How Do You Benefit from Food That’s About to Go Bad?

Next time you toss rotten lettuce or moldy berries think about this: globally, we waste more than a third of the food we produce.

There is a Solution…

A group of Swedish graduate students are working to fight the problem of food waste. Working in the Food Innovation and Product Design program at Lund University, they’ve come up with a way to use produce that is about to go to waste. The goal being to help people who have limited access to food.

They’re calling it FoPo Food Powder.

It’s exactly what it sounds like – dried, powdered, shelf-stable fruits and vegetables. FoPo powder can be dropped into relief efforts after natural disasters, or it can be given out in low-resource areas where refrigeration and fresh food are hard to come by.

“When we found out that one third of the food produced was going to waste while people in the world were starving, we could not back out,” says Kent Ngo, one of the students who helped develop it.

Ngo says they are not making something ground-breaking. Powdered food has been around since the early days of the space programs. But they are rethinking the waste and delivery channels.

Their development team reached out to willing farmers and retailers to source fruit while food scientists experimented with different drying and powdering methods.

Settling on spray-drying it, the process then included grinding it up. Then the students looked at ways to distribute it through commercial and government supported sites.

One member of the group, Gerald Perry Marin grew up in the Philippines. He’d seen how natural disasters such as recurring typhoons cut people off from their food supply. And how important it was to have options for food that were easy to access in a relief situation.

Ngo says, “Today a relief bag for humanitarian disasters contains various foods such as strawberry jam, peanut butter and peas in tomato sauce. We think that an easily transported pack of cheap dried food powder with high nutritional value would fit in perfectly.”

The Lund University team has been trying to keep its prices down to aid low-budget humanitarian groups and non-governmental groups.

FoPo Powder

 

Pros and Cons

Freeze-dried food retains most of the nutritional benefits of raw food. It loses some vitamin and mineral density in the drying process. But it is still a good way to get fibre and nutrients.

As makers of FoPo, they are currently running a pilot program in Manila. For their first run, they are drying calamansi – a citrus fruit. Since there’s is a surplus of it, it’s easy for their Philippine manufacturing program to dry and powder.

Program Support

The group has reportedly gotten support from senators in the Philippines. And they’re about to start working with the U.N.’s Initiative on Food Loss and Waste.

To broaden their reach, they’re also working with commercial suppliers and companies that want to use FoPo in their food products.

With continuing enthusiasm, the company has almost 40 international supermarkets on board. Some examples of FoPo Powder’s use might be cake mixes and ice cream. Consumers can also sprinkle it into food or drinks, or use it in baking.

“I was a bit surprised that the calamansi powder tasted so good,” Ngo says. “I cannot wait for the mango and pineapple powder.”

What Are Common Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients?

What Are Common Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients?

While pre-workout supplements may seem like a magic mixture of scientifically derived ingredients, are there any that really do a body good?

It seems like everyone in the gym is talking about a pre-workout supplement—colloquially referred to as “pre-workout.”

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, caffeine, beetroot juice, and creatine monohydrate (a popular muscle-building supplement) are all common pre-workout supplement ingredients that have been shown to improve exercise performance.

Carbs are pretty obvious—they’re your body’s go-to source of energy and what experts recommend eating before a workout.

After all, when exercising—especially at high intensity, cycling classes, and lifting—your body uses blood glucose and glycogen (stored carbs) as its main energy source. So boosting your levels before you start can help increase energy reserves and performance.

Caffeine

Caffeine is obviously a stimulant known for boosting energy and alertness. Research shows it can help improve physical performance too, although many of the studies have been done on small sample sizes.

Still, there’s a lot of research supporting caffeine’s ability to increase energy while simultaneously reducing workout pressure. The theory is that caffeine helps muscles burn more fat upfront and preserve glycogen, thereby letting you work harder, and longer, before you use up all your energy stores.

Other studies suggest caffeine simply helps improve a muscle’s ability to generate power.

Beetroot Juice

With beetroot juice, a 2017 study found that it’s been shown to consistently increase levels of nitric oxide and improve cardiovascular performance. Beetroot juice actually contains inorganic nitrates, which convert in the body to nitric oxide.

A natural vasodilator, nitric oxide expands blood vessels, increasing blood flow and decreasing how hard your heart has to work under strain. It’s important to note that beet research is still young, but so far even small results are promising.

Creatine

Creatine monohydrate is also often included in pre-workout formulas. Creatine is a derivative of three amino acids that are naturally produced in the body and stored as a source of quick energy in the muscles.

Some research even indicates that creatine monohydrate is likely more effective at boosting performance if you take it after each workout – as opposed to before, when your body may be more apt to absorb and store it when your natural stores are at their lowest.

Creatine is actually one of the most well-researched sports supplements over the past few decades. Studies consistently show that in normal doses—2 to 5 grams per day over the long term—it’s very safe for healthy adults.

The most common side effect is weight gained from water retention; when your muscles store creatine, they also store water. This can make your muscles look a bit larger and weigh a bit more.

A Smidgen of Common Sense

As a precaution, be careful if you have diabetes, kidney problems, or any other major health condition. It’s always best to talk with your doctor before regularly supplementing with creatine (or anything, really).