The consumption of sake (nihonshu or refined sake-seishu) reached a peak of 1,800,000 kl per year in 1973 and has been in decline since then. Annual consumption has now declined to 600,000 kL, about one-third of the peak figure. However, UNESCO' s 2013 designation of Washoku (the traditional food culture of the Japanese) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage has triggered a re-evaluation of sake, boosting consumption in the twenties to early forties age groups and among women in their late twenties to late thirties in particular.
1. What is sake?
In Japan' s Liquor Tax Act, "sake” in the sense of "alcoholic drinks in general" is specified as "a drinkable beverage with an alcohol content of 1% or more." The current Liquor Tax Act (amended in 2006) breaks down alcoholic beverages into four types and 17 items: 1) carbonated alcohols: beer and happōshu, 2) brewed or fermented beverages: seishu, wines and other brewed or fermented beverages; 3) distilled liquors: shōchū, whiskey, brandy, spirits, and raw alcohol; and 4) alcoholic beverages combined with sugar: compound alcohols, mirin (cooking sake), fortified wines, liqueurs, powdered alcohol, and miscellaneous liquors.
2. Enjoying sake
Of the various types of sake available today, those consumed most widely are futsūshu (standard ordinary sake) , junmaishu (sake made without added alcohol or sugar) and ginjōshu (sake brewed by low-temperature fermentation from white rice milled to 60%). Let me introduce the best ways to drink these various types of sake:
1) Futsūshu: This is a type of sake for the masses and is mainly mass-produced by major manufacturers. It is best consumed heated rather than at room temperature.
2) Junmaishu: This sake is made using rice only. It is generally consumed at room temperature or slightly chilled, but heating it may also be fine. Heating this type of sake releases its aroma and highlights its taste, whether it be sweet, acidic, or umami.
3) Ginjōshu: Dai-ginjōshu is the royalty of ginjōshu and junmaishu. As is well known, the special quality about ginjōshu is its aroma. Hence, the best way to drink it is while savoring its aroma and flavor. Generally, aromatic sakes like ginjōshu are consumed chilled. However, if the aim is to enjoy the aroma, I think it might be best consumed at room temperature or slightly warmed up for tasting.
The purpose of this study was to investigate characteristics of bean cooking in the world. The countries investigated were mainly selected by high bean consumption by citizens （an average of over 3.5 kg/year）, bean-consumption data having been published in the "World statistics 2017". Other countries were also selected by their research importance. Totally 21 countries or cultural regions were selected for research concerning bean cooking.
86 cook books from all these countries were collected and used as reference books in this study. The recipes involving beans as an ingredient were investigated in each book and 1192 total recipes were found.
Detailed data in each recipe, such as species of beans used, the style (e.g. whole or cut) of beans during cooking, seasonings, spices and pot herbs used, were input into Excel. And a database and cross tabulation were made. The characteristics of bean dishes in 21 countries or cultural regions were revealed through the analyses.
The kinds of beans used for bean dishes vary according to world regions. Soybeans are used only in East Asian countries, mainly in Japan, Korea and China. Chickpeas and lentils are mainly used in West Asia and surrounding areas. Black beans are used mainly in Mexico and Latin America.
Beans prepared for consumption fall into four general styles: whole beans (predominant in most countries), chopped or sliced beans, bean pastes and purees (most common in three Asian countries) and sprouts.
The study of seasoning methods for various bean dishes was also conducted. Spices such as pepper, chili, coriander and cumin, are mainly used globally for the seasoning of bean dishes. But in three Asian countries, seasonings such as soy sauce, miso, sake and mirin are more commonly used and the use of other spices is minimum.
Beans are cooked by simmering in curries, stews and soups. In addition, beans are often ingredients in salads. A bean-paste dish called hummus, in which beans are mashed and seasoned, are often found in Middle Eastern countries.
Serum cholesterol level reduction is an important factor for preventing lifestyle-related disease. Together, search for food materials which reduces serum cholesterol level have come to people' s attention.
In this study, we carried out a large-scale and a long-term study to evaluate the effect of brown rice on serum cholesterol level. In brief, we conducted this study using a cross-over design with 90 days of consuming pregelatinized brown rice against non-brown rice.
The following results were obtained.
1) There was a low drop-out rate: 2.5% (3 of 120 subjects), and many participants replied that this program was easy to join, because the preparing of brown rice was very easy and the contents of the program were very simple.
2) Brown rice intake increased bowel movement and improved the participant' s physical condition.
3) Serum cholesterol levels were significantly decreased in the subjects starting with abnormal value of serum cholesterol (over 221 mg/dL) by brown rice intake.
4) Brown rice intake decreased serum LDL cholesterol in the subjects with initial level of high serum LDL cholesterol (over 140 mg/dL).
5) However, serum HDL cholesterol level of brown rice intake group did not change in the subjects of low serum HDL cholesterol levels (under 40 mg/dL).
These large-scale studies suggested brown rice has serum cholesterol decreasing effect in people with high cholesterol level.
The breath hydrogen (H2) excretion and subjective symptoms were measured during expiration for eight hours after a meal intake (used four kinds of examination meals) by healthy humans for the purpose of clarifying the effectiveness of the dietary fiber meal. The subjects of the breath H2 analysis were five or seven young healthy women.The examination meals B and D had a greater intake and quantity of dietary fiber than the A and C test meals, and the breath H2 quantity was significantly higher (p<0.05, p<0.01). The max breath H2 quantity for B was 40.6±17.8ppm (p<0.05), and for D were 38.8±28.3ppm (p<0.01) which were significantly higher than A and C. Each total breath H2 of A, B, C and D was 5463, 7221, 2337 and 6955ppm×min, respectively. The small intestine transit time of A, B, C and D was 334±25, 285±14, 273±32min and 273±26min, respectively. No significant difference was seen between A and B, and C and D. The blood sugar was not influenced by the meals. The cross point of time of while feeling hunger and the feeling of a full stomach of A and B was both of 210min, C was 255min, and D was 255min. The meal with more carbohydrates, like D, was able to provide a feeling of a full stomach that lasted for a long time. The D food consisting of more dietary fiber produced more H2, and it is thought that H2 is involved in the removal of the active oxygen. The dietary fiber rich meal is regarded as an effective meal for increasing the breath H2 production.
The male WBN/Kob rat is an animal model of chronic pancreatitis and spontaneous diabetes. Here, we performed a kinetic study of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in WBN/Kob rats. The level of serum ALP activities in the WBN/Kob rats was three times higher than that of the control group (p<0.001). Specific ALP activities in bone tissues or the ileum increased significantly (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively). By 4-20% gradient polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, serum ALP isozymes were separated into two bands. One was heat-unstable, showing the same mobility as an ALP preparation from bone tissue, and the other was heat-stable. We considered these isozymes to be bone-type and intestinal-type ALPs, respectively, and both of them were enhanced in the WBN/Kob rats. These results demonstrate the enzyme kinetics of ALP isozymes in WBN/Kob rats, and further studies will be necessary to reveal the association with diabetes.
To examine the way that many allegic children can eat school lunch menus, we analyzed school lunch menus containing three major allergens (eggs, wheat, and milk products) and calculated the nutritional value of certain foods that were removed and the substitutions made. An analysis of these three food product combinations in the menu indicated that the most frequent combination was wheat and milk products used to make bread or stew. When all the dishes with eggs in them were removed, the amount of energy and protein were equal to the standard nutritional value. However, the menu in which eggs were the main dish was an exception to this. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the nutritional value of the substitutions that take the place of eggs in the main dish. As for wheat, the amount of energy and carbohydrates were found to be at the standard value when it was substituted with rice powder. However, when milk products were substituted with soybean milk, the amount of calcium was 53.1±16.0% of the standard value. Therefore, we suggest that it is necessary to provide a kind of dessert that will make up for the calcium lost to accommodate children who are allergic to milk products. In other words, it was revealed that the correspondence to a food allergy child varied according to the kind of three major allergens.