Saturday, July 3, 2010



In today's modern world where there exists a myriad of temptations – emerges a new type of addiction that is found to be quite appealing to scientists and nutritionists alike but rather scary to people – food addiction. How can it be possible that eating, which is part of a basic human need for survival can turn to be an addiction? Experts say that food addiction starts when the need becomes a want, then the want turns to ‘must’ which is similar to addiction to drugs. With food addiction, you have this unexplainable preoccupation with food.
Food addiction can be simply characterized by an incontrollable impulse to binge on food. Those addicted tend to eat faster than normal, and despite the fact that they already feel full, food addicts still try to eat as much as they can. As opposed to another eating disorder called bulimia wherein an individual goes on an eating binge and tries to fast, use a laxative or force themselves to vomit afterwards, a food addict does not feel the guilt after the act. Just like those who have a drug addiction problem, food addiction leads individuals to feel a different high after they overeat. In other hand, if a food addict is unable to satisfy a craving, there is a physical manifestation of a headache or nausea.
Although there is no one factor which can be pinpointed as the specific cause of food addiction, it is more likely caused by emotional problems such as depression. The food addicts tend to use food as a way to relieve worry or stress. The two major types of food that they are addicted to are fast food and junk food. Recent studies show that the sugar and fat contents of fast foods can be as addictive as illegal drugs or smoking tobacco. If you always feel the urge to stop by your favorite fast food outlet more than three times a week, you may be exhibiting symptoms of fast food addiction. Due to the 'instant' factor of fast food, most people find it convenient to go to a drive-through or stop by a fast food chain restaurant in order to grab a quick bite. However, almost each of items on the menu of a fast food restaurant contain sugary, fatty and salty food. After consuming a serving of burger and fries, the blood sugar peaks – which in turn creates the craving for another snack. This vicious cycle leads to fast food addiction and without sufficient self-control, it is something that you can easily fall victim to.
On the other hand, junk food can be classified as anything which is loaded with fat, calories, salt and sugar without any nutritional value that can be obtained from 'real' foods. The taste, convenience and the 'instant' factor of junk food are what make it so addictive. Fast food like fries, chocolate chips, potato chips and instant snacks are one of the few examples of junk foods that one may be addicted to. It could even be possible that the majority of a general population is addicted to junk foods! However, serious addicts feel the deprivation if they fail to consume this type of food multiple times within a day. In relation to this, sugary and fatty foods are the main components of junk food.
There are several options available in the treatment of food addiction. These include consulting a nutritionist, doctor, psychologist, counselor, or eating disorder specialist. Some tips for avoiding bouts of compulsive eating include:
1. Find out the situations that trigger your cravings; avoid them as much as possible.
2. Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily
3. Exercise regularly
4. Relax by taking deep-breathing exercises or meditation
5. Try to distract yourself until the compulsion to eat passes

(Source:,, )

Food Additives - Are They Safe??

As much as we may not like the idea; food additives undeniably play a pivotal role in today's food production and supply. There are both advantages and disadvantages to their usage. Among the advantages are, they do allow a growing urban population to have a variety of food year-round and they make possible an assortment of convenience food without the inconvenience of daily shopping.
Let us see what food additives are up for…

Why food additives?

To improve the taste or appearance of a processed food.
To improve the keeping quality or stability of a food.
To preserve food when this is the most practical way of extending its storage life.

Although purposes of food additives are good, one still should...

Check labels for:

1. Artificial Food Colorings

Some of these coloring agents are allergenic and, even worse, some have
carcinogenic properties. Some artificial food colors are suspected of contributing
to hyperactivity, allergies, asthma, learning problems, and concentration difficulties
in children and adults. Specific food to avoid include coloured drinks, color-coated
candies, gummy and chewy candies, and many colored cereals.
Tartrazine (E102) FD&C Yellow No. 5 : Ice cream, carbonated drinks, fish sticks
Allura red (E129)* FD&C Red No. 3 : Carbonated drink, bubble gum, snacks
Brilliant blue (E133)* : Sweets, drinks

2. Olestra

Olestra is a synthesized fat substitute first used in potato chips. It's a
non-absorbable oil polymer, thus it's not metabolized by the body. Certain
consumers have reported digestive and other problems from olestra
consumption, including diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

3. Nitrites and Nitrates

Nitrites and nitrates can develop into nitrosamines in the body, which can
be carcinogenic. They are often found in preserved meat, including bacon,
hot dogs, bologna, and salami.

Examples: Potassium nitrate (E249) : Cured meat and canned meat products

4. Sulfites

Sulfites include sulfur dioxide in fruits, sulfites in grapes and wine, and metabisulfites in other foods, and they sometimes cause allergic reactions. or headaches, nausea, and diarrhea. Anyone suffering from allergies or asthma should minimize or avoid sulfited food.
Examples: Calcium sulphite (E226) : In a vast array of food-from burgers to biscuits

5. Sugar

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are frequent additives, and its overuse can lead to numerous health issues including elevated blood sugar, hypoglycemia, hyperactivity, yeast problems (candida), excessive food cravings, and increased triglycerides (blood fats). Sugar and sweeteners also contribute empty calories toward obesity, dental cavities, and diabetes.
Examples: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) : Carbonated drinks other sweetened drinks (juices), baked goods, candies, canned fruits, jams & jellies.

6. Artificial Sweeteners

Saccharin has been linked with cancer in laboratory animals, but its widespread use is on the decline. Still, other synthetic sweeteners like Aspartame, and acesulfame-K are widely used in soft drinks, candies, chewing gum and a variety of other products. Two research studies found aspartame to have caused brain tumors in lab animals, and it should be avoided by pregnant women and children under seven.
Examples: Aspartame (E951), Acesulphame K (E950), Saccharine (E954)

7. Preservatives

Preservatives such as BHA, BHT and EDTA are used in small quantities in
grain products like cereal, soup bases, and other foods containing oil to
prevent rancidity. These are potentially toxic to the liver and kidneys, and they've been known to cause allergic reactions and neurotoxic effects.
Examples: Sorbic acid : Cheeses, cakes, salad dressing
Benzoic acid : Soft drinks, ketchup

8. Artificial Flavors
Artificial flavors represent the largest number of food additives. Most of the food products with artificial flavor additives are highly processed. Both adults and children may exhibit allergic reactions and other health issues from these chemical flavorings.
Examples: monosodium glutamate (MSG), annatto

The first ring donuts were produced in 1847 by a 15 year old baker's apprentice, Hanson Gregory, who knocked the soggy center out of a fried doughnut.


A Day In Tambunan…
By: Siti Fatimah
On the 14th of March 2010, a field trip to Tambunan was carried out by the first year students of SSMP. It was participated by 12 students for a Biochemistry assignment where the group needs to perform a research based on the ‘Panggi’ fruit or Panggium. This trip was led by Yong Ket Kong, the group leader, followed by each section leader and vice leader or their representative.
The exact destination for this trip was Kampung Narayat, Tambunan. Just to go Tambunan alone took us about 2 hours of driving and another approximately half an hour from Tambunan to Kampung Narayat. The road heading towards Tambunan was quite challenging for some of us due to its mountainous terrains; some of us even experienced car sickness. We managed to take a pit-stop at the peak of the mountain named Puncak Gunung Mas along the way down to Tambunan.
Upon our arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the villagers with a huge smile on their face. Immediately after that, we started our research by taking a look at the panggi seed followed by questions to one of our respondents, who was the grandmother of Rebecca Chong, one of our group members, assisted by her auntie, Auntie Sophia and several other villagers. Unfortunately for us, the fruit only grows within a short season which is within the month of July, thus missing the chance to personally observe the real fruit itself. However, our disappointment were dissolved when we were given a chance to taste fishes that were fermented using the Panggi fruit. After that, we moved on to the other side of the village where the one and only Panggi fruit tree was located. According to villagers, this plant grows wildly in the forest and no one had ever tried to plant it. Villagers would only harvest the fruit in the forest, and some would sell the seed for high price in the market.
Subsequently, we came back to Rebecca’s grandmother’s house and we were served with ‘air pandan’ and large bananas as our light refreshments. Auntie Sophia then invited us to the Manhua Waterfall for a visit. Their warm Before we left, we extended our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation towards the locals for their warm hospitality and took some pictures for remembrance. From the village, we took a car ride several kilometers down a ‘roller-coaster’ road towards the picturesque Manhua Waterfall. We had fun taking more pictures and enjoyed the spectacular natural scenery. After enjoying the waterfall, we bade farewell to Auntie Sophie, Rebecca and her family for their help, kindness and generosity.
The view from the journey back to UMS was simply breathtaking as the road was surrounded by thick fog, giving us the sensation as if we were in Europe. We arrived safely at UMS around 4.30 pm tired, but full with precious memories and knowledge.

(A project by the students for the students)
3000 muffins were made by 20 SSMP students from the 11th-13th March for a major university event. There will be more projects to come from the Entrepreneurship Exco and the funds received will go into the PMSSMP fund.

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