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What Those White Stripes on Chicken Breasts Mean for Your Health

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Chicken has long been marketed as a lighter alternative to red meats like beef, pork, and lamb. But as Thrillist reports, consumers shouldn’t necessarily be so quick to label poultry products as a healthy food. Thanks to modern farming methods, some chicken sold in stores has more than three times the fat it’s supposed to, and this can be observed in the stripes of white tissue running through the meat.

“White striping” occurs when factory farmers breed birds to grow faster and larger, a practice Compassion in World Farming brought to light in a recent video. This can lead to adverse health effects for chickens, including muscular tissue disorders. Sometimes the disorders manifest in white lines that cut through the meat, creating a striped or “wooden” appearance.

The condition isn’t just bad news for chickens. In 2013, scientists from the University of Bologna in Italy reported that chicken with white striping exceeded normal fat content by 224 percent. But that doesn’t mean meat-eaters should drop poultry from their diets for good. Chicken still tends to have less cholesterol and saturated fat than red meat, and products with the muscular disorders are rare.

That being said, shoppers looking to cut extra fat from their meals should learn to spot white striping so they can avoid it at the supermarket. The photo below shows cases that range from normal to extreme.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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New Health-Monitoring Litter Box Could Save You a Trip to the Vet
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Unsure if your cat is sick or just acting aloof per usual? A “smart toilet” for your fur baby could help you decide whether a trip to the vet is really necessary.

Enter the Pet Care Monitor: More than a litter box, the receptacle is designed to analyze cat urine for health issues, The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo reports. Created by the Japan-based Sharp Corporation—better known for consumer electronics such as TVs, mobile phones, and the world's first LCD calculator—the product will be available for purchase on the company’s website starting July 30 (although shipping limitations may apply).

Sensors embedded in the monitor can measure your cat’s weight and urine volume, as well as the frequency and duration of toilet trips. That information is then analyzed by an AI program that compares it to data gleaned from a joint study between Sharp Corp and Tottori University in Japan. If there are any red flags, a report will be sent directly to your smartphone via an application called Cocoro Pet. The monitor could be especially useful for keeping an eye on cats with a history of kidney and urinary tract problems.

If you have several cats, the company offers sensors to identify each pet, allowing separate data sets to be collected and analyzed. (Each smart litter box can record the data of up to three cats.)

The Pet Care Monitor costs about $225, and there’s an additional monthly fee of roughly $3 for the service. Sharp Corporation says it will continue developing health products for pets, and it has already created a leg sensor that can tell if a dog is nervous by measuring its heart and respiratory rates.

[h/t The Asahi Shimbun]

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