US Food Additives Banned Elsewhere "Almost Certainly" Making Americans Sick, Expert Says
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Potassium bromate is a suspected carcinogen that's banned for human consumption in Europe, China and India. In the US, however, it is widely used in baked goods to strengthen dough. "There is evidence that it may be toxic to human consumers, that it may even either initiate or promote the development of tumors," says professor Erik Millstone, a food additive expert at England's University of Sussex. Other substances banned in Europe but permitted in the US include brominated vegetable oil, titanium dioxide, azodicarbonamide, and propylparaben. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration said that "regulations require evidence that each substance is safe at its intended level of use before it may be added to foods."
Teflon-Coated Pans With One Crack Release 9100 Forever Chemicals, Study Finds
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About 80% of nonstick cooking pans are coated with a synthetic fluoropolymer called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), better known as Teflon. A new study in Science of The Total Environment found that a cracked in Teflon coating may leave behind about 9100 plastic particles. PTFE is classed under per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), compounds that build up in the bodies of living creatures, contaminate soil and water, and don’t break down in the environment. These "forever chemicals" have been linked to altered metabolism, increased risk of obesity, and reduced ability to fight infections. The solution? Don't scratch your nonstick pans. Use medium heat, wood or plastic utensils, and non-abrasive cleaners.
USDA's MyPlate, Which Replaced The Food Pyramid 10+ Years Ago, Is Also A Dud, Report Says
Image Source: Courtesy of USDA
Do you recognize the MyPlate image above? It's been around for over a decade, but only 25% of US adults are aware of MyPlate and less than 10% have tried its guidance, according to a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics. Next year, the USDA wants to throw another $7 million at its MyPlate education campaign to help boost awareness. But, ultimately, MyPlate may suffer the same fate as the food pyramid it replaced. Maybe a one-size-fits-all diet just doesn't exist. Perhaps it's time for a completely different approach to nutrition education. Got any ideas?
How Fermented Foods Improve Gut Health
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For millennia, humans have preserved food through fermentation: sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, cheese, and miso are all preserved by allowing bacteria to partially break down the food, which forms a byproduct called lactic acid. Lacto-fermentation expands a food's flavor profile, keeps disease-causing bacteria at bay so the food lasts, and has been shown to improve human gut health. According to some studies, eating lacto-fermented food may reduce your risk of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and some cancers. I'm thinking roasted Brussels sprouts with kimchi sauce for dinner tonight.
FDA Proposes Updated Definition Of “Healthy” Claim On Food Labels
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The FDA wants to align food products claiming to be "healthy" with current nutrition science. Good move! Under its new proposed rule, for example, breakfast cereal labeled "healthy" would need to include 3/4 ounces whole grains and no more than 1 gram saturated fat, 230 milligrams sodium and 2.5 grams added sugars per serving. The rule would also encourage using the "healthy" claim on more plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Score one for healthy eating.