would have a big red block of bar graphs pointing to the left indicating a food that had better be a pleasure to eat to compensate for the lack of nutrition.

But back to food bars: the ratio of protein to calories is a good way to select a food bar for healthy people. Finding one with the best ratio of protein to saturated fat can be important for some people and avoiding the worst ratios is good for everyone. Finding the most protein for your dollar may have merit as well (though prices are just Amazon prices and may vary significantly by outlet).

The Excel table for your editing pleasure protein bars.xlsx

Posted at 11:55:41 GMT-0700

Category: uncategorized

All Your Virus Are Belong To Us

Thursday, August 11, 2011 

There’s an article in PLoS one (cited from /.) by some MIT Lincoln Lab researchers (Go Beavers!) published under the title “Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics.” Typically the media reports of such articles vastly overstate the claims in the paper to make exciting headlines, but in this case the reports seem fair to modest.

If the approach they are describing, Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Activated Caspase Oligomerizer (DRACO), works as well as in vitro tests and mouse tests indicate so far, viral infections could be as easy to manage as bacterial infections have been since antibiotics. Basically DRACO is a compound that can be introduced into a mouse (and very likely a person) infected with a virus or prophylactically in advance of risk of viral infection. Any infected cells will die within 24 hours. DRACO remains active for about 8 days and has prophylactic value when administered up to 6 days in advance of infection.

Posted at 01:34:02 GMT-0700

Category: technology

Science Experiments

Monday, April 11, 2011 

Home from Afghanistan to find some very interesting science experiments waiting for me.

Yogurt residue grew into a lovely pattern of furriness. Almost makes you want to pet it.

fur_cup.jpg

Coffee beans should have been fairly sterile after making coffee, so perhaps the mold there was donor from the yogurt cup.

Furry_coffee.jpg

Whatever was left over in the plastic container seemed to seed a variety of mold types.

toss_mold.jpg

A strong dose of bleach and some scrubbing got everything sterile again.

Posted at 16:18:29 GMT-0700

Category: funnyphoto

Kandahar

Sunday, April 3, 2011 

KAF would be very nice base, quite photogenic. Aircraft take off night and day, the fighters taking off on afterburner are like a free fireworks show every night. The A10s are some of the coolest planes ever and there aren’t that many places to see them any more.

Kandahar_Panorama.jpg

The downside to the base is the Poo Pond. It is, perhaps the most famous feature of the base. It was built by the Russians, a gigantic open cesspool.

Poo Panorama.jpg

The smell… the smell is truly incredible. Imagine being locked in an overfull outhouse on a hot, windless day, but spreading downwind for miles and inescapable. It is one of those things that is better experienced vicariously.

poo_pond.jpg

But at sunset, aside from the retching stink, it is quite photogenic – the black, viscous liquid is mirror like, still and reflects the sunset just beyond the bio hazard signs.

Posted at 09:36:57 GMT-0700

Category: Milphotoplacestravel