Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Food Safety: Cancer Causing Food Additives?


What were these additives doing in our food supply in the first place? According to the article, they have been approved and used since 1964.

Nutrition textbooks offer this information:

Delaney Clause: A clause added to the 1958 Food Additives Amendment of the Pure Food and Drug Act that prohibits the intentional addition to any food of any compound that has been shown to induce cancer in animals or humans, at any dose.

Guess they missed these seven. Now we know what “artificial flavor” means on an ingredient list?

Despite the criticism of the term “clean eating” by some,  perhaps our food has become a little less “dirty”.



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FYI: Which Juice is For You?

Nutrients Tomato Juice V-8 Juice Orange Juice
Calories 70 50 110
Sodium 980 mg 640 mg 0 mg
Potassium 657 mg 460 mg 450 mg
Carbohydrate 14 g 10 g 26 g
Fiber 3 g 2 g 0 g
Sugars 9 g 6 g 22 g
Protein 3 g 2 g <2 g
Vitamin A 8% 40 % 0 %
Vitamin C 110 % 150 % 120 %
 Calcium 4% 4% 2%
Iron 8% 4% 0 %

What is your go to juice for breakfast? In my house, it is either tomato, V-8, or orange juice. Which is healthier? Here is what I found:

  • All three provide a very decent amount of nutrients but a few things stand out for consideration: sugar, salt, vitamin A and C, and potassium.
  • It all depends on taste preference in the long run, or possibly whether you want to avoid sugar or salt.
  • To be fair, orange juice provides additional nutrients in small to modest amounts of vitamin B6, magnesium, niacin, folate, riboflavin and thiamine.
  • BTW, I am not associated with the Campbell company in any way.

For more on V-8, CLICK HERE.

Bon appétit






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Sugar Addiction: An Opinion



Carbohydrates are among the most abundant nutrients in grains, fruits and vegetables. Types of carbohydrates in these foods include starches, sugars, and fiber.  The two primary classifications are SIMPLE and COMPLEX.

STARCHES – Complex

Complex carbohydrates called starches are found as large chains of glucose and  provide 4 calories per gram.  They are found in grains and some vegetables. Our body breaks down starches into units of glucose, which is a simple carbohydrate, and releases glucose into your bloodstream to be used for energy. Your body stores excess carbohydrate as fat. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, are naturally richer in nutrients and fiber than refined grains, such as white bread and pasta. Whole grains retain the bran and germ of the grain, while refined grains have been stripped of these components. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and beets, have more starch than so-called non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli.

SUGARS – Simple

Fruits and vegetables contain simple carbohydrates, called fructose, or fruit sugar, and glucose. Fruits are higher in fructose and glucose than most vegetables that contribute to their sweetness.  Added sugars are usually refined sugars found in baked goods and soft drinks and tend to be lower in essential nutrients than fruits and vegetables. All sugars provide 4 calories per gram. Your body converts dietary fructose to glucose and uses it for energy. so in essence, all digested carbohydrates eventually end up as glucose in the body to be used for energy production.


Dietary fiber refers to indigestible complex carbohydrates in plant-based foods. Most fruits and vegetables are high-fiber, and whole grains are higher in fiber than refined choices.  Because you do not digest it fiber does not contribute calories to your diet. Most high-fiber foods are rich in additional essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and vitamin A in fruits and vegetables, potassium; niacin and B vitamins are found in whole grains.

This post is intended to support the suggestion that sugar is a fairly benign component of our diets in terms of health issues. Many nutrition groups and those working in the sugar and processed food industries claim that sugar can be part of a healthy diet if used in moderation. The problem: Moderation is fine but how is it defined since sugar and added sugars are found in many processed foods. Many of these foods are often termed “empty calorie foods” or having few nutrients compared to non-processed whole foods which can contain some “natural” sugars. The concept of sugar addiction is discounted in this side of the debate, since not all agree on the definition of “addiction” and many say that not all people become addicted to sugar if at all. For the other side of the debate, see a subsequent post: Sugar Addiction: Another Opinion. CLICK HERE.

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The Reality of “Detoxing”




Here is a case when consumers should follow the advice of a registered dietitian or someone with an advanced degree or legitimate credentials in human physiology and nutrition.  Most of them in the past have expressed their warnings about using faddish “detox” products or methods that can conceivably be harmful or dangerous.

The body is a marvelous machine that is capable of “detoxing” without need for the latest diet fad or gimmick for good health.


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Plant and Animal Protein: What’s the Difference?


A comprehensive article follows on the differences between plant protein and animal protein. It is important to remember that  of the 20 amino acids commonly found in proteins, nine cannot be made by the human body. These amino acids are called essential amino acids and must be consumed in the diet. If the diet is deficient in one or more of these amino acids, new proteins containing them cannot be made without breaking down other body proteins to provide them. The other 11 nonessential amino acids can be made by the human body and are not required in the diet. This difference and other protein information will be made clear in the following article.

Animal proteins furnish all nine amino acids needed for protein synthesis, while most plant proteins are deficient in at least one (with a few exceptions like soy and quinoa.)


For specific protein needs, click HERE.

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Lectins: The Latest Fad Diet?

There is a new book called The Plant Paradox by Steve Gundry that warns us of  the dangers of plants by way of compounds called lectins. Lectins serve as defensive mechanisms for plants against dangers against them (like being eaten). Will we soon be seeing “lectin free” on our food labels along with gluten free, non-GMO, lactose free, wheat free, etc, etc.?

We have been eating plants for many centuries and are claimed to be the healthiest way to  eat on the planet. How could they possibly be dangerous for us?  What are the facts?


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Fruits and Vegetables: Conventional or Organic?







Back in the day of my graduate years, the main topic for my dissertation research project was to investigate what if any differences occurred in breast cancer rates in female rats when given diets containing either omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Spoiler: we found no significant differences in breast tumor incidence between our four groups of rats. So we repeated the study and still found no difference. Needless to say, it was a disappointment since every graduate student is sure they will inadvertently discover the cure for some disease and of course cancer was the big prize. No Nobel Prize here in other words.

Since then, diet and cancer research has progressed from dietary fats to the idea that diet and cancer associations involved the newly discovered phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables that have the potential for cancer prevention.  The study found HERE was  observational (no cause and effect). However the study was huge and lasted for 32 years.

Some fear has been generated that conventional produce is not safe to eat due to the presence of harmful pesticides. It is important to know that all produce  may have some pesticide residues and that organic crops may use less or less toxic pest control methods.  Bottom Line: Enjoy eating more of any kind of produce  – conventional or organic.  Both have very similar nutritive values and health benefits. It’s your personal choice but we need to know the facts and not avoid fruits and vegetables due to pesticide fears.