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Food Factoids

Licorice Provides More Than Health Benefits – When most of us think of licorice, we visualize the confection found at the supermarket.  What we don’t realize is that licorice root has long been used to treat inflammation, bronchitis, arthritis, constipation, peptic ulcers and chronic gastritis.  Now, manufacturers have found a new use for the waste root that normally gets discarded.  According to the United States press, the waste root finds itself used in the manufacturing of box boards. Previously, after extracting the licorice, the crushed root (considered a waste product) was destroyed by burning.  However, under the new process, manufacturers transform this refuse into a chemical wood pulp and press it into boards because of its durable resistant qualities. So take another look at your holiday packages – those boxes may have begun life as licorice root! Sources: ( and (

Chinese Fruit Used As Sweetener – Luo han guo, also known as the “arhat fruit” or “monk’s fruit,” is cultivated in China to produce a low-calorie sweetener.  The fruit’s compounds, called mogrosides, provide its sweet flavor.  However, because the pure mogrosides are 300 times sweeter than sugar and have many interfering aromas, they must undergo processing before being added to traditional foods.  Current research also suggests that the mogrosides work as antioxidants that can help prevent cancer. Source: (

Sugar-Free Moderation – Recently, the holidays have become more enjoyable for dieters and diabetics due to the increased availability of sugar-free candies. However, without moderation, repercussions still may result!  These candies use sugar alcohols, which replace sugar and contain fewer calories.  But because sugar alcohols have different chemical structures than traditional sugars, they do not completely absorb into the blood stream and are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine. As a result, consuming too much sugar-free candy can produce uncomfortable abdominal gas and laxative effects. Therefore, foods containing certain sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol, and that are likely to be eaten in amounts that could produce these effects, must bear the statement “Excess consumption may have a laxative effect.” The American Dietetic Association advises that greater than 50g/day of sorbitol or greater than 20g/day of mannitol “may cause diarrhea.” So when enjoying sugar-free holiday treats, remember that a little goes a long way! Source: (