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237 votes

Why are so few foods blue?

Short answer Blue color is not only rare in edible organisms - Blue color is rare in both the animal and plant Kingdoms in general. In animals, blue coloring is generated through structural optic ...
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124 votes

Why are so few foods blue?

Although @AliceD's answer is a great simple demonstration of the rarity of blue in our natural world, there's likely a more nuanced/technical reason. Short answer Blue light was the most available ...
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80 votes

Why shouldn't dogs eat chocolate?

The reason is simple: Chocolate contains cocoa which contains Theobromine. The darker the chocolate is (meaning the more cocoa it contains) the more theobromine it contains. This is a bitter alkaloid ...
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53 votes
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Can humans survive without consuming life?

The answer to your question is yes it is certainly possible. At one time it was thought that there was something special about "organic" chemicals which meant that they could not be artificially ...
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47 votes
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Why are sugars in whole fruits not digested the same way sugars in juice are?

Sugars in 100% natural fruit juices are chemically the same as in whole fruits. They mainly include glucose, fructose and sucrose: Apple nutrition data (expand the carbohydrate section) Apple juice ...
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44 votes
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What do butterflies eat?

Adult butterflies don't eat! I mean.... not in the sense of chewing on food. They rather drink. They get their nutrients via ingestion of liquid substances. Their mouth consists of a long tube called ...
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37 votes
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What is 'protein' in food?

When we say "protein" with respect to food, what is generally meant is material that contains amino acids. Every protein is, at its heart, a long string of amino acids, which then gets ...
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36 votes

Can humans survive without consuming life?

Living organisms can be divided into hetrotrophs and autotrophs. Autotrophs like plants and algae are able to produce complex organic compounds from relatively simple inorganic components. They are ...
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  • 1,234
33 votes

What do ants do with human finger nails?

I believe that MattDMo's hypothesis is incorrect. Only one group of ants, the Attini tribe, cultivates fungus as a food source. This group is exclusively a New World group, thought to have ...
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26 votes
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How can a drink contain 1.8 kcal energy while 0 g fat/carbs/protein?

The list of ingredients on the can mentions "Zuckerkulör," which is caramel colour, which can have 2 kcal/g, according to one producer. Next, there is "Citronensäure," which is citric acid, which can,...
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  • 7,969
25 votes

Why shouldn't dogs eat chocolate?

The toxic ingredient in chocolate is in the mythylxanine class, a substance called theobromine. It is much like theophylline; overdoses of theophylline used to be very common before the advent of ...
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24 votes

What do butterflies eat?

Several species of the order Lepidoptera don't feed at all in adult form, surviving entirely on the reserves made while they were larva. Two examples I'm aware of are the Atlas moth (as well as most ...
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23 votes
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What do ants do with human finger nails?

There are a number of papers studying the ability of fungi to metabolize keratin, the primary structural component of nails (as well as skin and hair). Ants are also known to cultivate fungi for ...
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20 votes

Can humans survive without consuming life?

Even on a purely synthetic diet, your body would still use living cells as an energy source. Our bodies contain more bacterial cells than human, mostly contained in our gut. These microbes process any ...
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20 votes
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Do mantises stalk cicadas?

Yes, mantises hunt cicadas... Mantis eating cicada. Source: Dreamstime. ...and yes, orioles hunt cicadas too... Oriole eating cicada. Source: Bird Ecology Study Group. .., and what may be more ...
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20 votes
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Is agriculture really a net contributor of greenhouse gases?

The issue is that it is not always a cycle, when you drain wetlands or burn forests to make more farmland that's not a cycle that is permanent change. A change that can continue having effects for ...
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18 votes
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What's the worst that can happen from eating too many spicy peppers? Can you die?

The more "dangerous" properties of spicy peppers are chiefly due to capsaicin. Sigma-Aldrich sells purified capsaicin, for which they provide safety information, including an MSDS. Most of ...
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16 votes
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Why does mouldy food make you sick?

One of the most common toxins in mouldy food/bread is aflatoxin. The exposure to high amount of aflatoxin can lead to acute aflatoxicosis with fulminant hepatic failure and even death. While mild ...
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  • 5,620
15 votes

What is 'protein' in food?

It's a mix of all the proteins in whatever organism the food is coming from. Some (especially vegetable/grain) sources might have fairly specific proteins present because you are eating a specific ...
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  • 36k
14 votes

Can humans survive without consuming life?

Your question is phrased somewhat ambiguously as to whether you're asking about the theoretical possibility, the feasibility, or the practical ability in everyday life. 1) Theoretically, yes. It is ...
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  • 7,610
14 votes
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Why do carnivores evolve?

I'm going to focus on the why do carnivores exist part of this question, which should be extendible to answer why humans eat meat. Let's start a thought experiment in which we only allow the ...
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  • 16k
13 votes
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Where can you find the quantities of each amino acid of a particular protein or food?

There's a fantastic database available from the United States Department of Agriculture that includes almost 9,000 common foods, including their nutritional information. This database is searchable ...
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13 votes
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Why do Hot/Cold drinks taste sweeter once returning to room temperature?

Generally, cold suppresses sweetness. As an example, consider soft drinks that are usually served cold: they taste sweeter when warm (like you said with your examples of drinks). Our taste receptors ...
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  • 2,558
12 votes
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Does a microwave oven disinfect food?

Microwave ovens can indeed kill bacteria in food by heating them to high temperatures. For example, this article found that microwave heating could kill all of the Salmonella bacteria in a chicken ...
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11 votes
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Why is carotene in carrots?

Carrot (Daucus carota) is a biannual plant that accumulates massive amounts of carotenoid pigments in the storage root. The root of the carrot was not orange before domestication. Although the ...
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  • 2,340
10 votes

How can toddlers expend seemingly boundless energy when they eat so little?

They don't eat little. Consider the volume of milk / food they consume as a ratio of their weight. Quite the contrary they are ravenous machines and their consumption is much higher than an average ...
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  • 3,675
10 votes
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What happens to lactic acid I eat?

First, there are two different isomers of the lactic acid, the L(+)- and the D(-)-form. Both differ in the position of the OH-group in the molecule: Both turn polarized light in different ways, the D(...
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10 votes
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Can ants sense food from a long distance?

Ants follow odor cues in the wind. A study by Wolf and Wehner (2000) manipulated ant antennae and wind direction to show that ants followed odor plumes on the wind. A more recent study by Buehlmann ...
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10 votes
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Questions about insects eating flour and living in the cracks of a wooden cutting boards

This is a species of psocid (of the family Psocoptera, AKA booklice). Species are best differentiated by their abdominal structure and antennae. Without a better (more magnified) image and info about ...
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