Just the facts. From the experts.
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Is Aspartame Safe to Consume?

12/17/2013

Experts say a new study confirms aspartame is safe in food and beverages – but how is the newest research different from previous studies?  

Can You Trust Research?

11/22/2013

The university-based experts on Best Food Facts have completed research in their specialized fields of study. But one Best Food Facts reader, Blogger Amina Nevels of MommaMina.com, asked a question about research funding. "How do we know that we can trust your research if it's funded by organizations who could profit from that research?"

Food Expiration Dates – What do they mean?

11/19/2013

Confusion about food expiration dates can inadvertently cause unnecessary food waste or food safety issues; so we’ve compiled the definitions of some of the most common food expiration labels, according to the USDA. Tape the list on your refrigerator or cabinet for quick reference. A quick glance could benefit both your wallet and your health.

Peeling Back the Layers of the Worship-Worthy Onion

11/19/2013

A scan down the Facebook page can make you wonder just what’s accurate and what’s not. Does that high school friend really look the same 20 years later and how can those celebrities look so bright and perky every hour of the day? But how do you know when things are true or perhaps a little too good to be true? For instance, could an onion-filled cup really be the solution to the onslaught of colds and flu? Just remember what you read isn’t always true, but we probably don’t need to tell you that. 

Food Expiration Dates - Eliminating Confusion

11/9/2013

Looking for ways to eliminate food waste and increase food safety? Check out this handy Expiration Date graphic!

True? or Not? "When a company funds research, the results are biased."

We oftentimes get questions about the funding source of research cited, or whether the researchers within Universities are "paid for" by private companies. Here, Peggy Lemaux, PhD, from the University of California at Berkeley, weighs in on how university scientists receive funding and what that means for the results. 

True? Or Not? "Large farms are bad for the environment."

Manure from farm animals when used as fertilizer improves soil and increases crop yields. It can become a pollutant if it reaches water supplies.

Farm animal production in the United States has clearly shifted away from many small farms to an increasing number of larger farms. It takes several small farms to equal the manure production of a single large farm. On the large farm, the manure management responsibility lies with only one management system instead of several.

True? Or Not? "We will experience a bacon shortage in 2013."

When the National Pig Association of the United Kingdom sent out a press release warning of a worldwide pork and bacon shortages in an effort to prepare consumers in the UK for higher pork prices, the story spread quickly on social media in the U.S. prompting dramatic media reports of an impending bacon shortage.

True? Or Not? "Elimination of farm subsidies will reduce obesity and associated health problems."

Many advocates argue that US Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies that establish farm prices for crops, provide subsidies to farmers and provide consumers with access to an abundant and affordable food supply are responsible for the increasing number of adults and children facing the challenges of obesity and diabetes. However, Julian M. Alston, with the University of California-Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, says his research shows that eliminating farm subsidies would do little to change obesity rates, noting that consumers do not necessarily change food purchase patterns based on cost and that advances in technology and efficiencies on the farm have more to do with the low cost of today’s food than USDA policies and programs.

What’s in Chicken Nuggets?

10/30/2013

Researchers in Mississippi recently tested chicken nuggets from two national fast food chains. They took one nugget from each restaurant and examined the ingredients. The result was that about half of the nuggets were muscle with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin or internal organs. The second was 40 percent muscle and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

Is this unusual? Is it a safety concern? We took these questions and others to Dr. Casey M. Owens at the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas.

Are Fruits and Vegetables Sprayed with Pesticides Less Safe than Organic Produce?

10/28/2013

In all forms, fruits and vegetables are inherently nutritious, no matter whether eaten fresh, canned or frozen. In recent years, a number of marketing tactics have presented organic fruits to be safer, based on the premise that they are grown without pesticides. In truth, both organic and conventional farmers use pesticides on their crops.

True? Or Not? "Meat from grass-fed cattle is safer than meat from cattle that are fed corn."

Experts conclude that there is no greater level of meat safety from cattle fed grass versus those fed corn.

Will Garcinia Cambogia Really Help Me Lose Weight?

10/24/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a question regarding whether celebrities are using garcinia cambogia to lose weight. We called Stephen Heymsfield, MD, the George A. Bray, Jr. Endowed Super Chair in Nutrition Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, to find out.

Are High-Carb Foods Fattening?

10/23/2013

With the rise of low- and no-carb diets, the word “carb” has taken on a negative connotation. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all diet there is also no one perfect food. A balanced diet includes a wide variety of foods consumed in moderation. But carbohydrates shouldn’t be considered to be “empty” calories. Carbohydrates can be rich sources of fiber such as those found in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and beans, all of which play a role in decreasing the risk of chronic disease. 

Are There Growth Hormones in Milk?

10/16/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader comment asking which brands of milk contain growth hormones. To answer this question, we reached out to Dr. Ann Macrina, Research/Teaching Associate at Penn State University. Dr. Macrina previously answered questions about hormones in milk.

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