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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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Mars Inc, the company behind the famed Skittles candies, has been sued in a class action lawsuit in Oakland, California. Jenile Thames, who filed the suit, states that the product contains dangerous levels of titanium dioxide (TiO2), an additive the company promised to drop from the production process in February 2016. Later that year, the company confirmed that the colorant was being removed in a Mars company e-mail, according to Center for Food Safety. The lawsuit finds that this compound has harmful potential risks for human health such as damage to the brain, organs, and even DNA, while it was also recently banned by food safety regulators in the European Union, which will take effect next month.