Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Nutrition

BitBite is worn discreetly behind the ear and keeps tabs on your chewing habits

Even with the growing number of calorie-counting gadgets on the market, keeping track of how healthily we are eating requires a certain amount of discipline. We are seeing devices emerge that are aimed at automating this even further, such as the Bite Counter and the Automatic Ingestion Monitor. The BitBite is the latest take on the eating monitor, relying an a discreet ear-clip to keep tabs on every little nibble.  Read More

A dried blood spot analysis that can detect B12 levels has been developed

Vitamin B12 is vital to keep a nervous system healthy. Since it is found mainly in meat and dairy, it is common for people to associate B12 deficiency with vegans, who are aware of this issue (in Germany there's even a B12-enriched toothpaste) and often take measures to supplement. In fact, it is the general population of developing countries who are more likely to lack B12, and it is primarily for them that a team of Canadian researchers has developed a simple, cheap B12 test kit.  Read More

The researchers have engineered yeast to produce casein, a milk protein

Many people say they can’t go vegan because of their addiction to dairy. But that excuse could soon be past its sell-by date if a team of biohackers in California succeeds in scaling up production of a cheese that contains no animal by-products. They call it Real Vegan Cheese. Their aim is to offer a sustainable food alternative with the same nutritional value – and taste – as non-vegan cheese.  Read More

Penguin measures antibiotic residue in food

We've already heard about a biosensor developed in Brazil for detecting pesticide content in food. Now at CE Week, a Seoul-based company called BioSensor Laboratories has presented Penguin, a home-use sensor that detects the presence of antibiotics in animal products.  Read More

The super bananas are yellow on the outside (like the regular bananas seen here), but thei...

According to the Queensland University of Technology's Prof. James Dale, 650,000 to 700,000 children die worldwide every year due to pro-vitamin A deficiency. Many of those children live in East African nations such as Uganda. Dale's proposed solution? Take something that's already grown and eaten there, and genetically modify it to produce the needed vitamin. That's what he's done with the Highland cooking banana. The resulting "super bananas" are about to be the subject of human nutritional trials in the US.  Read More

Vessyl is a smart cup that analyzes liquids to tell you what you're drinking

At first glance, "Vessyl" looks like an ultra-modern, but relatively ordinary, 13 oz (385 ml) mug. However, pour something into it and it becomes extraordinary: not only will it identify what type of drink it has in it, but Vessyl will also tell you its dietary content, such as sugar, protein, calories, fat, caffeine – even identifying the beverage by name – then take all of those results and synchronize them to your smartphone.  Read More

Bromine joins the other elements marked on this periodic table, as those critical for anim...

Joining the ranks of carbon, selenium, sulfur and 24 others as an essential element for animal life is element 35 – bromine – long considered inessential to life and moreso, shunned as a toxic disease-causing agent. However, researchers have identified the role bromine holds in animal development, even demonstrating death in fruit flies without access to this element named for its identifying stench.  Read More

Sleevely keeps track of when and how much your baby is eating, and advises you accordingly...

Among the many questions that new parents have regarding the care of their baby, one of the most common has got to be "How much should we be feeding them?". Of course, that brings up another question, namely "How much are they eating?". The Tel Aviv-based designers of Sleevely claim that their product can provide the answers. It's a "SmartSleeve" that an existing baby bottle slides into, which monitors the infant's nutritional intake.  Read More

The new MRE pizza being tried out by the troops (Photo: US Army)

Pizza with a three-year shelf life will soon be joining the US Army's field rations menu. These infamous MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) have a long and checkered history, acquiring such sobriquets over the years as "Meals Rejected by Everyone" and "Materials Resembling Edibles." Pizza has long topped the list of requested meals, but the task of providing a palatable slice of this complex food that will survive the required three-year shelf life has foiled all attempts. Now, the folks at Natick's Combat Feeding Directorate have achieved a minor miracle in food technology: stopping time for a slice of pizza.  Read More

Researchers use probiotic bacteria from nuts to make new products

The vegetable milk market could be about to get more varied with the findings of a new study carried out in Spain. Using probiotic bacteria obtained from grains and nuts, researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València have come up with a range of fermented products. They hope their findings will increase the choice and the quality of plant milks for people with allergies, lactose intolerance, pregnant women and, of course, vegans.  Read More

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