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DAILY DOSE: Diabetes is a global ticking time bomb; Upcycling food leftovers into new meals is catching on.

A new global study led by the University of Washington warns of an impending worldwide surge in diabetes, with the number of patients expected to double from 529 million to 1.3 billion by 2050. This alarming growth is attributed mainly to type 2 diabetes, largely preventable and related to obesity. While all regions will be affected, North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean face particularly high prevalence rates. Researchers attribute the increase to rising obesity rates and an aging population. This study, part of a series funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published in The Lancet, emphasizes the urgent need for effective prevention strategies and better access to treatment in low- and middle-income countries. (Reuters)

According to a report by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalaya could lose up to 75% of their volume by 2100 due to global warming. This poses a risk of dangerous flooding and water shortages for the 240 million inhabitants of this region. Recent data reveals the glaciers shed ice 65% faster in the 2010s than the previous decade. Ice loss projections vary with warming degree, but under current policies, the Eastern Himalaya could lose up to 80% of its ice. These changes threaten water supplies, with river flows predicted to peak mid-century, impacting over 1.6 billion people, and potentially causing displacement and devastating glacial lake outburst floods. (Japan Today)

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Biodiversity is declining globally in response to multiple human stressors, including climate forcing. Nonetheless, local diversity trends are inconsistent in some taxa, obscuring contributions of local processes to global patterns. Arctic tundra diversity, including plants, fungi, and lichens, declined during a 15-year experiment that combined warming with exclusion of large herbivores known to influence tundra vegetation composition. Tundra diversity declined regardless of experimental treatment, as background growing season temperatures rose with sea ice loss. However, diversity declined slower with large herbivores than without them. This difference was associated with an increase in effective diversity of large herbivores as formerly abundant caribou declined and muskoxen increased. Efforts that promote herbivore diversity, such as rewilding, may help mitigate impacts of warming on tundra diversity. (Science)

Tyler Malek, the head ice cream maker at Portland-based Salt & Straw, is leading the upcycling movement in the food industry, creating high-quality products from leftover food. Using ingredients like the whey from yogurt makers and remnants of grains from beer brewing, his ice cream parlors, spread from the Pacific Northwest to Miami, serve upcycled flavors. This sustainable approach is gaining traction as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious. The Upcycled Food Association, promoting this movement, has certified 450 products since 2021, indicating the reduction of food waste in the production process. The upcycling trend extends beyond grocery products, also featuring in restaurants using ‘imperfect’ but edible ingredients, thereby challenging traditional cosmetic standards in food. (Associated Press)

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)


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