Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Leave a comment

More Glyphosate News?

The news continues to warn about the extensive use of glyphosate. While its carcinogenicity still remains to be determined, there are other health concerns about its extensive use. There are so many questions and biases  about the production and use of the herbicide from both sides of the  issue. Have the research findings been suppressed by the industry? Have they have been altered by the corporations that produce it? That depends on which side one believes. It is extremely hard to find an unbiased opinion about an important topic regarding our food supply.


For more news about Ben & Jerry ice cream, click HERE.


Leave a comment

Are Fish Oil Supplements Helpful?


Public Domain Image

Since the 1980’s, the benefits of fish oil has been a hot nutrition topic. I was a graduate student at the time and my research involved the hypothesis that omega-3 fatty acids (as menhaden oil) would suppress breast cancer tumors when compared to omega-6 fatty acids (as corn oil) in rats. Previous research had suggested that there was enough evidence to warrant the study. Bottom Line: There were no significant differences in tumor formation even when rats were fed high or low menhaden or corn oil diets. This was a surprising finding at the time; therefore, the study was replicated the next year and results were the same. At the present time, further research has shown some promising results in breast cancer research, but some studies with omega-3 fats in humans have been inconclusive.

Since then fish oil (omega-3) fats have been extensively studied in a wide range of afflictions to see if any beneficial effects occurred. This interest was a boon for the supplement industry due to the sale of fish oil capsules that still continues to this day. How effective have fish oil supplements been in supporting some of the health claims that have been made?

First of all, it is important to know the article does not pertain to eating fatty fish high in omega-3 fats. The picture becomes very complicated when it come to fish oil capsules. The news is both good and bad; the research is both positive and negative. The best takeaway is to be careful of the quality of fish oil capsules you choose. The article suggests that fish oil be of pharmaceutical grade so read labels carefully. However, this term is not regulated or clearly defined so it may be meaningless according to  If you take fish oil capsules, this article is a must read. Then talk it over with your doctor as to whether fish oil supplementation is for you.


Leave a comment

Is Soy Safe? Or Not?

Soy foods have been the subject of such controversey in the past decades, it is almost impossible to sort out the sense from the nonsense. The latest article I could find explains the confusion. The article is a long read, but well worth it if you are a tofu, soy, edamame lover  or eat any type of vegan diet and rely on soy foods for your protein source.



Leave a comment

Another Certification: Glyphosate?


Concerned about the herbicide glyphosate? Soon you may see yet another label or residue -free seal on supermarket foods. Will there be room on food labels to list everything that is not in the product?

Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.

See my previous post HERE.

Source: Wikipedia


Leave a comment

Ingredients: What Consumers Want?

Food additives are listed on the ingredient lists of packaged food products. There are many that have been used for decades. If they were used before 1958 when the Food Additives Amendment was passed, they are considered prior-sanctioned substances since they were already in common use. Another group of substances were described as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) . Both these categories were excluded from the food additive regulation process.  Just because an additive is on either of these lists doesn’t mean it’s safe. if new evidence emerges that suggests it is unsafe, the FDA may take action to remove the substance from food products. Some ingredients are not welcomed by consumers recently. To see the most common ones:


Leave a comment

The Hazards of Diet Supplements

We are a country obsessed with dietary supplements. Try taking them away and see how people resist the idea.  But do we need all those vitamins and minerals- sometimes, especially during key growth periods (pregnancy and childhood)?

So you think that just to be sure, you should take them as insurance against certain diseases. Maybe not. Sometimes excess is not the answer and may become harmful.  A famous example was a study that gave beta carotene  supplements(vitamin A) to smokers. The reason was that beta carotene was thought to be protective against lung cancer since it functions as an antioxidant. The result showed that there were more cases of lung cancer in the vitamin group than in those smokers given a placebo. Subsequent studies supported this finding.

What does the research say? You may be surprised.

Read the article HERE.




Leave a comment

The Mac and Cheese Dilemma ?

Just recently, there have been many scary articles in the food news about chemicals called phthalates in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a favorite (according to the ads) of our kids.

Marion Nestle gives us the facts and suggests some reasonable and simple advice about how to avoid this alleged problem.

Read about it HERE.