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Category Archives: Diet

Is Organic Food Actually Better For You?

organicfoodThe typical argument against organic food is that it is more costly, yet does not provide any additional health benefits.

The argument for organic food is that, because it does not contain nearly as many pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and contaminants, organic food is both safer and more nutritious.

Which argument is correct?

One way to find out would be to use what engineers call a comparative analysis. In a proper comparative analysis, two trials are compared, where the only major variable that is different between the trials is the variable of interest. (If too many significant variables are present, they can obscure the actual results and yield misleading or erroneous conclusions.)

Many trials have already been done of organic versus commercial farming of plant-based foods. A recent study (“Nutritional, food safety benefits of organic farming documented by major study“) reviewed the results of these trials, wherein most of the trials were well-controlled to minimize variables. The conclusion was that organic foods were indeed clearly much safer and much more nutritious. “This study is telling a powerful story of how organic plant-based foods are nutritionally superior and deliver bona fide health benefits,” said Charles Benbrook, co-author.

 

 

 

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Protecting Your Life: How We Have Destroyed Our Food

wasteland“Widespread agriculture methods are behind this trend to increase certain traits in our produce, such as size, growth rate, and pest resistance at the cost of nutritional value. USDA data for both 1950 and 1999 determined “43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century” (Scientific American, 2011). Another article cited says that “one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one”.  With faster growth there is less time to extract nutrients from the soil before harvest, making each harvest less nutritious than the one before.”

-from “Growing Sources of Nutrient Depletion, 7 Mar 2014, by Chef Joy in Choose Cooking

 
 

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Castor Oil Instead Of Ritalin? Might Be Worth A Try

angrychildBad behavior has been strongly linked to bad diet:

“‘When we look at fish consumption across countries, those countries that have the highest fish consumption have 30 fold lower homicide rates,’ said Hibbeln.”

(from “Hearing: violence epidemic linked to bad diet” by Mark Davis, 7 Nov 2013, wtnh.com)

There are likely other reasons, such as genetic factors and a culture that condones senseless violence in television, movies, and video games, but the strong linkage reported above implies that some behavioral problems might be mitigated by dietary corrections. (Note: Always check with your doctor before starting/stopping/switching any prescription drug.)

Here’s another good summary of ways to tune up your diet:

13 Nutrition Lies That Made The World Sick And Fat
by Kris Gunnars, 16 Oct 2013 Business Insider

-Ed Walker

 

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ET Extra: Does Soda Cause Cancer? Apparently It Does

sugarcancer“As far as cancer is concerned, hormones produced by the body in response to sugar consumption also feed cancer cells. This means that every time you down a soda or eat a piece of cake, your body produces certain chemicals that tell cancer cells to not only start taking up sugar, but also to grow in size and spread.”
-from “New MRI research reveals cancer cells thrive on processed sugar” in The Watchers, 17 July 2013

Is diet soda any better? Apparently not. Please see “ET Extra: Does Diet Soda Cause Cancer?

-Ed Walker

 

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Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking (Part 2)

Measurements Trump Opinions & Intuition

“Nowadays when I’m lucky enough to watch a coveted recipe in progress I can come fairly close to replicating it. Even so the streams of liquids pouring into a bowl can be impossible to estimate as are random scoops of ‘this and that’.  I’ve often thought there must be a better way to capture creative genius. Then one day I recalled the secrets of baking – all ingredients, no matter how small, are weighed. Professional bakers don’t use cups or teaspoons, they use pounds and ounces or grams and kilograms. Baking relies a lot on chemistry and a key to making a consistent product is precise control of measurements.”

-from “Seasoning to Taste – and fond memories…..” 29 Mar 2012 post by Chef Joy in Choose Cooking

(Also see “Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking” (Part 1))

 

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