A glance at the ingredients label on a package of cured meat like ham or hotdogs probably lists sodium nitrite. This common preservative helps meats retain their color and also helps keep bacteria to a minimum. Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader question asking about a link between sodium nitrites in processed meats and cancer.
Dr. Elizabeth Applegate is one of the many experts Best Food Facts relies on to address consumer concerns. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Nutrition and Director of Sports Nutrition for Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of California-Davis.
In his recently-released book “Salt Sugar Fat,” investigative reporter Michael Moss says scientists at major food companies are well aware that salty, sugary, fatty foods reward the same pleasure sensors in our brains as drugs. He further contends that food companies have manipulated consumers in this manner to increase sales of their products, contributing significantly to the nation’s obesity problem.
Best Food Facts went to Dr. Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, co-director at the University of California-Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools, to get her perspective. In her research, she has studied the impact of multi-faceted approaches to nutrition education on the dietary and lifestyle choices of school-aged children.
The Theory: You can re-grow lettuce in water.
The Verdict: It makes a cool science project for the kids, but it’s not something you would want to eat.
We noticed a post on Facebook telling friends to save the stump at the end of the lettuce so you can re-grow it in water. We wanted to know if it was true. Should we all start saving the end of our lettuce and put it in water, so that it will grow back?
To answer our questions, we reached out to Dr. Joe Kemble, Professor of Horticulture at Auburn University.
Have you ever noticed that a can of soda or a sports drink has the ingredient Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO), listed on the label? Recently, PepsiCo Inc. announced it would stop putting BVO in Gatorade, but the product is still in many drinks, like Mountain Dew.
We contacted Dr. Keith Schneider, Associate Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida, to find out a bit more about BVO.
Earlier this year, headlines broke the news about horsemeat being passed off as beef in Europe. This European horsemeat scandal had U.S. consumers wondering, "Should we be worried about this? Could horsemeat make its way into our food without us knowing it?"
Not to worry, says Best Food Facts expert H. Scott Hurd, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University. On a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Hurd said, "There's not a chance it could happen in the United States."
For the answers, we reached out to Dr. Barry M. Popkin, W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Milk is making headlines these days, thanks to a proposed amendment to change milk standards. So, what exactly is being proposed?
Recently, The Dr. Oz Show aired an episode that addressed the "Secrets of the Fast Food Industry." We had some questions about the episode, so we reached out to Dr. Sean O'Keefe, a food science professor at Virginia Tech. Dr. O'Keefe originally helped us answer questions on Why Doesn't Fast Food Spoil? Below, Dr. O'Keefe has much to say about the episode and its inaccuracies.
Have you heard the theory that placing an onion next to your bed will keep you from getting the flu? Are you curious if onions absorb bacteria? Do onions help combat the flu? Will an onion turn black after attracting all of the bacteria? Do onions have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties?
We stumbled upon a Facebook post about onions curing the flu, and wondered many of the same questions. We had to find out if it was true, so we reached out to Ruth MacDonald, PhD, RD, Chair and Professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.
We're all looking for a cure for a cold and what better to fight it than a nice hot bowl of chicken soup? But will it really fight off what ails you? We wanted to get to the bottom of the age-old question to understand whether chicken soup really cures a cold. To help decide whether chicken soup is the go-to solution, we reached out to Wendy Dahl, PhD, RD, FDC, Assistant Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition, at the University of Florida.
Best Food Facts wanted to know, is food coloring safe? To answer this question, we reached out to Dr. Ronald E. Kleinman from Harvard Medical School. When we asked him whether we should avoid food coloring, he said no... but that doesn't mean further research isn't warranted.
Are you concerned about food prices? Last year, we looked at how drought affects food prices, and unfortunately, many parts of the United States are still experiencing drought conditions. On average, Americans spend about 10 percent of their income on food, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But what affects food prices each year? To answer this question, Best Food Facts reached out to Dr. Marc F. Bellemare, Assistant Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University.
What do you know about the additives in your food? Particularly, those mysterious ingredients on the label that have us all scratching our heads and wondering “Is this stuff good for me and my family?” Food experts explore whether we should avoid foods with ingredients we cannot pronounce.