Food & Drink

This category contains 6 posts

Are they really sugar-free?

A wide range of sugar-free products are available in the market.

‘Sugar-free’ does not mean ‘fat-free,’ stress diabetologists

At a departmental store on Chamiers Road, Shanthi Sekhar who has been a diabetic for 20 years, looks for a sugar-free box of cereal to add to her collection of unsweetened soya milk, sugar-free jam and sugar-free chocolates. “I have been purchasing sugar-free products on my own initiative as a way of staying healthy,” she adds.

As sugar is a no-no for persons living with diabetes, and with the increased availability of sugar-free products in the market, a number of people, including those intending to control weight, have begun to choose these products as substitutes.

The word, ‘free’ may imply that more of the food can be consumed without raising the blood sugar levels but ‘sugar-free’ does not mean ‘fat-free,’ stress diabetologists. “Some sugar-free sweets contain a substitute called sucralose which is definitely better for diabetic persons than sweets that contain sugar. But the sugar-free sweets still contain ghee, oil, and fat that will increase the calorie intake,” says V.Mohan, chief diabetologist, Dr.Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre.

There are five sweeteners that are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, of which sucralose is the safest, says Meenakshi Bajaj, medical nutritional therapist at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. “People have to make extra effort to read the labels of products and choose a safe sweetener,” she adds. “Just like people do not pick up tablets off the shelves and consume them, similarly a doctor should be consulted before picking up sweeteners off the shelves,” says Ms.Bajaj.

At the V.P.Diabetes Research Centre in Tambaram, Dr.V.Parthasarathy advises his patients to go ‘cold-turkey’ on their consumption of sugar and not take any sugar-substitutes. “Sugar-free products are filled with chemicals. So, why add these to the body?” he says. Describing these products as “humbug,” he says an unhealthy lifestyle among youngsters is already causing several problems.

Lack of regulation

At Dr.Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, a department dedicated to food and nutrition has been testing the veracity of several sugar-free products available in the market.

“We have been systematically testing over 200 varieties of rice prepared for diabetic persons. In some products, test has shown sugar levels have skyrocketed despite the product claiming otherwise,” says Dr.Mohan. So far, the tests have shown only rice varieties with a moderate glycemic index and none with a low index, he adds.

“The key is to constantly educate people, making them more aware,” says Dr.Mohan. “As regulation is minimal, anyone can claim anything to sell a product but the labels have to be carefully scrutinised,” he adds.


How to Clean Out an Oil Bottle

It's easy to clean oil out of a bottle.

Many cooks like to have a bottle of olive oil near the stove. Some even choose to refill and reuse their bottle. However, oil and water do not mix, so washing the residual oil out of the bottle requires a bit of attention. Since many oil bottles have a thin neck that prohibits using a bottle brush or other cleaning utensils, use a grease-cutting product to remove all the oily remains before filling your bottle with new oil.


Things You’ll Need
Dishwashing detergent or liquid castile soap


  • Fill the bottle half full with warm tap water.
  • Add two drops of dishwashing detergent and 1 tbsp. vinegar.

  • Put your hand over the top of the bottle, or seal it with the lid.

  • Shake the bottle vigorously.

  • Empty the bottle and inspect it. If there is still an oily residue in the bottle, repeat the steps.

  • Rinse the bottle by holding it under a running tap. After the bottle is full, sudsy water will come out the top. Keep running the water into the bottle until no more suds appear.

  • Dump all the water out of the bottle.

  • Put the clean glass bottle in the oven, set at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes to completely dry the inside of the bottle.

How to Add Garlic to Pizza Dough

Incorporate garlic into your next homemade pizza.

There are many ingredients that can be added to pizza dough to alter its taste. This can be done with handmade dough mixed in your own kitchen or with ready-made dough purchased in a local bakery or supermarket. Incorporating garlic into your pizza gives it an authentic Italian taste. Try these ways to include garlic in your next pizza dough.

Things You’ll Need
Garlic powder
Pastry brush
Fresh garlic
Olive or canola oil


  • Place the pizza dough on a counter sprinkled with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp. garlic powder liberally across the pizza dough. Add more or less to taste. Stretch the pizza dough according to your preferred method. This will give the pizza dough a hint of garlic flavor.
  • Saute 6 cloves of minced garlic in a frying pan with a few drops of olive oil. Cook it just enough to brown the garlic. Stretch the pizza dough onto the pan. Let the roasted garlic cool and spread it around the surface of the pizza. The roasted garlic will give a stronger taste to the pizza.
  • Combine 1/2 cup olive or canola oil, 1 tbsp. garlic powder and 1 tbsp. butter. Heat this in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir it together to blend the flavors. Stretch the dough and spread the garlic mixture onto the crust prior to placing it in the oven. This will make a flaky, buttery garlicky crust that is sure to add a new spin to your homemade pizza.

How to Boil an Egg

Boil an Egg

Eggs are a rich source of protein and vitamins and are generally healthy to eat, unless you have a high cholesterol level.
You can eat eggs raw, boiled or cooked in a pan as scrambled eggs or an omelet. Boiling eggs is one of the easiest ways to prepare them; this eHow will provide instructions on how to boil an egg in six simple steps.


  • Place the raw egg in a saucepan.
  • Run cold water into the saucepan until the water is 1 inch above the egg.
  • Place the saucepan on a stove and cook over medium heat until the water begins to boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes for soft-boiled eggs or 10 to 15 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.
  • Remove the egg with a spoon or ladle and let it cool slowly, or run cold water over it to cool it more quickly

Tips & Warnings

  • Use hard-boiled eggs to make deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches.
  • Don’t over cook your eggs, it can cause a green ring to appear around the egg yolk because of the iron and sulfur in the egg. This will not affect the taste of the egg, but overcooking will hurt the protein quality.

Effects That Cutting Onions Have on the Human Eye

Onions have antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal properties.

The bulb of the onion plant grows underground and is used in cooking and alternative medicine to treat health conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. While its medicinal properties have not been clinically proven, the ability of onions to irritate the eyes has been heavily documented. According to Science Daily, scientists have developed “tearless” onions, but most onions available in the market still irritate the eyes.

Onion Vapors

When an onion is cut, it releases vapors that usually make contact with the eyes. When exposed to air, propyl sulfoxides in an onion turn into propanetheial-S-oxides and float up in vapor form, usually reaching the eyes of the person cutting the onion.


When the vapor touches the moisture in the eyes, it dissolves in eye fluid. It creates propionaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid on the surface of the eyes, which then causes a burning sensation and irritation.


Due to the irritation, the brain sends messages to the lacrimal glands and lacrimal sacs to produce tears. The salty solution cleans, lubricates and moistens the eyeballs. It dilutes the acid and washes away the irritating substance.

How to Prevent Onions From Making You Cry

Leave an onion root intact to reduce the release of tear-causing vapors.

Rejoice, onion lovers — you do not need to hide behind masks or closed doors during the preparation of your favorite flavor addition. The tear-inducing effect of onions stems from their noxious gases and chemical interactions. Raw onions produce a chemical vapor that converts to a sulfuric acid in the air, irritating the lachrymal glands in your eyes and causing tears. You can reduce your onion-inspired sobs by changing your preparation and cutting technique.


Things You’ll Need

Sharp knife

  • Chill onions in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before peeling or chopping them. Sulfuric vapors move more slowly in the cold — think about how garbage smells worse during hot weather.
  • Leave the onion root intact until the last possible minute to prevent irritants from escaping into the air. The root contains the largest concentration of sulfuric compounds in an onion.
  • Chop or cut the onion with a sharp knife. Fast, clean slicing puts less pressure on the onion tissue and minimizes the release of sulfuric compounds. A sharp knife also allows you to expedite your slicing and reduce your exposure to the onion fumes.
  • Open a window or light a scented candle close to your chopping station. The hot flame of a candle attracts tear-causing vapor and reduces the amount of vapor circulating in the air.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves and a painter’s mask if you experience particularly strong reactions to onion vapo

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