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March 22, 2019

Weekend reads: The (surprising) type of music that makes cheese more flavorful, according to science

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    A Tribe Called … Cheese? If you want your cheese to taste better, you might want to expose it to hip hop music all day. That's what researchers from the Bern University of Arts in Switzerland found when they exposed nine wheels of Emmental cheese to five different songs—A Tribe Called Quest's hip hop song, "We Got It From Here"; Mozart's opera, "Magic Flute"; Led Zeppelin's rock song, "Stairway to Heaven"; Vril's techno song, "UV"; and Yellow's ambient song, "Monolith"—via mini transmitters placed directly on the cheese. According to researchers, when the cheese was submitted to a culinary jury for a blind tasting, "The most obvious differences [between the cheeses] were observed in strength of flavor, smell, and taste," with the hip hop sample rated "the strongest … in terms of smell and taste."

    Study affirms sour suspicions: Sugary drinks are linked with increased risk of early death. According to a study in Circulation, drinking sugary beverages could contribute to an increased risk of an early death. For the study, researchers assessed dietary data from ongoing studies involving more than 118,000 people. The researchers found that over about 30 years, the more sugary drinks a person consumed, the greater his or her mortality risk. Specifically, the researchers found that each additional 12-ounce serving of a sugary drink was associated with a 5% increased risk of cancer death, a 7% increased risk of death from any cause, and a 10% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    Meet the food 'loyalists'—the people who eat the same thing every day. There are certain people who forsake gastronomic variety for culinary routine—these so-called food "loyalists" eat the same thing for one meal every day, Joe Pinsker writes for the Atlantic. It's impossible to determine how many food loyalists there are, but one survey estimated that about a third of British people eat the same lunch every day. Some people view the habit as a "charming quirk," while others write it off as "uninspired"—a description that at least one food loyalist, Amanda Respers, who ate variations of the same salad for a year, dismisses as "jealousy." According to loyalists, eating the same salad or peanut butter sandwich every day has a lot of benefits, such as adding some needed consistency to busy schedules and easing the afternoon routine for people with allergies. For instance, Chloe Cota, a computer engineer who eats a salad every time her company caters lunch, said the consistency helps her reduce "cognitive overhead" day-to-day.

    You're probably not eating enough of this nutrient. When people talk about eating a balanced diet, the vast majority forget about the "closest thing we have to a true superfood"—fiber, Julia Belluz writes in Vox. Fiber is associated with reduced risk of strokes, high cholesterol, and heart attacks, as well as better gastrointestinal health, but only 5% of people in the United States eat the recommended daily value of fiber, resulting in a nation-wide deficiency that nutritionists are calling "the fiber gap." According to Belluz, Americans don't get enough fiber because their diets contain a lot of processed foods, which contain significantly less fiber than fruits, beans, and nuts. For instance, a pear has six grams of fiber, while a McDonald's hamburger has one. For those who'd like to add more fiber to their diet, Hanna Holscher, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends eating more whole fruits, whole-grains, nuts, and seeds.

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