The Curious Case of Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is produced by Western honey bees feeding on the nectar of Manuka bushes that can only be found in New Zealand and Australia.

western honey bee
Manuka honey is coveted for its anitbacterial properties discovered by Peter Molan.

Then Molan discovered there was something special about manuka honey. It appears to have antibacterial properties, unlike other honeys in the world, and some studies suggested it could heal wounds and help boost the immune system. (Specifically, the antibacterial property found in other honeys comes from hydrogen peroxide, which is broken down quickly in the body, whereas the non-peroxide form found in manuka honey isn’t.)

The manuka honey industry is highly lucrative. In New Zealand alone, manuka honey exports are worth NZ$315 million (~USD230million). The intense interest has led to a “manuka crime wave”, as warring beekeepers resort to beehive heists and massacres to edge out the competition.

The biggest consumers are the UK and China. 1,800 tonnes a year of the honey are now consumed in the UK each year, with prices ranging from £40 to £50 for 500g. China imports 1,500 tonnes a year and it sells for up to 1,789RMB ($279) for a 500g jar.

In total, 10,000 tonnes of manuka honey are sold worldwide, whereas only 2-3000 tonnes are produced each year. The New Zealand government has implemented measures to safeguard the authenticity of their prized export. However these tests seem to be ineffective in reducing the volume of fake manuka honey in circulation and major honey producers have called for a revision of these standards.

There is no single standard for manuka honey, instead there are various grading systems being used by different brands and countries which leads to much consumer confusion.

So how do you tell if your manuka honey is the real stuff?
I honestly don’t know.

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Not Just Surface Damage

Sharing a magazine that I found helpful:
[Not Just Surface Damage]

A compilation of heartfelt testimonials from eating disorder survivors and supporters in Singapore, together with additional information on avenues for support.

As someone who struggles with an eating disorder and body image issues, I find it helpful to read about other people’s experiences, struggles and triumphs. Especially that of fellow Singaporeans. I find these articles encouraging and insightful. And it really helps me to be more circumspect when dealing with my own thoughts and compulsions. I hope someone finds them equally useful too.

Next time you’re at St. John’s or the Sisters’ Islands, check out the plants — News from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The following is a guest post by Dr. Chong Kwek Yan, on a recent series of papers in Nature in Singapore that arose from the work of a student that he supervised. Kwek Yan received the NUS Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2015 and has since been based at the Centre for Excellence for Environmental Decisions, […]

via Next time you’re at St. John’s or the Sisters’ Islands, check out the plants — News from Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Why do beans have less protein after cooking?

Q. If you boil beans, they lose their protein?

According to google search, 1 cup RAW of pinto beans is 41 grams of protein, but if you boil them they become 1.9g / cup. Why is this so?

The discrepancy in protein per cup is due to the difference in volume between a dried bean and a cooked bean.

When the dried beans are cooked or soaked, they absorb the liquid they are cooked/soaked in, which causes them to expand.

From a quick google search, dried beans can expand up to 2-3 times their original volume after an overnight soak and 3-4 times their original volume after cooking. So if you started with 1 cup of dried beans, you will on average end up with 3 cups of cooked beans. i.e. On average, 1 cup of dried beans will contain 3x the protein of 1 cup of cooked beans.

The same applies to other dried food stuff such as grains, legumes and lentils. The only difference is the amount of water they will absorb. To make it easier and less confusing to track these calories, weigh them raw and log them  based on the raw nutritional information for that ingredient.

Related reading:

Recipe book and cooking advice for beans, legumes and lentils:

http://www.extension.uidaho.edu/adaefnep/Efnep%20pdf/BeansSplitPeasLentils.pdf

Cooking Dried Beans,Peas and Lentils:
https://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/hec/FNH-00360.pdf

Bean conversions:
http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/bean-conversions/

Dried grains to cooked conversions:
http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/cooking-whole-grains