Food lovers might no longer have to choose between tastiness and healthiness.
As will be familiar to anyone miserably chewing through leaf after leaf of kale in a beleaguered attempt to shed a few pounds, it's hard to banish thoughts of cheeseburgers, pizza or -- many a dieters' Achilles' heel -- bacon.
But some of those cravings, at least, might soon be banished, if researchers at Oregon State University are correct.
Chris Langdon, a researcher at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center, has along with colleagues created and patented a new strain of dulse, a red seaweed which boasts amazing nutritional benefits.
It also, and perhaps more importantly, tastes like bacon, according to its creators.
"In Europe, they add the powder to smoothies, or add flakes onto food," Langdon says in an article in the University's newspaper.
"There hasn't been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form. But this stuff is pretty amazing. When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it's a pretty strong bacon flavor."
Dulse, which is an "excellent source" of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and contains a high percentage of protein, could be the answer we're all looking for, he and his co-workers say.
"Dulse is a superfood, with twice the nutritional value of kale," Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU's College of Business, who worked with Langdon to make the strain a commercial prospect, added.
"OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon."
Its quick growth time is an advantage that the seaweed has over other food sources, especially livestock, which is expensive to rear.
Langdon says it can be cultivated anywhere that there is "a modest amount of seawater and some sunshine."
The OSU article said that several Portland chefs, as well as the Food Innovation Center in Portland, are experimenting with the new ingredient.
The acid test will come when they put it on top of a cheeseburger, thus moving one step closer to attaining the holy grail of a delicious, guilt-free snack.
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