Friday, April 09, 2010

Food Myths: Microwavable plastics

Food: Microwavable plastics
Myth: It's okay to put plastic containers in microwaves.

Reality: Stick to ceramic ware.

Sure, that plastic dish you slap into the microwave over and over has the triangular label on it -- and that means it's safe to use, right? Not necessarily.

Even though something is labeled as safe for use in the microwave, it may not be. "The claim on the boxes doesn't mean the plastic won't crack or melt or leak," says Wendy Gordon of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The danger is real: A substance used to make polycarbonate plastic -- bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA -- could leach into your food and disrupt your hormonal system.

Plastic container manufacturers insist their products meet government safety standards. Regardless, the NRDC's Gordon recommends that you don't microwave leftovers in plastic dishes. Use a ceramic one instead. "It only takes a second more," she says. -- D.T.
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Food Myths: Excuse me, I have greenhouse gas

Food: A stealthy greenhouse-gas culprit
Myth: Cars are one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas.

Reality: Yes, but those hamburgers you like to gobble down are actually much worse.

A report by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization cited livestock, and especially beef, as a major source of greenhouse gas, generating more than transportation.

Meat accounts for 18% of the greenhouse gases the world produces every year, compared with 13% for vehicles. Other studies put that percentage even higher.

"Beef is the biggest ecological no-no," says Anna Lappe, author of Diet for a Hot Planet and a board member of the Rainforest Action Network. "Cattle require the most feed to produce a pound of meat, and as ruminants, the animals emit methane gases during digestion." -- D.T.
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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Food Myths: Organics

Food: Organic food
Myth: Organic foods are produced without pesticides.

Reality: Organic guidelines need to be tightened up.

The truth is, a great many pesticides are permitted in organic farming, and some of them are considered lethal to humans in very small quantities -- like nicotine sulfate and lime sulfur, both of which carry a "danger" warning from the FDA but are permissible under organic-farming guidelines. -- Joshua Brau
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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Food Myths: Eating Locally

Food: Going local for fruits and veggies
Myth: Buying local food is better for the environment.

Reality: It depends on how your food was produced and delivered.

While eating food grown locally helps small farmers, it may not necessarily be the most ecologically efficient.

According to a recent Oxfam International report called "Fair Miles -- Recharting the Food Miles Map," a tomato trucked from Spain to Britain may be more environmentally friendly than a tomato grown in a greenhouse in Britain because that process needs energy-intense farming techniques and more fertilizer and could degrade the soil.

Says the report: "Food miles are not always a good yardstick." -- D.T.
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Monday, April 05, 2010

Food Myths: Water- Tap or Bottled?

Food: Water - Tap or bottled?
Myth: Bottled water is safer than tap water.

Reality: Tap water is subject to stricter government standards.

Americans gulp down 28.5 gallons of bottled water per capita each year, discarding billions of plastic containers. It's convenient, sure, but is it healthier than plain old tap water?

"There's no guarantee that bottled water is any safer than the water that comes out of your tap," says Wendy Gordon of the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council.

The reason: Tap water is subject to stricter standards and more rigorous testing than bottled water. The EPA requires large municipalities to test water for bacteria in an independent lab a dozen times a day.

The FDA mandates that water used for bottling be analyzed only once a week for bacteria. What's more, water that's packaged and sold in the same state -- about 70% of the bottled water sold in the U.S. -- is exempt from federal regulation because it doesn't cross state lines, leaving it with "inconsistent protection," says Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. -- Dody Tsiantar
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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Study: Soy Supplements Don't Help


The findings are reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Theory suggests that soy proteins and soy isoflavones may help control blood sugar levels.

But in practice, soy supplements don't help control blood sugar.

Soy supplements show no diabetes benefit in study
| Reuters

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