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Hey, Your Breath Smells Like Fat

Two Australian biochemists demonstrate that the errant holiday pudge you’re burning at the gym is expelled largely through exhalation.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

It’s almost the new year. Time for resolutions and a game plan for chiseling away at that extra layer the holiday season so unceremoniously padded your midsection with. It’s not going to be fun, but you’ve wrought this evil upon yourself. So while you’re waiting on hold to renew that gym membership, ponder this: Do you really know where the fat you’re burning goes?

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Flip-Flopping on Fats

Health and sustainability concerns drive the two largest donut chains to change their policies on palm oil.

Illustration by Addison Eaton

Last week, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme both announced intentions to revise their buying policies on palm oil, and ethical donut gobblers across the nation rejoiced. Cultivation of the oil, used not only in frying donuts but also in a vast number of other global foods and consumer goods, is implicated in rampant deforestation and workers’ rights abuses, coating every cruller with an unappetizing sprinkling of guilt. So the donut world’s decision to source only from certified ethical and sustainable suppliers, part of an expanding market reaction against the oil’s evils, feels to many like a significant everyday victory for conscious consumerism. But for many others, the decision just raises the question of why we were so blithely using such a seemingly destructive product in our food for so long. The answer isn’t that we were duped (although palm oil does disguise itself in products). We turned to palm oil because, thanks to years of conditioning and demonization, we’ve learned to fear most other fats.

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Eat Scum: The Science Behind the Algae Fat Substitute Almagine, the Algae Fat Substitute

A renewable energy company found a low-fat fix where food scientists hadn’t looked—in the peculiar molecular structure of single-celled algae.


Flavor without fat is the holy grail of health food science. To compensate for trimming fat out of junk foods, chemists have tried amping up the salts and sugars. They’ve created proteins to try to mimic the smooth flavor release of fat. They’ve engineered fake fat particles so big they pass through the intestinal tract undigested. But your mouth knows what it knows: That reduced-fat Oreo tastes in no way like the full-fat version.

Now, a renewable energy company may have found a fix where food scientists hadn’t looked—in the peculiar molecular structure of single-celled algae.

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Dietary Supplements: Monday, January 31

Dietary Supplements is a daily roundup of what we're reading at GOOD Food HQ. Enjoy!

If you have been picturing your body fat accumulating in layers, like an onion, this article will set you straight on how fat cells actually work.

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Gulf Oil Spill Redux: Gelatinized Beef Fat in the Houston Ship Canal

U.S. Coast Guard photos of the beef tallow leak that closed down the Houston Ship Canal earlier this week.


Early Tuesday evening, approximately 250,000 gallons of beef fat spilled out of a shore-based storage tank owned by Jacob Stern & Sons, an agri-products company specializing in the resale of "value-added oleochemicals." Fifteen thousand gallons of the fat then found its way into the Houston Ship Channel through a storm drain.

The fat, or tallow, as it's called in industrial circles, is rendered-down slaughterhouse waste destined to be used in soaps, pharmaceuticals, and even as a lubricant in the steel rolling industry. On contact with water, it apparently thickens to form the creamy yellow "patties" (that's the technical term) you see in the photo above.

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