FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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CSPI 2017 Xtreme Eating Awards

 

The numbers are in –  Center for Science in the Public Interest just came out with its stunning array of  calories in foods at some of the nation’s restaurant chains.  Don’t forget to check out the saturated fat and sodium, too.  It just gets more astonishing every year or more appropriately “worse.”  When will we ever see calorie counts on the menus?

CLICK HERE.


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How About Coconut Oil?


Coconut oil is appearing on the supermarket shelves after a long hiatus.  Its health claims range from curing Alzheimer’s disease to weight loss and antibacterial properties. Until we know more for sure about these claims, here’s some good advice on how  to use it in your diet. It is best to use organic, virgin oil rather than the refined brands.

CLICK HERE.


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Butter: Use Some Common Sense

Butter Is Back? Again?

Butter Is Back? Again?

“Butter is back” screamed from the headlines a few years ago as news spread quickly that saturated fat was the not the dietary villain previously claimed. Most news like this encourages a lot of Americans to throw caution to the wind and add butter back  to their diets with gusto. The following article traces the history of the butter-margarine controversy of past decades and offers some sensible advice about the use of butter in the diet.

CLICK HERE.


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The Big Cheese Glut?

american cheese

The following article explains why we find cheese in almost everything we eat. It is now used as an “ingredient” in frozen entrees, snack foods, breakfast foods, fast foods while the cheese sections in the supermarket has exploded with every imaginable form of cheese – blocks, slices, dips, spreads, etc. etc. We put it in our stuffed pizza crusts, never mind all the cheese on the top. We pour it over our nachos. We pour it over pastas so that now  cheese is  our major source of saturated fat in the Standard American Diet.  A sizable amount of cheese in America is an ultra-processed product (referred to as cheese food) and cheese is a major ingredient  or topping in so many recipes. Granted, cheese is the perfect vehicle for the very characteristic we love – called “mouthfeel” that its high fat content provides.

Why do we have so much cheese? According to Michael Moss, writing in his excellent book, Salt, Sugar and Fat: How Food Giants Hooked Us: “To triple America’s intake in forty years, the food industry has also worked vigorously to change the way cheese is eaten.” p. 164.

CLICK HERE.


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Revisiting the Diet/Heart Hypothesis?

Butter Is Back? Again?

Butter Is Back? Again?

There are many examples of how research results can be ignored when they do not conform to the latest expectations in nutrition thought of the time. The following old study appears to be one of them. The study was conducted in the beginning of the dietary fat  hypothesis frenzy  – about 40 years ago. The results were not totally published at the time but indicated that there were no differences in heart disease mortality between two large groups of participants, whether they ate diets high in the polyunsaturated fat, linoleic acid, supposedly thought at the time to lower heart disease risk, than those who ate a more liberal saturated fat and cholesterol diet, i.e., the typical American diet.

Bottom Line: The whole saturated fat/heart disease hypothesis may have been misunderstood when studies are ignored or not thought to have merit. It is no wonder that nutrition information is so conflicting and confusing. And it does no favors to compliment the scientific process or method, once considered with a great deal of respect.

Although this study supports recent dietary advice that saturated fat may not be the villain it was once thought to be, epidemiological evidence strongly supports plant-centered diets that seem to be the best bet in preventing chronic disease and increasing longevity.

For more details on the study, CLICK HERE.

For a more editorial assessment, CLICK HERE.

 


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Good News for Cheese Lovers?

Cheese seller in France

Cheese seller in France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Could the French Paradox be explained by their cheese consumption?  Cheese is one of the most popular high-saturated fat foods.  Most cheese is 30-40 percent fat, most of which is saturated with some polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.  Only about 1 percent is cholesterol.

The French eat a lot of cheese (ahout 53 pounds a year).  This nearly doubles the American intake. It is important to know that most cheese in France is real cheese, no Velveeta or Kraft Singles there.  There are about a thousand different varieties and of the top ten best selling cheese, four are unpasteurized. The French feel that they have more taste than the pasteurized varieties found in  the U.S.  The problem comes to mind about food safety but outbreaks of food poisoning are very rare.

Here are some studies that report some health benefits of “real” cheese.  Keep in mind that those same benefits would more than likely not be achieved using the kind of cheeses we pour on our nachos or French fries. Again, moderation is the key.

CLICK HERE.