Category Archive: Food
Sorry, veggie burgers won’t move the needle on climate change
Throughout the month of January, several independent academic reports concluded that vegetarianism is the only way to combat climate change and chronic disease. The claims generated plenty of media controversy, from NBC News reporting that we can "Save the planet and lives by eating less meat, more vegetables" to Vox's apocalyptic declaration that "The way we eat could doom us as a species." We tend to disagree. Swapping a beef burger for a veggie burger is an easy enough substitution, especially considering meatless options have expanded in the past several years to include options that look, taste, and smell far more appealing...Read More
What’s In Your Veggie Burger?
According to recent surveys, roughly 70 percent of consumers prefer products without additives. While avoiding additives won’t have as drastic an effect on one’s well-being as daily exercise, the public’s growing interest in health is a good sign for a country with the highest obesity rates in the western world. But in the interest of tapping into American’s desire for healthier foods, one market segment in particular is doing more harm than good: fake meat. You’ve likely heard of Tofurky and Boca Burgers – they’ve been around for decades. But meat alternatives are having their day with the introduction of products that...Read More
USDA Survey Reveals How Healthy America’s Eating Choices Are
Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a study evaluating whether having access to nutrition information (like the nutrition facts label on packaged foods, MyPlate, and calorie counts on restaurant menus) actually translated into Americans making better food choices. The study compared consumer’s use of nutrition information with the healthfulness of both their groceries and meals purchased outside the home. Here’s what they found: Americans Eat Healthier Than The Survey Makes Them Out To -- Barely. Studies have shown that Americans living above the poverty line generally make better nutrition choices than those below. However, the USDA survey includes almost twice as many...Read More
How Dirty Are Your Fruits and Veggies?
Every year since 1995, Environmental Working Group activists publish a “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables which contain the most pesticide residues. The list certainly sounds scary, and it generates a host of alarming headlines. But the good news is it doesn’t take much effort to expose the EWG’s weak science and fearmongering arguments. A peer-reviewed study that looked into the produce EWG continually criticizes as the “dirtiest” found that “all pesticide exposure estimates were well below established chronic reference doses.” A chronic reference dose is the maximum amount of a substance that humans can safely eat over a long period of...Read More
Leftovers Are Great, But What About Those Plastic Containers?
As parents resume the early morning rush of sending their kids back to school, leftovers and make-ahead meals are often the easiest way to ensure everyone is getting the nutrition they need. But while busy families try to make better health decisions, some activists are blaming an unlikely aggressor for America’s expanding waistline: plastics. In recent years, flawed research has linked phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic containers to health issues like insulin resistance and weight gain, respectively. Some incorrectly claim that microwaving food in plastic containers makes the problem worse. In 2008, Good Housekeeping magazine put these claims to the test. It...Read More
Here’s the Scoop on Glyphosate in Your Ben & Jerry’s
The New York Times is making a name for itself in the realm of sensationalism lately. First came the heavily criticized article accused America’s favorite macaroni and cheese of being laden with “potentially harmful chemicals.” Now, the Times is taking on Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream over a sensationalized report claiming 10 of 11 of the company’s flavors contain traces of a common weed killer. The report was commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association, which bills itself as an advocate of “health, justice, and sustainability.” But let’s be clear: the Organic Consumers Association isn’t concerned about the dangers lurking in your dessert. If it...Read More
Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese?
Phthalates: They’re difficult to pronounce, widely used in plastics, rubber, cosmetics, and fragrances, and yes, they’re in your macaroni and cheese. But should you really be worried about the report which inspired The New York Times to editorialize about “potentially harmful chemicals…present in high concentrations in your child’s favorite meal?” Although phthalates may migrate from plastics to food, they do so in such small quantities that the National Toxicology Program dismisses their risk for causing human reproductive harm as minimal to negligible. Such was the case with this report, but instead of presenting its findings with any context, the environmental advocacy groups which commissioned it twisted the data to...Read More
Grab Some Coffee and Perk Up to Sensationalized Science
One day it seems that coffee will kill you, while the next it's hailed as the key to a long life. So what gives? In an article published in RealClearScience, our chief science officer, Dr. Joseph Perrone, explains why poor scientific methodology accepted by groups like the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) makes it incredibly difficult for the average reader to pick good science from pseudoscience. Interestingly enough, the latest back-and-forth around coffee also comes from IARC. Four of the coffee study’s authors, including lead researcher Dr. Marc Gunter, are current IARC scientists. Just like claims that someone’s lifelong medical history can be...Read More
Grocery Stores Still Carry Cans Containing BPA – Should You Be Worried?
Few chemicals get as bad a reputation as bisphenol A, or BPA. Just this week, headlines pushed by a new report from activist group Center for Environmental Health warned that “Canned food still contains toxin BPA.” Toxin? Hardly. Most metal cans are lined with a thin interior coating that contains BPA in order to protect them from corrosion, thereby preventing dissolved metals and deadly bacteria from contaminating your food. Speaking of bacteria, one particularly deadly bug, called Clostridium botulinum makes itself very happy living in improperly canned foods. The bacteria produces an actual neurotoxin that causes muscle failure, impaired vision, breathing problems, vomiting, paralysis, and in some cases, death. It’s without...Read More
‘Tis the Season for Transparency
What better time of year to talk about alcohol than the month than when boozy Christmas pudding and eggnog reign supreme? Recently, headlines buzzed with claims that white wine causes melanoma. Historically, studies show no significant difference between someone’s beverage of choice and their propensity to develop cancer. So why is this one different? For your answer, look to the sky. White wine is often consumed outdoors and in warmer months, which also happens to be when people get the most sun exposure. And as we know, UV radiation promotes the development of melanoma. The researchers did exclude lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM), a variant...Read More