Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Why Organic?

There are some very simplistic reasons to choose organic when you can. But it is important to keep in mind that this article appears to be written by the organic food industry.  Common sense rules when it comes to this debate as both sides of the argument are obviously biased. Cost is never mentioned and of course  common sense tells us that it is an important factor in the food budget. Just know the facts and make your own decisions when it comes to buying organic – don’t opt out on healthy conventional fruits and vegetables – the differences in nutrition between the two in my opinion, is negligible.


For information on what organic actually means, CLICK HERE.


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What are Fermented Foods?

Homemade Sour Dough Bread

What are fermented foods? It is important to realize what benefits they may have for health and also that if you have digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, they may have to be consumed in moderation or as part of a FODMAP diet.

For a very comprehensive article on fermented foods:


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More Reasons for Eating Plants

Berries and more

What will it take to get people on the bandwagon of eating more colorful fruits and vegetables? As we learn more about the effects of these plant chemicals, e.g. anthocyanins, we can supply better information on their healthy benefits. In this article, it is lung function. Yes, there are purple potatoes!



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Organic Foods: A Continuing Debate

Conventional food producers often declare that organic farmers use more pesticides than most people think and that some are relatively toxic. Organic farmers deny this claim; as a result, there are obvious biases on both sides of the debate.

Organic foods do not appear to be healthier than their conventional counterparts; however they are gaining in popularity with consumers primarily due to food safety and environmental issues. In my opinion, choosing organic food is a personal choice.

Here is what we know. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, antibiotics, or growth hormones. The USDA’s National Organic Program has developed standards such as what or what not the food product contains. For  example, an organic food may not include ingredients that are treated with irradiation,  produced by genetic modification, or grown using sewage sludge. Certain natural pesticides and some manufactured agents are permitted. Farming and processing operations that produce and handle foods labeled as organic must be certified by the USDA.  Three definitions have been established:

  • 100 % organic = 100% organically produced  raw or processed ingredients
  • Organic = contains at least 95% organically produced raw or processed ingredients
  • Made with organic ingredients = contains at least 70% organically produced ingredients

The following article attempts to further clarify how pesticide use in the organic food industry is regulated.


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From Fact to Fiction: Diet Supplements?


So many times when a particular nutrient shows promise with disease prevention, the diet supplement industry goes into  full swing on hyping its benefits in the  form of a pill, aka a  diet supplement. The claims are often exaggerated and when put to the test (if ever) they fail to meet expectations.

What are the actual facts about these supplements?  Do they really meet the claims that are promised? That is why nutrition research becomes important in order to sort out the facts from the fiction.


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Coconut Oil: Is It Healthy or Not?

The benefits of coconut oil have been debated for quite some time. A new study came with some surprises! Read about the study HERE. For a fair assessment from Harvard Medical School about some benefits of coconut oil click HERE.

Bottom Line:

As with most nutrition news, premature conclusions can be reached and headlines can be misleading. For coconut oil adherents, the most recent study is good news; however, coconut oil is a highly saturated fat oil unlike most vegetable oils, and in my opinion should be used sparingly until further research sorts out this debate and reaches some kind of consensus. In the meantime, it’s great for moisturizing your skin and smells good, too.


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Fabulous Fiber

The debate over the benefits of dietary fiber has lingered for many decades.  By itself, it doesn’t provide any vitamins and minerals and is not broken down or absorbed in the digestive tract as are  other nutrients.  However, fiber is found in foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans (legumes) and grains that do provide us with the essential nutrients we need. So it rides along with these nutrients.

Fiber is classified as soluble and insoluble  but most foods contain a mixture of both types.

Good sources of soluble fiber: legumes, prunes,  apricots, raisins, oranges, bananas, oats, apples, eggplant, flax seed

Good sources of insoluble fiber: wheat bran, whole-wheat bread, broccoli, corn, eggplant, apple skins, nuts and seeds

How much do we need?  For young men the recommendation is 38 grams/day and for young women, 25 grams a day. Consider this example:

“Eating a bowl of Raisin Bran with a 1/2 cup of strawberries for breakfast, a sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomatoes and an apple for lunch, eggplant Parmesan for dinner, and popcorn for a snack will provide about 25 grams.” Smolin and Grosvenor, Nutrition, Science and Applications, Third Edition.

Based on diet analyses I have seen, the average daily intake is only about 9-11 grams a day.

So you can see that it is not easy to get enough fiber that is best explained in the linked article below.

What does it actually do for us?