How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket and is helping drive the global obesity crisis - How Kevin Hall's study made this obvious

Date Published: Fri, 14 Feb 2020 17:38:02 +0200

What characterises ultra-processed foods is that they are so altered that it can be hard to recognise the underlying ingredients. These are concoctions of concoctions, engineered from ingredients that are already highly refined, such as cheap vegetable oils, flours, whey proteins and sugars, which are then whipped up into something more appetising with the help of industrial additives such as emulsifiers.

Ultra-processed foods (or UPF) now account for more than half of all the calories eaten in the UK and US, and other countries are fast catching up. UPFs are now simply part of the flavour of modern life. These foods are convenient, affordable, highly profitable, strongly flavoured, aggressively marketed – and on sale in supermarkets everywhere. The foods themselves may be familiar, yet the term “ultra-processed” is less so.

It’s savoury snacks and sweet baked goods. It’s chicken nuggets or vegan hotdogs, as the case may be. It’s the doughnut you buy when you are being indulgent, and the premium protein bar you eat at the gym for a quick energy boost. It’s the long-life almond milk in your coffee and the Diet Coke you drink in the afternoon.

Over the past decade, large-scale studies from France, Brazil, the US and Spain have suggested that high consumption of UPFs is associated with higher rates of obesity. When eaten in large amounts (and it’s hard to eat them any other way) they have also been linked to a whole host of conditions, from depression to asthma to heart disease to gastrointestinal disorders. In 2018, a study from France – following more than 100,000 adults – found that a 10% increase in the proportion of UPFs in someone’s diet led to a higher overall cancer risk. “Ultra-processed” has emerged as the most persuasive new metric for measuring what has gone wrong with modern food.

When Hall started to read through the scientific literature on ultra-processed foods, he noticed that all of the damning evidence against them took the form of correlation rather than absolute proof. Like most studies on the harmful effects of particular foods, these studies fell under the umbrella of epidemiology: the study of patterns of health across populations. Hall – and he is not alone here – finds such studies less than convincing. Correlation is not causation, as the saying goes.

At the end of 2018, Hall and his colleagues became the first scientists to test – in randomised controlled conditions – whether diets high in ultra-processed foods could actually cause overeating and weight gain. Hall’s study provided evidence that an ultra-processed diet – with its soft textures and strong flavours – really does cause over-eating and weight gain, regardless of the sugar content. Over just two weeks, the subjects gained an average of 1kg. This is a far more dramatic result than you would expect to see over such a short space of time (especially since the volunteers rated both types of food as equally pleasant).

After Hall’s study was published in July 2019, it was impossible to dismiss Monteiro’s proposition that the rise of UPFs increases the risk of obesity.

Which is also why on a LCHF diet highly processed foods are to be avoided.

See How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket

#health #LCHF #obesity


The long read: It’s cheap, attractive and convenient, and we eat it every day – it’s difficult not to. But is ultra-processed food making us ill and driving the global obesity crisis?

Easily end-to-end encrypt your e-mails with OpenPGP using Mailvelope or Enigmail for Gmail, Thunderbird, etc

Date Published: Thu, 13 Feb 2020 19:01:24 +0200

E-mail by its ancient nature is open to be read by anyone managing a server on either end and often the transit layers are not even encrypted. This is why governments and corporations should not be sending anything classified or compromising via e-mail. Many corporate entities also route their mail (for spam and malware cleansing) via the US owned Mimecast which technically means this entity could read those mails (if the US legally compelled them to) no matter which way they flow (in or out of an organisation using Mimecast).

However, if e-mail in encrypted on the client side with free OpenPGP before it was sent, and only decrypted by the end user when receiving it, it travels securely no matter where it passes through. OpenPGP can also be used for "signing" a non-encrypted mail. For end-to-end encryption the recipient of course must also have OpenPGP to decrypt and read the message.

Products such as Mailvelope (browser extension) and Enigmail (add-on for Thunderbird) make this very easy to use once setup.  Only downside is Mailvelope I see has limited Google logins for authenticating with a Google login for Gmail but I'm getting by perfectly well with Thunderbird which connects to my GMail.

See  Mailvelope

#technology #security #encryption


Mailvelope Open Source Projekt. OpenPGP im Browser.

#^Enigmail - Home


Do you want to send your digital letters as post cards? Probably not. Sending unencrypted emails is like sending post cards – anyone and any system that process your mails can read its content. If you encrypt your emails, you put your message into an envelope that only the recipient of the email can open. Enigmail is a seamlessly integrated...

Syncthing - a secure and open source peer-to-peer file syncing service as a private alternative to DropBox or Google Drive

Date Published: Thu, 13 Feb 2020 18:42:00 +0200

Syncthing is a continuous file synchronization program. It synchronizes files between two or more computers in real time, safely protected from prying eyes. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, whether it is shared with some third party, and how it's transmitted over the internet. None of your data is ever stored anywhere else other than on your computers. There is no central server that might be compromised, legally or illegally.

Every node is identified by a strong cryptographic certificate. Only nodes you have explicitly allowed can connect to your cluster.

Configure and monitor Syncthing via a responsive and powerful interface accessible via your browser. Works on Mac OS X, Windows, Linux (including Snap package), FreeBSD, Solaris, Android (Play Store or F-Droid) and OpenBSD. Run it on your desktop computers and synchronize them with your server for backup. Mmm no iOS client app though but I see a bounty was advertised to have one developed.

See Syncthing

#technology #opensource #filesharing #P2P


Syncthing is a continuous file synchronization program. It synchronizes files between two or more computers in real time, safely protected from prying eyes. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, whether it is shared with some third party, and how it's transmitted over the internet. Grab one of the downloads and...

Wallabag is an open source read-it-later application - an alternative to Pocket, Readability, Pinboard or Instapaper

Date Published: Thu, 13 Feb 2020 18:26:40 +0200

Wallabag saves a web page by keeping content only. Elements like navigation or ads are removed. If you already have an account on Pocket, Readability, Pinboard or Instapaper, you can import your data into Wallabag.

All your data belongs to you. You can download all your articles in many formats: PDF, ePUB, .mobi, JSON, CSV, txt or HTML. Wallabag comes with addons for Firefox and Chrome. Mobile apps are available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Wallabag can be self-hosted and the Softaculous script installer supports it.


#technology #opensource #reading


Save and classify articles. Read them later. Freely.

RetroShare - create your own secure decentralised friend-to-friend social network for chatting, mail, file sharing, forums - does not run on any central server (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 22:48:50 +0200

Retroshare is designed as a "Secure Social Network". It allows you to communicate and share with your friends. Retroshare provides Instant Messaging and Filesharing with decentralised Forums and Channels. Your stuff is only shared with your trusted friends. No data is stored in the Cloud, and all communications are encrypted. You don't have to trust a Corporation (e.g Microsoft Skype, Facebook or Google) with your information.

Friend to Friend (F2F) is the new paradigm after peer-to-peer (P2P). In a P2P network you connect to random peers all over the world. A F2F network only connects you with your trusted friends. This makes the network significantly more private and secure. RetroShare allows you to chat with your friends with the guarantee that no third party is able to eavesdrop on you.

RetroShare is partly anonymous. There are anonymous forums and channels where no one can tell who posted something and you can download files from people you are not connected to anonymously, using anonymous tunnels. However, the people you are connected to, know who you are and know your IP address. They can also see which files you are sharing, unless you mark them as not browsable. No one else on the network can see this information.

The software is free and open source. There is no central server to be paid for, nor any central website that can be blocked, no ads, no hidden costs and no terms of service. There is an Android app too on the F-Droid store. This also great software for families wanting their kids and friends to interact safely without 3rd parties interfering. They have also dealt with the issues around dynamic IP addresses and the possibility of the stun/signalling server not being available.

See Retroshare

#opensource #privacy #F2F #social


Current version: 0.6.5Release notes Retroshare establish encrypted connections between you and your             friends to create a network of computers, and provides various             distributed services on top of it: forums, channels, chat, mail...             Retroshare is fully decentralized, and designed to provide maximum             security and anonymity to its users...

Samsung Pay now supports Nedbank Mastercard

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:55:54 +0200

The Samsung Pay mobile app lets owners of selected Galaxy smartphones use their devices for payments.

At its launch, the payment platform supported Absa and Standard Bank cards, while FNB came onboard in March 2019. Other partner banks include Discovery, Investec, and RMB.

See Samsung Pay now supports Nedbank Mastercard

#southafrica #finance


Samsung has announced that Nedbank Mastercard cards are now supported on the Samsung Pay app.

Vehicles and Pacemakers are old hat - Hackers could shut down satellites – or turn them into weapons

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:10:28 +0200

Amid all the fanfare of SpaceX's new satellite launches, a critical danger has flown under the radar: the lack of cybersecurity standards and regulations for commercial satellites, coupled with satellites’ complex supply chains and layers of stakeholders, leaves them highly vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Hackers could also jam or spoof the signals from satellites, creating havoc for critical infrastructure. This includes electric grids, water networks and transportation systems. Some of these new satellites have thrusters that allow them to speed up, slow down and change direction in space. If hackers took control of these steerable satellites, the consequences could be catastrophic. Hackers could alter the satellites’ orbits and crash them into other satellites or even the International Space Station. Hackers could also hold satellites for ransom.

A scenario played out in 1998 when hackers took control of the US/German Rosat x-ray satellite. They did it by hacking into computers at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland. The hackers then instructed the satellite to aim its solar panels directly at the sun. This effectively fried its batteries and rendered the satellite useless.

Looks like space is the next frontier.... and sad to say as some examples have already happened in the past this is probably going to start happening more and more. Humans can be so innovative, creative, and kind; but that innovation can also be turned to such destructive and evil purposes. The Internet, satellites, vehicles, etc all start out for such good purposes and then humans make them destructive, so much so that the lock-downs mean we often all lose out on the intended benefits. Humans (similar to the few that troll, rape and murder) must be unique in the World with a desire to harm for no good reason. Imagine how much good humans could do if they all aligned themselves to do good.... wishful thinking though as what would we do with hundreds of millions of people employed in spying, security guarding, armies, counter-espionage, etc? Turn them into scientists and researchers?

See Hackers could shut down satellites - or turn them into weapons - TechCentral

#technology #space #security


Thousands of new satellites have the potential to revolutionise many aspects of everyday life. Amid all the fanfare, though, a critical danger has flown under the radar: the lack of cybersecurity standards and regulations.

What everyone should know about drinking tap water - whether its straight or filtered, it's a lot cheaper and better for the environment than single use plastic water bottles

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 14:19:01 +0200

Water filtration systems can remove impurities and contaminants found in tap water, including lead, chlorine, and bacteria. Some remove more than others. But in many cities is just not necessary to even filter tap water for human consumption.

I'll never forget visiting Switzerland years ago with a tour group, and just after we were told Switzerland has the purest drinking tap water in the world, there goes a bunch of our group into a supermarket to buy bottled water.

If you're all about eliminating single-use plastic from your life, but your tap water is straight up undrinkable, this task gets a bit difficult.

See which gives a few options, some of which will even filter well water


How Can Africa Join The EV Revolution? Likely by sourcing from the East

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 13:31:51 +0200

For West African countries like Nigeria, EVs could be imported from the United States and Europe. South Africa does not allow imports of used vehicles in a move to protect its local vehicle manufacturing industry and subsequent local used vehicle market.

A lot of the OEMs have not expressed any interest in bringing EVs to the rest of Africa anytime soon. With the majority of them struggling to meet demand in their home and traditional markets, it doesn’t look like Africa will be a priority anytime soon. Elon Musk had hinted a while back that the Tesla Model 3 could come to South Africa but later expressed disappointment with regards to South Africa’s punitive import duties on EVs.

There are a lot of positives coming out of the Indian EV market. Spurred on by India’s excellent Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) policy, the Indian EV market is starting to boom. Two and three-wheeler ICE vehicles are popular modes of transportation in East and West Africa. Affordable electric scooters, motorcycles, and three-wheelers powered by Lithium-Ion batteries with ranges of 50 to 100 km are now widely available in India. With pricing from $700 to just over $2,000, these EVs from India would be a whole lot more budget friendly for prospective buyers in Africa. Most African countries have low import duties for motorcycles and three-wheelers, making it easier for suppliers to ship these and price them competitively with their ICE equivalents. The import duties get even better when one imports partially knocked down kits for final assembly in Africa.

Fact is Africa is more budget conscious anyway and is not likely to be flooded with a supply of Tesla's any time soon. It is certainly towards the East we need to be looking for ordinary driver EVs.

See How Can Africa Join The EV Revolution? (Video)

#environment #EV #africa


A lot of the OEMs have not expressed any interest in bringing EVs to the rest of Africa anytime soon. With the majority of them struggling to meet demand in their home and traditional markets, it doesn’t look like Africa will be a priority anytime soon.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ announced with improved audio quality and 11-hour battery life for $149 - Android and iOS apps available

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 12:55:28 +0200

Together with the case, the new Buds+ offer 22 hours in total, and fast charging now delivers an hour of playback from a three-minute top-up. A two-way dynamic speaker setup comprising a woofer and tweeter should represent an upgrade in audio quality, and an extra external microphone on each earbud should enhance call quality. The ambient mode that lets outside noise in when you need it has also been upgraded, according to Samsung.

See Samsung Galaxy Buds+ announced with improved audio quality and 11-hour battery life for $149

#technology #hardware #audio


Samsung's upgraded Galaxy Buds+ may not be the noise-canceling true wireless earbuds of our dreams, but they do include some meaningful improvements that

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