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The Morning Briefing: Junk food to artificial chicken

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"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading about consumption and recent food studies.

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-reads from the web. This morning we're reading about consumption and recent food studies.

1.) Why Junk food 'isn't' making children fat. A U.S. study tracked approximately 20,000 students from kindergarten through to eighth grade in 1,000 public and private schools. The researchers examined the children's weight and found that in the eighth grade, 35.5 percent of kids in schools that offer junk food were overweight, while 34.8 percent of those in schools without it were overweight.

2.) Can coffee stave off Type 2 diabetes? A new study suggests your morning cup of coffee may be beneficial for thwarting Type 2 diabetes. Previous research has created tenuous links between coffee and a reduced risk of the disease, and now these researchers have indicated reasons why this may be so. Three components found in coffee are thought to have beneficial effects to this end -- caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine.

3.) Scientists compete in challenge to create artificial chicken. The world's largest animal welfare group, PETA, gave scientists a challenge five years ago. They were to attempt to create a food substitute by June 2012 that contained the texture, shape, and taste of chicken. The first scientists to prove they can create this laboratory meat in commercial quantities will be awarded $1 million -- if any can.

4.) Poultry inspections become scrapped under new regulations. Under a proposal to be revealed today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack indicted the new regulations may prevent thousands of foodborne illnesses a year -- by modernizing the poultry industry and increasing efficiency. Vilsack believes that spending more money and effort on safety rather than eyeballing each chicken for visual imperfections will save companies $250 million a year, and may reduce risk of diseases such as salmonella.

5.) UN considers U.S. a major ethanol offender. Jose Graziano da Silva, the recently established director-general of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation, believes that the U.S. is causing a rise in the global price of grain. Due to its policy of producing ethanol biofuel from the crop, there is evidence that this is contributory to cereal tripling in price over the last decade.

Image credit: Cornelia Kopp/Flickr

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure